Live from Indianapolis, Indiana this is the Raw Deal for episode #1033. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please click on "Like" if you're on Facebook. Thanks!
There was a video package on the late Paul Bearer, who passed away on Tuesday. I wrote a column on Bearer here. Once the video ended the audience applauded in appreciation for Bearer's great career.
The lights went out, the *gong* sounded and for the second straight week The Undertaker made his entrance at the beginning of Raw. This time he walked down to the ring.
There was an urn in the center of the ring, likely as a tribute to Bearer. Undertaker got down on one knee, paid tribute to the urn and a graphic of Bearer appeared on the screen. It was a fitting tribute to Undertaker's former manager and close friend. Then CM Punk's music started up and he stood at the entrance. Lawler said it was the most disrespectful thing he's ever seen. What about when Punk mocked his heart attack with Heyman?
Punk was getting booed loudly as he tried to reason with the crowd from the top of the ramp. He extended his heartfelt condolences and apologies for Undertaker's loss…at WrestleMania. Punk said that to Bearer he will always be 20-0, but to everybody else in four week's "you're going to be twenty and one." And the night after WrestleMania they're going to play a video about Punk. He claimed that in 50 years our grandkids are going to ask us where we were when CM Punk beat The Streak. Punk turned around and left. Undertaker just stared at him.
Analysis: I thought the tribute to Paul Bearer was very well done with Undertaker kneeling before the urn that Bearer used to carry to the ring with him. That was very fitting and a touching tribute. Punk coming out when he did was a great way to get him heat. I'm sure some will complain about it, but it's not like Punk insulted Bearer or made it an uncomfortable situation. It was your basic wrestling trash talk that worked in the sense that it will add to the Punk/Undertaker match at WrestleMania. There were no words from Undertaker. Those can come in the near future. I figured they would do something where they used Bearer's death to enhance the storyline. To their credit they did not use his death in a way that was disrespectful for him. It will make WrestleMania more special because they have the additional story of Undertaker wrestling for the memory of his former manager.
The announcers for the show as usual are Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler. It's Big Show vs. Seth Rollins up next.
During the break, Kane's music started up and he went after Punk. He went to give him a Chokeslam on the ramp, but Punk ran away. It was shown on the WWE App.
Back from break, Kane was looking in the backstage area for Punk. He went into the locker room area where he threw Alex Riley over a table and he landed hard onto the ground. Kane took off with the idea that he was looking for Punk.
Before the next match, they showed when The Shield attacked Big Show after Raw went off the air last week.
Big Show vs. Seth Rollins (w/Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose)
Rollins is the best in-ring performer of the group although it's not like the other two are bad. I'm just saying that it's a good choice to have Rollins as the first member of The Shield to have a singles match. Just as I was writing that, Show took the fight to the floor and that allowed Ambrose as well as Reigns to interfere. The ref called for the bell about thirty seconds into the match.
Match Result: Big Show via DQ
After the match, The Shield tried to triple team Show. It didn't work right away, but when Show went to Chokeslam Rollins that allowed Reigns to take down Show with the Spear. They triple teamed the giant. Ambrose did a great job of using facial expressions to sell how much Show weighed. They put him on Reigns' shoulder and he dropped Show for the Three Man Powerbomb. No save. They stood over Show to end the segment.
Analysis: It's the same thing that happened last week after Raw went off the air. It makes sense that nobody was there to save Show because he's the type of heel that doesn't have any friends. I hope this feud doesn't turn Show babyface because he's way better as a heel.
Backstage, Vickie Guerrero and her assistant Brad Maddox were talking. CM Punk walked to them. Punk complained about Kane attacking him. Vickie said he disrespected Bearer. She put Punk into a No Disqualification Match against Kane later in the show.
Daniel Bryan made his entrance for his match against Dolph Ziggler. My immediate thought? "Give them 20 minutes. Please."
In tribute to Paul Bearer, there was a clip from WWE Superstars on February 16, 1991 when he was introduced as Undertaker's new manager on the Brother Love show. They will be airing more clips throughout the show.
Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/AJ Lee & Big E Langston)
Bryan applied the surfboard submission early in the match. Ziggler connected on a dropkick for a two count. Bryan came back with a series of kicks followed by the running corner dropkick for a two count. Bryan gave Ziggler a back body drop over the top rope to the floor. He went for his dive outside the ring, but Langston stood on the apron to prevent that from happening. That led us to the vintage floor to commercial break three minutes into the match.
Back from break, Ziggler had Bryan in a headlock. Bryan came back with a slingshot into the corner that slowed down Ziggler. Bryan connected on a clothesline as the crowd got fired up. Why isn't he a babyface that embraces the fans yet? He should be. Bryan hit his series of "yes" kicks followed by a roundhouse kick to the head for the two count. Ziggler went to the top rope, but Bryan tripped him up. On the top rope, Bryan went for a back suplex only for Ziggler to counter into a cross body that earned him a two count. Great spot. Ziggler gave Bryan a stun gun variation along the top rope followed by the Rocker Dropper for a two count. That was an excellent nearfall. Bryan went for the No Lock, so AJ distracted the ref. Langston put Ziggler's foot on the bottom rope. Ziggler went for a rollup, which got him a two count. Bryan countered into the No Lock. Ziggler fought out of that, Bryan missed the roundhouse kick and then Ziggler finished him off with Zig Zag for the victory after 12 minutes.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a very good match from two of the best in-ring performers in WWE. I'm glad that Ziggler was able to get a win after losing far too often of late. They really did a good job of building up the match with an excellent series of nearfalls. The back suplex spot off the top was something you rarely see, so it made it stand out. Like I noted in the play by play section, it's about time Bryan embraces the idea of being a babyface and rallying the fans behind him because he can really be a breakout star in that role. It's a shame that as of this writing neither guy is announced for a WrestleMania match. If it was up to me this would have been the World Title match at WrestleMania. Instead, neither guy has a major role at WrestleMania. That's a shame.
Post match, Ziggler got a congratulatory kiss from AJ Lee. Then AJ looked at Big E and then he dropped Bryan with his finishing move The Big Ending.
There was a video package about the rivalry between Triple H and Brock Lesnar. Lesnar will answer Triple H's WrestleMania challenge later.
Brodus Clay, Tensai (Sweet Tea) and the Funkadactyls danced as they prepared for a match. The match is apparently Tensai vs. Fandango. Tensai: "Fandango - get out here now." Fandango made his entrance along with his ballroom dancing friend. He stood at the top of the ramp. He said that Tensai mispronounced his name and was a disgrace to dance. Fandango called Brodus & Tensai an abomination. He wanted Naomi to say Fandango's name properly. Tensai grabbed the microphone and said "Fandango" quickly. Fandango said Tensai just caused the fans the opportunity to see Fandango in action.
Analysis: This angle is silly because it makes no sense for Vickie Guerrero (the Managing Supervisor of Raw) to allow a guy to not have a match he's booked to have. He should be forced to compete. I understand they're doing it to give Fandango some heat. But it's been two weeks of Raw plus an episode of Smackdown with him doing this. It's getting to be boring fast.
The announcers talked about the GI: Joe Retaliation movie starring The Rock. Some clips from the movie aired. They didn't mention this, but the reason he missed Raw this week is because he was in South Korea promoting the movie. It comes out on March 28. It looks expensive.
Next up are The New Age Outlaws against Team Rhodes Scholars.
The next Paul Bearer clip was from WrestleMania 20 in 2004 when Undertaker returned to beat his brother Kane.
Back from break, Damien Sandow & Cody Rhodes were in the ring. They did a mockery of the intro of the New Age Outlaws. It was pretty great. Their two words that ended it was "you're welcome." Then the New Age Outlaws Road Dogg and Billy Gunn made their entrance to a nice ovation. Road Dogg showed us how it was done. Crowd got fired up. "Lord have mercy this one's for you Percy." Nice tribute to Paul Bearer. He did say "Bad Ass" for Billy Gunn too. Gunn ended it by saying they had two words for us: "Suck It."
The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & Billy Gunn) vs. Team Rhodes Scholars (Damien Sandow & Cody Rhodes)
Last week was the Outlaws first Raw match in 13 years. This is their second in two weeks. Road Dogg got some offense in and then Rhodes hit Road Dogg with the Disaster Kick. All of a sudden, Brock Lesnar's music started up.
No Match Result
Analysis: It went about one minute. It was fun while it lasted, Outlaws. It makes sense to have them in matches two weeks in a row because it was a way to continue the Lesnar/Triple H story.
Brock Lesnar made his entrance along with Paul Heyman. Lesnar went into the ring where he dropped Gunn with the F5. Then he gave Road Dogg the F5 as well. The announcers put it over as Lesnar going after Triple H's friends. Heyman mentioned that Lesnar doesn't play games - he hurts people. Heyman mentioned that Lesnar broke the arm of Shawn Michaels (Triple H's friend) and destroyed Vince McMahon (Triple H's father-in-law). Then he talked about how Stephanie McMahon (Triple H's wife) was crying when she saw her dad get loaded into the ambulance.
Heyman said Lesnar's answer to Triple H's WrestleMania challenge is: "YES!" But he said it will happen only if Lesnar gets to name the stipulations. Heyman said that Lesnar won't name the stipulation until Lesnar signs the contract. That means Triple H blindly accepts the challenge or he disappoints his wife, children, father-in-law and himself. "And if you ain't down with that I've got two words for you - Brock Lesnar!" They left.
Analysis: Outstanding promo by Heyman like usual. He did a great job of putting of going over the history between Lesnar and Triple H as well as those close to Triple H. I thought we might see Triple H here, but there are three more weeks of Raw before WrestleMania so I'd expect a contract signing on next week's show as a way to continue the story. It's an interesting stipulation because Triple H has to agree to it without knowing what happens if he loses. I really hope Lesnar wins the match to see where it's going. However, with the way the story is being told with Hunter as the babyface fighting for his family it makes more sense for him to win the match.
Mark Henry vs. Kofi Kingston
Kofi was in the ring as Henry made his entrance. Henry crushed Kingston in the corner followed by a bearhug. Kingston tried to attack, but Henry ended up kicking Kingston in the face to send him out of the ring. Henry missed an attack outside the ring and he hit the ring post. Kingston hit a flying forearm off the steel steps. Back in the ring, Kingston went for a cross body. Henry caught him and hit the World's Strongest Slam in two minutes.
Winner: Mark Henry
Analysis: * On the road to WrestleMania we always get squash matches featuring guys that will have a high profile match at WrestleMania beating guys that may not even have a role at the show. In Henry's case, he'll have a match with Ryback. It's not official yet, but it's coming.
Backstage, Cody Rhodes was talking to Kaitlyn. He was trying to flirt with her. He said he "mustache" Kaitlyn a question. Sandow showed up to say that he had found them a pair of women that are more their style. It was Nikki and Brie Bella. Apparently they are back in WWE. As Kaitlyn left, Vickie Guerrero showed up to put Rhodes & Sandow in a match later against Sheamus & Randy Orton.
Analysis: I'm not sure if Cody is going to turn babyface as a way to get him some of Kaitlyn, but that seems to be where they are going. As for the Bella Twins, Brie has been dating Daniel Bryan for a while and Nikki (the one with the bigger boobs) is dating John Cena. I'm sure their men are happy to see them back in the company. The Bellas left at the end of April last year. Less than a year later they are back. Most of us expected that to happen. I guess their "acting careers" didn't go well.
Ryback made his entrance. There was a clip of Big Show on the show Psych that airs this week.
Ryback vs. Heath Slater (w/Drew McIntyre & Jinder Mahal)
Mark Henry watched the match from the top of the ramp. It's the battle of Nexus. In a way. Ryback hit a Gorilla Press Slam, the Meat Hook Clothesline and Shellshocked for the win after about one minute.
Analysis: Remember what I said last match about how guys in big matches at WrestleMania get dominant wins? That's what this was.
Post match, McIntyre went after Ryback. That led to Ryback dropping McIntyre with Shellshocked. Mark Henry walked into the ring. He gave McIntyre the World's Strongest Slam. Ryback gave McIntyre Shellshocked again. Henry gave McIntyre the World's Strongest Slam again.
Analysis: I guess you could say McIntyre was the "chosen one" in this instance because he was the one chosen to get destroyed by these two monsters.
Henry and Ryback had a staredown. Ryback led the crowd in "feed me more" chants. Referees checked in on McIntyre. Henry left without any physical altercation.
Analysis: It looks like that Ryback vs. Henry WrestleMania match is a go. It could be very interesting matchup. I wonder if Ryback can drop Henry with Shellshocked? I would imagine that’s the finish they go with.
Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez were shown walking backstage in preparation for a match up next against Antonio Cesaro.
Back from break, the trailer from The Call starring Halle Berry. Why didn't they mention that David Otunga was in it? Odd. Also Halle Berry's career must have fallen hard if she's doing a movie that looks this terrible. I spotted Otunga in the trailer dressed as a cop. The movie is in theatres on Friday.
Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Antonio Cesaro
How many non-title matches has Cesaro lost this year? Too many. This is non-title of course. Before the match, Del Rio said in a pre-recorded video that he was born in Mexico, but he was made in America. Del Rio hit a hurricanrana and then a cross body block. Those are two moves he didn't do as a heel. With Del Rio on the middle ropes, Cesaro tripped him up. Cesaro hit an uppercut for a two count. Del Rio came back with some clotheslines followed by a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Side kick by Del Rio got a two count. Del Rio hit some right hands to the kidneys of Cesaro followed by a Back Stabber for two. Del Rio went to the top, jumped off and Cesaro decked him with a huge uppercut for a two count. Excellent nearfall right there. Cesaro tried to continue the assault, but Del Rio countered into a Cross Armbreaker for the tapout victory after five minutes.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Analysis: ** I wish they got more than five minutes because they're two of my favorite in-ring performers in the company. I think their technical wrestling styles would mesh well together in a match that got 15 minutes or more. Once again the theme of the show is about putting over the guys that have prominent WrestleMania matches in a dominating way. They need to be made to look like stars on the road to WrestleMania while everybody else has to put it over. That is how WWE always books the shows prior to WM. Do I like it? Not really. But I've gotten used to it.
It's time for a little rant. I think Cesaro loses far too much. I just looked it up. Feb 18 non-title loss to Miz. Feb 25 non-title loss to Orton. Feb 26 SD taping beat Miz in title match. Last week on Raw lost clean to Ryback. Then on Main Event he lost clean to Sin Cara. Now a clean loss to Del Rio. What happens when a champion loses so many title matches? Nobody will care when he loses the title because we've seen him lose so many matches on a weekly basis. It hurts the championship to see the guy holding the title lose this many matches.
Backstage, Josh Mathews talked to Kane. Kane had the urn in his hand. He didn't say a word. He merely looked at the urn and he walked away.
Coming up next is a preview of The Rock vs. John Cena at WrestleMania.
Our next Paul Bearer tribute video was from the In Your House: Badd Blood event from October 1997 when Kane debuted. That was classic. Plus that Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels match was the first Hell in a Cell matchup that is one of my favorite matches ever.
They aired a video that previewed regarding The Rock's WWE Title match against John Cena at WrestleMania 29. Why? Because Rock isn't there. The video actually showed a headline that mentioned Cena's divorce as they aired a clip of talking about how tough things were professionally and personally. Then it skipped a lot of stuff to focus on Cena's Royal Rumble win. It also featured Rock's WWE Title win at the Royal Rumble. The video ended with Rock saying he was going to beat Cena again.
Analysis: As usual it was a very good video package although I'd guess if you didn't like Rock or Cena you probably hated it. I like both of them, so it's cool with me. I'm sure we'll be seeing many videos promoting this match over the next four weeks.
Randy Orton made his entrance for his tag match.
There was a video recap of Brock Lesnar's return as we reach the top of hour three.
Randy Orton & Sheamus vs. Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow)
I'm fine with Team Rhodes Scholars teaming up again. The Bellas were not with them at ringside. Orton hit a suplex on Sandow. Sheamus tagged in to deliver a rolling senton on Rhodes. Sheamus went into the ropes, so Sandow pulled the rope down and Sheamus was out on the floor. Sandow delivered a clothesline outside the ring. They took turns working on Sheamus with Rhodes hitting a knee to the face of Sheamus. Sheamus blocked a hiptoss attempt with a hard clothesline on Rhodes. Orton tagged win with clotheslines on Rhodes followed by a powerslam. Overhead suplex by Orton got a two count. Orton went outside the ring to go after the heels, but that was a bad move because Rhodes shoved Orton into the post. Back in the ring, Sandow was able to hit the Elbow of Disdain for a two count. Rhodes gave Orton a front suplex for two. Rhodes went to the top rope, so Orton tripped him up. Orton hit a superplex to a nice ovation. Orton brought in Sheamus for the hot tag as Sandow was brought in as well. Sheamus hit the running knee lift followed by the ten clubbing blows to the chest of Sandow. Sheamus hit White Noise. Rhodes went into the ring, so Orton dropped him with a RKO and then Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick on Sandow for the win after eight minutes.
Winners: Randy Orton & Sheamus
Analysis: ** It was a basic tag match with a predictable finish. There's nothing wrong with that. All four guys know what they're doing and it was a good television match.
Coming up next is Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel with The Miz and Wade Barrett. Later it's CM Punk vs. Kane.
Back from break, they showed a clip during the commercial when The Shield showed up to attack Randy Orton and Sheamus. Rollins knocked out Orton with a running knee attack while Sheamus was left lying on the ramp.
Analysis: It's obviously leading to a three on three match between The Shield going up against Big Show, Randy Orton and Sheamus at WrestleMania 29. Hopefully that's the night when Randy Orton turns heel because he needs something to freshen up his character.
At the announce desk, Lawler said Paul Bearer was a great friend. They showed some Tout videos from the WWE Universe.
The Highlight Reel with Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho made his entrance after missing the last two weeks due to a Fozzy tour in Australia. He was in his ring gear. The storyline reason was that he was attacked by The Shield. Jericho asked for a clip of The Marine 3 starring The Miz. Jericho made fun of the lack of a set that he had and that the Jeritron was removed. It was there at the start of the promo. Then it was gone. The only thing he had in the ring was a black carpet. Jericho said Miz had a hit movie that exceeded studio projections. Then Wade Barrett came out to air a clip of his movie Dead Man Down. He bragged about it being fifth in the box office. It didn't look that exciting. Miz made fun of Barrett's voice and said he has been saying the same garbage for three weeks. I agree that this has been garbage. Barrett said he had to turn down movie offers because he's too busy being the IC Champion. Miz did his "really" routine and pointed out that Barrett hasn't won a match in weeks. Miz said it was only a matter of time until he loses the IC Title. Jericho stepped in to say "really" as well. Barrett told him to shut up. Jericho said he helped Barrett win the first NXT, but that he was a nine time IC Champion. More than anybody else in WWE history. He said maybe he'll make it ten times.
Brad Maddox entered the arena. He introduced himself as a high ranking executive of Raw. He called him and Vickie Guerrero's supervising team "Brickie." Cole butted in to say this may be one of the worst segments in the history of Raw. He's right! Maddox had trouble getting to the point, so he said that next week Barrett will face the winner of the Miz vs. Jericho match that is up next. Maddox also talked about removing the Jeritron even though it was already gone. Is he memorizing lines and not reacting to what was going on? What a mess.
Analysis: Cole was right in calling that one of the worst segments in Raw history. Wow that was bad. The only good part was Jericho getting in Barrett's face to brag about his past as the nine-time IC Champ. Other than that it was a brutal promo that the crowd was dead for. I get that Maddox's gimmick is that of an incompetent fool, but that segment didn't really help anybody.
Chris Jericho vs. The Miz
Wade Barrett was at the announce table. It started during the WWE App. Miz was in control of the action with clotheslines, but Jericho came back with a double axehandle. He said "come on" twice to wake up the crowd. The segment before this really hurt the crowd. Miz hit a boot to the face for a two count. Jericho went for the Lionsault, but Miz got the boots up. Miz tried making his angry faces that don't look intimidating at all. He countered the Walls of Jericho attempt and then gave Jericho a dropkick to the knee. Miz countered the Walls of Jericho in to a cradle for two. Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho in the middle of the ring. Miz was able to grab the bottom rope. They went outside the ring where Jericho threw Miz right into Barrett. That's not a new spot, but it always seems to work. Barrett went after Jericho. Then he went after Miz. The ref called for the bell and the disqualification ending. It went about five minutes.
No winner due to interference
After the match, Miz and Jericho worked together against Barrett. Miz hit Barrett with the Skull Crushing Finale while Jericho hit the Codebreaker on Barrett.
Analysis: *1/2 The crowd really didn't buy into this angle very much. It was a basic match that was too short and really only woke up the crowd when Jericho had Miz in the Walls of Jericho. This looks like a potential matchup at WrestleMania whether it's one on one or they turn it into a three way.
There was a video featuring Ricardo Rodriguez (as Zeb Colter) along with Alberto Del Rio (as Jack Swagger). It was a parody of the Colter/Swagger videos. The same video aired on Smackdown. It was about Mexican Food. It was a parody video. It wasn't that funny.
Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter were on their way to the ring.
The next Paul Bearer tribute video was from WrestleMania in 1995 when Bearer dressed up as a woman. Then Undertaker's gong sounded and Mr. Fuji was the one that ended up in the dress. That wasn't good comedy either.
Prior to the next match, Zeb Colter said that they had big problems in America. He pointed at Sin Cara in the ring. He talked about how Sin Cara doesn't speak the language and the people watching were programmed to like him because of his entrance as well as the way he bounces around the ring. Zeb said the people thought the same as him because they knew that Sin Cara was a thief. Then he blamed the people for allowing somebody to steal their jobs. He said that Del Rio has made them aware of how many things need to change in the country. Swagger said on April 7 he will bring the World Championship back where it belongs in Jack Swagger's America.
Cole announced that next week on Raw it's Barrett vs. Miz vs. Jericho for the IC Title. A DQ finish leading to a rematch at WM29? Seems likely to me. Then again Ziggler needs something to do at WM, so maybe Jericho will be his opponent. I wish the midcard was booked better.
Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter) vs. Sin Cara
No Sin Cara lights for this match. Sin Cara hit a cross body block off the top to the floor to take down Swagger. He went for a hurricanrana, but Swagger powered out of it. Sin Cara connected on a hard kick to the head. A springboard cross body block didn't work because Swagger put his boot up. It connected into the ribs of Sin Cara. Swagger applied the Patriot Lock for the victory after two minutes.
Winner: Jack Swagger
Post match, Del Rio ran out to save Swagger. Del Rio applied the Cross Armbreaker, but then Colter was able to pull Swagger out of the ring before he could do a lot of damage.
Analysis: Just another squash match on an episode of Raw that was full of them. The post match attack by Del Rio was okay. The crowd woke up a bit for it.
Another video of The Call with Halle Berry talking about why she took the movie. As she was talking about the movie, David Otunga called her. Then there was a split screen with him talking to her. Of course he was drinking coffee. Otunga said he gave Berry somebody else's number. It was Kane who called her and said he wrote her fan mail letters saying that he lived in the depths of hell. Then Berry did the Kane pyro motion.
Analysis: I'm guessing this was a moment where she wishes she was ten years younger and doing movies not produced by WWE Films. That was not great comedy.
Up next is the main event No Disqualification match as CM Punk takes on Kane.
This Friday on Smackdown it's Mark Henry vs. Ryback. I doubt they're going to have a clean finish there. It will likely be booked in a way that sets up a rematch at WrestleMania 29.
CM Punk made his entrance alone. I guess when Brock Lesnar returns to WWE that means that Paul Heyman is hanging out with him. When Kane made his entrance he carried out an urn that was a symbol of his storyline father Paul Bearer.
No Disqualification Match: CM Punk vs. Kane
The match began with a Punk dive outside the ring onto Kane on the floor. Kane came back by throwing Punk into the security wall. Then Kane tossed Punk into the ring post. Kane threw Punk over the security wall by the ring announcer Justin Roberts. Kane cleared off the announce able, which allowed Punk to come back by hitting Kane in the ribs with the ring bell. Punk hit a double axehandle on Kane. Punk stared at the urn. Kane came back by hitting Punk in the ribs with a monitor. Back in the ring, Punk fought Kane off the top rope and he connected with a Flying Elbow drop for two. Punk hit his high running knee in the corner two times. Kane came back by throwing Punk over the top rope. Cole said they were going to overtime on Raw. It was 11:05pmET as they went to this last break. Usually this is when the show ends.
Analysis: How is this show running long? Not a lot has happened, yet it keeps going and going. This is the show that will never end.
Back from break, Punk hit a clothesline off the middle rope. Punk wedged a chair in between the top/middle ropes, so Kane whipped Punk into the chair. Kane hit a couple of clotheslines followed by the sidewalk slam and then a clothesline that sent Punk over the top to the floor. Kane threw three steel chairs into the ring. Back in the ring, Kane wanted to Chokeslam Punk onto the chair, so Punk did a great counter with DDT onto the chair. That was awesome. Kane got his shoulder up at two. Punk hit Kane in the back with chair shots. Punk did the "throat slash" motion. Kick to the head by Punk. Punk wanted the Go To Sleep. The "gong" of The Undertaker sounded in the arena. Punk was freaked out. Kane gave Punk a Chokeslam and he covered for the victory at the 12 minute mark.
Analysis: **1/2 I'm a bit surprised that Punk would lose a match on the road to WrestleMania, but it made sense for Kane to win considering he was fighting for the honor of his storyline father that passed away last week. The fans really got into the match. There were some good nearfalls along the way too. I thought Punk's Chokeslam counter into the DDT was an awesome spot. The distraction of the gong led to the victory for Kane, which was okay with me. It was good storyline continuity in that sense.
Post match, Undertaker's music started up. Undertaker kneeled down towards the ring. In the ring, Kane was saluting his brother. As that was happening, Punk attacked Kane with the urn. Undertaker slowly made his way into the ring, so Punk left the ring with the urn in his hand. From inside the ring, The Undertaker looked at Punk. Then Punk got his knee and mocked The Undertaker by doing his pose. Undertaker did his "throat slash" pose. The show ended in a staredown.
Analysis: I liked the tribute with Undertaker and Kane honoring Bearer like that. If the show ended that way it would have been fine, but I'm not surprised that they would use the opportunity to get more heat on Punk heading into the WM29 match with Undertaker. It's the smart thing to do to sell the match. Fans are going to want to pay money to see Punk get his ass kicked by Undertaker. To this point we haven't seen Undertaker get his hands on him, so they're doing a good job of building up to that moment.
Do I think Paul Bearer would have been mad with how Punk stole the urn at the end? No. I don't think so. He knew what wrestling was all about and that it was just a way to have a heel get heat to sell an upcoming match.
It goes without saying by this point, but I think Punk is performing so well as a heel. He's great at pissing the fans off. He's doing all of the little things right. It's a lot of fun to watch such an entertaining heel on a weekly basis.
Three Stars of the Show
1. CM Punk
2. Dolph Ziggler
3. (tie) Daniel Bryan
3. (tie) Kane
4 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, 7.5, 4.5, 5, 6.5
I'm not sure if the 4 out of 10 is harsh or not. You decide. To me, this was a 3 hours and 15 minutes show that had about 40 minutes of worthwhile action while the rest of it was filled with short matches that were often times boring. There were also way too many movie trailers too. I admit I was tired as I wrote this and if I wasn't writing would have fallen sleep about halfway into it.
I thought the best parts of the show were the intro with CM Punk talking trash against Undertaker, the Ziggler/Bryan match, the Punk/Kane match and also Paul Heyman's speech. Nearly everything else felt like filler or a poorly booked segment in some cases.
If you watch Raw for great wrestling matches they're going to be hard to find on the road to WrestleMania. Why? Because this show was full of short matches featuring the guys that are booked in high profile WM matches beating others that are not yet booked in WM matches. It's a very formulaic way to book a show. It's also pretty boring because there weren't that many things that happened that were that exciting or surprising.
Welcome back to the Bella Twins, I guess. I always forget their names (I had to look it up earlier), but at least now I can call one of them Boobs Bella since she's sporting some new chesticles and What's Her Face Bella. I'm classy.
In addition to no Rock on the show due to promoting GI Joe in Korea, there was no Cena either. I found that to be odd. He was there (appeared in the dark match), but the decision was made to keep him off while focusing on other stories.
Finally we'll bring it home with the video package on Paul Bearer that WWE put on their Youtube channel last week.
Rest in peace.
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 of writers. I wrote about Scott Hall trying to recover from years from alcohol abuse that you can read right here.
Also please visit TJRSports.com because we're trying a new format with more breaking news kinds of articles so be sure to stop by on a daily basis. In honor of that, listen to this Jim Ross announcing call of a huge NBA dunk by DeAndre Jordan on Sunday.
What a fantastic editing job there! Haha. Love it.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org