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WWE Raw Report
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 3/26: Ongoing "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - final WM28 hype, Cena-Rock & Hunter-HBK confrontation

Mar 26, 2012 - 10:11:21 PM
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WWE Raw Supershow Results
March 26, 2012 - Episode #982
Live in Atlanta, Ga.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


Following the Rock-Cena documentary, this week's live WWE Raw started with the usual Raw intro video, followed by full pyro inside Philips Arena in Atlanta, home of last year's WrestleMania. Michael Cole said they are in the home stretch and six nights away from WrestleMania. Lawler said Cena and Rock have one final confrontation tonight before WrestleMania.

The first music of the show belonged to Randy Orton, who came out to the ring to a big reaction for the opening match. Justin Roberts announced this as a tag match. Orton had an extra swagger in his step, with a certain energy in the building six days away from Mania, as Cole plugged Orton vs. Kane Sunday night at Mania. Booker T was shown ringside on commentary with Cole and Lawler before Sheamus came out to join Orton. Out first for the heel duo was World Hvt. champion Daniel Bryan, along with A.J., followed by Kane, who shot off pyro in Orton's face.

1 -- RANDY ORTON & SHEAMUS vs. World Hvt. champion DANIEL BRYAN (w/A.J.) & KANE

The bell sounded and Bryan shared a good luck kiss with A.J. before locking up with Orton. Production started off with the WrestleMania Hard Camera Shot - a low-level, widescreen angle - to make the setting seem grander leading to Mania. Eventually, the shot returned to the standard Raw TV angle. The participants went back-and-forth, exchanging control, before Bryan blasted Sheamus with a flying knee on the floor. Bryan laughed to himself as Sheamus sold on the outside leading to break.

[Commercial Break]

Back live, Sheamus and Bryan were struggling in the ring before Bryan ripped off a series of kick strikes to the mid-section. Bryan then missed with a flying attack and ate the top turnbuckle. This gave Sheamus an opening to tag in Orton, who ran over Bryan with clotheslines, followed by a powerslam. Orton then wanted his second-rope DDT and connected. Orton was ready to Enter That Place, but Kane yanked Bryan out of the ring, setting off a Kane-Orton brawl on the outside. Kane ate the ringpost before Bryan dropkicked Orton through the ropes to cut off Orton's momentum. Orton sold on the outside before Bryan blasted away with strikes to the mid-section.

[Q2] Back in the ring, Bryan tagged in Kane to resume control of this extended-length tag match. Kane went for a corner attack, but Orton blocked, only to eat a sidewalk slam from Kane for a two count. Kane tried going up top for a flying clothesline...and he connected. He then wanted the Welder's Mask chokeslam, but Orton countered with a flying dropkick before Kane could grab him. Tags were made to Sheamus and Bryan, who was taken apart by Sheamus. All four men found themselves in the ring, then the faces clotheslined Kane over the top rope to the floor. On the outside, Orton teased an RKO, but Kane shoved him into the turnbuckle.

Back in the ring, A.J. suddenly stepped into the ring to stand in front of Bryan before Sheamus could deliver the Brogue Kick. The distraction allowed Kane to re-enter the picture and chokeslam Bryan behind the ref's back. Bryan then covered Sheamus for the win. "Yes! Yes! Yes!" Bryan declared before pointing to the WM28 sign hanging in the arena. Ringside, A.J. smiled and applauded.

WINNER: Bryan & Kane at 11:34. Solid tag match to open the show. The booking says that Bryan getting the win here means Sheamus gets the win at Mania.

Last Year at WM27: Rock delivered Rock Bottom to John Cena, costing Cena the WWE Title. Their final confrontation is tonight.

[Commercial Break]

Atlanta: WWE went to an exterior shot of the Georgia Dome, home of last year's WrestleMania. Lawler said they are in Miami this year, then plugged Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny. Lawler went to Michael Cole, who was in the ring sporting a Team Johnny match. Cole announced himself as the official commentator for Team Johnny at WrestleMania. He then welcomed out Laurinaitis, claiming he will be GM of both Raw and Smackdown after WrestleMania.

Out came Laurinaitis sans music. He stood on-stage and introduced the official flag bearer for Team Johnny, Vickie Guerrero. After Vickie came out waving a flag, Laurinaitis announced his team captain, David Otunga. Cole was back on commentary to sing Team Johnny's praises as the trio of Laurinaitis, Vickie, and Otunga made their way to the ringside area for match action. Booker T then stood up at the announce position, grabbed a mic, and introduced the man who will send Laurinaitis back to his office cubicle, Teddy Long.

On-stage, Teddy introduced his team captain, U.S. champion Santino, who was accompanied by flag bearer Hornswoggle. Cole corrected Lawler and Booker that he's the mascot.

2 -- U.S. champion SANTINO vs. DAVID OTUNGA (w/John Laurinaitis and Vickie Guerrero) -- non-title match

No mock posing before the initial lock-up for this repeat match. Otunga took control, then grabbed the Team Johnny flag to pose and wave. Hornswoggle tried to one-up Otunga, then an agitated Otunga accidentally knocked himself out with Teddy's flag. Santino followed with the Cobra to Otunga for the win.

[Q3] Post-match: Laurinaitis entered the ring to protest the decision. Long and Hornswoggle did the old high/low routine to trip up Laurinaitis, then Santino was ready to pop Laurinaitis with the Cobra, but The Miz stormed the ring and dropped Santino with the Skullcrushing Finale. Laurinaitis botched the next line, welcoming Miz to Team Teddy...I mean, Team Johnny. Miz celebrated as Cole declared Miz the difference-maker to help Team Johnny win at WrestleMania. After a replay of the finish, Cole recapped Team Johnny's six-man tag team as Miz stood in the ring with a few pieces of the team.

WINNER: Santino at 1:29. It seemed a little anticlimactic for Miz to finally be added to a WrestleMania match with a quick announcement (and botched announcement, at that).

Still to come: C.M. Punk vs. Christian (just announced). Plus, a confrontation between Triple H and Shawn Michaels to promote Taker-Hunter at WrestleMania. Lawler said it's the match being called the End of an Era. Of course, the only people calling it that are people in WWE.

[Commercial Break]

Rock-Cena Flashback: WWE went back to the Raw after WrestleMania 27 when The Challenge was made for Rock-Cena at WrestleMania the following year, which is now here. Back live, Cole said they are creeping closer to WrestleMania, including the End of an Era.

Video Package: Undertaker's right eye. Inside it is Taker's history at WrestleMania. Also inside his eye is Triple H. They showed Hunter's history of big career victories, then went back and forth between Taker's Streak growing and Hunter's legacy growing simultaneously. It was refreshing hearing Jim Ross's voice narrating the big moments from each man's careers. Back to Taker's eye. They replayed footage from WrestleMania 27, when Taker and Hunter gave each other everything they had. Taker was shown cutting some of his hair off before WWE documented the build-up to the re-match with Hunter initially turning down the challenge. A rapid-fire sequence of big career highlights stopped with Taker telling Hunter at the end of last week's Raw that Shawn Michaels is better than Hunter. Back to the rapid-fire highlights on all three men and last year's Mania. Taker was shown asking Hunter if he's willing to put it all on the line on Sunday. Cole said HIAC could end one of these men's careers on Sunday.

Ringside: Cole, sporting his Team Johnny t-shirt like a goofball, talked to Lawler and Booker before plugging a WrestleMania Press Conference from Miami Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. EST.

In-ring: Eve's music played to bring out Zack Ryder's on-again/off-again love interest, along with Divas champion Beth Phoenix, who was not dressed to wrestle. They cut to break with the WrestleMania heel duo arriving in the ring.

[Commercial Break]

[Q4]

3 -- EVE (w/Divas champion Beth Phoenix) vs. KELLY KELLY

Back from break, Kelly Kelly came to the ring to face Eve ahead of their WrestleMania tag match, also involving Maria Menonous as Kelly's partner. Eve dominated early on, then Kelly scored a surprise win. Beth tried to grab Kelly on the way out of the ring, but Kelly avoided the champ to take momentum into WrestleMania.

WINNER: Kelly at 2:26. Standard, WWE formula Divas match.

Rock-Cena hype: WWE went back to the poor night for business at Survivor Series when Rock and Cena teamed up "never before and never again." Booker: "This has nothing to do with The Miz and R-Truth." And, yet, Miz gets blamed for the buyrate. They showed Rock delivering Rock Bottom to Cena, the last time they touched.

Backstage: WWE champion C.M. Punk was shown strutting down the hallway. He faces Christian next.

[Commercial Break]

Smackdown Plug: WWE's voice-over man said they will be live from Axxess for the final stop on the Road to WrestleMania.

In-ring: Justin Roberts gave an interesting formal introduction for Christian, who came out sporting a different haircut a la referee Charles Robinson, and a Team Johnny t-shirt. Christian made his way into the ring before Cult of Personality played to bring out WWE champion C.M. Punk. Before the match started, Chris Jericho appeared on the Titantron to address Punk. Jericho said he's going to beat Punk at WrestleMania and become new WWE champion, then expose Punk as a fraud. He said he's already exposed Jericho's dysfunctional family, and now has found out some new information. Next is Punk's mother. Jericho said Punk's mom is actually a kind, decent woman. But, he did find out some interesting information about Punk's parents getting married after his birthday, making him a bastard. In the ring, Punk sold fighting anger and tears, then Christian blasted him from behind.

[Q5 -- second hour]

The bell didn't sound as Christian continued to beat up Punk before throwing him to the outside. Punk recovered on the floor and smashed Christian head-first into the announce table over and over. Punk then went old-school Bryan Danielson with multiple elbow strikes to the neck. Punk continued to use Christian as a punching bag before flinging Christian onto the ring steps. He followed with his submission finisher and refused to let go, screaming, "This is you, Jericho!" Refs stormed ringside to separate Punk from Christian before Punk stood tall ringside. Punk then jumped the ring steps and splashed Christian, continuing to tear apart Christian. Cult of Personality played and a WWE doctor checked on Christian before they replayed Punk's assault on Christian. Back live, Punk was shown standing tall in the ring, ready for WrestleMania.

4 -- WWE champion C.M. PUNK vs. CHRISTIAN -- non-title match

WINNER: Match Did Not Happen. Nice use of Christian as a surrogate for Jericho to demonstrate that Punk is ready for WrestleMania.

[Commercial Break]

Moments Ago: Cole, now in a suit and not sporting his goofy t-shirt, recapped what just happened with Punk and Christian. Cole and Lawler said Christian may have re-injured his neck, which could mean he's off Team Johnny at WrestleMania. Booker was shown "following the news" on his iPad.

In-ring: Funkasauras's music played to bring out Brodus Clay for a dance number and a match. The Funkettes led Clay into the ring as Booker did play-by-play on Clay's dance moves. Ringside, Curt Hawkins was not amused by this.

4 -- BRODUS CLAY vs. CURT HAWKINS

Clay started with some shaking and jiggling before Hawkins knocked Clay down to one knee. Hawkins then took Clay off his feet and onto his back before running into a headbutt from Clay. Clay followed with a high knee lift, then a t-bone suplex. Next was the big running splash for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Clay at 1:05. Apparently WWE doesn't have plans to invest in Clay, as they just threw money out the window with Clay being taken off his feet in a match with Curt Hawkins again after Smackdown. He's officially a bit player.

Rock-Cena review: War of Words. WWE replayed highlights of Cena's promos on Rock over the past month since Rock returned to WWE. They meet face-to-face later tonight.

[Commercial Break]

[Q6] Next Monday plug: The 2012 Hall of Fame class is honored the night after WrestleMania and one hour before Raw. The Four Horsemen, Mike Tyson, and the main event, Edge, will be recognized.

Announcers: Lawler talked about his HOF induction and Cole plugged the full list of inductees and now the inductors. Cole said there are some big surprises on the list.

In-ring: Big Show came to the ring for a match as Cole wondered aloud if Show will choke again at WrestleMania or finally get his Mania moment. They cut to footage from last Monday when Rhodes KO'ed Big Show with boxing glove shots to the head.

5 -- BIG SHOW vs. WWE tag champion PRIMO (w/Epico and Rosa Mendes)

The announcers made light of Primo in this match-up, then Cole announced Christian is officially out of WrestleMania. He said one more slot is available for Team Johnny now. Show made short work of Primo with a chokeslam to win in under one minute.

Post-match: Rosa tried to scream at Show, then IC champion Cody Rhodes came out on-stage to taunt Big Show some more. Rhodes threw some philosophy toward Show before turning Show's name into a verb. He said students are going to pray they don't "Big Show" on their finals, guys at the bar are going to hope they don't "Big Show" with the ladies, and he hopes he doesn't have to take a Big Show. The announcers chuckled, then Rhodes noted Show will be the biggest fool of all on April 1 at WrestleMania. Cole said he hopes Rhodes knows what he's doing trying to anger Big Show.

WINNER: Show at 0:47.

[Commercial Break]

Vignette: A Japanese man was spotlighted standing behind the apparent Giant Bernard. More focus on Bernard's tattoos. Lord Tensai is coming. (Charles Schaeffer of Puroresu Spirit said the other man is KAZMA a/k/a Sakamoto.)

[Q7] Backstage: The Bella Twins argued over whether Team Johnny or Team Laurinaitis is better. Zack Ryder then stepped into the shot to declare himself the difference-maker. (There was some dialogue going in the background between unidentified people.) The Bellas argued over Ryder, who shot back to Nikki that she should change her face. Brie took offense, since they're twins, and they stomped off. Eve then stepped into the shot and forgave Ryder for his comments on Smackdown. Eve asked Ryder what hotel he's staying at in Miami and Ryder said he's staying with the other guys on Team Teddy. Eve said that's too bad and invited him to her hotel. She said after Mania, they can celebrate, cutting off a kiss attempt from Ryder.

Hallway: Josh Mathews brought in WWE champion C.M. Punk for thoughts on Jericho's comments about his family. Punk told Mathews to ask Christian how he feels. He said he's not off limits, but his family is. Punk can call him a fraud or claim he's the best in the world, but his family is not fair game. He said what Jericho said about his mother is reprehensible and a lie. "No, no, no, I am not a bastard; I am the best wrestler in the world," he said as the crowd cheered.

Split-screen: Great Khali and Mark Henry were shown walking down the hallway. They're up against each other next.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Mark Henry's music played to bring out Henry, flanked by John Laurinaitis. Cole reminded viewers that WrestleMania is a four-hour PPV, then he narrated footage from earlier tonight when Santino beat Otunga in a Captain's match. Next, Teddy Long brought out Great Khali for the big-man match. Cole then announced Drew McIntyre has been named as Christian's replacement.

6 -- MARK HENRY (w/John Laurinaitis) vs. GREAT KHALI (w/Teddy Long)

Khali dominated with clumsy blows early on, taking Henry off his feet. Henry suddenly came back with the World's Strongest Slam in a feat of strength. Henry with the pin for the win.

WINNER: Henry at 0:48.

Post-match: Teddy gave his props to Henry, then Laurinaitis threw Teddy into the ring. Teddy then found himself face-to-face with Henry before Laurinaitis waved out his team to come join the team. They stood ringside, ready to fend off Team Teddy, and some members hit ringside to zero heat. A red on blue brawl broke out as Henry continued to stalk Teddy in the ring. Suddenly, R-Truth came out late and jumped into the pile. Kofi Kingston was out last and he ate a World's Strongest Slam in the ring. Henry then hoisted up Long for a World's Strongest, but Booker hit the ring and saved Teddy. Booker then cleared Henry, leading to the heels retreating up the ramp.

Once the dust settled, Team Teddy members assembled in the ring along with Booker. Teddy asked Booker if he would join Team Teddy, and Booker accepted. Booker celebrated by dropping down and doing a Spin-a-roonie before hugging the other members. Cole said it's Booker and the Oddities. Booker then put on a blue t-shirt to make his membership official.

Rock-Cena: Last week on Raw, Cena delivered the Attitude Adjustment to Mark Henry in a feat of strength, but Rock tried to one-up him with the Rock Bottom. Up Next: Rock and Cena come face-to-face one last time before WrestleMania.

[Q8]

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Cole talked about Booker officially being part of WrestleMania before plugging the early start time for the four-hour PPV.

Suddenly, The Rock's theme music hit at 9:49 p.m. to bring out Rock in a t-shirt and jeans. Rock stood on-stage and played to both sides of the arena before stomping out to the ringside area. Rock stopped to pat a John Cena fan on the head before entering the ring to do his trademark pose on the corner turnbuckle. Cole plugged Cena-Rock taking over the YouTube homepage this Friday before WrestleMania.

In the ring, Rock's music stopped and the crowd chanted, "Rocky, Rocky," with a few audible boos mixed in. Rock surveyed the arena as the arena remained darkened with blue lighting. Rock paused for a "Boots to Asses" chant before pointing to his heart. The chant picked up steam on a second try and was joined by cheers and applause.

Rock said, "2004, WrestleMania 20." He said Rock competed in what he thought may be his last-ever WrestleMania match. Ever since then, he's been asked when he's coming back. Rock said he goes in for his yearly check-up, turns his head, coughs, and gets asked when he's coming back. The punchline was it wasn't his doctor, but his dentist. Rock then shouted out to Betty White, saying she was trying to give him a piece of her Civil War pie. Rock said he didn't know when he was coming back until last year at WrestleMania 27 when Rock went down to Georgia. Rock walked in the Georgia Dome, blew the roof off the place, and delivered a Rock Bottom heard 'round the world. The very next night on Raw, in this arena, the WrestleMania 28 Challenge was made. Rock was interrupted by a "Boots to Asses" chant, which he paused for.

Rock resumed that history was made that night because of the fans. In six days, finally, Rock returns to the Grandest Stage to electrify the audience. He said he's proud to stand before the fans in the same arena when it was made official to say, "Finally, The Rock has come back to Atlanta." Pause for "Rocky, Rocky" chant. Rock said there's only one man who the millions...and millions want to see Rock face, and that man is John Cena. (Boos and some female cheers.) Rock paused to listen to the crowd's response to the name-drop. It was a bit scattered. Rock noted his final Mania before now was Cena's first Mania. Since that day in 2004, Cena has become of the biggest stars in industry history, but Cena has never - and The Rock means never - faced someone like him.

Suddenly, Cena's music hit to interrupt Rock as he was about to explain what he's going to do to Cena on Sunday. On-stage, Cena shouted that he's counting down the days. "Six days. We're close," he said. Cena smiled to the crowd, then hit the ring as Rock stood in one corner of the ring. Rock then began pacing as Cena grabbed a mic to stand far away from Rock. Once Cena's music played, the crowd showered boos and screams on Cena. Cena asked Rock if hears that. Cena said he doesn't need a crystal ball to figure out that's what's going to happen at Mania.

[Q9 -- over-run] Cena continued that what's a bit skittish is Rock says he will never see anyone like The Rock in the ring. He said that's half-true because Rock has never seen anyone like John Cena. Cena added that Rock has trash-talked for a month, but, yet, here he is, like he is every single night. Cena said he's glad to be here with a smile on his face. Why? Cena said Rock is the best, but not the first, at talking trash. Cena paused for a "Fruity Pebbles" chant as Rock continued to stand near the ropes. Cena said there was one dude who got thrown into the meat grinder every time someone else wanted to make a name for himself - John Cena. He said the list of names who have trash-talked Cena is as long as Rock's penis. Rock sold not being amused. Cena then raised the mic to the crowd to get a response.

The crowd filled in a dueling "Let's Go Cena / Cena Sucks" chant. Cena continued that there is a certain moment of electricity when Rock enters the ring and there is a response every time he steps into the ring. Cena then led the crowd in the dueling chant. He said he's heard it for years. In any other situation, every other star has turned his back on the WWE Universe. But, finally, there is one man who simply does what the t-shirt says. "I rise above, Rock," he said. Cena said he rises above...and he wins. And, that's what gets them. They throw their best at him, but they never get him. "I rise above and I win," Cena said. He said some people hate that, but they know what he knows: he will win at WrestleMania. The crowd booed. Cena said he knows they hate it, but he knows it as sure as he does.

Cena then threw some more talk to Rock's trash. He said he's been around in WWE for longer than Rock. Cena said Rock blew up in the Attitude Era, but he's been here when it wasn't so cool to be a WWE star. Cena said he stuck by WWE, was a company man, and said this is what he loves. He said so many people say that now, but after doing this for ten years, everyone knows he means it. "That's why at WrestleMania, I have to win," he said. Cena claimed Rock's life will go on with more and more movies. Cena said he's excited for Rock's summer movies, but his office doesn't change after Mania. "This is still my life," he said.

Cena said they've said a lot of stuff to each other over the last year. Cena said he won't let Rock come in to WWE as a visitor and take his life from him. "Ten years," Cena said. He said he can't lose; he must win. Rock continued to listen intently before returning volley. Rock said he understands, but this means just as much to him. He said the people know that Rock is no visitor to WWE. "This house; this office, The Rock helped build," he said. Rock said Cena has never had an opponent he couldn't overcome until...The Rock. He said the people know it's more than just the biggest match of all-time, but they know The People's Champion has come back to WWE after all these years to beat Cena. "John, that's what drives me," he said. Rock said never before has a man been able to say he's walked into WrestleMania and say he beat Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold, and John Cena. Rock said he needs to beat Cena to become the greatest of all-time.

On a personal level, he just doesn't like Cena. Rock said not only is he going to beat Cena in six days, but give him the ass-kicking of a lifetime, which drew a pop. Rock said Cena knows it, Rock knows it, and the people know it, too. Cena looked down at the mat, soaked in Rock's words, and called it a fine speech. He said what's good is "it doesn't matter what you think." Rock huffed & puffed, then Cena got in Rock's face to tell him he will see him plain as day because he'll be the guy with his hand raised high standing over Rock's carcass. Cena offered the headline that he whips Rock's ass at WrestleMania, then both men dropped their mics. Cena smirked and they jawed a little bit before the show abruptly signed off eleven minutes past the top of the hour after a 22-minute segment. Where's Jim Ross for the final hard sell when you need him?

***

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 pwtorch@gmail.com using our Feedback form.

For other Raw reports from affiliates of PWTorch, check out these links:

- Jason Powell's Raw Report at ProWrestling.net

- WrestlingInc's Raw Viewing Party Report.


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