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CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 3/19: Ongoing "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - Two weeks 'til Mania, Rock-Cena latest, Hunter-HBK-Taker share the ring

Mar 19, 2012 - 10:08:34 PM

WWE Raw Supershow Results
March 19, 2012 - Episode #981
Live in Philadelphia, Pa.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

This week's live WWE Raw started with the usual Raw intro video followed by full pyro inside the arena. Michael Cole introduced the show from ringside and noted they are 13 nights away from WrestleMania. Cole and Jerry Lawler plugged Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and The Undertaker in the ring at the same time tonight, plus John Cena vs. Mark Henry. Plus, The Rock is in Philadelphia, live.

After a pause, Justin Roberts gave a formal introduction for WWE champion C.M. Punk. Cue up Cult of Personality to bring out a very upset Punk after Chris Jericho "dropped a pipe bomb on Punk," according to Lawler. As Punk circled the ring, WWE replayed Jericho's comments from last week. Back live, Punk continued to angrily pace the ring before announcing that Jericho is not here tonight. He said that's actually a gift because Jericho pissed him off. Punk sold emotion as he recapped what Jericho said about his father, pausing for a supportive "C-M-Punk" chant. Punk said it's not that big of a secret, but it's not Jericho's story to tell. He said it's not so much that he said or how he said, but that he said it in front of the entire world. Punk said he's standing in front of a live audience and basically on front street under a microscope - naked for the whole world to see.

Punk said he looks out in the crowd to see kids, siblings, parents, and families. He said he sees people who have been affected by the death of alcoholism. Punk said Jericho can try to make light of a serious subject to gain some sort of advantage at WrestleMania, but it shows Jericho doesn't know him at all. He said it's back-fired because if there's a devil in his DNA, it's now Jericho's problem. He said if there's a monster inside him, he's going to let it out. Punk said he's not going to let his past dictate his future. Punk shouted that no one should let a past nightmare dictate future dreams. He said Jericho forgot the finish: his father has worked extremely hard and has overcome his addictions. Punk said Jericho doesn't want people to know the facts, and he is proud of his father. He said he is proud of his father and he's proud of being straight-edge. Punk said he's proud of his father for overcoming obstacles, and that's exactly what Jericho is to him. Punk said he's here to let Jericho know that at WrestleMania, he's going straight through Jericho to prove once again that he's the Best in the World. Cue up Cult of Personality as a determined Punk slapped himself around.

Suddenly, Jericho appeared on the Titantron wearing a suit. Jericho said he didn't think it was right for him to be in-person tonight. "Live Via Satellite" appeared on the screen as Jericho apologized for being "out of line" last week. He said there's no fancy jacket or "Jericho" here, as he's deeply sorry for bringing up the issue. Jericho asked Punk to accept his apology. He said he will never say anything about Punk's father on this show again.

However, there's Punk's sister. "That's a whole other ballgame," Jericho said. He said he found out all about Punk's sister's substance abuse issues. Jericho said he's sure Punk is still proud of his sister. Jericho claimed Punk's father is an alcoholic and Punk's sister is a drug addict. He said Punk will give into the addiction. Sure, he could overcome it. But, the bad news is that when he beats Punk to become WWE champion at WrestleMania, it's something Punk can never overcome.

As Jericho smirked, Punk paced around the ring, then fired off a completely bleeped-out sentence on the ten-second delay. Punk offered another bleeped-out sentence that appeared to be Jericho is s--- and he will beat it out of Jericho at Mania. Punk threw down the mic and stomped out of the ring.

Backstage: Big Show and Kane were shown walking down separate hallways for a match-up next. WWE went with an over-the-top, comical Andre shot on both men that made Show look 15-feet-tall. It was like he was at the carnival standing in front of a mirror that distorted his height for laughs. Equally as comical is WWE giving away this match-up with zero hype.

USA special: Rock-Cena one-hour documentary next week before Raw.

[Commercial Break]


In-ring: Kane was already in the ring shooting off pyro back from break. Big Show then came out to the ring to a less-comical Andre camera shot. The announcers hyped Kane vs. Randy Orton and Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania as Show completed his entrance. Rhodes's music then played to bring out the IC champion. Cole said Rhodes is scheduled to join them on commentary. He then rolled another video package on Show's embarrassing Mania moments. This was a compilation of all the embarrassing Show-at-Mania moments.

1 -- BIG SHOW vs. KANE

Rhodes skipped the announcing opportunity to pull out a pair of boxing gloves to shadow box a la Floyd Mayweather. Show went to the corner turnbuckles for a high-flying move, but Rhodes distracted him. This allowed Kane to chokeslam Show off the top turnbuckle for a quick pin and the win.

Post-match: Rhodes slipped into the ring and dropped Show with the disaster kick. Rhodes then handcuffed Show to the ring ropes and laughed hysterically. Rhodes then re-entered the ring and blasted away with rights and lefts. Rhodes continued to blast away before a referee hit the ring to pull Rhodes away. Show then got that look in his eyes as more refs stormed the ring. Rhodes decided it was time to bail and he left the ring as Show was uncuffed. Show tried to get to his feet, but he sold being wobbly-legged from the punches.

WINNER: Kane at 0:52. The end result was very good getting heat on Rhodes to set up Show for a big comeback at Mania. Kane-Show being booked on zero notice and going less than one minute, though, was very questionable.

Still to come: Cena vs. Henry. Before they cut to break, WWE aired a "New" video package that had music similar to the psychedelic WWE Network videos that disappeared a few months ago.

[Commercial Break]

Moments Ago: WWE replayed Rhodes's post-match assault on Big Show, including a right hand to the forehead.

In-ring: Suddenly, a loud groan was heard in the arena as David Otunga's music played to bring out Otunga and Raw GM John Laurinaitis. Otunga posed on the stage before the duo made their way to the ring. Cole plugged the 12-man tag match at Mania and ran down the six wrestlers already named. He added that later on tonight, two more members will be added to Team Johnny. Santino then came out with Teddy Long to face Otunga in a Captain vs. Captain match.


2 -- U.S. champion SANTINO (w/Teddy Long) vs. DAVID OTUNGA (w/John Laurinaitis) -- non-title match

Once the bell sounded, the crowd chanted for Santino, who dropped the straps and posed in Otunga's face. Otunga then posed to boos, so Santino posed with a Hogan-like pose. Otunga posed again to boos, then Santino tried again, but sold pulling a hamstring. This gave Otunga an opening to assault Santino. Santino came back with a hip toss and elbow drop, though, before pulling out The Cobra. Laurinaitis tried to slip a foreign object into the ring, drawing Long to the scene. The distraction allowed Otunga to nail his finisher for the pin and the win.

Post-match: Laurinaitis mocked Long and Santino with a post-match celebration. Laurinaitis then got in Teddy's face, so Teddy slapped him across the face. Long quickly scampered out of the ring, leaving Laurinaitis to stew in the ring. On the stage, Teddy and Santino danced to Teddy's theme music before Cole switched gears.

WINNER: Otunga at 1:47. Probably for the best to keep Otunga's in-ring activity short and sweet.

Raw Last Month: Triple H accepted Undertaker's WrestleMania challenge under one condition...Hell in a Cell. Still to come tonight: face-to-face-to-face in the same ring at the same time tonight. But, up next, Rock is in Philadelphia with a message for Cena.

[Commercial Break]

Back live, a video aired focusing on various Japanese symbols covering various body parts of a random man. Lord Tensai is coming. Hakushi throwback?

Announcers: Cole and Lawler hyped the fanbase being split on Rock and Cena at WrestleMania. Cole then fed to a video from Rock taped earlier. They showed Rock standing in front of a Rocky Balboa statue to silence. Apparently the sound was off, as the crowd was completely silent. Rock said Philadelphia is the city of ass-kickers. He noted the Rocky statue and continued to hype Philly. Rock introduced a photo from when Rock was 12-years-old standing in front of the statue. He said he looked like a chunky little girl with short shorts at 12-years-old, but he was inspired to become the best wrestler in the world.

Rock plugged WrestleMania I one year later featuring Hulk Hogan (Hogan clips played), then WM6 with Ultimate Warrior (Warrior clips played), then headlining his first Mania right here in Philadelphia. They showed clips of Stone Cold dropping Rock one, two, three at WM15. Rock said he vowed to go on to beat Stone Cold and beat Hulk Hogan, and now there's one guy left. His name is John Cena. Rock said that's 13 days away, and not tonight. Rock said he's going to drive down to the Wells Fargo Arena, the roof will blow off with electricity, Rock will get right in the middle of the ring, and send Cena a message. Rock said if Cena doesn't get that message, Rock is going to get back into his car, drive to Pat's, get a giant cheesesteak, and shove it straight up Cena's ass.

[Q4] Rock said when Cena is running around Philly with a cheesesteak up his ass, all of the greats will think them in his own special one. Rock shouted out to Mick Foley, Ric Flair, and Randy Savage before declaring that he's going to layeth the smackdown on Cena. Rock said when he beats Cena one, two, three at WrestleMania, the dreams of that 12-year-old boy will come true. Rock shouted out to "Rocky," then signed off before his music played. They cut to various fan reaction shows of the crowd applauding and cheering.

Segment Reax: A roundabout way of finally giving a hard sell for the historical aspect of the match with Rock linked to Hogan linked to Warrior linked to Flair linked to Austin linked to Hogan linked to Cena. Rock playing up Cena as one of the greatest of all-time that he would need to beat Cena to validate his career is a nice thought to give Rock a reason to need to win the match, but seemed to come too little, too late, and in a non-believable way when WWE rarely focuses on where Cena ranks compared to past legends. This was a Week 2 topic, not Week 6.

In-ring: World Hvt. champion Daniel Bryan's music played to boos, bringing out Bryan and A.J. Cole said Bryan has Zack Ryder up next.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Zack Ryder's music played to bring out Ryder to face Bryan. They cut to footage from earlier in the day when Ryder campaigned for his addition to Team Teddy at WrestleMania.

3 -- World Hvt. champion DANIEL BRYAN (w/A.J.) vs. ZACK RYDER -- non-title match

Before the bell sounded, Bryan planted a kiss on A.J.'s lips, which brought a smile to A.J.'s mouth. Bryan was aggressive early on before Ryder made a comeback and delivered a big Broski Boot in the corner. Ryder then wanted the Rough Ryder, but Bryan counted into the LeBell Lock. Ryder had no choice but to tap out after another short match. Cole called Bryan very impressive on the way to facing Sheamus at WrestleMania. After a replay of Bryan's victory, A.J. planted a kiss on Bryan's cheek.

WINNER: Bryan via submission at 1:44.

Announcers: Cole noted John Cena's car accident earlier in the day driving around Philadelphia. Cole said Cena says he's fine, but a "marketing rep" who was with Cena says otherwise. They'll find out when Cena faces Mark Henry next.

[Commercial Break]

Smackdown plug: How will Randy Orton respond to Kane, plus Sheamus is on a journey to WrestleMania.

Back live, Cole and Lawler plugged Flo Rida performing live at WrestleMania. He will perform Rock's theme music, which counters MGK performing Cena's theme music.

[Q5 -- second hour] After a pause, John Cena's music played to bring out one-half of the WrestleMania main event. In the ring, Cena pointed to the WM28 logo as Cole noted WWE doctors have cleared Cena to compete tonight. Lawler said Cena looks fine, but they won't know until he faces Henry. Henry then slowly made his way to the ring to face Cena. Cole suddenly transitioned to Summerslam in August. Cole plugged that tickets go on-sale this Saturday. Henry eventually made his way into the ring as Cena continued to bounce around in the ring, ready to lock horns with Henry. Lawler said Cena needs to think defense and make sure he doesn't get injured before Mania.


The bell sounded and Henry easily shoved Cena away. They locked up again and Cena grabbed a headlock, but Henry flung Cena underneath the bottom rope to the outside. Cena re-entered the ring and tried a shoulder tackle, but Henry did not move and responded with a big shoulder tackle of his own. The crowd picked up a loud dueling chant as Henry took Cena to the outside and delivered a big clubbing blow to the chest. Henry then flung Cena into the guardrail before talking trash to Cena as he stood over him. They cut to break with Mark Henry dominating and trash-talking.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, the females in the crowd were shrieking as Cena was in jeopardy in the ring. Cena then fought back to give the crowd hope, but Henry cut off Cena with power offense. Cole said it's the Henry from two months ago who dominated in WWE. Henry then stalked Cena for a corner attack, but Cena moved and delivered a side suplex. Cena got up, sold the effects, called for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, and connected. Cena wanted the Attitude Adjustment, but he couldn't lift Henry off his feet. They reset with Henry teasing power offense, but Cena ducked, and took Henry's momentum with him to position Henry for the AA. Cena delivered and it was good for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Cena at 7:56. Exactly as expected with Cena having a "feat of strength" to overcome the stacked deck. Hot ending, followed by a hot post-match...

Post-match: Suddenly, The Rock's music hit to bring out Rock live in Philadelphia. Rock paced the stage and played to the crowd, which was hot for Rock. Rock then stormed the ring, grabbed Henry, and delivered Rock Bottom center-ring. Rock popped up to his feet and stood a few feet away from Cena, who sold a combination of exhaustion from the Henry match and shock. Rock pounded his chest and quickly left the ring as his music played. Cole said Rock delivered a very loud message. They replayed Cena's finish, then Rock's one-up before coming back live to Cena, who pointed to the WM28 logo as his music played.

Announcers: Cole and Lawler excitedly talked about the Rock-Cena events and Lawler said he doesn't think he can wait 13 days. Cole then transitioned to Hunter-Taker discussion. They aired a clip from two weeks ago when Michaels told Hunter he will be special referee for Hunter-Taker at WrestleMania.

[Commercial Break]

[Q6] Announcers: Back live, Cole focused on the Divas. WWE rolled footage from Thursday's "Extra!" when Maria Menonous welcomed Kelly Kelly onto the show before Eve and Beth Phoenix confronted Maria and Kelly to set up a Mania tag match.

In-ring: Back live, The Miz was in the ring with a mic. Miz went back to 1987 when King Kong Bundy was in the main event of WrestleMania 2. Then, Bundy was in a mixed midgets match at WrestleMania 3. He said that was known as the biggest WrestleMania drop-off in history, but now he's here. Miz said he will not go from main-eventing WM27 to doing nothing at WM28. That is why he issued an Open Challenge to prove he deserves to be on Team Laurinaitis at WrestleMania. Instead of Devon, Miz was cut off by Sheamus's music. Cole said if Miz beats Sheamus, then he'll qualify for Laurinaitis's team.


Miz tried to go after Sheamus early on, but Sheamus easily cut him off and landed power offense. They cut to a shot of Laurinaitis and David Otunga watching the match on a monitor in Laurinaitis's office. Sheamus continued the assault as Miz desperately tried to fight back, then Miz ducked a Brogue Kick, only to eat the Brogue Kick moments later a la the Cena-Henry finish. Sheamus made the cover for the win. Backstage, Laurinaitis shook his head and wondered why he should put Miz on his team.

WINNER: Sheamus at 3:01. Another dominating victory for Sheamus going into Mania. I'm 50/50 on Miz making a match vs. simply appearing at Mania to cut a promo about not being on the card.

Announcers: Cole and Lawler plugged Chris Jericho appearing on Jimmy Fallon's show on Wednesday. Cole then fed to a replay of the Jericho-Punk show-opening exchange about Punk's family. After the announcers re-plugged Punk-Jericho at WrestleMania, Lawler said Randy Orton will address Kane ahead of their Mania match up next.

[Commercial Break]

[Q7] Still to come tonight: Taker-Hunter-HBK in the same ring at the same time.

On-stage: Josh Mathews was standing on a platform near the stage with his back to the crowd for an old-school interview setting. Mathews then welcomed out Randy Orton to discuss facing Kane at WrestleMania. Orton said the question shouldn't be how he plans to beat Kane, but how Kane plans to beat him. He said they're talking about a Mania match only because he beat The Monster last summer. Orton said he beat Kane so badly that Kane shook his hand and became human. Now, he looks into Kane's eyes and there are no signs of humanity. He doesn't care about Kane's recent identity crisis because he knows who he is and what he is capable of. Orton said his name is...Randy Orton. Big pop for the delivery. Orton's music played and he turned to face the crowd before posing on the stage.

Announcers: Cole fed to a video package on Big Show leading an anti-bullying campaign in Connecticut last week. Show, David Otunga, and Stephanie McMahon were shown giving speeches to junior high kids at the event. Back live, Lawler tried to talk about the event, but Vickie Guerrero's voice interrupted.

Vickie walked out on-stage to introduce the two newest members of Team Johnny at WrestleMania. "Excuse me!" Vickie shouted over the boos. She then introduced Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler. The two men strutted out on-stage. They have R-Truth and Kofi Kingston up next.

USA special: WWE plugged the one-hour special on Rock-Cena to air next Monday before Raw.

[Commercial Break]

6 -- KOFI KINGSTON & R-TRUTH (w/Aksana) vs. JACK SWAGGER & DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero)

Back from break, all six participants were in the ring. The ladies had to be restrained before the bell sounded to begin the match. Swagger, with his 1860s hair, worked over Kofi early on as Ziggler got in cheap shots. Ziggler then tagged in and tattooed Kofi with a high dropkick. The heels continued wearing down Kofi as Lawler mocked Swagger's hair, noting his cat has vomited better-looking hair than Swagger's. Kofi then escaped The Hair via swinging DDT and reached his corner for a tag to Truth.

Ziggler also tagged in and Truth ran him over with a series of clotheslines, followed by a flying fist smash. Truth nailed a front suplex, then cleared Swagger from the ring. Kofi followed with a running splash after running off the ring steps to launch himself onto Swagger. Back in the ring, Truth missed with the axe kick and Ziggler nailed the Zig-Zag for the pin and the win with an assist from Vickie.

Post-match: Aksana shoved down Vickie, then tried to get the call reversed by the ref, but Vickie picked up an argument in the ring. Vickie shoved Aksana, so Aksana tackled Vickie and the fight was on. The men had to separate the women before order was restored with the heels on the outside and the faces recovering in the ring.

WINNERS: Dolph & Swagger at 4:34. The actual wrestlers in this GM vs. GM feud are now in the trunk of the car with Laurinaitis and Long in the front and Vickie and Aksana in the backseat after their feud picked up steam in this segment.

[Q8] Announcers: Cole transitioned to Hell in a Cell talk, selecting "emotional" as the key word to describe Hunter-Taker at Mania. Cole then fed to a video clip from the Raw house show at MSG last night, where Hunter used Taker's maneuvers and Tombstone finisher to score the decisive fall on Ziggler for the win in a six-man tag match. Lawler plugged Michaels, Taker, and Hunter in the same ring at the same time...up next.

[Commercial Break]

Smackdown plug: Bryan-Sheamus feud continues, The Miz is on the show, and WM28 draws near. The official plug: Sheamus & C.M. Punk vs. Daniel Bryan & The Miz in a featured tag match.

Earlier Tonight: Cole and Lawler reinforced Cena's "feat of strength" giving Mark Henry an Attitude Adjustment during their match despite a bad back. This was followed by The Rock delivering a message to Cena via Rock Bottom to Henry right in front of Cena.

Next Week: One more in-ring confrontation between Cena and Rock six days before their Mania main event. Cole said both will be live on Raw from Atlanta.

In-ring: After a pause, Shawn Michaels's music played for the main event segment/angle of the show. Michaels made his way to the ring sporting an MRA t-shirt and blue jeans, with no cowboy hat. Michaels posed in the ring before they cut to a shot of a female fan in the crowd dancing along to HBK's music. Michaels smiled and waved to the crowd before grabbing a mic.

After waiting out an "H-B-K" chant, Michaels said it's the end of an era. Hell in a Cell. The Undertaker. Triple H. But, what's everyone talking about? The special referee, HBK. He said that shouldn't come as any big surprise because he made a Hall of Fame career out of stealing the show at WrestleMania. And, this year will be no different. But, if he can be honest for a second, he will admit it's pretty cool holding the end of an era in the palm of his hand. Michaels said his prediction for this match is the audience will have to wait until WrestleMania, but he will give his opinion on what he thinks is going to happen.

Can he be an impartial referee? Michaels said before he answers that, he would like to note that The End of an Era is code for The End of The Streak for Undertaker. Michaels said he saw it two years ago: the end is inevitable. Suddenly, the gong struck and Michaels stopped mid-sentence. Taker's usual entrance played and Michaels was shown standing in the ring, more annoyed than frightened. Taker then slowly emerged on-stage with the hood of his jacket covering his head. Taker slowly made his way to the ring.

[Q9 -- over-run] As soon as Taker entered the ring, Michaels tried to talk, but Taker cut him off and said he needs to shut up and listen. Taker reminded Michaels that this match must remain pure. He said that before Michaels and his "little buddy" start making plans - suddenly, Triple H's music played to interrupt Taker. Hunter emerged on-stage back to Triple H, the wrestler, form with jeans, t-shirt, and water bottle. Hunter angrily approached the ring, stared at the WM28 sign hanging over Michaels and Taker, hopped on the ring apron, looked into the ring over one shoulder, and posed and spewed water into the crowd. Taker was unmoved watching Hunter do his routine.

With all three men now in the ring, Taker locked eyes with Hunter, who stood next to Michaels. Hunter told Taker to stop worrying about Michaels. He said that as much as Shawn's ego wants this to be about him, it's not. Hunter said it's about them. Hunter approached Taker and told him it's always about them. Hunter said it's two legendary careers running parallel and now colliding in HIAC. Hunter said there have been 24 HIAC matches and they have been in 19 of them. Hunter said it's not a coincidence because what started out as Taker's match became his proving ground. Hunter said it's where he learned how to end another man's career. "It's where I thrive," Hunter said. "It's where I excel."

Hunter said everything he's been through has been for one moment. Hunter turned to point to the WM28 sign before grumbling that it's Hell in a Cell on April 1. Michaels was half-smirking in the background at this point. Hunter said the whole world will see the end of an era on April 1. "Yours," he said in Taker's face. Hunter said he knows exactly what it's going to take inside the Cell to finish the job. Taker interrupted, "Are you sure?" He said Hunter's mind, body, soul, career, wife, and kids are all at stake. "Even your life," he said. Taker asked Hunter if he's willing to put it all on the line. Hunter turned to look at Michaels, who had a great look of "Well?" on his face. Hunter approached Taker and said if it means giving Taker the ending he so richly deserves, then he is. "And I will," he said inches away from Taker.

Taker backed away a few inches, opened himself up slightly, then started to leave the ring, but turned back to face Hunter, who was now standing next to Michaels. Taker approached Hunter, thought about some words, grimaced, sneered, and told Hunter, "You remember when I said Shawn is better than you?" Taker paused. "He is." Michaels smiled as Hunter huffed and puffed.

Both men watched Taker leave the ring, then Hunter turned to look at Michaels, who continued to smile in Hunter's face. Taker's music played and Hunter went face-to-face with Michaels, who didn't back down. Hunter then looked back toward Taker off-camera and Michaels went back to smiling. Hunter looked back to Michaels, who pretended to wipe the smile off his face. They stood opposite each other as Raw signed off eight minutes past the top of the hour.

FINAL THOUGHTS: The WrestleMania hype is officially back on track.

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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