Break out the Parachute Pants, vinyl records, and New Coke. It’s time to go Old School. There would be some serious returns and a major match for Wrestlemania would be set.
The show opened with a modified version of the old WWF Laser Letters intro.
The lights went out and the Gong heralded the return of THE UNDERTAKER! He was on the very first Raw and it wouldn’t seem the same without him. There has been huge speculation as to whether the Deadman would physically be capable of working a match at Wrestlemania. One of his hips and his knees are pretty much shot. I guess he decided to return. The fire and smoke bellowed as the Tron showed the Wrestlemania sign. He never said a word.
That led to the opening segment with all kinds of people from the past showing on the screen. They even played the original Raw entrance music.
Michael Cole was, indeed, wearing the God-Awful Mustard Jacket o’ Doom. That ugly thing reminds me of the crap I used to have to wear as a Graveyard Host at one of the leading Casinos in Reno, years ago. Lawler was in his Ketchup version of the jacket.
C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman strolled out to the ring. Punk got his butt kicked, last week, by John Cena.. It was a fantastic match. It garnered one of my very rare A+ ratings. Punk and Paul drank in the hate from the fans. Punk stated that he should be in the Main Event of Wrestlemania. He understood that he wasn’t going to be defending a title. Punk blamed the fans for his situation. Whine, whine, whimper. Punk felt the fans screwed themselves, as well as him. Punk said there was no reason to be at Wrestlemania…except for one purpose. Punk wanted to end The Streak to take it away from both Taker and the fans. Huge boos. Punk accused the fans of getting “Snarky” with him. “Snarky?” They act like a mascot to the Thundercats? Punk said he would go Straight Edge through the Dead Man.
Randy Orton interrupted Punk’s rant. Orton warned Punk not to be so confident. He reminded Punk about Orton beating him. Orton admitted to losing to Taker, 8 years ago. Orton was a rookie, back then, but not anymore. Orton asked the WWE Universe if they would rather see Orton or Punk face Undertaker. The crowd was solidly behind Orton, but…
Big Show lumbered from the back. I guess he wanted to throw his hat in the ring, too. Show didn’t think Orton or Punk had what it takes to destroy the Taker. Show admitted that he lost to Taker but he didn’t have the Knockout Punch, back then. Said it would take a Giant to take down Taker. He was ready to send Undertaker into oblivion…
Enter Sheamus. The Celtic Warrior listened to each guy ramble. Sheamus said he was the only one of the four to never face and lose to the Dead Man. Sheamus felt a Brogue Kick, all the Heart in the world and a ton of Luck would beat Taker. Sheamus knew he had the “Luck of the Irish”.
Vickie Guerrero came out in a way too tight dress. She knew that if any of the four could beat Taker, they would cement their own legend. Vickie made the Fatal Four Way Match: Sheamus vs C.M. Punk vs Randy Orton vs Big Show. The winner gets Taker at Mania.
Antonio Cesaro vs Ryback
Cesaro, by insert video, talked about all the languages he speaks. He then made fun of Ryback’s vocabulary. Ryback then arrived on the scene. Big Hungry was ready to feast on the U.S. champ. The Buffalo, NY crowd really popped strong fro Ryback. Running Dropkicks by Cesaro. Ryback reversed a Whip into a Brick Wall. Knife Edge Chops by Ryback. Ryback lifted Cesaro into a Spinning Powerslam, off the shoulder. Cool move. Cesaro was wearing some stuff that looked like it came from Lou Thesz’s closet. Stall Suplex by Ryback. 2 count. Headbutt and punches and kicks by Cesaro. Ryback flipped Cesaro over the ropes. Cesaro snapped the neck. Ryback with a Gorilla Press Drop and La Bandera Clothesline. Cesaro wallowed on the floor. Ryback kicked Cearo. Cesaro ran Ryback into the post and kicked him off the apron, into the old steel railing. Cesaro pounded on Ryback. Raw took a break.
Rear Chin Lock by Cesaro. Ryback got up but ate several Knees and a Slap. Ryback with a Back Body Drop and Spinebuster. Ryback cocked the arm but didn’t get to nail the Meathook. European Uppercut by Cesaro. Ryback blocked the Neutralizer and nailed Shell Shocked!
Your Winner: Ryback
Grade; B (84%)
As Ryback headed to the back, Mark Henry strolled out. There was a Mexican Stand-off. Both men took a half step to the side. Mark watched Big Hungry, carefully. I’d love to see: Ryback vs Mark Henry vs Great Khali vs Big Show vs Brodus Clay vs Tensai (more on his new name in a moment). Make it the Tons o’ Fun Battle Royal.
Mark Henry vs Zack Ryder
Zack rushed the ring and bounced. Collar and Elbow. Zack with hard Forearms but Mark used his power to stop Zack. Clothesline by Mark. World’s Strongest Slam. Blink and you missed this one.
Your Winner: Mark Henry
Grade: D (65%)
This is Old School. Superstar vs Talent Enhancement. Squash before you can go get a free soda or whatever you are drinking.
Dolph Ziggler, A.J. Lee and Big E Langston strolled backstage.
They ran another promo for Fahhhhn—Dahhhhn—Goooo. Got to pronounce the goof’s name correctly or Fandango gets whiny.
The Miz vs Dolph Ziggler
Miz had the microphone, which didn’t work, at first. Miz decided to bring out a friend, who represents the bridge between Old School and New School…”Nature Boy” Ric Flair! Flair is letting what hair he has left grow out. Short hair just doesn’t work for Flair. Dolph complained about Flair being there. There was a mega Woo-a-thon.
Dolph and Miz tied up and stood their ground. Clean break. Flair was Woo-ing it up, outside. Dolph opened up on Miz with hard blows and punches. Miz came back with his own punches and kicks. The momentum went back and forth, several times. Knife Edge Chop and Strut by Dolph. Clothesline, Kneelift and Big Boot by Miz. Flair and Miz strutted Raw right into the commercial break.
Dolph with a kick and Neckbreaker. 2 count, again. Rear Chin Lock. Show Off Headlock into a Float Over. Interesting Submission move. Dolph went to a Rear Chin Lock. Miz turned under to get to his feet. Miz Elbowed his way free. Dolph punched Miz. Kick by Miz. The two got into a Kick Fest and a Punch-a-thon. Dolph flipped Miz onto the apron. Miz slid under and hit the Reality Check for two. Small Package by Dolph but only a two. Chop Block by Miz. Dolph planted Miz with the Flying DDT. He didn’t hit it solid. Miz blocked the Sleeper but Dolph came back to slap on the move. Miz went down to his knee. Miz got up and tossed Dolph forward. Front Face Drop by Miz. Full Body Clothesline by Miz. Miz went up to the top and nailed the Ax Bomber. Flair revved up as A.J. slid onto the apron. Langston blasted Miz. Flair went after Langston with Chops and punches. No effect. Miz with a Baseball Slide Dropkick on Langston. Dolph tried for the Pearl Harbor. Miz caught Dolph in the Figure Four! Tap Out!
Your Winner: The Miz
Grade: B+ (89%)
Flair and Miz partied in the ring. Flair did his typical silly Elbow Drop thing and then had Miz do them, too. Too cool.
Cole and Lawler talked, again, about Undertaker’s return. The fans were asked to Tout their thoughts.
Rock came out to his old entrance theme. I expected Cena to come out to his rap stylings. Rock’s entrance went on for way too long. Rock took the stick and looked around. Rock grinned as the crowd chanted his name. Rock needed the fans to understand how hot it was down in Panama. Rock talked about his Boots to *sses Boots. Rock didn’t need a jacket in Buffalo because of the electricity coming out of his body. Rock then explained that when he got off the airplane he found out how darn cold it was in Buffalo. He said he had icicles on his nipples. Rock was happy to say, after 10 long years, “Finally, The Rock has come Back to Buffalo”. Rock was happy to be in Buffalo. Rock began to discuss Wrestlemania.
That brought out John Cena. The crowd went Old School nasty on Cena. Cena said he had to come out, right this second, because he was waiting for a year for this moment. Cena said Rock doesn’t fail in life. Cena had learned how to accept failure, the hard way. Cena admitted his failure. Cena said he felt worthless after the loss, last year. “Cena Sucks!” rang out. Cena said he felt weak and wanted to crawl away. Cena said Rock was responsible for his turn-around. Cena said winning the Rumble and beating Punk were all because of Rock. Cena said he gets a Second Chance, this year, to right the biggest wrong of his life. Cena swore he would not throw this chance away. Cena was starting to win over some of the crowd. Rock was happy to see Cena’s fire. Rock understood what this means to Cena to face him. Rock said Cena was the only man that he really wanted to fight. Rock said no one could match Cena’s fire…except The Rock. Rock mentioning connecting with the WWE Universe. Rock said Cena would get his *ss kicked, in 34 days, at Wrestlemania.
“Strong Words” were Cena’s reaction. Cena quoted Mike Tyson by saying “I’m going to eat his children.” He then brought up another quote “In order to be the greatest who ever lived, you have to beat everyone living”. Cena had jumped every hurdle, except The Rock. Cena said Rock’s time was up in 34 days. Cena was certain it was his time. Rock didn’t agree with Cena’s thoughts. Rock had his own quote. “Winning is about heart, you just have to have it in the right place”. The quote came from Lance Armstrong. Rock said like Armstrong, Cena is full of crap. Cena smiled and appreciated the confidence. Cena was certain that history would not repeat itself. Cena knew he would become the WWE Champ at Wrestlemania. Rock said the difference is Rock Knows he can beat Cena, while Cena only Thinks he can beat Rock. Rock said he would beat Cena, again. “If you smell…what The Rock…is cooking”. Rock’s music went off as the two men stared each other down.
Raw flashed back to the opening segment, when Undertaker showed up.
Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter) vs “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan (w/ Sgt. Slaughter and Dusty Rhodes)
Duggan got the crowd pumped up. Jack slid out of the ring and took Duggan’s 2×4. Jack got in the ring with the plank and attacked Duggan with the 2×4. He also attacked Sarge and Dusty. Jack then slapped on the Patriot Lock, Whatever. The ref tried to make Jack let go. Jack wasn’t ready to give up the move.
Your Winner (by Disqualification): “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, I think
Grade: D- (61%)
Cole and Lawler showed off a trailer for The Marine 3. It hits Blu-Ray and DVD on Tuesday.
Backstage, Kane and Daniel Bryan got ready to face the Prime Time Players, yet again.
Zeb and Jack ran into Matt Striker. Matt asked Jack about the attacks on the Legends. Alberto Del Rio jumped Jack, from behind. Security rushed out to keep the men apart.
Ted DiBiase, Sr. was at ringside for the next match. Titus O’Neil and Darren Young asked “The Million Dollar Man” to be their manager. DiBiase said he would think about it, if PTP were to win.
Kane and Daniel Bryan vs Titus O’Neil and Darren Young
Kane and Darren started this mini-war. Darren with a Side Headlock but Kane dropped Darren. Uppercut by Kane and tag to Daniel. Ax Bomber by Daniel. Daniel with kicks to Darren. Hammerlock by Daniel. Universal into a Dropkick by Daniel. Titus with the tag. Daniel fought out of the enemy corner but got laid out by a Titus Clothesline. Titus with hard kicks and a tag to Darren. Front Drop Suplex by Titus to put Darren onto Daniel. Tag to Titus. Rear Chin Lock by Titus. “We Want Virgil” rang out.
Titus with a Forearm Shot. Daniel dodged a Football Charge, in the corner. Tags to Kane and Darren. Big Boot by Kane and a Dropkick, after that. Corner Clotheslines and Whips by Kane. Side Slam to Darren. Titus made the save. It broke down into a Mosh Pit. Flying Knee Trembler, off the apron, to Titus. Darren with a Back Elbow on Kane. Chokeslam by Kane. 1-2-3.
Your Winners: Kane and Daniel Bryan
Grade: B- (80$)
DiBiase found a C-Note and stuffed it into Darren’s mouth. This IS Old School. Daniel took the $100 bill and stuffed it in his shorts.
In the back…The Honky Tonk Man warmed up! Really? Maybe he is going into the Hall of Fame? He should.
Well, poor Tensai goes through another name change. Matt has gone from Prince Albert to Albert to A-Train to Giant Bernard to Lord Tensai to Tensai to (are you ready?) Sweet T. Jeez.
Brodus Clay and Sweet T vs 3MB
Brodus and Sweet were wearing matching outfits. Honky Tonk Man was then introduced! Yeah! He looked great. This was the town where HTM won the Intercontinental title from Ricky Steamboat. Honky still holds the record for holding the IC Strap longer than anyone else. Heath Slater got up in Honky’s face and said no one wanted to hear HTM sing. Slater told Honky to go back to Vegas with the other Elvis Impersonators. Drew went after T but got rolled up in seconds.
Your Winner: Brodus Clay and Sweet T
Grade: D (65%)
Honky got back in the ring and got ready to dance. He had his guitar. Brodus, Honky and Sweet did the Shake Rattle nad Roll. Heath got in the ring to give Honky more grief. He ate a Guitar Shot to the skull! Yes! Everyone, except Heath, danced. Put Honky in the Hall of Fame! Cole even tried to sing Honky’s theme music. Lawler joked about his cousin’s advanced age.
Fandango is set to wrestle, next.
Fandango vs Kofi Kingston
So, Justin Roberts botched the pronunciation of Fanny’s name. The poser refused to compete until someone can get his name right. Are you serious? Fanny blamed Justin for denying the fans the ability to see Fahnnnn Dahnnn Goooo. Give me a flippin’ break.
Your Winner: No Match
Grade: F (0%)
Raw went back, to last week, for the Vince McMahon vs Paul Heyman “fight”. It brought out Brock Lesnar and then Triple H. HHH bloodied Brock and then said he came back confident and ready to kick *ss.
Triple H then came out to address the WWE Universe. He did the Mist thing as the crowd exploded. The new look for The Game makes him look bad *ss as Hell. He looks like a couple of old biker buddies of mine, one out here in Nevada and one from back in Texas. RIP Buzz(ard)
Michael Cole talked about HHH putting 18 stitches in Brock’s head, last week. Big “Tri-ple H” chant. HHH said he hasn’t been in the ring, with a microphone, since 8 days after SummerSlam. Back then, HHH thought it might be over. HHH talked about getting back to training, as quickly as possible. HHH knew he was in the best shape in many years. HHH said seeing his father-in-law recovering from hip surgery. HHH said forget that Vince created this. Forget that Stephanie and the grandkids were crying. HHH said he smiled as he knew he had his missing reason. HHH said he was ready for Brock, last week. HHH told Brock that they were just getting started. HHH wanted to battle Brock, at the Big Dance. HHH called out Brock! HHH crowed about splitting Brock, wide open. HHH wanted to finish what they started, last year. “The *ss Kicker, The Game, The King of Kings is back!” HHH wanted to know if Brock would show up and fight or sit there and bleed. Wow, powerful comments.
The new Bret Hart “Dungeon Collection” DVD is out. I already have Hart and Soul and the old Bret DVD. May pick that one up, down the road.
Raw went back to last Friday to see Big Show knock out Roman Reigns. Throw Roman into the big Battle Royal that I was talking about, earlier. The Shield had a video message. They mentioned the whole Undertaker thing. The Shield wanted to deal with Randy Orton and Sheamus. The Shield is watching everyone, even Big Show. Roman said Show would never get another Cheap Shot. Hmm…Big Show, Sheamus and Orton vs The Shield at Mania?
Wade Barrett vs Alberto Del Rio
Ricardo Rodriguez did the introductions for Del Rio.
Wade with a hard kick to begin the battle. Wade punched ADR into the corner. ADR reversed a Whip and caught Wades feet. He swung him into the ropes as Jack and Zeb walked out. ADR pitched Wade into the ring. Winds of Change by Wade. Elbow Drops by Wade for a two count. Rear Chin Lock by Wade. Ricardo rallied the crowd. ADR punched and Headbutted free. Wade flipped ADR onto the apron. ADR with a Cross Armbreaker, in the ropes. Running Boot by Wade.
Wade put ADR on the apron and hit repeated Knee Strikes and a Running Kick to the side of ADR’s head. They got back in the ring at 8. Near Fall by Wade. Wade went for the modified Savage Elbow, but missed. Kick by ADR into a set of Running Clotheslines. Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker by ADR. Superkick by ADR that sounded like a Gun Shot. 1-2-not yet. ADR glared at Jack and Zeb. Back Kick by Wade. Wade went for the Pump Handle but ADR escaped. He also got out of a second Winds of Change to apply the Cross Armbreaker. Tap Out.
Your Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Grade: B (84%)
It was time for another session of hate and ignorance from Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger. Fast Forward to something that actually matters.
The New Age Outlaws! Yes! Yes! Yes! Welcome to the Dogg House. They did a great promotional bit. I still remember seeing Dogg doing this live, 3 years ago! It was awesome! Thanks to Kirk White for that one.
Billy Gunn and Road Dogg, Jessie James aka B.G. James vs Epico and Primo
This was the first Raw match for this duo in 13 years! Sweet! Dogg and Epico to start. Dogg with the Flip, Flop and Fly. Cole talked about the creation of the New Age Outlaws. Dropkick by Epico on Dogg but he only got a two. Epico stomped away and tagged Primo. Primo with wild stomps. Another tag and another kick. Tag and Senton by Primo. Epico tagged in and landed on Dogg’s leg. Rosa danced. Lawler wanted a swing like that in his backyard. Yeppers. Universal into a mid-ring crash.
Billy went to town on both Colon cousins. Tilt-a-Whirl Super Slam by Billy. Dogg took Epico to the floor. Billy with the Famouser!
Your Winner: The New Age Outlaws!
Grade: B (85%)
Raw ran several Touts from the WWE Universe about the return of Undertaker.
Monday was a very special night. Not only was it the birthday of my business partner, friend, and brother, Darren, but it was also the 90th birthday of the Oldest Living Member of the WWE Hall of Fame…Mae “Forever” Young. Imagine, the world gave us Mae Young and Betty White within a year of each other. “Mean Gene” Okerlund was the Master of Ceremonies for the Birthday Party. C.M. Punk walked right though the party to get to the ring. Jerk.
C.M. Punk vs Sheamus vs Big Show vs Randy Orton
Undertaker Challenger Match
Everyone went to the floor and left Show in the ring. Punk got in the ring and got blasted with a Headbutt. Sheamus went in and got thrown out. Orton snapped Show’s neck over the ropes. Show with fists and a Headbutt. Show went to the floor and lifted Orton and went to send him into the post. Orton slid free and Show crashed and burned. Orton and Sheamus then went after each other with punches and kicks. Twisted Sister Backbreaker and Punk tried to sneak in and take the pin. When Sheamus kicked out, Punk slid out. European Uppercuts by Orton. Irish Curse Backbreaker by Sheamus. Punk tried to slide in and out but got caught. Double Team by Sheamus and Orton to send Punk out. Show then attacked Sheamus and Orton. Break Time.
Orton and Punk were going at it. Snap Mare and Kneedrop by Punk. Orton caught Show with the Rope Assisted DDT, during the break. Orton with hard Clotheslines and the Snap Powerslam. Trapped Leg Throw by Orton for a two. Orton wanted the R-A-DDT but Punk escaped. Battering Ram by Sheamus, on Punk, for two. Sheamus with the Crossfaces. Show with the Final Cut on Sheamus but Punk made the save. Punk with Knee Strikes on Show but Show with the KO Punch.
Sheamus took the fight to Show. Show with a Whip. Spear by Sheamus and then another. Running Kneelift and Flying Forearm by the Irishman. Headbutt by Show. Vader Bomb by Show, that missed. White Noise on Show! Show kicked out at two plus. Show screamed and set for the Brogue Kick. Orton with a Snap Powerslam on Sheamus before the Kick. Goozle on Sheamus and Orton. Chokeslam to Orton. Show blocked the Brogue Kick and hit the Chokeslam. 1—2—Kick Out by Sheamus. Show balled up the fist to KO Sheamus. Sheamus ducked and nailed the Brogue Kick. RKO. GTS!
Your Winner: C.M. Punk
Grade: A- (92%)
As Punk celebrated his win, the Gong sounded, again. The lights went out and Undertaker returned to the arena. He was wearing something out of the mid-90s Ministry Collection. Undertaker rolled back the eyes and stared, evilly, at his future opponent.