Are you ready? There are only 13 days until WrestleMania, so stop questioning your heart and join me because it’s time for Monday Night RAW!!!
“Yes sir, we promised you a great main event…” The WWE video leads us into the show.
CM Punk’s music hits and the WWE Champion makes his way down to the ring. He starts by saying that Chris Jericho is not here tonight, which just goes to show the kind of man that Jericho is. Last week, when Jericho said that Punk’s father was an alcoholic, it pissed Punk off. His problem is with the fact that it is not Jericho’s business. He doesn’t necessarily have a problem with Jericho saying it, or how he said it, but the fact that he said it in front of the entire world. Punk says that there isn’t anyone who hasn’t been affected in some way by the disease of alcoholism. Punk says that Jericho said what he said to try and gain some sort of advantage. Punk says that Jericho’s strategy has backfired, because if there is a monster inside of him then he is going to let it out at WrestleMania. Punk wisely tells the crowd, “don’t let your past nightmares cloud your future dreams.” Punk says that his father has overcome his demons and has worked hard to become sober. Punk is proud of his father, and he is proud of being Straight Edge. Punk says that at WrestleMania, Jericho is his obstacle and he will go right through him. Punk starts to leave the ring.
Chris Jericho appears on the Titantron via satellite. Jericho says that he was out of line for what he said last week and he is sorry. Jericho says that he is saying this as Chris Jericho the person and without bravado. It was none of his business, and he is sorry that he brought it up. He hopes that Punk will forgive him. Jericho gives Punk his word that he won’t talk about his father again.
But Punk’s sister? Punk’s sister has a problem with substance abuse. She will do anything to get her fix. Punk’s father is an alcoholic; his sister is a drug addict, which means that Punk is predisposed to drink. The good news is that addiction can be overcome. The bad news is that Jericho says that when he beats Punk at WrestleMania, that will be something that he will never overcome. Punk calls Jericho a piece of shit, and says that that is exactly what he is going to beat out of him.
The Big Show v. Kane
Cody Rhodes’ music hits, and he makes his way down to ringside for this match. He shows a highlight video of more Big Show embarrassing WrestleMania moments.
Kane and Show lock up. Show tries for a quick chokeslam, but Kane counters. Show hits a spear, and then heads to the second rope. Cody jumps up on the apron wearing boxing gloves. Show knocks him down, but it provides enough time for Kane to get to his feet. Kane flips Show off of the turnbuckle and goes for the cover. This match is over.
Match Rating: ¼ *
After the match, Cody hits the disaster kick. Cody then slides out of the ring and grabs a pair of handcuffs. Cody handcuffs Big Show with his hands behind his back and around the second rope. Cody puts the boxing gloves backs on and starts to unload on the Big Show. Referees jump into the ring to back Cody away from his victim. A trainer emerges with a pair of bolt cutters to set Big Show free as Cody heads to the back.
David Otunga w/ John Laurinaitis v. Santino w/ Teddy Long
Santino pulls down his singlet and engages in a pose off with Otunga. Santino appears to tweak his knee for a moment which allows Otunga to get in an attack. Santino bounces back quickly and hits a hip toss. Santino hits the running head butt and then pulls out the Cobra. Laurinaitis throws his cell phone in the ring. Santino stomps on the phone. This momentary distraction is enough for Otunga to run up from behind and hit his finisher. This match is over.
Winner via Cell Phone Distraction: David Otunga
Match Rating ¾ *
After the match, Laurinaitis mocks Santino with a trumpet salute. Teddy Long responds by slapping him in the face. Long then runs to the top of the ramp to escape. Long’s music hits and he dances in celebration.
The Rock appears on the Titantron. He says that finally The Rock has come back to Philadelphia. He is in front of the statue of Rocky Balboa. Rock shows a picture of himself at age 12 in front of that same statue as he dreamed of becoming the greatest of all time. The Rock talks about Hulk Hogan and then the Ultimate Warrior. Rock tells the story of headlining his first WrestleMania in Philadelphia when he lost to Steve Austin. Rock says that in order to be the greatest of all time, there is one last man he needs to face – John Cena. Rock says that he is going to get in his car and drive to the arena tonight and address the fans. The Rock then goes through a couple catch phrase of wrestling greats. At WrestleMania 28, The Rock is going to Layeth the Smackdown on John Cena’s candy ass. If you SMELLLLLLL what The Rock is cooking!
Video Package: Zack Ryder holds a rally to try and become a member of Team Teddy.
Daniel Bryan w/ AJ v. Zack Ryder
Bryan gives AJ a kiss before the match starts. Ryder bounces off the ropes but gets kicked hard in the gut. Bryan drops a knee and goes for a cocky cover. Ryder kicks out. Bryan uses the ropes to stretch the abdomen of Ryder. Bryan goes for another cover, but Ryder kicks out. Ryder gets to his feet and sets up Bryan in the corner. He connects with a hard running boot. Ryder waits for Bryan to get back to his feet and then goes for the Rough Ryder. Bryan counters into the LeBelle Lock and Ryder quickly taps.
Winner via Submission: Daniel Bryan
Match Rating ½ *
After the match, AJ gives Bryan another kiss.
John Cena v. Mark Henry
They lock up, and Henry tosses Cena out of the ring. Cena reenters and bounces off the ropes. Henry flattens him with a shoulder block. As Cena gets to his feet, Henry knocks him right back down to the mat with punch after punch. Henry throws Cena out of the ring once again, and then chucks him into the barricade.
Back from the break, Henry goes for the cover. Cena kicks out. Henry looks surprised and lifts Cena to his feet. Henry has him backed into the corner and punches him hard. Henry whips him to the other side of the ring and flattens him with a splash. Henry is starting to look confident as he charges for another splash. Cena moves out of the way and hits a side slam! Cena signals, and hits the 5 Knuckle Shuffle. Cena looks to lift up Henry, but can’t get him on his shoulders. Cena runs straight into a World’s Strongest Slam attempt, but counters by sliding over the back of Henry. Cena goes to lift Henry on his shoulders again, and this time he is successful! Cena connects with the Attitude Adjustment! This match is over.
Winner via Attitude Adjustment: John Cena
Match Rating: 1 & ½ *
After the match, The Rock’s music hits. The Great One runs down to the ring and hits Mark Henry with a Rock Bottom! The Rock heads right back up the ramp.
Video Package: Maria Menounos & Kelly Kelly to face Eve Torres & Beth Phoenix at WrestleMania
The Miz is in the ring and namedrops King Kong Bundy. He says that at WrestleMania 2 King Kong Bundy was in the main event. The next ‘mania he faced Hillbilly Jim and a couple of little people. Miz calls it the biggest drop off in WrestleMania history until now. At least Bundy had a match. So, The Miz has declared an open challenge. He wants Laurinaitis to watch his match tonight against whoever his opponent is so that he can prove he deserves a match.
The Miz v. Sheamus
They lock up and Sheamus pushes Miz back into the ropes. Miz goes for a DDT, but Sheamus him up onto his shoulders. Sheamus connects with an inverted Samoan Drop. Miz gets back to his feet and hits a back breaker. Cover, but Sheamus kicks out. Miz places Sheamus’ head against the second rope and then stomps on his back. Sheamus sets him down in the corner and pounds on him with a series of stomps. Cover, but Miz kicks out. Sheamus gets to his feet and is smiling. Sheamus charges for the Brogue Kick, but Miz dodges. Unfazed, Sheamus charges again and this time connects!
Winner via Brogue Kick: Sheamus
Match Rating: ¾ *
Josh Mathews introduces Randy Orton. He says that he may not be The Big Red Machine, but he knows his own purpose. Orton knows what he, himself, is capable of. He doesn’t care about Kane’s recent identity crisis. He proudly tells the crowd that his name is Randy Orton, and then heads to the back.
Excuse Me! Vickie Guerrero makes her way out onto the entrance ramp and introduces the two newest members of Team Johnny – Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler.
Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler w/ Vickie Guerrero v. R-Truth & Kofi Kingston w/ Aksana
Swagger and Kofi start the match. They lock up and Kofi is pushed into the corner. Dolph hits a cheap shot which sets up for Swagger’s second rope splash. Swagger punches and kicks on Kofi before tagging in his partner. Ziggler points towards R-Truth and then stomps on the head of Kofi. Ziggler hits a huge dropkick, and goes for a cover. Kofi kicks out. Swagger gets the tag and grabs the arms of Kofi. Kofi escapes and hits devastating DDT out of desperation. Kofi crawls towards his corner. Truth and Ziggler both get the tag. Truth hits a clothesline, followed by a couple of punches. Ziggler whips him into the ropes, but Truth hits a spinning heel kick. Truth tries for a cover but Swagger breaks it up. Truth throws Swagger out of the ring and Kofi heads over to attack. Truth looks for the scissors kick, but Ziggler dodges. Ziggler hits a leg drop of his own, and this match is over.
Winners: Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler
Match Rating: *
After the match, Vickie Guerrero and Aksana start to brawl in the middle of the ring. Their men break it up.
Shawn Michaels’ music hits and he makes his way down to the ring. He says that everyone wants to know what is going to happen when HHH faces The Undertaker. He says that you have to tune in to WrestleMania to find out. Shawn says that the other question on people’s minds is whether or not he can be an impartial referee. Before he answers that question, Michaels starts to talk about The Undertaker. He claims that the whole end of an era motif is really just another way of saying the end of the streak.
The Undertaker’s music hits and he makes his way slowly down to the ring. Shawn tries to cut him off before he can start talking, but Taker says that he did enough talking last week. It is in his best interests to shut up and listen. Taker has already told him that this match has to remain pure. So before Shawn and his buddy start making plans –
“Time to play The Game”! HHH’s music hits and he walks down to the ring. This week, HHH is not in a suit, but jeans and a T-shirt. HHH tells Taker to stop worrying about Shawn because despite his ego, this match isn’t about him. As Taker has said, it is the destiny of HHH and Taker to face each other. They will meet in the most demonic structure in the history of the WWE, Hell in a Cell. There have only been 24 Hell in a Cell matches since its inception. Combined, they have been in 19 of the Cell matches. HHH learned in the Cell how to push the limits of human endurance, and what it takes to end another man’s career. HHH says that it is where he thrives and where he excels. The whole world is going to see an end of an era – Taker’s. HHH says he knows exactly what he needs to do to finish the job.
Taker asks if he is sure. Because HHH’s mind, body, soul, wife and kids, everything – is he willing to put it all on the line? HHH says that if it means giving Taker the end that he deserves, then he is willing to sacrifice everything. And he will. Taker and HHH stare each other down. Taker backs away and goes to exit the ring. Taker takes a moment and steps back towards HHH. He asks if HHH remembers when he said Shawn was better than HHH – because he is! Taker’s music hits and he exits the ring. HHH stares gruffly at his former DX partner as RAW goes off the air.
Quick Match Results
Kane def. The Big Show
David Otunga def. Santino
Daniel Bryan def. Zack Ryder
John Cena def. Mark Henry
Sheamus def. The Miz
Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler def. R-Truth & Kofi Kingston
Bump of the Night: John Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment on Mark Henry
Match of the Night: John Cena v. Mark Henry
CM Punk was a bit timid in the opening segment of the show, but considering the subject matter I suppose it was appropriate. He did a decent job of explaining the situation from last week and I thought the comment about being proud of his father was very emotionally impactful. There was no pipe bomb pizazz from Punk tonight, but it would have been incongruous. For a moment it seemed as though Jericho was being sincere, but then he dropped a huge whammy on Punk. While I had heard about Punk’s father in the past, I was caught off guard by the revelation about his sister. It was an important piece of the puzzle for Jericho’s theory that if he takes everything away from Punk it will lead him into the arms of addiction. Sure, it’s a bit of creative license, but I’m immensely intrigued.
There isn’t too much to say about Kane’s quick disposal of Big Show. We’ve seen Show kick out of Superplexes before, so how a drop from the second rope knocked him out is beyond me. But hey, since when is wrestling supposed to be consistent? Cody Rhodes is still cracking me up with his videos of embarrassing Big Show WrestleMania moments. It’s a clever idea.
The next match was also won via distraction as Laurinaitis sacrificed his phone to help David Otunga defeat Santino. I have to admit that I was particularly impressed with Santino’s abs tonight.
The Rock and Cena feud was heavily downplayed tonight aside from a video promo from The Rock (surprise, surprise) and a quick run in. I would have expected more, but I’m sure next week is going to be a cluster of angles during the go-home show for ‘mania.
John Cena lifting Henry into the air for the AA, and holding him there, was downright impressive.
Daniel Bryan quickly disposed of Ryder tonight during tonight’s theme of not letting matches run longer than 3 minutes. Maybe the booking staff was confused and thought every match was a Diva match?
The Miz’s losing streak continues. I did like the reference to King Kong Bundy, but that’s another story for another day. Clearly The Miz is going to get involved in some fashion at WrestleMania. I sincerely hope that it isn’t during Cena/Rock because as I said before, that match deserves to stand alone without interference.
I haven’t said this in a while, but is bears repeating – Sheamus is adorable.
Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler picked up a victory in a match that was mainly about getting over the fact that they are the most recent additions to Team Johnny. I read that the match at ‘mania was originally supposed to be Elimination style, but due to time restraints will be abridged to one fall. I understand that rationale, but it is going to result in a rather messy match.
The close of the show was downright boring. I just find it so hard to care about this match in general. The factoid of HHH & Taker being in a combined 19 of the 24 Hell in a Cell matches was probably the most stimulating part of the segment. HHH talking about the Cell being his proving ground was interesting, but couldn’t overcome a segment that fell flat on the audience in attendance. I don’t have high hopes for this match at ‘mania, but maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
It was a pretty middle of the road episode of RAW tonight. It felt like they were holding back the big moments (other than CM Punk’s sister) until next week’s final RAW before WrestleMania. There is just one more Monday night stop on the Road to WrestleMania, and it should be a doozy.
Final Rating: * ½