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It is now just under three weeks away from WrestleMania XXIX! Of course, we know the two main-matches, but now the undercard is starting to shape up with the addition of “The Shield” taking on Ryback, Sheamus, and “The Viper,” Randy Orton. after last week, I can see (and hope for) a Tag-Team Championship bout placed on the line up, with Dolph Ziggler and Big E. being the potential challengers. (Although, I do wish it would be “Team Rhodes Scholars” first).
Who/what else could be added to “The Granddaddy Of Them All?” Could we get another Hall-Of-Fame Inductee announced? How will Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger continue to play mind games with each other? Finally, the WWE Champion himself, The Rock, will NOT be in attendance tonight, so what will John Cena have in store for his rival, to hammer home that point?
All of the above, and much more, I’m sure, so read on!
Monday Night Raw TV Report for March 18th, 2013 – “Here We Go Again.”
Introduction Segment: Recap and Welcoming
A montage starts out, beginning with Brock Lesnar and Triple H’s feud, then the latest events in the new rivalry between The Undertaker and C.M. Punk.
Michael Cole welcomes us to tonight’s show and one of the main-event stars for WrestleMania XXIX kicks off Raw!
Segment #1: Arena Promo
John Cena is back and welcomed back in Pittsburgh! He is sporting is usual t-shirt, this time coloured in bright-yellow, which are the Pittsburgh Steelers team colours.
He tells the fans who are split between he and WWE Champion The Rock, that they have 20 days left to pick a side. He wants to give The Rock’s fans a short, simple message – “your time is up, our time is now!” John promises that he is focused and ready for WrestleMania.
“The Primetime Players,” Darren Young and Titus O’Neil interrupt. Titus is donned in an afro and coveralls, pretending to be Titus’ “Uncle Rufus ‘Pancake’ Patterson.” Bottom line, because this was really stupid, they challenge Cena to a match with Young. Cena accepts and the bout is on!
Match #1: Single – John Cena VS. Darren Young (with “Primetime Players” partner Titus O’Neil)
Cena charges right away with fists and a bulldog to send Young to the outside.
Back live, John takes Darren down with two shoulder-block tackles and a spin-out backdrop. He nails the “5-Knuckle Shuffler” fistdrop and Attitude Adjustment for the quick victory!
Winner: John Cena
Also tonight, The Undertaker will return and Ryback is in action next!
Match #2: Single – David Otunga VS. Ryback
(I think you know how this will go!) Ryback immediately picks up Otunga and runs him into the corner. He smashes his shoulder into David’s gut, then drops him with a tilt-a-whirl powerslam, delivers a “Meathook” clothesline, and finishes him off with the “Shellshocked’ Marching Samoan Drop.
Winner via Pinfall: Ryback
Post-match, Ryback takes the microphone and threatens that he, Shamus, and Randy Orton will “tear ‘The Shield’ apart. As far as ‘The World’s Strongest Man’ is concerned, on my way to WrestleMania, we will cross again. And when that time comes, everyone knows, it will be ‘feeding time.’”
Mark Henry quickly responds to the challenge and begins to walk down. Before he can pursue, Smackdown! Assistant Teddy Long convinces him to stop. Managing Supervisor is on the other side of Henry, and she announces that Ryback is pulled from the 6-Man Tag Match, and instead will go one-on-one with Mark Henry! In his answer, Ryback picks up Otunga and gives him another “Shellshock.”
Later tonight, Triple H and Brock Lesnar will sign their contract for WrestleMania.
Up next, Fandango – will he or won’t he? (Truthfully, I don’t really care!)
Match #3: Single – Fandango (with Dancer Valet) VS. The Great Khali (with Natalya)
Wow, he’s actually going to wrestle! Fandango does have a fancy entrance, complete with streamers on the stage and a pyrotechnic image of himself in the ring. Unfortunately for him, he also gets absolutely NO reaction from the fans.
Prior to the bout, Fandango offers the “beautiful, sensual, Canadian slice of Heaven” Natalya to pronounce his name. She starts to, then orders Khali to get him. Fandango hops out of the ring and walks out, because, once again, no one said his name correctly. (Boring and waste of time!)
Winner: No Contest due to No Official Match Start
Match #4: Single – R-Truth VS. “The Intellectual Saviour Of The Masses” Damien Sandow
On his way to the ring, Sandow quotes Henry David Leroe, saying “rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” Damien claims that Leroe is “rolling over in his grave right now, with that man in the ring calling himself ‘R-Truth.’
And judging by his appearance and actions, the ‘R’ obviously stands for ‘repugnant.’ Your welcome!” Truth retorts with a little poetry of his own: “your beard is weird, and you talk a lot. I’ve got four sweet words for you – ‘you gonna get got!’ You’re welcome!”
They circle around and then Damien hits Truth with some stiff hands and knees to the gut and back. Truth is run off the ropes and comes back with a sunset flip for two, but gets beaten on again.
Truth fights out of a grounding rear chinlock, but is taken down with knees and a side Russian legsweep. Truth gets some momentum back, with a couple clotheslines and flying headscissors. As Truth hit the Scissors kick, Sandow rolls out of the ring and walks away. The referee begins the count and reaches 10!
Winner via Count-Out: R-Truth
Backstage, The Bella Twins are ogling Cody Rhodes when Divas Champion Kaitlyn walks in. She tells the girls they can have Cody, and he can have them too, mustaches and all!
Up next, The Undertaker is back!
Segment #2: Arena Promo
After recalling last week with Kane, C.M. Punk, and The Undertaker, “The Phenom” makes his grand entrances. He informs Punk that he has “sealed your own fate when you decided to make this personal. There’s no escaping what’s going to happen to you at WrestleMania. I’m going to hurt you, and I’m going to hurt your own soul.”
In a new low, C.M. Punk appears on the TitanTron and mocks the late, great Paul Bearer with his voice and The Urn. He pretty much claims that he is a “high power” and he is “the one” to beat The Undertaker and cause him to be 20 – 1. (Seriously, we get the point that Punk is a jerk, this does not need to be exemplified this way – it really is disrespectful and over the line in my opinion.)
Match #5: Tag-Team – Primo and Epico (with Rosa Mendes) VS. Tag-Team Champions “Team Hell No” (Kane and Daniel Bryan) (Non Title)
Kane is totally unfocussed right now, but still dominates over Primo. Bryan tags himself in and settles Kane down, then gets rolling on Primo. Daniel hits a knee-to-the-gut and kicks in the corner. He counters a sunset flip attempt with a harsh knee-to-the-face.
He backdrops Epico but gets distracted and kneed from behind. Epico and Primo switch back and forth, with mudhole stomps, and a nice high dropkick. Epico locks on a surfboard stretch, but Bryan flips him over. Primo is back in, but gets flipped by Bryan, and Daniel manages to barely get the tag. Kane is in and unloads on Primo, flying off the top rope with a clothesline, and as he signals for the Chokeslam, A.J.’s music hits.
She runs out and skips around the ring, but this does not distract the Tag Champs as intended, as Kane does Chokeslam Epico for the 1 – 2 – 3!
winners via Pinfall: Tag-Team Champions “Team Hell No” (Kane and Daniel Bryan)
Segment #3: Backstage Promo
Josh Matthews is with the 9-Time Intercontinental Champion, Chris Jericho! He wants to become a 10-Time Intercontinental Champion and make a huge impact at WrestleMania like The Rock and The Undertaker.
For some reason, Fandango walks in and orders Jericho to pronounce his name correctly. Jericho says it “every which way but loose” (to borrow a movie title!), which irritates Fandango.
Randy Orton and Sheamus team to take on “3.M.B.” while up next, Cody Rhodes will face World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio!
Match #6: Single – Cody Rhodes VS. World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez) (Non-Title)
Cody gets a few quick shots in before Del Rio fires back with a hurricanrana. He rolls around out of a wrist lock and trips up Rhodes into a La Mahistral roll-up. Cody headbutts Alberto into the corner and whips him hard into the opposite turnbuckles.
Del Rio counters a run with a flapjack and then kicks him hard in the side-of-the-head. 1 – 2 – Cody kicks out! Rhodes takes over again, reversing a suplex into one of his own for another two-count. Cody grounds Del Rio with a leg scissors, then makes him miss in the turnbuckle, as Alberto runs shoulder-first into the steel ring post.
Del Rio comes back with a snapmare and kick-to-the-back. He low-dropkicks Rhodes off the side of the ring, forcing his head to bounce off the ring apron.
Back live, Cody is in control again, as during the break, he managed to hit the “Disaster Kick” on the outside using the barricade! Rhodes works over Del Rio’s left knee, pushing against it with his own.
Cody attempts a suplex from the top turnbuckle, but Alberto counters with a flapjack! The World Heavyweight Champion is fired up with clotheslines and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. He nails him with a harsh kick for a near fall! Alberto is warming up for the Cross Armbreaker, but Rhodes fights out of it and dives off the top rope with a moonsault! 1 – 2 – kickout by Del Rio!
Del Rio counters again and tosses Cody to the ring apron. He uses the ropes to deliver the “Backstabber” backbreaker for two! Cody tried for a knee in the corner but misses, and Del Rio manages to clamp on the Cross Armbreaker for the tap out!
Winner via Submission: World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez)
Post match, Jack Swagger, Del Rio’s WrestleMania opponent, assaults both Alberto and Rodriguez. As Jack was pounding on Del Rio, Ricardo hopped on the back of him but was chucked over the ropes.
Del Rio regained his composure and brawled with Swagger to the outside. He then gazes at Zeb Colter, but before he can do any damage, Jack recovers and shoves him in to the steel steps, then tosses him over the announce table. As he walks to the ramp, Colter points out a downed Rodriguez.
Jack runs him over with a clothesline, then locks on the “Patriot Lock” Ankle Lock. He has appeared to injure Ricardo’s ankle, probably breaking it.
Segment #4: Hall-Of-Fame Promo
A new person will be added to this year’s Hall-Of-Fame and he is Booker T! To borrow his catchprhase, ” now can you dig that, sucka?!” (Excellent selection – Stevie Ray for the inductor?) Video highlights of his storied career are played.
Up next, Randy Orton makes his entrance for his tag-team match.
Match #7: Tag-Team – “The Viper” Randy Orton and “The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus VS. “3.M.B.” (Drew McIntyre and Heath Slater) (with “3.M.B.” member Jinder Mahal)
Sheamus clubs away on Drew to start out, then tags in Orton who its a nice dropkick (as “The King” called it). Back to Sheamus who pounds away on McIntyre’s chest against the ropes, then springboards off the ropes with “The Battering Ram” shoulder-tackle.
Jinder distracts Sheamus, so Drew takes advantage with a stiff clothesline and tags in Slater. They kick away in the corner on Sheamus, then switches with Drew again who nails Sheamus in the face with a big boot.
Heath comes back in and hits a high calf kick, then holds up Sheamus for Drew, but the fighting Irishman battles out, and manages to get the hot high-five to “The Viper!”
Orton is momentum-filled, hitting clotheslines and the slingshot-DDT. Sheamus cuts off both Drew and Mahal with The Brogue Kick, while Randy plants Slater with the R.K.O. to get the W!
Winners via Pinfall: “The Viper” Randy Orton and “The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus
Post-match, “The Shield” make their appearance for the night, surrounding the ring. However, a certain 7-footer runs down (and impressively fast, I might add for his size!) and measures up against Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose.
The Big Show appears to scare off “The Shield” and align himself with Sheamus and Orton. Big Show points to the WrestleMania sign, then walks off, leaving Orton and Sheamus to contemplate.
Segment #5: Movie Promo
WWE Champion The Rock’s trailer and behind-the-scenes footage of “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” airs.
Match #8: Single – Kofi Kingston VS. “The Show-Off/Mr. Money In The Bank” Dolph Ziggler (with A.J. and Big E. Langston)
Elbow/collar tie-up begins, as does traded wristlocks. Kofi takes Dolph down with a couple of armdrags, then clamps on an armlock. Ziggler turns it into a grounding side headlock of his own, but gets leaped over a couple times by Kofi, then taken down with a jumping elbow.
Dolph moves out of the corner, then nails a resounding-smacking dropkick and locks in a grounding rear chinlock, complete with headstand!
Dolph attempts a corner splash of his own, but eats turnbuckle, allowing Kingston to comeback with a Russian legsweep out of the sleeper. Kofi springboard-splashes Ziggler for a two-count, then leaps up with another high elbow.
He jumps on Dolph again with the “Boom Drop” legdrop, and flips his way out of a reverse powerslam. Kofi runs at Dolph on the outside off the apron, but Langston cuts him off. Ziggler shoves him back in, and yanks him down with the “Zig-Zag” for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: “The Show-Off/Mr. Money In The Bank” Dolph Ziggler (with A.J. and Big E. Langston)
Post-match, Kane’s pyro goes boom, and the Tag-Team Champions walk out on stage. Bryan congratulates Dolph on getting them on the same page, and Kane challenges Big E. and Ziggler to a match. On behalf of Ziggler and Langston, A.J. accepts, if the Tag-Team Championship is on the line at WrestleMania. Daniel gives it some thought, then chants “yes, yes, yes, yes, yes…!”
Up next, another WrestleMania main event preview featuring WWE Champion The Rock and John Cena.
Segment #6: WrestleMania Preview
This is the same video from last week, chronicling the feud between John Cena and WWE Champion The Rock. (Still though, fantastic highlight package!)
The Intercontinental Championship is on the line now, as The Miz makes is way to the ring!
Match #9: Triple-Threat for the Intercontinental Championship – The Miz (Challenger) VS. Wade Barrett (Champion) VS. Chris Jericho (Challenger)
The three face off, and Barrett tries to eliminate both early. Jericho comes back with an elbow off the ropes and clotheslines Wade over the ropes, then gets rolled-up by Miz for a quick two!
Miz front-dropkicks Barrett through the ropes, and Jericho follows with a slingshot splash to the outside! He rolls Barrett into the ring, and hits a dropkick for another near fall!
Miz pulls Jericho out and shoves him against the apron, then sunset flips Barrett for two! Miz kicks “Y2J” from the apron, but gets beaten on by the Intercontinental Champion. He climbs the turnbuckle, and Jericho follows in, giving way for the “Tower Of Doom” powerbomb/suplex combo!
Back live, Barrett and Jericho wrestle in the ring, while Miz is kicked to the outside. Jericho chops Wade, but gets a knee-to-the-gut in return. Barrett works on Jericho with a grounding rear chinlock, but Chris battles back with shoulder blocks and a diving crossbody!
He hits the bulldog and is gaining momentum, until Miz pulls him over the ropes. Miz tries for his back/neckbreaker combo, but Wade shoves him into the ropes and plants him with the “Winds Of Change” spinning slam! 1 – 2 – Miz kicks out! He wiggles out of a “Wasteland” attempt, dropkicks Barrett in the knee, then locks on the Figure 4! However, Jericho flies in with the Lionsault. 1 – 2 – no, Miz kicks out!
Miz is taken out, and Jericho turns Barrett around into the Walls Of Jericho! (Huge pop from the fans!) The I.C. Champ struggles to the ropes, and Miz grabs Jericho to attempt a “Skull Krushing Finale.”
They both toss Wade over, and “Y2J” Victory Rolls Miz for a two, then hits him with the Codebreaker. Both Barrett and Jericho trade covers on Miz, then Wade is thrown into the Barricade.
DDT by Miz for a close one, then a big boot for another near fall on Jericho! Barrett is still on the outside after being dropkick too by Jericho. “Y2J” misses with the enziguri but kicks Miz off another Figure 4 attempt. Miz drops Jericho with the “S.K.F.” front Russian legsweep, but Barrett sneaks back in and rolls up Miz for the hard-fought victory!
Winner and STILL Intercontinental Champion: Wade Barrett
Following footage of the world-premier party of the movie, “The Call,” Triple H is on his way to the ring.
Segment #10: Arena Promo
Triple H is out first, then Paul Heyman walks out with “security.” He informs “The Game” that he is just the “advocate,” and tells HHH that he is afraid of the predicament he and Lesnar has put him in.
#1 is that he doesn’t wrestle Brock and disappoint the entire WWE Universe, or #2 sign the contract and fight Lesnar without even knowing the stipulations.
Heyman threatens that they will only tell him the stipulations when he signs the contract. Triple H doesn’t care, he wants it now. Heyman milks it for all it’s worth, then shows the footage they love to watch – Lesnar taking out Vince McMahon and Triple H coming to the rescue.
Paul E. finally lays out the big stipulation: “the winner of the match gets your wife, Stephanie. But since we’re talking personally, we all know that wouldn’t work, because wouldn’t it be more fitting if the LOSER gets Stephanie?”
Triple H loses it, and even though the “security” try to cover Heyman, HHH fights right through them and gets to Paul, laying a beating on him. Heyman has a little cut above his right eye, then HHH lays him on the table and signs the contract. He orders him to call “his monster” and pushes Heyman out of the ring, throwing the chair on him.
Lesnar responds, charging out and smashing a chair on the ramp, to which “The Game” answers with his “toy” of choice, the sledgehammer. Heyman convinces Brock to back down, and Lesnar hocks the chair into the ring.
At the top of the stage, a disheveled Heyman reveals the REAL stipulation for WrestleMania: “ladies and gentleman, and Triple H. It will be Triple H VS. Brock Lesnar, at WrestleMania, no count-out, no-disqualification, no stopping the match for any single solitary reason because your match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania will be ‘no holds barred!’ I almost forgot, must be the beating I took, when you face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, the added stipulation that we picked, is that your career is on the line!”
“You got it, game over,” Heyman tells Lesnar as they happily smirk at a stunned Triple H to close the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
Ah, back to the average-to-low-average Raw. Honestly, this wasn’t that great of a show, especially in the first half. There will be a lot more in the “bogus” section this week compared to the last few! On to the analysis for why.
Excellence: The continuity of the A.J./Dolph/Big E./Kane/Daniel Bryan angle – liked A.J. coming out to distract Kane/Bryan in their match, even though it was to no avail. And then later (following a beautiful bout between Kofi and Ziggler) “Team Hell No” issuing the challenge and A.J. responding for the Championships at WrestleMania! Also, like that I see Dolph back on the winning path and going somewhere again.
I like the switching of Ryback into his match with Mark Henry. I actually think this will be a pretty good contest, as Henry has greatly improved over the last couple years. Again though, now they should definitely NOT touch each other to hype the suspense of to “behemoth’s” going at it!
The feud between Jack Swagger and World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio is awesome – I think this is the BEST for the WrestleMania right now. It’s a back-to-basics rivalry with no b.s. involved. Just two men fighting over a World Title, and a twist of “truth” thrown in with Zeb Colter to heat it up even more. I love the physicality between then, and honestly, I can see either winning at ‘Mania and this still going for another month. (But probably no more afterward).
Orton/Sheamus/”3.M.B.” was much better and longer that I thought. Glad they just didn’t “job” the trio quickly again. And it was a decent “warm-up” to see if Sheamus/Randy could team together.
Every positive word one can think of can be thrown in to describe the Intercontinental Championship match. That was AWESOME, and glad it was the main event match tonight. It put true emphasis on (what used to be) one of the greater championships and kudos to Michael Cole for putting over the bout and title well too. I hope this isn’t the end and the I.C. Championship is once again elevated to where it used to be. I would be very happy if they did this rematch at WrestleMania again. Barrett, Jericho, and Miz could easily come up with new ways to keep fans intrigued with the same match over and over!
Congratulations Booker T. Well deserved and fitting, since his first major character was “Harlem Heat,” in New York, so good place to have his induction. There’s a man that also has truly gone through lots of personal turmoil and risen to beat the odds and become one of the best in his profession. (As the old cliche’ goes!) I am truly loving this selection for the Hall-Of-Fame class, and am more excited for it than WrestleMania! (To bad they don’t air it fully up in Canada! Oh well, will be waiting and buying the DVD!)
Bogus: Lots! Starting with the opening promo/match, that was just dumb and pointless. I really don’t have any words for it, and unfortunately, it made the “Primetime Players” – one of the better tag-teams in recent memory – look really, really weak. It also did NOTHING to bring up Cena’s status for WrestleMania. He didn’t need to do this tonight.
I get that C.M. Punk is just supposed to be a jerk, but while I also think that it was one of his weaker promos tonight, I just totally disagree with them (WWE) using a recently passed member of the “family” (William Moody a.k.a. “Paul Bearer”) to enhance a storyline. Even though I know it wouldn’t have gone through if The Undertaker wasn’t cool with it, I just think it is not necessary. This segment was much like how they had Randy Orton disrespect the late-great Eddie Guerrero with his low-rider and that storyline with Rey Mysterio in 2006. Unfortunate and un-needed. Much like I said last week, they should’ve have left it at Undertaker and Kane respectfully paying tribute to their friend and manager. Figure out other ways to build the angle – there are plenty more, I’m sure!
Fandango is a waste of time – write this character out, now please!
I didn’t get why Sandow walked out on the match. It was a great match, but I just don’t see that going anywhere. Waste of talent!
The stipulation for Lesnar/HHH. It’s been done before and the only person to actually stick to it out of the many has been Shawn Michaels. I’m not buying it, UNLESS the twist is, they truly mean CAREER and Triple H has to stay off TV forever (in “WWE Terms” a year) and relinquish his other duties too. Then I could be a little more into it, but still not too much. Feeling “rehashed.”
Again, I really felt this was just a “throw-away” Raw almost, and as mentioned above, not feeling some of the builds. I think the matches themselves will be fantastic at ‘Mania, but some are redone (actually) or reused with another wrestler. We shall see next week, maybe the last two before he “Showcase of the Immortals” can change my mind.
Until then, as always, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!