The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal for 02/21/11 (Big Returns)
You can read my recap of last night’s Elimination Chamber recap by clicking RIGHT HERE. I loved the show. Read why. I wrote this week’s Raw Deal live, so it will be more of a play by play format with opinions mixed in where needed.
The WWE Raw Deal for 02/21/11
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter @johnreport
Live from Fresno, California this is the Raw Deal…
They had a timer on the 2.21.11 bit showing us that it would expire in about an hour. The clock ended at 59:13 as we got the Raw open. That means at the top of the 10pmET hour. Then we got the Raw open. One of the signs in the crowd they focused on said “The Dead Man Returns.” I guess somebody knows.
John Cena’s music hits. It’s happy Cena tonight. The announcers for the show are Michael Cole and Josh Mathews. I thought Lawler would be back at the desk, but I guess they’re holding off on that for now. Cena tries to talk, but the crowd keeps chanting “Rocky” as Cena tells us how he won the Elimination Chamber last night. He’ll face the Miz at WrestleMania for the WWE Championship. He said he should be happier, but ever since last Monday all he’s been hearing about is…and the crowd chants “Rocky.” He says he’s been hearing “alleged comments” from Rock. He imitated people asking him about it and said he was going to let it slide because he’s The Rock. HE says let’s look at the footage one more time. Roll the footage of Rock’s promo last week where he ripped on Cena last week. Oh the fruity pebbles line was a classic wasn’t it? Tremendous.
Back to Cena, who plays dumb asking us if he should say something about that? Cena says if he calls somebody out he only does it one way and mentions he still has a degree in Thuganomics. He thinks we have to do this. If he doesn’t send a message all he will hear about is The Rock. He gets to the rap telling Rock that he left us high and dry to play a fairy with a tooth. Great line. He ripped on his role in Be Cool playing a gay character. He then said you just schooled. It’s hard to write about all the lines. It was pretty quick. “Just don’t go racing to Witch Mountain, Rock, because your mountain is Brokeback.” Gay joke. Then he rhymed Walking Tall with balls. “You ain’t gonna whip my candy ass dude, I’ll make sure you kiss it.” And then, “You’re the WrestleMania host Rock, you tell these people that you love them; I’m here every week to show it.” He ended it saying, “That’s called a first round knockout. Run your mouth all you want dude, it doesn’t matter what you’re saying.”
The promo was fantastic. It was the John Cena that made a lot of people like him and take notice when he was rising up the chart. His words were great. I wish they gave him that kind of edge more often because it’s better than the kid friendly stuff, but I do understand why they rely on that as well. I said in the Elimination Chamber recap that it was important for Cena to cut a great promo. Guess what? He cut a great promo. Kudos for Cena. I just wish I could have typed it all out for you. I’d recommend you hear it for yourself somehow.
Cole is interviewing Lawler later. And Morrison vs. Punk is coming up next.
46 minutes until 2.21.11 arrives.
Make sure to check out the new YouTube channel of TJR at youtube.com/thejohnreportnet where we’ve already got audio commentary pieces posted about The Rock, Triple H and Alberto Del Rio. New content will be added on a regular basis. They are quick audio commentaries on a number of different topics. It’s off to a great start as we’ve already won an award in the reporter category for subscribers in a week. Give it a listen and let us know what you think. It’s only the beginning, my friends.
John Morrison vs. CM Punk
They are both battered from the night before. Morrison has a hurt knee while Punk hurt his leg too. He had some major scars on his leg as well. It’s nice to see people selling injuries the day after a physical match. They have the 2.21.11 countdown clock in the bottom corner for a bit and then it disappeared on us. Punk targets the knee for the first couple of minutes of the match. Morrison fights out with punches, but then he grabs at his right knee. Punk boots him in the knee and hits the Go To Sleep. He wins the match in just 3 minutes.
Winner: CM Punk
Analysis: * Normally I’d complain about Morrison losing in a 3 minute match, but it made sense for Punk to go after the knee and for Morrison to lose. It’s good storytelling. I really hope Morrison is the Money in the Bank winner at WrestleMania.
“RANDALL!” Punk grabbed the microphone. “Randall Keith Orton, get out here.” He says he gave the rest of Nexus the night off. He wants “Randall” to come out to face him. He mentions being kicked in the head by Orton in September 2008 at Unforgiven. He tells him the bright lights of WrestleMania are not in your future. “Just walk away,” he tells him. He says he doesn’t deserve to be at WrestleMania. Punk tells him that he is going to hurt him if he shows up to Raw next week. And there’s Orton coming through the crowd in his wrestling gear. He went for a RKO, but Punk slipped out. Then Punk went out to the floor. The rest of Nexus came out. Hey, so Punk lied about giving them the night off. Shocker. The crowd is really hot for this, chanting “Randy” over and over.
A well done segment. Like I’ve written week after week this feud is very good for Orton. Punk’s a psychological type of heel and Orton’s not a heavy talker, so if you have Punk do the talking it brings out the best of Orton. I think six weeks of build is going to lead to an awesome match at WrestleMania between these two.
It’s Alberto Del Rio time. He’s got a silver car that looks very nice. As he’s posing in the aisle, Kofi Kingston attacks him from behind. Ricardo Rodriguez saved Alberto and Alberto took advantage, going after the left arm of Kingston that he injured the night before. He goes around the ring throwing his arm into the ring post and barrier. He follows it up by putting Kingston in the Cross Armbreaker. Then Alberto smiles to huge heel heat from the crowd. Nice “Mark Out Moment” sign in the crowd. Kofi gets back up, so ADR charges in and shoves Kofi into the ring post, right onto his left arm. Del Rio winked at him as he was in pain on the crowd. This was an effective injury angle to make Del Rio even more of a badass. It did a great job of putting over his Cross Armbreaker move.
Miz is up next to talk.
23 minutes until 2.21.11 gets here.
The Miz walked onto the stage to talk about The Rock. He said he remembered The Rock ripping people back in 1999 and how excited he was to hear The Rock’s name. He mentioned how the Rock said that The Miz completely sucks. “Really? Really? That’s the best The Rock can do? One of the best talkers ever and that’s the best he can do?” He asks the fans if they think he sucks. They cheer. More of the Really routine. He says that while Rock is hosting Mania, he’ll be main eventing and beating John Cena. He said Cena has something in common with Rock because they’re cultural icons that the people love. He doesn’t care what the people think. He ends it by saying he’s awesome. That’s it, I guess. Here’s the Raw GM notification.
The GM says he’ll deal with The Rock when he’s ready. He mentions the Rock N Sock Connection was a formidable tag team, so the tag titles tonight will be defended by Gabriel & Slater vs. Miz and his partner…John Cena. The unlikely tag team champs? Been done before. I don’t think they’ll do it.
I didn’t love Miz’ promo. It was far too generic and he needed to do more to stand up to The Rock. He spent most of it trashing the fans, which didn’t seem new at all. It was the same thing he always says.
Later in the show Cole interviews Lawler.
Here’s a WrestleMania commercial with a heavy focus on The Rock.
They showed a clip of the WWE All-Stars video game as George Washington and Abe Lincoln had a match on President’s Day. Then Cena came out to pin Washington.
Eve & Gail Kim vs. The Bella Twins
They showed the backstage brawl last week. I don’t expect these girls are going to get much time since the 2.21.11 clock is winding down in 9 minutes. Gail hits a clothesline on one of the Bellas and then a crossbody for two. She goes for a springboard, but the other Bella pulls her down to crash her into the mat outside the ring. Bella misses a legdrop as Gail gets the hot tag to Eve two minutes in. Eve hits a dropkick followed by a crossbody for two. Eve’s kicks and clothesline don’t look good. She covers for two, but gets distracted. Eve gets a rollup, the ref tries to get Gail out of the ring and the other Bella rolls her up for a win. The illegal Bella got the pin. Oh those Bellas are so evil.
Winners: The Bella Twins
Analysis: 1/2* A typical divas match. The champs always seem to lose in tag matches don’t they?
Three minutes until 2.21.11 gets here. That means after this next commercial.
The screen counted us down for the 2.21.11 clock. We got the countdown from the number 30 as the video was shown on the screen. When it got to 0 The Undertaker walked out of that house. Then they cut to the arena where Undertaker was standing at the top of the ramp. His music played and he came out to a big pop.
The Undertaker’s promo was waiting for him in the ring. The crowd was really hot for him. Personally, I think he needs to move into a better house. He hasn’t been divorced that many times. It’s not like we’re talking about Ric Flair here. Whoa, there’s HHH’s music. The crowd is going crazy. It’s like Triple H knew the video package was for The Undertaker. (That’s sarcasm, people.) I’m guessing Undertaker isn’t allowed to make jokes about The Chaperone in any promos huh? (That’s more sarcasm.) This should be a fun confrontation. (That’s legit.) The announcers have not spoken during any of this. Let the visuals do the talking. That’s good.
They have a staredown. Hunter looks right at the WrestleMania sign. Then Undertaker turns his head to look at it too. Nothing like two guys in their 40s looking at a sign. Undertaker shakes his head as if to say “you ain’t nothing” and puts his hat on. He almost walks out as the crowd boos. Undertaker does the throat slash. Hunter does the crotch chop. The camera faded out. No words for 7 whole minutes.
It was great in terms of creating a moment. I guess they have 5 more weeks to build to it verbally. They let actions speak more than words in this case. Obviously we’re getting this match at WrestleMania as has been rumored for weeks. Let’s hope that they can at least mention the guys that did take them out many months ago.
We got the WrestleMania video package. I’m not sure about the song, but I’m excited about going to my first WrestleMania in 41 days.
Back to the show, the announcers called it one of the most Earth shattering confrontations ever.
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry
Are we allowed to remember that Sheamus took out Triple H last spring? That would be nice if they could mention that. They don’t. Instead he’s feuding with Mark Henry. Mark throws him out of the ring rather easily. Sheamus comes back and gets control, clubbing Henry across the chest. Sheamus hits a running knee and a shoulderblock for two. Henry powers out of a chinlock and hits some clotheslines to get control. Sheamus comes back, but Mark keeps him down with a clothesline again. He misses the splash and Sheamus boots him down. Sheamus takes the turnbuckle pad off, Henry squashes him in the corner and hits the World’s Strongest Slam for the pin after about 5 minutes.
Winner: Mark Henry
Analysis: * The poor booking of Sheamus continues. The announcers tried to put over how Sheamus was hurt from the Elimination Chamber, but they didn’t really have him sell injuries. Mark Henry going over clean is perplexing to me. They are burying Sheamus.
They mentioned that on Tough Enough one of the contestants is Miss USA.
Daniel Bryan was talking to Gail Kim. Sheamus walked by angry asking him what he found funny. Bryan said he wasn’t laughing at him. Then Sheamus walked away. Now Sheamus’ gimmick is the loser that gets angry guy.
The next Hall of Fame inductee: Hacksaw Jim Duggan. I’m fine with him being in. He was never really a main eventer, but he was an upper midcard babyface. It’s not like WWE’s Hall of Fame is hard to get into. He’ll get inducted by Ted Dibiase.
Michael Cole went into the ring to say that he’s going to Jerry Lawler. He said they won’t fight because they’d be fired. He’s going to conduct a professional interview because he’s the voice of WWE. He says he’s better than every announcer ever except Vince McMahon. He mentions them by name. He says he’s a former war correspondent and he’s going to put those skills to use. He asks for our attention, please.
Jerry Lawler comes out to a good ovation. Cole asks him a question that I missed because I went to the bathroom. I came back and Lawler didn’t say a word. Cole asks him a long question asking him how he felt knowing he lost that match to The Miz. Lawler doesn’t answer. Cole brings up his deceased mother, saying no disrespect, and says that his mother had the best seat in the house as he was looking up the lights. “How did you feel when you realized that you let your mother down?” Lawler grabbed him by the collar. He told him that if he ever mentions his mother again they would be the last words he ever says. He says Cole is wrong about him getting a match at WrestleMania. He doesn’t care if he gets fired. He’s issuing a challenge: Me versus You. Cole calls him a senile old man. “You’ll never get me in the ring. Ever.” Lawler tells him to be a man. “Are you gonna be a man or are you just a yellow, gutless coward?” Cole takes off his jacket and throws his drink in Lawler’s face. Cole runs away through the crowd. The crowd chants “Jerry” in approval.
This was an effective segment. I’m sure a lot of people are going to question the fact that Cole mentioned Lawler’s dead mother as a way to get heat. I don’t like it, but obviously Lawler had to approve of that. He’s old school in his thinking. They could have said worse things, so I’m not going to make a big deal out of it. The crowd really hates Cole and wants to see him get his ass kicked, so it worked in terms of generating a reaction. The match will likely happen or they might make it a handicap with Alex Riley teaming with Cole. It could be fun as a comedic WrestleMania-type match.
We see The Corre walking out. I guess that match against John Cena & The Miz is next. There’s still over 20 minutes in the show.
Check out my buddy David Kay’s WrestleMania series of columns called “The Lists of WrestleMania” where he’ll cover 27 different themes as he looks at the best and worst in the history of WrestleMania.
Here’s your weekly plug for The Chaperone. Only a few more weeks of plugging this. It’s on DVD March 8.
They recapped the Cole-Lawler segment and now Lawler was sitting at the announce desk with Josh Mathews.
Tag Team Championship: Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel vs. The Miz & John Cena
The Corre came out first. I still think the theme song sucks. Wade Barrett & Ezekiel Jackson are with them at ringside. Riley comes out with Miz. He’s in a suit this time, as opposed to wearing his wrestling gear at Elimination Chamber. He still has the briefcase. Cena comes out last. Miz starts it off with Slater. Cena gets the tag in when Gabriel is in there. He puts Gabriel down and tags in Miz, who hits his running clothesline in the corner. Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale on Gabriel. That’s it. The match is over in 4 minutes as Miz & Cena are the new tag champs.
Winners: The Miz & John Cena
They are the new tag champs.
Analysis: *1/2 That was surprising. Why wouldn’t Slater break up the pin attempt? It’s a little odd.
Post match, Wade Barrett cuts a promo saying they want to invoke their rematch clause. And they want it now. The GM buzzed in. Josh Mathews got to read the email from the GM. The anonymous GM says “ring the bell.” I guess that’s why the match ended so suddenly.
WWE Tag Team Champions: The Miz & John Cena vs. Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater
I thought they would do something where Barrett & Jackson were the team for this match. I guess not. The heels worked over Miz for several minutes as Cena wanted him to tag him in. They continued to focus on Miz as Gabriel told the ref “I know the rules” when he told him to get off of him while he was on the ropes. It’s so odd to hear the crowd cheer The Miz as he tries to make the hot tag to Cena. Slater broke up his attempt to make the tag. Wendy gets a two count. They did a couple of really good near tag spots. They literally worked over Miz for 7 minutes until he booted Gabriel and finally got the hot tag to Cena. The crowd, or at least mostly the kids and women, popped huge when he got the tag.
Cena hit all of his regular offense on Slater. He went for the Attitude Adjustment and Miz ran up from behind to hit the Skull Crushing Finale while Cena had him up in the air. Slater covered for the win. The ref didn’t see it. Even if the ref saw it you can’t DQ a guy for attacking his own partner.
Winners: Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel
Post match, Miz escaped up the ramp while Cena stared at him in disbelief.
Analysis: ** Good tag match that ended in an obvious way with The Miz turning on his partner because he really doesn’t care to be tag champs with Cena.
What does this prove? That the tag titles are worthless? We already knew that. They get passed around more than a prostitute at a Charlie Sheen hotel party.
Three Stars of the Show
1. CM Punk – For his win and his promo.
2. John Cena – I liked his promo.
3. The Undertaker – Good to see him back. Well done segment.
3. Triple H – Same as above.
5.5 out of 10
Last week: 9
2011 High Score: 9 (Jan. 3 & Feb. 14)
2011 Low Score: 4 (Jan. 10)
2011 Average: 6.25
It was an average show. This was not a wrestling heavy show. It’s forgivable because the Elimination Chamber PPV was very strong in terms of in-ring action. Aside from the main event, no matches got a considerable amount of time. In terms of advancing stories, they really did a good job of furthering the Punk-Orton and Lawler-Cole as well. The Cena-Miz angle was pushed pretty well, but I think we’ll remember Cena’s promo on Rock more than anything that he did with Miz.
I think the most memorable part of the show was the staredown between The Undertaker and Triple H. It was the kind of thing that a lot of people are going to be talking about the next day. It feels fresh. It felt different because of how they did it.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
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