Event: WWE Monday Night RAW
Airdate: Monday, March 25th, 2013 (USA Network)
Location: The Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA
Results by Ken Hill
“Yes, sir, we promised you a great main event…”
Welcome to Monday Night Raw and this week Raw is coming to us live from the Wells-Fargo Centre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and we kick things off with CM Punk and Paul Heyman coming out to the ring. Punk takes the mic and says “they” say Undertaker’s Wrestlemania will never be beaten and he is unstoppable on the grandest stage of them all and that the urn somehow feeds his power. Punk then asks who “they” are and if “they” know what “they” are talking about. Methinks us smarks and snarks are the “they” Punk’s ragging on.
Everyone has an opinion but his is the only one that matters because it becomes fact and calls himself relevant. He says last year Undertaker went 20-0 and it should have ended there but Undertaker ruined it all by walking onto Punk’s show and pointing at his sign and now because of his action, the storybook is being rewritten by a man who happens to be the Best In The World. Punk says the fans can boo him all they want but Undertaker is to blame because it’s all his fault and he didn’t take the urn to disprespect Paul Bearer. He took it because it’s something that belongs to The Undertaker and it doesn’t mean a thing to him. Punk says Undertaker’s earned his streak, all Punk is going to do is break it. Undertaker is at a psychological disadvantage for the first time because Punk has something Undertaker once and Undertaker should have stayed gone but he came back. Punk said against any other man Undertaker would have gone 21-0, 50-0 etc. and he’s waiting for the lights to go off and Undertaker to say rest in peace but Punk’s never had any time for rest and at Wrestlemania it will be Undertaker’s streak that will rest in peace. The bell then tolls and the lights go off and Undertaker appears and attacks Punk. The urn falls from the ring, Heyman scoops it up and does the ugliest-ass 40-yard sprint up the ramp I’ve ever seen as he and Punk retreat up the ramp, trolling Taker as he signals Punk’s eventual demise.
FAN…DAN…GOGOGO…debuts (not) next!
As we return to Raw, Fandango’s music hits and here’s the huge, cheesy dance stage, complete with pseudo strip-club streamers, as he and his lovely lady dancer make their way down to the ring. King is COMPLETELY marking out for Fandango, and something tells me he might announce Fandango at WM 29 just so we’ll get a match out of Curtis.
He seems ready for competition and begins to announce his name…Jericho’s music hits and he storms the ring in a rage, laying waste to Fandango and Lawler is once again denied his man-candy as Fandango retreats up the ramp. Jericho whips the crowd into a frenzy, and awaits his opponent for tonight, “The Show Off” himself, Dolph Ziggler, with CR-AJ and Big E. Langston in tow!
Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler w/AJ Lee & Big E. Langston
SHOW…ON! Jericho takes Ziggler down and unloads with right hands on him. Irish whip and a back elbow to Ziggler. Jericho with a suplex gets a two count. Ziggler, off the Irish whip, catches Jericho with a kick to the face. Irish whip by Jericho again reversed by Ziggler. Jericho looks for the Walls, but Ziggler counters. Irish whip in the corner by Dolph and Ziggler runs into an elbow. Crossbody off the top rope by Jericho gets two as we go to a mid-match break…
As we return from the break, Ziggler has a chin lock on Jericho. Jericho fights out and counters with a roll up for two. Ziggler catches Jericho with a snap dropkick for a near fall. Jericho fights back with chops and Ziggler stops the rally with a knee to Jericho. Ziggler locks the abdominal stretch in. Jericho struggles out and counters into a hip toss. Jericho with a series of shoulder tackles to fire up. Jericho off the top rope with the double axe handle. Irish whip countered by Ziggler. Jericho with the boot to the face. Running bulldog by Jericho. Jericho kicks Langston with his signature springboard dropkick, sending the big man to the floor. Ziggler with a floating DDT to Jericho gets a CLOSE near fall. Ziggler looks for the sleeper hold, but Jericho holds onto the rope. Jericho catches Dolph in the Walls and he locks it in! He cinches in the knee on Ziggler’s head for the “Liontamer” edition, and Dolph taps!
Winner: Chris Jericho
Langston, post-match, with a clothesline from behind, flooring Jericho. He picks Jericho up and delivers the Big Ending. Ziggler, Langston and AJ mock Jericho and leave him to Fandango, who returns to the ring, dancing over Jericho’s proverbial “grave”. He lays some heavy right hands into Jericho, demanding him to say his name right. Jericho tries a measly chop, but Fandango with a thrust kick and goes up top with a nice top-rope legdrop to polish off Jericho.
We go backstage with Matt Striker, who’s interviewing Sheamus. After we see the replay of last Friday’s Smackdown, where the trio of Sheamus, Randy Orton and Big Show nearly came to blows after their first tag match as a team, only to unite when the Shield made their presence known. Striker asks if the hatchet’s been buried between the three men. Before Sheamus can respond, The Shield strikes, beating him down until Orton comes in with a steel chair. That’s all for naught, as the Shield take him down as well. It’s not until Show puts himself in the Shield’s path that they retreat, and the three erstwhile partners look on at one another. “Voice of Reason” = HEEL TURN!
HE’S HERE TO DO WHAT HE DO! Mark Henry marches down to the ring as he is in 2-on-1 handicap action…NEXT!
Mark Henry vs. The Usos
We’re back and The Usos are out now. Henry locks up with one of the Usos and sends him to the mat. Henry tosses Jey Uso across the ring and he tags in his brother Jimmy. Henry keeps control until they double team him with a dropkick and a few sharp superkicks. Henry actually goes down and gets hit with a big Superfly Splash, but that only nets a two count for Jimmy. More double teaming but Henry fights them off. Henry sends Jey flying from the apron into the fan barrier. Ouchie baba. Big clothesline for Jimmy, which turns him inside out. Henry finishes him off with th World’s Strongest Slam for the win.
Winner: Mark Henry
After the match, Henry goes to ringside and grabs the fallen Jey Uso. Henry brings him in the ring hits another World’s Strongest Slam. Henry with another slam on Jimmy Uso. Henry hits the ropes and drops a big splash on Jey Uso, saying that nobody splashes him and gets away with it…BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT HE DO!
US Champ Antonio Cesaro versus World Champ Albertooooooo Del Rioooooo in a Champion vs. Champion match…NEXT!
Champion vs. Champion: US Champion Antonio Cesaro vs. World Champion Alberto Del Rio
We go to the ring and out first comes Cesaro. Justin Roberts goes to introduce Del Rio but out comes Ricardo Rodriguez on crutches. He says his legs are weak but his voice is strong. Out next comes Del Rio, who praises Ricardo for his bravery and eventual stupidity, as there’s NO possible way Swagger will go after Ricardo again.
They lock up and Cesaro works on the arm of Del Rio. They trade holds and Del Rio also works on the arm. Cesaro makes it to the ropes and breaks the hold. Cesaro takes Del Rio to the corner and works him over now. Del Rio fights back and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Zeb Colter comes out to the stage and distracts Del Rio, allowing Cesaro to attack from behind and takes back control. Cesaro with more offense in the corner. Cesaro with a headbutt to the jaw of Del Rio. Cesaro goes up top but Del Rio cuts him off. Del Rio climbs up for a superplex and nails it. Swagger comes out (SHOCKER!) and attacks Rodriguez’ injured ankle, bashing it into the ringside wall. Del Rio to the outside going after Swagger, as the referee administers the 10 count.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro (Countout)
Following the match, Antonio is celebrating, but Alberto is incensed at both him and Swagger’s assault and beats down on the US Champ, locking in the Cross Arm Breaker in a fit of rage to the delight of…well, no one, really. Seriously, the crowd’s dead here. Don’t know which is worse: Antonio of all people being fed to the main eventers, or that the crowd seems to be souring on the Del Rio-Swagger feud. Then again, it is Philly, so take the crowd reactions with a grain of salt.
We recap Punk’s poignant words concerning “The Streak” and Taker’s response.
Still to come, a Q&A with John Cena, The Rock and WWE Legends. Team Hell No are WALKING backstage as we go to commercial.
Irish whip by Kane and a back elbow. Bryan with a series of kicks to O’Neil. Kane whips Bryan into the corner and Bryan with a clothesline. Bryan whips Kane into O’Neil and a clothesline by Kane. Irish whip and a double hiptoss by Team Hell No to Darren Young. Ziggler and Langston make their way onto the stage to “observe”. Bryan with a series of kicks to Young. Young with a belly to belly suplex to Bryan stops that noise.
O’Neil stomping away on Bryan and an uppercut. O’Neil front suplexes Young onto Bryan for a two count, and Young with a waistlock on Bryan. Bryan with a series of knee strikes to fight out of the waist lock. Bryan with a clothesline off the Irish whip. Kane with the big boot to the face and a basement dropkick to Young. Irish whip in the corner and Young gets the boot up. Kane with the boot to the face. Slam by Kane countered by Young. Kane with the side slam. O’Neil gets sent to the floor and Bryan with the running knee from the apron to O’Neil while in the ring Kane hits the chokeslam to Young for the three count. Just another day at work for the tag champs.
Winners: Team Hell No
Ziggy and Biggy have words with Bryan and Kane, not moving from their spot on the stage.
The SHIELD in rare 6-man tag team action on Raw, as we hear from Triple H concerning the “riveting” No Holds Barred-Retirement match stipulation for his rematch with Brock Lesnar.
We recap the contract signing and stip reveal from last week (Conveniently glossing over Heyman’s badly-done, obvious blade job).
Triple H’s music hits, and here comes “The Game.” Cole and Lawler list HHH’s credentials, from his 13 championships and his time in DX and Evolution to the brief on-air run as “COO” HHH.
Triple H puts Lesnar over as a destroyer, someone who can end careers in a heartbeat. Triple H has fought every day in his career like said career depended on it. Heyman thinks he has Hunter trapped up against the wall, but Triple H has advice for Lesnar: Come to WrestleMania like it’s YOUR career on the line, because he won’t be there to wrestle, he will be there to kick Lesnar’s ass. Short, sweet, but somewhat lacking. Feels like a cookie-cutter promo here, and the crowd responded as such in lukewarm fashion.
As Trips takes his leave, Wade Barrett makes his entrance for his upcoming match. The two men meet on the ramp, and Barrett’s expecting Hunter to make his way around the IC Champ instead of the other way around. Nuh-uh, Mr. Barrett. Trips goes low, and Barrett’s left hurting as he’s supposed to be in action…NEXT!
Non-Title Match: IC Champion Wade Barrett vs. The Miz
As we return from break, Barrett’s in the ring nursing his “pride” as Miz makes his entrance, and we go into a recap of Barrett stealing a victory in the Triple Threat match with Jericho and Miz and the feud.
Miz quickly hits an atomic drop (PSYCHOLOGY!) and goes for the Figure Four, but Barrett escapes the ring. Barrett comes back in, and Miz with more atomic drops to torture Barrett and a Skull Crushing Finale attempt. Barrett escapes again and stalls for time on the outside. They go at it and Miz has control until Barrett hits a big boot on the top rope. Barrett with forearm shots now. Barrett with a high knee to the gut and a 2 count. More back and forth. Miz with another roll up for 2. Miz with the backbreaker but Barrett blocks the neckbreaker. Miz dumps Barrett over the top and to the floor. Miz leaps off the apron with an ax handle and brings it back in the ring for a 2 count. We go to commercial.
As we come back from break, Barrett is covering for a two count. We see during the break that Barrett regained control by ramming Miz into the barricade. Barrett with knees to Miz in the ropes, and boots Miz hard to the outside. The crowd is all over Barrett. Barrett brings Miz back in for a 2 count. Barrett works on the lower back now. Miz makes a comeback and sends Barrett face-first into the turnbuckles. Miz with a forearm and a high knee. Miz hits the running clothesline in the corner and goes to the top. Miz comes crashing down on Barrett with an axe handle for another 2 count. Barrett blocks the Skull Crushing Finale and hits a nice Winds of Change for a 2 count. Miz slides out of Wasteland and blocks a big kick. Miz goes for the Figure Four but Barrett turns it into a 2 count. Miz sweeps Barrett and goes for the Figure Four again. Barrett kicks him into the ring post shoulder first. Barrett rolls Miz up for 2. Barrett with a big kick to the head and a 2 count. Barrett goes for the Bullhammer Elbow, but Miz ducks and rolls Barrett up for 2. Barrett tosses Miz to the apron. Miz ducks and Barrett gets his boys hung up on the ropes! Miz drops Barrett and applies the Figure Four! Barrett taps!
I’ll give Miz credit for one thing during his face turn; he’s at least learning better psychology for working towards the Figure Four, but that’s about it.
Winner: The Miz
Kane and Daniel Bryan are backstage having a little argument concerning their past relations with AJ. Kaitlyn comes in and hushes them up. She says they need to move on from AJ Lee. AJ walks in and listens as Kaitlyn talks about AJ’s past with them both. Kaitlyn rips into AJ while she listens on. AJ attacks from behind (CATFIGHHHHT!) and beats her around the room. Kane and Bryan pull her off and take her out of the room. Divas Title match in the works? Eh, why not?
The Legends have their questions for both the Rock and John Cena. Meanwhile, the SHIELD in action…NEXT!
The SHIELD vs. The Great Khali, Zack Ryder & Justin Gabriel
Ah, J.O.B. Squad circa 2013, and shut up, I’m talking about Khali and Co.
Rollins comes off the ropes and gets chopped down by Khali. Ryder tags in, with the Irish whip reversed by Rollins. Ryder gets the knees up. Ryder misses with the dropkick from the top rope. Ambrose with a drop kick off the ropes of his own to Ryder. Reigns throws Ryder in the corner and stomps on him. Ryder with an elbow to Reigns. Gabriel tags in hot with a series of kicks to Reigns and Ambrose with a clothesline from behind. Ambrose with an overhead throw to Gabriel, holding him in place as Rollins comes off the top rope with an elbow to Gabriel’s head for the three count.
Winners: The SHIELD
After the match, The Great Khali comes in and attacks The Shield but they beat him down and hit the triple powerbomb to lay him out. They pose, but Sheamus’ music hits and out he comes to the stage. Randy Orton’s music hits next and out he comes to stand beside Sheamus. Orton and Sheamus head to the ring for a fight. Big Show comes through the crowd and they have the ring surrounded. Show, Orton and Sheamus hit the ring and a brawl breaks out. They clean house and The Shield retreats through the crowd. Sheamus, Orton and Show look at the WrestleMania sign as Show’s music plays, and the trio, methinks, has finally been made official.
Jericho emerges from Vickie Guerrero’s office. Josh Matthews asks him what went on in the office. Jericho says when you’ve done what he has in WWE, you become a target. Jericho says Fandango has kicked his ass twice in a row and it means nothing, he’s proven nothing. Jericho says Fandango will now get his chance at WrestleMania 29. Jericho vs. Fandango is official, and Jerry Lawler is probably squeeing like a fangirl.
Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow come out ripping Philadelphia for their greasy sandwiches (Damn cheese steak-less diet) and stadiums built around prisons. They introduce The Bella Twins and out they come to walk Rhodes Scholars to the ring.
Rhodes Scholars w/The Bella Twins vs. Brodus Clay & “Sweet T” Tensai w/The Funkadactyls
Back from the break and Brodus Clay, Tensai, Cameron and Naomi are dancing in the ring. It’s going to be Clay starting things out with Sandow. Sandow strikes but Clay runs over him. Clay with a clothesline in the corner and a tag to Tensai. They double team Sandow with a big slam. Tensai misses in the corner but hits a big shoulder. Cody tags in and goes at it with Tensai. Sandow comes back in for some double teaming and stomps on Tensai. Sandow with the Cubito Aequet and a 2 count.
Cody comes back in and keeps Tensai in control. Cody comes off the top but Tensai drops him with a right hand in mid-air. Clay comes in off the hot tag and works over Cody. He knocks Sandow off the apron. Clay with a big SHEEE-plex and splash in the corner. The Bellas pull Cody to safety but Cameron and Naomi attack them with their pom-poms…their actual pom-poms to the shame of male fans everywhere. Sandow gets a cheap shot on Clay and Cody hits the Disaster Kick on the Funkasaurus for the win.
Winners: Rhodes Scholars
Promo for Rock’s “GI Joe 2.” It is what it is.
Ryback is WALKING. The 3-on-1 feeding is…NEXT!
Ryback vs. 3MB (Slater, McIntyre & Mahal)
Back from the break and Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal are in the ring, rocking out before being fed to the “Big Hungry”. Out comes Ryback for a 3-on-1 handicap match.
Ryback starts off with Slater and the crowd starts chanting “FEED ME MORE.” Ryback goes after Drew and Jinder while Slater attacks him. Ryback hits a Thesz Press and then slams Slater’s head into the mat repeatedly. Ryback with a splash to Slater. Slater tags in McIntyre. Ryback rams Drew back into the corner and hits some chops. Ryback knocks Slater off the apron and clotheslines Mahal. Ryback turns around to a BIG kick from McIntyre. Didn’t know Drew had that in him, took himself off his feet with that one. Drew tags in Mahal. He stomps away on Ryback. Slater comes back in and they keep Ryback in the corner. Slater with a big knee that only gets a 1 count. Drew comes back in with a big clothesline and pin attempt, but Ryback again kicks out at 1. Drew keeps Ryback on the mat now. Ryback fights out with an atomic drop. Slater tags in, but misses with a splash in the corner. Slater with a kick to the knee and a shoulderblock by Ryback ala Monty Brown’s POUNNNNCE. Ryback with the spinebuster to Slater and Mahal. Ryback picks Mahal and Slater up and hoists them up for a HUGE double Shell-Shocked for the three count!
Good effort that didn’t COMPLETELY bury 3MB, but we knew how this was going down.
AJ is WALK…er, SKIPPING to the ring. She takes on former Chickbuster buddy Kaitlyn next!
Bruno Sammartino will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by fellow
Non-Title Match: Divas Champion Kaitlyn vs. AJ Lee
I’m sorry, but what the hell did they do to Kaitlyn’s music?
Kaitlyn attacks AJ right off the bat. A whip to the corner, followed by a big elbow to AJ. Another whip by Kaitlyn, but AJ with a big ol’ bitch slap to Kaitlyn, who mows her over with a clothesline. Gutbuster by Kaitlyn sends AJ to the outside. Kaitlyn follows her and revs up for a spear, but AJ sidesteps and Kaitlyn rams headfirst into the barricade. AJ mocks Kaitlyn as she struggles to make the 10 count after the missed spear, but falls just short.
Winner: AJ Lee (Countout)
The Legends’ Q & A with Rock & Cena is NEXT!
“The King” Jerry Lawler in the ring, and he makes formal introductions for each of the Hall of Famers on the Q & A panel for Rocky and Cena. Booker T, Mick Foley, “DA DWEEM” Dusty Rhodes and…”The Hitman” Bret Hart! Each legend gets a nice retrospective from Cole and a rousing hand from the Philly crowd. The Q & A is next as we go to commercial.
Lawler makes the introductions for both Rock and Cena, the WWE Champion coming out to a rather lukewarm reaction from the Philly crowd and Cena emerging to the usual “mixed reaction.” He goes over the fare for Q & A and gives it over to Mick Foley.
Foley brings up his match with Rocky against Evolution at WM XX, what some thought to be Rocky’s last match in WWE. Foley felt great guilt for losing that match, and as much flak as he gets for being a Cena fan, he felt great relief for Rock coming back and defeating Cena, taking that weight of regret off Mick’s shoulders. Mick asks if Cena is ready to live with that regret, should he lose to Rocky yet again.
Before Cena can speak, the crowd gets all over him. Cena says whether he loses or wins, April 7th will change the face of WWE forever. Cena says he’s aware that losing is a very real option for him this year. Cena brings up former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb never being able to win the big one. Cena says if he loses, he will carry the legacy of McNabb, state to state, city to city, arena to arena – he will get a reaction of disdain, one voiced by the crowd each time Cena repeated McNabb’s name. Cena says statistically he will be good, but he will never be able to win the big one. Cena says he can handle failure but Rock knows nothing of failure, not yet, but he soon will. A “boring” chant breaks out in the crowd. It’s The Rock’s turn to respond and the fans chant his name, waiting for him to verbally lace into Cena.
Rock tells a story about his rise from 23 years old, finding a VERY used mattress in the back of a hotel, and being broke to becoming The Rock, saying he broke his leg starting out as Rocky Maivia and being told by the WWE brass to go home. He came back years later, won the WWE Title at the age of 25, riding high and main eventing WrestleMania, only to get his ass kicked by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and lose the title. He promised himself he’d come back stronger and be on of the hardest workers in the business. Rocky says the failures he went through has made him the man he is today and in 13 days he’s going to whip Cena’s ass.
Bret Hart is up next. He wasn’t happen last year when they both were overcame with bad blood. He says it almost became a Shawn Michaels-Bret Hart thing, which the crowd “oohs” at. Bret says they’re different now and asks what happened. Rock answers and says last year, it was just two guys going at it for 30 minutes in the ring. Rock says Cena took that loss like a man and he respected that. Cena talks about calling Rock out in an interview a few years ago, saying Rock needed to prove he was faithful to the WWE Universe. Cena goes on and says he respects Rock for doing just that, coming back to host WM 27, beating Cena at WM 28. Cena says in 13 days, we will see how well Rock handles his loss.
Booker T is up next. He asks Cena why he thinks he can beat Rock at WrestleMania. Cena says because he has to, that’s it – he has to. The crowd boos at the surprisingly short response, and Cena looked like he’d rather have face Lesnar again than answer the question. Rock mocks him and asks what kind of weak answer is that. Rock tells him to wipe a monkey’s ass with that answer. Rock tells Cena to tell the REAL truth about why he thinks he has to win. Cena says because Rock didn’t beat him. Rock can’t beat him. Cena says he beat himself (Bad choice of words, but I’ll let it slide since it’s ultra-super serious Cena). Cena says he has never said that publicly, but that’s fact. Cena says one bad decision, one personal moment he got caught up in. The crowd boos Cena. Cena says Rock is the only person that clouded his judgment enough to make a dumb decision. Cena says he watched the match over and over – he had Rock beat but made a stupid move by trying to use Rock’s own move, the People’s Elbow. Cena says that will never happen again. Cena says he will do things his way on his terms at WrestleMania 29. Cena says he knows he is better than The Rock. That’s his reason.
Rock says if he could’v beat him, Cena would have beat him, but he didn’t. Rock then quotes Ric Flair saying “To Be The Man You’ve Got To Beat The Man” and Cena cannot beat the man and between them, for the rest of their lives, Cena will never be the man. Oooh, that one stung good.
Dusty Rhodes then asks both Rock and Cena what they really want on April 7 and Cena says he wants to win the big one and dominate The Rock. He wants The Rock to look up at the skies in MetLife Stadium and Rock will realize Cena belongs and Cena is better than The Rock. He wants to hand Rock a loss so devastating it will haunt him for the rest of his life.
Rock again mocks Cena’s answer, saying he isn’t wired that way and the day after WrestleMania, Rock is going to wake up still WWE Champion while Cena wakes up stuffing his face with Fruity Pebbles. Rock tells Cena to prove Rock wrong at WrestleMania but better than that challenges Cena to prove him wrong right now. Rock and Cena go face to face and Cena does the “You Can’t See Me” sign. Rock pushes him and Cena goes to deliver an AA but Rock counters and hits a Rock Bottom. The Legends look on in near amusement as Rocky stands tall and Cena looks on in disappointment, a flashback of sorts to the ending of WM 28 as we fade to black.
Credit: Ken Hill