The Road To WrestleMania continues heat up this week, as Monday Night Raw looks to continue the build towards WWE’s largest show of the year, WrestleMania. With just 3 weeks left until the big show, fans should expect another great Raw this week, with several notable names expected to make an appearance.
Those names include the likes of Triple H, Undertaker, CM Punk, John Cena, and The Rock, names that make this weeks edition of Raw can’t miss. But what could those men be up to this week? Plus what will the rest of the roster be doing? Let’s see, in this weeks Raw Preview.
For the last 2 weeks, Ryback and Mark Henry have been featured in the beginning of a possible feud. However, that feud seemed to be pushed aside on Smackdown, as Randy Orton and Sheamus chose Ryback as there partner at WrestleMania, where they will take on The Shield. However, their feud would quickly be reignited later on Smackdown, as Henry hit Ryback with 3 Worlds Strongest Slams after he got help from Shield.
Both Ryback and Sheamus seem to be getting pulled in two different directions right now. For Sheamus, he’s between The Shield and Wade Barrett, while Ryback is being pulled between The Shield and Mark Henry. It’s an interesting issue for WWE, as they could easily go either direction for two of their biggest stars. It would seem that Sheamus will be going after The Shield at ‘Mania, but Rybacks future is still clouded in mystery for the moment.
Some of those clouds could evaporate on Raw though, as both Henry and Ryback are expected to make appearances.
Right now, I’m predicting that Ryback will decline Orton and Sheamus’s offer to take on The Shield and instead focus on the Worlds Strongest Man, Mark Henry. However, some fans have expressed the idea of a 4 on 4 Tag Team match at WrestleMania, with Mark Henry joining The Shield and Big Show joining in on Orton, Sheamus, and Rybacks unit.
WrestleMania almost always has one or two big tag team matches, so a 4 on 4 or even a 5 on 5 match involving Ryback and Henry could easily happen, but for right now, I’m guessing that the two will go to war in a singles bout, with Ryback finally winning on PPV and regaining some momentum.
Expect to see the official announcement for Ryback vs. Henry either on Raw or Smackdown this week, and Big Show replace Ryback to take on The Shield.
Undercard WrestleMania Development Please?
As previously stated, it seems that Henry and Ryback are set for a WrestleMania collision course alongside The Shield, Randy Orton, Sheamus, and Big Show. However, with the exception of those two matches, there have been no other confirmed undercard matches, including matches involving the Tag Team, U.S, and Intercontinental Championships.
While the Main Event matches are obviously bigger than ever this year, it’s still important for there to be solid undercard matches too, or else the card will become far too top heavy. Quite honestly it’s shocking that 3 of the 5 major championships (do you honestly count the Divas at this point?) don’t have any confirmed match for WrestleMania.
While The Miz has most recently been feuding with over the United States belt with Antonio Cesaro, he will face off against Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett on Raw. A Barrett/Miz WrestleMania match could certainly be entertaining, but the build to that match would be lackluster due to it being surrounded by the two’s recent movie releases. At the end of the day, you can either go with The Miz, who starred in a really crappy movie, or Barrett, who was barely in a decent movie. Not too appetizing.
If the IC Belt has any questions about it heading into WrestleMania, the United States Title is a total enigma, as Antonio Cesaro seems to be the odd man out heading into ‘Mania. He really doesn’t have any direction heading into WWE’s biggest PPV Event of the year, making it difficult to guess what his plans are for the next 3 weeks.
For now, I’m guessing we get a Barrett/Miz WM match built some more this week, and perhaps a clearer picture regarding Cesaro’s future. I’m predicting the Swiss Superstar will face off against either Zack Ryder or Christian at ‘Mania. Ryder because, well, I just like Zack Ryder, and Christian because it just feels sad not having him be on a WrestleMania. Either way, the undercard for WrestleMania desperatly needs some more build, and hopefully that will happen this week on Raw.
Undertaker and CM Punk Continue To Feud
Last week, CM Punk would kick off his feud with The Undertaker in as personal a way as possible, as he brutally disgraced the memory of the Deadmans father, Paul Bearer. Their feud has already proven to be one of the most personal in Undertakers WrestleMania history, and it should continue to heat up this week, as Taker is being advertised for an appearance.
For the last 2 weeks, their feud has taken center stage on Raw, however with The Rock and John Cena each returning this week, Punk and Taker will likely end their streak of main eventing. While the match between Punk and Taker will likely be the best on the card, it really shouldn’t be main eventing WrestleMania, as Rock vs Cena will be one of the biggest rematches of all time.
This week, I’m guessing that The Undertaker cuts his first promo since returning before being interrupted by Punk, who either attacks Taker or plays up the passing of Bearer. Either way, their feud will continue to become more personal this week, setting up for what should be a spectacular WrestleMania encounter.
Triple H Responds To Brock Lesnar
2 weeks ago on Raw, Triple H would challenge Brock Lesnar to a rematch at WrestleMania, just 1 week after the two had a brutal brawl. Lesnar responded last week, stating that he would only accept if he got to choose the stipulation, a stipulation that would be kept secret until after Triple H had signed the contract for the match.
This week, HHH responds to Lesnar’s request. While many fans, including myself, were less than excited for a rematch between The Game and The Beast, their recent work in promos and in a brawl as lit a massive fire beneath their feud, creating plenty of intrigue heading into ‘Mania.
Most of that intrigue has been surrounding what Lesnar’s stipulation would be for the match. Hell In A Cell, No DQ, and Steel Cage matches have been some of the most popular guesses, but WWE has remained tight lipped regarding what it will be. In fact, some dirt sheets have even reported that the company has yet to make up their minds on what the stipulation will be.
I’m guessing that HHH accepts Lesnars request, and the stipulation will somehow revolve around being an MMA Styled fight. Lesnar’s UFC success is no secret, and having an MMA type match at WWE’s largest event could make for some of the most interesting TV in WWE’s history. Plus, it would help to increase the crossover between MMA and Pro Wrestling, something Vince McMahon has expressed interest in doing in the past.
The Rock and John Cena Return
Much like the rematch between HHH and Lesnar, many fans were less than ecstatic about the possibility of seeing Twice In A Lifetime between The Rock and John Cena. However, also like HHH/Lesnar, interest has skyrocketed in Rock and Cena’s rematch due to great promos and phenomenally done video packages.
Despite not being present for last weeks Raw, the video packages hyping Rock vs. Cena were amazing, and the hype continued despite their absence. Now that they’re returning this week, we can expect to see the build go into hyper drive.
Say what you will about The Rock, whenever he’s around, things simply seem bigger and brighter, which benefits the entire show. John Cena will also be returning this week, as he missed Raw last week, something that has become one of the rarest things in wrestling. Considering WWE was without their 2 biggest stars last week, Raw should benefit greatly from their return.
Expect to see another promo duel between the two, once again hyping up Cena’s need for redemption and generally hyping up their match. It should prove to be another great war of words and be one of the most entertaining parts of the show.
RAW PREDICTION GRADE: A