The WWE Raw Deal for 02/14/11 (Finally…)
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter @johnreport
Do I have to go over the whole show or just skip to the end? Haha. We’ll go the usual route although I may not be as in-depth for some of the earlier parts. Blame the goosebumps for that!
Live from Anaheim, California this is the Raw Deal…
John Cena came out for promo time. He tried to be funny and he was a bit, but compared to what we saw later in the show this was very average. Basically he did his usual routine of making fun of Michael Cole, whose manhood he questioned. Cena talked about the Chamber and how he needs this moment. He mentioned being a slave to the Nexus, being fired and having another shot at going to Mania. Why would the crowd be that sympathetic to a guy that never left TV after being “fired” from his job? He’s too strong of a character for us to ever feel sorry for him. That’s why you hear the boos. The kids don’t know better, but others know. He lost the Rumble, he lost the Raw Rumble and he’s still going to headline WrestleMania. For the sixth year in a row. It’s not new or fresh. That’s Cena in a nutshell.
CM Punk came out to save this Cena promo, which was not very good to be honest, and told us that good things happen to good people like him. Why does Punk’s character work so well? Because the way he speaks lets you know that he believes everything he says. He seems like a normal guy. That’s all we want. No cartoon characters like Cena. Is that so hard?
CM Punk d. John Cena (**3/4)
The stip was there had to be a winner with no interference allowed from Nexus or the EC guys. I wasn’t a fan of a commercial one minute into the match, but what can you do? They have to get those commercials in. The work was pretty solid. I have liked their chemistry during this entire feud. It’s a shame they haven’t got a PPV singles match, but I would imagine that’s coming after WrestleMania. Cena was dominating, he went for the AA and Punk bailed to the floor. He got a chair from a Nexus guy, which he flung into the ring. The ref threw that away and then the Nexus guy handed him a wrench, which he used to hit Cena in the head without the ref seeing it. That reminds me of the Simpsons episode where they mock wrestling with the wrench. Anyway, Punk got the win with the Go To Sleep. Couldn’t the GM chime in to say that Nexus did interfere, which was against the rules? I guess the GM wasn’t watching huh? It’s only a minor gripe for a very good 11 minute match.
This was typical booking before the PPV where the guy that’s going to win the big match (Cena) looks weak on TV before the match. I expect Cena and Punk to be the last two in the Chamber while the announcers play up the fact that Punk’s beat him three times. Then Cena finally overcomes him to score the victory. It’s my patented “lose on TV, win on PPV” theory.
They mentioned Jerry Lawler wasn’t there because his mother passed away. Josh Mathews was in his seat. He did a fine job as always. Big fan of Mathews. Lawler will be at the PPV on Sunday.
They plugged the 12 man tag match on Smackdown. It will feature all the guys in the two Elimination Chamber matches, babyface vs. heel style.
The Smackdown people showed up with my boy Alberto Del Rio talking about how it’s his destiny to win the belt at WrestleMania. Edge interrupted to say it was his destiny to do something…attack Del Rio as retribution for a couple of weeks earlier. Vickie Guerrero came out to say Edge would give the belt to the new World Champion Dolph Ziggler this Friday. She’s saying Edge lost the belt because he used the Spear against Ziggler last week. My guess is they do a deal where they hold the belt up for grabs going into the Chamber match. Edge is likely going to win, leading to Edge vs. Del Rio at WrestleMania. This was a decent segment although it felt a bit rushed and more of an advertisement for Smackdown.
Divas Title: Eve d. Natalya (*1/4)
This was a Lumberjills Match although there weren’t that many women out there. I didn’t see (or hear) Laycool out there. I don’t know how to describe this, but when you watch these two wrestle you can see how Natalya is so far ahead of Eve as a wrestler. She carried the match in every way. She was doing the spots and she was waiting on Eve for some of them, but Eve wasn’t as crisp in doing them. I’m not sure what management sees in Eve. She’s not even close to the worker that Natalya or Beth is and even somebody like Kelly is better than her too. Also, I don’t understand why the announcers are burying Natalya so much. Cole’s a heel so it’s fine, but even Josh was doing it a bit too. What’s the point of that?
After the break, the Bellas fought with Gail again. The other divas and officials broke it up. I’m sure that will lead to some kind of Superstars match that nobody watches.
The plugged The Chaperone. What an awful looking movie that is. I don’t watch WWE films, but that looks atrocious even by their very low standards.
Quick plug time. My buddy David Kay is writing a series columns called The Lists of WrestleMania where he will have 27 different lists. They will be posted 4 times a week. Check them out all the way up until this year’s WrestleMania event.
Mark Henry came out for something, but Sheamus came out to attack. He left him laying with the kick. Sheamus said that’s what he’s going to do to Orton later and in the Chamber. Nobody really reacted because he’s been booked terribly for months.
While Miz and Riley were walking to the ring we saw Michael Tarver backstage again. We still don’t know what he does.
The Miz d. Daniel Bryan (***1/4)
Why couldn’t this be the PPV match? They actually have a history, which the announcers mentioned, and unlike Jerry Lawler it would elevate a guy like Bryan to lose a PPV World Title match. Plus, his only feud for the past couple of months has been with the freakin’ Bella Twins! They worked their asses off for 12 minutes. You could see the chemistry. Great spots, excellent counters and a lot of awesome nearfalls too. The fans really believed in Daniel Bryan. I know that part of it is because Miz is made to look weak, but it’s also because they know Bryan’s a superior wrestler. At one point Michael Cole called a German suplex a “throw” though. A throw? It’s a suplex, man. Come on! That move has been in wrestling forever. It’s been used in WWE forever. Get it right. The story was good with Miz avoiding the LeBell Lock and then capitalizing on a dazed Bryan with the Skull Crushing Finale for the win. A huge round of applause to WWE for giving Miz a clean win too! Wow. Was that so hard? This is how you book TV matches with a clean win for a heel. More like this please!
One other thing: Get Daniel Bryan a feud and a PPV match. He should be wrestling on every PPV. He’s the best worker in the company. Plus he’s holding a belt that appears to have no value. Use the man!
Morrison & Truth d. McGillicutty & Otunga (*)
This was originally going to be Morrison vs. Truth, which they advertised early in the show. Then it got changed during the show. Do they write this stuff on a napkin? Sometimes I think so. Why isn’t Truth limping to sell the submission move on the knee last week? Come on, man. Sell that injury! Morrison’s eyes are both puffy from Punk spraying something in his eyes. Hairspray? Who knows? Morrison gets the hot tag, cleans house on everybody with aggressive offense that isn’t his typical athletic stuff and he pins McGillicutty after the running knee to the face. It was only 4 minutes. The idea was that Punk’s attack drove Morrison to be more aggressive. It took them long enough to book him this way. The whole thing did a good job putting Morrison over although why the hell is Truth in a #1 contenders match? Putting Daniel Bryan in that spot would have been much better. Yes, I’m repeating myself. Simply put the fans see Bryan as a better talent, so why isn’t he in the match when he has nothing else to do? I don’t understand.
They plugged Chris Jericho’s book. Very cool. I’ll be getting it on Wednesday. Should I write a review? I might.
The worst segment of the night was next with the chick from HHH’s movie The Chaperone hosting the Khali Kiss Cam. They showed people in the crowd kissing. The only good part of this whole thing was Zack Ryder backstage talking to William Regal, which led to Regal kissing him on the cheek. It was awkward, but it was hilarious. Then the girl, who was a teenager, kissed Hornswoggle on the cheek. It was all a waste of time, really.
They showed the 2.21.11 video. See ya next week Undertaker. You need to buy a bigger house. Where does McCool stay? I’d watch that Undertaker-McCool reality show. He has to stay in character the whole time, though. That would be fantastic! Haha.
Randy Orton d. Sheamus (*1/4)
Before the match, Cole said he thinks Sheamus is the front runner to see the Chamber. Apparently he hasn’t watched Sheamus lose match after match the last couple of months. They worked a fast pace for five minutes with Orton scoring the win via RKO. It was a really well done spot because it came after Sheamus hit a superplex and neither guy really had the advantage. I enjoyed that finish. That’s how you really put over the RKO.
Post match, the Nexus guys plus the other Chamber guys all ran in for a brawl. It ended with Cena hitting the Attitude Adjustment on Punk. He stared at Orton to end it, which makes us think it’s one of those two that are going to win. It will be Cena while Orton gets paired off with Punk at WrestleMania.
Before we saw the WrestleMania host, they showed a car pull up with a woman walking out. They only showed her high heels. Who could that be? I think it was just a curveball to make you think it might be a woman.
The announcement of the guest host of WrestleMania
The wait was finally over. It was guest host of WrestleMania time. The lights went out. Different parts of the arena went out. Then we heard that familiar voice: “If you smell what the Rock is cooking…” and I marked the fuck out. Wow. What a moment. What a sight to see The Rock emerge on that stage again. That pop was thunderous. It felt surreal. Was it really happening?
“After seven long years FINALLY…FINALLY…FINALLY The Rock has come back to Anaheim. Which means FINALLY The Rock has come back to Monday Night Raw. Which means FINALLY The Rock has come back…(long pause)…home.”
“I need to tell you something as Dwayne. It’s been a long time since I’ve been back. Seven years to be exact. I want to take this moment in the middle of this ring to tell you why I’m back. It’s not because of the money, it’s not to promote a movie – I am back in the middle of this ring because of you. When I left the WWE seven years ago I dreamed big, you dreamed big with me and you helped me accomplish my dreams because you never left my side. I want to tell this moment to tell you all here and millions watching around the world I want to tell you thank you, love you and it is because of you that I am back in ring. And it is because of you that I am never ever going away.” Cue long, loud applause and “Rocky” chanting.
He did so many amazing things during the course of his 15 minutes on the microphone. He’s unlike anybody in wrestling. The Rock saying “ass” more times than we’ve heard on Raw in three years, giving the verbal beatdown to that annoying douche Michael Cole (“it doesn’t matter what you think!”) and even plugging facebook were all cool moments. He delivered all of his usual lines. It felt like old times. “Sit your ass down. You look like a drunk hobbit.” – The Rock to Michael Cole. Oh God, I really laughed my ass off at that line. So good.
There was one line that The Rock said that resonated with me: “I give you my word I am never ever going away.” A lot of people are going to pick that apart. What does it REALLY mean? It’s not like he’s going to be on WWE TV every week. I don’t even know if he’ll be on Raw again before WrestleMania. He doesn’t have any interest in wrestling again (he said as much last week) and he doesn’t need the money. I think he’d be smart to make an annual appearance in the ring. This year he’s the guest host. Next year he enters the Hall of Fame. The reality is he’s making over $10 million per movie. He doesn’t need to be in the wrestling business, but I do believe him when he says he loves it and appreciates the fans that helped make him the star he has become. I think he has a true love for wrestling.
It was amazing to see The Rock ripping on Cena. “You can’t see me? What are you playing, peekaboo? Believe me we all can see you!” Calling Cena “fruity pebbles” because of the bright colors he wears was classic. I don’t think Rock hates Cena. I don’t think Cena hates Rock. I think Cena was fed lines by Vince to say in the media and told Rock about it in order to create hype for a moment like this. Vince is not an idiot. He knew Rock would be back at some point, so he knew he’d have to create some kind of angle for him. Now you’ve got this interesting story to play off of. It will elevate Cena to be in Rock’s presence no matter what they do together. I’m very intrigued by it.
Now, a rundown of the obvious questions with my quick answers:
* Is Rock going to wrestle? I doubt it. He doesn’t need the money or the physical pain.
* Should WWE book a Rock vs. Cena match? They can try, but I doubt Rock says yes.
* Is he going to be on Raw next week? Not likely. I don’t think he’ll be on again until WrestleMania.
How many times did he say ass? Six, apparently.
* Does this mean PG WWE is over? Hell no. It’s here to stay.
* What does guest host of WrestleMania even mean? I don’t know yet, but I’m willing to watch on April 3rd to see exactly what it means.
* Can you write a career column about The Rock before WrestleMania? Yes, I think I can. And I will. =)
I know a lot of people will say Ric Flair is the best talker ever or maybe Roddy Piper. There are others like Steve Austin, Mick Foley and Chris Jericho that are up there too. For me, though, The Rock is the best talker ever. He showed it tonight. He showed it by being serious, being funny and being genuine too. It’s like he never left. Seven years? It felt like the same promo he was doing 11 years ago. You can’t teach what The Rock has. He simply has it.
It’s hard to compare that Rock promo to anything else in wrestling. He had them in the palm of his hand. Truly electric.
Please feel free to send me your thoughts on The Rock’s return. You can email me at email@example.com, post on my Facebook page at Facebook.com/thejohnreportnet or Twitter @johnreport and I will post a sampling of YOUR THOUGHTS on thejohnreport.net on Tuesday night or maybe Wednesday morning. I want to know what the masses think. I want to gather your opinions and celebrate the return one of the best wrestlers ever. I’ve been flooded already about this, but I will sift through the facebook messages, tweets and emails to post a large sampling of them all. Don’t be shy. Contact me about this. Are you excited? I know I sure am.
I’ll make another post specifically talking about The Rock on Tuesday or Wednesday night. I want to see how the ratings are and do some follow-up to all of this. I will include a lot of reader feedback, so please send it in. Thanks.
Guess what WWE? My interest went WAY up because of this. I feel invigorated again. A trip to WrestleMania for yours truly? Could happen. I’ve never been to a WrestleMania live despite being a fan of 25 years. I’ve seen everything else from PPVs to Raws to Smackdowns and a lot of house shows. Never a WrestleMania. Maybe this is the year for me…FINALLY!
The best thing I can say about this show is that it reminded me why I’m still a fan. Those goosebumps that Rock felt were felt all over the world by his fans like you and me. That’s why we care. That’s why we watch. For moments like that.
Three Stars of the Show
1. The Rock – By far.
2. Daniel Bryan – Like usual, the best match of the night.
3. CM Punk – Good match with Cena.
9 out of 10
Last week: 4.5
2011 High Score: 9 (Jan. 3 & Feb. 14)
2011 Low Score: 4 (Jan. 10)
2011 Average: 5.92
Even if you don’t look at the part with The Rock this was a very good show thanks to strong WRESTLING matches with both the Cena-Punk and Bryan-Miz matches. Orton-Sheamus was decent for a five minute Raw special too.
Then you have The Rock’s part, which was one of the most memorable moments in the history of Raw. I’m not even sure if I described it well enough. I hope I did it justice. Here’s the intro of the segment with the initial pop. For the rest of the promo I’m sure it’s on youtube all over the place.
Listen to that ovation. Wow. That’s special.
My last thing is to plug my Friday column where I wrote about What The Rock Means to WrestleMania 27. It turns out that he means even more than I thought. It was better than I expected.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the blog: thejohnreport.net
Add me on Facebook at Facebook.com/thejohnreportnet
and Twitter at Twitter.com/johnreport
Visit My Archives to view ten years of The John Report columns.