3/23 WWE Raw in Lakeland results: C.M. Punk sings Happy Birthday, Brodus Clay vs. The Miz, WWE developmental standout Leo Kruger vs. Zack Ryder, Kelly Kelly vs. Eve, Ryback vs. Alex Riley
WWE Raw live event
Report by Dot Net reader Joshua Parry
The first WWE show in lakeland for five years was near enough a sell out with a few patchy spots around the sides of the stage. Estimated 3,000 in attendance.
1. Santino beat Jack Swagger to retain U.S. Title. Lots of pushups, situps, and cobra histrionics to start things off. Santino hit the cobra after hulking up to a more than respectable pop.
2. Zack Ryder beat Leo Kruger. Leo came out to good heat in familiar FCW territory. He actually dominated Ryder for a good while until a military press was countered into the Rough Ryder for the pin.
3. Eve beat Kelly Kelly. Eve came out and cut a promo that was inaudible over the Hoeski chants. It was basically the same one she's been giving lately about supporting Ryder and she was only joking about setting him up. Better and longer than you'd expect from these two.
4. Ryback beat Alex Riley. Ryback got little reaction until the crowd made the Sheffield connection and started chanting "Skip, Skip, Skip!" He looked a lot like Batista and was very dominant. Basically a squash.
5. Kofi Kingston and R-Truth beat Epico and Primo in a non-title match. It was scheduled to be for the title, but Big Johnny decreed that based off of Kofi and Truth's actions last week, it would no longer be. Very good, long form tag match in which Truth scored the pin with his reverse STO.
6. Brodus Clay beat The Miz. Miz cut a promo complaining he had no match at WrestleMania. He there's no point asking us idiots in Lakeland to affect any change. The match was more competitive than you'd expect. Miz dominated until Clay bounced off the ropes to surprise Miz with his running body block.
7. John Cena beat Kane in a Last Man Standing match. This didn't last very long. It probably went about ten minutes. Two minutes in, Kane had nailed Cena with a bell shot and a mic shot to the head, but he got up. Cena blocked a chair shot, but Kane managed a chokeslam for a close nine count. He set up a table in the corner and tossed John straight through for another nine count. Kane introduced a second table, but Cena countered Kane's chokeslam attempt into an AA through the table, which was good for a full ten count.
8. C.M. Punk beat Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE Title. Excellent, excellent main event. Wrestling, facials, and storytelling were all spot on. It went about 20 minutes and was full of pretty believable near falls. Punk hit the GTS after being pushed into the ref and had Ziggler down for a "six count" before he went to retrieve the ref. After evading another round of onslaught from Ziggler, the second GTS was good for the pin and win.
Post match, Punk got on the mic to thank the crowd and brought a little boy inside the ring. The boy was celebrating his ninth birthday. Punk sang Happy Birthday in a scarily similar fashion to the way he sang to Rey's daughter in 2010. Very classy by Punk, though.
2. Cena (80/20)
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