WWE Raw Report
By: Todd Martin
Date: 03/12/12 from Cleveland, OH.
The Big News: Rock and John Cena exchanged more barbs on the road to WrestleMania.
Jerry Lawler introduced the rock and rap concert to start the show. John Cena came out to his old music with a Mark Price throwback and chain. Cena did a rap. He said Rock is like LeBron James, taking his talents to South Beach. He went at Rock for the wrist thing again. He called him GI Joke and said both Rock and Dwayne Johnson are jokes. He referenced Rock’s gyno surgery and interestingly they replayed just that line later in the show. Cena brought up the Tooth Fairy chants from last week again and called him Miami Fried Chickenshit. He closed by saying he will beat Rock and put his nuts in Rock’s face. Cena got a positive reaction for this whole thing.
Overall, this segment worked well. Given Cena’s biggest issue has been authenticity, putting on a different outfit and playing an obviously different role was a risky decision. But the material was very strong and Cena’s seriousness and anger in delivery put it over the top.
Sheamus beat Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler worked over Sheamus and cut Sheamus’ back sending him into the announce table. They cut to Daniel Bryan watching in a luxury box with AJ. Bryan was asked about telling AJ to shut up. Bryan got angry and asked AJ if that bothered her. She hesitantly said no. In the match, Sheamus caught Ziggler coming off the top and went for the schwein but Ziggler countered into a rollup for two. Sheamus went for the schwein again but couldn’t get it. Sheamus charged and ran into the post, allowing Ziggler to hit a famouser for two. Sheamus then hit the Brogue kick for the win.
This was yet another very good match from Ziggler. His work is sort of becoming a curse in that they see him as a reliable guy to put over top guys in an impressive fashion, when he should be beating other guys in the midcard in shorter matches while they wait for the opportunity to elevate him to the top.
Mark Henry and David Otunga beat Santino in a handicap match. They acted like this was going to be a mixed tag involving Aksana but John Laurinaitis came out and announced the handicap match. Teddy Long went to ringside and shoved Laurinaitis. Santino was running wild on Otunga when Henry tagged himself in and hit a head butt and world’s strongest slam for the pin.
After the match, Kofi Kingston ran in to try to make the save but he was caught with a world’s strongest slam. R. Truth came in moments later but was taken out by an Otunga spine buster and Henry splash. Laurinaitis then announced Mark Henry would on his WrestleMania team, which is captained by Otunga.
They aired a vignette on Maria Menounos and her involvement with WWE, as they’re building to another angle with her. The only notable moment was when she asked Alicia Fox what Alicia is doing to prepare for WrestleMania and Alicia responded that mostly she’s just planning her outfit. What a great answer.
Backstage, Zack Ryder complained to Eve that she isn’t responding to his texts and calls. He asked if Eve is playing him. Eve said no and that they can be friends with benefits. They agreed to grab dinner after the show. Beth Phoenix came in to complain about Maria Menounos. Eve was on board with doing something to her. Zack left. Beth said she was amused by the way Eve manipulates Zack. Beth asked if Eve would mind if Beth did the same thing. Eve said she would mind.
Miz wanted to be on John Laurinaitis’ WrestleMania team. Laurinaitis got angry with Miz because Laurinaitis was talking on the phone at the time Miz came in to lobby. That was rude, honestly. Laurinaitis said Miz would be put in a match on Raw and if Miz won he would be on the team.
The returning Brodus Clay beat Jinder Mahal. The act was basically the same as before. It did seem like they were in a little bit of a hurry to save time between the entrance and match. Clay won quickly with a head butt, over the top throw and splash.
Shawn Michaels came to the ring. Michaels’ storyline logic was kind of lacking here. He took HHH’s word that people are calling him a loser behind his back. He said that nobody has been saying that to him backstage but Undertaker hasn’t been on Raw the past couple weeks so it must be Undertaker. He called Undertaker to the ring. Michaels accused him. Undertaker basically pointed out the obvious that HHH might have just made that up.
Undertaker mentioned Michaels having insecurities, at which point Michaels cut him off. Michaels said Undertaker is the one with this long streak still looking for validation because last year HHH beat him up so bad. Undertaker said win or lose he will accept the outcome but he can’t accept Michaels sticking his ego in the matter. Undertaker said win or lose the outcome has to be pure and if it isn’t pure there will be hell to pay.
Michaels labeled it ironic that the guy who Undertaker finished could now count Undertaker’s shoulders down and show Undertaker can’t it done. He added that he could still be the guy to end the streak. Undertaker said that if Michaels doesn’t do the right thing, he will end Michaels. Michaels backed up into position to go for sweet chin music but then patted Undertaker on the shoulder and left. HHH appeared on the stage and gave Undertaker the crotch chop. This was a very good segment. It’s interesting to see Michaels play such a heelish character.
CM Punk beat Miz. Miz actually got some support in his hometown. Punk hit a neck breaker and high knee but Miz escaped the GTS. Miz hit a DDT but Punk avoided the skull crushing finale and applied the anaconda vise for the submission.
After the match, Chris Jericho appeared on the screen and called Punk a fraud. Jericho said Punk is straight edge because his father is an alcoholic. Jericho said Punk doesn’t want to end up like his father but will because alcoholism is in his genes. He suggested that gives Punk nightmares and it’s why Punk turns to tattoos. Jericho vowed to take Punk’s title and leave him a broken man, at which point Punk will hit rock bottom and turn to alcohol. It will taste so good, he’ll want more. Jericho will be best in the world and champion while Punk will be a pathetic drunk. Punk acted like this really got to him. They aired a parody personal injury ad for David Otunga directing people to his Twitter account.
Randy Orton beat Jack Swagger. Swagger worked over Orton and applied the ankle lock but Orton escaped. Orton hit a superplex, clotheslines, powerslam, draping DDT and RKO for the pin.
Rock concluded the show with his concert. He had his guitar and played his own version of Jailhouse Rock mocking Cena. He started by sucking up to Cleveland. He mocked Cena’s attire in the opening segment. He said that’s not Cena and that Cena is the guy who looks like the offspring of Vanilla Ice and a Teletubby. He then started to sing and the crowd was totally with him.
Rock called Cena an Eminem wannabe. He sang about Cena going to a doctor and begging for a rectal exam. He then sang about Cena kissing Eve while having a wife. He sang about Cena being born with lady parts. He asked if there were any grown men who were Cena fans in the arena. That got loud boos but Rock found a few and then sang about Cena male fans being 40 year old virgin geeks. He then sang about getting together with Cena’s mom. He then tried to get people to sing we will rock you but Rock couldn’t keep up with the altered lyrics and fans didn’t seem into it.
Rock was so entertaining here with the songs. Crowd was loving it and it was so much fun to watch. We Will Rock You was a flat ending because the delivery wasn’t working and the song is well past played out anyway, but that wasn’t nearly enough to outweigh the strength of the rest of the segment.
This was another fun and productive edition of Raw. I actually thought on the whole it was even better than other recent editions, which were carried by opening and closing segments. This show by contrast was consistently entertaining from beginning to end. I wish the show was basically like this 52 weeks a year.