Raw Five-Point Preview: March 25, 2013
The City of Brotherly Love is about to get its biggest dose of electricity since Benjamin Franklin: WWE Champion The Rock is back in town. With the various WrestleMania matches set, the Superstars are frothing at the mouth to get a piece of their rivals, from The Undertaker’s hunt for CM Punk (still at large with Paul Bearer’s urn) to Team Hell No’s quest to humble Dolph Ziggler & Big E Langston. But the faceoff the WWE Universe is most anticipating is that of Rock and John Cena, who will surely have words when The People’s Champion confronts his No. 1 contender. Here are five things to look forward to on this week’s Raw.
Face to face
WWE Champion The Rock is returning to Raw for the first time since his tension-filled faceoff against John Cena a couple of weeks ago. In that gripping exchange, the Cenation leader put his heart on the table and The Great One calmly crushed it, responding to Cena’s impassioned sermon with a simple vow to defeat him a second time. Cena didn’t seem quite so sold on his own bravado at that point, but the No. 1 contender has steadily picked up speed as the marquee rematch approaches. It’s a safe bet The People’s Champion might be facing a different man than he did last year or even the last time they met.
Can the beauty slay the bros?
Team Hell No is set to defend their WWE Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania against the untested tandem of Dolph Ziggler & Big E Langston. ( PREVIEW) With the athleticism of Daniel Bryan and The Showoff, plus Big E’s power matching up against Kane’s rage (it’s been a rough couple of weeks and he’s probably looking to beat a few more people up), the match already looks to be a marquee bout at The Show of Shows. But the real X-factor here is AJ Lee. The Showoff’s squeeze has a past with both Kane and Bryan, and has already attempted to use their past flings to worm her way into the champions’ heads. With Hell No finally on the same page, how much meddling will it take from AJ to disrupt their harmony — if she’s even able to do so at all? ( VOTE: DOES TEAM HELL NO NEED A DIVA?)
One foot in the grave
There is making a statement, and then there’s what CM Punk did to The Undertaker a few weeks ago when he absconded with the late Paul Bearer’s sacred urn on the same night that The Phenom appeared to pay tribute to his former mentor. ( WATCH) Punk further desecrated the iconic talisman by mocking The Deadman with the urn last week, and his disrespect caused The Phenom visible anguish. Whether the urn still holds any power over The Undertaker as it once did is unclear, but Punk, at least mentally, has The Lord of Darkness in the palm of his hand as WrestleMania approaches ( PREVIEW). With an apparent plot to overwhelm The Undertaker into a disqualification loss at The Show of Shows, does Punk have an unprecedented advantage over The Streak? Or is he simply writing his own epitaph?
In all honesty, who knows if Chris Jericho can pronounce Fandango’s name correctly. Who knows if Fandango would accept The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla’s inflection even if he could say the name right, but what the WWE Universe does know is that there’s some brooding bad blood between the nine-time Intercontinental Champion and the fleet-footed grappler who has yet to compete in a match. Jericho poked the sequined bear by mocking Fandango on Raw, and was paid back in kind on SmackDown when Fandango interfered in Y2J’s bout with Jack Swagger ( WATCH). We’re sure Jericho will have more words for Fandango Monday. As any dancer worth his salt should know, it takes two to tango.
The wrath of Del Rio
For all Jack Swagger’s talk of crossing borders, the “Real American” may have stepped over the only line that matters when it comes to World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio. Swagger put his hands on the World Champion’s best friend, Ricardo Rodriguez, snapping Ricardo’s ankle after attacking The Essence of Excellence himself. With the champion’s better half hobbled by Swagger, the “Real American’s” plan to unman Del Rio at WrestleMania is beginning to take shape. Has Swagger done enough damage to take Del Rio’s eye off the ball? Or has he simply given The Pride of Mexico sufficient motivation to carry him through The Show of Shows? Tune in this Monday night at 8/7 CT on USA Network to find out!