Welcome to this week's installment of Raw Afterthoughts, where we break down last night's show in more detail than we can during a live recap.  Thoughts, questions, comments are always welcome!

It Just Doesn’t Maddox…

All the overblown hype about John Cena calling out The Shield was washed down the tubes when the closing segment of the night opened with Brad Maddox in the ring.  Don’t get me wrong here.  I like Brad Maddox and I think he has a future at least somewhere in the mid-card as a heel character.  But he’s been beaten down, squashed, and made such easy prey for other talent that it just didn’t make the segment feel important in the beginning.

What was I supposed to feel there?  Surely not pity for Maddox when the Shield attacked him, but we don’t like the Shield, either.  Very confusing placement in this segment.

Dean Ambrose was great in his promo work prior to the beatdown.  But the surprise on the mic to me was Roman Reigns.  He was poised, delivered his work with confidence, and the eye roll when Cena’s music hit was a nice touch.  And speaking of Cena, he was much more serious this week on the mic, which is something his character desperately needs to be.

The segment just started off flat though, then when the brawl kicked in, it never picked up the steam I think WWE was hoping for, It just left the whole end of the show feeling uneventful and like it didn’t matter all that much.

Bruno! Bruno! Bruno!

I am a longtime fan, and I am at least familiar with Bruno Sammartino as an announcer.  WWE did an outstanding job last night of putting together a video package that really treated Sammartino’s induction to the Hall of Fame like the big happening it is.  Even the casual fan walked away from this package feeling like Bruno was larger than life.

This package was excellent.  It was a classy and well put together piece and even the live crowd responded with “Bruno!” chants when it was over.

Battle of Best in the World…

I personally enjoyed the CM Punk vs. Jericho match.  Very well done TV main event.  I like how Punk keeps throwing in new wrinkles to his act, too.  He played the smarmy, cocky heel by playing to the crowd when he went for his elbow drop, only to have it backfire on him when Jericho rolled out of the way.

For all you Jerichoholics, it’s okay that he lost last night.  Punk needed a major win going into Elimination Chamber when he faces The Rock again for the WWE Championship.  The match was very competitive, so Jericho really didn’t lose anything.  I’m enjoying this run for Jericho, especially with the face mannerisms he had years ago in the “Y2J” gimmick.

“The Beast, The Freak…”

They made a great use of the angry monster Brock Lesnar last night.  When Brock went away to the UFC, he developed a presence that seems to have carried on in this run with WWE and it’s awesome.  Paul Heyman is pitch perfect too, playing that he cannot control Lesnar’s actions and it sells Brock as an uncontrollable monster all the more.

I don’t think we were supposed to be happy that the Miz TV set got wrecked, but I get the feeling many were.  Miz TV hasn’t exactly been a hit.  Credit though to Miz for standing his ground and taking on Lesnar rather than running.

Quick Hits:

  • Yes, I marked out for Mark Henry’s music hitting.  Henry looks like a monster still and he made an impactful return.
  • I see Henry getting into Elimination Chamber and taking on Del Rio at Mania…possibly.
  • Jack Swagger wasn’t as impactful, but to see him return and be solid leaves me hope he will amount to something.  Nice touch to rename the Ankle Lock the “Patriot Act.”
  • Daniel Bryan and Rey Mysterio was an entertaining affair with a decisive ending.  Good to see Bryan go over there.
  • I’m disappointed that WWE doesn’t do more to protect Antonio Cesaro and Wade Barrett, both of whom are strong mid-card champions.  With all the guys on the roster, it should be pretty easy to keep them away from the top stars so that when Barrett faces an Orton or Cesaro goes up against a Ryback, it really means something.

That’s all for this week.  Join us again next week when we bring you more live Raw coverage on the road to WrestleMania!