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WWE Raw Report
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 3/4: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live "Old-School Raw" - Taker returns, Rock-Cena in-ring confrontation, WM29 hype, more

Mar 4, 2013 - 10:04:08 PM
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WWE Raw TV Results
March 4, 2013 - Episode #1,031
Live from Buffalo, N.Y.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


Advertised during the pre-Raw cut-in on USA Network is The Rock and John Cena in a "Point-Counterpoint" in-ring segment.

The Old-School Raw then opened at the top of the hour with the old-school laser-inscription WWF signature open before going live to the arena. Suddenly, The Gong played and the arena freaked out. No announcers. The Undertaker then slowly emerged on-stage through the old-school giant R-A-W red block letters, returning to Raw for the first time since Raw 1,000. Taker, dressed in his Super Shredder outfit, stood on-stage as the WM29 logo flashed on the screen behind him.

Raw then faded to a video intro narrated by "Mean" Gene Okerlund promoting favorites from "past and present" coming together tonight on Raw. The 1990s Raw theme song then played before the siren sounded inside the arena and full pyro shot off.

Ringside, Michael Cole introduced the show along with Jerry Lawler. Cole was in a mustard-yellow suit and Lawler was sporting his old Raw get-up. Cole said Taker showed up tonight and planted the seed for possibly returning at WrestleMania.

Suddenly, Cult of Personality played to bring out Punk and Paul Heyman on-stage. The duo slowly made their way to the ring as Cole noted it's been a disappointing two months for Punk after his historic WWE Title run ended, then Punk fell to John Cena in one of Raw's all-time matches last Monday on Raw. As Punk entered the ring, Lawler noted Punk pushed Cena to the limit last week and he has nothing to be ashamed of.

In the ring, Punk started by saying he should be main-eventing WrestleMania and he should be defending the WWE Title at Mania, but he's not. Punk said it's not because of what he did or did not do, but because of the fans. "You stole from me," he said. Punk accused the crowd of screwing him. "You did," he said, pointing around the ringside area. He said they only screwed themselves because if he's not in the Mania main event, there's no reason for him to be at Mania. Punk said what he just saw, though, gives him that purpose.

Punk looked deeply into the hard-camera and said he's going to take from the audience by beating The Undertaker at WrestleMania. The crowd popped and shrieked. Punk said the people like The Streak and 20-0, but they roll their eyes when he mentions his 434-day title reign. He said he backs it up in the ring, whereas the fans have done nothing their entire lives. Punk said he has a new number for the audience: 20 and 1. He said that one is drug-free, alcohol-free, and straight-edge. Punk said this man is C.M. Punk and he stands before you on Old-School Raw and he says what he means and means what he says. "At WrestleMania, I beat The Streak. Deal with it," he said.

Suddenly, Randy Orton's music interrupted. Orton walked out and told Punk not to feel so confident because he's already beaten Punk. He said that Punk has never faced Taker at Mania, but he came close eight years ago as a rookie. Orton said he's not a rookie anymore, but the most-dangerous man in the locker room. He said he would like to ask the audience who they would rather see face Taker at WrestleMania. In the ring, Orton polled the crowd and they popped for Orton.

Suddenly, Big Show's music interrupted. Show said they're running off at the mouth about facing Taker at Mania, but they don't have what it takes. Show said he faced Taker years ago, but back then he didn't have this (WMD fist). Show said if you're going to break The Streak, you need to be more than The Viper or Straight-Edge, but a giant. Show vowed to KO the 20-0 Streak at Mania.

Suddenly, Sheamus's music interrupted. Sheamus walked down the ramp saying he's listened to all of them, but he's the only one who has never faced Taker, which means he's the only one who's never lost to him. Sheamus said it's going to take more than a Big Fist, GTS, or an RKO to put The Dead Man down, but maybe, just maybe, it's going to take a big boot, big heart, and some luck to achieve the impossible.

Suddenly, Vickie Guerrero excused herself into the discussion. Vickie walked out to big boos and said the person who defeats The Undertaker at WrestleMania and breaks The Streak will cement his legacy as the Greatest of All-Time. So, to determine who gets the shot, there will be a fatal four-way match. She excitedly declared the the winner will face The Undertaker at WrestleMania. Cue up the Raw theme music as Cole said the winner tonight has the chance to live in wrestling immortality.

Overall, this came across like WWE wants to give Punk a strong TV victory to "earn the shot" against Taker after three big losses at the Rumble, Chamber, and last week's Raw.

Still to come tonight: Rock-Cena Point-Counterpoint. Plus, Triple H addresses Brock Lesnar. Lawler said Hunter is in the house tonight.

Backstage: Ryback was shown walking down the hallway. He gets Antonio Cesaro next.

[Q2] [Commercial Break]

Announcers: Back from break, Cole and Lawler excitedly talked up Undertaker's return and requested touts on what they think of Taker's return and who they want to see face Taker at Mania.

In-ring: U.S. champion Antonio Cesaro was already in the ring. WWE cut to an inset promo with Cesaro going back to his Five Languages gimmick to insult Ryback, who was then given a full ring introduction.

1 -- U.S. champion ANTONIO CESARO vs. RYBACK -- non-title match

Ref Scott Armstrong was dressed in the classic light blue dress shirt and black bowtie to keep it Old-School. Meanwhile, Cesaro was without kneepads or thigh tape. Cesaro tried to jump at Ryback once the bell sounded, but Ryback dumped the U.S. champ to the floor. Cesaro then climbed to the top turnbuckle, but Ryback caught him and press-slammed him to center-ring.

Cesaro rolled to the floor, then played cat-and-mouse with Ryback. Cesaro won the exchange by face-firsting Ryback into the ringpost. Cesaro then knocked Ryback into the old-school guardrail. Ryback re-entered the ring at a seven-count, then Cesaro continued blasting away at Ryback. Uncomfortable and awkward silence for this match sent Raw to break.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break at 6:50, the match was ongoing with Cesaro working on a mid-ring chinlock. Ryback broke free on-cue, then back-body-dropped Cesaro to the mat. Ryback then shook off the effects of Cesaro's attack before doing the Feed Me More shoulder-shrug to attempt the Meathook clothesline, but Cesaro intercepted with a huge uppercut. Cesaro then wanted The Neutralizer, but Ryback was the first man to counter it by turning it into Shell-Shock. Ryback pinned Cesaro for the pin and the win. After the decision, Cole excitedly talked up Ryback's counter as Cesaro slowly rolled out of the ring.

WINNER: Ryback at 8:05. It should be a huge deal for someone to counter Cesaro's Neutralizer, so that's apparently why they gave the spot to Ryback, but it could have meant more if the match were promoted more than just the segment before. This also seemed to ensure that Cesaro will not be a big player heading into Mania.

[Q3] Post-match: Ryback was on his way out until Mark Henry's music played. Henry slowly walked out and came face-to-face with Ryback on the walkway. Henry then walked past Ryback on his way to the ring before stopping. Henry took another look at Ryback before walking to the ring. WWE replayed the finish of Ryback-Cesaro before Justin Roberts introduced Mark Henry for singles action. Zack Ryder was then introduced as Henry's "opponent" tonight.

2 -- MARK HENRY vs. ZACK RYDER

The bell sounded and Cole noted Ryder is complaining to everyone who will listen that he is not part of WrestleMania in his backyard. Henry quickly dropped Ryder to the mat, then slowly walked around the ring. He demanded that Ryder get up before scooping Ryder and easing his way into World's Strongest Slam. Henry pinned Ryder, then declared, "That's What I Do!"

WINNER: Henry at 0:50. One segment to connect Ryback and Henry. If Ryback doesn't mix it up with The Shield again at Mania, then it appears it's Ryback vs. Henry on April 7.

Raw Tonight: Old-School box graphics with Taker in the middle indicated that it's Orton vs. Punk vs. Sheamus vs. Show to determine who faces Taker at Mania.

Backstage: Dolph Ziggler, A.J. Lee, and Big E. Langston were shown walking down the hallway. Ziggler faces The Miz next.

Vignette: It's Johnny Curtis as Fan-dang-oooh. He premieres tonight on Raw. Maybe.

[Commercial Break. Coming back from break, a spot aired for The Miz starring in "The Marine 3," out tomorrow.]

Back from break, The Miz and Dolph Ziggler were already in the ring. Miz checked the mic to make sure it's working before introducing someone who personifies and transcends Old-School into New-School, which drew Whoos. Miz told the crowd to get up and give it up for "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. Flair, with his dress shirt already untucked, walked out on-stage to Whoos before making his way to the ring to stand in Miz's corner.

3 -- DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/A.J. Lee and Big E. Langston) vs. THE MIZ (w/Ric Flair)

The A.J. Styles "Ric Flair, Jr." issue was on-display in the opening minute as the fans just cared about Flair being ringside instead of Miz and Ziggler locking up in the ring. Ziggler then got heat for mocking Flair, which led to a heat-transfer to Miz, who popped Ziggler with Flair's offense. Miz then knocked Ziggler to the floor before Flair hopped on the ring apron to strut along with Miz leading to break.

[Commercial Break]

[Q4] Back from break at 5:05, Flair was off the apron and calm on the floor. In the ring, Ziggler was in control of the action as WWE reminded viewers that A.J. is still around and still crazy. Ziggler slapped on a reverse chinlock as Cole noted it's Del Rio vs. Ziggler this Friday on Smackdown. Miz fought back with left hands before nearly getting himself DQ'ed in the corner. Miz then tried a roll-up, but only scored a two count.

Miz nailed the Reality Check for a nearfall, then Ziggler tried a small package for a two count. Ziggler followed with a leaping DDT that seemed to hurt Ziggler more than Miz, which contributed to Ziggler only scoring a two count on a pin attempt. Ziggler followed with a sleeperhold that Miz escaped before throwing Ziggler into the air. Miz followed with a running corner clothesline before climbing up-top to land a double-axehandle smash.

A.J. then hopped on the ring apron to distract the ref as Big E. clocked Miz from behind. This brought over Ric Flair to light up Big E. with chops, but Big E. was unmoved. Suddenly, Miz dropkicked Big E. through the ring ropes. Back in the ring, Miz shook off Ziggler's sneak-attack before slapping on the Figure-Four Leglock. Ziggler fought the hold, but tapped out.

Post-match, Flair entered the ring to strut and celebrate with Miz before falling down. Flair followed with an elbow drop to an imaginary article of clothing in the ring. Miz and Flair hugged again before WWE replayed the finish.

WINNER: Miz via submission at 10:10. A lot of moving parts to keep the crowd engaged.

Announcers: Cole and Lawler hyped the four-way match tonight to determine who faces The Undertaker at Mania. Cole then plugged the latest WWE Magazine featuring Lesnar, Cena, and Rock on the cover.

Up Next: The Rock-John Cena exchange is next, grabbing the top-of-the-second-hour timeslot.

[Commercial Break]

The Rock-John Cena Segment

Back from break three minutes before the top of the hour, WWE paused before If You Smell... played to bring out WWE champion The Rock returning to Raw after a one-week absence. Rock slowly walked out on-stage to a big reaction before going side-to-side evaluating the crowd. Rock even took a peek behind the Titantron stage to acknowledge the overflow portion of the crowd. Rock then slowly entered the ring as Cole excitedly hyped Rock defending the WWE Title against John Cena in five weeks at Mania.

[Q5 -- second hour] Once in the ring, Rock milked a very strong crowd reaction before surveying the arena from top to bottom. Rock paused again before speaking, selling that he was moved by the crowd noise. Rock said he really needs the audience to understand something. He said he just came in from Central America, where it is 95 degrees every day.

But, The Rock knew he was coming to Raw, so he started packing his bag, work-out clothes, and "boots to asses" boots when he showed up the airport and the lady asked if he needs a jacket. Rock said he doesn't need a jacket because he has electricity running through his body. Then, Rock stepped off the airplane in this city...pause..."Sweet Harlem Shakin' Honey-Boo-Booing, it's cold here!" he declared. Rock said it's okay, though, because he landed here with a smile. Rock said when that cold air hit his face, it meant that after ten long years, he can finally say, "Finally, The Rock Has Come Back To Buffalo!" "Rocky, Rocky" chant from the appreciative crowd.

Rock said he circled this date on his calendar for a long time because it means they are 34 days away from WrestleMania. Rock checked out the sign hanging in the arena before John Cena's music suddenly played. Lawler said he doesn't believe this - Cena interrupting The Rock.

Cena came out on-stage to a mix of cheers and boos, rubbed his hands together, and said this should be good. Cena saluted the crowd, then stormed the ring to play to the crowd as Rock surveyed his Mania opponent while standing back in the corner. After Cena finished doing his thing, Rock circled to the other side of the ring as Cena apologized for interrupting, but he had to come out here this second. Cena said he has been waiting for this month for a year. He said Rock can't know why because he is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson - the man who conquered WWE during the Attitude Era before leaving to conquer Hollywood and has returned to conquer WWE again. Cena said Rock hasn't failed at anything at life, which means he doesn't understand what it's like to vow to do something and fail.

Cena said he needed to win last year at Mania, but he failed. Cena said it made him feel worthless. Pause for a "Cena Sucks" chant. Rock and Cena listened to it, then Cena noted it makes you feel weak and makes you want to crawl away. Cena said that loss to Rock put his life in a tailspin. He said after Mania, his life was turned upside-down both professionally and personally. Cena said he couldn't get over the fact that he told these people he would win. Cena, sounding like a heel, said Rock is responsible for his failure (of course, Cena's cockiness cost him the match vs. Rock at Mania).

Cena said it's not coincidence that Rock won the WWE Title at the Royal Rumble the same night he won the Rumble match. He said this is a shot at redemption, and he has been gifted a second chance to right the biggest wrong of his life. Cena told Rock that he is not throwing this chance away. Rock thought things over while staring down Cena, then turned his ear to acknowledge some noise in the crowd.

Rock then spoke that that fire and desire - he is very happy to see that from Cena. He said that's the man who said he was going to beat Punk last week and he did. Rock said there was only one man The Rock wanted to face at Mania, and that's Cena. Why? Because he knows what this means to him. Rock said he knows when Cena's music hits, he salutes, he runs to this ring, and kisses his dog tags, he knows it matters and it means something to him. Rock said he knows no one else in WWE has that fire and passion...except The Rock. Rock said just as much as it matters to Cena, it matters more to him. Rock said when his music hits, he steps in this ring, and he connects with every single person in this arena from top to bottom and everyone at home, it matters to him. Rock told Cena to get something straight that he isn't getting redemption, jack, but getting his ass kicked.

Cena let the big one-liner sit on his shoulders before responding that he would like to step back and quote Mike Tyson. He said Tyson is responsible for one of the most powerful quotes he's ever heard and it reminds him of Rock. "In order to be the greatest that ever lived, you have to beat everyone living," Cena said. Cena said he has jumped every roadblock in his entire career, except for Rock. They got within a few feet of each other before Cena declared that Rock's time is up and his time is now. Rock soaked that in before smirking. "No, no, no," he said. "Rock's time is just getting started," Rock said. Rock had a quote of his own. "Winning is about heart; you just got to have it in the right heart," he said. Rock said the man who said that is Lance Armstrong. He said he's full of crap and so is Cena. Cena smiled before the crowd chanted, "Rocky, Rocky."

Cena said that's well-played. He said Rock has unbelievable confidence in his eyes, which is what he had last year. Cena said in 34 days, he makes history and he will become the WWE Champion. Cena let those words sit on Rock as the crowd was mixed with boos and cheers. Rock shook his head no and told Cena that he just crystalized everything that is Rock vs. Cena. Rock said that's the biggest difference between them. He said Cena thinks he can beat The Rock, but he knows he can beat Cena.

"And, at WrestleMania 29, in front of the world, I will beat you...(pause)...again," Rock said. Rock then slowly, firmly, and quietly said, "If you smell...what The Rock...is cooking." Rock and Cena went face-to-face with the WM29 sign hanging in the background as Rock's music played. Cena then took a look at the WWE Title belt resting on Rock's shoulder before Rock offered a final parting word.

[ JC: Very strong confrontation to set up what WWE hopes is an epic re-match. Rock got the "entertainment" out of the way early, then brought it strong to set the stage for Cena having the next four weeks to get to Rock's level of actual confidence over empty confidence. ]

[Q6] Lawler said that was strong before plugging the four-way match tonight to determine who faces Undertaker at Mania.

[Commercial Break]

Still to come: Triple H returns to address Brock Lesnar.

Earlier Tonight: The lights went out, the bell gonged, and The Undertaker returned to signal his in-ring return at WrestleMania. Cole said there is "no doubt about it" that Taker is heading to Mania to defend his streak.

In-ring: Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter were in the ring back from break. Colter, with a haircut, twirled his mustache before hometown star "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan was introduced. Dusty Rhodes and Sgt. Slaughter accompanied Duggan to the ring to face off with Swagger.

4 -- JACK SWAGGER (w/Zeb Colter) vs. "HACKSAW" JIM DUGGAN (w/Sgt. Slaughter and Dusty Rhodes)

After the bell sounded, Swagger left the ring to steal Duggan's 2x4. Rhodes and Slaughter reprimanded him, then Duggan told Swagger to put the board down. Swagger instead blasted Duggan with the board before giving it to Slaughter and Rhodes, too. Cole over-reacted, calling this pathetic. "Oh no, not to Duggan," Cole near-comically said. Swagger then slapped on the Patriot Lock, trying to break Duggan's ankle. Still no bell on this "match."

Swagger then dropped the hold as Cole called Swagger a farce because he's not a Real American. Swagger stared at the WM29 sign to promote his World Title match against Alberto Del Rio. Lawler then said he doesn't think the match even started, but Cole said under his breath that the match did start, but he wants no part of this version of Swagger's America. Cole continued to rail on Swagger as Swagger and Colter left, with no sign of Del Rio to make the save.

WINNER: No Bell at 2:30 when the segment ended. That was...odd. From Cole's over-the-top commentary to no bell on the obvious DQ. WWE is trying too hard with Swagger's "controversial" program.

Announcers: An overly-indignant Cole fed to a video package on The Marine 3 out on DVD tomorrow.

Backstage: Tag champs Daniel Bryan and Kane were shown walking down the hallway before wrestling next.

[Commercial Break]

[Q7] Announcers: A now-excited Cole plugged the four-way match still to come.

Backstage: Zeb Colter talked up Jack Swagger for taking out three Legends. Backstage interviewer Josh Mathews then walked up to Swagger to act like Swagger took out Washington, Jefferson, and Madison instead of three Legends who have been booked like comedy figures over the years. Alberto Del Rio then attacked Swagger to take out his anger on Swagger before he was pulled away by officials.

[ JC: This officially made Del Rio one of the worst babyfaces of all-time for not making the save for Hacksaw and Co. in the ring. Apparently Del Rio was okay with letting Hacksaw take a beating in the ring and "get his ankle snapped" so that he could avoid exerting energy running to the ring. Then, after not putting forth the energy to make the save in the ring, he waited in the convenience of the backstage area to attack Swagger. ]

In-ring: "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase was ringside to watch the next tag match.

5 -- WWE tag champions DANIEL BRYAN & KANE vs. PRIME TIME PLAYERS (TITUS O'NEIL & DARREN YOUNG) -- non-title match

DiBiase acknowledged a few fans chanting, "We Want Virgil," as the two teams exchanged offense early on. After more basic back and forth, Kane finished off D-Young with a chokeslam for the pin and the win. After the match, DiBiase pulled out a $100 bill and stuffed it in D-Young's mouth, indicating that he has no interest in managing the Players. DiBiase left, then D-Bryan grabbed the bill and stuffed it in his pants before leaving.

WINNERS: Kane & Bryan at 3:43.

Backstage: WWE focused on Honky Tonk Man's outfit before panning up to reveal the back of HTM's head. Cole said he thinks he knows who that is, and he's up next.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Back live, Brodus Clay's music was playing and the Dancing Bears were on the way to the ring. Cole said Brodus and Tensai are still searching for a team name. Lawler suggested Tippin' Scales (instead of Chippendales). Cole, of course, cackled. Justin Roberts then welcomed out the "Greatest Intercontinental Champion of All-Time," the Honky Tonk Man.

Out came HTM wielding a trademark guitar. Cole name-dropped Ultimate Warrior as the man who dethroned HTM's IC Title reign before 3MB emerged from the fog. Heath Slater yanked the mic away from Honky, saying no one came here to hear HTM speak or sing. Slater told HTM to head back to Las Vegas to join the other Elvis impersonators. HTM reluctantly left the ring before the bell sounded.

6 -- BRODUS CLAY & TENSAI vs. 3MB (DREW MCINTYRE & HEATH SLATER w/Jinder Mahal)

After Drew swiveled his hips toward HTM, Brodus rolled up Mac for the pin in under 30 seconds. After the bell sounded, Lawler offered his Tippin' Scales joke again before HTM asked for his music to play in the ring. HTM then led Brodus, Tensai, Cameron, and Naomi in Shake, Rattle, 'n Roll. Suddenly, Slater re-entered the ring, so HTM blasted him with his guitar. Another round of dancing ensued.

WINNERS: Tensai & Clay at 0:24.

Up Next: Fandango makes his Raw debut against Kofi Kingston. But, first, another vignette from Johnny Curtis as Fandango.

[Q8] [Commercial Break]

Last Week: Wade Barrett attended the L.A. premiere of "Dead Man Down." The movie is out this Friday.

In-ring: Kofi Kingston was already in the ring back from break. Fandango's music then played to bring out a dancer leading the way for Johnny Curtis to emerge dressed in a Dancing with the Stars get-up. Or, John Morrison, take your pick. On-stage, Curtis surveyed the crowd before saying Justin Roberts's introduction was inappropriate. Curtis said he will not make his debut until you learn how to pronounce his name. Roberts tried again. Curtis said that's not right, then told Roberts to let the "a's" breathe. So, Roberts tried again.

Curtis, indignant, said he will not stand here and let Roberts butcher his name. Curtis said Justin, Kofi, and everyone here tonight will remember the night they almost got to see the debut of...(pose with the dancer)..."Faaaahn...dan...go." Curtis and his dancer then salsa'ed to the back. Lawler was quite disappointed. Back in the ring, Kofi tried to figure out what just happened as ref Charles Robinson waved off the match.

Up Next: Triple H addresses Brock Lesnar at the top of the third hour.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break three minutes before the top of the hour, Cole fed to a video recap from last week's Raw when a "fight" between Mr. McMahon and Paul Heyman spilled over into a fight between Triple H and Brock Lesnar that resulted in a big gash to Lesnar's head.

[Q9 -- third hour]

Triple H Segment

At the top of the hour, Triple H's music played and his signature green lights flashed in the arena. Hunter emerged to a lukewarm reaction after the past 45 minutes of filler segments took down the crowd. A buzz-cut Triple H, dressed in a leather jacket and black t-shirt, made his way to the ring as WWE focused on the WM29 sign over his shoulder. Hunter then entered the ring and posed for the crowd, which started to wake up a bit. Lawler said he thinks Hunter looks better than ever.

Once Hunter's music stopped, Triple H smiled toward the crowd and looked for a Rock-like reception, but didn't get it. Hunter then noted the last time he stood in this ring with a mic in his in-hand, it was eight days after Summerslam, eight days after Brock Lesnar beat him at Summerslam. Hunter said he thought he might have been done at the time, but the second that cast came off, he was back in the gym tearing it up, but without a real goal in-mind. Yeah, he was doing his day-job as COO, even cut his hair, but also training every day. Hunter said a few months later, he found himself in the best shape he's been in in years.

Hunter said he was waiting for a reason, then he found himself sitting next to a hospital bed looking at an "old man" who just got done with hip surgery. He said the man who created "all of this" sat there in the hospital; his daughter, "my wife," sat there crying at his bedside, and McMahon's grandkids sat there crying, but he was smiling on the inside because he found a reason. Hunter said when that crazy old-man stood in this ring and challenged Paul Heyman to a fight, and Heyman did what he did turning to Brock Lesnar, he was ready. Hunter said he's not done with Lesnar.

Hunter said he is standing here in this ring five weeks before WrestleMania to call out Brock. He said Brock is usually the guy who stands in this ring doing the destruction, but, last week, he split Brock wide open. Hunter then called out to Brock to finish what they started. "Because I'm back. The ass-kicker is back! The King of Kings is back! The Game is back! And he's calling you out for WrestleMania," Hunter said. Hunter asked Brock if he's going to show up and fight or just sit there and bleed. Hunter dropped the mic to a tepid reaction before his music quickly played. Cole said it's now up to Brock to accept the challenge.

[Commercial Break. On the way to break, WWE ran a DVD ad for Bret Hart's new "Dungeon Collection." It featured Sheamus leaving the ring, hopping on his bus, and pulling out the DVD to unwind by watching some Bret Hart matches with a smile on his face.]

Video Package: The Shield battled Randy Orton and Sheamus last Friday on Social Media Smackdown.

Announcers: Cole and Lawler recapped Friday's Smackdown, then Lawler noted Big Show jacked Roman Reigns's jaw during the fracas on Smackdown. Cole fed to a recorded video response from The Shield.

Video: In the gritty, handheld video style, Dean Ambrose, Reigns, and Seth Rollins addressed matters. Ambrose said everyone seems to want to throw their names in the ring to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania. Rollins chimed in that Taker isn't the only one riding an impressive unbeaten streak, as everyone needs to remember that they're undefeated. Ambrose then said the Eye of Justice is always watching, even Big Show. Reigns said Show got in one cheap shot, but it won't happen again. Ambrose closed by saying no one can beat them. Reigns signed off: "Believe in The Shield."

[Q10] Back in the arena, IC champion Wade Barrett was standing by for singles action. Justin Roberts then introduced Ricardo Rodriguez, who introduced World champ Alberto Del Rio. So, it's a Champ vs. Champ match with zero advanced promotion.

7 -- World Hvt. champion ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. IC champion WADE BARRETT -- non-title Champion vs. Champion match

Swagger and Colter came out for a closer look at the action within the first minute of the match. Del Rio and Barrett went back and forth trying to engage a dead crowd, but even Del Rio's fan-friendly chants and stomps with his feet did not engage the crowd. Swagger tried Winds of Change for a second time, but Del Rio blocked and slapped on the cross arm-breaker. It was good for a tap-out victory. After the match, Del Rio leaned against the ropes to encourage Swagger to come fight him now, rather than sneak-attack Legends. Swagger didn't bite, though.

WINNER: Del Rio via submission at 4:51. At this rate, the upcoming three-hour Raws when it's not WrestleMania season are going to be brutal when the part-time, big-name stars depart and all that's left are about five top stars and then a bunch of guys.

[Commercial Break]

We the People Video: Back from break, WWE replayed one of Colter's political messages that ran on YouTube two weeks ago.

Arena: Back live, the New Age Outlaws's music played to bring out Road Dogg Jesse James and Billy Gunn. In the ring, Dogg sang a tune before asking Buffalo if they're ready. Dogg did the usual DX Intro for the Outlaws to wake up the crowd before Gunn took the mic and noted if you're not down with that, they have two words for you. Suddenly, Primo & Epico were ringside. Cole said this is the Outlaws's first Raw TV match in two decades.

[Q11]

8 -- NEW AGE OUTLAWS (BILLY GUNN & ROAD DOGG JESSE JAMES) vs. PRIMO & EPICO (w/Rosa Mendes)

Cole told the story of how the Outlaws were formed as Primo & Epico tried to wear down Dogg early on. Ringside, Rosa celebrated The Colons's brief stint on offense before Dogg broke free and tagged in Billy Gunn. Gunn smashed The Colons with right hands before powerslamming Primo for a two count. The action broke down before Gunn caught Primo with the Fameasser for the pin and the win.

WINNERS: Outlaws at 2:52.

Announcers: Cole plugged the WM29 main event coming up in five weeks - The Rock vs. John Cena for the WWE Title.

Earlier Tonight: John Cena said he gets a chance to re-write history with his shot at redemption against The Rock at WM29. The Rock responded by saying he knows he can beat Cena, whereas Cena only thinks he can. On commentary, Cole said those two are ready for WrestleMania. Cole then noted Triple H is also ready for WrestleMania. He plugged Stephanie McMahon joining Twitter and tweeting that it's time for Brock to Play The Game.

Still to come: Fatal Four-way match to determine who faces The Undertaker at WrestleMania.

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: More from Cole and Lawler ringside. Lawler said everyone is tweeting that they look like ketchup and mustard, then Cole fed to a video package with "Touts" about The Undertaker's return. The touts followed Bruce Mitchell's Rules For Getting On Raw - play up the storyline, show enthusiasm, and pretend to be your favorite wrestler.

On-stage: Various WWE mid-carders were shown standing on-stage next to a giant cake with "Happy Birthday Mae Young 90th" written on it. Justin Roberts then introduced "Mean" Gene Okerlund to host the birthday celebration. Gene came out and introduced Mae Young, who was helped out on-stage by the Divas. Mark Henry, seemingly out of character, got close to Mae, flashing back to the Attitude Era. Even if it's "Old-School Raw," very questionable to have Mark Henry out there.

Suddenly, Cult of Personality played to bring out C.M. Punk, who brushed past the celebration. Paul Heyman, who was not with Punk last week during Cena vs. Punk, turned his nose at Mae's celebration before joining Punk marching to the ring. Cole called Punk an egomaniac. If he wants to face Taker at Mania, he has to win a four-way match, and it's up next.

[Q12] [Commercial Break]

WM29 Countdown: 34 days.

In-ring: Back live, C.M. Punk was sitting angrily in the corner talking to Heyman before Big Show was introduced as the second participant in the main event. Randy Orton was out third, followed by Sheamus.

9 -- C.M. PUNK (w/Paul Heyman) vs. RANDY ORTON vs. BIG SHOW vs. SHEAMUS -- fatal four-way match -- winner faces The Undertaker at WM29

After the bell sounded, Punk bailed from the ring to force the other three to wrestle. But, Orton and Sheamus rolled out of the ring to surround Punk, who was forced back into the ring, where he found Big Show's big belly as a comforting pillow. Show turned the comfort into pain with a headbutt that sent Punk to the outside, then Show and Orton battled on the floor. Show ate the ringpost, then Orton re-entered the ring to square off against Sheamus.

Orton and Sheamus battled mid-ring before Punk slipped into the ring to try to steal a pin on Sheamus, but Orton broke it up. Punk quickly left the ring after the near-pin. The same happened moments later when Punk tried to steal a pin on Orton after Sheamus did work. But, this time, the faces caught Punk by the foot as he tried to leave the ring, then dumped Punk to the outside. But, Big Show re-entered the ring and smacked around Orton and Sheamus. Show in-control leading to break.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, Punk and Orton were battling mid-ring. Orton landed consecutive clotheslines before delivering a powerslam. Orton sort of found himself in t-bone suplex position and just went with it, scoring a nearfall on Punk. Sheamus then entered the ring and battering-rammed Orton for a nearfall. Sheamus next grabbed Punk and delivered his trademark Ten Forearms to Punk's chest. But, Show grabbed Sheamus from behind for a reverse DDT that Punk broke up to save the match.

Show suddenly KO Punched Punk in the corner, but Sheamus attacked Show before Show could consider covering Punk. Sheamus built some momentum, then took Show off his feet with a flying forearm smash. But, Show came back with a smash that put Sheamus in the corner. Show wanted a Vader Bomb, but Sheamus rolled out of the way just in-time.

[Q13 -- over-run] At the top of the hour, Sheamus grappled Show and delivered White Noise for a Show of Strength. Sheamus covered Show, but The Giant kicked out. Sheamus then stalked Show for a Brogue Kick, but Orton slipped back into the ring to snap powerslam Sheamus for a close two count. Show recovered, then chokeslammed Orton. Sheamus met a similar fate, but Sheamus kicked out of a pin attempt.

Show warmed up his fist for the big KO Punch, then measured Sheamus, but Sheamus ducked and Brogue Kicked Show out of the ring. Orton then suddenly sprung on Sheamus with an RKO, but Punk entered the ring, kicked Orton in the head, delivered the GTS, and quickly covered Orton for the pin and the win. Lawler declared that Punk gets the chance to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania.

WINNER: Punk at 11:40. The match had its moments, but the outcome was never in-doubt, so the audience didn't seem to invest until the finishing sequence. Overall, the idea of the wrestlers competing to see who faces Taker felt beneath The Streak at this stage of Taker's career, especially looking back at Taker's last four Mania opponents - Michaels twice and Triple H twice. Now the question is how the back-and-forth between Taker and Punk unfolds with only four weeks of TV remaining before Mania.

After the match, Lawler added that Punk might not be WWE Champion anymore, but he could be the man who takes The Streak away from Undertaker. Suddenly, the lights flashed and the bell tolled. As Punk frowned in the ring and lowered his head to look toward the entrance ramp, Undertaker emerged through the fog. Taker slowly walked out on-stage, then slowly made his way down the ramp toward the ring. Cole asked if Punk will be the one to end the greatest streak in sports history. Taker remained half-down the ramp as Cole billed it as The Streak vs. the Longest Reigning Champ of the Last 25 years. Raw signed off four minutes past the top of the hour with a final shot of Taker standing tall in the middle of the entrance ramp.

Alerts: Follow PWTorch staffer's live, real-time tweets during Raw at Twitter.com/PWTorch/torch-staff .

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 .


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