WWE Raw Results and Report Card 1/28/13: Grading Brock Lesnar and The Rock
Everything went exactly as expected at the Royal Rumble. In a promotion like the WWE, known for its outrageous swerves, that in itself was incredibly unexpected. Who could have predicted doing the sensible thing and building toward a big-money rematch between John Cena and The Rock at Wrestlemania 29?
WWE? Doing what makes sense? WWE? Yet, that's exactly what seems to have happened.
Brock Lesnar is back!
And Chris Jericho!
And Trish Stratus was announced as the latest inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame!
Why do I feel like I am yelling? You don't usually see that many exclamation points anywhere but a 12-year-old girl's text messages. I think my pulse was actually elevated by that last segment. Wow!
Of course, not every segment was stellar. Some, in fact, were either awful or so far beyond awful that they spun all the way around the dial right back to being good. I graded the segments individually from A-F. Disagree? Let me know in the comments.
CM Punk Interview
After Vickie Guerrero introduces a lame roulette gimmick, we cut to CM Punk coming to the ring. And he is not walking. He's moving at a good pace, and he is angry!
Punk is calling what happened last night at the Rumble the "Phoenix screwjob." In his mind, McMahon restarting his match with The Rock was worse than what happened to Bret Hart all those years ago in Montreal.
Vince struts out, and he's not having it. He's got proof that Punk was involved in The Shield coming out to attack The Rock, and he'll show it to the world later. As for Paul Heyman? He's got a performance review that could end in his termination!
Key Quote: "I did not lose. I beat The Rock and retained my championship...I'm the champion! I'm the people's champion. Me. Nobody else. I. Did. Not. Lose."—CM Punk, unhinged at the idea of losing the title.
"You're all cheaters. Cheap no good thieves. Swindlers. Just like Vince McMahon. Just like the Rock."—Punk.
"I got screwed! I got screwed!"—Punk.
Grade: B+. Hot segment. Punk plays furious well. Was he involved in Heyman's evil doing? This could get interesting.
Antonio Cesaro vs. Randy Orton (Miz Special Guest Ref)
Match joined in progress. Miz, who isn't all that great as a wrestler, is even worse as the special referee. He doesn't always remember to count at the right times and is generally inept. Because, of course he is.
Orton looks at times like he's sleep walking, but Cesaro pushes the pace and it really picks up. At one point Cesaro and Orton trade European uppercuts like they were Kenta Kobashi-Samoa Joe in Ring of Honor. Fun match developing just as they cut to commercial. Stupid bills being paid! I was enjoying that match.
Orton takes all Cesaro has and then comes back strong with some big clotheslines. But Cesaro rallies with a flying uppercut off the top. Finally the gimmick comes to bear with Miz and Cesaro getting into an argument and Orton sneaking up on Cesaro with the RKO and the pinfall.
After the match Miz attacks a stunned Cesaro. Hey, that's not very sporting of him!
Key Quote: "I would like a people transplant in this commentary booth tonight."—JBL, echoing Antonio Cesaro.
Grade: B+. This was a really good match. I thought the guest ref gimmick was going to ruin things here, but it didn't really play a part until the end. Super stuff for free television.
Ryback vs. Prime Time Players ('Make Me Laugh')/Wade Barrett vs. Bo Dallas
Ryback and the Prime Time Players were supposed to make the crowd laugh, but Ryback wasn't really into it. Instead, he just beat the heck out of everyone, including announcer Matt Stryker. Not even the announcers could feign amusement at this.
Wade Barrett got to choose his own opponent, thanks to a fortunate spin of the wheel. He chose Bo Dallas, a third-generation wrestler who wowed the world by eliminating Barrett from the Royal Rumble match the previous night.
This has a real Razor Ramon vs. 1-2-3 Kid vibe, and the two guys both work really hard. Dallas reverses the Bull Hammer to win in what was supposed to be "shocking" fashion. I guess, if you've never watched wrestling.
Key Quote: "Y'all wouldn't know entertainment if it slapped you in the face."—Titus O'Neill. Hopefully, he he didn't consider this entertaining.
Grade: Skit C-. Not funny. Not fun. Not anything really. Match B Predictable, but that doesn't mean bad by any stretch of the imagination.
Cody Rhodes vs. John Cena
Rhodes shakes his head when the wheel landed on Cena's picture. I feel for you buddy. You're about to get squashed.
After a short match and a loooong interview, Cena eventually gets to the point. He is challenging the WWE champion, either The Rock or CM Punk. News flash—it's The Rock. Did you not watch the Royal Rumble?
The Shield, slowly, makes their way to the ring, and Cena stands his ground, only to get crushed. Sheamus and Ryback come out for the save, but they take a beating, too. Man, if the Freebirds were around these guys could totally challenge them for the six-man tag titles.
Key Quotes: "John Cena, fisherman suplex."—Michael Cole. It was not, in fact, a fisherman's suplex.
"This is a waste of Cody Rhodes. I'm leaving."—Cody Rhodes. He was not allowed to leave.
"By the sound of it, some of you didn't pick me to win the Royal Rumble."—John Cena, acknowledging the boos.
"I, John Cena, challenge...at Wrestlemania 29...I challenge the WWE champion. This goes as a message to The Rock and CM Punk. You are both marked men truly."—John Cena.
Grade: Match C. A squash match that allowed Rhodes almost nothing. The WWE needs to use more local guys. Why waste Rhodes for something like this? Angle A- Cena/Sheamus/Ryback vs. The Shield is going to be a sweet match at the next PPV.
Brodus Clay and Tensai Dance Off
Vickie Guerrero spun the wheel, and it ended up on "Lingerie Pillow Fight." The crowd cheered—until it saw the participants were Tensai and Brodus Clay, a good 650 pounds of man meat combined. And that is not lean meat folks.
Afraid of being embarrassed in front of Mr. McMahon, she spins the wheel again, and it lands on "Dance Off." Still goofy, but slightly less nauseating. Or it would have been had anyone told Tensai the lingerie stipulations were off.
Poor Tensai. Poor eyeballs. He's a c-cup easy.
Key Quote: "Here comes dancing Free Willy."—JBL on Brodus Clay.
"This is Las Vegas. Don't worry. Because what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."—Jerry Lawler to Tensai.
"This is God awful. Somebody should blow up the roulette wheel."—Michael Cole.
Grade: B+. Forgive me, but that was funny.
Alberto Del Rio (The Big Show Body Slam Challenge)
It was supposed to be a body-slam challenge, but The Big Show came out swinging. After swatting Rodriguez like an annoying insect, he straight knocked Del Rio out with one punch.
Then, it was Del Rio's turn to face embarrassment, just like The Big Show did at the Royal Rumble. The Big Show duct-taped him to the ropes, and despite Rodriguez's heroism, the world champion was in dire straits. It seemed The Big Show would attack the champ, but instead, he had to watch helplessly while Rodriguez took a horrible beating.
Eventually, The Big Show turned his attention back to Del Rio, knocking him out a second time. Do these people not know about CTE? Make it stop!
Key Quotes: "Most compadres are loyal if you're paying them."— JBL on Rodriguez's relationship with Alberto Del Rio.
"This is deserved...watch this Alberto. Watch this. It doesn't feel so good now does it?" JBL on The Big Show's continued assault on Rodriguez.
Grade: B. This was an A angle to me, but it just went on and on and on and on and on. More is not always better. I think they could have cut five minutes off this, and it would have been much stronger. The edited version of this will be very strong.
Kaitlyn vs. Tamina (Las Vegas Showgirls Lumberjill Match)
Remember when the King used to scream "Puppies?" He would have screamed it a lot during this awful match.
Key Quote: "I like the view."—Jerry Lawler.
"I'd like to get thrown out."—JBL on the Lumberjill match
Grade: D-. The less said the better.
The Rock Interview (CM Punk Interferes)
Has anyone mentioned that The Rock is more jacked than ever? That his veins have grown veins? Have they mentioned he's 40?
Now, I'm not making accusations. I'm just pointing out things I notice on the old boob tube.
The Rock is here to thank the fans, but CM Punk has a different agenda. A delusional Punk wants The Rock to show respect for his own grandfather and father and give him his title back. After some back and forth, the two agree to meet once again at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.
Key Quotes: "There is no accolade on this earth that is more deeply ingrained in my blood than this championship."—The Rock on his new title belt.
"For 434 days, CM Punk has come out here and run his mouth...he came out here and said each and every one of you is nothing. I'm here to tell you those days, those crap days, are over."—The Rock
"He's not thinking about CM Punk. He's thinking about if he has a bra big enough to hold his Twinkie tits."—The Rock on Paul Heyman.
"You didn't win that. It was handed to you, just like everything else in your crappy spoon fed life."—CM Punk.
"If you had an ounce of manhood and nuts between your legs, you would walk down that ramp and come and take it....You've got two choices. You can either come down here and face me like a man or stand up there on that stage like a punk ass bitch."—The Rock.
"I'm gonna stand on the stage like a punk ass bitch because it's cool to swear." —Punk.
Grade: A-. I love this feud. Love it. The subtle shift in Punk's promos, from cocky to deranged, was fun to see. These two are tremendous foils, and I'll gladly watch them wrestle and go back and forth for months. In fact, can Cena just kind of sit Wrestlemania out? Thanks!
Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow (Tables Match)
Sandow has a much better showing than his partner Cody Rhodes did, taking advantage of the shoulder Sheamus injured against the Shield earlier. There were a few close calls, but in the end, the favorite prevails, slamming Sandow through the table.
ECW! ECW! ECW!
Key Quotes: "You're supposed to put Sandow through the table, not the table through Sandow." King on Sheamus.
Grade: C+. I like how all the guys have developed crowd participation spots, like Sheamus's "clubbering." It gives the crowd something to do, and the people love nothing better than being a part of the show. But this match was completely forgettable. I was going to write some more, but it has been pushed right out of my mind by this Subway jingle. "You've so got it made."
WWE Karaoke (w/Great Khali/Zach Ryder/Hornswaggle/3MB)
The Great Khali came out with Hornswaggle and Zach Ryder for WWE Raw karaoke. They gave him subtitles in order to sing HBK's theme, but he was doing his own thing. Pretty funny.
3MB comes out to interrupt and gets a beatdown for their troubles.
Key Quotes: "Shawn Michaels is rolling over in his grave. And he's not even dead."—JBL on Great Khali's rendition of HBK's theme song.
Grade: B. I am a sucker for this kind of goofball comedy. A billion stars for this segment, but I'd have preferred to hear Khali finish the darn song.
Chris Jericho Interview/Jericho+Ziggler vs. Team Hell No (Strange Bedfellows)
Chris Jericho called last night one of the best of his career. But before he said his piece, Dolph Ziggler and his posse came out and told Jericho to get lost. Instead, Vickie Guerrero spun the wheel, and what do you know, the two ended up tagging together.
Their opponents? The other estranged tag team, Team Hell No. But not even Bryan and Kane could out feud Ziggler and Jericho. In the end, Jericho angered up Kane's blood and Ziggler took the brunt of it with a match finishing chokeslam.
Key Quotes: "I was only gone for six months, but it felt like six years."—Chris Jericho.
"I'm so glad you had such a good time last night. Before I eliminated you."—Dolph Ziggler.
"Big E. Big E. Big E. He's only got an E for a name. What does the E stand for? Your bra size? Because those are some giant pecs. I could put a drink on those things."—Jericho on "Big E" Langston.
Grade: Angle B+, Match C+ The match, to be fair, was just there to further the angle. If this ends with another Ziggler-Jericho match, I will be a happy camper.
Vince McMahon+Paul Heyman Job Review
Holy Cow! Talk about a great segment.
Vince McMahon had video proof that Paul Heyman was behind Brad Maddox and The Shield interfering to help CM Punk out of several jams. Heyman was brilliant trying to talk his way out of it, but video doesn't lie. But just as the boss was about to fire Heyman, Brock Lesnar hit the ring and proceeded to hit McMahon with an F5.
To channel good ole J.R, as God is my witness, he was broken in half! What is going to happen next? I don't know, but business most definitely picked up.
Key Quotes: "I have lied every day of my stinking life. Because I am a promoter. And that's what promoters do."—Paul Heyman
"I want to be here. If it takes being an honorable man to be here, dammit, that's what I'll be." —Heyman
"That wasn't me."—Heyman. It was him.
"If I were you, I wouldn't do something I'd regret later on."—Vince McMahon to Brock Lesnar.
Grade: A. I suspected when Vince announced Punk had been escorted out of the building that we might see Lesnar. But I never expected him to drop an old bag of bones like the 68-year-old Vinny Mac with a wicked F5 like that. Where is this thing going? I don't know, but I'll be here next week to find out!