I tuned in to this week's RAW excited about the prospect of going old school. I saw the old ring ropes being back to Red, White and Blue, which was always better than all black or all white, loved Jerry Lawler's attire being back to the royal colours and crown, and loved knowing that some real old school legends were back to wow the crowds like only they can.
The majority of the Wrestling DVDs in our collection are from the late 80s early 90s. Royal Rumbles, Wrestlemanias and even DVDs like Greatest Superstars of the 80s, which included the legends that we saw on RAW like Dusty Rhodes and Mean Gene, so this was certainly looked forward to in our house.
Now, we all knew that it would be the same legends we've seen many times before, Hacksaw, Slaughter and even Naitch himself, but you still knew that they could make RAW a lot better just by being there. However, I was watching the show and I couldn't help but think, "Is that all they came back for?"
I won't say I was disappointed, I certainly enjoyed many aspects of the show, including another solid performance by Antonio Cesaro against Ryback. If they use Cesaro correctly, and by that I mean keep him heel as long as possible, Cesaro is definately a Main Eventer in the making. Even Ryback was good in that match. He's one of the few guys who can incite a large crowd reaction, bigger than the World Heavyweight Champion at the moment.
Speaking of Del Rio, his match with Wade Barratt was main event worthy. It certainly wasn't just a mid card filler, like Zach Ryder's two minute dance with Mark Henry. Wade Barratt is certainly a Heavyweight Champion in the future. The sooner the better in my opinion.
But, three legends were used for only 5 minutes roughly to try and boost Swagger's character. That wasn't too well done in my view. We all know that it's about building up the DUI dude before his showdown with Del Rio, if he makes it, but they could have done that match differently. Why not have a full match? Hacksaw was never put in the match to win it. We all saw that coming, but to only have him, Sarge and Dusty Rhodes, three Hall of Famers, there just to get a 2x4 in the gut by Swagger failed to make sense to me. Imagine how much heat Dirty Dutch could have gotten by getting in Sarge's face!
They did use Ric Flair right though. He is the reason and the only reason why this babyface push is working for The Miz. If they had left Miz on his own, even though Flair isn't officially his manager or anything, he would have become stale and mis-used. However, putting Slick Ric with him has boosted him in the right direction. The noise he received by the crowd when he slapped the Figure Four on the Show Off was worthy of the 2 time HOF'er himself. Loved the way Flair got in Big E's face too. Big E could have sold the chops a bit more, but then again he could also put a bigger wrestling singlet on too, so maybe I'm just being picky.
One thing I was very impressed with was the Main Event itself. I have to admit, the last few weeks I haven't really been paying much attention to the main event matches, because it's normally involved Cena or Rock in some way. I will discuss them in a second, but the fatal 4 way match was in my opinion, one of the best main events we've seen so far in 2013.
It was something that those of us who read RSN know would result in a CM Punk win, which he obviously deserved anyway, but it still had to be interesting regardless of who won, and it certainly was. Orton has just woke up in the last few months and his timing has just been so tight lately. It could be the reaction from the crowd he's been getting, but he looked good, as did Sheamus. I did think that we'd see some interference from the Shield, especially after Smackdown, but we didn't, and in my view, that made the match better. Call me old school, but I do prefer it when there is a clear winner, with a simple pinfall or tap out, no doubt as to who won or not something marred in controversy. Nothing wrong with controversy, just not every week.
Punk deserved the win and we all know that he and Undertaker will put on a hell of a show. Paul Heyman will make the match that bit more entertaining to, being the pro that he is, but it was also better that he didn't interfere with Punk's win too on RAW. Sheamus looked good delivering White Noise to Big Show, great chain of finishers which lead to a GTS from Punk who did look as though he appeared from nowhere for the win.
If one was to be super picky, maybe Undertaker should have done an old school trick and randomly appeared in the middle of the ring out of nowhere to confront Punk after the match, but again, maybe that's asking too much, who knows.
A little note to say I fast-forwarded whatever that point-counterpoint thing was with Rock and Cena. Looked boring, probably was, and has confirmed to me and my wife that we won't be paying for Wrestlemania this year due to what we assume will be a card which is squashed into a hour to make sure they can spend 2 hours talking about them two.
One final note, talking old school, I like millions of fans was deeply saddened about the news of Paul Bearer. The idea of Undertaker and Kane inducting him together into the Hall of Fame is a fitting tribute to one of the best professionals in history. Maybe Foley can say a few words too, after all Mankind worked well with Bearer too. He definitely was one who would have been inducted in the future, and William Moody should rightly take his place amongst legends.