Major changes may be made to the card of Wrestlemania XXIX, following tonight’s Raw. On the card is another round of C.M. Punk taking on John Cena, with the winner facing WWE Champion The Rock at “The Showcase of the Immortals.” Who will win? Personally, I’m either hoping for C.M. Punk or a Triple-Threat.
Also, it’s “fight night,” as Mr. Vince McMahon himself has challenged Paul Heyman to a fight in the ring. I’m guessing The Boss has a nice little swerve up his sleeve, perhaps in the form of Triple H or even The Undertaker? Heyman would not be outdone either, potentially bringing back Brock Lesnar?
And, is it going to be just Jack Swagger and Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship? Or has “The Show-off/Mr. Money In The Bank” Dolph Ziggler inserted himself into the equation after last week’s Raw, where he attempted to cash in his briefcase and become the new World Heavyweight Champion?
Finally, will another legendary name be announced for the illustrious Hall-Of-Fame?
All this and much more (hopefully!), so read on…!
Monday Night Raw TV Report for February 25th, 2013 – “A (Classic) Clear Road”
Introduction Segment: Recap and Welcoming
As is the precursor now, video highlights of the events mentioned above start off. Justin Roberts then asks us to welcome The Chairman of the Board, Mr. McMahon!
Segment #1: Arena Promo
Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler welcome us to Monday Night Raw, as The Boss hobbles to the ring on crutches. With a big smile on his face, and cheers from the crowd, Vince says on the way to Wrestlemania, every Monday Night Raw should be big. He calls out Mr. Heyman, calling him “the ultimate fighter.”
Paul E. walks out, naming Vince as “always the showman, always the entertainer….ladies and gentleman for those of you who have children, here’s a story you’re going to be able to tell them time and time again. Tonight you’re going to see a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. I have waited my entire life for this fight. You have positioned me on television as a ‘wimp,’ as a ‘wuss,’ as the ‘biggest puss’ in the universe, and I assure you Vincent Kennedy McMahon, I am ‘all man!’ I have watched you run every single promoter out of business, including me. I have watched you defeat the United States Government. But I assure you tonight, if we fight, Paul Heyman is coming for everything that you got.”
At first, Heyman wants to make sure that Vince is absolute in his decision to fight, then Paul sweeps up Vince and whacks him with the crutch. He goes for a second swing, but McMahon grabs a hold and hammers Heyman over the back.
Just now, Paul Heyman’s client Brock Lesnar comes back. Vince stares down as Lesnar enters the squared circle. Vince’s trick is turned now, as the man who Lesnar put out of action is back! Triple H returns for the first time since Summerslam in August 2012, complete in “game” attire (sans suit). He slowly walks the aisle, glaring a hold in Brock.
Lesnar tries to get the jump, but HHH jumps all over him. Lesnar rams “The Game” into the barricade, but Triple H shoves back, running Brock into the steel post. Brock is busted wide open, and gets clotheslined over the timekeeper’s section. A now crimson Lesnar battles back and dumps Trips onto the announcer’s table.
From under the ring, he takes out a chair and enters the canvas. HHH counters with a spinebuster, grabs the chair, and nails Brock in the back, sending him falling to the outside. Lesnar backs off.
Later tonight, there will be an edition of MizTV with World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio and his Wrestlemania challenger, Jack Swagger with Zeb Colter.
Up next, Ryback will face Dolph Ziggler!
Match #1: Single – “Mr. Money In The Bank/The Show-Off” Dolph Ziggler (with Big E. Langston and A.J.) vs. Ryback
The two circle around each other, then Ziggler ducks out of the initial grab. Dolph clutches Ryback with a waistlock, but Ryback reverses and takes down Ziggler with one of his own. He slams Dolph again with another waistlock, but Ziggler comes back with a low kick and then a mid-dropkick.
Ziggler wears him down with a front-facelock, but Ryback powers out with a shoulder block and powerslam. He slam’s Dolph’s head into the top turnbuckle and begins to toy around. He catches Ziggler in another powerslam position, and flings him over his shoulder, the runs him spine-first into the corner and drops him to the mat.
Back live, Ryback has Dolph held high in a stalling-suplex position, then drops down to the canvas. Dolph rolls to the floor, where Ryback does send him back in, but gets flattened by Langston with a running body block. Ziggler takes advantage with a high dropkick, and later a jumping DDT! 1 – 2 – Ryback kicks out!
Ryback moves out of the way of a fameasser, but not the sleeper hold, as Dolph jumps on his back and grips on the submission. Ryback drops down to break it up. He stops Dolph’s momentum with a flat-out block and spinebuster. A.J. and Big E. try another distraction, but Ryback gets rid of Langston, then gives a Shell-Shock Marching Samoan Drop to Ziggler for the victory!
Winner via Pinfall: Ryback
Just before break, “The Straight-Edge Superstar” C.M. Punk is making his way to the ring.
Segment #2: Arena Promo
C.M. Punk hushes the crowd subtly, then declares that tonight will be epic, something that you tell your children and grand children will talk about for years to come. Punk says that tonight is not about John Cena, The Rock, Wrestlemania, the fans, the WWE Championship, or Wrestlemania. “Tonight is about ME!” Punk says it is about him “ascending to the level I was born to be at.”
He touts his WWE Championship reign, and that he will be in the main event at Wrestlemania. He alone has both defeated the “almighty” John Cena, and pinned The Rock twice in four weeks. “I am an icon that walks among superstars. I am the one that gets looked up to. I’m not just a human being, I am a mortal. I am immortal. I am ‘the greatest,’ I am ‘the best in the world,’ I am ‘the greatest of all time.’ A ‘legend,’ an ‘icon,’ ‘the best,’ ‘the greatest,’ and in this world that you all inhabit, ‘I, I am god.” Punk exits to his music.
Segment #3: Hall-Of-Fame Announcement
The latest inductee is entering the celebrity wing of the H.O.F. He is a “business mogul,” best-selling author, reality television star. He brought WrestleManias IV and V to Atlantic City, New Jersey back-to-back in 1988 and 1989. Now, he will be back in “The Garden State” as a Hall-Of-Famer. He is the one and only, Donald Trump! (Makes sense, I’m cool with this choice.)
Up next, giants will battle it out as Mark Henry takes on The Great Khali
Match #2: Single – “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry VS. The Great Khali
Khali slugs it out right away with a big boot and overhead punches. He chops away in the corner, and chops him over the head. Henry gets out of dodge, but runs Khali against the ring apron. He charges again with a big splash in the corner, then finishes him off with a HUGE World’s Strongest Slam powerslam!
Winner via Pinfall” “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry
Miz makes his way to the ring, following the trailer for his new movie, “The Marine 3.”
Segment #4: Arena Promo
The Miz, Jack Swagger, and Zeb Colter are already in the ring as World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio, with Ricardo Rodriguez, is entering. Miz talks first, introducing his guests. He starts with the challenger, and questions them about their controversial problems with the World Heavyweight Champion.
First, Colter says he wanted to really talk to Glenn Beck (read this website, Wrestling-Online.com for that story), but since Glenn “chickened out,” so he is fine speaking to Alberto. Zeb talks about the “undocumented workers,” which he calls them since he can’t politically say “illegals.”
He lists what they do to the American people and economy, such as taking their jobs and medical care, all while being declared “amnesty.” Del Rio wants to speak, but Zeb cuts him off. Miz and A.D.R. continue to let him talk. Colter compares the process of becoming a citizen in Mexico – where it takes 10 years due to paperwork and corruption, as he cites – to the United States.
Colter says his “beef” is not personal with Alberto, just what he represents. Del Rio represents success and the “American Dream,” which Colter claims encourages millions of illegals to sneak across the border in search of it. Zeb is not going to stand by and let them stay in the country, even when they do not achieve that “dream.” Colter calls them “criminals,” which finally sets off Del Rio.
The World Heavyweight Champion shuts up Colter, telling them that America is the greatest country because it belongs to everyone. He is no different than anyone, and they are all here to provide their families with a better life in the “land of opportunity.” He calls himself the living proof, as Rodriguez holds the World Title high. Del Rio tells them he doesn’t like bullies, and if they have the “cojones,” then do something to make them leave, right now!
Alberto takes off his jacket, for Swagger to respond with “we will see you at Wrestlemania. We the people.” Colter and Swagger back off.
Randy Orton will be in action next!
Match #3: Single – United States Champion Antonio Cesaro VS. “The Viper” Randy Orton (Non-Title)
Prior to the bout, footage is shown of Zeb Colter protesting Miz’s “bias” interview skills and Jack Swagger attacking from behind.
Cesaro grabs Orton in a side-headlock to begin, then comes off the ropes with a shoulder block. Randy fires back with an elbow-to-the-face, and a t-bone suplex. 1 – 2 – Cesaro kicks out. Uppercuts are traded, with Cesaro getting the best and slamming Orton down with a gutwrench suplex. 1 – 2 – Orton kicks out! Antonio takes control with a rear chinlock and series of uppercuts.
“The Viper” runs back with clotheslines and a powerslam, gearing up as only he does! Cesaro counters with a jawbreaker using the ropes, but still gets taken down with a backbreaker. However, Orton runs into a knee, but the U.S. Champ dives into a sudden R.K.O. for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: “The Viper” Randy Orton
Segment #5: Backstage Promo
Tag-Team Champions “Team Hell-No” are letting “bygones be bygones,” and talk about their match tonight with “The Primetime Players.” Both Kane and Daniel Bryan claim they can beat Titus and Darren on their own. Both Brad Maddox and Vickie Guerrero, who Brad calls “Team Bricki,” says that Bryan will be blind-folded and Kane will have one of his hands tied behind his back.
Segment #6: Arena Promo
It is announced that The Miz can get revenge on Jack Swagger in a match later tonight. Sheamus is now out, decked out in beautiful tuxedo, to give us his “Oscar Snubs.”
His biggest issue with the Academy is they omission of one of the greatest actors – Wade Barrett! He then shows a trailer of the Intercontinental Champion’s movie, “Dead Man Down.” It is an action flick that Wade only appears in very briefly. Sheamus provides another trailer, in which Barrett is portrayed as “henchmen,” saying nothing. Sheamus totally makes fun of Barrett.
This brings out the big brute, laughing and smiling. He retorts the “ribbing,” saying that the Irish love the colour green. Wade claims that Sheamus is jealous, because he is going to because a “huge global movie star” and will be walking down the real red carpet. Sheamus concurs, then entices Wade in a quick missed punch after making fun of his nose. Barrett leaves and the two stare down.
Match #4: Single – Cody Rhodes VS. R-Truth
(Note: “The Intellectual Saviour of the Masses” Damien Sandow is on commentary.) They lock up and R-Truth runs back with a shoulder block. He slaps Rhodes but gets blocked. He ducks a Disaster Kick, but gets his leg worked over and hammered on by Cody.
He drops Truth with a big flapjack suplex, then chokes him with his boot against the middle rope. Rhodes clamps on a grounding full-nelson, which R fights out of and hits Cody with a forearm. He quickly counters a run with the Jumping Flatliner to put Cody away!
Winner via Pinfall: R-Truth
Post-match, Damien immediately jumps the ring and attacks, but gets thrown out soon by Truth. The two jaw at each other.
Segment #7: Video Promo
Another video with Zeb Colter and “The Real American” Jack Swagger talking about how Americans lose their jobs “because we have allowed ‘people’ to sneak into the country under ‘the cloak of darkness,’ because they work for little-to-no money, so that hard-working, English-speaking folk like your Dad, Jack, and my friend, are left out in the cold.” (This is according to Zeb Colter.) Colter says that real Americans, himself, and Jack Swagger know this is wrong, and they want to correct it in “Jack Swagger’s America.”
Match #5: Tag-Team – “The Primetime Players” (Titus O’Neil and Darren Young) VS. Tag-Team Champions “Team Hell-No” (Kane and Daniel Bryan) (Non-Title)
Bryan is blind-folded to begin the bout. Titus uses his whistle to fool Daniel, then quickly takes him down with a clothesline from behind. Big scoop slam by Titus, then he tags in Young. Northern-light suplex gets a two-count as Young switches with O’Neil.
Another huge scoop slam, and Kane yells at Daniel to move prior to Titus jumping down with a big elbow. Darren changes up again and misses, as Kane calls Bryan to his corner. With one arm (the other is tied up as a pre-match stipulation), Kane just goes to town on Young with clotheslines and a boot. He manages a one-handed Chokeslam for the victory!
Winners via Pinfall: Tag-Team Champions “Team Hell-No” (Kane and Daniel Bryan)
Segment #8: Arena Promo
“The Shield” are in the ring. Dean Ambrose proclaims that it is going to get worse, as it always does. “There will be no peace in WWE until there is justice and honor. We are ‘The Shield,’ we are the most efficient, most effective, most dangerous unit in this industry. And that makes a lot of people back there very uncomfortable. And that’s too bad, because we’re here to shatter your little ‘comfort zones.’
Reigns challenges everyone to bring their army, but “The Shield” is still going to win every time and “justice is going to hunt you down and we’re going to grind your bones to dust!” Rollins says they did something no one thought they could, which was solving “the John Cena problem.” They then dropped “that wannabe rockstar, Chris Jericho.” He challenges more people.
Sheamus interjects, and wants to fight. He entices them to come up the ramp and fight, so Ambrose and Reigns do so, leaving Rollins in the ring where behind him Randy Orton sneaks in and R.K.O.’s! Orton trails it to the fans and big cheers, and Sheamus glares from the stage. Ambrose poises himself squatting, in a “you got us tonight, but we’ll getcha next time” expression. (Brilliant!)
Match #6: Single – “The Real American” Jack Swagger (with Zeb Colter) VS. “The Awesome One” The Miz
It’s a slugfest right off the bat, until Swagger belly-to-belly suplexes Miz on the floor! Jack in control now with elbows-to-the-back. He splashes Miz in the corner and locks on a double-arm hold. He counters Miz’s run with a harsh clothesline and stomps right on his chest. Jack runs again and lands on Miz with the Swaggerbomb splash out of the corner for a near-fall! Swagger catches Miz out of a run and brings him down with another powerslam. 1 – 2 – Miz kicks out!
Miz starts to get up again, with clotheslines and a boot. He hits the running clothesline in the corner and flies off the top rope with a double-axe-handle! 1 – 2 – Swagger kicks out! Miz flips over into a sunset flip for another close fall, but soon gets his left leg caught in the ropes. This gives “The Real American” a “real advantage” (yes, I had to go there!), as he pounds on the potentially injured leg before clamping on the “Patriot Lock” Ankle Lock for the tap out!
Winner via Pinfall: “The Real American” Jack Swagger
Segment #9: Backstage Promo
Josh Matthews interviews tonight’s main-event participant, John Cena. He is excited but serious about the bout, where Cena has a change to “prove to the world that John Cena is back!” Tonight, Cena says the better man will win and go to Wrestlemania. “If you haven’t given up and the words ‘Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect’ still have some meaning to you, tonight the whole world will know that their time is up and our time is now!”
Match #7: Single for the #1 Contender’s Spot to the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania XXIV – C.M. Punk VS. John Cena
(Note: In a nice touch for a non-title bout, but important one nonetheless, formal introductions are made in ring this time!)
The two long-time arch-rivals walk around then engage in an elbow/collar tie-up. Punk gets the advantage with a side-headlock takedown, which Cena eventually reverses into a grounding rear chinlock, following a bit of chain-wrestling. Punk leg-scissors his way out and clamps down a side-headlock of his own. Cena leap-frogs over a running C.M. and hip-tosses him down. Punk heads to the outside for a break.
Back live, Cena backdrops Punk, who soon moves out of the way and drops Cena with a swinging neckbreaker. Punk delivers elbows to John’s back and soon clamps on a leg scissors submission. Cena rolls over and stands up with Punk on his shoulders, dropping backwards to the mat.
Cena counters with a double-boot and running bulldog for a two-count! Cena leaps onto a grounded Punk, clutching on a front-facelock. Cena ducks a couple running clotheslines but gets hit with a calf-kick for a two-count by C.M.! “The Straight-Edge Superstar” wears down Cena with a side-headlock and ducks a second flying shoulder-tackle from the former “Dr. Of Thuganomics.” Punk leaps through the ropes with a suicide dive!
Back live, Punk has Cena locked in an abdominal stretch, but Cena reverses into a hip toss. Cena begins to fire up with the shoulder-tackles, but “The Second-City Saint” reverses a spin-out backdrop into the Anaconda Vice! Cena counters into a pinning combo for 2! Punk now hits another neckbreaker for another near-fall, then crawls out of the S.T.F.! He springs himself off the ropes with a flying clothesline for another two-count!
Punk misses another springboard clothesline and gets caught in the S.T.F. in the middle, but somehow sneaks out and works his way into the Anaconda Vice! Cena counters again this time, into a Crossface, which Punk reverses into another pin combo, but only for two! (Awesome match!)
The two combatants engage in back-and-forth-punches, but Punk kicks him down. Cena comes back with the spin-out backdrop and attempts the “5 Knuckle Shuffle,” but Punk counters into a “Go-To-Sleep” try. Cena reverses into a sunset flip, which Punk reverses into another combo for a near-fall!
Punk nails the high-knee in the corner, but has his subsequent running bulldog into the spin-out backdrop. The “5 Knuckle Shuffle” is dropped this time, but the A.A. is wiggled out of by Punk! Cena plants Punk with harsh sit-down powerbomb. 1 – 2 – Punk gets the shoulder up!
Cena climbs the top rope, but takes too long and Punk cuts him off. The “Second-City Saint” is headbutted off the turnbuckle and driven down with the legdrop to the mat! 1 – 2 – Punk again with the shoulder up! (Wow!)
Punk drops Cena in the back of the head with a kick and hits the high-knee. Cena quickly hits the Attitude Adjustment out of nowhere! 1 – 2 – Punk kicks out! (Oh my!) On the outside, Cena is pushed into the ringpost, and Mike Chioda, the referee, gets to the count of 9 before Cena makes the miraculous dive back in!
Punk drops Cena with the “Go To Sleep,” but only for 2! Punk tries again, but Cena catches his knee into the S.T.F. He is resisting, resisting, resisting, crawling, and grabs the ropes! Cena is sitting in the ring in disbelief, gathering his thoughts. Punk kicks him in the shin and hits the banned move, The Piledriver! 1 – 2 – Cena still kicks out! (Holy crap!)
Punk tries another couple quick covers, but again to no avail. Punk dives off the top rope and kisses canvas with the elbow! Cena manages pull off a helluva hurricanrana and get a third Attitude Adjustment for the finale! John Cena is going to Wrestlemania!
Winner and #1 Contender for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania XXIX: John Cena
(That was a match – well freakin’ done men!)
Cena poses and celebrates for the fans, as Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler put over the match they just witnessed and John Cena’s destination to Wrestlemania XXIX. The Rock chimes in with a tweet. “Congrats John…It’s official: Wrestlemania 29 @WWE Heavyweight Champion The Rock vs @ John Cena Greatness vs Redemption #BringIt” to close the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
Wow! That was an excellent Raw, of course capped off by a superb main event. All around, the show flowed smoothly and the matches all had to do with continuing feuds and/or storylines. Nothing felt like “filler”, other than the recaps of what happened during the week and/or night already.
Excellence: Paul Heyman’s promo – the man does speak the truth and you hear the passion in his voice when he does. I’m glad he and Vince entangled into a little fight before bringing out the expected returns of Brock Lesnar and Triple H. Man, does Lesnar bleed well too! Something tells me that was just a little bit on purpose, to enhance the intensity of the rivalry.
Both C.M. Punk’s and John Cena’s promos were awesome in putting themselves and the glory they have for wanting to main event Wrestlemania XXIX over. Glad Cena was on his more “business” side tonight, while C.M. is always just “on.”
Henry/Khali is a win because it was over short and sweet, so hopefully this side-track feud is and Henry moves on to a bigger (star-wise) opponent for Wrestlemania. I like the R-Truth/Damien Sandow mix-up, and I can easily see a tag-team match with their respective partners/friends at W.M. too. “The Shield,” particularly Dean Ambrose, was excellent tonight. Even though they got taken down a small peg tonight with Orton’s R.K.O. to Rollins, it was smart because it shows they are not completely invincible but strong enough to regroup and continue to fight, as evidenced by Ambrose’s position in the ring following the finisher.
Love the entire Swagger/Colter/Del Rio storyline. They are pushing it just far enough to not get in major trouble and have to pull the plug, so far. It has also shot Swagger back to decent stardom, and he does feel like a legitimate contender for the World Championship. I hope they can keep going this way without flack and no one “chickens” out.
Finally, the main event. John Cena and C.M. Punk have unique and extraordinary chemistry for two wrestlers opposite styles. This bout will definitely be on a “best of” DVD, and should be studied by up and coming wrestlers on how to make a match suspenseful and tell a story with so much on the line, in my opinion. That was even a interesting and unexpected way to execute a hurricanrana by Cena, but a nice additive because it displayed that he will pull out all the stops to win. Great way to end it, completely clean and controversial free, as well as the immediate tweet from The Rock, to remind us that the WWE Champion is still “there.” I am actually starting to slightly look forward to this feud again.
Bogus: Once again, Dolph Ziggler. Great match with Ryback, but where the hell is he going toward Wrestlemania, particularly since he has the Money In The Bank briefcase? So disappointing with how far he has fallen recently.
Time to have new Tag-Team Champs. Not into the on/off relationship of Kane/Daniel Bryan anymore, and they could be great singles wrestlers again too. Put the straps on “Primetime Players,” or a reformed and permanent “Rhodes Scholars.”
Lastly, not really understanding what this feud is about with Sheamus and Wade Barrett. The Irishman went from WWE/World Title level to picking on the Intercontinental Champion about his movie? Lame.
Overall, this Raw left me very satisfied and excited for next week, as steam will really pick up with the main-events (apparently) solidified. With it being Old-School Raw too, please bring back a 90s-esque set and the ever-classic red, white, and blue ropes!
Until then, as always, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!