Monday Night Raw
March 25, 2013
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

We’re live in the birthplace of Cheese Steaks, Rocky Balboa and ECW. Speaking of ECW, out comes its creator and one of his charges. CM Punk and Paul Heyman come down the ramp with Undertaker’s urn. Could the Undertaker have a 5th consecutive 4+ star match at Wrestlemania? Of course he will. Paul sporting a shiner from last week’s assault at the hands of Triple H. Punk says that he’s heard the Streak will never be beaten. Who is “they” that keep doubting the Best in the World? He says the only opinion he pays attention to is his, the one that matters. He says the streak should have stopped last year with he Triple H and Shawn Michaels skipping off into the sunset. However his mistake was coming on his show this year. Punk is getting some cheers, not many but some. The taking of the urn is all Undertaker’s fault because he stepped on Punk’s show instead of walking away. He didn’t steal the urn to disrespect Paul Bearer, rather because of how important it is to the Undertaker. While Punk’s cutting the promo, Paul looks somewhat disinterested or concerned. He says that he is the one, and 20-1. He says he’s awaiting the Undertaker’s arrival, the gong and the lights. He says the record will rest in…but as he says peace the lights go out. When they come back on Taker is in the ring and he’s laying the soupbones on Punk. Heyman grabs the urn and runs for his life up the ramp. Punk follows.

MATCH: Fandango vs. ?
-Fandango tries to say his name but he’s cut off by Jericho’s entrance. Actually Cole just said that Jericho wasn’t Fandango’s opponent, but he just runs in and beats Fandango down. Jericho was to face Dolph Ziggler later on, but Ziggler’s out now, so I guess it’s now.

MATCH: Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler
-Dolph’s now on a hot streak after jobbing for quite a while. His matches have also been pretty good too, being in my top 3 matches of the week almost consistently. This match was pretty good too, but too quick. Just as I said Dolph’s winning streak was hot, he taps to the Walls.

-I’m very surprised, but Big E gets his shot in by hitting Jericho from behind and hitting his finisher to Y2J. The trio leaves, but Fandango returns and dances over Jericho with his partner. Then he beats the crap out of Jericho. Fandango keeps yelling at Jericho to say his name. The Philly crowd chants “You Can’t Wrestle”. Fandango gets to the top and hits the top rope leg drop. The dancing continues. Maybe this will be a match at Wrestlemania.

-13 days away, and PTB Nation will be there.

-Striker is with Sheamus and they watch what happened Friday on Smackdown when he Big Show and Randy Orton won their 6 man tag but then they imploded. Sheamus says he never trusted Big Show, but after Friday, and then out of nowhere the Shield comes in and starts pummeling Sheamus until Orton cracks a chair on Rollins. The numbers game takes over again until Big Show tosses all three guys out. There’s something going on here that’s leading to Orton’s heel turn.

HANDICAP MATCH: Mark Henry vs. The Usos
Really? The Usos won a big match on Main Event and now they’ll be fodder? They could have made a better choice. I will continue saying it in every review. I can’t wait for Henry/Ryback. A good old fashioned hoss-fest. The Usos do get some shots in but eventually the WSS is delivered on one of them for the win.

-To complete it he gave the other Uso the WSS. Then he drops a splash on one of them.

MATCH: Antonio Cesaro vs. Alberto Del Rio
-Del Rio took Smackdown off but return tonight. Ricardo is back with a boot on his left foot, broken by Jack Swagger last week. This is not CHAMPION vs. CHAMPION. Number 1 because both belts aren’t on the line, and second, because there’s no chance Cesaro wins here. WWE even put up a big graphic on the screen and King keeps saying its champion vs. champion. It’s not. The match is pretty good, but then Zeb Colter comes down the ramp. Del Rio hits a big superplex, but sadly the crowd is flat during this match. Maybe Del Rio’s juice is starting to falter a bit. Suddenly Jack Swagger comes out of nowhere and drags Ricardo by his bad leg towards the timekeeper booth. Del Rio gets counted out as he brawls with Swagger out to the crowd. So Cesaro actually won.

-Del Rio gets back in the ring and beats Cesaro down and cranks the Cross Armbreaker. Normally I don’t like that, but it seems Del Rio needs the heat. Then again this is Philly, and they are a little unique a crowd.

-We recap earlier in the night with the opening promo with Punk and Taker.

MATCH: Team Hell No vs. Prime Time Players
-PTP lost a tough one last Wednesday on Main Event to Team Hell No. They will likely lose this one as well. I think Team Hell no loses at Mania, and like the Hart Foundation at Wrestlemania VII, they will split and have solo careers again. Shortly after the match started Dolph and Big E come out to observe at the top of the ramp. No frills or bullshit in that match, as Kane and Daniel Bryan work very efficiently, ending with a Kane chokeslam on D-Young for the win.

-We go back to last week when the stipulations went down for Triple H/Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania. With that out comes THE GAME. Triple H comes down to the ring. They use the “King of Kings” music whenever they mention the match in show bumps. They should use it in his theme again. He grabs a mike and says for the first time, a loss could mean the end. He says Brock Lesnar is a destroyer, a machine that can end your career in a heartbeat. Triple H says he’s had a 20-year career where many matches have felt like his career was on the line. However, he tells Brock to come to New Jersey like your career depends on it. Because it very well might. He’s not going to Wrestlemania to wrestle or fight. He’s going to kick Brock’s ass. Period. Hunter’s music starts to play, but out of nowhere IC Champion Wade Barrett comes out, presumably for a match. He tells HHH to get out of the way, and HHH kicks him in the nuts. Haha that was actually funny. HHH/Brock is going to bowling shoe ugly. No moves, no restholds. Whatever they can hit each other with, they will.

MATCH: Wade Barrett vs. The Miz
-Wade still shaking the pain out of his twig & berries. Miz has the early advantage because Miz can’t get going. I’m starting to like the idea of going to the WWE App to watch a match during commercial. My problem is I’m never watching this show live. Miz has become nothing more than mid-card fill. He’s almost become the modern-day Roddy Piper when he came back in 1989. This has been a really good match, Miz’s best in a solo match for a while. Barrett’s in control and gets the Bull Hammer ready. Miz gets ups but Miz ducks and almost gets a roll up. Miz actually cranks the Figure Four and Barrett taps out. So this means we may have an Intercontinental Title shot April 7. Maybe.

-Team Hell No are talking about their opponents at Wrestlemania and they’re talking about AJ when Kaitlyn joins the conversation, She starts calling AJ crazy, meanwhile AJ was listening all along and she jumps the Divas Champion. Team Hell No throws her out of the locker room.

-WWE is helping with Hurricane Sandy relief with a big auction. I’ve been to Coney Island in Brooklyn. They still need lots of help.

MATCH: Great Khali. Zack Ryder & Justin Gabriel vs. The Shield
-It’s nice to actually see these guys in a real match for a change. Not their fault, I’m just saying that I’m looking forward to see how these guys work. Remember, we’ve only seen them in 3 matches as a team. And yes, they’re 3-0. Right now these guys aren’t working to their full potential because their current gimmick is in essence like a pack of dogs. Whenever they break up and become singles guys then we’ll really see the full potential of all them. The Shield rolled, hitting some finisher where Ambrose had Gabriel tied up and Rollins hit a knee to the chest.

-They then work Khali over and hit the triple power bomb. Wow that was very impressive. Sheamus’ theme hits, followed by Orton, and they come down the ramp. Meanwhile Big Show came from the other side, and now the Shield are smothered. The brawl commences in the ring and the babyfaces dominate. The Shield bails.

-After seeing Fandango’s beatdown of Chris Jericho, Y2J left Vickie Guerrero’s office. Josh Matthews asks what’s up. Jericho says his reputation means there’s a bullseye on his back. Fandango has jumped him twice, and now he has to put up or shut up. At Wrestlemania it will be Y2J vs. Fandango. I like that. That could be a solid opener.

-We’re now joined by Team Rhodes Scholars. Damien Sandow says we’re in a city that’s famous for greasy sandwiches, and a stadium that has a prison inside of it. SILENCE! They introduce The Bellas. Ugh, I cam getting so sick of this. Hopefully Cody turns face soon and hooks up with Kaitlyn.

MATCH: Brodus Clay & Sweet T vs. Team Rhodes Scholars
-This is a rematch from Smackdown when all hell broke loose with the men and women and it ended in some no-contest mess. A few minutes into the match and the girls start brawling around the ring, however this time Sweet T tries to break it up, which leads Cody to hit the kick to the head on Brodus for the victory. Maybe they won’t have an 8-man mixed tag at Wrestlemania. If so it will be the You Tube match or something.

-We get a piece on GI Joe: Retaliation.

-So Ryback will try to one-up Mark Henry with a 3-on-1 match. He dominates, giving both Slater and Mahal a double Shell Shock. Impressive.

-Friday night on Smackdown Ryback and Mark Henry will have a weightlifting competition.

-So it’s official: Arnold Schwarzeegger will induct Bruno Sammartino into the WWE Hall of Fame. That night at MSG is getting better and better..

MATCH: AJ vs. Kaitlyn
-At one point Kaitlyn went for a spear and missed AJ, going head first into the barricade. She’s all loopy and can’t make it back to the ring. AJ wins by countout. I don’t get what the point of that was. Unless it leads to a Divas Title match.

-2Ksports has re-released WWE ’13.

-Rock will be on Smackdown this Friday.

-We head to the ring where Jerry is with a carpet and podium. Tonight a panel of WWE Hall of Famers will grill the two participants in the WWE Title match at Wrestlemania. I’m curious who the panel will be. Our first panelist is future WWE Hall of Famer and Smackdown GM Booker T. It better not be the same old guys it always is. Number 2 is another guy who will be immortalized at the Garden April 6, Mick Foley. Number 3 is Justin’s pick on this panel, the American Dream, Dusty Rhodes, Hall of Fame Class of 2007. Number 4 is WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2006, the Hitman Bret Hart. It’s good they have some variety tonight. Is #5 who I think it is? Oh wait, I guess Jerry is part of the 5. Bummer, I could have sworn that Steve Austin would be the 5th one. They probably asked him and he couldn’t make it. Particularly with The Rock in the match, I would have bet money Stone Cold would be there. We return from break and out comes the WWE Champion, live for the first time since the night after Elimination Chamber. Rock gets his usual great pop, then the challenger comes out. This is Philadelphia, so I was anticipating an awful response. It’s lukewarm, but not terrible. I think Cena picks gaudy colors for his t-shirts on purpose now. They take places at podiums with the HOF’s at a table in the middle. Each HOF gets a question to one of them and the other can respond. Foley goes first, and he says he felt a weight come off his shoulders when Rock won last year because Foley was in the Rock’s last match at Wrestlemania XX at the Garden (which I and others were at). He asks Cena if he can carry the burden of losing two years in a row. Cena says whether he wins or loses, it will change the face of WWE forever. Cena gets a lot back if he wins, and that losing isn’t an option. He thought the same thing last year and he lost. This year will be different. He then uses Donovan McNabb as an example of adversity. That got the crowd going. Rock’s promo does what it always does. He does mention Wrestlemania XV in this building when he lost the title to Austin. He said he will get better and become the man that he is today. His promo was better. 1 point to Rock. The promos went back and forth between the two. Booker says why does Cena have to win. Cena says because he has to. Rock breaks his balls about the answer but Cena says he beat himself last year, and Rock didn’t beat him. So after a year he says he couldn’t pin him. Cena says he did a dumb thing, he tried to beat him with his own move. That will not happen April 7. Cena says he’s better than the Rock, and the Rock knows that too. Rock says he knows that if he had him beat, he would have beat me. Then Rock quotes Ric Flair. To be the man…well you get it. The promos went back and forth about who’s better. The promos were solid, and Cena got very emotional. Eventually both men got out from behind the podiums and got in each other’s faces. Cena does the “You Can’t See Me” sign, Rock pushes him. Cena sets Rock for the AA but Rock slips out and hits the Rock Bottom. Rock’s music plays and Rock walks off. The hand has been tipped. Cena wins April 7.

SCOTT’S TAKE: That was a better Raw than last week. We have a couple more matches confirmed. Triple H’s promo was short but to the point. I didn’t give the last segment justice but it has to be watched to be critiqued. Cena wins, simple enough.

Scott’s Raw Top 5:
1) The Rock
2) John Cena
3) Wade Barrett
4) CM Punk
5) Ryback