JC’s Top Rope Report: The RAW Truth Review for 3.25.13

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Heyman to Punk: TOUCHDOWN
CM Punk came out with Paul Heyman carrying the urn. Heyman threw a pass with the urn to Punk in the ring from the apron. Punk said everyone says the Undertaker can’t be beaten at Wrestlemania. They say no one can stop the Deadman. But Punk said “they” don’t know what they are talking about. But they are irrelevant. Punk said everything should have ended at last year’s Wrestlemania, with Undertaker, HHH and Shawn Michaels walking into the sunset. But Taker had to come out on Punk’s show and point at his sign. Punk said the urn means nothing to him and threw it on the ground. He said he knows he will beat The Streak and he has something Taker wants. And Taker is at a psychological disadvantage. Punk said Taker could have fought any other man and had his Streak continue, but he had to choose Punk. And Punk is the one to end the Streak. Punk said at Wrestlemania, the Undertaker’s perfect record will Rest in Peace.

Suddenly the lights went out and Taker went to town on Punk, landing multiple punches in the corner before Punk escaped with the urn.

Segment Analysis: Very strong opening. Punk made up for kind of a weak promo from last week. Punk sounds confident when he speaks about breaking The Streak. And Taker, in the limited time he was out there, looked good and in wrestling shape. Of course, there is a difference between landing some punches and working a 20 minute match, but it looked promising. Survey Says: 4/5

Oh NOW You Want To Build The Undercard Of Wrestlemania
Fandango came out for a match, but Chris Jericho came out and jumped him. Jericho got the upper hand and Fandango bailed. Great way to give heat to a match that needed it.

Dolph Ziggler came out for a match against Chris Jericho. Jericho had the upper hand early before Ziggler caught him with a kick to the chest. Jericho grabbed Ziggler’s legs and he went for the Walls, but Ziggler pushed him away. Ziggler caught a Y2J elbow and then a crossbody for two. Dolph had control back from break with a headlock. Jericho countered with a nearfall but got back up and ate a dropkick. Dolph hit a splash in the corner then applied an abdominal stretch. Jericho got out with a hip toss. Dolph missed a splash and Jericho went to work. He hit a top rope double axe handle then a running bulldog. Big E got on the apron and ate a Jericho dropkick, but the distraction allowed Dolph to hit a DDT for two. Jericho grabbed the ropes to block the ZigZag, and Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho. Ziggler tapped out.

After the match Big E took out Jericho with his finisher. Fandango came out after and did a brief dance over Jericho then attacked him. He hit a flying leg drop off the top rope then said his name.

Segment Analysis: Well, how do you build up to a match that had little heat in two weeks? That is how you do it. Good showing by Fandango and this little mini feud has some legs. Another strong match between Dolph and Jericho as well. Survey Says: 3.5/5

Backstage Matt Striker asked Sheamus about what happened last Friday on Smackdown. Suddenly, The Shield attacked. Randy Orton came in with a chair but was eventually stopped. Big Show finally came in to even the odds and The Shield retreated.

Mark Henry made quick work of the Usos. He hit World’s Strongest Slams on both of them and then a splash.

The Mid-Card Champ Didn’t Job? What Show Is This???
Alberto del Rio vs Antonio Cesaro. After Del Rio released an armbar, Cesaro caught Del Rio with an uppercut. Del Rio came back with some clotheslines and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Zeb Colter came out and distracted Del Rio. Cesaro caught Del Rio with a knee then a headbutt. Del Rio crotched Cesaro on the turnbuckle then hit a superplex. Suddenly, Jack Swagger attacked Ricardo and beat on his broken ankle some more. Del Rio made the save and brawled with Swagger through the crowd. Del Rio was counted out. Del Rio attacked Cesaro and applied the crossarmbreaker after the match.

Segment Analysis: While other feuds are gaining steam headed into Wrestlemania, this one seems to be losing some. The crowd just isn’t that into ADR, and they are using Ricardo to get some sympathy heat for him. Del Rio has really dropped off as a face after a promising start. Survey Says: 2.5/5

More A.J.? Works For Me!
Team Hell No vs the Prime Time Players. Bryan and Kane dominated O’Neil early on. Darren Young came in but Bryan and Kane hit a double hip toss. Bryan hit a handful of kicks until Dolph, Big E and A.J. came out on the ramp. Young hit a belly-to-belly on Bryan. Bryan ducked a clothesline and hit one of his own on Young then tagged in Kane. Kane hit a couple of boots to Young’s face then a sideslam for two. Titus broke up the count but then was thrown to the outside where he ate a Daniel Bryan flying knee. Kane hit a chokeslam on Young for the win.

Match Analysis: Nothing too exciting here. Match was okay. Cole calling the Tag Title “prestigious” at the end there was kind of funny. Survey Says: 2/5

A Short HHH Promo???
After a video package Triple H came out. He said Brock Lesnar is a destroyer and can end anyone’s career in the ring. But he has had a 20 year career where he has fought every night like his life depended on it. He said he feels no pressure being backed into a corner. HHH said Brock should fight like his career is on the line. He’s not there to fight at Wrestlemania, he is there to kick Brock Lesnar’s ass. Wade Barrett came out during HHH’s exit for his match. He stared down HHH then HHH kicked him below the belt.

Segment Analysis: Short and to the point. I could live with that. But what was the point of the whole Wade Barrett thing??? That is why HHH is terrible as a face. Survey Says: 2.5/5

From One Bad Face To Another…
Miz came out to fight Wade Barrett. Miz hit a couple of atomic drops and Barrett bailed after both, still selling the effects of HHH’s kick. Barrett finally got the upper hand with a knee, then a couple of knees to the gut in the corner. Miz regained control with a backbreaker. Barrett countered the neckbreaker but Miz tossed him over the top rope. He hit an axehandle off the apron. Barrett had control back from break after tossing Miz into the apron during commercial. Barrett caught Miz with a knee. Miz started fighting back. He hit his corner clothesline then a top rope axe handle. Miz charged at Barrett but he went right into the Winds of Change slam for two. Miz went for a Figure Four but Barrett countered into a pin for two. Barrett hit a kick to the head. Miz ducked a Bullhammer elbow, and Barrett ended up crotched on the ropes. Miz applied the Figure Four, and Barrett tapped out.

Segment Analysis: Not a bad match. It seemed obvious Miz was picking up the win with what happened earlier. But similar to ADR, Miz is just not getting over as a face. I don’t get the crowd chanting “boring” during the match. It wasn’t that bad. Looks like we are getting these two again at Wrestlemania. Survey Says: 3/5

Backstage, Kane and Bryan argued that they other wasn’t over A.J. Kaitlyn was randomly standing there and called A.J. crazy, who was behind her. A.J. attacked Kaitlyn.

The Shield made quick work of The Great Khali, Zack Ryder and Justin Gabriel. They hit a Triple Power Bomb on Great Khali after the match. Randy Orton and Sheamus came out. As they were walking down the ramp, Big Show came in through the crowd. All three took it to The Shield. The Shield retreated. Looks like Big Show joining Sheamus and Orton is “official.”

Chris Jericho said Vickie Guerrero made Jericho/Fandango official at Wrestlemania.

The Rhodes Scholars defeated Tensai and Brodus Clay. The Bellas and Naomi/Cameron fought on the outside during the match.

Ryback beat 3MB. He hit a pretty impressive Shell Shocked with Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater both on his shoulders.

A.J. beat Kaitlyn via countout. Kaitlyn missed a Spear on the outside and went right into the barricade.

Stop Teasing “The Turn” Already…
The Legends for the Rock/Cena Panel: Booker T, Mick Foley, Dusty Rhodes and Bret Hart. mMick Foley asked John Cena if he is ready to live with the possible regret of losing to The Rock again at Wrestlemania. Cena said win or lose, it will change the face of the WWE forever. If he wins he gets redemption. Cena said if he loses he will be like Donovan McNabb. Despite being the best QB to ever play for the Eagles, he still gets booed because he didn’t win the big one. He rambled on some more. Rock said when he was 23 he was broke and got his mattress out of a dumpster. Then he tore his ACL and when he came back, asked them to give him a mic. Cena became the youngest WWE Champ ever, then lost to Austin. Rock rambled too.

Bret Hart asked what changed between them and why it doesn’t seem like there is any bad blood. Rock said Cena took his loss like a man, and in 13 days we will see how Rock handles his. Booker asked Cena why he is going to beat The Rock at Mania. Cena said because he has too. Rock said to wipe his ass with that. Cena said Rock didn’t beat him, he beat himself. Cena said he made one mistake, and he knows he is better than The Rock. Rock said to quote another legend, to be the man, you have to beat the man. And Cena will never be the man.

Dusty said Wrestlemania is about winning or losing. Dusty asked them what they really want. Cena said he wants to win the big one and dominate The Rock. And Rock will realize that he is better, and hand him a loss so devastating that it will effect him the rest of his life. Rock said the day after Mania, he will still be WWE Champ and Cena will be eating some Fruity Pebbles. Rock wanted Cena to prove him wrong, right now. Both men stared each other down. Cena did the “You Can’t See Me” then went for an AA. Rock got out and hit a Rock Bottom. The show ended with Cena looking dejected in the ring and Rock standing tall on the ramp.

Segment Analysis: That didn’t start off very well. The way that first question was going made it look like this segment was going to suck. But both men picked up their intensity at the end. And despite no one believing it, Cena sold pretty well that losing to the Rock last year has haunted him forever. It was a strong showing by Cena, who again continues to tease a possible heel turn. At this point, I think the WWE is just baiting us with it to try to get us to believe it is happening. I would still put it at less than 50%, but they are doing a good job of making us believe it will happen. Was that enough to get me into this match? Not yet. They have one week. Survey Says: 3.5/5

OVERALL
I thought that was a strong episode of RAW. The WWE needed to do something to get people caring about the ENTIRE Wrestlemania card, and they did a good job of doing that here. The Taker/Punk opening was great. And Taker looked like he was ready to go at Mania, which was an encouraging sign. They did a GREAT job of getting some heat and intensity into the Jericho/Fandango program. In one week they made it seem like a big deal. Ryback and Mark Henry got a decent build. They did a good job of convincing us that Sheamus, Randy Orton and Big Show can be a cohesive unit. But I still think Orton is turning at Mania. The last job did a good job of adding some heat to the Rock/Cena program that was on hiatus for two weeks. It was a good job by the WWE building to the biggest show of the year. Two good matches as well. I’m giving it an 8.

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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