David Stephens reviews 2/18 WWE RAW

David’s RAW Thoughts
February 20, 2013
By: David Stephens of Wrestleview.com

There were two occurrences that will stand out from this rather lackluster episode of RAW. The first, and admittedly most aesthetic, was the unveiling of the new WWE Championship. When I first saw the mock ups several months ago I jumped on the “this is going to be crap” bandwagon. Much to my surprise the belt turned out to be pretty stellar.

It’s a different taste for a Championship that has gone through many variations over the past several decades. Set upon a wonderfully crafted leather belt, the leather hide silhouettes through the bronze plates. It’s a different taste for the WWE Championship, but its simplicity is not overwhelmed by its necessary gaudiness. There are plates on either side currently featuring the Brahma Bull logo, however a glance at the replicas on WWE Shop Zone reveals that they are removable and will most likely change as does the Title holder. It was an 18 month creation endeavor aided in large part by Rick and the rest of the crew over at Orange County Choppers. Their state of the art 3-D machine allowed the bold design to come to fruition.

It’s safe to say that a lot of the younger fans have never seen another belt besides the Cena Spinner. WWE is making a stark move from the Cena era, at least in belt design retention, which for most should bring a sigh of relief (even if Cena currently appears to be the most viable and likely candidate to win the belt from The Rock). Maybe Cena will slap some mini-spinners on the side, just to make the IWC cringe.

The other revelation on RAW came in the form of a challenge. CM Punk believes that he was once again wronged in his Championship match and is seeking retribution against none other than John Cena. They will fight this week with the winner going to face The Rock on the grandest stage of them all. Cena’s decision to accept the challenge is admittedly a bit baffling. Anything that Cena feels he has to prove is in his own head. His detractors aren’t going to be swayed to his side if he defeats Punk, and his fans are going to support their hero regardless. Cena can only hurt his chances at success by taking this match.

The prospect of Punk finally shutting up and walking away is not enough to risk the payday of a main event at Wrestlemania. I just can’t get behind this storyline because it’s illogical. Cena is trying to spin it as his chance to finally vanquish the current Superstar he is unable to beat, Punk, in order to cement his legacy when he defeats the other man he can’t, Rock, in capturing the Championship. It’s a storybook finish, and probably will happen in that matter, but regardless of the outcome it was a foolish decision.

Don’t be surprised if the match between Punk and Cena this upcoming week has a screwy or dusty finish. Taker, whose ‘mania opponent was rumored to be Punk, has yet to show his face which could suggest a possible triple threat match between Rock/Cena/Punk for the Championship at ‘mania. Either way John Cena will win. It’s not plausible that the face of the promotion goes on to lose his third straight Wrestlemania match.

Sin Cara simply got the hell beaten out of him by Mark Henry. It wasn’t even a fair bout. Henry is back to his dominating figure which lent itself to a successful run during his last stint in between injuries. The question regarding Henry has long been his durability. He’s hinted in recent interviews that this last run will likely be his last. Hopefully the big man will let it all hang out and wreak a path of destruction worthy of being reminisced on a podcast seven years from now.

Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter are right on the money. Swagger is getting a push, which while I never would have selected him, might reap benefits for the ‘Real American’. It’s been awhile since we’ve experienced a solid old-school manager, but that’s exactly what Zeb is providing. It’s the perfect mix of politics and southern philosophy. Zeb’s apparent manifesto is tailor fit for this feud with Alberto. Instead of simply going the immigration route, Zeb cleverly pointed out that the only reason Alberto is only in the United States is to work for the WWE and thus take money from the hard workers of this country. It’s a delicate balance that brings much needed attention and energy towards Swagger.

Daniel Bryan is a talented wrestler that makes his opponents look like gold. The bout against Bryan was one of the best matches Swagger has had on free television. It wasn’t complicated, yet it sold his new character and really built Swagger up as a more believable #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship.

Bryan cost Kane his match against Orton tonight furthering the break up storyline. The belt will be coming off of them soon the real question is whether it will happen before or at Wrestlemania. I could see the WWE capitalizing on a Kane v. Daniel Bryan match for the PPV instead as a lot of fans would be interested in the outcome.

Big E. Langston cracks me up. He’s supposed to be a dominating figure, yet he looks too sweet and innocent even when he is slamming foes to the ground. You toss in his voice and the character is all over the place. Hopefully they can figure out a better fit, and ring gear, for the star because this just isn’t working out.

Clay and Tensai make a formidable tag team. Sure this isn’t exactly how Tensai envisioned his current run but at least he is getting a reaction from the crowd other than an ‘Albert’ chant. It’s a start.

I’m not really sure why Sheamus interrupted Wade Barrett via the Titantron. I guess Bo Dallas missed his flight.

Wrestlemania is quickly approaching and other than a few Title matches and rematches, the picture is far from being clear. Many have already written off this year’s show, but don’t be so quick to judge. The card is not the only determinant of a successful show. Time will tell.

David Stephens
Follow me on Twitter! @TheDaveStephens

David Stephens is the official recapper of WWE RAW for Wrestleview.com.