WWE Monday Night Raw comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (March 12, 2012) from the Quickens Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. And tonight features The Rock performing a concert and John Cena rapping.
Yes, the creative team has decided the best way to hype the biggest WrestleMania match in company history (that's the line they keep feeding us, anyway) is to have the two performers singing and spitting rhymes.
Luckily for us, the last time these two did such things, they were both (arguably) at their very best. The Rock's concert in 2003 was a highlight of that year; one of the few bright spots, actually. And we all remember how wildly entertaining Cena can be when he gets his flow on.
Dr. of Thuganomics, B.
Undertaker is also in town to confront Shawn Michaels about his newly announced role as special guest referee in the Deadman's match against Triple H at WrestleMania 28.
All that and more.
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 MARCH 12
Broadcast is live.
They open with the Nickelback theme song of death, so it can only go up from here.
Jerry Lawler in the ring first to tell us about the pending Rock concert and John Cena rap. We'll start with Cena reverting back to his Dr. of Thuganomics gimmick, complete with the "Word Life" song and everything. He's going the full way with it, wearing a Cleveland jersey with a big chain and everything.
Haven't seen a smile from Cena yet. Crowd hot for him, mostly positive from the sounds of my TV.
"Rock wanted me to write a song tonight but I would never be his mouth piece. Cause Rock's like Lebron James, he took his talents straight down to South Beach."
Not bad to start.
I can't keep up with his speed typing but you know the drill here. He's cutting Rock down, going hard in the paint. In the middle of his "freestyle," WWE shows some black folks in the front row.
They make up for it by showing other folks as well. Much better.
Cena is doing well, hitting all his talking points. Uses a bag of nuts as a prop and says he'll be putting his nuts dead in Rock's face at WrestleMania.
This was a totally weird jump back in time. Short but sweet five minute opener.
Rock has a concert later with a full rebuttal.
Also tonight is Undertaker and Shawn Michaels coming face to face. They show it on the big screen and the crowd explodes.
Nuclear heat for Vickie Guerrero. She intros Dolph Ziggler and he comes out with his pink gear on. Dude makes it work for him. Looks like he'll be jobbing to Sheamus tonight.
Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler -- Let's see how they work this match with the contrast in styles. I suppose Sheamus will strong arm and that's how they've started. Sheamus working him over with Ziggler getting zero offense in. Dolph breaks to the outside while the announcers put the Irishman over.
Sheamus is still controlling all the action, sending Ziggler over the top rope. This is where Vickie gets involved by getting in Sheamus' face and giving her man time to recover. He slides under the ring, comes out on the other side and sends Sheamus into the announce table.
They both stay down and the referee starts counting them out. They both make it back in but this is Ziggler's time to get his work in. Just as he does, they go up to the press box with Daniel Bryan and AJ. Josh Matthews asks why he was so rude to AJ on Smackdown and he says he would never do anything to hurt her. She sheepishly agrees that he did nothing wrong by telling her to shut up and Bryan brings a premature end to the interview.
Back to the match and -- surprise -- Sheamus is making his comeback. He sends Zig flying into the air and crashing to the mat like a mannequin. Ensuing pinfall attempt gets two. Ziggler goes off the top but gets caught. They try the back suplex spot and a few reversals later, Sheamus tosses Ziggler in an ugly way because they had nothing better planned.
That was terrible.
They somehow recover and get the crowd back in it with Ziggler getting a near fall. They sell for a minute or two and out of nowhere, Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick for the pin and the victory.
They formally announce the 12-man tag team match at WrestleMania for complete control of both Raw and Smackdown. We'll hear from John Laurinaitis and Teddy Long next.
John Laurinaitis already on his way to the ring. He sits ringside for commentary.
Santino Marella's music hits and he gets the loudest pop we'll probably hear all night. He's got Aksana with him. He asks her to do his walk with him to the ring and she obliges. So damn cute.
His opponent is the captain of Ace's WrestleMania team, David Otunga.
Before the match can start, he says they aren't going to have a mixed tag match tonight. Instead, they're doing a handicapped match. Here comes Otunga's partner ...
... Mark Henry.
Santino's about to get his wig split.
David Otunga and Mark Henry vs. Santino Marella -- They ring the bell and here comes Teddy Long walking down to the ring. He supposedly has no power here but let's assume he makes changes to this here match.
He gets Aksana down off the apron and Otunga attacks Marella. Once again, the emphasis isn't on the match, instead on Long pushing Laurinaitis ringside. He goes flying over the announce table.
Meanwhile, Santino gets the better of Otunga and acts like he's going for the Cobra but Henry comes in to make the save. He never actually tags in but still hits the World's Strongest Slam and the ref counts the pin.
Henry picks Santino up and holds him for Otunga after the match. Here comes Kofi Kingston to make the save. He gets crushed too.
R-Truth comes hauling ass out and Otunga starts beating him down too. Now it's his turn to get drilled with a headbutt. Otunga hits his spinebuster and Henry does a splash that misses so bad it's headed for Botchamania.
Laurinaitis gets in the ring and says Henry is now on Team Laurinaitis. Otunga is captain and Henry is also on the team. Four more to go.
They promote Miz guest starring on the USA show Psych. This Wednesday night at 10 p.m. ET for all you gluttons for punishment.
They already show a short replay of Cena's rap. They make sure to use the line about Rock having gyno surgery. That's interesting to say the least. Hitting seriously close to home on that one. Fire up the "is it a shoot or a work and do they really hate each other talk" again.
They show a brief segment with the Divas visiting the Extra set to talk with the host, who is about to get involved in a storyline.
Eve walking backstage and Zack Ryder shows up. He says when she kissed him last week he felt something like never before. Back to being a mark. Says he was trying to hit her up all week and she never responded. "You're not trying to play me, are you?"
She says he's playing himself. Let's just be friends ... with benefits.
Beth Phoenix shows up and says they she wants to go pay Extra a visit. Also tells Eve she admires her work with Ryder and says she could also have him wrapped around her finger. Eve says she wouldn't be cool with it.
Cut to Laurinaitis on the phone in the back and Miz shows up. He gets a pop from the Cleveland crowd, his hometown. He introduces the dude from Psych, who isn't important enough to remember, and they campaign for Miz to be on Team Ace for WrestleMania. Miz has a match tonight to see if he can get on the team. He'll take on CM Punk.
The Psych dude will be the guest ring announcer. "Go oil up, bro." Legit line.
OH MY GOD, THE FUNKASAURUS IS BACK!
They announce Brodus Clay is next.
Jinder Mahal vs. Brodus Clay -- I've gone from supposed impartial (but not really) blogger to raving lunatic mark in a matter of seconds. Funkasaurus is the greatest character in wrestling history.
Mahal tries to get the drop on clay and the big man has some new tights. He's got dinosaur feet on his back and front. Dear god. He headbutts Mahal, does the splash and gets the pin. Squash City, population Mahal.
They kill some time by letting Clay dance with his funkettes before showing Shawn Michaels walking through the back. His segment with Undertaker is next at the prime 10 p.m. slot.
HBK comes rolling out to a solid ovation. He sets things up by telling us the what, where and the when, getting it out of the way early. Like the great promo artist he is.
They roll footage of last week, Triple H telling Shawn everyone thinks of him as a loser for not being able to end Undertaker's streak. Which is funny because the attitude for real is more akin to, "well, everyone else loses."
Michaels says he's walked around the WWE locker room and said no one has walked up to him and called him a loser or a failure. And absolutely no one has implied he can't get the job done. But, admittedly enough, one guy has been absent. But he's in the building tonight, of course.
So let's do this thing. "Undertaker; let's settle this."
As an aside, there is NOTHING more thrilling than going to a live show, hearing the gong ring out and having the entire arena go dark. They really make it pitch black in there. Sometimes we at home forget that this is a show created for live audiences just as much as for TV. It's why his character has survived for all these years. His entrance alone is worth the price of admission.
Maybe it's the get up but 'Taker looks much bigger than year's past. His arms are as big as HBK's body.
Michaels talks about sharing the locker room with Undertaker for 20 years and how they always had the utmost respect for one another. They shared something few men share and something that will stand the test of time. He's referring, of course, to the two WrestleMania matches they had.
Shawn goes on to imply that 'Taker is the guy talking shit behind his back and he thinks it's bogus that 'Taker didn't have the guts to say it to his face.
The Deadman asks what Shawn wants him to say. That he's a failure? A loser? Or that he couldn't get the job done? He tells Michaels to stop and think -- are you repeating my words? Or are you repeating the words chosen for me by your good friend Triple H?
"Whatever the case may be, you need to get rid of you insecurities ..."
HBK cuts him off and says he has no room to talk about insecurity. After all, Undertaker is the one who asked for a rematch against Triple H this year because he thinks he still has something to prove.
'Taker says whatever happens at WrestleMania, he's prepared to accept the outcome. But what he's not prepared to accept his Michaels sticking his ego in this deal. He's going on about how he wants to make sure the outcome of the match is pure and if it's not, he promises there will be hell to pay.
Veiled threats and all that.
Michaels says he finds it ironic that 'Taker ended his career but he's now the guy who could turn Undertaker into a loser and a failure thanks to his status as the special guest referee. He could still be the guy to possible end the streak.
He goes to walk away but 'Taker grabs him by the arm.
"I will beat Triple H in the Cell. The streak will continue. And I will officially end an era. But if you don't do the right thing. I will officially end you."
Michaels yanks his arm away and he's in prime position for some Sweet Chin Music. He teases it for a second but doesn't follow through. Instead he walks up and pats 'Taker on the arm before walking out.
Not a bad segment, by any stretch, but not as powerful as before.
As Michaels comes walking up the ramp, Triple H comes out and they look at each other before Michaels walks off. "The Game" stands at the top of the ramp staring down the Deadman, who is still in the middle of the ring. Trips gives 'Taker a crotch chop and turns and walks away.
Okay, that made this a phenomenal segment.
The dude from Psych comes out and starts acting like a complete idiot. He steals schtick from Rock, Mick Foley and Howard Finkel before finally announcing Miz in.
CM Punk vs. Miz -- Miz comes out giving his duckface mean look to the only crowd on planet Earth right now who would actually cheer his dumbass. The Psych guy intros Punk and I have to admit, the dude actually did okay.
They show Chris Jericho in the back watching Raw. That's something Zack Ryder never does.
Miz actually is super oily, so I guess he took his buddy's advice. Literally, the dude's legs are glistening.
Punk getting the better of Miz and hits a bulldog. He goes for the GTS but doesn't get it, like usual. He's probably hit his finisher on the first attempt 10 times in his entire WWE career.
Miz takes over with his DDT. He gets up and goes off the top rope but Punk moves. Another GTS attempt is reversed into the Skull Crushing Finale, which also gets reversed into the Anaconda Vice. Miz taps and that's that.
Jericho comes on the big screen and claps for Punk. Tells him he's a fraud. Says he did some research on Punk this week and he found a deep, dark secret. As it turns out, Punk is straight edge because his father was an alcoholic. Punk plays this up in a big way with a few blinks of the eyes.
Jericho keeps going and says alcohol is in Punk's blood. This is kind of funny, actually. He starts saying Punk has tattoos because it's his way to avoid alcohol. "You're going to hit rock bottom, Punk, and went you do, you're going to drink."
Seriously, who wrote this?
Jericho calls him a pathetic drunk and he acts really sad and kind of mad in the ring as the crowd chants his name. Punk pushes the camera out of his face as he walks out in a daze.
Randy Orton vs. Jack Swagger -- This is where Jack loses his first name again and goes back to being Job. Orton is getting his "I'm a freaking killer and will murder you" on and just destroying Swagger. It's really like a murder, too, because Vickie Guerrero won't shut her screaming trap.
Swagger in control coming back and he does a dive at Orton's knee. Randy sells it so good I can't help but legitimately wonder if he's hurt, which, of course, he's not. Orton is just good at his job.
Swagger isn't, so I at least have that as an excuse.
They actually let Job get more offense in and I'm shocked that Orton is making him look this good. The Swagger Bomb -- Michael Cole actually called it that -- misses but he throws on the Ankle Lock shortly after. Orton pops out, as that is the worst finisher of all time and the easiest to counter, and old Randall is back in control. Up top they go and it's time for a superplex.
Orton jerking his head around and I think that means he's hearing voices, you guys.
Five moves of doom time. Clothesline, clothesline, clothesline, slam, draping DDT. He hits the RKO right after and that's it, Job, thanks for playing, get out of the ring.
Orton starts walking to the ropes to climb up the turnbuckle and celebrate but they explode, Kane style, and now everything is red and Orton is confused. Lawler, whose superhero power is his ability to always say the most obvious thing possible, asks where Kane is.
Nowhere, it turns out.
Another replay of Cena rapping, this time with him spitting the Tooth Fairy line. They show some donk in the crowd looking at his girlfriend with a shocked look on his face in the shape of an O like this is a battle rap deep in the heart of Detroit and Cena is Slim Shady spitting hot fire.
Up next is Rock and his turn to drop a few rhymes.
Hey, Christian is back on Smackdown this week. Special edition of The Peep Show with John Laurinaitis as guest.
They advertise Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Undertaker for Raw next week, all in the same week. They also announce John Cena vs. Mark Henry in a singles match.
Here comes "The Great One," six-string already in hand. He's taking his sweet ass time getting to the ring. Literally standing at the ramp and just hanging out while the solo to his theme song plays.
Finally, Rock is back in Cleveland. He says tonight the fans have broken a record. Largest sellout crowd in the history of the WWE right here in Cleveland. Once again shows off his goosebumps. Can't see any wristnotes. Or lyrical reminders, as it were.
Hey, speaking of sellout, anyone see
Marky Mark John Cena out here? Nice dig. "That wasn't John Cena. The John Cena we've seen running around here all these years is the one who looks like he would be the result of Vanilla Ice banging a Teletubby."
I guess he wanted some of that "tele-tang."
They even show a picture on the big screen. Vanilla Ice + Teletubby = John Cena.
Oh, yes, Cagesiders. This is what we do on Monday nights.
"Warden threw a party and he spent some bucks,
didn't invite Cena cause he totally sucks,
Cena started rapping and it all went south,
Know your role, jabroni, and shut your mouth."
"Little fruity pebble from Newbury, Mass.,
Rock will take his boot and stick it up his ass,
Bet your all happy you're listening to me,
And not some goofy Eminem wannabe."
"Ain't no balls in Cena's jock,
But we're dancing cause Cleveland rocks."
Rock is owning the crowd, for sure.
"Little Johnny Cena went to the doc,
Rock punched his jaw and the pain wouldn't stop,
Doc said Cena, you know I'm a fan,
But please stop begging for that rectal exam."
"Rock saw Cena making out with Eve,
Grabbing on her thigh, tugging on her weave,
Cena was having the time of his life,
I guess he didn't tell her that he's got a wife."
"April 23, 1997,
The doctor shouted send that baby back to Heaven,
Sorry Mama Cena but check these charts,
Little baby Cena's got lady parts."
I admit, I'm laughing my ass off here.
Rock asks if there are any grown men here. Any who are John Cena fans. All the grown men boo. Oh, wait, they show a few and Rock points them out. He says he won't mess with them cause it's hard enough just being themselves. He's going to mess with them anyway.
"Doesn't really matter how hard you try,
Never in your life will you ever taste pie,
Know you love Chewbacca and Frodo, too,
But you're a walking virgin and you're 42."
Ha. They show a guy in the crowd with a rise above hate shirt on and he holds up a sign to cover his face. Too good.
Rock calls out the ladies now. Time to sing a special song to a special lady.
"Rock's getting some wine and a dozen roses,
She's going to meet my holy moses,
Getting with the Rock is the bomb,
You don't believe me ask Cena's mom."
This is the greatest thing ever.
He puts the guitar up and says there's only one way to end this night. This song is for the people, he says. This song is for the millions -- cue marks -- of Rock's fans. Into all the catchphrases, including Kung Pao bitch, which is still really stupid.
What the hell is this? They play Queen, we will rock you and all that with Rock fumbling over a bunch of his lines along the way. He was trying to bag Cena but was fumbling badly over his lines. Finally, WWE actually showed him reading words of the titantron. So he was doing karaoke.
So they want him to look good but not too good. And now Cena has ammo for next week. That was good until they dumbed it down late.
Fade to black.