WWE Monday Night Raw comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (April 2, 2012) from the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida, and features all the fallout from the WrestleMania 28 pay-per-view extravaganza last night.
The Rock pinned John Cena clean, 1-2-3 right in the center of the ring. Both men are scheduled to appear at tonight's show and I imagine we'll know right away whether or not to expect a rematch and another year long build.
Undertaker and Triple H settled up last night in an absolute classic with Shawn Michaels actually calling it down the middle throughout. It's entirely possible we see all of these men or none of these men.
Brock Lesnar is still rumored to be in town and potentially shooting an angle that will lead to WrestleMania 29 next year in New Jersey. And if we're to believe the main event of that show will be announced tonight, and Lesnar is involved, obviously he'll need to be there.
Lord Tensai is also another possible name set to return, though that's unconfirmed. He is in Miami, though, so stay tuned.
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 APRIL 2:
Broadcast is live.
They show us all the superstars backstage. They all get quiet as the camera pans to John Laurinaitis who says he won't abuse his newfound power as General Manager of Raw and Smackdown.
For instance, Santino Marella will defend the U.S. title against Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger.
Suddenly, CM Punk's voice can be heard and he walks through the crowd of superstars to say he has a statement to make. He speaks for all the fans and the superstars at the meeting and says they all still think of "Ace" as a giant toolbox.
Laurinaitis says Punk gets to defend the title tonight against Mark Henry.
"Now that's a good use of power," says Laurinaitis. He continues, "Welcome to a new era, ladies and gentlemen. And that era is -- people power."
Nickelback ear rape to play us into the show.
"IF YOU SMELLLLLL. WHAT THE ROCK. IS COOKIN."
The Rock is out to a HUGE pop. He's always got swagger but it's turned up tonight. As usual, he takes his sweet ass time at the top of the ramp before getting the big pop heading down to the ring.
Is this where he puts John Cena over as a tough as nails opponent?
Music off and "Boots 2 Asses" chant breaks out. Rock, of course, panders to his minions.
He finally talks and they drown him out with more chants. "You still got it." He was good last night but I'm not sure what he would look like on a sustained schedule.
He thanks the people of Miami and goes back into his promo. Naturally, it's to put over what he did last night at WrestleMania. He says it took until now to say, "Finally, the Rock has come back ... home."
You've used that one before, sir. A couple times.
He says there is one man he has to thank and that man is John Cena. Uh-oh. Here it comes. In response to this, the crowd emphatically boos and chants that he sucks. "Last night at WrestleMania, John Cena brought it to the Rock like never before," he says. He's putting him over big here.
The important thing is they made history and they did it for the fans and that's all that matters. That's kind of a crappy way to go about this. The outcome was supposed to matter, not just the fact that the match was happening.
He ultimately gets around to saying he's proud to stand before them as their "People's Champion." He addresses the fact that everyone expects him to leave and says for those who think this is the end, The Rock guaran-damn-tees this is just the beginning.
A huge Daniel Bryan "YES" chant breaks out. That's going to happen a lot now and I love it.
Another chant, this time, "Thank you, Rocky." Can this crowd spell overkill?
This is just the beginning, Rock says, because he's had this vision in his mind. He went out and celebrated last night by dancing. Someone whistles and Rock pokes fun by saying it was a dude and he's a John Cena fan. All in good fun.
He asks if the people would like to hear the Rock's vision. They say yes and he reveals that he will one day again be WWE champion.
The crowd goes nuts for it.
He says thanks and goes out.
They run a video from one month ago of Cena saying if Rock beats him he loses everything. Michael Cole says we'll find out live tonight, despite the fact that WWE twitter accounts are saying Cena is nowhere to be found.
Way to get on the same page, Creative!
Santino Marella vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Jack Swagger -- Vickie gets solid heat for introducing his boys and they start by working together against Santino. This is either the first match that will see Ziggler and Swagger get away from each other or ... yeah, that's all that makes sense.
Santino sends Ziggler to the outside but Swagger comes behind him and lays him out. And another break.
We're back after what felt like a 10 minute break and Santino is making a comeback after getting beat on by both guys. He takes both out and brings out the Cobra. Ziggler snuffs him out and the heels take control again. Finally, Ziggler and Swagger go against each other and Swagger hits a belly-to-belly suplex and gets booed big for it. Ziggler actually got some cheers.
Marella blows a spot with Ziggler in the corner that Dolph makes up for with a big sell before he's bounced out of the ring. Santino hits the Cobra on Swagger and gets the pin to retain the title.
He celebrates but the heels aren't happy about it. They chase after Santino but at the top of the ramp, BRODUS CLAY comes out. Ziggler rushes them and Clay hits a headbutt in mid-air.
The crowd chants big. FUNK-A-SAURUS!
Ziggler is a god for what he just did.
They play Clay's music and the funketts come out to dance. Santino is dancing with the cobra and this is the greatest bit of television in the history of time. Really nice to see Clay doing something other than squashing a guy.
Time to debut Lord Tensai. He just comes out with no big fanfare. His opponent is already in the ring. Michael Cole outright acknowledges that Tensai is a former WWE star who left off to Japan where he became a star and now he's back. That is shocking that they would come right out with that. Lawler puts over how heavy duty pro wrestling is in Japan.
Lord Tensai vs. Alex Riley -- Tensai is just showing off some power moves and really putting over how strong he is and working like a beast with Riley selling for him big. Holy hell, they do a spot with Tensai splashing Riley back first.
The referee stops the match after the brutal beating. Tensai then spits in his hand with something and kills Riley with it like a claw. Who knows what that was.
Decent debut, though.
CM Punk walks through the back and he's next.
They show another old promo from Cena when he said no one will remember second place and that's why he needed to win last night. But he didn't win and now we're in wait for what he'll do next.
CM Punk vs. Mark Henry -- Hey, do you happen to have the time? No. What about you? Come on, someone has to have the time. Oh, Punk does.
"IT'S CLOBBERIN' TIME."
This has been a damn good crowd so far. Little overboard with the chants early but they've been solid in cheering and booing for the right people. Or at least showing the proper amount of emotion.
The belt is on the line. Another chant before we start, this time Punk's name. It's just too easy to chant.
They lock up and Henry sends him flying, letting him know that Henry is far stronger and that's just all there is to it.
Punk comes in with a few kicks to the legs. He finally starts to get the better of Henry but can't get him down and the big man takes over by just swatting Punk to the mat like a bug.
"Is that all you got," Henry screams. This guy is such a good monster. It helps that Punk is doing his best to make him look good. Cole actually putting over how special it would be for Henry to win the belt. Punk fighting hard to make a comeback and he hits a DDT on Henry off a bear hug.
He attempts a pin but gets tossed off easy. Okay, this crowd is awesome. Punk with kicks as Henry sits up almost falling over and the crowd built to a cheer for when Punk finally put him down with a knee off the ropes.
This is too fun. Punk comes off the top rope and Henry catches him and drives him into the corner.
Henry goes to the second rope for a splash but misses when Punk moves out of the way. Punk tries to come off the top rope again with a clothesline but he drills Punk in the head and everyone sells.
We come back with Punk coming off the top again and Henry kicks him in the gut as he gets to his mark. Henry locks in a hold on Punk and the crowd just keeps chanting for Daniel Bryan. This is just so phenomenal.
The crowd is nuts for every single spot Punk hits, be it punch, kick, slap, anything.
Finally, down goes Henry and the crowd is nuts as Punk goes up for the flying elbow. He gets up there and smiles before hitting it successfully. They get up and it sets up the high knee in the corner. Punk tries to do the bulldog right after but Henry lifted him up and sent him over the top rope. Looked like Punk's head hit again.
The referee is counting and Punk can't get back in the ring to answer the bell. Henry wins but Punk retains the title. That ending kind of sucked but I also dug it. What a great Raw title match.
Henry gets pissed once he gets up and sees Punk's been counted out and hits Punk with the World's Strongest Slam on the outside. Very nice.
I think the crowd just started chanting, "We want Lesnar."
Suddenly, Laurinaitis comes out and says the WWE Universe wants him to defend his title more often and he's got some dark days ahead of him. Not a thunderstorm, though, but more like a natural disaster.
Now Jericho comes out of the crowd and he says they had a classic match and now it's time they celebrate with a drink. He grabs a bottle and brings it over to Punk who is laid out prone on the outside. Jericho says he's going to lead Punk down the lonely path to alcoholism just like his father.
Jericho did it. He poured a bottle of whiskey straight down Punk's throat and all over his face. Jericho then tried to kick him and slipped and fell, much to the delight of the crowd. Jericho works him over a bit more and goes over to grab another bottle.
Holy shit. Instead of pouring it on him, Jericho smashes the bottle over Punk's head. It was a prop, no doubt, but that was a good visual. This just got deep.
They show still shots from 'Mania last night of Sheamus winning the world heavyweight championship. He's up next. And he gets a strong mix of boos and cheers. This crowd has been hot for Bryan all night, chanting for him throughout matches that have had nothing to do with him.
He starts to talk but is quickly interrupted by the returning Alberto Del Rio.
Big babyface reaction for Del Rio in Miami. Then again, returns always get big pops. If nothing else, it's really good to see Ricardo Rodriguez back on television.
Del Rio says it was impressive how Sheamus won the title in just 18 seconds. He keeps going with his promo despite the fact that the crowd is chanting heavy for Daniel Bryan. Eventually it dies out and Del Rio says Sheamus has a new challenger and "this one doesn't hide behind his chicka."
HA HA. The crowd chants "SI! SI! SI!"
This is the best crowd. Sheamus starts talking and they're booing the shit out of him. He says these people don't want to hear me talk, they want to see me Brogue Kick someone in the face. Mix of cheers and boos for that.
Del Rio says he's not looking for a fight. Not here. In honor of his return, Laurinaitis has granted him a match on Smackdown this Friday night.
Del Rio keeps talking and they're cutting his mic. He turns around to get one from Rodriguez and when he goes to get back in Sheamus' grill, he gets hit with a Brogue Kick and that's the segment.
They show Bryan watching in the back and he gets cheered heavily. AJ right by his side, too. He turns around and Josh Matthews is there for an interview. He asks the obvious question. "You've got to be really upset."
Bryan just stares at him and Matthews kicks it back to the ringside crew.
They're showing another promo for John Cena to "call out The Rock" tonight.
They show Machine Gun Kelly and he gets booed big time for being a douche last night.
Cody Rhodes vs. Kofi Kingston -- No promo from Cody before the match. They just get right into it and Rhodes is coming out with a head of steam. It costs him with Kingston hitting a dropkick in the corner and a crossbody off the top rope.
Not long after, Rhodes hits the Disaster Kick but doesn't go for the pin. Instead he grabs Kofi up just long enough for Big Show to come out. He says he's got something to show Cody from WrestleMania. He just hopes he doesn't find it embarrassing.
Still shots are played of Rhodes laid out by the WMD. Rhodes turns around and gets hit by the Trouble in Paradise. Lawler says he forgot the match was still going and Kofi gets the pin for the victory.
Yet another promo with Cena saying he had to win last night. But again, he didn't. He's flawed. Oh what will happen now? Where is his head after the loss? He's silent on Twitter. Friends are speculating that he might hang up his pumped up sneakers for good. Could it really be?
Find out later tonight!
Backstage, they show Henry throwing stuff around. Abraham Washington from FCW shows up and says he wants to represent Henry. He gives him a card and asks Henry to think about it. Henry was calling him AW and that's what was on the card.
Still shot highlights of Undertaker extending the streak to 20-0. They also show Kane defeating Randy Orton with a chokeslam off the top rope. Finally, Team Johnny going over on Team Teddy.
Here comes Eve and she's got some pretty good heat. Mic already in hand and she stops at the top of the ramp. Her music wasn't even done playing before the "Hoeski" chant broke out.
"Everyone wants to have their WrestleMania moment. And last night, I got mine. I manipulated Zack Ryder. And poor Zack, it was just so easy."
We want Ryder chant breaks out.
Eve continues by saying it's easy to manipulate any man. Except for John Laurinaitis, of course, because powerful people cannot be manipulated. And if her actions last night helped him in any way, then so be it. Now let's hear it for "People Power."
And that's that.
Oh jesus. They show a replay of The Rock from earlier in the night. God I hate when they do this.
The Miz vs. Zack Ryder -- Good time to get Ryder out here. He comes out with a purpose and Cole is bagging him for being a goof because he just got dumped by the hottest woman on the planet.
Lawler tells us John Cena literally JUST arrived at the arena. So this match is going to get over quick. Ryder just blasting through Miz anyway. Finally, Miz comes back with a kick that puts Ryder down and he starts pummeling him.
They trade spots with Ryder getting the edge long enough to hit the boot in the corner. It doesn't matter, as Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale not long after and gets the win.
They promote Smackdown with a Sheamus vs. Del Rio match. If Del Rio wins, he gets a title shot. That's always a fun stipulation. Beat the champ to get a shot at the champ. Nice.
Randy Orton vs. Kane rematch, too.
Time for John Cena.
He comes out, no goofy smile. He does salute but he looks serious. Tons of boos.
The dude looks downright devastated. So far so good. Puke green shirt is still on, though.
"I never thought of losing but now that it's happened, the only thing to do is to do it right. That is the obligation to those that believe in me. We all take defeats in life. Those are famous words from the great Muhammad Ali. Now tonight you guys have seen various clips of various things I've said on this Road to WrestleMania and I'll be honest, I've talked."
He goes on to say others might make excuses but not him. He meant everything he said. For not one second did he think he was going to lose because thinking that way means you've already lost. But everyone loses. However, true champions retain their will to win.
Cena brings up the speculation on how he would handle himself. The crowd responds with a chant -- "What a loser."
Would this finally be the day that I lash out at the WWE Universe. Another chant response -- "YES! YES! YES!"
He says sorry but it's not happening. He's a man and as a man he'll own up to the fact that he lost to The Rock last night as a man.
God this crowd is awesome.
Cena says he'll carry on for his supporters. Puts over Machine Gun Kelly and says he's sorry for letting everyone down. But the only thing he can do to make amends is wipe the slate clean and try to be the best that he can be.
But is he here to call out The Rock? No. He's not. Because you only do that when you want to fight and they fought last night. So it's not a call out.
The crowd chants -- "We want Lesnar."
Cena lets them do it and nods his head. His answer -- "An always interesting crowd at Monday Night Raw. I actually want the Rock. I would like to invite him to come back down to the ring."
It looks like no Brock again tonight.
He puts over Rock as having earned his respect. Cena wants Rock to know that he considers him an inspiration, a champion, and the greatest WWE superstar in the history of this industry.
That gets a good response from the crowd.
Cena says it's good everyone is having fun so let's have one more great moment of fun and bring Rock out. He talks to the camera and addresses Rock personally. The crowd drowns him out with more Lesnar chants. They really want Brock to show up.
Cena says he understands the excitement in the air but he put his heart and soul into last night and he came up short last night. They chant "YES" again and Cena goes along with them before telling the camera, "Daniel Bryan, you owe me one."
The crowd takes over with another chant for Bryan and Cena says this is why he loves Raw. All other shit aside, he really wants Rock to come out so he can congratulate him on his win.
Brock Lesnar's music hits. There he is.
They pop big for him. He does his old bounce on the top of the ramp while staring at Cena and the crowd is NUTS for him. He comes down wearing his shirt looking great. Staring daggers into Cena.
The crowd chants "HOLY SHIT."
Lesnar walks around the ring once before getting in across from Cena. God, he looks like a boss. Cena with the goofy smile still. Lesnar starts talking shit. Lesnar holds his hand out and Cena goes to shake it but Lesnar gives him the F-5.
OH MY GOD. Cena sells bigger for that than anything he ever sold for Rock.
Fade to black.