michael dworkis reviews one of the wildest shows in a while …
You know the news, not that The Rock got injured, but DOLPH ZIGGLER is your NEW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION!!!!!
Alright, alright, the internet got me today. Reports are running wild that The Rock got injured last night during the main event at WrestleMania. Speculations are abound that he was to develop some sort of angle to build up WrestleMania 30. I am skeptical, because it is the internet after all so there is no way to confirm or deny anything until it is address by WWE. So, I will not even bother making any judgments about it.
Monday night Raw, following Wrestlemania can either be incredibly exciting, or more subdued to dictate a new pace for the next major event. After the unbelievable events at WrestleMania 29, it is best to get right to it, forget the speculation on the guesswork and get right to covering Monday Night Raw!
Celebrate With Cena!
Cena leads off celebrating, yay of course. He sounds a little heel-ish, gloating about his win and injuring The Rock at mania. The crowd is all boos tonight, and Cena plays off it. At one point the whole crowd chants “boring” and Cena goes “no! tonight won’t be that at all!” Which was pretty funny. It got better when Cena began to do a dance and when the crowd boos, he asks why they do not want to see him do a “heel turn” which gets a huge pop from the crowd. This now entertaining segment is interrupted by Mark Henry, who demands a title shot. Booker T says Henry will get what he wants, but must defeat Cena one-on-one to earn it. Right off the bat we get our first contender to the WWE Championship. I cannot help but wonder if Henry will be a top contender once more, or will he succumb to the almighty power that is John Cena.
So we get some confirmation The Rock did get injured last night.
Big E. Langston defeated Daniel Bryan
Langston is a beast of a man, and tonight we got to see it. I was surprised at how he was not fully unleashed as he is here, completely dominating Daniel Bryan in a one-on-one match. Ziggles stops Bryan from jumping off the top. He throws Bryan around like a ragdoll, and hit the Big Ending for the win. I assume this to mean that Langston and Ziggler may yet challenge Kane and Bryan for the dual straps once more in the future.
Wade Barrett defeated The Miz to Regain the Intercontinental Championship
This crowd was 100% behind Wade Barrett, and I was not even in the Izod Center tonight. Barrett pulled out some good stuff this time, this match was better than their little pre-show dance last night. Barrett hits a nice running elbowdrop on Miz who was stunned on the arena floor. Miz gets fired up and the crowd now gets behind the Marine 3 star. However, despite the massive improvement in match quality, this time Miz could not win with the Figure Four Leglock, and instead ate one Bull Hammer courtesy of our local Englishman. This title switch is surprising, yet not at the same time. Barrett is a rising star, while Miz has already hit the top. This might make for an interesting feud between a former WWE Champion and a soon-to-be WWE or World Champion. This should have been their match at Mania.
Backstage: Sheamus demands a match with Big Show from Vickie and Maddox.
Backstage: Orton discussing with Booker T about his desire to take on Big Show tonight. Now it seems Booker T overrules Vickie and now it will be Orton against Show.
Jack Swagger & Zeb Colter vs. Alberto del Rio
Yes, Zeb is tagging with Swagger tonight. Zeb compares his participation in the match to his time spent in Vietnam. Sounds like Walter Sobcheck (John Goodman) from The Big Lebowski. Zeb leads the crowd in a USA chant, and the crowd goes for it. Crowd chanting “We Want Ziggler” as the bell sounds. Del Rio dominates early, sending Swaggs to the floor and then nails him with a suicide dive. Crowd now behind Del Rio as he leaps off the top rope with a splash but only gets a two. Zeb takes a cheap shot, allowing Swagger to knock down his opponent and take over the match, warming the World Champion up for the Ankle lock. Del Rio mounts a comeback but misses the corner enziguri and after a number of reversals, Swagger slaps on the Ankle lock but the champ reaches the ropes. This is a great match. I hope these two have more title matches together. Del Rio scores with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, followed by cracking Mr. We The People in the head with a kick. Swagger counters the cross-arm breaker attempt with a belly-to-back Suplex, and now the Ankle lock is in. Swagger seems to have the match, but Del Rio counters into the Cross Arm Breaker, and again, Swagger taps out!!
Winner by Submission: Alberto del Rio
Wait… Del Rio holding his leg, and trainers in the ring… I smell something… something is up here… ZIGGLER!!!! ZIGGLER!!!! FINALLY!!! Here we go! The crowd just EXPLODED!!! HE IS CASHING IN RIGHT NOW!!!! Dammit I knew I should have bought tickets for tonight!!! The bell rings and the match is on!
Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship!
Ziggler attacks the leg of Del Rio goes for a cover but only a two count! Ziggler crashed into the corner and Del Rio hits a running (more like limping) Enziguri! Two count, Ziggler kicks out. Alberto locks on the Cross Arm Breaker!!! Ziggler fights his way out… both men up, Zig Zag! One… two… three!! NEW CHAMPION!
Winner and FINALLY WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: Dolph Ziggler
The Undertaker Speaks
Wow, first Ziggler cashes in and now we get The Undertaker. He dedicates his match to Paul Bearer and… THE SHIELD COMES OUT. Wow. They surround The Deadman but before they strike, big red pyro hits and out runs Kane and Daniel Bryan to a HUGE “Yes!” chant. The Shield makes a very fast retreat. Wow.
This got interesting fast. Undertaker will be sticking around for a little while. So far we are getting some very exciting angles post-mania. This crowd is hot. Gotta love New Jersey!
Santino, Zack Ryder & R-Truth defeated 3MB
Well, we need to have something to calm everyone down. Truth starts off beating down Slater, then tags out to Santino, who dances, gets punches in the face, and promptly tags out to Zack Ryder. This is the match of jobbers. The only talented person in 3MB is McIntyre. Santino is still a joke and all we know of Zack Ryder is @CurtHawkins instagraming a photo of Ryder looking pathetic in the locker room. Santino hits Slater with the Cobra and this train wreck is over.
Sheamus comes to the ring to confront Big Show, but is interrupted by Orton. They argue about who will beat up Big Show. Michael Cole announces that the fans will get to vote who faces off against the Big Show. After commercial the result is Orton winning by a landslide. However, that means nothing as Booker T and Vickie Guerrero announce we get Orton vs. Sheamus instead. Winner faces Big Show. Well, if anything this could begin a heel turn for one of these guys. After a long match Big Show makes his appearance and decimates everyone, but it appears Orton gets the win by DQ.
Fandango vs. Kofi Kingston goes to a no-contest
Fandango is clearly the crowd favorite but before the match gets going, Jericho rushes the ring and obliterates Fandango. It is hard to tell who the crowd is cheering for. The onslaught lasts longer than the match. Y2J locks in the Walls and referees have to pull Jericho off Fandango. Jericho leaves, but not before blasting the dancer with a Codebreaker. Even after Justin Roberts announces him as the DQ winner, he still has enough left to correct him. The crowd is popping HUGE for Fandango.
Backstage: Paul Heyman
He gloats about Brock beating up both HBK and HHH. Regardless of the outcome, Brock is still a force. He then says that CM Punk will be back next week on Raw.
Tons of Funk & The Funkadactyls vs. Rhodes Scholars & The Bellas
This was the match we were supposed to get last night at Mania. I am glad Tensai/A-Train has a better gimmick, yes this is better than loser-of-the-year. This match is actually really good. Huge pops for Sandow. Crowd singing the Fandango theme during the match. Why did I not go to this?! Short match and damn it was entertaining. This should have been at WrestleMania.
Mark Henry vs. John Cena
Cena has been acting a bit heel-ish, but it could just be his going with the flow, something he is very good at. Hate Cena all you want, he was very entertaining tonight. Fans still singing the Fandango theme “Heel Turn” dance, love it. Henry mauls Cena. Now we get the Sexual Chocolate chant. Henry and Cena take the match to the floor, Henry attempts to crush Cena through the announce table, but Cena counters, sending Henry crashing into the ring stairs. Cena wins the match by count out. Very short, abrupt finish. Henry re-enters the ring and crushes Cena with the World’s Strongest Slam, and holds the WWE Title up as… RYBACK enters the arena! Ryback throws Henry to the mat with a spinbuster, and the crowd chants Feed Me More as he looks down at Cena. He helps Cena up as they all chant Feed Me… HE CLOTHESLINES CENA!!! RYBACK MAULS CENA!!! MUSCLE BUS… SHELL SHOCK! Ryback Shell Shocks John Cena! He holds up the WWE Championship and the crowd loves it!!!
The crowd made the show. This is why New Jersey is the greatest. This is one of the best RAW episodes of 2013. We are getting a ton of build-up, and a ton of potential for the next few Pay-Per-Views.
Sheamus and Orton are still going nowhere, and I am not sure what direction Big Show is being taken. The only issue is that there is a crowded roster right now, and not everyone is immediately going to get time in the spotlight, but I predict that as the year progresses there will be a significant rotation of star power. Shield vs. Undertaker, Ziggler cashing in, and we have yet to see CM Punk. There is going to be a lot happening in the next week or two. Now is a great time to be a WWE fan. I said it before, 2013 might be the Year of the Ryback.