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Raw Recap: Circular storytelling with Undertaker and Triple H may be a bit stale

Testa: Monday night's Raw was 'a letdown of epic proportions'

By Adam Testa

11:37 PM EST, February 6, 2012

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At its core, professional wrestling is about storytelling.

Every writer has good works and bad; it's simply the nature of the beast. Sometimes the simplest stories gain traction when they really shouldn't and become sensations (just ask Stephanie Meyer).

On last week's Raw, the Undertaker returned to confront Triple H, challenging him to a rematch at WrestleMania. To say the fan reaction has been mixed would be an understatement.

No matter one's thoughts on the pending match - giving "The Game" an unprecedented third shot at ending Taker's undefeated streak - viewers have to take note of the circular storytelling being employed for this feud.

In 2010, Shawn Michaels wanted nothing more than to receive a second shot at the Undertaker at WrestleMania XXVI. The Deadman refused, forcing HBK to use every trick he could to wrangle his way into another match.

Last week, when Undertaker issued his apparent challenge, Triple H simply brushed him off. It seems the roles of the build to WrestleMania XXVI have been reversed, with "The Phenom" now being the one hunting the "King of Kings."

On tonight's Raw, Triple H himself pointed out even more of the circular storytelling of this angle, relating last week's incident to the initial stare-down between himself and Taker before last year's WrestleMania.

"The Game," however, said he would decline the offer for a third contest out of respect, as he wants to remember Taker's career as one of strength and dominance, not one of brokenness and frailty.

This angle has to be building to something more than just an ordinary rematch. Odds are, and this is purely speculation, that it will become another Streak-vs.-career match, with Hunter putting his in-ring tenure on the line. Another stipulation, possibly Last Man Standing, will likely also come into play. 

No matter the stipulation - or where the angle heads from home, as Taker promised "it's not over" - I will have a hard time getting excited for the match. Going to the well a third time could prove a risky move, but there are admittedly few other choices for Undertaker’s opponent.

There's only one man in my eyes who could believably end the Streak, and he's busy with The Rock at WrestleMania XXVIII.

But even with low expectations and a lack of interest in the match itself, I must step back and appreciate WWE for two elements of this feud: The amazing video production work we've seen already and the fact they’re using the full advantage of circular storytelling to remind us - even oh so subtlety - that the writers do, in fact, remember the past.

Quick Hits

Match Rundown 

Big Show d. Daniel Bryan by countout

Sheamus d. David Otunga

Great Khali and Randy Orton d. Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett

Tamina, Eve, Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox d. Beth Phoenix, Nikki Bella, Brie Bella and Natalya

Chris Jericho d. Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston, The Miz, R-Truth and CM Punk

My Take

I try to not be overly negative, but there was little to find positive with tonight's Raw outside of the main event. Coming off the heels of a hot show last week, this show was a letdown of epic proportions. First, none of the matches were allowed any real chance to develop and tell a story. Second, the show was overrun with video packages, many of which were longer than half the matches on the show. Would it have hurt to let Primo and Epico have a title defense tonight? How about an actual Brodus Clay match – or even an appearance? The shortage of talent caused by the main event cannot - and should not - be blamed for the show's shortcomings. The show was just poorly planned and executed equally.

Twitter Comment of the Night

"I'm convinced WWE hates (Oklahoma City). They spared JR but gave the crowd a middle finger." - Mia @MiaaBonita

 

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