-So John Cena avoided a brush with death today, being rear-ended by a tractor trailer in Philly. I have to say, in spite of my tight-lipped, stoic sarcasm that defines my writing, I am disturbed by the number of fans that are laughing it up. It’s one thing to joke about it in hindsight, since nobody was hurt, but to say that you wish Cena had been injured or worse is a little pathetic.
Ten months ago, the world lost Randy Savage in a car wreck (though his heart failure was the main culprit), so this isn’t exactly something you joke about on too deep a level. Are people really sick of John Cena The Character (it’s impossible to hate Cena the person) that they were hoping he’d wind up crippled or dead? Sometimes, when WWE puts on a lousy show, I truly wonder if the fans that complain are even deserving of a quality product. Maybe some of us reap what we sow.
–Cheap Plug: My first eighteen WrestleMania Portraits are up for your edification, with the remaining nine coming this week. I finished WrestleMania XXVII earlier tonight and, uh, I needed my second shower of the day afterward. Michael Cole got fourteen minutes? Michael F—KING Cole got fourteen minutes?!?!? http://bluebarcage.blogspot.com/2012/03/wrestlemania-portraits-updated-i-x8.html and while you’re at it, follow Blue Bar Cage on Facebook. Got a doozy coming up this week about CM Punk and WWE’s changing tides. http://www.facebook.com/BlueBarCage
-WWE RAW is live from Philadelphia, home of future WWE Tag Team Champions, The Midnight Green Express of “Jazzy” Jason Kelce and “Elegant” Evan Mathis, as managed by Howard E. Mudd.
[adinserter block=”2″]Opening Segment: CM Punk
Really, Philly, you can’t give him a bigger ovation than that? Apparently, Jericho isn’t here tonight. 400 fat fans in lucha masks are waddling for the exits. Punk is upset about Jericho’s revelation of Punk’s father being an alcoholic, because of the implication that it somehow lessens Punk or his status as a person. Punk promises to use his anger against Jericho at WrestleMania. Apparently, his father has overcome his demons, so there’s hope for Jake Roberts yet. Punk is straight edge because ‘it’s real and who he is.’ Foreign words to the WWE writing staff. Punk hits the “BEST IN THE WORLD” card to stick it to Jericho, and end sce—oh, but Jericho is via satellite. Jericho, as “Chris” apologizes for what he said last week, and he promises to never say another word about Punk’s father again. Then he segues into Punk’s sister. Oh, here we go. So Punk’s sister is a raging drug addict, and that indicates a pattern of deviant behavior for the Brooks family. Major skunkeye from Punk on that one. Punk unleashes a muted stream of obscenities, though apparently the ‘fecal’ word was used.
Segment Rating: 8/10. I don’t care if the angle makes others uncomfortable; it’s Jericho at his smarmy finest. Plus, it makes the babyface into a vulnerable, sympathetic character for a change. I just wonder if Punk will bring up Jericho’s DUI arrest in 2006.
Match 1: Kane vs. Big Show
This is like Sting-Luger, with far less agility and about as much intrigue. Cody Rhodes is here to join on commentary. He needs to say “HE GAWT A BY-THICKLE” like his father. Embarrassing Show highlight package follows. Show should just hold up his contract, point to the downside guarantee, and shrug. Aww, Cody stays at ringside instead of talking. But he does have boxing gloves on to mock Show. Spear by Show on Kane. Show goes to the middle rope, and a distraction from Cody allows Kane to chokeslam him off for the win. Really? Disaster Kick follows, and Cody cuffs Show to the ropes. That’s followed with a boxing barrage. I’ll bet Cody would fight Pacquiao without being a coward. But *sigh*, so much for the IC Title Reign from Heaven come Mania.
WINNER: Kane via second rope chokeslam
RATING: 2/10. Cody Rhodes carried a match without even being in it.
-Allegedly, Shane Douglas was just throwing t-shirts around at Raw and got thrown out. I just hope he doesn’t have to work a double at Target the day of Extreme Reunion.
Match 2: David Otunga vs. Santino Marella (non title)
The graphics for Long and Laurinaitis’ groups at WrestleMania don’t even feature the wrestlers. HUGE chants for Santino, who has drawn abs on his stomach to mock Otunga. Posedown ensues, which really needs Mean Gene to moderate. Otunga attacks, but Marella comes back with his typical offense. Cobra comes out, but Santino stops to stomp Laurinaitis’ phone, and Otunga wins with the Verdict. Laurinaitis does the Santino Trombone to my amusement. Long slaps Laurinaitis for mocking him.
WINNER: David Otunga via The Verdict
Rating: 2/10. One of those nights, it seems. At least they’re not giving away too much for free.
-The Rock is NEXT. Remember when all they needed to do was cut to him backstage and the crowd would explode? Yeah, I remember high school too.
-Promo video for “Lord Tensai”, who appears to be the reincarnation of Hakushi. I know Hakushi isn’t dead, but you get my point.
-Rock cuts a promo by the Rocky Statue, and someone either dimmed the crowd mic or the fans were hushed. Weird. Philly’s a tough town, Rocky admired Balboa, bla bla bla. Rock has to use WrestleMania history to get pops from the crowd. This is kinda sad, actually. This entire Rock promo summarized: “I know a lot of famous wrestlers, and here are their catchphrases! BUY THE F—ING PPV!”
Match 3: Daniel Bryan vs. Zack Ryder (non title)
AJ is the eye bleach of my dreams, but I need brain bleach after that promo. Five weeks after Zack Ryder had his spine severed into 7000 pieces, he’s cleared to wrestle. *Heenan Voice* IT’S A MIRACLE! Ryder’s hosting of a pre-Raw pep rally, plus the deafening ovation that he got, are only proof that WWE are asshats. Bryan works Ryder over early with kicks and stomps. You know, a good storyline would be to have AJ run off with Ryder, since he treats women right. Of course, WWE won’t do it. Broski Boot connects, and it was a sick one too. Rough Ryder countered into the Lebell Lock for the squash. Naturally.
WINNER: Daniel Bryan via Lebell Lock
Rating: 4/10. Fun while it lasted. Bryan plays such a convincing douchebag, that you can’t help but be happy for his success.
-Finally, mention of John Cena’s car accident. Surprised they didn’t say a white hummer was involved.
-Flo Rida will play The Rock to the ring at WrestleMania. Damn, I was hoping it’d be Florida Evans from Good Times.
Match 4: John Cena vs. Mark Henry
Guy with whiplash vs. guy with torn groin. I feel like I’m watching every WCW main event from 1998-2000. Henry overpowers Cena early. Gotta give Cena credit for even DOING this match. I was rear-ended by a pick-up three years ago and my shoulder was numb for a couple days. Freaky stuff. Henry continues the dominance outside as we hit commercial. We return to Cena escaping Henry’s clutches, but gets powered down again. Wow, they’re finally building him back up after squandering his momentum for 2 months. Cena manages a back suplex, which is nuts. World’s Strongest Slam fails, and Cena gets the AA to a HUGE pop. In PHILLY. Incredible. And heeeeeeeeere’s Dwayne. Rock storms the ring and gives his former Nation mate Henry the Rock Bottom. Then he leaves. Alright then.
WINNER: John Cena via Attitude Adjustment
Rating: 6/10. Acceptable story, but I hope Cena’s gonna be alright, and not have any delayed symptoms. He was lifting a 400 lb man out there.
-Beth Phoenix and Maria Menounos have their feud highlighted. Yeah, “feud”.
In Ring Segment: The Miz
Miz complains about his lot in life, not even having a match this year after headlining last year. Miz references King Kong Bundy going from headlining to fighting “little people”. He can’t say midget? Damn political correctness. This brings out Sheamus. Who wants squash?
Match 5: Sheamus vs. The Miz
Running Irish hammers early, but Miz counters with some kicks. Steamroller splat gets 2 for Sheamus. Miz gets the backbreaker/neckbreaker combo for 2. Quite the accelerated pace here. Sheamus goes berserk in the corner, ultimately landing a powerslam for 2. Brogue Kick misses once, but not the second time. As expected.
WINNER: Sheamus via Brogue Kick
Rating: 5/10. Nothing technically wrong with it, but a bit quick for my liking. Wonder if Miz will even get a match or not?
-Punk/Jericho recap. Can’t wait t see who complains about the invocation of Punk’s sister.
-Woah, they brought back stage interviews, just like the 80s/90s! PLEASE KEEP THIS! Josh Mathews interviews Randy Orton, who pontificates on how Kane plans on beating him. Orton doesn’t need to be what Kane claims to be to win. Orton then strikes his pose and, amazingly, Kane doesn’t attack. Meh, simple enough.
-Anti-Bully Propaganda. I drink my Pepsi.
-Hey, it’s Vickie. She ruined Pepsi time. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger are officially on Laurinaitis’ team, joining Otunga, Henry, and Christian. Call em “I Jack Dolph Strong at the Peep Show to Jennifer Hudson”
[adinserter block=”1″]Match 6: Truly High (Truth/Kofi) vs. Jack Dolph (Swags/Zigs)
Kofi goes all controlled frenzy on the Hollywood Florida Blondes, but gets double teamed and Swagger Bombed for 2. VINTAGE HEEL CHEATING ensues. Kofi manages a backslide and Ziggler follows with a beautiful dropkick. Stephanie McMahon is trending, because people are applesauce-brained tools. Swagger does pushups with his hand on Kofi’s ass, and that reminds me of….wait, no….be…a…star, Justin. Kofi lands a DDT on Swags, and Truth gets the hot tag. Lie Detector on Ziggler, and the Hat Rack Crack follows for 2, broken up by Swagger. Truth misses the axe kick, and Ziggler gets the Dolph-Asser. Vickie shoves Truth’s foot off the ropes, and Aksana shoves her down. GIVE HER AN ELBOW DROP! Or, don’t. Cat fight ensues in Philly, sans Joey Styles to bless it with his shrieks.
WINNERS: Jack Dolph via Dolph Asser
Rating: 5/10. Solid.
-Triple H competed at MSG last night in a six man, doing Undertaker’s trademarks. It’s nice of Hunter and Orton to get along as partners, putting the wifebeating and criminal trespass behind them.
Main Event Interview: Undertaker, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michaels is happy to be able to control the fates of other wrestlers. Wow, it’s just like the New Generation era. Shawn and Hunter have been friends for 17 years (except 1996-1997, 2002-06). Talk of Undertaker brings out Baron Mark himself. He’s walking to the ring, so this gives me time to write out my Verizon bill. Taker thinks Shawn has enough talking, so it’s time for him to shut up and listen. They may have had this conversation years ago for all I know. Taker wants the match to remain “pure”, without chicanery. The implication brings out Triple H, who traded the suit for the casual look. Finally. Fun fact: the “Vocare Ad Regnum” on Hunter’s screen means “called to rule.” He left out the “marry into the ruling family” part. Hunter thinks Taker needs to worry more about him, and not Shawn, no matter how much Shawn wants the match to be about him. There’s been 24 Hell in a Cell matches, says Hunter, who claims the match started as Taker’s trademark, and then became his. Hunter lives for WrestleMania, yada yada yada, Undertaker’s era ends April 1. Taker cuts off The Game when he claims to know what it takes to end the streak. Hunter says he does. Staredown ensues. Taker slowly walks away, stops at the ropes, and then retorts with the statement about Shawn being better than Hunter….and then affirms it. Shawn smiles as Taker exits, and Hunter glares at him for his grin. Shawn’s smile slowly vanishes. Hunter turns away, and Shawn resumes smiling. Oh, subtlety.
Segment Rating: 6/10. Good, but nothing like previous segments. Just reiterated the same points, really.
OVERALL: An odd show filled with squashes, but at least the card is fully taking shape. It’s good that they’re not giving away too much before Wrestlemania, but on the other hand, with Rock, Taker, Hunter, and Shawn all in the building, I guess everyone could have expected more.
Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for WrestlingNewsSource.com and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.