#showstarter: The Show Stopper sure seems to be excited to be here, but I’m sure it’s going to get heated when Hunter comes out. I wonder if the fact that HBK has failed twice to end The Streak will come into play at any point during the buildup. If Michaels is involved with the match itself, you can be sure it will. He does seem overly eager for H to fight Taker at Mania. 5 minutes into RAW and ‘Shawn Michaels’ is already trending on Twitter. Thanks WWE. At least H finally comes out, and the next few minutes are spent on HBK lavishly heaping praise on him. He delivers it in such an odd way and what makes it even more apparent is HHH standing there with no expression on his face at all. It appears his behavior is explained by the ‘Shawn is better then you’ line Taker said that tipped HHH into accepting the match at Mania. Competitive tension rises between the two before HBK drops the not-so-surprising bomb that he’ll be the guest ref for the Hunter-Taker HIAC match at Mania.

#titlerelevance: Jack Swagger is actually defending his United States title? Against Santino Marella? I don’t know which is more surprising. Of course, Swagger has both Vickie and Dolph with him out there, so the match ending is already known. Speaking of surprising, what’s going on with Swagger’s hair? It’s not his usual spiky style, but looks he combed it for 10 minutes straight. So because Teddy is running RAW this week, Laurinaitis and David Otunga’s Travel Mug get to come down to ringside? Everything makes sense now. WWE was wondering how they could devalue the US Title even more, so they came up with the idea of Travel Mug distracting the ref so Dolph could get a cheap shot on Santino and Swagger could thus take advantage. But The Cobra kicks out! Creative then decided that wouldn’t be enough to devalue the title, so they had Long come out with Aksana and Kofi in tow to take even more focus off the match. It almost doesn’t even matter that Santino got a surprise rollup for the pin because Teddy has security escort Ace and Mug out of the building. We can be sure that Ace will screw Santino out of the title next week when he gets back control of RAW, if not sooner.

#historylesson: If you were missing The Rock’s prerecorded promos, then you’re in luck, because he has one of him at Boston Harbor. He gives a history lesson/analogy about the British and the people of Boston, where Cena is the British and the WWE universe are the people of Boston tired of having Cena shoved in their faces. Pretty bold move right in Cena’s hometown, or not since West Newbury is like 40 miles outside of Boston. Even bolder for Rock to re-enact the Boston Tea Party by throwing Cena merchandise into Boston Harbor. Still it is pretty funny and the crowd seems to be enjoying it.

#confusion: So it’s a Eve-Alicia match but it’s overshadowed by commentary and not Cole as some would think. With Kelly Kelly ringside, Lawler gets to act even more creepy then he usually does when it’s a Divas match. Cole even tries to get Kelly to take about the rift between her and Eve, which Kelly confusingly brushes off. It’s also confusing why this is the focus instead of the champion of the division, Beth Phoenix. The segment is saved with teh return of Zack Ryder, who has traded in his neck brace and wheelchair for a walking cane. I wonder when WWEShop will be selling ‘Zack Ryder Canes’ with Woo Woo Woo along the shaft. Tomorrow is my guess, because Vince cannot pass up an opportunity to make money. I’m proven right when a WWEShop promo is shown after the commercial break.

#prerecorded: Since Dwayne got a pre-recorded promo, it only seems fair that Cena gets his own. Not standing beside the Boston Harbor, but in the empty arena is where Cena delivers his soliloquy ‘To Hate Or Not To Hate’. He manages to bury every other match on the card by saying all eyes will be on his battle with Dwayne. In contrast to Rocky, Cena is more pensive and withdrawn as he talks about his match. It’s a little cliche, but Cena does a good job of explaining just what a victory over The Rock would mean to him. The audience can understand why he’s fighting and putting so much effort into the match and its buildup. A great Cena promo that didn’t stray into his usual one-liners.

#teddylongspecial: So Teddy Long has the chance to be in charge of RAW and show the Board of Directors that he can be a better GM then Laurinaitus, so he makes a tag match? How is that innovative or exciting. At least it’s Punk-Sheamus vs Jericho-Bryan so the wrestling should be enjoyable. I don’t normally mention crowd signs, but as Punk jumps up on the apron, a fan holds up one that says ‘Colt of Personality’ with a Star of David on it. Punk and Jericho start it out with a staredown and some quick strikes and counters. The action doesn’t really let up as all four of them put on a good show with Punk, Jericho and Bryan showing off their technical ability and Sheamus his brute strength. Jericho tries to turn over Punk into the Walls of Jericho, but Punk counters into a rollup and Jericho uses that momentum to keep the rollup going long enough to get the pin on Punk.

#advancedhistory: Another pre-recorded history lession from Professor Rock, this time standing in front of the statue of Paul Revere. Rock goes into alternative history when he wonders if it was Cena that was on that horse instead of Revere. Pointing to a cardboard cut out of Cena in his red gear, Rocky says he would’ve been shot and we’d all still be under British control. Other highlights of the story include Rock inventing a time machine to go back to 1776 and Benjamin Franklin¬† forgoing his kite to say Rock invented electricity. As great as these promos have been from Rock, Cena’s stands in stark contrast. While Rock is making fun and cracking jokes, Cena is talking about what the match really means to him.

#roughpatches: Not only has Miz been in a slump with no end in sight, but he has to face Big Show tonight. The bell rings and Cody Rhodes immediately comes out with another clip from his soon-t0-be-award-winning series of Show eating at the WWE restaurant during Mania XVIII. Hilarity ensues and Miz tries to take advantage of the distraction but soon falls victim to the WMD. So much for a turnaround for The Miz. Not only was he buried, but was buried in favor of a feud from a different show. Speaking of rough patches, Miz’s former partner R-Truth has to face Kane and predictably gets bowled over. Orton shows up and gets a measure of revenge with an RKO on the Big Red Machine.

#hometownhero: It was interesting to hear a few boos mixed in with cheers as Cena made his triumphant return to his sort-of-hometown. He goes straight at The Rock for responding to Cena saying exactly what he thought last week by making jokes about cereal and clothes. At least he’s able to slip in a few lame jokes like usual. Instead of only firing back his own jokes, Cena is taking all the insults Rock has hurled his way and owning them and pointing out how ridiculous most of them are when you actually think about it. He continues the serious tone from his earlier promo when he says he doesn’t want the guy who just talks and makes jokes, but the Great One himself, the same Rock who dominated while he was in WWE. He calls out Rock and the Man himself comes out, as if we were really expecting anyone else. Dwayne finally gets serious, saying he sees fear in Cena’s eyes and hears it in his voice. That rings a bit hollow since Cena has been anything but in his words tonight. No matter what Rocky tries, Cena is just not intimidated and that does nothing for the buildup where Rock is concerned.