#priorities: So it seems we’re getting a rematch of the Punk-Bryan match from the live Smackdown last week. If you unclear as to what WWE’s priorities where heading into Mania, then this makes it crystal clear. CM Punk, the WWE Champion, holder of ostensibly the most prestigious title in the industry is not only reduced to wrestling the opening match, but is only seen twice in the show’s opening video. Smackdown wrestlers like Orton are featured more for the intro of a show they’re not even technically a part of. The WWE wanted to give Punk a chance to lead the company as its top guy, but almost immediately undercut him by burying him on his own show by making him the #3 storyline after Rock-Cena and Taker-HHH. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised since the opening video promo focused on Cena’s comments from last week, but this is ridiculous. I have no problem with there being a Punk-Bryan rematch. Both of them could put on a better match in their sleep then the entire roster could awake. I just take issue with it being the opening match, as if it’s something that needs to get out of the way for the bigger priorities.

#litebrite: Anyways, on to the match. As Punk waits for Bryan, Mr Lite Brite, Chris Jericho comes out instead to start the verbal salvo the IWC has been waiting for from this feud. He immediately goes to the BITW moniker that Punk uses. Punk counters this by saying Bret Hart used ‘The Best’ phrase long before Jericho. He then takes a detour to highlight how he is a member of the dying breed; very impassioned speech from Jericho that reminds why he is one the best mic workers in the business. His contention that Punk is just a Jeri-wanna-be finally gets Punk to speak. Interesting that he says he’s never plagiarized anything from anyone, because wasn’t the GTS innovated by KENTA? So wouldn’t that mean Punk ‘plagiarized’ it? Jericho continues to hammer the BITW point home, before Punk gets vicious, saying that he’s always been a wrestler while Jericho is out dancing with stars and being a rock musician. An incredibly heavy exchange between the two that is hopefully just the beginning.

#actualwrestling: So after an opening reminiscent of an episode of Impact, we finally get to the Punk-Bryan match. Not only does Bryan have AJ in tow as he makes his way to the ring, but Ace and David Otunga’s Travel Mug are there as well. So you know there won’t be a clean finish to this one. Ace joins commentary and so does Long. Cole immediately starts sucking up to Funkman while Jerry sides with Long. So the GM battle angle is taking precedence over a match between the company’s two top champions? I’d be surprised if something like this hadn’t happened before. The not clean finish happens when Ace and Long start arguing on the outside while Bryan tries to hightail it. He doesn’t get far as Sheamus throws him back into the ring for a GTS from Punk. Ace waves off the ref and Punk gets the big eyes look. Long pushes him down and they get in each others faces as Punk slips out of the ring. A new Ace chant is started later when Long calls him a horse’s ass in his office. So now Punk is further relegated to the #4 angle on RAW. Then he gets attacked by Jericho on the stage who puts him in the Liontamer to put an exclamation point on it all.

#cooldown: After all the emotion and energy of the opening promo and match, a little cool down period is needed. Luckily there is a Divas match! People can go to the bathroom and Lawler can sound like a dirty, old man for ogling Kelly Kelly.

#maniarewind: Speaking of rematches this one is a rematch of the main event of last year’s Mania with Cena and Miz. I’m more shocked that they would put their golden boy in the middle of the card. I figured this would be at the end of the night and still allow time for his confrontation with The Rock. so that pretty much means a Rock promo will close the show. Miz’s promo will be the highlight of this segment as lets all his frustrations out and rants about how he’s the one who does all the media appearances for WWE with the long awaited return of The Really Game. Miz showed some aggressiveness throughout the match, including hitting a sick DDT on a kneeling Cena. I almost missed it because Cole, Miz’s #1 fan, actually admitted that The Awesome One hasn’t been that awesome lately. That trend continues as Miz gets the 5 Moves of Doom and eventually taps out to the STF.

#titledefense: So the theme of rematches is broken with Epico and Primo defending their titles against BoomTruth and Swaggler. I keep forgetting that Swagger is the US Champ, probably because that title has as much prestige as the pink blanket thing hanging out of Ziggler’s trunks. This is ostensibly a triple threat match, but it seems like two guys are going at it while the third is either on the outside or just hanging back out of the action. This is as deep as the tag roster has been in some time and gives some hope for the division. Truth plants Primo and Ziggler with a double DDT that has to the move of the match because it leads to some hot tags and a huge momentum shift. Kofi hits a double move of his own with a Boom Drop onto both Swagger and Epico. It’s to no avail as the champs retain after a Backstabber by Primo. They barely have time to celebrate before Kane’s pyro and music hit and The Big Red Monster makes a statement, laying waste to all men including a number of Chokeslams. Still the tag match was fast paced and gives hope for the division.

#hoeski: So the newly heel Eve, or Hevel one could say, gets her own in ring promo? Given that the Oscars were last night, I’m expecting a great performance….or not. She just seemed awkward, delivering the promo a few lines at a time, then pausing to lower her mic. Still she does further cement her heel character by saying its not her fault she’s attractive, but that men should blame themselves for their weaknesses. It’s not original, but it works here.

#sdmainevent: This could have done for the main event on Smackdown since all 4 wrestlers, Sheamus, Show, Cody and Henry, are part of The Blue Brand, but instead we get the match on RAW. Does anyone know the last time Cody defended the IC title? The last one I can remember at the moment was beating Booker but that was weeks ago. At least he makes up for it with another installment of ‘Another Embarrassing Big Show Wrestlemania Moment’, focusing on his loss to Floyd Mayweather at WM 24. It’s as plain as Cole’s pro heel antics that Show will be facing Cody at Mania this year, perhaps for the IC Title. This becomes a throwaway match as Show goes for Cody and Sheamus Brogue Kicks Henry for the quick victory.

#finally: The Rock is back…to insult Cena? No wait he has his signature pose on all turnbuckles and pace around the ring first, then show us the goosebumps on his arm. So we get a response to Cena’s charge that Rocky left after he said he would never leave, but not really since he seems to dodge the accusation. This match is weeks away and I’ve already lost interest in it. That’s because it’s devolved into both men calling each other names like they were in middle school and questioning each others manhood. That’s not the way to build up an Icon vs Icon match. Nothing short of a Cena heel turn could get my interest back, but we all know how likely that is to happen.