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2/18 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: The Rock and C.M. Punk fallout from Elimination Chamber, WrestleMania 29 hype begins

Posted in: WWE TV Reports, MUST-READ LISTING
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Feb 18, 2013 - 07:00 PM

By Jason Powell

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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Lafayette, La. at the Cajundome


[Q1] The show opened with narrated photos and still shots from the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view... Michael Cole welcomed viewers to the show. He was joined on commentary by Jerry Lawler.

John Cena's music played and he headed to the ring for a promo. Cole and Lawler hyped that it will be The Rock vs. Cena at WrestleMania 29 in 48 days. He pointed to the WrestleMania 29 sign in the rafters and noted that they now have two title matches. He noted that Jack Swagger will challenge Alberto Del Rio for the World Hvt. Championship. Cena said he will attempt to become WWE Champion when he faces The Rock.

C.M. Punk's music played and he headed to the ring with Paul Heyman. Cole and Lawler spoke about the Rock vs. Punk controversy. Lawler said he thought there were a couple of times that Punk had Rock pinned. Cole said the bottom line is that Rock is going to WrestleMania.

Once in the ring, Punk asked Cena if he's sure he was facing The Rock. He accused Cena of taking the easy way out. Punk said he wanted to clear the air. Then he added that he had Rock pinned for about 18 seconds. Punk told Cena that he has never beaten him. Cena said he's not talking about wins and losses, he's talking about WrestleMania.

Cena said he won the Royal Rumble and earned the right to go. He said Punk didn't get the job done and it's not about him. Punk asked what about him. He spoke of his title reign and said Cena strolled into the Rumble late and threw a couple of ham and eggers over the top rope. "You were lucky," Punk said. He said it's the biggest luck of the draw win he's ever seen.

"You can't win the big one, John," Punk said. Cena asked Punk what he wants him to do. Punk told him to just walk away. "Get out of my ring, leave the WWE, just walk away," Punk said. Cena teased leaving and then said no. Cena said Punk has a lot of stones and he's probably a decent human being under it all, but he's not going to hand away his golden ticket to WrestleMania.

Cena said they both have critics and they both want the match. He said they have a problem. He said he wouldn't give Punk his spot, but he would let him earn it. Cena said that if he wins the match then Punk should crawl back into the hole he came from. He said that if Punk won, then he deserves it. He said the problem with calling him out is that Punk talks business whereas he handles business. Cena told them they should have it out on the spot and see which one of them is going to WrestleMania.

Punk told Cena that he just made the stupidest decision of his life. "And I'm going to take you up on it, but I'm not going to do it here," he said. "Because I'm going to do it on my terms." Punk said he was screwed at Elimination Chamber and he shouldn't even be in this position. "We'll do it next week," Punk said. Punk and Heyman left the ring and high-fived at ringside.

Cena said it's official - Cena vs. Punk next week with the winner going on to WrestleMania for the WWE Championship. Cena said he will beat Punk next week, beat Rock at WrestleMania, and then everyone will know that the champ is here. Punk and Heyman celebrated the idea of getting their match. Lawler questioned whether Cena had lost his mind by putting his shot on the line...

Lawler hyped Rock's championship celebration. Cole recalled Mark Henry's performance in the Elimination Chamber and said he would be in action during Raw...

Powell's POV: A good opening segment. I normally hate it when wrestlers agree to put something valuable on the line for no good reason, but this worked for me. It helped that Punk told Cena he was stupid and Lawler questioned whether he had lost his marbles. It's not like it's just being shrugged off as a logical decision. It actually fits Cena's character in that he's very confident and concerned about doing the right thing.

[Q2] [C] A graphic showed Thomas Jefferson and the qoute "one man with courage is a majority." The announcers spoke about it being President's Day in the United States. The announcers put over The Shield winning at the Elimination Chamber. Cole turned it over to Josh Mathews. Oops...

Backstage, Matt Striker interviewed Sheamus, who was disappointed about losing to The Shield. Ryback paced back and forth in front of Sheamus until Sheamus got mad. Sheamus told him he has to adapt and overcome. He said Ryback is supposed to be a machine. He questioned whether he's a mindless neanderthal like everyone says.

Sheamus and Ryback were about to go at it when Chris Jericho entered the picture and stood between them. He said he's seen this before with the NWO and the Nexus, but The Shield is at a new level. He said they have to stop it. Jericho said he loves WWE and he's never worked anywhere else since he arrived in 1999 and he will never wrestle anywhere else again.

Jericho said Vickie Guerrero brought him back to Raw because she knows what he brings to the table. She said there's no way she can deny the box office appeal of The Shield vs. Ryback, Sheamus, and Y2J. He said that if he talks to Vickie tonight, that match will happen tonight on Raw is Jericho.

Sheamus told Jericho to make it happen and Ryback agreed. Jericho walked away. Sheamus and Ryback went face to face. "Feed me Shield," Ryback said like a mindless neanderthal. Sheamus laughed deviously to show that they are back on the same page...

Powell's POV: Was Jericho being over the top in a "he's about to turn" way or is that just his babyface approach these days? There have been rumors of a Jericho turn since he returned. I wasn't taking them seriously, but at this point I am reconsidering.

1. Mark Henry vs. Sin Cara. Sin Cara had a moment of offense, but Henry caught him and power slammed him. Henry followed up with the World's Strongest Slam for the win.

Mark Henry defeated Sin Cara in 1:35.

Henry tried to smother Sin Cara with his hands afterwards. He picked him up and was about to slam him again when The Great Khali's entrance music played. Once Khali made it to the ring, Henry exited to ringside and said, "I had all of you already." Henry mocked Khali's dancing. He told Khali that the only thing he's good at is dancing...

Powell's POV: Making Khali walk to the ring on those knees and then leaving is as heelish as it gets.

The announcers narrated highlights of the finish of the Antonio Cesaro and The Miz match and questioned whether it was accidental or not. Lawler hyped Cesaro vs. Miz in a No DQ match. Cole said Vickie Guerrero has announced that The Shield will face Ryback, Sheamus, and Jericho in a six-man tag match later in the show...

Powell's POV: The show is off to a good start. Here's hoping they make a huge fuss over The Shield wrestling on television. Jericho put them over during his backstage interaction with Ryback and Sheamus, but the focus is on the babyface trio at this point more than the Raw match debut of The Shield.

[Q3] [C] A Fandango vignette was shown...

2. Antonio Cesaro vs. The Miz in a No DQ match. Miz had his shoulder taped again. The announcers narrated highlights from last week of Cesaro swinging Miz into the barricade. Cesaro targeted Miz's shoulder. He set up a chair between the ropes and shoved Miz's shoulder into it. Miz came back by tripping Cesaro, who fell onto a chair. Miz applied the figure four. Cesaro tapped out...

The Miz defeated Antonio Cesaro in a non-title, No DQ match in 3:45.

Powell's POV: I'm still having a hard time with Miz performing the Figure Four after watching him botch it so badly on his first attempt during a match. Obviously, they are trying to keep the feud alive.

The announces set up "propaganda video" footage recorded by Jack Swagger and Zeb and placed on Youtube. Zeb complained about people driving across the border with their 22 kids and asking for a handout. "If you're looking for a handout, Jack Swagger, Zeb Colter, we're charitable people. We'll give you a handout, that handout will be a one way ticket back to wherever you came from. If our government won't do anything to help us, I know someone who will." Zeb turned it over to Swagger, who concluded by saying, "We the people"...

The announcers hyped Cena vs. Rock for next week, and The Rock's championship celebration for later in this show... [C]

Powell's POV: We know what Zeb and Swagger are all about. They will generate heat. The big question is whether Alberto Del Rio can do more than pander. Here's hoping Swagger and Zeb bring out a different dimension in Del Rio.

An Abraham Lincoln graphic and quote were shown... Backstage, Daniel Bryan complained to Kane that he punched him instead of hugging him. He said he doesn't know whether he feels comfortable teaming with Kane. Bryan said he requested a singles match against Jack Swagger, and he doesn't want Kane to come out with him.

Kane said he might do the same. "You better be a man of your word because I don't deal well with snakes," Kane said.

[Q4] Randy Orton asked, "Are you talking about me?" Kane said snakes can't be trusted and he stomps on them with his boot whenever he sees them. Orton said there was a time when he would have been intimidated, but he's not so intimidating now that he's traded in his piledrivers and chokeslams for group therapy sessions and hugs. "You're not really the big red monster anymore, you're more like Barney the Dinosaur." Bryan laughed and Kane turned toward him. When he turned back, Orton was gone...

Backstage, Vickie Guerrero was on the saying she has big surprises planned for "my show." She thanked the person on the phone and wrapped up the call. Paul Heyman showed up and asked is she summoned for him. Vickie mockingly congratulated Heyman for getting those stipulations added to the Rock vs. Punk match.

Vickie said she had something for Heyman that is going to affect his whole career. Heyman asked what it was. She said she would tell him in the ring. "Oh, how I love overdramatic women," Heyman said. "I don't like surprises." Vickie said she knows and laughed...

Dolph Ziggler, AJ, and Big E Langston made their entrance. Cole said Ziggler would face Alberto Del Rio after the break... [C]

3. Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/AJ, Big E Langston) in a non-title match. The usual Ricardo introduction from the stage. Del Rio brought back the white scarf after wearing a red one at the pay-per-view. Ricardo still brought out the stupid bucket. Del Rio caught Ziggler with his springboard kick off the middle rope heading into the break. [C]

Powell's POV: Can we all get together and agree to never use Jackson Hewitt tax services until they stop airing that goddamn "This is how we do it" commercial? Please? Wait, do they advertise on the site? If so, I love that commercial.

Ziglger was in control after the break. Highlights aired from during the break of Langston taking a shot at Del Rio. Swagger and Colter were shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. At 6:15, Ziggler ended up seated on the ropes. Del Rio went up behind Ziggler and performed a reverse suplex off the ropes. Cool spot.

[Q5] Cole reset the show at the top of the hour. Del Rio blasted Ziggler with a superkick for a two count. Later, Del Rio caught Ziggler in the Cross Arm Breaker. "What's Dolph going to do?!?" Cole asked. Ziggler answered his question by tapping out to end the match.

Alberto Del Rio beat Dolph Ziggler via submission in a non-title match in 9:40.

After the match, Big E Langston hit the ring and attacked Del Rio. "Your time is over," Langston yelled. "It's over for you." Ziggler went to ringside and grabbed his Money in the Bank contract. Ricardo Rodriguez snatched the briefcase from Ziggler and took off running.

Ricardo dropped the briefcase at the bottom of the stage while running away from Langston. A.J. picked up the briefcase and raced to the ring to give it back to Ziggler. Dolph turned around and was greeted by a kick to the face from Del Rio. Cole noted that the bell has to ring in order for the the contract to be in play. It did not, so Ziggler still has the contract...

The announcers hyped Kane vs. Randy Orton for later in the show... [C]

Powell's POV: That was one of those cash-in teases where Ziggler fans had to be hoping something would happen where he would not cash in. Del Rio didn't take enough of a beating to make it seem like he was vulnerable, and it's obvious he's being set up for a match with Swagger. By the way, I liked the way Orton popped up and disappeared in a devil-like fashion during the backstage segment with Kane nad Bryan.

A graphic touted that Smackdown has aired more episodes than all of the CSI shows combined...

Wade Barrett stood in the ring and said he's about to become a movie star. He said he starred in Dead Man Down. He set up a trailer for the movie, which stars Colin Farrell. After the trailer, Sheamus appeared on the big screen and said he's friends with Farrell. He said it's a brilliant film, mainly because Barrett doesn't say a word in it. Sheamus acted like he was being wrapped up by someone off-camera. Barrett vented off-mic in the ring...

Powell's POV: Wow, that Sheamus promo was the shits. They air the trailer and then have the babyface essentially tell viewers not to see the movie if you were hoping to see Barrett in a meaningful role.

The announcers hyped the new WWE action figure line...

[Q6] 4. Brodus Clay, Tensai, and Naomi (w/Cameron) vs. Primo, Epico, and Rosa Mendes. Cole said Naomi and Cameron had a dance-off to determine who would get the spot in the match. Clay and Tensai won with the double splash on Primo...

Highlights aired of the WrestleMania 30 press conference... Cole hyped Swagger and Colter with a State of the Union Address... [C]

Powell's POV: Imagine if these two didn't dance and were instead booked as a bad ass tag team. Anyway, the live crowd has been pretty flat. It's hard to blame them. It doesn't feel like the big kickoff to WrestleMania show yet. Keep in mind that there are six more episodes of Raw to go before WrestleMania 29. In other words, don't panic if this isn't the loaded show many expected it to be. By the way, a commercial for Smackdown actually asked who was left standing after the Royal Rumble. No, that's not a typo.

A Harry S. Truman graphic and quote were shown...

Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter stood in the ring behind a podium. A Gadsden "Don't Tread On Me" flag was hanging in the corner. A shot aired of Del Rio and Ricardo watching the segment on a backstage monitor. Swagger spoke before turning things over to Zeb, who said people may not like their opinion but they have the right to express it.

Colter complained about people who live in the country illegally. He said they take jobs, medical care, education, and freedom. "We have a big problem in this country and we have to fix it," Colter said. "Real Americans have to stand up and say no more." The crowd gave Colter and Swagger a minor case of the "what" treatment.

Colter said that on one side of the ring at WrestleMania will be a real American patriot. On the other side, Colter said will be a man who only came to the country to reap the rewards of the motherland. Colter said Swagger has two goals at WrestleMania - regaining the World Title and reclaiming America. Colter concluded with the "we the people" line and Swagger said it repeatedly behind him.

Daniel Bryan made his entrance for his match against Swagger...

Powell's POV: Creative needs to listen to some right wing extremist whack job radio to get some new ideas. Zeb's delivery is really good, but he pretty much said the same thing in the video they showed earlier in the show.

[Q7] [C] 5. Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter) vs. Daniel Bryan. The match was joined in progress. Bryan had his ribs taped to sell Elimination Chamber injuries. Lawler said Colter was getting fan mail and most of it was from Rush Limbaugh. Cole added that some of it was coming from Alex Jones.

Bryan had an offensive flurry, but he missed a running knee of the ring apron. Swagger picked him up with one arm and drove him spear style into the barricade in a cool spot. Later, Bryan came back and performed a suicide dive on Swagger. He followed up with a missile dropkick back inside the ring for a two count.

Bryan kicked Swagger repeatedly, but Swagger caught his leg on the last one, stood up, and slammed him down. Bryan came back with the No! Lock. Swagger reached the ropes to break the hold. Bryan missed a dropkick in the corner. Colter told Swagger "that knee's gone." Swagger applied The Patriot Act a short time later and got the submission win...

Jack Swagger defeated Daniel Bryan by submission in 8:05 of television time.

Cole hyped The Shield vs. Ryback, Sheamus, and Jericho... Paul Heyman was shown walking backstage. Lawler said we would find out what Vickie has in store for him next... [C]

Powell's POV: It's too soon for the announcers to be telling jokes about Colter and Swagger. They should be outraged by their comments to help establish them as huge heels. Lawler did question whether it seemed like Colter had brainwashed Swagger. The actual match went way longer than I expected it to go. It was entertaining even though there was no doubt that Swagger would go over.

[Q8] A WrestleMania 29 video aired. We are 48 days away...

Vickie Guerrero and Paul Heyman were in the ring. Vickie announced that she had a new assistant. She introduced Brad Maddox as the assistant to the managing supervisor of Monday Night Raw. Maddox came out and flashed the insincere Bischoff family smile, er, Maddox smile. "Hi, Paul, I'm Brad," he said.

Maddox walked to the ring and said Vince McMahon is so happy with him that he gave him the opportunity of a lifetime by naming him assistant managing supervisor. Vickie corrected him and said he's the assistant to the managing supervisor. Heyman mocked their surprise and said he doesn't care what either one of them have to say. He started to leave the ring.

Vince McMahon appeared on the big screen with a pair of crutches in front of him and stopped Heyman in his tracks. Vince told Heyman to close his mouth because when his mouth his open he is lying. Vince recalled giving Heyman the special stipulation for the Rock vs. Punk match. Heyman said Vince did that out of the goodness of his heart.

Vince said everyone knows he doesn't have a heart and if he did it would be black and cold. Vince set up footage of Heyman saying he would do anything to get that stipulation. Back live, Vince said he had anything put in writing. Vince said anything means he could fire him right now. Vince teased firing him, but he said that's too good for him.

Vince said he's only two weeks removed from hip surgery. He said he would walk to the ring next week on his crutches. He said Heyman would be in the ring too and they would have a fight. Heyman acted shocked. Vickie and Maddox laughed. The live crowd didn't care...

Lawler hyped the six-man tag match... [C]

Powell's POV: Seriously, the live crowd didn't give a shit. Vince's announcement received zero reaction. Okay, so it sounded like there five or six people who cared. The crowd is really dead. WWE is building up next week's television show in a big way. I'm all for that, but it's hard to blame the live crowd for not getting excited about announcements for an event they won't see in person. And, of course, three hours is too long for a weekly television show.

A graphic touted that last week's Raw was watched by more viewers than both college hoops games on ESPN... A replay of the Punk and Cena segment that opened the show was shown...

[Q9] Ring entrances for the six-man tag match took place. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns entered through the crowd...

6. The Shield vs. Ryback, Sheamus, and Chris Jericho. Ryback put Rollins in the corner and hit him with repeated shoulder blocks. Jericho intervened and expressed concern about getting disqualified. Jericho checked in and worked a bit with Ambrose. Sheamus tagged in and worked with Reigns.

Sheamus performed White Noise on Reigns and then played to the crowd. Sheamus set up for the Brogue Kick, but Rollins pulled Reigns from the ring. Sheamus blasted Ambrose with the Brogue Kick. All three Shield members were selling on the floor heading into the break. [C]

After the break, Sheamus was selling for The Shield and eventually made a hot tag to Ryback. Ryback had an offensive flurry and picked up Rollins for Shellshocked. Jericho was talking with the referee and Ambrose was trying to distract the ref while Reigns speared Ryback. Cole put over Ambrose for being cerebral even though the ref was tied up with Jericho.

[Q10] Later, Ryback made the hot tag to Jericho at 12:15. Jericho performed his signature offense on Ambrose and got a two count following a Lionsault. Jericho locked Abmrose in the Walls of Jericho. Sheamus cut off Reigns from breaking up the pin. The ref was tied up with Sheamus and Reigns when Rollins leapt off the top rope and caught Jericho with a knee to the head. Ambrose pinned Jericho...

The Shield defeated Ryback, Sheamus, and Chris Jericho in 13:30.

Powell's POV: Another entertaining match involving The Shield. The live crowd came to life for the match and all of the star power. They did a good job of having the babyfaces hit their big offensive spots only to be cut off at different times. I enjoyed the match, but it was not as hot as the two six-man matches The Shield have had on pay-per-view. There were no signs of Jericho turning during based on his actions in the ring. Is he turning or just playing into the rumors that he's going to turn? Either way, his latest return is off to a very good start.

A JFK graphic and quote were shown...

Kofi Kingston was scheduled to face Damien Sandow. Kingston's entrance was not televised. Sandow's music played, but he demanded silence because he was going to speak. He said members of the Sandow family served as advisors to past presidents. Once the promo was over, Sandow attacked Kingston before the bell.

Sandow got the better of the brawl and threw knees at Kingston. R-Truth's music played briefly. Truth attacked Sandow at ringside and threw him inside the ring. Truth got the better of Sandow in the ring and threw him to ringside...

Powell's POV: The announcers acted shocked by Truth's return even though he was at the press conference. Okay, so there's no chance in hell that Lawler actually watched the press conference. Anyway, Vince needed crutches while sitting down on Raw, yet walked onto the stage without them at the press conference. Good times.

GI Joe actors DJ Cotrona and Adrianne Palicki were interviewed by Josh Mathews. They spoke briefly about The Rock and then a trailer for the movie was shown...

[Q11] [C] Another Fandango vignette aired...

7. Randy Orton vs. Kane. Cole hyped that tickets for Extreme Rules in St. Louis go on sale Saturday. Kane got the early advantage and struck Orton with an uppercut that knocked him off the top rope and to the floor ringside before the break. [C] There was back and forth action after the break. Orton performed his slam on Kane, who got right back to his feet.

[Q12] Kane put Orton down with a sidewalk slam. Kane went to the top rope and missed a top rope clothesline. Orton grabbed him and set him up for the hanging DDT, but Kane fought out of it and dumped Orton onto the top rope. Daniel Bryan walked to ringside. It distracted Kane just long enough for Orton to hit the RKO for the win. Lawler said he thinks Bryan did it on purpose to distract Kane...

Randy Orton beat Kane in 10:10.

Cole hyped Rock's championship celebration for after the break... [C]

Powell's POV: A slow match until the last couple minutes. Lawler was all over Bryan and said the only thing missing from his face was the smile that should be there because of what he did to Kane. Based on the way Bryan played it, he will claim he did nothing wrong next week. He didn't celebrate or act over the top after Kane lost. He just kind of looked at him and shook his head. Hey, remember when WWE supposedly cared about the tag team division? I don't mind Kane and Bryan feuding, but it's a shame that the rest of the division is, well, the rest of the division.

Justin Roberts introduced the University of Louisiana-Lafayette marching band. The band played on the entrance ramp and eventually settled in on each side of the ramp. The Rock's music played. The drum line played along to Rock's theme song. The drummers played for a few seconds after Rock's music stopped and the band remained with their backs against the barricade one each side of the ramp as Rock stood in the ring with the WWE Championship.

Rock said C.M. Punk did everything he could to beat Rock. He said Punk showed the world what a piece of garbage he was when he spat in his face. Rock said the best in the world wasn't good enough because Rock beat his punk ass two pay-per-views in a row. Rock delivered the "Finally" line and received a "Rocky" chant in return.

The Rock said he's going to WrestleMania in 48 days, but he's not going "with this" (the WWE Championship belt). Rock said he has deep respect for the WWE Championship. "When this belt, when this title was unveiled by a certain WWE Superstar, one of the greatest of all-time, when this was unveiled eight years ago it worked," Rock said. "And some people believed this title was cool. Well, there's always some people who believe in bigfoot.

Rock said the WWE Title should not look like a toy. "And it should never, ever spin," Rock said. He asked a production worker to take the belt "and make sure this goes in the Hall of Fame."

There was a podium in the ring with a belt covered. Rock said that when you see WWE for the first time it should inspire you. He ran through a list of past champions and then introduced the new WWE Championship. Rock pulled back the veil to show off the title, which has WWE on the front and bull logos on each side. The fans chanted "Rocky" again.

Rock questioned whether he will face C.M. Punk or John Cena. Rock said there's one man between the two that he wants to face at WrestleMania. He said that man brings out the very best in him. "For professional reasons, for personal reasons, that man is..." Cena's music interrupted Rock.

Cena stood on the stage and absorbed the boos he was getting. Suddenly, Punk showed up and struck Cena from behind with the spinner belt. Punk pointed at the new belt. "I want that one," Punks said off mic. Rock put the belt down and did his pre-match dance. Punk turned and walked away to boos from the crowd that was looking to see a fight. Cena remained on the ground selling the belt shot to close the show...

Powell's POV: The bull logos on the belt are sure to piss off many of the same people who ere tired of the spinner title. I like the face of the belt and I wish it wasn't Rock or anyone else specific. I don't even care if they can change the side plates whenever someone wins the title. Just give me a title belt that isn't specific to anyone. I did get a big kick out of Punk saying, "I want that one."

Overall, this wasn't the big kickoff to WrestleMania that many expected it to be. With seven Raws between Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania, I can understand why they didn't go balls to the wall tonight. It wasn't the most memorable night and I'm sure plenty of people are feeling letdown because expectations were high. You shouldn't have to wait long, as they really loaded up next week's show and did a good job of hyping it a week out, which is a nice change from the norm.

Thanks for watching along with me. I will be back later tonight with a Dot Net Member exclusive audio review. Join us by taking advantage of our membership sale before it expires Tuesday morning. Details are at the top of the page.

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