Chair Shots: Cena winning war of words, winning over fans on WWE Raw

My biggest takeaway from Monday's Raw from Boston? John Cena isn't just winning the war of words with the Rock, he's also winning over some of the "millions."

Last night's Raw certainly wasn't must-see television, which is disappointing this close to WrestleMania, as it did very little to advance the storylines with the exception of the addition of Shawn Michaels as the guest referee for the Undertaker-Triple H match (we'll get to that in a minute). The crowd woke up for the final segment with John Cena and the Rock. WWE flipped the script from a week ago, and had Cena start, only for Rock to interrupt him, then leave the ring. Cena still got the better of him and the Rock once again seemed flustered.

The final segment was fine, although it didn't really tell us anything new. I did like the pre-tapes they did with Rock and Cena throughout the show although I'd be pretty upset if I paid good money for a ticket to Raw and ended up watching the best promos on the Tron.

The Rock was at his best during the "history lessons" around Boston. His rendition of "Yankee Doodle" and tossing all of Cena's "hot garbage" merchandise into the harbor were hilarious. (Although it should be noted Rock has his own garden gnome). If you listen critically to Rock's promos, you'll realize it's a lot of flash, but not a lot of substance. In between catchphrases and getting things to trend on Twitter, he's really only told us one relevant thing during all his promos for the past year: He doesn't like John Cena. But, the history lessons made me laugh, and if you're entertaining me, that's half the battle. So I'll score one for Rocky there.

As for Cena, he did an empty arena pre-tape that was much more solemn and serious. And it probably accomplished more in explaining what this match means than anything Cena, Rock or WWE has done in the past year. Cena put the Rock on a pedastal, calling him the greatest of all-time. (Probably not true, but I'll let it slide for the purposes of selling the match. The real greatest of all-time -- Austin or Hogan -- aren't in any condition to wrestle right now, so the Rock will have to do.) Cena said he has to beat the Rock because WrestleMania 28 was going to be his legacy. That might be true. If you think about the Rock and his legacy, it's that match against Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 10 years ago. Cena's had a lot more WrestleMania success than the Rock, but this particular show is riding on them. So even if you think about it from a business perspective, this really is the most important show Cena's ever done.

That promo went a long way, in my opinion, to make the fans end up cheering for Cena by the end of the night. ...

In the other main event, Triple H vs. the Undertaker, another wrinkle was added with Shawn Michaels as the guest referee. The opening segment was the best part of Raw, with HBK recalling his confrontation with Triple H a few weeks ago, calling him every name in the book and Triple H still not accepting the match with Undertaker, so Michaels had to know what was said to get his buddy to change his mind. Of course, we all knew what Undertaker said and we knew that HBK knew, and we knew that Triple H knew that HBK knew. So when the footage was done rolling, it was priceless to see HBK staring a hole in Triple H because apparently all it took was insinuating HBK was better than him. Follow all that?

Triple H, in what seemed like a heelish move, said he took the match because he was tired of people thinking of his friend HBK as a loser because he couldn't beat 'Taker. Of course, no one really thinks that.

Shawn ended the segment by saying he was right when he said knew Taker was winning last year, and he'll be right again this year. He said he knows he'll be right because he's the guest referee to a big pop. At the end of Raw, they advertised HBK and Undertaker for next week to discuss this stipulation. Obviously, part of the storyline will be on who will HBK try to screw out of the match. He's got a reason to do it to either man now.

While I love having HBK back and part of WrestleMania, and I wrote last year that I thought he should've been guest referee, I now wonder if this is one stipulation too many for this match, which will already be contested inside Hell in a Cell. Personally, I'd rather the cell not be part of it. I think it's overdone and has lost some of the luster since WWE introduced the eponymous pay-per-view a few years ago. It doesn't work in WWE-PG. Now, it seems like there will just be too much going on. Hopefully, Undertaker, Triple H and Michaels all prove me wrong. ...

Best match? By default, I guess I'll go with the tag team match pitting WWE Champion CM Punk and Sheamus vs. World Champion Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho. With Teddy Long "running Raw" (more on that later) you knew this match would be in the cards. However, I'm disappointed we've seen Jericho and Punk get their hands on each other a few times now before WrestleMania. While it's not the true main event, and the physicality between the four competitors in the top two matches has been non-existant so this needs to be different, I still think WWE could've booked these guys better without having them wrestle, even if it's minimal.

Save this match for the go-home show before 'Mania or something. Punk and Bryan have been having a series of no-contests, and I've enjoyed those. Both matches have been entertaining enough that the non-finish didn't seem to bother anyone. And their TV feud was enough to keep both of them occupied until WrestleMania. Punk should be getting clean wins on TV against upper mid-card heels like the Miz, Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger.

Jericho really needs to build some momentum in the ring. That should've been done by feeding him an increasingly difficult diet of babyface opponents between his victory to become No. 1 contender and WrestleMania. Give him a TV feud with Kofi Kingston, who should be upset that Jericho kept beating him up after eliminating him from the chamber at the last PPV. These two apparently have been tearing the house down at live events, why not let them do it on TV? That could help elevate Kingston too. Let him beat R-Truth in a 7-minute match. Even Big Show, with an assist from Cody Rhodes to advance their feud, could be a victim of Jericho. And how about Sheamus? I would've booked the two No. 1 contenders against each other two Raws out from 'Mania, and had Jericho win after some shenanigins from Daniel Bryan, making both heels look strong heading to championship matches. Then you book this tag match, with Jericho pinning Punk with a roll-up, planting a seed of doubt that Punk can win at WrestleMania.

When Punk wins, and I have no reason to think he won't, he looks like a million bucks because Jericho was riding a huge wave of momentum. And Sheamus gets his heat back by beating Bryan. ...

My opinion of Raw might be slightly jaded because I was upset that Jack Swagger lost the United States Championship to Santino Marella in a cluster of a match designed to advance the whole John Laurinaitis vs. Teddy Long GM battle. I actually don't mind Santino holding the strap, or even Swagger losing it. Santino has proven the past few weeks how valuable he is WWE should roll with that, while WWE was hoping to use the belt to get Swagger over, rather than the other way around. My problem was how big of a cluster that match was because of Laurinaitis, Otunga, Long, Aksana and Kofi Kingston at ringside. I guess it kind of protects Swagger, although I assumed Kingston was going to hit him with Trouble in Paradise while the referee was distracted. He didn't really seem to have a reason to be out there otherwise. So great for Santino. Swagger shouldn't be winning anything as long as his hair looks like that, anyway.

Teddy Long is terrible though. He's servicable on Smackdown, but he's really bad on live TV. Him running Raw was pretty pointless, as this was really the only segment he was involved with. I expect Laurinaitis to be much more "hands-on" Friday. At some point soon, they need to book the assumed Team Long vs. Team Laurinaitis match for WrestleMania. I have to assume Swagger, Ziggler and Otunga now for team Laurinaits, with Santino and Kingston on Team Long, but that still leaves a few spots to be filled. And what to make of Christian, Alberto Del Rio and Mark Henry siding with Laurinaitis last month at Elimination Chamber? ...

Zack Ryder is back. He made an apperance after my new favorite heel Eve Torres defeated Alicia Fox in short order, while Kelly Kelly did guest commentary. After Ryder gave a broskis before hoeskis line, Eve chased him down backstage and planted a big kiss on him, leaving Long Island Iced Z speechless. An interesting wrinkle added to this storyline. Eve and Kelly seem to be on a collision course for WrestleMania. I'm still hoping for some sort of mixed tag team match with Ryder and Miz involved. ...

Miz's losing streak angle is continuing, as this time he was fodder for his former tag team partner, the Big Show. Trivia: Did you know the Big Show's only WrestleMania wins have been as part of tag teams, including one with the Miz at WrestleMania 26? Cody Rhodes showed another embarassing WrestleMania moment for Show, this time when he was given the ole WWE New York assignment for WrestleMania 18. In case you missed Smackdown, Teddy Long made Big Show vs. Rhodes for the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania. That should be a pretty good match. ...

Kane beat R-Truth in a squash, which was mainly done to have Randy Orton come out, hit an RKO and get a little revenge on Kane for his unprovked attack on the Viper on Smackdown. So, yeah. Speculation is they'll end up facing each other at WrestleMania. I'm fine with that. Not excited for it, but fine with it.