WWE Monday Night Raw comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (March 5, 2012) from the TD Garden Arena in Boston, Massachusetts. And tonight features Shawn Michaels returning once again to confront Triple H.
That's what the WWE website is promoting, at least, and with Undertaker not advertised locally, it's likely we're going to get storyline advancement centered around issues between the former D-Generation X cohorts.
Who really is better and all that. (For the record, it's HBK. Easily.)
The Rock is also back in town to continue rolling right down the Road to WrestleMania and his match against John Cena. Despite the fact that Raw is in Cena's neck of the woods, expect the Boston faithful to be firmly behind "The Great One."
Unless he has more notes on his wrist. In which case, screw that guy, right? Friggin movie star big shot.
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 5:
Broadcast is live.
For the first time in a great long while, Raw is legitimately sold out in Boston. Crowd seems hot for the show.
Thank god, they don't subject us to any Nickelback. Instead the greatest who ever did it will kick off the show, as Shawn Michael's music hits and he comes down to the ring.
Michaels says he likes that the fans chant "HBK" at him after his music stops because it gives him a chance to catch his breath after doing his entrance. Because, you know, he never does it anymore.
Triple H comes into the conversation, and Michaels talks about causing a big stir when he returned but he only came back to try to get his old buddy to have that match with Undertaker at WrestleMania. It didn't work, of course, but since then, "The Game" not only accepted the match but upped the stakes, making it a Hell in a Cell.
So now he wants Hunter to come on down and explain what made him change his mind.
They hug when Triple H gets in the ring. Awww. How sweet.
Michaels says he pushed the line when he was trying to convince Trips to take the match, every dirty, underhanded thing he could think of. But even then "The Cerebral Assassin" wouldn't buckle. "This guy's an oak, folks."
Shawn continues rolling along, saying it was amazing that Triple H let him call him a coward and still didn't change his mind. "The Game" doesn't look amused.
"But you changed your mind," Michaels continues. "Somebody must have said something to make you mad and change your mind. What was it?"
The crowd, smart as they are, chimes in with an Undertaker chant, perfectly placed.
Triple H starts talking and Michaels cuts him off and says he doesn't want to hear it, he wants to see it. He wants to sit with his best friend of 17 years and the rest of the world to watch this major moment.
Up goes the replay where 'Taker uses HBK to get Trips to accept the match.
They cut back to the ring and Michaels is staring daggers at Hunter while Triple H looks a little sheepish. He turns to his friend and they stare each other down. The crowd starts to chant for a triple threat match.
Boy, that would be something, wouldn't it?
Again, Trips goes to talk and he gets cut off. Michaels is clearly upset that the only thing that culd get him to accept the match and make him truly upset is that HBK is better than he is.
This is phenomenal for a mark like me. Not sure about you.
Triple H says it has nothing to do with that. He claims he sent Shawn a voicemail but he'll say it in front of the world. He's tired of listening to it. He's tired of listening to people like Undertaker talk behind Michaels' back saying he couldn't get the job done. He's tired of people talking behind Shawn's back and saying he's a failure.
Oh dip, he's saying everyone talks behind Michaels' back and says he was never as good as he thought. Says it pains him to look at HBK as a loser. And that's why he's going to do it. That's why he's going to finish this and he's going to end the Undertaker.
"I'm going to do what everyone runs their mouth saying you couldn't do. I'm going to do it for me and just as much, buddy, I'm going to do it for you."
"Well, thanks for that. I mean here I was, I thought we had a problem. But like always, Triple H has everything under control. Silly me."
This is great.
Now it's Shawn saying it hurt him to look Triple H in the eyes and tell him he couldn't get it done. Then he watched him go out at WrestleMania and beat Undertaker within an inch of his life. And then Trips lost. And HBK was right. And this year, he knows who is going to win again.
He goes to walk away but stops and says, "Oh, the reason I know that is because I've been made the special referee."
Triple H looks pissed.
The Rock and John Cena tonight, guys. Also, CM Punk and Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho.
Oh, hey, the United States championship is going to be defended here tonight.
Jack Swagger vs. Santino Marella -- They rush the entrances, presumably because Shawn and Triple H went like 20 minutes in the opening segment. Marella got a huge babyface reaction, Vickie Guerrero still gets nuclear heat, all these years later.
Dolph Ziggler is out with Swagger for reasons I still don't understand.
The match begins with Swagger in control and suddenly John Laurinaitis comes down with David Otunga. They set it up to have Otunga distract the referee and that allows Swagger to hit the gutwrench powerbomb. The ensuing pinfall attempt only gets two and here comes Teddy Long with Aksana and Kofi Kingston.
They argue ringside about why Johnny Ace is even there.
Swagger in control as they roll back in but Santino counters a spot. Laurinaitis climbs on the apron and Long knocks him off. They get in each other's face again, which still distracts the referee and Ziggler hits Santino. He comes back with the Cobra, though, and now he's lookign to hit it on Vickie but holds back. Instead, Aksana goes over and pushes her down. They argue back and forth now.
Marella misses the Cobra on Swagger and he gets the ankle lock. Long pushes Laurinaitis and suddenly Santino rolls up Swagger for the pin! He's the new U.S. champion.
Laurinaitis gets on the mic and tells them to stop the music cause this isn't going down this way. Long gets on the mic and says he needs to get the hell out because Long is running Raw tonight. He calls down security and out goes Ace and Otunga.
Long tells Justin Roberts to announce what he was going to and Santino is the new U.S. champion. He starts crying in the ring. The crowd popped HUGE when he got the pinfall.
Santino, Long, Kofi and Aksana do Marella's dance in the ring. Ha.
Up next, they say we'll have a "Rock History Lesson number 1."
Time for Rock to make his first appearance. It's a pre-tape with him giving John Cena a history lesson. In 1773, Boston had enough and they rose up against England. Revolution and all that. The Boston Tea Party. Ha. Now he's tossing John Cena merchandise into the river. Making jokes the whole way that I'm too busy laughing at to type out. It's low brow but tonight I can't help but laugh.
The crowd is digging this. They keep showing shots of grown men in their seat.
Rock tells someone off camera to clean up the trash in the Boston Harbor and says the People's Party starts tonight.
Diva's match up next.
Eve vs. Alicia Fox -- They've got Kelly Kelly doing commentary. Jerry Lawler putting over her being involved in a Nickelodeon contest of some sort. By the time I finish typing that, the match is over. Eve won with a really quick pin off the ropes.
Zack Ryder's music hits and the crowd pops big. He's got a shadow beard. Says he's glad they never hooked up because you know what they say, "Broski's before hoeskis." No one says that, Zack.
Michael Cole bags on Ryder for being home for weeks and that stupid line was the best he could come up with. Awesome.
They show John Cena in the arena while it was empty before the show. Apparently we're getting another pre-tape, this time with Cena.
So they're both actually their and we're STILL getting pre-tapes. Really?
Eve catches up to Ryder in the back and suddenly starts making out with him. He drops the cane and kisses her back. She smiles and walks away and he smiles like a kid in a candy store. "Oh my god," he says as he watches her walk way.
MARK!!!! MARK, MARK, MARK!!!
Time for the Cena pre-tape and he's talking to himself in the stands of an empty arena. What the hell is this? He puts over Rock as being the most accomplished WWE superstar in history. And he only came back when he found a worthy opponent.
"I don't intend to be honored to be along for the ride. I want to win. I need to win."
That's a damn good line. Too bad it's being delivered in this manner. What the hell is he doing talking to himself in an empty arena?
"This is going to be the biggest WrestleMania of all time and no one will remember second place."
Another great line but it's ruined because Cena is literally just talking to himself in an empty arena. Who thought that would be a good idea?
It's clobberin' time!
CM Punk and Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho -- Whole lotta talent (and Sheamus) in this match here. The best in the world, the other best in the world, and the actual best in the world.
Punk and Jericho start, which seems like an somewhat odd decision, but hey, let them get their practice in. These two are owning the ring right now, running the ropes and hitting all sorts of awesome shit. Jericho gets blown up from it and tags out to Bryan.
Punk works him to the corner where he tags in Sheamus. Time to showcase the other WrestleMania main title match. Sheamus hits his forearms spot through the ropes. Is that the last move left in WWE that fans can count along with?
Punk tagged back in and he takes over working on Bryan. The heels finally get control, just in time to go to break.
The break was just long enough to give the heels time to set up the babyfaces for the hot tag. Punk teases the comeback but Jericho snuffs it out. It's not long, though, before Punk hits a counter drop kick and tags in Sheamus, who destroys Jericho. Bryan comes in and gets owned, too. Irish Curse backbreaker gets two.
Cole tells us after this match we'll get another pre-tape from The Rock.
The heels regain control and it looks like they're setting up Punk to get a hot tag now. Tag matches are too basic like this for me to ever really get up for them.
They set up Punk coming in and he's selling a back injury, like he landed wrong coming in off the top rope. Nonetheless, he does the Macho Man Elbow Drop tribute. He's overselling just enough that we know it's not legit.
The match breaks down into all four guys in at once and it ends in Jericho rolling up Punk for the win.
Rock history lesson number two.
Paul Revere running through the streets of Boston letting everyone know the British are coming. What if it was this guy? The camera pans over to a cardboard cutout of Cena in his goofy get up. Rock makes fun of him and says they would have been sick of him then just like they're sick of him now.
HA. Rock doing awesome schtick here and once again, I'm digging it too much to type it out.
He says he's coming to the TD Garden Arena in get in Cena's face tonight.
The Miz vs. Big Show -- Maybe the powers that be are hoping Show does what he's been doing and puts Miz on the shelf? Seems like a weird match-up here.
Miz bails out of the ring right after the bell and Cody Rhodes comes out. He says he doesn't have a clip of losing another match at WrestleMania. Instead, he's got something else. Show eating at WrestleMania 18.
They show a brief clip of Show promoting the show by saying "Wooooooo." Rhodes mocks it and Miz takes advantage by hitting Show in his legs. No matter, it's just Miz and he gets swatted away like the annoying fly he is. A spear and the WMD leads to a clean pinfall victory.
Thanks for playing.
Another Rock history lesson. I can't believe they managed to do no less than four pre-tapes with both Rock and Cena tonight despite the fact that they're both actually in the building.
He's talking about the Rock Revolution overthrowing Cena.
Again he's talking about looking Cena in the eye tonight at the TD Garden. That's three times now, can we just get on with the actual act of doing this?
They announce next week in Cleveland that Undertaker is going to be there to talk to Shawn Michaels.
R-Truth vs. Kane -- I guess we're forgetting that Kofi Kingston and R-Truth were a tag team? They show a Truth pre-tape interview during his entrance and he awesomely stops mid-way and asks, "Who the heck am I talking to?" Then he looks at the camera confused and they cut away. That was the best part of this show.
As Kane comes out, they show Kane's attack on Randy Orton last week. Dear god, I was hoping this wouldn't be the pending sign of a feud between the two. Is Orton's reward for putting so many guys over -- including Mark Henry -- a WrestleMania match against Kane of all people?
Anyway, Kane works Truth over to start. Truth makes a brief comeback but Kane hits the chokeslam for the pin. He does his fireworks gimmick and right after, Orton's music hits. He walks out slowly and as he does, Truth grabs Kane's leg. This allows Orton to run in and hit the RKO.
He asks for a mic and says, "It's good to be back."
That wasn't bad at all. Still hate the idea of a feud between these two.
They show Cena walking through the back. I guess he and Rock are next?
Decidedly mixed response for Cena, like usual. Except this is his hometown. When his music stops, the boos are really audible. Must be from all those grown men they kept cutting to during Rock's pre-tapes.
Cena says the joint is packed and it's all because the Rock is back, the real Rock, the one he needs to face at WrestleMania. He says the pre-tapes Rock has been doing are exciting and entertaining. The crowd breaks out in a "Rocky" chant, so Cena stops to let them go.
Cena continues by saying Rock's pre-tapes are great but if you actually look into it, what's he really saying? Cena came out last week and stated his point but Rock never states anything. He's obsessed with breakfast cereal, his own penis, how many girls he's had sex with; is he fighting Rock at WrestleMania or "The Situation" from the Jersey Shore.
Cena says Rock is trying way too hard. And did we see it last week? Rock was shook up. He came down and wasted 20 minutes on Twitter and then Cena owned him and he was stumbling over his words.
THIS IS AWESOME.
Cena calls him the Michael Jordon on the mic but he was shook. Who could have done it? Who was the man with the smoking gun in his hand? Cena, of course. He buries himself by talking about how ridiculously he's dressed. "I came out here to talk and I'm wearing kneepads. It's ridiculous."
This is great. He's taking all Rock's talking points away from him.
Cena says he needs to know who's going to show up at WrestleMania -- the dude who wastes time talking about Chinese takeout or the best there ever was? He needs the Rock, the very best.
He calls for Rock to come down and the music hits. He wants to see what Rock will come out here.
Rock comes down with a head of steam and gets in the ring with mic already in hand. He looks about as serious as can be. I believe they're both wearing the same gear they had on after WrestleMania last year on Raw the night after.
Naturally, Rock does the "Finally..." schtick.
Rock says he was going to tell the world what he sees after he looks in Cena's eyes tonight. And he sees fear. Fear that Rock is taking everything away. Fear that everything Cena has worked hard for for the last 10 years will all go away when Rock beats his ass at WrestleMania.
He sees the fear and hears it in Cena's words. "You think you shook my confidence? Look at me."
Dueling chants break out as the crowd cant decide what they want to say. Cena just smiles goofy while Rock stares him down with the intensity of a thousand suns.
He restarts by putting his hand in Cena's face and says he's never been more confident about anything in his life.
The crowd chants "Tooth Fairy." Wow. This is weird. They're actually kind of turning on him a little bit. Cena makes sure to point it out on the mic.
Rock gets back in his face again and says at the Rock's core he's 6'4'' and 260-pounds of man that will rip Cena's throat out. And at Cena's core he will always be a little boy who will go down in history, always as the Rock's bitch. He says all this about one inch from Cena's face.
Then his music hits and Rock walks out.
Wow. The crowd wasn't behind him.
Cena says he doesn't care what Rock said -- wait, what did he say? Then he consults his wrist notes. Ha. Cena says it doesn't matter how Rock measures up. He's not afraid of Rock and Cena is the son of a bitch who will make history by whipping Rock's ass at Mania.
He then takes a bow and runs out of the ring to jump in and celebrate with a few plants. He gets back in and does the same in the ring before going back out to hang with his family, who are ringside.
They fade out with Cena telling the camera this is his city and we can't see him.
Tonight, sir, you're kind of right. Well done.
Fade to black.