WWE Raw Feedback from 1/17/11

Last night’s Raw was another in a long string of really good shows as of late. The main focus was to continue pushing the importance of the Royal Rumble, the company’s no. 2 show of the year behind Wrestlemania. Here are just a few brief thoughts of what I took away from the show:

  • For the first time in its over 20 year history, the Royal Rumble match will have 40 participants instead of the usual 30. Regardless of whether anyone thinks this will make the match better or worse, it’s certainly a noteworthy experiment.
  • CM Punk and John Cena had a PPV-quality main event last night. The match was given lots of time and had some very dramatic near fall and escape sequences towards the end. These two defintely have great chemistry in the ring.
  • The ending of the match was another chapter in the very intriguing “Rebirth of Nexus” storyline. Last week’s initiations of Husky Harris, Michael McGuillicutty, and David Otunga were great and now you have this new guy who looks like the second coming of Batista that has pledged his loyalty to Punk. Punk’s performances on Raw have been some of the best WWE television in a while. For some reason, Punk really shines in these “cult leader” roles (Staright Edge Society). He is one of th best overall talents in the business and it’s refreshing to see him at the top of the cards where he belongs.
  • It appears as if the company is really getting behind John Morrsion. He beat Sheamus in a good match at the Survivor Series, lost to him in a good match in the King of the Ring finals and finished last year by beating him again in an excellent ladder match at the Tables, Laddes and Chairs PPV. He lost to the Miz in one of the best Raw matches in months and then followed it up with another win against Sheamus last week. Last night on Raw, he beat Daniel Bryan and before the match began, a great highlight video of him was shown. It seems that the top brass in the company are starting to realize how important he is.
  • It’s not exactly a surprise, but it really is shocking how over Jerry Lawler has been with the audience on every Raw since his TLC match with Miz last year. Anytime his name is mentioned or he gets involved in an angle, it’s as if the fans automatically realize that they are about to see some real entertainment. He has put on some tremendous performances for a 60- year old man and I defintely don’t think his issues with Miz and Alex Riley are over. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him in the ring alot more as the year progresses.
  • In another thing that is not a surpise, it’s really astounding how much of a consistently good response Santino Marella and Vladimir Koslov get every week. While the may be the fun-loving goofballs of the tag team division, they are consistently doing something that only the elite few can do in the business: connecting with their audience.
  • Didn’t Melina look awfully strange not saying anything while at ringside for the Natayla-Maryse match. Weird!
  • Dolph Ziggler continues to prove why he is among the top young talents in the WWE. This guy can have great matches with anyone. I really think the series of matches he had with John Cena really opened up alot of eyes to the fact he has what it takes to be a top guy. He has a natural presence, is not a bad talker and is absolutely great in the ring. Not to mention, he’s perhaps the best bump taker in the business today.
  • The Miz-Orton feud continues to progress at a good pace. Miz really shines when he’s put in serious situations and he passed last night’s test with flying colors as he and Riley gave Orton a sick beatdown. He gets extra points for exactly doing what he said he was going to do in his opening promo (keyword: awesome).
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