As I say every year now following “The Royal Rumble,” tonight the Road To Wrestlemania begins! And if my heart won-out from last night, that means Dolph Ziggler is driving towards a World Heavyweight or WWE Championship Title match (after winning the Royal Rumble match of course), and C.M. Punk continues his WWE Title reign!
However, while I don’t know the results from last night’s mega-PPV, my head is saying that John Cena won the ‘Rumble, and The Rock captured his 8th WWE Championship. Let’s hope not for either, and the only way to find out is to read on….!
Monday Night Raw Report for January 28th, 2013 – “The Road Begins ….”
Introduction Segment: Recap and Welcoming
A replay of highlights from The Royal Rumble airs, confirming my ….. head. (Unfortunately), John Cena and The Rock won their respective matches.
Vickie Guerrero then appears on screen and announces that tonight’s Raw will be a “Raw Roulette,” featuring matches of choice by “lady luck” as the Raw Managing Supervisor puts it.
The first will be United States Champion Antonio Cesaro squaring off against Randy Orton, with a special referee.
Segment #1: Arena Promo
The former WWE Champion, C.M. Punk, hurries down to the ring furiously, claiming he got screwed worse than Bret Hart in Montreal. “The Straight-Edge Superstar” is outraged and goes on a tirade, declaring that everyone – The Rock, Mr. McMahon, and even the fans – are cheaters. C.M. informs everyone that he plans to crash The Rock’s celebration party.
Before he can do so, Mr. McMahon himself walks out. He tells both Punk and Heyman that there is some video footage given by an unnamed individual, proving that they were in cohesion with “The Shield.” If seen correctly, Vince will have a chit-chat with Paul E. later in the ring, which may end up resulting in his termination!
Up next, Randy Orton will face off with Antonio Cesaro and a mystery referee.
Match #1: Single with Special Referee – “The Viper” Randy Orton VS. United States Champion Antonio Cesaro (Non-Title)
Special Referee: The Miz
This bout is already in progress coming back from break, with Orton getting a one-count and then a two-count after a suplex on Cesaro. Orton reverses an Irish whip in the corner and clotheslines Antonio, and slams him with a back body drop.
Both roll to the outside, where Orton backdrops Cesaro again, this time on the barricade! He then hits a couple of uppercuts and stomps away before sling-shotting him under the bottom rope.
Both grapplers trade a series of uppercuts, and Randy tosses Antonio over the top rope!
Back live again, it is switched around as Cesaro gives a backdrop this time and is in control. He snaps Orton’s face off the top turnbuckle and receives a two-count, then locks in a grounding rear chinlock.
Randy battles out and delivers a couple headbutts, but then gets scoop-slammed coming off the ropes. Cesaro takes advantage again and double-stomps him on the canvas, then turns him around with a twisting gut-wrench suplex. 1 – 2 – Orton kicks out!
The U.S. Champ clamps on another headlock, but Orton fights out again and fires himself up. He runs with some clotheslines and catches Cesaro with a powerslam, but gets kneed in the corner and dropped with a twisting diving uppercut. 1 – 2 – Randy kicks out again, and as Antonio argues with The Miz, “The Viper” grabs him from behind with a backbreaker.
However, Cesaro gets out of a sling-shot DDT attempt and punches away in the corner. Miz pulls him off for “excessiveness”, and the two argue with Cesaro turning right into an R.K.O. to give Randy the victory!
Winner via Pinfall: “The Viper” Randy Orton
Post-match, referee Miz helps Cesaro up, then promptly plants him with the Skull Krushing Finale.
Segment #2: Raw Roulette Selection
The Roulette Wheel is spinning, which stops on “Make Me Laugh.” Vickie tells Ryback (yes, you read that right) to go out and make her laugh.
Segment #3: Raw Roulette Challenge
Ryback is competing with “The Primetime Players” to make the audience laugh. This doesn’t go well or last long, as Ryback asks “what has four eyes, twenty fingers, and is about to be unconscious?”
The answer is Darren Young and Titus O’Neil, who get destroyed by the beast. He then turns his attention to interview Matt Striker and “Shell-Shocks’ him too!
Segment #4: Hall Of Fame Promo
A different montage of Bob Backlund’s career is shown, reiterating that he is in the 2013 class, and again, well, well deserved!
Match #2: Single – Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett VS. ??? (Non-Title)
Ms. Guerrero selects a “Player’s Choice” match, in which Mr. Barrett can choose his opponent. He selects …. Bo Dallas! (For those wondering, he is a stand-out NXT wrestler and son of Mike Rotunda, a.k.a “I.R.S.”) Wade begins by poking Bo, but the young gun quickly turns it around with armdrags and a dropkick.
Barrett soon gains control and pounds away on Dallas with heavy punches and kicks. Wade winds up his arm to finish this one off, but Bo reverses it into a huge powerslam and gets the upset!
Winner via Pinfall: Bo Dallas
Segment #5: Raw Roulette Selection
Cody Rhodes is having a spin at the wheel, which stops on the face of John Cena. That is who the former “Dashing” will be facing next!
Match #3: Single – Cody Rhodes VS. John Cena
Lock-up by both, with Cody starting out with a side headlock, but Cena hits a hip-toss and dropkick. After being shortly dominated, Rhodes points out that he is being wasted and goes to leave.
Cena gives chase and hits his usual moves, including the “5-Knuckle Shuffle,” and Attitude Adjustment for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: John Cena
Post-match, Cena takes the microphone and lays out his challenge for Wrestlemania – the WWE Champion, whoever that may be! John says that it doesn’t matter if it’s C.M. Punk or The Rock, as he has unfinished business with both men.
Just now, “The Shield” interrupt and gang-up on him. Sheamus runs out and tries the save, as does Ryback, but both are laid out by the trio. (Note: this promo by Cena was serious and much, much better than last week!)
Segment #6: Raw Roulette Selection
The spinner tops on “Lingerie Pillow Fight,” however unfortunately it is not two beautiful Divas, but instead Tensai and Brodus Clay!
Tensai protests and storms off, but thankfully Vickie changes it, citing no embarrassment with Mr. McMahon giving “performance evaluations.” The contest between “The Funkasaurus” and Tensai will now be a Dance-Off.
Segment #7: Recap
Footage of the “Royal Rumble Fanfest” airs.
Segment #8: Raw Roulette Challenge – “Dance Off”
Gee, I wonder who wins this one! In short, Tensai was still dressed in lingerie because he didn’t get the message, and “The Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay (with his “Funkettes” Naomi and Cameron) win this contest, much to the “damn” of Ron Simmons!
Segment #9: Raw Roulette Selection
The choice of “body slam” is picked, and Guerrero informs World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio that him bodyslamming The Big Show is going to be some magic. Del Rio reminds her that since we’re in Vegas, remember, anything can happen!
Segment #10: Raw Roulette Challenge – “Bodyslam”
Immediately, The Big Show takes out Ricardo Rodriguez and then knocks out World Champion Alberto Del Rio with the K.O. punch. He returns the favour from last night and duct-tapes Del Rio to the middle rope. (Okay, I truly think that is a first I’ve seen in almost 16-straight of being invested in wrestling!).
Big Show now takes the opportunity to completely beat-down Ricardo as Alberto looks on mercifully. Big Show finishes off by kicking Del Rio and punching him out again.
Match #4: Single – Tamina VS. Divas Champion Kaitlyn (Non-Title)
(Note: The other Divas on the roster are acting as Lumberjills, and donned in “showgirls” attire [fully-clothed though!]).
Tamina dominates right away, with a lockup and kick to Kaitlyn’s gut. She picks her up and smashes her into the turnbuckles and then onto the canvas. Jumping headbutt by the daughter of legend “Superfly Jimmy Snuka,” then she locks on a grounding side-headlock.
Kaitlyn begins to fight out, but is quickly kicked out of the ring, where the heel Divas (Aksana) pound away. Kaitlyn battles out and comes back to punch away on Tamina. As she goes for a cover, all the Lumberjills enter the ring and engage in a massive brawl with each other, but Tamina has managed to avoid and is just watching.
Winner: No Contest due to Interference
(That was pointless!)
Segment #11: Arena Promo
The NEW WWE champion is out now, as The Rock receives another massive ovation from the Vegas fans. The Rock says that only one word describes tonight and symbolizes the journey – “FINALLY!”
The Rock says that “there is no accolade on this Earth, that is more deeply engraved in my blood than this WWE Championship. From 1998 – 2003, I’ve had the honour of winning seven (7) WWE Championships. And after ten (10) long years, I can honestly tell you, that this moment, here with you tonight, is the proudest moment of my career.”
He says that he has already thanked is family and friends, but wants to take a moment to thank all of us, the fans.
Rock says that the “crap days” are over of C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman depreciating the fans. “The Great One” says tonight ushers in a new era, “The People’s Era.” His opponent from last night, the former WWE Champion C.M. Punk walks out on his own and interrupts.
He claims that Rock didn’t win the Title, but it was handed to him. Punk says he made that Championship special again, then tells Rock that “if you were a man, then you would recognize the fact that that title you hold is prestigious because I made it prestigious, and I earned that title for 434 days. And if you were a man in that third-generation blood that courses through your veins, if you had any respect for yourself, for your father, for your grandfather, you would walk down this aisle. You would come up to me right now and you would say, ‘sir, Mr. Punk, here is your title back because I did not earn this. I stole this from you and you can have it back. Congratulations on being the Best In The World.’”
The Rock retorts and challenges Punk to just come and take it, if he had “an ounce of manhood and nuts between your legs.”
He offers him two choices, “you can come in this ring and face me like a man, or you can stand up there on that stage in front of the world, like a ‘punk-ass bi***.’” Punk accepts, and slowly proceeds to the ring, but then changes his mind. He is happy to stand on the stage, and do things on his terms.
He will face him again, but on his schedule. However, Punk turns the tables on the oratory, and grants The Rock a rematch against “The Best In The World.” The bout is scheduled for “Elimination Chamber” in New Orleans, and The Rock promises an “ass-kicking of a lifetime!”
Match #5: Tables-Single – Damien Sandow VS. Sheamus
Sheamus gains control early and dominates until Sandow wisely slips away and outside the ring. Sheamus hammers him from behind and pulls out a table from under the ring.
Sheamus goes to slam Damien, but he wiggles out and goes to the opposite side, to deliver a high-dropkick! Damien yanks a table of his own, but it gets slammed into him by Sheamus. He slides the table in the ring, but is driven down by Sandow with a jumping armbar. “The Intellectual Saviour of the Masses” stomps away on the supposed injured shoulder of Sheamus and then drops a knee on the appendage. He goes to collect another table of his own.
He chucks the wooden structure into the big Irishman. He tries to knock Sheamus off the apron through the able on the floor, but to no avail and Sheamus springs back in with a shoulder-tackle.
Sheamus clubs him with punches and a clothesline, but his Irish whip is reversed into a side Russian legsweep and the “Elbow of Distain.” Sandow sets up the table and begins to ascend the top turnbuckle, but is cut-off.
Sheamus now delivers his 10-hammer fists to the chest and catches a running Sandow with the Irish Curse right into a corner table for the win!
Winner via Putting Opponent Through Table: Sheamus
Segment #12: Arena Promo
In a “sing-off,” The Great Khali, Zack Ryder, Hornswoggle, and Natalya attempt to belt out Shawn Michaels’ old-school theme song. (Yes you read that right, and yes, I fast-forwarded this waste of space.) 3.M.B. come out and get beat-down after some “protesting and promoting” of themselves, I’m guessing. (Again, I fast-forwarded!)
Up next, in what will truly be the highlight of the night, and a surprise that I didn’t know about, “Y2J” Chris Jericho returns! Whoo-hoooooooo! (He can actually save this show for me!)
Segment #13: Arena Promo
The first-ever Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion makes his comeback (for the nth time!) to Raw. Huge reaction with “Y2J” chants and even a fan holding a Canadian flag! (Yay! – Jericho even acknowledges it.)
“Welcome to Raw is JERICHO!” He is back in full-face mode, breaking out his signature catchphrases, loving the fans and being back, and sporting two new tatoos on hisleft arm.
The other man who can save the show tonight is “The Show-Off” himself, Dolph Ziggler. He walks out with A.J. and Big E. Langston. He wonders why Jericho is back, since last time they saw each other on Raw, Dolph defeated him and ended his contract.
However, Vickie Guerrero appears on the Titantron, and announces that she does what is right for business, and resigned Jericho to a new business deal. She then books a “strange-bedfellows match,” where Ziggler and Jericho will actually team up and face “Team Hell-No.”
Match #6: Tag-Team – Chris Jericho and “The Show-Off/Mr. Money In The Bank” Dolph Ziggler (with A.J. and Big E. Langston) VS. Tag-Team Champions “Team Hell-No” (Kane and Daniel Bryan) (Non-Title)
Dolph and Kane start out with Ziggler punching Kane quickly against the ropes. He flips his wet hair against Jericho to “show-off,” prior to break.
Dolph is in the ring now with Bryan, and he has him tied up in a side headlock. Jericho wants a tag, but Dolph refuses, and instead takes Bryan down and jumps on him with a high elbow drop.
Dolph again teases a tag, but receives a few quick kicks from Daniel this time, but then Jericho blind-tags Dolph anyway! He is all over Bryan with a clothesline, then springboard dropkicks Kane off the apron and elbows and moonsaults Bryan.
He grabs Daniel and tries for the Walls Of Jericho submission, but is flipped over. Kane tags in from Bryan, and they argue as they accidentally got knocked into each other. Ziggler blind-tags back, but Jericho slaps Kane from behind.
Dolph can’t figure out why Jericho got out of dodge, until he turns around into a Chokeslam by the Big Red Machine for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winners via Pinfall: Tag-Team Champions “Team Hell-No” (Kane and Daniel Bryan)
Segment #14: Hall-Of-Fame Induction
The next legend to be included into the Class of 2013 is … Trish Stratus! (Cool, another well-deserved entry, as she was one of the pioneers of the “new generation” of women’s wrestlers and one of the most hard-working to change the “image” of what a “Diva” was/is supposed to be. Congratulations, my fellow Canadian!)
Up next, it’s evaluation time!
Segment #15: Arena Promo
The owner of World Wrestling Entertainment is in the ring, and Mr. McMahon says that he and everyone loves to have fun. To do so, he brings down Paul Heyman. He walks down eventually, and offers a handshake. Afterward, Vince “pure-ells” himself.
Mr. McMahon then asks Heyman straight-up if he had any affiliation with Brad Maddox or “The Shield.” In short, Heyman says “no.” Vince then asks him if he has ever lied in his life, and Heyman recounts a story of Vince’s father saying “adversity defines a man’s character in his darkest hour.”
Heyman admits that he has lied every single day of his life because he is a promoter, and that’s what they to do keep their jobs and survive. However, this time, Heyman swears to everyone and everything in his life that he is NOT lying now and not involved with Maddox or “The Shield.”
Vince then produces the alleged footage, where Heyman is talking to Maddox in an undisclosed location. On camera, it is made known that Heyman paid-off Brad to referee the Hell In The Cell match at the October PPV and screw-over Ryback, as well as how Punk and Paul paid The Shield to do the same.
Back live, Heyman befuddled as he is caught in his fallacy, to chants of “you got busted!” He tries to tell Vince that wasn’t him. Paul tries to convince Mr. McMahon that he was setup and that was an impersonator on the tape.
Vince then asks the crowd, who recite unanimously “yes, yes, yes,” if Paul Heyman is lying and deserves to be fired. BUT, just before he can get those “magic words” out, another of Heyman’s “clients” returns!
Brock Lesnar interjects and walks down to the ring. Huge chants of “Lesnar” from the crowd. He immediately gets in Vince’s face and the two staredown. McMahon warns Lesnar to not do something he’d regret. Lesnar points to Heyman, then gets back in front of Vince. He nods his head, then picks up Vince and F-5′s him!
Heyman gets on his knees and begs “no more, please stop.” Mr. McMahon is writhing in pain on the canvas as Brock and Paul walk off to close the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
Well, unfortunately, back to the average. I thought coming off the ‘Rumble, this would be a much better show than it actually was, however much like the results of the PPV itself, I was left very disappointed. Onto the analysis….
Excellence: C.M. Punk – he handled the losing of his championship awesomely! I loved how he just stormed into the arena and protested the way it happened. (And I agree.) His later confrontation with Rock was the same too – and he still put over the WWE Championship and the importance of the title very well. He is absolutely correct when he says he made it prestigious again!
Great back and forth wrestling match between Cesaro/Orton, Bo Dallas being propelled to the main roster (and winning) is a nice sign. He could play the sympathetic babyface very easily. John Cena’s promo – this is the “Cena” I love. The passionate, no-nonsense, “do or die” character. He made valid points, putting over the realism of his feuds with C.M. Punk and The Rock, respectively.
The return of Chris Jericho! That was truly a nice surprise for me, as I hadn’t known a thing about “The Royal Rumble,” so to see his rock star mug appear on my T.V. screen was coooool! Glad he’s a good guy again too, will make his feuds entertaining. Those tattoos though? A little peculiar!
Finally, Trish Stratus being inducted into the Hall-Of-Fame this year. As said above, she has earned this honour for all she had contributed to women’s wresting during her almost 7-year-consistent run. I think it would be fitting for either Lita or a fellow Canadian wrestler (read Edge/Christian/Bret Hart/Chris Jericho!) to give her the accolades at the ceremony.
Bogus: Everything else! Not being funny/short, but truly. The “Raw Roulette” concept failed epically, especially since I actually fast-forwarded through a few segments (and I think you know which ones!). I’m worried about where Dolph Ziggler and “Team Rhodes Scholars” are going. I believe the ‘Rumble was their time to shine and truly come out with big wins (Dolph in the ‘Rumble, and Cody/Damien with the Tag Titles). Now, they look like they’re going to be stuck in mediocre feuds (Dolph) or break up (“Scholars”), neither of which are good. Losing tonight definitely did not help either! The last segment with Brock/Heyman/Vince. It’s been done before and not looking forward to the much talked-about rematch of Lesnar/Triple H at Wrestlemania, much like the pending rematch of Cena/Rock. They really could’ve done a lot different (too much to detail here), but the main-event matches in my “booking” would definitely include Dolph Ziggler and C.M. Punk in championship situations.
As always, until next week, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!