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'WWE Monday Night Raw' recap: The Undertaker returns

January 31, 2012 |  8:05 am


Traditionally, the time between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania is the best time to watch "Monday Night Raw." All the story lines are geared toward WrestleMania, leading to stronger writing and a more intense atmosphere. And if Monday was any indication, this year will be no exception.

In one of the best episodes in the last few months, Raw featured a host of strong angles that all should pay off on April 1, the date of this year's WrestleMania.

Chris Jericho completed his heel turn, attacking CM Punk during Punk's match with Daniel Bryan. Of course, Jericho is such a charismatic presence that it is hard for him to turn heel, as noted by the noticeable "Y2J" chants after he attacked Punk.

Kane continued to torment John Cena, trying to take Cena further down the path of hate. (I still say there's no way Cena turns heel, but they are making it interesting.)

There was one of the best matches on "Raw" in a while, as Punk took on Bryan in a champion vs. champion match. They proved why they are the two best wrestlers on the roster, and Jericho's interference (attacking Punk) left you wanting to see more between these two.

Triple H returned to fire executive vice president of talent relations and Raw interim general manager John Laurinaitis, but never got the chance to officially do it before the big event of the show interrupted him. He had started to wish Laurinaitis well in his future endeavors when a familiar gong sounded throughout the building as the lights went out: The Undertaker was back.

Undertaker hasn't been seen since last year's WrestleMania, where he improved to 19-0 at the event with a hard-fought victory over Triple H in one of the best matches of the year. Monday was his first time back since then. He made his classic, slow entrance to the ring. He stared at Triple H, then looked up at the WrestleMania sign. Then he looked back at Triple H and gave his throat-slash sign. As the crowd was screaming at the top of its lungs, Triple H patted Undertaker on the shoulder and left.

The pat on the shoulder could be read several ways, but to me it seemed Triple H was saying, "That's cute, Undertaker. You think you can come back after a year and beat me again after I almost killed you last time we met? Not gonna happen." OK, I read a lot into a simple pat on the shoulder. But there is one thing the pat on the shoulder meant for sure:

It's time for the Road to WrestleMania, the best time of year to be a WWE fan.


"Monday Night Raw" recaps

"Monday Night Raw": Kane is luring Cena to dark side

"Monday Night Raw": CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Zack Ryder celebrate

-- Houston Mitchell

Photo: The Undertaker returns to "Monday Night Raw" as the road to WrestleMania begins. Credit: WWE