Tonight's Raw: "Tonight's show will likely have two, primary destinations. 1. The WWE Title Bout and 2. The Royal Rumble match itself. What other stories need be told?
"The onus of selling this PPV this Sunday seems to largely weigh on the shoulders of Rock and Punk. I have no issue with that because I still look upon the WWE Title as the centerpiece of the company. All titles are important but within WWE, or at least when I was there full time on the road and in the office, the WWE Title was the bellcow. Still is as I perceive it."
WWE Champion CM Punk vs. The Rock at the Royal Rumble: "I'm very curious as to how Rock, the challenger for the WWE Title, and WWE Champion Punk interact tonight. I think these two will have a compelling match Sunday in Phoenix that will likely and arguably be more physically demanding than any bout that the Rock has had in WWE in perhaps a decade.
"Punk's in ring approach and physicality is unique and not a traditional catch as catch can style as many of his peers utilize. I see Punk using a variety of stiff kicks at the Royal Rumble and challenging Rock with a variety of submission holds that one can only assume isn't something that the "Great One" is comfortable defending. Time will tell.
"I also expect the WWE Title bout to exceed 30 minutes bell to bell and if that assumption is accurate that's another figurative notch in Punk's favor. Rock is obviously in great physical condition but nothing prepares one for a big match like competing in the ring several days prior to said big match. I'm guessing Rock has been in the ring preparing but that type of prep pales in comparison to actual performing and competing in a ring surrounded by paying customers. Every top wrestler I've ever known says that no amount of cardio training can replace actual in ring work to build up one's wind and get one ready for a major bout such as headlining the Royal Rumble."
30-Man Royal Rumble Match: "Without question, John Cena is the focus of the Royal Rumble match which is not to say that several others competing in the bout don't have the opportunity to maximize their minutes and forward issues in which they are involved or to start new ones.
"The winner of the Rumble match theoretically has his ticket punched for a main event slot at WrestleMania. I can more easily emotionally invest in a multi person bout such as the Rumble match if something significant is at stake and it certainly is in this WWE HOFer Pat Patterson creation."
Countdown to WrestleMania 29: "There is no more important stretch of time than now until April 7 for anyone who earns a living in WWE. The Road to WM29 is crucial on so many platforms and the momentum built from it goes far beyond April 7. For a pure, sports fan it's akin to a long playoff run. Win or go home and if one does 'win' the ultimate prize is indefinable."
Ross also discusses WWE's upcoming tryout camp, Brian Pillman, the NFL Playoffs, mixed martial arts, and more. His entry is available here.