For all intents and purposes, this is the final show before WrestleMania. Smackdown will feature clips from Axxess and maybe a match or two, but tonight's Raw is their last chance to heat up all the stories to their WrestleMania boiling point. I'm pretty confident about this show and I think it's why WWE just did a placeholder last week because they're bringing the goods tonight. The Rock is going to be on, that alone is going to grab the attention of those who aren't 100% sold on WrestleMania, and I wouldn't be shocked if they have a surprise or two up their sleeve. Refresh your page for ongoing coverage of the show and as always, you can follow my thoughts that are too ridiculous for the blog on Twitter.
Cold open for Monday Night Raw with CM Punk sitting in the ring while the Chicago crowd cheers on their hometown hero. There are probably better ways to start off Monday Night Raw, but honestly, nothing else is coming to mind right now. CM Punk reminds us what he did to Randy Orton last week and claims he will finally close this "sick and twisted chapter" this Sunday. Serves Orton right for costing Punk his World Heavyweight Championship over two years ago!
Randy Orton limps his way to ringside and manages to hit Punk with his second rope DDT (he probably did something illegal that I just didn't see to gain the upper hand). Orton tries to commit felonious assault once again, but instead of punting CM Punk, he fell flat on his face! How's that leg, Randall?! Oh man, that was absolutely glorious. It was magnificent. It was MAGNIFLORIOUS! A GTS for good measure too? That might be the Raw moment of the decade. Have a nice trip, Randall! See ya next fall!
It looks like Edge can attack Alberto Del Rio on Raw, but not on Smackdown. He teams with Christian (!!!) next!
Edge & Christian finally reunite after that bait & switch from two weeks ago to take on Alberto Del Rio & Brodus Clay in our opening contest. Fun match with a hot crowd so far and holy crap, that Tornado DDT from Christian onto Del Rio was NASTY! Edge hits the Spear on Brodus while Christian and Del Rio brawl outside to pick up the win! Reeking of awesomeness! Del Rio manages to get both Edge and Christian in the Cross Armbreaker outside the ring (separately, though a duel Armbreaker would be interesting) to a chorus of boos. Seriously, I have no idea why they're not adding Christian to this match, based on the way this story has played out, Christian shouldn't just be in the match, he should win it!
Sin Cara looks like he's wrestling inside Windows 95.
The G?M announces that Jerry Lawler will be in action tonight, taking on Jack Swagger. Makes sense, but expect shenanigans!
Another bad ass hype video for The Undertaker vs. Triple H.
Justin Gabriel vs. Santino Marella up next and it's official, it will be The Corre vs. Big Show, Kane, Santino & Kozlov at WrestleMania. Well, that's underwhelming. No Diesel? Even worse, Kofi Kingston has NOTHING to do at WrestleMania? Come on! Not much of a match here, good guys fend off The Corre, the Cobra strikes and Santino picks up the win. Big Show doing the Santino trombone celebration is pretty funny though. Kane, not so much... wasn't this guy pure evil two months ago?
The Undertaker is here and you may not have heard yet, but there ain't no grave that can hold his body down. Taker's entrance never gets old, but apparently Triple H disagrees, giving interrupting The Phenom for the second time in this feud. What a dick! Oh but hey, Undertaker interrupted Triple H's entrance with the gong, so it's all fair and no one gets "buried." I kid, I kid.
So we've got ourselves a stare down, much like the one on 2.21.11, but now with added SHAWN MICHAELS! Business, as someone might say, is about to pick up. HBK does what he does best, make something feel like a big deal. Interesting twist when he asks Triple H "what makes you think you can do what I couldn't?" Ooooh! Triple H tells Shawn he got soft and didn't need to win, he just needed to have the best performance of the night. Triple H isn't that guy though and the only reason he came back is to put an end to The Undertaker, because much like Shawn last year, it's The Phenom's "time." Oh Triple H, I don't think you get to be the one to decide when The Undertaker has to go to the vet for the last time.
The Undertaker's response is a little more harsh than I expected it to be though. These guys are laying it all out and the Dead Man tells Triple H that he's going to end up like his buddy, broken, humbled and full of regret. Ouch. HBK goes for the Superkick, but it's blocked and Triple H stops Taker before he can nail a chokeslam. Shawn walks off, almost like he's having flashbacks of the horror that was WrestleMania 26 and Taker gives Triple H a tip of the hat for his troubles. Brilliant, brilliant segment. I still wasn't sure what the story was in this feud, other than "here's Triple H, here's The Undertaker, enjoy," but this really drove it home. I am now sufficiently stoked.
Jack Swagger vs. Jerry "The King" Lawler next and... they changed Jerry Lawler's music?! What?! WHY? He's had the same music since his WWE debut, he might be the only guy in WWE history that's been in the company for more than five years and never changed his music. Especially when it's as generic as this new theme was. Okay, I'm getting a bit sidetracked, Lawler gets DQ'd for using a chair, then goes to town on the Cole Mine (that sounds dirty) and gets a cup of soda to the face from Cole. Man, I cannot wait for Cole to get a WWE All Stars-esque Piledriver through the ring at WrestleMania.
Vickie Guerrero just stole John Morrison's slow-mo entrance. Sorry Taker and Triple H, I think The Cougar just stole the show. Dolph Ziggler & Sheamus are in tag action here against Daniel Bryan & John Morrison; I dig these teams, I wouldn't be opposed to either or both of them becoming permanent, especially Bryan & Morrison. Hell of a match to boot with the bad guys picking up the win, maybe these guys should just wrestle in a rematch at Mania? Nah, Bryan and Sheamus could put on a clinic if given enough time and the Morrison/Ziggler match has The Snook, who may very well surprise you.
The Road Warriors are rounding out the 2011 Hall of Fame class, finally taking their well deserved place... even though Demolition was better. Yeah I said it!
And we go from the Legion of Doom to the Legion of Douche, Trish Stratus & Snooki are hanging out in New Jersey. And of course, we can't have a WWE segment in a bar without the place getting destroyed. LayCool should've hired APA to help them out.
IF YA SMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELL... Here we go folks, it's time for The Rock, live on Raw! No bringing it via satellite this week. I had to step away from my computer while this segment was going on to give it my full attention and I'm damn sure glad I did. Hopefully you can forgive the sudden shift to past tense, but I do it all the time anyway, so why worry now?!
The Rock did his Rocky thing when he was in the ring by himself, he had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. I know it's often joked that The Rock could keep the crowd interested if he just went out there and read the phone book, but I don't think it's too far from reality. Here we are, 13 years later, and all the Rock has to do is give us a list of objects, talk about turning them sideways and sticking it all straight up someone's candy ass and the crowd reacts louder than anything you've heard on WWE television in five years, it's insane. So The Rock had the crowd good and riled up and when he turned his attention to John Cena, the "CENA SUCKS!" chants were deafening, although that was probably because I had my volume up to 75 at this point. Hey, I'm an old man, leave me alone.
Didn't take long for John Cena to get his cue, he strolled down the aisle and for the first time ever - EVER - John Cena and The Rock were in the ring together. It's not often you get to say "first time ever" in wrestling and certainly not with something of this magnitude. John Cena wasn't rapping, insinuating someone was gay or making poop jokes (though he did come close to playing the race card, which was a bit weird for a white dude from Massachusetts), he was speaking from the heart and you could feel it. Cena told The Rock that he belonged in WWE and that's why he ran his mouth years ago, the fans want him in WWE and John Cena wants him in WWE. It came across incredibly well because it felt very real and I'm sure a lot of it was.
The Rock, who you could tell sensed the moment they were creating, threw the gauntlet down and told Cena he was going to lay the smackdown, and that brought out the true hero of this story, The Miz! With a "Really? Really?" Miz put himself on equal footing with Past and Present and did a hell of a job selling the idea that he's the future of the industry. As a huge fan of The Miz, I was just stoked to see the guy who used to practice The Rock's mannerisms in front of a mirror get to stand toe-to-toe with the Great One... with the WWE draped over his shoulder. A WWE Title that he's held longer than any of The Rock's individual reigns, by the way!
Alex Riley got a little big for his britches and sucker-punched The Rock. Miz & Riley tried their damnedest to keep him down, but Rock tossed Riley, nailed Miz with a DDT and sure enough, The People's Elbow! First People's Elbow in seven years, if I'm not mistaken. Miz got chucked out of the ring, but then John Cena hit The Rock with the Attitude Adjustment! Oh yeah, The Rock vs. John Cena is happening. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but it is going to happen and it will be WWE's biggest match since Rock vs. Hogan. And you know what else? I'm calling it now: The Miz is winning at WrestleMania!
Absolutely, without question, a fan-friggin-tastic episode of Monday Night Raw. We all know WWE brings the goods at WrestleMania time and while the build has been shakier this year than usual, they hit a walk-off grand slam tonight... sorry for the baseball reference, I'm excited for Opening Day. Anyhoo, there was nothing on this show that failed to deliver, every single Mania match got the hype it needed and I really can't think of anything to complain about. I'm sure someone will gripe about The Miz getting the People's Elbow (he's BURIEDzOMG!), but it won't matter when he totally wins at WrestleMania! Awesome show. Awesome, awesome, awesome show. Bring on Mania!