With just six nights before the Royal Rumble, what will go down in the “City of the Sharks?” (Yes, that is a sub-par hockey reference, but I also think just a cool name for San Jose!)
Hopefully, A LOT more than last week’s MAJOR disappointment of a show. In all honesty, why wait? Since we already know the main matches for the annual Pay-Per-View, let’s get right to it…!
Monday Night Raw Report for January 21st, 2013 – “Let’s Get Ready To…”
Introduction Segment: Memorial Video and Welcoming
In honor of Martin Luther King Day (in the United States), a short video of the late Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech is played, followed by a quick greeting by Michael Cole.
Segment #1: Arena Promo
Vickie Guerrero, with Paul Heyman in arm, walks out and declares that she is all about doing the right thing. Even when it is not the most popular, in particular with The Rock as she states.
Mr. Heyman then takes the microphone and explains his alliance. He says that he is out in support of Guerrero, since last week Rock insulted both of them. A recap of Rock’s concert poking fun at a certain “appendage” of Paul’s replays. Following this is The Rock’s version of “Lovely Tonight” by Eric Clapton, about Vickie.
She announces that while Rock is in the city, Vickie has officially “banned him from my arena,” and he will be arrested by the San Jose police department. An assistant at ringside informs Guerrero that Rock is here, and being held backstage by the police.
They appear on the TitanTron, with San Jose’s finest enforcing the rule, unless he wants to get arrested. Rock tells them they should arrest C.M. Punk, Paul Heyman, and Vickie Guerrero for various reasons. (Especially Punk for impersonating a champion.) Rock profoundly proclaims that he will be in that ring at one point tonight.
Vickie restates that The Rock will go to jail if he “trespasses” on her arena.
Later tonight (and starting up next), there are “Beat The Clock” matches to determine a number picked by the overall winner. (Gee, I wonder what number they would pick! #30?)
Match #1: “Beat The Clock” Single – United States Champion Antonio Cesaro VS. Randy Orton (Non-Title)
Elbow/collar tie-up with a quick roll-up by Cesaro for a one-count. Orton reverses a corner run into a roll-up of his own but also only for one. Antonio clamps on a grounding side-headlock to wear down “The Viper.”
He pushes Randy into the ropes, who counters with a Lou Thesz press and punches. The U.S. Champion counters a suplex attempt with a small-package for two! On the outside, Orton clotheslines Cesaro to the floor and receives a near-fall following!
Up on the turnbuckle, Antonio has Randy positioned for a suplex, but Orton pushes off. Antonio runs back and shoves Orton to the floor. He covers for two, then drops Randy with a gut-wrench suplex. 1 – 2 – Orton kicks out!
They now punch back and forth, until Cesaro turns Randy around with a powerslam and then clamps on the grounding rear chinlock. Orton counters another run with a clothesline and fires up. He is setup for the slingshot DDT, but Antonio reverses into a jack knife cover for two, then nails an uppercut for another very close fall!
He chucks Randy into the ring post, but quickly receives an R.K.O. to give Orton the victory!
Winner at 11:36, Randy Orton
The next opponents will have to beat 11:36 to qualify.
Segment #2: Hall-Of-Fame Promo
Mick Foley’s career retrospective is aired, as the “Hardcore Legend” is deservingly (and overdue) being inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame this year!
Segment #3: Video Promo
“The Shield” proclaim that they will open the WWE Universe’s eyes forcefully. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns declare they fight for justice, work for no one, and rectify for justice. “Believe in ‘The Shield,’ we’re just getting started.”
Match #2: Single – The Big Show VS. “Long Island Iced-Z” Zack Ryder
Do I even need to recap this? Nope, as one K.O. punch later, Show prevails. The biggest (no pun intended) noteworthy aspect of this bout was Brad Maddox interrupting and joining Cole and Lawler on commentary.
Winner via Pinfall: The Big Show
Post-match, Show stands over Ryder with one foot and begins to count to ten, symbolizing what he will do to World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio at Royal Rumble in their “Last Man Standing” rematch for the Title.
Up next, Ryback will face Heath Slater. (Again, will I need to in depth recap – me thinks not!)
Segment #4: Locker Room Promo
Paul Heyman is talking on his cellphone when Brad Maddox interrupts. He uses the infamous manager as an example of someone who had dreams when he was young and never gave up until he gained them. Heyman agrees to help Maddox achieve those aspects.
Match #3: Single – Heath Slater (with “3.M.B.” members Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre) VS. Ryback
Again, one Shell-Shock Samoan drop slam later, Ryback takes it!
Winner via Pinfall: Ryback
Post-match, The Beast is excited for the Royal Rumble match, as it is his first and he is thriving it, so he can go to the main-event of Wrestlemania. “Feed me more!”
Segment #5: Backstage Promo
The Rock is trying to convince the police officers that he needs to get in the building and “electrify” the crowd. Before he can get his hands on one of the officer’s tickets, Vickie Guerrero interjects.
She demands they arrest him for “causing a disturbance,” but they will not since he is still technically not in the building. Guerrero informs him that WWE Champion C.M. Punk will be addressing the fans next, and if he wants to appear, all he has to is apologize to her. He “oh so politely” declines, and says he will get in that ring on his own terms.
Segment #6: Arena Promo
As promised, WWE Champion C.M. Punk is out now with Paul Heyman. The “Straight-Edge Superstar” holds his title prominently, saying that what he holds here is better than most people holding their families. He says that he has worked half his life to obtain the “most prestigious title the WWE has to offer and I will not allow The Rock or any man to take this from me.”
He removes his black-colored hood, then declares that while The Rock is here to sing songs and tell jokes, the “Second-City” Saint” is here to hurt people and be the champion. “This is important. It’s important because I have made it important. It’s prestigious because I have made it prestigious,” explains Punk.
“I will now allow The Rock to be WWE Champion because I’ve been in the ring with him. I’ve looked him square in the eye. I’ve seen all the way down into his soul and I’ve seen why he’s so proud of the people and being the people’s champion. It’s because he knows he can not be ‘this.'” (He shows the WWE Title)
“You can call him ‘electrifying.’ You can call him ‘The Great One.’ You can call him ‘The Brahma Bull,’ but what you can not call him is ‘Champion,’ because ‘this,’ ‘this’ belongs to me and ‘this,’ ‘this’ you earn with blood, sweat, and tears, and for 428 days I have done just that. I have earned ‘this.’ I have earned the right to be called ‘champion,’ I have earned the right to ‘be the man.'”
He tells The Rock that he is on a collision course for six days and enjoy it. Slap every hand, wink at “every hopeful look your ‘sheep-like’ fans give you.” “This is all that matters and in six days, Royal Rumble, it doesn’t matter if I smell what The Rock is cooking. All that matters is what these people cannot give you will remain rightfully around the waist of your undisputed WWE Champion, ‘Best In The World’ C.M. Punk.”
Match #4: “Beat The Clock” Single – “The Showoff/Mr. Money In The Bank” Dolph Ziggler (with Big E. Langston and A.J.) VS. “The Awesome One” The Miz
Miz starts right away with a high dropkick and roll-up for two, as the clock counts down from 11:36. He runs off the ropes with a shoulder block and rolls-up Ziggler again, but eventually receives a dropkick from Dolph for a two-count.
Dolph in control now with a neckbreaker, who then locks on a grounding rear chinlock. He tries a sleeper hold, but Miz snapmares him over and pounds away with mount punches. Miz chop-blocks Dolph’s knee and drags him to the center.
He hammers down on Dolph’s left knee and goes for the Figure-Four, but Ziggler sends him flying to the outside, where Big E. Langston levels him against the apron. “The Showoff” gives chase and covers for another quick two-count prior to the break.
Back live, Ziggler has Miz against the mat in another rear chinlock submission, but “The Awesome One” battles out and counters a neckbreaker into a backslide for two! Sunset flip and big boot, also for two, then Miz punches away again in the corner. Miz is geared up and runs in the corner with a clothesline and dives with an axe handle! 1 – 2 – Dolph kicks out!
Ziggler reverses The Skull Krushing Finale” into a victory roll, but Miz counters that into another roll-through for two! Miz After more traded pin combos, Miz manages to lock in the Figure-Four submission, but A.J distracts the referee, allowing Langston to pull Dolph to the ropes. Miz turns his attention away and gets a Zig-Zag for it and the 1 – 2 – 3 goes to “The Showoff!”
Winner at 10:56 via Pinfall: “The Showoff/Mr. Money In The Bank” Dolph Ziggler (with Big E. Langston and A.J.)
Up next, “Team Hell-No” graduate from Anger Management! (Should be interesting!)
Segment #7: Arena Promo
Dr. Shelby, appropriately donned in graduation garb, stands at a podium in the ring. He welcomes everyone to Kane and Daniel Bryan’s graduation ceremony. He brings out the graduates, the Tag-Team Champions “Team Hell-No.” They are also dressed in grad attire, which is quite a site to see with Kane, and Bryan’s hair is slicked down.
Dr. Shelby recalls how far they have come. Kane was first a “maniacal mask-wearing monster, who preferred hurting to hugging. And Daniel, when we first started, you were a tightly-wound little ‘man-child,’ and you would snap if anyone said anything about your ‘goat-face,’ or the fact that your beard looks like a ‘hotel for rats!” However, now they are “calm, peaceful, and ready to graduate.”
Dr. Shelby gives them their caps, with they actually put on, and he adjusts the string to one side, and then asks them who should be the valedictorian. They both say the other, and engage in an argument over who will be it.
Dr. Shelby gets them, and everyone, everywhere, to hug at the same time! Cole and Lawler are the first, as well as Dr. Sampson and Justin Roberts, then some male fans at ringside, as well as the entire arena basically! Finally, the three men in the ring hug to bring the graduation to completion.
Match #5: Single – Alicia Fox VS. Divas Champion Kaitlyn (Non-Title)
Alicia aggressive with a kick and smashing Kaitlyn into the turnbuckle. Kaitlyn reverses and tosses Fox to the outside and hits a baseball slide. She dives off the apron with a modified Lou Thesz press and punches, but Fox kicks her down again in the ring. Kaitlyn snapmares her way out of a rear chinlock and hits the spear out of nowhere for the W!
Winner via Pinfall: Divas Champion Kaitlyn
Segment #8: Backstage Promo
Paul Heyman and WWE Champion C.M. Punk are walking through the halls, where Heyman tells Punk that he will be sitting in a luxury box as Paul E. delivers a personal message for The Rock next!
Segment #9: Arena Promo
Paul Heyman is in the ring, and calls himself the “voice of the voice of the voiceless,” and is the WWE Champion’s “friend, advocate, strategist, and advisor.” He calls C.M. the “most articulate, intelligent WWE Champion of all time.”
Heyman decides to act as an interpreter and “keep it simple” for the fans to explain what Punk talked about earlier. Heyman assures the fans that The Rock will not walk out with the title after Royal Rumble. Paul calls him “January’s flavor of the month,” and is fighting C.M. Punk, who is the longest-reigning WWE Champion of the last 25 years.
Just now, The Rock’s music blasts and “The Great One” walks out. He produces a ticket, which is legitimate reason to be in the arena. He immediately cuts Heyman off and orders him out of the ring before he forces him out.
Rock faces C.M. Punk in the sky-box and puts over his 428-day reign. He says that he is a “bad-ass” and knows it’s a historic reign. However, tonight will still be his last night on Raw as WWE Champion. Rock says that he will stand before him, anywhere, and “rip your face off!”
Much like the late, great Martin Luther King, The Rock says he has a dream too, to go back to the “mountain top” and become WWE Champion. He promises that at the Royal Rumble, everyone will be saying “free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
The lights suddenly go out and when they come on again, “The Shield” is in the ring and they assault The Rock, beating him down and then triple-powerbombing him. They exit as Rock is laid out in the middle of the ring.
Punk gets back on the microphone, and tells him that “on top of that mountain, there’s only room for one man. ‘Free at last?’ You gotta pay a price for that freedom.” Punk says that Rock has to wake up from his dreams and realize he wasn’t great enough to beat the “best in the world.” The “Second-City Saint” holds his WWE Championship high.
Segment #10: Memorial Video
A second, inspirational (late) Martin Luther King video airs to commemorate this special day.
Match #6: “Beat The Clock” Single – Sheamus VS. Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett (Non-Title)
Both brawlers lock up to begin, and Sheamus takes down Wade with a side headlock and shoulder block. Barrett sweeps up Sheamus into a quick cover, then clamps a front facelock. Sheamus kicks out of the corner, then rams his shoulder in Barrett’s gut.
Wade reverses an Irish whip, but Sheamus comes back with a clothesline and rolling fireman’s carry drop. Wade counters and sling-shots Sheamus’ arm over the ropes and then clotheslines him to the outside.
Back live, Wade boots Sheamus in the stomach as he hung across the turnbuckle, then his locked in a Fujiwara armbar. Barrett continues to punch, but Sheamus ducks a run and smashes back with double axe-handles! Sheamus dumps Wade to the apron and hammers away on his chest with fists, then suplexes him back inside the ring.
1 – 2 – the I.C. Champ kicks out! Wade wiggles out of a White Noise attempt, then tries a pump-handle, but Sheamus gets out. Harsh kick to Sheamus’ face by Wade, for 1 – 2 – , no Sheamus kicks out!
Barrett hops to the second rope and flies with an elbow drop. 1 – 2 – again, Sheamus kicks out! “Wasteland” time, but Sheamus battles out and drops Wade with the Irish Curse. He looks at the clock, with 1:13 and counting down, then fires up for the Brogue Kick. All of a sudden, A.J. slides in the ring and distracts Sheamus! Wade hits a swinging side slam for two at 45 seconds!
Sheamus nails the Brogue kick at four seconds, but can’t get the cover in time! Sheamus doesn’t beat the clock and Dolph will get to select his Royal Rumble entry number!
Winner: None due to Clock Time-Out
Segment #11: Office Promo
“The Showoff/Mr. Money In The Bank” Dolph Ziggler walks in and brags about his accomplishment to Vickie Guerrero, then makes out with A.J. in front of her! However, she retaliates by clarifying that it wasn’t ANY number that Dolph can pick, but either #1 or #2! She walks off pleased as Ziggler and company looked fooled and perplexed.
Segment #12: Backstage Promo
WWE Champion C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman are walking backstage when Mr. Vince McMahon approaches them. He calls them clever, to which they deny being involved with “The Shield.” Vince makes a stipulation that if “The Shield” interferes in the WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble, then Mr. McMahon will strip Punk of the WWE Title anyway!
Match #7: Single – Tensai VS. World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez)
Again, not going to really recap this one as the result is pretty evident! Alberto finishes off the “flop” with a running Enziguri and second-rope moonsault (which he totally missed!)
Winner via Pinfall: World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio
Post-match, Alberto agrees with Big Show that there will be another 10-count in their “Last Man Standing” match at Royal Rumble, however, it won’t be in English. Instead, it will be in Spanish, as Del Rio will be the one standing tall!
Segment #13: Hall-Of-Fame Promo
Another inductee is announced and they are … Mr. Bob Backlund. A video highlighting his career is aired. (More on this in “excellence”)
Segment #14: Arena Promo
John Cena is out to cap of tonight’s broadcast. He talks about Sundays usually being a day of rest and talks to the fans about what they do. He finally gets to the point of talking about this Sunday, which is the Royal Rumble match.
He puts over the significance of this Sunday, as “all of the eyes of the WWE Universe fall on Phoenix, Arizona.” The world will find out what he already knows, that HE will WIN the Royal Rumble!
Short and sweet, until Sheamus cuts him off and of course, puts himself over as the repeat winner. Now, the “Primetime Players,” Randy Orton, Miz, and pretty much everyone involved in the classic match declare their desire to win, and then break down into a brawl in the ring to close the show!
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
Much better Raw and much “go-home” show to a pay-per-view than the usual “going through the motions.” Onto the analysis…
Excellence: The concept of “Beat The Clock” to pick A number in the Royal Rumble. This was different, which was nice this time, and the “switch-a-roo” that Vickie pulled on Dolph about it only being #1 or #2, was a nice little twist.
A proper induction for Mick Foley – like I said last week, I felt it was rushed and “ho-hum,” but I knew that was because the N.Y. Post beat the WWE to the punch on announcing him as a candidate. The career highlights were awesome to see and brought back great memories. Now, who shall induct “Mrs. Foley’s baby boy?” How about the man who influenced him all-along – “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka? His most fiercest opponent, in my opinion, The Undertaker? His long-time on/off rival and now friend, The Rock? There are so many choices!
WWE Champion C.M. Punk’s promo in the ring – that was AMAZING! I think it was almost better (if not for sure, better) than is speech two weeks ago because he really put over the importance and significance of his championship reign AND the grandeur of the title itself. I only wish this was the last segment on the show and that would’ve have really psyched me up for their match.
No pun intended (again), but Miz and Dolph Ziggler had an AWESOME wrestling match! Miz tool, much like Alberto Del Rio, is really getting over as a face, and looks to now be one of the “go to” guys for longer and more clinically-wrestled contests.
Mr. Bob Backlund’s Hall Of Fame Induction. Another well-deserved spot in the class, especially on this his 40th year as pro. I have some great memories of his and Bret Hart’s storyline/matches from 1994/1995, and I sincerely thought he was crazy! (Course, I was only 8/9, but still, kudos to him for making me believe!) His speech and who will induct him will be a great guessing game!
Lastly, The Rock’s last promo in the ring was good too – overall his tone was serious and “ass-kicking,” all while also giving props to C.M. Punk’s WWE Championship reign. If they had molded this response with Punk’s first in-ring oratory tonight, then this should’ve finished off Raw and been a great closure/cliff-hanger going into the ‘Rumble!
Bogus: Rock’s “being left out of the arena/arrested if he enters/gets a ticket to enter.” Come on? Did anyone really believe would not find a way in or go to jail? This has been done numerous times and gets old. Plus, if he had a ticket, why was he allowed to enter through stage area and not general audience sections? Little bit of common sense/continuity please, people!
As I sort of stated above, I believe that Punk’s in-ring and Rock’s in-ring promo should’ve also closed the show. Those were meaningful enough in themselves and were satisfactory endings. The “skybox” and “Shield” beatdown, along with Mr. McMahon’s backstage segment were overdone (Vince’s stipulation could’ve been saved for the ‘Rumble), and I think The Rock should’ve been left looking just as equally strong as WWE Champ C.M. Punk did. Level playing fields = suspense!
The “filler” matches were just that – again, my how Ryder’s “star” has fallen. The “grad ceremony,” while funny enough, was a bit of a letdown. Thought they go a little further than what when down. Divas Champion Kaitlyn wrestled ok tonight, but time to bring up Paige from NXT for a challenge! (And then put the title on her and convert it back to the Women’s Championship. Ok, maybe I’m over-wishing, but that is one of my “little dreams” for this division, along with Lita and Trish returning!)
John Cena’s promo was really lame. Very, very, “routine” and back to happy Cena. Unfortunately, no real “die-hard” passion in there and the entire ending to the show was also just par-for-the-course. This is why I wanted The Rock and WWE Champion C.M. Punk to finish Raw, leaving the viewer wanting to buy the Pay-Per-View even more!
Speaking of which, my Royal Rumble predictions:
As much as I really, really want WWE Champ C.M. Punk to retain (and this would really sky-rocket him even more), it’s not gonig to happen, so I have to go with my head and say that The Rock will win his 8th Heavyweight Championship.
Titles will change though, and the Tag-Team Championships are due. I think the New Year rings in a new team, and “The Rhodes Scholars” will capture the straps.
Royal Rumble Winner – my dream pick, to seriously propel him and “save” his losses by Cena, is for Dolph to enter #1 and become the third man to go all the way! My reality pick is John Cena, for a second time, unfortunately.
Alberto Del Rio will keep his newly crowned World Heavyweight Championship over The Big Show
Enjoy the ‘Rumble for those who are watching – it actually looks like it will be a good one. As always, until next week, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!