WWE Monday Night Raw comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (March 26, 2012) from the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. And it's the final episode of the company's flagship show before "The Granddaddy of Them All," WrestleMania 28.
That's right, ladies and sirs, tonight's Raw is the go-home show to WrestleMania 28, which takes place this Sun., April 1, 2012, at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida.
That means there are just two hours of television time left for The Rock to fling a few more insults John Cena's way while he smiles like a complete goon who doesn't know what city he's in.
It's also the last chance for The Undertaker, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels to stare at each other and do their very best to make us wonder what side Michaels will come down on as special guest referee in their Hell in a Cell match just under a week from today.
That's without mentioning the awesome feud between CM Punk and Chris Jericho.
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 26
Broadcast is live.
That one hour documentary beforehand had its moments but it felt a lot like it was just a big reminder of how poorly most of this feud was done. A LOT of bad performances from both guys.
Nickelback kicks us off this week. It's like WWE really wants me to change the channel. Seriously, listen to this dude. He sings like he's constipated.
We open with Randall Orton, of all people. Hey, sweet, they're just going into a match instead of banter. Tag team action!
They introduce Booker T as special guest commentator for the night. MAH BOY BOOKAH!
Randy Orton and Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan and Kane -- Well, this is one way to do it. Give it away for free in a tag match before the singles matches on Sunday. Booker calls this a preview of this Sunday and says he can't wait for the bell to kick things off.
"It's like the SUPER BOWL!"
Before the match, Bryan gets his good luck kiss from AJ. Lucky bastard.
Orton and Bryan start and Randy takes the early edge. Bryan battles back with kicks but Orton again takes over. They do a spot with Orton tagging Sheamus in and Bryan hauling ass to the corner to tag in Kane.
WWE shows us Randy Orton is trending worldwide. Meaning no one else gives a shit about the other three guys in this match? Also trending worldwide is "Baylor and Tennessee," which is a women's college basketball game. That should tell you all you need to know about trending topics.
Anyway, Sheamus is all but murdering Kane before some outside interference from Bryan gives the heels the edge once again.
They come back and Bryan and Sheamus are in the ring battling. Wait, wasn't the early psychology of this match to tease physical confrontation between the guys who will be in matches at 'Mania? So why pay it off while TV is at commercial?
Anyway, hot tag to Orton and he's destroying Bryan. Five moves of oily doom and just when Orton is about to go for the RKO, Kane pulls him out. So Randy runs to the outside and they brawl briefly. Bryan nails Orton to give the heels control again and Kane keeps it going back inside the ring.
Kane tries to come off the top rope but gets met with a drop kick. This leads to the hot tag to Sheamus and Bryan. The babyfaces take control and after incapacitating Bryan, Orton and Sheamus double team Kane. They send him to the outside where Orton tries an RKO but Kane sends him into the ring post.
In the ring, Sheamus loads up for the Brogue Kick but AJ steps in the way. She distracts the referee long enough for Kane to show up and choke slam Sheamus after he missed the Brogue Kick. Bryan then gets the pin.
He's definitely losing at WrestleMania now.
Bryan celebrates like only he can while AJ politely applauds on the outside looking so damn cute.
They cut to a promo of Rock and Cena giving each other the Rock Bottom and Attitude Adjustment, respectively. That was one year ago. Boy, how time flies.
They're both in the building, by the way, for one more live confrontation before the match on Sunday night.
Michael Cole is in the ring putting on a Team Johnny shirt. He says just moments ago he was named the official commentator for Team Johnny at WrestleMania. He announces Johnny Laurinaitis and he walks out to no music. That has to change.
He introduces the official flag bearer for Team Johnny, Vickie Guerrero. She comes out waving a gigantic flag with Team Johnny on it and Ace's shit eating grinning face. That is AWESOME.
Now David Otunga gets an introduction and he does his big entrance, which is filled with a lot of posing showing off his insanely chiseled body. They head for the ring and meanwhile Booker T climbs up on the announce desk to introduce Teddy Long.
He comes out and introduces Santino Marella, who comes out with Hornswoggle waving a the Team Teddy flag. This is the match we're getting.
Santino Marella vs. David Otunga -- Santino leaves his shirt on. He opens with a side headlock but gets blown up fairly quick. Otunga puts him on his ass but he pops back up and they stare down just long enough to get a Santino chant going.
Otunga takes control again and puts Marella down in the corner. He has Vickie give him the flag and he poses with it in the middle of the ring. So Hornswoggle climbs in and tries to steal his thunder. Otunga takes the flag from him and takes a swing but bounces it off the ropes and hits himself in the face. Santino hits the Cobra right after and gets the pin.
Laurinaitis climbs in the ring and ends up getting pushed by Long AGAIN. They set up Santino to hit the Cobra but The Miz comes running out and gives Santino the Skull Crushing Finale.
Right after, Ace tells him congratulations on being on Team Teddy ... er, you're going to WrestleMania ... on Team Johnny.
Miz celebrates as though Ace didn't blow his line and now Team Johnny is full. Presumably, Team Teddy will fill out on Smackdown. Rumors are strong that it will be Rey Mysterio. Would they wait for Smackdown to introduce that, though?
We shall see.
They let us know CM Punk will take on Christian in singles action tonight and they actually promote ahead of time a video package. They're now outright promoting video packages designed to promote.
They show another video for Cena vs. Rock, this time it's "The Challenge," when Rock proposed the match and Cena accepted.
Time for the Undertaker vs. Triple H Hell in a Cell match with Shawn Michaels as special guest referee promo spot.
Not a bad video. Better than the promos for Cena vs. Rock, if we're being honest.
Divas match up next and Eve, a heel, comes out with a goofy ass grin on her face. No heat for her. At all. She's accompanied by Beth Phoenix, her partner at WrestleMania.
Eve vs. Kelly Kelly -- Eve dominating this match with the usual hair pulling and knocking around. She finally misses on her moonsault and Kelly gets the worst roll up pin in the history of time. God, she's terrible at wrestling. Beth acts all upset but Kelly went right past her. Whatever. Waste of time.
Another promo for Cena vs. Rock and they show highlights of the Survivor Series match against R-Truth and Miz.
Up next is Punk in action.
CM Punk vs. Christian -- Uh-oh. Before they can start, Chris Jericho shows up on the Titantron. Claiming all the usual stuff, talking about all Punk's deep dark secrets. His family is all sorts of dysfunctional, y'all. But there's new information now, folks.
Uh-oh, Jericho is going after Punk's mom. Maybe not. He says Punk's mom is real nice and she's a decent person. He did learn, though, that Punk is a bastard. Because, you see, his parents had him before getting married.
Punk looks devastated and Christian uses the opening to attack. He works Punk over for a minute or two before the champ turns the tables and goes insane. Punk bashes his head against the announce table about 41 times before throwing him into a set of steel steps face first. After that, it's time for the Anaconda Vice.
The referee begs for him to let go but Punk just screams, "No. This is you, Jericho."
More referees show up and Punk says, "I'm the one who says when he's had enough." That was baller.
He acts like he's done but runs back over to attack Christian one more time. His music plays and he holds the title up in the ring looking intense.
"He is ready for WrestleMania, oh my goodness," says Booker T. Indeed, sir.
They're running an injury angle for Christian, saying he messed up his neck.
THE FUNKASAURUS! SOMEBODY CALL MY MOMMA!
He's back in red. White hat intact. Curt Hawkins is the victim tonight.
Brodus Clay vs. Curt Hawkins -- Jiggle to start. Yes, I said jiggle to start. Hawkins gets the early advantage with a dive at the knees. It doesn't last long, though, as Clay regains control with his drop down belly punch and SHEEPLEX!
Dino splash and the pinfall. That was maybe 45 seconds. And it was awesome.
Another promo for Cena vs. Rock, this time with Cena cutting his best promo of the feud a few weeks ago.
Big Show vs. Primo -- This is actually a match on the go-home episode of Raw to the biggest show of all time, folks. When Primo's music hit, you couldn't hear a damn thing. Just a lot of heads turning wondering who the hell Show's opponent is.
And these guys are the tag team champions.
Cole tells us over commentary that Christian is out of WrestleMania 28 now thanks to his re-aggravated neck injury. That leaves another spot open on Team Johnny.
Meanwhile, Show squashes Primo and gets a quick pin.
This leads to Cody Rhodes coming out and talking Show down. He says after 'Mania this Sunday they're going to make "Big Show" a verb. "Young men going to the bar, they're hoping they don't 'big show' with the ladies. Even better, I've gotta take a 'big show.'"
That's good stuff, Mr. Rhodes.
He finishes up with the stock proclamation he'll win at WrestleMania before walking off.
More teasers for the big confrontation between Rock and Cena tonight. What will they say that hasn't already been said?
Another promo for Lord Tensai. Welcome back, A-Train!
The Bella Twins are in the back arguing. The two are wearing opposite shirts, one for Team Teddy and one for Team Johnny. Zack Ryder shows up and shoots himself in the foot by saying something really stupid.
The Bellas bail out and Eve shows up. She wants Ryder to stay at her hotel during WrestleMania weekend. He tries to kiss her but she says it will have to be after the big show.
Backstage interview now with Punk. He cuts off Josh Matthews. He says Jericho's taken things over the line one too many times and he's not a bastard but the best wrestler in the world. All with a super intense face while breathing heavily into the microphone.
Mark Henry vs. Great Khali -- HA. During Khali's entrance, they show a very good looking blonde in the crowd dancing. I guess that's why they keep him around?
Cole announces that Laurinaitis tweeted Drew McIntyre will be taking Christian's place at WrestleMania.
The big men leave their shirts on, presumably to let us know who is who here. Khali hits the big chop early but Henry responds with the World's Strongest Slam and that gets the pin. He TOSSED Khali on that slam, too. Looked good.
Laurinaitis tosses Long into the ring with Henry and then starts waving towards the back. The entire team comes running out and sets up a boundary around the ring. McIntyre is actually out there, too. Team Teddy comes running out and they brawl. Actually, it's just Santino and Ryder. Truth comes in now but he's out quick. Now Kofi Kingston jumps into the ring but he gets hit with the World's Strongest Slam too.
Henry picks up Long and takes his sweet time. Booker T climbs in the ring and hits the Scissors kick. His music -- which is one of the best ever -- hits. They stop it, though, and Long has a mic.
He says he wants to publicly say thanks. But he also wants to ask him to join Team Teddy. Booker looks around, grabs the mic, and says he's got just one thing to say to that.
"Now, can you dig that, sucka?!?!?"
One more promo for Rock and Cena. This time it was from last week with Rock finally making a statement by hitting an already weakened Mark Henry with the Rock Bottom in front of Cena before pointing to his shirt and walking off like a boss.
Cena actually bothered to sell it that time with a worried facial expression.
They're up next and it's 10:45 p.m. ET. Which means we won't be getting a final segment for the second biggest match at WrestleMania? This is terrible.
Wow. Not even Rock got a big pop. This crowd is garbage. That or it's not mic'd well.
Rock pauses for effect and I'm not sure why because the crowd is dead. Eventually, a very small and short Boots to Asses chant breaks out. It dies but he waits even longer to speak and another, stronger chant happens. Still, not much to work with.
He starts in and he's in full on schtick mode. He says everyone is asking him when he's coming back. At the doctor, they tell him to drop his pants and cough but first say when you're coming back. He says he doesn't know and no he won't drop his pants, you're a dentist.
Yep, it's that kind of promo.
He says he knew when he was coming back was last year right here in Georgia. He's crowd pandering again, too, which is just too damn funny, to this very day.
Another Boots 2 Asses chant breaks out. Rock stops for it, even though only about eight people were participating.
It took him about 10 minutes but he finally does his finally schtick. The crowd actually bothered to go along with that one.
Rock says his last WrestleMania match coincided with Cena's first. And since then, John has made quite the name for himself, transcending the sport and all that. But he's never faced anyone on the same level as Rock.
Just as he's about to go into his spiel on what he's going to do to Cena at 'Mania, Cena's music hits.
And the crowd goes insane. When his music stops, they're still insane. Much more than for Rock. Don't get mad, Rock marks, it's just the way it is.
Cena says Rock claimed he's never seen anyone like him but in reality, Rock has never seen anyone like Cena.
Naturally, it breaks down into Cena with that big goofy smile on his face and repeating the usual talking points. Rock, meanwhile, looks like he's physically in pain from holding himself back. Cause, you know, he may not say it properly, but he can sure use good body language to convey how much he wants to destroy Cena.
Cena once again starts talking about how electric the crowds are. I have no clue why this matters so much for him. Since he's always said he doesn't care. Whatever.
He even gets a the dueling chant going himself. Let's go, Cena. Cena sucks.
You see, he just does what his shirt says. He rises above hate. Not only that, he rises above and he wins. They know it and they hate it but that's what he does.
God, I wish Rock would smack that silly ass smile off his face.
Cena says it's time to throw some more truth in Rock's trash. Cena's been around WWE longer than Rock, actually. Sure, Rock was around in the Attitude Era when it was cool to be a WWE superstar but Cena has been here when it wasn't so cool to be here.
This is why Cena has to win. He'll be around forever but Rock will just bail out.
Rock refusing to interrupt is actually starting to piss me off.
Cena gets all intense and says, "I'll be goddamned if you come in a visitor and take my life from me."
He says he's spent 10 years doing this and no one remembers second place and that's why he has to win. Everyone knows he has to win.
Rock takes over. Says he knows how important the match is to him but it's just as important to Rock. But he said something. He talked about the people. They know that Rock helped build WWE. The fans know that Cena never had an opponent he couldn't overcome until Rock.
They know that Rock, "The People's Champion," has come back after all this time just to beat Cena. Never before has a man been able to say that a man has went into WrestleMania and beat Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin and John Cena. On a professional level, Rock needs to win to become the best superstar of all time. But on a personal level, Rock just doesn't like him. So in six days, not only will Rock beat him, he'll give him the ass-kicking of a lifetime.
Cena answers back with a fitting phrase. "It doesn't matter what you think."
He goes on and says Rock will see him at WrestleMania because he'll be the guy standing over Rock's carcass and the headline will read he was the guy who whipped The Rock's ass at WrestleMania.
Mics are dropped and the show fades out with both men still jawing. Cena is smiling again. What a great segment that he basically killed by smiling like a goon. Ugh.
Fade to black.