'Old school' episode of WWE Raw sets tone for Wrestlemania

Don't believe everything you read on the internet.

In fact, don't believe much of what you read on the internet, as it pertains to pro wrestling. At least take it with a grain of salt.


Before this week's edition of Raw, there were rumors circling the internet and the internet wrestling websites that this week's episode of Raw would be a "throwaway" episode, with not much plot advancement leading to Wrestlemania.

Pretty much the opposite happened.

This episode of Raw saw The Undertaker return and receive a Wrestlemania opponent -- CM Punk. It saw Triple H call out Brock Lesnar. It saw Ryback and Mark Henry exchange a stare, which led many to think they are 'Mania bound. It saw John Cena and The Rock in the same ring, giving us a reason to care about their rematch.

The way I look at wrestling news sites is this -- if it's rumors or backstage gossip, there are three scenarios:

a) It's true. Somehow information was leaked, there is a mole that is passing along information. The organization might become aware of this and either change plans or continue on because it's not a big enough deal.

b) It's completely false. Which it is much of the time. The reason it's posted could be many -- to increase interest and clicks, to cause speculation.

c) It's purposely fed. The Brock Lesnar news items are a perfect example. News leaked that Brock Lesnar had signed a deal with WWE before Wrestlemania 28, fans were chanting "Lesnar" the night after on Raw and he returned. The weekend before he returned to WWE, another report leaked that he had re-signed. In all honesty, unless we have copies of the documents, we don't know the terms of the contract -- for all we know it could have been a two-year deal to begin with, and someone is feeding this information to the sites knowing that it will generate interest in watching Raw, which is, of course, a very smart move.

Moral of the story -- take what you read with a grain of salt, unless it's fact. On this blog, you won't see any reports on gossip or rumors. Just analysis and facts. Raw wasn't "throwaway" at all -- it was, in fact, a great plot-building episode leading to Wrestlemania.


-- I really love the "old school" theme. The legends were used just fine, and the attention to detail is superb. The signature, video intro/music, old school pyro, ropes, flags up high, mic flash, no mic sock, turnbuckles, guardrail, ring skirt, blue mats and steps, Justin Roberts in a blue tux, Michael Cole in a mustard blazer, Jerry "The King" Lawler in his old getup, refs in blue shirts and bowties, old school pop-up promos (Cesaro), the R-A-W stage, Cesaro's attire (like a 1950s pro wrestling shooter), logos in LCD displays ... #TheLittleThings matter, people!

-- The U.S. champion (Antonio Cesaro lost to Ryback), Intercontinental champion (Wade Barrett lost to Alberto Del Rio) and the Money in the Bank briefcase holder (Dolph Ziggler lost to The Miz) all fell this week. This is not a recording. This needs to change. I'm tired of secondary champions and future main event players losing all the time.

-- CM Punk interrupted Mae Young's 90th birthday celebration. Did anyone else notice Michael McGillicutty clapping at this in the background?

-- Mark Henry vs. Ryback seems to have become a thing. I don't mind it. Two behemoths colliding at Wrestlemania, both freakishly strong. Bring it on.

-- The Rock and John Cena met in the ring for the first time in a long time. Prediction -- this match will not close Wrestlemania. Undertaker vs CM Punk will.


-- Triple H called out Brock Lesnar for a match at Wrestlemania. I feel this one needs a stipulation to make it more interesting.

-- PTP lose again to Team Hell No. Brodus Clay and Tensai (Sweet T) beat 3MB. New Age Outlaws beat Primo/Epico. What's going on in the tag team division? Nice to see Honky Tonk Man back in a WWE ring. His reign as Intercontinental champion (454 days) was 20 days longer than CM Punk's reign as WWE champ (434).

Arda Ocal is an on air personality with The Score Television Network. Follow him on Twitter @arda_ocal