The WWE Universe fully expected John Cena, left as a life-sized splatter across the mat last week following the receipt of a Rock Bottom, to face down WWE Champion (and reigning box-office hero) The Rock and exact retaliation when Raw rolled into the nation's capital six days before their WWE Title bout at WrestleMania. But with his do-or-die bid for redemption just a few nights away and tension at an all-time high, Cena went against the grain and elected to take the high road with The People's Champion. He eschewed physical comeuppance from last week and a repeat of last year's crude war of words for a simple but impassioned address to the WWE Universe.
The People's Era will remain,” Cena said. “The WWE Universe will remain. But the mighty Rock will experience failure. … I will shock the world.”
As they say, ’nuff said.
So it’s official: Randy Orton, Sheamus & Big Show are a team heading into WrestleMania. And with a common enemy, The Shield, on deck for the dubious alliance of former World Champions, the threesome decided to test their mettle by taking on 3MB in a Six-Man Tag Team Match on Raw. For this bout, at least, the tactic worked, as the brawny Superstars parried away the rockers’ furious attacks for an emboldening victory on the eve of The Show of Shows.
The night didn't end there, though: Following Big Show's match-ending KO Punch to Jinder Mahal, The Shield emerged from the audience and addressed their challengers head-on. The trio of NXT alumni was less than gracious in their remarks, dismissing Sheamus, Orton & Show as an ill-conceived and ill-fated marriage of convenience that would amount to little more than scraps for the “Hounds of Justice” to feast upon in MetLife Stadium. Whether The Shield's snark is prophecy or merely bluster will be revealed in six days’ time.
Whether Dolph Ziggler steals the show at WrestleMania 29 remains to be seen, but The Showoff did his share of embezzling on Raw, snatching victory from Daniel Bryan and — with some help from AJ Lee and Big E Langston — pilfering Team Hell No's WWE Tag Team Championships in the process.
Up until Dolph turned to trickery, he was stuck in a dead heat with the snappish submission expert, matching Bryan shot-for-shot in a repeat of their near-classic a couple of weeks back on Raw. Both Superstars were spent after administering dueling sleeper holds when AJ and Big E made their move, felling Kane outside the apron while Ziggler rolled a distracted Bryan up for the win.
The ignominy only got worse when AJ lifted the twin titles from the fallen champions, ominously handing them to her boyfriend and bodyguard while her eviscerated exes lay at her feet.
It's about time: “Mr. WrestleMania” is coming home.
Shawn Michaels returned Monday, announcing his intention to stand in Triple H's corner at The Show of Shows when The Game battles Brock Lesnar (who broke Michaels’ arm last summer) in a No Holds Barred Match with his career at a stake. It's a stipulation that surely hits home for the WWE Hall of Famer. The Showstopper's emotional return and subsequent reunion with Triple H brought out Lesnar and Paul Heyman. With Lesnar sneering at his WrestleMania opponent, The Mad Scientist unleashed his trademark bile on the two former World Champions in an effort to bring The Game to full froth and cloud his emotions as WrestleMania approaches.
Although The Game was ready to fight then and there, Lesnar made his exit before chaos could erupt. It was a wise maneuver as WrestleMania approaches, but a luxury neither competitor will have under the bright lights of MetLife Stadium come Sunday.
The Barrett Barrage has suffered some battering at the hands of The Miz lately, but before Wade Barrett gets his hands on the young master of the Figure-Four Leglock at WrestleMania, the Brit had to throw hands with the “Internet Champion” himself, Zack Ryder.
For Ryder, however, the bout was not exactly the victorious effort he surely hoped it would be. The Ultimate Broski unleashed his full arsenal on Barrett in hopes of a statement win, and even had the Brit on his heels on more than one occasion. But with The Miz watching on commentary, the bare-knuckle champion rallied to put a hurting on Ryder, culminating with a ringing Bull Hammer to Ryder's cranium for the 1-2-3.
This is why you should never prank your boss: An ill-advised April Fools’ joke from Santino Marella mired The Italian Stallion in a kamikaze match against Mark Henry at the behest of Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox in one of their more devilish decisions since joining forces. And although Santino tends to excel when people least expect it, the prankish paesano was fresh out of miracles against the former World Champion, finding himself quickly pancaked into defeat by a World's Strongest Slam.
Santino's loss, however, turned out to be Ryback's gain. The mighty “Human Wrecking Ball” made his way to the ring, but found himself unable to attack his WrestleMania opponent Henry thanks to their No Contact Clause. But simple problems have simple solutions, and Ryback proved his greatest muscle may be his mind when he used Santino as a battering ram and airborne projectile to strike The World's Strongest Man without ever actually touching Henry himself. Gotta love those loopholes.
Zeb Colter sure can talk the talk, but can the self-proclaimed patriot walk the walk?
As it turns out, the WWE Universe will have to wait a little longer for the answer to that question, as Colter's one-on-one bout with Alberto Del Rio devolved into a four-way fracas that also involved Ricardo Rodriguez and Del Rio's No. 1 contender, Jack Swagger. Because the bedlam erupted after the bell had rung, however, Del Rio was still able to walk away with a disqualification win when Colter and Swagger battered The Pride of Mexico into a heap with the hobbled Rodriguez's crutches.
But while a win is a win, given the decimated state of both the champion and his beloved manager following the attacks, it's hardly an ideal way for Del Rio to be headed toward his title defense on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
John Cena talks about redemption, but The Rock, in his final address as WWE Champion before putting the title on the line against Cena, spoke in our nation's capital about connection. With The People at his back, Rock said, he could change history, conquer all obstacles and hand Cena his second consecutive WrestleMania defeat at The Brahma Bull's hands.
“This Sunday isn’t about redemption,” The Rock said to Cena. “This Sunday is and always will be about the will of The People. You cannot deny the will of The People. And you cannot beat The Rock.”
Perhaps the wills of fate and The People run parallel. Perhaps not. Either way, the time for talk is over.
Chris Jericho fancies himself an Ayatollah (of Rock ‘n’ Rolla), but how did the former Undisputed Champion fare against WWE's resident international powerhouse, Antonio Cesaro?
Quite well, actually: Y2J proved quite the problem for The Swiss Superman, felling the mighty United States Champion in a tight, technical contest surveyed by the watchful eye of Jericho's WrestleMania opponent, Fandango. While Fandango judged each of Jericho's maneuvers with a series of scorecards, The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla powered through a stiff, jaw-rattling effort from Cesaro to tap him out with the Walls of Jericho.
But Fandango wasn't about to let Jericho celebrate in peace, humbling the nine-time Intercontinental Champion once more with a beatdown in what can only be the final oeuvre before Fandango's first tango on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
Two is better than one, and The Bella Twins delivered their own dose of double trouble (or twin magic, as it's better known) to clip The Funkadactyls’ wings just six days before their Eight-Person Mixed Tag Match at WrestleMania 29. With The Funkadactyls’ charges, Tons of Funk, watching alongside The Bellas’ fancy-pants arm candy of Team Rhodes Scholars, the devious Divas showed the WWE Universe that their near-year absence from the ring did not rob them of their signature wiles.
The Funkadactyls, to be fair, brought their A game and then some in their tandem debut (Naomi has previously competed solo), unleashing an in-ring attack as dynamic as their entrance dances and putting The Bellas against the wall early on. But a Nikki-instigated melee gave Brie the opportunity to roll up Cameron after a crossbody, bringing the ‘Dactyls coming-out party to a decidedly un-funky conclusion.
The Undertaker struck first as his cerebral, deeply personal rivalry with CM Punk comes to its apex, but The Deadman arrived at Raw on Monday not to throw hands but to deliver Punk his eulogy. With a heavy heart and boiling blood, The Lord of Darkness simply vowed that a defeat would not suffice for the man who took possession of the late Paul Bearer’s sacred urn. Whether The Streak lives or dies at The Show or Shows, The Phenom promised, “[Punk] will not live to talk about it.”
As The Undertaker’s sermon concluded, though, a cadre of druids emerged from the entrance ramp while Paul Heyman held the urn aloft in a grotesque masquerade of The Father of Darkness’ famous entrance. When The Phenom moved to strike, a lone druid lashed out at him, revealing to be Punk in disguise.
“It’s over,” Punk said as he struck The Demon of Death Valley with the urn and upended its contents onto him, as sure a sign as any that it may be Undertaker who is interred within his own hallowed ground.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Randy Orton, Sheamus & The Big Show defeated 3MB (Drew McIntyre, Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal) (3:10)
- Dolph Ziggler (w/ AJ Lee & Big E. Langston) defeated Daniel Bryan (w/ Kane) (11:00)
- Wade Barrett defeated Zack Ryder (3:45)
- Mark Henry defeated Santino Marella (0:55)
- Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) defeated Zeb Colter (w/ Jack Swagger) by DQ (0:45)
- Chris Jericho defeated Antonio Cesaro (12:50)
- The Bella Twins (Brie Bella & Nikki Bella) (w/ Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow) defeated The Funkadactyls (Cameron & Naomi) (w/ Brodus Clay & Tensai) (4:45)
- John Cena, Ryback & Sheamus defeated The Shield (Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns) by DQ
Other on-screen talent