By Arda Ocal
7:50 AM EDT, March 12, 2013
I want to start of by saying the following: If by some miracle I ever become a WWE announcer, one that people somehow develop a care for (for some odd reason) and in some minute way shape or form using me in a storyline after I pass away would generate a desired response or would enhance a feud between two talents leading to a marquee event, then I want everyone to know that this is exactly what I would have wanted to happen.
In fact, I could only hope and dream that that happens.
The reason I say that is this -- I have read many of the criticisms regarding how Paul Bearer's death was handled on WWE Raw.
Many felt that a legitimate death is no time for a storyline to be enhanced. Some people feel it's in poor taste.
Those people felt the same way when Paul Heyman faked a heart attack on Raw after Jerry Lawler suffered a real one months prior, and maybe feel the same way about the Jack Swagger/Zeb Colter storyline.
Here's something that many might not understand -- if you were to ask William Moody, a lifelong pro wrestling fan and someone that made this industry his vocation for almost 40 years, he would have told you that he would love nothing more than to have people remember him and to help intensify a red hot rivalry leading up to the biggest pro wrestling show of the calendar year. That's what those close to him are saying.
On top of that, if it was felt to be disrespectful in any way, then why would CM Punk, one of the biggest performer's in WWE today and himself a lifelong pro wrestling fan, and the Undertaker, who knew Paul Bearer among the best of anyone and who benefited the most from him during the early days of the Undertaker, agree to it?
If any two performers could have input in terms of how this was handled, surely it would be them. If they felt it was disrespectful, in no way shape or form would it have played out how it did.
What we got were several classy tributes to Paul Bearer throughout the program, and, at the appropriate time I might add, CM Punk providing an interruption that the crowd absolutely hated, prompting the loudest boo of the night.
At the end of Raw, CM Punk stole the urn, keeping the memory of Paul Bearer fresh in people's minds for at least another week, perhaps until Wrestlemania itself.
Another way to look at it -- were you truly surprised that something like this happened? Were you not expecting it? Pro wrestling pulls from real life much of the time (exhibit A: Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter). In fact, William Moody was a real life mortician, and also played one in WWE.
At the end of the day, I thought this was the best possible outcome -- the feud between the Undertaker and Punk escalated to a new level and we saw a fitting, beautiful tribute.
-- Both The Rock and John Cena did not appear on Raw tonight. Other things took the spotlight tonight anyway.
-- The Bella Twins returned, alongside Team Rhodes Scholars. The Divas division needs something right now.
-- The Big Show beat Seth Rollins via disqualification, in what I believe is a member of the Shield's first televised singles match in WWE. I look for Big Show to be a part of a match with the Shield at Wrestlemania, likely with Sheamus and Randy Orton.
-- Dolph Ziggler wins a match! ... yes, you heard me correctly. Sadly, it had to be against another champion, Daniel Bryan. I think I say this every week -- I'm tired of secondary champions losing.
-- Speaking of that ... Antonio Cesaro lost (AGAIN), to Alberto Del Rio.
-- Team Rhodes Scholars did a terrific, "smarter" impression of the New Age Outlaws. If you seek out nothing else from Raw, watch this. The match with the NAO was interrupted by Brock Lesnar, who accepted the match with Triple H at Wrestlemania if they can add a stipulation they will reveal after Triple H signs. Props to my tag team partner on the Score TV, Jimmy Korderas, for predicting this one.
-- Mark Henry destroyed Kofi Kingston, then Ryback destroyed Heath Slater. These two at Wrestlemania would be fine by me. Doesn't need to be a long match, just a "Battle of the Titans" with feats of strength.
-- Chris Jericho (without a set) conducted the Highlight Reel with The Miz and Wade Barrett. Looks like Y2J is in the Intercontinental title picture, which is fine because him being there elevates the title, especially since he will always be a main event guy and he's a nine-time IC title holder. If this is leading to a three-way match at Wrestlemania, I won't complain. I just hope Barrett gets some wins before then.
-- Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter continued their politically infused promos before he beat Sin Cara.
-- Kane beat CM Punk with an assist from the Undertaker before Punk stole the urn. More and more I feel like Undertaker wins at Wrestlemania, but I still feel there is a conceivable scenario where Punk can end the streak, and I'm happy to hold onto that longshot to the benefit of my enjoyment of this match.
-- To the guy that yelled "SAY SOMETHING" while Kane was having that touching moment with the urn during a backstage segment ... I hope you regret that now that you're sober.
Arda Ocal is an on air personality with The Score Television Network. Follow him on Twitter @arda_ocal.
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