Nice way to start things off with the Rumble recap to remind us of all the major happenings, along with some good commentary, hyping both last night, tonight and next weekís Night of Champions all really well.
Michaels starting off the show was certainly unexpected, but I canít really say that I think thatís a bad thing. Honestly, Iím a little caught off guard by Michaels addressing the situation with Triple H now, but I like Michaels making it seem like it needed acknowledgement after the Rumble the previous night, making it seem like a major deal. Michaels was pretty much spot on from the beginning too with the way he spoke about himself, so kudos on that. The juxtaposition you created between Michaels and Tripper was well done too, with Michaels happy to acknowledge his mistake because of his friendship with Tripper, while Michaels doesnít understand where Tripperís at by refusing the handshake. Itís not something you see too often in BTB with genuine human emotions, so it made it all the more pleasing to see the way you wrote this and conveyed Michaelsí confusion. The way Michaels talked about DX and what they came together for was pretty good before the interruption from Rated-RKO. An interesting note was the almost despondent nature of Orton during the Rated-RKO entrance, which, again, was a nice way to show the very human emotions of the superstars. Edge was good in the way he immediately went egotistical, talking himself up while putting Shawn down for not deserving to open up the show like he did. The way Edge talked about the new Shawn Michaels as opposed to what he is now is very interesting too. It almost seems that by bringing this forth, youíre giving a window for Shawn to turn heel with reasons now clear should he be the one to turn. Triple H is still the more obvious choice, but youíre leaving it open, which is good. Edge saying that people wanted to hear from him was a really nice heel tactic too because people obviously donít want to hear from Edge; it just goes to show how egotistical he can be while still keeping it perfectly in character to draw heat. Edge trying to drive Michaels from the ring with talk about DX being dead until Michaels snapped was good, and while the talk about the old Michaels being about him lasting in the Rumble was a little odd, the way it all led up to the Triple H entrance was done well. I thought it was a bit odd for Edge to mouth of when Triple H was intimidating, although I guess thatís just what he does. I was pleased to see you acknowledge that Shane would get cheered, going about getting his heat back well. McMahon acknowledging Kennyís history in it all was a nice added touch, and I liked the way you went about Shane addressing the Cena situation, while also talking about the situation in the ring. The way you went about making the six man tag team match was good too, and with the added intrigue of the promise of Rated-RKO being rewarded if they win, thatís a good way to go about the ending the promo and setting up a good main event. Very nice way to start the show.
Pfft, as if Conway didnít get to use his awesome music.
Nice little win for Punk here, keeping his momentum rolling along strong with a simple match. Basic booking but effective.
I thought the characterization of everyone involved here was good, and while this feud was never interesting, I guess pairing Punk with Kelly could make for storylines in the future. Knox, however, needs a gimmick reboot, perhaps as the new Dr. Death like WWE seemed to try to do at one stage. At this stage he just screams jobber, and thatís almost a backwards step for Punk, meaning this thing needs to be pretty quick.
Coach trying to do favours for his Ďboysí Shelton and Charlie seems fine with him trying to set them up to win the World Tag Team Titles, or at least have a match for them, next week until the interruption, showing the type of heel that Coach is. The banter between Carlito and Coach was alright, although Flair interrupting Coach announcing the match next week seemed a little odd by sucking up to the crowd when itís a backstage promo and he logically shouldnít be speaking to them at all. Flair and Carlito declaring themselves ready for a title shot is odd too since Iím not sure if theyíve even teamed up before and that they only banded together to combat TWGTT. Going about making a match between these two like this seems a little questionable since it seemed much more personal earlier in the feud, but I guess it sets up a good match for later in the show. Carlito spitting apple on Coach was a nice way to finish the promo too after it was teased at earlier in the show. Addressing the Kennedy stuff, Iím not sure that the assault should be shaken off by Flair so easily, but Iím sure the feud will pick up as it progresses towards WrestleMania.
Pretty nice start to the match by having the three others attack the biggest threat in Victoria and then having the two faces working Maria. I thought you did a pretty good job of keeping the match as exciting as possible, and while Victoria was always going to win, I thought having just her entrance shown was maybe a little much to give it away. Still, a good divas match, especially with the talent you had to work with in Maria and Candice, who both suck.
Nice promo from Cena, showing some good respect to RVD and putting him over well, while also not just putting over the ability of Cena, but also his character of being a fighting champion by having him willing to take on all comers, whether it be RVD or whoever Shane chooses. Characterisation was very good too, with that right blend of goofiness and seriousness from Cena. Shaneís interruption was alright too, although Iím not so sure he really needed to point out the problems with Cenaís team for the main event. I personally think it should have been clear to Cena, even if wrestlers donít always seem the brightest. Shaneís warning I guess plants it firmly in his mind though, so thatís a positive. Again, the characterisation of Shane was very good too. Nice promo.
Hopefully you donít take too long to get to ĎMania, because it has the feeling that itíll be an amazing event with many possibilities for matches.
I donít mind Van Dam making the challenge to Lashley because it continues the little bits of animosity youíve had between them, even if the feud hasnít completely been set alight yet. The intrigue there is still great and a match next week would be good. I thought Van Dam turned from wanting a bit more of a friendly chat to attacking Lashley personally was done a bit quickly, but with that said, the passion with which RVD spoke about wanting the ECW Title and what it means was good, and although he turned back to nice a bit oddly at the end, it should make for a heck of a match should Lashley accept.
Good to see the highlights of Kennedy/Flair from the Rumble to keep it in mind. Hopefully weíll hear from Kennedy on SmackDown!.
Nice basic tag match here, using the normal formula effectively. Everything progressed nicely with the match kept exciting throughout, especially with the back suplex spot from the second rope to get the tag from Carlito to Flair, and the ending allows for this feud to continue, while ĎLito and Flair probably get to pick up the gold next week. Solid booking all-round here.
Interesting segment here. I thought you did a good job of showing the frustration of Nitro and Melina, especially with the way you had it take a bit to tip Nitro over the edge. Masters approaching Nitro and seemingly coming onto Melina was interesting, with the way he went about it again being pretty good. Personally I quite like the idea of these two forming a team, so if they do eventually do it, as youíd assume, then Iíd be very happy. Very natural feeling segment that I thought came off well.
I donít mind you having The Hart Legacy come in to strengthen the tag division. I quite like The Hart Legacy name too, even if itís just a slight modification.
Very nicely done promo here, characterising the frustration of both men with Triple H well and really showing how much this whole situation has been getting to Shawn Michaels. The doubt left in Cena at the end was good too, really bringing about some big interest in the main event.
I have mixed feelings about such a big match being just on a regular edition of RAW nestled away in the midcard, because if you would think of people with potential to end the streak on RAW right now, Lashley would be a big chance. Still, itís good to see you following up on the Rumble and keeping Lashleyís options for a ĎMania feud wide open. The match itself started off well with it seeming like a classic big man vs. big man match, while it progressed well at a slow pace. I thought you did a really good job of protecting Lashley in this loss by having him give everything to ĎMags, while Umaga continues to look great by winning clean. Good match.
Estrada making the emphatic statement that Umagaís going to take his shot that he deserves is good, while Van Dam running in to ward Umaga off to set up the match between Lashley and Van Dam for the title next week was good.
As I said before, this WrestleMania is one of, if not THE most exciting looming event coming in BTB, so Iím really looking forward to it. Very nice hype job for next weekís RAW: Night of Champions too, along with the promo from Matt about Jeff this week on SmackDown!.
Nice little tease at whether or not Tripper would show pre-match. The early parts of the match were done well with the uneasiness between Tripper and Cena and Cena forcefully tagging Triple H in. I have to say that I loved the way Kenny was able to at least hang with the big boys in the beginning too, really putting him over strong. The finish was really nice too with an exciting chain of moves, including Michaels seemingly nailing Tripper accidentally and Edge much the same with Orton. Cena getting the win over Dykstra makes sense in the end, bringing intrigue to the title situation at the conclusion of the match, while Cena continues to look good as he should as champion.
Very nice announcement from Shane to close the show, adding a great WWE Title match to next weekís card. Big announcement to close a big show. Good stuff.
Honestly, after reading this I really think itís your best weekly show to date. Your promos and grasp of the characters are improving every week, and the match writing was once again good. The characters continue to evolve well, and really, youíve got me excited as you head towards WrestleMania. Thereís a lot of possible matches with nothing quite sure yet, so itís certainly got that big feel to it. Iím really looking forward to seeing how things continue to shape, because right now theyíre looking great. Looking forward to SmackDown! now and RAW: Night of Champions.