Monday Night Raw
Date: March 25, 2013
Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler

It’s hard to believe that we’ve got less than two weeks before Wrestlemania. Pretty much everything is set and for the first time in weeks tonight, the WWE Champion is here to hype up the title match against Cena. Other than that we aren’t likely to get anything of note because the entire card is either set or obvious at this point. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of the major feuds heading into Wrestlemania.

We open with a recap of all of the major feuds for Wrestlemania.

Here are Punk and Heyman to open the show. Punk throws the urn in the air before setting it on the mat. He talks about Undertaker being the mystical being that Undertaker is built up as and how the urn gives Undertaker his powers. Apparently “they” say it all the time. Who are they actually? Punk says they are irrelevant and he’s the only one that matters. Last year, Undertaker hit 20-0 and the match had the perfect ending. Instead of skipping off with HHH and HBK, Undertaker came out here and pointed at Punk’s Wrestlemania sign.

The fans chant for ECW and Punk says “speaking of dead things.” Punk drops the urn because it means nothing to him, just like the Undertaker and his Streak. He’s the 1 in 20-1 and at Wrestlemania, the Streak will Rest in Peace. There go the lights and as they come back up, Undertaker is in the ring and pounding away on Punk. Heyman runs off with the urn as Punk escapes.

Fandango omes out for a match but before he can have an opponent announced, Jericho runs out and beats down Fandango with a vengeance. Fandango and his dancing chick run away and here’s Dolph Ziggler instead. Apparently this was a match for later but instead it’s happening now.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Chris Jericho

Jericho takes him down to the match before pounding away at Ziggler’s head. A quick attempt at the Walls are countered but Dolph charges into an elbow in the corner. Jericho hits a top rope cross body for two and we take a break. Back with Jericho in a chinlock before coming back with a rollup for two. Dolph dropkicks him down for two of his own and hooks an abdominal stretch on the Canadian. Chris fights back and hits a top rope ax handle and the bulldog, but has to take out Langston with a springboard dropkick. A DDT gets two for Dolph but a Fameasser attempt is countered into the Walls for the tap at 5:53.

Result: Chris Jericho b. Dolph Ziggler – Walls of Jericho (5:53)

Post match Langston hits the Big Ending on Jericho.

We get a clip from Smackdown with Sheamus and Big Show arguing after beating 3MB, only to band together to glare at Shield. Sheamus is about to say something about that incident but Shield beats him down. Orton tries to make the save with a chair but gets beaten down as well. Big Show makes the real save.

Mark Henry vs. Usos

I believe that’s Jey starting things off but does it really matter? Henry throws him around but the Usos both hit superkicks to actually put him down. The Superfly Splash from Jimmy gets two but Henry sends Jey FLYING off the apron and into the barricade. A big clothesline on Jimmy and the World’s Strongest Slam ends Jimmy at 1:45.

Result: Mark Henry b. Usos – World’s Strongest Slam to Jimmy Uso (1:45)

Post match Jey gets a Slam of his own. Both guys are splashed too.

Antonio Cesaro vs. Alberto Del Rio

Ricardo is here on crutches and his ankle is in a cast. Feeling out process to start with Cesaro taking over via a European uppercut. Off to a cravate but Del Rio comes back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. He loads up the low superkick but here’s Zeb Colter for a distraction. Cesaro gets in some shots but as Del Rio loads up a superplex, Swagger comes out and attacks Ricardo again. Del Rio chases after Swagger and beats him up in the crowd for the countout at 3:20. I’m not going to bother rating this as a good deal of the match was spent on the outside interference stuff.

Result: Antonio Cesaro b. Alberto Del Rio via countout (3:20)

Post match Del Rio beats up Cesaro despite the loss being his own fault.

HELL NO vs. Prime Time Players

Titus and Kane start with the masked man taking over almost immediately. Off to Bryan for some kicks in the corner and it’s back to Kane for more punishment of the Players. Here are Ziggler and Langston to distract Bryan and let the Players take over. Titus suplexes Darren onto Bryan for two and it’s off to a body vice by Young. Bryan fights up and brings in Kane for the side slam on Darren. Bryan takes out Titus with the running knee to the floor and the chokeslam ends Young at 4:37.

Result: HELL NO b. Prime Time Players – Chokeslam to Young (4:37)

We recap HHH and Lesnar’s contract signing from last week.

Here’s HHH to talk about the match with Lesnar some more. If he loses at Wrestlemania it’s the end of his career. The thing is if you go to the ring thinking you’re going to lose, you’re already done because Lesnar is a destroyer. HHH has fought like his life and career depended on it every night for twenty years so these stipulations aren’t some coup for Heyman. It’s Lesnar that needs to fight like his career is on the line because that’s what he has to do. HHH isn’t coming to wrestle and he isn’t coming to fight. He’s coming to hurt Brock.

As HHH leaves, Wade Barrett interrupts him and stares HHH down. HHH kicks him low and keeps walking.

Wade Barrett vs. The Miz

Barrett is in agony here so Miz hits a quick atomic drop to mess with Barrett even more. The Figure Four is escaped as the champion (non-title here) bails to the floor. Back in and Miz hits a few more atomic drops but can’t hook the Skull Crushing Finale. Barrett pounds away as the announcers talk about movies. Off to a chinlock by the champion but Miz fights up and backdrops Wade out to the floor. An ax handle off the apron puts Wade down again and we take a break.

Back with Barrett pounding away at Miz in the ropes and kicking him out to the floor. Back in and Miz avoids a charge before firing off some left hands. The corner clothesline sets up the top rope ax handle for two but Barrett rolls out of the Finale. The Winds of Change get two for Barrett but Wasteland is countered. Miz dropkicks the knee out but the Figure Four is countered again. Barrett gets a rollup for two and a low kick to the head for the same. The Bull Hammer misses and Barrett crotches himself on the top rope after missing a big boot. Figure Four gets the tap out at 12:08.

Result: The Miz b. Wade Barrett – Figure Four Leg Lock (12:08)

Bryan and Kane have a mini-argument about Kane’s mental stability before getting into a full argument about AJ. Kaitlyn pops up to say chill because she was the one screwed over by AJ. AJ is behind them as they argue. Kailtyn says AJ is a nutjob and AJ blasts her.

Shield vs. Great Khali/Zack Ryder/Justin Gabriel

Khali chops at Rollins to start but once Ryder comes in things fall apart. A middle rope dropkick misses Ambrose and the Shield takes over. Off to Gabriel vs. Reigns with Justin trying to speed things up. Ambrose gets a blind tag and clotheslines Gabriel’s head off. Dean puts on a surfboard hold as Rollins hits a top rope knee drop for the pin on Gabriel at 2:30.

Result: Shield b. Great Khali/Zack Ryder/Justin Gabriel – Top rope knee drop to Gabriel (2:30)

Post match Khali tries to fight off the Shield but gets caught in the TripleBomb. Cue Sheamus, Orton and Big Show for the big brawl.

We recap Jericho and Fandango from earlier. Jericho is MAD and says he’s like a target now because of what he’s done over the years. He’s sporting a black eye here and apparently it’s Jericho vs. Fandango at Wrestlemania.

Brodus Clay/Tensai vs. Rhodes Scholars

Brodus and Sandow start things off but it’s quickly off to Tensai for some double teaming. Tensai misses a splash though and it’s off to Rhodes for an armbar. The not hot tag brings in Brodus who does his usual stuff like the throw and splash on Cody. The Bellas and Funkadactyls get in a brawl on the floor, allowing Rhodes to hit the Disaster Kick for the pin on Clay at 2:30.

Result: Rhodes Scholars b. Tensai/Brodus Clay – Disaster Kick to Clay (2:30)

Another video on G.I. Joe 2.

3MB vs. Ryback

Handicap match here with Slater starting for the band. A quick Thesz Press puts Heath down and there’s a splash for no cover. Off to Drew who is rammed into the corner for some hard shoulder blocks. After cleaning out the ring, Ryback is caught by a big boot from McIntyre to take over. Slater puts on a front facelock but Ryback easily throws him off. After the token beating from 3MB, Ryback fights back and throws Slater around a big. The double Shell Shock to Mahal and Slater are enough to pin Heath at 4:04.

Result: Ryback b. 3MB – Shell Shock to Slater (4:04)

Ryback and Henry have a weightlifting competition on Friday.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is inducting Sammartino into the Hall of Fame.

AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn

Non-title here. Kaitlyn erupts on AJ to start and pounds her down, only to be slapped down by AJ. Kaitlyn will have none of that and hits a fireman’s carry gutbuster to send AJ to the outside. The spear misses AJ and hits the barricade, drawing a countout at 2:02.

Result: AJ Lee b. Kaitlyn via countout (2:02)

We run down the Wrestlemania card.

It’s time for the final segment of the show: a Q&A panel with legends asking questions to Rock and Cena. Lawler is moderating and the panel is Booker T, Mick Foley, Dusty Rhodes and Bret Hart. Ric Flair was supposed to be part of this panel but health issues kept him out of the segment. Rock barely gets a reaction as this crowd is exhausted.

Foley gets to ask the first question and talks about losing the fall at Wrestlemania XX which was supposed to be Rock’s last match. He says that it was a relief that Cena lost the match because it wasn’t Rock’s Wrestlemania swan song. Foley’s question is to Cena: can he handle losing to Rock again? Cena says that he wins everything at once if he wins but losing is definitely an option as it was last year.

He brings up former Eagles’ quarterback Donovan McNabb who was famous for getting deep into the playoffs but never winning a Super Bowl. The fans don’t like McNabb because it’s all about winning the big one. Cena is great but he needs that big win. Rock however can’t live with failure.

The champion responds by telling a familiar story about getting his mattress out of a dumpster. Then six months later he got his shot in the WWE but blew out his knee six months later. Then he worked even harder and came back, asking for a mic. Then Rock became the youngest WWE Champion ever and headlined Wrestlemania 15, right here in this very city. Cue FINALLY of course. Rock came into Philly with a Pat’s cheese steak in one hand and the WWE Title in the other….and Steve Austin beat him for the title. Rock came back as the hardest working man ever and the man that is beating Cena in thirteen days.

Bret (now with gray hair) says that both Rock and Cena are his friends but he didn’t like it last year when this became too close to Bret vs. Shawn. What changed? Rock says that it was two guys going at it for over 30 minutes and after Rock won, Cena took it like a man. Cena talks about calling Rock out years ago in an interview and then Rock proved it. After last year, Cena thought Rock was walking out but then Rock said he wanted to be WWE Champion and did just that.

Booker asks why Cena thinks he can win and John says it’s because he has to. Rock isn’t impressed and wants to know why Cena thinks that. Cena goes off by saying that Rock can’t beat him. Cena beat himself last year by making one bad decision. Every single week for ten years, Cena has come out to a mixed reaction but he’s walked through it. Only Rock has been able to get inside Cena’s head and after Cena survived everything Rock threw at him, Cena tried something stupid by trying the People’s Elbow and beat himself. John knows he’s better than Rock and says Rock knows it too.

Rock says he knows if Cena knew he had Rock beat, he would have beaten him. Cena threw everything he had at Rock and Rock kept kicking out. Rock talks about growing up idolizing Ric Flair who said to be the man you have to beat the man. Cena can’t beat the man, because he isn’t the man. John will never, and the Rock means never, beat the Rock.

Dusty likes them taking the gloves off and asks both guys what they want on April 7 (third time they’ve said the date of the show because the top guys know how to sell a show). Cena wants to win the big one and dominate the Rock. He’s going to prove that he’s better when Rock is looking up at the sky.

Thank you for joining us for our live coverage of Monday Night Raw.  Make sure to join us for Impact Wrestling on Thursday at 8pm EST.

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