Monday Night Raw – April 2, 2012: LESNAR!

Monday Night Raw
Date: April 2, 2012
Location: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler

Tonight is the show after Wrestlemania and we basically start the new year in WWE. The Rock beat John Cena last night in a good match that didn’t quite live up to its hype. Other than that, HHH couldn’t break the Streak, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. I’m not sure what comes next on this show, which is what makes tonight fun. Let’s get to it.

We open with a state of the shows speech by Ace but Punk interrupts, saying that everyone knows that Ace is a giant tool box. Ace says that Punk is defending tonight against Mark Henry. This is the era of People Power according to the boss.

Theme song.

Here’s Rock for the real opening. The fans chant his latest catchphrase for awhile to keep him from talking for awhile and he does the goosebumps thing. He talks about how he came back 14 months ago and they’ve done it all since then. It wasn’t until last night that Rock stood before 70,000 people and won at Wrestlemania in Sun Life Stadium. Now he can truly say he’s come back….home.

Rock explains the goosebumps thing again and says he has to thank Cena. The fans of course think he sucks because it’s what they’re programmed to do. Rock says it’s an honor to have competed against Cena in the biggest match of all time, and all that matters is they made history for the fans. Rock thanks the people for being there for him last night and for always being behind him.

For some reason Rock talks about being cut from the Canadian Football League. “Do you realize how much you have to suck to be cut from the Canadian Football League????” He thanks the people for making him the people’s champion and promises this is only the beginning. The fans chant Thank You Rocky and Rock talks about having a vision last night after partying in Miami. He shows off a bit of the dancing he did (drawing a whistle, apparently from a male Cena fan) and asks if the people want to hear his vision. The vision is that one day he’ll be WWE Champion.

US Title: Santino Marella vs. Jack Swagger vs. Dolph Ziggler

Basically it’s a handicap match here as both guys corner him. Swagger gets him in the corner and Ziggler kicks him down. There are the sit-ups from Ziggler and Swagger rides him on the mat. Santino fights back with right hands and dumps Dolph to the floor (required great bump) but Swagger runs him over with a tackle as we take a break. Back with Santino in trouble again, more or less just like it’s been all match so far.

Ziggy holds him but Santino gets in a boot and a Saito Suplex to Ziggler. He takes over on Jack and loads up the Cobra but Dolph grabs a neckbreaker to put him right back down. An assisted Fameasser gets two as Jack looks like he wants to make the save. Yep we’re in triple threat formula territory now. Swagger suplexes Ziggler but the Vader Bomb eats knees. Ziggler dropkicks Swagger and walks into a slingshot. Cobra to Swagger keeps the title at 6:51.

Rating: C-. This was any triple threat match that you’ve seen in a long time. The face gets beaten down for awhile, the heels don’t get along, the face steals the win to keep the title. There’s nothing wrong with that and it worked decently here, but it’s something we’ve seen time after time.

Post match they go after him (after falling for the LOOK OVER THERE gag) and almost catch him on the stage, but Brodus freaking Clay comes out as backup for Santino. Ziggy charges at him but runs into the headbutt. Swagger won’t jump him so Clay, the dancers and Santino have a little dance party. LOUD Funkasaurus chant during him staring down Swagger/Ziggler too. That’s a really good sign.

Lord Tensai vs. Alex Riley

Tensai has some Japanese guy with him to throw salt. It’s clearly Albert/A-Train even though all of his face other than his eyes is covered. Cole says it’s known that he’s a former WWE Superstar who went to Japan and dominated before coming back. I’m not sure if I like that or not but it’s one way to go. He’s in red trunks and arm bands and has Japanese symbols across his face diagonally. His face is uncovered now but we haven’t heard his old name yet. Total domination with tons of elbow strikes and headbutts and Riley is out. Chokebomb ends this via referee stoppage at 2:46. Standard debuting monster squash.

Riley is almost up a few seconds later so Tensai throws on a claw post match. He spit something on his hand before putting the hold on. They never said A-Train or Albert.

We hear again about how Cena is going to call out Rock tonight for the fallout from last night. We’ve gotten two clips of him saying he had to win last night, so the question is how he’ll react to it.

Raw World Title: Mark Henry vs. CM Punk

Punk gets overpowered to start but manages to get in some strikes. Those get him absolutely nowhere. Well, unless you count face down on the mat and getting pounded on somewhere of course. Either way, Henry dominates him with pure power. Punk’s back is still hurt from the Jericho match last night. There’s a bearhug but it never goes on fully, as Punk pounds away and DDTs out of it for two. Running knee to the head gets the same. Henry gets in another shot to the back and sets for a Vader Bomb, but Punk gets in a shot to break it up.

That doesn’t really matter though as Henry drills him again and tries a second time. This time Punk moves and Henry crashes down. Henry manages to run him over though and we take a break. Back with Punk diving into a clothesline but getting caught by Henry. He knocks the champ down again and it’s nerve hold time. Punk fights out of that and chops the tar out of Henry.

A high kick puts Henry down and a very slow climb sets up the Macho Elbow. It hurts Punk’s back again but he manages the running knee in the corner. No bulldog though. Another knee looks to set up the bulldog but Henry throws Punk to the floor. That combo works about 2% of the time. In a very surprising ending, Punk doesn’t beat the count back in and Henry wins by countout at 13:00.

Rating: C+. Good stuff here with Punk fighting the odds and trying to hang in there, but I’m not sure I like the ending. It obviously sets up a rematch for Henry which is the right idea, and I think I can live with that. Not a bad match at all, but it wasn’t my favorite for some reason. Maybe it’s Henry not being that interesting anymore. Actually scratch that about the ending. The match was for the title so there was no other way to end it if that’s how they’re going forward, which is ok.

Post match Henry gives him the World’s Strongest Slam on the floor. The fans want Lesnar. Ace and Otunga come out to say that Punk is going to be defending the title on a much more consistent basis. Jericho pops up and says that it looks like Punk needs a drink. He pulls out a bottle of what looks like whiskey and pours it on Punk’s head, ala Raven or Lawler/Roberts in 1996. Jericho slips on the booze in a funny bit. Jericho goes to get another bottle and breaks this one over Punk’s head. Punk’s hand shaking is a nice touch.

Here’s Sheamus, but he’s immediately cut off by the returning Alberto Del Rio in I believe a Lamborghini. Scratch that it’s a Mercedes. Del Rio says he wouldn’t lose in 18 seconds. Sheamus has a new challenger and his name is Alberto Del Rio, according to Ricardo in a great bit. The fans chant SI SI SI SI in another funny bit. The crowd has been great for the most part tonight. Ace has granted Del Rio a match on Smackdown with Sheamus and if he wins, he gets a future title match. Del Rio’s mic goes out and he goes to get another, but turns around into the Brogue Kick. Cool ending to the segment.

Bryan and AJ were watching and Josh pops up. Bryan glares at Josh and that’s that.

Cody Rhodes vs. Kofi Kingston

It’s weird seeing Cody without the title. Kofi starts fast with a spinning cross body but he walks into the Disaster Kick. He sets for something else but here’s Big Show with the title. Show has a clip of last night with Cody’s Embarrassing Wrestlemania Moment. Ok that’s pretty good. Cody walks into Trouble in Paradise for the pin at 1:50.

More Cena and Rock clips with Cena talking about how he had to win.

Henry is ticked off in the back and Abraham Washington of all people comes in to say it’s time for a change for Mark. Washington offers to manage him and leaves Mark with one of his cards.

Here’s Eve who says that last night was her Wrestlemania moment. She manipulated Ryder and can manipulate any man, except the GM, Johnny Ace. People Power!

The Miz vs. Zack Ryder

Cena has just arrived apparently. Ryder takes Miz down with a forearm and pounds away. A sunset flip is rolled through for two for Ryder. He kicks Miz into the corner and is very aggressive here. Miz kicks him down and hooks a chinlock. That’s broken quickly and Ryder gets two knees up to Miz’s face. Cole compares Eve to Jane Eyre. For some reason I don’t think there’s a big crossover between Bronte fans and Raw fans, but I could be wrong. Broski Boot gets two. Miz throws Ryder’ss shoulder into the post and the Skull Crushing Finale gets the clean pin at 2:58.

Overall Rating: B+. This show clicked very well. First of all, it FLEW by. We seemingly have the next world title matches lined up, with two potential challengers for both champions. There’s a new manager around now and Tensai’s debut was….well it was ok I guess, but it was nothing that came off to me as great. Really good show, although the wrestling needed to be a bit better.

Orton vs. Kane on Friday.

Here’s Cena for the big callout. There’s going to be a LONG overrun tonight as it’s 10:58 when his music starts. Cena says that everyone in life faces defeat, which is paraphrased here but the real line was a Muhammad Ali quote. Cena says he didn’t ever think he would lose. During the whole year it never crossed his mind because if you think that way you’ve already lost. A true champion believes he can win even through his most disappointing loss.

Cena says there was a lot of speculation as to how he’d react to this. Would he lash out? Would he make excuses? The fans chant that he’s a loser. Cena says people have wondered if this was the day he finally lashed out at the WWE Universe. The fans chant YES YES YES in a good bit. Cena says that’s not going to happen, drawing heat on the level that he got in the stadium last night. Cena is a man and he was beaten. He admits defeat and apologizes to his supporters. Cena thanks the rapper from last night and gets booed again.

Now let’s address the rumors about calling Rock out. He’s not going to do that because he doesn’t want to fight Rock and they’ve called each other out for a year. The fans want Lesnar and Cena stops for them to chant it. He says that it’s always an interesting crowd at Raw and he wants Rock. Cena invites him down to the ring to talk because he doesn’t want to fight. John says he thinks Rock is the greatest in WWE history. Cena wants one more moment of celebration for Rock in the middle of the ring. The fans still want Lesnar. Cena starts a yes chant and says Bryan owes him one. No Rock yet.

LESNAR! HE’S BACK! He poses on the stage (with Cole sounding like he’s calling a Superstars main event) and circles the ring before getting in. Cena applauds him and Lesnar picks him up for a HUGE F5. He kicks Cena’s hat away and stands tall to end the show.

Overall Rating
: A. This show clicked very well. First of all, it FLEW by. We seemingly have the next world title matches lined up, with two potential challengers for both champions. There’s a new manager around now and Tensai’s debut was….well it was ok I guess, but it was nothing that came off to me as great. Really good show, although the wrestling needed to be a bit better. And then Lesnar came back, to make it a HUGE show.

Santino Marella b. Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler – Cobra to Swagger
Lord Tensai b. Alex Riley via referee stoppage
Mark Henry b. CM Punk via countout
Kofi Kingston b. Cody Rhodes – Trouble in Paradise
The Miz b. Zack Ryder – Skull Crushing Finale

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  1. Evan says:

    Sooo Wait… What Exactly Are We Getting Here With Lesnar ?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    That would be a combination of:

    1. A way for Rock to leave quietly.

    2. RATINGS.

    Evan Reply:

    No, well, I mean… I feel like Lesnar is going to be working a full Raw/PPV schedule, with no house shows. What are we getting from this ?

    Brock vs Cena at Summerslam ?
    Brock vs Rock at WM 29?
    Rock vs Cena II At WM 29/SS 12?

    All I know is, I don’t think this is the end of Rock/Cena. Cena HAS to go over at some point.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I doubt it’s the end too. Instead Cena has two opponents now. We know Rock isn’t going to be there weekly. Lesnar doesn’t have to be either, as he doesn’t want to be. Vince needs Brock A LOT more than Brock needs Vince, so you do whatever Lesnar wants (plus put Sable in the Hall of Fame). He won’t be around full time because that’s what burned him out last time. I think this is one of those situations where they have a bunch of options and can go a lot of ways with it, which is to WWE’s advantage.

  2. TheSDQQKidJoe says:

    With Lesnar back, that male audience will follow :/

    Sorry not a big fan of his. It is good for business though.

  3. A King says:

    If I were Rock I would tell Cena “I won and that’s all I care about” and basically tell him no remtach, that he’s satisfied with a 1-0 record against him.

  4. The Killjoy says:

    One could say Lesnar may have kicked Rocks ass backstage too. Also the crowd was awesome. It shows how bad an idea it was to just make Bryan lose so fast if you ask me. It kinda ruined the ending of the show for me due to the Lesnar chants and Cena taking full note of them.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Actually I really liked them acknowledging them. It made me think there was no way they were actually going to pull the trigger tonight because the secret was out.

    Hamler Reply:

    @Killjoy – You ever think this is what they wanted for Bryan? How do you know Bryan won’t reach amazing new heights after this?

    Also, it seems to me the WWE is trying to recreate the Umaga character with Lord Tensai.

  5. J says:

    Best Raw I’ve seen in years. In 20 years of watching wrestling.. this show went by in what felt like 20 minutes. I actually want more. That was a GREAT show.

  6. Jay says:

    After an EPIC Wrestlemania tonight’s RAW was even more EPIC. The Rock was good,Lord Tensai makes his Return/Debut,good WWE Title Match with Punk/Henry,Cena’s Promo was also good,and the Return of Brock Lesnar was fantastic. That Miami Crowd was Red HOT tonight and the Yes Chants were funny all night.

  7. SamualDude says:

    Am I one of the few who remembered that the same night Lesnar returned was the same night he made his debut?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I mentioned that on the forums. It’s a cool ten year moment.

  8. Evan says:

    Here’s the crazy thing… Lesnar is the same age as Cena, and only one more year older than Punk.

    Lesnar loves money, likes the Wrestling business, but HATES travelling. I’m saying that he’ll be much more involved than Rocky was, appearing at PPV’s and RAW’s. He also has no-side projects, unlike Rock (although one can argue that WWE IS a Rock side project in itself).

    klunderbunker Reply:

    From what I remember though, Lesnar apparently saves his money really well, so the money isn’t going to mean much. If he needs a payday, he’ll get in UFC training again and beat up some can. This is a lot lighter physically and he can pick and choose his dates because he doesn’t need Vince. He could easily do a lot of via satellite stuff and pop up on PPVs.

  9. newc868 says:

    That might be one of the biggest pops I’ve heard when Brock came back. I mean seriously that wasn’t wasted on that crowd at all.

    That post-Mania Miami crowd were hot all night and it made for a great show and one that flew by but had many memorable moments.

    Summerslam could be HUGE this year. Brock v Cena and Punk v Rock could be on the cards.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Wrestlemania was the usual boring WWE PPV for the bulk of the show. Then, Rock beat Cena in a ****3/4 match and Rock looked like the most talented wrestler on the show. The next night on Raw, the crowd was like something out of 1998. This was an eventful show that featured the debut of Lord Tensai (Giant Bernard, the man who dominated tag team wrestling in Japan for years and has greatly improved since his first WWE run) and the return of Alberto Del Rio. The crowd was into everything on the show. Then, Cena came out and got himself F-5ed by the only man to ever hold the WWE, IWGP and UFC Championships, the returning Brock Lesnar. Instead of a 50-50 reaction, the crowd was pretty much 100% anti-Cena.

    It certainly seems like The Rock has achieved everything he said he was going to achieve in the promos leading up to Wrestlemania. Rock’s goal at Wrestlemania was to save the WWE from the cancer that is John Cena and he did so. It is obvious that the WWE suffered from dead crowds for years because Cena’s go-away heat has been falling on deaf ears. I just hope the crowd continues to be like it was on Raw this week. That crowd on Raw was just like the crowd at One Night Stand 2006 or Money in the Bank 2011, so I hope it influenced the fans watching at home (the usual dead crowds) as to what a WWE crowd can be and should be. Let’s see them continue to refuse to turn Cena heel when he’s getting booed out of the building on a weekly basis by almost the entire audience. Let’s see them continue their plans to bury Daniel Bryan when the fans are chanting his name constantly.

    TheSDQQKidJoe Reply:

    There’s that “turn Cena heel” shtick.

    Pathetic troll. Answer my question and stop running. How does the brand split and Cena’s heel turn benefit WWE.