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WWE Raw Report
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 4/9: Ongoing "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - Lesnar officially returns & Cena responds, Stooges

Apr 9, 2012 - 10:05:03 PM
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WWE Raw Supershow Results
April 9, 2012 - Episode #984
Live in Washington, D.C.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


The week after Brock Lesnar returned to WWE for the first time in eight years, Monday's live WWE Raw started with clips from the Three Stooges's movie. In the background, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler forced some rough dialogue promoting it. Also tonight, WWE champion C.M. Punk vs. Mark Henry for the WWE Title again.

Back live, pyro shot off and Lawler claimed this could be the most-fun Raw they've ever had. Suddenly, trumpets and assorted music to honor a dignitary played to bring out John Laurinaitis and David Otunga to open the show. Cole said they are in D.C. and Laurinaitis could be the man to turn this country around. In the ring, Laurinaitis gave a strong introduction for the following man who could be the face of WWE. It was not a swerve for a David Otunga piece, but Laurinaitis introducing a video package on Brock Lesnar answering Cena's invitation to The Rock at the end of last week's Raw.

Reax: Laurinaitis welcoming out Lesnar? The un-credible heel authority figure welcoming out a box office star feels like the wrong tone. This is where Jim Ross is needed to give a formal re-introduction for Lesnar, not stumbling, bumbling Laurinaitis making this seem like they're bringing out a mid-carder.

Back in the ring, Laurinaitis quickly announced Cena vs. Lesnar for Extreme Rules, then announced Brock Lesnar to the ring, making this feel very uneventful. Out came Lesnar to a weaker-than-last-week reaction thanks to the odd Laurinaitis introduction. Cole said Lesnar left WWE and went on to conquer UFC, becoming UFC champion. There's the UFC reference. In the ring, Lesnar took the mic and thanked Laurinaitis for having the wisdom to bring legitimacy back to WWE.

John Cena's music then interrupted and out came Cena as Lesnar smiled in the ring. The crowd buzzed a bit as the two men came face-to-face. Cena then walked up to Lesnar and slapped him across the face. Lesnar responded by tackling Cena UFC-style and landing a few blows. Suddenly, refs and agents stormed the ring, followed by the entire WWE locker room. Mid-carders and heels were involved in this chaos. Cena came up standing with blood covering his mouth after getting popped by Lesnar. Cena then broke free from the pile and charged Lesnar for another scrap before they were eventually separated. Cena's mouth was a mess. The announcers remained quiet, then Lesnar suddenly broke free and charged Cena for more blows. Eventually, wrestlers and agents pulled Lesnar out of the ring, leaving Cena smirking in the ring. Cena flashed his teeth, which were covered by blood as the dust settled. Lesnar was then shown leaving the ringside area with a big smile.

Reax: Strong recovery after that awful Laurinaitis intro. If WWE is going to try to sell viewers on Cena-Lesnar being a "UFC shoot" at Extreme Rules, this was the way to go. Whether anyone buys it as such remains to be seen, especially after flushing money down the toilet with that Lesnar intro.

[Commercial Break]

[Q2] Smackdown plug: Before returning to the show, WWE plugged the live Super Smackdown special Tuesday night with the "Blast from the Past" old-school theme.

Moments Ago: Michael Cole narrated footage of Lesnar tackling and punching Cena before the two men were separated by the locker room. Cole then narrated a slow-motion replay of Lesnar landing a right hand to the face that appeared to bloody Cena.

Backstage: Laurinaitis chewed out Teddy Long for not containing Cena and demanded an explanation from Cena. Laurinaitis yelled at Otunga, then he turned around to find Eve standing in Long's place. Eve said they haven't had a chance to talk since WrestleMania, then she told him to call him. Laurinaitis and Otunga then went back to their conversation.

In-ring: Back in the arena, Brodus Clay's music hit to bring out the Funkettes, followed by Brodus Clay. He was followed out by U.S. champion Santino. Once they were assembled in the ring, Vickie Guerrero introduced Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger for a tag match.

1 -- U.S. champion SANTINO & BRODUS CLAY vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER & JACK SWAGGER (w/Vickie Guerrero)

The announcers continued to discuss Cena-Lesnar as Lawler noted Cena might have some missing teeth. In the ring, Ziggler and Santino started things off before the two big men squared off in the ring. Swagger took Clay off his feet, then chopblocked him. Lawler said it may be the first time Clay has been grounded, ignoring Heath Slater accomplishing that feat twice last month. They cut to break with Swagger controlling Clay.

[Commercial Break. Advertised for a Smackdown TV taping in Houston in August: Bryan vs. Sheamus for the World Title and Randy Orton vs. Kane in a No DQ match.]

Back live, Ziggler was working over Santino after tags were made during the commercial. The announcers lost control of the match when Lawler made a "reptile dysfunction" joke after a series of dinosaur-related jokes during the match. The heels continued to work over Santino before the crowd tried to rally behind Clay. Santino then made a tag to Clay as Lawler ignored the tag, continuing to talk to himself about nothing in particular. Clay then finished off Ziggler with a big splash and it was good for the win. Post-match, Clay, Santino, and the Funkettes celebrated via dance.

WINNERS: Clay & Santino at 7:56. Nothing much here. Swagger & Ziggler, especially Swagger, are stuck, and the Clay & Santino duo seems to be nothing more than a comedy act. Plus, an awful, minor-league call of this match.

[Q3] GM Office: The Miz was trying to get some time with Laurinaitis, who blew him off and said he has big plans for him. Teddy Long then walked in and Laurinaitis yelled at him for not producing Cena. Cena, sporting dried-up blood on his face, then walked in and confronted Laurinaitis. He said he's not an actor like the guy who just left (The Rock), and Laurinaitis bringing in a jacked-up guy like Brock Lesnar to ruin him and get rid of him from WWE isn't going to work. "How's that for legitimate?" Cena asked Laurinaitis. Cena walked off, then Laurinaitis told Long to get David Otunga ready to face Cena tonight. Laurinaitis then pulled out his phone to shoot off a text.

Backstage: Santino walked up to Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins to talk Three Stooges. They blew him off, then Santino kept walking around looking for anyone who has seen the Stooges.

Last Monday: Mark Henry beat C.M. Punk via count-out, with Punk retaining the WWE Title. Tonight, Henry gets his re-match for the WWE Title.

[Commercial Break]

Earlier Tonight: Cena slapped Lesnar, then it was on. The announcers noted Lesnar bloodied Cena.

Backstage: Santino was still looking for the Stooges. Suddenly, Santino found Kane standing off in the corner of a hallway. Santino quietly asked if he's seen the Three Stooges, then did some mannerisms. Kane was not interested, so Santino ran off down the hallway.

In-ring: R-Truth's music hit to bring out R-Truth, who butt-bumped Little Jimmy on the way to the ring. Former IC champion Cody Rhodes was out next to face Truth in a match that doesn't feel important with Truth's stock down and Rhodes fresh off a Mania loss and a loss last week on Raw.

2 -- CODY RHODES vs. R-TRUTH

Cole noted Rhodes's dad, Dusty Rhodes, will be on the "Blast from the Past" Smackdown tomorrow night. Rhodes scored with the Alabama Slam on Truth 40 seconds into the match, then Big Show walked out on-stage in a suit with the IC Title slung over his shoulder like a toy replica belt. Show rolled footage from last week's Raw when Show embarrassed Rhodes, costing Rhodes a match against Kofi Kingston. After a double-flashback to Mania and last week's Raw, they returned live with Truth hitting the Little Jimmy on Rhodes for the win.

WINNER: Truth at 1:39.

Backstage: Santino was still looking for the Stooges. He found a giant package marked "Fragile" that he pried open to discover the Stooges inside the box. The Stooges admitted the studio shipped them to D.C. to promote the movie, then Santino asked them what the plan is tonight. After some slaps and sound effects added in, Santino demonstrated the Cobra. After they slapped each other around, Santino left and the Stooges paced around inside their box trying to think of a plan for tonight. One of them decided they should...think outside the box. They left the box and Raw went to commercial.

[Commercial Break]

[Q4] Ringside: The creators of Syfy's "Dream Machines" show were shown ringside. Their show premieres tomorrow night after the live Super Smackdown episode.

In-ring: Lord Tensai's music played to bring out the former A-Train/Giant Bernard. Already in the ring was Yoshi Tatsu, who accused Tensai of being fake Japanese on Twitter last week. Cole noted Yoshi's tweets as Tensai slowly made his way to the ring.

3 -- LORD TENSAI vs. YOSHI TATSU

Tensai dominated as the bored crowd lightly chanted, "Albert." Yoshi found himself nearly-unconscious before Tensai delivered a sit-out powerbomb. Like last week, the ref pulled off Tensai so he could check on the opponent. Ref Charles Robinson put a stop to the match, noting Yoshi was KO'ed. Post-match: Tensai spewed mist into the air before applying the Claw. Tensai turned the Claw into a diving Claw bomb of sorts as the crowd lightly booed.

WINNER: Tensai via ref stoppage at 2:03. One of those situations where it's not clear if the crowd doesn't care because of the character or the first two opponents. The way to know is putting Tensai in the ring with a top star and seeing what the response is.

Up Next: Punk vs. Henry after Chris Jericho smashed Punk with a whiskey bottle last week on Raw. Not a great sense of urgency to this match since the announcers aren't making it seem like the WWE Title is in jeopardy despite Jericho's attack and Punk's potential "psychological state."

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Cole and Lawler reset the show before Lawler noted WWE has 30 Wounded Warriors in the arena tonight. Cole then set the stage for Punk-Henry coming up next. Before ring intros occurred, WWE flashed back to last Monday's Raw when Jericho cut a promo on Punk, vowing to lead him down the lonely road to alcoholism.

[Q5 -- second hour] Right at the top of the hour, Cult of Personality played to bring out the WWE champion. Punk walked straight to the ring without pausing to announce his presence. Punk then walked straight to Justin Roberts and yanked the mic from him. Punk huffed and puffed while surveying the crowd. Punk then squatted down like a catcher behind home plate and contemplated matters. He stood up and said he wanted to come out here to break the silence that has surrounded him for the past week. Punk said he gets that Straight Edge is a concept some people don't get, but it's a choice because it's a way of life. He said he never wanted people to feel sorry for him or to make excuses for him. Punk said he vowed a long time ago to get to the top of WWE. And, he made that vow because he knew is the best damn wrestler in WWE.

After holding up the title belt and waiting out a Punk chant, the champ said Chris Jericho came along. Punk said Jericho tried to get inside his head claiming to be the Best in the World before trying to destroy his privacy. Punk shook his head and said none of it worked at Mania when he made Jericho tap out, then Jericho took it one step too far on Raw last week. Punk pointed to the ringside area to indicate the location where Jericho poured whiskey over him before smashing a bottle over his head. Punk said he had one thought at that time. "That thought was, 'I smell exactly like my father did,'" he said. Punk leaned on the top rope and sold emotions before saying he remembers that smell from his father.

Suddenly, a thin and tanned Chris Jericho appeared on the Tron to interrupt. Jericho asked Punk if he's still hung over from last week. He asked Punk if he's a little shaky because he's still tipsy. Punk said it's not any of those things. Jericho accused him of being in denial. He said Punk needs to admit he's powerless to alcohol and his life is unmanageable. Jericho said Punk is a living, breathing loser. He said when he broke Punk's life-long vow to sobriety, he didn't just force Punk to have his first taste of alcohol, but to make Punk realize for the first time that he is C-M-Drunk. Jericho smirked on the Tron as Punk looked down at the mat. Punk then looked up at the Tron and told Jericho the only thing he broke was a bottle because he can't break him. He told Jericho he made the biggest mistake of his life because the dark place Jericho sent him to is going to make him turn it against Jericho. He said this is no longer about the BITW, but about him kicking Jericho's ass. Punk threw down the mic and Jericho remained still on the Tron. Suddenly, Mark Henry's music played to bring out Punk's title match opponent. Cole sent it to break before the match started.

[Commercial Break]

4 -- WWE champion C.M. PUNK vs. MARK HENRY -- WWE Title match

Back live, the participants were assembled in the ring as Cole noted this is for the "most prestigious championship in sports entertainment." So, they're battling for best halftime show performance? Once the bell sounded, Punk tried to aggressively attack Henry, but Henry knocked him to the outside. On the outside, Punk retrieved a TV monitor and bashed it into Henry. This caused a DQ, giving Henry the win, but Punk retained the title.

WINNER: Henry via DQ at 0:47; Punk retained the WWE Title.

[Q6] Post-match: Punk was about to inflict more damage to Henry, but Jericho's music interrupted. Jericho emerged on-stage with two cases of beer in-hand. Henry then sneak-attacked Punk, targeting the injured mid-section. In the ring, Henry delivered a World's Strongest Slam as Jericho slowly made his way toward the ring. Henry delivered a second WSS as Jericho sold the effects in the background with a "that was painful" expression. Once Henry left the ring, Jericho entered the ring and pulled out a can of beer. Jericho slowly measured Punk for a beer bath, but Punk cut him off with strikes. Jericho recovered, though, and nailed the Codebreaker.

Jericho ripped off his jacket and told Punk that he's stupid. Jericho then doused Punk with beer. "It's all for you!" Jericho shouted as he continued to wash Punk with beer cans. "This one's for your father! Have another drink!" Jericho shouted. Refs eventually stormed the ring and pulled Jericho away from Punk as Punk tried to recover in a pool of beer. Punk eventually reached his feet, then stumbled into Jericho, who landed another Codebreaker. On the outside, Jericho retrieved the WWE Title belt, hoisted it in the air, and tossed it back into the ring to mock Punk. Punk remained face-down on the mat before they cut to break.

[Commercial Break]

Back live, Zack Ryder's music played to bring out Ryder for a singles match. Lawler said they need something to lighten the mood out here. And, that is exactly what Ryder's role is after a brief sniff of the main event at the end of 2011. Ricardo Rodriguez was then shown ringside to introduce Alberto Del Rio. Cole then recapped Sheamus-Del Rio at the end of Smackdown when Sheamus was screwed out of his match with Del Rio, so Sheamus Brogue Kicked ref Chad Patton. Lawler said the ref made a bad decision, but so did Sheamus. Lawler said "severe repercussions" are coming for Sheamus on tomorrow's live Smackdown.

5 -- ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. ZACK RYDER

Del Rio dominated early on before Ryder landed knees in the corner. Ryder then hit the Broski Boot. He wanted the Rough Ryder, but Del Rio launched him into the corner turnbuckle. Del Rio followed right up with his rolling cross-arm breaker finisher and it was good for a submission win. Post-match: They focused on Ryder more than Del Rio by replaying the Broski Boot and showing Ryder standing tall ringside while selling his injured arm.

WINNER: Del Rio via submission at 1:28.

Backstage: The Three Stooges were still trying to come up with ideas for a bit on the show. Will Sasso then went flying down the hallway with an idea.

[Q7]

[Commercial Break]

Back live, Justin Roberts introduced the Three Stooges to boos. Lawler called them his all-time favorite Knuckleheads. The two stooges not Will Sasso came out to the ring and were booed. Suddenly, Hulk Hogan's "Real American" music played to bring out Fat Sasso dressed as Hulk Hogan. It's a mid-1990s WWF Huckster flashback. In the ring, Sasso said the fans are his people. Sasso then entered Hulk Hogan promo mode and the crowd was mixed with boos and indifference. Sasso continued to talk like Hogan before wrapping up to more boos.

Suddenly, Kane's music played and Kane stomped out to the ring eying his prey. Kane flashed his pyro in the ring and the other two Stooges left the ring, leaving Sasso alone in the ring. Sasso did the Hogan Point, then ate a chokeslam from Kane. Kane then promptly left the ring.

Backstage: Josh Mathews was with Mark Henry to examine some video footage from earlier tonight. They showed Henry dismantling Punk after Punk got himself DQ'ed with a TV monitor shot to Henry. Back to the interview, Henry said he has an explanation. Henry explained that he beat Punk via count-out last week and he beat Punk via DQ this week. After talking to Laurinaitis, next week, it's No DQ & No Count-out for the WWE Title. He said that means he's the next World Hvt. champion. Um...that's the Smackdown champion.

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Lawler and Cole reset the show before Lawler excitedly said Mathews is about to conduct an interview with Brock Lesnar. They went back to earlier tonight when Lesnar tackled and punched Cena, busting open Cena.

Backstage: Lesnar was shown standing next to Mathews, who asked if he's proud to be back in WWE. Lesnar said eight years ago, he left WWE after taking the company to heights never seen before. Lesnar noted he left to go to UFC to become UFC Hvt. champion. He said their success was on his blood, sweat, and tears. Lesnar said he's proud. And, he's proud Laurinaitis brought him back to the top where he belongs. Lesnar said Cena could never hold his jockstrap in a million years, which the crowd popped for live. Lesnar said he's here to be an ass-kicker and knock Cena off his pedestal. Lesnar winked toward Mathews to wrap up the interview.

[Q8] Back to the announcers, Cole and Lawler re-visited the "End of an Era" match between The Undertaker and Triple H at WrestleMania eight days ago. Cole fed to a Taker-Hunter video with wrestlers talking about watching the match. These included different soundbytes from Cena, Orton, Rhodes, Punk, Regal, Miz, Bryan, Henry, and Show talking about the match story as Jim Ross's voice was heard. Still shots played from various points in the match. Miz said his dad told him about Hogan-Andre, and he's going to tell his kids about this match. Orton said after the four matches involving Taker, Hunter, and HBK over the last four Manias, it is the end of an era. Back live, the crowd applauded as Lawler said he doesn't think there will be another match to equal that match.

In-ring: David Otunga's music played to bring out Otunga and John Laurinaitis. Otunga posed on-stage as Lawler said another stooge has arrived in the form of Laurinaitis. Otunga and John walked toward the ring before Cole sent the show to break.

[Commercial Break]

Smackdown plug: Live Super Smackdown with top WWE Legends on the show.

In-ring: Back live, Otunga was posing as Laurinaitis applauded in the background. after a camera shot of Wounded Warriors assembled in the crowd, John Cena's music played to a standard mixed reaction. They randomly cut to a shot of Otunga talking to ref Scott Armstrong for instructions on the match. Cena had wiped the blood off his face and noted to the on-stage cameraman that he's still here. Cena had a fat lip from Lesnar's show-opening blows, which Lawler narrated clips of.

6 -- JOHN CENA vs. DAVID OTUNGA (w/John Laurinaitis)

Once the bell sounded, Cena leaned on the top rope to tell Laurinaitis to watch the match and stop texting. Cena smiled at standard mixed crowd chants before locking up with Otunga. Cena then mock wiped Otunga's baby oil off his chest before they locked up again. The crowd fired up with dueling chants again before Otunga delivered rapid-fire kicks in the corner. Cena fired back with hard strikes of his own, but Otunga cut him off and went to work on Cena.

[Q9 -- over-run] Otunga paused to flex, drawing questions from Cole on commentary. Otunga fired off a shoulder tackle for a two count as the vocal males chanted for Fruity Pebbles. Otunga continued to cut off Cena before posing some more. The announcers questioned Otunga, who then walked into right hand strikes from Cena. Cena hit the sit-out slam, then set up for the Five Knuckle Shuffle and connected. Cena gave Laurinaitis some extra dirt off his shoulder, then told him to watch as he hoisted up Otunga for the Attitude Adjustment. Cena connected, smiled toward Laurinaitis, then slapped on the STF. Otunga fought for two seconds before tapping out, irking Laurinaitis.

WINNER: Cena via submission at 5:07. Otunga has improved leaps & bounds with his timing and presence in the ring. Solid effort before taking the loss to keep Cena strong headed to Extreme Rules.

Post-match: Lesnar snuck in the ring and popped Cena with a kick from behind. Lesnar smiled, then paced the ring as Cena sold the effects. They went to a replay of Lesnar kicking Cena in the groin/upper leg area before returning live to show Lesnar mocking Cena's You Can't See Me and delivering the F5 for the second week in a row. The crowd was mixed with boos and cheers as Lesnar stood over Cena. Lesnar's music played, then he looked into the hard camera, then back to Cena. Laurinaitis smiled ringside as Lesnar bounced around in the ring with a big smile on his face. After a replay, the vocal males chanted, "One more time." Lesnar wagged his finger, though, and left the ring. Lesnar stood tall on the stage, Cena recovered in the ring, Cole said Lesnar is determined to regain the top spot in WWE, and they signed off five minutes past the top of the hour.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This show was a great example of why WWE needs an off-season after WrestleMania. Last week's Raw the night after Mania could have ended with the cliffhanger of Lesnar's return, they come back three months later with the follow-up setting up Cena-Lesnar at Summerslam, and off they go. (In the interim, WWE runs weekend house shows on a rotation to keep generating revenue and making house shows seem special as the only way to see WWE stars for three months.) Instead, this felt like a rush job getting Lesnar back in the ring for Extreme Rules on a four-week turnaround, potentially blowing a major drawing card for the remainder of the year. Lesnar did look great by show-end, so that was a positive to take away after a very questionable start to the show.

***

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.


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