RAW 03-11-13

March 12, 2013

SEGMENT:  We open RAW with a very nice tribute to Paul Bearer.  It was very touching and I’m very sad that he has passed away.  Undertaker’s music hits and he makes his way to the ring.  Once inside, there’s an urn resting upon a pedestal.  Undertaker drops to one knee and bows one last time to Paul Bearer in a very touching moment.  Then CM Punk’s music hits.

Punk wants to extend his condolences to the Undertaker and for his loss… at Wrestlemania.  To Paul Bearer, the Undertaker will always be perfect, always 20-0.  But at Wrestlemania Undertaker will be 20-1.  I really wanted Undertaker to strike the stage with lighting.  It’s the closest thing to God striking Punk down with lightning.  I’m a huge Punk fan, but it would have been fitting.

The next best thing we get is when RAW comes back from commercial, Kane’s pryo hits and he comes out to chokeslam Punk off the stage for disrespecting his “father”.  Punk escapes and runs backstage.  Kane roams the hallways, tearing things up, on a ongoing search for Punk.

MATCH:  Big Show vs Seth Rollins – Awesome, we finally get a one on one match with somebody from The Shield.  Hopefully Rollins gets some good moves in and it isn’t a total squash match from the giant.  They’ve been impressive so far and need that momentum to continue.  Big Show uses his power early in the match, tossing Rollins around, and the match breaks down outside.  Big Show wins by disqualification once Ambrose and Reigns interfere.  Big Show is hoisted up and powerbombed by Roman Reigns.  Not a long match, but effective in building a feud with Big Show.

SEGMENT:  Punk runs into Vicki’s office wanting something to be done about Kane choking him.  Vicki agrees and places Punk in a No DQ match against Kane tonight.  Punk can’t believe it and storms out.

MATCH:  Daniel Bryan vs Dolph Ziggler –  These two can both wrestle and I hope they’re given the chance to put on a great match because I know they can.  Both men battle back and forth, trying to outdo each other.  They even hit a back superplex that’s reversed into a cross body off the top rope.  Ziggler hits the Fame Asser and gets a near fall.  Bryan locks on the No Lock and Big E puts Ziggler’s foot on the rope.  Bryan is able to lock it back in, but Ziggler counters and hits the Zig Zag for the victory.  The match didn’t disappoint.  It went back and forth while each man hit some great moves.  It had a couple near falls and the match could have went either way at the end, but Ziggler picks up the victory.

After the match, Big E Langston picks up Bryan and hits his finisher.  Not sure yet where they’re going with this?  I thought Bryan and Kane would face each other at Mania, but maybe they’re leading to Bryan versus Ziggler?

MATCH:  Brodus Clay and Sweet T vs Fandango – Again, I doubt this match will happen.  Especially if he’s facing Lord “Sweet T” Tensai.  Fandango comes out and says Tensai didn’t pronounce his name right and that the two of them are a disgrace to dance.  Fandango then says he wants Naomi to say his name right because she’s the only one with talent in the ring.  Ok, for being a bad guy, that’s two things in a row he’s said that are true.  Brodus and Sweet T can’t dance and Naomi has blown me away when she’s gotten in the ring to wrestle.  Tensai interrupts and Fandango leaves… meh.

MATCH:  Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes vs The New Age Outlaws – Weren’t Rhode Scholars suppose to split weeks ago?  I did, however, enjoy Sandow’s rendition of DX’s catch phrases.  The Outlaws come out and show them how it’s done.  Road Dogg takes early control of the match until Rhodes hits his Disaster Kick.  With Road Dogg down, Brock Lesnar’s music hits.  He’ll probably be gunning for HHH’s buddies.  Billy Gunn is the first to feel Brock’s wrath with an F5.  Road Dogg gets up and it’s the same fate for him as well.

Paul Heyman then grabs a microphone and goes through the list of people close to HHH that Brock Lesnar has hurt.  Shawn Michaels, Mr. McMahon, The McMahon Family, The New Age Outlaws and on top of “breaking” HHH’s arm twice.  Will Lesnar face HHH?  Yes.  However, there is a catch.  Heyman and Lesnar want a special stipulation and will only reveal it… after HHH signs the contract.  Starting to get a little excited for this match. Heyman and Lesnar are making it very personal and I like it.  As JR would say, “Business is about to pick up”.

MATCH:  Kofi Kingston vs Mark Henry – Looks like Kofi is going to job to Henry.  I like Kofi, he’s very talented.  For some reason though, WWE doesn’t seem to want to push him that far.  He beats The Miz for the Intercontinental title and it looked like his career was building momentum, but then he lost the title shortly after to Wade Barrett.  Kofi attempts a flying cross body off the top rope and is caught by Henry who delivers the World’s Strongest Slam for the win.

SEGMENT:  Cody Rhodes is backstage trying to hit on Kaitlyn.  He “mustache” her a question.  Kaitlyn doesn’t get it at first, but then she does gives a little snort.  Sandow breaks up the awkward chemistry by saying he has double the woman of any diva.  Camera pans left to reveal the Bella Twins.  They say the Diva division needs them and Kaitlyn storms off.  Vicki walks over and books Rhode Scholars in another tag team match since their first one was cut short.  Is Vicki on her way to becoming a face or something?

MATCH:  Ryback vs Heath Slater – I believe Slater’s chances of winning this match are zero.  He gets a cheap pop in, but Ryback quickly regains momentum.  He hits the Meat Hook Clothesline and then Shell Shock for the victory.  That match had about three moves in it, ugh.  I feel cheated when I watch squash matches.  It hurts the opponent’s credibility and they aren’t entertaining.

After the match, Macintyre attacks Ryback, but also gets hit with the Shell Shock.  Henry storms the ring and the two stare each other down.  Henry then picks up Macintyre and hits the World’s Strongest Slam.  Ryback then picks up Macintyre and hits another Shell Shock… poor Drew.  Then Henry picks up Macintyre again and hits another World’s Strongest Slam… jeez.  Ryback and Henry then stare each other down and exchange words.

MATCH:  Alberto Del Rio vs Antonio Cesaro – These two are also great performers and should deliver a great match.  Cesaro has control for awhile until Del Rio picks up some momentum towards the end.  Del Rio jumps off the tope rope, but meets a uppercut from Cesaro.  Cesaro looks to hit a german suplex, but Del Rio counters into the Arm Bar and makes Cesaro submit.  It wasn’t a long match and I wasn’t on the edge of my seat, but the match was solid.

SEGMENT:  Kane is being interviewed backstage by Josh Mathews.  Josh asks if this is a troubling time for Kane, who stares down at the urn in his hands.  He just holds the urn, doesn’t speak, and heads off.

SEGMENT:  Well WWE champion The Rock is again not here this week because he’s promoting a movie or something, so the build up this week for his match against Cena takes the form of a video… It’s a decent video going over their rivalry, but the fact that Rock isn’t there AGAIN is crap.  That’s the main reason why Rock should not have been given the title and end Punk’s historic reign.  He’s a part time People’s champion who brings it live via satellite and video packages.

MATCH:  Sheamus and Randy Orton vs Rhode Scholars – Looks like Cody and Damien are pulling double duty tonight.  Orton and Sheamus take control over the first act of the match and then Rhodes and Sandow take control during the second act.  Rhodes heads towards the top, but Orton counters into a superplex.  Sheamus gets tagged in who clubs Sandow in the ropes.  He hits White Noise and then signals for the Brogue Kick.  Cody runs in, but eats an RKO while Sheamus kicks Sandow’s head off for the victory.  I’m surprised The Shield didn’t attack them right after the match, but the night isn’t over yet.

Via WWE Active, we see that during the commercial break, Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns attacked Sheamus and Orton on top of the ramp.  Rollins flies off the stage and hits Orton with a nice knee to the head while Sheamus gets speared by Reigns.

SEGMENT:  Tonight The Highlight Reel with Chris Jericho returns.  We get a clip from The Marine 3 starring The Miz and I have no interest in seeing it.  The Miz comes out and jokes about the lack of furniture in the ring.  There was probably a malfunction.  Wade Barrett comes out and laughs about The Miz’s new movie compared to his new movie Dead Man Down.  Now the two of them get into a fight about whose movie is better.  Jericho breaks it up tells Barrett he’s been a pretty good two time IC champion, but Jericho is a record holding nine time IC champion.  He then asks Barrett if he should make it ten?

Brad Maddox comes out and says that they will not act like that on his show.  The segment really goes downhill from here.  It’s not so much Maddox’s fault, although he’s done better, but what really hurt this segment is Michael Cole.  He repeatedly called this segment dumb, that it stunk, and wondered when the next commercial break would be, he and King even begged for the break.  Now from a business stand point, why would you want to call your own product crap on live television when something isn’t working quite like you want it to.  Cole’s comments were unbearable.  Reminded me of the last Piper’s Pit that Cole said stunk, which was the opinion of Vince McMahon in his headset.  Anyway, Maddox made a match or something.

MATCH:  Jericho vs The Miz – The winner will go on and face Barrett for the IC championship next week.  Nice to see two faces in a match although the crowd is pro Jericho.  It’s The Miz’s pathetic figure four versus the Walls of Jericho.  There’s some decent in ring action, but it soon spills to the outside.  Jericho throws Miz into Barrett sitting at the commentary table.  Barrett gets up and attacks Jericho and Miz.  Miz fights back and Jericho hits a baseball slide on Wade.  Miz hits Barrett with the Skull Crushing Finale and also receives a Code Breaker from Jericho as well.  So I guess the match will get thrown out?

MATCH:  Sin Cara vs Jack Swagger – Before Swagger gets to the ring, Zeb cuts a promo about how Sin Cara is a theif.  He doesn’t speak english, yet came to America and took an American’s job.  Swagger then says he’s bringing the title back home, welcome to Jack Swagger’s American and We The People, blah blah blah.  Sin Cara takes it to Swagger, who gets furious.  Swagger catches Cara in mid flight with a boot to the gut.  He puts Sin Cara in the Patriot Lock and makes Sin Cara submit for the victory.  He won’t let go, which leads to Del Rio running in for the save.  He locks in the Arm Bar on Swagger, but Colter pulls Jack to safety and they retreat up the ramp.

MATCH: CM Punk vs Kane – Kane comes out clutching the urn and places it on a pedestal at ringside.  When Kane tries to get in the ring, CM Punk flies between the ropes and takes down Kane.  Kane retaliates with an uppercut to the throat and takes control.  Kane bounces Punk all around outside the ring and takes the hood off the announce table.  Punk hits Kane with the bell and hits a double axe handle off the barricade.  Kane regains control by hitting Punk with a monitor.  They battle it out on the tope rope and Punk pushes Kane off and hits the diving elbow.  Punk hits two running knees on Kane who then dumps Punk out of the ring.

When we come back from commercial a steel chair is in the ring.  Punk wedges the chair in the turnbuckles, but it he who is sent flying into it by Kane.  Kane now has control and dominates.  He grabs a bunch of chairs and throws them in the ring.  He throws Punk back into the ring and goes to deliver a chokeslam on a chair, but Punk counters into a DDT driving Kane head first into the steel.  Punk then rams the chair into Kane’s gut and then strikes him across the back.  Punk then drags his thumb across his throat, similar to Undertaker, and Kane wraps his hand around Punk’s neck.  Punk counters with a kick to the side of the head.

Punk signals for the GTS, but then the bell tolls.  Punk’s distracted and Kane hits the chokeslam for the victory.  Undertaker comes out and he and Kane bow one last time to the memory of Paul Bearer.  Punk runs back into the ring and hits Kane in the back of the head with the urn.  Undertaker makes his way towards the ring while Punk continues his attack on Kane.  Punk retreats up the ramp and mockingly bows to Undertaker holding the urn.  Undertaker then signals that Punk is a dead man and rolls his eyes in the back of his head.  End of show.

Overall this was a very good episode of RAW that had some nice build heading towards Wrestlemania.  The death of Paul Bearer is sad, and to be honest, I shed a tear at the beginning of RAW, but it is also a blessing for the Undertaker/Punk feud.  It gave something to base this feud around.  It is now personal and I can’t wait for their match.  Match-wise is was probably going to be great, but now from a storytelling standpoint it just got a lot more interesting.

I’m also happy with the way WWE honored the memory of Paul Bearer.  Not only were there tributes at the beginning and end of the show, but also career highlights, tweets from wrestlers, touts from fans, and it was weaved into a storyline.  Usually when a legend passes away they’ll get a nice video package highlighting their career at some point in the show.  I personally think the WWE went above and beyond what they usually do and it was nice to see.  Very respectful.

RIP Paul, and thank you for all the memories.

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