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CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 2/27: Ongoing "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - The Rock returns to Raw, WM28 hype

Feb 27, 2012 - 10:20:45 PM

WWE Raw Supershow Results
February 27, 2012 - Episode #978
Live in Portland, Ore.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

This week's live WWE Raw started with a real-time clip of John Cena's promo from the end of last week's Raw. The video transitioned into a video package-style recap of Cena (speaking on behalf of Vince McMahon) stressing that Rock left WWE for movies. The video dramatically transitioned to a plug for WrestleMania 28. Rock returns tonight to address Cena...

Live inside the arena, Michael Cole noted they are 34 days away from WrestleMania. Cole said the Rose Garden in Portland is rocking. Cole and Jerry Lawler promoted Rock back live on Raw tonight.

Before that, though, they're starting in the ring with Champion vs. Champion. Cue up C.M. Punk's theme music to bring out the WWE champion. Cole and Lawler were shown on-camera to discuss the re-match being a result of their non-finish at the end of Tuesday's live Super Smackdown episode.

Before World Hvt. champion Daniel Bryan was announced, Chris Jericho's music interrupted to bring out Punk's Mania opponent. Jericho asked Punk if he's expecting someone else. But, what he has to say is a little more important than Champ vs. Champ. Jericho said he rates Punk high on his list of performers, but he's not as good as him. Jericho said he never had to call himself the Best in the World because everyone else called him that. Boos. Jericho said he is part of a special breed of performers and one of a dying breed. (Triple H wrote this promo?) Jericho said he toured the world, honed his skills, and became a star before he ever arrived in WWE. Jericho said he's part of a breed that were given nothing and took everything. He said he got a bad rep in the back because of how he acted, but he didn't care because he knew he was the best. Jericho paused before telling Punk he just wants to be him. Punk smirked. Jericho said it's so obviously blatant and Punk copied him all the way through.

Punk tried to interrupt, then finally took the floor. Punk said everyone knows how good Jericho is, but his problem is Jericho claiming he stole from him. Punk said everything he has he earned. As for the BITW label, he said Bret Hart had that first. Big reaction for Hart name-drop. "Did you invent that and give that to him when you were two-years-old?" Punk asked. Jericho told the crowd to laugh along with Punk with his jokes. Jericho said it's typical Punk being sarcastic and not taking things seriously. He said it's a whole different level now. It's not some sort of gimmick; he's the best in the world. Jericho said he's stayed on the highest level along with anyone in the history of wrestling. He's faced every legend, every Hall of Famer, and every future Hall of Famer. Pause for "C-M-Punk" chant. Jericho said he has all of the evidence that proves he is the BITW at everything he does.

Punk said Jericho keeps saying that, but he sees someone who has an inferiority complex. Punk asked Jericho who he's trying to prove it to. The people? Me? Yourself? Punk said he might be a little cocky calling himself the BITW, but he sees a guy who might be a little jealous. Punk said they come from the same background, but perhaps he has surpassed Jericho. Punk said Jericho never really was the man, like he is. "And that just bothers you, doesn't it?" Punk said. Jericho was frowning at this point. Punk said he is the best wrestler in the world and the distinction is very simple: he was born this good. "This is what I do," he said, before noting Jericho chooses to host radio shows, dance with stars, and do game shows. "I'm swimming with sharks while you're dancing with stars" was Punk's big money line.

Jericho waited out applause before telling Punk that when he was becoming a bigger star than Punk ever will be, all he could think of was Punk ripping him off. Jericho then referred to the 1-2-12 video. He said it's all window dressing because he came back to WWE for one reason and one reason only. "That was to embarrass you on the biggest stage in the world," he said. Jericho added that he wants the WWE Title to prove he's the best in the world and so he can shove it in Punk's face because he proves it every single night.

[Q2] Punk said it's about time they got the truth. He said Jericho didn't need to jump him from behind or do anything else to get his attention. Punk said all they needed to do was point to the WWE Title belt because all they need is me, you, and a ring. He said they don't need Chris Brown or Mickey Rourke or a stupid light-up jacket. He said that's all they need to go out and have the best wrestling match in WrestleMania history. But, when Jericho looks over his shoulder after the match is over and sees him holding the WWE Title, it's not going to be the end of the world, but the end of Jericho's world.

Cue up Daniel Bryan's theme music to bring out Bryan along with an entourage of A.J., Raw GM John Laurinaitis, and David Otunga. Jericho left the ring as the entourage entered the ring. Jericho sneered toward the ring as Punk turned his attention toward Bryan. In the ring, Bryan jumped Punk before the bell. WWE did not pull a TNA and just call for the bell. Instead, Punk fought back and cleared Bryan from the ring. Instead of having 30 seconds of action before going to break, Cole said they will sort this out and start the match after the break.

[Commercial Break]

1 -- WWE champion C.M. PUNK vs. World Hvt. champion DANIEL BRYAN (w/A.J., John Laurinaitis, and David Otunga) -- non-title Champion vs. Champion match

The match was joined in progress with Bryan and Punk exchanging blows and strikes in the ring. Cole reset the events going on. They cut away from the ring for a shot of the announce position, where Santino and Teddy Long were also ringside. Laurinaitis and Long began bickering as Bryan worked over Punk in the ring. Punk then made a comeback as the director continued to cut to ringside. Punk then dumped Bryan over the top rope to the floor and Bryan sold a right knee injury. Bryan then called over A.J. as Punk was about to land a suicide dive. Punk slowed down to avoid hitting A.J. with the dive, then Bryan "recovered" and smashed Punk into the ring steps. They cut to another break after 3:15 of action.

[Commercial Break]

[Q3] Back from break at 6:50, Bryan had Punk in an abdominal stretch mid-ring. They showed clips from during the lengthy break of a near-double pin finish, similar to Smackdown. Again, WWE missed action in the ring with a ringside shot of the announce position. Back in the ring, Punk delivered forearm strikes before attempting a high knee, but he sold pain causing him not to be able to land it flush. Punk shook it off, then went up top for a flying elbow drop to the heart. Punk sold intense pain before looking around the arena for something.

Punk acknowledged a "GTS" chant, then Otunga hopped on the ring apron to distract Punk. Punk fought him off, then Punk and Bryan had a exchange that ended with a mid-ring collision. Suddenly, Santino got on the apron to smash Otunga with the Cobra. Laurinaitis then yanked Santino off the apron, prompting a discussion between Long and Laurinaitis. In the background, Bryan just accepted his title belt from A.J. and started to leave. But, Sheamus ran down to ringside and threw Bryan back into the ring. In the ring, Punk nailed the GTS and made a cover, but Laurinaitis entered the ring and demanded the ref call for the bell.

Post-match: Long stepped into the ring and shoved down Laurinaitis. Otunga and Santino held back the GMs as Punk smirked and slipped out of the ring. They cut to a shot of Punk on the stage telling no one in particular to wait for it. He then held up his title belt to declare he's the best in the world. Suddenly, Jericho jumped Punk from behind on the stage. Jericho lifted up Punk and scoop slammed him on the entrance ramp. Punk sold back pain as Jericho looked down at Punk. So, what's happening in the ring? Jericho then slapped on the Walls of Jericho with a knee on Punk's neck for added pressure. Refs spilled out to demand Jericho release the hold. Jericho eventually released the hold as the crowd chanted in the background. Jericho then grabbed the title belt and hoisted it in the air with a big smirk. Jericho then threw the title belt down on to Punk and told him to enjoy it for now.

WINNER: No Decision announced at 10:15. Way too much happening during and after the match, and yet another match with no decision announced. Sloppy presentation uncharacteristic of WWE.

Still to come: The Rock returns to Raw. Rock tweeted at this point, "Team Bring It Worldwide stand up! Hour away from electrifying RAW.. #TimeToTrendWorldWide."

[Commercial Break]

Moments Ago: Long and Laurinaitis went at it again and Jericho blindsided Punk. They went to a slow-motion replay of Jericho slamming Punk back-first onto the stage to stress Jericho's attacks focused on Punk's back.

Backstage: Josh Mathews was shown outside the Trainer's Room to report that Punk is inside, but he's more angry than hurt.

Announcers: Cole and Lawler argued about Jericho's actions. Cole then transitioned to a plug for The Undertaker-Triple H feud and how it became official last week on Raw. Cole then fed to a video package recapping the feud last year and how it's led to this year. Cue up Jim Ross's much-needed-voice during Mania season to set the stage for last year's Mania match. In sit-down interview soundbytes, Big Show, Stone Cold, The Miz, C.M. Punk, Randy Orton, Edge, Pat Patterson, John Cena, and The Rock talked about the big moments from the match, including Taker kicking out of the Tombstone from Hunter and Taker winning, but Hunter leaving the ring. Back live, Lawler hyped the re-match this year. Cole then plugged a WWE website feature on Shawn Michaels becoming upset with questions about whether Hunter is better than him.

[Q4] Still to come: Cole and Lawler slipped in a new announcement of Cena vs. Miz on Raw tonight. Yes, they're giving away last year's WrestleMania main event with no hype after announcing it 45 minutes into the show.

[Commercial Break]

2 -- KELLY KELLY vs. NIKKI BELLA (w/Brie Bella)

Back from break, the Divas were in the ring. Cole noted Kelly waited all week to tweet about her supposed best friend, Eve, turning her back on Zack Ryder last week. The match then began with Bella in control. After the Bellas attempted Twin Magic, Kelly countered a pin attempt with a rolling pin for the win.

WINNER: Kelly at 1:30.

Also tonight: Sheamus & Big Show vs. Mark Henry & Cody Rhodes. Plus, The Rock returns and Cena vs. Miz is next.

[Commercial Break]

Smackdown plug: Daniel Bryan has never been more confident, but are his WrestleMania dreams headed for a nightmare at the hands of Sheamus?

WM28/DVD plug: Rock vs. Cena focus. They showed clips of Rock's career feuds with Mick Foley, Steve Austin, and Nation of Domination. Then, a career retrospective on Rock documented in his new DVD.

In-ring: Back live, John Cena's music played to a mixed reaction and Cena emerged on-stage after starting the day in Florida for the false-start Daytona 500. "What a day it's been," Cena said with a smile. Cena smiled some more, then stormed the ring. Cena did his usual ring introduction as the announcers hyped Cena-Rock. The Miz, who Punk mocked in his opening promo, then came out on-stage with a mic in-hand. Miz said he's worked too hard to be treated like this. He said no one has worked harder than him over the past year, not even Cena. Miz said WWE asks him to do interviews, TV, and phoners, and fly 16 hours to do p.r. But, yet, his name has yet to be called upon for WrestleMania. "You suck" chants. "Shut up!" he shouted. Miz said the fans would love it if he were not even on Mania. Miz called it a crime. He pointed to a ringside fan and claimed he will rectify this crime. He screamed at another fan, "I am WrestleMania!"

[Q5 -- second hour] Miz slipped onto the ring apron and said he will prove it by beating the man he beat in the main event of last year's WrestleMania. Because he's The Miz and he's awesome. Cole said he thinks Miz has a point and he should be on the Mania card.


Cena started hot with trademark offense on Miz as Cole reminded viewers that Rock is live in the building tonight. Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment a minute into the match, but Miz countered with the Reality Check for a two count. Miz stomped away, but Cena seemingly no-sold before taking a knee lift to the face. The commentary was good here talking about Miz needing to prove himself Mania worthy with a win and Cena wanting to impress Rock, who is in the building. Cena made a comeback with clotheslines before measuring Miz for a suplex that Miz countered with a snap DDT. Miz with a nearfall.

Miz slowed down the match and measured Cena for a corner attack that he connected with. Miz held his pose for a few seconds before climbing up top. He missed with a weak-looking double axehandle, then Cena made his trademark comeback. Cena set up for and delivered the Five Knuckle Shuffle before measuring Miz for the AA. Cena hoisted up Miz and delivered it center-ring. Cena opted for the STF center-ring instead of a pin and Miz tapped out within seconds. Cole declared that Cena is ready for Rock in five weeks.

Post-match: Cena stood on the turnbuckles and looked toward the Titantron, where Rock was shown in his locker room bouncing up and down preparing for his return. Rock then shot a look toward the camera and did Cena's You Can't See Me handwave. Rock lifted his hand and they cut back to Cena, who was shown smiling in the ring. Cena left the ring and looked into the crowd before looking toward the WM28 logo. Cena flashed a salute before they cut to break.

WINNER: Cena via submission at 4:03. After a comedown period following the Jericho-Punk-Bryan segments, this was strong with focus on Cena-Rock and Rock's first on-camera appearance of the night. The story of Miz trying to get back to Mania is intriguing, too, for the next few weeks.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Justin Roberts announced a Tag Title triple threat match. He said three wrestlers will be allowed in the ring at one time. The winning team will win the Tag Titles. Out first was R-Truth, then Kofi Kingston to separate music. Never a good sign for a tag team. Cole claimed the tag division is starting to heat up, but he was interrupted by Vickie Guerrero, who came out on-stage to introduce the "next WWE tag champions," Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler's music played to bring out Ziggler along with U.S. champ Jack Swagger. Rosa Mendes then led out WWE tag champions Primo and Epico.

4 -- WWE tag champions PRIMO & EPICO (w/Rosa Mendes) vs. U.S. champion JACK SWAGGER & DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. R-TRUTH & KOFI KINGSTON -- three-way WWE Tag Title match

After the bell sounded, Cole actually explained that a wrestler can only tag in his tag partner. Ziggler opted to duck out of the ring, leaving Kofi and Primo to start things off. The match broke down with rapid-fire exchanges before the ring was left empty after everyone was cleared to the outside. Cole sent the show to break.


[Commercial Break]

Back from break, Swagger and Primo were working on Truth in the ring. Ziggler then tagged in and began arguing with Primo over who should pin Truth. Cole added an injury update on Punk - nice follow-up - that Punk's fictional X-rays have come back negative following Jericho's attack earlier in the show. In the ring, the heels made tags, but started fighting, allowing Truth to tag in Kingston. Kingston executed double-team, crowd-pleasing offense before delivering a double Boom Drop to Swagger and Epico. Suddenly, Ziggler dropped Kofi from behind with the Zig-Zag. The action broke down and bodies started flying in and out of the ring. Kofi then popped Swagger with Trouble in Paradise, but Primo dropped Swagger with a backstabber. Epico then threw Kofi out of the ring and covered Swagger to retain the Tag Titles.

Post-match: Suddenly, Kane's pyro shot off and Kane stormed to the ring to find bodies to devour. Primo ate a big boot ringside. In the ring, Ziggler and Epico ate double chokeslams. Truth tried to get some of Kane, but Truth took a chokeslam. Kane, who took one week off after the ambulance match at Elimination Chamber, stood over the fallen bodies before shooting off his pyro in the ring. Kane left the ring as the announcers talked about Kane being scary.

WINNERS: Primo & Epico at 8:36 to retain the Tag Titles. Well, just like WWE management, Kane apparently doesn't like tag wrestling. It will be interesting to see where WWE slots Kane on Mania.

Backstage: Otunga and Laurinaitis chit-chatted about "The Artist" winning the Academy Award last night, then Teddy Long stomped into Laurinaitis's office. Long said there's a rumor that Laurinaitis won't be running next week's Raw. Laurinaitis said he heard a rumor Long will be fired as Smackdown GM. Long looked down, then told Laurinaitis it's no rumor that Laurinaitis is a horse's ass. In the background, the crowd chanted, "Horse's Ass." Long then stomped off and Laurinaitis fumed.

Still to come: Smackdown tag match and The Rock live on Raw.

[Commercial Break. A spot for Ultimate Fighter on FX aired.]

Back live: Cole reset the show and sent viewers back to the "very uncomfortable situation" involving Eve and Zack Ryder last week. They showed footage of Eve turning heel by admitting she used Ryder to get to Cena and to get publicity for herself. They included Cena's demeaning promo from the beginning of Raw, and also focused on Cena defending his "broski," Zack Ryder, and equating Eve to The Rock.

[Q7] In-ring: Justin Roberts simply announced, "Eve Torres," to the crowd. Eve then stomped out to the ring in a dress. Eve took a deep breath as the crowd chanted, "Hoeski." Eve looked around the arena and looked down at everyone before telling everyone they can judge her all they want, but she is a woman living in a man's world. She said she tells men what they need to hear and they love it, and claimed there isn't a man in the world who wouldn't want to be used by her. Eve said she can't help it that she is a seductress. She said she can't help it that she's so attractive and charming. Eve blew a kiss toward the crowd in an effort to "seduce" everyone, then left the ring. On-camera, Cole defended Eve's actions and claimed this has helped Eve's career since everyone is talking about her. He said Eve can't help but throw herself at men.

Backstage: Eve was shown strutting around before Kelly stopped her in her tracks and said she's become a totally different person. Eve laughed in Kelly's face, then walked off. Alicia Fox then stood next to Kelly, who did the 1,000-yard stare after Eve.

Backstage: Sheamus and Big Show talked strategy before walking down the hallway.

Announcers: Cole and Lawler were shown on-camera again to premiere the trailer for "Bending the Rules" starring Edge and Jamie Kennedy.

[Commercial Break]

Smackdown plug: Randy Orton returns to Smackdown to unleash his fury on World Hvt. champion Daniel Bryan. It's Bryan vs. Orton one-on-one in Orton's return following a "concussion."

Announcers: Cole said he doesn't think he wants to be Daniel Bryan on Friday. Cole then transitioned to a discussion of the Raw vs. SD GM feud, with either Laurinaitis or Long not running his respective brand next week according to "rumors" at Raw.

[Q8] In-ring: Big Show came to the ring as the announcers recapped Show's current feud with IC champion Cody Rhodes. Sheamus came out next to join Show in the ring for the default main event. Out first for the heels was Mark Henry, followed by IC champion Cody Rhodes. Before the match started, Rhodes took the mic and noted Floyd Mayweather's next boxing fight. He said Mayweather weighs about five times less than Show, making Show's WM24 loss to Mayweather even more embarrassing. They went back to 2004 when Mayweather cold-cocked Show to set up their Mania match. And, there's Shane McMahon in a video. Back live, Rhodes had a good laugh at Show's expense. Cole said he doesn't know why Rhodes continues to do this.


The bell sounded and Rhodes quickly tagged Henry before leaving the ring. Show then speared Henry and chased Rhodes out of the ring. Rhodes backed away up the entrance ramp to avoid Show, then Sheamus tagged himself into the match. He smashed Henry with a Brogue Kick and it was good for the win.

WINNER: Sheamus & Show at 0:58. Oh, Henry.

Announcers: After the match, Cole plugged the announcement Tuesday morning on WWE's website regarding the future of the Raw and Smackdown GM positions. Cole then plugged Cena-Rock and fed to a video on Cena's promo on Rock last week that aired at the top of tonight's show.

Up Next: The Rock is live to respond to Cena. Rock tweeted before the break, " Team Bring It Worldwide. Going live on Raw. #Electrifying"

[Commercial Break]

Next week: Cole plugged Shawn Michaels returning to Raw next week from Boston.

Live in the arena, WWE paused for the crowd to built anticipation for Rock's big return. After camera shots of the arena, If You Smell... played to bring out The Rock sporting a cut-off t-shirt and jeans. Rock didn't pause on-stage, but marched straight to the ring to a loud ovation. In the ring, Rock soaked in the crowd reaction as the camera swung around to put the WM28 banner in the background as Rock posed. Lawler noted it's the first time Rock has "performed" in Portland, but Rock was in Portland as a kid watching his father "perform" in Portland.

Rock's music stopped two minutes before the top of the hour and Rock stood in the ring soaking up the crowd reaction. Rock indicated he had goose bumps before teasing some opening remarks that were greeted by louder cheers. Rock paused before focusing on his goose bumps. He then tried to talk again, but the crowd wouldn't let him. Rock then told the crowd to look at his arm and see the goose bumps on his arm. Rock said he's covered in goose bumps because this - this - feels so damn good. Pause for "Rocky, Rocky" chant.

[Q9 -- over-run] At the top of the hour, Rock paused for a "Boots to Asses" chant. Rock pointed to the text of the chant printed on his shirt before trying to talk again. Rock said they're going to get into some chants all night long. But, first, he's not here every single week. The crowd booed, playing along. He said he was here every single week for years. You see, Rock was born and created here in WWE. And, he also knows that if it weren't for WWE and all of the fans, Rock would never have existed. Rock said when he came back last year and said he was never going away, he meant it. Did it mean he was going to be at every show? No, but if someone in the back wants to take that literally, then go right ahead and take it literally because unlike "you," he respects the audience - pause for "Fruity Pebble" chant. Rock said he really loves that chant. But, back to business. He said he respects the audience's intelligence and they know he loves this business. Rock said he is standing in this ring for no other reason than because he loves WWE. And, he will always be part of WWE and WWE will always be a part of him.

Rock addressed John Cena, whose name drew boos. Rock said he used to think Cena was a phony for years. For years, he thought there was no way the guy who graduated from private school was the Doctor of Thuganomics. But, he realized Cena isn't a phony, but that guy. That guy who came out here last week and ran him down. He said Cena has his cell phone number and they've talked before. But, he doesn't want to talk to Cena at all. See, he would rather slap his lying face with a piece of kung-pao chicken. Pause for loud "Rocky, Rocky" chant.

Rock continued that Cena isn't a phony and not even a bad guy, but he's a kung-pao...bitch. The crowd oohed Rock's new catchphrase before chanting it. Rock paused, gathered his thoughts, paced the ring, and continued that Cena said something last week that landed on him and resonated with him. He said Cena was going to fight for everyone in the back who loves to be a pro wrestler. Rock said he grew up a pro wrestler and he was taught no one is going to fight for him. When he was climbing the WWE ladder, no one was fighting for him. Rock said when he came out as a "babyface" and the crowd booed him unmercifully, just like Cena, no one was fighting for him. He name-dropped Randy Savage to a big reaction. Roddy Piper got a big reaction, too, in Portland. He said no one fought for them, but if Cena wants to fight for them (wrestlers in the back), then Cena can keep doing that, but he will fight for them (the audience).

Rock said he's fighting for the people who are sick of having a kung-pao bitch shoved down their throats every single night. Pause for the phrase to be chanted again. Rock said Portland has it trending worldwide right now. He told Cena the crowd is tired of him every single night. But, they're not tired of being entertained. And, that's where he comes in. Rock said he loves to entertain and he lives for it. He said every time they (Rock and the fans) get together, they innovate and break new ground. When Rock came back and called Cena a big, fat bowl of Fruity Pebbles, the crowd started chanting it and all of a sudden Cena's face is on a box of cereal.

Rock said when he came back and vowed to shove his boot up Cena's "lady parts," the fans started chanting it and it was trending worldwide. Rock paused to ask the crowd whether they wanted to chant "Rocky" or "lady parts." He then asked the crowd to chant "lady parts" first. Now, his favorite, "Rocky, Rocky." Rock smiled as they chanted before Rock noted Cena is sitting back there watching. He said the most innovative thing Cena has done all year is change his jean shorts to camo shorts. He said those shorts are working, jack, because they can't find Cena's balls whatsoever.

At the 15:00 minute mark of the promo, Rock took a sip of water from a water bottle. Rock said they're going to make history by getting "Cena's missing balls" to trend worldwide. This led to a "missing balls" chant.

Suddenly, Cena's music played. Cena came out on-stage with a big smile on his face and marched to the ring. Rock paced around in the ring before Cena took a mic and playfully said this is too much fun. Cena said Rock actually referred to him as kung-pao chicken. He said it's genius because every single Chinese restaurant has it. He said it's perfect. Rock does his thing, holds the people in the palm of his hand, and talks about his penis. He said he came out here to tell Rock he's right that he does run him down when he's not here. But, Rock is only half-right because he also runs down Rock when he is here. Cena said these people love The Rock, but then he met Dwayne Johnson. He said Dwayne is a self-centered, see-through, s.o.b. that he wouldn't give a rat's ass if WWE closed its doors tomorrow.

Cena said he doesn't need "respect" or "loyalty" to trend worldwide, just like he doesn't need his notes for his promo on his wrist. So, on April 1, when people see Rock and Cena worldwide, people are going to see Cena eying Dwayne Johnson. And, he doesn't like Dwayne Johnson. He said he's going to see a man who's afraid and he's not going to be afraid to beat the hell out of him. Cena slipped out of the ring and told Rock to keep talking and keep trending. Cena disappeared to the back, leaving Rock alone in the ring. "Rocky, Rocky" chant from the crowd.

Rock took the mic and said it's just like John to run his mouth and walk away before he slaps the lips of Cena's face. He said Cena confused the world on who he likes and doesn't like. Rock said The Rock, Dwayne Johnson is the same man. He said it's the same man, but the difference between them is Cena isn't tough. Rock rattled off his nicknames before telling John the only thing that matters is on the biggest stage of them all, he's going to kick Cena's candyass all over WrestleMania...if you smell what The Rock is cooking. Cue up Rock's theme music at the 21:21 mark of the promo. Rock mouthed "motherf------." In the ring, Rock paced the ring, a man left alone on an island in a different WWE than when he left. Rock posed in the corner as the WM28 banner loomed large overhead. The show signed off 20 minutes past the top of the hour.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Well, WWE is officially going all-in with "worked shoot" promos aimed at getting oohs and aahs from the live and home viewer. Will it make money? That's what matters. Or, does that even matter anymore to McMahon, who has more money than he knows what to do with? Big picture, could it lead to WWE eventually "shutting down its doors," as Cena referenced? That also matters. The initial Rock-Cena promo exchange certainly gives Rock an incentive to return to Raw next week to re-direct in the cross examination, but how will keep this fresh over the course of five weeks leading Mania and not burn people out on the feud to ensure they still want to pay money to see the match at Mania? Big questions to be answered.

We welcome your 0-10 score and comments on this show for a "Raw Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of To contribute your thoughts on Raw, email to using our Feedback form.

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. 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)


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and Specialists and Artists.


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 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.


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