The SmarK RAW Rant – 03.25.13 Live from Philadelphia, PA. Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler CM Punk, back with Paul Heyman again after a week off last time, are out with the urn to start. Weird how Heyman manages both Brock and Punk, but they never interact with each other. Anyway, Punk is still the Best In The World and the streak is gonna end, blah blah. He invites Undertaker to come out and shut him up, so the lights go out and Taker does just that. They got a really weird way of making you want to see this match thus far. Fandango is out for a match that never happens, as Chris Jericho attacks him and chases him off. So we get… Chris Jericho v. Dolph Ziggler Jericho is still fired up and he boots Ziggler down to start and goes for the Walls, but Ziggler fights him off. Jericho quickly goes up with a flying bodypress for two, and we take a break. Back with Ziggler in control, but Jericho rolls him up for two. Ziggler with a dropkick for two. Stinger splash and he wraps him up with the ABDOMINAL STRETCH. The ghost of Gorilla Monsoon notes that the ankle was not grapevine, and so Jericho easily escapes an otherwise guaranteed submission. Jericho gets dumped but transitions into a double axehandle from the top, and a springboard dropkick gets rid of Big E. Ziggler catches him with the DDT for two, however. Jericho blocks the fameasser and turns it into the Walls (the Liontamer, in fact!) and Ziggler taps at 9:16 to end the epic winning streak at 4. I don’t get the reasoning here at all; Ziggler’s the one with the tag title match. **1/2 Big E lays out Jericho and Fandango comes out to dance on Jericho’s fallen body, because he really hates it when you get his name wrong. As far as Wrestlemania motivations go, this one is right up there with the shampoo commercial. Mark Henry v. The Usos This is pretty random. The Usos manage to double-team with a pair of superkicks and one of them gets a flying splash for two. Henry has had about enough of that shit and gets rid of an Uso by running him into the post, and then finishes the other poor guy with the slam at 1:38. And then he beats the Usos up some more because THAT’S WHAT HE DOES. Alberto Del Rio v. Antonio Cesaro Del Rio’s new babyface theme music reminds of the redone Losing My Religion where they scaled it up into a major key. Poor Cesaro continues to lose every match and never defend the title he’s had for eight months now. Cesaro attacks and goes to the neck vice, but ADR comes back with the backbreaker, which Cole notes is now a vintage move for him. Goody. Uncle Zeb comes out to scout, and that allows Cesaro to attack from behind and head up. Del Rio brings him down with a superplex as both guys sell like they’re dead 2:00 into a TV match. Jack Swagger beats up Ricardo some more during the lull in the action, and ADR heads out for a brawl with him, which gives Cesaro the epic countout win at 3:25. *1/2 Well, at least he won this time, sort of. Del Rio is so upset at costing himself the match like an idiot that he beats up Cesaro and armbars him, just so we know that the US champion is a huge fucking jobber. Does anyone care about Del Rio yet? Just wondering. Kane & Daniel Bryan v. The Primetime Players The champs beat up on Pancake Patterson in the corner to start, but the Players double-team Kane. Bryan comes in for a double hiptoss on Young while Team Biggler come out to watch, allowing Young to get a suplex on Bryan and take over. Pancake suplexes Young onto Bryan for two, but Kane gets the hot (?) tag and beats on Young with the usual. Big boot gets two. Sideslam gets two. Bryan gets rid of Titus with a flying knee and Kane chokeslams Young at 4:33. *1/2 Apparently this week the champs are on the same page and not breaking up. Really, it’s months past the time to take the belts off them either way. COOHHH is out to once again remind us that his segments are the MOST IMPORTANT ON THE SHOW, DAMMIT. He could RETIRE you know, and never be able to wrestle again! This is apparently something we are supposed to be concerned about. Wade Barrett then has the GALL to come out for his match, so HHH kicks him in the nuts and gazes meaningfully at the Wrestlemania sign. What a dick. Like really, what was the point of that? Wade Barrett v. The Miz You’d assume this is non-title, given that they don’t actually announce it as a title match and nobody gives a shit about the secondary titles anyway. Miz chases Barrett out of the ring to start and goes up, but Wade boots him down and punts him in the ribs for two. Barrett goes to the chinlock, but Miz rolls him up for two. Barrett gets dumped to the floor, and back in Miz gets two. And we take a break. Back with the crowd telling us how boring this match is, as Barrett controls and gets two. Barrett surfboards him, but Miz makes the comeback before walking into the bossman slam, which gets two for Barrett. Cole notes that Miz wants to be part of the IC title picture, which is a weird kind of logic to me, because you’re supposed to win matches to qualify for a shot against a dude who loses constantly. Miz tries the figure four, but Barrett reverses for two. A high kick gets two. Barrett loads up the elbow, but Miz rolls him up for two and clips the knee. Figure-four finishes at 12:35. This was OK. **1/2 Meanwhile, Kane and Bryan are fighting again over AJ, but Kaitlyn butts in and bitches about how AJ screwed her over, which prompts AJ to attack. Are we dropping the Cody Rhodes story already? Because that would be just fine, actually. The Shield v. Zack Ryder, Justin Gabriel & The Great Khali I do not approve of the Shield doing TV squashes. They should be kept super-special PPV attractions or important matches only. Rollins gets worked over in the jobber corner, but Ryder misses a dropkick and gets worked over by the Shield. Ambrose with a dropkick on the ropes and Reigns comes in and slugs Zack down and tosses him around. Gabriel gets the tag but immediately gets laid out by an Ambrose clothesline and a flying knee from Rollins to finish at 2:31. Khali tries to avenge his teammates, but gets powerbombed as a result. Once the damage is done, Orton and Sheamus come out to make the save. Slowly. And the Big Show is on the announce table side, and with two sides of the ring cut off, the SHIELD HAVE NO PATH TO ESCAPE. Except for the other two sides of the ring, but for the sake of telling stories I’ll note that the babyfaces beat up the Shield anyway. Again, the Shield should not be selling or running from the babyfaces yet, especially not on TV. They need to push, push, push, not cool them off. The Rhodes Scholars v. Brodus Clay & Tensai See, the point of this match is to build up the issue between the Bellas and the Funkettes for their 30 second nacho break match at Wrestlemania. This lesson in booking brought to you by WWE, where they’re telling stories. The Scholars double-team Tensai, but Brodus gets the hot tag while the women brawl at ringside for some reason. Cody hits the kick on Brodus and gets the pin at 2:38, but that’s obviously secondary to the red hot Bellas v. Funkadactyls feud. DUD Ryback v. 3MB This is the point in the show where I’ve resigned myself to the fact that it’s not getting any better by now and probably won’t magically make me care about Wrestlemania. Not this match in particular, but just the show in general. So yeah, 3MB gets a bit of offense, but Ryback inevitably destroys Slater with his Goldbergian offense and does the double-stack Shellshock on Slater and Mahal to finish at 3:53. * AJ v. Kaitlyn Holy shit, Kaitlyn is still the Divas champion? I had seriously forgotten about it. It seems like months ago that she won that thing from Eve. Kaitlyn throws her around the ring and hits her with the gutbuster, and they brawl to the floor, where Kaitlyn charges and hits the railing. And that’s the countout at 2:00. So yeah, two cheap heel countout finishes in the same show. So, um, boo AJ? DUD MAIN EVENT HALL OF FAME Q&A: John Cena v. The Rock The entrances for the Hall of Famers and participants ALONE eat up 10 minutes, and then they do a 25 MINUTE OVERRUN on a three hour show. If you think I’m recapping this shit, fuck off. And yet Wrestlemania is still going to do over a million buys. And remember Punk having the WWE title for 434 days and actually caring about it? Now we get Rock carrying it around like a prop for two months and never mentioning it. The Pulse Another stinker, although not quite on the level of last week until we got to almost forty minutes of talking about nothing as a main event interview segment. They are literally not even trying anymore.