Raw Review 3/4/13
Written By DeeAndDanny
Welcome to the live WWE Monday Night Raw Review for March 4, 2013, brought to you by ilikewrestling.net! It’s getting closer to Wrestlemania, so the Raws just keep on improving and improving. How do you raise the bar from last week’s Punk/Cena showdown? The return of Old School Raw, of course! Not much needs to be said about what to expect, except to accept that there will be a lot of nostalgia. Say that last sentence five times fast. Anyway, along with the oldies coming back to entertain wrestling fans who became disenchanted about two decades ago, there are some pertinent things in the present day. Here’s what to look forward to (but not put too much stock in tonight, at least):
- How will the Shield respond to Randy Orton wandering in and seemingly joining Sheamus in the struggle against the Shield? Last time I checked, that’s still three on two. However, with returning superstars tonight, could someone step up to the Shield as well? Or will the Shield wreak havoc on the returning legends?
- With the main event for Wrestlemania set, will John Cena and Rock have anything to say about… or to… each other? Or will actions speak louder than words? Okay, so maybe I lied. This transcends Old School Raw as it relates to importance in the grand scheme of things.
- Speaking of last week’s result, what will CM Punk be up to next? He doesn’t seem to have a date to the big dance in New York, but that will change if Punk has any choice. Gong. Wait, why’d I type that?
Tonight, for the most part, is for pure enjoyment, so I hope you’ll join me in the festivities. Refresh as necessary, and I’ll be back at 5:00 ET, so get ready to get Raw!
So how was everybody’s end of NCIS? Very heartwarming, I know.
- The show starts with a gong, and well… It begins already. Out comes some guy with a hood and gothic gear. Who are you, hooded man? He raises his arms, and fire shoots out while the Wrestlemania logo appears on the titantron. Well. That’s how you start a show!
- The original Raw theme plays, logo and all, but with current superstars. Interesting pyro to start the show, and there’s the alarm that’s already bugging me.
- Jerry Lawler is dressed up in his old school garb, with Cole taking the place of Vince McMahon’s suit.
- Out comes CM Punk and Paul Heyman, and I wonder what he has to say? Can’t be anything to do with what we just saw, surely. The ring is also set up with the red, white, and blue ropes and blue posts. This setup is great. I’m glad they don’t milk the crap out of this and overuse it. Cole and Lawler recap last week’s match, but I just want to hear Punk/Heyman talk. Punk says he should be main eventing Wrestlemania, and after last week, it’s hard to argue. He says that he’s not in the main event, he’s not the champion because of the WWE Universe. We screwed him, and we screwed us. Wait, that doesn’t sound right. Oh, you’re kidding me. Punk says we screwed ourselves (go figure) as Punk sees no purpose in being at Wrestlemania if he’s not in the main event with the title. But what we just saw gives Punk some purpose. Punk wants to beat the Undertaker at Wrestlemania and take from us the Undertaker’s streak. I hope Punk doesn’t go to Shawn Michaels lengths to get a match with Taker. Punk has a new number for us: 20-1. That 1 is straight-edge, the Best in the World, CM Punk. Out comes Randy Orton, and… What are you doing out here, Randall? Orton comes out and says that he’s already beaten Punk at Wrestlemania, and besides, Orton has experience against Taker at Mania. Orton was a rookie (sure, why not?), but now he’s the Apex Predator. He wants another shot at Undertaker, and asks the crowd who they’d rather see face Taker. You already know where my vote goes. Orton offers up Punk’s name, which leads to boos. Orton says himself, and there’s cheering, along with some boos. Big Show comes out, and I wonder what he’s going to contribute to this. Show says that neither of them have what it takes to beat the Undertaker. Show says back then, he didn’t have his fist. Show says that to beat Taker, you need to be a giant. Show says he’ll take his fist and knock the streak into oblivion. Sheamus comes out and… What are you doing out here? Sheamus says he’s the only one who hasn’t lost to him, so he deserves a shot. It’s gonna take more than their finishers to put Taker down. Maybe it’ll take a Brogue Kick and luck. I doubt that. He took three pedigrees and a sledgehammer, and he still beat Triple H. Call it logic. Vickie comes out and says that the person who beats Taker will cement his legacy as the greatest of all time. Wait, are we saying Taker will continue to wrestle until someone beats him? There will be a fatal four-way match tonight, and the winner will face Undertaker at Wrestlemania! Wow, Taker’s streak has more value than the WWE Title, as it should(?) be.
- Tonight: Rock/Cena Point-Counterpoint. What?
- Later: Triple H addresses Brock Lesnar. I’m excited for that.
1) Non-Title: Ryback vs. United States Champion Antonio Cesaro
Cesaro gets the untelevised entrance. Good vibes for him. Ooh, we get the backstage promo for Cesaro while he’s in the ring. Can we get one for Ryback? One day, we’ll see Ryback’s pyro. Cesaro gets some quick offense in, but Ryback uses his strength to take back control. Chops, shoulders, Cesaro eats them all. Cesaro rolls out of the ring while Ryback paces inside the ring. Delayed vertical suplex held for about 10 seconds gets a two count. Cesaro fights back with punches, and the ref has to hold him back. Cesaro hangs Ryback on the top rope and goes up top. Ryback grabs him and clotheslines him outside the ring. Ryback chases Cesaro, and Cesaro tries to use hit wit, but Ryback counters. Cesaro bounces Ryback’s head on the turnbuckle and hits a big boot, sending Ryback into the barricade! Very nice sequence. Cesaro mounts Ryback and starts to feel the momentum, much to the chagrin of the crowd. Cesaro slaps Ryback, but Ryback catches him with a back elbow. Ryback hits a huge back body drop and spinebuster on Cesaro. Ryback winds up, but Cesaro catches him with an uppercut! Cesaro goes for the Neutralizer, but Ryback counters into the Shell Shock!
Mark Henry’s music hits, and he comes out to have a staredown with Ryback. Mark Henry proceeds to move forward slowly, but Ryback isn’t moving. Henry walks right by him, but stops. Henry then continues to walk toward the ring. You’d think he wants another shot at Undertaker.
2) Mark Henry vs.Zack Ryder
Oh, good Lord. Any bets on how long this is going to last? I’ll set the over/under at one minute. Henry grabs him, but Ryder fights back with some right hands. Henry delivers a huge clothesline which floors Ryder. World’s Strongest Slam (after some marching around), and that’s that. Thanks for showing up, Ryder.
Winner: Mark Henry
3) Dolph Ziggler (w/ posse/briefcase) vs. The Miz (w/ Ric Flair)
The Miz has a mic, but it doesn’t work at first. Miz introduces his mentor, Ric Flair! Well then. Oh, what could’ve been. Flair comes out, but no robe. I’m slightly upset. Ziggler’s complaining about this why? Miz and Flair trade “WOO”s in the corner, and I’m happy for Miz. A lot of trading blows to begin, and Ziggler hits a chop on the corner, mocking Flair, which Miz answers with a left hand. Flair gets in a shot on Ziggler and struts. I’m also glad to see Flair doing well instead of blowing money and whatnot. It makes me feel good inside. Ziggler gets a chinlock with a bridge, after some flailing his legs around in a show-offy manner. Fandango’s making his Raw debut? Oh, amazing. Miz gets his combo backbreaker/neckbreaker which only gets a close two count. Ziggler goes for a small package, but another two count. Miz gets a chop block, which pleases Flair. Ziggler gets a jumping DDT for another two count. Remember how important the Miz used to be? Remember how important AJ used to be? Anyway, Ziggler cinches in his sleeper hold, and the Miz falls to his knees. Miz gets back up and snapmares Ziggler to get out. Miz hits the running clothesline in the corner and goes off the top rope with a flying axe handle. The posse runs interference, and Flair tees off on Biggie, which angers Biggie. Miz hits a baseball slide, and Ziggler tries a roll-up. Miz gets Ziggler in the Figure-Four, and Ziggler has no choice but to tap!
Winner: The Miz
Flair comes in the ring and starts elbow dropping the mat, and the Miz follows suit. What a couple of crazy kooks. Good feel-good moment, though. Miz’s facial expressions during the Figure-Four were amazing. Miz hails Flair while Flair prances around in the ring.
- Up next: John Cena vs. The Rock… in a Point-Counterpoint debate thing. Solid.
- Do you smell it? Out comes WWE Champion the Rock, and that just sounds weird. Not that he’s the champion but the article in his name. I know I already pondered this with the Miz months ago, but still. So does the Rock also want a piece of the Undertaker at Wrestlemania? I just want to say, that with the standard set from Rock/Cena last year, they’re gonna have to do some major convincing for me to buy into their match. I would either way, but I want fire out of these two. This has been what, two years in the making? The Rock soaks up the cheers a little before telling us about his day. Classic storytelling from the Rock which ends with him reminding the crowd that he has at last returned to Buffalo. Not in those exact words though. He reminds us that we are 34 nights away from Wrestlemania, and John Cena’s music hits. Well, let’s get it on. The Rock stands back in the corner and lets Cena do his thing. Good for him. Cena apologizes for interrupting and says that he’s been waiting for this moment for a year. He says that Dwayne Johnson would not understand why. Dwayne doesn’t know what it feels like to tell people one thing and then fail. Cena told us all that he needed to win the ONCE IN A LIFETIME match last year, and he failed. Cena says he felt worthless, which brings on a “Cena sucks” chant. Perfect. Cena says that the match wasn’t just a loss to the Rock, it sent his life into a tailspin. Cena couldn’t get over the fact that he lost. I can’t believe he didn’t mention the fact that he beat Brock Lesnar somehow. That’s pretty damn huge. Cena says that it’s not just a coincidence that the Rock and Cena are on their current path. It’s a shot at redemption for Cena, and he has been gifted a second chance to rewrite history. Cena claims that he will not throw this chance away. Counterpoint? The Rock says that the fire inside John Cena is admirable, and the Rock knows what the match means to Cena. The Rock reveals that Cena’s dog tags has the names of all his family members. There goes that mystery. The Rock says that he knows that no one has the passion of Cena. Rocky says that he, too, feels the connection to the audience, and in 34 days, Cena’s not getting redemption. He’s getting his ass kicked. Point? Cena says that he wants to step back and quote Mike Tyson. Wait, what? Cena says that he has overcome every obstacle in his career, except for the Rock. Cena quotes his song again, making this the second week in a row he’s gone to that. The Rock says that his time is only starting, and he quotes Lance Armstrong. He says that Lance was full of crap and so is Cena. Okay, that’s amazing. Rock says that the difference between the two is that Cena thinks he can beat the Rock, but the Rock knows that he can beat Cena. Rock says that he will beat Cena again. He then deliberately says his catchphrase, and the fun has only just begun for these two.
4) Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan (w/ Dusty Rhodes & Sergeant Slaughter)
What. I like it. Swagger takes Duggan’s wood. There you go. Swagger snaps and attacks all of them with the 2×4. Swagger points at the Wrestlemania and yells “Weed the people!” The Patriot Act is locked in, and who’s making the save? Anyone? No one? Cole and Lawler want no part of Swagger’s potential America.
Winner: No Contest
- A look at The Marine 3: Why Did We Even Reach 3
- Team Hell No walks backstage, and Bryan looks angrily at Kane until Kane looks at Bryan, causing Bryan to look away in shame. I love these two.
- Jack Swagger gets interviewed, but Del Rio comes from behind and attacks him, sparking a fight that doesn’t last very long. Go figure, Del Rio is fighting on behalf of all the American legends.
5) Non-Title: WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No vs. The Prime Time Players
Ted DiBiase is acting as the Prime Time Players’ impromptu manager, I take it. He looks good though, and I still love the theme song. Bryan gets tagged in and comes off the top rope onto Young’s arm. Bryan hits a nice dropkick on Young for two. Bryan tries to fight out of the opposite corner, but O’Neil clotheslines Bryan and Gator Barks. I love the Gator Bark. Young hits a five-knuckle shuffle, minus all the theatrics. Get it? Cause he’s black John Cena? Never mind. O’Neil has a Power Balance bracelet on, and I like him that much more. O’Neil goes for a huge shoulder block but runs into turnbuckle. Kane comes in and terrorizes poor Darren Young. Sidewalk slam from Kane gets a 2 count. Bryan hits a flying knee on O’Neil from the apron to the floor. Too many goat puns. Kane gets the Chokeslam on Young, and that’s another win for Kane.
Winner: Team Hell No
DiBiase gets a $100 bill and stuffs it into Darren Young’s mouth. Team Hell No starts to walk away, but Bryan walks back to the ring and gets the money from Young. I love Daniel Bryan.
6) Brodus Clay & Tensai (w/ Funkadactyls) & Honky Tonk Man vs. 3MB
Oh, Tensai. The fans love you now, I guess. So there’s that. Wait, 3MB is still alive? And a thing? Heath Slater says no one came to see Honky Tonk Man. They are 3MB, and he should go back to Vegas with all the other Elvis impersonators. Sweet T has new gear, much like Brodus. Drew misses a charge, and Tensai rolls him up. Uh…
Winners: Brodus Clay, Tensai, & Honky Tonk Man
Honky Tonk Man stops the dancing, and his music starts. Guess what happens next. It involves dancing. Heath Slater comes back into the ring, but he eats a guitar shot. Brodus absolutely loves that guitar shot. Oh, goodness, what a visual.
7) Kofi Kingston vs. Fandango
Remember when Kofi was important? Yeah, me neither. This has to be seen to be believed. Fandango says this is inappropriate. He says he will not debut until his name is pronounced correctly. Are we really doing this? This is seven levels of ridiculous. Good ridiculousness, though. Fandango says tonight is the night that we almost, almost, got to see the debut of Faaaan. Daaan. Goooo. Well, so much for that.
Winner: Absolutely no one.
- Up next: Triple H comes out to talk for 30 minutes. That’s just a guess, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they hit that mark.
- What time is it? Game time. Out comes Triple H, and has he changed clothes in the past 7 days? The subtitle on his name says “Superstar”, but I’m pretty sure he has another job description. Oh, well. His entrance is always something to behold, though, so there’s that. Triple H says the last time that he was in the ring with a microphone, it was 8 days after Summerslam when he told us that it might be over for him. So much for that. Triple H reminds us all that he’s a physical freak and a COO. The best of both worlds. He says he’s been waiting for a reason, but one day, he was sitting next to a hospital bed with a guy who got hip surgery. Triple H says that while his family was crying, he was smiling because he had found his reason. Triple H says that last week was only the beginning. In five weeks, there’s a big dance: Prom. Triple H calls out Lesnar and wants an answer. He brings up busting Lesnar open and wants to finish it. Triple H and all of his personalities are back, and they all want to fight Lesnar. Triple H is back to using mind games/scare tactics to get what he wants. There’s the Triple H I became a fan of many moons ago. Also, only 8 minutes? Way to get in and get out.
- Shield promo. All you need to know is that they will make their presence felt later tonight. They pretty much threatened every non-Punk participant tonight. Funny how that works out.
8) Champion vs. Champion: World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardooooooooooooooooooooo Rodriguez) vs. Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett
Del Rio spins Barrett around in the corner and hits several forearms into Barrett’s back. Swagger and Colter walk out, and Colter holds Swagger back from charging the ring. Del Rio runs into the Winds of Change Black Hole Slam, which only gets a two count. Del Rio gets a very painful looking arm lock on Barrett using the top rope. Barrett hits a big boot on Del Rio, who was still on the apron, sending him to the floor. Barrett hits alternating knee lifts and finishes with a stomp to the back of Del Rio’s head. Del Rio hits a huge superkick to a kneeling Barrett for a two count. Del Rio counters a pumphandle slam into the Cross Armbreaker, and Barrett has no choice but to tap!
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
9) New Age Outlaws vs. Primo & Epico (w/ Rosa Mendes)
I’m more upset that Road Dogg was starting to sing that Macklemore song. Shake, Rattle, & Roll punches and knee drop gets a 2 count. Epico gets a 2 count off a dropkick. Epico hits a slingshot elbow drop, albeit a somewhat sloppy elbow drop. Road Dogg gets a lot of momentum and just crashes into Epico, sending both men down. Billy Gunn gets the tag, and I want a Fameasser, damn it. Tilt-a-whirl slam gets a pinfall attempt cut off by Epico. Fameasser!
Winners: New Age Outlaws
- There’s a lot of cakes and assorted desserts on a table on the entrance ramp. Looks like it’s Mae Young’s 90th birthday. Oh, boy. Also, Daniel Bryan looks like a real country boy with his plaid shirt and whatnot. If only Moolah was still alive to see this… Wow, CM Punk interrupts the singing of Happy Birthday, and Heyman looks kinda disgusted by the whole scene. I wish Punk would’ve stayed on the ramp for the clobbering time yell. If anything, Punk stopped the celebration before it got ugly.
10) Fatal Four-Way for the Chance to face the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 29: CM Punk (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. The Big Show vs. Sheamus vs. Randy Orton
Punk starts off the match… By sliding outside the ring. Smart man. Sheamus and Orton follow suit and force Punk into the ring, right into Big Show. There’s a lot of 1-on-1 going on right now, but Punk has the best strategy, sliding in when it’s appropriate and trying to get the pinfall. This is amazing. Punk finally gets caught by Sheamus and Orton, and Punk is dumped outside. Big Show comes in behind them and smacks them both down. Smackdown? No? Never mind. Think that over while we go to commercial. Orton with a snap powerslam on Punk. Is that a thing? It is now. Punk dumps Orton outside the ring and turns around, but once he turns again, he meets a flying Sheamus. Punk’s on the apron, which is exactly where he doesn’t want to be. Punk gets his chest absolutely walloped, but Sheamus walks right into a Final Cut by the Big Show. Show gets Punk with a sudden Knockout Punch, but Sheamus distracts Show by punching him. Punk is knocked out cold. Sheamus hits a knee lift and a flying back elbow type maneuver. Thing. I’m not a good move caller. Big Show goes for a Vader Bomb, but he crashes and burns spectacularly. Sheamus lifts Big Show and drops him with White Noise! Big Show kicks out at two, which frustrates Sheamus. Sheamus calls for his kick of choice, but Orton hits another powerslam and gets a 2 count. Orton gets a chokeslam for his effort, as does Sheamus! Sheamus kicks out at 2! Show goes for the KO, but he eats a Brogue Kick. Finisher after finisher, and Punk hits Orton with the GTS!
Winner: CM Punk
Oh, boy. The Road to Wrestlemania just got better. The gong hits, but Punk isn’t intimidated. Punk looks focused as ever, waiting for Taker to come out. Punk matches Undertaker’s stare as the show ends.
Quick Raw Results
1) Ryback d. Antonio Cesaro via Shell Shock
2) Mark Henry d. Zack Ryder via World’s Strongest Slam
3) The Miz d. Dolph Ziggler via Figure-Four Leglock
4) Jack Swagger vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan – No Contest
5) Team Hell No d. Prime Time Players via Chokeslam (Kane)
6) Sweet T, Brodus Clay, & Honky Tonk Man d. 3MB via Schoolboy Rollup
7) Kofi Kingston vs. Fandango – No Contest
8) Alberto Del Rio d. Wade Barrett via Cross Armbreaker
9) New Age Outlaws d. Primo & Epico via Fameasser
10) CM Punk d. Randy Orton, the Big Show, & Sheamus via GTS for the right to face Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXIX
The Ten Count (Where do I even start?)
1. 34 nights away, and the Rock and John Cena already have me hooked in. Great promo tonight from both men, and I expect Cena to snap eventually from the monkey on his back/not being able to beat the Rock.
2. So, are the fatal four-way rejects going to face the Shield? It’s obvious that Big Show’s now a target of the Shield, so why not have another 3-on-3 matchup?
3. Please, if there’s any sense in the world, there won’t be a Mark Henry/Ryback match at ‘Mania. In the future, perhaps I’ll like it more. But I don’t want them to go in cold at the biggest show of the year. Then again, there are four more weeks…
4. Where are the Miz and Dolph Ziggler going? Dolph has the briefcase, so he’ll always be lurking around the main event, but what about the Miz? You’d think working with Ric Flair would have its benefits.
5. Team Hell No looks like they’re back as a cohesive unit, and they looked dominant tonight. I still give them to the Raw after Wrestlemania before they break up and Bryan goes on to pursue his “serious” singles career. I’ll support him every step of the way.
6. Happy 90th Birthday, Mae Young?
7. I don’t know what to think about the team of Brodus Clay and “Sweet T.” As long as they’re happy, I can’t complain. But seriously, did Tensai think he was ever going to revert to the Hip Hop Hippo? That was him, right?
8. It was great seeing the legends tonight. I wish they had more of a role, but I won’t pout about that.
9. Faaaaaan-daaaaaan-gooo. I don’t know, I like where it’s going for the short term, but I don’t see this lasting for more than two months. At least Brodus Clay had a hook.
10. Phew. God vs. Undertaker. Now that it’s set, the next four Raws are going to be insanely anticipated, at least from my end. Punk’s going to have to go on a crazy roll here to convince people that he can beat Taker, but if anyone can do it, it’s Punk. I wonder what role Paul Heyman will have in all this though. I can’t see Paul Bearer coming back as the counter, but Undertaker has his ways…
Thank you all for following along, and I hope you enjoyed tonight’s Old School Raw. Until next week, I’m DeeAndDanny, this is ilikewrestling.net, and you have just read the WWE Monday Night Raw Review. Peace out!