WWE/TNA Week in Wrestling: Mar. 17 to Mar. 23 - WrestleMania hype fizzles, Jeff Hardy wins title shot

CM Punk urning The Undertaker's wrath. - Photo by Steve Wright Jr. of Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.

Catch up on all the results from WWE and TNA television shows with the twelfth Cageside Seats Week in Wrestling of 2013! This was the week that WWE's WrestleMania hype fell flat and Jeff Hardy won a four-way main event on Impact to earn the first TNA World Heavyweight title shot against Aces & 8s leader Bully Ray.

Hello, Cagesiders! Welcome to the twelfth Cageside Seats Week in Wrestling of 2013!

What happened last week? Find out below, Cagesiders.

WWE

Raw (Mar. 18th)

  • John Cena kicked us off with a by the numbers promo to hype his match with The Rock at WrestleMania 29 until The Prime Time Players interrupted him. Opinion was split over whether the ensuing comedy was a barrel of laughs or a stupid waste of time. Eventually Titus O'Neil offered up his partner Darren Young as tonight's opponent for John Cena.
  • John Cena squashed Darren Young with the AA.
  • Ryback pinned David Otunga with the Shellshock. After the match, Ryback vowed that the Shield would be destroyed at WrestleMania and he'd take care of Mark Henry before then. But Vickie Guerrero had other ideas, pulling Ryback from the six-man tag war, so that the hoss fight between the two musclemen could take place at WM.
  • Fandango started hitting on Natalya, his scheduled opponent The Great Khali's valet, who teased falling for him, only to sick Khali on him. The dirty dancer bailed immediately, meaning he went yet another night without locking up.
  • R-Truth defeated Damien Sandow by count-out when Sandow walked out on the match after Truth hit the Lie Detector.
  • The Bella Twins were straddling Cody Rhodes when Kaitlyn turned up to tell him that she can't hang out later, which led to some catty remarks between the women.
  • The Undertaker promised that he would hurt CM Punk badly at WrestleMania if he didn't give Paul Bearer's urn back. Punk then appeared on the Titantron and mocked The Undertaker by juggling with the urn and purposefully dropping it.
  • In a non-title match, Team Hell No of Daniel Bryan & Kane defeated Primo & Epico when Kane pinned Primo with the chokeslam, despite AJ Lee skipping around the ring towards the end of the bout.
  • Chris Jericho made fun of Fandango's name when he rudely barged into the interview he was doing with Josh Matthews. Fandango told Jericho that he would learn to say it right.
  • In another non-title match, Alberto Del Rio submitted Cody Rhodes with an arm bar. After the match, Del Rio brawled with Jack Swagger until he was distracted by Zeb Colter, which allowed Swagger to throw him into the ring steps and the announcers table. Swagger then spotted Ricardo Rodriguez, who he took care of with the Patriot Lock. Ricardo had to be taken out on a stretcher.
  • A video package aired announcing Booker T as the latest inductee into the WWE Hall Of Fame.
  • Randy Orton & Sheamus defeated Drew McIntyre & Heath Slater when Orton pinned Slater with the RKO. The Shield then encircled the ring, but retreated when the Big Show came out to join them.
  • Dolph Ziggler pinned Kofi Kingston with the Zig Zag after AJ Lee distracted the referee whilst Big E Langston took care of business. Afterwards, Team Hell No challenged Ziggler & Langston to a match at WrestleMania, which AJ accepted on the proviso that it was for the World Tag Team Championships. The answer was "Yes, yes, yes!", so it was official.
  • In an Intercontinental title match, Wade Barrett won three-way over Chris Jericho and The Miz when Barrett schoolboyed Miz after the awesome one had hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Jericho.
  • Paul Heyman teased Triple H with the possible stipulations his match at WrestleMania 29 against Brock Lesnar would have. Maybe a winner takes Stephanie McMahon stip, but on second thoughts the loser should take that booby prize. This led to Hunter snapping and giving him a tortuous beating, before signing the contract. Lesnar then hit ringside, but HHH had his sledgehammer handy preventing any further fisticuffs, which led to the announcement by Heyman that their bout together would be No Holds Barred with The Game's career on the line.

NXT (Mar. 20th)

  • Leo Kruger submitted Justin Gabriel with an inverted key lock.
  • Audrey Marie was coming after Sasha Banks for her ambush attack that was sneakily set up by pretending to be her secret admirer for weeks on end.
  • William Regal professed sorrow for his unprofessional behavior last week and called out Kassius Ohno so he could apologise to him personally. Regal went on to explain to a leery KO that he intervened in order to keep Kassius from becoming like himself, someone that is kept awake at night regretting the evil deeds of a long career. Ohno refused Regal's attempted handshake and talked about how he grew up idolising the ruthless viciousness that the Brit had demonstrated in his prime. But now Kassius thinks of him as a joke who will only be remembered by fans for kissing Mr. McMahon's ass. Regal's temper got the best of him and he sucker punched Ohno again, in an ending that neither man wanted.
  • Paige submitted Bayley (Shimmer alumnus Davina Rose) with a cloverleaf. After the match, Paige thwarted an attempted sneak attack by Summer Rae.
  • Luke Harper pinned Adrian Neville when Bray Wyatt distracted the referee and Erick Rowan's attempted interference led to Harper hitting the match winning clothesline. After the match, the Family beat down Neville and the injured Oliver Grey when he attempted to make the save. However, Bo Dallas manage to get the job done and the heel clan left with their tails between their legs.

Main Event (Mar. 20th)

  • In a non-title match, Wade Barrett pinned R-Truth with the Bull Hammer. After the match, Wade wandered too close to the announcers table for comfort while doing a promo and The Miz got some cheap shots in.
  • Sheamus was asked by Matt Striker whether he was thinking of picking The Big Show as his tag team partner at WrestleMania 29. Because Show is still a sneaky backstabber, his response was a colourful hell no: "When sheep fly out of my arse, I'll consider it."
  • Alicia Fox complained about Natalya always talking about The Great Khali on their recent trip to Rwanda together.
  • Layla & Natalya defeated Alicia Fox & Aksana when Fox tapped out to Natalya's Sharpshooter.
  • The Usos defeated The Prime Time Players of Titus O’Neil & Darren Young when Jey pinned Young with the Superfly Splash.

Superstars (Mar. 21st)

  • In a non-title match Antonio Cesaro pinned Zack Ryder with the Neutraliser.
  • Brodus Clay & Tensai defeated JTG & Michael McGillicutty when they hit the Call My Momma tandem splash on JTG for the pinfall victory.

Smackdown (Mar. 22nd)

  • The show started with MizTV where The Miz asked his guests Randy Orton and Sheamus who their new partner against The Shield would be. Orton wanted The Big Show, as he'd helped them out on Raw. However, Sheamus still doesn't trust Show and Orton tries to convince him by saying he doesn't trust anyone and it would be better to have him on their side. This led to the man himself coming out to lobby for the spot, but Sheamus remained unconvinced. However, Smackdown GM Booker T had the solution to their problems: book them together in a six-man tag team main event. Isn't that his answer to everything?
  • Mark Henry pinned Zack Ryder with the World's Strongest Slam. The World's Strongest Man hit two more of his patented slams after the bell, but stopped his attack when Ryback came down. They had another stare down and Henry charged at Ryback only to get walloped with a clothesline.
  • Booker was upset with Teddy Long for approving Ryback vs. Mark Henry at WrestleMania 29 without running it past him first. First seed of a potential heel turn for the Smackdown GM?
  • Dolph Ziggler (with Big E Langston only, as AJ Lee was doing colour commentary) pinned Kofi Kingston with the Zig Zag.
  • Backstage, Randy Orton told Sheamus and The Big Show that they must get along and work together or they will be sitting ducks for The Shield.
  • Jack Swagger pinned Chris Jericho after interference from Fandango. Afterwards, Fandango finished the job by hitting a top rope leg drop onto Jericho's prone neck.
  • In an interview with Matt Striker, The Big Show told Randy Orton and Sheamus to trust him and he's going to put his whole heart into making them believe him.
  • Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow (with The Bella Twins) went to a no-contest against Brodus Clay & Tensai (with The Funkadactyls) when the women started going at it and the men broke the fight up.
  • In another backstage promo, Sheamus claimed that they're all on the same page now, though maybe he was being a wee bit sarcastic.
  • In a non-title match, The Miz submitted Antonio Cesaro with the Figure Four. After the match, The Miz had a stare down with Wade Barrett.
  • The Big Show, Sheamus & Randy Orton defeated 3MB of Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre & Jinder Mahal when Sheamus blind tagged himself in after Show had hit McIntyre with the WMD and pinned Mahal with the Brogue Kick. Show then got into a shoving match with his partners as The Shield surrounded the ring, but they sensed that the time is not right to strike and retreated back.

Saturday Morning Slam (Mar. 23rd)

  • The Great Khali (with Natalya) defeated Epico & Primo (with Rosa Mendes) in a handicap match when Khali pinned Epico when he sat down on him after Epico went for a foolish sunset flip.
  • Mick Foley booked a main event of The Miz vs. Damien Sandow when Sandow told The Hardcore Legend that he was personally offended that he was overlooked for the position of Saturday Morning Slam GM in favor of Foley, and Miz just happened to be there interrupt the confrontation and stick up for Foley.
  • The Miz submitted Damien Sandow with the Figure Four.
  • Mick Foley was fooling about with Brodus Clay and Tensai backstage when The Prime Time Players interrupted them and mocked their size. You know where this ends up, don't you Cagesiders? Yes, Foley booked Brodus Clay & Tensai vs. The Prime Time Players for next week.

TNA

Impact Wrestling (Mar. 21st)

  • Hulk Hogan admitted to being fooled by Aces & 8s and now realises he's got a war of survival on his hands after they massacred the whole TNA locker room last week. He then introduced its backstage leaders in Samoa Joe, Magnus, Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy, and booked them all in a four-way main event match with the winner getting the next TNA World Heavyweight title shot against Aces & 8s leader Bully Ray when Hardy came up with that bright idea.
  • Several videos aired where Bully Ray explained his evil master plan step by step starting with his attempt to win the Bound For Glory Series with the help of Aces & 8s in the autumn of 2012.
  • In a TNA Tag Team Championship match, Austin Aries & Bobby Roode defeated Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez when Aries pinned Guerrero with a rollup after Christopher Daniels had shoved Guerrero off the top rope while Kazarian distracted the referee. After the match, Bad Influence attacked Aries & Roode.
  • A video package introduced the new rules for the X-Division, which included a 230 pound weight limit and all title defenses being three-way matches.
  • In a three-way match for the X-Divison title, Kenny King beat Zema Ion and Sonjay Dutt when King pinned Dutt with a flying face slam.
  • Backstage, Brooke Hogan refused to talk about Bully Ray or her father, as she's here to concentrate on Knockout business.
  • Bully Ray explained how he used the kidnapped Joseph Park as bait to lure Hulk Hogan and Sting in, pretended to step up to the plate to save TNA from Aces & 8s, ingratiated himself with those good guys and wooed Brooke Hogan, knowing that Hulk would hate it, but that would only make his daughter want him more.
  • Sting walked into Hulk Hogan's office wanting a piece of Bully Ray, but the Hulkster kicked Sting out, telling him he should just shut up and hang out in the rafters like he used to do when the going got tough.
  • Gail Kim wanted Brooke Hogan to fire Taryn Terrell as a referee for attacking her during a match. Surprisingly, Brooke gave into Kim's demands, but then revealed she had also signed her as the newest member of the Knockouts roster, which led to Terrell spearing Kim and a brawl between the two to the back. Bully Ray then came out to goad his estranged wife, holding up his wedding ring and telling her "Till death do us part" and "I love you honey".
  • Another Aces & 8s video aired explaining why each TNA turncoat joined Bully Ray's gang.
  • Matt Morgan pinned Joseph Park with the Carbon Footprint.
  • Taz interrupted Mike Tenay grilling AJ Styles to offer AJ a spot in Aces & 8s. James Storm then confronted Styles over sucker punching him last week. After a stare down, Styles backed off and left the building.
  • Bully Ray explained how he willingly took a few good shots to make it look real when the rest of Aces & 8s ambushed his wedding party, knowing that by getting his ass kicked in front of Hulk Hogan, he would finally earn the Hulkster's trust. He then exploited Brooke's puppy love and played to Hulk's biggest weakness, his ego, to unfairly obtain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship shot at Lockdown against Jeff Hardy that he needed to execute his checkmate.
  • Jeff Hardy won a four-way match over Kurt Angle, Samoa Joe and Magnus when he pinned Joe with the Swanton to become the Number One Contender for Bully Ray's title.

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