The Road to WrestleMania officially begins tonight. The Royal Rumble has come and gone, and our main event for WrestleMania is, essentially, set. Get ready, folks!
The Rock was able to triumph over CM Punk last night and captured the WWE Title, after Punk narrowly won (with a little help from The Shield). What will Rock have to say about his victory? Will CM Punk go after Vince McMahon? Demand a rematch? Or choose a different course?
Also, John Cena picked up the win during the Royal Rumble match, and has a guaranteed title shot at WrestleMania. It seems he's destined to face The Rock. Once in a lifetime? Not so much. Will Cena throw down the gauntlet and challenge Rock, or will we see some sort of a curveball?
All this and more starting at 8 p.m. EST tonight!
Let's kick things off LIVE from Las Vegas, Nevada! I nearly forgot, tonight it's Raw Roulette! Just like every other time they're in Vegas!
Vickie Guerrero is thrilled she doesn't have to do anything tonight. They have three wheels! One with the superstars' faces, one with the stipulations, and then there's the "Vickie Vegas Challenge" which basically has a bunch of dumb crap on it. Well, at least we have a first match to look forward to.
Looks like Randy Orton and Antonio Cesaro will be facing off. The stipulation? Well, let's zoom in so you can't see anyone stopping the wheel... It's a Special Guest Referee match!
Well, let's hold off on that match for now, because CM Punk is pissed. Punk is walking out to the ring with a purpose, pushing around the timekeeper to get a mic. He demands his music gets cut off. He says it's day 435 of the most historic title reign of the modern era. He says he didn't lose. He's the People's Champion. He's throwing a fit, kicking the ropes.
He yells at the fans for "getting behind someone that couldn't win without someone else's help." Irony at its finest. He says he didn't need any help to win matches for 434 days. He called his match the Phoenix Screwjob.
He says in his world you don't get restarts and water breaks. He's here to crash our party.
Vince McMahon's music kicks in. Punk calls him a cheater and a robber. McMahon says he can crash the party tonight. He says someone who will remain nameless has unquestionable video proof that ties Punk to The Shield.
Heyman tries to speak but Vince cuts him off. He's gonna give Heyman a personal performance review that could result in his termination. McMahon leaves.
Punk continues throwing a fit as we kick to JBL, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler. JBL chews Cole out for ratting out The Shield last night. Anyhow, later tonight, The Rock! But first, Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro!
Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro (special guest referee The Miz)
Not gonna lie, The Miz as ref was fairly predictable. Regardless, we hit the commercial.
We come back to a match in progress. Nice suplex from Orton leads to a two-count. Cesaro starts working Orton in the corner with a series of punches, but Orton gets momentum. Snapmare to pin attempt. Two-count.
The match spills out of the ring and they trade blows. Cesaro tries to throw Orton into the barricade, but Orton turns it into a backdrop on the barricade instead. Orton hits a few European Uppercuts of his own and drags Cesaro back into the ring.
Orton and Cesaro trade European Uppercuts and the fans are into it. Orton launches Cesaro over the top rope and outside the ring. Clothesline to the floor. Let's go to another break.
We come back and the action is on the apron. Cesaro and Orton duke it out over the turnbuckle and Cesaro drops Orton chin first. Toss back into the ring and Cesaro gets a two-count. Cesaro hits a nice sit-down body slam for two.
Cesaro picks up Orton by the waist and simply manhandles him into a slam. Two-count. Orton gets some momentum and hits some clotheslines, followed by a powerslam. Orton eats a knee to the face, and a flying uppercut from the top turnbuckle.
Cesaro jaws with Miz over a two-count, and it's enough for Orton to get the advantage. Signature rope DDT attempt is countered. Cesaro pushes Miz, and Miz is not taking it. He yells at him and gets in his face. Cesaro gets pushy, and Miz acts like he's sorry, just long enough for Orton to recover and hit his RKO to pick up the three-count.
Winner: The Miz
Decent match, more about Miz and Cesaro's feud than anything. Cesaro can hang with the big dogs and look like he belongs.
Post-match, The Miz helps Cesaro up, then hits Skull Crushing Finale.
Backstage, Vickie is spinning her stupid wheel for Ryback. It stops on "Make Me Laugh." Ryback tells her a knock-knock joke. Not really. He snorts and leaves, and then his music hits.
Ryback comes out to the ring, and we go to break.
Back from break, the Primetime Players are in the ring too. So is Matt Striker. So, that Make Me Laugh challenge? They're supposed to tell jokes. Seriously. This whole entire thing is a joke.
Titus O'Neil and Darren Young go first. I don't even remember what they said, but it was at Striker's expense. Titus is really getting comfortable on the mic. Seriously.
Ryback's joke is essentially a beatdown, but Titus almost gets the advantage. Almost. Ryback shrugs his shoulder for the Meathook Clothesline and the fans are really into it. He hits his finisher and that's about that.
Striker says something dumb and Ryback hits his finisher on him too. Thank you, Ryback.
We get a video package about Bob Backlund's induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. The third inductee will be announced later tonight.
Back from break, Vickie spins the wheel. It stops on "Players Choice." So, apparently, Wade Barrett gets to choose his own opponent. My money is on Bo Dallas.
In the ring, Wade Barrett chooses Bo Dallas. Color me surprised. Tonight, his career is going to end, blah blah.
Horrible intro music for the youngster, but the fans sort of cheer for him. In case you missed it, Dallas eliminated Barrett last night. It's okay, though, cause Barrett ended up eliminating Dallas.
Wade Barrett vs. Bo Dallas
A "Let's go Bo" chant breaks out. Dallas shows some spunk and hits a series of arm drags. Barrett is thinking twice about this one. Barrett gets up and sidekicks Dallas in the gut. Toss to the turnbuckles and a fierce stomping. Boot to the head, and Dallas is seeing stars.
Barrett continues to wear him down with stomps, and then starts to expose his elbow pad. He lines him up for the Bullhammer, but Dallas counters it and hits a nice powerslam for the surprise three-count!
Winner: Bo Dallas
Nice exposure for Dallas and he looked fairly decent in his win. Didn't seem like a fluke.
Back stage, Cody Rhodes spins the superstar wheel and lands on John Cena. That's up next!
When we get back, Rhodes is already in the ring.
Oh, and John Cena is on the Fruity Pebbles box now, too. Seriously.
Cody Rhodes vs. John Cena
This match could have been a much bigger deal. It's not. Cena hits a dropkick early on. Kick to the gut, snap suplex. Rhodes bails out of the ring and grabs a mic. He says "This is a waste of Cody Rhodes. I'm leaving." He starts walking away.
Cena isn't having any of it, and he drags Rhodes back in, hits his series of moves, Attitude Adjustment, and the pinfall.
Winner: John Cena
I had hopes that Cody wouldn't get squashed, but as the Rolling Stones said it best, "You can't always get what you want."
Cena takes the mic and asks says any of the 29 other superstars could come out and say how they should have won the Royal Rumble, but he can stand there and say he DID win. Throwing Ryback over the top rope was an enormous step, but only the first one. The next step is to issue a challenge to the Champion of their choosing for a match at WrestleMania.
A "Cena Sucks" chant comes through.
Cena says this is the most difficult decision, because going into WrestleMania, the man holding the WWE Championship will be either CM Punk or The Rock.
He says CM Punk has been unbeatable in the six times they've faced off. Then, there is The Rock, a man who he was very vocal about for an entire year. Everything was perfect until The Rock beat him. Cena asks if he plays the odds and goes for the World Heavyweight Championship, which he has a better chance of winning, or the WWE Championship, which he claims he has virtually no chance of winning.
John Cena makes the decision on the spot, and challenges for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 29.
The Shield interrupts and walks down to the ring, and John Cena stands and waits. They hit the ring and attack Cena. Cena fights back with no avail. Sheamus' music hits and it's 3 on 2. All three attack Sheamus. Ryback comes out too! Ryback fares a little better against The Shield and tosses Ambrose and Rollins outside, but it's not long before they recover and toss Ryback into the steps. They take Sheamus out too, and when Cena recovers, Cena gets beat down as well.
The Shield sets Cena up for the Triple Powerbomb and all three faces are left writhing in pain. The Shield leaves, and we go to break.
Nice beatdown from The Shield, but I have to be honest I'm extremely pissed that Cena completely threw the World Heavyweight Championship under the bus.
We get a recap of the events just passed. Then, backstage for another wheel spin. Lingerie Pillow Fight! With Tensai and Brodus Clay? Vickie vetoes it and spins her wheel. It's a Dance Off instead. Brodus is pleased and said he'll tell Tensai. Michael Cole is acting like this is the funniest thing ever.
Brodus Clay vs. Tensai in a Dance Off
I shouldn't even write about this, but I guess I have to. I guess Tensai didn't get the memo, and put on lingerie anyhow. Ugh. It's as bad as it sounds. Maybe worse.
Brodus dances first. Tensai refuses. Lawler talks him into it. Eventually Tensai starts popping and locking. "This is god awful. Somebody should blow up the Roulette wheel." Those words are from Michael Cole. No joke.
Ron Simmons was backstage for a well-timed "Damn!"
Time to spin the wheel again. Alberto Del Rio spins and gets a Bodyslam Challenge. He gets to try to slam The Big Show. Del Rio says in Vegas, anything can happen.
We come back from break, and Ricardo Rodriguez introduces Alberto Del Rio. The Big Show comes out next.
Alberto Del Rio vs. The Big Show in a Bodyslam Challenge match
I don't even think the bell ran. The two start going at it, and within seconds, Show hit the KO punch. Show brought some duct tape apparently, and he tapes Del Rio's arm to the middle rope. Rodriguez tries to protect Del Rio and gets kicked and tossed around. Show tears open his shirt and slaps him in the chest as Del Rio comes to.
He tries to free himself as Rodriguez gets beat down. Show tosses Rodriguez into the barricade. Back in the ring, he steps on Rodriguez's head. Finally, Show attacks Del Rio and retapes his hand even more. Show knocks Rodriguez out, then continues attacking Del Rio. He mercifully ends this with a KO punch to Del Rio.
Pretty hot way to continue the angle. I like it. I'm okay with it.
Back at the ring, there's a "Las Vegas Showgirls Lumberjill Match." All the divas are dressed up as Show Girls and it's Tamina vs. Kaitlyn in the ring.
Tamina vs. Kaitlyn
Not sure if this is a title match. I can't even call the action due to the head dresses the divas are wearing. Tamina is dominant, but Kaitlyn gets some offense. Kaitlyn gets kicked out of the ring, and she gets attacked immediately. Kaitlyn fends her attackers off and takes a head-dress to hit Tamina.
Kaitlyn gets some momentum. Not sure why, but suddenly all the Divas enter the ring and start fighting. Kaitlyn and Tamina get out of dodge and just let them go at it. Apparently that's the end of the match. No DQ, nothing.
Winner: No Contest?
This episode of Raw sucks.
Our new WWE Champion, The Rock, comes out to a strong applause. The audience is still reeling from the monstrosity we just witnessed. Rocky looks good with a title on his arm. He soaks in the chants and stares at the WrestleMania sign above the audience.
Rock grabs a mic. There is only one word that can describe the spirit of tonight: "Finally." Well, you know the rest. Rock puts over the title big time, says there's no accolade more deeply ingrained in his blood. From 1997-2003 he had the honor of winning it seven times, and tonight is the proudest moment of his career. He thanks the audience. He says Punk's "crap days" are over. He takes a shot at Paul Heyman.
Tonight we usher in the People's Era. Punk's music kicks in. He wants his music cut. He tells the audience to shut up. He says Rock is embarrassing himself and embarrassing Punk as well. He says the title was handed to him. "If you were a man, you would recognize that title you hold is prestigious because I made it and I earned that title for 434 days." He challenges Rock to come up to him and hand the title back to him. Punk demands an apology for tarnishing what he made so great.
Rock says "If you had an ounce of manhood, and nuts between your legs, you would walk down that ramp, and come and take it."
Punk walks to the ring slowly, deliberately, and stops short. Punk starts walking backwards up the ramp and says he's going to stand on the ramp like a "punk-ass bitch." Punk, yes Punk, says he's going to grant The Rock a rematch in three weeks. "It's not my rematch, it's your rematch, and I'm granting it to you. Show up, if you dare."
Rock says the rematch at Elimination Chamber is on, but Punk isn't taking the title. He will be taking the ass kicking of a lifetime, if ya smell what The Rock is cooking!
Punk's promo was on fire tonight and the fury we're seeing from him is a side we haven't really seen in a long, long while, if maybe ever. I love it.
Back from the break, Damien Sandow is in the ring awaiting his opponent. He spun the wheel during the break, and it is a Tables match. Looks like Sandow is against Sheamus.
Damien Sandow vs. Sheamus
Sheamus looks like he's favoring his left arm, maybe from the Shield attack from earlier. Anyhow, Sheamus has Sandow on the run. Sandow tries to duck out of the ring, but Sheamus follows, and immediately grabs a table. He nearly puts Sandow through a table. Sandow rolls into the ring and out the other side. Sheamus catches up to him and Sandow hits a dropkick.
Sandow grabs a table from under the ring. Sheamus throws it at him. He slides another table into the ring and starts setting it up, but Sandow attacks the bad arm, slamming it on the folded-up table. He attacks the arm immediately, then grabs another table.
Sandow throws a table at Sheamus, then wedges Sheamus' arm into the legs of the table and attacks it. Sheamus nearly goes through a table, but he manages to reverse it. Cool spot on the apron.
Sandow gets the advantage and hits the Elbow of Disdain. He starts to set up a table and tosses Sheamus into the side of it. Clever. He sets Sheamus up onto a table and climbs the top rope. Dumb. Sheamus recovers.
Sheamus hits 10 clubbing strikes and goes for a suplex. Sheamus catches Sandow back in the ring and hits his White Noise through the table for the win.
Decent enough match. We've seen better and worse from both men.
Back in the ring, we have Zack Ryder, The Great Khali, Natalya, and Hornswoggle. It's time for WWE Karaoke. They sing a theme song. Crowd vote.
Khali gets to sing HBK's theme. He doesn't even read the words on the screen. 3MB interrupts. Heath Slater says "Are you kidding me?" Mahal calls them an embarrassment.
Drew McIntyre gyrates in front of Khali and gets chopped in the head. A brawl breaks out. Hornswoggle hits a splash. The end.
Chris Jericho, an actual rock star, comes to the ring next.
Back from break, the ovation for Jericho is insane. Cole plugs Jericho's 45-minute run in the Rumble last night. Impressive. The fans chant for Jericho, who stands in the middle of the ring, mic in hand. "Welcome to Raw is Jericho."
He says it's great to be back in the WWE. He says it was only six months but it felt like six years. He says it was great being the surprise entrant in the Rumble (and he fooled us), and last night was one of the greatest nights of his career. He thanks the fans. It's something he will never, eeeever, forget again.
We're getting old-school Jericho here, it seems. That's perfectly okay.
Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee, and Big E Langston come out to the ring. Ziggler says he's glad Jericho had so much fun before Jericho got eliminated by Ziggler. Ziggler also says Jericho doesn't work here, since he was fired last summer.
Jericho tells Ziggler to put a leash on AJ. Big E takes the mic and tells Jericho to leave. Jericho asks if the E stands for his bra size. Vickie Guerrero interrupts on the Titantron, and admits to signing Jericho. She decides they're gonna have a match and spins the wheel. It's a Strange Bedfellows match, meaning they get to team together instead of fighting, and they'll be facing Team Hell No.
Dolph Ziggler & Chris Jericho vs. Team Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan)
Kane and Ziggler kick things off as we go to break. We get back and it's Ziggler and Bryan facing off. Dolph clearly doesn't want to tag Jericho if he doesn't have to. He reaches for Jericho's arm then pulls it away. Jericho tags in and hits his spots. Walls of Jericho on Daniel Bryan, but Bryan reverses.
Jericho pushes Bryan into Kane after the tag, and the two blame each other. They start pushing each other back and forth. Ziggler tags himself in. Jericho slaps Kane on the back, making it seem like Ziggler did it, and Ziggler gets choke-slammed for the win.
Winner: Team Hell No
And now for something completely different, it's time for the newest inductee to the WWE Hall of Fame: Trish Stratus!
Back from break, Vince McMahon is in the ring. Vince says everyone knows he loves to have fun, and Vegas is the best place to do that. He invites Paul Heyman to the ring. He also mentions that CM Punk was escorted out of the arena about 10 minutes ago.
Heyman comes out to the ring to boos and ECW chants. He offers his hand to McMahon, who almost refuses to shake. He sanitizes his hand immediately after shaking.
McMahon asks if Heyman has or has had either The Shield of Brad Maddox under contract. Heyman wants to thank him for the opportunity to settle this once and for all. He says the answer is no. He has never had anything to do with Brad Maddox or The Shield.
McMahon asks Heyman if he's ever lied. Heyman quotes McMahon Sr. He says he has lied every day of his life because he is a promoter, and he lies to survive. But, he swears to McMahon, he is not lying now.
"So you're an honorable man?" Heyman says he's trying to be an honorable man, but maybe he can learn. He wants to be there, and if it takes being an honorable man to be there, then that is what he'll be.
McMahon rolls footage from a few weeks ago, where Heyman is talking with Brad Maddox. He asks the camera man to turn off the camera, but of course, he doesn't. What follows is Heyman scolding Maddox for constantly coming back after being paid "handsomely" to screw Ryback out of Hell in a Cell.
Heyman says he and Punk picked Maddox out of obscurity in NXT. He says when they pay The Shield to do a job, they do the job then wait for them to come back for more.
The Shield come into frame and stand behind Maddox. Maddox says he'll leave. He says to tell Punk he's sorry, and he'll go. Heyman wants this to be a learning experience. The Shield attacks Maddox, and the camera cuts off.
The fans chant "You got busted" at Heyman, and McMahon asks him, "Well?"
Heyman says completely straight faced that it "wasn't him" in the video. He yells at the video because his career is on the line. He says he has a thick New York Jewish Accent, easy to imitate, and that whoever that is is a Paul Heyman impersonator. He's being set up because of his success. Heyman looks Vince dead in the eyes and says "No, that was not Paul Heyman."
Heyman says to McMahon to "not do this." Vince says "It appears I'm going to have to wish you well in your future endeavors." He winds up to say "You're fired," but before the words come out... HERE COMES THE PAIN!
Brock Lesnar's music kicks in and he comes to the ring. Lesnar stares McMahon down and circles the ring before climbing in. Heyman says to Lesnar "I have this under control." Lesnar pats Heyman on the shoulders, pushes him back, and orders him out of the ring. Then Lesnar gets in McMahon's face and smiles.
McMahon tells him he shouldn't do something he'll regret later on. Heyman shouts at Vince to leave the ring. "Please leave the ring, Vince!" Lesnar suddenly picks McMahon up and hits an F5! Heyman begs Lesnar off. McMahon lies in the middle of the ring as the show comes to a close.
Nice surprise to end a pretty lame show, though once Vince started to go down the path of firing Heyman, it became pretty obvious Lesnar would show up. Looks like we're getting Triple H vs. Lesnar at WrestleMania 29 as well.
Punk vs. Rock rematch should be good, and Cena is doing what is entirely expected from him. Jericho's return to form is a welcome change back to his old persona. Everything else is just filler, at this point.
Thanks for following along with me tonight, folks!