Hey guys! Drew Koscelek here, covering for Bill Wentz, who is currently rolling around in brake fluid and wrestling in a "Brake Line on a Pole" match.
We're getting closer and closer to WrestleMania 29, and there's lots to expect. CM Punk is officially facing The Undertaker. The Rock vs. Cena. Will Lesnar agree to face Triple H? Probably.
Tune in LIVE at 8:00 p.m. EST as I cover WWE Monday Night Raw!
Immediately to start the show, we get a fantastic video tribute to Paul Bearer. Nicely done, WWE. The crowd is on their feet. Standing ovation. The Undertaker's bell hits.
WWE has already acknowledged that Undertaker will be paying tribute tonight. I'm really looking forward to seeing this.
Taker walks slowly out to the ring. As he gets to the ring steps, he raises his arms, and in the middle of the ring is the Urn. Undertaker circles the urn, then drops to one knee and raises his arm as the picture of Bill Moody - Paul Bearer, appears on the Titantron. Taker looks up at the image just as CM Punk's music hits, interrupting this classic moment.
The tribute was perfect, and exactly what I was hoping for.
CM Punk stays on the ramp, mic in hand. He says we misunderstand his coming out there. He says he wanted to extend, personally, his heartfelt condolences and apologies for The Undertaker's loss...at WrestleMania. He says that to Paul Bearer, Undertaker will always be 20-0, but in four weeks, he'll be 20-1 to everyone else.
He says that the night after WrestleMania, they will have CM Punk videos, and in 50 years, our grandchildren will ask "Where were you when CM Punk beat the streak?"
The Undertaker does not reply.
Up next, The Big Show takes on Seth Rollins!
Awesome tribute, and quality promo from Punk. I'm okay with his promo because he did not disrespect Paul Bearer in any way. He definitely built towards their match at WrestleMania in a strong fashion.
Apparently during the break, Kane came out and attacked CM Punk, and attempted to chokeslam him off of the ramp. He escaped, barely. We come back to find Kane on a rampage backstage trying to find him.
The Big Show hits the ring, and as he comes out we get a quick recap of The Shield's beatdown of The Big Show after Raw last week.
Down comes The Shield. It will be interesting to see Seth Rollins' first singles match on WWE TV.
The Big Show vs. Seth Rollins
The bell rings and Show immediately goes on the offense. Rollins uses his speed to duck out of the way and he hits a few kicks, but Show tosses Rollins out of the ring onto Ambrose. Reigns attacks pretty quickly, and soon enough all hell breaks loose. The bell rings for the disqualification and Show fends off The Shield outside of the ring.
Ambrose waits for Show inside the ring, and starts kicking him down, but Show counters. Rollins leaps from the top rope and gets caught, but Reigns hits a spear out of nowhere. They beat Show down in the middle of the ring, and attempt to set him up for the triple powerbomb. They impressively pull it off, and Reigns hits the powerbomb on The Big Show.
All three stand in the middle of the ring over a lifeless Big Show.
Definitely an impressive moment. I would've liked to have seen more from Rollins, but better to protect him. Besides, if he went over The Big Show by himself, Show would look weak.
Backstage, CM Punk approached Brad Maddox and Vickie Guerrero and demanded to know who was running the show. He's pissed about Kane's attack. Vickie says he's disrespected the memory of Paul Bearer, and he better ask for mercy come WrestleMania, but tonight he better ask Kane because he's in a no DQ match! CM Punk flat out says, "No, I'm not!" He takes off frustrated.
Ringside, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler chime in as Daniel Bryan's music hits. Looks like he'll be facing Dolph Ziggler. We go to break.
Punk's mic work here was pretty brilliant.
Back from break, we get a video remembering Paul Bearer's appearance on the Brother Love show, back in 1991, when he came in to manage The Undertaker.
Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler
This could be a good one. Early on, Ziggler gets a wristlock on Bryan, who reverses it in a nice fashion. Quick leg takedown on Bryan leads to a surfboard. He rolls it back into a pin attempt. Back and forth action. KIcks to Ziggler in the corner. Bryan goes for a pin and gets two.
Bryan works over a wristlock again and Ziggler tries to squirm out. Ziggler tries to counter a sunset flip. Bryan sends him outside the ring. He runs the ropes to dive out but Big E Langston cuts him off at the pass as we go to break.
We return and Ziggler has a headlock locked in on Bryan. Ziggler's feet are in the air for leverage. Impressive. Bryan gets out and launches Ziggler into the turnbuckle. Bryan with a flip in the corner and a running clothesline. Ziggler boots him in the face. Sleeper attempt misses. Ziggler kicks out, and it looks like they might have had a chair plan that they missed. Anyhow, nice recovery, and Yes kicks to the face. Pin attempt and a kickout.
Ziggler goes top rope and Bryan takes the feet out from underneath. Bryan climbs up and we get a top rope German suplex that gets reversed into a cross-body by Ziggler. Nice move. Two-count on Bryan.
Ziggler hangs Bryan up on the rope and hits the Zig Zag. Bryan barely kicks out of the pin. Ziggler elbows Bryan in the shoulder, but Bryan goes for a No lock. Langston pulls Ziggler to the ropes while the ref was distracted, and the hold is broken. Bryan attempts once more, but Ziggler gets out and hits the Zig Zag for the win.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
A much-needed win for Ziggler, but both men looked strong during this awesome match.
Post match, AJ nods at Big E, and Langston picks Bryan up and hits The Big Ending on him.
We get a video package covering Triple H and Brock Lesnar.
Back from break, Brodus Clay and Sweet T (Tensai) dance in the ring. Lovely.
Sweet T vs. Fandango
Well, it never happens. He comes out to the ring and says that Tensai mispronounced his name, and on top of that, he's a disgrace to the world of dance. He says he will come down to the ring when they get his name right. He wants Naomi to say it. He tells her she's better than all this. Tensai grabs the mic from Naomi, but Fandango says he just cost himself a match.
Commercial time for another movie!
The New Age Outlaws are up against Team Rhodes Scholars, next!
Another clip of Paul Bearer's historic career, this one from Wrestlemania XX.
In the ring stand Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow. Sandow and Rhodes do a hilarious "intelligent" reenactment of the New Age Outlaws opening sequence. Hilarious.
The New Age Outlaws make it down to the ring and do their schtick. "Lord have mercy, this one's for you, Percy." Nice touch, James.
The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg Jesse James & Bad Ass Billy Gunn) vs. Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow)
Rhodes and Dogg start things off. Cody gets the early offense, but James jukes and jives his punches. Sandow makes a run in, giving Rhodes a chance to recover. Mid-match, Brock Lesnar's music hits, Paul Heyman at his side.
Rhodes and Sandow are gone. Billy Gunn and Jesse James are still in the ring. Gunn meets Lesnar at the apron, eats two knees, and gets hit with an F5. Road Dogg barely makes it to his feet, only to find the same fate.
Heyman takes the mic. He says that Triple H says the game is on, but Brock Lesnar doesn't play games. He hurts people. He runs down a list of victims: HBK, Vince McMahon, etc. Does Brock accept the match? Yes. But, only if Brock and Heyman get to name the stipulations, and he won't say what they are until after the contract is signed.
Interesting turn of events here. I like the path they are taking with this. I'm sure it will be some sort of cage match.
Back from break, Kofi Kingston is waiting in the ring. His opponent? Mark Henry. This should be quick.
Kofi Kingston vs. Mark Henry
Henry doesn't mess around and quickly hits power moves on Kofi. Kofi tries to get out of a bear hug, to little avail. The action spills outside, and Kofi gets some progress using his high flying. Back in the ring, Kofi dives off the top, but Mark Henry catches him. World's Strongest Slam and the win. It's over.
Winner: Mark Henry
Backstage, Cody "mustach" Kaitlyn a question. Sandow interrupts and says he's secured "double" the woman for he and Cody - The Bella Twins! Nikki and Brie put down Kaitlyn. Vickie Guerrero interrupts and says that Rhodes Scholars are getting a new match, against Sheamus & Randy Orton!
Ryback hits the ring and we go to break.
Ryback vs. Heath Slater
I wasn't gonna really cover this match, because, well why? However, Mark Henry walks out onto the ramp and distracts Ryback enough for Slater to get in three punches. It's all downhill from there, however. Ryback gets the quick victory.
Ryback hits his finisher on McIntyre as well. Then, Mark Henry walks to the ring. He hits his finisher on McIntyre. They try to one-up each other. Major staredown. Trash talk. The whole place chants Feed Me More. Henry walks away.
You know, when Raw went to three hours, I had no idea one hour of the show would be devoted to app plugs and movie trailers.
Antonio Cesaro vs. Alberto Del Rio
This feels like a main event at a pay-per-view is being wasted. Lo, here we are.
Early on, Cesaro sweeps the leg out from Del Rio, while on the ropes. His head hits the turnbuckle in a scary spot. Action goes back and forth, Cesaro mostly in control.
Cesaro is, unsurprisingly, holding his own during the match. Nice European uppercut to Del Rio, who dives off the top rope into it. Del RIo gets the submission victory when Cesaro taps out to the cross arm breaker.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Backstage, Kane talks to Josh Mathews about Paul Bearer. Well, he holds the urn in his hands, and actually doesn't say a word.
Up next, a preview of The Rock vs. John Cena.
After the break, another Paul Bearer clip, this one from 1997, featuring the introduction of Kane.
Now, a video of the saga of John Cena and The Rock.
After all the videos and plugs, here's Randy Orton!
We come back from a commercial break, and Team Rhodes Scholars is already back in the ring. They're teaming up against Orton and Sheamus!
Randy Orton & Sheamus vs. Team Rhodes Scholars
Orton and Sheamus control things pretty much from the beginning here. Sandow does get some offense in and tags off to Rhodes. It's short lived, and Sheamus gets a senton on Rhodes for a pin attempt.
Rhodes gets the tag to Sandow and Sandow is in control. They isolate Sheamus and tag off. Cody hits a knee to the face and goes for a pin. Two count.
Sheamus hits a clothesline on Rhodes, and staggers to his feet for the hot tag to Randy Orton. Orton is on fire. The action spills outside, where Rhodes Scholars get the advantage. Tag to Sandow and Sandow works on Orton's arm. Elbow of Disdain. Two-count. Tag back to Rhodes.
Rhodes hits a front suplex on Orton, then climbs to the top rope. Orton catches the leg first and sets Rhodes up for a superplex. Both men are hurting. Tag to Sheamus, and he unloads on everyone. White Noise to Sandow. He goes for the Brogue Kick, but Rhodes runs in. Orton hits the RKO, and Sheamus hits the boot for the win.
Winners: Sheamus & Randy Orton
Decent enough match between these four. Nothing overly special, though.
Up next, The Highlight Reel, with The Miz and Wade Barrett.
During the break, The Shield attacked Orton and Sheamus.
We get a bunch of Touts of Paul Bearer memories.
Chris Jericho comes out to the ring for his Highlight Reel.
Jericho welcomes everyone to Raw is Jericho! He asks if his jacket is working, because it's temperamental. Anyhow, he introduces The Miz as the star of The Marine 3.
The Miz says it's nice to be a guest instead of the host. Jericho says the movie is a hit, and as he says that, Wade Barrett's music hits. He introduces a clip from his movie, Dead Man Down.
Miz and Barrett trade insults. Barrett says he's been turning down Hollywood offers all week, because he's too busy. Miz says Barrett hasn't won a match in weeks, and it's just a matter of time before he loses the IC title. Jericho makes fun of them both, and Barrett doesn't take kindly to that. He tells Jericho to shut up. Jericho takes off his jacket and cuts a promo reminding Barrett about being his mentor in NXT and helping him win. Jericho says he's a nine-time Intercontinental Champion. "Maybe I'll make it ten."
Brad Maddox comes out to the ramp and interrupts the argument. He makes a match for next week - Wade Barrett vs. The Winner of The Miz vs. Chris Jericho, which happens next.
Just a miserable segment overall, and Brad Maddox was trying to be too quirky. It didn't help that Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler shat all over the segment.
The Miz vs. Chris Jericho
The match is already in progress when we return. Wade Barrett is on the mic at ringside. Back and forth action, nothing we haven't seen from these two before. Miz dodges a Lionsault with lifted knees. Jericho goes for the Walls of Jericho but fails. Miz goes for a figure-four leglock. They counter back and forth. Walls of Jericho get locked in in the middle of the ring. Miz crawls to the bottom rope. He makes it to the rope and rolls out of the ring.
Jericho tosses Miz directly into Wade Barrett, which I'm certain Barrett doesn't appreciate. He attacks both men and causes the DQ.
Miz and Jericho team up on Barrett and each hit their finishers on him.
Apparently, Ricardo Rodriguez and Alberto Del Rio have make their own Jack Swagger/Zeb Colter spoof videos. There's some chuckles in the audience, but it mostly falls flat. Rodriguez plays Colter, and Del Rio plays Swagger.
Well, Swagger and Colter are heading to the ring, next!
Another Paul Bearer memory from 1995, Wrestlemania XI. Funny stuff.
Sin Cara vs. Jack Swagger
Zeb Colter cuts a promo as Swagger is on his way to the ring. He says there are a lot of problems in the country, including "Sin Care-a." He says Sin Cara bounces around the ring like a nice Mexican jumping bean.
Colter blames all of our country's problems on us, because we're afraid to do or say something about it. Swagger takes the mic too and says he's gonna bring the title back to Jack Swagger's America. "We the people."
The match finally starts and Sin Cara has the early advantage. He dives out of the ring to Swagger, and smashes his face in the process. He's okay, folks. Swagger reverses some of the high flying, but Sin Cara is on fire, until a boot to the gut, anyhow. Swagger elbow drops the leg. He locks in the Patriot Lock and Sin Cara taps out quickly.
Winner: Jack Swagger
Del Rio hits the ring when Swagger doesn't let the hold go. Del Rio hits the cross arm breaker on Swagger, and Zeb Colter helps Swagger get the heck out of the ring.
Colter is walking a very shaky line, but sadly he's not drawing any heat with the live crowd. "Boring" chants are frequently audible. Not good.
There's a commercial for The Call, starring Halle Berry and David Otunga is involved as well. Funny commercial spot, actually. Kane makes a cameo.
Speaking of, it's Kane vs. Punk, next!
CM Punk makes it to the ring first. He watches his back the entire time he walks to the ring. Kane comes out next, urn in hand. He sets it down outside the ring, near the announcer's table. Before the bell could ring, CM Punk attacked Kane outside the ring.
CM Punk vs. Kane in a No Disqualification match
It's a slobberknocker outside the ring. Both men brawl and slam each other into the barricade, the ring post, whatever. Kane tosses Punk over the barricade into the timekeeper's table. Punk hits Kane with the ring bell. Hammerfist off the top of the barricade. Punk stares at the urn for a moment, but then Kane attacks again.
Back in the ring, it's back and forth again. Punk hits the Flying Elbow from the top rope and gets a 2-count. Kicks to the legs. Running knee to the face. Punk gets tossed out of the ring by Kane as we go to break.
Back from break, there is a chair in the ring. Punk sets it up in the corner, but Kane uses the set up to his advantage and whips Punk into it. Running clothesline from Kane. Kane clotheslines Punk outside again. Whip to the barricade. Kane grabs a chair and throws it into the ring. Another chair. A third chair!
Kane attempts a choke slam onto a chair, but Punk counters and DDT's Kane instead. Punk goes for the cover. Two-count.
Punk taunts Kane and mocks The Undertaker, and nearly gets chokeslammed again. He sets Kane up for GTS, but The Undertaker's bell hits once. It's enough for Kane to get the chokeslam and the pin for the win.
The Undertaker comes out to the ramp immediately, and drops to one knee, arm raised. Kane does the same. Paul Bearer's name appears on the Titantron again. CM Punk grabs the urn and attacks Kane from behind. Then, once The Undertaker makes it to the ring, CM Punk gets out. He takes the urn with him to the ramp. He looks at the urn, drops to one knee and raises his hand, mocking Taker. Taker swipes his thumb across his throat as we close the show.
Overall, an episode with ups and downs. The stuff with Punk, Kane and Taker was fine, and the tributes to Paul Bearer were well done. Otherwise, most of it really was just filler, biding time 'til WrestleMania.
Watch the highlights online, but skip the show itself.
We will see you next week with the Monday Night Raw Recap at Ring-rap.com!