The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 02/04/13

Submitted by John C. on February 5, 2013 - 12:24pm
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Live from Atlanta, Georgia this is the Raw Deal for episode #1028. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.

Before we begin, two things I need to plug first. First up I wrote a column about how Jake Roberts is in much better health these days thanks to the help of his friend Diamond Dallas Page and his yoga program. It's a column that each of them read and DDP said was his favorite article that he's seen written on the subject. You can read my article on Jake & DDP right here. The other article I want you to check out if you haven't done so yet are the Monday Headlines on TJR where I talked about the comments Bret Hart made where he said that Triple H isn't a great wrestler. I went into a lot of details about it, so check it out here. Now let's get to Raw.

Guy Voiceover summed up what happened on Raw last week when The Shield attacked John Cena and when Brock Lesnar returned to give Vince McMahon the F5 in the middle of the ring.

The former WWE Champion CM Punk made his way out to ringside. There was a kid with a sign that said "it's my birthday" on it that Punk took from the kid and broke over he ripped it up. Punk made Justin Roberts announce him as the "People's Champion."

CM Punk started off saying that last week he acted like a normal person because he was screwed out of the WWE Title at the Royal Rumble. Punk said that The Rock doesn't deserve the title or understand what it means to be the champion. Punk brought up the video from last week about the Heyman video with The Shield and Brad Maddox from last week. He said people were asking him about it. Punk asked a fan if he saw Punk in the video and mentioned that they didn't see him, yet they still incriminate him. Punk asked Cole, who told him he was not in the video.

Back in the ring, Punk says that if Paul Heyman says it wasn't him in that video then he's right. He said it could have been Paul Giamatti! Punk questioned the legitimacy of the video and asked if people trusted Vince McMahon to not doctor the video footage. Then he insulted the fans. Punk said that McMahon had hip surgery today and that's exactly what Vince deserved. Punk said if you think he's wrong then you should get in the ring and he'll punch you in the face. He called the fans losers and worthless. He said that in a couple of weeks he's going to get what he deserves - the WWE Title. Punk talked about how this was the 442nd day of the greatest WWE Title reign. It actually ended at 434, but that's okay.

The Smackdown GM Booker T showed up on the stage. Booker said that Managing Supervisor of Raw Vickie Guerrero let him decide Punk's fate tonight. Booker said that tonight maybe Punk should wrestle one of his former WrestleMania opponents. He mentioned Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton and Chris Jericho. Booker plugged the WWE App so you can vote to see who you want to see CM Punk face later in the show. Punk: "These people don't even have smartphones!" That was funny. Booker said they would make the decisions.

Analysis: It was a typical heel promo from Punk where he spent the majority of the promo insulting the fans like he usually does. The good thing is that he found ways to tie it into his current storyline, so it worked in that sense. Seeing Booker come out there was a little weird since he's Smackdown GM, but it's not like the brands matter anymore. I think they had him to do it because it makes more sense for the babyface GM to suck up to the fans and encourage them to participate in a vote rather than having Vickie do it. As I watched the show I assumed that Jericho would win the vote. It would be interesting to see that match with each guy in different roles from where they are at in their careers currently.

The announcers for the show are Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler. They plugged the WWE App again saying that 3.8 million people have downloaded it. There was even a video by Cole showing us how to do it.

They plugged an epic announcement for the next inductee for the WWE Hall of Fame coming up later. This news came out earlier on Monday and I think it's worth the hype they gave it here.

Ryback entered the ring for his match, which would be after the break.

(Commercial)

Back from break, they plugged WWE Active during the commercial break on the WWE App and Randy Orton did an interview talking about how a perfectly executed RKO would shut up Punk.

Analysis: You can't vote on the match yet. They just want to plug the WWE App repeatedly, I guess.

Ryback vs. Antonio Cesaro

Cesaro's US Title is not on the line. This is a rematch from Main Event. Ryback hit a hiptoss followed by a leg drop. He's busting out the offense already. Cole talked about how Cesaro claims he hasn't had a dessert in over three years. I haven't had a dessert in over three hours. Thesz Press by Ryback and then he missed a corner charge, so Cesaro hit a clothesline to the back of the head of Ryback. They went to break three minutes into the match with both guys in the ring.

Analysis: A commercial break in a Ryback match? That’s rare.

(Commercial)

Back from break, Ryback hit a spinebuster as they plugged the WWE App again. Cesaro tried to walk away from the match like on Main Event, but Ryback stopped him. Cesaro used his smarts to attack Ryback on the apron and he threw Ryback into the ring post followed by the steel steps. Cesaro drove his knee into the chest of Ryback and knocked him down for a two count. Ryback hit a back body drop followed by the Meat Hook Clothesline (with "feed me more" chants). Cesaro came back with a boot to the face, but then Ryback hit a stiff powerbomb. Another Meat Hook Clothesline by Ryback. Shellshocked by Ryback earned him the victory after ten minutes.

Winner: Ryback

Analysis: **1/4 It was a good match. It's rare to see Ryback in ten minute match on television, but he did well. Cesaro's one of the ten best workers in the company and he showed why in this match because he could take all of Ryback's offense and still look credible as a threat to beat him. I think this could be a major feud in the years to come. Both guys will be in the main event scene.

More plugging of the WWE App. You still can't vote in that poll for CM Punk's opponent, but that's coming up.

We got a replay of last week when John Cena said he would face the WWE Champion at WrestleMania. Then we saw him getting attacked by The Shield. After the break is an in-depth look at The Shield.

(Commercial)

There's Chilli from the pop group TLC at ringside. That song Waterfall was pretty awesome. We heard from Rey Mysterio as they plugged the WWE App again with him talking about how he cut Punk's hair a couple years ago. I miss Serena.

We saw a video package about The Shield that showed clips of most of their attacks since they debuted at Survivor Series.

Backstage, John Cena was talking to Vickie Guerrero. It was revealed that Cena was going to call out The Shield by himself and she wondered if it was a death wish. Cena said The Shield needs to be stopped. He said they would be stopped tonight.

Analysis: They didn't plug the WWE App there. But we saw that The Shield was trending worldwide. So there's that.

They aired the video from last week that informed us that Trish Stratus would be in the WWE Hall of Fame this year. She's definitely one of my favorite women in company history. The video was great except for the part with Snooki in it. I'm trying to get that memory out of my head.

Another plug for the WWE App. Nearly an hour into the show I don't remember what happened, but I know how to download that App. We get it. Who made the call to annoy us by plugging this thing in nearly every segment? Dear God man, settle down with the plugging.

(Commercial)

Chris Jericho did a promo plugging the WWE App for the poll that fans can't vote in at this point in the show. Booker T joined the announce team.

Jack Swagger vs. Santino

Swagger returned on Smackdown. He's rocking a beard now and a different haircut. He had an angry (almost constipated) look on his face as he went after Santino aggressively. Santino tried to come back, but Swagger hit his Swagger Bomb. Swagger applied the Ankle Lock and Santino tapped out. The match went about two minutes. Cole said that the Ankle Lock is now known as the Patriot Act.

Winner: Jack Swagger

Post match, Swagger said to Booker that he was just getting started. He wants to be in the Elimination Chamber match.

Analysis: It was a squash match. I think Swagger went away for long enough that they can get him over as a more aggressive heel in this role. The question is can you really push him when there are so many other heels on the roster? I'm not sure there's room for him to really move up the ladder. I hope it happens, though. He's always been a guy that I liked. I thought maybe they would bring him back as a face. Nope. It's still the heel role for him.

This was the point in the show where you could vote on Punk's opponent for Raw: Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio or Chris Jericho. Results after the break. So they spent 35 minutes plugging the poll that they didn't allow people to vote in until now.

(Commercial)

I like that one of the WrestleMania theme songs is "Coming Home" by Diddy Dirty Money. It's 62 days away as of Monday.

As they returned from break, the announcers told us that too many people were voting so there was an issue with the WWE App. That's just lovely isn't it?

The World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio made his entrance without Ricardo Rodriguez, who was injured at the hands of Big Show. Cody Rhodes has a t-shirt that has the mustache on it. That's wonderful.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Cody Rhodes

This is non-title. Nice headscissors by Del Rio early on. If you missed it on Smackdown, Rhodes & Damien Sandow ended their team so they can concentrate on their singles careers. Rhodes gave Del Rio a kneebreaker as he aggressively attacked him. Now you can vote on that poll on WWE.com since the App crashed. Del Rio made a comeback with a stiff side kick to the head of Rhodes. Rhodes escaped the Cross Armbreaker and hit a Disaster Kick for a two count. Del Rio came back with the Cross Armbreaker. Rhodes quickly tapped out. The match went four minutes.

Winner: Alberto Del Rio

Analysis: * Last week Rhodes lost in about three minutes to Cena. This week he lost a short match to Del Rio. I want Rhodes to be used better than this. Del Rio's win gives him momentum as the champion.

Del Rio did a promo after the match saying that he knew he used to look down at people, but he knows he was wrong. Del Rio thanked the fans saying he appreciated all their support. All of the fans made him open his eyes and now he's the World Heavyweight Champion. He said Big Show is going to pay for what he did to Ricardo Rodriguez.

Big Show appeared on the video screen. He said he wasn't at the arena. He was at a hotel. Del Rio said Big Show was a coward. Show said it was hard for him to control the rage he has. Show said attacking him doesn't get him what he wants. He said what he wants is a match with Del Rio at the Elimination Chamber. Show told Del Rio to sign the contract and send it over to him. Show told Del Rio to not come to the hotel because if he does he's going to kick his ass. That's basically what he said.

Analysis: The rematch at Elimination Chamber was obvious.

Jerry Lawler stood up with the microphone to reveal the vote for CM Punk's opponent on Raw. The result? Jericho 57%, Orton 30% and Mysterio 13%. Good call.

Later it's MizTV with Paul Heyman as his guest and Cena calls out The Shield.

(Commercial)

Backstage, Kane & Daniel Bryan were arguing. Bryan didn't want Kane to ruin his chances to get in the Elimination Chamber match, so he told Kane to stay back there. Kane said fine.

The story is the Elimination Chamber match would feature former World Champions. Booker said earlier in the show that Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio were in the match. Nobody else is confirmed for it as of yet.

Daniel Bryan vs. Rey Mysterio

This could be awesome if they get time. Bryan countered a headscissors into a move where Bryan put his knees into the gut of Mysterio. Bryan tripped up Mysterio while he was on the top rope and then Bryan missed a charge in the corner. Bryan hit the ring post. He was out on the floor as they went to break two minutes into the match via the vintage floor to commercial spot.

(Commercial)

As they returned from break, Bryan had grounded Mysterio and threw him outside the ring followed by a dropkick. Bryan went for a dive, but Mysterio caught him with a forearm. Mysterio hit a couple of hurricanranas and then a side kick to the head for two. Bryan caught the 619 attempt and went for the No Lock, but Mysterio countered that. Headscissors by Mysterio followed by the 619. Mysterio missed his Drop The Dime top rope splash. Bryan applied the No Lock and Mysterio tapped out after eight minutes of action.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Analysis: *** Good match. Wish it went longer. It's rare for Bryan to get clean wins in singles matches these days, so it was nice to see him get the victory in that manner. I liked how they set up the finish with Mysterio making the comeback and then Bryan was able to outsmart him by using the No Lock to get the win.

All of a sudden, Mark Henry's music started up. He had a shirt that said "Bent on Destruction." Bryan went after him, so Henry threw Bryan into the security wall.

Henry picked up Mysterio and dropped him with a running powerslam. Sin Cara ran out for the save, but Henry caught him and gave him the World's Strongest Slam. He looks angry as if somebody had taken his Kool-Aid. Mysterio tried to come back, so Henry gave him the World's Strongest Slam. Henry said "that ain't enough." Henry hit a back splash off the middle rope onto Mysterio. He was yelling: "That's what I do!"

Analysis: That was awesome. I love angry Mark Henry. Henry was out since last May due to a shoulder surgery. I thought he would return at the Royal Rumble, but they obviously saved it for a week later. I thought it was a great way to bring him back because watching him destroy smaller wrestlers is the perfect way to showcase the power moves in his arsenal. The crowd reacted to him like it was a big deal too, so that's a good thing. My guess is he'll be in the Elimination Chamber match while Mysterio could be out of it.

After it was over, Cole said Henry was the scariest guy in WWE. They plugged CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho later in the show.

(Commercial)

Backstage, Daniel Bryan was mad at Kane for not helping him when Mark Henry attacked. Kane mentioned that Bryan told him to stay in the back. Bryan wanted an apology, so Kane said words hurt and there's nothing more powerful than their friendship. Bryan asked if he meant that. Kane: "Hell no." He laughed and left.

Analysis: That was pretty funny.

There was a replay of the Brock Lesnar attack on Vince McMahon from last week. The injury for Vince is a broken hip with the Cole & Lawler telling us that Vince had hip replacement surgery earlier in the day. He did apparently have the surgery because he needed it, but not because of the Lesnar spot. He just needed it due to other bumps in his life. That took place on Friday, but for storyline sake they said Monday. At least it's not anal bleeding, right Jerry?

Live via satellite, Big Show was on the phone talking to Booker about the contract. It was his food delivery. When the guy wanted a tip, Big Show's tip was to tell him that next time he should get a better job. That's a quality tip.

Sheamus entered the ring before a break.

(Commercial)

Sheamus vs. Kane

They brawled early on and Kane was able to get a sidewalk slam for two. The crowd was pretty quiet during the beginning of this match. Kane took control with the big right hand, which is what most of this offense was to this point. Sheamus hit the Irish Curse Backbreaker followed by a running knee lift and clothesline over the top rope to the floor. Kane fought out of the ten clubbing blows, they countered a lot of signature spots and then Kane hit a nice running DDT. Daniel Bryan showed up on the ring apron asking where Kane was earlier. Kane told him to mind his own business. When Kane turned around he was met with a Brogue Kick by Sheamus, who covered for the victory. It went about four minutes.

Winner: Sheamus

Analysis: *1/4 The match was physical as you'd expect from these two. They didn't go very long. If you're trying to keep track of the relationship between Team Hell No they're back to arguing again after looking as if they had patched up their differences. The story seems to be that the potential of participating in the #1 contender match for the World Title at Elimination Chamber is what is causing this.

Cena calls out The Shield later and MizTV with Paul Heyman is next.

(Commercial)

The Miz welcomed us to MizTV. He said his guest re-introduced Brock Lesnar, who attacked Mr. McMahon. Before he could go on, Paul Heyman walked out with a microphone. Heyman told him to stop and not say another word.

Heyman sent his best wishes to McMahon while Miz called him out for it saying he didn't think it was genuine. Heyman said that he did not know that Lesnar was in Las Vegas or that he would attack McMahon. He said he's sorry that it happened. Miz called Heyman the most committed liar he has met in his entire life. Heyman went on a rant about how CM Punk was screwed out of the title, so Miz pointed out that Heyman was changing the subject. They continued to argue when Vickie Guerrero made her way out.

Vickie said the bickering had to stop. After an "excuse me" of course. She said that Heyman was telling the truth. The reason that Brock Lesnar was there last week was because she signed him to a new contract. By seizing this opportunity she thought it was a chance for her to impress Vince McMahon, so that he would promote her to be permanent GM of Raw. That explanation makes sense to me. She was crying about what happened to McMahon, while the crowd booed her and Heyman consoled her. Heyman said that they should have a moment of silence for Mr. McMahon. Vickie suggested they should all pray for McMahon.

Miz went into his "really" routine as he questioned their sincerity. He pointed out that Heyman has hated McMahon since he crushed his little company (ECW) and Vickie is frustrated that she's not the permanent GM. Miz called them bottom feeders. Vickie said she was the Miz' boss. Miz wondered how long because it's a matter of time before McMahon fires her and Heyman. So McMahon can't fire somebody if he's not on television? Imagine if a real job worked like that where somebody could hurt your boss to prevent you from being fired. Miz called them fat (basically) and mentioned Heyman was a walrus face. Right on cue, Brock Lesnar's music started up.

There was a huge crowd reaction for Lesnar. He made his way down to the ring. Heyman escorted Vickie out of the ring and he had a concerned look on his face. Cole called Lesnar an unpredictable loose cannon. Lesnar stared at The Miz. Heyman was yelling at Miz to "back down." Lesnar gave Miz a clothesline and then threw him out of the ring. Lesnar threw the chairs from the Miz TV set at Miz and then he threw a couch out of the ring. He would be effective if he worked for a moving company. Miz came back into the ring to go after Lesnar. Lesnar drove his knee to the ribs of Miz and then Lesnar gave Miz a F5 to end the segment. Heyman tried to calm Lesnar down by telling him not to do anymore. He was yelling "he's sorry" repeatedly while standing over Miz. Heyman walked up the ramp with Lesnar.

They replayed the Lesnar attack on The Miz. Cole called Lesnar a "merciless assassin." I wonder if that's a clue that he'll be feuding with a "cerebral assassin" soon. Yes he will be.

Analysis: As usual, Heyman was outstanding. Vickie was great in this segment too. Sometimes she's not great in segments like this, but I think Heyman's greatness certainly helped her. Lesnar has such star power and it showed in this segment. He has this aura about him that makes him look scarier than anybody else on the show and the way he's been presented in the last two weeks has been incredible. The show is more exciting when Lesnar is on because he has this unpredictability about him that few people on the roster have. You never know what he's going to do and that makes for excitement every time he appears on the screen. Not only am I a "Paul Heyman Guy," but I'm a Brock Lesnar guy too. I always have been.

(Commercial)

The announcers went over the Lesnar attack on Miz as they reiterated that Vickie Guerrero signed Lesnar to a new contract.

Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett

How many times have we seen this match? A lot. Of course the IC Title is not on the line. We got a replay of Bo Dallas beating Wade Barrett on Raw last week and then Barrett attacking Dallas on Smackdown. I'd expect an IC Title match at the Elimination Chamber PPV. Orton hit a clothesline as Barrett rolled to the floor. Orton drove the back of Barrett into the security wall. Barrett couldn't clothesline Orton over the top so he gave him a suplex and then they did the clothesline spot on the other side of the ring. Good improvisation by both guys there. Cole told a story about how Barrett had a scar on the back of his right triceps that happened during a bare knuckle fighting tournament. He got the scar after he won a tournament and was attacked after the fight. Maybe WWE Films should make a movie about it. Okay I'll just stop. Orton made his big comeback with the clotheslines followed by the powerslam. Orton hit his DDT off the ropes. Barrett came back with the Bossman Slam for two. Barrett missed a running kick in the corner because Orton moved and Orton hit a picture perfect RKO for the victory after six minutes.

Winner: Randy Orton

Analysis: ** It was okay. They've had better matches and longer ones too. We've seen this match many times and most times Orton wins. This builds him up for the Elimination Chamber match while Barrett won't be a part of it. I'm ready for an Orton heel turn. I think he is too.

Rant time. I'm not a fan of how they are booking Barrett. It's the second week in a row where Barrett lost a non-title match. I get they were trying to build up Bo Dallas, so why did they have Barrett lose again on Raw to Orton, which we've seen dozens of times? I realize WWE likes doing this to build up the opponents of Barrett or make it seem like Barrett is vulnerable to losing the title, but if you keep having the champion lose non-title matches then nobody is going to care when he drops the title. Why? Because fans already see him as a loser. If you present your champions as losers then in the end it hurts not only the value of the title, but also the guys competing for it. Silly booking to me. They'll likely do Barrett vs. Dallas at EChamber for the title and Barrett will win, but I don't love how Barrett is being booked.

CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho is next.

(Commercial)

A Fandango video aired with Johnny Curtis. These videos used to air regularly on Raw, then they stopped and now they are back. Make up your damn mind. He didn't ask if he could cut in this time.

There was no Paul Heyman at ringside with CM Punk. Justin Roberts didn't announce Punk as the People's Champ. Fail by Roberts.

Before we get to the match, apparently WWE thought Randy Orton would win the vote to face CM Punk. They did? Jericho's a returning babyface who is getting huge reactions. Orton looks like he's mailing it because he wants to turn heel. If WWE really thought Orton would win they need to pay attention to their audience more than they do.

CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho

They had a chopfest early on. Nice dueling "Y2J/CM Punk" chant in the opening portion of the match. Punk buried a knee to the ribs of Jericho. Punk applied an arm submission and said "ask him" repeatedly. I marked out because that's Jericho's move. Punk wanted a DDT off the middle ropes, but Jericho shoved him off and gave Punk a clothesline over the top rope to the floor. Baseball slide dropkick by Jericho sent Punk into the side of the announce table. Punk countered the Jericho springboard dropkick by dropping Jericho throat first into the top rope. They went to break.

(Commercial)

As they returned from break, Punk was in control as he hit some legdrops to the back of the head of Jericho. Punk missed a springboard clothesline off the top rope because Jericho ducked it. Jericho hit a chop off the top rope followed by a bulldog. Jericho went for the Lionsault, but Punk got his knees up. Punk avoided the Walls of Jericho and Jericho avoided the running knee of Punk. Jericho hit a hurricanrana off the top rope for a two count. You don't see too many 42 year olds hitting moves like that. Jericho looks like he hasn't missed a beat. Punk countered the Lionsault, went for the Go To Sleep, but Jericho countered that into a Walls of Jericho attempt and then each guy got a two count. Awesome swinging neckbreaker by Punk for two. Punk hit his running knee in the corner followed by a clothesline instead of the usual bulldog. To the top, Punk took his time before dropping the Flying Elbow and of course Jericho moved. Jericho connected with a Lionsault for two. Punk hit a roundhouse kick to Jericho's head for two. That was a good nearfall. Punk applied the Anaconda Vice, but Jericho made it to the ropes with his right hand. The crowd was chanting "this is awesome" so Punk goes: "Oh first it was overrated. Sit down marks!" Jericho went to the top rope, Punk tripped him up and he went for the GTS, but Jericho turned it into the Walls of Jericho. Huge pop for that! The crowd was really hot now. Punk got to the ropes. Punk countered the Walls again by driving Jericho into the middle turnbuckle. Punk threw Jericho into the steel post. Jericho bounced back right into Punk's arms and the Go To Sleep connected for Punk as he won the match after 16 minutes.

Winner: CM Punk

At the end of the match you could see a doctor in the ring with Punk checking on him. I'm not sure if he's hurt or not. Didn't look like anything serious. Maybe his head hurt from all of the times they plugged the WWE App during the show? My head hurt!

Analysis: **** That's four stars out of five. You don't see matches like that on television too often. Outstanding match. Best of the year on television so far. Of course their chemistry was amazing because they wrestled so much last year and it had a freshness to it because we haven't seen them in a match in a long time either. I'm glad they were given nearly 20 minutes of in ring time because it allowed them to tell a great story. There were many believable nearfalls, but I think everybody watching knew that Punk was going to get the win as he should have. I'm a huge fan of both guys. Two of my ten favorite wrestlers ever. I'm not just talking about right now, but all time too. Jericho looks like hasn't missed a beat and Punk is the two time Wrestler of the Year in my opinion. I absolutely loved this match.

They aired the video for the next inductee for the WWE Hall of Fame as Cole said he was arguably the greatest of all time. It was Bruno Sammartino. The story came out on ESPN.com earlier in the day. He was the biggest star in the 1960s and 1970s with an eight year title reign as WWWF Champion. He also headlined 187 sellout shows in Madison Square Garden. That's a huge accomplishment. They have been trying to get him in the Hall of Fame for many years. Apparently Triple H pleaded with him relentlessly for years and they finally got the deal done this year likely because MSG was so special to Bruno.

In the video they had many people talking about him including Cena, who said Sammartino was his dad's favorite performer and his grandpa too. I'm the same way. He was before my time (I'm 32), but both of my oldest uncles used to tell me about how great he was. I've seen some matches over the years and you can just tell by the crowd reaction how popular he was. It's kind of like how I didn't see Babe Ruth or Willie Mays play baseball, but I know they're among the best ever. I never saw Elvis Presley or the Beatles in their prime. But I know they're among the best musicians ever. It's the same with Bruno in wrestling. Nobody deserves it more than him and I'm sure it will be an honor for him to be inducted in MSG. He's 77 years old, by the way, and as far as I know he's in good health too. I hope he enjoys it with his family.

Speaking of the Hall of Fame, here's a poll. Vote now!

Cena calls out The Shield later.

(Commercial)

Backstage, Matt Striker asked Punk where his head is at right now. Punk said he's mad that The Rock is walking around with something that belongs to him. He said that every day he proves he's the best in the world and at Elimination Chamber he'll prove it again.

There was a video package showing The Rock's victory at the Royal Rumble last week. In the video they showed some websites, newspapers and television shows that covered The Rock's title win.

Backstage, Josh Mathews asked John Cena why he would call out The Shield. Cena said that at WrestleMania he'll face the WWE Champion. Cena said that now he's back and they're in the middle of whoop ass season. That's why he's going to call out The Shield. Last week The Shield pushed, so tonight he pushes back.

Analysis: That was a promo to hype up a main event promo later in the show. That actually happened.

(Commercial)

Back at the hotel, Big Show still had a plate of food. He was on the phone wondering if the guy was coming with the contract. Knock on the door, cut scene and Big Show opened the door. The courier delivered the contract and he was trying to tell Show something, but Show kept cutting him off. Show signed the contract and put it back in the envelope. Show opened the door and Alberto Del Rio was standing there. They brawled in the hallway of the hotel. Show threw Del Rio into a wall. Del Rio recovered by spraying Show in the face with a fire extinguisher and then he hit Show in the left arm with the fire extinguisher to knock him down. Show sold it as if it knocked him out because he was out on the floor. Del Rio told a random guy in an elevator that his friend had some bad Mexican food. Good comedy? I guess. Del Rio went into the elevator as Show was still knocked out.

Analysis: It was okay. It had its cheesy moments, but not that bad. The second rematch at Elimination Chamber is a go. I'm not sure if they will have a stipulation on the match. We might find that out on Smackdown this week. I expect Del Rio to walk into WrestleMania as the World Champion.

Back in the arena, Brad Maddox was in the ring. Is he still not employed or is that ridiculous storyline over? Maddox said last week we saw that he was manipulated by Paul Heyman to help CM Punk beat Ryback. He called himself an up and coming superstar that Heyman used. Maddox said he was glad that it was all out there and that he was an innocent victim. Is this a Manti Te'o parody? Google it if you don't know. Maddox said that in a very weird way he is the hero of the story and that he is the one that is going to call out The Shield. He said "Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns - justice awaits you." He said "justice awaits you in the way that Bane said in the most recent Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises.

The music of The Shield started up as Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns entered the arena through the crowd. Ambrose called Maddox a rat and he said that nobody ever said that justice was free. Rollins wondered if Maddox understood the concept of justice. Rollins said justice is The Shield putting a fame hungry weasel like Maddox in his place. Reigns said that last time it was business, but tonight they're going to enjoy this "little tiny man." I think he meant "tiny little man" although I don't know. Maddox tried to fight them, but that wasn't successful. They beat down Maddox, Reigns yelled loudly and they gave Maddox the Three Man Powerbomb.

That brought out John Cena. His music started to play. He didn't have to call out The Shield because they were in the ring. Cena wasn't on the ramp. He entered through the crowd where The Shield usually enters. Then Ryback entered through the crowd to his music. Then Sheamus also entered through the crowd to his music. The Shield ran up the ramp, but when they got there many superstars on the roster were standing there.

Cena, Ryback & Sheamus entered the ring. Lawler: "Come at me bro." That was a little awkward. They started brawling in the ring. All we got were punches and kicks. Rollins, Reigns & Ambrose ended up getting out of the ring and leaving through the crowd. I thought there was no way to escape? The guys on the ramp weren't very helpful after all. It's nice of the babyfaces to realize they should work together against these guys. Only took a few months after TLC. The show ended with Cena, Sheamus & Ryback celebrating in the ring even though they really didn't do much except cause The Shield to retreat.

Analysis: That was a decent show ending segment although it wasn't great by any means. My initial reaction to it was to say: "That's it?" I thought more would happen. They should have had everybody run into the ring and kick The Shield's ass together. I guess by having The Shield escape through the crowd it doesn't make them look that weak, which has been an ongoing thing for them. I do like that aspect of it, so it should be okay in the long run.

What's next for The Shield and the Cena, Sheamus, Ryback trio? I told you last week in the Raw Deal: "The likely result of all of this is a six man match in the Elimination Chamber with Cena, Ryback & Sheamus taking on The Shield. It would give the Elimination Chamber a Wargames type of feel in that it would be a tag match rather than a singles match. Nothing is official yet, but that seems to be where this is headed."

One week later nothing is still official, but it's obvious that is where they are going with this. I thought they would announce it on this show because next week's Raw is the last one before Elimination Chamber. It would be the second biggest match on the card and it's not official yet. I guess it's not that big of a deal in the long run, but I wish WWE did a better job of promoting undercard matches.

Three Stars of the Show

1. CM Punk - Terrific match.

2. Chris Jericho - Same as above.

3. Mark Henry - Welcome back, big guy.

The Scoreboard

6.5 out of 10

Last week: 5

2013 Average: 5.6

2013 High: 7 (January 7)

2013 Low: 3.5 (January 28)

Last 5 Weeks: 3.5, 5, 6, 7, 4.5

Final Thoughts

The 6.5 out of 10 is the second highest of the year. I liked the January 7 show better thanks to those awesome Ziggler vs. Cena and Punk vs. Ryback matches, plus the return of The Rock that night. Clearly those two have been the best episodes of Raw this year.

The Rock wasn't there. We knew that going in, but I have no idea if people in the arena knew about it. I'm guessing some were upset by the lack of the WWE Champion making his presence felt in Atlanta.

I was surprised by the lack of Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee & Big E Langston. I didn't think that would happen, but as of now we don't know if Ziggler's going to even have a match at Elimination Chamber. That would be a mistake if they left him off the card.

I wasn't a fan of both Antonio Cesaro and Wade Barrett losing non-title matches in convincing fashion. It happens way too often. That makes the champions look weak. It also devalues the titles they're holding.

The first hour of the show had way too much filler and far too many instances where they mentioned the WWE App. It was very annoying. Then of course the App crashed when they told people to vote. That made me chuckle a bit.

We'll bring it home with a pic that WWE's Twitter account posted of Vince McMahon in the hospital. The hip surgery is legit although it wasn't caused by a Brock Lesnar attack. He just needed it because after years of taking bumps, I guess. The surgery was on Friday. He was backstage at Raw on crutches. Here's the pic of Vince with his middle finger blurred out. He's a grandpa! Classy!

"So Vince, let's have a look to see if that anal bleeding has stopped." I'll never forget about the anal bleeding diagnosis after Mark Henry attacked Jerry Lawler.

-----------------

I wrote a column about the Super Bowl with my ten thoughts on Sunday's big game and the win by the Baltimore Ravens. It was fun even though I got my pick wrong.

Keep visiting us at TJRWrestling.com for reviews and columns relating to the world of wrestling. We have new posts up all day every day so check back daily to keep up to date with everything going on in the wresting business.

I'll have a new column up about one of WWE's newest Hall of Famers probably on Thursday. Then a live Raw Deal next Monday most likely.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

John Canton - [email protected]

TJRWrestling.com and TJRSports.com

Twitter @johnreport

Personal Facebook and TJRWrestling.com on Facebook



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