[TV Recap] WWE Raw – 1/21/2013

raw-recap

With six days to go until the Royal Rumble, this week’s “go-home” edition of Raw will be focused on building the PPV and the CM Punk/The Rock main event in particular.

Click “read more” for quick match results and a full recap of the show as it airs (or as it aired if you’re reading right after).

Quick Match Results:

  1. Randy Orton pinned *WWE U.S. Champion* Antonio Cesaro in a “Beat the Clock Challenge” match after an RKO (11:36).
  2. The Big Show pinned Zack Ryder after the K.O. Punch (0:50).
  3. Ryback pinned Heath Slater after the Shell Shock (1:19).
  4. Dolph Ziggler pinned The Miz in a “Beat the Clock Challenge” match after the Zig Zag (10:56).
  5. *WWE Divas Champion* Kaitlyn pinned Alicia Fox in a non-title match after a spear (2:06).
  6. Sheamus and *WWE I.C. Champion* Wade Barrett both lost the “Beat the Clock Challenge” when the timer ran out (11:00).
  7. *World Heavyweight Champion* Alberto Del Rio pinned Tensai after a second-rope moonsault (1:30).

*****

A special video to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day airs.

—–

We’re live in San Jose, California. Michael Cole welcomes the home audience quickly before “EXCUSE ME!” brings out Vickie Guerrero. She introduces herself as she walks arm in arm down the aisle with Paul Heyman. They get in the ring as Guerrero says it’s her job to make her show entertaining. She says she’s a professional and always does the right thing, even if it’s not the “popular” thing…especially when it comes to The Rock. Heyman takes over and introduces himself to a loud chorus of boos. He says he’s out here in a show of solidarity for Guerrero. Heyman switches gears to The Rock, saying that last week he not only defamed Heyman’s character but he defamed the character of “the sexiest GM ever” Guerrero. We go to the video from The Rock Concert last week, where Rock sings about Heyman’s inability to see his own penis. We’re back live and a “Rocky!” chant breaks out in the San Jose crowd. Heyman ignores it and turns his attention to what Rock sang about Guerrero last week. Cue the footage from last week’s concert where Rock makes fun of the way she looks because comedy.

  • Thoughts: OMG THE ROCK IS SO FUNNY VICKIE IZ A HOOKER LOLZ LOLZ LOLZ. Sigh. God I hated that whole segment last week.

We go back live as Heyman consoles Guerrero. Guerrero says that while The Rock is here in San Jose he is banned from the arena and will be arrested by San Jose PD if he tries to enter. A production member tells Guerrero that The Rock has arrived and she cackles wildly. Guerrero points to the TitanTron, where we see live footage of The Rock outside the arena. Members of the San Jose PD stand in front of him. The Rock says Guerrero wants to screw the people, and says she’s probably in the ring right now looking like she swallowed a bunch of “stink pickles” whatever that means. The Rock says nothing is going to stop him from entering the arena and electrifying it. One of the police officers says if he tries to enter, they’ll be forced to arrest him. The Rock says there are a lot of other people they should arrest before him, including CM Punk for pretending to be a champion and Paul Heyman for not wearing a bra in public. The Rock says if Guerrero thinks he won’t get into the arena, she clearly has her head stuck up her ass. The Rock tells the PD that he’s relentless and there ain’t no way (AND THE ROCK MEANS NO WAY) he won’t be in the ring. It’s not a question of if, it’s a matter of when.

We go back to the ring as Guerrero asks the crowd if they thought that was funny. They cheer obviously. Guerrero says if The Rock enters the arena the only song he’ll be singing is “Jailhouse Rock”. Heyman says that was clever and Guerrero yells “THANK YOU!” at him. Guerrero then concludes with a “If you smellllll…what The Vick…is cooking!”

  • Thoughts: Well that was…lackluster. Rock’s jokes were lame as usual and the seriousness he had over the past few weeks (within the horrible comedy moments) was gone. This was pure joke Rock and I’m sure if you’re 12 or desperately clinging to the Attitude Era you loved it. Heyman’s reaction to Guerrero’s “THANK YOU!” yell was funny though. And obviously The Rock is going to end up in the arena tonight so stay tuned or something. Honestly if I was still a casual fan like I was this time last year I would’ve have instantly shut this off and went on with my night playing Mass Effect 2. 

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We head to the announce table where Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler announce that a “Beat the Clock” challenge will occur between the Royal Rumble participants tonight, the winner getting to pick their entry number for this Sunday. The first match, Randy Orton Vs. Antonio Cesaro is next.

  • Thoughts: Oh good, I was hoping I’d get to see this for the 8000th time in the past week. For real though I love seeing Cesaro work so I’m ultimately okay with this.

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-Commercial Break-

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WWE U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro is already in the ring as we come back from commercial. Justin Roberts lays down the “Beat the Clock” rules before introducing Cesaro. “Voices” kicks up and out comes Cesaro’s opponent Randy Orton. In case you missed Wednesday’s Main Event.

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Match #1: Randy Orton Vs. *WWE U.S. Champion* Antonio Cesaro [Beat the Clock Challenge]

Cesaro goes for a quick roll-up but only gets 2. Orton grabs a side headlock and is sent in the corner. Orton floats around Cesaro and rolls him up for 2. Orton shoulderblocks Cesaro to the mat and grabs another 2. Cesaro snags a side headlock and takes him down to the mat. Orton rolls Cesaro up for 1 and they get back on their feet. Orton whips Cesaro into the ropes but is taken down with a shoulderblock. Cesaro goes for the quick cover, only gets 2. Cesaro goes back to the side headlock as a “Randy!” chant breaks out in the crowd. Orton reverses into a side headlock of his own and Cesaro backs him into the ropes. Cesaro cracks Orton in the jaw with a European uppercut. Orton sends Cesaro into the ropes and hits a Thesz press for a 2 before doing his usual “multiple strike” combo. Orton rakes his kneepad across Cesaro’s eyes. Cesaro blocks a suplex attempts and rolls Orton up for 2. Orton responds with a dropkick which nets him 2. Cesaro rolls to the outside and Orton follows him out to drop him with a clothesline. Orton rolls Cesaro back in and goes for the cover but only gets 2. Orton ponders his next move as we go to commercial.

-Commercial Break-

Cesaro attempts a superplex from the second rope, but Orton blocks it and headbutts Cesaro back to the mat. Orton goes to get off the top but Cesaro pushes Orton off the turnbuckle and to the floor. Cesaro rolls Orton back in and goes for the cover. 2-count. Cesaro follows up with the deadlift gutwrench suplex for another 2-count. Cesaro goes for the pin yet again, this time hooking both legs, but only gets 2. Cesaro applies a reverse chinlock. Orton fights out but runs into a Cesaro scoop slam for 2. Cesaro connects with a double stomp for another 2 then applies another reverse chinlock. Orton fights out and sends Cesaro in the corner. Cesaro gets his boots up but ends up running into the Orton clothesline/powerslam combo. Orton puts Cesaro out to the apron and goes for the Hanging DDT but Cesaro slips out and covers for a 2-count. Cesaro follows it up with the Swiss Death for another 2.

Frustrated, Cesaro locks on a front chancery before going for another cover which results in 2. Cesaro reapplies the front chancery then sends Orton shoulder-first into the ring post. Cesaro rolls Orton back in and checks on the clock, allowing Orton to hit the RKO on him as he re-enters the ring for the 1…2…3!

Winner [via Pinfall]: Randy Orton (11:36)

  • Match Thoughts: A good match and all but neither man seemed particularly interested in actually beating the clock judging by the chanceries and the reverse chinlocks. Sure there were copious attempts at pinfalls and Cesaro checking the clock caused his loss (which was subtle but awesome), but the pace was just so…normal. If that makes sense.

—–

A video plays hyping Mick Foley and his upcoming induction into the 2013 Hall of Fame. Immediately following we go into a hype video for The Shield (Dean Ambrose/Roman Reigns/Seth Rollins). They say they fight for justice and name-drop Randy Orton, Sheamus, Ryback, and The Miz. The video is intercut between their own promo stuff as well as their copious attacks on WWE superstars.

  • Thoughts: Right on. Congrats Mick. As for The Shield…still digging it but it should probably go somewhere. Or at least be consistent. Hopefully putting these two videos back to back hint at a feud brewing between Foley and The Shield. It would be a nice surprise for those still upset that the Foley/Ambrose feud hinted at on YouTube never happened.

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-Commercial Break-

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The Big Show makes his way out for the second match as Cole welcomes the home audience back. We see clips of his loss to Alberto Del Rio two weeks ago on Smackdown as he makes his way to the ring. Show’s opponent Zack Ryder makes his way out to the ring. Brad Maddox hops the barrier and joins the announce team.

—–

Match #2: Zack Ryder Vs. The Big Show

Show overpowers Ryder immediately and hits the K.O. Punch in short order. Show pins Ryder with his knee for the easy 3-count.

Winner [via Pinfall]: The Big Show (0:50)

  • Match Thoughts: So that was a thing that happened.

—–

Brad Maddox bails from the announce table as The Big Show grabs a mic in the ring. Show gives everyone a preview of his upcoming Last Man Standing match with Alberto Del Rio at Royal Rumble (which I didn’t even know was happening). Show stands on Ryder and starts counting, but the “WHAT?!?” chants in-between the counts causes Show to freak out and he bails in short order.

  • Thoughts: The Big Show is awesome on the mic. Love the way he antagonizes the crowd. Also he’s facing Del Rio at the Rumble? When did that happen? I am a terrible wrestling fan for not knowing this. Also hey Brad Maddox, what’s up? Oh still not doing anything of note? Damn, okay. See you later!

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-Commercial Break-

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Paul Heyman is in the locker room on the phone. He tells whoever it is that The Rock won’t be in the building tonight, until Brad Maddox and his cameraman interrupt him with his YouTube show. Maddox says there’s nothing he won’t do to keep his dreams alive. Heyman says he admires Maddox’s drive and initiative. Heyman says he was wrong about Maddox and says if he sticks with him he’ll make him famous. Heyman and Maddox shake hands as Maddox thanks him. Maddox and the cameraman exit as Heyman thanks him.

—–

3MB are already in the ring as we come back from break. Heath Slater‘s opponent, Ryback, makes his way out next.

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Match #3: Ryback Vs. Heath Slater (w/ Jinder Mahal & Drew McIntyre) 

Slater dropkicks the leg of Ryback sending him to his knees. Slater gets in a couple of rights before Ryback catches one then runs him over. Ryback follows up with a spinebuster and gets ready for the lariat. Ryback connects with it, then drops McIntyre on the apron. Ryback throws Mahal in the ring, then into McIntyre and they both tumble to the ground. Ryback stacks Slater up and connects with the Shell Shock for the easy 1…2…3.

Winner [via Pinfall]: Ryback (1:19)

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Post-Match: Ryback grabs a mic and says “damn, my job is fun!”. He says that this Sunday is his first Royal Rumble match and it is a match he will thrive on. Ryback says it is the match that leads him to the main event of Wrestlemania then leads a “Feed Me More!” chant as he drops the mic.

—–

The Rock is outside still jawing with the police. The Rock says he needs to get in the building. He tells the PD are wearing badges to protect and serve the people, not Vickie Guerrero. The Rock then tells the PD to listen the 15,000 in the arena chant his name. They obviously do so. One of the police officers says that he has a ticket to tonight’s show. Before The Rock can ask a question, Guerrero interjects and tells them to arrest him. They refuse since he isn’t breaking any laws. Guerrero says that their superior said that if they don’t do whatever she wants, he’ll be suspended. Guerrero tells The Rock that CM Punk will be inside the ring to address the fans next. Guerrero says she will lift the ban if The Rock apologizes to her. The Rock says he’ll get in the ring on his own terms and Guerrero still looks horrible tonight. She leaves in anger. The Rock tells the police he has an idea as we go to commercial.

  • Thoughts: The Rock just tried to smooth talk his way into the arena. I wonder what he does whenever he’s pulled over for speeding. He then proceeds to be childish towards Guerrero once again after she asks for an apology which she actually deserves. Why does anyone cheer this guy? Seriously.

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-Commercial Break-

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CM Punk Addresses the WWE Universe

“Cult of Personality” hits as WWE Champion CM Punk makes his way out clutching his belt and with Paul Heyman at his side. Cole and Lawler hype the hell out of his match with The Rock at the Royal Rumble as they should. The music dies down and Punk holds the WWE Championship high in the air. He holds it in his hands as Heyman holds the mic in front of him. Punk says the WWE Championship is his life’s work and has proven he’s the man for 428 days. Punk says 428 days is just a fraction of the time he’s spent to obtain the WWE Championship and says he will not allow The Rock or anyone to take it from him. Punk says The Rock is here to entertain, electrify, sing songs and tell jokes, while he’s here to hurt people and be the champion. Punk says he will not allow The Rock to leave as champion at the Royal Rumble. Punk says the WWE Championship is important and prestigious because he’s made it so. Punk says the most prestigious thing to The Rock is “the people”. Punk says The Rock is proud to be the “People’s Champion”, almost as much as Punk is proud of being a “real champion”.

Punk says he has been in the ring with The Rock and looked him square in the eye and he knows why he’s so proud of being the “People’s Champion”: he knows he cannot be the actual WWE Champion. Punk says a long time ago he was forced to make a choice between hypocritical humility and honest arrogance and he chose the latter while The Rock chose the people. Punk says the fans can call The Rock whatever they want, but what they can’t call him is champion. Punk says the WWE Championship belongs to him and you earn it with blood, sweat, and tears. Punk says he has earned the right to be called champion and be the man. Punk tells The Rock to enjoy “the people” for the next six days, to slap every hand and bask in the cheers of adulation. Punk says the people do not matter, only the WWE Championship matters, and at the Royal Rumble all that matters is what the people can’t give The Rock will remain around his waist. “Cult of Personality” hits and CM Punk raises the WWE Championship in the air.

  • Thoughts: Amazing. Punk summed up his motivation in a clear and convincing way and, even more importantly, in a believable way. He made his points, without an ounce of humor, and conveyed just how serious the Royal Rumble is for him and how seriously he’s taking his defense against The Rock. Really damn good. His line about him being here to hurt people and be champion is one to add to the giant CM Punk Quotebook.

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-Commercial Break-

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Dolph Ziggler makes his way out to the ring for the next match of the evening along with AJ Lee and Big E Langston. This is a “Beat the Clock Challenge” match. His opponent, The Miz, makes his way out next. We see clips from last week’s show where Miz locked the Figure Four on Antonio Cesaro with the blessing of Ric Flair.

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Match #4: The Miz Vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/ AJ Lee & Big E Langston) [Beat The Clock Challenge]

Miz starts with a dropkick and a quick 2-count. Miz rolls Ziggler up for another 2. Ziggler goes for a single-leg takedown but Miz reverses into a side headlock. Ziggler whips Miz into the ropes and gets dropped with a shoulderblock. Miz attempts two quick pinfall attempts, and Ziggler attempts one of his own before locking on a side headlock. Miz drops Ziggler with a back elbow for a 2-count. They trade roll-ups and 2-counts until Ziggler cracks Miz with a dropkick for 2. Reverse neckbreaker by Ziggler nets him another 2-count. Ziggler applies a reverse chinlock (WHY?!?). A very audible “Let’s Go Ziggler!” chant breaks out.

Miz gets to his feet and Ziggler converts to a sleeperhold. Miz backs Ziggler in the corner then whips him off. Miz takes Ziggler down and connects with a series of lefts until the ref forces him off. Miz clips Ziggler’s knee and works on it to soften it up. Miz goes for the Figure Four but Ziggler pushes him off and he falls out to the floor. Sort-of. Ziggler distracts the ref, allowing Langston to slam Miz spine-first into the apron. Ziggler rolls Miz back in and goes for the cover. 2-count.

-Commercial Break-

Ziggler is trying to wear Miz down with a reverse chinlock (WHY?!?) as we come back from break. Miz gets to his feet and reverses a  neckbreaker into a backslide for 2. Miz with a sunset flip for 2 once again. Miz kicks Ziggler in the face for another 2-count. Miz beats Ziggler down in the corner then hits his seated corner clothesline. Miz heads to the top turnbuckle and connects with an axehandle for 2. A Skull Crushing Finale is reversed into a pinning attempt by Ziggler, and another by Miz. Ziggler plants Miz with a DDT for 1…2…kickout. Miz locks on the Figure Four (sort-of) but Lee distracts the ref allowing Langston to pull Ziggler to the ropes to force a break. Miz rolls Ziggler up for 2 once again. Langston distracts Miz, allowing Ziggler to hit the Zig Zag for the 1…2…3!

Winner [via Pinfall]: Dolph Ziggler (10:56)

  • Match Thoughts: Outside of Miz’s absolutely wretched Figure Four at the end this was a pretty good match. They have good in-ring chemistry but Ziggler has that with pretty much everyone. And yay for Ziggler winning with the Zig Zag for the first time in…has he ever won with it?

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-Commercial Break-

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Team Hell No Graduates Anger Management

Dr. Shelby is in the ring, wearing a cap and gown and standing in front of a podium labeled “Shelby Academy of Anger Management”. He introduces himself and introduces the first two graduates of “Dr. Shelby’s Anger Management” Team Hell No to the ring. In that enter, also wearing gowns, to Kane‘s music. Daniel Bryan‘s hair is gelled down in an attempt to look presentable. They get in the ring and shake Dr. Shelby’s hand. Dr. Shelby says before they started, Kane was a monster and Bryan was a tightly-wound manchild. Dr. Shelby hands them each a cap and diploma. He moves the tassel on the cap to signal their graduation. Dr. Shelby then asks Team Hell No, as a final exercise, who should be valedictorian. Kane says it should be Bryan, and Bryan thinks the opposite. They argue and yell “YOU’RE THE VALEDICTORIAN!” at each other until Dr. Shelby yells to get their attention. Dr. Shelby asks them if a hug would make them feel better and they are both lukewarm to the idea. Dr. Shelby then asks if everyone everywhere hugged at the same time. Kane says “even Cole and Lawler?” and Dr. Shelby says yes. Cole stands up and waits for it and Lawler reluctantly obliges.

Bryan then points to Justin Roberts and Dr. Sampson, and they hug. Kane then points to three guys in the crowd and they hug. Bryan points out a weird mustache man and his friend and they hug. They then yell at everyone to stand up and hug. And hug some people do. Team Hell No soak in the cheers of the crowd to Daniel’s theme music.

  • Thoughts: Well it looks like this is the end of that part of the Daniel Bryan/Kane story. Right on. Weird that they gave it an actual send-off, but still cool nonetheless. However the yelling at people to hug thing was obnoxious and this whole segment felt like filler even if it was a cap to something. And where the hell were The Rhodes Scholars to break this up? Talk about a wasted opportunity.

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-Commercial Break-

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Alicia Fox is in the ring twirling her jacket as we go back live. Her opponent, WWE Divas Champion Kaitlyn, makes her way out next.

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Match #5: *WWE Divas Champion* Kaitlyn Vs. Alicia Fox [Non-Title]

Fox sends Kaitlyn into the turnbuckle repeatedly, but Kaitlyn takes Fox down with her legs. Fox ends up on the floor and Kaitlyn knocks her down with the baseball slide. A shot of Tamina Snuka watching backstage. Kaitlyn jumps on Fox from the apron and repeatedly strikes her. Fox regains the advantage in the ring and sends Kaitlyn flying by the hair. Fox takes Kaitlyn down with a clothesline and nabs a 2-count. Fox applies a reverse chinlock. Kaitlyn breaks out and ducks a kick in the corner. Kaitlyn finishes Fox off with a spear for the 1…2…3.

Winner [via Pinfall]: Kaitlyn (2:06)

  • Match Thoughts: Lawler and Cole agreeing that “all women secretly despise each other” pissed me off to the point of not giving much of a damn about this match. Also the fact that I still remain “whatever” about Kaitlyn. That spear is ugly. All spears are ugly. But I am intrigued by a potential Kaitlyn/Tamina feud. More Tamina Snuka!

—–

Paul Heyman is backstage with CM Punk. He tells Punk that he has rented him a skybox for Heyman’s “PaulBomb” towards The Rock next.

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-Commercial Break-

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Paul Heyman’s “PaulBomb”

Paul Heyman dedicates his spiel to CM Punk. Heyman says he serves as Punk’s advocate, strategist, friend, and adviser. Heyman says as a service to Punk he will serve his interest by acting as his interpreter and “keep it simple” for the fans. Heyman says everyone thinks it’s a foregone conclusion that The Rock will be champion this Sunday. Heyman assures everyone he won’t. Heyman says Vince McMahon is desperate for anyone to defeat Punk for the WWE Championship, and The Rock is January’s “Flavor of the Month”. Heyman says if The Rock is concentrating on him he’s not concentrating on Punk, who he’s actually fighting Sunday. Heyman says that “just like the people”, The Rock is stupid.

  • Thoughts: No argument here.

“IF YOU SMELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL…”

The Rock makes his way out to the entrance stage, ticket in hand. Apparently you can go backstage with any old ticket. The Rock makes his way to the ring and poses for the fans on the turnbuckles. The Rock grabs the mic as the “Rocky!” chants rain down from the San Jose crowd. The Rock thanks the San Jose PD for the ticket. Heyman says the ticket doesn’t entitle him to enter the ring and The Rock tells him to shut up (also he calls him “Twinkie Tits”). The Rock threatens Heyman in order to get him to leave the ring and he complies because he’s not a wrestler.

The Rock stares at the skybox, and by proxy, CM Punk. The Rock says he knows how tough and dangerous Punk is and has earned the right to call himself the “Best in the World”. The Rock says it doesn’t change the fact that this is his last Raw as WWE Champion. The Rock says when you take all the “People’s Champ” stuff away and he’ll still be there across the ring ready to rip Punk’s face off. The Rock says he’s waited for 10 years for a shot at the WWE Championship. The Rock says he promises to beat Punk at the Royal Rumble and when that’s done people will say “FREE AT LAST! FREE AT LAST!”. The Rock concludes with a “If You Smell….” then drops the mic as his theme music starts playing.

All of a sudden the lights go out. When they turn back on The Shield are in the midst of a 3 on 1 assault on The Rock. The Rock fights back but the numbers game is too much. The Shield delivers a triple powerbomb in the center of the ring and The Shield quickly pose over him before quickly exiting the ring to the back. CM Punk now has a mic and says at the top of the mountain there’s only room for one man. Punk says it’s cute The Rock has a dream but eventually you have to wake up from them. Punk says when The Rock wakes up from his, he’ll realize “The Great One” wasn’t great enough to beat the “Best in the World”. Punk holds the WWE Championship in the air at the skybox while Rock struggles to recover in the ring.

  • Thoughts: I appreciate The Rock being serious once he turned his attention to Punk, even if his facts are suspect at best (he has done very little to earn a title shot in the last 10 years by wrestling standards). The Shield showing up to beat Rock down made me audibly cheer and I was happy they showed up to do some damage. Good segment minus the lame jokes and the fact that The Rock used a “I’ve got a ticket derp” defense that shouldn’t have worked. I am pumped for the Royal Rumble.

—–

-Commercial Break-

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After another video in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., we see a recap of The Shield‘s attack on The Rock from…four minutes ago. As Cole and Lawler talk about what happened, Sheamus makes his way out for the next (and final) “Beat the Clock Challenge” match. His opponent, I.C. Champ Wade Barrett, makes his way out next and gets an actual televised intro. Yay.

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Match #6: Sheamus Vs. *WWE I.C. Champion* Wade Barrett [Beat the Clock Challenge]

Sheamus and Barrett lock up and jockey for position until Sheamus takes him down with a side headlock. Sheamus knocks Barrett over with a shoulderblock but a double-leg takedown by Barrett results in the first 2-count of the match. Sheamus backs Barrett into the corner and breaks clean. Barrett kicks Sheamus in the gut and sends him face-first into the corner. Sheamus fights back, however, and connects with a series of shoulders to the midsection. Barrett reverses an Irish whip but Sheamus responds with a clothesline. Sheamus connects with the rolling senton for 2. Barrett escapes to the apron and Sheamus grabs him but the ref forces him off. Sheamus hits the ropes when Barrett gets back in, but Barrett floors Sheamus with a clothesline. Sheamus struggles to get up after being knocked to the floor as we go to commercial.

-Commercial Break-

Barrett continues to work over Sheamus as we come back from break. Snap suplex from Barrett results in 2. Fujiwara Armbar from Barrett. Sheamus fights out but gets a right to the head. Sheamus ducks a clothesline and knocks Barrett down with repeated axehandles and a kneelift. Clothesline in the corner from Sheamus followed by the ten forearms of doom to the chest. Sheamus suplexes Barrett back in and goes for the pin. 2-count. Barrett ducks the Brogue Kick and kicks Sheamus in the gut. Barrett follows up with a superkick for 1…2…KICKOUT. Barrett hits an elbow from the top for another 2. Barrett gets Sheamus in position for Wasteland, but Sheamus escapes and connects with the White Noise. Sheamus revs up for the Brogue Kick as AJ Lee runs into the ring to distract him. This allows Barrett to hit a black hole slam for the 1…2…KICKOUT. Dolph Ziggler, Big E Langston, and Lee bite their nails ringside. Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick and goes for the pin. 1…BUZZ. He didn’t beat the clock!

Winner: NO ONE (11:00)

  • Match Thoughts: I’ve seen this 500 times in the past six months and have run out of things to say about it. Ziggler and crew coming in to cause Sheamus to lose though was awesome and totally made sense. The ref not calling for the bell when AJ Lee ran into the ring? Not as logical.

—–

Post-Match: Ziggler, Lee, and Langston celebrate at the entrance stage while Sheamus looks on in anger.

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-Commercial Break-

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Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee, and Big E Langston celebrate his victory to Vickie Guerrero in the audience. Ziggler and Lee make out furiously in front of her. Guerrero lets Ziggler know he can only pick from two numbers: #1…and #2. She leaves and Lee promises to end her.

  • Thoughts: SWERVE.

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Earlier on RAW: The Shield attacks The Rock.

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CM Punk and Paul Heyman are talking as they walk the hallways. They are stopped dead in their tracks when Vince McMahon appears. McMahon says if The Shield gets involved in the Royal Rumble match, there will be severe consequences. Punk and McMahon start arguing, but Heyman breaks it up. Heyman says The Shield has attacked a variety of people and there is no evidence implicating that The Shield work for Punk. McMahon says he’ll be looking for evidence but in the mean time if The Shield show up during his match with The Rock this Sunday…Punk will be stripped of the WWE Championship. Awww snap.

—–

-Commercial Break-

—–

Ricardo Rodriguez comes out to introduce the World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio. Out he comes sans car because he’s a good guy now. Rodriguez carries the Mexico pail with a towel in it or something. His opponent, Tensai, is already in the ring.

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Match #7: *World Heavyweight Champion* Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) Vs. Tensai

Tensai gets the early advantage and hits the Vader Bomb in the corner. Tensai lands another in rapid fashion and goes for the pin. 2-count. Del Rio gets his boots up during a splash attempt and hits a hurricanrana from the second rope. Del Rio connects with a belly to belly suplex then hits the corner kick. Del Rio positions Tensai and hits a second-rope moonsault (what?) for the victory.

Winner [via Pinfall]: Alberto Del Rio (1:30)

  • Match Thoughts: So Del Rio is being positioned as the Latin Superman and because of that he’s now wrestling a more lucha style as a way to pander more. That second-rope moonsault becoming his finisher is okay…if it actually connects with it next time.

—–

Post-Match: Del Rio grabs a mic and says there will be a count of 10 at the end of his match against The Big Show this Sunday. Del Rio then proceeds to count to 10 in Spanish. Rodriguez then gets the crowd to chant “Si!”.

  • Thoughts: Alright seriously…scale it the f*ck back.

—–

The 2nd Inductee to the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame is…

Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler announce the 2nd inductee into the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame: Bob Backlund. A video plays that showcases his multi-decade career as a narrator catches new fans up to his career.

  • Thoughts: Not to get all professional-sounding but Bob Backlund is the goddamn sh*t and I’m glad to see him finally get inducted. Already loving this 2013 class.

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John Cena is shown walking backstage. He comes out next.

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-Commercial Break-

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John Cena Addresses the WWE Universe

“My Time is Now” plays, bringing out John Cena. Cena talks to Stu the Cameraman then sprints to the ring. The music dies down and it’s mostly boos. Cena calls them a “lively bunch”. Cena says that Sundays are usually a time to rest and recuperate. Cena points out a young man in the crowd and says he’s the 10th level prestige keeping him down in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Or something. Cena then points out to a woman ringside and says her Sunday is usually reliving her Saturday or something.

  • Thoughts: Honestly all of this crowd work bullsh*t is stupid so I’m done recapping until he says something of worth.

After Cena’s crowdwork is done, he goes on to talk about the Royal Rumble match. He hypes the show and says this Sunday will be an all-out war. Cena says this Sunday he will win the Royal Rumble. “My Time is Now” hits and Cena poses…until the music of Sheamus brings the “Celtic Warrior” out. Sheamus calls Cena’s speech bizarre and says he has it all wrong. The Prime Time Players of all people then interrupt. Before they really get to talk out comes Randy Orton with a mic. Orton says he will win and then out comes The Miz to put his 2-cents in with “REALLY?!?” schtick. He’s interrupted by the music of Team Hell No. Both men have mics. They argue about who’s going to win between the both of them. Antonio Cesaro then comes out and says they’re all wrong. When he wins he’ll dedicate his win to the U.S. 3MB then make their way out and…yadda yadda. They call everyone delusional. Now a bunch of other roster members get in and rush the ring for a Royal Rumble preview. People get tossed out and stuff as we fade to logo or something.

  • Thoughts: I understand the mini-Rumble as stupid as it was, but let’s face it: the match is second fiddle to the true main event of Punk/Rock. Having the show end with this was ridiculous. Cena’s promo was even worse. Why cap the show with this and not the Punk/Rock stuff from earlier? Why even pretend the Rumble match matters in comparison? Whatever. Cena got to do his schtick and everyone else was stuck being hurried and rushed. This did nothing for me.

*****

Breaking It Down:

  • BEST MATCH: The Miz Vs. Dolph Ziggler
  • WORST MATCH: Kaitlyn Vs. Alicia Fox
  • BEST MOMENTS: CM Punk’s promo, The Shield beats down The Rock
  • WORST MOMENTS: John Cena/the ending segment as a whole, Vince McMahon, The Rock finding a bs excuse to enter the building, pretty much the show itself.

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