WWE Monday Night Raw comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (Feb. 13, 2012) from the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California. And tonight is the final Raw before the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, otherwise known as the go-home show.
After last week's utter and complete stinkfest, things can only get better. Or at least we hope. There's always the possibility we'll be made to sit through the same video packages multiple times in lieu of actual wrestling.
There is at least one reason to get genuinely excited and you see it in the picture above. Indeed, Shawn Michaels makes his return tonight because he "has a message for Triple H."
Plans are still reportedly set for his participation at WrestleMania 28, likely as a guest referee, but who knows if that will really happen. Tonight should lend plenty of insight into that.
It's also extremely possible Alberto Del Rio shows up on TV tonight, making his return from injury. CM Punk, Chris Jericho, John Cena, Kane and the rest of the regulars will fill out the rest of the show.
Raw starts at 9 p.m. ET time on USA, so be sure to make your way back here to chat with all your favorite Cagesiders during the show. It's always a fun time. Raw live blog after the jump.
WWE RAW RESULTS LIVE BLOG FEB. 13
Broadcast is live.
Oh dear god, we're off to a bad start already. Video replay of Kane stalking Eve and creepily getting in her face in her locker room while she wears a towel. Full make-up, though.
Cut to a close up of Kane and he's saying he'll do anything to make John Cena embrace the hate. Tonight, he'll make sure it happens. Oh and someone is going to take a ride in this ... camera pans to an ambulance before panning back to Kane giving a mean look to the camera.
Nickelback with our weekly ear rape. Fitting after that Kane garbage. I'm starting to think Asterisk is right, Kane is terrible.
John Laurinaitis gets the first plug from Michael Cole. He's back tonight. So is Shawn Michaels, and the crowd pops when he shows up on the big screen.
Justin Roberts introduces Jerry Lawler in the ring and "The King" welcomes us to the first ever WWE Elimination Chamber match debate.
What in the blue hell is this?
In the ring are the six Chamber match participants with podiums in front of them. Lawler introduces them all and Punk gets the biggest pop before saying, "Vote for me."
Punk gets the first question. "The odds are definitely against you. What makes you think you can walk out with the title?"
Cue Laurinaitis to interrupt. He's got a ton of heat in San Diego.
He comes out and says thank you to the Board of Directors for letting him stick around. He's really happy to be here and all that. Thanks to everyone.
Back into the ring and Punk says he wants to say a few things to the WWE Universe. He actually called them that. I thought this guy was supposed to be cool and above that?
He says this debate will not end in violence. He assures us of that. He also goes after Laurinaitis and calls him the usual crap like "snicklefritz" and "clownshoes."
Finally, he says he'll retain the title at Elimination Chamber because he's the Best in the World.
On to Dolph Ziggler for a rebuttal. Vickie Guerrero says, "Excuse me" and gets nuclear heat. Dolph says he's the best wrestler and he proves it night in and night out. He's better than everyone, including R-Truth, who doesn't even know what state they're in.
Truth says if he's elected, he'll trade Ziggler and Guerrero to Smackdown for Hornswoggle and a box of spiders.
Now Truth is off on a monologue about spiders and cooking spider soup with his grandma's recipe, which is high in protein and low in carbs. God bless little jimmy and god bless the United States of America.
Now onto the Miz.
He's off on the same spiel about how he main evented WrestleMania 27 last year. Runs down the list of guys in the match. Kofi Kingston is an afterthought, R-Truth is insane and should be replaced by little Jimmy, CM Punk is 0-2 in the match and is going to crumble like the cookies in his ice cream bar.
The buzzer goes off like six times while Miz goes over his time allotment. The whole world tells him to shut up and he doesn't listen. Most annoying man on Earth. Not in a good heel way, either.
Kingston jumps in and says maybe he is an afterthought but he'll change all that at the Chamber match.
Jericho's turn, finally.
Big pop for him, despite his heel status.
He's the true Best in the World at everything he does, he says. His career accomplishments outweigh those of the other five in the ring combined.
This is true.
"That brings me to you, Punk. Look at me when I'm talking to you, boy."
Nice response from the crowd for that one.
Jericho tells him to just hand over the title right now. Punk says sorry, I wasn't listening. I was remembering when you left and finished seventh on Dancing With the Stars. Ziggler jumps in and says this is a joke and he's now wasted 15 minutes of his life that he'll never get back.
I think we're all feeling the same, Zig.
After this pointless segment, Lawler says they might as well just get things underway with the first match of the night between Jericho and Kingston. Y2J walks over to Punk and acts like he's going to get physical but Punk just holds up the belt. Jericho turns around and gets hit with the Trouble in Paradise.
The plan for tonight, by the way, is to have all six Elimination Chamber wrestlers in matches against each other. What an innovative way to book the go-home show, right?
Chris Jericho vs. Kofi Kingston -- The match gets underway just as we come back in and Kofi is doing his thing early. He sends Jericho out of the ring with a clothesline over the top rope and follows it up with a suicide dive. Once they get back in, Kingston gets up in the corner and the San Diego crowd -- awesome so far -- counts along with the punches. He gets to eight before Jericho powerbombs his way out.
Now it's Jericho's turn to take control.
He uses heel moves like smacking Kofi in the head and kicking him around until Kingston reverses and hits a cross body off the top. They switch to the other side and Kofi comes off the top again but comes up short and gets caught in the Walls of Jericho. He battles to the rope, though.
Jericho argues with the ref, claiming Kofi tapped and this gives Kingston time to get up and hit the Trouble in Paradise once again. Timing was way off and it looked horribly choreographed.
The ensuing pinfall gets two. Some awkwardness comes next, it looks like Jericho gets a thumb to the eye that the ref misses, he hits the Codebreaker and gets the pin.
Backstage and Shawn Micheals is walking around. He runs into Triple H and they hug while acting like they're chatting.
Up next is Randy Orton vs. Big Show.
John Cena shows up backstage and he's talking to Zack Ryder, who is wearing that goofy back/neck brace. He's got flowers and saying he really needs to find Eve to tell her how he feels about her. Cena tells him every time he shows up Kane goes nuts, so he should leave.
Cena tells him to stay put in this locker room, which is Cena's, and he'll bring Eve to him. This won't end well.
Cut to Laurinaitis telling David Otunga that a lot of people are really happy that he's back. Otunga doesn't want to burst his bubble but the Board didn't say he's the permanent General Manager of Raw. Otunga has an idea to make him the permanent G.M. of not just Raw but Smackdown, as well.
I'm on board with that idea.
They go ringside so Cole can pimp an action figure of his. This leads to a replay of Smackdown last Friday night with Show causing Orton his match against Daniel Bryan. This led to a brawl and now they've have a match tonight.
Naturally, Bryan will be out for this match. He comes out doing his usual Diego Sanchez schtick.
Randy Orton vs. Big Show -- Bryan won't be on commentary for the match, just sitting ringside. Show gets a solid pop but Orton get his usual huge reaction.
Show takes control, just pounding on him and throws him to the corner. Orton takes over and starts working on the legs of Big Show. Orton to the outside, now back in and walks right in to a side slam. Show acts like he is going to throw his punch and Orton escapes to the outside again.
Back on and Orton has a tight sleeper on Big Show. Show trying to break the hold but he is slowly dropping. Down to one knee. Finally flips Orton off and now working on him. Hits him in the corner, off the ropes and Show takes a kick for his trouble. Orton goes for the pin but gets thrown off at 2. Show slams Orton's head on the announcers table and throws Orton in the ring and stares down Bryan.
Holy mother of god, Orton hits the draping DDT off the top rope.
Now he calls for the RKO and he hits it but Show went down early. That looked like a botch. Show screams fuck audibly and they reset to set it up again. The second one hits perfect but here comes Bryan to take out Orton.
Now he gets ready to drill Show and right when the big man gets up, that's exactly what he does. Potato, too. That was stiff as all hell.
Leading off the second hour, none other than "The Heartbreak Kid."
I don't know if it's his jacket but he looks a little chubby around the mid-section.
He goes into his schtick and says he comes around during this time every year because it's WrestleMania season. He may be retired but he's the Icon, the Showstopper, the Main Ev..., okay maybe not the main event but he's added the Hall of Famer to his resume.
Either way, he's here.
He was watching last week just like us, he says, and he was waiting for Triple H to accept Undertaker's challenge. When he didn't, he got on the phone and told Laurinaitis he needed to show up to figure it out. But after a couple of days, it came to him. Triple H was just playing 'Taker like "The Game."
So come on down, Trips, and tell us what we want to hear. That you're accepting the challenge for WreslteMania 28.
By the way, it's shocking to me that there are still a lot of folks who pop for this man. Marks!
Inside the ring and Trips and Shawn do the D-Generation X symbol.
Triple H says he wants to see him around these parts far more than just once a year and Michaels says they can talk. But he's here now and he's here to see Triple H accept the match against Undertaker. Triple H says he wishes Shawn would have called first because he would have saved him the trip. He's not going to do the match.
Oh geez. Trips says he knows what he needs to do to beat Undertaker and that's end him for good. Take him out forever and end his career and he's not that guy anymore so he's not going to do it.
Michaels responds by saying that's bullshit because that's exactly who he is. He's a closer and a career-ender. That's how it is. "I got news for you dude. Are you telling me that you married that chick and now you became one of them? Is that what you are now? A sellout? A corporate sellout but a sellout nonetheless."
"It's not being a sellout, Shawn. It's called investing in the future." Triple H says he's not going to have this conversation out here because Michaels can't understand it. HBK says fine, I know you think I don't get it. But I do understand that when a man challenges you and you back down, that makes you a coward.
Triple H tries to walk away and Michaels grabs him up and says, "Get back here. I'm not finished. I don't care how you dress it up, at the end of the day, a coward is still a coward."
They stare each other down as the crowd shouts for one more match.
Trips starts to walk way and Michaels says do it, because that's what a coward does.
"The Game" says he's got responsibilities and he doesn't care if anyone likes it or not, but this -- all of this -- will be mine. (He's shooting!) Now that he's got that responsibility, he looks at Undertaker as a brand that is good for business and he can't let that brand end because it's bad for business.
What the hell is this crap?
"You, me, Undertaker, Shawn; we're the end of an era. Smashmouth style that doesn't exist. Shawn, I am not going to be the one to end that era. You're retired, I've got other things going on now. Undertaker is all that's left."
Triple H gets really crazy and says he won't do it so Michaels can live through him to get done the things that Michaels couldn't get done.
Thems fighting words, folks.
"That's an awesome speech and I am quite sure that works on a lot of people. And I like the always consistent little jab at me but see here's the thing. I'm at peace where I'm at in my life. You, however, have no peace. So I'm going to cut to the chase. I want you to look me in the eye and tell me you don't want to end the Streak."
This is kind of awesome now.
Triple H again tries to walk off but Shawn won't let him. They get nose to nose again and we've reached an impasse.
Trips looks him in the eye and gives Michaels what he wanted. He says, "No."
HBK backs off and looks him up and down before walking out. The crowd chants "HBK" as he goes. This was actually a damn good segment.
And it's not over yet. The gong hits and the lights go out. San Diego goes INSANE.
Video up on the titantron. Similar to last weeks video. They've added parts of Triple H's promo from last week. What the hell? They show 'Taker cutting his hair. Or, the wig that they had representing his hair.
Looks like they knew they couldn't pass that crap off for long.
R-Truth vs. Dolph Ziggler -- We start with Truth showing off a bit before Ziggler takes control and does his schtick. Kip up (a Michaels move) followed by a strut (Flair's move). He's not stealing from Jericho, he's jocking other greats of the game.
Now he goes into the headlock on the mat into a headstand. This is the kind of thing that's good the first few times but runs stale real quick.
There's absolutely no need for a rest spot in a match between two workers like this after about one minute of legitimate action.
Truth battles back but Ziggler hits a neckbreaker into a standing elbow. Now it's time for sit ups. Vickie looks on lovingly as Ziggler counts out three sit ups. Right after the third one, Truth grabs him up and rolls him over for the pinfall.
HA. That's a perfect finish to that match.
Backstage and Ryder is texting someone. Santino Marella comes in and tells Ryder no one knows more about love than him. Ryder asks for tips. Marella asks to smell his breath. Ryder obliges him with a blow and Santino says he needs deodorant. He gives him some garlic and the comedy segment that produced no laughs comes to an end.
Time for the Divas and they announce that Beth Phoenix will defend her strap at Elimination Chamber against Tamina, who is taking on Brie Bella tonight.
I'm not live blogging this and you all know why.
As expected, Tamina wins in short order.
Time for another video package on The Rock. Sigh. This is not the right way to promote "the biggest match in WrestleMania history." If you're going to call it that, give it legitimate promotion, not repeated video package crap.
Time for a backstage interview with Cena. They ask for his reaction to the video package.
They show Even climbing inside the ambulance and Kane looking off camera, presumably for his cue. Terribly executed.
Cena shows up to fihgt Kane off and tries to get in the door while screaming for Eve to unlock it. Kane climbs in and starts to drive off and Eve jumps out just in time.
Oh my god.
Eve jumps straight into Cena's arms and passionately kisses him. They pan over and there's poor Zack Ryder, in his brace and looking shocked and hurt.
Are you serious, bro?
He didn't say that but he should have. I don't even know what to say to that segment.
They come back and Ryder is wheeling himself off. Even catches up to him and says she just got caught up in the heat of the moment, what with Cena having just saved her. She really does care about Zack but she just wants to be friends. Ryder rolls off while Eve tries (and fails) to act legitimately sad.
Miz's music suddenly pipes in and he's already in the ring. He'll be jobbing to CM Punk tonight.
CM Punk vs. The Miz -- It's clobberin' time. "Poor Zack" is trending worldwide on Twitter, Cole tells us. I contributed to that, actually, because I tweeted, "Poor Zack Ryder."
I don't know how to feel about this.
Cole hilariously says, "Well, Ryder's a tool, so whatever." Best thing Cole has done in years.
Hey, there's a match happening. Miz drives Punk into the corner and starts working him over. Side Russian leg sweep into a pinfall attempt that barely gets two. Miz works an arm in a really lame and unconvincing way. This guy can't do anything right.
Punk gets up and kicks him in the back of the head. The crowd in San Diego, which was hot as hell to start this show, has been beaten into submission with these video packages and stupid backstage segments.
Finally, Punk gives them a reason to get up with a neckbreaker after a few clotheslines. Into the high knee and running bulldog. Time for a nap he says. Miz fights out, of course, because I'm not sure Punk has ever hit his finisher after saying he would.
Now it's Miz with his corner clothesline spot where he hangs through the ropes afterwards for about four seconds too long. Everything this man does is annoying on a level that makes Raw almost unbearable to watch while he's on the screen.
Punk goes up for the flying elbow but Miz stops him and sets up for the superplex. Naturally, Punk fights out and sets up for the Macho Man tribute anyway. It hits and now he calls for the GTS again. Oh, look, he didn't get it. Miz reversed but got reversed again into the Anaconda Vice and tapped to give Punk the win.
They show Jericho smiling while watching Punk celebrate on a monitor in the back.
Oh my god, we're not done with the Kane crap. They show the ambulance backing up to the building again. The main event closing angle to Elimination Chamber on Raw will be Kane and Cena.
Cena's music hits and San Diego gets to mark out for it. Reminder: Cena vs. Kane in an ambulance match. Winner puts the other inside the vehicle, slams the door and gets the driver to leave the arena with the combatant inside.
Whose stupid ass idea was this?
Cena starts by saying it was a bit of an awkward moment by the ambulance back there. He apologizes to Ryder for macking on his chick. This was Kane's plan all along, though. Turn his friends against him, turn the WWE Universe against him and leave him alone with no other choice but to embrace the hate.
Yes, John, that's the idea.
"It would have worked if it was anybody else." You sure? "But I'm not anybody else." You mean like no one else has the loving eye of Vince McMahon cast down on them?
A segment of the crowd chants at him that they won't let him rise above hate. Cena goes into his goofy schtick saying he's always going to rise above. Those people just don't get it. He mentions Fruity Pebbles and the crowd chants for it.
And Post executives gleefully rub their hands together.
Cena says we have his word, Kane is leaving in an ambulance at Elimination Chamber. And as for his good friend Dwayne, he's got a message for him about WrestleMania.
But wait, Ryder comes rolling out with crutches. He stands up and starts slowly making his way to the ring. Painful how long it takes him to finally get to the ring.
Wow. Despite his supposedly wrecked back, he dipped down to get between the ropes. Unreal.
Ryder knocks the mic out of Cena's hand. Then he slaps Cena in the face.
Cena starts looking pissed and takes off his dog tags before taking his shirt off and tossing it. "You have everything, why would you take her?", Ryder says.
This is actually good TV.
They stand toe-to-toe and Ryder works up the courage to try to slap him again. Cena blocks it this time and Ryder falls back on his ass. Cena acts like he's sorry it happened and Ryder screams at him to get away when he moves forward to help. Ryder rolls out of the ring and starts taking the slow walk back up the ramp on the crutches.
Kane comes on the titantron and says Cena is in denial. "You stole your one friend's only true love. I thought I was sick but you sunk to depths I could only dream of."
Cause you can't get laid?
Kane goes on to say he feeds off hate and now that Cena has finally fully embraced it, he's going to send him out in an ambulance this Sunday night on pay-per-view.
Off he goes and Cena grabs a mic. Kane comes running out and sends Ryder flying off the stage. Looked like a really rough landing, actually.
Out they come to do yet ANOTHER stretcher job for Ryder.
Oh look, here's Eve acting all sad again. She's got some damn good heat now, too.
Raw goes off the air with fans shouting at Cena asking if he's happy now.
Fade to black.