Monday Night Raw
March 4, 2013
Buffalo, New York
Old School

By Scott Criscuolo

Oh yeah!!! We get the awesome 1985-87 Signature! This will be a great night. We have the old school graphics from USA’s formative years and we’re LIVE in Buffalo. No wasting time tonight and the DEADMAN IS BACK. Our Raw set is a hybrid of 1995 and 1997, with the original Titantron and the big RAW letters. The Undertaker comes down the ramp in his new gear. I was expecting the cut off shirt and the purple gloves.

-We have our Raw open, and it’s the iconic awesome Raw open from 1993 with new and old superstars in it. The original siren sound and the cheap pyrotechnics. This is awesome. I’ll say that a lot tonight. Wow old table, Lawler has his 1995 outfit on, and Cole has the old Bruno/Vince mustard yellow 1985 blazer on. The FORMER WWE Champion CM Punk comes down the aisle (not ramp), one week after the epic loss to John Cena. USA Network should have gone along with it and did the old school red letters for the bug. Punk says he should be main eventing Wrestlemania and it should be his title. Oh, old school mike flags. He says the fans screwed him and he shouldn’t even be at Wrestlemania if he’s not in the main event. And then…he said it. He will do what no one else ever did. He will defeat the Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Everybody glosses over the 434 day title reign, but Undertaker’s mere 20-0 streak is so almighty. The record everybody should remember is…20-1. With that the voices are heard, and out comes Randy Orton, who is one of Undertaker’s 20 ‘Mania victims. He says Punk shouldn’t be so confident. He says he came “this close” to defeating Undertaker 8 years ago in Los Angeles. Orton asks the WWE Universe who they would rather see face Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Next up is another statistic of Undertaker’s streak: Big Show comes out. He lost to Undertaker 10 years ago in Seattle. He says neither of them has what it takes to face Undertaker, let alone beat him. Wow people are getting in line as Sheamus comes down the aisle. He’s never faced Taker at Wrestlemania. So pretty much anybody who’s not in a match at Wrestlemania is lining up. Sheamus says he’s never faced the Deadman, so it’s his turn. The segment gets ruined by Vickie Guerrero. She babbles about the legacy created by beating the Deadman. So who gets the shot? Tonight there will be a fatal four-way match between these four and the winner gets the shot at the Deadman April 7 in New Jersey.

-They’re interspersing all the Raw beds into the bumps, from 1993 to 1998. Once again, this is awesome.

MATCH: Antonio Cesaro vs. Ryback
-We haven’t seen this match in a month or so. Since it’s old school, we get the excellent inset interviews. It’s Raw, with a little taste of Superstars thrown in there. Cesaro even looks old school without the thigh bands and no tape or knee pads. Ryback is kicking the crap out of him. The referees have the 80’s blue shirt/bow tie combo this evening. Cesaro almost got the Neutralizer up but Ryback reversed it into the Shell Shock for the win. Just give him the US Title.

-Whoa, as Ryback goes up the aisle, out comes Mark Henry. Oh yeah, I’m ready for this at Wrestlemania. Two big time hosses going all out. Mark Henry walks by but they’re eyeballing each other.

MATCH: Mark Henry vs. Zack Ryder
Poor Broski. Nothing more than fodder. Yes!!! There’s a Hacksaw Jim Duggan tweet at the bottom of the screen, and there’s a MISSPELLING! Ugh, that guy should not have a phone to do anything with. Oh, and this was an ugly squash. Henry wins easily. Book it, Henry vs. Ryback at Wrestlemania. Hoss heaven right there.

Fan…dan….go will make his debut later tonight after blowing it off this past Friday.

MATCH: The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler
-The mike isn’t working, maybe it needs wires. Miz brings out, oh yes…THE MAN. Ric Flair comes out to his usual awesome ovation. We need some Koko B. Ware sightings tonight. The aprons are like the old 1991-1994 Superstars/Challenge shows. At least when they do this, they don’t half ass it. We have red-white-blue ropes and the old blue turnbuckles with the logos. This has been a pretty good match with quick back and forth action. Maybe Freddie Joe Floyd or Barry O will come back for an old school squash. Maybe Iron Mike Sharpe. Heel interference led to Big E. Langston clotheslining The Miz. Flair tries to get some chops in on Big E. but to no effect. Miz baseball slides him, and eventually cranks the Figure Four and Dolph sadly taps out. More losses piling up for Mr. MITB.

-For the first time in a week, we get an appearance from our WWE Champion. The Rock comes out to a huge ovation. He’s carrying the new belt, but maybe to go with our theme tonight he should be carrying the Attitude Globe belt. Rock says he’s fresh back from Central America where it’s hot as hell every day. He was excited to be here on Raw. He goes on his usual promo rant and the “FINALLY” line, and then out comes our #1 contender. John Cena comes down the aisle. If anything from these two will be like last year I may be sick. Last year’s promos were horrendous. He says last year he needed to win that match at Wrestlemania, and he failed. The Rock has never failed so he doesn’t know what it means. The “Cena Sucks” chants are louder than normal. Cena says he had a pretty awful year after that loss and now he has gotten a second chance at redemption and he will not throw it away. Rock is happy to see a John Cena with passion, but what matters to Cena, matters much more to Rock. Cena quotes Mike Tyson and says he’s jumped every hurdle except this one. Cena says Rock’s time is up and his time is now. Rock quotes Lance Armstrong and says both he and Cena are full of crap. This promo isn’t bad, but honestly isn’t great. Rock ends with his line, but see this is where Cena should deck him or hit the AA. He won’t, he’ll stand there like a chump. We all know he’s winning, so in the whole scope of things, who really cares about this build?

-We rewind to earlier when the Undertaker came out to start the show. He actually walked HALFWAY down the aisle, just wanted to clarify.

MATCH: Jack Swagger vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
-Ugh, I just threw up in my mouth. Duggan comes out with Sgt. Slaughter and Dusty Rhodes. Dusty and Slaughter look great. Duggan looks like he slept under the Glens Falls bus station bench. Swagger starts by beating the shit out of all 3 of them with Duggan’s 2×4. Yeah, that’s what I wanted to see. Highlight of the night. Then he puts the Patriot Lock on Duggan’s decrepit leg. Snap it Swagger, snap it!!! Sorry Dusty and the Sarge, but it’s guilty by association. You hang out with losers, you pay the price.

-Marine 3: Homefront comes out Tuesday on DVD/Blu-Ray.

-Backstage Jack Swagger is with Josh Matthews but Alberto Del Rio blindsides him and a brawl breaks out.

-Ted DiBiase, “The Million Dollar Man” is at ringside with the Primetime Players.

MATCH: Team Hell No vs. Primetime Players
-This is the third meeting in a week, with each team scoring a win. This time we have no weird gimmicks, and it’s a straight up match. I wonder if this will lead to the Primetime Players winning the straps eventually. Well probably not as Kane chokeslams Darren Young for the win.

-DiBiase goes old school and sticks a c-note into Darren Young’s gullet. Daniel Bryan then steals it.

-Brodus Clay and Tensai come out. Tensai is dressed as Brodus as his name is “Sweet T”. I think he should be Hip Hop Hippo again. Another legend comes out and its Honky Tonk Man. It was in this city on June 2, 1987 when he defeated Ricky Steamboat to win the Intercontinental Title. 3MB are in the ring and Heath Slater says no one wants to hear Honky sing. He leaves the ring.

MATCH: Sweet T & Brodus Clay vs. Drew McIntyre & Heath Slater
-The match is about :30 long as Tensai rolls up Drew for the win.

-They dance and then they bring Honky back in and everybody dances. Heath Slater comes back in to complain and promptly gets crushed with the guitar.

-Last week Wade Barrett attended the premiere of “Dead Man Down”.

MATCH: Kofi Kingston vs. Fandango
-Fandango starts giving Justin Roberts crap about not saying his name right. He once again holds his debut hostage. No match.

-We go back to last week’s Raw when Triple H and Brock Lesnar brawled to open the show. Back live and we’re joined by THE GAME. Triple H comes out to address the issue that is Brock Lesnar. This is his first time with a mike in his hand since last summer when he thought he might be done. He did his day job as COO but he was still hangin’ and bangin’ in the gym. He talks about the family that was crying at Vince’s bedside after hip surgery. Triple H had found his goal. That goal was to get back at Brock Lesnar. If Brock thought Summerslam was it, feel the 18 staples on your head. Triple H says it’s 34 days to the Big Dance. So he’s calling Lesnar out for April 7 in New Jersey. He called himself The King of Kings for the first time in ages. That felt good.

-The Shield had a recorded message for the participants of the Fatal Four Way. They say Undertaker’s streak is nothing compared to their streak. Good luck to the guys in their match.

MATCH: Wade Barrett vs. Alberto Del Rio
-A few minutes into the match Swagger and Dirty Dutch come down the aisle. We’ve already seen Cesaro lose, will the other secondary champ lose too? Del Rio does a sweet armbar over the top rope and hangs. Eventually Swagger taps to the Arm Bar. More staring between Swagger and the Champ.

-We have another Zeb Swagger You Tube video.

-Old School continues with my favorite Attitude Era tag team, the New Age Outlaws. Billy, get a haircut.

MATCH: New Age Outlaws vs. Primo & Epico
-Seriously? This will be fun. Cole actually discusses the origin of the NAO, when Billy Gunn was “Rockabilly”. I’m impressed. The Outlaws may as well come out of retirement, they look better than a bevy of the current teams. Billy pins Primo with the Fame-asser. Shit they really should come out of retirement.

-We get some Touts about the Undertaker.

-We’re at the top of the aisle and Mean Gene Okerlund comes out to honor Mae Young with her 90th birthday and a gigantic birthday cake. Wow the Primetime Players have old Raw is War t-shirts on. Mean Gene leads a chorus of Happy Birthday. Then we get one of the most awesome heel moments ever, when CM Punk’s music hits and Punk just walks right through the crowd. That was awesome.

-34 days PTB Nation…34 days.

CM Punk vs. Big Show vs. Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
-The Shield will get involved, setting up two ‘Mania matches here. Punk-Taker and a six-man tag war. Everybody has had their shot so far, particularly Big Show. At one point Punk gets knocked out by Big Show. But he can’t get the pin because Sheamus starts brawling. Punk is outside the ring. Sheamus actually got Big Show up for White Noise and hit it, but Show kicks out at 2. This match has been good, but nothing blowaway. Sheamus Brogue Kicks Big Show, then Orton RKO’s Sheamus, then Punk comes back and hits the GTS for the win. CM Punk wins and now can cement his legacy in 34 days when the Deadman goes for 21-0.

-Of course the gong goes off, and there’s the Deadman coming through the RAW letters. They glare at each other and we’re out.

SCOTT’S TAKE: A fun three hours of Old School. More importantly though we actually have some matches added for Wrestlemania. Sure Triple H/Lesnar isn’t official, but it’s happening. The four-way was standard, and honestly no standout matches tonight, but overall a fun show complete with the old school touches.

Scott’s Raw Top 5:
1) The Rock
2) John Cena
3) Wade Barrett
4) CM Punk
5) The Shield