Less than two weeks until his showdown with John Cena, fans finally saw the Rock get physical on Monday night, although not with his WrestleMania opponent.

Following a relatively short match that saw Cena defeat the World's Strongest Man Mark Henry with an Attitude Adjustment, the Rock's music hit and he strutted to the ring, where he gave an emphatic Rock Bottom to his former Nation of Domination stablemate. He then stared down Cena for a few seconds before he made his way backstage.

For the first time since his return to Raw Feb. 27, I thought the Rock was spot-on in his performance. Prior to Cena's match, he delivered a pre-taped promo from the Rocky Balboa statue in Philadelphia (the site of Raw) that was the Rock at his best. He was funny, but for the first time, gave us a reason why this match was important to him. The Rock wants to be remembered as the greatest of all time. To do that, he needs to beat the third man in the holy trinity of WWE Superstars at WrestleMania to go along with his wins over Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin at WrestleManias 18 and 19, respectively.

The Rock's promo It had good intensity and it coupled some real substance this week avoiding the "Five Jokes of Doom" and just enough of his catchphrases, including personalizing it for Philly by saying he was going to stop for a cheesesteak at Pat's and shove it up Cena's... well, you know. (By the way, if you want a truly awesome cheesesteak, stop at LaSpada's just outside the city. Amazing.)

The Rock also showed just enough physicality to get people excited, although I'm going to go on record now that I think he needs to get back in the ring next Monday at WWE Raw in Atlanta. On the surface, it might seem like bad business to give away the Rock in match just a week before WrestleMania. On the contrary, I think against the right opponent (The Miz) and with the right booking (a clean Rock win in about 5 minutes, followed by a confrontation with Cena) it would be a good hard sell for the pay-per-view that probably doesn't really need it, but it can't hurt.

We've already seen the Rock back in a WWE ring at Survivor Series. Seeing him wrestle again isn't going to hurt the WrestleMania buyrate. If anything, the promise of the Rock wrestling on free TV should pop the rating and get more people excited to see him at WrestleMania.

The Miz would be the perfect opponent for him as well. The Rock could open Raw Monday with a promo, only to be interrupted by the Miz. At last year's WrestleMania -- in Atlanta -- the Rock spoiled Miz's WrestleMania moment. After he retained the WWE Championship against John Cena, the biggest moment of his career, the Rock attacked him and gave him the People's Elbow and that was the closing image of the show, rather than the Miz standing tall. In the year that followed, the Miz's career has been on a downward spiral to the point he isn't even scheduled for this year's WrestleMania. But he's going to avenge that by beating the Rock, and when he does that, John Laurinaitis will have no choice but to put him in a match at WrestleMania.

Of course, the Miz would lose in a fast-paced match that ended with a Rock Bottom and People's Elbow. As the Rock celebrated, Cena would hit the ring and appear to be readying him for the AA, but Rock doesn't fall for it. They have a stare-down, exchange some inaudible words and Cena delivers the AA to Miz instead, when he tries to attack. A "You Can't See Me" from Cena to the Rock later, Cena leaves the ring and Raw goes off the air. It's essentially the opposite of the Cena-Henry match from last night. ...

While the Rock-Cena stuff was excellent this week -- I enjoyed Cena's match against Henry, even if it was pretty short and predictable -- but WWE focused big time on the Triple H-Undertaker-Shawn Michaels segment, which closed the show. For the second week in a row, I thought it fell a bit flat. It was a bit more fast-paced than the promos I've become used to from these guys. The focus was put squarely on Shawn Michaels, who is the guest referee and not a participant. Undertaker reminded Michaels that the he wants the match to be pure, ie: no funny business from the guest ref. Triple H told the Undertaker to quit worrying about HBK, because that's not who he is facing, then put over the success both he and Taker have had in Hell in a Cell matches. Undertaker asked the Game if he was sure he was ready to put everything on the line, Triple H said he was. Taker was ready to leave, when he got back in Triple H's face and told him Michaels is better than the Game. Michaels tried to hide his smile from the compliment when Triple H kept glaring at him as the show went off the air.

It seems that, somehow, Undertaker has become the third wheel in all of this. Maybe that's a good thing, because otherwise, how do you make it believable that he might lose at WrestleMania? Judging from the advertising on WWE.com, the Undertaker is not scheduled for the go-home Raw next week. Both Triple H and Shawn Michaels are, so expect a final confrontation between the two former DX partners before the big event. ...

CM Punk offered a retort to Chris Jericho's claims of his father being an alcoholic to open the show. Punk showed a lot of anger, but also a lot of class in his promo. He delivered a strong, positive message about how everyone has been touched by alcohol at some point in their lives and how it can be overcome and people can achieve great things despite it. He talked about how his father overcame his addiction and how he is proud of him. It really humanized Punk and added another layer to his character. Great stuff.

Jericho, who claimed he wasn't at the arena, appeared on the TitanTron to apologize to Punk about bringing up his father last week. "Your sister on the other hand, ... ." Jericho then began to run down Punk's sister for being a drug addict, and went back to claiming that Punk is no different, and Jericho will drive him to drink when he beats him at WrestleMania. Punk responded with a bleeped message, which I think was that Jericho was full of a naughty word for excrement, which is exactly what Punk is going to beat out of him at 'Mania.

I would've liked to have seen Punk have a match right after this, and just beat the living tar out of someone because he was so angry. He's advertised for a tag team match on Smackdown with Sheamus against Miz and Daniel Bryan, so we'll likely see that rage there. ...

Looking at the actual wrestling matches on the card from Monday, it looks like a solid B-level PPV. But the matches were booked so short that none of them really stood out.

Kane defeated the Big Show in about a minute after some interference from Cody Rhodes. After the match Rhodes handcuffed Show to the ring ropes and proceeded to beat the tar out of him with boxing gloves on. Show seemed to be selling a concussion in the aftermath, stumbling around as medics tried to tend to him. ...

David Otunga beat Santino Marella with a distraction from John Laurinaits. Otunga and Santino had a bit of a pose-off before the match, and Santino appeared to have painted-on abs. Otunga is ridiculously cut. He has an awesome look and a lot of charisma. When -- not if -- he gets better in the ring, he's going to be the total package and a huge star. Good win for him here to push the Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy angle. By the way, I'm glad they are using first names in the promotion of this match now. The less I have to type Laurinaitis or the innuendo-laced "Team Long" the better. ...

Daniel Bryan forced Zack Ryder to tap out in his return match to Raw. Ryder hit a stiff Broski Boot, then Bryan had a nice counter of the Rough Ryder into the LaBell Lock for the finish. Good win for Bryan, but a disappointing return for Ryder. There was nothing to address his ongoing angle with Eve, and while I have no problem with him jobbing to the World Champion, it does have me worried about whether the injury angle that took him off TV for a while completely stalled his momentum. I thought he'd get a nice push when he returned, but it doesn't look like that's going to be the case. They did show clips of a rally he had in the parking lot, trying to get on Team Teddy. Hopefully, he gets added at the Smackdown tapings tonight. ...

Cena beat Henry with the Attitude Adjustment. If the match hadn't been interrupted by a commercial, I would've liked it better. Cena sold well for Henry early on, and the announcers did a nice job putting over how Henry hasn't looked this dominant in months. Cena hoisted the big man for the Attitude Adjustment on his second try for the win. You knew Cena wasn't losing, and I thought it was booked well enough that Henry looked good in defeat. ...

Sheamus defeated Miz after the Awesome One cut another promo about being left off WrestleMania. It wasn't as good as their match on Super Smackdown Live a few weeks back, but it worked. Sheamus got a nice bounce-back win after his count-out loss to Jericho on Smackdown. Miz's losing streak is enjoyable, and I liked the history reference with King Kong Bundy from WrestleMania 2 to 3. Next week's show will likely end without Miz in an announced WrestleMania match, but he'll work his way onto the card somehow. ...

Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger, the newest members of Team Johnny, beat Team Teddy members Kofi Kingston and R-Truth with an assist from Vickie Guerrero, which lead to a pull-apart brawl between Vickie and Aksana, who accompanied the babyfaces to ringside. Vickie and Aksana may face-off in a match at the Smackdown tapings tonight to further that angle. I assume they will be in the respective corners of Team Johnny and Team Teddy at WrestleMania. Anyone else envisioning a three-way feud with Kofi/Truth/Aksana, Ziggler/Swagger/Vickie and Primo/Epico/Rosa for the tag team titles after WrestleMania? ...

Randy Orton cut a promo about Kane that was short and sweet. What I liked is they brought back the old-school stage near the entrance ramp for interviews, which Josh Matthews conducted. They did this a few years ago for the Old School Raw in Hershey, Pa., I attended, and I think it's much more effective than someone just coming to the ring to talk, although it's more about having an interviewer than it is the stage, per se. ...

There was also a recap of the segment from "Extra" that set-up the WrestleMania Divas match pitting Beth Phoenix and Eve against Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos. You can read about that here.

Finally, a promo for a guy named Lord Tensai aired. Several wrestling websites are reporting today that Lord Tensai is a repackaged Prince Albert/A-Train/Giant Bernard, whose real name is Matt Bloom. He was a mid-carder in the Attitude Era who had a unique look at the time, with several piercings and tattoos. He also had a lot of back hair. It looks like he got some more tattoos of Asian letters while he's been working in Japan (think of him as a much larger Hakushi?). Hopefully, he also polished his in-ring skills. Albert was a bit of a stiff during his last run in the WWE. His five years with the company from 1999 to 2004 were largely forgettable, with the exception of his run as a tag team with the late Test (Andrew Martin) and managed by Trish Status known as T and A. Get it? Test and Albert? Oh, you gotta love the double entendres of the Attitude Era. Anyway, look for him to debut sometime after WrestleMania. ...

Later this week, I'm going to start previewing the announced WrestleMania matches individually, rather than just as one long prediction blog. Be sure to check back daily. I expect the first one up Wednesday or Thursday, which will preview the Kane-Orton match.

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