3/11 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Brock Lesnar responds to Triple H's WrestleMania 29 match challenge, Undertaker vs. C.M. Punk build continues, Chris Jericho returns
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Indianapolis, Indiana at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
[Q1] The show opened with a wide shot from inside the arena. Justin Roberts asked the fans to rise as they paid respects to Paul Bearer. A video package aired with clips of Bearer and comments from talent. The video concluded with an old clip of Undertaker saying rest in peace and the two of them in the ring together.
The fans applauded the video and then Undertaker's gong sounded. Taker made his usual ring entrance. The urn was set up in the middle of the ring on a small stand. Taker entered the ring and looked down at the urn. Taker knelt down and held his hand up and the memorial graphic of Bearer appeared on the screen. Taker looked down at the urn.
C.M. Punk's entrance music interrupted. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler chimed in on commentary. Lawler said it was the most disrespectful thing he's ever seen. Punk told the fans to simmer down because he thinks they misunderstand why he came out. Punk said he wanted to personally extend his heartfelt condolences and his apologies for Taker's loss...at WrestleMania.
Punk said the silver lining in all of this is that Taker will always be a perfect 20-0 to Paul Bearer. He said that in four weeks Taker will be 20-1. Punk said there won't be any heartfelt tributes to Paul Bearer the night after WrestleMania. Punk said 50 years from now grandchildren will be asking fans where they were when Punk beat The Streak. Taker stared at Punk from the ring and never spoke...
Cole said there were no words. He hyped Seth Rollins vs. Big Show for after the break... A backstage shot aired of Big Show talking with an unidentified man... [C]
Powell's POV: I enjoyed the tribute until they made it known that it was a setup for Punk to get heat. I'm not offended by it and I'm sure the video was heartfelt, but I wish they would have separated a real life death from the storyline. The video was top notch. It also showed that we can add Paul Bearer impersonations to the long list of things that Dolph Ziggler is better than The Miz at performing. I'm surprised there wasn't more of a buildup to the first singles match for a member of The Shield.
Highlights aired from during the commercial break pyro gong off on the stage and Kane coming out. Kane grabbed Punk and tried to chokeslam him off the stage, but Punk slipped away...
Backstage, Kane threw a fit while searching for Punk. He entered two locker room and threw one wrestler over a table...
[Q2] 1. Big Show vs. Seth Rollins (w/Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose). Footage aired of The Shield attacking Big Show after Raw concluded last week. Show threw Rollins through the ropes onto Ambrose. Show grabbed Reigns by the neck and threw him into the guardrail. The Shield members regrouped and started a three-on-one attack, but Show kicked Reigns as he charged at him.
Show got the better of the Shield members briefly. He caught Rollins by the throat as he jumped off the top rope and he prepared to chokeslam him, but Reigns caught Show with a spear. The trio picked up Show and slammed him down with the Triple Powerbomb. The Shield stood over Show as Cole said, "The hounds of justice are upon us"...
Big Show defeated Seth Rollins by an apparent DQ in 0:40.
Powell's POV: I like that Randy Orton and Sheamus didn't run out to make the save. Show is still a heel and it would have been too soon for them to do that given the way he's still taken shots at both of them in recent weeks. A good segment with Show looking like a giant, while The Shield look strong due to the numbers advantage.
Backstage, C.M. Punk asked Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox who is in charge. He complained about Kane coming after him. Vickie said Punk disrespected the memory of Paul Bearer. She said Punk would face Kane in a No DQ match later in the show. "No, I'm not," Punk said nervously. He stormed out of the room...
The announcers spoke briefly about the Punk vs. Kane match...
Daniel Bryan made his ring entrance. Highlights aired from Smackdown of Daniel Bryan and A.J. taking verbal jabs at one another. Cole said Bryan would face Dolph Ziggler after the break... [C]
A "Remembering Paul Bearer" graphic was shown and then footage aired of Paul Bearer debuting on The Brother Love Show with Undertaker and the guy who forgot Bobby Roode's contract was up... The announcers said they would be airing tribute videos throughout the night...
Powell's POV: That makes me feel much better about the opening segment. If that had been all, then I would have been left with a bad taste in my mouth. There's still a good chance we'll get the final shot of Undertaker and Kane paying tribute to Paul Bearer and some good video segments throughout the night.
[Q3] 2. Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/AJ Lee, Big E Langston). At 3:10, Bryan set up for a suicide dive onto Dolph at ringside, but Langston climbed onto the ring apron and stopped Byran in his tracks. [C] After the break, Bryan caught Ziggler with a series of kicks. Dolph ducked one kick, and then Bryan blasted him with the grand finale of the kicks.
Later, both men stood on the top rope and Bryan went for a suplex, but Dolph twisted himself around and landed on top of Bryan for a good near fall. Down the stretch, Bryan went for the No Lock. AJ distracted the referee and then Langston pulled Ziggler's legs to the ropes so the ref would break the hold. A short time later, Ziggler hit the Zig Zag and got the three count.
After the match, Dolph and AJ made out. AJ gave Langston a look and then he hit his Big End finisher on Bryan and left him lying...
Dolph Ziggler pinned Daniel Bryan in 11:35.
Powell's POV: A good match and a rare win for Ziggler. A.J. seemed to be more relevant in this match than she has been in recent weeks.
The announcers set up a video package on Triple H challenging Brock Lesnar to a WrestleMania 29 match. Yes, a video package for a promo... The announcers hyped that Brock Lesnar would respond to Triple H's challenge...
[Q4] [C] Highlights aired from Old School Raw of the Honky Tonk Man segment... Brodus Clay, Sweet T, Cameron, and Naomi performed their ring entrance. Fandango was introduced as an opponent. He said he would not debut until Cameron and Naomi said his name right. He said they are better than this. Tensai tried to talk, but Fandango said he just cost everyone a chance to see a match...
The announcers spoke at ringside. Lawler actually performed a really good Fandango impersonation. Cole set up a video for G.I. Joe 2 featuring The Rock... The announcers hyped the New Age Outlaws vs. Rhodes Scholars for after the break... [C]
[Q5] Another Paul Bearer video aired. The video showed Bearer with Undertaker at WrestleMania 20 in 2004...
Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow impersonated the New Age Outlaws entrance. Sandow said it was brought to viewers by taste and good form. "Oh, you were not aware of this?" Sandow said. "Your posterior better contact someone at once." Cody delivered the fast-paced introduction for his team. "And if you're not down with that, we have two words for you - You're Welcome."
The Outlaws made their entrance and Road Dogg said, "This one's for you, Percy," before performing their standard entrance routine...
3. The New Age Outlaws vs. Rhodes Scholars. Road Dogg was in control early, but he got distracted by Sandow and ate a Beautiful Disaster Kick. A minute into the match, Brock Lesnar's music played.
The New Age Outlaws fought Rhodes Scholars to an apparent no-contest.
Billy Gunn went after Lesnar as he tried to enter the ring. Lesnar plowed through him and dropped him with the F5. Road Dogg met the same fate. Rhodes Scholars were nowhere to be found.
Heyman took the mic and said Triple H wants Brock to know that the game is on. Heyman said Lesnar doesn't play games, he hurts people. Heyman recalled Lesnar breaking the arm of Shawn Michaels and breaking Vince McMahon "in half" to the point that Stephanie McMahon cried as Vince was lifted into an ambulance. Heyman said Lesnar now destroyed the last traces of DX.
Heyman said everyone wants to know whether Lesnar will face Triple H at WrestleMania. "And the answer is YES!!!" Heyman said there is a "but" attached to this. Heyman said Lesnar will face Triple H at WrestleMania only if they get to pick the stipulation after Triple H signs the contract.
Heyman said Hunter either blindly signs the contract or he disappoints his wife, his children, his father in-law, and most of all himself. Heyman got down on one knee and looked at the Outlaws before saying, "And if you ain't down with that, I got two words for you - Brock Lesnar"... [C]
Powell's POV: Everyone will claim they saw that coming, but I got a lot of questions about whether the Outlaws would be at WrestleMania, and not one person mentioned the possibility of Brock attacking the Outlaws because they are Triple H's buddies. I know I didn't see it coming and I really enjoyed it. Heyman's mic work was great again and Lesnar continues to look like a major league badass.
[Q6] A graphic touted that WWE Raw was the No. 1 show on cable television last Monday...
4. Mark Henry vs. Kofi Kingston. Henry dominated the match and took it to ringside. Henry charged at Kofi, who moved, causing Henry to run into the ring post. Kingston performed a springboard kick off the ring steps. He tried to follow up with a top rope cross body block back inside the ring, but Henry caught him and performed the World's Strongest Slam for the win...
Mark Henry defeated Kofi Kingston in 2:25.
Backstage, Cody Rhodes was flirting with Kaitlyn when Damian Sandow interrupted. He said Lesnar took away certain victory from them and he arranged "much more suitable companions." Sandow introduced the Bella Twins, who put their arms around Rhodes Scholars.
The Bellas said they are back and not a moment too soon because the Divas division has never needed them more. Kaitlyn stormed off. Vickie Guerrero showed up and said their double date would have to wait because she booked Rhodes Scholars in a match against Sheamus and Randy Orton...
Ryback made his entrance. The announcers set up a sneak peak of Big Show's appearance on "Psych", which airs on Thursday night... [C]
Powell's POV: The celebrity whores are back just in time for the "get all the Divas on the card" match at WrestleMania. Sandow has been hilarious throughout the show.
5. Ryaback vs. Heath Slater (w/Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre). Mark Henry walked onto the stage and watched the match. Slater used the distraction to get a few shots in on Slater. Ryback destroyed him as expected and won the match with Shellshocked.
Ryback defeated Heath Slater in 1:05.
After the match, Ryback performed Shellshocked on McIntyre. Mark Henry walked to the ring and performed the World's Strongest Slam on McIntyre. Ryback picked up McIntyre and performed Shellshocked on him. Henry picked up McIntyre and gave him another World's Strongest Slam. Henry and Ryback came face to face. Their eyes twinkled and they shared a long, passionate, er, they jawed at one another until referees came out and tended to McIntyre...
Powell's POV: I'm all for no physicality between Ryback and Henry before WrestleMania, but that was a letdown. Plus, I was hoping for something a little more creative than a repeat bit.
[Q7] The announcers hyped Orton and Sheamus vs. Rhodes Scholars, and C.M. Punk vs. Kane in a No DQ match... Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez were shown walking backstage. Cole said Del Rio would face Antonio Cesaro after the break... [C] The announcers set up a trailer for "The Call" movie...
6. World Hvt. Champion Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro in a non-title match. A pop box video showed a smiling Del Rio saying, "I was born in Mexico, but made in America." Cesaro's thigh wraps were back after disappearing last week.
Del Rio performed his horrible superkick while Cesaro was on his knees and got a two count at 3:05. Cesaro caught Del Rio with his uppercut coming off the ropes and got the usual two count out of it. Del Rio came back with the Cross Arm Breaker for the win...
Alberto Del Rio beat Antonio Cesaro in a non-title match in 4:35.
Powell's POV: Del Rio's cheesy smile during the promo left me wondering whether he's trying to get over with wrestling fans or running for office. Can I vote against him? Gee, I can't believe one of the secondary title belt holders lost in a champion vs. champion match.
[Q8] Backstage, Josh Mathews asked, er, said to Kane, "This has to be a very troubling time for you." Kane was holding the urn. He looked down at it and walked away without saying anything... The announcers hyped a preview of the WrestleMania main event for after the break... [C]
A Paul Bearer video was shown from 1997 when Paul Bearer introduced Kane. Awesome...
At ringside, Lawler said he doesn't know if he's ever heard a bad word regarding Bearer from anyone in the industry. Cole shifted the focus to the WrestleMania main event preview video...
The WrestleMania video focussed on Cena's supposed down year. They did show an image from TMZ regarding his divorce. The second part of the video focussed on Rock winning the WWE Championship and showed footage of the two of them at WrestleMania and setting up their match on Raw...
Randy Orton made his entrance for the tag match... [C]
Powell's POV: Cena's redemption story would be so much better if his 2012 had been even half as gloomy as the video made it out to be. Even so, a strong video.
[Q9] Highlights aired of Paul Heyman saying Brock Lesnar would only face Triple H if he signs the contract before they name the stipulation for the match...
Powell's POV: Stephanie McMahon's hair vs. Paul Heyman's hair seems like a fair and balanced stipulation.
7. Sheamus and Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow. Sheamus sold a lot before clotheslining Rhodes and making the tag to Orton. A short time later, Rhodes Scholars regained control of the match by running Orton into the ring post. Orton eventually made the hot tag and Sheamus performed his signature moves on Sandow.
Sheamus lost the crowd a bit with White Noise, but he got them back as he set up for the Brogue Kick. Cody intervened, but Orton entered the ring and RKO'd him, then Sheamus performed the Brogue Kick on Sandow for the win...
Randy Orton and Sheamus beat Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow in 8:00.
Cole hyped Chris Jericho hosting The Highlight Reel with Wade Barrett and The Miz after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: David Otunga must be too busy appearing on some crappy Oprah network show to make the movie edition of The Highlight Reel. I'm more than ready for a Rhodes Scholars tag title run. Wait, didn't those two break up? I don't even care. Rhodes and Sandow are great together.
After the break, highlights aired of The Shield attacking Sheamus and Orton on the stage during the commercial break...
[Q10] The announcers spoke about The Shield attack at ringside and then shifted focus to the Paul Bearer tributes. Lawler said Paul was a great friend to everyone in WWE and in the WWE Universe. Cole set up fan Touts regarding their favorite Bearer moments...
Powell's POV: The fans were normal. The first female fan was even cute. If you're reading this, call me at 651-, er, um, never mind...
Chris Jericho headed to the ring. He asked whether his jacket was working because they are very temperamental. He set up footage of The Miz in "The Marine 3." There were lots of guns being fired, Miz never spoke, and the cameras jerked around like The Shield had just shown up.
Jericho said he made his Jeri-Tron 6000 disappear. The crowd cheered. Jericho said the movie looks awesome, his nose grew, and he introduced The Miz as his first guest. Miz noted the lack of a set and Jericho said there were budget issues. Wade Barrett came out and said his movie opened in the top five. He set up a clip from "Dead Man Down."
Miz mocked Barrett's accent. Barrett said Miz just showed his poor acting skills. Barrett said he's too busy being the Intercontinental Champion so he turned down movie roles. Miz game him the "Really" treatment and Barrett played along. Miz said Barrett keeps bringing up his movie because he hasn't won a match in weeks.
Jericho chimed in with the "really" bit. "How bad is this?" Cole asked on commentary. Barrett told Jericho to keep quiet before he drops him on the spot. Jericho took his jacket off and recalled bringing Barrett into the business and helping him win the first NXT. Jericho said Barrett is a two-time Intercontinental Champion, whereas he is a nine-time Intercontinental Champion. "Maybe I'll make it ten," Jericho said.
Brad Maddox came out and told them to "knock it off." Maddox introduced himself as a high ranking executive of Raw. He announced that Barrett will defend his Intercontinental Champion live on Raw next week against the winner of a match between Jericho and Miz that will start now. The announcers begged to go to break...[C]
Powell's POV: Much like the relationship of the Percy Harvin and the Minnesota Vikings, that segment reached a point where it couldn't be salvaged. The difference is The Highlight Reel wasn't traded to a team within the damn conference.
[Q11] 8. The Miz vs. Chris Jericho for an Intercontinental Title shot. The match was joined in progress. Jericho and Miz fought to ringside, where Miz was accident thrown into Barrett, who was sitting in on commentary. Barrett got upset and attacked them both to end the match.
Jericho and Miz rolled Barrett inside the ring, where Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale, and Jericho hit the Codebreaker on Barrett. Jericho's music played to end the segment. The announcers said Barrett didn't want to face either man...
Chris Jericho fought The Miz to a no-contest.
Powell's POV: If only Raw could be four hours each week. I assume we'll get a Triple Threat match next week.
Cole and Lawler set up footage of Ricardo Rodriguez and Alberto Del Rio impersonating Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger. The video originally aired on Smackdown... An angry Swagger and Colter were shown walking backstage... [C]
A Paul Bearer tribute video showed him in drag and then Mr. Fuji in drag. You had to see it, I guess... Michael Cole announced that KMart shoppers who buy $30 worth of WWE gear can get a WrestleMania 29 chair for $79.99...
Powell's POV: Yes, no you can sit on the faces of John Cena, The Rock, and Brock Lesnar for the low, low price of $109.99. I knew this one chick who, um, never mind again.
Sin Cara was standing in the ring when Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter made their entrance. Colter said Sin Cara didn't have the decency and respect to learn the language. He said the fans are programmed to cheer him because he has a nice entrance and he bounces around the ring "like a nice little Mexican jumping bean."
[Q12] Colter called for the fans to agree with him and received boos. He called Sin Cara a thief because every night somewhere there's a Sin Cara with his "little band of amigos" sneaking across the border trying to take something from an American. Colter said the fans are responsible because they don't say or do anything about it.
Colter said Del Rio said he was born in Mexico but made in America. He said Del Rio made everyone aware of how many things need to chance "in our country." There were growing boring chants when Swagger took the mic and said he would take the World Heavyweight Championship back where it belongs...
9. Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter) vs. Sin Cara. Cole noted that Vickie Guerrero booked Wade Barrett vs. Chris Jericho vs. The Miz in a Triple Threat for the Intercontinental Title for next week's Raw. Sin Cara got some early offense, but Swagger came back and beat him with the Patriot Lock.
Jack Swagger beat Sin Cara by submission in 1:50.
After the match, Swagger didn't release the hold, so Alberto Del Rio ran out for the save. Del Rio locked Swagger in the Cross Arm Breaker, but Colter pulled Swagger to ringside. Del Rio stood up and yelled in front of the WrestleMania sign...
Cole set up a video that featured an interview with Halle Berry about the movie The Call. She received a phone call from David Otunga, who said she gave out her cell phone number to someone who threatened him with physical harm. After Otunga hung up the phone, Kane called her and said he knows where she lives. He asked why she never returns her fan mail.
She figured out that it was "that crazy guy in the red mask." She said he wrote that his home address is the depths of hell. He said that when kids write to Santa Claus at the North Pole, this is the opposite. He questioned whether this means they're not going on a picnic... The announcers hyped the Kane vs. Punk match...
Powell's POV: That wasn't exactly great placement considering that Kane is finally acting serious heading into a main event. I get a kick out of the Kane silliness at times and he had a couple of funny lines. Wake me when this Raw is over.
Highlights aired after the break of Kane trying to chokeslam C.M. Punk off the stage earlier in the show... The announcers hyped Ryback vs. Mark Henry for Friday's Smackdown... Ring introductions for the main event took place...
Powell's POV: No, not a live coverage typo, they are really advertising Ryback vs. Henry for Smackdown. My guess is that something prevents it from happening so they can save it for WrestleMania 29.
[Overrun] 10. C.M. Punk vs. Kane in a No DQ match. Kane made his entrance and brought the urn with him. Kane set the urn down on a stand near the announcers table. He looked at the urn and backed away. Punk dove onto Kane at ringside to start the match.
Punk and Kane fought on the floor in front of the urn, which Cole noted was "the symbol of power and strength for Undertaker and Kane." Punk and Kane rolled inside the ring and Punk targeted Kane's knee with kicks. Punk caught Kane with a high knee in the corner. He went for a bulldog, but Kane avoided it and threw Punk over the top rope. Cole said they were heading to overtime and they had to take their last commercial break. [C]
Powell's POV: A commercial break during the overrun? Yeah, because the usual three hours and change just isn't enough time for Raw.
The brawling continued after the break and Kane threw a bunch of chairs inside the ring. Kane set up to chokeslam Kane onto the chairs, but Punk slipped out and countered with a DDT for a good near fall. Punk signaled for the GTS. The gong sounded. Punk turned and looked to the stage, then turned around and walked into a chokeslam from Kane, who got the win.
Kane pinned C.M. Punk in 12:00.
Undertaker's music played and he walked onto the stage. Taker knelt down and held his hand up while the Paul Bearer memorial logo appeared on the screen behind him. Kane struck the same pose in the ring. Suddenly, Punk struck Kane with the urn from behind. Punk hit Kane a couple times with the urn as Taker headed to the ring.
Punk headed up the ramp with the urn. "What is wrong with him?" Lawler said. "That is not his property." Punk knelt down and struck the Undertaker's pose while holding the urn. Taker made the throat slashing gesture and the crowd cheered. Punk was smiling while still striking the pose as the show closed...
Powell's POV: It was odd to see Punk lose as he heads into a match where most fans view him as a heavy underdog, but the appeal of the match for some viewers is as much about them wanting to see Taker get his hands on Punk as it is about The Streak. I would have preferred they didn't drag Paul Bearer into this, but there are multiple reports that his sons were flown in for the show, so if they are comfortable with everything that happened then I can certainly accept it.
Let's hope this was turns out to be the weakest show of WrestleMania season. It had its moments, but they were few and far between. I found myself waiting for the show to end more than eagerly anticipating the main event. The lack of Rock, John Cena, and Triple H this week may pay off as their next appearances will feel more important. Thanks for watching along with me tonight. I'll be back with member exclusive audio later tonight, and on Tuesday we'll have three takes on Raw in the form of my Hitlist, Will Pruett's Pause review, and Ryan Kester's Rundown.
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