WWE Raw Report CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 2/28: Complete "virtual time" coverage of live Raw - Cena vs. Riley cage main event, HBK & Hunter & The Rock appear on Raw
Feb 28, 2011 - 10:15:13 PM
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WWE Raw Results
February 28, 2011 - Episode #926
Live from Buffalo, N.Y.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
During the USA Network cut-in five minutes before Raw, Jerry Lawler and Josh Mathews were notably on the call previewing The Rock responding to John Cena and Triple H's official TV return.
Raw started with a wide shot of the arena and Josh Mathews's voice introducing the show. Pause. Cue up Triple H's theme music to start the show. Hunter walked out on-stage dressed in a leather jacket and jeans. Hunter marched to the ring before they cut to Lawler and Mathews ringside commenting on no words being spoken between Hunter and The Undertaker last week on Raw. Mathews said the match is official for WrestleMania in 34 days. A graphic flashed on the screen making it official. The announcers seemed to be lost on whether to stay quiet or comment while Hunter completed his intro.
After playing to the crowd and tossing his jacket aside, Hunter eventually settled into the ring and surveyed various "18-1" vs. "19-0" crowd signs. Hunter smiled and walked around the ring, continuing to milk his first words. Pause for a "Triple H" chant. Hunter finally spoke: "It's good to see you, too." Hunter said he's achieved every accolade and every championship. "13 times WWE champion," Hunter said. He said he started DX with Shawn Michaels. With Ric Flair, Evolution. He's been hated and loved. He's defeated Icons, Legends, Immortals...done it all. 16 years. Hunter said it seems like yesterday. He said he's outlasted everyone in WWE...except for one...The Deadman.
Hunter said Taker has been referred to as the Last Outlaw, but there are two remaining. He said they're very much alike. When you look around in the locker room, there are no challenges left. Hunter said the only thing keeping Taker going is The Streak. He said the only true challenge Taker has left is him. (Hunter kept calling him "Dead Man" rather than Taker.) Hunter said looking around the locker room, the only real challenge he has left is ending The Streak. He pointed to the WM27 sign and said it will happen.
Hunter told "Dead Man" that they will define an era. "The Last Two will meet," he said before pausing. "On that night, Dead Man, nothing else will matter. There can be only one. Dead Man, at WrestleMania, you have only one thing left. And it's The Streak. And when it dies, you die." Hunter said at WrestleMania, he only has one thing left: The Streak. "And if I can't end it, then I'll die trying." Hunter's music hit to wrap up his promo. He started posing as Lawler talked briefly.
Suddenly, Sheamus's music hit. Hunter smirked as Sheamus made his way to the ring. Sheamus slowly entered the ring and Hunter abruptly met him with a knee to the groin. Hunter rolled his neck as Mathews noted Sheamus put Hunter out for months. Hunter then dumped Sheamus to the outside and pounded on him with right hand strikes. He followed by ramming Sheamus shoulder-first into the ringpost, then over the guardrail to the feet of the timekeeper.
Hunter brought Sheamus back to ringside and placed him on the announce table. Hunter set up Sheamus for a Pedigree, pointed to the WM27 sign, and dropped Sheamus through the table with the Pedigree. Hunter casually stood up, puffed out his chest, and did his classic pose over Sheamus's fallen body. Cue up Hunter's music again. He looked up at the WM27 sign again as Lawler said he doesn't think Taker's Streak has ever been in more jeopardy than it is right now. Hunter posed again as Lawler asked Mathews, "What do we do with him (Sheamus)?" PYB (3): 8:40.
Raw tonight: Lawler announced Shawn Michaels will speak out on Taker-Hunter. Also, Michael Cole will address Lawler's challenge for WrestleMania. Also, The Rock will have a video message from home responding to John Cena. Lawler's audio cut out as graphics flashed on the screen plugging Rock.
Moments Ago: Mathews and Lawler recapped Sheamus taking the Pedigree from Hunter. Lawler said Sheamus was supposed to have a match, but he came out too early to gloat in Hunter's face.
Ringside: Back live, referees were helping Sheamus to his feet at the announce table. Sheamus sold that he was out on his feet. Suddenly, the Raw GM buzzed. Lawler said he's always wanted to do this. After a "Jerry, Jerry," chant, Lawler stepped to the podium and mocked Cole's intro. Lawler looked down at the podium script to "read an email." Sheamus's match is still going on tonight. Against this man...Justin Roberts said this man is making his return...Cue up Evan Bourne's theme music. Bourne made his way to the ring to a strong ovation as Sheamus was dragged into the ring.
1 -- EVAN BOURNE vs. SHEAMUS
The bell sounded and Bourne smashed Sheamus with a corner dropkick. Bourne followed with a spin kick before going straight to the top. Bourne set up for the Air Bourne and connected flush. Bourne with the cover and it was good for a three count. The crowd popped as Bourne waved to the crowd and smiled.
WINNER: Bourne at 0:35. Sheamus gets two for the price of one, and Bourne looked good in victory. It was what it needed to be for Bourne, but Sheamus is on the wrong road to Mania right now.
Post-match: Justin Roberts asked for attention. He then introduced the Voice of WWE, Michael Cole. Bourne chuckled to himself as Cole walked out on-stage and saluted the crowd. They cut to a shot of Jerry Lawler grimacing. Bourne eventually left the ring in the background as Cole slowly walked over to what was left of the announce table. Cole surveyed the damage and addressed Lawler, but no one could hear him. "Pick up a microphone!" someone ringside shouted. They faded to break. Production is all off so far tonight.
Smackdown plug: The Last of the Outlaws is back. Undertaker is going to WrestleMania, but first, this Friday, Undertaker returns to Smackdown. Plus, the contract signing between Edge and Alberto Del Rio for WrestleMania.
[Commercial Break. Makes you wonder what Cole and Lawler did for three minutes during the break. Greg Parks just texted the answer live at the taping. During the break, Cole got in the ring like he was going to talk, then just left, and walked to the back.]
In-ring: Back from break, Michael Cole was back in the ring. Cole addressed "Lawler," telling him he wants to do this man-to-man. The announcers had a new announce table, of note. Cole told Lawler to "get off his butt" and face him in the ring. Lawler dropped the headsets and entered the ring while Cole noted Lawler cannot touch him. Cole said the GM's decree implies they will both be fired if they touch each other, but if Lawler strikes him, Lawler is fired.
[Q3] Lawler slipped into the ring and Cole asked Lawler if he really thought he was intimidated last week. Cole said there is no one on this earth that has more guts than he does. Lawler shot him an eyebrow, then shook his head. Cole smirked and said he never backs down from a fight. So, his answer to Lawler's little "WrestleMania challenge" is...no. Cole smirked and walked across the ring. Cole added...unless Lawler accepts two conditions. Cole said he will face Lawler if (1) his trainer can be in his corner at WrestleMania and (2) he gets to choose a special guest referee. Lawler tried to grab the mic, but Cole pulled it back. "What do you say?" Cole sarcastically asked.
Lawler told "Cole Sore" that he doesn't care which superhero Cole has with him because the answer is yes. "You're on," he said. Cole excitedly pumped his fist and said they have their match for WrestleMania. Cole celebrated and strutted around the ring before laughing in Lawler's face. He said he will now introduce the man who will train him. Cole said he is a former World champion and the All-American American, Jack Swagger.
Swagger walked out on-stage and pointed to Cole, who pumped his fists. Mathews said this is a great "get" for Cole obtaining the services of a former World champion. Swagger then walked over to Lawler and peered down at him, selling intimidation. Cole stood behind Swagger and pushed Lawler a bit. Cole then slapped Lawler across the face, prompting a skirmish (no contact by Lawler on Cole). Swagger then slapped on the Anklelock and Cole dropped down to the mat to scream in Lawler's face. "What do you think, Lawler? What do you think, Jerry?!" Cole and Swagger then stood tall as Lawler clutched his ankle. PYB (3): 5:55.
Reax: The issue between Cole and Lawler really picked up steam with this exchange. Cole is now a full-fledged heel character and it gives Swagger a role at WrestleMania so he doesn't get lost in the shuffle. It looks like Lawler vs. Swagger will happen on TV in the build-up to Mania over the remaining four weeks.
Raw tonight: Mathews plugged Rock's response to John Cena and the "verbal battle continuing."
Backstage: Randy Orton was shown walking down the hallway. Mathews said Orton has ignored C.M. Punk's warnings, so will there be consequences and repercussions tonight?
Next week: Back from break, Mathews plugged "Stone Cold" Steve Austin returning to Raw in his home state of Texas next week.
Announcers: Cole was back on commentary wiping down the headset to sell that Lawler is full of germs. Cole demanded a replay of what Swagger just did to Lawler. Another production malfunction here - they kept cutting back and forth between Cole looking down at his script reading comments on Lawler and a malfunctioning video from Moments Ago.
In-ring: Randy Orton's music hit to a strong reaction and he marched to the ring. Orton surveyed the crowd before talking. More promos. Orton said he made the biggest mistake of his career two-and-a-half years ago when he punted Punk in the skull. He said the mistake is...he should have kicked Punk harder. Punk said, next time, he'll make Punk's next residence a permanent rehab home where Punk's only goal will be to walk again. He said the only thing that Punk will have left is the faith that failed him. The crowd was a bit uneasy on how to receive that.
Punk's music hit and he walked out on stage flanked by David Otunga, McGillicutty, and Mason Ryan. Cole called it the stupidest thing Orton has ever done. On-stage, Punk smiled and called Orton an "arrogant, but predictable hypocrite." He said Orton's ego has landed him here. Punk vowed to put Orton "in the ground." (Too many vows that cannot be backed up in this exchange.) Punk led Nexus down the ramp, but the Raw GM buzzed. Cole heelishly said he doesn't want to keep stealing the spotlight, so Mathews gets this one.
Mathews read there's only one way to settle this: in a match at WrestleMania. Over the next few weeks, Orton will face individual members of Nexus. If Nexus wins, they get to be in Orton's corner. If a Nexus member loses, he is banned from Mania. If Nexus gets involved in any of the matches, the GM will personally disband New Nexus. He read that Orton vs. McGillicutty starts right now. Mike cautiously made his way to the ring and the match was on.
2 -- RANDY ORTON vs. MICHAEL MCGILLICUTTY
Orton dominated, then cleared Mike to the outside early on. He posed for the crowd and they cut to break one minute in.
Back live, Orton and Mike were battling in the ring as Cole recapped the "major stipulations" involved. Mike cut off Orton's momentum as the announcers continued to try to explain the five bullet-point stipulations in-play leading to WrestleMania. Orton made a comeback with clotheslines, followed by a snap powerslam. Orton then measured Mike for a fallaway backbreaker. Orton got in his zone and measured Mike for his classic spike DDT from the middle rope. He then dropped down to the mat and measured Mike for the RKO and he connected. Orton rolled him over and it was good for a three count. Mathews noted Mike will not be representing Nexus at WrestleMania. Cole said it's one down for Orton.
Post-match: Punk walked out on-stage and peered into the ring. Orton seemed to sense Punk's presence and slowly, slowly, slowly turned toward the stage to eye Punk. Orton then stood over Mike's fallen body and slowly backed up looking for The Punt. Punk told him to stop. He said Orton has done enough and he doesn't want to do this. The crowd roared they want to see it. "Do...not...punt him in the skull," Punk said. Orton then reset in the corner and connected with Mike's skull.
Orton then bailed from the ring as Punk tried to chase him down. Orton ran a few flights of stairs, then looked back to Nexus. Orton pounded his chest and shook his head like Brock Lesnar telling him he's ready. That was great imagery. They cut back to Punk shooting Orton a wide-eyed glare. Cole shouted that Orton should be arrested. Punk then led Nexus back into the ring to check on Mike before they went to a replay of Orton delivering The Punt to Mike's head. Back live, Mike continued to sell the effects as Orton stood tall on the arena steps.
WINNER: Orton at 7:18. The match was just there to get over Orton's signature moves, establish his quest to WrestleMania, and set up the post-match. Orton really turned it up a notch with his post-Punt celebration on the steps looking like Brock Lesnar. Nice intensity. (*)
Last Friday in Mexico City: Cole narrated footage of WWE signing Sin Cara, formerly known as Mistico. Cole and Mathews pronounced "Cara" like true gringos. Strong plug for Mistico, selling it like a sports team signing a big-name free agent.
Backstage: The Miz and Alex Riley were shown walking down the hallway in suits. Cole said some people are saying Miz is living in Rock and Cena's shadows, but Miz has something to say about that.
[Q5 -- second hour] They returned from break one minute into the second hour, which is a rarity for Raw to be on break at the top of the all-important second hour.
In-ring: Miz's music hit and the WWE champion came to the ring with Alex Riley as Cole stood up and celebrated Miz's perceived greatness. Miz's music stopped and the crowd booed. "A little respect, please!" Cole demanded. Miz said Rock is going to respond to John Cena tonight. That's funny, he said, because he called out Rock last week as well. Miz said Rock knows Miz is right. "This is no longer The Rock's show," Miz said. He said this used to be Cena's show, too, but his days are numbered and Rock's days were up some time ago. Miz said he is the biggest star in WWE. He is the reason the fans are here tonight. He is the one talk shows want. He is the face of the company. And he is the most must-see WWE champion in WWE history. They cut to a sign held up by a little boy: "Miz is all talk."
Miz transitioned into talking about being WWE tag champion with John Cena last week. He said the recordbook shows he won the Tag Titles and Cena lost them. He said that's exactly what he wanted to have happen. So, when Cena is worried about Rock, he should be worried about one person and one person only: the WWE champion. Miz said if Cena and Rock want to go back and forth, so be it. He will beat Cena at WrestleMania and on that same night, he will beat The Rock. "Did you hear me correctly?" he said. "I will beat John Cena at WrestleMania. And on that very same night, I will beat The Rock." Miz said no one will ever mention them again. He will then be the Greatest Superstar of all-time.
Alex Riley spoke next and told the crowd to show some respect for Miz. The crowd booed. Suddenly, John Cena's music hit. Miz remained unflinching facing the hard camera. Cena quickly made his way out on-stage before pausing to soak in the crowd response. Cena then jogged to ringside and took a mic. He said he has very, very, very important news. Cena paced back and forth. He said he's upset, too, because he can't listen to another word Miz is saying. Cena told Miz he doesn't belong here talking. He said Miz is not well. Cena pulled out a hand-written "Doctor's Note" complete with a Red Cross logo. Cena said Miz has OCD. He's obsessed with being awesome, but the note says he's average...well...below-average. Cena said Miz can only be seen with a microscope. He said Miz has over 200 cats. 1,000 pairs of blue Dockers. He saves his dog's poop bags. And he pees in milk jugs. Cena said that's only the half of it. Cena told Riley it's rubbed off on him because he locks himself in a closet and eats toilet paper.
Riley retorted with a line about someone naming a toilet "john" because Cena is full of crap. Cole groaned and told Riley he should have just given up the first time. "He couldn't even deliver it right," Cole said under his breath. Cena paused to let everyone ignore Riley, then put an arm around Miz's shoulder. He told Miz that Riley is really just a sad story sucking in air like a dying fish. Cena asked Miz if he really wants to share his legacy with another man. Cena paused as the joke fell flat, then he told Miz to really shake up social media and fire Riley tonight.
Miz asked Cena if he's scared of A-Ri. He said he's mentoring the next generation of Superstars, unlike Cena, who's jealous of the next generation. Miz said Cena is too busy hocking merchandise and deciding which jorts to wear. Cena smirked and said the next shocking announcement could be Miz and Riley living together and doing all sorts of things together. Cena told Miz that while he's mentoring him on how to be a loser, he'll make Riley a man. Cena offered a deal that he faces "world's worst toilet joke" tonight and if Cena wins, Riley will be fired from Miz's employ. Miz accepted, but under one condition: if Riley wins, then Cena must admit Miz is the greatest of all-time. He "gave his word" not to interfere. Miz did his catchphrase. Cena said he's been fired, someone's slave, had water thrown on him, been called a turd, and all Miz wants is him to call him awesome? "Okay, you have your match."
[Q6] The Raw GM buzzed in. Cole told Mathews to sit down. He read from the GM that he wants to ensure Miz's word, so Cena vs. Riley tonight will take place...inside a steel cage. Cole added that the only way to win is by escaping the cage. PYB (3): 13:15.
Segment Reax: That really dragged. More than that, it's too much about "who's the more entertaining star?" rather than who's going to win a match at WrestleMania. That might be the direction the product is going with Cole's heel commentary "evaluating wrestlers" and Miz as a "must-see" champion whose strength is his entertainment value rather than his toughness, but it's a path WWE needs to be careful taking.
Raw tonight: Shawn Michaels "speaks out" on Undertaker-Triple H at WrestleMania.
Announcers: Divas champion Eve was ringside to survey a Divas Battle Royal. Cole noted the winner gets the next title shot against Eve.
3 -- DIVAS BATTLE ROYAL -- #1 contender match
A random assortment of Raw Divas were already in the ring. It quickly came down to Maryse, Gail, and one of the Bellas. Maryse was eliminated, then Gail eliminated Bella #1, but the Bellas pulled the Switcheroo and Bella #2 eliminated Gail while the refs were occupied with trying to get Maryse away from ringside. Eve then stormed the ring trying to report the injustice. The Bellas beat her down, though, and left Eve out cold.
WINNER: Bella #2 at 2:02. That was the fastest battle royal ever.
Still to come: Rock responds to Cena.
Announcers: Back live, Cole noted the Dr. of Thuganomics was back for one-night-only last week. They went to a recap of Cena's promo on Rock last week. Back live, Cole editorialized about Cena's promo, then Mathews noted Rock didn't take too kindly to Cena's comments.
[Q7] Rock's music played, almost taunting the live crowd. They cut to a video of Rock from his home in L.A. mocking Cena's look and rapper gimmick. Rock then threw down the Cena merchandise and stood tall like Rock. Rock said he has finally comeback to Monday Night Raw, which means he has finally come back to Buffalo. Rock said the electricity and excitement makes every woman with a beating heart ay, "Damn, I want a piece of The Rock." And for every man, they're saying, "Damn, Rock, let's get together and whoop some candyasses." Rock said it's clear they have the attention of John Cena.
Rock said he made his historic return to Raw, spoke directly to the people, and spoke directly to Cena like a man. "And what do you do? (pause) You rap...to me? You address me in the form of...rap?" Rock said of course Cena did because that's how the guy in a purple t-shirt and jean shorts responds. Rock mocked Cena's Hustle, Loyalty, Respect motto and Thuganomics before saying he thought it was funny.
Rock went back to how this all started. He said Cena publicly ran his mouth about him, calling him a liar when he said he loves WWE. Rock recapped Cena saying Rock was jerking the fans around by not coming back to WWE. He said with a serious tone that Cena insulted him and his family. Rock said his love for WWE is endless and he grew up in WWE. "My blood is the WWE!" he said. Rock referenced his grandfather and father being inducted into the Hall of Fame, who he inducted. He said he is standing in his house with his collection of WWE Titles proudly displayed. Rock said he accomplished his goals in WWE and he wanted to achieve more. Rock paused and said that if he made it in Hollywood outside of WWE, it meant one important thing for WWE. He said he helped open the door for you, John Cena. "Paved the way for you," he said. The live crowd was quiet listening along.
Rock said Cena publicly knocked and insulted the People's Champion. He said Cena is going to face consequences for running his mouth. Rock said Cena gave an open plea to bring it at WrestleMania and no one else on the planet brings it like The Rock. He said on the other side of the door is the jabroni-beating, eyebrow-raising, etc., and Rock will kick Cena's ass all the way to Buffalo. He said he is hosting WrestleMania, but more importantly, he'll be addressing him "sooner than he thinks." Rock said he electrifies all over the world, his spirit is everywhere, and it's in that spirit that allows the people's champion to raise the people's hand, snap the people's fingers, and electrify Buffalo just like that.
The arena went dark as Rock said when he addresses Cena man-to-man, he is never alone. He said he is with the millions...and millions. The lights flashed to show the people, then went dark again. Rock repeated this a few times as WWE went to various wide shots of the arena. Rock said he ain't no rapper and clearly, Cena is not either, but Rock has a very special gift for Cena.
Rock entered "rap mode," saying Rock is back to scratch a major itch, so enjoy your Fruity Pebbles, you yabbadabba bitch. Rock said in that moment, Cena will smell what The Rock is cooking. Rock's music hit and he continued to stand in his fighting stance via video as they went to crowd shots of various fans applauding. PYB (3): 8:35.
Segment Reax: This feels like a political campaign with a lot of scripted mud-slinging and accusations back and forth. It's going to get old quick if this turns into a weekly "tear you down" promo exchange. Rock was good, but the premise is the issue.
Up next: Shawn Michaels sounds off on Taker-Hunter. Also, Cena vs. Riley in a cage. If Riley loses, Miz has to make a "major announcement" next week.
Smackdown plug: The cabin door swung open again to show The Undertaker emerging on last week's Raw on the way to Smackdown this Friday. Plus, Del Rio-Edge contract signing.
WrestleMania 27: Cole quickly plugged Taker vs. Hunter at WrestleMania with The Streak on the line. Cole then brought in commentary from Shawn Michaels in a voice-over.
Sit-down interview: Shawn Michaels from home. He said when he first heard about this, he was conflicted. He wants Taker to get his, but he wanted to get it done himself the previous two eyars. Michaels said having been inside the ring with Taker, you almost find yourself at war with a legend rather than a man. They included quick soundbytes from Gorilla, Ross, and McMahon from Taker's past victories. Michaels said Hunter can be extremely aggressive in the ring. They cut to a shot inside the arena of the fans watching the video as Michaels talked about Hunter having no remorse inside the ring. More audio of Jim Ross calling classic Hunter matches. Michaels said he thinks Hunter might be the only person who can defeat Taker. He said there's history inside each man that no one else can touch. Michaels said he's pulling for Hunter, but he doesn't know how he'll feel if and when Hunter beats The Streak.
In-ring: Back live, Daniel Bryan's music hit. The U.S. champion slowly walked out on-stage, then The Miz jumped Bryan from behind. Cole said Bryan was set for a match, but Miz jumped Bryan. Miz blasted Bryan with a boot to the head as the announcers tried to figure out what this was all about. Miz kicked Bryan in the head again, then watched Bryan crawl across the ringside area. Miz then stalked Bryan and dropped him with the Skullcrushing Finale on the floor. Cole said even he can't condone this act. The crowd was quiet, which the announcers said was shock at Miz's attack. Miz then slowly walked to the announcers. He grabbed a mic and said he did that because he can. Miz demanded the cage be lowered now for the main event. The cage began to be lowered as Cole fed to commercial.
Greg Parks checks in live: "No heat for the beat down at all. The crowd is restless from very little wrestling and Rock not being here live."
Live next week: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin returns to Raw. The video package on Austin led to Cole, Mathews, and Miz talking on commentary. Cole said even he was unsettled by what Miz did to Bryan. Miz said he did that because he can and it was a message to Rock, Cena, and everyone in the locker room.
In-ring: Miz's music hit to bring out Alex Riley, who inspected the cage before entering. Miz said he just proved he is not the afterthought in the WrestleMania hype and he's #1 because he's WWE champion. Pause. John Cena's music hit to bring out Cena, who told the cameraman to look around. Cena flipped his cap and t-shirt into the crowd, then jogged into the cage as Cole recapped the stipulations: if Cena wins, Riley is fired as Miz's apprentice. If Riley wins, Cena must state Miz is the greatest of all-time. They cut to a shot of Miz picking up his phone to Tweet.
4 -- JOHN CENA vs. ALEX RILEY (w/The Miz) -- steel cage match, only way to win by escaping
Cena dominated the early portion of the match as Miz stretched an analogy putting Rock in the same category as Pee-wee Herman and Mini-me as former guest hosts. Cena then tried to leave through the cage door, but Miz bolted from the announce table to slam the door in Cena's face. Mathews noted Miz gave his word he wouldn't get involved. Riley then slammed Cena into the cage door to take control. Miz then snapped a photo on his phone and Tweeted it. He proceeded to slide his phone to Riley, who used it as a foreign object blow to the forehead. We've seen it all now. Ref Armstrong then casually moved the phone out of the way using his foot for unintentional comedy.
[Q9 -- over-run] Riley tried to escape through the door, but Cena grabbed his feet to pull him back in. Miz ran back over to the door and tried to pull Riley out of the cage, but Cena fought him off. Cena then tried to climb over the cage, but Miz slammed a chair against the cage wall from the outside trying to threaten him. Riley took advantage of the distraction by executing an electric chair. They went to an overhead shot of the cage as Cole fed to a commercial two minutes into the over-run.
Back live five minutes past the top of the hour, Cena bounced off the ropes, then took a dropkick from Riley. Miz stood up to applaud Riley as the announcers recapped the stipulations involved. Cena then made his standard comeback and Miz stood up to sell concern. Cena dropped the Shuffle on Riley and Cole warned Miz he could be looking at his fate at WrestleMania. "Oh, shut up, Cole," he retorted. Riley and Cena then battled on the top rope while hanging on the cage. Riley knocked Cena off the ropes, then tried to climb out as Miz encouraged him. Cena came to life, though, and pulled Riley back inside the cage to deliver a bulldog from the top rope. Cena then dropped Riley with the Attitude Adjustment center ring.
Cena picked up Miz's phone, which was still inside the cage, and took a picture of Riley KO'ed. The crowd didn't react much to the bit. Cena approached the cage door again, but Miz ran over to close the door again. Cena popped his knuckles, then did a "feat of strength" to pry open the door. Miz let go of the door at the last second, though, and Cena fell to the floor in victory. Miz then quickly capitalized with the Skullcrushing Finale on the floor.
To close the show, Miz took his WWE Title belt to the top of the ramp as Cena sold the effects. "Take that John Cena, take that Rock!" Cole shouted as the show ended eleven minutes past the top of the hour with Miz standing tall on this night.
WINNER: Cena at 12:46, Riley is "fired" from Miz's employ on next week's Raw. A bit gimmicky, too cute for their own good, and really heavy on the "social media aspect" of this Rock-Cena-Miz issue that will apparently be the central theme leading to WrestleMania. The match just didn't seem to click. (*1/2)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was Raw head writer Brian Gewirtz's dream show with an endless stream of promos. It was a case of good, bad, and ugly in that department. Overall, it was clear WWE didn't want to give away too much wrestling on this show in an effort to save physicality for the top matches at WrestleMania, but it exposed the lack of depth to the roster when they couldn't put anyone in the ring to deliver a nice dose of wrestling action for more than five minutes at a time. I thought the show started off relatively strong, then faded in the second hour as they continued to march out more and more promos. The video package on Taker-Hunter with Shawn Michaels was a strong highlight, though. Where was Bullet Bob's announcement as the next Hall of Fame inductee?
PWTorch editor Wade Keller's simultaneous live blog on Raw can be read at WadeKeller.com.
We welcome your 0-10 score and comments on this show for a "Raw Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on Raw, email to firstname.lastname@example.org using our Feedback form.
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