WWE Monday Night Raw Recap: Cena Grants Punk a Chance to Headline WrestleMania

Daniel Peragine@DPMajesticCoSenior Analyst IIFebruary 19, 2013

John Cena and CM Punk. (Photo credit: WWE.com)
John Cena and CM Punk. (Photo credit: WWE.com)

In the aftermath of the Elimination Chamber event, the Feb. 18 edition of WWE Monday Night Raw began with a video package hyping its upcoming WrestleMania pay-per-view.

John Cena, who is the No. 1 contender for the WWE Championship, comes out to a strong mixed reaction from the crowd. After expressing his excitement for WrestleMania, CM Punk interrupts by heading toward the ring with manager Paul Heyman. Punk admits The Rock defeated him at Elimination Chamber and begins to criticize Cena's win-loss record. 

The former WWE champion continues to point out Cena's failures and claims he cannot win the big matches of his career. Punk demands Cena walk away from the WWE. In a stunning turn of events, Cena proposes to have a match with Punk on Monday Night Raw.

Cena sets the ground rules and announces that whoever wins will go on to face The Rock at WrestleMania. After consulting with Heyman, Punk accepts the match but said the battle will happen next week on Raw. Despite being upset with the counteroffer, Cena accepts Punk's proposal.

Backstage, Sheamus, Ryback and Chris Jericho discuss The Shield's takeover of the WWE. Jericho tells Sheamus and Ryback that he will talk with Vickie Guerrero about making a cage match against The Shield on Raw.

Match No. 1: Sin Cara vs. Mark Henry

Your winner via pinfall: Mark Henry. Cara had absolutely no chance of defeating Henry, who dominated the whole match. As Henry was about to bodyslam Cara, The Great Khali walked toward the ring to make the save. Henry stepped outside the ring and taunted Khali.

Match Rating: 2.5/5

Match No. 2: The Miz vs. Antonio Cesaro

Your winner via submission: The Miz. After applying the figure-four leglock, Cesaro quickly tapped out. Unfortunately, this match never reached its full potential due to its short length.

Match Rating: 3/5

Match No. 3: Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio

Your winner via submission: Alberto Del Rio. Quickly after Del Rio's victory, Big E Langston knocked out the WWE Champion in the ring. As Del Rio was lying down on the ring mat, Ziggler attempted to cash in his Money in the Bank contract. However, Ricardo Rodriguez stole the briefcase, allowing Del Rio to recover. This was a pretty good match with some impressive maneuvers in the ring.

Match Rating: 3.5/5

Match No. 4: Tensai, Brodus Clay and Naomi vs. Primo, Epico and Rosa

Your winners via pinfall: Tensai, Brodus Clay and Naomi. This was a squash match that saw a quick victory for Tensai, Clay and Naomi. 

Match Rating: 2/5

WWE aired a video package announcing the location of next year's WrestleMania, which will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

In the ring, Jack Swagger introduces his friend and ringside manager Zeb Colter. Colter discusses his thoughts on President's Day and Swagger's contribution as a true American. He accuses Del Rio of entering the country for his own benefit and believes Swagger will put pride back into America by capturing the WWE World Heavyweight title.

Match No. 5: Jack Swagger vs. Daniel Bryan

Your winner via submission: Jack Swagger. Swagger might be enjoying his strongest push in his WWE career after this solid match. Swagger and Bryan took the match both inside and outside the ring and there was plenty of action to watch.

Match Rating: 3.5/5

After a video package hyping WrestleMania, Guerrero and Heyman are standing in the ring. Guerrero announces that Brad Maddox will be her new assistant. As Maddox steps into the ring, Vince McMahon is shown on the entrance-way screen. McMahon shows exclusive video of Heyman saying to the Chairman of the WWE that he would do anything to earn the match speculations for Punk against The Rock.

McMahon announces that next week on Raw, he will battle with Heyman in the ring.

Match No. 6: Chris Jericho, Sheamus and Ryback vs. The Shield

Your winner via pinfall: The Shield. This was a terrific six-man tag team match with lots of great and intense action all around the ring. Another impressive victory by The Shield, who has developed into the most powerful faction in the WWE.

Match Rating:4.5/5

Damien Sandow came out to the ring for his match against Kofi Kingston. However, before the referee could officially ring the bell, Sandow attacked Kingston. R-Truth made his WWE return by rushing towards the ring for the save.

Match No. 7: Randy Orton vs. Kane

Your winner via pinfall: Randy Orton. Bryan came out to ringside late in the match, which allowed Orton to hit the RKO on a distracted Kane. It should be rather interesting to see where the WWE will head with Kane and Bryan.

Match Rating: 3/5

WWE Champion The Rock came out to the ring for his victory celebration. The Rock addressed Punk first, noting that he defeated him on two straight pay-per-views. He began to talk about the WWE Championship title and its history. The Rock handed over the belt to the WWE Hall of Fame and revealed a new championship belt. 

As The Rock was speaking, Cena interrupted him by appearing in the entrance way. Suddenly, Punk hit Cena with a belt and pointed at The Rock. The Rock and Punk stared at each other as Monday Night Raw ended.