My top stories of this WWE week.
John Cena Is Still The Best
John Cena isn't a babyface. John Cena isn't a heel. John Cena is John Cena, who can be whatever each audience member wants him to be.
Despite being absent for the past four months, he's still the best at controlling the audience. His outside projects or "distractions" seem to have only polished the almost 40-year-old performer when he's on any stage. The hype he's trying to sell never gets lost and he never loses sight of who he is. There is nobody more comfortable or confident in speaking in their voice.
On Tuesday, the territorial tone in his promo was the necessity to get his message across in a hostile environment filled with anti-Cena chants.
The last time we saw him he lost to AJ Styles at SummerSlam. He's picking up where he left off to avenge that loss but this time the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is on the line. Cena is closing in on the magical number 16 title reigns to tie Ric Flair. It's certainly an interesting hook to add to the Royal Rumble event which needs all the luster it can get to sell out the Alamo Dome.
Title or not, the end game is still the same come April. I wrote about it weeks ago and the time is now for it to happen. The fans began to chant it at Cena to which he acknowledged with body language, but never spoke his name.
"Under-Taker, CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP. Under-Taker, CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP. "
Stephanie Responds To CM Punk Chants
Stephanie McMahon came with her gun loaded in the opening of RAW and was ready for the inevitable "CM Punk" chants from the Chicago audience. She told the audience if they can keep up that chant for 2 minutes and 15 seconds, they would last one second longer than Punk did. It was a verbal jab at Punk's 2:14 loss in his UFC debut months ago. It was a jab that knocked out the audience in that moment.
It's a free country to chant what you want, but it's a bit ridiculous at this point. It's a redundant lame attempt to try and "takeover" with the chants about a guy who is extremely vocal he walked out on WWE and doesn't intend to come back. So you can't blame, and even have to laugh, at Stephanie firing back with such affective sarcasm.
It made the tweets prior to RAW questioning or even believing rumors Punk is returning.
I'm convinced Punk fans will still be believing he's going to return to WWE, even after he's dead. A little Andy Kaufman situation if you will.
WWE Sticking With The Monsters
WWE has done a good job sticking with their monsters. They've reached a successful level with Braun Strowman and Nia Jax patiently but consistently establishing them.
The interest to see them against more regular and credible competition is there. The interest to see them get beat is there. Their ability to perform at the necessary level with this kind of TV time and investment behind them is there.
Both are quick learners and have used every outing as a learning experience. Not to mention have been able to show off their unique mobility and athleticism for their size.
WrestleMania should be a big night for both performers.
By the way, anybody notice WWE taking an ROH announcer, having her cut a promo idolizing a WWE performer and then Nia Jax squashing her? I'm sure she wasn't the only or even the best female indy talent available at the show, but I'm sure some decision maker got a good little laugh out of it.
Tuesday Women's Intrigue
Alexa Bliss really came out of nowhere in 2016.
A lot of focus has always been on Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley and even Becky Lynch. But Bliss really emerged this year and rose to the occasion. Her look, facial expressions and even the smallest things on how she holds the title or pins her opponent are great.
Social media was all the buzz about the masked woman who got involved in Bliss' match on Tuesday.
Remember folks, whoever was physically in the costume this week doesn't mean that they will be the person that eventually gets revealed and unmasked.
I think Mickie James would be a great addition to the SmackDown Live roster and her crazy gimmick from the past could fit well with Bliss.
Cross The Line
Bayley gives Goldust a stuffed bear with polka dots on it to honor Dusty Rhodes. Gallows and Anderson then come in and rip the head off the bear which leads to a tag match against Goldust and R-Truth.
I'm normally the one who shuts down the ultra sensitivity and reminds everyone it's all entertainment. But in this case, it seems like such a waste and disrespectful to boot.
I don't blame Gallows or Anderson or anyone involved in the segment. They were doing what they were told.
It's one thing to bring in the deceased in a situation on the justification of "they would have wanted to be part of the story" or when it's a story on a grand stage.
Take the use of Paul Bearer in the CM Punk vs Undertaker WrestleMania feud — it all came off as something everyone, even families involved, would be OK with and it was for an Undertaker WrestleMania match build.
This, however, was for some cheap heat to motivate a filler match on a holiday hangover show. Not a fan.