WWE Raw Report XANDER'S WWE RAW REPORT 3/7: Alt. perspective review of this week's Raw, segment by segment Reax
Mar 8, 2011 - 10:32:20 AM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY
Report by Xander Assaad, PWTorch contributor
WWE Raw Alt. Perspective review
March 7, 2011
Live from Dallas, Texas
Aired on USA Network
-- WWE Open
-- A highlight video of Triple H’s promo from last week aired. It included clips of DX and The Undertaker at WrestleMania as Hunter narrated.
-- The show opened cold in the arena. The lights went down and The Undertaker’s music hit to start things off. I have to say, “Ain’t No Grave” is the perfect entrance music for this iteration of Undertaker’s character. As The Undertaker slowly made his way to the ring, Michael Cole said that 16,000 members of the WWE Universe came to Dallas to pay homage to The Undertaker. Undertaker entered the ring and methodically surveyed the audience. Cole talked about the recent history between Taker and Triple H.
Undertaker took the microphone and said that two legends would collide at WrestleMania. He said that there could only be one “last outlaw.” He then talked about how people were saying that at this WrestleMania, time was finally going to catch up on him. He wanted to remind Triple H of the previous two WrestleMania matches with Shawn Michaels, and then threw it to a video package of that feud. It showed Undertaker’s dominance over Michaels, a man ‘Taker had just called “perhaps the greatest of all time.” The video ended with Undertaker kneeling over the body of a fallen Shawn Michaels.
Back in the ring, Undertaker said that when WrestleMania came around, there would be no regrets and that the match would be No Holds Barred. He said the possibilities for the match were endless, but that at the end, there would be only one result. If Triple H ended The Streak, The Undertaker would die. If Hunter couldn’t, then Triple H would die trying. He ended the promo with, “At WrestleMania, Triple H, you will rest in peace.”
REAX: Solid promo to start the show. It was probably a good idea to open with Undertaker, as WWE doesn’t want him to be outshined by Stone Cold’s return later in the night. Taker is from Texas, as well, so he needed to be on the show.
-- Josh Matthews hyped John Cena’s wildly proclaimed “Final Knockout of The Rock.” Cole then hyped up Steve Austin’s return to WWE.
-- Backstage, Randy Orton was under attack from the New Nexus. He held his own for a moment, but eventually the number’s game caught up. With Orton down, C.M. Punk knelt down and said that Orton may have put McGillicutty on the shelf, but that they were going to send him some place much worse. Orton managed to strike Punk in the face. Punk snapped and bashed Orton’s head against a steel crate, then hoisted him up and hit the G2S. He then ordered the members of Nexus to carry Orton’s body to the ring.
-- Back from break, Randy Orton was in the ring, surrounded by the New Nexus. They continued to beat him down as referees rushed into the ring and tried to restore order. Orton crawled towards the ring ropes as Nexus left the ring. David Otunga took off his shirt and remained, telling the referee to ring the bell because he had a match with Orton. The referee said that there was no match, but Otunga insisted. The referee asked Orton what he wanted to do, and Orton said, “Ring the bell!”
1 -- RANDY ORTON vs. DAVID OTUNGA
The beat down continued as Otunga rushed Orton in the corner and laid into him with punches and knee strikes. He launched himself off the ropes and hit an elbow drop, then went for an early pinfall. Orton kicked out. Otunga scooped him up for a body slam. He hit a modified slam and got another near fall. Otunga picked Orton up again. Suddenly, Orton hit the RKO out of nowhere and scored the pinfall victory.
WINNER: Randy Orton in about 2:00.
Post-match, Mason Ryan charged the ring. Orton tried to fight him off, but Ryan downed him with a massive boot to the face. Ryan slowly picked Orton up. Just like with Otunga, Orton hit a sudden RKO. Punk charged the ring, but Orton was ready for him. Every time Punk tried to enter the ring, Orton kicked at the ropes. He kept Punk at bay, then eyed Otunga for the Punt. Punk ran around the ringside area in an attempt to get into the ring. As he did, Orton smashed Otunga with the quickest Punt ever. Punk backed away from Orton and made his way up the entrance ramp. He sold dismay and defeat. Orton climbed up on the ring ropes and pointed at Punk.
-- Cole talked about the big reveal of his Special Guest Referee for their match at WrestleMania.
REAX: That was a hot, two-part segment. The continued assault from Nexus was well done. So was Randy Orton playing the perpetual underdog. The live crowd was hot for the entire thing, and really helped up the ante in this feud. The highlight was definitely Orton nailing the Punt out of nowhere. The visual of Punk running around the ring to try and gain entry, just as Orton hit the kick, was a great juxtaposition.
-- WWE Slam of the Week: Highlights of the Cage Match between Alex Riley and John Cena aired. I’m not really sure what the actual “Slam of the Week” was, as they aired a number of moves...
-- Cole said that Miz was not at Raw tonight. An image of Miz’s twitter account showed, revealing that Miz was boycotting the show.
-- At ringside, Christian’s music hit. The returning Superstar came out for an unannounced match. I’m all for seeing “Captain Charisma” on my television, but isn’t this supposed to be his return match? Ricardo Rodriguez then introduced Alberto Del Rio. He made his way to the ring with Brodus Clay. Clay handed Del Rio a microphone and Del Rio introduced himself to the audience. As he made his way to the ring, he reiterated the fact that it was his destiny to win the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. He then pointed at Christian and said that they were going to fight, but not tonight. He told him that if Christian really wanted a match, he had to go through his “little friend,” Brodus Clay. Clay entered the ring.
2 -- CHRISTIAN vs. BRODUS CLAY
Early on, Clay knocked Christian to the canvas and stepped on his back. Christian went for the Killswitch. Clay escaped. Clay then floored Christian with a running head butt and dropped a massive elbow across Christian’s chest. He locked in an armbar to attack Christian’s repaired pectoral muscle. Christian started to break away, but Clay tossed Christian across the ring with an overhead suplex. Christian finally gained a modicum of offense and hit two missile drop-kicks off the top rope. Clay regained the advantage and floored Christian with a clothesline. He picked Christian up and went for a running power slam. Christian escaped the move, hopped on the top rope, and hit a tornado DDT for the victory.
WINNER: Christian in 3:15. Welcome back, Christian. You’ve won three minutes of selling to an NXT Rookie! Captain Charisma looked fine after coming back from a six-month hiatus. Clay has potential, and his move-set is actually more abundant than, say, David Otunga’s. The match was just there, though. A middle-of-the-road filler for the Edge-Alberto Del Rio program.
Post-match, Del Rio attacked Christian then signaled for his finisher. Christian tried to fight back. Del Rio landed a kick to the gut and hit the Cross Arm-Breaker. He held on to the hold for a few seconds, then quickly released it. The referee told Del Rio to stay away from Christian. Del Rio shrugged off the orders as he surveyed the damage. He smiled and exited the ring as Rodriguez congratulated him.
-- Cole then threw it to a video package of The Rock’s promo from last week. Cole said that The Rock humiliated John Cena. After the package, Matthews reiterated the hype for Cena’s “Final Knockout.” They sure are using Twitter to further a lot of storylines.
-- Still to come, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin returns to Raw.
-- A video for Sin Cara aired.
-- Back from break, Matthews told Cole that he couldn’t wait for the debut of Sin Cara. He then talked about the Hall of Fame Ceremony. A video package aired and Tammy “Sunny” Sytch was introduced as the newest inductee. I miss her.
-- Eve Torres made her way to the ring. She defends the Divas Title after the break.
-- The WWE Rewind showed the Divas Battle Royal from last week. And I didn’t think they could make that match any shorter than it actually was.
-- Back from break, Eve Torres was in the ring talking to Gail Kim. They sold dismay over the Bella Twins actions last week. The Bellas then made their way to the ring. Matthews, in the most outdated reference ever, said, “Double your pleasure, double your fun.” Cole completely bypassed the match and said that he would be making his big announcement immediately after the match.
3 -- WWE Divas Champion EVE TORRES vs. NIKKI BELLA -- Divas Championship Match
Torres and Nikki locked up and rolled around the ring. Torres gained the upper hand and repeatedly smashed Nikki’s head against the turnbuckle. She tossed Nikki around the ring and went for an early pinfall attempt. Nikki tripped Torres and choked her across the middle rope. She then grabbed Torres by the hair and slammed her to the canvas. Suddenly, Michael Cole took the microphone and asked for the Divas to please end the match. He stood up on the announce desk and said that nobody wanted to see the women wrestle when his big announcement was up next. And the Divas division has officially been buried. Matthews asked Cole to sit down and do his job, but Cole said he was the main-event.
Back in the ring, Brie Bella tried to swap out with Nikki, but the referee stopped her. Torres rolled Nikki back into the ring and hit a spinning neck-breaker for the win.
WINNER: WWE Divas Champion Eve Torres in 3:00. Loser? The entire Divas Division. I don’t even know what to say. That just degraded the division unlike anything before.
Post-match, Cole grabbed the microphone and said, “Thank God that’s over.” He then said that next, he would tell the audience who the Special Referee would be for his match at WrestleMania.
-- Next week on Raw, the special guest host...I mean special guest star...is Snooki.
-- Back from break, the ring was covered in a bright red carpet. A replay of Cole introducing Jack Swagger as his trainer aired. In the ring, Michael Cole asked for the audience’s attention. He said that at WrestleMania, he would compete in his first ever match. He once again called it the main event. Cole then flashed the “contract” for the match and said that it included the name of the special guest referee. He said that he actually did respect Jerry Lawler, so he did his best to pick a completely impartial referee.
[Q5 -- Top of the second hour]
Cole said that the guest referee was former WWE Champion. He was a true legend and an iconic figure. He said that the man was, just like himself, a legendary Texan. Cole then jumped around the ring and tried to get the audience to chant “Austin.” Once they finally gave in, Cole screamed, “You people are fools!” He said that he just suckered all of them in. Cole then announced that his special referee was JBL! JBL’s classic ring entrance played and his limo made its way to the ring. JBL exited the limo in a suit and tie and acted like a politician as he marched to the ring. Cole excitedly bounced up and down and saluted the former WWE Champion.
The two men hugged in the center of the ring and JBL held up Cole’s arms. He took the microphone. JBL said that he knew that when he came back to Texas (after leaving for a much better state), he knew that it would be great. He said that he felt for Texas, a state that had won no championships in a number of years. JBL said that he knew the Texas crowd would accept him with gracious hearts. He called Michael Cole’s match the “main-event,” then said that never before had a person made their wrestling debut at WrestleMania. He talked about Michael Cole having paid his dues, and said that in spite of it, Jerry Lawler bullied Cole for years. He said that he hated bullies and was proud that Cole finally stood up to one. JBL said that he would be a completely impartial referee. He said that, in spite of the fact that he could buy everyone in the arena, nothing could buy JBL. He said that when he signed the contract, JBL was finally coming home.
Suddenly, the glass shattered and Steve Austin’s music hit. The crowd roared as Austin marched to the ring. He did his classic, one-fingered salute and posed on all four turnbuckles. Michael Cole hid behind JBL each time Austin passed by. Austin then stepped up to JBL, who was livid. The men jawed back and forth as JBL said he didn’t care who Austin was. Cole continued to hide behind him. Austin finally had enough. He kicked JBL in the gut and hit a stunner on the former Champion. Cole ran out of the ring and back to the announce table. He screamed that Austin ruined his night.
Austin stood on the ringpost and chugged a beer. He then stood over JBL and poured a cold one all over him. Austin then saw Cole’s contract lying in the ring. He smiled then listened to his “watch.” The crowd roared as Austin picked up the contract and read it through. Michael Cole was beside himself and begged Austin not to sign it. Austin said, “If you want me to sign this contract, give me a hell yeah!” The audience screamed “Hell yeah!” and Austin obliged. At ringside, Cole was almost in tears. Austin then announced himself as the special referee for the match between Cole and Jerry Lawler.
Austin exited the ring and approached Cole. He asked for another beer, shook hands with Cole, then poured the beers all over a distraught Cole. He shoved Cole back into his seat and wished him luck in his match. Austin re-entered the ring. As Cole dejectedly left the ringside area, Austin stood on the middle turnbuckle and poured another beer on him. JBL finally got up. Austin handed him a beer and wanted to toast. They did. As JBL took a sip from his beer, Austin nailed him with another Stunner.
On the entrance ramp, Cole ripped off his jacket and threw temper tantrum. Jack Swagger came out and tried to console him. Cole stomped around then ran backstage. Austin continued to drink beers and celebrate as he made his way up the entrance ramp.
REAX: A few weeks ago, I commented on how much screen time Michael Cole gets. You know what? It’s not a bad thing. He is absolute gold in this role. For years, he was the butt of every joke WWE Superstars could come up with. He’s taken that “abuse” and molded it into a character that just works. You want to see him get his comeuppance; at the same time, you want to see more of his insanity. Austin’s return was also well-done, but it’s too bad JBL had to play second fiddle.
-- Another replay of The Rock’s promo from last week aired. This time, the video focused on the reason The Rock was angry at Cena.
-- Back from break, Jack Swagger tried to console Cole backstage. Cole said that Austin humiliated him. Jack Swagger had enough of the pity party and told Cole to focus on his training. Swagger said that he would deal with Austin. He vowed to break Austin’s ankle. Cole said that he needed a shower, then took off.
-- Ringside, Jerry Lawler’s music hit and he made his way to the announce table. A replay of Austin signing the contract aired. Back live, Jerry Lawler said that he just witnessed one of the greatest events in television history.
-- Daniel Bryan’s music hit and he made his way out for a match. Matthews and Lawler continued to discuss what happened with Austin. King Sheamus’s music hit and the Celtic Warrior made his way to the ring sans his royal décor. A replay aired of Triple H’s attack on Sheamus, capped off by the Pedigree through the announce table. They then showed Evan Bourne’s “squash match” against Sheamus.
4 -- United States Champion DANIEL BRYAN vs. KING SHEAMUS -- Non-title match
An angry Sheamus immediately laid into Daniel Bryan. He backed Bryan into the corner and kicked away at his stomach. He launched Bryan across the ring with a hip-toss, then floored him with a running hammerlock. Bryan ducked under a punch, then knocked Sheamus to the apron with a dropkick. He landed another dropkick, and Sheamus fell to the floor. He sold twisting his ankle and hobbled around the ring as the referee started to count him out. Sheamus couldn’t make it back into the ring before the ten count.
WINNER: Daniel Bryan in 1:10.
Post-match, Sheamus smashed his fists against the announce table. He took the microphone and said that, yes, he had been in the midst of a losing streak. He challenged Daniel Bryan to a U.S. Championship match next week. If he couldn’t win, he would quit. Bryan nodded his approval.
-- Up next, HBK speaks out. Part two.
-- Back from break, C.M. Punk was already in the ring for a match. R-Truth came out as his opponent.
R-Truth did his usual routine. Matthews narrated a replay of Nexus’ attack on Orton earlier in the night.
5 -- C.M. PUNK (w/Mason Ryan) vs. R-TRUTH
Punk tried to gain the upper hand early, but Truth rolled him up for an early pinfall attempt. Punk then tossed Truth shoulder first into the ring post, then repeated the move into two more ring posts. He went for a fourth, but Truth kicked away from him. Punk then snapped Truth over and locked in an arm-bar. R-Truth quickly escaped and floored Punk with multiple clotheslines. Punk attempted a G2S, but Truth escaped and nailed a drop-kick. Punk rolled under the ring ropes. He then draped Truth’s arm over the top rope, re-entered the ring, and continued to focus on Truth’s shoulder. Punk finally locked in a neck vice the announcers are calling the Anaconda Vice. Truth quickly tapped out.
WINNER: C.M. Punk in 2:30.
Post-match, Mason Ryan entered the ring. Punk told him to attack Truth. Ryan hoisted Truth up and hit a shoulder breaker across his knee. Punk and Ryan then celebrated in the middle of the ring.
-- At the announce table, Matthews asked if Triple H could beat The Undertaker at WrestleMania. He then threw it to a taped interview with Shawn Michaels. HBK talked about how the relationship between Hunter and himself had evolved over the years. He said that Hunter challenged The Undertaker because greatness was never satisfied. He then talked about how Triple H had changed over the years, and clips aired of Triple H from the very start of his WWE career. More clips aired, this time displaying Triple H’s brutal side. Numerous shots of Hunter bashing people with steel chairs. HBK ended the interview by saying that Triple H could do absolutely anything and not show an ounce of remorse. That was what it would take to beat The Undertaker.
-- Back live, the audience booed as Vickie Guerrero solemnly marched to the ring.
-- A “Snooki” video aired. I’ve gone two years without having to watch anything she was involved in. I might call in sick next week.
-- Back from break, Vickie Guerrero stood center ring and screamed, “Excuse me!” multiple times. She then introduced Dolph Ziggler as the newest member of the Raw roster. Ziggler made his way to the ring dressed to wrestle. Matthews called him “the hottest free agent since LeBron James.” Yeah, sure. John Morrison’s music hit and he made his way out as Ziggler’s opponent. That’s odd booking. Guerrero joined the announce team. Lawler asked her what her relationship with Ziggler was after she blamed him for attacking Teddy Long. Vickie said that she and Dolph were now business partners.
6 -- DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. JOHN MORRISON
Ziggler and Morrison locked up. Ziggler gained the early advantage. Morrison attempted to leap frog over him, but Ziggler hit a drop-kick to his knee. Morrison rolled out of the ring.
Back from break, Ziggler had Morrison locked into a sleeper hold. Morrison got to his feet and backed Ziggler into the turnbuckle. He then whipped Ziggler over his shoulder and across the ring. Ziggler charged at Morrison and tried to hit a splash, but Morrison rolled out of the way. Morrison then hit several signature moves, punctuated by his spinning/rolling neck breaker combination. He went for a pinfall attempt, but Ziggler got his foot on the bottom rope to escape defeat. Ziggler held onto the ring ropes as Morrison tried to pull him away. The referee ducked between the men, and Ziggler took the opportunity to gouge Morrison in the eye. He then nailed the Zig-Zag to secure a victory.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler in 6:00 (3:00 during commercial). Fine for what it was. Weirdly, Ziggler actually came across as the bigger star. He just has an incredible ring presence and holds himself like a veteran.
Post-match, the Raw G.M. buzzed (for the first time all night). Jerry Lawler walked up to the podium and said that usually, Michael Cole would have the honor, but he was probably in the back trying to get beer out of his diaper. Lawler then read the email. The G.M. said that Ziggler was hired to Raw, but Vickie Guerrero was not. The G.M. said that Vickie could have a job on Raw, but she would have to defeat Trish Stratus next week. Guerrero freaked out in the ring. Security made their way out as the crowd started to sing the goodbye song. Vickie held onto Ziggler’s legs as security tried to get to her to leave. Vickie finally gave in and left the ring of her own accord. She glared at Ziggler and asked him why he wasn’t helping her. As security escorted her up the entrance ramp, she continued to scream back at Dolph.
-- Another video of The Rock’s promo from last week aired. Up next, we get to witness John Cena’s “final knockout.”
-- Matthews then threw it to a special preview of “The Chaperone.”
-- Back from break, another video of The Rock’s promo aired. This one focused on his rap. Interestingly enough, WWE didn’t bleep out Rock calling Cena a “Yabba-dabba bitch.”
-- John Cena’s music hit at the top of the hour. He bounced on-stage and did his usual entrance routine. Matthews said that Cena would get his turn in the “most talked about war of words in all of entertainment.” I don’t know about that. I’m pretty sure that Charlie Sheen’s war against all of creation gets that honor. In the ring, John Cena took the microphone and waited out a “Rocky” chant. Cena started his promo by saying that everything was bigger in Texas. He talked about the crowd, then segued into talking about The Rock. Another “Rocky” chant broke out.
Cena said that he didn’t understand why The Rock was mad. He said that he thought The Rock’s impression of him was funny, then proceeded to imitate The Rock imitating him. He then said that he was just trying to have fun, but then he managed to really make The Rock mad. He said that The Rock said to never address him in rap. So, on that note, he would instead address The Rock via hip-hop.
Cena then started...to rap. I’m pretty sure that hip-hop needs music or something, not just words. It was more of the same. He told Rock that if he wanted to be The People’s Champ, all he needed to do was show up. He pulled out a necklace and said that he would give Rock a pearl necklace. He also told Rock to eat his dog...because every week, Rock ate his Shih Tzu. A picture of The Rock swallowing a dog aired on the screen. Cena then held up a “new” Rock shirt that said, “I bring it via satellite.” Cena ended the promo by saying, “Don’t ever call me out again, dude. That’s like bringing a knife to a gun fight.”
Suddenly, The Miz attacked Cena from behind and smashed him in the face with the WWE Championship. Miz stood over Cena’s body and hoisted the Championship up high. Cena got back to his feet and Miz knocked him down again. Miz then took a microphone and knelt over Cena. He talked about both Cena and The Rock disrespecting him, then vowed that it would be the last time. He said that every time The Rock and Cena attack each other, Miz comes out on top.
He then gave a little rap of his own and compared himself to Macho Man, Bret Hart, and Steve Austin. Miz stared into the camera and “officially” introduced himself to The Rock. He called himself the star of WrestleMania, and The Rock simply the host. He told Rock to "know his role and be the best Ryan Seacrest he could be." Miz then went into “Rock-promo mode” and told Rock that he would take his eyebrow, his catch phrases, his watches, etc., and shove them up Rock’s ass.
As he started his catch phrase, he noticed John Cena rising to his feet. Miz snuck behind Cena and nailed the Skull-Crushing Finale. Then, he stood over Cena and hit The People’s Elbow. Weirdly enough, you could actually hear Jerry Lawler as he whispered, "Are you kidding me?" Miz picked up the microphone and finished with, “...Awesome!!!” Miz posed in the center of the ring as the show came to an end.
REAX: Cena’s promo was horrible. It was childish and plodding, and it was just more of the same from two weeks ago. The Miz’s promo, on the other hand? He put himself on another level. By using The Rock’s own phrases against him, Miz showed that he might just be able to reach “The Great One’s” level of intensity. Miz sold himself as a WrestleMania main-eventer with that promo.
THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars. **SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**