Monday, February 14, 2011

WWE RAW 2/14/11 -- The Rock Returns!

WWE Monday Night RAW
February 14th, 2011
Honda Center, Anaheim, California
Attendance: 17,000+

Tonight's a big night as we're 6 days away from the Elimination Chamber PPV and we've got the announcement for who the guest host of Wrestlemania 27 will be along with John Cena vs. CM Punk, Randy Orton vs. Sheamus, and John Morrison vs. R-Truth. So let's get right to it!

Your hosts are Michael Cole and Josh Matthews

John Cena comes to the ring first and cuts a lively promo about it being Valentine's Day and tonight being a big night towards Wrestlemania. Minor "Rocky" chants start up while Cena jokes about Lady Gaga being the guest host of Wrestlemania. Cena cracks some jokes on Cole's love of Riley and Miz, claiming they have no proof Michael is even a man. CM Punk comes out and talks about how the record is 2-0 in Punk's favor in matches against Cena. Punk gets some good heat from the crowd just for basically saying he's a good person, and we're right off to our first match of the night...

John Cena vs. CM Punk

Cena immediately throws his shoulder into the steel post and falls to the outside, where Punk meets him with a big lariat off the apron to the floor. We cut to commercial here and when we return Punk is dominating Cena inside the ring with a knee strike for a two count. Snap suplex gets Punk another quick two. Punk tries a jackknife rollup for two, and then grapevines his legs around Cena's chest. Cena powers out of the hold and tries for the STF but Punk gets to the ropes before it can be applied. Punk lays in some knee and forearm strikes, but Cena comes back with big right hands and a pair of shoulder-blocks. Atomic slam from Cena and he does the Five Knuckle Shuffle spot. He goes for the Attitude Adjustment but Punk counters out of it with a big leg lariat. 1-2--NOO! Cena kicks out. Great action so far. Punk tries for the Anaconda Vice but Cena hoists him up on his shoulders only for Cena to hit a gut-wrench suplex on Punk. 1-2--NOO! Punk kicks out. Cole reminds us "there MUST be a winner tonight" by pinfall or submission. Cena goes to the top but Punk kicks him off of it. Big knee to Cena's face in the corner and Punk tries for a bulldog but Cena counters with a drop toehold, going for the STF again but Punk counters out of that and hits a twisting neckbreaker for a hot near fall. Punk tries for the GTS but gets rolled up for a two count. A big roundhouse kick to the back of Cena's head just lays him flat out here. 1-2--NOO! Cena powers out again. Punk is getting frustrated while big "Cena!" chants start up. Punk tries a body press off the top rope but Cena catches him and rolls through, hoisting Punk up on his shoulders for the Attitude Adjustment but Punk evades it and falls to the outside. Suddenly a phantom hand comes out from under the ring with a chair and a Nexus armband, giving it to Punk in creepy fashion. Punk slides the chair into the ring, but then hits Cena in the face with a small wrench while the referee is distracted with the chair, and CM Punk hits the Go to Sleep for the win at 8:00 (shown)! Wow, great match here as these two have developed some great chemistry together and Cena was matching Punk move-for-move in this one. Fast-paced and fun. ***

After the match Cole lets us know why The King isn't here tonight as his mother had just passed away the day before. As macabre as it might sound I expect this might convince the WWE to give Jerry a fluke win this Sunday at the Elimination Chamber, and then probably have Miz regain the title the next night on Raw. Which isn't the worst plan I've ever heard.

Back from the commercial break Ricardo Rodriguez introduces Alberto Del Rio in his trademark fashion. They hype the title match this sunday and Del Rio's title shot. Del Rio tries to cut a promo but Edge interrupts him and reminds Del Rio about his attack on Edge with the guitar. Edge attacks Del Rio in the ring though and knocks Ricardo off the apron as well. Suddenly Vickie Guerrero comes out to her usual chorus of boos. Vickie announces that Dolph Ziggler is the new World Heavyweight Champion, because of a match that Vickie refereed on Smackdown last Friday in which Edge illegally used the spear to get the win over him. Edge has the belt, but Vickie says on Friday they'll have the coronation for Dolph Ziggler being the World Heavyweight Champion. Then she says she has proof that Edge was the one who attacked Teddy Long weeks back, and promises to get Edge fired as Vickie cackles like a mad witch. WOW.

Another 2/21/11 promo, with a mysterious man in a cabin in the woods. They all but basically scream it's the Undertaker using last year's Wrestlemania music and showing what is clearly the lower half of Undertaker's face in the cabin. Nice little vignette.

They announce tonight we'll have The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan, which should be good.

WWE Diva's Title Lumberjill Match
Eve Torres (C) vs. Natalya

No reaction for Eve. At all. Headlock and headscissors takedowns from both girls start us off. They both miss dropkicks while Cole and Matthews babble about anything but the match in the ring. Natalya tries a waistlock but Eve counters it with an armbar. Natalya puts Eve into the Mexican Surfboard but Eve counters out of it. Headlock from Natalya now and Eve hits a somersault legdrop for two. Natalya gets tossed to the outside and the divas immediately start to surround her like plastic piranhas, and EVe wipes them all out with a body press. Back inside Natalya tries a rollup but Eve counters with a rollup of her own for the win at 3:35. What was the point of the lumberjills gimmick again? The usual sloppy suckfest. ½*

When we return from the commercial break we see the band Rev Theory hanging out in attendance tonight.

Backstage the Bella twins attack Eve, which gets broken up by Natalya and Tamina.

We get the trailer for The Chaperone starring Triple H.

Before Mark Henry can come to the ring for a match Sheamus attacks him and knocks his head off with a big boot, grabbinga microphone. He reminds everyone what he's capable of and tells us to watch what he does to Randy Orton later tonight. Big kick to Henry lays him out. Nice little segment to try and get some heat back for Sheamus this Sunday.

The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan

Alex Riley is on commentary. This should be good as Bryan had a great feud with the Miz to win the US title a few months back. Small "Daniel Bryan!" chants ring out while Cole and Riley do their best to try and bury Bryan as a dateless nerd for life. Big shoulder-block from Miz takes Bryan down. They lock-up an exchange arm-drags and elbows. Big boot takes Bryan down and Miz slams his knee into Bryan's back a few times. Miz slaps on a camel clutch now but Bryan powers out of it and attempts a sleeper. Cole compares The Miz to Lou Thesz and Steve Austin, enraging millions of internet fans worldwide at the mere thought. Bryan flips out of an irish whip and then hits a big running forearm. He gets a nice running dropkick to The Miz in the corner for a two count. Miz gets tossed outside by Bryan and he follows him out with a flying knee off the apron, sending the Miz right through a barricade! Big missile dropkick gets Bryan a two count back inside. Bryan tries for the LaBelle lock but Miz gets the ropebreak. He violently snaps Bryan's neck down the ropes, onto the apron, and finally onto the floor in a nasty spot as we cut to commercial. When we return The Miz tries for a superplex but it's blocked and Bryan leapfrogs over him with the sunset flip-powerbomb combination! 1-2--NOO! Miz just barely kicked out. Huge knee strikesfrom Bryan and the crowd is fired up, really behind Danielson. Miz gets a quick schoolboy and a cradle for a two count, then he attempts a neckbreaker but Bryan counters with a German suplex! Big kick to Miz! 1-2---NOOO! Miz barely kicks out again. Bryan leaps on Miz's shoulders but ends up eating a facebuster. and then The Miz finishes Bryan off clean with the skull-crushing finale at 8:44 (shown)! Very fast-paced match here with Bryan holding his own against the WWE champion for most of the match before Miz hits his finisher out of nowhere for the win. Excellent little TV match. ***

After the match The Miz says he's going to do the same thing he did to Daniel Bryan to Jerry Lawler this Sunday at the Elimination Chamber PPV. He wishes King his condolences over his mother passing away, but he doesn't want that to be used as an excuse when King loses this Sunday.

John Morrison/R-Truth vs. Michael McGillicutty/David Otunga

Cole explains to us that the anonymous GM of RAW e-mailed him that he changed Morrison vs. Truth tonight to this tag team match here, so there you have it. Truth and McGillicutty start it off with rapid arm-drags and hip-tosses. Truth gets knocked to the outside and Mason Ryan gets a cheap shot on Truth while the ref is distracted in the ring. Truth gets clotheslined by Otunga back inside the ring for a two count. Big back suplex from Truth and he makes the hot tag to Morrison, who lays into Otunga and McGillicutty, brawling with them instead of using his usual high-flying maneuvers because his vision is apparently impaired from the Nexus attack last week. Morrison throws Truth over the top and wipes out Mason Ryan on the outside, and then hits the Shining Wizard for the win at 4:16. Nothing match to put over Morrison's toughness and thirst for revenge against the Nexus. *

Cole plugs Chris Jericho's new book Undisputed, which they didn't have to do because Jericho isn't currently under contract, so it's a nice little advert.

When we return from commercial break we have thirteen year old Ariel Winter in the ring, Triple H's co-star for the Chaperone. She asks how the crowds doing tonight and claims to be excited to be in the ring on Raw. She then says tonight is the night for the....Khali Kiss Cam? What? Oh good lord this crowd will eat this segment alive if they don't wrap this up quickly. Khali gets on the mic and babbles about Valentine's Day. Rajin Singh says they're going to have the Kiss-Cam live on the crowd and backstage. We see a few couples kiss, including Santino and Tamina, Vickie and Dolph Ziggler, and...Maryse and Yoshi Tatsu? Then suddenly William Regal kisses Zach Ryder on the cheek! Good lord, what is going on?! Hornswoggle has hit the ring now and gives Ariel a box of chocolates, earning him a kiss on the cheek. That's actually really creepy when you remember Hornswoggle is in his 20s and this girl is only 13. Shit segment obviously, but a nice cool-off point after all of the hot matches tonight.

Randy Orton vs. Sheamus

Lockup to start us off as this crowd is red-hot for Orton, chanting "RKO". Orton hits an awkward Lou Thesz press and lays some shots into Sheamus. Big kneedrop gets Orton a quick two count. Sheamus chokes Orton on the ropes for a bit, breaking before the ref counts to five and drawing some nice heat from the crowd. Sheamus slingshots in with a shoulderblock for a quick two count, which is a nifty move to see from Sheamus. Orton and Sheamus exchange clotheslines and then Orton hits a powerslam. Sheamus comes back with a big backbreaker for two. Sheamus superplexes Orton off the top and both men are laid out now. Suddenly out of nowhere Orton hits the RKO for the win at 5:04! Too short to really build to anything substantial, but fun enough while it lasted. **½

After the match CM Punk hits the ring and attacks Orton, but John Morrison and R-Truth hit the ring to try and even up the numbers. John Cena hits the ring now and Cena and Orton clean the ring out of all members of the New Nexus as the crowd goes wild.

Outside the arena a limosuine arrives at the arena, presumably the guest host. We see a woman's pair of legs walking, and that's it as we cut to commercial. When we return Justin Roberts welcomes the host of Wrestlemania 27....who is....? The lights all go out and one by one every big source of light in the arena goes off, including the Titan Tron. After what seems like forever the lights flicker back on and the music hits and it's...

THE ROCK! The arena absolutely EXPLODES into cheers as this is the first time THe Rock has been live at a WWE event on TV (not counting the hall of fame) in nearly 7 years! As someone who was around and obsessed with the Attitude Era when it was happening, this might just be one of the biggest mark-out moments of my entire adult life. I have chills up my spine watching this as The Rock hits the ring and plays up to the crowd, who are still flipping the fuck out. He grabs a microphone and all is right with the world and I am a child again. The Rock can't even get a word in as the crowd is still chanting his name and cheering wildly. FINALLY the Rock HAS COME BACK TO ANAHEIM! And Monday Night Raw! The Rock says he's finally come back....home. The guy hasn't lost a damn iota of his swagger. The Rock lets the crowd know his various nicknames, each one garnering more and more pops from the crowd. Rock takes off his glasses and says he needs to say something as Dwayne now. He says he's back not because of the money, or to promote a movie, but because of the fans. He says thank you, I love you, and promises he is "Never EVER" going away. The arena explodes, again. Rock says he called up Vince McMahon to host Wrestlemania and The Rock cracks a joke about Justin Beiber being the guest host (to MASSIVE heat) but he's obviously just teasing and says it's of course him, The Rock. Oh my lord he's cutting a promo like it's 1999 all over again. The Rock says he won't be afraid to lay the smackdown at Wrestlemania, but to WHO? Could it be The Miz? The Rock says there's one more man he's going to see, but then the lights go off and we've got a message from the Anonymous General Manager of Raw. AND I QUOTE...but The Rock stops Cole right there and threatens to slap the taste out of Cole's mouth to one of the biggest pops in many years. The Rock just tears into Cole here, and the crowd could not possibly love it anymore. Rock even spouts off the "IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOU THINK!" and tells him to know his role and shut his mouth. Oh my lord nostalgia overload everywhere. They plug The Rock's Facebook account and Rock calls Cole a drunk hobbit, prompting another Rocky chant. The Rock says there's one man he has to see face to face. He says this person came to great success after The Rock left and he talked alot of trash about The Rock. That John Cena. The entire internet explodes at this point, I assume. Rock says the WWE has gone from the Austin 3:16 to "Can You Smell what the Rock is cooking?" all the way to...."You can't see me?" The Rock mocks Cena's trademark taunt and at this point and he calls Cena's constant brightly colored shirts making him look like a big bowl of Fruity Pebbles! The Rock wraps it up by saying he will see everyone at Wrestemania and does the classic "IF YA SMELLLLLLLL" bit and celebrates as the crowd and everyone at home, myself included, are drained. Oh my God what a show.

Bottom Line:
Do I seriously need to convince you to watch this? Go. Right now. It's on television, free, we've got excellent wrestling throughout, and one of the biggest and most hotly anticipated moments in wrestling history with The Rock's return to the WWE after a 7 year absence. This is the kind of show that creates a new generation of wrestling fans. The most super duper Thumbs Up imaginable.

Score: 10/10

No comments: