It is only two weeks until “The Showcase of the Immortals!” The main-events are set, the undercard is being built, and The Road continues tonight in Philly. What will go down in the city of “Brotherly Love?” Hopefully a lot more and much better than last week! Read on!
Monday Night Raw Report for March 25th, 2013 – “Success Or Failure?”
Introduction Segment: Preview and Welcoming
A video package of two of the main-events at WrestleMania plays (‘Taker/Punk and Rock/Cena), and then Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler bring us to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Segment #1: Arena Promo
C.M. Punk, with Paul Heyman in tow, is out first. They are still carrying and toying around with The Undertaker/Paul Bearer’s Urn. Punk says “they” all hold Undertaker’s streak high, and “they” believe there is some sort of power from the Urn. The “Straight-Edge Superstar” puts ‘Taker’s streak over, then says he should’ve rode off in the sunset with Triple H and Shawn Michaels after last year’s WrestleMania, at 20 – 0.
Punk says that The Undertaker “is at a psychological disadvantage and should’ve stayed gone.” He says that “The Deadman” could’ve gone 30 – 0 or even 50 – 0, but now he is facing “the man.” “I am the one in 20 and 1.” The “Second-City Saint” threatens that “at WrestleMania, you and your perfect streak will ‘rest … in … peace.’”
Cue the gong and lights to ring and go out, then The Undertaker appears in the squared circle and begins to lay a beating. Punk manages to escape with both Heyman and The Urn. Undertaker stays in the ring, threatening C.M. with the “throat-slash” sign.
Later tonight, John Cena and WWE Champion The Rock will face a panel of current and future Hall-Of-Famers to answer tough questions.
Up next, Fandango will be in action.
Match #1: Single – Fandango (with Dancer) VS. ???
As Fandango was pronouncing his name, Chris Jericho hauls butt to the ring and beats down on Fandango. This is not the real match, according to Cole, and Fandango high-tails it to the back.
Winner: No Contest via No Official Match Start
Match #2: Single – “Y2J” Chris Jericho VS. “The Show Off/Mr. Money In The Bank” Dolph Ziggler (A.J./Big E. Langston)
Jericho’s opponent now comes out and this bout actually begins. Jericho sweeps and punches Ziggler, then snap-suplexes him. Dolph comes back with a punch of his own, then “Y2J” fights back with slugs. He dives off the ropes with a crossbody for two!
Back live, Ziggler has Jericho locked in a grounding rear chinlock. During the break, Langston pulled Jericho off the apron to give Dolph control. “The Show Off” nails a beautiful, resounding dropkick, and soon after clamps on a standing abdominal stretch.
The “Ayatollah Of Rock n’ Rolla” counters with a huge hip-toss, and flies off the turnbuckle with a double-axe-handle. Jericho hits the running bulldog, and springboard-dropkicks Langston off the ropes. Ziggler returns with a jumping-DDT and measures him for the sleeper, but Jericho clutches the ropes. Jericho gets Ziggler in the Walls Of Jericho for the tap-out victory!
Winner via Submission: “Y2J” Chris Jericho
Post-match, Big E. hits his finisher on Jericho, then Fandango walks out and dances around a downed “Y2J,” before putting the fists to his head. He screams at him to “say my name” then puts a big boot to his face, hops the top rope, and soars with a leg drop! He leaves the ring, emphasizing “it’s Fan-dan-go!”
Later tonight, a “no holds-barred” preview featuring Triple H and Brock Lesnar
Segment #2: Backstage Promo
Matt Striker is with Sheamus, then after footage from Smackdown of “The Shield” facing off with Randy Orton, The Big Show, and Sheamus, asks The Irishman if he and Orton have “buried the hatchet” with The Big Show. Before he can give much of a response, “The Shield” assault both Sheamus and Orton. Big Show intervenes and helps fends off Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns.
Match #3: Two-On-One – “The World’s Strongest man” Mark Henry VS. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey)
Henry made his entrance prior to the break. As my Dad said, “I bet you the Usos lose.” I agree, even though they do put up a fight, complete with a splash. Henry of course makes his comeback and polishes them off with the “World’s Strongest Slam” for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry
Post-match, Henry takes out both of them for good measure and to show off.
Up next, it’s another “Champion VS. Champion” match (like those mean anything, these days!) with World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio taking on United States Champion Antonio Cesaro.
Match #4: “Champion VS. Champion” Single – United States Champion Antonio Cesaro VS. World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez) (Non-Title)
Prior to the contest, Ricardo Rodriguez manages to hobble out on crutches and announce his friend. Del Rio comes out and appreciates the gesture. Cesaro and Del Rio trade wristlocks until Antonio gets him in the corner and punches. He drops an elbow (thanks Cole!) on Del Rio’s chest, then whips him into the ropes, only for Alberto to come back and hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.
Zeb Colter walks out, distracting Del Rio, which allows Cesaro to take advantage. Del Rio does cut the U.S. Champion off the rope, and brings him down with a super-plex! Both men are down. On the outside, “The Real American” Jack Swagger shoves Ricardo into the ring steps and then drags him by his injured ankle to the time-keeper’s area, slamming his leg into the wall.
Del Rio takes umbrage and hops the barricade, beating down Swagger. His exit from the ring results in a count-out!
Winner via Count-Out: United States Champion Antonio Cesaro
Post-match, Del Rio still takes his frustration out on Cesaro, locking him in the Cross Armbreaker, and then goes to check on his mate.
Next, the Tag-Team Champs will be in action! (Thanks King!)
Match #5: Tag-Team – “The Primetime Players” (Darren Young and Titus O’Neil) VS. Tag-Team Champions “Team Hell No” (Kane and Daniel Bryan) (Non-Title)
Kane and Titus begin, then Kane quickly switches with Bryan who kicks away in the corner. Kane is back in, whipping Bryan into the corner of O’Neil. “The Big Deal” comes back and tags in Darren, who soon gets an uppercut by Kane. Daniel back in and kicks at Young, but distracted by Dolph Ziggler, A.J., and Big E. Langston who appear on stage.
This allows Darren to counter with a throw to the canvas. Titus is in and takes control. Young is back in, and Bryan fights out of a waistlock, then tags in Kane. The “Big Red Machine” hits a big boot and dropkick. Darren wiggles out of a pickup, but gets a sidewalk slam anyway. Titus breaks up the cover, but is taken over the ropes and dropped with a knee by Bryan. In the ring, Kane Chokeslams Darren for the W!
Winners via Pinfall: Tag-Team Champions “Team Hell No” (Kane and Daniel Bryan)
Later, “The Shield” will team up for a 6-Man Tag-Team bout!
Segment #3: Arena Promo
Triple H joins us to discuss the results of the stipulation for his WrestleMania match against Brock Lesnar. “The Game” recaps the career-ending possibility, and puts over Lesnar as “a destroyer. He is a machine that can end your career at any moment and that is a fact.”
HHH calls Heyman’s “grand coop” a mistake, as Trips gives Lesnar his own advice. “Show up at WrestleMania like your career is on the line. Come to WrestleMania like your life is on the line.” (This promo was nicely short and sweet.)
As he leaves, Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett walks out and motions for HHH to leave. “The Game” just kicks him below the belt and walks off.
Match #6: Single – Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett VS. The Miz (Non-Title)
Miz goes for the Figure-4 right away, but Barrett escapes. Miz tries for the “Skull-Krushing-Finale” but Wade gets out again. He comes back and smashes Miz’s head into the top turnbuckle. He boots Miz on the top rope, then smacks him with a knee-to-the-stomach. Wade pounds away then clamps on a chin submission. Miz fights and flips out of a backdrop, then rolls him up for two! Miz tosses the I.C. Champ outside, then dives off with an axe handle.
Back live, Barrett is back in control and boots Miz to the outside. He runs him into the side of the ring apron, back-first, then puts him back in the ring for a near fall. Wade has a surfboard stretch locked in and puts Miz in the corner. Miz ducks and Wade ends up face-first into the turnbuckle. “The Awesome One” regains momentum, hitting the corner clothesline and axe handle. 1 – 2 – Barrett kicks out!
Barrett reverses the “S.K.F.” and hits the “Winds Of Change” spinning slam for another near fall! Miz gets his way out of “Wasteland”, and attempts the Figure-4 again, but Wade rolls him up for two! A third attempt on the submission sends Miz shoulder-first into the steel ring post. Barrett winds up for the Bull Hammer clothesline, but Miz ducks. He crotches Wade on the top rope, then lock on the Figure-4 successfully, and the 4th time works for the tap-out!
Winner via Submission: The Miz
Segment #4: Locker Room Promo
Tag-Team Champions “Team Hell No” discuss what each other needs to do at WrestleMania, when Kaitlyn interrupts and reminds them of the real A.J., just as A.J. walks out and listens in. She of course goes nuts on Kaitlyn until Kane and Daniel Bryan manage to pull her off and put her back in the Divas locker room.
Match #7: 6-Man Tag – The Great Khali, Justin Gabriel, and “Long Island Iced-Z” Zack Ryder VS. “The Shield” (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns)
(Gee, I wonder who wins this!) Khali begins with Rollins, slapping him hard in the corner before tagging in Ryder. Rollins moves out of the way of a missile dropkick by Zack, and Ambrose comes in to take control. He runs off the ropes and hits a front dropkick, then switches with Roman. The strongman of “The Shield” works over Ryder, and the entire group finishes off the match after a diving knee drop from Rollins.
Winners via Pinfall: “The Shield” (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns)
Post-match, “The Shield” manages to impressively Triple-Powerbomb The Great Khali. As they pose in the ring, Sheamus walks out on the stage, followed by Randy Orton. They walk down to the ring, and on the other side, The Big Show stands off too. “The Shield” are surrounded and all six men engage in a brawl. “The Shield” is rid of for tonight and retreats through the crowd.
Segment #5: Backstage Promo
Chris Jericho walks out of Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero’s office. Josh Matthews catches up with him and wonders what they were talking about. He informs us that after two weeks of meaningless assaults, Fandango gets what he wants and he will take on “Y2J” at WrestleMania.
Match #8: Tag-Team – “The Rhodes Scholars” (“The Intellectual Savior Of The Masses” Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes) (with The Bella Twins) VS. “The Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay and “Sweet T.” Tensai (with “The Funkettes” Naomi and Cameron)
“The Rhodes Scholars” put over Philadelphia and then brought out the Bella Twins prior to the break. Tensai and Brodus double-team Sandow with a sidewalk slam and clothesline. Cody comes in and kicks away, then is able to drop Sweet T. with a neckbreaker. “The Rhodes Scholars” double-team and work over T. for a while. Rhodes dives into a clothesline, then gets t-boned by Brodus. A big splash in the corner drops Cody to the outside, then “The Funkettes” fight with The Bellas. As that is going on, Rhodes hits the Disaster Kick for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winners via Pinfall: “The Rhodes Scholars” (“The Intellectual Savior Of The Masses” Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes) (with The Bella Twins)
Match #9: 3-On-1: “3.M.B.” (Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, and Drew McIntyre) VS. Ryback
(Again, I wonder who wins this!) In short, it’s Ryback, who polishes BOTH Slater and Mahal with a DOUBLE Shell-Shock marching Samoan Drop for the victory!
Winner via Pinfall: Ryback
It is announced that movie action superstar and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzeneggar will induct Bruno Sammartino into the Hall-Of-Fame. (That will be an interesting speech!)
Match #10: Single – A.J. vs. Divas Champion Kaitlyn (Non-Title)
Kaitlyn is all over A.J., dominating her with whips into the corner. She continues to control, with a fierce shoulder tackle, and gutwrench knee drop. A.J. rolls out, dodges a spear, and chucks Kaitlyn into the barricade, harshly. A.J. slides in the ring and Kaitlyn is unable to make it back in.
Winner via Count-Out: A.J.
Up next, the Hall-Of-Fame panel with John Cena and WWE Champion The Rock!
Segment #6: Arena Promo
Jerry “The King” Lawler brings out the current and soon-to-be Hall-Of-Famers. The first two are from this year’s class, Booker T. and Mick Foley. Next is “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, lastly followed by (surprisingly!) Bret “The Hitman” Hart!
Back live, WWE Champion The Rock is out first, and then of course John Cena. This is basically a debate format, with the legends asking each competitor a question, and the opponent responding.
Foley takes the first inquiry, asking Cena if he is prepared to live with the type of regret after another loss at this year’s WrestleMania. Cena says that whether he does win or lose, it changes the face of the WWE forever. If he wins, Cena gets his story, the WWE Championship, and much-needed redemption.
If he loses, Cena says he would feel exactly like ex-NFL Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Donovan McNabb, because he could not win “the big one.” Cena claims that he can handle failure while The Rock has not known what failure is yet, but he soon will!
The Rock retorts, recalling his hard life into the WWE, and then his subsequent success and failures in his career.
Bret gets the next question, asking “what happened?” He is referring to their demeanors changing since last year. The Rock says it began with just two men fighting to be the best. And even when Cena lost, he took it like a man and at that moment The Rock respected Cena.
Cena does “respect the hell out of you” is happy with Rock saying Cena took his loss like a man. Cena says we’ll see how Rock will take it in 13 days.
Booker T. wants to know why Cena will beat The Rock at WrestleMania. “Because I have to.” Short and simple. The Rock despises Cena’s answer, until John fires back “because you didn’t beat me. You cannot beat me. I beat me.” Cena exclaims “I know I am better than The Rock. And much more importantly, The Rock knows I am better than The Rock.”
The Rock quotes another Hall-Of-Famer, Ric Flair, in saying “to be the man, you got to beat the man.” Dusty Rhodes chimes in, and says that WrestleMania is not about respect or redemption. It is about winning and losing. He asks them the tough one – “what do you guys really want on April 7?”
Cena wants to beat The Rock and dominate The Rock. He says that the WWE Champion will realize that “I am better than The Rock.”
The Rock challenges Cena to prove everyone wrong at WrestleMania, then prove him wrong right now. Cena strips off his shirt, then gives the “you can’t see me” hand gesture right in front of Rock’s face. They slug it, and Rock drops out of an Attitude Adjustment, spins Cena, and delivers the Rock Bottom. He stands tall atop the stage with the WWE Championship as Cena glares on to close the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
Much, much better show than last week. Loved the amount of matches and less talking on this episode.
Excellence: C.M. Punk’s opening promo – I liked how he put over the streak and told The Undertaker that he basically should’ve retired after last year’s WrestleMania. (I do admit, I agree as it would’ve been a perfect ending to his career). Also, I know last week I harped on them using the Urn and disrespecting the late-great William Moody (a.k.a. “Paul Bearer”), however since I read his sons were ok with the storyline, it makes me feel a little better. Plus, it wasn’t exaggerated this week too, so that was nice.
I also berated the Fandango character/introductions a lot, but now that he is actually working, and with Chris Jericho taboot, this will be much better. If anyone help elevate him with his persona, it’s “Y2J!”
Once again, Alberto Del Rio/Jack Swagger/Zeb Colter can do no wrong, and I think this is the BEST storyline/match put together right now for WrestleMania XXIX.
Great to see the Tag Division getting a decent showing and actually have the championships defended at WrestleMania! Triple H’s promo – short, sweet, and to the point. Love the “ass-kicking Cerebral Assassin” persona that he truly is. I’m ok with “The Rhodes Scholars”/Bellas feud with Brodus Clay/Sweet T./Naomi/Cameron. They all work well together and I’d be fine if their was a potential Mixed 8-Person Tag-Team bout at ‘Mania.
The best part about the final segment was the Hall-Of-Famers! It was cool they didn’t announce beforehand who was going to be on the panel, and I was truly surprised by Bret “The Hitman” Hart. (Although, I’m really starting to feel old now with him having grey-white hair!) That was neat.
Bogus: While I think that the Ryback/Mark Henry “one-ups-manship” storyline is going well, I don’t think Ryback should’ve clotheslined Henry so easily on Friday’s Smackdown (read that fine report on this fine website!). I believe they should’ve have kept the physical contact until WrestleMania and kept us in suspense of who was truly more powerful.
Loved the match between Jericho and Ziggler (as usual), but didn’t love the ending. I think Fandango should’ve run back out to cost Jericho the match and Dolph should’ve kept his little winning streak alive. Both would’ve enhanced each other this way going into ‘Mania.
Sad to say/see that “Champion VS. Champion” matches mean diddly squat these I love “The Shield” and all they are doing, but to me, this is just another 6-Man Match on the card. (Those used to be pretty special too, but now they seem to use them every other week!) I like the mini-feud between A.J. and Divas Champ Kaitlyn, but I think they rushed it tonight with the quick match. Should’ve been saved (and the full-on probably will) for WrestleMania.
I honestly think the panel promo could’ve been better and more to it. I just feel that the responses by both Cena and The Rock were almost the same as last year. As I’ve stated before, I’m just not invested because they are re-doing what was supposed to be “once in a lifetime.” Although I know it will be a superb wrestling match itself, I’m totally against the whole thing and stand by last year as the only time they should’ve feuded.
Overall, Raw was greatly improved this week and really felt back on track toward WrestleMania. I think this could’ve easily been the “go-home show,” but since that is next week, let’s see what they have in store for the last hype-up and push.
Until then, Be Excellent Wrestling-online Readers and Wrestling Fans!