WWE Raw Flashback: WrestleMania 28 go-home edition, The Rock and John Cena, Randy Orton and Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan and Kane, Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny build
The following is Jason Powell's "Live Coverage" report of the March 26, 2012 WWE Raw television show. Check back tonight for Jason Powell's WWE Raw live coverage review. Dot Net Members can look forward to an exclusive audio review of the show later tonight. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up for membership now via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Atlanta, Ga.
[Q1] The opening video aired... Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler checked in from ringside and later introduced Booker T as their special guest for the evening...
1. Kane and Daniel Bryan (w/AJ) beat Randy Orton and Sheamus in 11:35. The bell rang and Bryan walked over and shared a kiss with AJ, which drew some boos from the crowd. Kane caught Sheamus with the uppercut punch that knocked him to ringside, and then Bryan jumped off the ring apron and caught Sheamus with a knee to the head. [C]
After the break, Orton went on the offensive and worked over Bryan. Orton brawled with Kane and ran him into the ring post, but Bryan caught Orton with a sliding kick. Kane recovered and tagged into the match and then worked over Orton.
[Q2] Orton made a hot tag to Sheamus, who worked over Bryan with some of his signature offense. Kane, who had tagged out by this point, tried to help his partner, but Orton and Sheamus teamed up to clear him from the ring. Orton went for an RKO on the floor, but Kane rammed him into the ring post.
Inside the ring, Sheamus set up for a Brogue Kick, but AJ entered the ring and stood in front of Bryan. Sheamus held up. Kane chokeslammed Sheamus while the referee was getting AJ out of the ring. Bryan took advantage of the chokeslam and pinned Sheamus to win the match for his team. Lawler said AJ is either a brave girl or very foolish...
Highlights aired of The Rock and John Cena at WrestleMania 27... [C]
Powell's POV: A good match to open the show. Orton and Kane both got their shots in and looked like they are evenly matched heading into Mania, whereas Sheamus got the better of Bryan during their exchanges. Bryan getting the win here could be a sign that Sheamus is going over on Sunday, but it could also be a case of WWE wanting to put heat on the heels going into Mania. Either way, this was solid hype for both matches. Cole is doing a nice job on play-by-play. He sounds serious and is making everything feel intense. Unfortunately, Booker is talking way more than he should and hasn't changed his approach for the go-home show.
Lawler hyped the 12-man tag for WrestleMania. Michael Cole stood in the ring and put on a Team Johnny t-shirt. Cole said he was named the official commentator for Team Johnny on Sunday. He introduced John Laurinaitis and said he would be the general manager of both brands after Sunday.
Big Johnny walked onto the stage and introduced Vickie Guerrero as the official flag bearer for his team. Vickie walked out waving a Team Johnny flag. Laurinaitis then introduced David Otunga, who walked onto the stage and posed. The trio headed to the ring.
Cole rejoined the announcers as Otunga posed in the ring. Laurinaitis shook Cole's hand. Booker stood up on the announcers' table and introduced Teddy Long as "the man who is going to send John Laurinaitis back to his little office cubicle." Long came out with a mic and introduced team captain Santino Marella. Hornswoggle came out waving a Team Teddy flag...
2. Santino Marella (w/Teddy Long, Hornswoggle) beat David Otunga (w/John Laurinaitis, Hornswoggle) in 1:30. Cole spent the match bickering with Booker and Lawler in a tongue in cheek manner. Otunga grabbed the early advantage and then waved the flag that Vickie handed him. Hornswoggle entered the ring and waved his flag. With Otunga distracted by Hornswoggle, Santino hit The Cobra on Otunga nd got the pin.
[Q3] Afterwards, Laurinaitis entered the ring and bickered with Teddy. Santino set up to deliver The Cobra on Laurinaitis, but The Miz hit the ring and hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Santino. Laurinaitis congratulated Miz on being part of Team Teddy. He corrected himself and said Team Johnny...
Cole hyped C.M. Punk vs. Christian, and Lawler teased something involving the Hell in a Cell match for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: So much for Cole taking a serious approach, at least for that match. I'm not a fan of the lighthearted silliness that the match hype has received. It's hard enough to care about who gains storyline control of the brands, but it's even worse when they make it out to be a joke. However, the whole thing was worth it for The Miz being named the final member of Team Laurinaitis, as I assume that means he won't be interfering in the main event.
The announcers hyped the WrestleMania theme songs... A video recapped The Rock and John Cena setting up their WrestleMania 28 match the night after WrestleMania 27...
A video package set up the Hell in a Cell match for WrestleMania 28... The announcers discussed the Hell in a Cell match at ringside, and then hyped the WrestleMania press conference that takes place on Wednesday at 2:30 ET in Miami and will be broadcast on the WWE website...
Eve was escorted to the ring by Beth Phoenix. The announcers said Eve would face Kelly Kelly after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: A great video set to the Metallica song included. I didn't even care for that particular Metallica tune when it was released, but I dig the way WWE is using it. By the way, Chris Shore will have live coverage of the press conference on Wednesday (barring a change in plans).
[Q4] The announcers hyped another WrestleMania theme song...
3. Kelly Kelly beat Eve (w/Beth Phoenix) in 2:30. Eve jumped out to the early advantage and Beth yelled at Kelly from the floor. Kelly made a brief comeback, but Eve pushed her down and followed up with a moonsault, but Kelly moved. Kelly covered Eve and scored the pin...
Powell's POV: Beth looked great, but the segment itself did nothing to increase my interest in the Divas match. I don't think they mentioned the rib injury that Maria Menounous suffered, though I must admit that I'm zoning out most of the commentary at this point.
Highlights aired of The Rock hitting the Rock Bottom on John Cena at Survivor Series...
A shot aired of C.M. Punk walking backstage with a serious look on his face. Cole hyped Punk vs. Christian for after the break... [C]
Christian made his entrance wearing a Team Johnny shirt. C.M. Punk made his entrance and was in a better mood than last week, as he was back to telling the world that it was clobberin' time. Before the match could get underway, Chris Jericho appeared on the big screen and recapped what he shared about Punk's father and sister.
[Q5] Jericho said he did more digging and uncovered some facts about Punk's mother. Jericho said Punk's mother is actually a kind, decent woman with no vices whatsoever. Jericho said he did find out that Punk's parents wedding date actually took place after his birthdate. "So that makes you the legal definition of a bastard," Jericho said.
Punk glared at the screen, only to have Christian attack him from behind. Christian tossed Punk to ringside and went after him, only to have Punk fire back with a kick. Punk slammed Christian's head into the announcers' table repeatedly and then blasted him with elbows to the chest.
Punk moved the ring steps and hoisted up Christian in GTS position. "Where you at, Jericho?" Punk yelled before performing a GTS that resulted in Christian's head slamming off the ring steps. Punk applied the Anaconda Vice on the floor. The referee for the match that was supposed to take place pleaded with Punk to stop. Several referees ran out to help. Punk eventually released the hold, but then rushed back and took more shots at Christian and locked him in again...
Powell's POV: The segment showed that Punk's character has reached the boiling point. Jericho's bastard revelation didn't pack the punch that the father and sister comments did. Clearly, it wasn't designed to have that effect, though, as he didn't drive it home as hard as much he did the father and sister talk over the last two weeks. It was just one more small dose of sleaziness that left viewers wanting to see Punk get his hands on Jericho even more, so it worked on that level. Obviously, Punk vs. Jericho is more important than Christian's role at WrestleMania, but it is a shame that his reintroduction has been so weak. There's no reason Christian had to be the whipping boy here.
4. Brodus Clay (w/dancers) beat Curt Hawkins in 1:00. Clay and his dancers did their full entrance. After the dancing stopped, Hawkins stood stone-faced at ringside. He got a brief moment of offense in on Brodus during the match, but Clay came right back and performed his usual offense, including a running splash for the win...
Powell's POV: I like Hawkins more than WWE seems to. It's a shame they don't even try to push him. Going back to Christian, I suppose we can't rule out him getting involved in the Punk vs. Jericho match on Sunday. That would obviously explain why he was on the receiving end of the Punk beating.
Another Rock vs. Cena moment aired. This one featured Cena delivering a promo... Lawler hyped The Rock and John Cena meeting face-to-face later in the show...
[Q6] [C] An ad aired for the WWE Hall of Fame special that will air prior to Raw next week... The announcers spoke about the Hall of Fame ceremony at ringside...
5. Big Show beat Epico (w/Primo, Rosa Mendes) in 0:50. Lawler busted out the Mamacita line for Rosa. Cole announced that Christian was out of the 12-man tag match due to aggravating his neck injury during the attack by Punk. Show won with a chokeslam.
Cody Rhodes walked onto the stage and cut a promo. He said they will turn "Big Show" into a verb. He said kids will hope they don't "Big Show" on finals, men will hope they don't "Big Show" with the ladies, and people will say "I have to take a Big Show." Cody said Show will be the biggest fool of all on April Fools Day... [C]
Powell's POV: Well, that explains why Christian took the beating. Honestly, it's hard to must up much enthusiasm when considering the options. Maybe they'll have Lord Tensai debut at Mania. The Cody promo was funny. He's done a good job of being a pest heel, and the fans should pop when Show gets his hands on him. Then again, Cody could get some love from the diehard wrestling fans who attend Mania.
A Lord Tensai video aired. He has a Japanese sidekick, who appeared to be Sakamoto from WWE developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling...
Backstage, The Bella Twins were wearing opposite t-shirts for the 12-man tag and bickering over which team to cheer for. Zack Ryder showed up and told the Bella who wanted Team Laurinaitis to win to change her face, which offended the Bella who wanted Team Teddy to win.
[Q7] After the Bellas left, Eve showed up and asked which hotel Zack is staying at. He said he was staying with the other Team Teddy members. She said she hopes he'll stay at her hotel. He went for a kiss, but she said it would be time to celebrate after WrestleMania...
Powell's POV: Abraham Washington was talking with Drew McIntyre in the background of that last segment. I believe he also appeared on Smackdown, so it looks like he's about to be brought up from FCW.
Backstage, Josh Mathews interviewed C.M. Punk, who said that his sister is off limits. He said Jericho's claims about her are a complete fabrication. Punk said Jericho's claim about his mother is reprehensible and a total lie. He said he is not a bastard, he's the best wrestler in the world...
Split screen shots aired of Great Khali and Mark Henry. Lawler said they were up next. God help us all...
Powell's POV: Punk followed up on Twitter by writing, "I'm not 'a' bastard, I'm THE bastard. Do people still care about bastard talk? It seemed like the last time anyone cared was when "Leave it to Beaver" was the hot network television show. Anyway, a good, intense promo from Punk.
6. Mark Henry (w/John Laurinaitis) beat The Great Khali (w/Teddy Long) in 0:45. Khali jumped out on the offensive, but Henry came back and finished him off with the World's Strongest Slam. After the match, Laurinaitis threw Long inside the ring. The other members of Team Laurinaitis came out and formed a wall.
Santino and Ryder ran out and tried to break the wall. R-Truth did the same. Kofi Kingston made it into the ring, but jumped into the arms of Henry, who hit the World's Strongest Slam. Henry scooped up Long and was about to slam him, but Booker T entered the ring and hit the scissors kick on Henry.
After the match, Teddy took the mic and thanked Booker for helping him. He said the best way to say thank you is to ask him to join Team Teddy at WrestleMania. The crowd popped big. Booker took the mic and said, "Can you dig that, sucka?" Booker did the Spinaroonie...
Powell's POV: So much for Mick Foley joining the team as he seemed to tease last night. Fortunately, that means we won't have to listen to Booker T on commentary for at least one WrestleMania match. The crowd liked the Booker angle, but I don't get the sense that the masses care enough about the 12-man tag to justify all of the television time that's been dedicated to it.
Additional Rock and Cena highlights aired...
[Q8] Lawler hyped that Rock and Cena would go face-to-face after the break... [C] The announcers hyped one of the WrestleMania theme songs...
The Rock made his entrance. Cole announced that WWE was taking over the Youtube homepage on Friday with Rock and Cena hype. There were "Rocky" chants and some boos mixed in as Rock stood in the middle of the ring and paused. Rock ran his fingers along the "Boots 2 Asses" logo on his t-shirt, which inspired a chant.
Rock that at WrestleMania 20 in 2004, he competed in what many felt would be his final match. He said everyday since then, he's had people ask him when he's coming back. He said he goes in for his yearly checkup and is told to turn his head and cough, and he's asked when he's coming back. "And I'm not going to drop my pants, for God's sake you're my dentist," Rock said.
Rock said the starlets in Hollywood ask him to "dominate some of this delicious pie." He said they tell him first he has to say when he's coming back. He said he told Betty White he doesn't know when and told her to cover up her "Civil War pie." He recalled when "Rock went down to Georgia" at WrestleMania 27.
Rock said he knew that's when the wait was over. A few guys chanted "Boots 2 Asses" and he stopped in hopes that it would pick up steam. Not so much. Rock said he was in the same arena when the match was set last year. He said history was made because of the fans. He said that in six days he returns to the grandest stage of all time. He said it all happened in "this arena" and then delivered the "Finally, The Rock has come back to Atlanta" line, which got plenty of cheers, but more boos than usual.
Rock said there's only one man the fans wanted to see him face at WrestleMania. He did the "millions" line and got a big "millions" in return. He said that man is John Cena, which drew a loud chorus of boos from the crowd. Rock said Cena has become the heartbeat of WWE and one of the biggest stars in history. He said Cena has never faced anyone who brings it like he does.
John Cena's entrance music interrupted The Rock's promo. He walked out and looked into the camera and spoke about how they were six days away. "We're close," Cena said. Cena ran to the ring and looked up at the WrestleMania sign. Once Cena's music stopped, he received a loud round of boos with some cheers sprinkled in.
"Do you hear that?" Cena asked. "I've been knocked around a bit, but even I can hear that. Do you hear that?" Cena said that's exactly what's going to happen at WrestleMania. "Nothing new to me, happens all the time." Cena took exception to Rock saying he's never seen anything like him. He said Rock has never seen anything like him.
[Overrun] "For a year now, I have listened to the best trash talk from undoubtedly the best trash talker in the business, the man who defined the era of attitude," Cena said. "Rock, you brought my mom into this." Cena said he's still there with a smile on his face. Cena said Rock is the best trash talker, but he's not the first.
Cena said the list of people who have talked trash about him are as long as the People's Strudel "or Holy Moses or Benjamin Franklin or whatever you're calling your penis." Cena conducted a "Let's Go Cena" and "Cena Sucks" chants momentarily. He said Rock can't deny the pure emotion that occurs every time he steps foot inside the ring. He brought up the "Let's Go Cena" and "Cena Sucks" chants.
Cena said every single wrestler has turned his back on the WWE Universe, including Rock. He said he's the guy who does what the t-shirt says: "Rise Above Hate." Cena said the kicker is that he rises above and wins. Cena said that's what gets his detractors. Cena said the detractors may hate it, but they know that he's going to win at WrestleMania.
Cena said he's been an active member of WWE longer than The Rock. He said he's had ups and downs and he's been there when it wasn't so cool to be a WWE Superstar. "Even in the good times and bad times, I'm the guy who beats the company drum." He said so many people say "this is what I love" that it's become a cliche. Cena said that when he says it "regardless of whether they like my character" they know he means it.
Cena said The Rock will star in G.I. Joe this summer. He said that will launch Rock into a new atmosphere. Meanwhile, Cena said his office won't change and WWE will still be his life. Cena said he will be goddamned (censored) if Rock comes in a visitor and takes his life from him. Cena said it's been ten years and he's only getting started.
Cena said he has to win and the fans know it. Rock nodded. "The Rock knows how important this match is to you, John, and it's just as important to The Rock." Rock was censored with his own goddamn line. He said he helped build the WWE house. He said the fans know that Cena has never encountered anyone like him.
Rock said the people know that The Rock came back to beat Cena. "That's what drives me," Rock said. "Never before has a man been able to say that he walked into WrestleMania and beat Hulk Hogan, and beat 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, and beat John Cena." Rock said he needs to beat Cena on a professional level to become the greatest of all time.
"And on a personal level, I just don't like you," Rock said. "And because of that, John, in six days, The Rock will tell you to your face, not only is The Rock going to beat you, The Rock is going to give you the ass kicking of a lifetime. You know it, The Rock knows it, and you can bet your ass that they know it too."
Cena, who kept a straight face during Rock's promo, fired back with, "It doesn't matter what you think." Cena said he would put it in terms that Rock would understand. He said he's seen the movie countless times. He said he'll be the guy with his hand raised high at WrestleMania and the headline will read, "John Cena whips The Rock's ass at WrestleMania." Rock and Cena dropped the microphones and engaged in a face-to-face staredown to close the show...
Powell's POV: Excellent! Great work from both men. Cena delivered a strong and perhaps even a thought provoking promo for some of his detractors, and Rock also brought his A-game. I love the way they both claimed that they are going to win the match. There's no bullshit like last year when Cena didn't talk about winning, losing, or the WWE Championship because he wasn't going over. It was also good to see Cena keep a straight and intense face while Rock spoke. That verbal exchange sold some pay-per-views.
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