Even though the Road To WrestleMania began at the Royal Rumble, tonight, the non-stop highway starts, as the only thing between now and WrestleMania XXIX are seven (7) Raws! Last night’s Elimination Chamber was the final “in between” pay-per-view before the “Grand Daddy Of Them All,” so What implications will the results from 24 hours ago have moving forward?
I can only guess, as I don’t know who won, so here’s my main wishes: Alberto Del Rio is still the World Heavyweight Champion and will begin a WrestleMania program with Dolph Ziggler. Mark Henry or Jack Swagger won their Elimination Chamber bout, inserting themselves in the above W.H.C. match. (I could see a triple threat). And C.M. Punk reclaimed is WWE Championship gold, to begin another historic reign. (That one is probably really stretching it, but hey, dreams do come true!)
That’s enough speculation, on with Raw to find out the paths for all the wrestler'[\s to the biggest night of their careers!
Monday Night Raw Report for February 18th, 2013 – “Roads Divided”
Introduction Segment: Recap and Welcoming
According to the highlight package, I got two out of three wishes! Jack Swagger did win the Elimination Chamber and Alberto Del Rio did retain his World Heavyweight Title. Unfortunately, The Rock also kept his Championship, so now the WrestleMania main-event will be John Cena VS. The Rock, II, for the WWE Championship.
Segment #1: Arena Promo
The #1 Contender for the WWE Championship, John Cena, is out first. He recaps the happenings and previews the two championship bouts for WrestleMania. That is as far as he gets, as the former WWE Champion, C.M. Punk, interrupts.
Punk questions Cena about fighting The Rock at WrestleMania, as he claims that is the “easy way out.” He does admit that Rock beat him “fair and square,” but brings it back to the fact that Cena has never beat him.
John detests this, saying that both he and Rock earned their “tickets” to WrestleMania, winning the Royal Rumble and WWE Championship matches, respectively. C.M. protests, calling Cena’s ‘Rumble win “luck.” He calls the W.M. XXIX match a “re-run,” complete with Cena not being able to win the big one again. He then tells him to get out of his life and walk away.
Of course, Cena declines, saying that “I am not just going to hand away a ‘golden ticket’ to the main-event of WrestleMania.” However, their is a conundrum. Cena has his share of critics, who also say he doesn’t deserve to be in the main-event. So, he proposes a solution – John Cena takes on C.M. Punk for the right to go to WrestleMania!
The “Straight-Edge Superstar” converses with Paul Hyeman, then decides to go for it. Furthermore, he states some terms – next week. Punk walks off happy, high-fiving Heyman. Cena concurs, saying “next week, I will beat you. Next week I will go to WrestleMania. And at WrestleMania I will beat The Rock, and you (Punk) and all of you (fans) will know that the champ is here!”
Segment #2: Backstage Promo
Matt Striker is with Sheamus, discussing his loss with Ryback and John Cena against The Shield. Ryback is pacing back and forth, and the two get into it, blaming each other until Chris Jericho breaks them up. He says that “we have to do what it takes to save this company.” He proposes a rematch, this time with Jericho, and Ryback/Sheamus agree.
Match #1: Single – Sin Cara VS. “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry
Do I need deeply recap this? Nope, as “The World’s Strongest Man” dominates Sin Cara and finishes him off with “The World’s Strongest Slam.”
Winner via Pinfall: “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry
Post-match, as Henry is going to give another slam to Cara, The Great Khali walks out. He enters the ring, but Mark backs away and mouths off to the 7-foot giant.
Match #2: Single – The Miz VS. Antonio Cesaro (United States Champion) (Non-Title)
The Miz immediately sweeps up Cesaro and mount-punches him. He tosses Antonio to the floor, but gets hurled into the barricade. Antonio picks Miz up and runs him shoulder-first into the ring post. As it is “No-Disqualification” rules, the U.S. Champion brings out a steel chair and kendo stick.
He whacks it hard against Miz’s taped-up shoulder, then knees him in the corner. Miz reverses into a sunset flip pin for two, then Antonio takes control again.
He pulls Miz’s left arm through the chair, then locks on an armlock submission. Miz then gets shoved shoulder-first into the steel chair in the corner, then gets nailed with an uppercut. Cesaro runs at him again, but Miz hits him with a boot and drop toeholds him into the steel chair! Miz swings around and puts Cesaro in the Figure-Four leglock for the tap out victory!
Winner via Submission: The Miz
Segment #3: Video Promo
The “All-American-American” Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter spew an anti-immigration tirade and claim they will fix it.
Segment #4: Backstage Promo
Tag-Team Champions, “Team Hell-No” are arguing again about the results of last night’s Elimination Chamber. They both have singles matches and ask the other not to be involved.
Segment #5: Backstage Promo
Paul Heyman walks up to Vickie Guerrero and wonders why she wanted him. Guerrero promises a surprise, regarding Heyman’s career, but will announce it later in the ring, much to Paul’s dismay.
Match #3: Single – “Mr. Money In The Bank/The Showoff” Dolph Ziggler (with Big E. Langston and A.J.) vs. World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez) (Non-Title)
Dolph slaps Del Rio quickly and hits a high dropkick, then pounds away at Alberto’s face. Del Rio counters with a gut-kick, and tosses Ziggler to the apron, then delivers a running Enziguri to knock him to the floor.
Back live, Dolph is choking Del Rio across the bottom rope. Another high dropkick is it for a two-count. Langston takes a cheap shot while Scott Armstrong – the referee – is distracted. Ziggler clamps on a grounding rear chinlock, and soon after drops him with the Fameasser for a nearfall! He ascends the turnbuckle but gets crotched, and Del Rio brings Dolph down with a reverses suplex!
They slug back and forth, with Del Rio firing up with clotheslines and a tilt-a-whirl bakcbreaker. He goes for the Cross Armbreaker, but Dolph reverses it into a neckbreaker for another two-count! Ziggler misses and gets caught into the corner, allowing Alberto to hammer him in the lower back and pull back with a Backstabber.
Langston jumps on the ropes, but Del Rio gets ride of hi quickly. He turns around and turns a high-jumping DDT into the Cross Armbreaker. Ziggler gives in!
Winner via Submission: World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio
Post-match, Langston jumps Del Rio and plants him with the drop-down facebuster. He screams “it’s over for you,” then Dolph gets the idea to cash in his Money In The Bank briefcase. Just before though, Ricardo snatches the case and runs away. A.J. brings it back, but Del Rio already lays out Dolph with the Enziguri to keep his title!
Segment #6: Arena Promo
Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett is in the ring, plugging the movie “Dead Man Down,” in which he appears. Sheamus, via Titantron, interjects, saying that Wade didn’t have any speaking an it’s not “his” movie. Sheamus tells him to wrap it up as they are out of time.
Match #4: Mixed 6-Person Tag-Team – Tensai, “The Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay, and “Funkette” Naomi (with “Funkette” Cameron) VS. Primo, Epico, and Rosa Mendes
The women begin, with Naomi pulling off some nice moves, including a springboard crossbody, and then a Hurricanrana on Epico! Tensai and Primo go at it, with clotheslines and an elbow drop by Tensai. Naomi baseball slides Epico and Rosa, then Tensai and Brodus double-splash Primo for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winners via Pinfall: Tensai, “The Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay, and “Funkette” Naomi (with “Funkette” Cameron)
It was announced earlier today that New Orleans, Louisiana, particularly the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, will host WrestleMania XXX on April 6th, 2014!
Up next, The “All Real American” Jack Swagger will give a “State Of The Union Address.”
Segment #7: Arena Promo
Complete with red carpet and podium, The “Real American” Jack Swagger talks about “our country,” America. He turns the microphone over to Zeb Colter to give the “State Of The Union Address.” He thanks the previous presidents for giving them the Bill Of Rights, particularly the first amendment to speak their mind.
He goes on another rant about the “millions and millions of people living in this country illegally,” berating them for stealing their jobs and abusing their medical system.
Since it is President’s Day in America, Colter wants to fix it. He says that Jack Swagger is prepared to say “no more.” He is going to accomplish two goals at WrestleMania – capture the World Heavyweight Championship and he’s going to “reclaim America.”
Daniel Bryan now walks down, and prepares for his match against the “Real American.”
Match #5: Single – The “Real American” Jack Swagger (with Zeb Colter) VS. Tag-Team Champion Daniel Bryan (Non-Title)
Swagger has Bryan in a waistlock as we come back from break. Daniel turns it around and kicks Jack hard in the thigh. He gets a sunset flip for a one-count, then counters a run with a drop toehold into the second turnbuckle. Swagger rushes Daniel with a clothesline over the ropes but gets dropkicked to the floor. Bryan misses a diving knee off the apron, then gets slammed into the barricade by Swagger.
Jack chucks Bryan across the ring with an overhead toss, and later hits the Swaggerbomb for a two-count! He runs again at Daniel, who elbows Jack. He trips him over the ropes, then lands a suicide dive on Swagger to the outside! Bryan flies off the top rope with a front dropkick for a two-count! He reverses a cover into the No-Lock, but Swagger struggles and clinches the ropes.
Bryan misses a running knee in the corner, which gives Swagger the advantage again. He measures Daniel, running at him with a chop block. He stalks Bryan, then grips in the “Patriot Lock” Anklelock to seal this one!
Winner via Submission: The “Real American” Jack Swagger (with Zeb Colter)
Segment #8: Arena Promo
Vickie Guerrero announces that she has a new assistant – Brad Maddox! However, that is not the surprise she had in store for Paul Heyman, who is also joining her in the ring. The real surprise, Mr. McMahon, appears on the Titantron. He reminds Heyman that since he granted Paul’s stipulation wish, then Heyman would do anything for him. So, next week, they will step into the ring for a fight!
Match #6: 6-Man Tag-Team – “Y2J” Chris Jericho, Sheamus, and Ryback VS. “The Shield” (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns)
Ryback and Rollins begin, with Ryback giving him shoulder-blocks in the corner. He switches up with Jericho, who now battles Dean. Suplex by Jericho then punches in the corner. Jericho elbows him, then dives off the second turnbuckle with a dropkick. A crossbody by Jericho nets a quick count, but Ambrose rolls to a tag to Reigns, who matches up with Sheamus now.
They slug it out, with Sheamus nailing hard clotheslines, a shoulder-block, and a high-running knee. Sheamus drops Roman with the White Noise, then calls out “Fella!” for the Brogue Kick. Rollins pulls Reigns out of the ring, but Ambrose eats the Kick instead.
Back live, Reigns is back in control, hammering it out, then tagging in Seth. A front facelock is hitched on, then Rollins stomps away in the corner. He switches again with Reigns, who gets leveled with a clothesline by Sheamus. The Irishman tags in Ryback to a huge pop, and the “Man-Beast” cleans house on Rollins with a spinebuster and “Meathook” clothesline. Ryback attempts the Shellshock, but Reigns spears him. 1 – 2 – Ryback kicks out!
Ambrose is in and punches it out on Ryback, then tags in Reigns again. He switches with Rollins soon after, and they both isolate and dominate Ryback again. Reigns runs at Ryback in the corner, but misses and crotches himself on the ropes. Ryback crawls toward his corner and manages to tag in Jericho! “Y2J” is all over Ambrose and Rollins, hitting the running bulldog and Lionsault. 1 – 2 – Ambrose gets the shoulder up!
Jericho grabs Ambrose into the Walls Of Jericho, but Dean reverses into a small package for two! Jericho gets him again in the Walls, who sells like crazy, but Rollins flies in from the top rope with a knee-to-the-face! Ambrose capitalizes with the cover for the victory!
Winners via Pinfall: “The Shield” (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns)
Match #7: Single – “The Intellectual Savior Of The Masses” Damien Sandow VS. Kofi Kingston
Prior to the contest, Damien retorts a promo about President’s Day. He recaps the Sandow Family history in advising former Presidents. He offers to save us from the “doldrums of your own self-imposed ignorance. You’re welcome!”
Right away, Damien attacks Kofi and punches away at him. He runs Kofi into the steel post shoulder-first then continues until Kingston’s past tag-team partner R-Truth returns, laying the “Savior” out with the Scissors Kick and “Lie Detector” spinning elbow. This brawl happens before Charles Robinson was able to signal for the bell.
Winner: No Contest due to No Official Start
Josh Matthews interviews two of The Rock’s co-stars in his next movie, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.” They then air the movie trailer.
Match #8: Single – “The Viper” Randy Orton VS. Tag-Team Champion “The Big Red Machine” Kane (Non-Title)
Randy begins with a side headlock but Kane knocks him down with a shoulder block. Randy punches him in the corner, but Kane uppercuts Orton, sending him to the floor.
Back live, Kane has Orton in a grounding rear chinlock, then delivers a big boot-to-the-face for a two-count! A huge DDT also gets the same result, then he clamps on another grounding rear chinlock. Orton fights out of it and punches Kane in the corner gain, then stomps away on his lower legs. Randy runs into a stiff uppercut, and Kane receives another nearfall.
Kane controls the contest for a while, hitting a sidewalk slam for two. He misses a top-rope diving clothesline, but managers to counter Orton’s slingshot DDT attempt. As Kane is gearing up for the Chokeslam, his Tag-Team Champion partner walks out. Bryan ends up distracting Kane, allowing Orton to sneak in with the R.K.O. and the victory!
Winner via Pinfall: “The Viper” Randy Orton
Segment #9: Arena Promo
“The Pride Of Acadia,” the University of Louisiana’s marching band, plays out The Rock, and the WWE Champion makes his entrance. He recaps the results of the last two pay-per-view results, where he beat C.M. Punk for the WWE Title.
The Rock says that in forty-eight days, he will be going to WrestleMania. However, the WWE Championship will not. He recaps his history and his family’s history in this business, then talks about the prestige and history of the WWE Championship itself. Which of course, brings us to (almost) eight years in the making ….
FINALLY …. the WWE Championship has come home. FINALLY, there is a NEW WWE Championship Title! It is all gold and diamond, strapped in black, with a huge WWE logo in the middle and the word “champion” underneath. The Championship looks really nice and much better!
The Rock speculates on who he will face, as per the events from earlier tonight, John Cena or C.M. Punk? The Rock wants to face…
John Cena’s music plays and he stands on the ramp, staring and making gestures at The Rock. From behind, C.M. Punk blasts Cena with the old WWE Championship, then chucks it down on the ramp. He points to The Rock and says “I want that one.” The Rock is hyped up and ready to fight, but Punk just glares at him then walks away to close the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
Once again, the WRESTLING on this show was the highlight. Hopefully this little trend continues. Even though I didn’t like a few of the matches themselves/3 hours worth is still too long, the bouts did play out well for the most part. Save for three main ones, the promos/storylines on the other hand were more lacklustre/been there, done that.
Excellence: Cena/Punk promo to begin the show. Loved the passion they both showed for wanting to be in the main event at WrestleMania and why they should both be WWE Champion. I love this swerve, and honestly, would love even more to see a Triple-Threat at ‘Mania XXIX – much more intrigue.
Jack Swagger/Zeb Colter. I am pleased with how they managed to “repackage” Swagger and was actually pleasntly surprised he is this quick in the World Championship match at WrestleMania. His new “form” fits beautifully. I also like Zeb Colter for his great promo skills. Right now, it is reminiscent of the late-great Eddie Guerrero and J.B.L. WWE Championship feud in 2004, only without the comedy. This is just serious. So far, they are playing this somewhat smartly, but they do have to be careful how far they can go. I hope it doesn’t go too beyond to be a detriment to Swagger. His match with Daniel Bryan was also excellent.
The 6-Person Mixed tag match was a little nice, and Naomi has some decent moves for a new Diva! My opinion on this is a turn-around from last week, but I just had “fun” with this one tonight.
The other 6-Man tag with “The Shield” was also well-executed, and I was/am surprised they gave the big win to the trio at Elimination Chamber.
Of course, the new WWE Championship. I am a big fan of this Title and do like the look. Yes, it is perhaps too much in the “shiny” department, but it does look much nicer and brings a little more “authenticity” to that Championship and all who wore it/fought for it.
Bogus: Mark Henry – I don’t like the fact that he came back superbly as a “badass,” and now he’s going into a sub-par, lower-card feud with The Great Khali. Waste of talent. He was my other pick for the Elimination Chamber.
Dolph Ziggler – this one sucks because it feels like he’s just holding the Money In The Bank briefcase for something to do, without placing importance on the aspect of what it means. The only way he can save himself now is to lose/do badly enough through WrestleMania, then decide to dump A.J. and Big E. the night after, and start fresh, ON HIS OWN!!!
Not into the Cesaro/Miz feud, especially when they don’t even get entrances and one of them is a CHAMPION!
The repeat feud between Kane and Daniel Bryan. Not looking forward to this again, and Kane/Orton was a match that could’ve been left off the cards.
Event though I felt it was an average show still, I am getting excited for WrestleMania and the potential tracks this year can take to the “show of shows!”
Until next week, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!