By: Todd Martin
Date: 02/14/11 from Anaheim, CA.
The Big News: The Rock is back and yes, he’s still quite great.
John Cena came out to start the show. Cena speculated on the guest host for WrestleMania and did some comedy. He said that he needs to win the Chamber match on Sunday. CM Punk interrupted. He pointed out that he won his last two matches against Cena. He added that he doesn’t need Nexus to beat Cena. Punk said that he is a good person and good things happen to good people.
CM Punk beat John Cena. Punk worked over Cena. Punk came back with shoulderblocks, the Cena slam and the five knuckle. He went for the FU but it was reversed. Cena came back with a gut wrench suplex but was cut off by a Punk swinging neck breaker. Punk went for the GTS but Cena escaped. Punk threw a series of kicks culminating with a high kick to the back of the head.
Punk went for a crossbody off the top but Cena caught him, rolled through, and lifted him up for the FU. Punk grabbed the ropes to avoid the move. Punk went to the outside where a member of Nexus slipped him a chair from under the ring. He threw the chair into the ring. As the referee went to clear the chair from the ring, the Nexus member gave Punk a wrench and Punk hit Cena with it. Punk then hit the GTS in the ring for the win. This was a good match and had a cool dastardly heel finish.
Alberto Del Rio did a brief promo in the ring. He said that it doesn’t matter who wins the Elimination Chamber because it is his destiny to be champion. Edge came out and said that he has a destiny too. He then attacked Del Rio. He was setting up for the spear but Ricardo Rodriguez got up on the apron. Edge punched him off and then speared Del Rio off the other apron.
Vickie Guerrero then came out. She announced that Dolph Ziggler is the new world champion because Edge used the spear on Smackdown. She said that Ziggler will be coronated on Smackdown. She added that she has proof Edge assaulted Teddy Long and he will soon lose his job. She then cackled. This title angle does no favors for Ziggler, Edge, the title, Elimination Chamber or Edge-Del Rio at Mania.
Eve Torres beat Natalya in a women’s title lumberjack match. They didn’t explain why this was a lumberjack match and in hindsight I don’t understand what the idea was. With two faces in the match, the lumberjacks were a bunch of heels and Gail Kim and Tamina as the sole faces. Michael Cole was burying Natalya’s looks and Josh Matthews agreed with him.
Eve won the match with a terrible looking botched rollup. To me, they ought to consider just dumping the women’s wrestling division. The time could be much better spent in a variety of other ways. The matches almost always look not just terrible but completely fake and it’s not like they’re creating stars that help any aspect of the business. The Bellas jumped Eve backstage and a bunch of other women came in for a big TNA-style women’s brawl.
Mark Henry was coming to the ring for a match when he was attacked from behind by Sheamus. Sheamus said that was a reminder to the people in the Chamber of what he is capable of. He vowed to send another reminder in his match later against Orton. He gave Henry a Brogue kick and left. They showed Miz walking backstage, with Michael Tarver and Joey Ryan looking on.
Miz beat Daniel Bryan in a great match. Bryan went for a RNC and used some kicks. He used a back drop to the floor and flying knee off the apron. He followed with a spectacular top rope dropkick for two. He went for the LeBell lock but Miz got to the ropes. Bryan hit a series of stiff kicks. Bryan continued the onslaught with a German suplex and kick to the head. Bryan went for a victory roll but Miz dropped him forward and hit the skull crushing finale for the win.
After the match, Miz acknowledged Jerry Lawler wasn’t there because his mother passed away. Miz offered his condolences but said he hopes Lawler doesn’t use that as an excuse for losing Sunday.
This was one of the few times on Raw where they’ve just let Bryan go and he delivered big time. The crowd really got into the match too. Aside from a long high quality wrestling match being entertaining, when you give a match a lot of time and deliver a clean result it makes matches in general feel important. That in turn makes your pay-per-views and house shows seem more important. And it gets over the winner.
John Morrison and R. Truth beat David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty. Mason Ryan tripped Truth coming off the ropes and attacked him on the outside. Nexus worked over Truth. Truth got the hot tag to Morrison. Morrison threw Truth over the top rope into essentially a somersault plancha on Ryan. He then hit the shining wizard on McGillicutty in the ring for the win. Morrison’s comeback was really good.
They plugged Chris Jericho’s book. They did a weird thing where they pulled out images of pictures in the book next to the book, like the highlight of a 400 page book is the pictures in the middle.
They did a Great Khali Kiss Cam segment with WWE characters. They showed Santino and Tamina kissing. They then showed Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero with Dolph looking kind of grossed out. DiBiase and Maryse were next up but they argued and Maryse kissed Yoshi Tatsu instead. They showed Zack Ryder and William Regal together. Regal kissed him on the cheek, smiled, and darted off. That was amusing. Regal always delivers. A girl from Modern Family then kissed Hornswoggle on the cheek.
Randy Orton beat Sheamus. Sheamus was in control for a little bit. Orton came back with clotheslines and a powerslam. Sheamus hit a back breaker and superplex but then was caught with an RKO out of the blue for the win. Nexus attacked Orton after the match. Morrison, Truth and Cena made the save. In the end, Orton and Cena took all the heels out. The crowd was really hot for the post match.
They made a huge production out of the announcement of the guest host for WrestleMania. The Rock finally came out and the crowd went crazy. Rock milked it forever. He said that finally the Rock has come back home. Rock said he’s not back for the money or to promote a movie but for the people. He said that he dreamed big and accomplished his goals because the people didn’t leave his side. He thanked the crowd and gave his word he is never going away. He said that the Rock is back.
Rock said that he called Vince McMahon to be guest host for Mania but Vince initially wanted Justin Bieber. He said that he will lay the smack down at WrestleMania but then teased who he would do it to. He teased Miz at first. The GM popped up with an e-mail but Rock told Cole to sit down and shut up. Rock then brought up John Cena talking trash about him. He made fun of Cena. He said with Cena’s bright shirts he looks like a bowl of Fruity Pebbles.
Rock noted that he will see Cena at Mania and will see Miz at Mania. He guaranteed that he will show he is the most electrifying man in entertainment, lay the smack down on all their candy asses and electrify WrestleMania.
This was a really fun segment. Rock was absolutely tremendous. And while they gave away his appearance in the ring and a long promo, they’re holding out the confrontation with John Cena as the hook for WrestleMania and that is a strong hook. Rock went a full 20 minutes past the hour so this will likely draw the biggest rating in a while.
I thought this was a fantastic show. There was some great wrestling. The crowd was hot and the confrontations leading to the pay-per-view came across well. And the show concluded with the Rock demonstrating once again what a transcendent, generational talent he is.