michael dworkis gets raw…
CM Punk days as WWE Champion: 428
As always, a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King runs before Raw, and even again at the 10pm hour. Very classy as always, and the video production crew should get an award.
Thoughts heading into Monday Night Raw:
Randy Orton – He’s bored. Either he really is and it shows on television, or it is becoming his new gimmick. Randy “Bored” Orton. New finisher, the RBO. Sounds dull, just like him. Lately he is either beating jobbers, getting hugged, or beaten on by The Shield. Orton will turn heel, and it will be either before, or at WrestleMania.
The Miz – Used the Figure-Four Leglock to defeat Primo on SmackDown. So, he has a segment with Ric Flair, and, according to a clearly drunk JBL on commentary during Raw, states that Flair is passing the torch by allowing Miz to slap the submission hold onto the antagonistic Antonio Cesaro. I do not see Miz as the next Ric Flair, but I do not mind a temporary gimmick where he pays tribute to “The Nature Boy.”
The Royal Rumble – Winning the Rumble this year will be interesting. With Mania already hyping up The Rock and the inevitable return of Brock Lesnar (he’s on the damn poster), the Royal Rumble feels as if it is already taking a backseat. Do not forget, the winner of the match challenges the WWE or World Champion. If The Rock beats Punk for the title, then the winner will get a golden chance at the Grandest Stage of Them All.
We are just a week away from the 2013 Royal Rumble. We begin Raw with Heyman and Vickie unified with hate for The Rock and his remarks during the Sing-Along. The replay the clips, and Vickie revealed that she hired cops to prevent The Rock from entering the building. Rock rips on both Heyman and Vickie to the fans delight.
Announced is a Beat the Clock Series and the winner can choose the number of entry in the Royal Rumble. Interesting.
Beat the Clock Series Match 1: Randy Orton defeated Antonio Cesaro in 11:36
With a 10-minute match, one would think I have more to say, except, I do not. All I can say about this match, is Antonio Cesaro proved why he is an awesome superstar. It took him quite a while, but over the past few months, he has been pushed on Raw and given the spotlight to shine. He did it too. No ball dropped here. He threw a suplex or two, while Orton sleptwalk through the match. I really wonder if either Orton is really just bored, or maybe his time with WWE is running out. Cesaro carried the entire damn match. Orton did his usual spots. Actually, LESS than his usual spots. Very poor performance, even for Orton.
Backstage: The Shield roll some footage and remind the faces of the WWE Universe to watch their backs. This group is great, although Reigns is starting to irk me.
Promo for Mick Foley and his upcoming induction into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Big Show devours Zack Ryder
Match lasted a whole two minutes. Show punched Ryder in the face to end it. Brad Maddox interfered with Cole and Lawler on commentary.
Backstage: Paul Heyman on the phone, saying The Rock will never get into the arena tonight. Brad Maddox shows up, and Paul Heyman now greets him with open arms. Weird.
Ryback eats Heath Slater
I am noticing a theme developing tonight. Lots of jobber-like matches. The members of 3MB tried to save Slater, but wound up as appetizers. Slater gets eaten via Muscle Bu.. er, I mean Shell Shock. How the hell they were allowed to beat Sheamus last week is beyond me.
We are just about an hour in, and we once again The Rock trying to talk the cops into letting him into the building. Good promo. Sadly, that is all so far in the entertainment department. I really hope the next two hours of Raw turn out to be better than hour number one. Vickie interrupts The Rock by telling the officers she is connected with their supervisor and they have to do whatever she says.
CM Punk Promo
Alright, hour number two picks up with the longest-reigning WWE Champion in the past 25 years. He talks about how he has worked his whole life to be a great champion, how he spent his life becoming the greatest WWE Champion ever. He talks about respect and how the most important thing in his life is the championship title. The Rock just wants to suck up to the fans and sing and dance. Punk chose honest arrogance over being a hypocrite. You cannot call The Rock a champion, because Punk is champion and that is earned by blood, sweat, and tears, and by competing every week, title match or not, and this is why he is called… Champion.
I will say, that was entertaining. Punk did get quite a few cheers, so while he does take the heel route to berate the fans, he still talks the truth about wrestling being more important than repetitive jokes. I did not write up word-for-word what Punk said in his promo, and I am sure you can find it on WWE.com. Punk proves once again why he is the best in the world.
Well, is this it? Will this be the last time we Punk as WWE Champion on Monday Night Raw? Good lord I hope not. Even if he does lost the belt to The Rock at the Royal Rumble, maybe he will regain it sometime after WrestleMania 29.
Beat the Clock Series Match #2: Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz
Ziggles comes down accompanied by Ryblack… er, Choc Lesnar, Uhm.. Big E. Langston and AJ Lee. Quite the stable they have here. Miz enters, and Cole recaps last week where Ric Flair and The Miz bonded on Raw, specifically where Flair “passes the torch” to The Miz, allowing him to use the figure-four in honor of the Nature Boy. Miz and Ziggler quickly trade pinfall attempts, but of course, the match does not end in seconds. Did I mention I love Ziggler? I like Miz and all, but Ziggy Talented is the man to be right now, and to be the man, you have to beat the man… Sounds familiar, yes? Ziggler applying the Main Event Sleeper, but Miz fights out. Miz earns “woooos” as he sets up the figure-four, but Ziggler throws Miz to the outside, into the waiting arms of the menacing Langston. Long commercial break interrupts the match, we come back to rest holds, but then a series of pinfall attempts revives the pace. Miz beats down Ziggler in the corner, then hits a huge drop off the top rope. A series of reversals sees Miz nearly hitting the Skull Crushing Finale, but Ziggler reverses into a jumping spike DDT. Miz rebounds and locks on the Figure-Four. AJ distracts the ref while Langston pulls Ziggler to the ropes to break the hold. Miz attempts another Skull Crusher, but Ziggler pushes Miz who puts on the brakes when he sees Langston. Turns out to be part of the plan as Ziggler hits Miz from behind with the Zig Zag to win the match with 37 seconds left to take the top spot in the Beat the Clock Challenge.
Winner in 10:56 – Dolph Ziggler
Awesome match between these two. Do it again. Please, do it again.
Graduation for Team Hell No
Dr. Shelby conducts a graduation ceremony for Kane and Bryan on completing anger management therapy. Kane and Bryan look ridiculous, and this is comedy gold. Shelby wants one of them to talk about their feelings as valedictorian but each nominate the other. Instead we get the biggest hug-fest in WWE history. Shelby asks Bryan and Kane to hug it out, but only if they aren’t the only ones. Shelby decrees that everyone will hug. They get Lawler and Cole to hug, Dr. Samson and ring announcer Justin Roberts to hug, a bunch of fans to hug, and practically everyone in the arena. The segment concludes with Dr. Shelby hugging both Kane and Bryan, successfully concluding the graduation ceremony.
No interference from Rhodes Scholars. I would have liked to see them hug.
Kaitlyn defeated Alicia Fox
Recap of Kaitlyn defeating Eve for the Divas Championship, leading to Eve “quitting” WWE. She did not want to renew her contract, getting married or something of that sort. Just when you think the Divas division had a glimmer of hope, it is snuffed out. Kaitlyn defeats Fox with a spear.
Paul Heyman Promo
Heyman in the ring alone, berating the fans while praising CM Punk. Heyman bashes the fans by talking down to them as if they are idiots. He says Vince McMahon is desperate to see someone try to take the WWE Title from CM Punk, so The Rock is no more than a “flavor of the month” and that will end at the Royal Rumble. Heyman is interrupted by The Rock! Wait, I thought he was banned from the building?! Oh golly gee wilikers, he bought a ticket. Did not see that coming at all, right? Right? Yeah. Anyway, Rock in the ring and Heyman appears to have soiled himself. Great actor, is Mr. Heyman. Rock promptly thanks the cops for the ticket and boots Heyman from the ring in order to address CM Punk.
The Rock Does His Promo
Usual rant about becoming WWE Champion one more time, even comparing that “dream” to the “I have a dream” speech given by Martin Luther King… Uhm, yeah… I would not have gone that route, but I guess Dr. King wasn’t over enough. Wait, the lights go out… THE SHIELD!! The Shield is here beating down The Rock! Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns punishing The Rock, flattening him with the Triple Powerbomb!! Now THAT is how you get The Shield uber-heel! Solid booking by WWE Creative.
CM Punk Gets a Turn
Seated in his skybox, Punk has a mic of his own, and tells Rock that only one man can be at the top of the mountain, only one can be champion. Camera pans in on The Rock, who appears to be bleeding from the mouth. Hope no one from The Shield gets fired for roughing up “The Great One.”
Beat the Clock Series Match #3: Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett
I am still in shock as to why WWE would book Sheamus to lose against 3MB last week. Makes no sense to me at all. Sure, he did beat them all up post-match, but I am still scratching my head as to the purpose of that. For some reason, I expected Barrett to be his opponent. Barrett is pretty awesome, and I think he is going to be “that guy” this year, lasting a very long time in the Royal Rumble. He will not win, but a final four appearance would not shock me at all. I see Barrett being the 2013 Mr. Money in the Bank. Sheamus on the other hand, could be a winning contender, not sure yet. He won last year, and went on to defeat Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 28. Barrett dominates Sheamus for most of the match, with the Celtic Warrior getting a little offense in. Barrett tries for a running clothelines, and that is when Sheamus fires up, with under four minutes to go. Sheamus starts bashing on Barrett with his trademark over the ropes blows, but it eats away time off the clock. With three minutes to go, Barrett makes a comeback, attempts a pump-handle slam, but Sheamus escapes and goes for the Brough Kick, but Barrett dodges and blasts the Irish Soldier in the head with a huge kick. Barrett scores with a second rope elbow-drop, but only gets a two count with under two minutes to go. Barrett goes for Wasteland, however Sheamus counters and crushes the Bare-Knuckle Brawler with White Noise. He does not go for the pin, and instead stares at the clock. He finally sets up for the Brough Kick, but Ziggler, AJ, and Langston interfere, allowing Barrett to recover, flooring Sheamus with the Swinging Side Slam. Sheamus kicks out and blasts Barrett with the Brough Kick, but he makes the cover too late as the clock runs out, and Dolph Ziggler wins the Beat the Clock Challenge to pick his spot for the Royal Rumble match.
Match Result: Time Limit Draw, Dolph Ziggler holds the best time.
Backstage: Ziggler celebrates, and smooches AJ while Vickie watches. He then makes fun, singing to AJ “you look beautiful tonight” in the same manner The Rock made fun of Vickie with “bee-yotch, you look horrible, tonight.” So, Vickie informs the Show Off that he only gets to choose between two numbers… One, and two. Joke is on Ziggler. Eh, I was hoping against that. I always liked the number one and two spots being a mystery. Part of the fun of The Royal Rumble match. Ah well.
Backstage Punk and Heyman run into Vince McMahon. The chairman informs the Masters of the Microphone, should The Shield interfere in favor of CM Punk during the WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble against The Rock, he will strip CM Punk of the title, ending his reign as champion.
Alberto del Rio vs… Tensai (non-title… does that even matter?)
Ricardo does a very impressive intro for the World Champion. His opponent, already in the ring, is Tensai. Cole and Lawler quickly put over Tensai as a big problem for the World Champ, and that he is a “huge obstacle.” Riiiiiiiight. The last time he was a major obstacle was about six months ago when he beat Tyson Kidd. Then he lost to Tyson Kidd. Tensai dominates the early going of the match, throwing the Mexican Aristocrat around the ring, quickly hitting a turnbuckle splash. Only getting a two count, he tries a corner splash, but Del Rio counters with a top rope hurricanrana! Tensai stunned, gets up and misses a clothesline, Alberto del Rio then launches Tensai with a GERMAN SUPLEX! A German-f***ing-Suplex!!!! The Champ nails Tensai with the Inziguiri, and then finishes off Albert with a second rope moonsault!!
Winner by Holy Crap That German Suplex Was Awesome: Alberto del Rio
The next inductee into the 2013 Hall of Fame is: Bob Backlund
About damn time. Joined World Wrestling Federation in 1976 and in ’78 won the WWF Title from Superstar Billy Graham, a title reign, which lasted for six years included a time limit draw against then-NWA World Champion, Harley Race. He has been around a long time, with a few stints in the WWE feuding with Bret Hart and managing Kurt Angle. Go look it up on Wikipedia.
The Main Event of WWE Monday Night Raw: John Cena Talks and the Inevitable Brawl Before the 2013 Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View
Yep, the main event of Raw is John Cena talking. He says Saturday, the seventh day is a day of rest. So, Cena is Jewish now? Anyway, he starts rambling about playing Call of Duty under username Skidmarks127 and he describes the weekend of two fans, mostly making no sense at all. He starts talking about this Sunday, the 2013 Royal Rumble. Thankfully, he is interrupted by Sheamus, who is quickly interrupted by The Prime Time Players before he even makes it to the ring? Odd. They are quickly interrupted by Randy Orton, who is interrupted by The Miz, who is interrupted by Kane and Daniel Bryan who start arguing, but are interrupted by Antonio Cesaro. He gets through his speech, and then 3MB come down to the ring. Oh lord. They speak longer than anyone else, and the ring starts to floor with more wrestlers from the locker room, and the inevitable all-out pier-six brawl breaks loose. I see some NXT people get thrown out, was that Alex Riley too? So ends WWE Monday Night Raw.
All that is left towards the Royal Rumble is SmackDown, Main Event, and even NXT. Team Hell No defending the Tag Team Titles against Rhodes Scholars, and I predict a title change there. CM Punk defends against The Rock, and I have yet to decide who my pick is there. Big Show challenges Alberto del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship in his rematch, and I think Alberto will retain the title. Having him drop the belt in a month would be a death-stroke to his career.
Cesaro and Orton was a good match, only because Cesaro carried the whole match. The WHOLE match. Again, something is up with Orton. I cannot say if it is a gimmick or not, but he really just looks as if he is disinterested in wrestling. His face just looks as if he does not want to be there.
Stay tuned this week for my 2013 Royal Rumble Preview column, where I reveal my picks for the lineup, and take a little road trip into the past where I look back at ten years ago, the 2003 Royal Rumble.
The reason is two words: Brock Lesnar.