'Monday Night Raw' recap: John Cena's rap vs. The Rock concert
On yet another solid episode of "Monday Night Raw," two of the three main WrestleMania story lines came into greater focus, while one seems to be running on a treadmill.
Let's start with the most-hyped part of the evening. John Cena opened the show with an old-school rap, The Rock closed the show by singing a specially written song for the occasion. Once again, Cena showed a level of authenticity and believability his character has not reached very often in recent years. This program with The Rock is bringing out the best in him, and I believe he has gained a boatload of new fans as a result. Meanwhile, The Rock showed why he is one of the greatest sports entertainers of all time. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand from the moment he stepped in the ring to the moment the show went off the air. My only complaint, and it's a minor one, is that this was the third straight week of Rock and Cena trading verbal barbs, and it might be time to get off that treadmill, change it up and have something different next week.
Moving on, the Triple H-Undertaker match this week featured an in-ring confrontation between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, who is the special referee for the WrestleMania match. Michaels was tremendous here, adding the new wrinkle of Michaels being the one who could end Undertaker's WrestleMania streak, just as Undertaker ended Michaels' career. Undertaker continued to seem nervous on the mic, stumbling over some of his lines and saying WrestleMania would take place April 21, instead of April 1. But Michaels more than saved the segment.
Finally, the star of the night was Chris Jericho, who added a much-needed dimension to his WrestleMania match with CM Punk. Jericho revealed that Punk's father was an alcoholic, and that is why Punk has been "straight edge" all this time. He guaranteed Punk would not be able to remain straight edge, since Punk inherited his father's alcoholic genes. It was a solid promo that seemed to cross over into the real world, and Punk sold it beautifully, dropping his cocky demeanor and looking hurt and vulnerable. All the WrestleMania hype has surrounded The Rock, Cena, Triple H, Undertaker and Michaels, but Punk and Jericho could very well steal the show on April 1, just like they did Monday night.
-- Houston Mitchell
Photo: John Cena revived his "Doctor of Thuganomics" persona on "Monday Night Raw." Credit: WWE