WWE Raw Report
By: Todd Martin
Date: 03/19/12 from Philadelphia, PA.
The Big News: WWE continued the build for WrestleMania's top matches.
CM Punk came out to start the show. He said that Chris Jericho wouldn’t be there. Punk said his father being an alcoholic isn’t a big secret but it’s not Jericho’s story to tell and none of his business to share in front of the world. Punk accused Jericho of making light of a serious subject just to get under his skin. Punk claimed that backfired because if there is a monster inside of him he will let it out and make it Jericho’s problem.
Punk said that the finish of the story was that his dad worked hard to overcome addiction. Punk noted he is proud of his father and proud of straight edge. He said he will go through Jericho to prove he is the best in the world. This was ultimately a good promo, if a bit trite.
Jericho appeared on the screen via satellite. Jericho said he was out of line and that he was sorry. Jericho vowed to never say anything about Punk’s father again. He then quickly added that Punk’s sister is a different story. Jericho said Punk’s sister is a drug addict and that’s a pattern. Jericho said Punk will end up like his father and sister. Jericho concluded that substance abuse can be overcome but Punk will never overcome Jericho beating him for the title. Punk responded with remarks that were muted out. This segment worked well again, with the audience audibly gasping when Jericho referenced Punk’s sister.
Kane beat Big Show. Show hit a spear but Rhodes got on the apron as Show was on the middle rope. That provided a distraction for Kane to hit a choke slam for the pin. During this Shane Douglas tried to bring attention to himself in front of the camera but was completely thwarted in an unintentional manner by WWE’s quick camera cuts, an abrupt finish to the match and WWE security. This match was too short.
After the match, Cody Rhodes gave Show the beautiful disaster kick. He then handcuffed Show to the ropes, put on boxing gloves, and repeatedly hit Show with them. That came across rather silly when there are about 500 ways of more brutally attacking an incapacitated person than with padded gloves.
David Otunga beat Santino Marella. Santino had abs drawn on his chest like Kazushi Sakuraba once did. Otunga and Santino had a pose off. Santino went for the cobra but was distracted by John Laurinaitis. Santino attacked Laurinaitis’ phone but that allowed Otunga to hit a spine buster for the win. Laurinaitis mocked Teddy Long after the match so Long slapped him and ran away. Santino was funny here like usual. But this match was too short.
They showed a vignette for the debuting Lord Tensai (Giant Bernard/A-Train). It was basically close-ups of tons of tattoos, many of which appeared fake. The name is cool. I guess we’ll see what they have planned for the gimmick.
Rock appeared on the screen in front of the Rocky statue. He showed a photo of himself at age 12 in front of the statue and cited it as an inspiration. He then talked about Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior as further inspirations. He mentioned that his first WrestleMania main event was in Philadelphia against Steve Austin. Rock said in order to realize his dream of being the greatest of all time he has to beat Cena. Rock said he would send a message to Cena later in the arena and then whip Cena’s ass at Mania. This was a good promo.
Daniel Bryan beat Zack Ryder. Prior to the match, they showed a Zack Ryder rally before the show with Ryder lobbying to be a part of Teddy Long’s team at WrestleMania. Bryan worked over Ryder briefly. Ryder hit a kick and went for the Rough Ryder but Bryan countered into the LeBell lock for the submission. This match was too short.
They announced Flo Rida will be performing Rock’s entrance at WrestleMania. I know they want people to cheer for Cena, but that’s almost unfair.
John Cena beat Mark Henry. Henry beat up Cena for a while around ringside. Henry missed a corner avalanche. Cena hit a suplex and the five knuckle shuffle. He went for the FU but his back went out. Henry went for the world’s strongest slam but Cena got out and hit the FU for the pin. This match showed the importance of giving matches time to breathe. Henry worked over Cena long enough that it felt like an actual contest rather than a contrivance and thus when Cena prevailed it felt like he had actually accomplished something.
After the match, Rock came out. He ran down to the ring teasing a physical confrontation with Cena but then instead gave Mark Henry a rock bottom. That’s no way to treat a fellow Nation of Domination member. Rock stared down Cena briefly and left.
They showed an angle from the Grove in Los Angeles with Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres challenging Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos to a match at WrestleMania. It came across like even the people who were attending there live didn’t care in the slightest.
Sheamus beat Miz. Before the match, Miz cut a promo talking about how King Kong Bundy going from the main event of WrestleMania II to wrestling little people at WrestleMania III was the biggest drop off in WWE history until Miz now. Miz said he would prove he belongs on Laurinaitis’ team at Mania. Miz went for a DDT on Sheamus but Sheamus countered into a rolling fireman carry slam. Miz hit a back breaker/neck breaker combination but Sheamus kicked out at one. Sheamus then came back with kicks and a powerslam. Sheamus missed the Brogue kick once but then hit it moments later for the pin.
Randy Orton was briefly interviewed on the stage behind the ring like they used to use in the 80s and early 90s. Orton said the question isn’t how he plans on beating the monster but how the monster plans on beating him. Orton noted he beat the monster so badly last summer that Kane shook his hand and became human. Now Orton thinks Kane’s humanity is gone. Orton said he couldn’t care less about Kane’s identity crisis. He concluded that he is not Kane but rather Randy Orton, a point I didn’t realize was in dispute.
Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler beat R. Truth and Kofi Kingston. The heels worked over Kingston. Truth came in with clotheslines on Ziggler and Swagger. Truth missed an axe kick and Ziggler hit a famouser. Truth got his foot on the ropes but Vickie Guerrero shoved it off and the referee counted three. Afterwards, Aksana and Vickie Guerrero got into a fight over that. They showed footage of HHH in MSG hitting Undertaker’s moves at a house show.
The final segment started with Shawn Michaels coming out. He said that people are asking his prediction for WrestleMania but that they will have to wait until WrestleMania. Well, that’s not much of a prediction. Michaels said that people are also questioning whether he can be impartial given his relationship with HHH. Michaels said the end of the era is basically just the end of the streak as we’ve seen Undertaker beaten up badly in recent years.
Undertaker came out and reiterated that the match has to remain pure. Undertaker said that before Michaels and HHH start making (SECRET~!
) plans, but was cut off at that moment by HHH’s music.
HHH said that as much as Michaels’ ego wants this to be about him, it is about HHH and Undertaker. HHH said they have two parallel legendary careers, connected by Hell in a Cell. He noted there have been 24 HIAC matches and HHH and Undertaker have been in 19. HHH called it his proving ground, where he ended careers and where he thrives. HHH said this was all for one moment: this Mania where he ends Taker’s era.
HHH said he knows what it will take to end the streak. Undertaker asked if HHH is sure and if he is ready. HHH said he is sure and that he will end the era. Undertaker started to leave but then came back and repeated that Michaels is better than HHH. Michaels smiled and HHH stared down Michaels to close the show. That was kind of a strange ending.
I didn’t think this show was as good as shows in recent weeks, as they didn’t have a lot to advance what has already been done. With that said, it was still overall a good show and everything seems ready to peak next week in the final build.