WWE Raw Report
The Big News: Raw delivered again, with Rock’s big answer back to John Cena and an excellent verbal duel between CM Punk and Chris Jericho.
The show was going to start with Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk, but Chris Jericho interrupted before Bryan made his entrance. Jericho said he is part of a special dying breed of performers who toured the world and became stars before they arrived in WWE. They cared more about having the best match than politics or slots and were given nothing while taking everything. Jericho acknowledged developing a chip on his shoulder and getting a bad reputation backstage because of it, but said he didn’t care because he knew he was the best. Jericho admitted that Punk is like him: a maverick who went against the grain and became more than anyone thought he would. However, that’s just because Punk wants to be Jericho.
Punk responded that Jericho didn’t invent saying that he is the best. Punk noted Bret Hart used to say that before Jericho and mocked the idea Jericho invented the phrase. Jericho said Punk needs to take Jericho seriously because Jericho is the best in the world. Jericho said he has faced every legend and beaten them all. Jericho purported to create legendary matches and moments which will be around long after Punk is gone, because he is the best in the world at everything he does.
Punk picked up on the tone of Jericho’s comments and said that Punk has an inferiority complex. Punk asked whether Jericho is trying to prove something to the people, Punk or to himself. Punk said Jericho’s confidence has been replaced by jealousy. He agreed that he came from a similar background as Jericho, but said that he passed Jericho. Punk argued that Jericho was never the man like Punk is now the man and Jericho has a Napoleon complex. Punk said that Jericho went off to be a Hollywood celebrity and dance with the stars while Punk was swimming with the sharks.
Jericho said when he was becoming a bigger star than Punk ever has been, he could only think about Punk ripping him off. Jericho said the vignettes, jacket and such are just window dressing and he’s back to embarrass Punk on the biggest stage, take back what is his, and prove he’s the best in the world at what he does. Punk responded that Jericho just had to ask for a shot.
Punk added that they don’t need celebrities, pageantry, pyro or jackets; they just need the two of the in the ring. They’ll find out who the best in the world is and they might have the greatest match in WrestleMania history. Punk said that when he celebrates at the end of the night, it won’t be the end of the world but just the end of Jericho’s. This was a tremendous opening segment as both guys did a great job making their match seem like a meaningful event and big deal.
CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan ended in a no contest. The match was basically a backdrop for Teddy Long and John Laurinaitis arguing on commentary. Bryan worked over Punk including throwing him into the steps. Punk came back with a high knee, body slam and top rope elbow. Punk signaled for GTS when David Otunga got on the apron. Punk knocked him off but Otunga moments later got back on the apron. Santino knocked Otunga off with the cobra. Laurinaitis then pulled Santino off the apron.
This led to a big argument on the outside. As this was going on, Bryan went to leave. Sheamus threw Bryan back into the ring and Punk gave Bryan the GTS. The referee went to count but Laurinaitis called that off and another big argument transpired. As Punk was leaving, Jericho attacked him from behind, slamming him on the stage and putting him in the walls. Making your champions secondary to a pointless feud between general managers is dumb.
Kelly Kelly beat Nikki Bella in a typically short women’s match. Brie got up on the apron and Kelly knocked her off. Nikki then rolled up Kelly from behind but Kelly rolled through for the win. They were playing up that Kelly is angry at Eve Torres now.
John Cena beat Miz. Before the match, Miz again complained about his decline and not having a spot at Mania this year. I’m so sick of Miz complaining about the death of his career. It’s not the right kind of heat, either. Miz briefly was in control with a back breaker/neck breaker combination and knee lift. But Cena then made a quick comeback with shoulder blocks, the Cena slam, the five knuckle, the FU and the STF for the submission. They showed Rock watching backstage afterwards.
Epico & Primo retained the tag titles beating Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger and R. Truth & Kofi Kingston. The rules here were one man from each team was legal at any time. Kingston hit a boom drop on the two other guys. Ziggler gave Kingston a zig zag and Swagger covered for two. Swagger applied the ankle lock to Epico. Kingston hit trouble in paradise on Swagger but Primo gave Kingston the back stabber and Epico covered for the pin. After the match, Kane laid out everybody to make sure you knew they aren’t to be taken seriously. Kane needs no help at all and here he’s laying out six guys who do one on six, including the most talented young star in the entire company.
David Otunga and John Laurinaitis were chatting backstage about The Wire and The Artist when Teddy Long came in and said he heard a rumor that Laurinaitis won’t be running next week’s Raw. Laurinaitis responded that he heard Long has been fired. Long called Laurinaitis a horse’s ass and left.
Eve Torres came to the ring and said that she uses men but that there isn’t a man who wouldn’t love to be used by her. She said she can’t help it that men are like puppies begging for her attention. She added that men shouldn’t blame her for her strength but blame themselves for their weaknesses. She blew a kiss and left. This is such a cartoonish character. Backstage, Kelly wanted to know why Eve has changed. Eve did a fake laugh and left. Kelly was mad. God was the acting from these two wretched. It was like the Haggler-Hearns showdown of bad acting.
Sheamus and Big Show beat Cody Rhodes and Mark Henry. They may have been running long because they wrapped this up in a hurry. Rhodes before the match brought up Floyd Mayweather beating Big Show. Show was going to wrestle Rhodes but Rhodes left. Show speared Henry and Sheamus hit the Brogue kick for the win. They announced Shawn Michaels for next week.
Rock came out to close the show. He acknowledged that he isn’t on Raw every week but said he was on Raw every week for years and loved it. He noted the Rock was born and created in WWE and there wouldn’t be a Rock without WWE. He said that when he said he would never leave, he meant it. It didn’t mean he would be back every show but if John Cena wants to take that literally, he can. Rock said he respects the audience’s intelligence and is in the ring for no other reason than because he loves WWE. He said that he will always be part of WWE and WWE will always be a part of him.
Rock said that he used to think Cena was a phony who went to private school and then became doctor of thuganomics. He said Cena has his cell number but Rock doesn’t want to talk to Cena because he would rather slap his lying face with Kung Pao chicken in catering. He said Cena isn’t a phony or a bad guy but a Kung Pao bitch.
Rock noted Cena saying that Cena would fight for the people in the back who want to be a wrestler. Rock responded that he always fought for himself and other people didn’t fight for him. He said when he was supposed to be a face and was getting booed, Austin wasn’t fighting for him and that’s true for all the greats. But if Cena wants to fight for the boys in the back, Rock will fight for the fans. He will fight for the people who are tired of having a bitch shoved down their throats every single night. Rock then led the crowd in different chants for a while. He mocked Cena switching from jean shorts to camouflage shorts and said that worked because Cena’s balls can’t be found.
At that point, Cena interrupted. He mocked the Kung Pao chicken line. He said that he’ll run Rock down when Rock is there. He said that he was a fan of Rock until he got the chance to meet Dwayne Johnson, who is a self-centered, egotistical son of a bitch who wouldn’t care if WWE closed tomorrow. Cena mocked Rock for having notes written on his wrist (he did). Cena said at Mania Dwayne will be afraid because Cena is going to beat the hell out of him. Cena then left.
Rock said that is just like Cena to come out, run his mouth and leave before getting smacked. He said Rock and Dwayne Johnson are the same person. He added that Cena can talk about being tough but Cena’s isn’t tough. He vowed to kick Cena’s ass at Mania.
This was a strong show, carried by great build for Mania at the start of the show and great build at the end. Both feuds infused reality into the programs and made the matches seem very meaningful, all while providing great entertainment. It’s precisely what pro wrestling ought to be.