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WWE Raw Report
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 2/18: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - Chamber PPV fall-out, big Mania news, Rock's Celebration, Shield six-man tag match

Feb 18, 2013 - 11:04:57 PM


WWE Raw TV Results
February 18, 2013 - Episode #1,029
Live from Lafayette, La.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

This week's three-hour Raw following the Elimination Chamber PPV opened with a video package on the Road to WrestleMania, specifically all of the big items from last night's Chamber PPV. All paths lead to WrestleMania, 48 days away. Tonight, the Road to Mania rages through Cajun country.

Live inside the Cajundome, Michael Cole introduced the show before John Cena's music played to kick things off. As Cena stormed the ring, Cole and Jerry Lawler went heavy on hype for The Rock vs. Cena at WrestleMania 29 in seven weeks. Cena took his time playing to the crowd before grabbing the mic.

Cena noted they're in the heart of Cajun country and said the Road to WrestleMania is heating up. He noted two of the Mania matches are set for WrestleMania - Del Rio vs. Swagger for the World Title (minimal reaction) and then the big one of John Cena trying to de-throne The Rock for the WWE Title.

Suddenly, Cult of Personality played to bring out C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman, not exactly interested in hearing Cena discuss his match against Rock at Mania. Cole noted Rock beat Punk last night at the Chamber to remain WWE champion. Lawler then noted there were a few times when Punk had the match won during the chaos. Cole said it's controversial, but the bottom line is Rock is going to Mania as champion.

Once in the ring, Punk walked right up to Cena to stare him down. Punk asked Cena if he really thinks he's fighting Rock for the WWE Title at Mania. "Are you positive you want to go that way?" Punk said. He said it's the easy way out. Punk said he'll make this clear up-front: "The Rock beat me last night fair and square." Punk paused and said under his breath that that's true if you ignore him pinning Rock with a ref down and Rock hitting a WWE referee. Punk noted that Cena has never beaten him.

Cena responded that he won the Royal Rumble match fair and square, Rock is WWE champion, and Punk can sit this one out because it's not about him this time. Punk responded that it is about him, then played to the hardcore fans by saying the Rumble is a circus, Cena won via luck of the draw, he's already seen Rock-Cena and it's re-run television, and Cena just can't win the big one. Cena laughed and said it's typical Punk airing his grievances. Punk said he just wants Cena to walk away and get out of his life. Cena teased leaving the ring, but heard the "Cena, Cena" chants and stayed put. "No," Cena firmly responded.

Cena said he'll give Punk credit for his honesty, but regardless of whether Punk likes him or doesn't like him, he's not just going to give away the Mania main event. But, with all of Punk's skewed history and lackluster points, he has some merit that he hasn't beaten Punk, nor has he beaten Rock. Cena said it appears there is an issue here because Punk wants to go to Mania, while he would like to shut up his critics. Cena said he's not going to give Punk a golden ticket, but he'll let him earn it. Cena proposed a match. The Big One. John Cena vs. C.M. Punk. Cena said if he wins, Punk shuts up and crawls back in his hole. But, if Punk wins, then he doesn't deserve to be in the Mania main event. Cena said if Punk beats him tonight, he will give him his Mania title shot. After the crowd roared, Cena said he is about business, whereas Punk just talks business.

Punk and Heyman conferenced about this proposal, then Punk re-approached Cena and told him he made the stupidest decision of his life. Punk said he'll take Cena up on it, but not here. Boos. Punk said he's going to do it on his terms, which is next week. Boos. Punk and Heyman left the ring celebrating as Cena called out to the crowd to let them go. Cena said it's official: Cena vs. Punk next week, which drew groans. Cena said he will beat Punk next week, he will go on to Mania, and he will beat The Rock at WrestleMania.

Big News Summary: Cena vs. Punk next week on Raw; winner advances to face The Rock for the WWE Title at WrestleMania.

Still to come: The Rock's Championship Celebration capturing the WM30 host city of New Orleans. Up next: Mark Henry's path of destruction continues.

[Q2] [Commercial Break]

President's Day Video: A quote from Thomas Jefferson flashed on the screen. Back live, Cole and Lawler discussed Pres Day before turning their attention to The Shield defeating Cena, Sheamus, and Ryback in the six-man tag match last night. Nice follow-up on Shield's big victory last night.

Backstage: Matt Striker brought in Sheamus to discuss their failure against Shield last night. Sheamus tried to talk, but Ryback kept pacing in front of the camera. Sheamus eventually stopped talking and said they need to adapt and overcome. Sheamus asked Ryback if he's just like everyone says, a mindless neanderthal? Ryback was ready to tear up, but Chris Jericho interrupted and settled them down. Jericho said he understands they are frustrated, but they have to unite against Shield. Jericho said he's seen this before with the NWO and Nexus, but Shield is at a "completely different level." Jericho stretched things too far pandering about Shield vs. WWE, saying they have to save the company that he loves. Jericho said he plans to tell Vickie Guerrero to make the match for tonight: Shield vs. Sheamus, Ryback...and Y2J. Jericho got them fired up, then WWE showed Sheamus and Ryback staring each other down.

In-ring: Sin Cara was awaiting his opponent back in the ring. Then, Mark Henry's music played and perhaps Cara should have taken his cue to leave. After a replay of Henry destroying Cara and Rey Mysterio two weeks ago on Raw, the bell sounded to start the opening match.


Cara, wearing lime-green gear, tried to kick Henry's legs, but Henry flung him away. Henry, sporting a taped right wrist to sell the Chamber match last night, put a boot on Cara's back and stepped on him to inflict punishment. "That's what I do!" Henry said. Where's the t-shirt? Cara then suddenly popped Henry in the mouth, but Henry blocked a head-scissors attempt with a running powerslam. Cole said this man might be the most dangerous man in WWE today. Henry had enough of this and finished off Cara with the World's Strongest Slam.

Post-match, Henry tried to smother Cara, drawing the ref's ire. So, who is going to make the save? Henry re-approached Cara and wanted another Slam, but Great Khali's music played. Cole, apparently not watching the monitor, said Khali is "marching" to the ring. 30 seconds later, Khali finally entered the ring to approach Henry, who decided to duck out of the ring. Henry shouted from the floor that he's already provided his point, then mocked Khali's dance moves. Khali seemed confused by Henry trash-talking him ringside.

WINNER: Henry at 1:35. Fear, trepidation, sweating bullets, restless nights. All ways to describe the thought of a potential Henry vs. Khali match at Mania if WWE is going that direction.

Up Next: The Miz gets another shot at Antonio Cesaro, this time it will be a No DQ match. Leading to break, Cole said Vickie Guerrero has granted Jericho's wish - it will be Shield vs. Jericho, Sheamus, and Ryback in a six-man tag match tonight.

[Q3] [Commercial Break]

Vignette: Fandango. With echo. Still no word on when he will actually debut.

In-ring: Back from break, Antonio Cesaro and The Miz were in the ring. Before the bell sounded, WWE replayed Cesaro's attack on Miz last week on Raw that injured Miz's shoulder.

2 -- U.S. champion ANTONIO CESARO vs. THE MIZ -- non-title No DQ match

Cesaro quickly targeted Miz's injured shoulder, then went under the ring to retrieve two chairs and a Kendo stick. Cesaro blasted Miz across the shoulder with the stick and Miz cried out in pain, but he avoided a pin attempt. Cesaro then jabbed Miz with the stick for another nearfall. Cesaro followed by placing Miz's shoulder inside a chair to stretch him, then Cesaro ran Miz shoulder-first into a chair propped up in the corner.

Ref Chioda audibly provided instructions to Cesaro, then Cesaro blasted Miz with a big European Uppercut in the corner. But, Miz blocked a corner attack and ran Cesaro knee-first into the chair. Miz followed with the figure-four leglock and Cesaro tapped out. Apparently this was not for the U.S. Title, though. WWE wasn't clear on that. After the match, Cesaro limped away as Miz taunted him from inside the ring.

WINNER: Miz via submission at 3:39.

Announcers: Cole and Lawler discussed Jack Swagger's big Chamber match victory last night at the PPV, then Cole said Swagger will provide a State of the Union Address tonight. But, before that, viewers can watch their "propaganda" leaked on YouTube.

YT Clip: Standing in front of a "Don't Tread On Me" sign, Dutch Mantell spoke about people crossing the U.S. borders to steal from hard-working Americans. Dutch said they come over illegally, are packed 20 to an apartment, and have lowered American productivity. As Swagger echoed Dutch's comments, Dutch said they'll give those people a hand-out, which is a one-way ticket to "wherever you came from." Dutch said if the government won't handle it, then he knows who will. "We, the People," Swagger said. Back on commentary, Lawler said he's not even touching that.

Next Monday: John Cena vs. C.M. Punk to determine who headlines WrestleMania against The Rock. This feels like WWE is giving The Undertaker one more week to see if he can go at Mania, then booking a finish based on that.

Later Tonight: Rock's Celebration.

[Commercial Break]

President's Day Video: Abe Lincoln, subject of PWTorch columnist Greg Parks's Newsletter-exclusive column this week.

Backstage: Daniel Bryan approached Kane, who was not in the mood to hear from Bryan. Bryan noted Kane opted to uppercut him in the jaw rather than hug him last night in the Chamber. Bryan said he went to Vickie and requested a singles match tonight because he doesn't want to team with him. Bryan said he's facing Jack Swagger and he doesn't want Kane coming to the ring with him. Kane said he'll do the same, then said he doesn't deal well with snakes.

[Q4] "You talking about me?" Orton asked in the background. Kane said why he hates snakes, then Orton said what Kane just said used to intimidate him, but Kane isn't who he used to be. Orton said he's traded in piledrivers for hugs and group therapy. Orton said he's a lot like Barney the Dinosaur. Bryan laughed, then Kane sold inner torment.

Backstage: Vickie Guerrero told someone on the phone that she has big plans for tonight. Paul Heyman then walked in and Vickie mocked him for the stipulations he added to Rock-Punk not helping Punk win the WWE Title. Vickie then told Heyman that she has dramatic, career-changing news for Heyman, but she won't reveal it here, rather out there in front of the big audience. Well, the arena audience is watching this very segment, as well as the home viewers, so there's no bigger audience than right now. In any event, Heyman said he doesn't like over-dramatic women, then Vickie told him that he still has to wait for the news.

In-ring: Dolph Ziggler came to the ring with A.J. Lee and Big E. Langston. Cole said Ziggler faces the World champ, Alberto Del Rio, next.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, Ziggler and Co. were shown gearing up for the next match, then Ricardo Rodriguez came out on-stage to formally introduce World champ Alberto Del Rio.

3 -- World Hvt. champion ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/A.J. Lee and Big E. Langston) -- non-title match

Del Rio smashed Ziggler off the ring apron with an enziguiri, then Raw cut to break less than a minute into the match.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, Ziggler took control of the World champ before WWE cut to a backstage shot of Jack Swagger and Mantell (Zeb Colter) watching this match on a monitor. Ziggler then climbed to the top turnbuckle, but Del Rio popped to his feet and hung Ziggler out to dry. Del Rio then executed a great-looking reverse facebuster suplex off the top. Very unique move in WWELand.

[Q5 -- second hour] The match continued with Del Rio and Ziggler coming to their feet and trading bombs. Del Rio built a head of steam with clotheslines before delivering a backbreaker. Del Rio then smashed Ziggler with a standing sidekick, but Ziggler kicked out in-time. Del Rio got the crowd warmed up for the cross arm-breaker, but Ziggler swung into a neckbreaker for a nearfall.

After a reset, Del Rio trapped Ziggler in the corner and delivered ten forearm strikes to Ziggler's kidneys before delivering a backstabber, but Ziggler grabbed the bottom rope to avoid a three count. Big E. then hopped on the ring apron, but Del Rio cleared him to the floor. Ziggler tried to capitalize, but Del Rio rolled through into a cross arm-breaker. Ziggler frantically tried to escape, but he had nowhere to go and eventually tapped out. Del Rio gets another big TV win on the way to WrestleMania.

WINNER: Del Rio via submission at 9:18. And, Ziggler is officially cemented in the role of bumping for and making top stars look good. This was followed by an intriguing post-match teaser...

Post-match, Big E. Langston did what his boss could not do. Langston smashed Del Rio, then delivered his finisher to Del Rio. "It's over for you!" Big E. told Del Rio. Suddenly, Ziggler realized the situation, recovered, and went to grab the briefcase. But, Ricardo stole it, ran up the entrance ramp, and Big E. gave chase. Ricardo dropped it half-way up the ramp, though, so A.J. retrieved to the briefcase and ran back to the ring. Ziggler received the case, but then turned around and ate an enziguiri from Del Rio, popping the crowd after the roller-coaster of post-match events. The kick ended Ziggler's night for good. Del Rio then posed in the ring as A.J. flipped out helping Ziggler recover.

Still to come: Rock's big celebration. Plus, Randy Orton vs. Kane in a singles match.

Leading to break, WWE ran a DVD ad for the Best of WCW Nitro Volume 2.

[Commercial Break]

[ WWE's Did You Know: Smackdown has aired more times than CSI, CSI: Miami, and CSI: New York. Well, CBS ruined Miami, then cancelled it, so that's not saying much to include a show that's currently off the air. ]

Back live in the ring, IC champion Wade Barrett was standing by. Barrett said he's already a big WWE star, but now he's an even bigger star. Just look at this. WWE rolled a trailer from "Dead Man Down" featuring Barrett in a supporting role. Get used to a lot of movie trailers on Raw leading to Mania with Rock having three movies and WWE Studios having a handful of movies, too.

After the trailer aired, Barrett said everyone will agree that that was pretty awesome. Suddenly, Sheamus interrupted from the Titantron. Sheamus said he's seen the movie, and Barrett isn't actually the star. He said Barrett doesn't even have a speaking role in the movie. Sheamus suddenly "ran out of time" and signed off from backstage. The crowd didn't react to this. Back in the ring, Barrett complained about Sheamus ruining his moment.

[Q6] Announcers: Cole and Lawler were shown playing with Mattel's new WWE Brawlers toy. Lawler vowed to make Brodus Clay jump on Cole's face, then Brodus Clay's music interrupted. Cole said they're about to see the real version.

Out came Brodus Clay, Cameron and Naomi, and Tensai looking like the Skipper from Gilligan's Island with his hat selection. Suddenly, the Colons's music interrupted the dancing half-way down the ramp. Justin Roberts announced this as a six-person tag match.

4 -- TENSAI & BRODUS CLAY & NAOMI (w/Cameron) vs. PRIMO & EPICO & ROSA MENDES -- mixed six-person tag match

Naomi showed up Rosa early on, then Tensai and Primo tagged in. Tensai dominated, then Epico broke up a pin attempt. Chaos in and out of the ring, then Clay tagged in to combine with Tensai for a double-headbutt to Primo. The big men followed with a double splash that Lawler described as the meteor landing in Russia. Clay covered for the win, setting up a post-match dance celebration.

WINNERS: Power Dancers at 1:29.

Announcers: Cole said WWE is "all about having fun," then fed to a "special press conference" from earlier today in New Orleans. The video showed WWE making the official announcement of WrestleMania 30 at the Superdome in New Orleans on April 6, 2014. Included were clips of The Rock and John Cena's individual speeches promoting WM30. The press conference-ending showdown between Rock and Cena was not included.

Up Next: Jack Swagger's State of the Union Address.

[Commercial Break]

Presidential Day Video: A quote from Harry Truman flashed on the screen coming back from break.

Back live, Jack Swagger's new heelish military music was playing. Swagger and Zeb Colter were already assembled at the podium before Swagger spoke. Swagger said that last night at the Elimination Chamber, he put the weight of the Nation on his shoulders. He said tonight is not about himself, but about their country. He said only one man is honest-enough to deliver this message of great importance.

Colter approached the podium and thanked the Founding Fathers for creating the Bill of Rights, which gives Swagger and him the right to stand out here and voice their opinions. Colter said the audience may not agree with it or like it, but exercising their rights is what real Americans proudly do. Colter said the State of the Union is "pathetic." He said the blame lies solely on the shoulders of the millions and millions of people living in this country illegally. Colter said these people live in the country and take jobs, education, and freedom. He said it's time they put a stop to it. Colter said they have to fix this problem because real Americans need to stand up and say no more. He said Swagger is prepared to do that.

Last night at the Chamber, Swagger won the right to challenge for the World Title at WrestleMania. But, now that match has taken on greater implications. He said it's a battle for the heart and soul for this country. On one side is a Real American, Jack Swagger. On the other side is the World Hvt. champion by the name of Alberto Del Rio. He said this is a man who only came to this country to reap the rewards of their Motherland. Colter said Swagger will accomplish two goals at Mania: win the World Title and reclaim America. He said Swagger's America is Jack Swagger as World Hvt. champion. "We, the People," Colter said. Swagger shouted the catchphrase over and over as his music played.

Suddenly, Daniel Bryan's music interrupted. Bryan came out shaking his head and shouting, "No!" Bryan hit the ring as Swagger and Colter bailed to the outside to talk strategy about Bryan leading to commercial.

[Q7] [Commercial Break. During the break, an ad aired for "The Package" starring "Stone Cold" Steve Austin out on DVD tomorrow.]

5 -- JACK SWAGGER (w/Zeb Colter) vs. WWE tag champion DANIEL BRYAN

The match was joined in-progress back from break. Cole noted Swagger dominated throughout the break, with Swagger taking advantage of Bryan's taped ribs following the Chamber match last night. Cole turned the commentary into middle-school government class before Bryan made a comeback, only to have Swagger knock him to the floor. On the outside, Swagger emphatically smashed Bryan back-first into the ringside guardrail.

Back in the ring, Swagger tossed Bryan across the ring before smashing Bryan with a corner knee. On commentary, Lawler noted Swagger and Colter were making general statements about their mission, but turned their focus to making personal comments about Del Rio tonight. Swagger smashed Bryan with a Swagger Bomb, but Bryan kicked out in-time. Bryan then landed kicks to the mid-section, ducked a charging Swagger, and helped Swagger fly over the top rope to the outside. Bryan followed with a flying suicide dive that put both men on the mat.

Back in the ring, Bryan came off the top with a missile dropkick, but Swagger kicked out of a pin attempt. Bryan caught his breath and measured Swagger for No! Kicks to the chest. Bryan then tried a big roundhouse kick, but Swagger intercepted and slammed Bryan to the mat. Swagger was slow to follow up, allowing Bryan to slap on the No! Lock. Swagger reached the bottom rope with his right foot to break the hold, though.

At 7:00, Bryan clutched his ribs before measuring Swagger for a corner kick, but Swagger moved. Bryan sold an ankle injury, then Swagger went to work on Bryan's ankle. Swagger followed with a chopblock to the ankle before glaring at Bryan within a few inches of him. Swagger decided this was over and went for the Patriot Lock anklelock. Bryan had no choice but to give it up.

WINNER: Swagger via submission in 8:07 of what aired. Very competitive match, but perhaps the wrong week for Swagger to have a back-and-forth competitive match when he is still being re-built and trying to be positioned as a legit World Title contender to Del Rio.

Still to come: Shield vs. Team Jericho in a six-man tag match. Cole excitedly said it's Shield first-ever match on Raw.

Backstage: Paul Heyman was shown walking down the hallway. He gets to hear Vickie Guerrero's career-changing news next.

[Commercial Break]

[Q8] WM29 Update: Mania from New York/New Jersey is 48 days away. Action footage of The Undertaker is still included in the hype video, of note.

In-ring: Vickie Guerrero and Paul Heyman were already in the ring. Vickie excused herself onto the broadcast before introducing herself and her position on Raw. Vickie then addressed Heyman about her "huge announcement" tonight. Heyman told her to get to it. Vickie said she will be naming a new assistant for herself. "Ladies and gentlemen...the assistant to the Managing Supervisor of Raw is...Brad Maddox." Heyman sold annoyance as Cole wondered aloud if this is a joke.

Maddox walked out on-stage dressed in a sweater over a vest and slacks. Maddox annoyingly introduced himself to Paul from the stage. Maddox said this is a reward for his loyalty to this company. He said Vince McMahon is so happy with himself that he gave him the opportunity of a lifetime and made him assistant managing supervisor. Vickie argued with him that it's assistant to the managing supervisor. So, they're doing "The Office" bit from about eight years ago.

Heyman said he would like to vomit now. He said he doesn't care about either of them, and good night. Suddenly, Vince McMahon's voice interrupted. On the Titantron, McMahon addressed Heyman. McMahon, holding crutches, told Heyman to shut up. McMahon said he granted Heyman a match stipulation for the Elimination Chamber last night, then said he doesn't have a heart. And, if he did, it would be black and cold. But, none-the-less, it's time to watch some footage from last week.

The video clip was of Heyman saying he would do anything if McMahon granted him the stipulation. Back on the Titantron, McMahon said he had "anything" put in writing. McMahon said "anything" means anything. As in, he could fire Heyman right now, which popped the crowd. McMahon said that might be a very good idea, but firing is too good for him. He said he's only two weeks removed from hip surgery thanks to McMahon and Brock Lesnar. Heyman tried to interrupt that he had nothing to do with that because Vickie re-hired Brock, but McMahon told him to shut up.

McMahon said he will return next week on Raw, he will be on his crutches, and they will have...a fight. Heyman dropped the mic out of shock as the crowd sat quietly for this. Heyman kept backing up in the ring selling concern as Lawler wondered why Heyman is so concerned when McMahon is a few weeks removed from surgery. The Raw theme music played to cover for the crowd silence (the crowd was quiet either because there was no one honorable in this segment to root for or because this was yet another "wait until next week" announcement). Heyman continued to sell in the ring while Vickie and Brad presented a "sucks to be you" attitude.

Still to come: Shield in six-man tag match.

[Commercial Break. Another ad for "The Package" aired.]

Earlier Tonight: John Cena played booker putting himself in a match against C.M. Punk to determine who faces The Rock at WrestleMania 29. It's next week. On commentary, Cole said the stakes could not be higher next week in Dallas.

[Q9 -- third hour] At the top of the hour, the lights went out and Chris Jericho's music played. It would be quite the impactful follow-up for Shield if they jumped Jericho before the match and injured him to give Jericho his TV write-off while he's touring internationally with Fozzy. After Jericho came out, Sheamus joined him in the ring. Ryback's music then played to another tepid reaction before Ryback marched out to the ring to join Jericho and Sheamus. Cole noted Ryback is obsessed with taking down The Shield after they ruined his life.

The Shield sympathizer in the production truck then played Shield's music to bring out Roman Reigns from one side of the arena and Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins from another aisle. The trio met at the ringside area and circled the ring. Lawler noted they must be hurting tonight after their battle last night at the Chamber PPV. Before the bell sounded, Sheamus and Roman Reigns locked eyes to continue building up a potential singles feud.


Ryback started things off dismantling Rollins, but he almost got himself DQ'ed, so Jericho calmed him down and tagged in. Ambrose also tagged in. Jericho, sporting a taped-up left elbow, took apart Ambrose early on, but Ambrose cut him off with a knee to the gut. Ambrose taunted Y2J, but Jericho came back with a cross-body splash. Sheamus then tagged in and Ambrose ran away to the heel corner to tag in Reigns.

Ambrose vs. Sheamus time. Reigns told Sheamus to do something, so Sheamus kicked him in the gut. Sheamus delivered multiple strikes, but Reigns fought back and drove Sheamus to the corner. Big ol' brawl mid-ring. Reigns then popped Sheamus with a kick, but Sheamus responded with a double axehandle smash. Wild camerawork gave this fight more of an edge than usual.

Sheamus dropped Reigns with White Noise before calling for the Brogue Kick. But, Rollins pulled Reigns out of the ring. Ambrose found himself in an unlucky position being the last man standing in the ring, so Sheamus Brogue-Kicked him off the ring apron to the floor. As Sheamus celebrated in the ring, Cole wondered if The Shield can regroup as Raw cut to break.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, Reigns was in control working on Sheamus. Cole said The Shield regained control during the break before "slightly off" Dean Ambrose tagged in to continue working on Sheamus. Rollins entered next as Cole put over their frantic style to wear down opponents. The crowd picked up a "Feed Me More" chant for Ryback as the heels continued working on Sheamus. Sheamus then exploded on Reigns with a clothesline, which allowed him to hot-tag Ryback simultaneous to Rollins tagging in.

Ryback cleaned house before back-dropping Rollins and delivering a spinebuster. Ryback followed with the meathook clothesline to Rollins. Ryback wanted to end it with Shell-Shock, but Reigns hit the ring and speared Ryback to break up the finisher. Rollins did not cover immediately, though, allowing Ryback to escape a pin. The heels then went to work on Ryback as the crowd picked up a Y2J chant. Included was Ambrose almost Harlem-Shaking Ryback with a leg vice from the ring apron as Ryback recovered on the middle rope.

[Q10] At 11:00, Rollins tagged in Ambrose, who did some damage to Ryback before Reigns re-entered the match. Reigns then air-balled a corner splash, giving Ryback an opening. Ryback crawled toward the face corner to tag in Jericho and he reached out just before Ambrose could stop it. So, it's Jericho vs. Ambrose. Jericho delivered consecutive offense before firing up the crowd. Jericho covered Ambrose after a Lionsault, but Ambrose escaped the pin attempt.

At 13:00, chaos broke out ringside with Reigns slamming Ryback into the ringpost. Back in the ring, Jericho wanted the Walls of Jericho on Ambrose and applied. Sheamus then stopped Reigns from breaking up the Tamer, but Rollins came flying off the top rope with a knee smash to Jericho's head. This allowed Ambrose to pin Jericho for the win as Sheamus was busy fighting with Reigns on the outside.

Post-match: The heel trio met up ringside and had a quick celebration before hopping the guardrail and gloating in the crowd. The announcers hyped The Shield as perhaps the most-impressive trio in WWE history. After a replay of the finish, WWE cut to a shot of Jericho recovering in the ring while Sheamus stood over him. No sign of Ryback.

WINNERS: Shield at 13:33. Not quite at the level of last night's six-man tag since there wasn't that two-week anticipation for the big PPV stage, but another impressive win for The Shield. It will be very interesting to see where this is leading because this is usually where WWE starts even-stevening things, but that has not happened yet. It points to something big, big, big at Mania involving Shield. Or, it will be a big letdown based on the strong hype behind this group.

Next Week: Mr. McMahon returns to Raw to "fight" Paul Heyman. Plus, John Cena vs. C.M. Punk to determine who faces The Rock at WrestleMania.

[Commercial Break]

President's Day: A quote from John F. Kennedy.

Back live, Kofi Kingston was in the ring. On cue, Damien Sandow came out to face Kofi in a battle of two guys at the exact same level of WWE doing nothing with them and both men regularly losing in unhyped matches, just as described in last week's Raw Report. Damien Sandow walked out on-stage, cut off his music, and noted his family's history working with the presidents. So, tonight, he proposes a New Deal. Sandow said everyone should remain silent and simply allow him to save them from their self-imposed ignorance.

Before the match started, Sandow blasted Kofi with the mic. Since this is not TNA, the bell did not sound to start the match. Ref Charles Robinson tried to restore order, but Sandow chucked Kofi out of the ring after destroying Kofi's shoulder. Sandow continued the assault until R-Truth's music played. Truth returned to WWE TV after a prolonged absence by destroying Sandow with a textbook tackle that lifted Sandow off the ground. Truth then took Sandow into the ring and delivered the Lie Detector before dumping Sandow to the outside. Truth's music played and he checked on Kofi as Sandow recovered on the outside.

On commentary, Cole plugged G.I. Joe 2 out on March 29 before sending it to ringside with Josh Mathews, who interviewed Rock's co-stars in the movies. Mathews fed to a 30-second clip from the movie.

Still to come: The Rock's big WWE Title celebration.

[Q11] [Commercial Break]

Vignette: Fandango dances the night away. With an echo.

In-ring: Randy Orton's music played back live in the Cajundome. Orton slowly made his way to the ring clenching his fist as Cole plugged tickets for the post-WM29 Extreme Rules PPV in Orton's hometown of St. Louis going on-sale this Saturday. Orton eventually entered the ring before his posing was interrupted by Kane's pyro. Kane, sans Bryan, marched to the ring to face Orton for apparently the main event before Rock's celebration.

7 -- RANDY ORTON vs. WWE tag champion KANE

The two Chamber match participants locked up, then crashed into each other mid-ring. Kane sold the effects as Orton waited for Kane to get back to his feet. Orton then targeted Kane's left shoulder before Kane punched him over the top rope. Orton crashed to the floor following the punch and Raw cut to break.

[Commercial Break. A spot for WWE Studios's "The Call" aired.]

Back from break, Kane was working a mid-ring chinlock as Cole described this as a great war brewing. Kane followed with a close nearfall, but Orton responded with ten quick punches in the corner. Orton followed with a dropkick to the chest, then started stomping away on Kane's body. But, Kane responded with a big kick to the upper body to wear down Orton again. Lots of cat-calls from the kids near arena mics during a resthold. Orton then sprung to life with a powerslam. But, Kane came to his feet and delivered a sidewalk slam for a two count.

[Q12] Kane climbed to the top turnbuckle and wanted a flying clothesline, but Orton ducked. Orton then flung Kane to the middle rope and wanted a snap DDT, but Kane blocked and hung Orton across the top rope.

Suddenly, Daniel Bryan emerged on-stage and came to ringside. Kane told him to go away, then Kane turned slightly toward middle-ring, where Orton snatched him and delivered the RKO. Orton covered Kane for the win, drawing a comment from Lawler that he thinks Bryan did that on purpose to distract Kane. Cole said Bryan proved he is not a man of his word before wondering what is wrong with Bryan. Orton posed in the ring to conclude the segment.

WINNER: Orton at 9:32.

Up Next: The Rock's big WWE Title Celebration.

[Commercial Break]

The Rock Celebration

Back in the arena 10 minutes before the top of the hour, Justin Roberts introduced the U of L marching band. On-stage, the band assembled together before splitting off down the entrance-ramp. The group eventually formed their own entrance ramp on the left and right side. The crowd popped for the band, then If You Smell... played in the arena. The drummers played the big notes in Rock's theme song as Rock came out on-stage holding the WWE Title belt and shooting an eyebrow to the entrance camera.

Rock then marched through the band and surveyed the crowd in the ring. Lawler said only The Rock can bring a celebration like this. In the ring, there was a table with a cloth draped over an object that was shaped like a title belt. Rock waited out "Rocky, Rocky" chants before addressing C.M. Punk. Rock said Punk proved to the world last night that he is a human, walking piece of garbage when he spit in Rock's face. Rock said he beat Punk back-to-back on two straight PPVs one, two, three in the middle of the ring.

Rock said this allowed him to wake up this morning in New Orleans, hit I-10, and make it to the Cajundome to march through the U-L band, walk in this ring, hold this WWE Title, and go live because Finally, The Rock has come back to La-fay-ette. Big "Rocky, Rocky" chant from the crowd.

Next on the agenda - WrestleMania 29. Rock said he is going to Mania as WWE champion, but he's not going with this (the title belt). Rock said he's been around a long time, he was born in this business, and he has deep respect for the WWE Title. Rock said when this spinner title was unveiled eight years ago by John Cena - one of the greatest of all-time - it worked. He said some people thought this title was cool, but there are some people who believe in Big Foot. Rock said the title should never look like a toy. He said it should never, ever spin. Rock then tossed the title to a stagehand to put in the Hall of Fame.

Rock then approached the table with the new title belt. Rock said when you see the WWE Title, whether you're a WWE Superstar, part of the Universe, or watching WWE for the first time, it should inspire you. And, it should be worthy of being worn by the champions of the past. He name-dropped Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, and Rock's good buddy, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin to increasingly larger pops. Drumroll. Rock pulled back the cloth to reveal a new gold-plated WWE Title belt with a giant WWE logo over "CHAMPION" text. Very gaudy with the giant WWE logo taking up 85 percent of the center-plate. On each strap was Rock's Brahma Bull logo. Rock's music played to signal the moment.


[Q13 -- over-run] Rock polled the crowd on whether they like the title, then said they needed to create something that is timeless and flat-out badass. Rock then put the title belt over his shoulder before addressing dueling chants of "Boots to Asses" and "Who Dat?" Rock noted there are some crazy Cajuns here tonight. Rock turned his attention to his Mania opponent. Will it be C.M. Punk (boos)? Or, John Cena (loud cheers mixed with boos)? Rock said there is one man who he wants to face. He said this man brings out the very best in The Rock. He said for professional and personal reasons, that man is...

Suddenly, John Cena's music interrupted. Cena slowly walked out on-stage and casually strolled to the top of the stage. Cena sternly looked into the ring before smiling. Cena rubbed his hands together before C.M. Punk suddenly smashed Cena from behind with the old title belt. Punk then slowly walked down the stage and threw down the title belt near Cena. Punk pointed toward Rock and said he wants that title.

Rock bounced up and down in the ring a la Brock Lesnar, but Punk remained on the entrance ramp. "Rocky, Rocky" chant as kids screamed at Punk ringside. Punk kept staring toward Rock, then turned and walked to the back. Rock seethed in the ring, Cena recovered on the floor, Rock paced the ring, and Raw signed off four minutes past the top of the hour with Rock pacing in the ring.

FINAL THOUGHTS: There wasn't that typical "game-changing" segment the night after the final PPV before WM29 to signal the big start of WrestleMania Season, but that should come next week when WWE presents Punk-Cena, McMahon's return to "fight" Heyman, and Brock Lesnar, who is advertised. WWE is playing a waiting-game right now before they really hit Mania hype hard, but tonight was about following-through on last night's PPV and teasing the possibility of a Rock-Cena-Punk three-way to stretch things out while they wait for Undertaker's status.

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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.

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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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