6/17 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Brock Lesnar and C.M. Punk, Mark Henry returns in a big way, Payback fallout with new champions Alberto Del Rio, Curtis Axel, and A.J. Lee
By Jason Powell
Dot Net Members are listening to the 90-minute audio review of WWE Payback that Chris Shore and I recorded last night. They will also be listening to my member exclusive WWE Raw audio review 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
Aired live from Grand Rapids, Michigan at Van Andel Arena
[Q1] Raw opened with a video package that featured highlights from the WWE Payback pay-per-view and the three falls of the Three Stages of Hell match... Michael Cole checked in on commentary and was joined by JBL and Jerry Lawler...
Ring announcer Justin Roberts introduced Ricardo Rodriguez, who stood on the stage with the stupid bucket in hand and introduced new World Hvt. Champion Alberto Del Rio. Lawler said he's never seen anyone attack someone coming off a concussion the way Del Rio did at Payback. Cole said it was a valiant effort by Dolph Ziggler. Photos of their match was shown. JBL said Del Rio did what he had to do to win the championship.
Del Rio stood in the ring and asked fans how their weekend was. He referred to himself as the fans' real Superman. Ricardo introduced him again. Del Rio said some fans were saying the way he won the title was controversial. He questioned what about the night after WrestleMania when his leg was injured and Dolph Ziggler cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and took the title.
Del Rio said the fans cheered for Ziggler. He said he should probably be offended, but it's okay because he gets it. He said he heard the reaction last night and every other night. There was a small "We Want Ziggler" chant. Del Rio recalled fighting the "ignorant pig" Jack Swagger who insulted him and the Mexican people. Del Rio claimed he heard USA chants during his matches against Swagger.
"You cheer for a pig and a coward?" he asked. "I guess that's what America is all about, pigs and cowards." Del Rio said he fought for the fans for the last five months and he didn't get anything. "Last night I fought for Alberto Del Rio and I got me this (the title)." Del Rio said he's going to be the better man in this situation and will show fans why he's the best. Del Rio said he was going to give the fans a second chance to show him the respect that he deserves. The fans booed. "You don't get it, you and I..."
C.M. Punk's music played and he walked onto the stage with Paul Heyman to a big pop and then headed to the ring. Punk said the last time they were in the ring together is when Del Rio was holding the WWE Championship in 2011. Punk recalled beating him to win the title and then going on to hold it for 434 days.
Punk said the problem he has with the people is not why he was out there. He took exception to Del Rio saying he is the best. A loud C.M. Punk chant broke out. Punk said there is only one best in the world and Del Rio was looking at him. He said he was there to challenge Del Rio.
Paul Heyman interrupted Punk before he could issue the challenge. Heyman said his client doesn't fight for free. Punk cut off Heyman and asked him what he was doing. Heyman said they didn't talk about this and Punk is banged up from the night before and the title wouldn't even be on the line.
Punk said he knows the title wouldn't be on the line and that Dolph Ziggler gets the rematch that he "damn well deserves." Punk said that while Del Rio was stealing a title, Punk was stealing the show along with Chris Jericho. Punk said he wants to face Del Rio in a match. Del Rio told him he doesn't want this. Punk said he did.
Del Rio said he is the World Heavyweight Champion. "Like I said, you don't want me," he added. Punk asked Ricardo if had his tights on underneath his gear and wanted a fight. "Someone is gonna fight me tonight," Punk said. Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox interrupted from the stage. Vickie was booed, but then said Del Rio doesn't get to make the decision. She said that as great as Payback was, she can't think of a better way to maintain the moment than to have Del Rio vs. Punk in the main event...
[Q2] Cole hyped that Vickie also has a surprise for Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, and the entire WWE Universe. Lawler hyped Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan for later in the show... A shot aired of Wade Barrett. Cole said Barrett would get his rematch against Curtis Axel... [C]
Powell's POV: A very good opening. Del Rio is so much better as a heel. His promo was really strong here and he had great logic regarding the way Dolph Ziggler cashed in his MITB contract on him while he was wounded. Punk coming out and challenging Del Rio to a match was a nice surprise. They amped up the issues with Punk and Heyman here, and new babyface Punk endorsed new babyface Ziggler. I also liked the hype they gave the other matches right out of the gate.
A graphic touted WWE On Demand...
Backstage, Paul Heyman told C.M. Punk that he was sorry he jumped the gun, but he cares about him. Punk said he didn't make it clear. He felt Heyman nearly cost him the match at Payback. He said he's not Brock Lesnar or Curtis Axel and he doesn't want Heyman at ringside with him anymore. Punk said he will always be a Paul Heyman guy. Heyman was left with a surprised look on his face...
Powell's POV: The shoe dropped on the Heyman and Punk relationship. Heyman's next move should be very interesting.
Wade Barrett stood in the ring and was being introduced for his rematch with Curtis Axel. Vickie Guerrero interrupted with another "excuse me." She said Barrett's rematch would have to wait because he would be facing her big surprise...
1. Christian vs. Wade Barrett. Christian got a strong reaction for his return. Cole said Christian missed nearly a year of action with a shoulder injury. In the end, Christian hit his finisher and scored the clean pin...
Christian defeated Wade Barrett in 3:15.
Powell's POV: A nice surprise return early in Raw. It's cool to see Christian back on television after all this time. WWE made the right call when it came to giving Rob Van Dam the bigger hype for his return and advertising it for the next pay-per-view. As much as I enjoy Christian, RVD returning to Philly for the Money in the Bank pay-per-view is simply more marketable.
The announcers hyped that fans could vote on whether the Bryan vs. Orton match sould be a no disqualification, no count out, or best of three falls match... A Wyatt Family video aired...
[Q3] [C] Footage aired from the Payback Kickoff match between Sheamus and Damien Sandow. The announcers put over Sandow's strong showing...
2. Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes in a handicap match. The announcers questioned why Vickie would put Sheamus in the handicap match. The heels got the better of Sheamus early. He came back with the forearm shots to Sandow and then followed up with White Noise on Rhodes. Sheamus set up for a Brogue Kick on Cody, but Sandow recovered and rolled up Sheamus for the win. After the match, Sheamus Brogue Kicked Rhodes...
Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes defeated Sheamus in a handicap match in 3:25.
Cole hyped Mark Henry's appearance and acknowledged his retirement tweets... The Rob Van Dam return video package aired... [C]
Powell's POV: The live crowd was really into Sheamus tonight. Sandow winning by rollup in a handicap match doesn't make him, but it does continue the program between the two. I strongly disliked the decision to air the RVD video heading into the break without showing the live crowd's reaction. It was red hot at Payback. Why not let the television audience hear a similar response from this crowd, which makes it feel bigger than the video package alone does?
Backstage, Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox spoke with Triple H. Vickie boasted about making the main event match. Hunter put it over and questioned what her main event would have been if C.M. Punk hadn't come out. They didn't have an answer for him.
[Q4] Vickie shifted the focus to bringing Christian back as a surprise. Triple H said Christian has been medically cleared for a month and a half ago and questioned why they waited so long. Rob Van Dam's return came up and they tried to take credit. Hunter said he didn't remember them being in on the conversations when he made the deal with him. Hunter told them to make an example of The Shield tonight. He then mockingly congratulated them for putting 3MB on the show and called it a stroke of genius...
Backstage, Kane asked Daniel Bryan if they could talk. Bryan said he didn't want to hear any "I told you so" talk. He accused Kane of being happy that Team RKNo lost. Kane said he also lost and questioned whether it's a sign they should give Team Hell No another shot.
Bryan yelled no. Bryan said the only way he can prove himself is if he does it by himself and wins the WWE Championship. Kane said he wants the WWE Championship too. He asked Bryan if this was it for them. Bryan said he didn't know. Kane said he didn't know either and wished Bryan luck. Bryan questioned whether he was wishing him luck because he thinks he's the weak link... [C]
Powell's POV: The backstage segment was nothing special, but it was notable that Bryan mentioned the WWE Championship. He's been rumored to be facing John Cena for the strap at Money in the Bank. This doesn't guarantee that it's happening, but it will have to develop quickly if they are going to shift him away from Kane, Orton, and The Shield and into the title picture.
Highlights aired of Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, and Kane beating The Shield on Smackdown... Footage aired of Randy Orton telling Josh Mathews that Orton his the weak link and adding that he intends to prove it...
Powell's POV: Orton said it with a smile more than in a heelish manner. It came off like he was playing mind games.
Ring entrances for the Orton vs. Bryan match took place. Lawler announced the poll results. 54 percent went with No DQ, 36 percent went with best of three falls, and ten percent voted for no count out...
Powell's POV: Apparently, ten percent of the WWE Universe consists of drooling morons (or wise asses who voted for the throwaway poll option, good for them).
3. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan in a No DQ match. The crowd delivered Yes! chants for Bryan's early strikes, then yelled No! when Orton came back with kicks. A Daniel Bryan chant broke out.
[Q5] Bryan caught Orton in a half crab, but Orton reached the ropes. Cole quickly pointed out that it didn't matter since there were no disqualifications. JBL mocked Lawler for not remembering the stipulation when he was the one who announced it. We found out what Cole's real laugh sounds like rather than that forced one he does way too often.
Orton got the female cheers when he stood on the ropes and threw punches down at Bryan, but the men yelled No! with each punch he threw. They went to ringside and Orton pulled out a kendo stick and struck Bryan with it. Orton threw Bryan back inside the ring and covered Bryan for a two count heading into the break. [C]
The announcers played up Bryan performing a suicide dive at one point that Orton avoided, causing Bryan to hit the barricade. It became the story of the match, as the trainer tried to check on Bryan a couple times. He eventually got a chance to examine Bryan on the floor and they called off the match. Orton helped Bryan to his feet and hugged him. Bryan and Orton shook hands...
Randy Orton defeated Daniel Bryan via ref/trainer stoppage in a No DQ match in 14:40.
Powell's POV: It was bizarre to set up a No DQ match between the two when their program hasn't reached the need for such a stipulation. The company had to know that's what the fans would vote for. It appeared as though Bryan was hurting, but he walked backstage on his own so it wasn't a neck injury if it was legit.
[Q6] [C] The Sean Combs Be A Star video aired...
Powell's POV: Combs wore an Invisible Bully t-shirt. I don't even know what that means, but I wish an invisible bully would kick his ass.
A.J. Lee and Big E Langston headed to the ring. A.J. stood in the ring and gloated over her title win while Langston remained on the floor. Lee said Dolph wasn't medically cleared, but he will return to share the spotlight with her. A.J. bragged herself up and then said that if there's a woman who thinks she can compare to her or is a fraction of what she is, she dares her to come out. "That's what I thought," A.J. said when no one came out.
Stephanie McMahon's music played and Lee's expression changed. A.J. went into perky mode while saying, "Hi, boss lady, are you here to congratulate me?" Steph endorsed A.J. as an underdog and congratulated her for that. However, Stephanie said Lee is perpetuating a stereotype about women that they want to tear each other down rather than build each other up.
Stephanie told Lee to start acting like a champion. Lee apologized and said she should be acting more like Stephanie. She said that instead of dating a superstar she should marry one. Steph said that if A.J. is so brilliant she would have come up with something original. Lee raved about her "masterpiece" being what she did to Kaitlyn.
Stephanie leaned in and asked if A.J. wanted to give her the crazy eyes. Steph said she's a McMahon and no one knows crazy better than them. Steph told A.J. that if she wants to be Divas Champion she should start acting like one. Lee said she is the Divas Champion. She said the only reason Stephanie came out is because Lee is her only younger.
Stephanie held the mic down a bit and told A.J. that she might be the Divas Champion, but she can take all of that away from her. "I'm sorry, you were saying," Stephanie said into the mic. Kaitlyn walked onto the stage with Cameron, Naomi, Natalya, Alicia Fox, and Layla.
Stephanie approached the babyface Divas on the stage and said she was going to give Kaitlyn a pass because of what she's been through lately. "Do not ever interrupt me again and that goes for all of you," Stephanie said before heading backstage. Kaitlyn walked to the ring and said A.J. won the Divas Championship. A "you tapped out chant" broke out.
Kaitlyn said Lee got inside her head, manipulated her, and humiliated her. She said A.J. played her like a puppet and broke her. Kaitlyn said it was her turn. Kaitlyn rushed the ring and attacked A.J. Langston, who was at ringside the whole time, pulled A.J. to ringside. Lee wanted to back to the ring, but Langston put her over his shoulder and headed backstage... [C]
Powell's POV: Did Stephanie hold the mic down because we were supposed to think she broke from the script? She was an all out bitch to everyone in that segment. The speech about female stereotypes was ridiculous, especially when you consider Steph's behavior in this segment, though perhaps that's the idea. I wish I could say I would more curious to see where this is going.
[Q7] A graphic noted that Smackdown was seven times more socially active than any other show... Cole said Daniel Bryan was still being evaluated for possible nerve damage. Lawler said that's what he was afraid of. Really, that's what you feared?...
4. Dean Ambrose vs. Kane for the U.S. Championship. Kane jumped out to the advantage and was setting up for a chokeslam when Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns interfered for the DQ. Kane fought them off until he was speared by Reigns. The Shield members teamed up for a Triple Powerbomb on Kane. The announcers played up Triple He's earlier comments to Vickie about sending a message to The Shield...
Kane beat Dean Ambrose by DQ in a U.S. Title match in 1:30.
A shot aired of Mark Henry shaking hands with The Prime Time Players and Tamina Snuka. He consoled a tearful Darren Young, who applauded Henry as he walked away... [C]
Backstage, Vickie Guerrero scolded The Shield for their antics in the Kane match. Ambrose asked if there would be severe ramifications. He asked if she was going to spank them. Ambrose told her from now on she should think about what she's going to do before she does it. "You're..." Vickie said before she was interrupted.
Vince McMahon entered the picture and told The Shield that they remind him of him. He mentioned ruthless aggression and told them to keep it up. Vince said he's never liked "that Halloween mask-wearing freak Kane." Vince told Vickie she looked good and then walked away...
Powell's POV: I know the McMahons have traditionally meant bigger ratings, but the contradicting actions of Hunter and Vince isn't all that compelling. Maybe it will lead somewhere, but the whole thing with Hunter wanting Vickie to make an example of The Shield came out of nowhere. I don't even like being reminded that these guys answer to any authority whatsoever.
Cole reminded viewers that John Cena would appear on the show, and he hyped the Alberto Del Rio vs. C.M. Punk main event... Another Wyatt Family video aired... [C]
[Q8] Zeb Colter walked onto the stage and told the fans to open their eyes because he was speaking to them from within a country that is under siege. He said the government is spying on us and lying to us. He complained about foreigners sneaking across the borders like rats in the street.
Colter said we are at war and sometimes that calls for unusual alliances. Colter said he and Swagger chose to work with a man in the interest of proving they are not prejudicial who speaks five languages, most importantly English. Antonio Cesaro came out and said, "We The People."
5. Antonio Cesaro (w/Zeb Colter) vs. William Regal. Cole called Colter a hypocrite and laughed at him. JBL tried to defend him. Cesaro put Regal away with The Neutralizer. Cesaro held up a "Don't Tread On Me" flag afterward and draped it over Regal. Cesaro and Colter put their hands on their hearts and said, "We The People"...
Antonio Cesaro defeated William Regal in 2:45.
A shot aired of John Cena backstage, and Cole said he would be up next... The RVD returns video was replayed... [C]
Powell's POV: I get a kick out of Colter and Cesaro being paired together, but this feels more like mid-card comedy than anything substantial. I guess that's still better than where Cesaro was at a couple weeks ago.
John Cena headed to the ring to a mixed reaction as the announcers discussed his Three Stages of Hell match win over Ryback. Cole said Ryback refused to be taken to the hospital, but he was treated by WWE doctors and was not cleared to compete on Raw. The boos got louder once Cena's music stopped, though he also had his supporters. Cena listened to the crowd and said, "They won't stop."
[Q9] Cena said he loves this. He said everyone was together under one roof because they share the same interest - loving WWE. He said some people have their favorite superstars and he has his too. He said his favorites are the fans because they have been honest with him. He pointed out a fan wearing a Cubs version of a C.M. Punk shirt and said the fan was telling him he sucks.
Cena said he also has fans who like him and every time he comes out he goes to war for them. He said he wanted to take a moment to speak to that group. He said he had a horrible 2012 and he had to come out and beg the fans to just hang in there and they did.
Powell's POV: Did I miss a Raw in 2012?
Cena said he would be the better man at Three Stages of Hell. He delivered The Champ is Here line. He thanked the fans who always hung in there. He said he feels as good as he's ever felt and he can take care of any challenge put in front of him. He said his eyes are focussed on Money in the Bank because he will know where his next challenge will come from.
Cena said there will be no opportune time for the winner to cash in on him. He said that if he looks down and out, the contract holder should think again because he will always be ready. Cena said he knows he won't hold the title forever, but he promised that the next man to hold it would earn it. "Our time is now because The Champ is here," Cena said. Cole said he hasn't heard Cena that confident in a long time.
Mark Henry's music played and he walked out and placed his boots on the stage before heading to the ring. JBL assumed the rumors are true. The announcers said Henry has had a great career. Henry told Cena that he could put his guard down. Henry had tears in his eyes and told Cena that he wanted him to stay because had something to say to him, everyone in the back, and all the fans. A loud "Henry" chant broke out.
"I respect everybody that loves this business," Henry said. "I respect all the people that work for this company because I know how difficult it is. I was a seasoned veteran in 2002 when this man right here came in." A loud "Thank you, Henry" chant broke out. Henry said Cena is doing an awesome job. He stopped and wiped tears from his eyes while listening to the chant.
Henry joked that if they forget him, they would at least remember his (pink) coat. A Sexual Chocolate chant started. Henry said that at the rate Cena was going, he is going to be the greatest WWE Champion of all-time. Henry said he's been ECW Champion, World Hvt. Champion, and the Strongest Man in the World.
Henry said it was nothing like the success that Cena had, but he thinks he's done pretty well for himself. "Which brings me to the reason that I'm out here," Henry said. "To retire from the active roster of WWE." The fans chanted for one more match. "Thank you all," he said. "One more match from one of the better crowds that I've been in front of for the last five years."
Cena gave the WWE Championship to Henry, who held up the title belt. Cena stood on the ring apron and applauded along with the fans. JBL pointed out that it was the only title that Henry hasn't won. Henry said he was a small town Silsbee, Texas boy done proud. He handed the WWE Championship back to Cena and said it's something you have to earn.
Henry said he got the chance to travel the world four times over. He said the not to cry for him because he's crying enough for everyone. "I stand before you a proud, proud man," he said. "I'm on the road close to 200 nights a year. My beautiful wife Jana, you'll be seeing more of me than you want to." He addressed his fanatical wrestling fan son and said some fans have seen him on Twitter. He made a joke about Mae Young's hand.
Henry mentioned his little girl Joanna and said she cries when he leaves home. "Baby, I'm coming home," Henry said. Henry put his hands in the air and the crowd applauded. Cena entered the ring and handed Henry the belt again. Cena raised Henry's arm, then Henry suddenly grabbed Cena and scooped him up for the World's Strongest Slam.
Henry took his coat off and yelled, "You think it's that easy? I got a lot left in the tank." Henry dropped the title belt on Cena and said, "And that will be mine soon." Henry headed to the stage and picked up the boots that he placed there earlier. "That's what I do," Henry yelled. The announcers talked about how they bought it. Cole said Henry used his family by making them apart of this. Footage was replayed of Henry slamming Cena down...
Powell's POV: I may have bought this too had Henry not had the recent Twitter meltdown in which he said he was not retiring. Even so, this was a hell of angle. The live crowd was very respectful when they thought it was legitimate and they popped big when he performed his finisher on Cena. I also liked the way Cena spent most of his time on the apron. It passed as a sign of respect while also making it less obvious, as more viewers would have been waiting for the attack had Cena stayed in there the entire time. Henry showed some incredible range by getting as emotional as he did. An awesome segment even if you expected that outcome.
[Q10] [C] The Henry attack on Cena was recapped... Backstage, Rene Young interviewed Henry, who told her that he had her and everyone else fooled like a bunch of puppets. He told her that the WWE Championship is the only thing he hasn't held and he's challenging Cena for it. He said the reason he has two boots is because he's going to leave one of them in Cena's rear end...
The announcers spoke about it at ringside. Lawler said Henry had everyone watching fooled. JBL called it an elaborate hoax. Cole said he found it disgusting that Henry brought his family into it...
Powell's POV: If your guard was up at all during the Henry retirement angle, then JBL's line about the WWE Championship being the one title that Henry never held may have foreshadowed it a bit even if that wasn't the intent.
6. Chris Jericho vs. Heath Slater (w/Jinder Mahal, Drew McIntyre). Jericho received a big ovation and a loud Y2J chant. Jericho went for the Lionsault, but McIntyre tripped him up while Jinder distracted the referee, leading to Slater getting a two count. Jericho came back quickly and put Slater away with the Codebreaker. He hit the same move on McIntyre afterward. He may have hit it on Jinder, but the production team missed whatever move he performed on him...
Chris Jericho beat Heath Slater in 1:40.
Powell's POV: Jericho, who reportedly has a knee injury, used one knee while performing the Codebreaker both times.
Backstage, Paul Heyman was giving Curtis Axel a pep talk when Matt Striker entered the room and asked him about C.M. Punk no longer wanting him at ringside. Heyman said he's best friends of the best in the world and true friends know when to give each other a little space. He asked Striker why he wasn't talking about the new Intercontinental Champion, who was born to be better than perfect... [C]
[Q11] A man and a woman were shown eating dinner when the man began choking. Sheamus showed up in his wrestling gear and kicked a choking man in the back with the Brogue Kick and the man spat out his food. A graphic listed 1-800-Fella and the narrator said help is just a Brogue Kick away. Sheamus sat down to eat with the woman and pretended to be choking, then smiled...
Powell's POV: Better yet, call 1-800-WTFWASTHAT
7. Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Sin Cara in a non-title match. The MIz sat in on commentary and said Axel walked out the Intercontinental Champion at Payback regardless of what people think of the way he won. Miz said Axel has the grit of his grandfather and the finesse of his father and a mean streak. Miz said Axel has been taking shortcuts. Axel put Sin Cara away with a DDT during which he wrapped his legs around Sin Cara's.
Curtis Axel beat Sin Cara in a non-title match in 2:45.
Powell's POV: A one-sided match designed to showcase Axel.
Cole hyped C.M. Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio for the main event... [C] A graphic touted that WWE has nine of the top ten sports DVDs... Daniel Bryan vs. Dean Ambrose was advertised for Smackdown. There was no mention of the U.S. Title being on the line. Cole mentioned Bryan's injury and said Bryan would wrestle if he is healthy enough to compete...
Backstage, Vince told Vickie and Maddox that they're doing a great job. He said he knows they're stuck between a rock and a hard place with the family at times, but he said they would be fine if they listened to him. Vince brought up the Henry angle and said he was sucked in. He asked what they wanted to do about it. They both said they wanted Cena vs. Henry for the WWE Championship for Money in the Bank.
Stephanie walked in and told Vickie that she needs to be more assertive. Triple H showed up and recalled telling Vickie that she needed to take a stand with The Shield. After Hunter left, Vince told her to just listen to him. Once Vince left, Steph put her arm around Vickie and said she wouldn't listen to either one of them. "You know who to listen to," she said...
Powell's POV: I sure hope this McMahon drama is going somewhere because these skits are painful and aren't doing any of them any good.
Backstage, Paul Heyman caught up to C.M. Punk and said that everyone else is trying to stir this up, but he doesn't want to play into it. Heyman said he gets it. He said it's okay and he understands. "As unpopular as this may sound, I love you and thank you," Heyman said before hugging Punk. "Now go get 'em. You're the best in the world. Go win this one. You're the best in the world"...
Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez made their entrance for the main event... [C] An ad for Smackdown questioned who won Payback matches...
[Q12] 8. Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. C.M. Punk in a non-title match. Punk was back to regular gear and his Gracie jiu-jitsu hoodie. Del Rio was aggressive early and the crowd started a brief C.M. Punk chant as he sold. Punk came back with forearm shots and went for the GTS, but Del Rio slipped away and rolled to ringside.
Punk followed up with a suicide dive that connected. Punk sold arm pain based on Del Rio's earlier attack. Ricardo distracted Punk, and Del Rio used the distraction to wrench Punk's arm over the top rope and Punk sold at ringside heading into the commercial break. [C]
After the break, Del Rio remained in control of the offense and Punk continued to sell the arm. Cole said Bryan suffered a stinger during his match with Randy Orton, so he should be good to go for his match against Ambrose on Smackdown. Cole said Bryan was so upset that he got in Triple H's face and screamed at him backstage.
[Overrun] Later, Punk started to make his comeback. Del Rio cut it off and then signaled for the Cross Arm Breaker. Punk avoided it and caught Del Rio with the GTS. Del Rio's momentum brought him to the edge of the ring and he rolled to the floor with Punk attempting to stop him from falling. Ricardo helped Del Rio get to his feet and they walked toward the back and Del Rio was counted out. Dolph Ziggler showed up in street clothes and attacked Del Rio from behind next to the stage and eventually chased him away.
C.M. Punk defeated Alberto Del Rio by count out in 11:30.
Punk was named the winner by count out and then Brock Lesnar's music played. Punk's expression changed quickly. Lesnar walked out and glared at Punk, who looked down at him from the floor. Lesnar's music continued to play as he paced around the ring. Brock jumped onto the ring apron and received some cheers. The fans in camera view were standing as Lesnar entered the ring.
Lesnar grabbed a microphone and the fans got quiet as he approached Punk and they stared at one another. Brock teased saying something, but grabbed Punk and F5'd him instead. Lesnar looked into the camera and smiled. Brock's music played and he left the ring. Lesnar stood on the floor in the entryway aisle and smirked as he looked back at Punk to close the show. The camera got a great shot of Brock glaring while Punk could be seen writhing in pain on the big screen behind him...
Powell's POV: Awesome ending. Punk vs. Lesnar is one of the big matches I was hoping to see during Brock's latest run with the company. The dynamic is perfect with Punk playing the undersized babyface to monster heel Lesnar. Heyman wasn't present for the attack, so I assume he will act like he had nothing to do with Brock's actions. That's a pretty big match for Money in the Bank, but it's also the type of match that could overshadow that pay-per-view and make some fans wait for SummerSlam if they are holding out that long. Either way, I'm already looking forward to their match.
Overall, there were some strong segments on this show. It opened strong with Punk and Del Rio, the exchanges with Punk and Heyman were very good, Christian had a surprise return, and the Henry and Cena angle was excellent. There were also some strange moments tonight including anything involving the McMahon family (Hunter included) and the conclusion to the Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan match appears to be a copout finish more than an actual injury, though perhaps that finish is leading to something else. The good outweighed the bad tonight and it was a quality followup to the hot Payback show. I'll have more to say in Dot Net Members' audio later tonight. Thanks for watching along with me.
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|3/31 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Final Raw before WrestleMania 30 with Randy Orton vs. Batista in a non-title match, Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, Roddy Piper hosts Piper's Pit
|3/28 WWE Smackdown on SyFy Live Coverage: An eight match show hyping WrestleMania that features Bray Wyatt, Big Show, Sheamus, Mark Henry, The Shield and more...
|3/27 Zim's WWE NXT Live Coverage: "Vengeance Week" feat. Adrian Neville defending the NXT Championship against Bo Dallas, Tyler Breeze vs. Xavier Woods, Natalya vs. Charlotte, and CJ Parker vs. Mojo Rawley
|3/25 Kester's WWE Main Event Live Coverage Review: Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler to determine the number one-contender for the Intercontinental Championship
|3/24 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Undertaker and Brock Lesnar confrontation, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Manganiello serve as guest hosts, Scooby Doo and the Mystery Machine, WrestleMania 30 build