Vickie Guerrero was standing in front of the Raw Roulette wheels. There was a wheel of superstars, a wheel of stipulations and a Vickie Guerrero challenge wheel. First match is Antonio Cesaro vs. Randy with a “special guest referee” stipulation based on her wheel spin.
The music of the former WWE Champion CM Punk played as he quickly walked down to the ring along with Paul Heyman. He complained about losing the WWE Title by saying it should be day 435 of his WWE Title reign. Punk said that he didn’t need help to win matches. Punk said he got screwed more than Vince McMahon screwed Bret Hart in Montreal and that last night will be known as the Phoenix Screwjob. He yelled: “I got screwed! I got screwed!” Punk asked Las Vegas if they wanted to party. He said he was the People’s Champion and he was there to crash their party.
WWE Chairman Vince McMahon showed up at the top of the ramp. He said that later in the show he had proof that Paul Heyman and CM Punk were involved with The Shield. Vince said that would be later in the ring calling it a personal performance review. Vince said it could result in Heyman’s termination. He said “have a nice party” and Vince left.
Analysis: That sets up things nicely for the show later on. It will be interesting to see what McMahon has on Heyman and if it will make sense on all of the attacks of The Shield in the last couple of months.
The announcers for the show are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield. JBL complained about how Cole was the one that ratted out The Shield at the Royal Rumble.
Later in the show we’ll see the WWE Champion known as The Rock.
Randy Orton and Antonio Cesaro entered for a match. The special ref is The Miz. They went to break.
Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro w/The Miz as Special Referee
Orton was in control early on getting a couple of nearfalls. They went outside the ring where Orton gave Cesaro a move so that his back went into the security wall. Orton gave Cesaro a slingshot so that Cesaro’s neck went into the bottom rope. In the ring, Cesaro charged in at Orton and Randy gave him a back drop over the top rope to the floor. Orton hit a clothesline outside the ring. Four minutes into the match they went to break with Cesaro out on the floor for the vintage floor to commercial spot.
Analysis: Two commercials in the first twenty minutes. Remember the days of the twenty minute promo to open the show? Not this week.
Back from break, Cesaro hit a headbutt on Orton and then he drove Orton’s throat into the top turnbuckle and that got him a two count. Miz has called the match down the middle, which is noteworthy because Miz has a rivalry with Cesaro. Nice sit out slam from Cesaro. Gutwrench suplex by Cesaro for two. Orton fought out of a chinlock and made a comeback with some clotheslines followed by his snap powerslam as the crowd came alive. Orton’s comeback stopped when Cesaro got a knee up and then a back elbow off the middle rope. That got Cesaro a two count, so he argued with Miz. Orton hit his backbreaker variation, Cesaro got a thumb to the eye and argued with Miz. That allowed Orton to recover. Guess what? RKO. Orton covered for the win after 12 minutes.
Winner: Randy Orton
Post match, Miz gave Cesaro a Skull Crushing Finale just for fun.
Analysis: **1/2 It was an entertaining match from two guys I like, but the commercial break mid-match hurt it a bit. The finish was so obvious unless you haven’t watched wrestling before. Orton had no problem capitalizing on the distraction. Obviously the involvement of Miz furthers the feud with Cesaro, so it’s likely we’ll see another match from them.
Back at the wheel, Vickie spun the entertainment wheel and we found out it was Ryback. It landed on “make me laugh.” She told Ryback to make her laugh. Ryback entered the arena as they went to break.
At ringside we saw legendary tennis players Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, who live in Las Vegas I’m pretty sure. They’re married if you don’t know.
There was a “Laugh Off” in the ring with Ryback against the Primetime Players with Matt Striker moderating it. Titus O’Neil told a bad joke about Striker. Crowd booed. Ryback asked “what has four eyes, twenty fingers and is about to be unconscious?” Then he looked at Primetime Players. He kicked Young, who then ran away. Ryback gave O’Neil a spinebuster. Meat Hook Clothesline to O’Neil. Shellshocked to O’Neil. Young was looking on at ringside during all of this. Striker said it made him laugh. He said Ryback was the winner of the challenge. Ryback picked up Striker and JBL marked out for Striker getting attacked. Ryback gave Striker the Shellshocked to a good ovation. He led the crowd in “feed me more” chants.
Analysis: I guess that’s a way to keep Ryback strong after finishing second in the Royal Rumble last week. Not a great segment. It was filler more than anything.
They aired the video of Bob Backlund in the Hall of Fame. Same video we got last week. They said they would announce the third inductee for the WWE HOF later in the show.
We’ll hear from Rock later in the show.
Analysis: This feels like last week when they told us for three hours we’ll hear from John Cena later in the show. I guess it happens nearly every week.
Backstage at the wheel, Vickie’s spin landed on Player’s Choice. She said Wade Barrett gets to pick his opponent. He picked NXT “rookie” Bo Dallas. Dallas eliminated Barrett from the Rumble match. It was a good way to debut somebody new.
Wade Barrett vs. Bo Dallas
This is not for Barrett’s IC Title. Dallas hit some arm drags and a dropkick. His offense didn’t last too long as Barrett took over with power moves by throwing Dallas’ head into a turnbuckle. Barrett gave Dallas a hard kick to the face. Cole put over Dallas as somebody with a lot of fire and desire. So basically he’s like 95% of the babyfaces in the history of wrestling. Dallas countered the Bull Hammer with a belly to belly suplex and he pinned Barrett for the win after three minutes. The reaction of the crowd was pretty quiet.
Winner: Bo Dallas
They only showed Dallas celebrating briefly. Maybe five seconds. Then it ended. It would have been nice if they made that a bigger moment.
Analysis: * I expected a short match, but the win by Dallas surprised me a bit. It’s not a bad idea to give the newcomer a win over an established guy. That’s not a new concept by any means. It just felt like Barrett would win here. The crowd reacted to Dallas favorably, but it wasn’t that great. They need to know more about Dallas, I guess.
Cody Rhodes spun the wheel. It landed on John Cena. That’s next apparently.
After Cody Rhodes made his way down to ringside, they mentioned John Cena was on the cover of Fruity Pebbles cereal. They actually had a Cena/Flintstone tale of the tape. I’m not going to recap that. Try to find a picture. The best part of that was when JBL said that Tony Chimel was the original Fred Flintstone. John Cena made his entrance to a good ovation as we near the top of the second hour.
John Cena vs. Cody Rhodes
Cena hit a suplex on Rhodes. Cody was angry, so he went to the floor where he grabbed a microphone. Rhodes said this was a waste of Cody Rhodes, so he’s leaving. Cena hit his shoulderblock followed by his spinning suplex. Five Knuckle Shuffle by Cena. Attitude Adjustment by Cena. That’s the end of the match after two minutes.
Winner: John Cena
Analysis: 1/2* Squash match. Story is that Royal Rumble winner John Cena is on fire. Sorry Rhodes.
Post match, Cena grabbed the microphone. He said others can say that they should have won the Rumble, but only one of them can say that “I won the Royal Rumble” and that’s him. Cena said that throwing Ryback out at the end was only the first step. He said the winner of the Royal Rumble gets to issue a challenge for the champion of their choosing at the main event of WrestleMania (he pointed at the sign).
Cena said the WWE Champion will be either CM Punk or The Rock. Cena talked about how for nearly two years he has not been able to beat Punk. He pointed out that six times he has failed to defeat Punk for the WWE Title. Then there is The Rock. Cena said he talked about Rock before he came back because he wanted Rock to challenge him. For one year Cena talked about how much he had to win that match. Cena said he proved to the world that he was in Rock’s league and had moments where he proved Rock couldn’t handle his jockstrap. He said all of that was great until he lost on April 1 at WrestleMania. “I lost that match. The Rock won.” Correct. Cena said he had a difficult choice and sucked up to Las Vegas. He said should he choose the World Title against somebody he thinks he can beat or the WWE Champion, who he may lose to.
“I, John Cena, challenge on April 7 at Met Life Stadium at WrestleMania 29…” (long stare at WrestleMania sign as the crowd chants “Rocky”) “I challenge the WWE Champion! This goes as a message to The Rock and CM Punk.” He tried to say more, but then the music of The Shield started up.
Analysis: At least they didn’t waste time having Cena announce his choice. We all knew it was coming.
The Shield walked down to the ring. It’s nice of them to have friends in the production truck that play their theme music huh? Ambrose, Rollins & Reigns attacked Cena all at once. They beat down Cena with a series of kicks and punches. Sheamus ran down to the ring (with music). He went after the three members of The Shield, but they all took him down in another corner of the ring. There’s Ryback (with music). He threw Ambrose over the top to the floor. He threw Rollins over the top to the floor. Then they pulled Ryback outside the ring and threw him into the steps. Sheamus fought back, but they threw him into the ring post. Cena came back in the ring. The Shield dominated him and gave Cena a three man Powerbomb in the center of the ring. The Shield left.
Analysis: That was an awesome beatdown by The Shield. I enjoyed the segment quite a bit. They are booking The Shield so strong, which is better than how they usually book heels. The likely result of all of this is a six man match in the Elimination Chamber with Cena, Ryback & Sheamus taking on The Shield. It would give the Elimination Chamber a Wargames type of feel in that it would be a tag match rather than a singles match. Nothing is official yet, but that seems to be where this is headed.
They replayed the attack by The Shield.
Vickie spun the wheel and it landed on Lingerie Pillow Fight. Tensai & Brodus Clay were there. Tensai said no to that and left. Vickie told Brodus to spin the Vickie Challenge Wheel. It landed on “Dance Off.” That means we’ll see the two big guys dancing. Brodus said he’d inform Tensai of the change. Cole thought it was hilarious of course. Bad comedy.
They aired clips from the fan fest during Royal Rumble weekend. Same video that aired during the PPV.
Brodus Clay made his entrance. Another commercial.
Analysis: So much filler on this show. Really makes me wish it was two hours long.
In the ring Jerry Lawler was hosting the dance off. Both guys were in the ring along with the Funkadactyls with Clay.
Dance Off: Brodus Clay vs. Tensai
Tensai was in a robe for some reason. Tensai had on women’s lingerie. He didn’t know it was a dance off. Clay didn’t tell him. I’m guessing he’s missing New Japan right about now. Brodus ended up dancing with the Funkadactyls. Lawler told Tensai to dance and said what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. I feel so bad for the fans that have to witness this. Tensai started doing some tap dancing. Then the lawnmower dance. Of course some of us remember that he used to be a Hip Hop Hippo. JBL said it was the worst thing he has ever seen in his life. Suddenly Ron Simmons was watching backstage. He said: “Damn.” That ended the segment.
Analysis: So bad. Painful to watch. Minus five stars. Best way I can summarize that Tensai/Clay dance is: “My eyes! The goggles did nothing!” That’s a Simpsons reference, folks. I don’t even care if it leads to a tag team forming between them. That was brutal.
Del Rio spun the wheel and it landed on “Body Slam Challenge.” Vickie said that he would have to try to body slam the Big Show. Del Rio said they are in Vegas and that in Vegas anything can happen. Body slam challenge is next.
Analysis: I’m still dealing with the pain from that last segment.
Ricardo Rodriguez introduced the World Heavyweight Champion Alberto “no car to the ring” Del Rio for the bodyslam challenge. It’s pretty cool to hear the crowd chanting along with the “Albertoooooooooooo Del Rio” part. Big Show made his entrance.
Body Slam Challenge: Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show
They started brawling right from the beginning. That wasn’t the challenge. Show knocked down Rodriguez and then he gave Del Rio the KO Punch to knock him out. I guess that’s the end of the challenge.
After the end of the “challenge” Big Show took out some duct tape. He taped the right wrist of Del Rio to the middle rope. Show attacked Ricardo with hard punches to the chest. He took his shirt off and chopped him hard in the chest repeatedly. Del Rio was taped to the ropes, so he could save Ricardo. Show whipped Ricardo hard into the security wall. Back in the ring, Show stepped on the head of Ricardo as he stood right in front of Del Rio. Show attacked Del Rio with kicks as Cole started to use SERIOUS VOICES~! to describe what was happening. JBL said Show was getting revenge from what happened at the Royal Rumble and Del Rio deserved this because of what he did. Another hard chop to Ricardo’s chest. Then Show gave the KO Punch to Ricardo. Show kicked Del Rio in the knee. Show gave Del Rio another KO Punch to knock him out again.
Analysis: That was a five minute beating. It was an easy story to tell since Show was angry about losing the World Title match at the Rumble and he didn’t care to compete in the actual Body Slam challenge. That would suggest that the feud isn’t over here although with the Elimination Chamber PPV coming up I would assume we’ll see four others competing for the World Title as well. Show looked very strong here after getting beat the Rumble. That’s typical booking after a PPV. It was an effective segment in terms of having an angry heel get his revenge.
Las Vegas Showgirls Lumberjills Match: Kaitlyn vs. Tamina Snuka
The WWE Divas outside the ring were wearing showgirls outfits. Basically every diva was out there except AJ and Natalya. The competitors were already in the ring. Kaitlyn’s Divas Title is not on the line. The crowd was dead silent. When Kaitlyn got knocked outside the ring, Aksana went after Kaitlyn, so Kaitlyn knocked her down. Kaitlyn went back into the ring with a shoulderblock. Did I mention the crowd was dead? I don’t blame them after the dance off. Even Cole sarcastically called it great like the dance off. Kaitlyn hit a dropkick on Tamina. All the showgirls went into the ring to start a brawl. It went about two minutes. They were all fighting with eachother. Cole: “Thank goodness for whoever cued the music. I promise folks things are getting better.”
No Match Result
Analysis: That was painful. This show has been a mess. Even Cole was ripping it on commentary and he’s the babyface announcer. That’s not a good sign. I’m not sure if this furthered the Kaitlyn/Tamina story or not. It was brutal.
The Rock is up next.
We got a replay of The Shield’s attack earlier in the show.
The new WWE Champion The Rock entered the arena. He got a really nice ovation from the crowd who was probably glad to see him after some brutal segments earlier in the show.
The Rock said there was one word to symbolize this entire journey: finally. “Finally The Rock has come back to Las Vegas. And finally The Rock is WWE Champion.” He said from 1998 to 2003 he had the honor of winning 7 WWE Championships. After ten long years he can honestly say that this is the proudest moment of his career. He said he’s already thanked his friends and family, but he wanted to thank the fans. He said for 434 days CM Punk said that the fans didn’t count and didn’t matter. Well he didn’t say that during his entire reign because he was a babyface for eight months of it, but I guess I get Rock’s point. He said those days are over. He called Punk a homeless tattooed freak and that every time Paul Heyman walked out there he was going to wonder if he had a bra big enough to hold his deep fried Twinkie Tits. And there’s a “Twinkie Tits” chant. Rock said they were going to usher in the “People’s Era” because they’re going to celebrate. He said the word sky and rhymed it by saying they were all getting pie.
There’s CM Punk’s theme song. The former WWE Champ was on the ramp talking about how for 434 days he made the WWE Title special. Punk said Rock didn’t earn that – it was handed to him like everything in his life. Punk said that the WWE Title is prestigious because Rock made it that way. Punk said if Rock had respect for his father and grandfather and he would walk up the ramp to give it to Punk. He wanted Rock to apologize to him for tarnishing what Punk made so great.
Rock said if Punk had an ounce of manhood then Punk would walk down the ramp to come take the WWE Title. Rock said Punk could come into the ring to face Rock like a man or stand up on the stage like a “punk ass bitch.” Punk said he’s going to stand on the stage like a “punk ass bitch” and he acted as if it was cool to swear. Punk said he does things on his terms. He mentioned doing house shows this weekend (even naming all the cities) wondering if Rock would be there in a sarcastic tone, but that in three weeks at Elimination Chamber he’s granting The Rock a rematch. Rock said Punk has got his Elimination Chamber rematch. He said he’d receive the ass kicking of a lifetime.
Analysis: It leaked earlier today that they would do a singles rematch between The Rock and CM Punk at Elimination Chamber. That means Rock isn’t in a Chamber match, so it will be interesting to see what they do in terms of the EC matches at that show. I liked the promos from both guys. Saying “bitch” isn’t a PG word, but I thought it added to the intensity of the promo from Rock. I enjoyed Punk’s speech. I’m sure the people that don’t like Rock enjoyed when Punk mentioned the house shows, but we know Rock isn’t doing house shows. Of course we also know that even when they do title matches at house shows there are rarely title changes anyway, so it’s not that valid of a point. I’m sure it will make some people happy, though. Anyway, that promo woke up the crowd a bit. This show really needed that. Hopefully the last hour is as good as that.
Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow in a Tables Match is next.
Back from break, they showed an earlier segment where Sandow spun the wheel and he got a Tables match.
Tables Match: Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow
Sheamus was favoring his left arm from the attack earlier in the show. They brawled outside the ring a bit with Sheamus throwing Sandow into the ring steps. Sheamus grabbed a table from under the ring and he set it up on the floor outside the ring. They went to the other side of the arena where Sandow hit a dropkick on the floor. He pulled out a table, but Sheamus threw the table into Sandow’s face. They brought the table into the ring where Sandow hit a single arm DDT onto the injured left arm of Sheamus, which landed right on the table. Cole noted it was the birthday of Sheamus – he’s 35 years old (he didn’t say the age). Sandow threw another table at Sheamus and then he used the table to continue the attack on the left arm of Sheamus. Sheamus missed a Brogue Kick near the ropes. Then he gave a shoulder block over the top rope to knock down a charging Sandow. Sheamus was near a table when he did that, so that was a nice move to avoid elimination. Sandow was able to hit his Elbow of Disdain. He threw Sheamus into the side of a table. Sheamus came back with the ten clubbing blows to the chest of Sandow. Sheamus picked up Sandow for the White Noise and he drove Sandow through a table that was propped up in the corner. That was enough for the victory after eight minutes.
Analysis: ** That was a good television match. I wasn’t a fan of using Sheamus in a match after that attack from The Shield. The attack would have meant more if we didn’t see the guys that were attacked having matches later in the show. Beating Sandow doesn’t do much other than give a guy a win that wins the majority of his television matches anyway. Sandow and Rhodes both lost to top guys on this show. Hopefully they can win the tag titles soon so they have a bigger role.
Later in the show is Vince McMahon’s “Personal Performance Review” of Paul Heyman.
In the ring there was Great Khali, Hornswoggle & Natalya (too good for this segment) and Zack Ryder. They were there to do a karaoke contest with Jerry Lawler hosting. Khali had to sing Shawn Michaels’ theme song. He was terrible of course. He just sang the “sexy boy” part. It was awful as JBL said Shawn Michaels was rolling in his grave and he’s not even dead yet. 3MB came out to say they are the biggest rock stars in WWE. Khali chopped McIntyre. Ryder hit the Rough Ryder on Mahal. Khali chopped Slater. Then Hornswoggle hit the Tadpole Splash off the top rope onto Slater in the ring.
Analysis: On behalf of Natalya I’d like to point out that she’s way too good for that awful segment. I don’t know if this was worse than the divas match or the dance off from earlier, but all three of them were brutal. I’m a positive WWE fan, but even the announcers are ripping on the show. So if you know it’s a bad segment why put it out there?
There’s Chris Jericho walking backstage. Save us!
Break down the walls! It’s Chris Jericho time. “Welcome to Raw is Jericho.” Where were you over two hours ago? He said it was great to be back in the WWE. He said he was gone for six months. August to January is not six months. It’s five, but that’s okay. Jericho said his return at the Royal Rumble was one of the greatest nights of his career. He said he’ll never…ever…forget it. There’s the music of Dolph Ziggler.
Ziggler entered the ring along with AJ Lee and Big E Langston. He said he wondered what Jericho was doing there because he didn’t work there anymore. AJ said she was GM, so she made Jericho put his career on the line against the briefcase. She bragged about how she was the one that got Y2J terminated. Jericho told Ziggler to put a leash on his doggy before she goes “pee pee” in the ring. That’s how you insult somebody in a PG way. Big E spoke up saying he would hurt Jericho. Jericho asked Big E what does the E stand for: “Your bra size?” That was great. Ziggler said Jericho didn’t work there. Vickie Guerrero appeared on the screen and said she was the one that hired Jericho. I guess the heels weren’t smart enough to realize that somebody could re-hire Jericho that easily. She put them in a match. It landed on “Strange Bedfellows” which meant that they had to team together in a match against Team Hell No.
Analysis: Holy shit I missed Jericho. He was on fire in that promo. This show needed his energy.
Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan & Kane) vs. Chris Jericho & Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler showed off in front of Jericho. Ten seconds into the match they went to break.
I forgot to mention this, but the tag titles are not on the line. Back from break, Ziggler was working on Bryan. Jericho tagged in without Ziggler approving. Jericho hit a nice dropkick on Kane and he went to give Bryan the Walls of Jericho. That didn’t work. Jericho shoved Bryan into Kane, who tagged into the match. The tag champs started arguing. Ziggler tagged in. Jericho hit Kane in the back to make it seem like Ziggler did it. Kane hit a Chokeslam on Ziggler and he covered for a pinfall after about 6 minutes. We saw about three minutes of action.
Winners: Team Hell No
Analysis: *1/2 It was an angle more than a match. The Jericho/Ziggler story was fun in the summer and it’s good to see it revived once again. As for the tag champs, we’ve seen that act many times before.
They aired a video for the next Hall of Fame inductee: Trish Stratus. I’m so proud of my fellow Greek-Canadian who had a wonderful WWE career in the early 2000s and really set the standard for WWE divas. She wasn’t just a model, but she was an accomplished wrestler as well. I’m a huge fan of hers in terms of how hot she was and also of how good of a wrestler she became. Did I mention how hot she was? That cannot be understated. I liked the video package as well.
The main event segment with Vince McMahon and Paul Heyman is next.
This Friday on Smackdown, Booker T will have an announcement on the future of the World Heavyweight Championship. It will likely be a way to set up an Elimination Chamber match.
The WWE Chairman Vince McMahon was in the ring. He said he wanted to have some fun and Las Vegas is the best place to do that, so he called Paul Heyman down to the ring. Vince said CM Punk was escorted out of the arena ten minutes ago. Paul walked down to the ring. Vince shook his hand and then Vince cleaned his hands after it was over. Good comedy. Vince asked Paul if he had The Shield or Brad Maddox under contract.
Paul thanked Vince for the opportunity and he said the answer to the question is “no I have never had anything to do with Brad Maddox or The Shield.” Vince asked Paul if he has ever lied. Paul said that he has lied every day of his life because he’s a promoter and that’s what promoters do. He went on a big speech saying that he lies because that’s what his life is, but that he is not lying now. Paul said he’s trying to be an honorable man and that maybe he could learn from Vince on how to do that. Paul said he wants to be there, so if it takes being an honorable man then that’s what he wants to be. Vince asked for a close-up of that honorable man and he asked if he was honorable (crowd “no”) and honest (crowd: “no”).
Vince asked for some footage. It was Paul talking to Brad Maddox. Then magically the camera was still on, which likely meant that Brad’s camera guy was the one that tipped off Vince about what happened. Paul said that they plucked Brad from obscurity and Paul paid him to help Punk beat Ryback. He said Brad kept coming back for more. Paul said they also paid The Shield, but that they are more effective than Brad is. Then The Shield showed up. Brad told Paul to tell Punk that he was sorry and that he would leave them alone. Then the camera showed footage of The Shield attacking Maddox.
Analysis: In other words, Heyman admitted to paying Maddox and The Shield and that they worked for him.
Back to the ring, the crowd chanted “you are busted” as Paul looked very uncomfortable. They chanted “na na na na hey hey goodbye” at him. Heyman said that wasn’t him. He said that he had a thick New York Jewish accent that was easy to impersonate. He said it was an impersonator portraying Paul Heyman because they were jealous of his success with ECW and CM Punk. Paul admitted to Vince that it was Brad Maddox and The Shield in that video. Vince asked the crowd if Paul was lying about if he involved and if he should be fired. The crowd was waiting for it and then…Brock Lesnar music.
The beast known as Brock Lesnar entered the arena before Vince McMahon could fire Paul Heyman. The crowd gave a huge reaction to Lesnar, who we haven’t seen since the night after Summerslam. He told Heyman to stand in the corner. Lesnar stood right in Vince’s face. Vince told Lesnar not to do something he would regret later on. Heyman was trying to tell Lesnar not to do anything. Instead Lesnar put McMahon on his shoulders and gave him a F5 right in the middle of the ring. Cole: “For God’s sake the man’s a grandfather.” Heyman pleaded with Lesnar to stop. The show ended there.