Live from Dallas, Texas this is the Raw Deal for episode #1031. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
Guy Voiceover narrated the opening video package that focused in on the Vince McMahon/Paul Heyman "fight" as well as the John Cena vs. CM Punk match in the main event.
The announcers for the show are Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler as usual. Cole mentioned that there were 17,000 fans in the building and it was sold out. How many of them know The Rock isn't going to be there?
WWE Chairman Vince McMahon entered the building with crutches. If you saw the WrestleMania press conference last week you know they're for show in this instance. He was in a suit. McMahon just said he had a hip replacement. This story always changes. He called out Heyman.
Paul Heyman made his entrance with no music. Heyman was in some fighting gear. He said he's been dreaming about this fight for his entire life. Heyman made a joke insulting Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo in order to get some heat. He told McMahon that if they fight then Heyman is coming for everything that McMahon has. Heyman continued to talk, but then he took down McMahon with a double leg takedown. Heyman grabbed a crutch and hit McMahon in the back of the left leg/hip area. McMahon blocked another crutch shot and then he hit Heyman in the back.
Here comes the pain! There's Brock Lesnar's music and there he was. He made his way down to the ring. Heyman rolled out of the ring so McMahon was alone with Lesnar. The music of Triple H started up. Cole asked "is it him?" Gee, I wonder. McMahon rolled out of the ring, so Lesnar was alone in there.
Triple H was not in suit mode. He was in a t-shirt and jeans. He was…wait for it…The McMahon Family Avenger! That may be an unofficial name, but I like it. He had the water bottle in his hand. Lesnar met him outside the ring and they brawled around the ringside area. Hunter threw Lesnar into the steel post. He threw him again. Lesnar's head was bleeding. Hunter gave him a clothesline so that Lesnar flew over the security wall and landed near where Justin Roberts was seating. Lesnar gave Triple H a F5 onto the announce table. It didn't break. The right side of Lesnar's head was bleeding heavily. Lesnar had a steel chair. Triple H avoided the attack by giving Lesnar a spinebuster. Hunter gave Lesnar a chair shot to his back. They were shooting Lesnar from the left side as he walked up the aisle so that they didn't focus in on the blood. There was a lot of blood, though.
Analysis: That was an outstanding brawl. I had a very strong feeling that it would happen because it's not like they could do a lot with Heyman and McMahon. Lesnar showing up made a lot of sense. It also made sense to see Triple H return since it's been a while and that matchup has been heavily rumored since last summer's match between the two of them. It was nice to see blood there. Lesnar really took those bumps into the ring post in an aggressive way to make it look great. Was the table supposed to break? Not sure. It's weird seeing a finishing move like a F5 not breaking a table. I don't think it was wise for Triple H to recover from that as quickly as he did, but I don't think it matters that much. This felt like an opening segment from the Attitude Era of Raw when it was about having physical brawls to set up confrontations. I'm a huge Lesnar fan. He brings that sense of realism to the show that nobody else has. Triple H was very effective in his role as well. And then there was this!
What's going on there, Triple H? Thanks to @loug30 on Twitter for that graphic. I'm not suggesting that Triple H pissed his pants. He probably took a bump and landed on water. I'm not sure, though. You can decide for yourself.
They replayed the brawl between Brock Lesnar and Triple H. The announcers encouraged fans to Tout their opinions on what just happened.
Ryback vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/AJ Lee & Big E Langston)
Ziggler didn't get an entrance. He was already in the ring. Ryback used power moves early on, but then Ziggler hit a dropkick followed by a chinlock to control the action a bit. Ryback countered Ziggler's athleticism with a powerslam. Ryback slammed Ziggler back first into the turnbuckle. Ziggler went out to the floor for the vintage floor to commercial spot three minutes into the match.
Back from break, Ryback hit a delayed vertical suplex. They went outside the floor for a moment, so Langston knocked down Ryback with a running body attack outside the ring while Ziggler was with the referee. Back in the ring, Ryback kicked out at one a couple of times while Ziggler oversold it. Ryback went shoulder first into the middle turnbuckle and then Ziggler hit a very impressive leaping DDT for a two count. Ryback countered the sleeper with a jawbreaker variation. A Ziggler corner splash was countered by a headbutt and then Ryback gave him a spinebuster. AJ jumped on the apron, Langston tried to interefere on the other side and then Ryback countered the Zig Zag with a hard spinebuster again. Ryback hit the Shellshocked for the win after 11 minutes.
Analysis: **1/2 Ziggler was flying all over the place to make Ryback look great and it worked. Every bump he took was sold perfectly by Ziggler. Ryback was able to overcome the interference of Langston and Lee to get the win. Since Ryback lost at Elimination Chamber and on Raw last week it wasn't a surprise to see him get a dominant win here. Hopefully Ziggler gets a match at WrestleMania. I expect him to cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase there, but I'd like to see him in a match too.
There was a trailer for the movie The Call starring Halle Barry that also has David Otunga in it. Her career has fallen pretty far, hasn't it? I didn't notice Otunga in the trailer. It looks like a thriller.
CM Punk made his entrance. They went to break by telling us we'll hear from Punk after the break.
Analysis: I don't mind seeing a top guy enter the ring and going to commercial saying we'll hear from them when the show returns. That's a good spot to put in a commercial break because it will keep viewers interested.
CM Punk was alone in the ring since Heyman was attacked earlier. Punk said it will be a historical night. It's not about John Cena and it's not about The Rock. Punk pointed at the sign saying that the winner of the match goes on to the main event of WrestleMania. He said "tonight isn't about WrestleMania." He also claimed that it wasn't about the people. Punk claimed that it's not even about the WWE Championship. "Tonight is about more than the future." He concluded: "Tonight is about me."
He said tonight is about the most important superstar there's ever been. It's about being in the main event of WrestleMania. He said he's beat John Cena more times than he cares to remember. He claimed to have pinned The Rock not once, but twice in four weeks. That's why he's earned the right to main event WrestleMania. Punk called himself an icon that gets looked up to. Punk said he's the best in the world and the greatest of all time - a legend, an icon, the best, the greatest and he said that in this world we inhabit: "I am God." Then he left.
Analysis: Excellent promo. That's normal for CM Punk. It was also the kind of promo that showed how much of an egomaniacal heel he has become. Using words like immortal and calling himself God are subtle ways to set up that match with Undertaker.
There was a video package for the latest celebrity honoree in the WWE Hall of Fame: Donald Trump. This info was released earlier on Monday. The video focused on how Trump Plaza in Atlantic City hosted WrestleMania 4 and 5. We also saw highlights of the "Hair vs. Hair" match at WrestleMania 23 when Bobby Lashley beat Umaga in the match that saw Vince McMahon get his head shaved. It was one of the biggest WrestleManias ever in terms of most PPV buys. I believe it's second highest to last year, which I expect to fall down a peg after this year. I think it's fine to put him in the celebrity wing of the Hall of Fame. He has made some significant contributions to the WWE over the years, so if you're talking about celebrities that "deserve" it then you can make a good case for him. It's certainly better than Drew Carey, who really didn't fit in at all. It's likely that WWE will get some mainstream press for this and we all know they love that.
Mark Henry and Great Khali were shown walking backstage. Poor Khali is going to take ten minutes to get to the ring.
Mark Henry vs. Great Khali
They were both in the ring as we returned from break. Khali hit a big chop to the head that knocked Henry down. Trending on Twitter is "CM Punk is Good." Good work, Twitter. Henry went to the floor, Khali followed like a dummy and Henry shoved him into the ring post. Back in the ring, corner splash by Henry. World's Strangest Slam by Henry. The match went about two minutes.
Winner: Mark Henry
Analysis: It's a good thing it was so short. Even though we've seen it many times, it's still impressive to see Henry deliver the World's Strongest Slam to somebody as big as Khali. There's still no indication of what Henry might do at WrestleMania.
There was a sneak peek video of Marine 3 starring The Miz that comes out next week. He filmed it last year. The announcers talked about how great it looks. I can't see myself watching that movie.
The Miz entered for his talk show segment. They went to break.
There was a short Fandango video. It said he is debuting on Friday on SmackDown.
Miz TV segment with Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger
There were five people in the ring: The Miz, Alberto Del Rio, Ricardo Rodriguez, Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter. Miz talked about how we've seen Zeb's videos and Miz encouraged Zeb to talk directly to Alberto. Zeb mentioned Glenn Beck being a chicken and not showing up. Google it if you don't know. Zeb said he and Jack were real Americans. Zeb said there were over 11 million people working in American that are undocumented workers. Zeb mentioned that real Americans already had a tough time getting a job. Zeb said Alberto and his people say they are draining America.
Miz let Alberto talk, but "Zebby" kept trying to interrupt. Alberto said it was okay for Zeb to talk. Zeb mentioned it takes ten years to become a citizen of Mexico. He also said that a foreigner can't own a property in Mexico - Alberto said it was correct. Zeb kept cutting him off. Zeb said it's not personal - it's about what Alberto represents. He said Alberto encouraged people to sneak across the border because he's successful. Zeb said there's only one success story like Alberto and other "illegals" stay in the country trying to achieve their dream. Alberto told him to shut up.
Alberto said America is the greatest country on Earth because it belongs to everyone. He said he's not different than anybody. Alberto said they want to provide their families with a better life. "If you work hard in America, everything is possible." He said he was living proof of that. Alberto said he had heard about people like Zeb, but never met one until now. Alberto told them he didn't like bullies and suggested they do something to make him leave right now. Swagger replied with: "We will see you at WrestleMania. We the people." He did say "we" rather than "weed" there in case you were wondering. Jack and Zeb left as Alberto's music started to play.
Analysis: It was very surprising to see them not turn that into a brawl, but that was done as a way to generate heat for Swagger and Colter. They were given a platform to share why they don't like Del Rio. It was an over the top heel promo, but I'm sure there are some people in America watching the show that actually like Colter's opinion. The crowd wasn't reacting to it that much except when Del Rio stood up for himself by replying to Colter. This feud is still in the early stages. With six more weeks to go until WrestleMania there will be plenty of opportunities to build this story.
Randy Orton was walking backstage for a match against Antonio Cesaro.
Next week it's an "Old School Raw" themed show. That was fun the last time they did it. I don't know what I gave it as a grade, but I remember enjoying it. That's what counts.
During the commercial break on "WWE Active," Zeb Colter told Miz he didn't like the way he conducted that interview. Swagger attacked Miz from behind with a clothesline. Swagger yelled "we the people" repeatedly.
Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro
This is not for Cesaro's US Title, of course. He was already in the ring. The pop for Orton doesn't sound as loud as it used to be. Cesaro hit a gutwrench suplex for two. Cesaro hit a series of uppercuts followed by a hard corner whip, but Orton came back with a clothesline followed by a powerslam. Orton hit his modified backbreaker. Cesaro went to the middle rope, jumped off with some kind of attack and Orton hit the RKO out of nowhere for the victory after three minutes. That one really was out of nowhere.
Winner: Randy Orton
Analysis: *1/2 It was too short for my liking. It's typical WWE booking to see a champion lose a non-title match. Both guys need a fresh feud although Cesaro has that story with Miz that might still be going on. Orton has no feud. He could use a heel turn too.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan and Kane were looking at a monitor backstage. Bryan said Orton looked impressive. Kane said they need to focus on their match against the Prime Time Players. Bryan said he could beat them with a blindfold on and Kane said he could beat them with one arm tied behind his back. Then they argued. Vickie Guerrero and her assistant Brad Maddox showed up. They made them do what they said with Bryan having a blindfold while Kane would have one arm tied behind his back. Maddox kept talking over Guerrero, but she's the one that ended the promo. Also Maddox referred to him and Guerrero as "Team Brickie" although she didn't seem too thrilled about that one.
Analysis: I miss serious Daniel Bryan. The comedy stuff is getting tiresome.
Cole and Lawler were talking. They brought up the Academy Awards. They showed a clip from the build to WrestleMania 21 when John Cena and JBL re-enacted a scene from A Few Good Men. Those videos to promote WrestleMania 21 were amazing. They tried to do a tie-in that was relevant to today because they mentioned WrestleMania 21 was when John Cena won his first WWE Title. That was eight years ago. Yes it's been that long.
Up next are Sheamus' Oscar snubs.
Later tonight it's Jack Swagger vs. The Miz.
Sheamus entered the ring while wearing a suit. There was a microphone on a stand in the ring. Sheamus said he was a movie lover. He claimed that he had a problem with the Academy because they overlooked a great actor…Wade Barrett. There was a clip of the new movie "Dead Man Down" that Barrett is in although in the clip he's not shown at all. The movie is out on March 8th if you care (I don't).
Sheamus called it a great movie. He wanted to see another trailer that showed the acting skills of Barrett. There was a clip where Barrett was looking on in the background. There was a still shot. Sheamus made fun of it saying how Barrett gave an inspiring performance. He said that Tom Hanks wishes he could have got Forrest Gump as good as Barrett. He kept mocking Barrett.
Right on cue, the Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett made his entrance. He said Sheamus is jealous of him because he's going to be a huge, global movie star. Barrett said he's going to be a worldwide movie star that is going to the red carpet worldwide premiere of Dead Man Down. Meanwhile, Sheamus will be returning his tux while going to the bar. Sheamus told Barrett to make sure that the paparazzi got a shot of his good side and then made fun of his big nose. Barrett went after him, Sheamus avoided it and Sheamus missed the Brogue Kick because Barrett ducked out of the ring to the floor. Barrett left as Sheamus celebrated.
Analysis: That was not a good segment. I'd be fine with a WrestleMania match between them, but not sure they're heading in the right direction with them. These guys are fighters. The comedy isn't working.
The Shield has a message later in the show.
Damien Sandow was on commentary for this next match.
Cody Rhodes vs. R-Truth
Sandow called Truth a coward. Rhodes went after the knee of Truth to gain the momentum. The announcers asked Sandow why he broke up with Rhodes. Cole brought up a bromance while Sandow said he didn't know what that was. That's another reason to love Sandow. After Rhodes was in control for about a minute, Truth hit the Little Jimmy finisher out of nowhere to win the match. It went about two minutes.
Post match, Sandow went after Truth, but Truth was able to knock him out of the ring with a punch.
Analysis: That was another short match on this show. Rhodes has been horribly booked since his team with Sandow ended.
Cole talked about the youtube page "wethepeoplezeb" that featured Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger. They aired their video where they talked about jobs. Swagger complained about having to work when he was 14 to help his dad. Zeb blamed the people that were coming to America to steal the jobs. He claimed it was wrong. He said in Jack Swagger's America they will correct that wrong. Miz vs. Swagger is coming up later.
Analysis: Colter is awesome at cutting promos. I'm so glad that managers are back in WWE again. You can check out all of their videos on their Youtube channel here.
Daniel Bryan & Kane vs. Prime Time Players (Titus O'Neil & Darren Young)
All four guys were in the ring. This is non-title. Bryan had a blindfold on. Kane had an arm tied behind his back. Bryan grabbed the arm of the referee, but Charles Robinson told him he was the referee. O'Neil decked Bryan from behind with a clothesline. He hit a body slam and Kane told him to get out of the way, so he did. Outside the ring, Kane tried to help Bryan up, but Bryan ended up hitting Kane with a forearm. Good comedy. Young missed a corner charge because Bryan moved. Kane got the hot tag. He had his right hand free, so that meant a lot of clotheslines and punches. Kane knocked down O'Neil with a boot to the face. Kane ended up giving Young a Chokeslam. That was enough to win the match. It went about three minutes.
Winners: Kane & Daniel Bryan
Analysis: 1/2* Like I said earlier I miss when Bryan was more of a serious character. This was pretty boring even though the announcers were forced to use their over the top laughter to try to tell us how hilarious it was. Hopefully the tag champs have a legit feud going to into WrestleMania. Also last week there was a story out there that Young had a knee injury. He looked fine to me. Hopefully he won't miss any time.
We'll hear from The Shield after the break as we head into the top of the third hour.
There was a video of McMahon vs. Heyman, which led to the brawl between Brock Lesnar and Triple H. To this point it was the best part of the show.
The entrance music of The Shield started to play as Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns made their way to the ring. All three of them had microphone. Ambrose said things are going to keep getting worse. He talked about how there will be no peace until justice is served. Ambrose talked about how they were going to take the superstars out of their comfort zone. It doesn’t matter if they create a super team or an army because they're going to get the job done. Reigns said they were going to win every single time. If you don't believe in The Shield then justice will hunt you down and they will grind their bones to dust. Rollins talked about how at TLC they defeated Team Hell No & Ryback. At Elimination Chamber they solved the John Cena problem by beating him along with Sheamus & Ryback. Then last week on Raw they beat up that wannabe rock star Chris Jericho along with Ryback and Sheamus. Rollins asked: "Is there anyone else?"
Sheamus showed up at the top of the ramp. He told them to come after him. Ambrose and Reigns went up the ramp. Orton showed up in the ring where he dropped Rollins with the RKO. Ambrose & Rollins went back into the ring as Orton exited through the crowd. Orton's music played to end the segment.
Analysis: I liked that promo from The Shield. Ambrose is the best talker of the group, but the other two are doing fine as well. I thought Sheamus was feuding with Barrett? I guess it's not a feud that's going to last until WrestleMania. Perhaps they're going to build to another six man match for The Shield going up a babyface team of Sheamus, Orton and possibly Ryback. It could be the first loss of The Shield. I'm just speculating, though. We don't know anything yet.
CM Punk vs. John Cena is coming up later. Miz vs. Swagger is next.
Analysis: I thought they solved the Cena problem? He's still in the main event.
The Miz vs. Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter)
Swagger was already in the ring. Miz gave Swagger a back body drop over the top to the floor. Outside the ring, Swagger caught Miz with a belly to belly suplex on the floor. Swagger yelled "we the people" like he usually does. Back in the ring, Swagger drove his forearm into the back of Miz multiple times. In the corner, Swagger drove his knee into the ribs of Miz. Swagger decked Miz with a clothesline. Swagger Bomb splash off the middle rope got a two count. Miz hit a neckbreaker. Swagger came back with a powerslam for two. Miz made his comeback with a clothesline followed by a boot to the face. Corner clothesline by Miz followed by the double axe off the top for two. Swagger countered the DDT by shoving Miz into the ropes and the knee of Miz was trapped between the middle and bottom ropes. Swagger hit a chop block to the left leg of Miz. Swagger applied the Patriot Lock ankle lock for the submission victory due to a Miz tap out. The match went seven minutes.
Winner: Jack Swagger
Analysis: ** One guy is getting World Title shot at WrestleMania. The other is not. That should give the finish away before even having the match. I liked the story they told with Miz hurting his leg and Swagger focusing on the injury immediately. I thought Swagger has done a very good job of increasing the intensity during his matches and the Patriot Lock is looking like a deadly finisher.
At the announce table, Lawler was eating some food from Sonic as Cole talked about the food from Sonic. Is this actually happening on live television? There was a video from last week that showed when The Rock debuted the new look WWE Championship. That led to CM Punk attacking John Cena on the entrance ramp. That match is coming up shortly.
There was a Tout video from Triple H saying he was back. He was wondering if Lesnar was going to bleed or do something about. There was another video of Lesnar's brawl with Hunter the McMahon Family Avenger. Lawler said it took 18 staples to fix Lesnar's head after all that cut he suffered. They aired some Tout videos from fans.
Backstage, Josh Mathews interviewed John Cena. Cena did one of his fired up promos to sell the match hard. Cena said he asked for this match to prove that CM Punk is wrong. Cena talked about how he held the WWE Title for 380 days and he's been to the mountain top as WWE Champion ten times. He said none of that matters tonight because you either have to step up or step aside. "John Cena is back." He doesn't care what The Rock is cooking. He's serving humble pie for all of his credits. "Tonight the whole world will know that their time is up and our time is now."
Analysis: Cena has always been excellent at delivering the fired up promos with a lot of passion. This was no exception. I like how he said that even though he's had ten title reigns it didn't matter because it's all about winning this match. That's the perspective his character should have.
Cole and Lawler talked about Chris Jericho's new show called Robot Wars that is on Syfy. It airs on Tuesday. "Are you ready for robot carnage?" Nope.
As they returned from break, they showed a Tout video of The Undertaker returning to a house show in Waco, Texas. It didn't show anything except a very brief clip of his entrance. Lawler just said it's the time of year to speculate on a return of The Undertaker. I wrote a column on Undertaker on Monday that you can read by clicking right here. I'm surprised they would mention it on Raw, but I believe they did it to create a buzz for his return.
CM Punk made his entrance alone. No Paul Heyman with him due to getting attacked earlier in the night. After a dramatic pause, John Cena made his entrance. Most of the crowd was cheering.
CM Punk vs. John Cena
The winner goes on to face The Rock for the WWE Title at WrestleMania 29. After they exchanged holds in the first couple of minutes, Cena hit an arm drag and Punk went out to the floor. That led to the vintage floor to commercial break two minutes into the match.
Back from break, Punk was in control of the action with elbows to the head followed by a neckbreaker for two. Cena made a comeback with a boot to the face followed by a running bulldog for two. Punk came back with a jumping side kick to the head for a two count of his own. Cena hit a flying shoulderblock that connected, but when he went for another one Punk ducked out of the way. That led to Cena flying out to the floor. Punk hit a dive outside the ring between the top and middle rope. They went to break again nine minutes into the match.
Analysis: They worked two minutes, had a three minute commercial break, then returned for four minutes and went to commercial again.
During the break, Punk got out of the AA with a DDT. In live action, Cena went for the shoulder block again, but Punk countered it into the Anaconda Vice. Cena countered it for a two count. Then Punk came back with a neckbreaker. Their chemistry is great. Punk hit a springboard clothesline for two. Punk went for an attack off the top, but Cena countered into a STF. Punk countered that into the STF. That was outstanding. Cena fought out of that to apply the STF again. Punk countered into a pinfall for a two count as Cena kicked out, which meant he had to let go of the hold. Cena ducked a roundhouse kick and turned it into a spinning suplex. Punk kicked Cena a head during a Five Knuckle Shuffle attempt. Punk ended up sitting on Punk's chest for a two count. The action is very good action in this match.
Punk hit the running knee in the corner. Cena countered the bulldog with his spinning suplex followed by the Five Knuckle Shuffle. They fought out of finishing moves and then Cena hit a sit out Powerbomb for a two count. You don't see Cena do that move ever. Cena went to the top, but Punk hit him to prevent that. Cena gave Punk headbutts to knock him down and then Cena hit his legdrop off the top rope to the back of the head of Punk. That led to another two count. The crowd bought into that one as the end, but Punk was able to kick out. Punk hit a roundhouse kick. Punk running knee in the corner. Punk went for the bulldog only for Cena to counter it with the Attitude Adjustment. He covered quickly for a two count. That was an outstanding nearfall. The crowd thought that was it. Punk rolled to the floor. Cena followed him, so Punk shoved him into the ring post. Cena was out on the floor and he got back into the ring at the count at nine. Back in the ring, Punk hit the Go To Sleep. Cena kicked out at two. That meant both guys kicked out of finishers. Punk went for the GTS again, but Cena fought out of it. Cena applied the STF in the middle of the ring. Punk was able to make it to the rope. What a match! Punk hit a piledriver. Cole was freaking out about it. It's a move that WWE had banned because it wasn't safe. Cena got his shoulder up at the count of two. Punk covered again for a two count. Punk missed the Flying Elbow off the top rope because Cena moved. Cena hit a hurricanrana! What the hell? Almost. It wasn't picture perfect, but it's the thought that counts. Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment and he covered for the one…two…three. It went 26 minutes. What a match! Wow!
Winner: John Cena
Analysis: ***** That's five stars out of five. It's rare to hit that level, but they did it. That was a WrestleMania main event caliber match that took place on a television show. There were so many great moments in the match. I didn't care that they had two commercial breaks during it. The action was so great in the final ten minutes that it's all anybody is going to remember. They threw everything at eachother and the conquering babyface beat the evil heel that he couldn't beat before. It's a simple story in wrestling that works. The story of the match was about how Cena needed to win to prove to himself, as well as the doubters, that he's better than he's ever been on the road to WrestleMania. If they had a ten minute match that Cena won it would have been okay. Instead they had a nearly 30 minute match that was outstanding and made both guys look like the top guys in the business. That's what wrestling should be about.
There were so many incredible moments in the match like Cena busting out the sitout Powerbomb, which has become known as The Batista Bomb. The piledriver spot by Punk? It was incredible. You don't see that move on WWE TV anymore for safety reasons, yet Punk pulled it out here. I'm sure he was allowed to do it and it's a case of him doing anything he has to do in order to win the match. Cena's hurricanrana was a bit sloppy, but so what? The point is that he tried everything he could to win the match and that move set up the finisher. I love how they built the match up and both guys were booked incredibly strong. Punk lost, but so what? He fought out of every submission. He kicked out of everything Cena did until that final Attitude Adjustment. Even in defeat he was made to look like an all-time great performer because that's what he is.
What I liked most about the match was it had a clean ending. Cena earned the victory. I also think anybody that criticizes him as a worker is silly. He's always been very good when it comes to putting on a show in a big match setting. This was no exception.
As for CM Punk, I've run out of superlatives for him. He was my wrestler of the year in 2011 and 2012. He's the best in the world as an all around performer and his work in the ring is as good as it has ever been. This rivalry has reached legendary status. So many great matches over the past couple of years. Thank you John Cena and CM Punk for putting on a match we will never forget.
There's a very good chance that we just saw the Match of the Year. They set the bar high. I'm looking forward to watching it again. I don't know how to deal with people who complain about matches that good. It was pro wrestling at its best. I'd rank the Money in the Bank 2011 match higher because the emotion of the match certainly helped raise it to another level, but it's not like this had a bad atmosphere by any means.
To end the show, Cena celebrated the victory as he realized that this meant he had finally beat CM Punk and it was official. At WrestleMania 29 it will be The Rock vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship. A tweet from The Rock appeared on the screen: "Congrats John.. Its official: Wrestlemania 29 @WWE Heavyweight Champion The Rock vs @JohnCena Greatness vs Redemption #BringIt"
Cena looked at the tweet (it was showed on the screen) as he walked up to the ramp with a smile on his face. He should be proud of that match. It was incredible.
Three Stars of the Show
1. (tie) CM Punk
1. (tie) John Cena
3. Brock Lesnar
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 4.5
2013 Average: 5.63
2013 High: 7.5 (February 25)
2013 Low: 3.5 (January 28)
Last 5 Weeks: 4.5, 5, 6.5, 3.5, 5
A nearly 30 minute event and a bloody brawl to open the show? That's my kind of show!
Raw was three hours long, but all I really remember is the main event. That match carried this show to that 7.5 out of 10 rating that I gave it. I know there were some parts of the show that sucked (like that Sheamus segment with Barrett), but when you main event Raw with one of the best matches in the history of the show then it's going to get a high score from me.
Aside from the main event, that Lesnar/Triple H brawl was the other great part of the show.
There were way too many clips of movies. I watched on DVR, so I hit fast forward through them. That made me hate them less.
No sign of The Undertaker. Maybe next week. I think it's very likely.
To the Dallas crowd, you were excellent. And you got to witness a classic. For those in attendance it was money well spent, I'd say.
If you saw Smackdown this past week you probably saw a sign that said "The John Report" in the front row. I want to thank my pal Joey (@BrunswickJoey on Twitter) for bringing it. Here's a screencap from that.
Pretty cool. You could see it a few different times during the show. Also check out the various TJR signs on television over the last few years. If you bring a sign and it gets on TV I'll put it in the Raw Deal and your name will be mentioned too. Thanks for the support.
That's all I have for you this week. Keep on visiting TJRWrestling.com for our reviews & columns on a daily basis from our talented staff.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org