Powell's Blog: Will John Cena "bring it" during the most important edition of WWE Raw in 2011?
Monday, February 21 – 3:30 P.M. (CT)
Make no mistake about it, tonight will feature a huge edition of Raw for WWE. The company has every reason to expect that more viewers than usual will tune indue to the buzz that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's return garnered last week. Factor in the interest in how the WrestleMania stage was set via the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, and WWE officials are banking on a highly rated show.
There are still have five more editions of Raw after tonight's show to promote WrestleMania 27, but there's a chance that tonight will be the peak in terms of the interest generated by The Rock. WWE officials are well aware of this, and thus they have to know that this could be the most important edition of Raw that will take place all year.
We know The Undertaker will return tonight thanks to last week's 2-21-11 video and because he's advertised on the arena websites for both Raw and Smackdown this week. Will he be alone or will WWE set up his WrestleMania match tonight while interest is so strong?
Where will WWE take the Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole feud now that The King lost his bid to become the WWE Champion? Cole was ranting like a mad man following Lawler's loss last night, and one can only assume that Lawler is going to get his hands on Cole at WrestleMania 27. My guess is that Lawler has to go through Alex Riley or even Ted DiBiase to get five minutes with Cole, but I have no doubt that he will.
Will we get the official announcement of Randy Orton vs. C.M. Punk for WrestleMania 27? Will there be another WWE Hall of Fame induction announcement? Will we find out whether there's going to be a Money in the Bank match at WrestleMania 27? What's next for Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov now that they've lost the prestigious tag titles?
Okay, so I won't be counting down the minutes to a Santino and Kozlov update, nor are the tag titles prestigious these days. However, the most important aspect of Raw will likely come in the form of John Cena's response to The Rock's promo from last week. Cena's breakfast cereal bit at the pay-per-view was beyond bad, but I think there's a tood chance that he can pull this off if he avoids trying to be too cute with his rebuttal.
Cena's criticisms have been based on his belief that The Rock could do more with WWE despite his ongoing film career. First and foremost, Cena needs to actually establish what was said, because I don't think the average WWE fan has any idea what was actually said.
There's no way out "out-cool" The Rock, so Cena shouldn't even try. Rather, he should stick to doing what he does best, which is speaking directly to his fans in a manner they can relate to. He simply needs to explain what he said and then add that he was speaking as a fan because he wanted to see The Rock back in WWE as much as anyone.
Cena should sneak in a couple of small jabs to keep things interesting, yet not go so far that the fans feel obligated to choose. Unless he's turning heel, that's a choice that Cena doesn't want the fans to make.
It will be interesting to see whether Cena goes after The Rock for insinuating that he'll never leave the company. Did The Rock include that line intentionally so that Cena or The Miz would have something to pick apart?
Speaking of The Miz, he has to find a way to stand out so that he's more than just the other guy in The Rock and Cena program. Furthermore, he has to find a way to convince viewers that there's a chance he could leave WrestleMania 27 with the WWE Championship. He's scored some clean wins lately, but the fans don't see him as Cena's in-ring equal. I assume he'll stir the pot between The Rock and Cena, and I'm confident that he can also pull this off.
Finally, I'm curious to see how WWE will establish that the Cena vs. Miz match won't end due to interference by The Rock. They could have Rock as special referee, I suppose, but if he's not working the match, then they need to have him slip in a line about sitting back and watching it play out so that the fans at WrestleMania aren't keeping one eye on the entrance area rather than focussing their full attention on the championship match.
Regardless of what happens tonight on Raw, it promises to be a newsworthy show. WWE did a great job of generating interest last week via The Rock's return, and they delivered an excellent pay-per-view on Sunday. Can they keep the ball rolling tonight?
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