The SmarK RAW Rant–02.25.13

The SmarK RAW Rant – 02.25.13 Happy 8th anniversary to me! I guess I have a very patient wife for putting up with 3 hours of this show every week. Live from Dallas,TX Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler Paul Heyman v. Vince McMahon This is apparently a “fight” and not a match, and Heyman cuts a lengthy promo on Vince before attacking him and breaking the crutch on his hip. Vince makes his comeback, but HERE’S BROCK. And then of course, COO-In-Law saunters out to make the save. See, he’s still got the corporate haircut, but he’s wearing leather jackets again, so you know he means business. And they have a pretty hellacious brawl at ringside, with Brock WEARING THE CRIMSON MASK after a trip to the post, before coming back with an F5 on the table. Brock grabs a chair and goes for the kill, but HHH gets it and chases him off. Well that was quite the opening. They went minimalist with the storytelling and it was awesome. Dolph Ziggler v. Ryback Ryback throws Ziggler around while Cole relates Ryback’s riveting workout routine. Apparently he hits tires with sledgehammers to stay in shape. Did anyone clear that backstory with HHH? Ryback gets a powerslam and chops away in the corner, then cuts off a comeback with a shoulderbreaker to send Ziggler to the floor as we take a break. Back with Ryback hitting a delayed suplex to put Ziggler on the floor again, and finally Big E lays out Ryback to end the carnage. Back in, Ryback ignores the damage and continues beating on Ziggler until finally Dolph counters a powerslam with a DDT for two. Dolph with the sleeper, but Ryback drops him to escape and poor Dolph keeps bumping like a pinball for him. Ryback gets rid of Big E and hits Dolph with the spinebuster, and the Shellshock finishes at 11:11. Ziggler got almost ZERO offense here. *1/2 CM Punk joins us to POINT AT THE SIGN. He has a thousand ways to tell us he’s the best in the world and an immortal and GOD, and yeah, that’s the whole segment. Mark Henry v. The Great Khali Slugfest to start and Henry goes down and “CM Punk Is God” is now trending. Gotta love it. Henry comes back and finishes with the SLAM at 1:18. That’s about right. DUD Fandango debuts on Smackdown. Well he’s dead in the water. MizTV with Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger. Uncle Zeb goes on his “illegal aliens are bad” rant and this is SO F------ STUPID. If there’s one thing I really don’t watch this show for, it’s political commentary. We had enough of that with Linda’s campaign sucking up airtime. Anyway, they talk extensively about land ownership in Mexico (no, really) and this is supposed to make me want to see them FIGHT. Yeah. Because somebody somewhere said that America is WHACK and Del Rio isn’t gonna stand for it. Antonio Cesaro v. Randy Orton Hey, ANOTHER match between them where Cesaro will do the clean job, that’s terrific. Cesaro works a headlock and throws forearms as they announce OLD SCHOOL RAW next week. I am legitimately pumped about that. Cesaro gets a gutwrench for two, but Orton comes back with the clotheslines and a powerslam to set up the draping DDT, but Cesaro counters with the necksnap. Orton misses a charge, but finishes with the RKO for the millionth time at 3:00. Orton looks even less motivated than usual. I’ll ask again: Why do they even BOTHER having secondary titles if they’re just used as jobbers anyway? *1/2 Meanwhile, Kane and Bryan agree to work together tonight and argue their way into wrestling blindfolded and with one hand behind their back tonight. Sheamus is out to complain about the Oscars snubbing Wade Barrett for his role in whatever movie that is, because we haven’t had enough f------ movie trailers tonight, and this is apparently supposed to make me want to see them fight at Wrestlemania. Barrett comes out to disparage the Irish, and runs away from a Brogue Kick. R-Truth v. Cody Rhodes A tag team feud between two teams that broke up! And why did we never get the Rhodes Scholars v. Hell No blowoff featuring Bryan’s beard v. Cody’s mustache? Anyway, Cody pounds Truth down with knees while Cole accuses the Scholars of being gay for each other. Truth catches Cody with…uh…something and pins him clean at 2:22. Jesus, Cody is randomly jobbing to botched spots now? ½* What the f--- did this poor guy DO? Kane & Daniel Bryan v. The Primetime Players So Bryan is blindfolded and Kane has one hand tied behind his back as a result of their braggadocio. These guys have been tag champions for SIX MONTHS now and this what we’re reduced to? This gives us some “hilarious” comedy from Bryan as he tries to find Titus (who wrestles with his whistle now), but falls victim to a Young suplex for two. Bryan bails to the floor and accidentally decks Kane, but he tags himself in and chokeslams Young at 3:30 anyway. Terrible. DUD The Shield is out to cut a promo about their winning ways and issue an open challenge. This brings out Sheamus, apparently working double feud duty tonight. See, before he was WACKY COMEDIAN SHEAMUS and now he’s tough guy fighter Sheamus. And while he’s talking, Randy Orton hits Rollins with an RKO. Jack Swagger v. The Miz This was set by an angle on the WWE app, because of course it was and it’s 2013 and now we have to type sentences like that with a straight face. Swagger quickly destroys him with a belly to belly on the floor and knees in the corner, and he grabs a hold on the mat. Swaggerbomb gets two and he goes to the armbar, then cuts off a comeback attempt with a powerslam. Look, I’m not a fan of the Swagger/Zeb whatever right now, but Swagger should running through dudes like a crazy man, not trading holds with f------ Miz in hour three. Miz comes back and hits his corner clothesline and double axehandle for two. Sunset flip gets two. Swagger goes for the leg and finishes with the again renamed Patriot Lock at 7:11. They seem to think this act is something special, but the crowd is bored with the same old Swagger matches and it just doesn’t have the heat it should for something getting this kind of push. *1/2 If anything, Zeb has all the heat here, not Swagger. John Cena is BACK. Because, you know, apparently he left there for a while. CM Punk v. John Cena Cole notes that this is about how Cena is unable to beat Punk in a big match, starting with the Monday in the Bank match last year. You mean that match he won? Yeah, he failed to win the title, but he won the match by DQ. Punks works a headlock, but gets hiptossed to the floor as we take a break. Back with Punk hitting a neckbreaker for two and a headscissors, but Cena escapes with an electric chair and bulldog for two. Cena with the headlock now as Cole points out that Cena is a 10 time WWE champion, the MOST IN HISTORY mind you, to really build up what an underdog he is. Punk runs him into the railing and we take another break. Back with Cena making the comeback, but Punk counters into the Anaconda Vice, which Cena reverses for two. Punk with a neckbreaker for two. Springboard clothesline gets two. Another try is countered into the STF, but Punk slips into the Vice instead, and Cena turns that into crossface, which Punk rolls over for two. I was just thinking to myself “You know, a great way to build sympathy for John Cena is to give him Chris Benoit’s finisher.” They slug it out and Cena gets the shuffle, but Punk reverses to the GTS and then cradles for two off that. Cena and Punk trade finisher attempts before Cena busts out a straight powerbomb for two in an interesting twist. Cena to the top and Punk cuts him off, but Cena gets the guillotine legdrop for two. Punk hits the high kick and running knee in the corner, but walks into the FU for two. Thought that was the finish. They head to the floor and Punk sends him into the post, but Cena sprints back in at 9. Punk with the GTS for two. Another try is countered into the STF, but Punk makes the ropes. This crowd is just losing their s--- for this. Punk goes old school with the PILEDRIVER for two. That was an awesome Orndorff style one, too. Punk frustratedly works the count and goes up, but misses the flying elbow, and Cena hits a CENA-CANRANA and finishes with the FU at 27:23. So there’s a match of the year contender for ya. WOW. Both guys varied the moveset with spectacular results, the drama was off the charts, and that pretty much saved the show in as big a fashion as you can. ****3/4 The Pulse If you’re watching this one on DVR, fast forward after the awesome opening angle, all the way to the Punk-Cena match, and you’re golden. The rest was crap, but what a payoff for sitting through it all. Of course, aside from the two title matches, there is absolutely zero direction for Wrestlemania, like NOTHING, but I guess selling PPV is a minor point these days.