Raw Report – The Rock Confronts CM Punk
A lot of buzz has been placed around tonight’s show and it has worked, on me. I can even overlook the 3 hours tonight because I am in a marathon mood having seen a double feature already today, one of which being the almost 3 hour Django Unchained, which was excellent. Alright, alright, this isn’t review a raw…time to talk about wrestling.
The show starts with some more hype about The Rock’s electrifying return, as it flawlessly segues into the CM Punk and Ryback program.
The live show begins with John Cena, who comes down to greet a rather positive response. Cena talks about the “crap-tastic” ending to the year. He goes on to hype up everyone but himself, and completely sucking up and putting over The Rock. He is just about to talk about his Rumble plans, but he’s interrupted by Ziggler, Langston and AJ.
Ziggler says that although the people may have come to see Cena, or The Rock, they will leave with memories of him.
AJ rips on Cena for costing her job, and breaking her heart, and being so petty as to add insult to injury. She calls Cena a SMALL man.
Cena calls attention to AJ`s 6th grade wiener joke, in the style of a 4th grader trying to make a comeback.
Ziggler tells Cena to cut the crap and stop making jokes. He says that Cena can`t hide in the Rumble because Ziggler has entered himself with the primary goal of making sure that Cena doesn`t win.
Cena teases dumping crap all over them again and as AJ and Ziggler get faked out by this Big E just stands there un-phased. Nice touch. Cena says that he`s done talking and he wants to fight Ziggler right now. Langston grabs the mike and tells Cena that Dolph isn`t his only problem. Langston says on behalf of Ziggler, it`s on.
MATCH #1 JOHN CENA vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
Cena hits a hip toss and an arm drag. Ziggler takes him down and tries to do some sit ups mid match, but Cena turns it into a quick pin attempt. Cena hits a delayed vertical suplex. Ziggler comes back with a big splash in the corner. Ziggler distracts the ref as Langston hits a cheap shot to the eye and gives Dolph control heading into the break. Dolph applies his headstand headlock, into the bridge. Cena converts it into a deadlift and a takedown. AJ distracts the ref and Cena, allowing Ziggler to get the upper hand yet again. He hit’s 10 elbow drops. AJ this time blatantly slaps Cena and the ref ejects her and Langston out of the arena. Cena hits his tackles but Ziggler counters the shuffle and hits a famouser for a near fall. Cena comes back and hits the shuffle, but Ziggler counters the AA and hits a Zig Zag. He only gets a 2 count. Ziggler misses the super kick and then counters the STF and hits a DDT. Cena converts a cross body into an AA but Ziggler counters and hits a super kick for two. The two men trade punches until Ziggler applies a sleeper hold. Cena breaks the hold, but inadvertently takes out the ref. Cena locks in the STF in the middle of the ring, but Langston comes back down and hit`s Cena with a gut buster and drapes a lifeless Ziggler over Cena. After a long delay, a new ref comes down to make the count but by then Cena is able to kick out. He hits an AA out of nowhere and scores a clean pin. Very good match!
Winner – John Cena
MATCH # 2 EVE vs. KAITLYN
This match is for the Divas Championchip.
Can you believe that this is a 4 month long rivalry? Remember a 4 month long program with Trish and Lita…and how the story progressed and culminated in something happening? Those were the days.
Eve applies a strange looking leg hold from a standing position, and Kaitlyn counters it only to be stopped by the ref to tie her shoelace. Eve takes advantage and hits a cheap shot. She applies various neck holds, but Kaitlyn catches her off the ropes and hits a side slam. She chases Eve outside the ring as Eve grabs her title and heads out through the crowd, getting herself counted out.
Winner – Kaitlyn
In the back, Santino tells Ricky Steamboat that his match with Savage at WM3 was his favorite. Santino reflects on once being the IC Champion. Wade Barrett walks in and calls them a has-been and a never was. He calls Steamboat an old man who’s no dragon, though he does blow smoke. Ricky tells Santino that he’ll be in his corner tonight, and wade will find out how much smoke this old man can blow.
Matt Striker talks to Randy Orton about entering the Rumble match. He says that he’s a former winner and there is only one Randy Orton. 3MB pop by and inform Orton that they have all entered the Rumble and they will rock and roll their way into the main event of Wrestlemania. Slater says that Orton can pick which one of them he’ll face tonight. Orton picks Slater and says that after their match, he’ll be playing the harp. No body knows what that means, myself included.
MATCH # 3 HELL NO vs. RHODES SCHOLARS
Kane gets the early advantage over Rhodes, and then Sandow. Bryan comes in and continues the assault on Sandow with an arm lock. Rhodes comes in and is greeted with some yes kicks and a northern lights suplex. Rhodes hits an elbow and a stiff kick, and he and Sandow proceed to beat him down in their corner. Bryan leap-frogs Sandow and tags in Kane who hits a clothesline off the top followed by a boot. He hits a sidewalk slam and scares Sandow out of the ring, only for him to be greeted by a running knee from Bryan off the apron. Bryan does a backflip over Sandow and tweaks his knee, so the heels attack it. Kane and Sandow fight on the outside as Rhodes hit Cross Rhodes on Bryan for the clean pin.
Winners – Rhodes Scholars
MATCH #4 RANDY ORTON vs. HEATH SLATER
3MB dance around playing air band like a bunch of glorious jackasses before Orton comes out and sets a more serious tone.
Orton makes easy work of Slater early on with a tackle and a clothesline. He hangs slater up on the ropes and takes out Mahal on the outside. After a distraction, the rest of the band is able to turn the tables and feed Orton back to Slater who applies a headlock. Slater hits a neck breaker, but Orton answers with a superplex. He fends off the band again and hits a draping DDT. He wins it with the RKO.
Winner- Randy Orton
After the match Orton hits the rest of the band with RKO’s.
MATCH # 5 SANTINO vs. WADE BARRETT
Ricky Steamboat is in Santino`s corner. Santino hits a hip toss but Barrett answers with some effective strikes. Santino hits a side kick for a near fall, and he sets up the cobra. Barrett slips out of the ring and hangs Santino on the rope, finishing it with the bull hammer.
Winner – Wade Barrett
Steamboat comes in to check on Santino. Barrett looks to take a cheap shot but Ricky stands up to him and Wade decides to retreat.
Striker asks Sheamus about winning the Rumble match last year and going on to win the title in 18 seconds. Sheamus says that he seriously doubts that he can do it again…at least in 18 seconds. 3MB show up, and Sheamus cracks a bunch of jokes, and even sings some O Danny Boy. He calls them out to the ring either for a match or a sing along (Sheamus is pretty incoherent these days, which is too bad cause I used to like his simple Irish fables and how they related to his programs)
MATCH # 6 ANTONIO CESARO vs. KHALI
Miz is on commentary…I’ll let you know if he says anything worthwhile. Khali hits some chops as Natalia and Hornswoggle applaud. Cesaro takes Khali out at the knees. Miz credits Cesaro for being strong and athletic, but stands up for all Americans, and even puts over the linage of the US title. Cesaro hit’s a flying uppercut as Khali just stands there and falls. Cesaro hits the neutralizer on Khali for the win.
Winner – Antonio Cesaro
In the back, Heyman is on the phone talking about the TLC match. Brad Maddox snoops around and gets in Heymans face. Heyman tries to brush him off, but Maddox suggests that he talks to Vickie about refereeing the main event. Heyman admittedly tells Maddox that he doesn’t want him anywhere around him or Punk, and he threatens Maddox and urges him to stay away.
MATCH # 7 SHEAMUS vs. JINDER MAHAL
Sheamus hits a headlock takedown. He tackles Mahal and is surprised when “the funny one” tries to grab his ass. Sheamus slaps him and thwarts his pathetic counter attempts. He clubs Mahal and does the same to McIntyre. The band distract Sheamus briefly and get some cheap shots on the outside, allowing Mahal to get the upper hand. Sheamus comes back and tosses Slater into Mahal, hits McIntyre with a brogue kick. He hits Slater with a brogue as well and turns his attention to Mahal. He hits white noise and the brogue kick for the win.
Winner – Sheamus
That’s one Brogue and one RKO for each 3MB member…if you’re keeping score.
After a lengthy recap of the Punk/Ryback saga…it’s time.
MATCH # 8 CM PUNK vs. RYBACK
TLC WWE title match.
Punk walks under the ladder and throws a chair. He’s confident and ready. Ryback as always is confident. Punk hits some quick kicks but Ryback answers right back as the “Goldberg” chants get louder and louder. Punk introduces a chair, but it has little effect as Ryback tackles him and takes the chair. He misses a full swing as Punk hits a kick and some more chair shots. Ryback lifts Punk up and polls the audience if he should drop him on a chair or a ladder. Ladder always wins. He hits Punk with the steel steps. He misses the second attempt and Punk leaps off the steps, hitting a knee to the face. Punk wields the chair and beats Ryback over the steps. After the break, a ladder is set up in the ring as Ryback is on the offensive. Ryback sets a table against the guardrail, but Punk hits a surprise shot and sets up the table on the outside of the ring. Ryback launches punk into the announce table and beats him down with the tables cover. Punk uses the chair to gain the upper hand and beats on Ryback’s ankle. Ryback comes back with some power moves, a back drop and the meat hook clothesline. He sets up for the shellshock but Punk escapes and bates him to the outside, sidestepping a spear which launces Ryback through a table (the big dummy pretty much just ran right into it). Punk climbs the ladder, but Ryback climbs the other side and the two men brawl. Punk gets knocked off so he tips the ladder, but Ryback press slams him awkwardly into the ladder. The ladder has been twisted out of shape, so Punk continues the assault with a high knee or two. Ryback grabs Punk and just dumps him over the top and through the table. Ryback grabs a new ladder and climbs…he gets his fingers on the title, but the lights go out.
The lights come back on to reveal the Shield on and around the ladder. Ryback manages to fend them off briefly, but they prove to be too much as they assault Ryback and hit a triple power bomb through a table that was overtop the steel steps (brutal). Punk slowly crawls his way back in the ring as the Shield run out of the arena. Punk slowly ascends the ladder as he laughs. He easily grabs the title as he laughs and taunts. Heyman is almost in tears of joy…amazing.
Winner – CM Punk
After the break, in the locker room, Heyman sings the praises of Punk. Punk tells Striker that he has nothing to do with the Shield, and he’s looking forward to the Rock. He says that before the Rock can open his mouth, Punk’s gonna go out there and drop another pipe bomb.
In another part of town, Bryan and Kane blame each other for losing their match. Vickie cuts in and says that next week they will be undergoing their follow up examinations with Dr. Shelby. The champs start to argue about whether or not Dr. Shelby is a nerd or a monster.
MATCH # 9 KOFI KINGSTON vs. BIG SHOW
Kofi hits some quick kicks and Big Show hits a KO punch out of nowhere for a win in about 18 seconds. That’s it for Kofi’s run; he’s just been “Morrison-ated”
Winner – Big Show
They recap the last time Rock was on Raw, and Punk turned his back on the WWE universe by attacking him.
CM Punk limps out to the ring with Heyman. Punk wipes some of his own blood onto his white shirt. He tosses away the WWE logo from the microphone (I like where this is going). Punk says that it’s time to talk about something personal. He says that nobody in the WWE universe, or the company knows what a pipe bomb is. He says that in essence, it’s the truth. He says that the perception is that he’s a guy who aired his grievances, became the voice of the voiceless, got carried away with the need for respect, and turned his back on the WWE. He says that it’s a lie. He says that everything he said a year and a half ago he meant, except for the ice cream bars…he says the last thing the overweight fans need is more ice cream. He says that he could have accepted his place in the company or just quit, but instead he sold out by creating a persona that everyone wanted to cheer for, and it was by design. He says that the truth is that it doesn’t matter if you’re the best performer or talker or wrestler, there is always a glass ceiling that nobody is allowed to break.
And then it happened…one of those rare moments (I can’t remember the last one) where I have to put the computer down and just watch. The rest of this report is not as it usually is, reported in real time, rather after. My mouth drops as I hear Punk tell the truth about heels and Baby faces.
He says that need to be popular I what drive dangerous submission artists like Daniel Bryan or monster’s like Brodus Clay to lower themselves to put smiles on their faces and resort to catch phrases and dancing. He says that the popularity contests have given TV time to invisible figures like Little Jimmy while workhorses like Tyson Kidd are pushed to the side. Punk talks about being the best champion of all time, saying that “modern era” is just another corporate buzz word. He says that if he wrestled once a month like Bruno Sammartino he would have been champion for 30 years. He says that he’s honest when he says that he didn’t do anything in his career for the people, and that they were all born to pay to see champions like him.
He rambles through the commercial break, and really drives home the fact that every time he beat one of our hero’s, he was beating us. He says that we don’t get to win, and we are losers.
Enter – The Rock!
Rock brushes right past punk as he ascends the turnbuckles to greet the fans. He stares and circles Punk before telling him that he had to wait and hear everything that Punk had to say to find out what kind of man he was facing at the Royal Rumble. Rock calls Punk straight up delusional. He says that the 414 day title reign is incredible. He says that the real number that matters is 20. The Rock says that in 20 days, time’s up. He says that Punk didn’t reject the people, the people rejected him. Rock says that Punk promised change and he couldn’t even bring back Ice Cream bars. This leads to the fans calling Punk “Cookie Puss” which I’m sure is about to enjoy a 300% surge in sales. Rock recaps his day and culminates in his “finally” shtick. Rock says that he’s back to entertain the people and win the title. He says that he was watching Punk on TV hoping that someone would shut him up. He says that Punk looks like Popeye on crack. He credits Punk for being a creative and innovative mind, but says that he’s become the biggest jerk anyone has ever seen. He says that the people matter and Punk is the one that doesn’t matter. He says that there’s no way Punk will stop him from becoming WWE Champion at the Rumble.
Punk says that unlike a lot of people, he’s glad Rock is back. He says that whenever Rock shows up, he’ll kick his ass. He calls Rocks insults and whole routine nothing more than a tired shtick. Punk says that he’s bitten off more than he can chew. He culminates his promo by saying that Rock’s arms are too short to box with god!
Rock says that Punk will be going one on one with the great one. He says that he knows how bad and dangerous Punk is, and he recognizes that Punk laid him out with a GTS last time he was there. Rock invites Punk to go home and look at himself naked in the mirror (this is getting weird). He tells Punk to tattoo some chocolate bars on his butt, and cracks a joke about him not having nuts. He says he should also get a tattoo of Rocks foot on his candy ass…and out of nowhere he delivers a Rock bottom.
Punk licks his wounds as Rock stands tall to end the show.
Well there was a lot of hype around tonight’s show, and certainly the last segment delivered just enough to keep us hooked and on the edge of our seats for next week. I think Punk will do a lot to challenge Rock to get away from the cheap jokes, and this feud should come with some great promos from both men, as we saw tonight. There’s no denying Rocks effect on pop culture, and Punk really did a good job at stepping out of what was becoming a slightly over the top version of the heel he started out as. The TLC match was handled appropriately tonight and perhaps keeping the shield out of Rock vs. Punk is a better way to go, as they could concentrate on their feud with Ryback heading forward.
My working theory right now is that if it will in fact be Cena vs. The Rock at mania again then I would love to see Cena (who will get booed anyway) win the title in a complete and decisive heel turn. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s unlikely they’ll pull the trigger on that, but how else could you book Rock vs. Cena again? Of course the better choice would be to find someone else for The Rock, but it’s hard to even think of another viable option. The good thing about this time period in WWE is that most of the segments are serving to the big show, and the work rate goes up as everyone jockeys for position. I’m looking forward to the next few months!
And now for some odds!
Odds that CM Punk gets an endorsement deal for Carvel’s cookie Puss 1-1
Odds that Tyson Kidd is on Raw next week thanks to Punk 2-1
Odds that Mahal thought, “this is why they call you the Great White” after grabbing Sheamus’ ass 4-1
Odds that 3MB enter the Rumble as 1,2, and 3…and play air guitar 5-1
Odds that much like Honky Tonk Man and Jeff Jarrett, 3MB hit their opponents over the head with their guitars…but to a lesser effect 40-1
Over under on when Ziggler cashes in his MITB briefcase – WM 29
Odds that John Cena wins the Rumble this year 1-1