WWE Monday Night Raw comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (Feb. 27, 2012) from the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon. And tonight features the return (again) of "The Great One" himself, The Rock.
Apparently there's quite a bit of internal buzz within the company regarding the promo Rock has planned for John Cena tonight in response to the one Cena cut last week, which was one of the best of his career.
It should be good.
WWE is also teasing another Champion vs. Champion match pitting WWE titleholder CM Punk against World Heavyweight Champ Daniel Bryan. John Laurinaitis and Teddy Long, of course, will play some role or another.
And don't forget the Undertaker, Triple H and Shawn Michaels. We're on the Road to WrestleMania, folks, and as Jim Ross would say, business is about to pick up.
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 AND LIVE BLOG FEB. 27:
Broadcast is live.
They replay parts of Cena's awesome promo from last week with the WWE production music and greatness on full display. Really great stuff. This is what we wanted and now this is what we've got.
Nickelback hatred here.
I guess we're going to start with a rematch of the Smackdown main event last week.
CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan -- They push the Champion vs. Champion gimmick as Punk comes out first to a huge pop. They replay what happened on Smackdown with the two General Managers, Laurinaitis and Long, bickering back and forth.
When Justin Roberts goes to introduce Bryan, Chris Jericho's music hits and he comes walking down with a microphone already in hand.
Serious expression on his face, guys, he means business. The crowd chants for Punk as Jericho asks if he was expecting someone else. Punk mouths the words that yes, he was.
Jericho puts Punk over as one of his favorite performers but he's not as good as he is. He's not the best in the world. He never had to say it like Punk does because everyone always said it for him. Like the crowd, who boos loudly when he says this.
Y2J talks about being a different breed of performer, the last of the dying breed of guys who came up and made themselves stars by traveling the world and kicking ass night in and night out no matter what the powers that be had to say about it. He says he pissed a lot of people off but it didn't matter because he was the best.
Punk is the same guy now, Jericho says. Which means he's just a Chris Jericho wannabe.
Punk cuts him off and Jericho again calls him "boy" for cutting him off. Punk keeps going and says he never stole anything from anyone. Jericho wants to claim he's the first to ever say he's the best? Uh, try Bret Hart, Christopher.
Jokes are coming fast now, as Punk asks if Jericho also invented Canada. The crowd laughs as Jericho tells them to follow along. He keeps going by saying he's subsisted longer than anyone in this business and he's done more than anyone else. Over 20 years staying at or near the top, winning major championships, having classic matches at WrestleMania, all that good stuff.
The jacket is lit up. More entertaining than anything else right now.
Punk wants to know who Jericho's trying to prove his claims to. Punk? The fans? Himself? Punk brings up Jericho winning world titles and that's all well and good but was never "the man," not like Punk is the man. Jericho has a Napoleon complex and all that. Punk goes the Cena route and talks about Jericho dancing with stars and trying to be a rock star while he's been swimming with sharks in WWE.
Jericho counters by saying while he was doing those things he was being eaten up by Punk stealing all his schtick. So he came back to make clear that he's still the best and to embarrass Punk on the biggest stage of them all. He admits the creepy promos and light up jacket were just window dressing.
Damn it. So much damn it right there.
Punk says screw all that crap, including the jacket, they're just going to have the best wrestling match ever at WrestleMania. And when he sees Punk emerge victorious at "The Grand Daddy of them All," it's not going to be the end of the world, it's going to be the end of Jericho's world.
Cue Bryan's music as Jericho walks out. Also out to the ring are Laurinaitis and David Otunga.
Bryan attacks Punk from behind and they brawl for a second before Bryan gets sent to the outside to give WWE time to get to their first break.
They trade kicks coming back before executing some reversals leading to a cross body into a pinfall. It gets two and they cut to ringside to introduce Laurinaitis and Otunga hanging ringside. Ace has a mic. We also see that Long has a headset and he's out with Santino Marella by his side.
So the two GM's get the chance to get this angle over while Punk vs. Bryan is going on in the ring. The problem is they're showing Long and Laurinaitis bickering on the outside instead of the greatness in the ring.
Speaking of which, Punk is laying into Bryan's back with a ton of kicks. He stops long enough to attempt a pin but it fails. To the outside goes Bryan after Punk dumped him out. Punk goes for a suicide dive but AJ gets in the way. Punk goes to the outside and Bryan sends him into the steps.
We're back and Punk's putting in work with a swinging neckbreaker. High knee in the corner but he misses the ensuing running bulldog. Gets a body slam, though, and up he goes to pay tribute to Macho Man Randy Savage. Portland explodes. Jerry Lawler screams for Punk to make the cover but he doesn't. Instead he sells a stomach injury before calling for the GTS. Otunga gets on the apron and tries to interfere. Now Marella up and he hits the Cobra on Otunga. Laurinaitis proceeds to knock Santino off. Long and Laurinaitis bicker.
Meanwhile, Bryan tries to escape with the world heavyweight title but Sheamus shows up to send him back into the ring. Punk hits the GTS and goes for the pin but Ace tells him not to. Long climbs in the ring and pushes Laurinaitis on his ass. They both take their coats off and Ace is throwing his tie. Crowd is HOT for this.
Punk takes his belt and walks up the ramp. Raises his arms and does the best in the world schtick before suddenly Jericho shows up to body slam him. He locks in the Liontamer after and holds it while referees come out to get him off.
Jericho lifts the title up over his head after letting Punk go. He drapes the belt over a downed Punk and tells him to enjoy it while he can. Four more weeks.
There was a ton of angle advancement in that ordeal. Awesome.
Did you know the Rock is back tonight? Cause he is. WWE wants you to remember. Don't change that channel.
Micheal Cole starts talking about Undertaker vs. Triple H and Metallica kicks off again. Time for yet another replay of last week's video. Actually, that was Cole screwing up, we're getting another montage of the whole feud.
It's more of a documentary style video. Big Show, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Edge, Cena, Rock, Randy Orton, plenty of big stars talking about the match from last year.
Cole puts over the interview on WWE.com of Shawn Michaels snapping.
Cena will be in action tonight against ... The Miz? That's an interesting choice. Squash city.
Divas up next. Kelly Kelly taking on Nikki Bella. Kelly wins clean with a bridge pinfall that produced a good visual we didn't see because the camera was in the wrong spot.
Sheamus and Big Show vs. Mark Henry and Cody Rhodes is going down later tonight.
The Rock is back. You knew that, right?
ANOTHER commercial break.
John Cena vs. The Miz -- The coveted 10 p.m. ET timeslot goes to a match that actually main evented WrestleMania last year. And hey, The Rock is here for it again. What are the chances he comes down and gives Cena the Rock Bottom to help Miz win the match?
Uh-oh. Miz has a mic with him. Lawler says what I'm thinking -- "Oh no, he's got a microphone. That's never a good thing."
Miz says he's worked too hard to be treated like this. In the past year, not even Cena has worked as hard as MIz. Or so he says. He talks about WWE calling on him to do various public relations gigs, like flying out to Russia on a whim. He's pissed because his name has yet to be called upon for WrestleMania.
He continues yapping and eventually gets to saying he's going to beat Cena tonight just like he did at 'Mania last year. The one good thing here is he's got a ton of heat in Portland.
Cena's working power moves early, looking strong. Miz counters and hits a backbreaker into a neckbreaker before he starts working Cena over. Surprised they're letting him get much of any offense in. They've gotta be scared shitless that Cena might get hurt.
The dueling chants start. It's not even that the crowd is split, because they're decidedly pro-Cena, it's that they want to do the chant.
Cena comes back with a big back body drop and a clothesline off the ropes. Every move Cena is hitting is being done with full force. That has to be on purpose. Despite this, Miz counters and hits a huge DDT. Spiked Cena right on his head. Looked for his spot in the corner but Cena busts out and hits the five moves of doom.
First attempted Attitude Adjustment actually hits. I think that's a first. Wait, he attempted one earlier in the match, nevermind.
He locks in the STF after hitting it and Miz wastes little time in tapping.
They show Rock backstage watching a monitor and bouncing on his heels. He gives Cena the "Can't See Me" sign before acting like he's pulling the curtain down. WWE does a nifty little trick by blacking the screen as he did it.
Cena is shown smiling in the ring before he climbs out and shakes hands with fans as he walks up the ramp. One last turn around to pander to the crowd.
Oh, John, always here for us.
Good news, everybody, the tag team championships are going to be defended tonight in a triple threat.
R-Truth and Kofi Kingtson vs. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger vs. Primo and Epico -- Why even have a U.S. title? Just merge that stupid thing with the Intercontinental belt already.
Right off the bat we get a couple of huge sells from Ziggler. This is the goofiest match ever because it has three guys in the ring at once with their tag partner hanging on the apron. Which means it's just a modified clusterfuck.
They all get involved and knock each other out of the ring to set up, you guessed it, yet another break.
This is seriously a terrible match idea. Ziggler hits a nice drop kick on Truth and Primo goes for a pin on it just for Ziggler to knock him off. Now Truth makes a comeback on both guys. He actually hits a sweet move on both and everyone tags out except Truth, who is still selling, even though he was the one with the advantage. Swagger and Epico argue coming in and that gives Truth time to tag to Kingston, who comes in hot and cleaning house.
Flying crossbody Swagger hits and Kofi sets up a double boot drop. He starts to set up for the finish but Ziggler hits the Zig Zag. Swagger tries to get the pin but Kingston kicks out. Insanity ensues, as finishers are hit all around but ultimately it's the tag champs who get the pin on Swagger to retain.
Right after, Kane's music hits and he comes down to the ring to a big pop from the crowd. Ziggler and Epico take chokeslams. Truth tries to do some damage but he gets chokeslammed for his trouble. Everybody laid out in the ring while Kane does the fire in the corner crap.
What the hell was that all about?
Backstage, Laurinaitis and Otunga are yapping back and forth. Long shows up and they start arguing. Teddy says a rumor is going around that Ace won't be running Raw next week. Laurinaitis says he heard Long was fired from Smackdown. One thing isn't a rumor, says Long ... "You're a horses ass."
Good one, playa. And by "good one," I mean please go away because you're terrible.
Time for another video replay, this time it's the abomination of a segment with Cena slamming Eve for being a dirty whore who has sexually transmitted diseases. WWE is super proud of that segment. They've replayed it a trillion times.
Eve gets introduced and she doesn't have nearly the heat I expected.
She gets in the ring with a mic and they chant "Hoeski" at her. She kicks things off by telling them they can judge her all they want. She says she uses guys but let's face it, there isn't a man in this world who wouldn't love to be used by her. It's not her fault guys fall in love with her. Men crumble at her feet like little puppies begging for her affection. So, really, you shouldn't blame her for her natural strengths ... the men should be blamed for their weaknesses.
And with that, she smiles and takes off.
They cut backstage to show her walking and Kelly Kelly stops her to ask what's gotten into her lately. "It's like you're a totally different person." Eve laughs and walks off.
Time for a trailer for Edge's new movie.
We're back with a video package about Daniel Bryan's reign of terror. Apparently there will be another Bryan/Randy Orton match this week on Smackdown. Sounds like a good way to inject "The Apex Predator" into the World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania.
And here comes The Big Show.
The Big Show and Sheamus vs. Mark Henry and Cody Rhodes - Rhodes' music is so awesome. Before the match starts, Rhodes makes fun of Show for losing to Floyd Mayweather back in 2008. Video package and everything! At this rate, though, The Rock will only have enough time for one "mangina" joke.
Show and Rhodes to start off but Dusty's baby boy immediately tags in Henry. Show stomps him and nails a spear before rolling out to confront Rhodes. The Intercontinental Champion makes his way through the ring and up the ramp while show taunts him. Henry starts to get up behind Show's back but Sheamus notices and tags himself in. Ducked clothesline, Brogue Kick and that's all she wrote. Meanwhile, Show and Rhodes keep mad dogging each other.
Video package about Cena's anti-Team Film It promo from last week.
Back from the commercial break. Shawn Michaels will be showing up next week LIVE on Raw.
Crowd is anticipating The Rock ... and go nuts when his music hits.
The Rock soaking in all the adulation. Holds his arm up to the camera and says, "this is real" in reference to his goosebumps. Says he's covered in them because "this feels so damn good." Crowd starts to chant "boots to asses," Rock says they'll be chanting all night long.
The Rock says this may not be a surprise to some in the back but he isn't at Raw every single week. He said he used to be, it used to be his job and he loved it. Said The Rock was born in the WWE and if it wasn't for the company and the fans, The Rock wouldn't exist. When he said he "was back and was never going away," he "meant it." Said he never meant it to mean he was going to show up each and every week.
Says if some guys in the back want to take it literally, that's fine. Crowd chants "fruity pebble," Rock says he loved it. Says he respects the audience because he was born to be in the pro wrestling business, his heart and soul is in it. The only reason he's inside the ring now is because he loves the WWE. He'll always be a part of the WWE and the WWE will always be a part of him.
Says he thought Cena was a phony for years. Couldn't understand how a private school graduate could become the "Doctor of Thugonomics." Says Cena came out and ran The Rock down last week, when he could have just called his cell phone. But The Rock doesn't want to talk, he wants to slap Cena's lying face with a piece of kung pao chicken. Okay?
"You're not a phony. You're not a bad guy. But what you are is a kung pao bitch." Huge pop.
The Rock says that Cena said something that resonated with him. Cena said he was going to fight at WrestleMania 28 for everyone in the back who grew up wanting to be a wrestler. Rock says he grew up in the business and learned no one would fight for him. Mentions his Rocky Maivia babyface run and how the audience booed him without mercy. "Do you think Stone Cold Steve Austin fought for me?" Name drops Triple H, Mick Foley, Randy Savage, Roddy Pipper among others and says no one fought for them, they fought for themselves.
The Rock says that while Cena fights for them -- meaning those wrestlers backstage -- The Rock fights for them and motions to the audience. Says the crowd is tired of having a kung pao bitch shoved down their throat every night. The crowd pops and chants "kung pao bitch," and The Rock loves it. References Twitter.
Says the audience wants to be entertained above all else. Says he breaks new ground, he innovates. Takes credit for Cena' Fruity Pebbles endorsement. Hard to argue there.
Says that when The Rock came back and promised to stick his boot up Cena's lady parts, it started trending worldwide. "Boom, you're welcome, bitch." Dueling chants between "lady parts" and "Rocky." The Rock instructs the audience to chant the former first and then the latter.
Says the only innovation Cena does is going from jean shorts to camo shorts. Says it's working as no one can find Cena's missing balls. "By the way, Cena's missing balls ... trending worldwide."
That brings out Cena!
"Too much fun, I was not gonna miss that." Makes a weird reference about Chinese food restaurants. Then he talks about The Rock's private parts. You're losing me, Cena. Cena says he does trash talk Rock while he's gone but he's also the only one who does it when he's there.
Says he loves The Rock but Dwayne Johnson is a self-centered ... bitch who wouldn't care if WWE closed its doors tomorrow. He calls The Rock out for having notes written on his wrist for his promo. He says he may not have balls but he is going to beat The Rock's ass at WrestleMania. Drops the mic and bounces.
Damn, Cena got one over on The Great One.
The Rock says it's like Cena to come out, run his mouth and then leave before getting his lips slapped off. Then starts spouting off his catchphrases and promises to kick Cena's candy ass all over WrestleMania. Rock seriously seemed off his game at the very end. Wonder if the notes of wrist line was a shoot and caught him off guard. Rock closes the show posing on the turnbuckle but the damage is done.
Sorry, Rocky. You lost tonight.