WWE Raw Flashback: WrestleMania 27 go-home show - The Rock, John Cena, and The Miz, Triple H and Undertaker confrontation, C.M. Punk and Randy Orton, Edge and Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio and Brodus Clay
The following is Jason Powell's "Live Coverage" report of the March 28, 2011 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 Chicago, Ill.
[Q1] The show opened with C.M. Punk sitting in the ring. "I'm going to miss this," Punk said to his hometown crowd. He said he doubts that the fans in Atlanta are going to receive him as warmly as "my people in Chicago." He said the members of New Nexus were also his people until Randy Orton took them out. The ring was dark with soft lighting on Punk.
Punk said Orton lives in a fantasy world, whereas he is a realist. Punk said he really doesn't care what happens to the fans or anyone punted in the head. "My problem is Randall Keith Orton," Punk said. He added that Orton built up false confidence during the weeks he took out the New Nexus members.
The footage of Punk's attack on Orton from last week was set up by Punk and aired on the big screen. Back in the ring, Punk laughed at the footage as he was booed. Punk said he will "close this sick and twisted chapter at WrestleMania." Punk started to leave the ring, but he was stopped in his tracks by Randy Orton entrance music.
Orton walked onto the stage in his ring gear. His right knee was wrapped and he limped to the ring to sell the wrench shot from last week. Once Orton entered the ring, Punk attacked him. Orton came back with a shot and then DDT'd him off the second rope. Orton struck the Viper's Pose, but then backed away.
Orton teased the punt kick, but his knee gave out. Punk rolled out of the ring and then noticed Orton on the big screen as a Punk chant broke out. Punk reentered the ring with a big smile on his face as Orton limped around. A loud "Randy" chant broke out as Orton took a few swipes at Punk while holding the ropes.
Punk kicked the bad knee and a loud Punk chant broke out. Punk picked up Orton and hit him with the GTS. Punk's music played, as Michael Cole sold the angle on commentary along with Josh Mathews and Jerry Lawler...
Powell's POV: Sure, Orton looked a little corny when his knee gave out, but this is exactly what the feud needed. Orton was made to look so dominant in the weeks when he was taking out Nexus members that his fans weren't given a reason to see Punk as a real threat. The injury angle makes it seem like an even playing field, and Punk did a nice job on the mic.
Backstage, Edge and Christian greeted one another. Edge said Teddy Long wouldn't let him touch Alberto Del Rio on Smackdown, but the general manager of Raw will let him do it on Raw. "Besides that stupid sound effect, I like that guy," Edge said... [C]
[Q2] Highlights aired from Smackdown of Christian beating Alberto Del Rio...
Powell's POV: It warms the heart to see that the love child of Hillbilly Jim and the late Captain Lou Albano is in the second row wearing bibs. Well, he was there during the Punk and Orton segment anyway.
1. Edge and Christian defeated Alberto Del Rio and Brodus Clay (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) in 8:15. They cut to a commercial about 70 seconds into the match. After the break, Del Rio was getting the better of Christian, and the announcers said Del Rio was in control throughout the break.
Brodus checked in briefly. Josh said Brodus told him that his relationship with Del Rio is strictly business (that one should come into play somewhere down the line). Christian made the hot tag to Edge, who went to work on Clay. Edge set up for the spear, but Del Rio snuck up from behind and tripped him. Del Rio also whipped Christian into the guardrail at ringside. Edge speared Clay and got the pin.
After the match, Del Rio applied the cross arm breaker on Christian on the floor while Edge was celebrating in the ring. Once Edge noticed, he chased Del Rio to the back. Edge came back to check on Christian, only to have Del Rio return and attack him from behind. Del Rio applied the cross arm breaker on Edge on the floor. Edge tapped a few times before Del Rio broke the hold...
Powell's POV: A long match this early on Raw was a pleasant surprise. I hate seeing Clay pinned, but I won't get too worked up about it since they're making me numb to it. Here's hoping he gets better treatment after WrestleMania.
[Q3] The announcers spoke about the Edge vs. Del Rio match. Cole was in the Cole Mine, while Mathews and Lawler were behind the table. Cole hyped the six-person tag match... A shot aired of Trish Stratus and Snooki having a drink together at a bar. Mathews hyped that they would have an exclusive interview with the duo later in the show... [C]
The latest Sin Cara video aired... A shot aired from high above Chicago. Mathews hyped that 15,106 fans were in the building. Lawler welcomed members of the National Guard who were in attendance...
A shot aired of The Miz and Alex Riley backstage. Miz took a picture of the WWE logo hanging upside down behind him...
The general manager chime sounded. Cole got up. Lawler stood up and mockingly told him to come out of the Cole Mine. Cole told him he had it covered via the iPad he had set up inside the Cole Mine. The general manager wants to know if Lawler is ready for WrestleMania, so he was booked in a match against Jack Swagger. Lawler said he liked it because it's a good way for him to get payback on Swagger for what he's done...
Mathews hyped the Taker and Triple H confrontation... A video package focussed on the Taker and Hunter match... Cole hyped the confrontation between Hunter and Taker... [C]
Powell's POV: A cool video that set their silent exchange to music and then morphed into classic footage. My guess is that Cole gets his ass kicked at WrestleMania and is revealed shortly thereafter as the anonymous general manager. It won't make sense given some of the clues that have been put out there, but that would be one way to capitalize on his heel persona.
[Q4] The announcers ran through the WrestleMania week schedule as a graphic was shown on the screen...
2. Santino Marella (w/Big Show, Kane, Vladimir Kozlov, Tamina) defeated Justin Gabriel (w/Heath Slater, Wade Barrett, Ezekiel Jackson) in 1:50. Cole hyped that Big Show, Kane, Santino, and Kozlov will face The Corre in an eight-man tag match at WrestleMania. In the end, Santino hit The Cobra to a big pop and scored the pin. Show did the Santino dance afterward. Kane was in no nonsense mode, but then did the dance himself...
Powell's POV: A meaningless match added to WrestleMania 27. I'm happy to see some of these guys get on the show, but I'm very disappointed that rumored partners Kofi Kingston and Christian apparently don't have main show matches. Here's hoping Santino winning is an indication that The Corre will actually go over at WrestleMania. You'd think Wade Barrett's Intercontinental Title win would have been a bigger topic of conversation, but I guess they don't care about the title since its a Friday night strap. By the way, we're getting lots of Tough Enough and WWE Hall of Fame ads for next Monday night on USA Network.
A shot aired of Triple H walking backstage... [C] Lawler hyped that Keri Hilson will perform America The Beautiful at WrestleMania 27...
Undertaker made his entrance to the Johnny Cash song. Triple H's music eventually interrupted and he made his entrance. Taker's gong struck and the lights went out. When the lights returned, Taker and Hunter stared face-to-face.
[Q5] As the staring continued, Shawn Michaels's music played. He headed onto the stage with a smile and played to the crowd. HBK did his full entrance while Hunter and Taker remained expressionless in the ring. Shawn entered the ring and played to the fans, but Taker and Hunter glared at him.
Shawn said he was sorry about interrupting, but there was no way he was going to miss this. Shawn said Sunday will be the biggest match of their careers. Shawn said on one side of the ring will be Undertaker, who has the greatest streak of all time. Shawn said on the other side will be Triple H, and he ran through his nicknames and accomplishments.
"After this Sunday, I guarantee you neither one of you will ever be the same again," Michaels said. Shawn said it will be No Holds Barred at WrestleMania 27. Shawn said he had only one question as he looked at Taker. "What in the world makes you think you can do what I couldn't?" Michael asked as he turned to Hunter.
Hunter asked if Shawn wanted to know the truth. "The truth is that you got soft," Hunter said. He said somewhere along the way Michaels decided it was more important to be the show stopper and Mr. WrestleMania. Hunter said he's not Shawn Michaels. "I have to win, and I will win," Hunter said.
Hunter turned his attention to Taker. He recalled when he entered the locker room and was surrounded by future icons and said one man was the glue who held it all together. He ran through some of Taker's injuries that Taker worked through. Hunter said he wanted to pattern himself after the one guy that represented everything that WWE was and should be.
"That guy was you, Dead Man," Hunter said while looking into his eyes. "I learned to respect you more and more every single said. Hunter said there was only one guy that he respects "more...as much as you and that's him (Michaels)." Hunter recalled making a pact with Shawn years ago that they would tell each other when it was time to retire.
"I came back from a year off for one thing," Hunter said. "I came back for one reason only and that is to stand here out of respect and to look you dead in your eyes and tell you it's time." Hunter said it may not be a popular decision and a lot of people can't see that. "But I can see that," Hunter said.
Hunter said Taker will always be a legend, a phenom, and icon, and the Dead Man. "And I will always respect you more than any other," Hunter said. "But in six days, you will no longer be undefeated at WrestleMania. Because whether I want it to be or not, I am the one, as in 18-1. At WrestleMania 27, Dead Man, you and your streak, with all due respect and well deservedly, will rest in peace."
Taker too the mic from Hunter and looked away before turning back and looking at Hunter and then Shawn and then back at Hunter. "If I ever got to the time where I felt someone should put me down, I'd want that person to be you," Hunter said. "That's the respect that I have for you. But it ain't that time. And I know that you're going to kill yourself trying. But in the end, The Streak will still be alive and so will I."
"And if you don't want to take my word for it, ask him," Taker said regarding Michaels. "You see Shawn walks around every day of his life as the man who gave me the two greatest WrestleMania matches of my career and he came that close, yet he still didn't get it done.
"Now when I look in the eyes of Shawn Michaels, I don't see the same confidence, I don't see the same arrogance. What I see is a man that I humbled. What I see is a man who will soon go into the Hall of Fame full of regret. What I see is a man whose career I ended."
Shawn was upset and walked to the corner. He went for Sweet Chin Music on Taker, who blocked the kick and grabbed Michaels by the throat. Hunter wedged his way between them for a staredown with Taker. "Shawn, tell him why I'm going to beat him at WrestleMania," Hunter said. Shawn didn't move. "Shawn?"
[Q6] Hunter turned and looked at HBK, who looked down. HBK left the ring. "Shawn, look at me," Hunter yelled without a mic in hand. "I'm sorry," Shawn said without a mic. "You can't win." Shawn headed backstage while a surprised Hunter watched him. Hunter turned back to Taker, who tipped his hat and smiled before leaving the ring. Taker's music played and he headed to the back with Hunter watching... [C]
Powell's POV: Holy shit was that a strong segment. Everyone played their parts to perfection, and Shawn took some serious abuse from both men. Hell, now I wish he was the special referee of the match even though I didn't think it was necessary. I am curious to see whether he gets involved or if that was the end of Shawn's role. Great storytelling and a fantastic final sales pitch for a match that I was losing interest in.
3. Jack Swagger (w/Michael Cole) beat Jerry Lawler by an apparent DQ in 1:15. Cole distracted Lawler, and Swagger attacked him. Swagger roughed up Lawler at ringside as Cole called the shots. Lawler came back with a punch and slammed a chair over Swagger's back twice.
Lawler turned his attention to Cole, who ran and hid inside the Cole Mine. Security stepped in front of Lawler. Mathews reminded Lawler that he can't hit him and only has to wait six days. Lawler smacked the Cole Mine with the chair a couple of times and tried to climb over the top of it. Cole threw a drink in his face. Cole stood on the desk inside the Cole Mine and taunted Lawler... [C]
Powell's POV: Lawler came out to new music that sucked more balls than a Gobstopper taste tester. Seriously, what the hell was that? I hate when they tweak music before or at WrestleMania. It's one thing if it's a major upgrade, but even then there's a lull as the fans try to figure out what's going on. Lawler better get a chance to talk about his match. Why waste a great talker? Overall, though, the Mania crowd is going to go bananas once Lawler finally gets his hands on Cole.
Highlights aired from last week of Vickie Guerrero pinning John Morrison... Vickie came out and did the Morrison entrance, which Cole ruined by laughing in such an over the top manner. Vickie went to the ring for a promo. Vickie said Snooki will be in a familiar position - passed out and unconscious.
[Q7] The announcers hyped the WrestleMania press conference as ring introductions for the next match took place...
Powell's POV: One of my only major complaints so far is that they're not doing a good job of building up The Rock, John Cena, and The Miz segment. They've teased it, but not in a meaningful way.
4. Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero) beat John Morrison and Daniel Bryan in 6:15. They went to break roughly 40 seconds into the match. [C] After the break, Sheamus was working over Morrison. At 5:20, Bryan locked in the LeBell Lock on Morrison, but Sheamus broke it up. Bryan missed a dropkick and then Sheamus capitalized with the High Cross for the win...
Powell's POV: It was odd to see Sheamus pin his WrestleMania challenger on the go-home show. It was made to look like Bryan missed a high risk move. Cole acknowledged that he made a mistake, but they need to tell the story that it was an all or nothing type of move that could have resulted in the opposite finish if he had hit the move.
The announcers went right into recapping the Orton and Punk angle from earlier in the show before anyone could even leave the ring... Backstage, Scott Stanford continued his trend of asking weird questions by asking Orton if he would make it to WrestleMania 27.
Orton said Stanford might not know it, but he has anger issues. He said he's never despised a human being more than Punk. He said the question shouldn't be whether he will make it to WrestleMania, it should be whether C.M. Punk will make it out... The announcers hyped The Rock, Cena, and Miz in the ring at the same time for later in the show... [C]
Powell's POV: It wasn't as odd as Stanford asking Orton about his stupid tour bus last week. In fact, it's probably the right question to ask even though it seems ridiculous to think that Orton wouldn't make it to Mania, but Stanford's delivery is really bad. He's just not a good fit in these backstage interview segments. Good intensity from Orton, though.
[Q8] The announcers hyped the WWE Hall of Fame, and set up the announcement of The Road Warriors as the final members of the Class of 2011...
Powell's POV: Long overdue. I spent many Saturday and Sunday mornings in my teen years watching the Road Warriors beat the shit out of tag teams in the AWA. If you think the LOD are Demolition impostors, then check your history books immediately.
The announcers spoke to Trish Stratus and Snooki, who were drinking at a bar. Yes, that's how you train for WrestleMania. A guy said something that pissed off Snooki, so she slapped him. They went back to Mathews, who then cut back to the bar scene because he said LayCool were there. Snooki threw a drink at Layla and they had a pull apart brawl.
Powell's POV: Yeah, it sucked, but I'm sure it will get WWE some mainstream pub tomorrow.
Mathews hyped The Rock, Cena, and Miz for after the break... [C] Cole hyped WWE Night on USA Network for next week...
A shot aired of the back of The Rock's shirt. He turned around and was breathing intensely. The crowd cheered. His entrance music played and he stormed through the curtain to make his entrance to a massive ovation from the Chicago crowd. Once Rock's music stopped playing, he walked around the ring and took in some "Rocky" chants and mouthed, "thank you" at one point.
"Finally, The Rock has come back to Chicago," Rock said to the roaring crowd. "Back to the city where it all started for The Rock. You see, Chicago is a very special place to The Rock. The Rock competed in his very first WrestleMania right here in this very building."
[Overrun] The Rock said he decided to Bring It at that WrestleMania. He said when you're part of Team Bring It, you knock down doors and tear down walls. He included a "straight up their candy ass" line that popped the crowd. "When you're on Team Bring It, you go after your dream," Rock said.
"And recently The Rock had a dream of his own. And that dream was that he came down to the middle of this ring in front of all of you and he called out John Cena." The fans booed and then a "Cena Sucks" chant broke out. He said his dream was Cena came out wearing a shirt that made him look like a homeless power ranger. Rock said he woke up. Rock addressed Cena. "The reality is The Rock is here," Rock said. "The Great One is here... The People's Champ is here."
John Cena's music played and the crowd booed and he said something into the camera. Cena was all smiles as he entered the ring and the crowd booed the hell out of him while an intense Rock paced back and forth.
"This is what I wanted," Cena said. "The Rock is finally back in a WWE ring." Cena said Rock is cooking like he never missed a step. "Rock, this is where you belong," said Cena. Loud "Rocky" chants broke out. "Do you hear the people?" Cena asked. "Do you hear the millions chanting your name?"
Cena said that when he opened his mouth about The Rock years ago, it's because of moments like this. He said he was one of the millions. He told Rock to listen to the crowd if he didn't believe him. The crowd chanted Rocky. Cena compared Rock's promos to a celebrity roast. "When The Rock makes fun of you, you're in," Cena said.
Cena said he listened to what Rock said and wanted to know... The crowd silenced him temporarily with "Cena Sucks" chants. Cena said he wanted to know what problem The Rock had with him. Cena said he cut through the catchphrases and the jokes to find out and he realized there are a lot of them.
"My color is wrong," Cena said. "You were offended by the way that I talked. Because I wasn't raised in a certain place, the type of music that I listened to offended you." Cena said Rock had a problem with his morale code. "Here's the kicker," Cena said. "My audience is kids...and I'm damn proud of it and I'm damn proud of what I've become." Cena said that if Rock has a legitimate gripe about him not working his tail to the bone to forward this business, then they have something to talk about.
"If not, my friend, who in the hell are you to judge me," Cena stated. He said if that's what it takes to be on Team Bring It, then he can keep the application. Cena said he comes out every week and acts like himself. Cena said he doesn't try to change the people, and he doesn't judge them. He said he's going to be judged someday, but it's not going to be by The Rock.
The Rock said Cena is right in that the only man who will judge him is the same man who will judge him, "the Good Lord." Rock added, "But the Good Lord can't save you from me whipping your ass all over Chicago." Cena said he's said everything he had to say to Rock's face. "If you want to fight," Cena said and then dropped the mic.
The Miz's music played and he came to the ring with Alex Riley. The crowd got as quiet as they'd been at this point, which is hardly the reaction you want for the WWE Champion heading into WrestleMania. Once his music stopped, there were boos. "Really? Really? Really? This is how it's going to be? Being upstaged by The O Brothers - Overhyped and Overrated?"
Miz said he's owned Cena, and said he will lose at WrestleMania. The Miz said at least Cena will go down swinging and go out with a fight, unlike Rock. The Miz said he knows a secret. "You are not going to do a thing tonight," Miz said. "I've done my research. Your movies have grossed over 1.2 billion dollars. One of the biggest movie stars in the world is not going to risk being beaten up and embarrassed by me."
The Miz said it's not a risk, it's a guaran-damn-tee (Rock impersonation) that he would beat him so bad that he couldn't step foot in Hollywood or anywhere else. Miz told Rock to run his mouth and delivered his catchphrase.
"Miz, you should know by now it doesn't matter what you think," Rock said intensely. Riley took a cheap shot on The Rock. Miz and Riley worked over Rock in the corner. Rock came back with punches and knocked Riley out of the ring. Rock hit Miz with a DDT, but botched the kip up.
After Rock cleared the heels from the ring, Cena entered the ring and hoisted up Rock for the Attitude Adjustment. Cena waved his hand in Rock's face with a "You can't see me." Cena headed to the stage, smiled into the camera, and did the "You Can't See Me" bit one more time to close the show to some cheers from the women and kids, and a lot of boos from the rest of the crowd...
Powell's POV: They just sold some serious pay-per-views with that angle. Wow. This means we won't be getting the handshake at WrestleMania or The Rock is going to look like a major league pussy. Sure, he could try to spin it as Cena earning his respect, but the fans won't buy it. The hype for the two top attractions at WrestleMania (Rock, Cena, and Miz, and Triple H vs. Taker) were sensational. An excellent go-home show.
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