#performancereview?: They should have opened with a Sheamus promo about his Rumble win, but of course WWE places more emphasis on a job evaluation of one of their execs then anything wrestling related. This is why the picture is of The Pale One and not Ace. Surprisingly, Laurinaitis shakes and slaps hands of the crowd down the ramp and to the announce area. Could be gladhanding or maybe its genuine? On second thought it’s the former. Is it me or has his voice gotten less raspy? That’s balanced out by the fact he called the next PPV, ‘the Elimination PPV’. Whoops Johnny. He goes onto announce a Punk-Kingston-Ziggler-Miz-Truth-Jericho WWE Title EC match. That sounds good to me, but Kofi is obviously the one random guy that always is in there just to get his ass handed to him. The exclusion of Cena and Kane makes one believe they’ll have another singles match, but time will tell. He also makes a series of matches for the show, including Beth defending her title against Eve and I swear I heard crickets when he said that. The big one is a Champ v Champ in Punk-Bryan, which is they give it a decent amount of time, should be filled with quality wrestling. Plus I’m sure it’s been done in ROH before and while it would be cool to mention it, other promotions don’t exist according to Vince.

#partycrashers: Of course you knew Punk was going to show up sooner or later. Somewhat expectedly he begins a ‘hey hey goodbye’ chant, even getting Lawler, Justin Roberts and the ringside doctor involved. Funny, but it seems like it’s a bit cheap and cliche. Thankfully he moves on to his usual insults of Laurinaitis, but Ace to his credit maintains a cool facade. Speaking of crashing the party, Heel Bryan comes out way too excited to still be WHC. It’s truly amazing to see the difference in Bryan promos from before and after he started his sloe heel turn. Some may be against his turn, but it’s done wonders for his character and the all important mic skills. Case in point is when he starts going on about how he’s a role model and a vegan, it’s just good TV. With both champs in the ring, that means it’s time for the Rumble winner to come out and cut the typical ‘Which Champ Will I Pick’ promo. Hopefully Sheamus will do it in the form of a story about his grandfather or aunt back in Ireland. It’s a pretty short one, but then again Sheamus isn’t one to talk alot, but let his actions speak for themselves.

#showingoff: Dolph better not show off too much in his match against Orton, because I’m sure he’ll be RKOed out of nowhere. Since Josh Mathews is interviewing Wade Barrett from one of the luxury boxes, you know this match is important. Dolph’s new jacket looks very similar to AJ Styles’, expect for the mohawk-thing on the top. Well the match doesn’t seem to be that important since Cole keeps telling Josh to ask Barrett questions, so I guess it’s a 4 man commentary team? Cole’s uber-heel commentary wouldn’t be too bad if he had a face counterpart of any ability. Sorry Lawler, but at least you’re better then Booker. Orton does look good after coming back from the injury and hopefully there aren’t any lingering effects. He gets the win after an RKO, which was the expected outcome since they want to give him a good return.

#leopardfunk: At least it looks like the Funkette dancers are wearing leopard print, though I could be wrong. Tyler Reks is Clay’s latest victim and gets in about 4 seconds of offense, which is more then the others combined. Typical outcome, plus some post-match jiggling from the Funkasaurus.

#bestsintheworld: With arguably two of the best pure wrestlers in the world, this one should be memorable. Then again it is in the middle of the show, which means the performance review will be the ‘main event’. The match itself wasn’t earth-shattering though it was still pretty good, filled with actual wrestling and a bit of brawling. Thankfully, there’s a fair share of technical ability and submissions showcased. Bryan continually focuses on Punk’s shoulder with is great ring psychology, something I will always point out. After counters, spots and near falls galore in a very even match, the end result is anything but. Jericho runs down, tosses Bryan into a side barricade and gives a Codebreaker to Punk in the middle of the ring. That gives the DQ win to Bryan, which I’m sure Bryan will tell everyone about for weeks. This is the strongest indicator yet that we might be moving towards the rumored Punk-Jericho title match at Mania. Or it could be another way for Jericho to appear in a segment without actually saying anything.

#really: Finally we get the return of The Really Game as Miz cuts a promo on his Royal Rumble performance and the crowd immediately jumps to echo the ‘Reallys’. I do like it better when he does his ‘I’m Awesome’ chant without all the shouting, as saying it normally adds a bit of gravity to it. The fact that he is facing Kofi is almost second to the commentary. Truth is on commentary and Cole continually eggs him on about Little Jimmy when he’s not mentioning how long Miz lasted in the Rumble. I will say that Truth is becoming my new favorite mic worker, I mean he says the most bizarre stuff and its hilarious. Meanwhile, Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise out of nowhere for the win, not that you would’ve known a match was going on anyways.

#butterflybelt: I would not be surprised at all if Eve won the title because of her involvement with Ryder and Kane. She’s been portrayed as one who should garner sympathy. She has been selling in the story very well, including continually looking around as she’s making her way to the ring. I believe this is the first time Beth has been on TV in months, or at least that’s what it feels like. Even for a Divas match that was incredibly short with Beth hitting the Glam Slam for the win in like under a minute. I do agree with not putting the belt on Eve, even given what I said earlier. She already has a storyline to be involved in and now that Kharma’s back she can battle with Beth. I was hoping she would come in and make a beeline for the Divas Champ, but instead we get Kane on the Tron. His claim that what happened to Ryder could’ve been avoided if Cena had gone Dark Side should only further the animosity Eve ha shown to Cena. Kane raised the stakes in his feud with Cena by saying he’ll continue to attack Ryder until Cena embraces the hate. Using Eve as bait  in his grand plan to turn Cena does fit the manipulative heel role quite well. Even if this doesn’t end in Cena turning heel, it would be enough to give Cena a more aggressive, less superhero aspect to his character.

#futureendeavoured: I would like to mention the interaction between Laurinaitis and David Otunga’s Travel Mug backstage earlier. Travel Mug said he did as much as he could to influence the decision, with Ace looking shocked and asking if Mug wanted his job. Mug’s reply was that he was content in his current position. So he’s content being a tool? Zing! Anyways on to the evaluation. Ace’s glowing self-assessment should not be a shocker, so it’s a relief when Mr COO makes his grand return. HHH’s own assessment of Ace’s job isn’t as glowing, and Ace saying he’ll do anything to keep his job fits in with his shady character. On that note, H toys with Laurinaitis even invoking the elite Kiss Vince’s Ass Club. He’s about to Future Endeavor him when the gong hits, lights go out and Taker makes his triumphant return. The road to their Mania match begins just like last year with a glance at the Mania logo hanging from the rafters. Last year did not include H patting Taker on the soldier and walking to the back though. Well that was certainly not the ending everyone was expecting.