Welcome to this week's edition of Raw Afterthoughts, where we break last night's show down in a bit more detail than we can do during a live show coverage piece.  Feel free to chime in with your comments and questions!

It's Movie (Trailer) Night!

This was very much a bookend show.  We got a strong opening, and a strong closing, but the middle was littered with movie trailers and bad product-placement spots.  By the way, anyone heard from Jerry Lawler after sampling the fried-food platter from Sonic?

My particular gripe here was the excessive amounts of movie trailers.  We got previews for The Call and Dead Man Down, featuring David Otunga and Wade Barrett, respectively.  We saw a horrible segment where Sheamus bullied Wade Barrett about his role in Dead Man Down.  Throw in the preview for Jericho's "Robot Combat League" and the Sonic ad from Cole and Lawler, and I felt like I was watching a three-hour infomercial.

I will say this - the opening and closing segments carried this show to passable, and maybe even memorable for some.  They just really forgot all about WrestleMania 29 in the process, which was disappointing to me.

No Sightings....

The Undertaker, as you may know and were reminded on Raw, appeared at a house show in Waco over the weekend.  He did NOT show up on Raw, and that was smart.

WWE really put their effort into settling the Wrestlemania main event once and for all last night.  We also got a strong opening segment that established the anticipated Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar rematch also.  These two items alone are fairly newsworthy, and having Undertaker appear likely would have overshadowed all of that.

They did acknowledge the live appearance in Waco and that was also smart.  It gives you that sense that anything can happen at a house show event, and it helps build the hype for his eventual television return.

There are still five Raw shows left before WrestleMania.  WWE was smart to not play this card tonight, and just simply find a way to keep building the anticipation.  This way, WWE has not given away all the major matches with such a long amount of time to go before Mania.

Swing and a Miss:

Alberto Del Rio really had an opportunity last night and blew it on Miz TV.  Zeb Colter is doing a great job on the mic right now.  And all this controversy surrounding him and Jack Swagger opened the door for Del Rio to be a hero and put Colter and Swagger in their place.

The problem is Del Rio's mic work.  Rather than come across as strong, confident and inspired, he ended up using a lot of cliche-type statements and it came off as pandering and kissing up to the crowd instead.  For this feud to truly work, Del Rio needs to come off strong and confident so the fans rally around him.

Time to Play the Game?

Raw opened up on a strong foot with Lesnar and Triple H brawling like they did.  A segment like that wouldn't have been out of place closing the show either on most weeks (and secretly I was wishing it would have closed last night's show despite the quality of the main event).  The cut Lesnar suffered was a hard-way cut, and it was unfortunate but you can't deny that it added to the segment.

Triple H may have gotten the better of the brawl, but Lesnar didn't lose anything.  If you took note of Lesnar's reaction when he was on the ramp at the end, he was smirking back at Trips.  For all the times we gripe about Cena's smirking during his feud with The Rock, this was perfect.

It played as if Lesnar thought "no harm done" and he wasn't scared of Triple H.  And that sets the stage perfectly for a rematch.  I'm excited to see these two go again - and this brawl did more for that hype than their entire build to SummerSlam.

Quick Hits:

  • I've never seen a more backward or nonsensical feud than Sheamus and Wade Barrett.  Barrett never really gloated, so why is Sheamus "putting Barrett in his place," exactly?
  • Another week, another loss for Antonio Cesaro to a guy who cares nothing about the US Championship in Randy Orton.  This is doing nothing for Cesaro.
  • Dolph bumped like a madman for Ryback, and it made Ryback look like an unstoppable monster.  When and if Ziggler ends up with the World Heavyweight Championship, his ability to sell will really pay off.
  • Hoping that since we saw Mark Henry beat Khali last night, that match will NOT appear at Wrestlemania.
  • Cena and Punk always bring out the best in each other.  Two things though that stand out about their main event, which was strong:  1.) Cena needs to never utilize the huracanrana again.  2.) I wonder how much heat Punk caught for pulling out the piledriver - which is typically reserved for Undertaker and Kane.

That's it for this week, folks.  Join us again next Monday as we go Old School on Raw right here on Ring-Rap.com.