Monday Night Raw
March 18, 2013
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

-After a video package recapping last week, we head right into Pittsburgh and out comes the #1 contender for the WWE Title, John Cena. He’s debuting another ugly t-shirt. This one bright yellow with with the “Never Give Up” crap on the front. He comments on the split crowd, like that’s something new. He has a message for all the Rock fans, and it’s the same message he gave the Rock a few weeks ago. His time is up, and our time is now. Sounds like a campaign slogan. He’s focused and ready for Wrestlemania. Cena is interrupted by the Primetime Players. Titus O’Neil is wearing a big afro wig and overalls, and he says his name is Rufus “Pancake” Patterson. What in God’s name is this? These guys are funny, but I’m not getting the whole point of this. Cena’s doing his usual un-funny crap. Cena says they’re funny but their timing is off. Theres other things to discuss. The Players say they don’t want to see Cena at Wrestlemania, they want to see the PT Players. Darren Young can eliminate the Cena problem, and he’ll be sitting on the ramp crying like last year’s Wrestlemania.

MATCH: Darren Young vs. John Cena
-This is pretty much a glorified squash, as Cena is doing all the business. Even with a commercial break Cena has been pretty much done all the work. He hits all his moves blah blah blah, and wins with the AA.

-Cole tells us Undertaker will return tonight to deal with CM Punk.

-We get a recap from Smackdown with Ryback/Mark Henry, and the Shield.

MATCH: David Otunga vs. Ryback
-This is Otunga’s first match in a while. He went off to be in “The Call”. Ryback is punishing Jennifer Hudson’s hubby. Vicious clotheslines and spinebusters. Ryback wins easily with Shell Shock.

-Ryback takes the mike and says he, Orton and Sheamus will tear the Shield apart, and before that he will cross paths with Mark Henry again. With that, Henry’s music hits and he heads down to the ring. However both Vickie G. and Teddy Long stop him. Vickie takes Ryback out of the six-man tag team match and it will officially be Ryback vs. Mark Henry April 7. FINALLY! The match I’ve been waiting for is set. Two big hosses.

-Tonight, the contract signing between Triple H and Brock Lesnar.

-Fandango is supposed to debut tonight, but he won’t.

-The stage is all tinseled and Fandango actually is coming down to the ring first, so maybe it will happen.

MATCH: Fandango vs. Great Khali
-Wow he has the lit silhouette of his stance, like the “SID” sign in 1996-97. How is Khali still wrestling? He can barely walk down the ramp. He just called Khali “stretch”. Haha that was funny. Fandango wants Natalya to say his name. He called her a Canadian “slice of heaven”. Natalya was entranced for a moment, but Khali goes after him and Fandango runs off. So, I guess there won’t be a match, again. This is honestly getting tiresome. They’ll either wait until the night of Wrestlemania or the night after Wrestlemania.

MATCH: R-Truth vs. Damien Sandow
-Sandow quotes Thoreau. SILENCE! R-Truth does his own poetry, and it’s about getting got. They go back and forth and then out of nowhere Sandow walks away and loses by countout. That was odd. Sandow really should have won this match. Silly booking there.

-Backstage The Bellas are with Cody Rhodes, when Kaitlyn comes over and says to Cody that something came up and they can’t hang out tonight. The Bellas blow her off but Cody’s bummed. Why did they hire these idiots back? Oh yeah, because two top flight superstars are boning them.

-We return from break, and the gong goes off. Through the smoke and flames walks Mr. 20-0 himself. Taker gets his own cool name plate at the bottom complete with purple smoke. That’s respect. He says that CM Punk sealed his fate last week, and April 7 Taker will hurt him and hurt him bad. Punk has one chance to save his soul and that’s to give the urn back. Suddenly we hear a terrible Paul Bearer impersonation and there’s CM Punk with the urn. He says the urn talks and he says even a countout or DQ is a loss. Punk says Taker is the Best in the World at Wrestlemania, but he is the Best in the World period. Punk says he is the only one who can shoulder the burden of breaking the streak. He plays with the urn and drops it. He leaves Taker speechless. Wow. Incredible.

-Later tonight we’ll get inductee #6 into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2013. The class is already awesome, so it doesn’t matter to me who it is.

MATCH: Team Hell No vs. Primo & Epico
-Why not make this a title match so the belts actually mean something? What was some promise in the tag division has been taken away. The match is typical TV fare with Kane apparently wrestling angry over all this Taker/Punk stuff. Out of nowhere AJ comes down mid-match. The champs end up winning with Kane chokeslamming Epico. AJ’s got that slutty look on her face, and skips away. No idea what that’s about. Rumors are Team Hell No will defend the straps at Mania against Dolph and Big E. We’ll see.

-Backstage Josh is with Y2J, who says he is the Intercontinental Champion of all time. 9 time winner, and he wants to head to Mania with momentum. All of a sudden, there’s Fandango standing there. He says his name a few times, and Jericho makes fun of his name with some awesome ones like Fan-Bingo Was His Name-O. Fandango isn’t smiling. Well, we have a ready-made feud. Ha, Jericho asks for movie tickets, making fun of the Fandango website.

-We have a piece on Natalya and Alicia Fox’s trip to Rwanda.

MATCH: Cody Rhodes vs. Alberto Del Rio
-They say Del Rio isn’t getting over, but he’s wrestling literally every week busting his ass. Clearly they’re wrong. When was the last time Rock was on TV? Del Rio has a new re-mixed version of his theme, seems like its been babyfaced up. Cody continues his trend of working fairly aggressively in his TV matches, even in losses. Del Rio spends every match setting up for a big reversal off the ropes, like a reverse superplex. Both guys go back and forth for a bit with some good quick action, but eventually Del Rio snaps off the armbar and wins.

-After the bell Jack Swagger runs down and attacks Del Rio from behind. Del Rio tries to fight back and they brawl out onto the floor. Ricardo tried to interfere but got thrown to the floor. Del Rio goes after Zeb Colter but Swagger cracks him with a forearm to the face, then throws Del Rio into the steel steps. Del Rio is then thrown into the broadcast table. Swagger and Colter were going to leave but they turn and Swagger give Ricardo the Patriot Lock. Finally Swagger feels like a legit #1 contender now.

-We now get inductee #6 into the WWE Hall of Fame. It’s our own Smackdown GM, Booker T. He deserves it. 5x WCW Champion, World Champion. What a night April 6 at Madison Square Garden.

MATCH: Randy Orton & Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre & Heath Slater
-Haven’t Orton & Sheamus beaten these guys up enough? Couldn’t they come up with another team to take on? We’re really just waiting for this match to end and the Shield to come out. Orton pins Slater with the RKO for the win.

-As expected, here comes The Shield coming through the crowd. As they surround the ring, down the ramp comes the Big Show. He gets in the ring to help two guys he doesn’t trust and vice-versa. The Shield stalk for a bit, then bug off. There’s your official six-man tag match for Wrestlemania.

-We get a video piece on GI Joe: Retaliation.

-We’re 20 days away from Wrestlemania.

MATCH: Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler
-This should be a pretty good match. We haven’t seen Kofi in a while, well it seems like it’s been a while. A pretty solid TV match with both guys going full speed, but in the end after some outside interference Dolph hits the Zig Zag to win the match.

-The World Tag Team Champions come out of nowhere and challenge Dolph and Big E. for the World Tag Team Titles at Wrestlemania. We get a rare YES YES chant from Daniel Bryan. So we have TWO matches added for the Mania card.

-We get that Rock-Cena package AGAIN.

-Wow, a secondary title match? Don’t remember these, they’re actually booked? Of course this was scheduled last week, I’m just being facetious. We’ll see how this works in a short time span with three fairly solid workers. Well two fairly solid, and an awesome worker. The match goes the way most triple threats do, with each of the three pairs having a few minutes to work together. Then we get the triple superplex. Or I guess it’s a double superplex. At one point Miz gets the Figure Four on Barrett, but Jericho hits a Lionsault on Miz while he’s in the move for a 2 count. Jericho gets the Walls on Barrett, but we get some sweet reversals from Miz and Jericho while Barrett is backdropped out to the floor but he returns. Miz and Jericho get a nice sequence late. I can’t remember if they’ve ever had a solid TV or PPV match. It’s become Miz vs. Jericho with Barrett continuously thrown out of the ring. Miz hits the Skull-Crushing Finale, but Barrett comes out of nowhere to roll Miz up for the 3 count. That was pretty good, and I think with PPV time it would be even better.

-We get a glimpse of “The Call” Premiere, followed by some touts from fans on what the Triple H/Brock Lesnar stipulation will be.

-Back to the ring which is set in the customary contract signing set-up, and now it’s TIME TO PLAY THE GAME. Triple H comes out to a raucous ovation. Paul Heyman comes down the ramp with security guys. Hunter wonders where Brock is, but Paul says really all the pressure is on HHH. Either accept your fate or disappoint everybody. It’s simple, according to Paul. Sign the contract, you get the stipulations. Paul is milking this, as while he’s holding the contract we get highlights from 3 weeks ago when Triple H attacked
Lesnar and busted him open. Paul says Triple H will be blindfolded at Wrestlemania! Nah. Only Jake Roberts and Rick Martel can do that. No, Triple H will be cuffed and shackled! Nah, that will lead to excuses. Paul says the stipulation is…the winner gets Stephanie! But that’s not personal enough, because the loser should get Stephanie. Triple H snaps and beats Heyman down, then he beats up the security humps. Triple H returns the favor of waiting to sign it and he smacks Heyman around on the contract table. This is great. I’m enjoying this. Triple H finally signs the contract. He throws Heyman out of the ring. Brock’s music hits, the Beast comes out and he has a chair. Triple H grabs the equalizer, and it’s the sledgehammer. Brock and Heyman back up the ramp. Paul says the beating was worth it to sign the contract, because the stipulation will be No Holds Barred. So in essence it’s a street fight. Paul almost forgot, the last stipulation, is that Triple H’s career will be up. That cinches it, Brock is winning.

SCOTT’S TAKE: That was a fun Raw and very informative as we have some more matches for Wrestlemania. However, it seems that at Wrestlemania, I will see the final match of may favorite wrestler.

Scott’s Raw Top 5:
1) The Rock
2) John Cena
3) Wade Barrett
4) Team Hell No
5) Ryback