[TV Recap] WWE Raw – 1/28/2013

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One night after the historic end of the Royal Rumble, WWE presents Raw live from Las Vegas, Nevada. Naturally, with Vegas being the gambling capital of the world, theme for tonight’s show is the “RAW Roulette” which will decide the stipulations for the matches (and other stuff). Tonight will also be Vince McMahon‘s “evaluation” of adviser Paul Heyman as well as appearances by Rumble winner John Cena and the men involved in last night’s main event: CM Punk and the man who beat him for the championship, The Rock.

Click “read more” for a full play by play of the show as it airs…or to catch up if you’re reading this after the fact.

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Quick Match Results:

  1. Randy Orton pinned *WWE U.S. Champion* Antonio Cesaro in a non-title match with the RKO; The Miz was the special guest referee (12:45 of the match shown, as it joined the match in-progress).
  2. Bo Dallas pinned *WWE I.C. Champion* Wade Barrett with the Belly-to-Belly Suplex (2:13).
  3. John Cena pinned Cody Rhodes after the Attitude Adjustment (1:58).
  4. *WWE Divas Champion* Kaitlyn and Tamina Snuka fought to a no-contest in a “Las Vegas Showgirls Lumberjill Match” when the Lumberjills rushed the ring and started brawling with each other (3:00).
  5. Sheamus defeated Damien Sandow in a “Tables Match” with the White Noise (7:20).
  6. *WWE Tag Team Champions* Team Hell No defeated Chris Jericho & Dolph Ziggler in a “Strange Bedfellows Match” when Kane pinned Ziggler after a chokeslam (5:41).

*****

A video plays, first plugging tonght’s “Raw Roulette” and last night’s two big Royal Rumble moments: John Cena winning the Rumble for the second time and The Rock becoming the new WWE Champion after Vince McMahon restarted the match (read the recap of the whole PPV here).

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We go live backstage where Vickie Guerrero welcomes the home audience. She shows off the three Roulette wheels: one of superstars, one of stipulations, and a third called “Vickie’s Challenge”. She announces the first match, Randy Orton Vs. Antonio Cesaro, then spins the stipulation wheel. It lands on “Special Guest Referee”.

  • THOUGHTS: Orton Vs. Cesaro again? Jeeeeeeesus.

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“Cult of Personality” plays and CM Punk and Paul Heyman storm their way towards the ring. Punk shoves the stage hand ringside to grab the mic. Punk says this is the 435th day of his championship reign as he pinned The Rock and became the new People’s Champion. Punk screams some more and kicks the ropes out of anger. A “Rocky!” chant echoes from the Vegas crowd, and Punk chastises the crowd for supporting a “cheater”. He says as champion for 434 days he didn’t anyone to restart his match and says last night will go down in history as “The Phoenix Screwjob”. Punk says in his world you don’t get restarts or water breaks, then says he’s the real champion and is here to crash everyone’s party.

  • THOUGHTS: Holy sh*t that was an awesome way to start the show. Punk was so over the top intense and angry that it borderlined on being ridiculous but I loved every second of it. Just the way he entered, stomping, ripping things up, pushing the mic guy to grab the stick, was awesome. I might like former champ Punk even better.

“No Chance in Hell” starts up and out comes WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. Punk calls him a thief and swindler as McMahon makes his way out to the entrance stage. McMahon says he crashed Punk’s party last night and could do it again tonight. McMahon says that tonight he will be presented video evidence of Punk’s involvement with The Shield. Heyman tries to say something but McMahon says he’s tired of his crap. McMahon says they’ll talk later in the ring with Heyman during the adviser’s “Performance Evaluation” which could result in his termination by the end of it. McMahon tells them to have a nice party and exits. Punk paces and inaudibly yells at Heyman as Michael Cole wonders the identity behind the person giving McMahon video evidence.

  • THOUGHTS: I was under the impression Heyman served Punk (and Lesnar) independent of the WWE. Oh well.

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We go to the announce table, where Cole is joined by Jerry Lawler and JBL. JBL yells at them for “stooging” on Punk last night. Cole hypes The Rock‘s first appearance as WWE Champion.

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“Voices” starts up and out comes Randy Orton for the first match of the evening. Orton’s opponent, WWE U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro, makes his way out second. Justin Roberts introduces the special guest referee…The Miz. Out Miz comes in a ref shirt as we cut to commercial.

  • THOUGHTS: Wait so the guy Cesaro is feuding with is the special guest ref? SHOCK! AWE! SURPRISE!

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Match #1: Randy Orton Vs. *WWE U.S. Champion* Antonio Cesaro [Special Guest Referee: The Miz]

We join the match in progress, Orton in control. Orton connects with a suplex and goes for the cover but only gets 2. Cesaro gains control and strikes Orton repeatedly in the corner. However Orton responds with an out of the corner clothesline, then snap mares him to the mat for a 2-count. Back suplex from Orton results in another 2-count. The fight spills to the outside and Orton back suplexes Cesaro on the barricade. Orton soaks in the crowd’s adulation (after some hyping on his part). Orton continues the offense in the ring and catapults Cesaro neck-first into the bottom rope. Orton pulls him in and goes for the cover but only gets 2. Orton and Cesaro trade European uppercuts, and Cesaro gets the upper hand but he ends up being backdropped to the floor anyway. Orton slides out and clotheslines Cesaro to the floor. Orton has serial killer eyes as we go to commercial.

-Commercial Break-

Cesaro reverses a chinlock with a back suplex as we come back from break. Orton rolls to the apron to recover and Cesaro headbutts him before dropping him face-first on the turnbuckle. Cesaro rolls Orton back in and goes for the pin. 2-count. Cravate by Cesaro to wear Orton down. Orton headbutts his way out but runs into a sit-out bodyslam for 2. Double stomp from Cesaro followed by the deadlift gutwrench suplex. Cesaro goes for the pin again, but only gets 2. Cesaro applies a chinlock, burying his forearm in Orton’s face. Vegas brings Orton alive and he fights his way out. Orton ducks a clothesline, slips out of a bodyslam, then hits his two clothesline/powerslam combo. Orton whips Cesaro in the corner but runs into his knee. Cesaro follows it up with the Missile Uppercut from the second turnbuckle for 2. Cesaro argues with Miz, which allows Orton to regroup and hit the over the back backbreaker (that sounded weird). Cesaro rolls to the apron and pokes Orton in the eye to prevent the Hanging DDT. Cesaro starts repeatedly striking Orton in the corner and Miz pulls him off. They start arguing loudly and Cesaro turns his back on Orton, allowing “The Viper” to sneak up behind him and hit the RKO for the 1…2…3.

Winner [via Pinfall]: Randy Orton (12:45, give or take a few minutes due to it being joined in-progress)

  • MATCH THOUGHTS: Orton and Cesaro have fought so much now, and in such a small amount of time, that I struggle to come up with anything to say. It was good like their other encounters, but the sheen has worn off. Miz’s involvement was okay though and he actually made a pretty good ref. Brad Maddox must be furious.

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Post-Match: The Miz helps Cesaro up, then drops him with the Skull Crushing Finale.

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We go backstage, where the “Vickie Challenge” lands on “Make Me Laugh”. The camera pans over to Ryback and Vickie Guerrero tells him to go out there and do just that. Ryback snorts at her then heads to the ring. Ryback’s comedy routine starts after this commercial break.

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-Commercial Break-

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“Make Me Laugh” Challenge: Ryback Vs. The Prime Time Players [Emcee = Matt Striker]

WWE shows off Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf in the audience then go to the ring where The Prime Time Players have joined Ryback in the ring. Matt Striker lays down the rules for the “Make Me Laugh”, erm, match? The Prime Time Players make a joke about Striker’s inability to land a date and do the “Millions of Dollars” dance. It’s now Ryback’s turn: “what have four eyes, twenty fingers, and is about to be unconscious?”. The answer: The Prime Time Players. Ryback kicks Darren Young out of the ring and Titus O’Neil tries to hold his own but Ryback drops him with a spinebuster. Ryback sets up and drops O’Neil with the Lariat before stacking him up and delivering the Shell Shock. Ryback leads a “Feed Me More” and Striker declares Ryback the winner of the challenge. Ryback turns to Striker and Shell Shocks him for good measure as JBL marks the f*ck out.

  • THOUGHTS: The Prime Time Players should’ve won. Their reaction to their bad joke was enough to crack me up. Also this segment was useless, so moving on.

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A video plays quickly covering the career of 2013 WWE Hall of Fame inductee Bob Backlund. Afterwards they also hype Mick Foley being the other announced entrant, and tease the third inductee’s announcement later tonight before hyping up The Rock for later tonight.

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-Commercial Break-

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Vickie Guerrero spins the stipulation wheel and it lands on “Player’s Choice”. Guerrero says that Wade Barrett gets to choose his own opponent. We cut to the ring where Barrett is already in the ring. He challenges Bo Dallas, who eliminated him from the Rumble last night. Barrett says Dallas’ career ends tonight to the Barrett Barrage. Dallas makes his way out to his NXT theme music. Not much of a reaction but that’s to be expected at this point. We see Dallas’ elimination of Barrett from last night.

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Match #2: Bo Dallas Vs. *WWE I.C. Champion* Wade Barrett 

Dallas takes Barrett down with a couple of armdrags followed by a dropkick and Barrett retreats to the corner with a surprised look on his face. Barrett, however, side kicks Dallas in the midsection then throws him head-first into the second turnbuckle. Barrett seats Dallas on the second rope then hits a running kick to the head. Dallas rolls in and gets a kick to the midsection for his troubles. Barrett winds his right arm up for the Bull Hammer but Dallas catches him with the belly-to-belly suplex for the surprise 1…2…3!

Winner [via Pinfall]: Bo Dallas (2:13)

  • MATCH THOUGHTS: Well the WWE certainly sees something in Bo Dallas and after his long stint in developmental it’s nice to see him get a shot on the main roster. This wasn’t much of a match but a good surprise win for the NXT upstart and Vegas did have a minor “Let’s Go Bo!” chant going. Weird how both secondary champions lost clean though. That’s…unfortunate.

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Backstage Cody Rhodes spins the Superstar roulette wheel which lands on John Cena. That match is next!

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-Commercial Break-

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Cody Rhodes is in the ring for the next match. The announcers recap the opening segment with CM Punk sans video then do a “Tale of the Tape” between John Cena and Fred Flinstone as Cena is now on the cover of Fruity Pebbles. “My Time is Now” kicks up and the non-cartoon (okay that’s debatable) Cena makes his way out.

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Match #3: John Cena Vs. Cody Rhodes

Rhodes with a side headlock, but Cena slings him into the ropes and lands a hip toss. Cena follows it up with a dropkick and begs off as Rhodes regroups in the corner. Cena whips Rhodes into the corner then hits a snap suplex. Rhodes rolls out of the ring and grabs a mic. He says this is a waste of time and starts to leave. Cena grabs Rhodes as he tries to make his exit and rolls him back in the ring. Cena with the Five Knuckle Shuffle followed by the Attitude Adjustment for the 1…2…3.

Winner [via Pinfall]: John Cena (1:58)

  • MATCH THOUGHTS: Fair enough.

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Post-Match: Cena grabs the mic to address the WWE Universe. He lets the Vegas crowd cheer/boo for a moment before talking. Cena says by the sound of it some people didn’t pick him to win last night. Cena says any one of the 29 other superstars could come down and say how they should’ve won the Rumble but there’s one man who did. Cena says last night was the only the first step. Cena says the second step for a Rumble winner is to choose their opponent for Wrestlemania 29. Cena says it’s his most difficult step and a “Cena Sucks!” chant breaks out. Cena says the WWE Champion in April could be either CM Punk…or The Rock.

  • THOUGHTS: Some will say Cena spoiled the Punk/Rock II reveal but every champion ever has a rematch clause so I’d like to pretend he decided not to treat the crowd like a bunch of idiots.

Cena puts over Punk and how he’s constantly lost to him over the past couple of years, then brings up The Rock and their year-long feud culminating at Wrestlemania 28. Cena says that he lost to The Rock, and The Rock won. “Rocky!” chants fill the arena. Cena says he has a difficult choice; the World Heavyweight Championship (in which Cena says he good odds of winning) or the WWE Championship (which he doesn’t have as good of a chance to win due to Rock and/or Punk being champ by then). Cena makes his decision and challenges the WWE Champion for Wrestlemania 29 in 69 days. Cena sends a message to Rock and Punk: they are now marked men and they are all on the Road to Wrestle…

The music of The Shield hits and out come Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose through the crowd. They rush the ring and attack Cena. After a brief beatdown out comes Sheamus to help Cena out. The Shield triple team the “Celtic Warrior”. Finally out comes Ryback. Ryback gets Reigns alone in the ring but Rollins/Ambrose pull him out to the floor and throw him into the steps. Sheamus tries to fight again but they sends him hard into the ring post. The Shield take a second to pose in the ring and Cena attacks them from behind so they go back to beating him down. The Shield finish Cena off with a triple powerbomb, then exit back through the crowd.

  • THOUGHTS: It’s almost like The Shield’s beatdown of Cena was WWE’s way of placating the stereotypical internet fan. I, on the other hand, just wish that their whole schtick would finally start leading somewhere. Maybe later tonight.

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-Commercial Break-

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An ad plays for the WWE App and the “second screen experience” involving a guy leaving for a second and his girlfriend glued to her iPad with the V.O. saying “nothing ever stops”.

  • THOUGHTS: Well excuuuuse me for wanting to pee, WWE.

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Earlier on RAW: The Shield beatdown from four minutes ago. Scroll up to read about it.

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We cut to backstage where the stipulation wheel lands on “Lingerie Pillow Fight”. The camera shows that Tensai and Brodus Clay are the ones stuck in that match. Tensai protests and says he’s a monster before walking away. Vickie Guerrero says they will not have that match and Clay spins the “Vickie’s Challenge” wheel. It lands on “Dance Off”.

  • THOUGHTS: Nice fakeout from WWE and a clever shot at the people still beating themselves off to their Attitude Era memories. But Clay getting “Dance Off” on the challenge wheel? Come on at least make it look like a random chance.

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A video plays highlighting the “Royal Rumble FanFest” weekend.

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“Somebody Call My Momma” kicks on and out comes Brodus Clay along with The Funkadactyls. That, erm, “thing” is next.

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-Commercial Break-

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“Dance-Off” Challenge: Brodus Clay Vs. Tensai

Jerry Lawler is in the ring to emcee the contest. Tensai is in a robe. He stops Lawler mid-spiel and takes the robe off, revealing that he’s wearing a lingerie top. Lawler tells Tensai it’s a Dance-Off, not a Lingerie Pillow Fight. Brodus Clay says “my bad” to not telling him. Tensai is wearing a thong over his trunks. Clay goes first in the dance-off and dances with The Funkadactyls. Now it’s Tensai’s turn. Tensai is reluctant but Lawler tells him “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”. Tensai makes him promise. Generic music hits and Tensai does the Robot before doing the Gangnam Style dance kind-of followed the lawn mower and the shovel. Clay and the Funkadactyls dance with him. We cut backstage to Ron Simmons watching on one of the flatscreens and gives them a “DAMN!” for their troubles.

  • THOUGHTS: Best use of Ron Simmons in a long time. Also seriously poor Tensai.

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World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio spins the stipulation wheel backstage. It lands on “Body Slam Challenge”. Vickie Guerrero laughs and says the greatest trick Vegas will ever see is Del Rio slamming The Big Show. Del Rio says “in Vegas, anything can happen” then leaves with Ricardo Rodriguez.

  • THOUGHTS: Will it be a full bodyslam or will Del Rio go the Lex Luger route and hip-toss Show instead? Place your bets! (Hey that’s actually an apt analogy! Yay! RUFIO! RUFIO!)

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-Commercial Break-

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Ricardo Rodriguez comes out and does the introduction for World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio makes his way out, gives his towel to a kid ringside, and plays to the crowd. The announcers talk about his win last night. The Big Show makes his way out second. Show swats Rodriguez away and attacks Del Rio. Del Rio tries to fight back but Show knocks him out with the K.O. Punch. Show pulls out a roll of duct tape and kicks Rodriguez down. Show duct tapes Del Rio’s right arm to the second rope. Show then throws Rodriguez across the ring, ripping off his suit coat. Show rips Rodriguez’s shirt open and delivers a loud chop across the chest as Del Rio tries to fight his way out. Show puts Rodriguez on the ropes and gives Del Rio a front row seat to another chop. Show then throws Rodriguez into the barricade on the outside. Show brings Rodriguez back in the ring and slams him to the mat before jawing at Del Rio with his foot on Rodriguez’s head. Del Rio kicks at Show as he puts more duct tape around his arm. Show picks Rodriguez up and delivers another chop as Del Rio desperately tries to kick at Show. Show picks Rodriguez up once again, yells at Del Rio, then drops Del Rio’s best friend with the K.O. Punch. Show taunts Del Rio as Del Rio continues to kick at Show. Show gets in close and kicks at Del Rio then teases the K.O. Punch. Finally he delivers and out goes Del Rio, arm still hanging on the second rope. Show stares at the carnage he’s responsible for then exits the ring to a chorus of boos.

  • THOUGHTS: That was the good kind of intense and just helped Del Rio become an even bigger babyface. Show was in perfect heel mode and hopefully it showed doubters why he remains one of the best each week. Goddamn. I actually want to see a third match between the two now.

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-Commercial Break-

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WWE Divas Champion Kaitlyn and Tamina Snuka are in the ring surrounded by Divas wearing showgirl costumes. It’s a “Las Vegas Showgirls” match.

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Match #4: *WWE Divas Champion* Kaitlyn Vs. Tamina Snuka in a “Las Vegas Showgirls Lumberjill Match”

Snuka with the early offense, throwing Kaitlyn to the mat with ease. Snuka with a headbutt and down goes the Divas Champion. Snuka follows up with a…reverse chinlock. The face Divas try to get the crowd behind the champ. Snuka kicks Kaitlyn out to the heel side, and Aksana/Alicia Fox get some shots in. Kaitlyn drops Aksana and rips her feather hat off. Kaitlyn then hits Snuka with the headdress followed by a running clothesline. Kaitlyn beats on Snuka some more then sticks the hat on Snuka. Kaitlyn goes for the pin and all the showgirls rush the ring attacking each other (?!?). Snuka and Kaitlyn stare one another down in the carnage.

Winner: No Contest (3:00)

  • MATCH THOUGHTS: What…the…f*ck. Props to Kaitlyn and Snuka for attempting a staredown/feud builder while the showgirls brawled in the ring (WOMEN ARE SO CATTY TO EACH OTHER) but…dear god. Between the pointlessness of the lumberjills to the horrible commentary…you wonder why women’s wrestling is a joke to the mainstream audience.

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-Commercial Break-

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The Rock: WWE Champion

Justin Roberts introduces new WWE Champion The Rock to the ring. Out he comes WWE Championship in hand as the crowd cheers. After some posing and some cheering, Rock asks for a mic. He says there’s only one word that describes the spirit of tonight: “Finally”. That launches him into his “Fiiiinnnnalllly” routine. Rock talks about winning 7 WWE Championships in the past and says that this reign is the proudest of his career. Rock says that for 434 days, CM Punk has been ripping the fans apart (untrue). Rock says those days are over, and calls Punk a hobo and Heyman “Twinkie Tits”. Rock says tonight they usher in “The People’s Era” and they are going to all get pie.

“Cult of Personality” cues up and out comes CM Punk. He immediately asks for the music to be cut. He says the WWE Championship was handed to The Rock like everything else in his life. Punk mocks the fans for villifying him now and says in 20 years they’ll consider him a genius. Punk says the title Rock holds is prestigious because he held it for 434 days. Punk says if Rock had any respect for his bloodline he would hand the belt back to him and apologize. Rock says if Punk had nuts between his legs, he’d come down to the ring and take it. Rock says Punk has two choices: face him like a man or stay on the stage like a “punk-ass bitch”.

Punk walks down the aisle but stops short of the ring. He then says he’s going to be a “punk-ass bitch” and stay on the stage because Rock doesn’t tell him what to do. Punk then challenges him to a rematch at Elimination Chamber and drops the mic. Rock says the only thing Punk will be taking in three weeks is an asskicking if you smelllllllll…

  • THOUGHTS: And now it’s official post-Cena spoiler. Right on. This whole segment was pretty whatever though.

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Next on RAW: Sheamus Vs. Damien Sandow in a “Tables Match”.

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-Commercial Break-

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Damien Sandow is in the ring. We see a clip of him spinning the wheel to make his match with Sheamus a Tables match that was exclusive to the WWE App until about five seconds ago.

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Match #5: Sheamus Vs. Damien Sandow in a “Tables Match”

Sandow immediately rolls out of the ring and Sheamus gives chase. They roll back in and Sheamus goes on the offensive. Sandow reverses an Irish whip but Sheamus blocks a hip toss. He attempts a clothesline but Sandow ducks and rolls back out to the ring. Sheamus follows and sends him face-first into the ring steps. Sheamus pulls out a table from under the ring. Sheamus goes for a slam through the table but Sandow slides out and goes to the other side of the ring. Sandow dropkicks Sheamus when he catches up with him. Sandow pulls out a table of his own but Sheamus attacks him from behind and throws it at Sandow, cracking him in the skull. Sheamus slides the table in the ring and then throws Sandow inside. Sandow attacks Sheamus when he gets in the ring, attacking the shoulder The Shield hurt earlier. Sandow rolls back out and grabs another table (?), sliding that into the ring. Sandow slams the table into Sheamus’ bad arm, then puts the the leg of the chair over Sheamus’ arm, dropping the knee to smash it.

Sandow sets up the table in the corner and goes to put Sheamus through it but Sheamus blocks it. Sheamus tosses Sandow over the top but Sandow stops himself from going through the table by landing on the apron. Sandow side steps a Brogue Kick, but Sheamus launches himself back into the ring at Sandow with a shoulderblock. Sheamus grabs Sandow by the beard and beats on him in the corner followed by a short-arm clothesline. Sheamus goes for an Irish whip but Sheamus reverses into a side Russian legsweep followed by the Elbow of Disdain. Sandow throws Sheamus into the side of the table, then sets it up proper. Sandow lays Sheamus on the table and heads to the top turnbuckle. Sheamus gets up and knocks him to the apron followed by the 10 Forearms of Death. Sheamus tries to suplex Sandow back in and through the table but Sandow blocks it. Sandow rolls in but gets caught in the White Noise and Sheamus slams him through the corner table for the victory.

Winner: Sheamus (7:20)

  • MATCH THOUGHTS: Good psychology with Sheamus favoring the shoulder injured earlier and Sandow trying to take advantage of it. But it’s Sheamus and he matters more so he beat Sandow anyway. It is what it is. I’m really not into this show right now, so my recap is probably suffering at this point.

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-Commercial Break-

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“Karaoke Challenge” The Great Khali [w/ Natalya & Hornswoggle] Vs. Zack Ryder

Jerry Lawler is with Zack Ryder and The Great Khali for WWE Karaoke. Khali is up first, he’s doing “Sexy Boy”. Khali mumbles a bunch, only audible part being “Sexy Boy”. The segment is interrupted by 3MB, who make their way out in jeans and leather. They make fun of what just happened, and then say they are music. Ryder says he loves music and Khali is into headbanging (that’s not music). Drew McIntyre shows off an air guitar routine, which causes a Khali Brain Chop. Ruff Ryder to Jinder Mahal, Brain Chop for Heath SlaterHornswoggle makes his way to the top and hits the Tadpole Splash. The faces then dance in the ring or whatever.

  • THOUGHTS: Yup I’m buying an indy show when this concludes to atone for watching this sh*t. Jesus christ.

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Chris Jericho is walking backstage. He returns to Raw next!

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-Commercial Break-

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Chris Jericho Returns to RAW

“Break the Walls Down” cues up and out comes Chris Jericho to make his big return to Raw. The announcers talk about his 45 minute stint in the Rumble last night. Jericho welcomes everyone to “Raw…is…Jericho!” and says it’s great to be back in the WWE. Jericho says his six months away felt like six years, and last night was one of the greatest night of his career. He then thanks the fans some more. Jericho says he will never eveeeeeeeeeeeeeeer forget agayne.

Dolph Ziggler comes out to interrupt, along with his entourage of AJ Lee and Big E Langston. Ziggler says Jericho doesn’t even work here anymore. Lee says she was GM and made the match, then apologizes to Ziggler for it. A “Y2J!” chant breaks out. Lee says she personally got Jericho terminated from the WWE. Jericho tells Ziggler to put a leash on his crazy little doggie. Langston tells Jericho to leave before he ruins his little return. Jericho asks Langston what “E” stands for and says it’s his bra size. Ziggler tells him to just leave.

Vickie Guerrero appears on the TitanTron and says she was the one who rehired Jericho. Guerrero then says they’re gonna have a match and spins the stipulation wheel. It lands on “Strange Bedfellows”. Guerrero says Jericho and Ziggler will team together to face Team Hell No. Out come the WWE Tag Team Champions.

  • THOUGHTS: Jericho is well-liked and thought of in higher regard than The Rock…but don’t let him off the hook for his return promo. It was the same “pandering/lame joke” schtick Rock pulls. I was happy Ziggler came out to spoil the party (complete with Big E in a “two sizes too small” singlet). The strange bedfellows stipulation is interesting I guess. At least they didn’t go Jericho/Ziggler one on one immediately.

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Match #6: *WWE Tag Team Champions* Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan & Kane) Vs. Chris Jericho & Dolph Ziggler [w/ AJ Lee & Big E Langston]

Kane and Ziggler start off. Ziggler shows off to Jericho by not running into a clothesline or something. The match continues as we go to commercial.

-Commercial Break-

Ziggler has Bryan in a headlock as we come back from break. Ziggler teases tagging in Jericho but decides not to. Ziggler with an elbowdrop for 2. Ziggler hits the ropes and Jericho tags himself in. Dropkick to Kane, elbow to Bryan. Jericho misses the Lionsault but lands on his feet. Jericho goes for the Walls of Jericho but Bryan shakes him off. Kane tags in and they mess up a move, blaming each other for what just happened. Bryan shoves Kane, Kane shoves back knocking Bryan to the mat. Jericho slaps Kane on the back, then slides out to let Ziggler take the punishment. Kane chokeslams Ziggler for the 1…2…3.

Winners [via Pinfall]: Team Hell No (5:41)

  • MATCH THOUGHTS: Clever ending with Jericho suckering Ziggler into getting a chokeslam from Kane. Outside of that…it was a nothing match wrestling-wise. It was more about the storylines as Jericho/Ziggler got rolling and Team Hell No continued to tease dissension.

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The 3rd inductee into the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame is announced. It is…Trish Stratus. A video plays to highlight her career.

  • THOUGHTS: I can jive with that. She became one hell of a wrestler and her feud with Mickie James was awesome.

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Paul Heyman’s “Performance Evaluation”

Vince McMahon is in the ring as we come back from break. McMahon says he loves to have fun and the best place in the world to do that is Vegas. He calls Paul Heyman down to the ring. He doesn’t show and McMahon says CM Punk was escorted out of the building 10 minutes ago so he won’t find him. Finally Heyman makes his way out and the crowd loudly boos as he rubs his hands together. Heyman gets in the ring and extends his hand. McMahon asks the crowd if he should shake his hand but does it anyway. McMahon asks Heyman to hold his mic and McMahon sanitizes his hands.

McMahon asks point blank if Heyman has The Shield or Brad Maddox under contract. Heyman deflects and thanks McMahon for the opportunity to settle this once and for all. Heyman gives him his answer: “no”. McMahon asks Heyman if he’s ever lied before. Heyman says he knows where this is going, and says he has lied every stinking day of his life because he’s a promoter and that’s what promoters do. Heyman says he has lied over and over to survive, but looks McMahon in the eye and swears that he is not lying about The Shield and Maddox.

  • THOUGHTS: Heyman just knocked that out of the f*ck out of the park.

Heyman says if it takes being an honorable man to be in the WWE, then dammit that’s what he’ll be. McMahon asks for a closeup on Heyman’s “honorable” face. McMahon asks the crowd if that’s an honorable man and the crowd says no. McMahon rolls some footage of Heyman talking with Brad Maddox backstage a few weeks ago. Heyman talks about maneuvering Maddox into the main event of Hell in a Cell and paying The Shield to do a job. Heyman says The Shield is more effective than Maddox is. The Shield then show up behind Maddox. Maddox begs, but Heyman tells him to take his beating like a man. The Shield beat Maddox down as the footage cuts out.

  • THOUGHTS: Holy sh*t that was a really awesome few minutes. Well-acted, tense, dramatic, and makes Heyman look even more like an asshole. Well-done.

We’re back live and Heyman can’t even look McMahon in the eye. McMahon asks for an explanation. Heyman says that wasn’t him in the video. Heyman says he was falsely accused and says his thick New York Jewish accent and it’s easy to impersonate that. Heyman says the man in the video was an impersonator doing a poor job. Heyman says he’s being set up due to envy and jealousy, due to his success with ECW and CM Punk. McMahon asks the crowd if Heyman deserves to be fired. Heyman tells him not to do this to him.

McMahon goes to fire Heyman, but out comes Brock Lesnar to interrupt things. Lesnar circles the ring, hops a bit, then gets in. Lesnar pats Heyman and Heyman begs him not to do anything. Lesnar walks over and gets in McMahon’s face. McMahon tells Lesnar not to do something he’ll regret later on. Heyman can be heard in the background saying he has it under control and begs Lesnar to leave the ring. Lesnar stalls for a second then picks McMahon up, dropping him with a nasty-looking F5. Heyman gets on his knees and begs Lesnar to stop it here. Lesnar does his little hop thing, then leaves the ring as McMahon quivers in the ring and we fade to USA Network re-runs.

  • THOUGHTS: After an almost unbearable three hours, Raw concludes with one of the best f*cking segments I’ve ever seen. Everything, literally everything, about it was amazing. McMahon revealing the footage, the footage itself, Heyman begging for his job in a very believable (and almost heartbreaking) way, Lesnar’s return, Lesnar’s F5 while Heyman begged him to stop and that he had everything under control…holy f*ck. Tremendous on all goddamn levels. I don’t care how dumb it makes me sound or how much I’ll probably regret it, this needs to be the said: that is the absolute best thing Heyman has ever done as an on-air talent. THE. BEST. THING. Holy sh*t. Just…holy sh*t. I’ll shut up now, you’re probably sick of asterisks.

*****

Overall Show Thoughts:

  • Most of this week’s Raw is damn near unwatchable. The matches were par for the course, the Raw Roulette “comedy” segments weren’t funny and frankly I found them insulting to my love of pro wrestling. The Rock and Punk lost a step in their promo war, and Chris Jericho’s return promo was almost as bad (don’t let him off the hook because you like him more than The Rock). Punk’s opening tirade was awesome and the Sheamus/Sandow Tables match was pretty good but it wasn’t enough to save this horrible sh*tpile of a show…until the last segment when they knocked it right out of the park. This show will go down as one of the worst, but that ending segment…one of the best. I’m still in awe. For those of you watching on DVR, you can pretty much ride that FF button but make sure to stop for this.
  • FAVORITE MATCH: Sheamus Vs. Damien Sandow
  • LEAST FAVORITE MATCH: Kaitlyn Vs. Tamina Snuka

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