Tonight is the final stop on the “Road To WrestleMania!” What will go down in the America’s capital for that one last push to the “Granddaddy Of Them All?” Why speculate, let’s just get right to it! Read on, folks!
Monday Night Raw Report for April 1st, 2013 – “Legacy, My Time, and The Will Of The People: WrestleMania XXIX!”
Introduction Segment: Arena Promo
One-half of the main event at WrestleMania XXIX kicks off the show. John Cena runs down to the ring, receiving the usual mixed reaction as Michael Cole puts it.
Cena soaks in the cheers and jeers for a bit, calling it “the house divided, ironically enough here in Washington, D.C.” He says there are “Cenacrats” and “Rockpublicans.” While he and WWE Champion The Rock do not like each other, Cena tells us that he does respect him.
He recaps what they were taking shots at each other for last year, but says “those childish games are over because we all know that this is much, much bigger. Rock is the holding, defending WWE Champion.” Cena touts The Rock as the “man who I believe is the greatest WWE Champion of all time.”
While John says this may seem impossible for him to win then, supposedly so was him winning the Royal Rumble, which he did.
Cena says “the great one will fall,” and “The Rock’s time is up, and my time is now!” He outlines how Rock will handle failure after losing at WrestleMania XXIX. He talks about the new WWE Championship itself, and how when he wins the title, he does not intend to change it, but hold it with pride, to prove he is better than The Rock. “This Sunday, even The Rock will know it. It may have been made for him, but the champ is here!”
Michael records Jerry “The King” Lawler picking his choice for the above match, and he chooses history – he chooses The Rock.
Match #1: 6-Man Tag-Team – “3.M.B.” (Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, and Drew McIntyre) VS. “The Viper” Randy Orton, “The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus, and The Big Show
Surprisingly, considering we know who wins this one, “3.M.B.” does put up a decent fight. It all ends when Sheamus delivers the “Irish Curse” backbreaker. An R.K.O. to Slater, Brogue Kick to McIntyre, and W.M.D. Punch to Mahal gives the faces the decently easy victory!
Winners via Pinfall: “The Viper” Randy Orton, “The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus, and The Big Show
Post-match, “The Shield” walk through and stay with the fans. Dean Ambrose threatens they will leave them “looking up at the sky, wondering where it all went wrong.” Seth Rollins warns them that “justice never lies and we know the truth.”
Roman Reigns informs them that the truth is that their team is “phony.” “When we beat you at WrestleMania, the whole world will believe in ‘The Shield.'”
Later tonight, Hall Of Famer “H.B.K.” Shawn Michaels will give his thoughts on Triple H VS. Brock Lesnar, while up next, the “Real American” Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter express their opinions from near Capital Hill.
Segment #2: Video Promo
Zeb Colter says that America is broken, much like Ricardo Rodriguez’s ankle. However, Jack Swagger knows how to fix it. Swagger says that “the people have become weak.” He says that change is coming a WrestleMania, where he will break Alberto Del Rio’s ankle, and will stand over him the new World Heavyweight Champion.
“If you people don’t like that, then you people don’t deserve to be real Americans. Welcome to ‘Jack Swagger’s America.’ We the people.”
Segment #3: Backstage Promo
To follow up, Matt Striker interviews the World Heavyweight Champion, Alberto Del Rio. He says that both he and Swagger have the ability to “freedom of speech.” However, he also has the opportunity to do something about it at WrestleMania. He then calls Zeb Colter a “big fat pinata with a mustache, that I’m about to break.”
Match #3: Single – Tag-Team Champion Daniel Bryan (with “Team Hell No” Team Champion/partner Kane) VS. “The Show-Off/Mr. Money In The Bank” Dolph Ziggler (with Big E. Langston and A.J.)
(Note: Bryan made his entrance prior to the break.) Elbow/collar tie-up begin the bout, with Dolph giving Bryan a wristlock and elbowing him on the shoulder. Bryan catches Ziggler out of a leapfrog and slingshots him into the turnbuckle. Daniel kicks away into the corner, to chants of “yes” from the crowd.
He somersaults over Ziggler and tries a “No-Lock” crossface submission, but Dolph gets to the ropes. Instead, he steps on Ziggler’s back thighs. Dolph soon counters into a neckbreaker and runs at Bryan in the corner, but Daniel reverses into the old “Tarantula” submission.
Bryan gets distracted by Langston on the outside, which allows Ziggler to drop him with the Fameasser for a near-fall!
Back live, they trade punches and kicks, then Bryan moves out of the way of a Dolph splash in the corner. Ziggler rolls through from behind, but gets nailed with another stiff kick in the head.
Bryan ascends the top and flies off with a headbutt, but Dolph moves out just in time! He clamps on the sleeper hold, but Daniel shoves him off into the ropes and locks in the sleeper himself. Ziggler drops him off and turns another crossface attempt into a jacknife cover (thanks Michael!). They end up running into each other with a double crossbody-block.
On the outside, A.J. skips around Kane, giving Big E. a chance to roll-over “The Big Red Machine” with a body block. Ziggler rolls up Bryan from behind for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: “The Show-Off/Mr. Money In The Bank” Dolph Ziggler (with Big E. Langston and A.J.)
Post-match, Langston attacks both Bryan and Kane, pushing Kane’s hand off his throat and turning a chokeslam into his flattening finisher. A.J. gives him and Dolph the belts to hold high.
Up next, Shawn Michaels returns!
Segment #4: Arena Promo
“Mr. WrestleMania” Shawn Michaels is out, looking happy and healthy. He runs down the card of WrestleMania, but points out one match he is very interested in. I think you know which one, but just in case, it is Triple H and Brock Lesnar.
He very concerned about the stipulation of “The Game’s” career being on the line. HHH reassures Shawn that he knows what he’s doing, but Michaels disputes. “H.B.K.” tells him that their situations were different.
In Shawn’s “career threatening match,” he was “heartbroken” (pun obviously intended), and so was his opponent (The Undertaker, at WrestleMania XXVI) because they both had a mutual respect for each other.
This time it’s different, as Shawn says that Lesnar does not respect or care about anyone but himself. “He does this for the money.” Shawn tells Triple H that he put his life on the line, and “you better kick Brock Lesnar’s ass! And unlike SummerSlam, I’m going to be right there in your corner to watch you do it.”
They hug, but are interrupted by HHH’s opponent.
Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar approach the bottom of the ramp, and Heyman proclaims that his client will “beat you into retirement This Sunday at WrestleMania.”
Heyman tells HHH that he will have to live with the disappointment of losing his career, particular his Father-In-Law Vincent Kennedy McMahon, the Board Of Directors, his wife (which he also quips “but you’re probably used to that anyway!”)
He warns and inquires if Shawn really wants to be that close to Triple H, when Brock Lesnar beats him and when he breaks Michaels’ arm again.
“When Brock Lesnar is done with you, you’re going to crawl away. With your tail between your legs – A beaten, battered, emasculated retiree that has disappointed the entire WWE Universe, because you were never ‘man enough’ to beat Brock Lesnar. The very same Brock Lesnar, who after all these years, has forced the ‘Cerebral Assassin’ to commit ‘professional suicide.'”
Match #4: Single – Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett VS. “Long Island Iced-Z” Zack Ryder (Non-Title)
(Note: The Miz, Barrett’s I.C. Title Challenger for WrestleMania, is on commentary.) Wade completely dominates this contest, polishing off Ryder with the “Bull Hammer” elbow. (Miz did provide excellent vocals, putting over both Barrett’s strengths and himself, which is the way it should be done.)
Winner via Pinfall: Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett
Segment #5: Office Promo
Of all people, Santino Marella informs Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero and Assistant-Managing Supervisor Brad Maddox that Mr. McMahon is in town and he is mad, and in a firing mood. And worse, it’s April Fools! Guerrero and Maddox are not pleased with “the joke,” so they book him in a match next!
Match #5: Single – Santino Marella VS. “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry
Three words – “World’s Strongest Slam!”
Winner via Pinfall: “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry
Post-Match, Ryback marches on down to face off with Henry. After reminding him they can’t touch each other until WrestleMania, Mark smiles and leaves. Ryback uses intelligence, hitting Henry with Marella, so technically not touching him.
Backstage, Jack Swagger is giving wrestling advice to Zeb Colter, since the mouthpiece will be facing World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio later.
Segment #6: Backstage Promo
C.M. Punk is asked by Matt Striker if he feels he is disrespecting the memory of the late-great Paul Bearer. The “Straight-Edge Superstar” is only concerned about his legacy.
Punk says he is doing this to get in the head of The Undertaker, since all “The Deadman” has to do is make one mistake, such as a count-out or disqualification and “the streak” is over.
“At the end of this year’s WrestleMania, every time somebody thinks about ‘The Grandest Stage Of Them All, every time somebody thinks about WrestleMania, they’re going to think about C.M. Punk.” He kisses the urn to end the interview.
Match #6: Single – Zeb Colter (with “The Real American” Jack Swagger) VS. World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez) (Non-Title)
Zeb and Jack made their entrance prior to the break. Del Rio taunts Colter at first, offering to put his hands behind his back and make it easier. On the outside, Swagger stalks and grabs Rodriguez to distract Alberto. The World Champ saves his buddy, but gets beaten down with Ricardo’s crutches for the DQ.
Winner via Disqualification: Zeb Colter (with “The Real American” Jack Swagger)
Post-match, the two continue to whack their rival with the objects.
Up next, WWE Champion The Rock will give his speech going into WrestleMania XXIX.
Segment #7: Arena Promo
The WWE Champion The Rock talks about one word – “connection.” He says that he is connected to the people, and it is the will of the people that will help him prevail at WrestleMania.
“The Great One” predicts that maybe he will live in this town, in a particular house, just up the road. You know, a “big, white, house.” Does President “The Rock” read good to you? He says it will be the first time in history that the Presidential Oath will begin with “finally, The Rock has come back to Washington, D.C.”
The Rock warns John Cena that he will not get his redemption, or the proverbial “torch” passed to him. “You cannot deny the will of the people, and you cannot beat The Rock.”
Match #7: Single – “Y2J” Chris Jericho VS. United States Champion Antonio Cesaro (Non-Title)
Lockup between the tow to begin, as they engage in a shove and trade head and leg lock take downs. Resounding chops from Jericho, and he hits a nice dropkick. Cesaro jumps over the ropes to the apron and nails Chris with a headbutt, then ascends the turnbuckle, only to get knocked down. Jericho climbs aboard to and punches away atop the ropes. He brings him down with a top-rope hurricanrana, and receives a two-count!
Fandango’s music plays, and his dancer assistant and himself dance out. This distracts Jericho.
Cesaro is in control now, stomping on Jericho’s body and bringing him over with a butterfly suplex. Jericho tries a comeback but misses a splash and eats the turnbuckle. The U.S. Champ chucks him into the barricade and rolls him back to the canvas for two.
Cesaro counters a run with a scoop-slam driver for a very lose near-fall! He pounds away on “Y2J” in the corner, but the “Ayatollah of Rock N’ Rollah” gets some momentum, flying off the top with a double axe-handle. He plants Antonio with the running bulldog and a Lionsault, but gets the Walls Of Jericho reversed into a gutwrench suplex.
Jericho counters a run with an elbow and a high crossbody. 1 – 2 – Cesaro kicks out! Jericho baseball slides Fandango down, who had been at ringside “scoring” Jericho on his moves. Jericho gets out of a small package and locks on the Walls Of Jericho for the tap out!
Winner via Submission: “Y2J” Chris Jericho
Post-match, Fandango assaults Jericho like last week, and lays him out with the top-rope legdrop.
Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler post an announcement that Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley will induct Trish Stratus into the Hall Of Fame. Next, they air some “touts” from fans on their thoughts of Rock/Cena II.
Brodus Clay, Sweet T., and “The Funkadactyls” make their entrance for an upcoming match.
Match #8: “The Funkadactyls” (Cameron and Naomi) (with Brodus Clay and Sweet T.) VS. The Bella Twins (Nikki and Brie) (with “The Rhodes Scholars” [Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow])
Naomi and Nikki start out, with Naomi dominating with a dropkick, “rearview” (jumping rear bump) and hurricanrana. Both Bellas take control with an armdrag flip and legdrop. The ladies go back and forth for a while until Cameron gets tagged in and his a split-legged drop. A Bella Twin reverses a crossbody pin into one of her own for the victory!
Winners via Pinfall: The Bella Twins (Nikki and Brie) (with “The Rhodes Scholars” [Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow])
Up next, The Undertaker addresses C.M. Punk.
Segment #8: Arena Promo
The Legendary Undertaker makes his way to the ring and takes the microphone. He threatens that compared to his over 400-day WWE Title reign, Punk’s pain after WrestleMania will last forever.
“Defeating you at WrestleMania is no longer good enough. The disrespect that you’ve shown Paul Bearer will cause you to pay the ultimate price. And you just may be right. In my current state of mind, “the streak,” it may come to an end Sunday. But you will never live to talk about it!”
Just now, the familiar chants of the druids blare as they slowly walk out with flaming sticks. They line up on either side of the ramp and wait. Out walks someone dressed up as the late Paul Bearer, which infuriates The Undertaker.
Before he gets his hands on the fake Bearer, he scans around and begins to punch out the druids. One of them attacks from behind, and it is C.M. Punk. He pounds away and it is also revealed to be Paul Heyman dressed as Bearer, as he tosses the Urn to Punk so he can continuously beat him down.
Over a downed ‘Taker, Punk opens the Urn and pours the ashes all over The Undertaker, then spreads them on himself too, as Heyman looks on, closing the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
Raw was decent enough tonight to finish off before WrestleMania. It tied up all the loose ends and/or left us hanging until the pay-per-view. I will say this was average, mainly because we already know the card and build for the big show (no pun intended!), so it was really just a matter of “getting there” one last time. Onto the particulars and then the top WrestleMania XXIX predictions (too many matches, so just going with the “must-sees.”)
Excellence: John Cena’s opener. I loved this promo and as I always say when he gives a passionate speech, THIS is the John Cena I love to hear and watch. The man who exclaims his die-hard desire to always be on top and always be in professional wrestling.
Once again, Jack Swagger/Zeb Colter/Alberto Del Rio/Ricardo Rodriguez can do no wrong! I also loved both their segments/match simply because it is old school storytelling – two guys fighting over a championship with a twist of realism – and one that is actually realistic! I would love this feud to continue and will tell you how it should in my predictions.
Dolph Ziggler/Daniel Bryan was a great match! “The Shield” were superb in making genuine points about them being an actual team, compared to Orton/Sheamus/Big Show who are just thrown together to defeat a “force.” The continuity with Shawn Michaels backing Triple H against Brock Lesnar was perfect. I was surprised/happy because having “H.B.K.” puts a close to the storyline, no matter who wins.
Interactions (or lack there of according to their storyline) between Ryback and Henry. Aside from one instance where Ryback quickly downed Henry, I love how they made them not touch each other, that way they created the suspense of when the two behemoths engage.
The second-half of The Rock’s promo – when he finally got talking about the people and defeating John Cena, that’s what I liked because that was relevant to WrestleMania.
As always with Chris Jericho, he can produce a great match with anyone, and tonight was no exception with Cesaro!
Bogus: In general, all the other matches because they were just build up and had no “heat” between them.
On The Fence: C.M. Punk/Paul Heyman/The Undertaker – to be quite truthful, I see both sides. I highly, highly believe they did go a bit too far here with Heyman dressing as the late-great Paul Bearer and using the voice over. However, with the Urn incident at the end, I and you all know of course that those weren’t Bearer’s ashes (nor hopefully was it even insinuated like that), so that did not offend me at all. Plus, again, William Moody’s children have approved the storyline, so that does ease the situation. I also do like Punk’s explanation that he is doing this to get in The Underatker’s head and one small mistake can cost him “the streak.” It is also much like Swagger/Del Rio and Ryback/Henry, an old-style story with two guys fighting over something significant, with mind games and “one-upsmanship`s” to get the better of each other.
WrestleMania XXIX Predictions:
The Rock defeats John Cena – I say this because he already beat him last year, and I really don’t want to see a third match if Cena beats Rock, tying the 1 – 1. As I truly believe, this SHOULD’VE been last year, ONCE IN A LIFETIME, with CENA winning. Plus, they can play it as the one man Cena can’t beat is The Rock. Enough said.
Jack Swagger wins the World Title – I think this must happen to continue the hot, hot and awesome storyline between him and Alberto Del Rio. Again, they can do no wrong!
The Undertaker continues his streak – I’m just not feeling the “suspense” of C.M. Punk being “the guy” to end the 20 – 0 win yet. Plus, as my Dad said, if they decide to break it at all, the honour should go to someone who NEEDS it to elevate him. (Read: Dolph Ziggler?)
“The Shield” over Randy Orton/Sheamus/Big Show
Brock Lesnar needs to win if he is going to stick around. If this happens, then the potential for feuds can open up (read: Rock/Lesnar/Championship II)
All in all, a pretty good Raw to “go home” for WrestleMania XXIX, and we shall see how the landscape has changed again in 7 days! Until then, as always, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!