WrestleMania hangover Raw, you know that usually means big things on the horizon, so I figure I'll live blog the show tonight! Refresh your page for ongoing coverage and follow on Twitter!
And we begin with a locker room filled with the entire WWE roster listening to their new leader, Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Acting General Manager of both Raw and Smackdown, John Laurinaitis! Ace announces a triple threat match for the US Title tonight with Santino Marella defending against Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler, which should be fun. CM Punk interrupts to call Laurinaitis a toolbox, and for his insolence, he has to defend the WWE Title against Mark Henry. People Power!
Cold open down, Nickelback out of the way and we officially start in the arena with THE ROCK! Alright, if you're gonna just start a show like that, I guess I'll allow it. Crowd is ELECTRIC to start things off, but it's Miami so they're probably still coked up from last night. Rock gives his hometown a "FINALLY" and wants to thank John Cena for bringing it like it's never been brought before.
Rock turns his attention to thanking the fans for bringing him back to WWE and at this point, he's leading this crowd like those terrifying faith rallies where the people speak in tongues and make the crippled walk. Don't drink the Kool-Aid in Miami.
The Rock goes on to say last night was only a beginning and it sounds like ol' Dwayne will be gracing the ring with his presence at least one more time. In fact, he has a vision, and that vision is to be... WWE CHAMPION?! Interesting Rock, you got me hooked, now reel me in.
Triple Threat Match for the United States Championship is our opening contest with Santino Marella defending against Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger. The red hot Miami crowd is heavily in Ziggler's corner, which I find a little surprising since Santino is usually universally loved. Oh yeah, this crowd is going to make for an interesting night.
Match is rather exciting too with Swagger & Ziggler teaming up - what a slick little wheelbarrow/Rocker Dropper combo - but the alliance is short-lived with a communication breakdown. Fun little ending sequence with Santino hitting Ziggler with a slingshot, then nailing Swagger with the COBRAAAAAAAAAAAAAA for the win!
Cougar's Cubs try to get revenge, but Santino runs up the ramp and gets some backup from Brodus Clay, who's finally doing something. Ziggler dives Clay and drops like a ton of bricks from a big Brodus headbutt... he flattened his mohawk!!! Okay, that's awesome and Santino's dance literally has me crying from laughter.
Lord Tensai vs. Alex Riley is up next and WWE is not hiding the fact that it's A-Train, but also not outright saying it, simply calling him a "former WWE star" who honed his craft in Japan. Tensai is just killing Riley here, hitting a nasty butterfly suplex, a huge senton and then the Baldo Bomb (is it still called the Baldo Bomb?) and the ref doesn't even let him go for the pin, just calls for stoppage. Tensai then applies the IRON CLAW after the match and slams Riley's skull into the mat, because why not? Very cool debut, I'm all for dudes coming in and being badasses.
And we're just going to keep the wrestling going with a WWE Championship match, CM Punk vs. Mark Henry! Crowd is still red hot too and if Mark Henry is back to near 100%, this should be awesome.
Yeah, this crowd rules, still doing the Daniel Bryan "YES! YES! YES! YES!" chant and adding an "OOHHHHHHHHH" when Punk winds up for a big move. Even if Henry's at half wig splitting capacity, the crowd is making this wonderful. "YES!" is the new "WHAT?!"
Punk is playing wonderfully off this crowd too, they're his kind of people. Punk lighting Henry up with the chops ("YESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYES") and nailing the Elbow Smash is awesome and then two running knees in the corner, but he gets dropped outside on the bulldog attempt and we have ourselves a count-out. Lame! But hey, a NASTY World's Strongest Slam on the outside of the ring made for a nice visual.
Johnny Ace comes to ringside to warn Punk of the "dark clouds" and "natural disasters" in his future, then Chris Jericho emerges from the crowd to pour Jack Daniels on him. Jericho assures us he never drinks in excess (now that Hurricane Helms doesn't work there), but smashes another bottle over Punk's head to let him know what it feels like. Yay, the feud continues!
Sheamus arrives to MASSIVE heat for beating Miami's hero, Daniel Bryan. But before the new World Champ can even soak it in, he's interrupted by ALBERTO DEL RIO! I'm all for Del Rio vs. Sheamus, but I almost feel like this is something they could slowly build to. Wait on it! It's hard to hear what Del Rio has to say though since the crowd is going bonkers for Daniel Bryan and chanting "SI! SI! SI! SI! SI! SI!"
Looks like we're getting Del Rio vs. Sheamus this Friday with Del Rio's future shot on the line, but I don't think it'll go that smoothly for ol' ADR. Like I said, let this one burn slow, there's plenty of Bryan, Kane and Rhodes on Smackdown to let this simmer till SummerSlam.
Cody Rhodes vs. Kofi Kingston up next and hey, more fun wrestling. Off to a nice start, but Big Show interrupts with an Embarrassing Cody Rhodes WrestleMania Moment, which allows Kofi to hit Trouble in Paradise and end this one quickly. Okay, not a technical masterpiece, but a nice punchline to the Big Show/Cody feud.
If I have to hear that goddamn Angels & Airwaves song for a year, I might wrestle Vader in hopes that he will rip my ears off.
Backstage, Abraham Washington (!!!) offers his managerial services to Mark Henry. Surely no return tonight will possibly top that!
Eve comes out and babbles on about something that pretty much makes no sense. Okay then. The first miss of the night.
The Miz vs. Zack Ryder up next and I feel like that Eve bit from before could've been done during commercials to get the crowd behind Ryder. Fun little back and forth match, but the crowd has definitely worn themselves out a bit and this doesn't exactly scream "10:50 match." Miz wins clean and the road to redemption continues! And he's 17 wins from tying The Undertaker at WrestleMania!
And here comes John Cena to call out The Rock and he looks so sad. "I never thought of losing, but the only way to do it is to do it right." Cena's taking the high road, quoting Muhammed Ali and refusing to make excuses for his shocking loss last night. Cena calls it his most disappointing loss and takes it in stride when this red hot Miami crowd starts chanting "YOU'RE A LOSER!", refusing to lash out at them even though they're begging for it. Geez, they're like The Emperor in Return of the Jedi, begging for young Skywalker to strike them down.
Cena is not here to call out The Rock though, he says to call someone out would imply a fight, but they settled their issue and he simply wants to have a friendly chat about respect. But John, you're not going to get a friendly chat from...
BROCK FUCKING LESNAR!
We had all heard the rumors (which started on April Fool's Day, so I was skeptical), but it's real... BROCK LESNAR IS BACK!
After a few minutes of that awesome music, Lesnar extends a hand to Cena, and gives him an F5 instead!
Wow. Good luck topping this Raw and this crowd, ever. But with The Rock setting his sights on the WWE Championship and Brock Lesnar returning, I think they're going to do their damnedest to try.
I got nothing else right now, my friend. Just soak this night in.