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WWE Raw Report
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 3/18: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - Hunter signs WM29 contract, IC Title match, more WM29 developments

Mar 18, 2013 - 11:16:50 PM
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WWE Raw TV Results
March 18, 2013 - Episode #1,033
Live from Pittsburgh, Pa.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


This week's live WWE Raw started with a video package previewing Triple H responding to Brock Lesnar's challenge for WrestleMania tonight. Plus, The Undertaker is live after C.M. Punk interrupted Taker's tribute to Paul Bearer last week. And, Punk has possession of the urn.

Arena: Michael Cole introduced the show before John Cena's music played to start Raw. Cena, who did not appear on Raw last week, came out on-stage sporting his new "alternative uniform" gold and purple t-shirt, before storming the ring.

Once in the ring, Cena heard loud boos mixed with cheers. Cena acknowledged the response and said there must be some Rock fans here tonight. He told the crowd they have 20 days to pick a side, then noted he's standing in front of a sold-out house divided. Cena said he has a message to all of Rock's fans. "Our time is now," he said. Cena, now in preacher mode, said it started with the Royal Rumble, he is focused, and he is ready for WrestleMania.

Suddenly, Prime Time Players's music interrupted. "What in the world?" Cole asked on commentary. Out came Darren Young dressed to wrestle, whereas Titus O'Neil was randomly in a costume consisting of an afro wig, coveralls, and big glasses. Titus said his cousin is Titus, but he is actually Rufus Pancake Patterson. Cena changed subjects to listing Pittsburgh's sports teams before noting Pittsburgh also has great doctors who handle multiple personalities. Titus shook off this insult before the Players did their dance. Titus then sold a leg injury as the crowd booed this bit. Cena said the crowd might not like them, but he likes them. He said he's 20 days away from WrestleMania and maybe they'll get it right by then.

Titus said that's the problem because the fans don't want to see Cena, but the Prime Time Players. Titus said they're talking about t-shirts and washrags. He said some people say D-Young looks like Cena, then "Pancake" said there is no reason why Darren should not be on the cover of Cocoa Pebbles. "Pancake" continued that he would have no problem tearing Cena from limb to limb, but he has a leg problem and bingo night is on Friday. "Pancake" said D-Young has no problem tearing up Cena, though. Young said after he is done with Cena, Cena will be crying on this ramp, just like after last year's WrestleMania. Five minutes later, Cena asked if that's what this is about. Cena tried to act serious in a non-serious segment that he will show Young that he is ready for WrestleMania.

1 -- JOHN CENA vs. DARREN YOUNG (w/Titus O'Neil in a wig)

Cena knocked D-Young to the outside 15 seconds in. D-Young and Titus recovered on the outside as the crowd whipped up a dueling Cena chant leading to break.

[Commercial Break]

[Q2] Back live, Cena delivered his sit-out slam before dropping the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena followed with an Attitude Adjustment after pointing to the WM29 sign. Cena then pinned D-Young for the win. After the match, Cena left the ring to yell at the announcers to let the crowd know that he is ready for Mania.

WINNER: Cena at 4:16. That was a poor way to get a WM29 tune-up match. It's the result of Raw being three hours.

Announcers: Cole and Jerry Lawler were shown on-camera to transition into an Undertaker-C.M. Punk discussion. The graphic read: "The Undertaker Returns." He was on Raw last week. Cole said Taker will respond to Punk tonight, then the announcers transitioned to a look at the Mark Henry vs. Ryback feud.

Backstage: Ryback was shown walking down the hallway. He faces a returning David Otunga next. This is Otunga's reward for "The Call" saving WWE Studios?

[Commercial Break]

Back live, David Otunga was in the ring flexing. Cole noted "The Call's" success before Ryback was introduced to eat up Otunga.

2 -- RYBACK vs. DAVID OTUNGA

As the bell sounded, Cole plugged Ryback teaming with Randy Orton and Sheamus to face The Shield at WrestleMania. Ryback dismantled Otunga early on, then Otunga briefly fought back with right-leg kicks. But, Ryback delivered a spinning facebuster before leading the crowd in a "Feed Me More" chant. Ryback ran over Otunga with a meathook clothesline before calling for the end. Ryback then dropped Otunga with Shell-Shock for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Ryback at 1:36.

Post-match, Ryback took the mic and vowed to tear The Shield apart along with Orton and Sheamus. As far as Mark Henry is concerned, Ryback said that on his way to Mania, they will cross paths again. And when that time comes, everyone knows that it will be feeding time. Ryback then led the crowd in a "Feed Me More" chant.

Suddenly, Mark Henry's music played. Henry emerged through the curtain and filled up the entire camera shot. Henry made his way out on-stage, but Vickie Guerrero screeched off-mic, "Excuse Me!" Teddy Long also joined Vickie, warning Henry not to take another step. Vickie then took Ryback out of WrestleMania. She corrected herself that Ryback is out of the six-man tag match at Mania. Vickie then booked Henry against Ryback. This is presumably for Mania.

Back in the ring, Ryback scooped up Otunga and warned Henry, "This is you," before delivering Shell-Shock again. Cole made it official that it's Henry vs. Ryback at WrestleMania. "Who is the king of WWE's jungle?" Cole asked. Ryback then placed his boot on Otunga's chest and stood tall in the ring while staring down Henry.

[Q3] Still to come: Jerry Lawler's music will moderate Triple H and Brock Lesnar's contract signing tonight. Cole then requested the audience suggest match stipulations via Tout.

Vignette: Fandango is here. Or, at least his pants are. Johnny Curtis pronounced his name, then the graphic indicated that Fandango "premieres" next on Raw.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Fandango's dancer came out on-stage to lead the way for Fandango to come through a make-shift DWTS curtain hanging on the entrance stage. No on-stage promo from Fandango, who made his way to the ring as Justin Roberts introduced him. Fandango did not react to Justin's pronunciation as Cole said he is excited to finally see Fandango in the ring. Fandango then hit the ring and posed over a Fandango logo that dropped from the ceiling to rest over the ring. In the background, a sign on the front row read: "Ratings Killer." After the elaborate ring introduction, Great Khali was introduced with Natalya.

Once Khali and Natalya hit the ring, Curtis took the mic and told them to stop dancing. He said that it is quite obvious that Khali is far too stupid to pronounce his name correctly. So, the sensual Natalya should give it a try. Curtis told Natalya not to be afraid of "all of this masculinity." Natalya retrieved a mic, then pronounced, "Fan...dang!...oh, go get 'em Khali!" Curtis didn't bite and left the ring with his dancer. Fandango said tonight was the night that you almost got to see the debut of...pause for Curtis to position his dancer..."Fan-dan-goh." In the background, the crowd chanted, "You Can't Wrestle." Cole said he was very disappointed by this.

Still to come: IC champion Wade Barrett defends the IC Title against Chris Jericho and The Miz in a three-way match.

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Cole plugged Brock Lesnar on the cover of Muscle & Fitness. Lawler said he looks kind of like him working out with a "dumbell like Michael Cole."

[Q4] In-ring: R-Truth was introduced for the next match. Cole relayed a promo from Truth on the App that he has vowed to make sure Damien Sandow "gets got" tonight. And, The Theme from the first two matches shall continue. Sandow was then introduced alone. On-stage, Sandow took out his microphone and silenced the music so that he can speak. Sandow said it's an insult that Truth is named "truth." Truth responded to Sandow's poetry: "Your bead is weird and you talk a lot. I got folksy words for you: you gonna get got. You're welcome!"

3 -- DAMIEN SANDOW vs. R-TRUTH

Sandow applied a reverse chinlock before transitioning to a side Russian Legsweep. Sandow followed with the Elbow of the Disdain for a two count. Truth then made a comeback with clotheslines before delivering a head scissors. On commentary, Lawler offered a dated Manti Te'o joke related to Little Jimmy missing from this match, which Cole laughed at as if it's a new topic. Truth followed with the Lie Detector, but Sandow rolled out of the ring to avoid a three count. Sandow then took off to the back and Lawler noted he's about to cost himself some money. The ref then reached a ten-count, giving Truth a count-out win.

WINNER: Truth via count-out at 3:37.

Backstage: The Bella Twins were playing with Cody Rhodes's mustache, then Divas champion Kaitlyn interrupted to speak with Cody. She said they can't hang out later because she has "a thing," then told the Bellas to keep playing with Cody's mustache and he'll keep playing with theirs. That was hilarious if you're in fourth-grade. Kaitlyn walked off as Cody sold the joke, but the Bellas no-sold and went back to flirting with Cody.

Up Next: The Undertaker.

[Commercial Break]

Raw Last Monday: WWE replayed Kane pinning C.M. Punk in the main event, then Punk stealing Taker's urn to close Raw, which reinforced that Punk vs. Taker at Mania isn't about two strong, unbeatable stars facing off, but a weasely heel like Punk capable of ending The Streak by nefarious means.

In-ring: Three minutes before the top of the hour, The Undertaker's music played and fog filled the arena. Taker then appeared on-stage and slowly made his way toward the ring to loud cheers. Taker got a personalized lower-third graphic to identify who he is before he slowly made his way into the ring to more cheers.

Once in the ring, Taker waited out more applause as the arena remained dimly lit in purple and black. Taker spoke into the mic that Punk sealed his own fate by making this personal last week. Taker vowed to hurt Punk. "And I'm going to hurt you bad," he said with emphasis. Taker said Punk has one chance to save his own soul - "I want that urn back," he said.

[Q5 -- second hour] Suddenly, Paul Bearer's voice was heard in the arena. "Oh yes, Undertaker." But, it was C.M. Punk appearing on the Titantron. He said no disrespect intended, as he never was able to hit the high-notes. Punk then "talked" to the urn, which Punk kind of presented as Paul Bearer's ashes inside the urn. Punk reminded Taker that a count-out or DQ at Mania counts the same as a loss to break The Streak.

Punk played around with the urn before noting he doesn't answer to a higher power, like Taker, as he is the higher power. Punk said he is the one man in the world who can shoulder the burden of breaking Taker's Streak. He said he can endure whatever Taker plans to do to him. "I will beat The Streak. I am the one who will end your Undefeated Streak at WrestleMania," Punk said. "I am the one in 20 and 1."

"Oh, s---," Punk said as he "accidentally" dropped the urn and the lid nearly came off. Punk continued playing catch with the urn as Taker paced inside the ring. Awkward pause. Taker then slipped out of the ring to silence to signal the end of the segment.

[ JC: This didn't move the crowd into a "WrestleMania frenzy," as the angle continues to feel like they're building toward an off-brand PPV match that was booked on two-weeks notice. Which, if you think about it, if William Moody did not die two weeks ago, what would story would they even have for this match? ]

Still to come: Hunter-Lesnar contract signing.

[Commercial Break]

Hall of Fame plug: Cole said a new inductee will be announced tonight.

Moments Ago: C.M. Punk played catch with Taker's urn, his "oh s---" was completely bleeped out, and he noted no disrespect was intended.

In-ring: Rosa Mendes was dancing by with Primo and Epico. WWE tag champs Kane and Daniel Bryan were then introduced for tag action as Cole noted Kane must be angry about Punk's actions mocking his "father." On a side note, this breaks The Theme from the first three matches.

4 -- WWE tag champions DANIEL BRYAN & KANE vs. PRIMO & EPICO (w/Rosa Mendes)

Bryan tried to calm down Kane early on, then ran over Primo with a knee to the gut. Bryan followed with kick strikes to the gut, followed by a knee to the chest for a nearfall. Rosa freaked out ringside despite watching a familiar scene unfold of her men losing a match. The Colons then cheated to take control on Bryan. Meanwhile, Cole tried to fill time noting a picture on the App of Bryan measuring his beard length. Cole robotically said the audience is trying to will Bryan back into this match, but the match carried on.

Bryan eventually reached Kane at 4:40 to bring in the other tag champ. Kane exploded on Primo with offense before delivering a sidewalk slam. Kane knocked Epico off the ring apron to the floor, then climbed to the top turnbuckle to deliver a flying clothesline. Kane then called for the end, but A.J.'s music suddenly played. A.J. skipped out on-stage, then skipped down to the ring, skipped around the ring, and Primo nearly pinned Kane. But, Kane shook that off, then chokeslammed Epico. Kane covered Epico for the win.

Post-match: A.J. smiled at both of her ex'es before skipping back up the entrance ramp to the back. A.J. disappeared to the back as Bryan and Kane cocked their heads trying to figure out what that was about.

WINNERS: Bryan & Kane at 6:08.

[Q6] Backstage: Chris Jericho was shown smugly smiling off into space. Josh Mathews asked Jericho for his thoughts on challenging for the IC Title tonight. Jericho noted he's held the IC Title more times than anyone else in WWE history and vowed to be IC champ heading into WrestleMania.

Jericho paused as Fandango entered the interview. Jericho asked what his name is. "It's Fan...dan...goooh," he said before repeating himself. Jericho answered with a series of insults in a variety of voices and accents. This got one of the biggest pops of the night from the live crowd. Fandango told "Christopher" that that's very funny. He told him he will learn how to pronounce his name properly. Durango left, then Jericho told him not to go away because he didn't get his movie tickets yet.

Tonight: Orton and Sheamus face 3MB in tag action. Plus, Alberto Del Rio faces Cody Rhodes up next.

[Commercial Break]

Back live, Cole plugged WWE Divas Alicia Fox and Natalya recently returning from a trip to Rwanda. This led to a video package on them touring Africa to bring the citizens help and hope. Back live, Cole plugged how viewers can help save lives by donating $10 to Nothing But Nets.

In-ring: Cody Rhodes was introduced for the next match. Ricardo Rodriguez then came out on-stage to formally introduce World Hvt. champ Alberto Del Rio. There was a slight adjustment to the beginning of Del Rio's theme music, but the meat of the song is the same. Del Rio came out sporting a taped knee, which Cole captured by showing a clip from last Wednesday's "Main Event" when Jack Swagger clipped Del Rio's knee to cost Del Rio his match against Big Show.

5 -- World Hvt. champion ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. CODY RHODES -- non-title match

As the bell sounded, Lawler said he's not sure if this is a good idea for Del Rio to take the match against Rhodes. Cole relayed that Del Rio wanted to compete in a city with greats like Bruno Sammartino and Larry Zbyszko. Interesting, a Zbyszko reference on WWE TV. In the ring, Rhodes took advantage of Del Rio's weakened state early on, but Del Rio came back with a kick to the shoulder. But, Rhodes came back with a snap suplex for a two count.

[Q7] Rhodes continued the assault before Del Rio came back with a kick strike to the back. Del Rio then dropkicked Rhodes off the ring apron to the floor. Rhodes sold on the floor as Raw cut to break.

[Commercial Break]

Back on Raw, Rhodes was now in-control of the action back in the ring. Del Rio tried to come back with a running moonsault, but Cody moved, Del Rio landed on his bad knee, and Rhodes ran him over with a knock-down clothesline. Rhodes then worked on Del Rio's injured knee as Ricardo tried to encourage Del Rio from outside the ring.

At 10:00, Del Rio fought back to his feet before running over Rhodes with clotheslines. He followed with a tilt-o-whirl backbreaker before popping Rhodes in the mouth with a standing kick. Del Rio covered, but Rhodes kicked out in-time. Rhodes then came back with a standing moonsault for a nearfall. The two men reset before Del Rio finished off Rhodes with the cross arm-breaker for a submission win.

WINNER: Del Rio via submission at 12:37. This match was devoid of emotion because Del Rio's face character is over-manufactured to where the audience doesn't sense anything authentic about Del Rio's act.

Post-match, Jack Swagger hit the ring and attacked Del Rio from behind. Ricardo tried to help, but Swagger threw him away before chucking Ricardo clear over the top rope to the floor. Swagger and Del Rio then brawled mid-ring before spilling to the outside. On the floor, Del Rio kicked Swagger in the mouth before chucking him into the guardrail. Zeb Colter then entered the shot by telling Swagger to get up. Del Rio then turned to face Zeb and stalked him. Zeb backed off, then Swagger blasted Del Rio from behind as Del Rio put his hands on Zeb.

Swagger continued to assault Del Rio while talking trash before chucking Del Rio into the announce table. Swagger welcomed everyone to Jack Swagger's America before staring up at the WM29 sign. Cole said this was Swagger's way of saying he is ready for WrestleMania. Cole then asked for some help for Del Rio.

On the way out, Swagger spotted Ricardo selling on the floor. Zeb pointed down at Ricardo, then Swagger clotheslined Ricardo hard to the mat. Swagger followed with the Patriot Lock, making Ricardo scream and cry out in pain. Swagger released the hold as Ricardo sold a broken ankle. Swagger and Zeb then left the ring area as Del Rio stumbled to his feet hearing Ricardo's cries. Medics checked on Ricardo, who begged them not to touch his ankle. "Don't touch it," Ricardo weakly said before shouting in pain leading to break. That was perhaps the best-ever sell of an Anklelock, helping generate some real emotion in an otherwise overly-manufactured feud.

[Commercial Break]

[Q8] Moments Ago: Jack Swagger attacked Alberto Del Rio from behind to set up an assault on both Del Rio and Ricardo.

During the Break: Ricardo was placed on a stretcher as medics put his ankle in an aircast. Cole relayed the early word from doctors that Swagger broke Ricardo's ankle. On-camera, Cole and Lawler sold concern over the events.

Cole and Lawler then transitioned to the Hall of Fame, noting Bruno Sammartino resides here in Pittsburgh. Cole then fed to the next Hall of Fame announcement, Booker T. The video briefly noted Booker's origins wrestling in Houston before joining WCW, then WWE. The video focused on Booker's comedy antics early in his WWE run, then King Booker run with Sharmell. The video then flashed back to Booker's WCW highlights, including tag champions as Harlem Heat, TV champion, U.S. champion, and WCW Hvt. champion. Then, in WWE, IC champion, King of the Ring, and World Hvt. champion. Back live, the crowd applauded the announcement. Cole said he certainly deserves it.

Still to come: Barrett vs. Jericho vs. Miz for the IC Title.

In-ring: Randy Orton's music played back in the arena. Orton was introduced for tag action as the announcers discussed whether Orton and Sheamus will face The Shield in a handicap match at WrestleMania. Orton eventually made his way into the ring, Cole plugged Summerslam tickets on-sale this weekend, and Raw cut to break leading to the top of the hour.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, Orton's music was still playing. Sheamus was then introduced to join Orton for the tag match against 3MB, who were introduced with a full ring entrance. It's Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre taking the match. As 3MB made their way to the ring, Cole relayed that Ricardo Rodriguez has a "broken ankle" from Swagger's attack.

[Q9]

6 -- RANDY ORTON & SHEAMUS vs. 3MB (HEATH SLATER & DREW MCINTYRE w/Jinder Mahal)

3MB cornered Sheamus early on, trying to give the Irishman a beating the day after St. Patrick's Day. 3MB continued to work on Sheamus until McIntyre ran into an axehandle from Sheamus. Sheamus then tagged in Orton, who ran over Slater with repeated clotheslines. Orton then tossed Slater to the middle rope and delivered a snap DDT. Orton wanted to end it, then Sheamus snuck into the ring to Brogue Kick McIntyre. Orotn then dropped Slater with the RKO for the win.

WINNERS: Orton & Sheamus at 3:48.

Post-match, The Shield's music interrupted. This was why the match was slotted at the top of the third hour. Shield members Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins emerged through one aisleway, then Roman Reigns from another aisleway. Shield surrounded the ring as Orton begged them to hit the ring.

Suddenly, Big Show's music played. Show jogged down to the ring faster than he's moved in years and stood next to Orton and Sheamus. If this were TNA, Show would turn around and blast Sheamus and Orton to reveal his alliance with The Shield leading to a promo explaining a five-month story arc. Instead, Shield simply backed away from the ring and left through the crowd, not looking to fight tonight. Show, standing tall in the ring, then pointed to the WM29 sign in the arena. Show simply walked away before Sheamus and Orton could respond. Cole said they should at least consider it, saying they have a common enemy.

Announcers: Cole and Lawler were shown on-camera to plug an "exclusive look" at the next G.I. Joe movie out in theaters in two weeks.

Back live, Lawler reminded everyone what the "main event segment" is tonight - Hunter and Lesnar contract signing, which they haven't pushed hard during the last hour. In a stretched-out three-hour environment, the "main event" has to be pushed every other segment, otherwise people will forget and not stick around for the end of the show.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Kofi Kingston was introduced back from break. On commentary, Cole tried to manufacture excitement that they are live on Raw. Dolph Ziggler was then introduced as Cole randomly talked about super-powers that Kofi would want. Ziggler, along with A.J. and Big E. Langston, then hit the ring to face Kofi. And, The Theme is back.

[Q10]

7 -- DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/A.J. Lee and Big E. Langston) vs. KOFI KINGSTON

Kofi and Dolph went back and forth early on before Dolph slowed down Kofi with a dropkick to the face. Dolph then ate the corner turnbuckle attempting a splash, then took a side Russian Legsweep from Kofi. A big turnaround splash resulted in a two count. Kofi then nailed the Boom Drop before calling for the end, but Dolph intercepted Trouble in Paradise. Kofi shook off Dolph, then tried climbing up-top, but A.J. provided a distraction and Big E. took advantage by smashing Kofi to the floor.

Ziggler saw what happened and slowly rolled Kofi back into the ring. Dolph then measured Kofi for Zig-Zag and connected. It was good for the pin and the win. "Dolph Ziggler wins again!" Cole declared on commentary. Lawler said it's not right to declare Dolph the winner without mentioning assistance from A.J. and Big E.

WINNER: Ziggler at 4:40.

Post-match, Kane's pyro shot off to bring out the tag champions on-stage. Daniel Bryan mock applauded Dolph before addressing Dolph for being the only one to finally get Kane and he on the same page. Kane said in-case you haven't been paying attention, he's not in a good place right now. He said they've all seen what Big E. can do outside of the ring, but what about inside the ring? Kane then challenged Dolph and Big E. to face Team Hell No.

A.J. jumped in front of her men to say that her boys accept their challenge. Dolph wasn't too thrilled, but Big E. was pumped. A.J. said they accept only if they put the Tag Titles on the line at Mania. Bryan said he'll think about that. Pause for "Yes!" chants from the crowd. "Yes! Yes! Yes!" Bryan shouted over and over with Kane.

Announcers: Cole and Lawler plugged the imminent contract signing between Triple H and Brock Lesnar tonight. Cole plugged Tout to send in thoughts on the match stipulations.

Up Next: Main Event Preview of Cena vs. Rock at WrestleMania.

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Cole and Lawler flashed back to earlier tonight when The Undertaker had a rough night because C.M. Punk played catch with Paul Bearer's ashes. Back live, Lawler called it despicable and said it's become personal. They then transitioned to focusing on Rock vs. Cena for the WWE Title at WrestleMania, with Lawler curiously calling this feud "personal," too. Is it because Rock kayfabe caused Cena's divorce, or something else?

[Q11] Video Package: Cena-Rock hype. A soundbyte included Cena blaming Rock for his collapse, which is pretty heelish considering Cena cost himself the WM28 match by being cocky leading to the finish. You would think that Cena learning from his mistake would be part of Cena's "Redemption Story," but WWE has glossed over it. The video went four minutes.

In-ring: The Miz was introduced as the first challenger for the Intercontinental Title match. Cole said it's Championship Time on Raw. It's up next.

[Commercial Break]

Back live, Wade Barrett was in the ring after making his entrance during the break. The camera zoomed in tight on the bags under Miz's eyes as he stood in the corner, then Chris Jericho's entrance played. The arena went dark before Jericho's light-up jacket filled the camera shot. Jericho then walked to the ring as Cole noted the three-way match rules.

8 -- IC champion WADE BARRETT vs. CHRIS JERICHO vs. THE MIZ -- three-way Intercontinental Title match

Quick action early on as each man looked for an early pinfall to secure the title. The match then spilled to the outside, where Jericho tried to fire up the crowd. Jericho then rolled Barrett back into the ring and listened to "Y2J" chants from the crowd. But, Miz cleared Jericho to the outside and went on the attack against Barrett. Eventually, Jericho re-entered the ring and they executed a Tower of Doom out of the corner. All three men sold on the mat leading to break.

[Commercial Break]

[Q12] Back live, Miz was on the floor selling the effects of the match as Barrett and Jericho battled in the ring. They rotated two men in and one man out for a while before Jericho chucked Barrett into the barricade on the outside, temporarily eliminating him from the match. Miz and Jericho then went back and forth trading nearfalls while Barrett sold on the floor. Miz eventually hit the Skullcrushing Finale, but Barrett snuck back into the ring and rolled up a surprised Miz from behind for the three count.

WINNER: Barrett at 12:20 to retain the IC Title. Solid TV main event. Since Miz took the fall, they could do Barrett vs. Jericho for the IC Title at WrestleMania since they're running out of options for Jericho at Mania.

Announcers: After the match, Cole and Lawler fed to a video hyping WWE Studios's "The Call." After the video aired, Cole and Lawler transitioned to Lesnar vs. Hunter. Included in Touts pitching stipulations was NYC radio host Peter Rosenberg.

Backstage: Triple H was shown walking down the hallway. He answers Lesnar and finds out the stipulations next.

This Friday: Jack Swagger vs. Chris Jericho in a re-match from last Friday's Smackdown.

[Commercial Break]

Raw returned from break one minute before the top of the hour with a look at John Cena's WrestleMania training documented in Men's Fitness.

[Q13]

Lesnar-Hunter Contract Signing

At the top of the hour, Triple H's music played to bring out Hunter dressed in a black leather jacket, t-shirt, and jeans. Two minutes later, Hunter circled the contract table before Paul Heyman emerged on-stage flanked by three security guards. Heyman and Security entered the ring as Hunter continued munching on his gum. Hunter said he thought Brock Lesnar would be the type of guy to look him in the eyes.

Heyman said they all know that Lesnar is fearless, therefore, not afraid of Hunter. Heyman said he is afraid of Hunter, though, because they have put him in quite the predicament. Choice A - disappoint the entire fanbase and take away from all of these people the match they want to see. Or, Choice B - sign this contract to fight Lesnar in a match where he doesn't even know what the stipulations are. So, because he senses that Hunter is conflicted, he doesn't want Hunter to take out his anger on him. Therefore, he brought security. Hunter tried a joke that Heyman spared no expense by hiring three guards. The crowd didn't react, then Heyman got to business.

Heyman said Brock has already signed this contract, so if Hunter signs the contract, then Heyman tells him the stipulation. Hunter said Heyman is forgetting that it doesn't matter what the stipulations are because he'll still kick Lesnar's ass. Heyman said he understands Hunter's decision, but he would like to enjoy this moment. In fact, they have spent countless hours watching one particular piece of footage over and over and over again. Heyman then went to footage from three weeks ago on Raw when Lesnar and Hunter brawled and Lesnar ended up bloodied.

Back to the contract signing, Hunter smirked, waiting for Heyman's redirection. Heyman said this is as big as it gets. He asked how they top that. Heyman said he knows how to. It's Brock vs. Hunter at WrestleMania and Hunter is blindfolded. The crowd crapped on that. Heyman said he's kidding. See, they want Hunter to see the beating. Or, Hunter's hands tied and his ankles cuffed. The crowd crapped on that, too, and Heyman said that would also give Hunter excuses if he lost.

Heyman said he decided to pick the stipulation after Lesnar gave him permission. He said it's Hunter vs. Lesnar and the winner gets Hunter's wife, Stephanie. Heyman said maybe that's not a good idea because the loser should get Stephanie. Hunter had enough and dragged Heyman across the table before security tried to intervene. Hunter brawled with security before clearing two of them to the floor. The third security guard then bailed, leaving Heyman alone in the ring.

Hunter grabbed Heyman by the ponytail before placing Heyman across the contract table. Hunter removed Heyman's dress shirt, revealing a t-shirt as Heyman called for help, then Brock. Hunter then took the mic and said that since he knows Brock isn't going to come out here until he signs the contract and he has a captive audience, how about he takes his time and enjoy this. Hunter slapped around Heyman as this dragged on for a bit. Heyman continued crying out in pain before Hunter eventually grabbed the contract, turned the pages, and signed the contract. Hunter then told Heyman to go call his monster. Hunter rolled Heyman out of the ring, chucked an office chair down at Heyman, and circled the ring waiting for Brock.

Suddenly, Brock's music played and out came Lesnar wielding a steel chair. Lesnar slammed the chair on-stage before bouncing up and down. Lesnar stormed the ring with chair in-hand, then Hunter pulled out a Sledgehammer from under the contract table. Lesnar thought about entering the ring, but Heyman told him to stay put. Lesnar then smiled and chucked his chair into the ring, which Hunter shooed away. Lawler wanted to know what the stipulations are as Heyman tried to keep Lesnar out of the ring. Heyman's hair was so messed up that he looked like 1989 Paul E. Dangerously at this point.

Lesnar and Heyman eventually walked away as Lawler recapped that Hunter still has no idea what the match stipulations are. Heyman then paused on-stage and said he's not a tough guy because Lesnar is the toughest guy. He said that beating was worth it for Hunter to sign this contract. Heyman then announced it will be Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania with no count-outs, no DQ, and no stopping the match for any reason because the match will be... No Holds Barred. Heyman tried to sell that as a big deal.

Heyman then said he almost forgot one more thing. He said the added stipulation is that Hunter's career is on the line. Heyman chucked the mic away as Hunter stood upright in the ring as the crowd remained quiet, selling the gravity of the stipulation. Lesnar smiled on-stage as Hunter stood in the ring continuing to sell concern. "We may see the last of Triple H," Lawler whispered as Raw signed off 16 minutes past the top of the hour.

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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