As Sheamus walked down the RAW ramp to follow John Cena, he called Cena's promo "bizarre."
That it was.
It did seem like Cena was at his most loose and comfortable, being goofy and interacting with the fans, talking about people's Sunday mornings and afternoons. What confused me was that this was among the very last images we saw six days before the Royal Rumble -- though the segment was saved by a locker room brawl in the ring, setting up the Royal Rumble match.
I can't help but think of John Cena the campy, goofy joker vs. John Cena, the serious Superstar with a point to make. For this reason maybe he's not so different from The Rock, as he once noted on RAW leading up to last year's WrestleMania.
Speaking of The Rock, I have been critical of him in the past. I thought his outing Monday night on RAW wasn't bad at all. At the end of the day, if he continues to place importance on CM Punk as an opponent and how critical the WWE championship is, then he is doing a good service to pro wrestling (aside from bringing a wider audience by simply showing up). I thought the Shield Attack was a welcome breath of fresh air, and seeing The Rock bleed at the mouth was a nice touch, rarely seen in today's WWE.
Vince McMahon made the point to say that if The Shield interfere on Sunday at the Rumble, CM Punk would be stripped of the WWE title. He didn't mention anything about Brad Maddox ... or Brock Lesnar.
As for CM Punk, his promo was very strong on RAW -- serious, well delivered, to the point. All that was needed to be said in the best possible way.
Another big point from RAW was Dolph Ziggler winning the "Beat The Clock" challenge to be able to pick his Royal Rumble entry spot, which Vickie Guerrero changed to either No. 1 or No. 2. This suits me just fine -- it might finally be the opportunity for Ziggler to "show off" in a high profile match. Regardless if he's 1 or 2 he will start the match, and my hunch is that he will last until the very end, maybe even setting a record for longest Rumble appearance -- whether he gets eliminated last by John Cena, or he wins and sets up an interesting WrestleMania scenario (where he has a title shot by winning the Rumble AND the Money in the Bank briefcase). The point will be that he put on a masterful performance, perhaps the best solo effort since Shawn Michaels at the 1995 Royal Rumble.
- I think that last segment also set the record for most wireless microphones used by WWE in a RAW segment with 423.
- It's hard not to watch Paul Heyman's mannerisms and the little movements he does, even when he is not the focus of the segment. Two examples from RAW are the way he asked Vickie Guerrero for permission to speak before he started talking, and the quick manner in which he backed away from The Rock during his entrance in the ring. Little subtleties that add so much value. If you want to be a star in pro wrestling, study his movements.. The Little Things matter!
- I know Zack Ryder's YouTube show is ending, but is his career ending too? He got destroyed by Big Show... what's happening here?
- If Team Hell No stays together for another year I'd be fine with it -- they entertain me greatly. Daniel Bryan's hair part was an excellent touch.
- Kaitlyn wins again, this time against Alicia Fox, with her new finisher, The Spear. What needs to happen to bring this division back to prominence and make us forget about recent departures?
- Sheamus and Wade Barrett continue to have good matches against each other. You can see these two in main event matches on PPV in the future.
- Del Rio got a great ovation in Latin-infused San Jose. Ricardo's Mexican-flag bowtie was terrific. @WWEUniverse tweeted that his "Albertoooooooo" lasted 10.2 seconds. That's a record!
- Great to see Bob Backlund take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame. Is John Cena the Bob Backlund of this era? (I can't take credit for that thought, it's the brain child of former WWE writer Andrew Goldstein -- @AngeGold)
Arda Ocal is an on air personality with theScore Television Network in Canada and a contributor to The Layfield Report. Follow him on Twitter @arda_ocalCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times