Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2/25/13 RAW (Cena vs. Punk)

Gotta love the crowd in Dallas, TX! King and Cole on commentary.

Vince McMahon starts the show and he's still on crutches. He calls Paul Heyman out. Heyman comes out in workout gear and gets the cheap heat with a Cowboys/Romo joke. Heyman abruptly tackles Vince and targets the hip. Vince takes the crutch away and gets two crutch shots on Heyman.

And here comes Brock Lesnar. He stares Vince down. And then HHH arrives sporting a new shirt. Was there really any doubt that these two would show up? HHH and Lesnar brawl around ringside. Lesnar shoved into the ringpost and he's really cut badly. Lesnar battles back and F-5s HHH on the announce table. Now that was awesome. Been a long time since I've seen a guy in WWE have a wound that bad on TV. Might as well be Lesnar who takes it. you can see Lesnar's blood on the silver ringpost. HHH tossed into the ring, and Lesnar takes a chair with him. HHH with a spinebuster to Lesnar and a loud chair shot. Lesnar retreats but still smiles. Lesnar and HHH set in stone for WM 29. Yeah, I'd pay to see them beat each other up for 20+ minutes.

Ryback vs. Dolph Ziggler: Looks like Ryback's back on his own, and that's the way it should be. Ryback dominant early on, as expected. Langston runs over Ryback on the outside so Ziggler can get on offense. Ryback runs into the ringpost and Ziggler with a spike DDT for two. Ryback in the sleeper but breaks that with a stunner-like jawjacker. AJ and Langston try to interfere, to no avail. Ziggler gets Shellshocked and Ryback wins. At least Ziggler bumps like a champ. This felt more like a glorified squash. Ziggler got in his moves, but Ryback was just booked overwhelmingly strong. *3/4

CM Punk promo. He says tonight is not about Cena, Rock, the people, or even WM 29. Tonight isn't even about the WWE Title. Tonight is about CM Punk. "CM Punk is God." Yes, he is, and that sentence even trended on Twitter. Take that, JBL!

Add Donald Trump to the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame. Hey, I think he's at least more deserving than Drew Carey. I mean, Trump literally let it rain real money on RAW. Still won't forget Trump shaving Vince's head at WM 23. RIP Umaga.

Mark Henry vs. Great Khali: DAMMIT, not again! Overhand chop to Henry but that doesn't do too much damage. World's Strongest Slam ends things rather quickly. N/A

The Marine 3 (starring Miz) is going straight to DVD. Sounds normal to me when WWE stars (at least other than Rock) are involved.

Fitting that this leads to Miz TV. Guests are Jack Swagger, Zeb Colter, Alberto Del Rio, and Ricardo Rodriguez. Miz gives Colter the chance to say what's on his mind, and Zeb goes into a rant on illegal immigrants (a.k.a. undocumented workers). Colter with the quick jab to Glenn Beck rejecting WWE's offer to appear on the show. WWE is educational! 10 years to become a citizen of Mexico, and foreigners can't own property there. Colter says ADR represents the American dream. Colter calls those illegal immigrants "criminals." ADR says America is for everyone and that anything is possible if you work hard enough. ADR challenges Swagger to bring it on. Swagger says he'll see ADR at WM. Yup. Another solid advancement of storyline. So it looks like Swagger's push wasn't affected too much, although I'm not too sure WWE will put the title on him now. Before the DUI and weed arrest, Swagger was penciled to win the title at WM.

During the break, Swagger attacks Miz from behind, so I assume there will be a match later on between these two.

Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro: Cesaro in control early, then the usual comeback moves from Orton. Cesaro to the second rope for what I believe would be a flying Euro uppercut, and Orton hits the RKO out of nowhere for three. *1/2

Daniel Bryan and Kane arguing again. Match against the Primetime Players. DB says he can beat PTPs blindfolded. Kane says he can do it with one arm behind his back. Enter Team Brickie to actually make that happen. Brad Maddox already assuming the role of power-hungry, ego-driven assistant.

We see the WM 21 military courtroom promo between John Cena and JBL. Cena won the title from JBL that year and that pretty much started Cena's dominant ride at the top of the company.

Sheamus in a tux?! Well, that's a new one on me. No, I didn't bother to watch the Oscars. He says the greatest actor of the 21st century is...Wade Barrett! I guess we know where this is going. We again see the movie trailer for Dead Man Down (where Barrett has a supporting role) and Sheamus with more quips that really fall flat. Barrett comes to the ring and he basks in his movie-star glory. Ooh, attending a worldwide premiere! That'll be cool. Barrett misses a clothesline and avoids the Brogue Kick. Gotta look good for the cameras, no broken nose needed. Didn't like this segment at all, frankly.

R-Truth vs. Cody Rhodes: Damien Sandow on commentary. Can we keep him there permanently? Cody tries to ground Truth during the match. Cody bounces off the ropes and Truth hits Little Jimmy for three. Short match, nothing real special. Sandow unsuccessful on the post-match assault.

More Swagger/Colter YouTube videos. Swagger had to work at age 14 to support his family because his dad got laid off. That sucks, but it happens in life.

Team Hell No vs. Primetime Players: I've read that Darren Young has a knee injury, but he looked OK to me. DB gets to wear the black hood and Kane's left arm is tied behind his back. DB still tells Kane to get out. We get the "blindfolded guy goes after the ref" spot. Kane tags himself in and does the dirty work. Chokeslam to D-Young and it's over. Another comedy match. Can we have fewer of these? 1/2*

Shield promo. They dare WWE to make another All-Star team to defeat. Sheamus appears on the stage and dares Shield to get him. Ambrose and Reigns do so. Randy Orton comes through the crowd, slithers in the ring, and an RKO to Rollins. Hit and run! Guess there's your next team.

Jack Swagger vs. Miz: As expected, here's that singles match. Miz no longer has the tape on the left shoulder. Miz runs on adrenaline but Swagger catches Miz with a belly-to-belly suplex on the outside. ADR and Ricardo watching in the back locker room. Hmm, no more expensive cars and luxury boxes, eh? Swagger keeps Miz from mounting the comeback. Miz hits his signature moves in spurts, then gets his left leg caught in the ropes as planned. Opening for Swagger to target the leg and slap on the Patriot Lock. Miz taps. Safe to say for now that WWE is still going with Swagger and ADR for WM 29. *3/4

Lawler and Cole doing some promoting for Sonic. Hey Lawler, too much fried food is bad for you. I don't want you to have another heart attack.

Cena backstage promo. Cena wanted his match with Punk to prove Punk wrong. The better man goes to WM 29. No excuses, no second place. Step up, or step aside. Solid, serious promo.

WWE shares via Tout that Undertaker made a surprise return at the live event in Waco this past weekend. Taker now has a noticeable belly. Too banged up to exercise, I suppose. Food must be awesome in Texas.

John Cena vs. CM Punk: A hyped match (one week) for WWE standards. Winner faces Rock at WM 29. Justin Roberts with the main event intros. Chain wrestling to start, which generally signals a long match. Back and forth from the start. Punk keeps countering each of Cena's "five moves of doom." Roll-through on Cena's slam into the Anaconda Vice. Great counter from the STF to the Vice -- then back to the STF so Punk rolls Cena on his shoulders for another two-count. Any wrestling fan has gotta appreciate that. Even MORE counters on Cena's moves of doom. A simple kick on the "You Can't See Me" taunt. GTS countered into a sunset flip but Punk drops down and hooks Cena up for two. AA countered. GTS countered. Cena with a POWER BOMB?! That gets two. Cena to the top and he gets caught. Cena headbutts?! Cena top-rope legdrop for two! If that match ended right there, it still would get at least three and a half stars. Roundhouse kick from Punk. Punk running knee. Cena ducks short clothesline and hits AA for two! Wow. Rarely see this type of match on free TV. Punk to the outside. Cena shoved into the same post that made Lesnar all bloody earlier. Cena with the miracle dive back into the ring to beat the countout. The crowd's been on their feet for the last several minutes. Punk with the GTS, and ONLY TWO! Punk picks Cena back up. GTS blocked! Cena grabs the knee and STF! Punk milks the hold for all its worth and with one final push gets to the ropes. Punk kicks Cena's knee. PILEDRIVER TO CENA WTF ONLY TWO. Talk about going to the unofficial "banned" move list. Punk misses the top-rope elbow. CENA WITH A HURRICANRANA! Who the hell is this guy?! AA for three. Incredible. Best free TV match I've seen in a LONG time, probably ever. I'd probably have to go back to the 4/23/07 RAW main event (Cena and HBK) for another such memorable match. Kudos for the clean finish. ****3/4

Yes, I went that high on a free TV match, and I honestly can't . Amazing chemistry that Punk and Cena have in a rivalry that's spanned about two years. The numerous Punk counters on each of Cena's signature moves were excellent and made this match that much better. Extremely smart to have each counter have its own separate spot. Counters ranged from simple to more complex, but all were effective. Still got goosebumps on all those false finishes. A lot of tweets from current and former WWE talent giving high praise. Love it.

I marked HUGE for the Punk piledriver and the Cena hurricanrana. The piledriver is again on the "banned" list in WWE for safety reasons; note that even Jerry Lawler stopped using it in the matches before his heart attack. (NOTE: Vince was reportedly furious after Punk did the piledriver, but took no disciplinary action because it involved Punk and Cena) No interference at all. Just two guys at the top of their respective games, doing whatever it takes to win.

No Jericho this week because he's with Fozzy. No Rock because he's probably promoting his movies. No Taker because WWE probably doesn't want to show a pot-bellied Deadman. Show still amazing thanks to Cena and Punk epic main event. Greatness vs. Redemption at WM 29.

Next week's RAW is an "Old School RAW." Should be fun.

Oh, and Tensai debuts new ring gear when teaming with Brodus Clay in his Superstars tag match against Primo and Epico.

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