[TV Report] WWE ‘Raw’ Recap + Commentary – 2/25/2013

raw-recap

This week RAW comes to us live from Dallas, TX and it’s looking like it’s going to be a stacked show, between the John Cena/CM Punk main event, the Vince McMahon/Paul Heyman “fight”, and potentially an appearance by a certain “Deadman”. Let the build to Wrestlemania 29 continue…or something.

Click “read more” for a live recap of the show as it airs, or click “read more” later when it’s not so live and you’re looking to catch up. Just click it either way, please.

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Quick Match Results:

  1. Ryback pinned Dolph Ziggler [w/ AJ Lee & Big E Langston] with the Shell Shock (11:10).
  2. Mark Henry pinned The Great Khali with the World’s Strongest Slam (1:23).
  3. Randy Orton pinned *WWE U.S. Champion* Antonio Cesaro in a non-title match with the RKO (3:02).
  4. R-Truth pinned Cody Rhodes with a running STO (2:23).
  5. *WWE Tag Team Champions* Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan & Kane) defeated The Prime Time Players (Darren Young & Titus O’Neil) when Kane pinned Young with a chokeslam (3:32).
  6. Jack Swagger [w/ Zeb Colter] defeated The Miz by submission with the Patriot Lock (7:11).
  7. John Cena pinned CM Punk with the Attitude Adjustment (26:34).

*****

The Mr. McMahon/Paul Heyman “Fight”

After a Justin Roberts introduction, “No Chance in Hell” hits bringing out Vince McMahonMichael Cole and Jerry Lawler welcome the home audience as McMahon makes his way to the ring on crutches. Cole and Lawler talk about his recent hip surgery. McMahon grabs a mic and says as they get closer to Wrestlemania they need something big every week on RAW. McMahon unenthusiastically call out Paul Heyman. Heyman walks out, mic already in hand, fists taped and wearing sweats. Heyman says he’s waited his entire life for this fight after being positioned as a wimp and wuss for as long as he can remember. Heyman assures McMahon that he is “all man” and says he has as much of a chance against him as Tony Romo does leading the Cowboys to the Super Bowl. Heyman says he’s not going to take it easy on McMahon and is coming for everything he’s got. Heyman steps in the ring and tackles McMahon to the mat. Heyman grabs a crutch and smashes McMahon in his injured hip. Heyman winds up as McMahon picks himself off the mat. Heyman swings but McMahon catches the crutch and tosses it. McMahon then cracks Heyman over the back with the crutch.

The fun is interrupted by Brock Lesnar, who comes out to crash the fight. Lesnar enters the ring and McMahon begs off when “Time to Play the Game” starts up and the crowd goes wild. Out comes the returning Triple H doing his usual entrance. Lesnar exits the ring to meet Triple H on the floor and Triple H lunges at Lesnar, beginning their fight. Triple H sends Lesnar head-first into the ring post twice and follows up by clotheslining the now-bloodied Lesnar over the barricade and into the time keeper’s area. Triple H grabs a crutch but Lesnar meets him and drops him on the announce table with his own version of The Attitude Adjustment. Lesnar rolls Triple H into the ring and grabs a chair. He goes to hit Triple H with it but runs into a spinebuster. Triple H grabs the chair and cracks Lesnar over the shoulder with it, sending him out to the floor. “Time to Play The Game” starts up again as Lesnar walks away bloodied and smirking, Triple H begging him to get back in the ring.

  • Segment Thoughts: Well WWE certainly didn’t waste time putting their d*ck on the table tonight. That was a fun as hell way to start the show and the Triple H/Lesnar brawl was brutal in the best ways possible. Good stuff.

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After some show hype, we cut to Ryback making his way to the ring. He’s in action next!

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-Commercial Break-

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After a brief recap of what you just watched five minutes ago, Cole and Lawler invites the crowd to TOUT their responses to what just happened with the best ones making it on TV tonight. Dolph Ziggler is in the ring for the next match accompanied by Big E Langston and AJ Lee. His opponent, Ryback, makes his way out second.

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Match #1: Ryback Vs. Dolph Ziggler [w/ Big E Langston & AJ Lee]

Ziggler with a quick waistlock, but Ryback reverses it and sends Ziggler flying to the mat. Ryback follows it up with another waistlock slam as Cole/Lawler talk about Ryback’s eating regimen. Ryback throws Ziggler to the mat a third time, but Ziggler responds with a thigh kick and a dropkick to the kneeling Ryback. Ziggler goes for the cover but Ryback emphatically kicks out, sending Ziggler flying. Ziggler immediately goes back on the offensive and applies a front chancery. Ryback picks Ziggler up and throws him off, then knocks him over with a shoulderblock. Ziggler attempts a leapfrog but Ryback catches him in mid-air and slams him to the mat. Ryback corners Ziggler and cracks off a chop across his chest. Ryback does it once again in the opposite corner followed by a forearm to the back. Ziggler fights back with a series of kicks and goes for a crossbody, but Ryback catches him and drives him spine-first into the corner before dropping him on the mat. Ziggler rolls to the outside to regroup as we go to commercial.

-Commercial Break-

Ryback has Ziggler in a delayed suplex as we come back from break. There he remains for a few more seconds before Ryback finally drops him. Ziggler rolls out to the floor once again but this time Ryback follows to continue the assault. Ryback rolls Ziggler back in and Ziggler goes for a kick but Ryback pushes him away. With the ref distracted Langston runs over Ryback, sending him crashing to the mat. Ziggler quickly rolls Ryback in for a cover but only gets a 1-count. Ziggler dropkicks the back of Ryback’s head and goes for another cover but Ryback easily kicks out. Ziggler with another front chancery as the crowd chants “Feed Me More!”. Ryback escapes the hold and shoves Ziggler off but runs into the ringpost shoulder-first. Ziggler responds with his high-impact DDT for the 1…2…kickout. Ryback goes for a right but Ziggler ducks and applies a sleeperhold wrapping his legs around the standing Ryback. Ryback rocks up and down before breaking the hold with a massive jawbreaker.

Ziggler tries to rush Ryback in the corner but Ryback smashes him to the mat. Ryback sends Ziggler into the ropes and tosses him into the air and face-first into the mat. The assault continues despite the interference of AJ and Langston before Ryback connects with the Shell Shock for the 1…2…3.

Winner [via Pinfall]: Ryback (11:10)

  • Match Thoughts: Ziggler made Ryback look like a monster, his offense coming off more brutal than usual. Good win for Ryback, but it begs the question: where are they going with him? And for that matter where the hell are they going with Dolph Ziggler? I don’t get it. He’s making 3MB look like unstoppable monsters at this point. So many wheels spinning with no destinations on the horizon.

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A trailer for the WWE Studios movie The Call starring Halle Berry and David Otunga plays in full.

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CM Punk Speaks

“Cult of Personality” hits and CM Punk makes his way out to the ring. We’ll hear from him right after this commercial break.

-Commercial Break-

The music dies down and Punk gets on the mic. He says that tonight everyone will witness history. Punk says tonight is not about a “match”, John Cena, or The Rock. Punk says he could stand out here and point at the Wrestlemania sign but tonight is not about that show. Punk says tonight is about the one thing more important than Wrestlemania and the WWE Championship: HIM. The crowd boos as Punk soaks it in. Punk says tonight is about him taking his rightful place in the “Showcase of the Immortals” at Wrestlemania and main eventing. Punk says he and he alone has defeated John Cena when it has mattered most and has pinned The Rock not one but twice in four weeks. Punk says he’s the Best in the World and he has earned the right to main event Wrestlemania. Punk says he’s an icon that walks among the superstars and is immortal. Punk says that in this world that everyone inhabits, he is god. Punk drops the mic and exits the ring as “Cult of Personality” kicks up.

  • Thoughts: Sounded more like a promo building up to a match against The Undertaker than anything WWE Championship-related but goddamn was that awesome. Punk’s megalomania is delicious.

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Donald Trump is announced as the fifth member of the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame class followed by the usual video package highlighting his accomplishments and wrestling-related importance.

  • Thoughts: If any of you watched this and didn’t scowl because Donald Trump is a piece of human garbage, please never read anything I write ever again.

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Mark Henry and The Great Khali head towards the ring via split-screen, as Cole hypes up their match next.

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-Commercial Break-

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Mark Henry and The Great Khali are already in the ring for the next match.

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Match #2: The Great Khali Vs. Mark Henry

Khali gets the early advantage with a boot to the face and repeated chops in the corner. Khali with a headbutt and a Brain Chop which causes Henry to bail out of the ring. Khali follows him out and sort-of kind-of pushes him into the ringpost. Back in the ring Henry squashes Khali in the corner then connects with the World’s Strongest Slam for the 1…2…3.

Winner [via Pinfall]: Mark Henry (1:23)

  • Match Thoughts: Quick and painless, plus Henry looking impressive by walking around with Khali in his arms. Let’s hope this is the end of their little feud though because my eyes.

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Cole and Lawler talk over a clip from The Marine 3: Homefront which features star The Miz beating someone up. The DVD is out next week in case you hate yourself. Speak of the devil out comes The Miz to the ringside area for the next segment. MizTV is next!

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-Commercial Break-

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MizTV w/ Alberto Del Rio, Ricardo Rodriguez, Jack Swagger, & Zeb Colter

After the first Fandango vignette of the evening, we go live where World Champ Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez make their entrance. Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter are already in the ring. Miz introduces his four guests. Colter says that since Glenn Beck declined his offer, he relishes the opportunity to talk face to face with Del Rio. Colter goes into his anti-immigrant rhetoric, saying there are currently 11 million “illegals” who take American jobs and stomp on our productivity. Colter tells Del Rio that “his” people drain the country. Miz stops Colter in order to give Del Rio a chance to talk. Miz asks him how hard it is to get citizenship in Mexico, but Colter interrupts and says it takes 10 years to become a citizen in Mexico due to paperwork and corruption. Colter says a foreigner can’t own property in Mexico then asks Del Rio what he’s afraid of. Colter asks Del Rio what’s wrong with “his” people. Del Rio tries to argue back but Colter interrupts and tells him to listen while he talks. Colter calls Rodriguez “Little Sling Blade” and tells them both to calm down. Colter says this isn’t personal, it’s what Del Rio represents. Colter says Del Rio represents success and the American Dream, encouraging millions of illegals to sneak across the Mexican border to seek that dream. Colter drops all pretense of political correctness and calls all of the undocumented immigrants “criminals”.

Del Rio gets mad and angrily tells Colter to shut up. Del Rio says the United States is the greatest country on Earth because it belongs to everyone. Del Rio says he’s no different from anyone else and says Colter and Swagger are descendents of immigrants. Del Rio says this is the land of opportunity and if you work hard enough, everything is possible. Del Rio says he’s living proof of that as Rodriguez holds up the World Heavyweight Championship. Del Rio says he didn’t know anything about Colter two weeks ago and had never met someone like him until now. Del Rio says he doesn’t like bullies, so if they have a problem with him then they should deal with it. Del Rio takes his sportscoat off and throws it to the mat. Swagger grabs the mic and says they will see Del Rio at Wrestlemania before finishing with “We The People!”. Swagger drops the mic and he and Colter exit the ring as Del Rio’s music plays.

  • Thoughts: Very intense and emotionally-charged stuff from Del Rio and Colter but I’m already losing interest in this storyline despite some good promo work.

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Randy Orton is in action next against Antonio Cesaro after the break because why the hell not.

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-Commercial Break-

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We see a clip from the WWE Active app, where Jack Swagger attacks The Miz from behind during the commercial break. Cut to the ring where Antonio Cesaro has made his entrance. His opponent, Randy Orton, makes his way out second.

  • Thoughts: Someone please stop this from happening every week. I beg you.

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Match #3: Randy Orton Vs. *WWE U.S. Champion* Antonio Cesaro in a non-title match

Cesaro with a side headlock to begin. Orton whips Cesaro off but gets taken down with a shoulderblock. They lock up and Cesaro applies another side headlock. Orton whips him off once more but leapfrogs Cesaro before taking him down. Orton follows up with a T-bone suplex for a 2-count. Cesaro easily regains the advantage and gets a 2-count following a deadlift gutwrench suplex. Cesaro with a knee to Orton’s back followed by raking his boot laces across the side of Orton’s face. Cesaro applies a sleeperhold and hits a series of European uppercuts after Orton tries to break out. Cesaro whips Orton into the corner but Orton comes flying out with a clothesline followed by the powerslam. Cesaro rolls to the apron and drops Orton throat-first on the top rope to prevent the Hanging DDT. Orton, however, responds with a backbreaker when Cesaro gets back in. Cesaro gets the knees up in the corner and goes to the second rope but his high-flying move is countered with an RKO for the 1…2…3.

Winner [via Pinfall]: Randy Orton (3:02)

  • Match Thoughts: At this point we should just add “Orton Vs. Cesaro” to the WWE Raw Drinking Game. Jesus.

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Cut to backstage where Team Hell No are watching the big-screen. Daniel Bryan tells Kane to let bygones be bygones. Kane says they should focus on working as a team in their match against The Prime Time Players tonight. Bryan tells Kane to stay in the corner because he can beat them on his own blindfolded. Kane then says he can beat both members of The Prime Time Players with one hand tied behind his back. Vickie Guerrero interrupts with an “Excuse Me!” as does Brad Maddox. Maddox and Guerrero talk over one another and announce that the tag match will feature a blindfolded Bryan and Kane with one arm tied behind his back. Awesome. Bryan repeatedly says he won’t be able to see until they mercifully cut away.

  • Thoughts: Yup WWE has given Brad Maddox the role on the show he was born for. He totally killed it in this segment and I like the added stipulations to the match. Should make for a good comedy match. I guess they’re doing that because Darren Young is apparently injured and can’t do much.

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We see an old clip from the Wrestlemania 21 hype where John Cena and JBL re-enacted the courtroom scene from A Few Good Men. 

  • Thoughts: Uh…what?

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Cole and Lawler hype up “Sheamus’ Oscar Snubs” which happens next!

  • Thoughts: UH…WHAT.

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-Commercial Break-

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Cole and Lawler announce that The Miz will get a chance to get revenge on Jack Swagger in a match later tonight, then they hype TOUT and hashtags and other things.

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Sheamus’ Oscar Snubs

Sheamus makes his way out to the ring wearing a suit and tie. He gets in the ring, where there’s a mic stand and everything. Sheamus said after getting to Dallas he watched a recording of The Oscars and didn’t like it. Sheamus says the biggest snub was the fact that Wade Barrett wasn’t nominated. He then points to the TitanTron where a trailer for Dead Man Down plays. We go back live and Sheamus says he can’t wait to watch it again. Sheamus then shows another trailer, this time of Barrett’s role in the movie. They freeze frame on a scene of Barrett in the background of a scene and Sheamus sarcastically says how captivating Barrett is. Sheamus says he waited for Barrett to say something but he just stood there.

The music of Wade Barrett hits and out he comes, mic in hand. Barrett says the Irish love the color green and it’s obvious by the amount of envy flowing out of Sheamus’ pores. Barrett says Sheamus is jealous of him and the fact he’s about to become a huge movie star. Barrett says that he’ll be going to the Dead Man Down premiere tomorrow while Sheamus drinks himself silly at the pub. Sheamus tells Barrett to make sure the papparazzi get his good side but since he has a stupid nose it’s probably not possible. Barrett goes for a clothesline but Sheamus ducks. Sheamus attempts a Brogue Kick but Barrett ducks and exits the ring.

  • Thoughts: So that was a thing that happened. At least Sheamus was actually kind of amusing here and Barrett actually got some mic time, but outside of that? Pointless. They might as well be fighting over a shampoo commercial, but it’s not like the WWE would ever do something like tha…wait.

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-Commercial Break-

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Cody Rhodes is already in the ring as we come back from break, his best friend Damien Sandow sitting in on commentary. His opponent, R-Truth, makes his way out next. We see clips of Truth’s return from last week.

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Match #4: R-Truth Vs. Cody Rhodes

Truth does a little dance then drops Rhodes with a right. Truth whips Rhodes into the corner but runs into an elbow. Truth ducks the Disaster Kick but rebounds with a standing kick. Rhodes continues his assault as Lawler calls The Rhodes Scholars a “bromance”. Truth fights back after some Rhodes offense and hits a running STO for the 1…2…3.

Winner [via Pinfall]: R-Truth (2:23)

  • Match Thoughts: I was distracted by the obnoxious attempts by Lawler and Cole to make gay jokes about Sandow and Rhodes to really pay attention to this match but I assure you that nothing was missed. So anyway moving on.

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Post-Match: Damien Sandow tries to attack R-Truth after the match but Truth catches him and knocks him out of the ring. Sandow angrily looks on as Truth celebrates his win.

  • Thoughts: Well this looks like a worthy fe…they really couldn’t find anything better for Sandow to do?

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Cole and Lawler segue into a YouTube video from Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter that talk about how the illegals are taking American jobs and such.

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-Commercial Break-

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Team Hell No and The Prime Time Players are already in the ring for the next match. Daniel Bryan is blindfolded while Kane has his right hand tied behind his back.

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Match #5: *WWE Tag Team Champions* Team Hell No Vs. The Prime Time Players

Bryan and O’Neil start the match off. Bryan accidentally tries to put an armlock on the ref because, you know, blindfold. Bryan apologizes then starts stumbling around pointing to find out where his opponent is. O’Neil blows his whistle to sucker Bryan into turning around before clotheslining him from behind. O’Neil with a bodyslam and tags Young in. Young with a bridging suplex for 1. O’Neil quickly tags back in and goes on the attack. Kane yells at Bryan to move so he does, causing O’Neil to miss an elbowdrop. Bryan accidentally slaps Kane on the outside before tripping on his way back in. Young tags back in and Kane gets the hot tag destroying Young with his one loose arm. Kane goozles Young, but O’Neil interferes to momentarily stop the chokeslam. Kane gets a second chance though and connects with it for the 1…2…3.

Winners [via Pinfall]: Team Hell No (3:32)

  • Match Thoughts: That was entertaining in its ridiculousness but I wish they just let Primo/Epico take the fall instead since their stock is already basement-level in the division. Also it looks like Young isn’t injured, or at least isn’t as injured as people thought. He didn’t do a lot in the ring though so maybe they’re just working around his limitations.

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-Commercial Break-

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An “Earlier on RAW” video highlights the Heyman/McMahon brawl followed by the Triple H/Lesnar brawl.

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“Special Op” plays as The Shield make their way out through the crowd. Dean Ambrose gets on the mic and says there will be no peace in the WWE until there is justice and honor. Ambrose says they are the most efficient and effective unit in the industry which makes a lot of people backstage very uncomfortable. Ambrose says they’re here to shatter everyone’s comfort zones. Roman Reigns tells the WWE to bring whatever army they want because they will win every single time. Seth Rollins says at TLC they defeated Ryback & Team Hell No and then defeated John Cena, Ryback, & Sheamus at Elimination Chamber. Rollins then says he dropped Chris Jericho last week like they’ve dropped every person who has come before then. Rollins asks if there’s anyone who wants to step up.

Sheamus interrupts them, now wearing a shirt and tights. He asks The Shield to come up to the entrance stage and fight him. Sheamus puts the mic down and begs them to come up. Ambrose and Reigns leave the ring to confront Sheamus, as Randy Orton appears out from the crowd and drops Rollins with an RKO. Orton escapes back into the crowd and stares The Shield down as the crowd goes wild.

  • Thoughts: First it was the finisher itself, now it’s the hit and runs; Randy Orton is evolving into Diamond Dallas Page at a quicker pace. Same old stuff from The Shield, same old people to come out and confront them. I want to stay positive but it’s just plate spinning.

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-Commercial Break-

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Jack Swagger is already in the ring with Zeb Colter as we come back from break. The Miz makes his way out second, all serious business due to the attack from earlier.

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Match #6: The Miz Vs. Jack Swagger [w/ Zeb Colter]

Miz gets the early advantage, sending Swagger flying over the top rope and onto the floor. Swagger climbs the apron but Miz kicks him off. Miz attempts an axehandle from the apron but Swagger catches him and hits the belly to belly suplex on the floor. Swagger yells “WE! THE PEOPLE!” as we cut backstage where Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez are watching the match. Back to the ring and Swagger works over Miz’s back with a couple of forearms. Swagger tries for a third but Miz blocks it and fights back. Swagger reverses an Irish whip into the corner then buries his knee repeatedly in Miz’s midsection before a running knee sends Miz crashing to the mat. Miz starts fighting back but a clothesline stops the momentum and nearly takes his head off. Swagger slams Miz to the mat then connects with the Swagger Bomb for the 1…2…kickout.

Swagger applies an armbar to wear down Miz, digging his knee into the side of Miz’s face. Miz fights out and hits his backbreaker/neckbreaker combo. Swagger easily fights back and slams Miz to the mat for another 2-count. Miz fights his way out of the corner then connects with a clothesline after a backdrop attempt fails. Miz with the running corner clothesline followed by the top-rope axehandle for 2. Miz attempts a running boot from Swagger catches it and goes for a slam. Miz reverses into a roll-up for a 2-count. Swagger pushes Miz through the ropes, and his left leg gets caught in the ropes wrenching the knee (and ankle too I guess). Swagger clips the knee to send Miz to the mat. Swagger follows up with The Patriot Lock and Miz quickly taps out.

Winner [via Submission]: Jack Swagger (7:11)

  • Match Thoughts: Good win for Swagger. He’s looking much more vicious in the ring lately and I dig it. The spot to “injure” Miz’s knee was interesting but I don’t know why that would make an ankle lock effective. Also I don’t understand the human body.

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We cut to the announce table where Lawler is eating Sonic, then segue into a clip of The Rock unveiling the new WWE Championship from last week.

  • Thoughts: Jerry Lawler should not be allowed near Sonic given the fact he almost died like three months ago. Also the WWE Championship is awesome-looking I don’t care what anyone says.

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-Commercial Break-

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We see a SUPERSTAR TOUT of Triple H challenging Brock Lesnar followed by another recap of the opening segment and then some TOUTs from some of the WWE fans. You can guess how that works out.

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Josh Matthews welcomes John Cena to the backstage interview area. Cena says there’s a certain buzz in the air tonight because they are moments away from “Thunderdome in Dallas”. Cena says one man will leave with a ticket to the Wrestlemania 29 main event. Cena says tonight the better man goes to Wrestlemania, no excuses and no second place. Cena says he asked for this match tonight to prove that he’s BACK. Cena says he’s serving humble pie and hopes all of his critics are hungry, then says for those who still believe in him “OUR TIME IS NOW!”.

  • Thoughts: Never normally a fan of these happy go lucky Cena promos, but this time felt different. I dug it. Well-done. I am hyped for this match.

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Cole and Lawler segue into a clip of Robot Combat League, the new show on SyFy hosted by Chris Jericho.

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-Commercial Break-

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Cole and Lawler show a TOUT of The Undertaker returning at a house show over the weekend before Justin Roberts provides the introduction to the main event. “Cult of Personality” hits, bringing out CM Punk sans Paul Heyman. Punk kneels down in the ring awaiting his opponent, staring daggers at the entrance stage. Finally “My Time is Now” kicks up and out comes his opponent John Cena. Cena says “our time is now” then runs to the ring. Roberts handles the in-ring introductions of the participants.

  • Thoughts: This definitely feels all “big fight”-y and I love it. LOVE IT.

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Main Event: John Cena Vs. CM Punk

Cena goes in for a lockup but Punk kicks his hands away. On the second attempt they lock up for real and jockey for position. Punk wins the stand-off with a headlock takedown. Cena steps on the back of Punk’s knee to force him in a kneeling position then takes him down with a wristlock. They trade holds and reversals before Cena gets a snapmare and a headlock. Punk gets to the ropes to force a ref break. Both men regroup and lock up once again. Cena with a headlock takedown, but Punk escapes with a headscissors. Punk responds with a headlock takedown of his own and maintains the hold through Cena’s escape attempts. They get to their feet and Cena whips him off, leapfrogging Punk and dropping him with a hip toss. Punk bails to the outside as we go to commercial.

-Commercial Break-

Cena connects with a backdrop in the ring as we come back from break. Cena follows up with a release Fisherman’s suplex but misses a corner splash, allowing Punk to regain the advantage. Punk goes for the cover but only gets 2. Punk responds with elbows to the back of Cena’s neck followed by a reverse neckbreaker for another 2-count. Punk applies a headscissors, grabbing his own foot to increase the pressure. Cena gets to his feet, Punk on top, and creates separation via electric chair. Cena gets the boots up during a corner splash attempt and follows up with a bulldog for a 2-count. Cena with a headlock takedown on Punk and manages a 1-count before Punk realizes his shoulders are down. Punk escapes, whips Cena into the ropes and connects with a spinning heel kick for 2. Punk locks on a reverse chinlock to wear Cena down some more. Cena breaks free and starts his pre-Five Knuckle Shuffle ritual but Punk ducks a flying shouldertackle and Cena launches himself out to the floor. Punk follows up with a suicide dive through the ropes and rolls Cena back in for a pinfall attempt as we take another commercial break.

-Commercial Break-

Both men are recovering in the ring as we come back from break. Punk countered the Attitude Adjustment with a DDT during the break. Cena goes into the pre-Five Knuckle Shuffle ritual once again but Punk counters with the Anaconda Vice. Cena counters into a roll-up for 2. Punk immediately follows up with another move and goes for the pin, getting a 2-count of his own. Punk signals for the GTS but Cena moves and goes for the STF. Punk gets to the ropes to break it before it’s applied. Punk launches himself into Cena with a springboard clothesline for another 2-count. Punk goes for another springboard clothesline, but Cena side steps and locks on the STF. Punk slides out of the STF and reverses into the Anaconda Vice. After a struggle Cena reverses back into the STF. Punk manages to roll Cena up for the 1…2…kickout.

  • Mid-Match Thought: That was an awesome sequence. I’m loving the hell out of this match.

Both men get to their feet and trade rights and kicks and headbutts. Cena starts winning the shootout but gets a kick to the gut for his troubles. But Cena ducks another kick and hits the side slam. Cena signals for the Five Knuckle Shuffle but Punk kicks him in the face and the two trade near-falls in another great sequence. Cena recovers in the corner and Punk hits a running knee to the temple. Punk goes for the bulldog but Cena reverses into the side slam again before finally connecting with the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena goes for the Attitude Adjustment but Punk slips out and goes for the GTS. Cena slithers out of that and hits a sit-out powerbomb for the 1…2…KICKOUT.

Cena heads to the top rope, but Punk crotches him. Punk goes to the second rope to attempt a superplex but Cena powers him off. He grabs both of Punk’s wrists and headbutts Punk off the ropes. Cena finishes his climb to the top and hits the top rope legdrop across the neck for the 1…2…KICKOUT. Cena picks Punk up but Punk kicks him in the back of the head. Punk hits the high knee in the corner but Cena grabs him and connects with the Attitude Adjustment for the 1…2…KICKOUT.

  • Mid-Match Thought: Guys seriously this match is f*cking amazing.

The action spills to the outside and Punk sends Cena running into the ringpost. Punk rolls into the ring and Cena beats the count at 9.5. Punk, incensed, drops Cena with the GTS for the 1…2…KICKOUT. Goddamn. Punk goes for the second GTS, but Cena grabs the leg and locks on the STF. Punk screams and finally makes it to the ropes to force a break. Both men get up and Punk connects with a motherfucking PILEDRIVER for the 1…2…KICKOUT. Punk heads to the top but misses the top rope elbow. Cena connects with a hurricanrana out of nowhere and follows up with the Attitude Adjustment for the 1…2…3!

Winner [via Pinfall]: John Cena (26:34)

  • Match Thoughts: So good. SO F*CKING GOOD. SO BEYOND F*CKING GOOD. It had everything: a story, high drama, PILEDRIVERS, near-falls, counters into counters, PILEDRIVERS, and also more PILEDRIVERS. In 27 minutes, Cena proved he was worthy of the WWE Championship shot at Wrestlemania 29 and concluded his story with Punk at the same time. Punk also came out looking like a million bucks as well. Just…wow. An early MOTY contender, no goddamn question about it. Wow.

—–

Post-Match: Cena celebrates his win as Cole and Lawler officially announce that he will main event against The Rock at Wrestlemania 29. Fade to logo on the #1 contender.

*****

RAW in a Nutshell:

  • BEST MATCH: John Cena Vs. CM Punk
  • WORST MATCH: Randy Orton Vs. Antonio Cesaro
  • BEST SEGMENTS/MOMENTS: The Vickie Guerrero/Brad Maddox partnership, Triple H’s surprise return, Punk’s promo, Cena’s promo, Randy Orton’s hit and run RKO.
  • WORST SEGMENTS/MOMENTS: Sheamus’ Oscar Snubs, The Shield’s promo, Mark Henry Vs. The Great Khali, secondary champions getting no love, the commentators whole existence.

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