For the first time since WrestleMania XXII in 2006, my Dad and I did NOT watch the “Granddaddy Of Them All.” Simple reason – we just had no interest in the overall show. However, I also have NO idea what happened last night, and am really excited for Raw, to see how the landscape has changed as the old cliche goes. So, let’s just right to it!
Monday Night Raw Report for April 8th, 2013 – “One Wild and Crazy Night, and It’s About Damn Time!”
Introduction Segment: Welcoming and Recap
Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and John “Bradshaw” Layfield” bring us to the IZOD Center in New Jersey, where picture stills are used to recall WrestleMania XXIX and in particular, the main event between John Cena and The Rock for the WWE Championship. The winner? John Cena! (Dang!)
The NEW WWE Champion is all smiles as he embraces the (mostly) hateful jeers from the Jersey boys and girls. He plays it up, saying that it should be every superstar’s dream to be in the main event and win at WrestleMania – to enjoy all the “cheers.” (loud boos ring out). Cena riles up the fans, mocking a “championship dance.” He declares “the champ is here!”
Cena immediately puts the WWE Title up for challengers, saying that he is ready to fight tonight, and he doesn’t care who it is. The man who answers the call – “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry.
Henry asks the champ what’s up, then informs him that trouble has found him. (The crowd chants “Sexual Chocolate,” referring to Henry’s former moniker.) Cena pokes fun at that. Mark tells us that he destroyed Ryback last night, and tonight he wants some more. Cena accepts, however a General Manager interrupts.
New Hall-Of-Famer Booker T. rejects the bout, saying that Cena can’t be the one to book the matches. He reminds Cena that The Rock is still the #1 Contender to the WWE Championship, since it is automatic in the rematch clause. The Rock, though, is not in attendance tonight due to an injury (the crowd chants “bullshit”) and Booker T. does make a non-title contest between Henry and Cena, and if “The World’s Strongest Man” wins, he gets a title shot at Cena.
Also tonight, The Undertaker, who is now at 21 – 0 (yay!), will make an appearance. As well, STILL World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio (okay – woulda been better for Swagger to win, but let’s see where this goes), will face Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter in a 2 on 1 match. And, the in-ring Raw debut of Big E. Langston (minus the Tag Titles for him and Dolph, it appears)
Match #1: Single – Tag-Team Champion Daniel Bryan (with Tag-Team Champion and “Team Hell No” partner Kane) VS. Big E. Langston (with “The Show Off/Mr. Money In The Bank” Dolph Ziggler and A.J.) (Non-Title)
Bryan hits a mid-dropkick right away and kicks in the corner, but Langston comes back with a powerful one-arm slam, then runs his shoulder into Daniel’s stomach. He tosses Bryan high with a back body drop, but Daniel soon counters into a sunset flip and more kicks. As he climbs the turnbuckle, A.J. distracts the referee, which allows Dolph to crotch him against the post. Big E. hurls Bryan over the ropes on to Kane. Inside the ring, Langston picks Bryan up and drops him with his finisher, “The Big Ending” for the victory!
Winner via Pinfall: Big E. Langston (with “The Show Off/Mr. Money In The Bank” Dolph Ziggler and A.J.)
Segment #2: Arena Promo
Kurt Warner, N.F.L. Superbowl-winning Quarterback, plugs his new show about giving everyday Americans second chances to live their dreams.
Up next, NEW Intercontinental Champion The Miz will defend his title against the man who he defeated last night, Wade Barrett.
Match #2: Single for the Intercontinental Championship – Wade Barrett (Challenger) VS. The Miz (Champion)
Barrett kicks away at Miz in the corner to start off, but Miz leaps over and brings Wade down with a clothesline. Suplex by Miz for a one-count, then he clamps on a grounding rear chinlock. (Note, the fans are chanting “let’s go Barrett!”) Wade tosses Miz to the apron, but the I.C. Champ slides under for a two-count in a sunset flip! Barrett counters a wristlock with a stiff punch, then drops a big elbow. 1 – 2 – Miz kicks out! Miz flips out of a rear chinlock and throws Barrett out of the ring. He runs with a front-dropkick through the ropes, and dives off the top. He misses a second jump and Wade takes control with a neckbreaker through the ropes, onto the ring apron!
Back live, both are in the ring and Barrett spins Miz around with the “Winds Of Change” slam. 1 – 2 – Miz kicks out! Wade takes it back to the outside, running off the apron with an elbow to a down Miz! Miz counters a rear chinlock with a spinning back drop, then slugs away at Wade against the ropes. He goes for the neckbreaker, but the spot was blown and Wade slipped down.
Miz continues to control, and attempts the Figure-4 Leglock, but Barrett kicks him off. He gets planted with a DDT for another near fall! Miz elbows out of a “Wasteland” try, then catches Wade’s leg into the Figure-4! Barrett struggles but manages to slide to the ropes and break the hold. He nails Miz in the face with a big boot, but is cut off the top rope. Miz wants a superplex, but Barrett counters and rams Miz’s head into the ring post. He winds up and pounds Miz with the “Bull-Hammer” spinning elbow for the 1 – 2 – 3! (That was a surprise!)
Winner via Pinfall and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Wade Barrett
Segment #3: Office Promo
Supervising Manager Vickie Guerrero and her assistant Brad Maddox are discussing how great WrestleMania XXIX was. Sheamus barges in and is steamed about Big Show’s turn, knocking him out. He demands a match with the “giant piece of crap.” Vickie gives it to him.
Segment #4: Backstage Promo
Hall-Of-Famer and General Manager Booker T. is walking through the halls and Randy Orton sucks up to him to book Orton against Big Show. Booker gives in and makes the bout.
Match #3: Two-On-one – Zeb Colter and “The Real American” Jack Swagger VS. World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez) (Non-Title)
Prior to the bout, Colter cuts a promo asking for the fans’ support and to chant “U.S.A.” at Alberto Del Rio as he walks to the stage.
Del Rio and Swagger start out with a lockup. Alberto punches away and whips Swagger into the corner. He delivers a smacking kick, then dives through head-first onto Jack to the outside. He ascends the top rope and flies with a crossbody for a two-count! Colter gives Del Rio a hit from behind, giving Swagger the advantage to work over the leg/ankle of Alberto.
He gives repeated knees in the corner and Colter rips at his face from behind. Swagger soon clutches on the “Patriot Lock” ankle lock, but Del Rio fights out of it and clamps on an armbar against the ropes! Swagger shoves Del Rio off the apron harshly into the barricade.
Back live, Swagger is still dominating, working over Del Rio’s ankle. He manages to gain a bit of momentum, hitting clotheslines and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Swagger! He sets up Jack for the Cross Armbreaker, but Swagger reverses into a takedown slam and then locks in the Ankle Lock again. Alberto kicks away out of it, and manages to lock in the Cross Armbreaker, forcing Swagger to submit!
Winner via Pinfall: World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez)
Post-match, Del Rio appears to be injured and the doctor is checking on him. Just now “I’m here to show the world!” blasts the speakers and “The Show Off/Mr. Money In The Bank” Dolph Ziggler is ready to cash in is “Money In The Bank” briefcase! The crowd is super-behind Ziggler, as the match is made official by referee Scott Armstrong!
Match #4: Single for the World Heavyweight Championship – “Mr. Money In The Bank/The Show Off” Dolph Ziggler (with Big E. Langston and A.J.) (Challenger) VS. Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez) (Champion)
Ziggler is all over Del Rio immediately, hitting the “Fameasser.” Del Rio kicks out after two, and manages to bring Ziggler down with the enziguri and lock in the Cross Armbreaker. Ziggler refuses to give in, grabbing Del Rio’s hurt ankle and breaking out of it. He measures Alberto from behind with the “Zig-Zag” neckbreaker drop and 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall and NEW World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler
Post-match, Ziggler celebrates genuinely, alongside A.J., Big. E, and the roaring fans in the arena!
(very cool, and I could feel the raw [no pun intended] emotion from Dolph in this victory!)
Up next, The Undertaker is out!
Segment #5: Arena Promo
The Undertaker begins to talk about his dedication to the late-great Paul Bearer (a.k.a. William Moody), but is quickly interrupted by … “The Shield!” Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns walk down through the crowd and circle ‘Taker. Boom! The pyro of Kane goes off and the Tag-Team Champion/”Team Hell No” member/Undertaker’s brother runs out with Daniel Bryan to chase off “The Shield.” They stare down the renegade trio as they leave back through the fans.
Segment #6: Backstage Promo
Josh Matthews interviews NEW World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler. He puts himself over and claims it as “my WrestleMania moment.” He’s going to “shine it up and show it off.” Ziggler walks off with A.J. and Big E.
Match #5: 6-Man Tag-Team – “3.M.B.” (Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre, and Jinder Mahal) VS. Santino Marella, R-Truth, and “Long Island Iced-Z” Zack Ryder
(Really? On Raw?) In short, “3.M.B.” dominate until it breaks down. Santino is left with Heath, and nails “The Cobra” chop to Slater for the W. (Absolutely POINTLESS!)
Winners via Pinfall: Santino Marella, R-Truth, and “Long Island Iced-Z” Zack Ryder
Segment #7: Video Recap: All the events that led up to WrestleMania are aired.
Segment #8: Locker Room Promo
Randy Orton and Sheamus are arguing over who’s facing The Big Show.
Segment #9: Video Promo
The Big Show explains why he knocked out his “partners” on the WrestleMania XXIX post-show last night. He says it was because that he didn’t get the chance to prove that he could do what he does. He declares that he is going “lone ranger” forever now and “the only thing in this world that is important to The Big Show is The Big Show.”
Segment #10: Arena Promo
Sheamus is taking a vocal poll from the WWE fans to let him face Big Show tonight. He wants Vickie Guerrero to come out, but instead gets Randy Orton, who emphasizes “Big Show’s mine tonight!” In the end, it is up to us, as the fans will “tweet” who they want to take on Show.
The results are in, very quickly. (#rigged!) Orton gets 77% of the vote, but both directors for Raw and Smackdown (Vickie and Booker) announce that instead it will be Sheamus and Orton facing each other to face The Big Show.
Match #6: Single – Sheamus VS. “The Viper” Randy Orton
A slow start to this bout picks up after Orton misses a kneedrop, but comes back with a clothesline. Sheamus counters a hip toss attempt into a clothesline for two. He locks in an armbar but Randy fights out of it, clamping on the grounding rear chinlock. Sheamus counters with a backdrop, as does Orton a bit later. (The fans are chanting everything else except for this bout, showing they don’t really care about this storyline/match). Sheamus dives off the top rope but gets dropkicked by Randy!
Back live, the fans are still not really paying attention, but Orton and Sheamus are putting in an effort. They slug it out with fists and Sheamus drops Orton with the Irish Curse backbreaker. Sheamus has gained huge momentum and hammers Orton against the ropes. He suplexes Randy back into the ring, but Orton wiggles out and hits the backbreaker. He fires up with a couple clotheslines and then a powerslam. Sheamus is set up on the apron, allowing Orton to plant him with the slingshot DDT.
Orton pounds the mat and signals for the R.K.O., but Sheamus pushes him off and drops him with the “White Noise.” He’s feeling it and getting ready for the Brogue Kick. He goes for it, but Orton ducks and Sheamus topples over to the floor. Just now, The Big Show interferes and chucks Sheamus face-first into the ring post.
To a huge “pop” from the crowd, The Big Show K.O.’s Orton with the W.M.D. punch. He drags Orton to the floor and whips him into the wall. He lines up Orton and runs at him with the spear. Show stands over and glares with a scowl on his mug. He clutches “The Viper” by the throat and throws him over the announce table. He tosses two of the commentator’s chairs against the ring (presumably trying to get them inside, but greatly missed!) and stomps on Orton. Show walks off, all this without saying a word.
Winner: No Contest due to Interference
It is announced that Triple H will return this Friday to Smackdown! (So I guess he won?)
Match #7: Single – Fandango (with Dancer) VS. Kofi Kingston
Fandango plays mind games with Kofi, dancing around the ring. Kingston gets his hands on him eventually, but is quickly slammed down. A huge crowd reaction erupts, because Chris Jericho runs out and assaults Fandango!
Winner via Disqualification: Fandango (with Dancer)
Post-match, Jericho brawls with Fandango all around the ring and tears off the top to the commentary table. He runs Fandango into the steel steps and kicks him down in the ring. After whipping him into the corner, Jericho locks him in the Walls Of Jericho until referees step in and break it up. “Y2J” runs back at Fandango with the Codebreaker to knock him out.
Segment #11: Backstage Promo
Josh Matthews welcomes New York’s own, Paul Heyman. Despite the losses for “Paul Heyman guys,” Heyman still revels in the monster-like attitude of Brock Lesnar. He also announces that C.M. Punk will talk about his feelings, next week!
Match #8: 8-Person Tag-Team – “Team Rhodes Scholars” (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow) and The Bella Twins (Nikki and Brie) VS. “Tons Of Funk” (Sweet T. and “The Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay) and “The Funkadactyls” (Cameron and Naomi)
Prior to the break, both teams make their entrance. Back live, “Tons Of Funk” control and then this breaks down with Sweet T. and Brodus double-splashing Sandow for the quick victory!
Winners via Pinfall: “Tons Of Funk” (Sweet T. and “The Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay) and “The Funkadactyls” (Cameron and Naomi)
Up next, WWE Champ John Cena will take on Mark Henry!
Match #8: Single for a Title Shot – “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry VS. WWE Champion John Cena (Non-Title)
The bell rings and they circle around each other. Cena ducks a couple clotheslines, then gets flattened by Henry. He dominates for a bit before missing a splash, allowing Cena to come back with a shoulder-tackle. Henry gets out of the ring for a break, then slams Cena’s head against the announce table. He takes it apart, then tries a World’s Strongest Slam through it, but Cena gets out and pushes Henry into the steps. The count was nearing 10, and Henry didn’t answer, so he is counted-out. (That was quick and boring!)
Winner via Count-Out: WWE Champion John Cena
Post-match, a displeased Henry lays out Cena and holds up the WWE Championship, but Ryback comes on out and takes out “The World’s Strongest Man.” He then turns his attention to Cena, holds out his hand, stares closely at him, and nods his head “yes.” Cena poses on the turnbuckle, as Ryback gets the crowd going for “feed me more.” He then grabs Cena and plants him with the “Shellshock” marching Samoan drop, to another LOUD ovation! He olds up the WWE Championship to the happiness of the New Jersey crowd to close the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
Welcome to “bizarro world, part two!” Raw was jam-packed, and in good way for the most part. Of course, the fans made the show tonight, but the wrestlers also put in a solid effort following Wrestlmania. On to the critiques.
Excellence: Even though I think The Rock should’ve kept the title, I did love John Cena’s promo, especially how he played to the crowd. Fantastic, passionate match between The Miz and Wade Barrett for the I.C. Championship. Didn’t like the outcome though, so more on that in “bogus.”
Love the new angle for “The Shield” and The Undertaker/Kane/Daniel Bryan. That was a good little twist, and I truly didn’t expect Rollins/Reigns/Ambrose to pick on “The Deadman” next. All three would match up well with the legend in their own right.
While I couldn’t care less about the whole storyline with Sheamus/Orton/Show (no “reason” for me to invest in it), Orton and Sheamus did put on a great bout with tons of physicality. On one hand, too bad the fans totally ignored the hard-working brutes, but on the other, it was cool to see Sheamus and Orton react to them and prove themselves even more.
Chris Jericho (and the fans in tonight’s case) got Fandango super-over. I was very sceptical at first (and couldn’t care at times) about him originally, but with tonight’s performance, and what I read from WrestleMania XXIX, I am going to give the new superstar a shot. As always proven, Jericho is the right man to help get him to the next level.
The main-event picture is new, fresh, and looking very interesting, which is nice. It’ll be real intriguing to see how long they keep the WWE Title on John Cena, or will they pull the trigger on a quick switch to Ryback/Henry, to heat up even more?
A small note – I absolutely adore how they now won’t have a pay-per-view until May 19th – that gives plenty of time for build-up and better (hopefully) storytelling. I really think they need to take a lesson from TNA’s book and start to eliminate their ppvs – keep the big four, plus a June spectacle, just like the early/mid 90s. This allows for more creative and longer feuds, giving fans the actual time to invest in them – in theory.
The best for last – NEW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION! As Ziggler said, it really is “ABOUT DAMN TIME!” From being a “Spirit Squad” male cheerleader to now one of the best natural athletes on the roster today, Dolph truly deserves this, and a HUGE kudos to the fans in Jersey for making him look like a million bucks and praising him to no end! My only other though – imagine how insane, and a great turn of events, it would’ve been if he had done that on Cena for the WWE Championship!
Bogus: Bryan/Big E. With the outcome for Dolph, and “Team Hell No” looking like they’re moving on, what was the point of this match? Especially since that chapter seemed to be closed at WrestleMania with the champs retaining? Speaking of pointless, the 6-man with “3.M.B.” and Ryder/Santino/R-Truth. That meant absolutely NOTHING. I was waiting for someone just to come out and destroy them, as is usually the case with matches like that, but this time, it was literately just a match. And a bad one at that!
What did The Miz do? First, his I.C. title match at WrestleMania is bumped to the pre-show, and then he wins the championship, but loses 24 hours later! I was looking forward to him as champ, I thought he could bring some vitality back to the division.
As mentioned above, while they are very hard-working and I appreciate Orton/Sheamus/Show individually for the wrestlers they are and their accomplishments, their currently storyline all together is just too bland and I’m not enjoying it. There is no “factor” on the line or anything for me to get a hold of.
The main-event itself fell really flat. I wasn’t expecting an outright classic, but I honestly thought they would have Henry go over to kick off this new feud, and still potentially insert Ryback for the triple-threat scenario. They did that, just backwards and a little more lame than I would’ve.
All in all, this was a great follow-up to what was apparently a pretty lame WrestleMania. Of course, the crowd for sure made Raw tonight, but with the booking for most of it, I am satisfied and looking forward to what lies a head as the new “year” begins in WWE!
As always, until next week, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!