“Yes sir, we promised you a great main event…” The WWE video leads us into the show.
The Monday Night Raw video plays, and we’re brought into the arena with a big fireworks display. Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and Booker T welcome us to the show. We’re six nights away from WrestleMania XXVIII. The Rock and John Cena will meet face to face in the ring tonight.
Randy Orton and Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan w/ AJ and Kane
Randy Orton will start the match out against Daniel Bryan. Bryan passionately kisses AJ before circling the ring. They lock up, and Orton applies a side headlock. Bryan whips him off, but Orton shoulder blocks him down. Bryan quickly comes back with kicks, goes into the ropes, and Orton gives him a back body drop. Orton stomps at Bryan, but he misses a knee drop. Bryan punches him to the corner. Orton reverses a whip to the corner, but Bryan back flips over him. Orton clotheslines him down for a two count. Sheamus is tagged in, and Bryan immediately tags in Kane.
They lock up, and Kane powers him to the corner. Sheamus turns him before breaking the hold. Kane knees him in the midsection and gives him an uppercut. Sheamus gets out of a powerslam. Sheamus chop blocks him, knees him, and punches away. Kane takes him out with a back elbow, and he quickly follows up with a low dropkick for a one count. Kane charges, but Sheamus gets a boot up. Sheamus goes to the top rope, and he hits a diving shoulder block for a two count. Sheamus goes for the Pale Justice, but Bryan distracts him. Kane punches him out of the ring, and Bryan quickly takes him out with a flying knee to the face off the apron.
We come back from the break to see Bryan kicking away at Sheamus in the corner. Sheamus shoves him away, and he avoids Bryan diving at him in the corner. Orton is tagged in, and he clotheslines away at Bryan. Orton hits a powerslam, and the crowd is going nuts. Orton hits the hanging DDT, and he begins to stalk Bryan for an RKO. Kane pulls Bryan out, and Orton attacks him on the outside. Orton bounces him off the ring post, and Bryan gives him a baseball slide. Bryan kicks him in the ribs a few times before throwing him back into the ring. Kane is tagged in, and he kicks Orton in the ribs. Kane elbows him in the corner, whips him to the opposite side, and clotheslines him down for a near fall. Kane applies a rear chin lock. Orton fights up and punches out. Kane whips him to the corner, and he runs into Orton’s boot. Kane quickly comes back with a sidewalk slam for a near fall. Kane goes to the top rope for his lariat, and he drops his WrestleMania opponent with it. Kane signals for the Chokeslam, but Orton quickly dropkicks him down.
Sheamus and Bryan are tagged in. Sheamus goes wild with some clotheslines, and he viciously clubs him down. Sheamus hits the Irish Curse. Sheamus ducks a clothesline from Kane, and he clotheslines him out of the ring with Orton. Orton goes to give Kane an RKO at ringside, but Kane pushes him into the corner. Sheamus sets Bryan up for the Brogue Kick, but AJ gets in the way. The referee moves her, and Bryan avoids the Brogue Kick. Sheamus gets hung up on the top rope, and Kane gets on the apron to Chokeslam him down. Bryan quickly covers his WrestleMania opponent for the win!
Winners by Pinfall: Daniel Bryan and Kane
Match Rating: * 1/2
They show footage from the main event of WrestleMania XXVII. The Rock gave John Cena a Rock Bottom, and The Miz pinned him to retain his WWE Championship. That was retribution for Cena giving him an Attitude Adjustment the week prior. The Rock and John Cena will be in the ring face to face tonight.
Michael Cole is in the ring, and he puts on a red shirt with John Laurinaitis’s face on it. Cole asks for the crowd’s attention. Cole says he’s so excited because he was just named the official commentator for Team Johnny this Sunday. Cole then welcomes the man who will be the General Manager of both Raw and Smackdown after this Sunday, John Laurinaitis. Laurinaitis introduces the official flag bearer of Team Johnny, Vickie Guerrero. Laurinaitis introduces his team captain, the only WWE wrestler with a Harvard law degree, David Otunga.
Booker T says he’s the official commentator for Team Teddy. Booker T stands on the commentary table, and he introduces the man who will send John Laurinaitis back to his cubicle – Teddy Long. Teddy Long introduces his team captain, Santino Marella.
David Otunga w/ John Laurinaitis and Vickie Guerrero vs. Santino Marella w/ Teddy Long and Hornswoggle
Santino sizes him up before applying a side headlock. Otunga whips him off and gives him a shoulder block, but Santino stands right up. Otunga knocks him down, but Santino gets right back up. Santino hits a drop-toe-hold, and he applies a front face lock. Santino punches him to the corner. Otunga reverses a whip, hangs back while Santino does a slingshot, and he clotheslines Santino down. Otunga takes the Team Johnny flag and waves it proudly. Hornswoggle gets in the ring, and he waves the flag of Team Teddy. Otunga rips it out of his hand. Otunga swings the flag, but the pole bounces off the ropes and back into his face. Santino hits the Cobra for the win!
Winner by Pinfall: Santino Marella
Match Rating: 1/4 *
John Laurinaitis and Teddy Long argue in the ring. Santino gets behind Laurinaitis, and Teddy pushes him back, causing Laurinaitis to trip. Laurinaitis takes off his jacket. Santino sneaks up for a Cobra, but The Miz comes from out of nowhere to hit the Skull Crushing Finale! Laurinaitis congratulates him on being a part of Team Teddy (or Johnny). Laurinaitis congratulates him on getting to WrestleMania!
CM Punk will take on Christian later tonight. We’ll take a look at the “End of an Era” match next.
They show footage of The Rock challenging John Cena to a match at WrestleMania XXVIII. This was the night after WrestleMania XXVII. After a year of waiting, this match is six days away. We’ll see The Rock and John Cena in the ring together tonight.
They play a video highlighting the “End of an Era” Hell in a Cell match between Undertaker and Triple H.
Eve Torres comes to the ring with her WrestleMania partner, Beth Phoenix. She’ll take on Kelly Kelly next.
Eve Torres w/ Beth Phoenix vs. Kelly Kelly
Kelly gets the crowd to chant “Hoeski.” Kelly quickly pins her for a two count. Eve kicks her in the knee and the face. Eve bounces her off the mat before throwing her into the corner. Beth Phoenix talks a little trash at ringside. Eve gets on the second rope, and she applies a sleeper hold that takes Kelly off her feet. Eve covers for a near fall. Eve applies a modified octopus stretch, but Kelly fights up. Eve knees her, Kelly ducks the clothesline, and she hits a head-scissor takeover that nearly spiked Eve on her head. Kelly does the ten punches in the corner, but Eve slams her off. Eve goes to the top rope, and she misses the moonsault. Kelly covers for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Kelly Kelly
Match Rating: N/A
They show footage from The Rock and John Cena teaming at Survivor Series. The Rock wound up giving Cena a Rock Bottom after the match.
CM Punk is walking backstage. He’ll face Christian next.
Before the match starts, Chris Jericho appears on the titantron. Jericho says he’s going to beat him at WrestleMania and become the new WWE Champion. At WrestleMania, he’s going to expose him for the fraud that he is once and for all. He’s a professional and personal fraud. Punk’s father is an alcoholic, and his sister has a problem with substance abuse. Jericho has also found out some new information. He did some digging, and he found out about Punk’s mother. Punk’s mother is a nice woman with no vices, so Jericho congratulates him on having a parent that’s not an embarrassment. However, he found out that Punk’s parents got married after Punk was born. Jericho says that makes him the legal definition of a bastard.
Christian vs. CM Punk
Christian attacks Punk from behind as he’s watching Jericho in disgust. The bell has yet to ring. He stomps away and stands on Punk. Christian punches away at him, and he taunts Punk. Christian throws him out of the ring, and Punk comes back with a kick to the leg. Punk bounces him off the commentary table a bunch of times. Punk mashes his face into the table, and he gives him a nasty roundhouse kick to the skull. Punk elbows away at him, and the referee begs Punk to stop. Punk takes the steel steps and pulls them slightly away from the ring. Punk puts Christian on his shoulders, and he slams Christian face first on the steps. Punk applies the Anaconda Vice, and he screams that this is Jericho. A bunch of referees run down to try to pry him off Christian. Punk punches away and applies the Anaconda Vice again. Punk looks wild, and the referees rip him off Christian. A doctor checks on Christian as Punk raises the WWE Championship up in the ring.
The announcers mention that Christian had to be carted out. They say he may have reinjured his neck.
Curt Hawkins vs. Brodus Clay
Brodus clotheslines him down. Hawkins quickly ducks a clothesline and chop blocks the knee. Hawkins punches, and he takes him down with a bulldog. Brodus kicks out at one. Brodus head-butts him down, uppercuts him, and hits a T-Bone Suplex. Brodus hits a big splash for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Brodus Clay
Match Rating: N/A
They show footage of John Cena saying that he personally doesn’t respect The Rock. Cena says The Rock is a champion with people. Cena talked about how April 1 means everything to him. He’s fighting for everyone who ever dreamed of being a WWE Superstar. They’ll meet in the ring tonight.
Big Show vs. Primo w/ Epico and Rosa Mendes
Big Show kicks and clubs Primo down. Big Show chops the chest before throwing him across the ring. Show punches him in the midsection. They announce that Christian cannot compete at WrestleMania for Team Johnny. Big Show gives Primo a Chokeslam for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Big Show
Match Rating: N/A
Epico tried to attack Big Show from behind, but that just resulted in him taking a Chokeslam. Cody Rhodes comes out, and he says it’s not like Big Show is going to catch him. They’ll have their time, specifically this Sunday at WrestleMania. Rhodes asks if that word scares him. The show where the biggest stars stand and Big Show fails. Rhodes says it’s the nature of every person to err, but only a fool perseveres in err. They’re going to take his name and make it a verb. Students will pray that they don’t “Big Show” on their finals. Men at the bar will pray they don’t “Big Show” with the ladies. People will have to take a “Big Show.” Rhodes says he’ll “Big Show” when he loses to him at WrestleMania. Rhodes says he’ll retain his Intercontinental Title on April Fools Day. Big Show will be the biggest fool of all.
The Rock and John Cena will be face to face in the ring tonight.
A Lord Tensai hype video plays.
The Bella Twins are arguing over whether Team Teddy or Team Johnny is better. Zack Ryder walks up, and Brie Bella calls him a loser. Ryder tells her to change her face, and that insults Nikki. Eve walks up, and she asks what hotel he’s staying in. She says he can come to her hotel room after WrestleMania.
CM Punk is backstage with Josh Mathews. Punk tells him to ask Christian how he feels. Punk says he’s not off limits, but his family is. Jericho can call him a fraud and the best in the world; he doesn’t care. His father is off limits, and what he said about his sister is a fabrication. What Jericho said about his mother is a lie. He’s not a bastard – he’s the best wrestler in the world.
The Great Khali will take on Mark Henry next.
Mark Henry w/ John Laurinaitis vs. The Great Khali w/ Teddy Long
They announce that Drew McIntyre has replaced Christian as the final member of Team Johnny.
The Great Khali scares John Laurinaitis off the apron. Teddy Long distracts Mark Henry, and Khali beats away at Henry. Khali chops the chest. Henry comes back with a kick, but Khali quickly hits a Brain Chop. Henry counters out of a Punjabi Plunge and hits the World’s Strongest Slam for the win!
Winner by Pinfall: Mark Henry
Match Rating: N/A
Mark Henry yells at Teddy Long, and John Laurinaitis throws him into the ring. The rest of Team Johnny comes to block the ring. Henry grabs Long as Team Johnny takes out Team Teddy. R-Truth tries to help, but to no avail. Kofi Kingston leaps into Henry’s grip, and he hits the World’s Strongest Slam. Henry grabs Teddy Long, and Booker T makes the save! Booker T punches Henry back, and he hits the Scissors Kick! Teddy Long grabs a microphone, and he thanks Booker T for helping him. The best way for him to thank him is to ask him to be the final member of Team Teddy at WrestleMania! The crowd loves it, and Booker T says, “NOW CAN YOU DIG THAT, SUCKA?” Booker T does a spinaroonie and shakes hands with his teammates.
They show footage of John Cena beating Mark Henry last week. The Rock then came out, gave Henry a Rock Bottom, and he then left the ring. John Cena and The Rock will be in the ring face to face next!
The Rock and John Cena meet face to face before WrestleMania XXVIII
The Rock’s music hits, and the arena becomes unglued. Rock gets in the ring, and he’s getting a mixture of boos and cheers. A “Boots 2 Asses” chant fires up. The Rock says he competed in what everyone thought was his last match at WrestleMania XX in 2004. Everywhere he went, people would ask when he’s coming back, even his doctor. The Rock would say he doesn’t know when he’s coming back, but he would eventually come back. Hollywood starlets would invite him to dominate their pie, but only if he would tell them when he was coming back. For seven years he didn’t know when until last year. The Rock went down to Georgia for WrestleMania XXVII. He walked into the Georgia Dome, and they blew the roof off the place when he hit the Rock Bottom heard ‘round the world. The very next night, in this very arena, the main event of WrestleMania XVIII was set. History was made because of the crowd. In six days, he returns to do what he does better than anyone. He’s going to electrify again. It all happened here, and that’s why he’s proud to say, “Finally, The Rock has come back to Atlanta!”
There’s only one man who the people wanted to see him face at WrestleMania. There’s only one man who the millions – AND MILLIONS – of The Rock’s fans want to see him face this Sunday, and that man is John Cena. The crowd boos. The last WrestleMania he competed in was John Cena’s first. Since then, John Cena has become one of the biggest stars the industry has ever seen and the heartbeat of WWE. However, he’s never – and The Rock means NEVER – faced anyone like The Rock.
John Cena’s music hits, and he makes his way out to the ring to a tremendous reaction. Cena asks if The Rock can hear the crowd. Cena says that’s what’s going to happen at WrestleMania. Cena mentions that The Rock said he’s never seen anything like him, but Cena says, as usual, he’s only half right. The Rock has never seen anything like John Cena. For a year now, he’s listened to the best trash talk from undoubtedly the best trash talker. Cena says he’s happy to be here like he is every single night and with a smile on his face. The Rock can talk trash. He’s the best, but he’s not the first. When The Rock left, there was a ten-year gap. People tried to rise up, and he made it. How many people have talked trash about John Cena? The list goes on, and it includes The Rock’s strudel. Cena pauses for a dueling “Let’s go Cena – Cena sucks” chant. Cena says there’s a certain moment of electricity when The Rock comes in, but you can’t look past the pure emotion that happens when he enters the ring. Five words: “Let’s go Cena – Cena sucks.” The audience is divided, sometimes hostile. Finally there’s one man with a set of ideals that does what the t-shirt says. He rises above, and the kicker is he rises above and wins. That’s what gets the haters. He rises above it, and he wins. There may be some here that hate that, but they know he’ll win at WrestleMania. Cena says he knows they hate it, but they know it just as sure as he does.
Cena says it’s time for more truth. He’s been an active member of WWE longer than The Rock. The Rock sold out arenas and blew up during the Attitude Era. The Rock then became a global superstar. Cena says he’s had some cool moments, but he was here when it wasn’t so cool to be a WWE superstar. However, Cena always beat the company drum and said proudly that he belongs here. Cena says people know he means it. Cena says he has to win. After WrestleMania, life goes on for The Rock. He’ll be in the new GI Joe movie this summer. After WrestleMania, his office doesn’t change. This is still his life. The past year, they’ve said a lot of things to each other, so he feels real comfortable saying this to The Rock’s face. He’ll be god damned if he comes in as a visitor and take his life from him. For ten years, he’s risked his health every night. No one remembers second place. They know he has to win this match more than anything he’s ever had to do in his life.
The Rock says he knows how important the match is to Cena, but it’s just as important to him. Cena talked about what the people know. This house that Cena lives in, The Rock helped build. They know that Cena has never had an opponent like him. It’s more than just about making history. They know that The Rock, the People’s Champion, has come back to beat him. That’s what drives him. Never before has a man been able to say he’s walked into WrestleMania and beat Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, and John Cena. He needs to beat Cena to become the greatest WWE superstar of all time. On a personal level, he just doesn’t like him. In six days, he’s going to give him the ass kicking of a lifetime. Cena knows it, he knows it, and the people know it.
Cena says it doesn’t matter what The Rock thinks. He’s going to put this in terms The Rock can understand. Cena has made a living off being the guy you can’t see. At WrestleMania, The Rock will see him. He’ll be the guy with his hand raised high, standing over The Rock, and the headline will read, “John Cena whips The Rock’s ass at WrestleMania.”
Quick Match Results
Daniel Bryan and Kane def. Randy Orton and Sheamus
Santino Marella def. David Otunga
Kelly Kelly def. Eve Torres
CM Punk vs. Christian never started
Brodus Clay def. Curt Hawkins
Big Show def. Epico
Mark Henry def. The Great Khali
Bump of the Night: CM Punk’s beat down on Christian
Match of the Night: Bryan and Kane vs. Orton and Sheamus * 1/2
Before I start my thoughts, I’d like to send a HUGE thank you out to my buddy Dave Stephens. I’m flying out to Miami this Friday, so Dave suggested we flip shows so I don’t have to go nuts trying to recap a show quickly before I get on an airplane. I’d also like to thank him for that wonderful tribute to me last week on his recap.
The show opened up strong with a nice little tag team match hyping up the two big WrestleMania matches from the blue crew. Sheamus taking the loss does nothing to deter my notion that he’s going to be holding the gold at the end of his match against Daniel Bryan this Sunday. I’m looking forward to their match, and I expect AJ, who played a role in the finish tonight, to play a part in the match at WrestleMania. I’m also looking forward to the Randy Orton/Kane match. As I’ve mentioned before, this could be the sleeper hit of the night. These two actually mesh really well together in the ring, and I expect them to have a great match this Sunday.
Well we finally know who the final men on the General Manager teams are. Booker T is the final man on Teddy Long’s team, Christian was taken out and replaced with Drew McIntyre, and The Miz will be on Team Johnny. I’m fine with all the additions and subtractions (I’ll get to Christian momentarily), but I’m not feeling The Miz as a part of this. I was hoping that Miz would actually be left off the card. It’s not because I don’t like him, mind you. I just feel he could have made a bigger impact interfering in a match, jealous that he was left off the card. I thought that was a good little angle, and him coming out tonight felt really anticlimactic. Drew McIntyre over Alberto Del Rio made me scratch my head, but it does make sense from a storyline perspective.
The divas match was a bit sloppy tonight. I’d have rather listened to Undertaker and Triple H stumble through one more promo than watch this one. How scary was that head-scissor Kelly gave Eve? Yikes. They didn’t mention anything about Maria Menounos’ busted ribs, so I’m assuming that match is a go.
Chris Jericho dropped one more disturbing bombshell about CM Punk, and he finally snapped on Christian. Punk beat Christian down so badly that he was removed from the WrestleMania match. I’m almost starting to think that Christian will play the part of The Miz in the scenario in my mind. Sorry for the fantasy booking, but I get really amped up during WrestleMania season. Maybe Christian interferes to help Chris Jericho? If not, Christian has a ready-made feud for when he comes back full time. I don’t think the crowd really felt this segment, but it could just be that the whole thing basically took place on the floor.
Brodus Clay had a quick squash match against The Rock’s training buddy, Curt Hawkins. I thought he’d actually be the final guy on Team Teddy, but Booker T is fine with me. Maybe he’ll win that pre-WrestleMania battle royal.
Big Show killed Epico and Primo really quickly, and then Cody Rhodes came out for a very good promo. Rhodes has done a nice job in the past week with his promos on the Big Show, and tonight was just as good. This should be an interesting match on Sunday. I could see it going either way.
The match with Henry and Khali was really quick, and it was just there to set up Booker T becoming a part of Team Teddy. It’s disturbing to me that Teddy Long didn’t already have a guy ready for that sixth spot. Long had the bright idea that Booker T could be on the team when he saved him. Teddy Long’s ragtag group of misfits on paper doesn’t look like it should match up well against Team Johnny. I like it. This has been a surprisingly fun little angle heading into WrestleMania, and I’m going to be a complete mark in Miami this Sunday cheering on Teddy Long. I have to stick with the blue crew!
Finally, this brings us to The Rock and John Cena face to face in the ring for the last time before WrestleMania XXVIII. This was really good, and these two did a tremendous job with the final sell for their match. The Rock, I felt, got off to a bit of a shaky start with some lame jokes. I wasn’t feeling this until he got serious and talked about why he’s back. John Cena then came out, and this is where this really picked up. Cena was actually brutally honest about his feelings and how this is his life. I got chills when he was talking about how much this match means to him. The Rock then came back with a retort, but John Cena absolutely won this segment for me. This has been one of the most ambitious things WWE has done since they turned Steve Austin heel in 2001. They put all their eggs in the basket hyping up this match a year in advance. This Sunday we’ll see if the wait was worth it. The build has been good. Can they deliver? I can’t wait to find out.
Final Rating: ***
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.