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WWE Raw Report
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 4/1: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - Punk bathes with "ashes," HBK returns to Raw, final WM29 hype with Rock, Hunter, Lesnar, Taker

Apr 1, 2013 - 10:04:02 PM
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WWE Raw TV Results
April 1, 2013 - Episode #1,035
Live from Washington, D.C.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


This week's final WWE Raw before WrestleMania started with a preview of tonight's show, including an announcement that Shawn Michaels will return to Raw to add his thoughts to the Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar feud ahead of Mania. Also, will it be Triple H's final Raw as a wrestler, how will John Cena respond to The Rock last week, and what will happen when "seven of the biggest stars ever" are on the same show?

Live in the arena, Michael Cole said they are sold out in D.C. John Cena's music then played to bring out Cena for an immediate response to Rock ending his night last week with a Rock Bottom. Cena came out on-stage fired up, heard the loud boos in the arena, and stormed the ring as Cole sold more-than-usual excitement in his voice six days away from Mania. Jerry Lawler and JBL made their presence known on commentary, too, before the trio was introduced on-camera.

In the ring, Cena waited out loud boos and loud "Cena Sucks" chants. The crowd kept it going as Cena continued surveying the arena. Cena said he stands in the middle of a house divided, which led to even louder boos. Cena said all eyes are focused on WrestleMania and it is no locker-room secret that he does not get along with Dwayne Johnson (The Rock). Cena said last year around this time, he would have made some rude references about Rock and questioned his allegiance to The Cause a/k/a WWE. Cena said Rock would have then come down to the ring and made fun of him. But, those childish games are over this year. Cena said this is much, much bigger because Rock is holding the WWE Title.

Cena paused for loud "Rocky, Rocky" chants. Cena said this Sunday at Mania, he steps into the ring to face who he believes is the greatest WWE champion of all-time. Cena then vowed to make Rock fall because "The Rock's Time Is Up and My Time Is Now!" Cena said this Sunday at Mania - pause for loud "Cena Sucks" chant. Cena smirked, let it play out, and continued that this audience might get a moment they never thought possible in their lifetime.

Cena said last year, he had to watch Rock usher in the People's Era, then he had to watch Rock usher in a new WWE Title belt. He said that belt was designed for Rock, defines his legacy, and the belt arrogantly suggests that Rock will be WWE champion as long as he wants to be. Cena then spoke to his fanbase that they get redemption on Sunday and in Rock's very first defense of his new title belt, he will lose it. More boos from the crowd. Cena said "the mighty Rock" will experience failure on Sunday. He said that every time WWE is even mentioned, Rock will have to deal with a failure of Cena defending a title designed for Rock. Cena said he has no intention of replacing the WWE Title, as he wants to hold it. Pause for "boring" chant. Cena allowed the chant to go on, then looked around the arena. He continued that he will hold the title to indicate that he is better than Rock.

Cena said this Sunday is WrestleMania, people will not believe their eyes, and he will let everyone know that The Champ Is Here. Cena threw down the mic to boos, then smirked as the camera focused on the WM29 sign above Cena's shoulder.

[ JC Reax: Apparently the final Mania sales pitch is to make it seem like Cena is turning heel to get the hardcore fans to order the PPV to potentially "see what everyone has been waiting for." Overall, the promo needed to be tighter, especially right before Mania, but in the three-hour Raw format, Cena was called on to fill 10 minutes, which led to him wandering and straying from the main topic. ]

After the announcers reacted to Cena's promo, the trio was shown on-camera. Cole plugged a Tout deal asking for feedback on who wins Rock-Cena at Mania. They took this a step further by having Cole record a 15-second Tout from Lawler with his prediction.

Backstage: Andre Shot on Big Show, Sheamus, and Randy Orton walking down the hallway in-step with each other. JBL said they're in action next.

[Q2] [Commercial Break]

In-ring: 3MB was already in the ring back from break. JBL called them a mix of Mean Street Posse and a karaoke bar, which drew cackles from Cole. Randy Orton was then introduced on-stage, followed by Sheamus. Big Show was introduced third to a lukewarm reception since Show is still supposed to be a heel. Show then marched to the ring with Orton and Sheamus.

1 -- RANDY ORTON & SHEAMUS & BIG SHOW vs. 3MB (JINDER MAHAL & DREW MCINTYRE & HEATH SLATER) -- six-man tag match

As the match started, JBL offered a poignant line about Team Sheamus and potentially The Shield in the future: "Everyone works well together until you face adversity." Cole and Lawler let that knowledge sit, then Lawler decided to offer a joke that fell flat and drew a different kind of silence. The match built to Show hot-tagging. Cole said Show looks as impressive as Wichita St., then Orton and Sheamus hit their finishers. Show followed with a KO Punch to Mahal for the pin and the win. Cole said it appears questions have been answered about whether they can work together. Well, 3MB didn't present much "adversity" for Team Sheamus.

WINNERS: Team Sheamus at 3:05.

Post-match: The Shield's music played. The trio stood in the crowd and stared down into the ring, then Dean Ambrose mockingly congratulated them on "that big victory." He told them to enjoy this victory for now because come Sunday at Mania, they are going to leave them with nothing to celebrate. Ambrose said they're going to make them look up at the sky wondering what went wrong.

Seth Rollins spoke next that they finally managed to convince themselves and "all of these ignorant, foolhardy people" that they're on the same page. Rollins said that unfortunately for them, justice never lies and they know the truth. Roman Reigns spoke next that they're not a team. He said this team is phony, which is why when they beat them at Mania, the whole world will believe in The Shield. Cole said The Shield has never lost and JBL said he can't see Shield losing at Mania.

Still to come: Shawn Michaels speaks on Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania.

Up Next: Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger speak from the Nation's Capital with Raw in D.C.

[Commercial Break]

[Q3] Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and JBL excitedly talked about WrestleMania coming up in six days. Lawler then noted Zeb Colter will have his first-ever WWE match tonight, facing Alberto Del Rio.

Earlier Today: Standing in a parking lot with the Capitol Building in the background, Zeb Colter said their country is broken, much like Ricardo Rodriguez's ankle. Jack Swagger said he will fix it. He said the people have become weak and their resources have been robbed. Swagger vowed to become new World champion at WM29 and begin his process of cleansing the country.

Backstage: Matt Striker brought in Alberto Del Rio to react to Swagger. After Del Rio offered his interpretation of the First Amendment, Del Rio said he will express his Freedom of Speech by beating Swagger at WrestleMania. He then vowed to dismantle Colter tonight.

In-ring: WWE tag champion Daniel Bryan was introduced for singles action up next. He's facing Dolph Ziggler next.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, Dolph Ziggler was already in the ring. Before the bell sounded, the announcers plugged Vince McMahon on Twitter. In his first tweet, McMahon vowed to make a "big reveal" on Friday.

2 -- WWE tag champion DANIEL BRYAN (w/WWE tag champion Kane) vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/A.J. Lee and Big E. Langston)

As the match started, the announcers plugged the Tag Title match of Bryan & Kane vs. Ziggler & Big E. at Mania on Sunday. Bryan landed "No! kicks" early on, then placed Ziggler in a submission stretch as A.J. sold concern from ringside. Ziggler broke free, then sold a left knee injury as he began his attack on Bryan. Ziggler took his time following up, allowing Bryan to apply the rare octopus submission in the ropes. Bryan broke the hold before he was DQ'ed, then Bryan had a staredown with Big E. on the outside. Back in the ring, Ziggler nailed the Fameasser for a close nearfall. Raw cut to break with Ziggler in control.

Heading to break, USA ran a spot for their 2013 WWE Hall of Fame special on Tuesday, April 9 special. The spot focused on Donald Trump.

[Q4] [Commercial Break]

Back from break, Bryan made his comeback with repeated "No! kicks" that rocked Ziggler. Ziggler ducked the decisive kick, but Bryan recovered and nailed his big kick to floor Ziggler. Bryan then climbed to the top rope and went for a diving headbutt, but Ziggler moved out of the way. Both men were slow to recover to their feet, then Ziggler slapped on a sleeperhold. Bryan broke free, then applied a sleeper of his own. Ziggler fought, then countered with a backpack slam.

At 10:00, Ziggler and Bryan started a rapid-fire exchange that ended with an emphatic mid-air collision. Both men sold on the mat before A.J. started skipping around the ring. This distracted Kane, who then turned around and ate a monster clothesline from Big E. Back in the ring, Ziggler rolled up Bryan with a hook of the tights, Bryan kicked out before three, and the ref called it a three count anyways, missing the hook of the tights and the kick-out.

Post-match, Bryan yelled at Ziggler, then Big E. snuck into the ring to smash Bryan with a clothesline. Kane then tried to attack both Ziggler and Big E., but Big E. offered a "feat of strength" driving the Big Red Monster into the mat. Cole sold shock over Big E. "display of offense," then A.J. brought the Tag Title belts into the ring to celebrate with Ziggler & Big E.

WINNER: Ziggler at 11:00 flat. Strong singles match. The whole package sets up Kane and Bryan to get their revenge at Mania, which could lead to Ziggler and Big E. eventually splitting off, rather than Kane and Bryan. We'll see how it ends up playing out, though.

Still to come: Undertaker Eviscerates C.M. Punk, according to the graphic. Up Next, Shawn Michaels reacts to Lesnar-Hunter.

[Commercial Break]

August 2012 Replay: Brock Lesnar injured Shawn Michaels.

Shawn Michaels Speech

In-ring: Leading up to the top of the hour, Shawn Michaels was introduced to the live crowd. Michaels, dressed in a white cowboy hat, camo vest, black long-sleeve t-shirt, and blue jeans, shook hands on the way to the ring before posing in the ring. Cole recapped Brock Lesnar trying to break HBK's arm last year, then Michaels stood center-ring looking around the arena before waving and thanking the crowd for their support.

[Q5 -- second hour] Michaels opened his speech by saying they couldn't have WrestleMania without "Mr. WrestleMania." HBK said he loves this time of year, then plugged the line-up - Del Rio vs. Swagger, Punk vs. Undertaker, and Cena vs. The Rock in the main event. But, that's not why he's out here, of course. He said there is one match that he is particularly interested in, which is Brock Lesnar against his best friend, Triple H.

Michaels said he knows there's a ton of history between Brock and Hunter, with his broken arm being part of that history. So, when Hunter agreed to put his career on the line, some questions and doubts arose about whether this is a good idea.

Suddenly, Triple H's music interrupted to bring out Hunter dressed in a black leather jacket, black t-shirt, and jeans. Cole said this could be Hunter's final time on Raw getting ready for a match as an active competitor. JBL said if anyone knows what it means to put his career on the line at Mania, it's Shawn Michaels.

Once Hunter entered the ring, he paused for a light "DX" chant. Not much steam behind it, so Hunter started by saying he thought they already talked about this. Hunter told Michaels that he knows what's he doing. "You know what you're doing?" Michaels asked. "See, I don't think you know what you're doing." HBK said Hunter's situation is much different. He said when he faced Taker at WrestleMania, they each had the utmost respect for each other. HBK said he was heart-broken when he lost, and he knew Taker was, too.

But, Hunter's situation and his opponent is different. He said Lesnar doesn't have an ounce of respect for Hunter, HBK, or the WWE because Lesnar respects no one. HBK said Lesnar does this for money, he does it to hurt people, and because he enjoys wreaking havoc. Michaels said he used to think this job was his life, but then he met Hunter. He said Hunter has poured everything into Hunter and it has become his job. HBK said Hunter is putting his life on the line at Mania.

Hunter said he gets it and he loves Michaels like a brother, but if he's trying to talk him it out of him, then it's not going to work. Michaels said he didn't show up on Raw after being away for 364 days to tell Hunter not to take the match; he came out here to tell Hunter to kick Lesnar's ass. HBK added that he will be there at Mania in Hunter's corner to make sure it happens.

Suddenly, Brock Lesnar's music played. Paul Heyman led Lesnar down the ramp before telling Lesnar to calm down. Heyman said that for the record, his client has two words for Hunter and Michaels. He said whether you like it or not, Lesnar is going to beat Hunter into retirement this Sunday at WrestleMania. And, he understands how much that disappoints the audience, which is the point of them being here. Heyman told Hunter is going to have to learn to live with all of that disappointment.

Heyman said Hunter will disappoint (1) Vince McMahon since he won't be able to fight his battles anymore, (2) the Board of Directors since he will not be able to fulfill his COO duties after Mania, and (3) Hunter's wife. Heyman paused and said Hunter is probably used to that, which drew ooohs from the crowd. And, (4) Shawn Michaels. Hunter told Lesnar to bring it in the ring, which drew a response from Heyman that here goes Hunter playing the tough-guy. Heyman continued that because he is an honest man, Lesnar picked this fight, but Hunter answered the call of duty when he should have just walked away, just like Shawn Michaels when he got beat at WrestleMania.

Heyman assured Hunter that will not be able to walk away because Lesnar will dismantle and emasculate Hunter at Mania. Heyman said after all these years, Lesnar has finally convinced Hunter to commit professional suicide. Lesnar smiled toward Hunter, then slowly backed up the entrance ramp. In the ring, Hunter answered with a crotch-chop, which drew an amused smirk from Heyman. Lawler said this is going to be epic and "one great fight" at WrestleMania. Back-and-forth shots of Hunter and Lesnar concluded the segment.

Still to come: WWE champion The Rock is live on Raw.

[Commercial Break]

[Q6] After an exterior shot of D.C., Michael Cole went back to the top of the show for a look at "an emotional John Cena." ... Earlier Tonight: Cena vowed to make sure The Rock falls at WrestleMania.

Announcers: On-camera, Cole, Lawler, and JBL talked about events during the first hour, then WWE rolled footage of The Shield's promo on Team Sheamus. Back to Cole, who announced the IC Title match is now on the PPV pre-show. Ringside, The Miz was on commentary to spin the news of his title match being bumped to the pre-show by saying the first match is the most important. IC champion Wade Barrett was then introduced for singles action. Zack Ryder was out next sporting wild, grown-out hair to face Barrett.

3 -- IC champion WADE BARRETT vs. ZACK RYDER -- non-title match

Miz talked about scouting Barrett before Mania, then Ryder bumped Barrett to the outside. Ryder got too cocky and slowly re-entered the ring, allowing Barrett to punt him in the ribs. Barrett slowly began working over Ryder as Miz vowed to become IC champion on Sunday. Barrett trash-talked Miz from inside the ring, then resumed his attack on Ryder.

The match spilled to the outside, where Barett eyeballed Miz before slowly re-entering the ring. Back in the ring, Ryder delivered offense before making a comeback. Ryder then nailed the Broski Boot. He covered Barrett, but the IC champ kicked out in-time. Barrett then flung Ryder to the mat out of the corner before calling for the Bullhammer as he pointed toward Miz. Barrett then turned around to smash Ryder with his finisher for the win.

WINNER: Barrett at 3:51. No heat on this match, which in one way captured why Barrett was bumped to the pre-show.

Backstage: Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox were shown watching the match on a monitor. Santino then walked in and said Mr. McMahon is here. He said he watched McMahon storm out of his limo and he is very mad about Brickie. He noted that when McMahon is so mad, someone usually gets fired. Vickie said it couldn't be her because she has done everything right. Santino then re-entered the camera shot and said, "April Fools!" Santino said that was a good joke, then he noted Brad made a little poop in his pants. Vickie said that for that joke, she's going to make Santino wrestle. Next. Brad laughed and said Santino will be the big fool tonight.

Still to come: Undertaker and Punk hype.

[Commercial Break]

[Q7] WM29 plug: Diddy performs live at WrestleMania.

In-ring: Santino was shown marching around in the ring preparing for his in-ring return. After a pause, Mark Henry's music played, which stopped Santino dead in his tracks. "Oh no," Cole said as Henry appeared through the curtain and filled up the entire camera shot. Henry slowly made his way to the ring as Cole revisited events from Smackdown when Henry and Ryback engaged in a benchpress challenge.

4 -- MARK HENRY vs. SANTINO

The bell sounded and Santino tried to fire himself up to fight Henry. Henry just watched as Santino made movement, then Santino landed a roundhouse kick to the head that angered Henry. Henry grabbed Santino by the singlet, prompting Santino to shout for Henry to hold on because he has The Cobra in his singlet. Henry was having nothing to do with that, so he squashed Santino, then delivered the World's Strongest Slam for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Henry at 0:54.

Post-match: Feed Me More played in the arena to bring out Ryback. Henry stood his ground in the ring as Ryback eyed Henry. JBL said the no-contact clause is about to fly out the window. Henry, now with a mic, said he knows Ryback is mad that he couldn't break his benchpress record, but that doesn't give Ryback the right to "threaten" him. Henry reminded Ryback of the no-contact clause, then noted no one wants to get his hands on Ryback more than he does, and vice versa. But, tonight is not the night. Henry said the only thing happening tonight is smiling.

Henry smiled and laughed, then started to leave the ring, but Ryback used Santino as a weapon to bump Henry out of the ring. Ryback then press-slammed Santino over the top rope into Henry's arms. Ryback shouted, "Stupid!" down at Henry before noting he never touched Henry. Ryback then led the crowd in a Feed Me More chant as Henry kicked the ring steps. Cole said it's going to be earth-shaking on Sunday as Ryback celebrated in the ring.

Backstage: A camera "eavesdropped" on Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter talking strategy about Colter's "match" against Alberto Del Rio tonight.

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Cole re-visited Vince McMahon joining Twitter, then the announcers plugged Undertaker attempting to "eviscerate" C.M. Punk tonight.

Backstage: Matt Striker brought in C.M. Punk, who was holding the urn. Striker asked Punk if he feels he is disrespecting the memory of Paul Bearer. Punk laughed and said he doesn't care about Bearer's memory. He said he's trying to get in Taker's head to win a match because he's more concerned about his own legacy and memory. Punk said the stark difference between he and every other opponent at Mania is that he will do whatever it takes to win at Mania. So, if Taker gets himself DQ'ed, he (Punk) wins. Or, maybe Taker finds himself on the floor for one too many second, then he wins. Punk said he will do whatever it takes to beat Taker at WrestleMania.

In-ring: Jack Swagger's military-march theme music played to bring out Swagger and Zeb Colter for Zeb's first Raw TV match. As the duo walked to the ring, WWE replayed Swagger breaking Ricardo Rodriguez's ankle two weeks ago on Raw. Lawler said Zeb will be in action next.

[Q8] [Commercial Break]

Back from break, Ricardo Rodriguez hobbled out on-stage on crutches with a smile on his face to introduce World champ Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio emerged on-stage and requested that Ricardo hang back, but Ricardo wanted to come to ringside. Del Rio finally got his way and Ricardo returned to the back. As Del Rio prepared for the match, he suddenly spotted Ricardo returning to ringside. Del Rio tried to talk him to the back, but the bell sounded, so Del Rio turned his attention to Colter.

5 -- World Hvt. champion ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. ZEB COLTER (w/Jack Swagger) -- non-title match

Once the bell sounded, Del Rio toyed with Colter, then Swagger stalked Ricardo on the outside. This allowed Colter to reach over the top rope and yank Ricardo's crutch out of his hand. Colter teased Del Rio with the crutch as Swagger attacked Ricardo ringside. Colter then popped Del Rio with the crutch, drawing a DQ.

WINNER: Del Rio via DQ at 0:51.

Post-match, Del Rio stalked Colter to attack him, but Swagger snuck back into the ring to attack Del Rio's left knee. Swagger and Colter then teed off on Del Rio with crutch shots. Cole called this disgusting, then asked JBL how he can condone this. JBL said he doesn't want to be part of Swagger's America, but Swagger has the right to speak his mind. He said Cole is like "media-types" who like Freedom of Speech until it's used. Cole called this garbage as Del Rio tried to pull himself up inside the ring.

Earlier Tonight: John Cena kicked things off in emotional fashion when he vowed to end The Rock's WWE Title run.

Up Next: The Rock is live on Raw at the top of the third hour.

[Commercial Break]

The Rock Talks

Back live three minutes before the top of the hour, The Rock's music played to a very loud reaction. The WWE champion emerged on-stage with his custom title belt in-hand, looked around the arena from the stage, went side to side acknowledging the fans on each side of the arena, and then marched to the ring. Rock paused to slap hands with fans on the front row before posing in the ring. Cole congratulated Rock on having the #1 movie in the world, G.I. Joe 2, before requesting Touts on who wins Rock vs. Cena at WM29.

[Q9 -- third hour] Rock's music stopped at the top of the hour as Rock stood center-ring soaking in a very loud "Rocky, Rocky" chant. Rock smiled at the crowd as he re-arranged the title belt on his shoulder. Rock teased speaking, but then paused as the crowd cheered louder. "Rocky, Rocky" chant as Rock looked down at the ring mat.

Rock opened his promo with one word: Connection. He let it sit before noting that's the only reason why he is standing in the middle of the ring right here, right now. Rock said this Sunday at WrestleMania, it's not about John Cena's redemption, but the will of The People. He said the will isn't for Cena to find his redemption, but for Rock to walk down that long aisle, take his Size 15 boot, and curb-stomp John Cena's monkeyass all over WrestleMania. Rock paused to let a "Rocky, Rocky" chant start up, gain some steam, and fade out.

Rock said the will of The People is bigger than anything Cena can imagine. Rock said maybe, just maybe, Rock won't just visit this town, but live in this town. And, if The People are willing, then Rock would have to live in a big house right up the road. "A big...White House," Rock said. And maybe they go from President Barack to President The Rock. Rock paused for a "Rocky, Rocky" chant before making sure he got it straight that he can count on their vote. Rock then presented a snapshot of his Inauguration Day before proclaiming, "Finally, The Rock Has Come Back...to Washington, D.C."

After another "Rocky, Rocky" chant, Rock shifted gears to John Cena again. Rock said Cena was angry and mad earlier tonight saying the same things he said last year before Mania. And he got beat. Come this Sunday, when that bell rings, Cena's time isn't going to be now, but "your time is never." Rock told Cena that it's not about redemption or passing the torch because the only way Rock is getting this torch (title belt) is if he lights the belt on fire and shoves it up Cena's candyass.

Rock said Cena isn't just facing him, 70,000 sold-out, or a bond that goes worldwide because Cena is facing The Rock and the millions...and millions. Rock said the bottom line is that Rock lives for that connection and this Sunday at Mania, Cena cannot deny the will of The People and he cannot beat The Rock.

Rock wasn't done, so he paused to look down at the mat as the crowd chanted, "Rocky, Rocky" again. Rock concluded, "If you smellllll...what The Rock...(pause)...(eyebrow for the camera)...is cooking." Rock's music played and Cole quickly said it was a Tale of Two Superstars with Rock extremely confident and Cena believing it could be his last chance in a must-win situation heading into Mania. Rock continued to pose in the ring before WWE cut backstage.

Backstage: Chris Jericho was shown strutting down the hallway. Cole said Jericho faces Fandango on Sunday, but before that match, he's in action next.

(Meanwhile, during The Rock's speech, Stephanie McMahon tweeted to Trish Stratus that she will induct her into the Hall of Fame on Saturday.)

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Chris Jericho's music played back from break to bring out Jericho for singles action. Jericho's ring jacket lit up the camera shot, then Jericho made his way to the ring. Already in the ring was U.S. champion Antonio Cesaro, who was positioned as Jericho's warm-up match for WrestleMania.

[Q10]

6 -- CHRIS JERICHO vs. U.S. champion ANTONIO CESARO -- non-title match

Jericho and Cesaro locked up center-ring before Cesaro drove Jericho into the corner and slapped him across the chest. Cesaro settled into a chinlock as the announcers discussed Fandango's name and mispronunciations. Jericho then made a comeback before Cesaro cut him off with a European Uppercut. No yodeling so far from Cesaro. Apparently they dropped the yodeling bit for Raw. The two men battled on the top turnbuckle before Jericho snapped off a huracanrana for a nearfall.

Suddenly, Fandango's music played to wake up the crowd. Fandango's dancer strutted out on-stage, then Fandango emerged through his custom curtain, which was apparently...set...up...during...the match and no one noticed? Cole reminded everyone that a match is still going on as Fandango and Dancer continued their routine on-stage. Jericho was shown talking to the referee before he checked for a commercial cue as Raw awkwardly cut to break.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, the match was still in-progress with Cesaro working on Jericho. Someone snorted on commentary, Lawler cracked a synchronized swimming joke, apparently Cole snorted again, and they cut to a shot of Fandango critiquing Jericho's performance on-stage. The match then spilled to the outside, where Cesaro knocked Jericho into the guardrail.

Back in the ring, Cesaro covered Jericho for a two count before Cesaro settled into another reverse chinlock. Jericho stomped his foot, trying to get the crowd to rally behind him, then Jericho flew at Cesaro with a shoulder tackle, but Cesaro cut him off with a clothesline for a two count. There's the yodeling bit from Cesaro 10:10 into the match as he charged Jericho for a corner splash. Jericho then made a comeback and came off the second rope with a double axehandle. On-stage, Fandango gave him a 4.

Jericho then landed the Lionsault that Fandango graded a 3 as he started walking down the entrance ramp. Jericho teased the Walls of Jericho, but Cesaro blocked and landed a gutwrench suplex for a close two count. Fandango continued to taunt Jericho, so Jericho dropkicked Fandango through the ropes. Jericho turned around and Cesaro rolled him up for a two count. But, Jericho came right back with the Walls of Jericho. Cesaro tapped out, giving Jericho the win.

WINNER: Jericho at 12:47.

Post-match, Fandango blasted Jericho immediately after the bell sounded. The crowd chanted, "You can't wrestle," as Fandango posed in the ring in-between stomps to Jericho. Fandango then hopped to the top rope and measured Jericho for a surfboard leg drop that quieted the crowd. Fandango then slapped around Jericho and demanded he say his name.

Refs eventually restrained Fandango, but Fandango climbed to the top rope and landed another surfboard leg drop. Fandango demanded the mic, then stood over Jericho, posed, leaned in next to Jericho, quieted the crowd to a hush, and said, "It's Fahn...dan...go!" Fandango's music played, then he slipped out of the ring as Cole said no one will ever forget Fandango's name if he beats Jericho at Mania.

[Q11] Tonight: Undertaker has vowed to "verbally" eviscerate C.M. Punk.

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Cole, JBL, and Lawler relayed the in-show news that Stephanie McMahon will induct Trish Stratus into the 2013 Hall of Fame. JBL then talked about the Hall of Fame class before Cole plugged Rock vs. Cena in the Mania main event on Sunday. Cole then fed to a video collection of Touts on who will win Rock vs. Cena.

In-ring: Cameron and Naomi came out on-stage to introduce Brodus Clay and Tensai. Justin Roberts introduced this segment as a Divas tag match as all four made their way to the ring while the announcers cackled and laughed. After the four dancers "got down and busy in Washington," as described by Cole, Raw cut to break.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, the dancers were still dancing, then the Bellas's music played to bring out the Bella Twins joined by Rhodes Scholars. No pre-match promo from Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes, who simply accompanied the Bellas to the ring. Cole plugged the eight-person mixed tag match at Mania before the bell sounded.

7 -- CAMERON & NAOMI (w/Brodus Clay and Tensai) vs. THE BELLA TWINS (w/Rhodes Scholars)

The Bellas worked on Naomi for a while before a hot-tag was made to Cameron.

[Q12] The action broke down, which got the men involved ringside. Back in the ring, Cameron had it won with a cross-body, but Bella rolled over into a pinning predicament for the win. Rhodes Scholars celebrated with the victors on the outside as Cole plugged the mixed tag match at Mania.

WINNERS: Bellas at 4:44. This was an...interesting...choice to be the final match before WrestleMania.

Up Next: Taker-Punk final hype for WrestleMania.

[Commercial Break]

New York City exterior shot: WWE showed Times Square displaying a Rock-Cena billboard for WrestleMania before Cole noted that WWE will take over New York City this week.

Undertaker-Punk Evisceration Segment

The bell tolled six minutes before the top of the hour to bring out The Undertaker to a loud reaction. Taker slowly walked out on-stage, then slowly started making his way toward the ring before WWE cut to a video clip from last Monday when Taker surprised Punk and beat him out of the ring with right hand blows. Taker reached the ring and "lifted the lights" before entering the ring as Cole and Co. were shown on-camera stressing Taker's Undefeated Streak on the line in six nights at WrestleMania.

In the ring, Taker paced the ring with his eyes covered by the hood of his jacket. Taker took the mic and said Punk's historic title reign lasted over 400 days, but the pain coming to him at Mania will last an eternity. Taker reminded Punk that he decided to make this personal, and for that, he will suffer. Taker said defeating Punk is no longer good enough; the disrespect shown to Paul Bearer will cause Punk to pay the ultimate price. Taker said Punk may be right that in his current state of mind, The Streak may come to an end on Sunday, but Punk will never live to talk about it.

Suddenly, the sound of druids chanting played in the arena. Out came two druids holding torches on-stage. Then, more druids emerged and filled the entranceramp. Lawler quietly said he doesn't think Taker was expecting this. Cole then quietly "reset the show" and said this is very strange.

[Q13 -- over-run] WWE cut to a camera shot of Taker's POV looking toward the entrance ramp, then "Paul Bearer" (Paul Heyman) walked out on-stage holding up the urn and nodding like Bearer. Taker then removed his ring jacket and marched up the entrance ramp. First, Taker smashed the druids, then C.M. Punk, who was disguised as a druid, ambushed Undertaker. Punk knocked down Taker, then scooped up the urn and smashed Taker with it. Punk taunted Taker to do his "hocus-pocus" and sit up.

Punk continued to smash Taker with the urn as a dueling chant of "Under-Taker / C-M-Punk" started up in the crowd. Punk landed more urn shots to Taker, who then rolled over his back. Punk started to unlock the lid, then he removed the lid and "ashes" flew out of the urn. Punk then tilted over the urn and let ashes come out of the urn. Punk dumped all of the "ashes" over Taker before rubbing them across his own chest. Punk held the empty urn over Taker and said it's all over at WrestleMania. Punk knelt and lifted up the urn before Raw signed off four minutes past the top of the hour with Punk "taking a shower" with the "ashes."

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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