WWE Raw TV report - Rock vs. Cena debate

WWE Monday Night Raw

March 25, 2013
Philadelphia, PA

Rob McCarron

This damn show better be good tonight because I do not have a lot of patience tonight for a variety of reasons. Excuse me for it. Oh, and we're two weeks away from WrestleMania 29.

CM Punk w/ Urn & Paul Heyman
You can tell already that Brock Lesnar won't be on this show because Paul Heyman is out with CM Punk to open tonight's show. Paul and CM Punk were throwing and tossing the urn around during their entrance. Paul played it subtly like he didn't think that was a good idea. Paul's subtle reactions over the last few months have really been great. Punk said he took the urn not to disrespect Paul Bearer, but he took it because it meant everything to The Undertaker. The urn means nothing to CM Punk. He dropped the urn then, and the crowd booed loudly. He continued to say he'd make Undertaker 20-1 at WrestleMania. He said Undertaker's record would rest in peace, but on the final word the Undertaker's dong struck and the lights went out. When they lit back up, Undertaker was in the ring and beating down CM Punk. Heyman, scared, grabbed the urn and ran away. Punk, after a few punches thrown his way, managed to escape as well. Undertaker stood tall in the ring while the crowd chanted for him. This ended what will hopefully not be the final promo from Punk, because he can do better and should next week for the final sell.

Jerry Lawler put over the debut of FANDANGO next.

Greatest Man That Ever Lived's Debut Spoiled
This title may be a bit of a troll job. I apologize. FANDANGO came out with new entrance flair and all, which is impossible to miss in its greatness and flamboyance. This man drew tremendous heat from the Philly crowd. Bunch of dorks in Philly, I imagine. FANDANGO was introducing himself when Chris Jericho interrupted. Jericho sprinted towards the ring and attacked the debuting superstar. Jericho got some shots in before FANDANGO escaped, screaming at Jericho to "SAY MY NAME!" FANDANGO's debut is spoiled again and this upset Lawler greatly.

With Jericho still in the ring, Dolph Ziggler's music hit and he and his posse came down for a match.

Chris Jericho vs Dolph Ziggler
The first moments of this match took place during commercial, so you needed the WWE App to see it. Cole made sure to remind us of this when the show came back live. He also reminded us that Dolph Ziggler still had his Money In The Bank case that he can cash in anytime from now until June. AJ, freshly tanned, was at ringside as hot as ever. Big E, on the other hand, was stoic while chewing gum. This match was quickly paced, with the two stuffing a fifteen minute match into roughly 7-8. Big E tried to interfere once, but he was quickly dismissed by a Jericho dropkick. Shortly after, Jericho made Dolph submit cleanly to the Walls of Jericho for a nice win. This snaps Dolph's win streak. Big E attacked and left Jericho laying after the match, saying "It's over for you!" a few times.

With the Dolph posse leaving, out again came FANDANGO. FANDANGO danced over a prone Jericho in the ring. Mr. GO then attacked Y2J to the chagrin of this crowd. Again, FANDANGO was screaming "SAY MY NAME!" over and over. An even louder "You can't wrestle" chant broke out amongst the crowd, making the nerds in Pittsburgh last week look like little children. FANDANGO finished off Jericho with what I presume will be his finisher, the top rope legdrop of dancing doom. He grabbed a mic and closed (at Jericho's cue) by saying "It's FANDANGO!"

Jericho, maybe not realizing there was a live mic just inches from his face while selling death, was yelling at FANDANGO when to say his final words. Impossible not to hear loudly on TV. Them's the pitfalls of HD.

Backstage, Striker was interviewing Sheamus when The SHiELD attacked. Orton made the save, but he fell victim to the group, also. Then, Big Show arrived and ran off the trio.

2 on 1 Handicap Match
Mark Henry made short work of the Usos, winning via pinfall with the World's Strongest Slam. Usos got some offense in, but nothing they could do was helpful against Henry. After Henry won, he finished off each Uso with two more World's Strongest Slams and a splash. That's what he do.

Mark Henry's destruction managed to get himself trending on Twitter, along with FANDANGO.

First hour of this show has been world's away better than last week's first hour.

WWE App: Vickie Guerrero made Ryback vs 3MB in a 3-on-1 for later tonight.

Alberto Del Rio vs Antonio Cesaro
Antonio finally won a match, albeit via countout. Ricardo Rodriguez returned to introduce Del Rio, although he walked with the assistance of a crutch. The match went back and forth until Jack Swagger appeared and attacked Ricardo at ringside. Swagger was dragging Ricardo away from the ring by his broken ankle when Del Rio saw this and went to make the save. Del Rio ran Swagger off through the crowd, all while giving Antonio Cesaro the countout victory.

After the match, Alberto Del Rio went back into the ring and attacked a celebrating Antonio Cesaro, finishing him off with the armbar. What a jerk.

Team Hell No vs Primetime Players
Team Hell No won when Kane pinned Darren Young after a chokeslam. Kane and Daniel worked as a cohesive unit, showing no signs of distrust going into their tag title defense at WrestleMania 29. Ziggy and Big E, along with AJ, looked on from the top of the ramp.
Triple H Addresses Brock Lesnar
Triple H opened by saying that if he loses at WrestleMania, his career would be over. Him saying it out loud made it all seem that much more foolish. HHH said that he's been wrestling every night like his career has depended on it, so the Lesnar match is no different. Way to kill the stips at the same time, but not like it mattered. No one buys it. Triple H said that Brock should show up like his career is on the line, "because it very well might." Triple H is coming to kick Brock's ass. That was pretty much it. The Game was succinct and to the point, very different from the usual Triple H promo.

As HHH was leaving, Wade Barrett's music hit and he came out for a match. Wade walked down the ramp, but HHH was in his way. Neither budged, so Triple H kicked Wade in the balls and left him laying in pain as we went to commercial.

Wade Barrett vs The Miz
Miz beat Wade Barrett in a non title match with the Figure Four in what had been the longest match of the night up to this point. Wade still hadn't fully recovered from the nutshot when this began, but he was well enough to wrestle. The real highlight of this match was Lawler telling a Lincoln-theater joke that Cole took a few moments to actually get. The announcers spent a good part of the match talking about movies due to the two in the ring. Match wasn't much, nothing bad but nothing special.

Backstage, Daniel Bryan and Kane argued about how neither has gotten over AJ. Kaitlyn showed up. I think she's the Divas champion, but I'm still not sure. Kaitlyn told both Kane and Bryan to move on. AJ Lee entered the room behind them, without the trio knowing. She was laughing about all the talk about her, until Kaitlyn said "She's a new AJ. The wheel is still spinning, but the hampster is dead." This upset AJ. Kaitlyn went on about how AJ was insane, so AJ attacked her. Kane and Bryan had to pull AJ off while Kaitlyn lay hurt on the floor.

The SHIELD vs Dork Team 3000
The Shield won a six man tag over Zack Ryder, Great Khali, and Justin Gabriel. Rollins pinned Gabriel after a top rope knee drop. I hope this is the case for Mania as well, but they finally got rid of the camera shaking and constant zooming during this match. After the match, the Shield delivered a triple team powerbomb to the Great Khali which looked pretty impressive.

After all that, Sheamus' music hit while the Shield was in the ring. Ambrose gave a perfect "Really? This guy again?" facial expression. Orton and Big Show also came out, and they circled the ring to give the Shield a dose of their own medicine. Orton, Show, and Sheamus rid the ring of the Shield while the crowd roared in approval. This was apparently the confirmation that Big Show is in the 6-Man at WrestleMania 29.

Backstage, Chris Jericho was leaving Vickie Guerrero's office when Josh Mathews caught up with him. Jericho announced that he'd wrestle FANDANGO at WrestleMania 29.

Team Rhodes Scholars vs Brodus & Sweet T
Team Rhodes Scholars get a win as a newly reformed team. Before the match, Damien Sandow first mocked Philly for being famous for greasy sandwiches and a stadium with an actual prison inside of it. Cody then introduced the Bella twins, all while looking to be totally over his crush on Kaitlyn. Cody and Sandow won after Cody hit Brodus with the Disaster Kick for the pin. Brodus and Cody were left in the ring alone when Tensai and Sandow went outside to pull apart the Bellas and the Funkadactyls, who had been fighting at ringside.

The Ryback vs 3MB
Ryback was the usual powerhouse here, although this match did take longer than the Mark Henry handicap battle. Ryback finished off 3MB with a double Shellshock, lifting up Heath and Jinder for the move at the same time. It was impressive. With more performances like this, Ryback could regain the favor of the crowd leading into the summer.

It was announced that Henry and Ryback would compete in a weight lifting competition this Friday on Smackdown.

AJ Lee vs Kaitlyn - Non Title
Okay, so apparently Kaitlyn is indeed the Divas Champion. It's been a while since we've heard AJ's music on Raw, and boy did I miss it. Kaitlyn, however, has new music and it is a definite downgrade. Anyway, quick match. The two fought outside the ring for a bit, ending with AJ throwing Kaitlyn into the ringside barrier. AJ went back in the ring and won via countout.

WWE '13 is now available produced by 2K Sports.

Main Event Q & A
Jerry Lawler was in the ring to moderate a Hall of Fame Q & A of The Rock and John Cena. The moderators were Booker T, Mick Foley, Dusty Rhodes, and Bret Hart. The actual Q & A started about ten minutes after the segment began, with entrances and a commercial break taking up quite a bit of time.

Mick Foley was first to speak. He said he felt a weight off his shoulders when Rock beat Cena last year, since Foley felt regret for causing Rock to lose what he originally thought would be Rock's last match at WrestleMania XX. He asked Cena if he could live with the regret of losing to Rock twice at WrestleMania. Cena replied that beating the Rock would be his redemption. He then brought up Donovan McNabb, a former Philadelphia Eagles QB. He compared himself to McNabb, who was a great QB for Philadelphia but could never win the big one, and now he's remembered as a loser. Cena will win the big one for the WWE Universe.

The end of his answer came at 11:04. I guess we're going long. How I Met Your Mother will have to wait a few more minutes.

The Rock replied to Cena's answer saying he had been broke, tore his knee up and flopped in his original WWE run. But the Rock didn't quit, he came back and won the WWE Championship. He had known failure, but didn't quit, and was riding high only to know failure again when he lost to Steve Austin. He came back again, with the failures in mind, to become the greatest champion in WWE history and that man is going to beat Cena at WrestleMania again.

Bret Hart was next, asking both guys what changed between them from last year to this year. Rock said he respects Cena when John lost and didn't bitch or complain. John said he called out the Rock last year for saying he loved the business but never came back and was never here. Now, Rock is here and John says that Rock has proven his love for the business. He said that he lost and took his loss like a man, and in two weeks we'll see how Rock would handle his loss.

11:10 now. Booker was next. Booker wants to know why John thinks he'll beat the Rock at WrestleMania. John thought about it, and replied, "Because I have to." The crowd didn't care much for this answer. Cena then became emotional. Rock mocked John's shallow answer. He kept badgering Cena like a prodding heel as to why Cena really thinks he can beat the Rock. Cena interrupted saying "Because you didn't beat me! You cannot beat me!" John said that "I beat me." Excuses, excuses. John lamented about his one bad decision last year during their match. This was also a snap heel turn, but didn't end up that way. John said he made the bad decision to try and beat Rock with his own Rock Bottom after John already had the match won. He went one move too far. This year, Cena won't have his judgment clouded. He's going to beat The Rock because he knows he's better than the Rock, and even the Rock knows that Cena is better.

11:15 now. Rock responded saying that if Cena really had Rock beat, he would have beaten the Rock. He didn't. Rock won 1-2-3. He quoted Ric Flair, and said that John cannot beat the man because he is not the man. Rock said John Cena can never, and will never, be the man. The segment should have ended here.

Too bad, it didn't. Dusty chimed in saying WrestleMania isn't about redemption. It's about winning and losing. He asked each guy what they really wanted on April 7. John said he wanted to win the big one, and he wants to dominate the Rock. Rock wanted John to prove him wrong right now. He stepped up, Cena stepped up, all while Lawler tried to keep them cool. Cena did his U CANT SEE ME gesture, Rock pushed him, Cena went for the AA, but Rock escaped and hit the Rock Bottom leaving Cena to question his entire belief system in the ring as the show ended at 11:23 PM EDT.

Sorry if that was a bit wordy. It happens when you have a 25+ minute main event segment featuring literally questions and answers. It went too long, featured one too many questions, and was overall oddly layed out. Cena and Rock were both heelish, with no babyface in sight. So be it, the crowd was still pro-Rock. The New York crowd is going to boo the shit out of John if/when he wins. It'll happen. But in the end, Rock and Cena will hug and all will be forgiven. Spoiler alert.

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