Last week, we saw the return of Brock Lesnar. He hit a vicious F5 on Vince McMahon as he was about to send Paul Heyman packing. See, Paul Heyman's been revealed as having a connection to The Shield and Brad Maddox. A stealth video was taken where Paul specifically said he and Punk were paying the men to do the things they did. Who will respond to what Lesnar did to Vince?
The Rock and CM Punk set up their rematch at Elimination Chamber, and John Cena made it known that he will take on the winner of that match at WrestleMania 29. Will this be a "Once in a Lifetime" rematch, or will we get one more round of Cena vs. Punk....or will all three fight it out? Only time will tell.
They open with footage of Cena announcing his quest to go after the WWE Champion at WrestleMania 29, and the Shield attacking him. The narrator asks how the three big superstars in that beatdown will respond to that attack. They shift to the Vince/Brock/Heyman segment when Lesnar hit Vince with the F5.
Punk's music hits and he comes to the ring, making no friends by tearing up signs and making a fuss. He's without Heyman. He says he wants to explain how having a week affects someone's perspective. He asks if he overreacted, and says if people think he did, then they've never held anything like the WWE Championship. He runs the fans down for not accomplishing anything in life.
Punk says he acted like any normal person would because he got screwed. He says the title was stolen from him and is being held by someone undeserving and someone who didn't pay the price or understand what it means to be a champion.
Punk changes gears and talks about the video footage that "supposedly showed" that he and Heyman colluded with The Shield and Maddox. Punk says he has a question for the fans and goes to ringside. He asks a guy in the front row if he saw Punk in the video. He answers "no, you did not see me." for the fan. He does the same with a woman along the barrier. Punk says the fans didn't see him, yet point their fingers at him.
He then asks Cole, and Cole says he didn't see Punk in the video. Punk says "there you have it! If Paul Heyman says he wasn't in the video, then it was not him, it was someone else." Punk says that it might sound ridiculous, but people bought in hook, line and sinker to a Vince McMahon-produced video.
Heyman says it wasn't Heyman, it was Paul Giamatti, or CGI. Funny stuff. Punk says Vince doctored a video and all the fat, stupid, lazy fans ate it up. Punk talks about Vince having taken the F5 last week and says Vince got what he deserved. "That's karma, folks." Punk again tells the fans they haven't done anything great because they don't deserve it.
Punk challenges anyone who disagrees to get in the ring with him. He says he'd knock them back to the other side where they belong. Punk says he's the real champion and it's day 442 of his title run. He says he will give The Rock a rematch at Elimination Chamber and Rock will get what he deserves.
Booker T's music hits and he comes out. Punk says no one wants to hear from him and "this isn't even your show, hit the bricks." Booker says Vickie allowed him to come out and decide Punk's fate, but Booker will put it in the hands of the people.
Punk asks if he's drunk and Booker says that Punk will face one of his past WrestleMania opponents. It will be either Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton, or Chris Jericho. The fans chant for Y2J. Booker says the fans need to download the WWE app and vote for who they want. "These people don't have smart phones, they're not downloading anything, they're idiots!" Punk exclaims.
Good heel mic work to open the show. Punk really did a great job of attacking the fans and playing it into the fan voting. The whole "I'm granting Rock a rematch..." thing is great too. There's things they can do with that, like set up a TV match or insert him in the match at WrestleMania because Punk can claim he never got his rematch.
Cole and Lawler talk at ringside and walk us through downloading the WWE App. They hype up the "epic" Hall of Fame announcement to come.
Cole and Lawler thank fans for making Raw #1 on cable last week. They show an Orton interview in the second screen app. Orton says he won over Punk in Atlanta, and makes a pitch to face Punk.
Match #1 - Antonio Cesaro vs. Ryback
Ryback hangs Cesaro up in a tree of woe and stomps him while the fans chant Feed Me More. Ryback gets an edge, but Cesaro hits a clothesline to get control. They battle back and forth after the break.
Ryback drops Cesaro and hits him with the Meathook. Cesaro rolls out and tries to leave but Ryback catches him and throws him in. Ryback eats a boot to the face. Cesaro tries to escape a second time and Ryback catches him again. This time, Ryback hits the Meathook and Shellshock to get the win.
Cesaro gets good matches from Ryback. Too bad they're letting the US Champion get squashed after doing a good job of protecting him.
They show footage from Cena making his declaration to challenge for the WWE Championship, then the following beat down from the Shield. They show Sheamus and Ryback trying to make the save. Cole teases a Shield in-depth look after the break.
They pan the crowd and show Chilli of TLC fame. They show Rey Mysterio's interview with Striker on the second-screen app. He references the hair vs. hair match where he took Punk's hair and says he knows Punk's weakness.
This makes more sense than just drilling over and over how to download/vote on the app.
Cole sets up a video package of The Shield, with their history of attacking various stars included.
John Cena is watching a TV when Vickie walks in. She says she heard that Cena would call out The Shield. She says there's a movie called "Death Wish" and asks if Cena has one. Cena says there's a show called Raw and a guy named John Cena won the Royal Rumble, is going to WrestleMania, and will win the WWE Championship. The Shield needs to be stopped, and tonight.
Cole and Lawler recap Trish Stratus being added to the class of 2013 Hall of Fame last week and hype up the announcement yet to come tonight.
So far, they're doing better with the Hall of Fame this year. They seemed to forget about it last year.
They show footage of Jericho making his pitch to face Punk later tonight. He builds it around the "best in the world" claim.
Match #2 - Jack Swagger vs. Santino Marella
Booker T joins on commentary. Not much to this one, as Swagger dominates from start to finish. He puts away Marella with the Ankle Lock. Swagger said earlier in the day that he changed the name to the Patriot Act. Swagger goes to ringside and asks if Booker is impressed. Booker says this is the Swagger he wants to see.
Lawler tells us voting is open on the app to determine who faces Punk. Results would come after the break. We get a generic ad for Main Event featuring Miz. We're 62 days removed from WrestleMania.
Cole boasts that there's a record number of voters on the app and the site crashed. WWE.com is also open for voting.
They show footage from Smackdown with Alberto Del Rio attacking Big Show in the parking lot. Ricardo took a knockout punch, though.
Match #3 - Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Cody Rhodes; non-title match
Cole points out that Rhodes Scholars is no more. Cody has a T-shirt featuring his mustache and saying "Groomed for Greatness." Awesome.
After some standard back and forth action, Del Rio puts away Rhodes with the Cross Arm Breaker. Afterward, Del Rio cuts a promo.
He says Show tried to bully him like he bullies everyone. Del Rio says he won't let that happen and appreciates support of the fans. He says the fans made him open his eyes and he's champion not just for himself but for the fans.
Del Rio says it's for the people who work every day and struggle to put food on the table. He says it's for the same people who are bullied by people like Show. He says Show is going to pay for what he did to Ricardo.
Show interrupts on the Tron. Show says he's not at the arena but in an undisclosed hotel location. Del Rio says Show is in a hotel because he's got no cajones.
Show tells him to speak in English. He says it's hard for him to not snap and it would be easy for him to break Del Rio in two. He says he did Del Rio a favor by not being there. He accuses Del Rio of stealing his championship. Show says beating Del Rio in a parking lot or in Atlanta doesn't get him what he wants.
Show says he wants a match at Elimination Chamber. He tells Del Rio to sign the contract and have someone bring it to him. Show tells Del Rio to not even think about trying to find him at the hotel.
Show was good, but Del Rio was flat and pandering. Hard to believe the rich guy cares about the common man. Necessary, but feels really forced.
Lawler gets a mic and says the fans caused an outage but the voting was over. Jericho won the vote with 57 percent.
Cole hypes Miz TV with Paul Heyman and John Cena calling out The Shield. They show footage from Smackdown where Rey and Sin Cara got a win over Team Hell No.
Daniel Bryan bicker over who was responsible for losing that match. Bryan tells Kane he isn't doing his part as his partner. Kane says he thought that Bryan could take care of himself, and Bryan says he'll prove it tonight. Bryan doesn't want Kane ruining his chances of getting to Elimination Chamber, so he orders Kane to stay backstage.
Match #4 - Rey Mysterio vs. Daniel Bryan
Cole points out that Booker T is keeping an eye on former champions. Bryan charges Mysterio, but Rey pulls himself up and Bryan crashes through the ropes and into the post. He falls to the floor.
Late in this one, Rey tries the 619 but Bryan counters and tries for the No Lock. Rey rolls him over into a pin attempt. Mysterio sets up the 619 again and hits it, then misses the splash off the ropes. Bryan locks on the No Lock for the submission win.
Afterward, Mark Henry's music hits. He stomps out to the ring and throws Bryan into the railing. He gets in the ring and slams Mysterio, then tries a Vader Bomb in the corner. Sin Cara runs out for the save, but Henry hits the World's Strongest Slam when Sin Cara tries a springboard move.
Henry goes for the Vader Bomb on Mysterio again, but Mysterio recovers and tries to fight back but Henry eventually hits the World's Strongest Slam then follows with the Vader Bomb. "That's what I do!!' Henry yells.
Solid return for Henry and good timing where Henry didn't get lost in all the post-Rumble hype. If Del Rio holds on to the belt at Elimination Chamber, then I see Henry being a strong favorite to go in and win the Chamber and challenge Del Rio at Wrestlemania.
They hype up Punk vs. Jericho and show a video package to hype WWE Magazine featuring The Rock.
Daniel Bryan chases down Kane and asks why he didn't come out when Mark Henry attacks. Kane says that Bryan told him to stay, and he chose to listen because nothing is more powerful than their friendship. Bryan asks if Kane means it and Kane says "hell no" with a laugh.
Cole and Lawler set up a video package that recaps the Vince McMahon/Paul Heyman/Brock Lesnar segment that ended the show last week. Vince took the F5 from Brock at the end. Cole and Lawler talk in hushed voices and say that Vince had to undergo hip replacement surgery today.
Vince did legitimately undergo hip surgery - whether or not it was a replacement may have been an embellishment.
Big Show is shown on the phone, and he says he won't wait all night for the contract. Room service shows up and brings Show food. He offers a tip to the waiter - and tells him to get a better job.
They show a generic ad for Smackdown, focusing on Del Rio.
Match #5 - Kane vs. Sheamus
As Kane comes out, Cole says that he has news on Elimination Chamber. Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, and Daniel Bryan are in the Chamber match.
Quiet early on since no one really has much to care about either guy. Sheamus hits a backbreaker and hits his forearm shots in the ropes. Kane cuts him off and goes up top for a move but Sheamus moves.
Daniel Bryan comes out and distracts Kane after some more back and forth. Kane grabs Bryan by the throat and shoves him off. Kane turns around into the Brogue Kick for the win for Sheamus.
I wonder if they're setting up a "strife" just for the sake of the Elimination Chamber?
Cole hypes up Cena calling out The Shield and Miz TV after the break.
They air the footage again of Brock taking out Vince with the F5.
The Miz starts with a recap of last week, but Heyman cuts him off. He calls Miz "Mizanin." He says he agreed to come on in order to clear his good name. Heyman says he wants to send good wishes to Vince McMahon.
Heyman says he tried to stop Lesnar last week. Miz talks about the footage that showed Heyman paying The Shield and Maddox. Miz also points out the fact that Vince was on the verge of firing Heyman. Miz calls Heyman a committed liar.
Heyman says "how dare you" and says Punk was screwed at the Rumble. He asks Miz if he agreed that Punk would wipe the floor with Rock at Elimination Chamber. Miz accuses Heyman of changing the subject. Heyman says he'll answer Miz's questions as soon as Miz answers his. Miz tells Heyman he's crowding and to step back.
Vickie enters with her "excuse me" bit. She says the bickering needs to stop and says Heyman is telling the truth. She says Heyman had nothing to do with Lesnar returning and she did. She says she's been negotiating with Lesnar secretly and kept things quiet because of Lesnar's controversial nature.
Vickie calls Brock the most elite free agent available and saw it as a chance to impress Vince McMahon so he would promote her to permanent GM. She had no idea what Brock would do to Vince and says she feels awful and starts to cry.
Heyman consoles her and says he believes her. Heyman calls for a moment of silence, but Vickie suggests praying for Vince. Miz calls them out and says "Really?" He says they're lying through their teeth.
Miz says Heyman has hated Vince "ever since he crushed your little company." Miz says that Vince has dangled the permanent GM carrot in front of Vickie so many times only to pull it away. Heyman says that Miz is offending him but Miz doesn't care. He calls Heyman and Vickie bottom feeders.
Brock Lesnar's music hits. Heyman grabs Vickie and flees. Miz prepares to take on Brock. Cole says Lesnar has every right to be there since Vickie signed him to a contract. Lesnar gets in the ring. Heyman stands on the apron with a worried look on his face. Miz stares at Lesnar with no look of fear though while Brock approaches.
Miz shoves Lesnar, and Lesnar clotheslines him out of the ring. Lesnar starts throwing furniture, with the chairs going right at Miz, and the couch going out the other side. Lesnar goes for the other couch but Miz attacks. Lesnar kicks him and hits the F5. Heyman can be heard saying "he's sorry, he's sorry, no more, Brock..." Heyman and Lesnar leave together, and Heyman can be heard saying "I understand."
Heyman continues to be gold, and he really makes Brock look even more like a bad ass than he already is. I'm sure some out there liked Miz getting the F5 and having furniture rain down on him.
The announcers recap the Lesnar segment and point out he's under contract now.
Match #6 - Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton
They highlight Bo Dallas with a short promo, then show a short recap of the history between Dallas and Wade Barrett.
Ugly spot early when Barrett tries to clothesline Orton out before Orton was ready. The crowd went a little flat while Barrett controls the offense. The fans begin to rally behind Orton, who hits the elevated DDT and finishes off Barrett with the RKO.
Lawler puts over Orton for beating the Intercontinental Champion and Cole says Orton is building momentum for Elimination Chamber.
There isn't someone else to put over Orton and Ryback? And they can't do a better job of protecting the secondary titles? And the Bo Dallas promo was a bit cheesy but not the worst thing I've ever heard.
We get a video package for Fandango - first time in a while we've seen that. Lawler says he wants to see more of that. Cole puts over Atlanta as his favorite city because of his WrestleMania win.
Match #7 - CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho
No Paul Heyman again when Punk comes out. Jericho hits a baseball slide under the ropes. Jericho goes to the ropes, but Punk recovers and slingshots Jericho over the top rope.
After commercial, Jericho takes back control. Punk is able to avoid the Liontamer. Jericho catches Punk on the ropes and hits him with nine punches, then hits a top rope huracanrana.
Punk hits a knee in the corner, followed by a clothesline. He goes up top and takes a bit too long by playing to the crowd. He tries to hit his elbow, but Jericho rolls out of the way.
Punk hits a good kick and gets two, then locks on the Anaconda Vise. Jericho fights to the ropes to break it, but Punk holds on as long as he can. The fans chant "this is awesome." Punk mocks the fans and says 'sit down, marks."
Jericho mounts a brief comeback. Punk catches him in the position of the GTS, but Jericho slips out and locks on the Walls. Punk gets to the ropes to break the hold.
Punk throws Jericho through to the post and Punk puts him away with the GTS.
The announcers recap the end as a trainer helps Punk from the ring.
Good match from these guys, with the right guy going over. Punk played the crowd really well too.
The announcers introduce the induction video package for Bruno Sammartino. Vince Sr. is featured, saying Sammartino was completely dedicated to wrestling and being the best. They feature an number of other stars, like John Cena and William Regal. "It is with great pleasure we induct Bruno Sammartino into the WWE Hall of Fame." the video ends.
Cole puts over Bruno as a childhood hero, and Lawler says that there's never been a more deserving superstar than Bruno for the Hall.
The announcers hype up John Cena calling out The Shield, next.
They did a good job of building a video package that educated younger fans or casual fans on who Bruno was and his relevance in wrestling history. To hear a Bruno chant start was cool.
Matt Striker asks CM Punk where his head is at. Punk smirks and says he's mad because Rock is walking around with his property. Punk says he proves he's the best in the world every minute of every day and will prove it again at Elimination Chamber.
Fun to see a few different things from Punk, a guy who always evolves himself. He is really selling his determination to win the title back at Elimination Chamber.
They feature the Rock in a recap of his title win at Royal Rumble.
Josh Mathews asks Cena why he would call the Shield out alone. Cena reminds us that he said last week he'd challenge for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania even though it seems impossible. He says he beat 29 other men in the Royal Rumble to win it, even though it seemed impossible. He says the Shield pushed last week and this week he pushes back.
At the Hotel...
Big Show is eating when the courier arrives. Show grabs the contract and reads it, as the courier tries to tell Show something. Show keeps brushing him off and signs the contract. He tells him he doesn't do birthday tweets or autographs and goes to send him on his way. Alberto Del Rio is in the doorway.
Show beats up Del Rio a bit, throwing him onto a table. He keeps getting the better of Del Rio until Del Rio gets a fire extinguisher. He sprays Show, then hits him in the shoulder with it. That takes the big man down.
Del Rio yells at Show, then the elevator door opens. Del Rio tells the men stepping out that his friend ate some bad food and they need to keep walking. Del Rio gets on the elevator and leaves.
Pretty hokey that you can take the Big Show down with a shot to the shoulder.
We get Brad Maddox in the ring. He says Paul Heyman preyed on him because he knows Maddox is a hard working, honest, up-and-coming star. He says all the fans know the truth now. Maddox is happy it's out there and refers to himself as an innocent victim.
He says he's a wronged man and he did the only thing he could do by turning over the videotape to Vince McMahon that proved Heyman is lying about his involvement with The Shield and Punk.
Maddox says that in a real way he's the hero of the story. "It's going to be me and not John Cena who will teach the Shield about justice." he says. He calls down Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns. "Justice awaits you, come on down boys."
The Shield's music plays and they come through the crowd. Ambrose has a mic and thanks Maddox for the invitation but they don't need one. He says Maddox isn't a hero, but a rat. Rollins asks if Maddox understands the concept of justice and says justice is giving Maddox the beating he deserves.
Reigns says the last time was business, but tonight they're going to take their time and enjoy this. Ambrose says that Maddox doesn't get the Shield. The three hit the ring and put the boots to Maddox, to very little crowd response. They hit him with the triple powerbomb.
Cena's music hits. Reigns rolls his eyes and Rollins licks his lips. Cena doesn't come out the ramp though - he comes through the crowd. The Shield acts surprised by this move. Ryback's music hits next and he comes from another arena portal, then Sheamus does likewise.
The Shield decides to exit up the ramp, but here come other wrestlers to block that exit, including Brodus Clay and Randy Orton. The Shield heads to the ring again, and Cena, Ryback and Sheamus pause at the apron for effect. They hit the ring to attack. There's not a real big reaction for this.
The face trio hits the ring and they go at it. They do the quick-zoom camera angle business during the brawl so it's hard to get specific moves. The Shield eventually escapes and heads out through the crowd, looking back at the ring, while the faces stand tall. Cole closes out our night from Atlanta.
That was, well, odd. Maddox, the crowd was dead for. He hasn't done anything of note to generate any sort of heat. Anyone he's gotten in the ring with kills him in a minute or two. And turning over the video just made him look like a rat rather than a hero. Then of course you have the Shield, who most fans aren't going to cheer for anyhow. All came together in a flat segment.
When Cena, Sheamus, and Ryback hit, the reaction picked up a little, but if WWE was looking for a really hot ending, they didn't get it. I don't think anyone got hurt by what went down here, but the segment definitely fell on its face.
Yet another up-and-down night from WWE. I have to admit, after reading the show reports from last week, this show was better, but we didn't get the kind of moments that leave you anticipating follow-up next week or what direction they're heading in next. I don't think it was terrible, but I do think WWE missed out on some chances to capitalize on some stories as we head toward WrestleMania.
I'll have more to say on this show tomorrow night in Raw Afterthoughts. Thanks for watching along tonight.