CM Punk comes to the ring alone as we start the show. Punk talks about not overreacting to his loss of the WWE Title. He also talks about not being in the video that Vince McMahon showed last week implicating Paul Heyman and his collusion with the Shield. Punk says McMahon got what he deserved last week, and he will get what he deserves when he wins back the WWE Championship from the Rock at the Elimination Chamber.
Smackdown GM Booker T interrupts Punk. Booker messes up his words(BAD; he struggles to say Managing Supervisor) and says Vickie let Booker decide Punk’s fate tonight. Booker says he’s going to leave it up to a vote with the fans. Booker offers Punk’s last three WrestleMania opponents as choices for the fans(Orton, Jericho, and Mysterio).
^Solid opening promo from Punk. He’s the best heel in WWE, hands down. Denying his involvement with Heyman could mean a potential rivalry with Brock Lesnar down the road, but discrediting Vince was far more logical to keep his alliance with the former owner of ECW. Booker messing up his words was beyond terrible; live TV is difficult and that’s probably why Booker is usually on the taped show, Smackdown. I wonder if Booker coming out means Vickie is absent tonight, or maybe they just wanted him to introduce the possible opponents for Punk and thought it wouldn’t sound as good coming from Vickie.
It’s teased that there will be an epic announcement tonight regarding the next inductee in the 2013 HOF Class. It’s been spoiled by ESPN and other news sites already.
Ryback goes one on one with Antonio Cesaro. Commercial after less than three minutes of action. Cesaro tries to leave through the crowd when Ryback calls for his finisher, but Ryback pulls him back into the ring. Ryback delivers a powerbomb, the big clothesline(again) and shell shocked for the victory.
^Solid match here. It wasn’t anything super significant, and Cesaro isn’t really able to do much with someone as limited as Ryback(though he is definitely improving). You can see with this push that Ryback will be world champion before the year is over, so it’s probably good that Ryback is working with experienced talent like Punk, Cesaro, and the Shield to improve in the ring.
A video package is aired for the Shield. John Cena is shown watching the video backstage. Vickie is with him and says she heard a rumor that he was going to call out the Shield all by himself. She asks if he has a death wish. He basically says he will take care of the Shield tonight because he’s been on such a roll as of late.
^Where there’s the Shield, there is usually Ryback, so I’m guessing Cena won’t be going at this alone. Guess Vickie is in the building after all.
Michael Cole hypes the Hall of Fame Ceremony and Trish Stratus’ video from last week is shown again. They talk about the major announcement coming later tonight.
The Real American, Jack Swagger goes one on one with Santino Marella with Booker T on commentary. Swagger has Santino tapping out to the ankle lock(renamed the Patriot Act) in under three minutes. He goes over to the announce table and tells Booker T that he’s just getting started.
^Swagger looked dominant, but it was only Santino. Wasn’t Santino supposed to be injured? Just another reason why I won’t believe anything I read anymore. Jack Swagger has never really stood out as anything special to me, but I’m hoping I can be proven wrong if he gets a legitimate push that leads to some great matches.
Cody Rhodes goes one on one with Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio beats Rhodes in under four minutes using the cross armbreaker. Del Rio cuts a promo after the match telling the Big Show he is going to pay for what he did to Ricardo. Show appears on the tron and says he wants a rematch at the Elimination Chamber for the World Heavyweight Championship.
^This one was also fast, but Del Rio looked as good as ever. It’s nice to see the change of style that Del Rio took when he came back from injury late last summer, and he’s actually developed even more since the face turn with giving us more of a variety in the ring. If ADR had kept the same stale move set from 2011, he never would have made it this far. Rhodes splitting from Sandow means he’ll probably have a one on one rivalry soon, and I’m hoping it’s with his brother, Goldust.
Jerry Lawler reveals the results of the Raw Active poll and it’s Chris Jericho who will face CM Punk tonight.
^A rematch from last year’s WrestleMania and Extreme Rules? Yes! Yes! Yes!
Daniel Bryan defeats Rey Mysterio with the no-lock. Mark Henry returns after the match and takes out Dbry, and then follows suit with Mysterio. Sin Cara comes down for the save and suffers the same fate. Mysterio gets back up and Henry delivers the world’s strongest slam to him and follows it up with the big splash from the middle rope.
^This match was really good, and the Dbry victory was nice to see. Mark Henry returning wasn’t too much of a surprise, but it was very effective for putting over his “path of destruction” gimmick. Great match and great segment.
Backstage, Dbry demands an apology from Kane for not helping him with Mark Henry. Kane says words hurt and nothing is more powerful than their friendship. Dbry asks Kane if he means it and Kane says hell no.
^Funny stuff, but this segment makes me think the start of Team Hell No’s breakup has come to fruition.
Big Show is shown on his phone asking Booker if the contract is on its way over. Big Show answers the door and gets his food from the delivery man. Big Show sends the man away and tells him to get a better job rather than giving him a tip.
^This is obviously setting the scene for Show to get attacked or pranked by Del Rio at some point in the night. I’m surprised Del Rio didn’t do something to his food from room service.
Kane goes one on one with Sheamus. It’s announced that Booker has put Daniel Bryan in the Elimination Chamber match because of his win over Mysterio earlier tonight. Dbry distracts Kane during the match and Sheamus wins the match using the brogue kick.
^This was a pretty good match between Kane and Sheamus, and the ending worked to continue the Kane/Dbry feud development. I’m not totally sure if Sheamus will end up in the Smackdown Chamber or if he will be involved with Cena and Ryback in a six man tag against the Shield.
MizTV is now and Paul Heyman interrupts Miz before he can introduce him as his guest. Heyman refers to Miz as Mr. Mizanin(Mike Mizanin is his real name). Heyman says he won’t let Miz soil his reputation. Miz says it was already ruined. Heyman offers his best wishes to Mr. McMahon. Miz says Heyman was going to be fired and he admires Heyman for being the most committed liar he’s ever met. Heyman says Miz is only trying to make himself look good at his expense. Heyman says Punk was screwed out of the WWE Championship and will continue his “current” reign after defeating the Rock at the Elimination Chamber.
Things get tense and Vickie Guerrero interrupts them. She says the bickering has to stop. Vickie says Heyman is telling the truth and had nothing to do with Lesnar returning last week. Vickie says she was secretly negotiating with Brock for a while and re-signing Brock was a chance for her to represent Mr. McMahon. She says her and Paul had no idea that Brock would do what he did to Mr. McMahon. She breaks down in tears and apologizes for what happened to Vince. Heyman consoles her and suggests a moment of silence for Mr. McMahon, but Vickie suggests they all pray for his well being instead. Miz says they are both lying through their teeth. Heyman says now Miz is offending him. Miz says they’re both bottom feeders and Mr. McMahon will fire both of them as soon as he recovers. Lesnar’s music hits.
Brock comes down to the ring and Miz shoves him. Lesnar hits a clothesline and throws Miz out of the ring and starts throwing the furniture as well. Miz jumps back in the ring and brawls until Lesnar gets the upper hand and delivers the F5.
^Good promo work from Miz on this one, and good promo work from Vickie and Heyman. I genuinely enjoy the Miz as a face.The effectiveness of Brock’s dominance was shown once again here, and you can expect that this will all piece together nicely for his rematch with Triple H at WrestleMania. My only hope is that we see Lesnar compete at least once in the ring before that match.
Wade Barrett goes one on one with Randy Orton…again. Orton wins the match with the RKO.
^Like most of their past encounters, this was short but fairly entertaining. King sounded shocked that Orton beat the IC Champion; his dementia must be kicking in. Originally I was expecting Orton to win the Chamber match for Smackdown, but now I’m expecting his rumored match with Sheamus to be non-title and much more personal.
A Fandango promo is shown(formerly Johnny Curtis). This will be far worse than Tensai.
Chris Jericho goes one on one with CM Punk. Punk wins the match using the GTS.
^Awesome match! While it wasn’t quite the level of their Mania and Extreme Rules matches, it was loaded with back and forth moves and pin attempts.Fantastic wrestling from both men at a non-stop high level; no one is better at storytelling than these two. Why can’t we get more of this every week? I wonder if Jericho will ever get the big “W” over Punk before his time is up.
Bruno Sammartino is announced as the next inductee in the HOF Class of 2013. This was long overdue. I’m glad to see that differences have been put aside for the good of the business. With Mick Foley, Bob Backlund, Trish Stratus and now Bruno, the 2013 Hall of Fame Ceremony promises to be an epic night!
Matt Striker interviews CM Punk backstage. Punk says he’s mad that the Rock is a thief walking around with his WWE Championship. Punk says he continues to prove that he’s the best in the world and that he will prove it again at the EC.
^Solid out of breath promo by Punk, and now I can’t wait for their rematch at EC.
A video package is aired for the Rock since he’s not here tonight. Fun, I suppose.
John Cena is interviewed backstage and asked why he would call out the Shield tonight. He says we are smack dab in the middle of whoop ass season, and the time is now. Commercial break.
^Good promo by Cena. I can’t wait to see him in an actual match involving the Shield.
Big Show is shown again in his hotel room waiting for the contract. He answers the door and lets the guy in. The guy tries to warn Show but he insists on signing the contract. Del Rio attacks Show when he opens the door to his room. Show beats down Del Rio all through the hallways of the Hotel. Del Rio uses a fire extinguisher on Show and then hits him in the head with it. He stands over Show yelling in Spanish. Del Rio tells the hotel staff that Show had some bad Mexican food.
^I love the continued intensity of their rivalry, but I really didn’t want to see a third match from the duo. If it has to happen, at least it won’t be at WrestleMania. Great brawling segment here to hype the World Title feud.
Brad Maddox is in the ring and grabs a mic. Maddox confesses to giving Vince the tape that revealed the conspiracy with the Shield and Paul Heyman. Maddox calls himself the hero of the story and says it will be him, not John Cena who will teach the Shield about justice. He calls them out trying to sound like Bane from the Dark Knight Rises.
The Shield comes down through the crowd and Ambrose is on the mic. Ambrose tells Maddox not to compare himself to the Shield. Rollins says justice will be them delivering the beating Maddox deserves. Roman Reigns says they are going to enjoy this little tiny man(sounds wrong). They jump Maddox and deliver the big powerbomb. Cena’s music hits and he comes from the crowd to the ring. Ryback’s music hits and he comes from the crowd as well and they are joined by Sheamus. The Shield goes up the ramp and a bunch of the WWE locker room come out to block them from leaving. The six men brawl in the ring. The Shield retreats as the other three stand tall. Cena’s music hits to end the show.
^Maddox wasn’t a standout to me in FCW, but WWE appears dead set on making him relevant. Perhaps his beating will help him get over with some of the fans as a face. I love the idea of a six man tag team match at the EC event; seeing these three “new” competitors go against the likes of Cena, Sheamus, and Ryback will make for an awesome enounter.
Good matches and good promos as well as good segments loaded with rivalry building action? I’d call this a damn good edition of Monday Night Raw! I plan to be back with my regular Smackdown column on Friday this week, and I’m working on something for the upcoming WrestleMania season. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck!
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