Welcome to the Weekly Top Five (WTF) for the January 28 episode of Monday Night Raw. Before ranking the best moments of the show, allow me to remind you that the second edition of WWE Encyclopedia is available on Amazon.
5. CM PUNK
I’ll never understand why so many people are so up in arms over Punk’s loss last night. From a business standpoint–and yes, this is still a business–The Rock defeating Punk for the WWE Title was the best way to go. The sole reason why you build a heel champion as well as WWE has done with Punk is to have him fall in epic fashion to a top babyface. That’s exactly what happened Sunday night. In the big picture, there were only two other options: 1) Cena eventually takes the title from Punk instead of Rock, which I’m sure the Internet would’ve hated. 2) Punk keeps the title, which again, makes little sense considering WWE had The Rock on its roster. It was like all the stars were aligned; you can’t pass on an opportunity to have one of the biggest movie stars around represent your company as its champion. It just makes sense … and money.
Furthermore, Punk’s loss Sunday night will actually prove to do more good for his career than a win would’ve done. A mere minutes into Monday’s Raw, he already began to show signs of great character advancement. I’m convinced that the new, angry, and irate CM Punk–the one we saw Monday on Raw–will take his character to even greater heights. Punk’s delusional claims were particularly well done. Saying that he didn’t need anybody to help him win when he was champion was perfect.
4. JOHN CENA-FRED FLINTSTONE TALE OF THE TAPE
Fred Flintstone actually trended on Twitter Monday night. The Post cereal company has to be elated with their WWE partnership. I’m willing to bet that was the first time anybody from Bedrock trended on Twitter.
3. BIG SHOW
WWE will need a dominant Big Show as they continue down the road to WrestleMania. Allowing himself to be taped to the bottom rope at the Royal Rumble could’ve been seen as a moment of weakness for Show. But he quickly put the Rumble loss behind him on Monday night and reestablished himself as one of the roster’s preeminent heels when he taped Alberto Del Rio to the ring rope and delivered a vicious beatdown to both the champ and Ricardo Rodriguez.
2. TOP OF THE 10 PM HOUR
We all know The Rock is a great actor, but I think the emotion the new WWE Champion displayed when he walked to the ring with the title in tow was very real. Fans can feel when a Superstar is being genuine. The Rock was genuine.
The new and angrier CM Punk was great, as well. Wasting absolutely no time in destroying the crowd was a nice touch. While watching, I was trying to figure out how the best heel in the business keeps getting better. It’s almost unbelievable, especially when you take into account Punk’s ability to somehow still have the segment’s “cool lines” … something you don’t usually see from a heel. Example: “I’m gonna stand up here like a punk-ass bitch because it’s cool to swear.”
1. PAUL HEYMAN
Wow, is it possible that Paul Heyman is a better actor than The Rock? After watching wrestling for so many decades, I sometimes find it hard to get sucked into the moment. But not tonight. Like a true mark (that’s not always a bad thing), I found myself engulfed in the entire moment, wondering how Heyman could lie straight to McMahon’s face. Then when Heyman finally got caught out, watching him turn on a dime and claim the person in the video wasn’t him was amazing. I truly believe Monday’s final segment should be made regular viewing in NXT’s promo classes.
And all that was before Brock Lesnar ever showed up.