Monday Night Raw – March 25, 2013: Remember This Guy? He’s World Champion.

Monday Night Raw
Date: March 25, 2013
Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler

It’s hard to believe that we’ve got less than two weeks before Wrestlemania. Pretty much everything is set and for the first time in weeks tonight, the WWE Champion is here to hype up the title match against Cena. Other than that we aren’t likely to get anything of note because the entire card is either set or obvious at this point. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of all of the major feuds for Wrestlemania.

Here are Punk and Heyman to open the show. Punk throws the urn in the air before setting it on the mat. He talks about Undertaker being the mystical being that Undertaker is built up as and how the urn gives Undertaker his powers. Apparently “they” say it all the time. Who are they actually? Punk says they are irrelevant and he’s the only one that matters. Last year, Undertaker hit 20-0 and the match had the perfect ending. Instead of skipping off with HHH and HBK, Undertaker came out here and pointed at Punk’s Wrestlemania sign.

The fans chant for ECW and Punk says “speaking of dead things.” Punk drops the urn because it means nothing to him, just like the Undertaker and his Streak. He’s the 1 in 20-1 and at Wrestlemania, the Streak will Rest in Peace. There go the lights and as they come back up, Undertaker is in the ring and pounding away on Punk. Heyman runs off with the urn as Punk escapes.

Fandango omes out for a match but before he can have an opponent announced, Jericho runs out and beats down Fandango with a vengeance. Fandango and his dancing chick run away and here’s Dolph Ziggler instead. Apparently this was a match for later but instead it’s happening now.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Chris Jericho

Jericho takes him down to the match before pounding away at Ziggler’s head. A quick attempt at the Walls are countered but Dolph charges into an elbow in the corner. Jericho hits a top rope cross body for two and we take a break. Back with Jericho in a chinlock before coming back with a rollup for two. Dolph dropkicks him down for two of his own and hooks an abdominal stretch on the Canadian. Chris fights back and hits a top rope ax handle and the bulldog, but has to take out Langston with a springboard dropkick. A DDT gets two for Dolph but a Fameasser attempt is countered into the Walls for the tap at 5:53.

Rating: C+. Good stuff here with Jericho winning, although the booking continues to be stupid. Ziggler gets off a losing streak to go on a winning streak for the last few weeks, only to be jobbed out to Jericho to set up Fandango vs. Jericho. Now, Kofi loses, Ziggler loses, and Jericho is about to be beaten down by Fandango so Jericho looks weak. That’s WWE’s booking issues in a nutshell. With a roster as deep as they have, there is no reason to have Ziggler need to do this job. None.

Post match Langston hits the Big Ending on Jericho and here’s Fandango for another beating on Jericho.

We get a clip from Smackdown with Sheamus and Big Show arguing after beating 3MB, only to band together to glare at Shield. Sheamus is about to say something about that incident but Shield beats him down. Orton tries to make the save with a chair but gets beaten down as well. Big Show makes the real save.

Mark Henry vs. Usos

I believe that’s Jey starting things off but does it really matter? Henry throws him around but the Usos both hit superkicks to actually put him down. The Superfly Splash from Jimmy gets two but Henry sends Jey FLYING off the apron and into the barricade. A big clothesline on Jimmy and the World’s Strongest Slam ends Jimmy at 1:45.

Post match Jey gets a Slam of his own. Both guys are splashed too.

Antonio Cesaro vs. Alberto Del Rio

Ricardo is here on crutches and his ankle is in a cast. Feeling out process to start with Cesaro taking over via a European uppercut. Off to a cravate but Del Rio comes back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. He loads up the low superkick but here’s Zeb Colter for a distraction. Cesaro gets in some shots but as Del Rio loads up a superplex, Swagger comes out and attacks Ricardo again. Del Rio chases after Swagger and beats him up in the crowd for the countout at 3:20. I’m not going to bother rating this as a good deal of the match was spent on the outside interference stuff.

Post match Del Rio beats up Cesaro despite the loss being his own fault.

HELL NO vs. Prime Time Players

Titus and Kane start with the masked man taking over almost immediately. Off to Bryan for some kicks in the corner and it’s back to Kane for more punishment of the Players. Here are Ziggler and Langston to distract Bryan and let the Players take over. Titus suplexes Darren onto Bryan for two and it’s off to a body vice by Young. Bryan fights up and brings in Kane for the side slam on Darren. Bryan takes out Titus with the running knee to the floor and the chokeslam ends Young at 4:37.

Rating: D+. Just a glorified squash here which didn’t do anything of note for anyone. It’s not like Langston and Ziggler did anything here other than make the match last a bit longer, so why should I want to see these teams fight now? Does anyone remember why they’re fighting in the first place? By the way that’s rhetorical. Don’t leave me comments explaining what started this because I remember it. My point is it wasn’t significant or memorable and WWE doesn’t ever remind it to us because they expect everyone to remember every single thing EVER.

Another example of this would be Lawler talking about washrags when Titus was in there. If you don’t remember that, you’re not alone. That was mentioned ONCE in a match back like last year, but Lawler brings it up whenever Titus is in there. If you didn’t see that ONE probably five minute tag match, you likely don’t get the joke. I barely remember it because it was a stupid discussion from that many months ago, but WWE brings it up like it went on for months and everyone knows it. That’s really stupid and annoying when they do it with such stupid stuff like that.

We recap HHH and Lesnar’s contract signing from last week.

Here’s HHH to talk about the match with Lesnar some more. If he loses at Wrestlemania it’s the end of his career. The thing is if you go to the ring thinking you’re going to lose, you’re already done because Lesnar is a destroyer. HHH has fought like his life and career depended on it every night for twenty years so these stipulations aren’t some coup for Heyman. It’s Lesnar that needs to fight like his career is on the line because that’s what he has to do. HHH isn’t coming to wrestle and he isn’t coming to fight. He’s coming to hurt Brock.

As HHH leaves, Wade Barrett interrupts him and stares HHH down. HHH kicks him low and keeps walking.

Wade Barrett vs. The Miz

Barrett is in agony here so Miz hits a quick atomic drop to mess with Barrett even more. The Figure Four is escaped as the champion (non-title here) bails to the floor. Back in and Miz hits a few more atomic drops but can’t hook the Skull Crushing Finale. Barrett pounds away as the announcers talk about movies. Off to a chinlock by the champion but Miz fights up and backdrops Wade out to the floor. An ax handle off the apron puts Wade down again and we take a break.

Back with Barrett pounding away at Miz in the ropes and kicking him out to the floor. Back in and Miz avoids a charge before firing off some left hands. The corner clothesline sets up the top rope ax handle for two but Barrett rolls out of the Finale. The Winds of Change get two for Barrett but Wasteland is countered. Miz dropkicks the knee out but the Figure Four is countered again. Barrett gets a rollup for two and a low kick to the head for the same. The Bull Hammer misses and Barrett crotches himself on the top rope after missing a big boot. Figure Four gets the tap out at 12:08.

Rating: C-. The match wasn’t bad and that’s a Wrestlemania match for you. No one cares about Barrett or the title, but it’s nice to see the match getting a spot on the biggest show of the year again. The Figure Four still doesn’t work for Miz, and I really didn’t need a match with the main focus being Barrett’s crotch, but the match wasn’t bad.

Bryan and Kane have a mini-argument about Kane’s mental stability before getting into a full argument about AJ. Kaitlyn pops up to say chill because she was the one screwed over by AJ. AJ is behind them as they argue. Kailtyn says AJ is a nutjob and AJ blasts her.

Shield vs. Great Khali/Zack Ryder/Justin Gabriel

Khali chops at Rollins to start but once Ryder comes in things fall apart. A middle rope dropkick misses Ambrose and the Shield takes over. Off to Gabriel vs. Reigns with Justin trying to speed things up. Ambrose gets a blind tag and clotheslines Gabriel’s head off. Dean puts on a surfboard hold as Rollins hits a top rope knee drop for the pin on Gabriel at 2:30.

Post match Khali tries to fight off the Shield but gets caught in the TripleBomb. Cue Sheamus, Orton and Big Show for the big brawl.

We recap Jericho and Fandango from earlier. Jericho is MAD and says he’s like a target now because of what he’s done over the years. He’s sporting a black eye here and apparently it’s Jericho vs. Fandango at Wrestlemania.

Brodus Clay/Tensai vs. Rhodes Scholars

Brodus and Sandow start things off but it’s quickly off to Tensai for some double teaming. Tensai misses a splash though and it’s off to Rhodes for an armbar. The not hot tag brings in Brodus who does his usual stuff like the throw and splash on Cody. The Bellas and Funkadactyls get in a brawl on the floor, allowing Rhodes to hit the Disaster Kick for the pin on Clay at 2:30.

Another video on G.I. Joe 2.

3MB vs. Ryback

Handicap match here with Slater starting for the band. A quick Thesz Press puts Heath down and there’s a splash for no cover. Off to Drew who is rammed into the corner for some hard shoulder blocks. After cleaning out the ring, Ryback is caught by a big boot from McIntyre to take over. Slater puts on a front facelock but Ryback easily throws him off. After the token beating from 3MB, Ryback fights back and throws Slater around a big. The double Shell Shock to Mahal and Slater are enough to pin Heath at 4:04.

Rating: D+. What do you expect here? Ryback did this for like a year and no one is surprised that he can do it again here, other than Cole and Lawler of course. Nothing to see here for the most part, but Ryback and Henry one upping each other with the destruction isn’t a bad idea.

Ryback and Henry have a weightlifting competition on Friday.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is inducting Sammartino into the Hall of Fame.

AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn

Non-title here. Kaitlyn erupts on AJ to start and pounds her down, only to be slapped down by AJ. Kaitlyn will have none of that and hits a fireman’s carry gutbuster to send AJ to the outside. The spear misses AJ and hits the barricade, drawing a countout at 2:02.

We run down the Wrestlemania card.

It’s time for the final segment of the show: a Q&A panel with legends asking questions to Rock and Cena. Lawler is moderating and the panel is Booker T, Mick Foley, Dusty Rhodes and Bret Hart. Ric Flair was supposed to be part of this panel but health issues kept him out of the segment. Rock barely gets a reaction as this crowd is exhausted.

Foley gets to ask the first question and talks about losing the fall at Wrestlemania XX which was supposed to be Rock’s last match. He says that it was a relief that Cena lost the match because it wasn’t Rock’s Wrestlemania swan song. Foley’s question is to Cena: can he handle losing to Rock again? Cena says that he wins everything at once if he wins but losing is definitely an option as it was last year.

He brings up former Eagles’ quarterback Donovan McNabb who was famous for getting deep into the playoffs but never winning a Super Bowl. The fans don’t like McNabb because it’s all about winning the big one. Cena is great but he needs that big win. Rock however can’t live with failure.

The champion responds by telling a familiar story about getting his mattress out of a dumpster. Then six months later he got his shot in the WWE but blew out his knee six months later. Then he worked even harder and came back, asking for a mic. Then Rock became the youngest WWE Champion ever and headlined Wrestlemania 15, right here in this very city. Cue FINALLY of course. Rock came into Philly with a Pat’s cheese steak in one hand and the WWE Title in the other….and Steve Austin beat him for the title. Rock came back as the hardest working man ever and the man that is beating Cena in thirteen days.

Bret (now with gray hair) says that both Rock and Cena are his friends but he didn’t like it last year when this became too close to Bret vs. Shawn. What changed? Rock says that it was two guys going at it for over 30 minutes and after Rock won, Cena took it like a man. Cena talks about calling Rock out years ago in an interview and then Rock proved it. After last year, Cena thought Rock was walking out but then Rock said he wanted to be WWE Champion and did just that.

Booker asks why Cena thinks he can win and John says it’s because he has to. Rock isn’t impressed and wants to know why Cena thinks that. Cena goes off by saying that Rock can’t beat him. Cena beat himself last year by making one bad decision. Every single week for ten years, Cena has come out to a mixed reaction but he’s walked through it. Only Rock has been able to get inside Cena’s head and after Cena survived everything Rock threw at him, Cena tried something stupid by trying the People’s Elbow and beat himself. John knows he’s better than Rock and says Rock knows it too.

Rock says he knows if Cena knew he had Rock beat, he would have beaten him. Cena threw everything he had at Rock and Rock kept kicking out. Rock talks about growing up idolizing Ric Flair who said to be the man you have to beat the man. Cena can’t beat the man, because he isn’t the man. John will never, and the Rock means never, beat the Rock.

Dusty likes them taking the gloves off and asks both guys what they want on April 7 (third time they’ve said the date of the show because the top guys know how to sell a show). Cena wants to win the big one and dominate the Rock. He’s going to prove that he’s better when Rock is looking up at the sky. Rock says he won’t be haunted by Cena and wants to fight right now. Cena says you can’t see me and gets shoved. AA is countered into a Rock Bottom and Rock stares at Cena to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. The show wasn’t awful but say it with me: it dragged because it ran for three hours. It’s not terrible or anything but there’s nothing of note here until the ending which was more like what the world title feud was needing. The problem with the build at this point is that nothing is really exciting for whatever reason it may have. Cena vs. Rock will draw, but it would be nice to see the company actually try instead of just going on reputation alone.

Results

Chris Jericho b. Dolph Ziggler – Walls of Jericho

Mark Henry b. Usos – World’s Strongest Slam to Jimmy Uso

Antonio Cesaro b. Alberto Del Rio via countout

HELL NO b. Prime Time Players – Chokeslam to Young

Shield b. Great Khali/Justin Gabriel/Zack Ryder – Top rope knee drop to Gabriel

Rhodes Scholars b. Tensai/Brodus Clay – Disaster Kick to Clay

Ryback b. 3MB – Shell Shock to Slater

AJ Lee b. Kaitlyn via countout

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews

38 comments

  1. Yerp says:

    For the first time watching since cena has started getting the mixed reactions, I got a slight feeling that he may turn heel at wrestlemania. His main theme is he just has to beat the rock. The look on his face at the end leads me to believe he may be willin to do anything to beat him. Now, don’t read into this as another one of the retards who thinks cena HAS to turn heel. He doesn’t need to, but as
    of right now it wouldn’t surprise me. What say you?

  2. Yerp says:

    I’m talking 2% right now instead of 0% btw

    klunderbunker Reply:

    …..maybe, but I’d think even 2% is high. I definitely see him being very aggressive during the match and definitely working as the heel, but it doesn’t last long term.

    Yerp Reply:

    I’m under the impression that an attitude shift is in order, more so than an actual heel turn. His cockiness with the statement of ‘I had you beat but I got caught up’ was surprising. He actually half way blamed someone else for his loss. Maybe after mania he takes on the fuck you if you aren’t with me attitude? Gets a little more brash with his statements and such.

    M.R. Reply:

    IT’S ZERO. JOHN CENA IS NOT TURNING HEEL. FUCK.

    Yerp Reply:

    Yea, you should probably chill.

    chris Reply:

    People hate it when you mention that Cena should turn heel for some reason. Even if it is a good idea.

  3. chris says:

    It was an ok show. It just seemed the audience did not care about anything. Even when Rock and Cena came out at the end the audience reaction seemed rather lacking at first.

    It also seemed the first time Cena actually showed the heel potential in him. Talking about how he had to win, And how Rock did not beat him last year buying into his own delusion.

    It just seems so forced this year for some reason.

    Mystery Man Reply:

    I fully agree about the crowd. They were absolutely pathetic imo, but I guess it isn’t all their fault.

    chris Reply:

    It just seems they Haven’t been able to capture the audience imagination with the top matches. In the way they thought they were going to.

    It’s partly some of the matches fault Cena ,rock has been Done already. So has Triple H, Lesnar. The rematches don’t hold appeal to some. It doesn’t help that some people already think they know the outcome.

    The other problem is just such lackluster promotion this year. I don’t know if I’m the only one who thinks that. However this year it just seems like there not even trying. It’s like there saying “Look Brock Lesnar, The Rock, and Undertaker are going to be on our show watch it!” Not enough effort is being given to why we should care that they are fighting.

    chris Reply:

    Also where does Cena get off saying he never won the big one? What were the fifty thousand world titles not big ones? The other Wrestlemania main events wins not big ones?

  4. Mystery Man says:

    It was an ok Raw. C- sounds right.

    What bothered me was that a 3 minute and 5 minute broadcast needed a 15 minute overrun. All so we can see Cena get Rock Bottomed.

  5. M.R. says:

    Oh hey, 3 hours is still way too long for a weekly television show. Awesome.

  6. Jay H says:

    Im sensing a Cena Heel turn at Wrestlemania. Just by the way he reacted to Rock grilling him,calling the People’s Elbow stupid,and the look on his face following the Rock Bottom. Also saying he would do anything to win the WWE Title and shove it in Rock’s face.

  7. klunderbunker says:

    That’s wrestling 101. Every wrestler, commentator and promoter ever has said “this is the biggest match EVER!” every single time a new match is announced. It wouldn’t be that smart to say “Well this match is big. It’s not as big as this other show but it’s still pretty big.”

  8. Blue Jay-zer(Not Jay wearing a mask to hide his identity) says:

    Fantastic show tonight. This RAW could have been Wrestlemania, it was that good! I’m not really sure why all you guys say John Cena is turning into the back of a shoe at Wrestlemania but whatever.

    Keep up the good work WWE! Now if only there was a way to keep Thursday from coming…

  9. james gracie says:

    So the crowd was dead for a lot of RAW tonight? When do we stop blaming the crowds and start to blame the product?

    I don’t wanna sound like a negative nancy but the only reason I’m ordering Wrestlemania is because it’s Wrestlemania and the WWE knows that so it seems they don’t have to put in much effort.

    And how many times are we gonna predict a heel turn for Cena? If he turns who is the WWE’s top face gonna be? Sheamus or Orton who are in a throwaway tag match. Del Rio who gets zero reaction. The Rock cause he’s totally staying after Mania full time.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    “And how many times are we gonna predict a heel turn for Cena? If he turns who is the WWE’s top face gonna be? Sheamus or Orton who are in a throwaway tag match. Del Rio who gets zero reaction. The Rock cause he’s totally staying after Mania full time.”

    This right here is the big thing people don’t get about turning Cena. The other faces are nowhere near his level and there’s no one that can carry the company like he can.

    Mike Reply:

    July 2011 CM Punk could have carried the company. He was doing good ratings and his merchandise EXPLODED past Cena.

    Prophet Reply:

    That train ran out of fuel pretty quick.

    M.R. Reply:

    That’s laughable. I love the internet’s revisionist history.

    chris Reply:

    No one wrestler carries the company every main eventer is replaceable. It’s been proven time after time. Nobody thought the company could live without Hogan, Hart, Austin, or Rock. Now with Cena it’s being said again. If Cena disappeared into the cenation never to return, the company would be just fine with a new main eventer. Would it take some adjustment? Sure. To suggest that no one else can do is laughable.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    No to suggest that the company was fine without Hogan, Austin and/or Rock is laughable actually, but arguing with you is like banging my head agaist a wall.

    M.R. Reply:

    You just put Bret Hart on the same level as Hogan, Austin and Rock. LOL.

    chris Reply:

    You shouldn’t be arguing it’s merely debate. You don’t actually get mad at this stuff do you?

    As for the company being fine without Hogan, Rock, Austin, Hart or anyone else is entirely correct. Competition forced them to make new stars. Now there is no competition, so they can rest on their laurels. I don’t understand how anyone could think that one person drives wrestling it’s a combination of so many people to make it work. If Cena or anyone else was shot in the head tomorrow would the company go out of business the next day? Of course not.

    As for Hart being not being on the same level as Hogan, Rock, or Austin, Maybe not in north America but in Europe I would argue he was.

    M.R. Reply:

    I would LOVE to see the statistics or facts of any kind to show that Bret Hart was as popular as Hogan and Austin in Europe. Please, do tell.

  10. Mike says:

    It ran out of fuel because a cool storyline was booked teribly and ended up being nash vs HHH.

    And M.R it was confirmed Punk overtook Cena in sales in 2011.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Yes indeed it was confirmed that Punk was pulling ahead of Cena.

    Imagine that: fans weren’t buying as much merchandise of a guy that they had been buying merchandise from for years. Not to mention it just happened to coincide with Punk having a bunch of new items released.

    Punk overtaking Cena meant very little and if it surprised you, I’d love to know why. The interesting question: did it last?

    M.R. Reply:

    I love the internet’s reasoning for Punk fizzling out: BLAME KEVIN NASH!

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Here’s the big problem with Punk supporters:

    MITB 2011, as in the apex of his time in the company and the biggest match of his life, got 195,000 buys.

    No Way Out 2012: 194,000 buys. The main event of that show: Big Show vs. Cena #854759.

    Another way of looking at it: Rock’s return at Mania 27 brought PPV buys up 30% from Mania 26. Lesnar brought Extreme Rules up 25%. Punk brought MITB 2011 up 18%. To put this in comparison: John Laurinitis’ first match brought Over the Limit up 19%.

    Therefore, the WWE hierarchy of people in their first big match as PPV draws goes like this:

    Rock
    Lesnar
    John Laurinitis
    CM Punk

    Jordan Reply:

    @M.R. The way that angle was booked post-MITB was very poor, plain and simple. Punk should have been gone for months. Rock/Cena was already booked for Mania, but we could at least have had Punk/Cena II at Survivor Series or the Rumble. But no, Punk comes back after 1-2 weeks, Nash and HHH get involved and the angle is dead. While I don’t think Punk is the top guy/draw in WWE by any means, his “fizzling out” in 2011 was all due to the way he was booked.

    M.R. Reply:

    So what do you suggest main event Summerslam 2011? You know, the second biggest show of the year.

  11. Rocko says:

    It kind of feels like Wrestlemania snuck up on the WWE.

  12. chris says:

    I think the big problem is Cena just doesn’t seem to be entertaining anymore. It’s World Wrestling Entertainment so entertain me. He can’t anymore hence the crowd reaction. Which still blows me mind that a face can be booed that harshly, And since the fed doesn’t have to try anymore since they have no real competition. They can just throw the status quo at you till things get critical and they have to make a change.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    It amazes me how you REALLY don’t get Cena.

  13. chris says:

    There is nothing to get, Cena’s job is to entertain me and the other fans of the “wwe universe! I always wanted to throw that in somewhere” He’s not doing that period.

    The buy rates and numbers and merchandise sales don’t mean anything to me. Is he fun on the mic? I would say no the shit eating grin and the mugging for the camera has him trying way to hard. Don’t get me wrong he can have passable promos when he actually cares to, but on a consistent basis I would say no.

    Is he fun to watch in the ring. No “but he goes out there night after night and busts his ass for you” So do all of the other wrestlers in the world and some do a better job than he does.

    I just dislike this idea that Cena is untouchable because he’s such a nice guy who tries so hard. He may be the nicest guy in the world dispensing ice cream to all. That has nothing to do with his bland character and sub par wrestling skills.

    I don’t even dislike Cena I dislike what he represents.

    Average, boilerplate, safety. A character they don’t have to take chances with, and even when things do get bad no one cares.

    Is this really what you want as a fan? A bland superhero, rapper, marine?

    It’s not even Cena’s fault Would you say no to millions of dollars and spotlight?
    It’s the lack of effort that irks me super cena wins roll credits see you next month.

    I know they can do better, but they don’t need to so there not going to. Why make billions when we can make millions.

  14. Remy says:

    Great segment at the end.

  15. Chrisman says:

    It annoyed me how they jobbed Ziggler. They put the briefcase on him then bury him? Eh? It didn’t need to happen and it’s stupid.

    Raw is kind of annoying me, it’s too long and too boring. The angles and feud are all total shit. Yeah ok the Shield and Rock/Cena is mildly interesting but it could be so much better and the mid-card is just dead. There is talent there but the booking is on total autopilot. It’s like a computer is doing it and it’s stuck in a glitch where it can’t stop booking the same matches and keeps randomly de-pushing people.