Live from East Rutherford, New Jersey this is the Raw Deal for episode #1037. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
If you missed my WrestleMania 29 recap you can read it RIGHT HERE. Not a great show, but I really loved that Undertaker/CM Punk match.
We saw some pictures from WrestleMania last night that mentioned that John Cena was the new WWE Champion.
The announcers for the show are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield.
The music of the new WWE Champion John Cena started up as the champ made his way down to the ring with a "The Champ is Here" shirt that had an arrow pointing down.
Cole read off some tweets from The Rock: "In the middle of last nights Wrestlemania match I tore my abdomen & adductor muscles off the bone. Just part of the job. But as we know …It's all about
#JustBringIt. WWE Universe THANK YOU for all the love & well wishes. Means everything to me. #LeaveItAllInTheRing"
Analysis: So there you have it. Legit injury for Rock. Cole said he worked 15 minutes after being hurt. That part could be a work, but I don't know.
Cena talked about how everybody dreams of being in the main event of WrestleMania because everything you get with it like the adulation and the cheers (three times he said). Most of the crowd was booing him. Cena said the fans are upset because WrestleMania is over, but that doesn't mean the action is over because it's the Raw after WrestleMania. There was a "boring" chant. Cena mentioned that last year on the Raw after WrestleMania Brock Lesnar came back to whip his ass. Cena was talking about dancing as the crowd chanted "no" at him. Then he said "how about a little heel turn" and the crowd cheered that. That was a clever way to use an insider term. Cena held up the WWE Title (with his logo on the side of it) and said "The Champ is here!"
There was a "same old shit" chant by the crowd. I love these people. Cena said that he wanted to defend the WWE Championship tonight. He said he didn't care if it was Dolph Ziggler, Randy Orton or CM Punk because tonight they're going to have a fight. Mark Henry's music started up. That's who I assumed in the WrestleMania recap.
Mark Henry stood face to face with Cena. Nice "that's what he does" sign in tribute to Henry in the crowd. Loud "Sexual Chocolate" chant for Henry. Cena said "it's a raucous crowd – they want to have sex with chocolate." That was great haha. Henry said he destroyed Ryback last night and he wanted to meet Cena. Loud "feed me more" chant as Cena said the crowd wanted to eat too. Cena told Henry he had "the breath of 1,000 asses." Cena said that if he wants a fight then he gets it because it's going to be Henry vs. Cena for the WWE Title.
The Smackdown GM Booker T said he can't have Cena making championship matches. Booker said that The Rock is entitled to a rematch. Cena: "Once in a lifetime best out of three." Booker said Rock is the number one contender for the WWE Championship. Booker said that since Rock suffered an injury on Sunday he won't be there. That drew a "bullshit" chant from the crowd. Booker told Henry that he'll get a WWE Title shot only if he can beat Cena in a non-title match tonight. Henry said he'd have a spot for Cena in the Hall of Pain and that he should bring his "A game." Henry left as Cena looked on.
Analysis: That was an entertaining promo. Cena did a good job of reacting to the crowd chants. They are a loud crowd, so that should make the show a lot of fun to watch. Hopefully that helps the quality of the show. I'm not that excited about a Cena/Henry feud because they've been down that road before, but it made sense that they would put Henry in that spot considering he was put over Ryback at WrestleMania on Sunday. Also should note that Cena's shirt has a picture of the WWE Title on the bottom part of it, so I guess they'll sell that as a way for people to think they're wearing a clever shirt.
The Undertaker returns to Raw later in the show. That's a bit of a surprise. Also a 2 on 1 handicap match with Jack Swagger & Zeb Colter vs. Alberto Del Rio. Big E Langston Raw debut after the break.
There were some still shot pics of some of the events from WrestleMania since they don't show videos of PPVs the next day.
Michael Cole read a tweet from The Shield saying that the impact they will have on Raw will be historic.
As Langston, Ziggler & AJ Lee made their entrance for the next match Langston was doing one of his arm poses and his fist actually connected with the chest of AJ. Ouch! She didn't even react to it as he quickly glanced at her as if to see if she was okay. One of those "did you see that" kind of accidents.
Daniel Bryan (w/Kane) vs. Big E Langston (w/Dolph Ziggler & AJ Lee)
Langston slammed down Bryan with a one armed slam followed by a shoulder block in the corner. Back body drop by Langston. Bryan was able to get a rollup for two. That was followed up by a series of kicks with the loud crowd chanting "yes" the whole time. Ziggler tripped up Bryan on the top rope. Kane grabbed Ziggler, so Langston threw Bryan over the top onto Kane. The camera missed it originally. Langston dropped Bryan with The Big Ending (Cole did call it that) for the win after about three minutes.
Winner: Big E Langston
The replay showed the spot where Langston tossed Bryan onto Kane. Good spot.
Analysis: * It was a quick match to put over Langston as a newcomer. As I say all the time it would be nice if Bryan was pushed in a bigger way, but in this match he was basically a jobber. I'm not sure if the tag title feud is over or not. I thought Langston & Ziggler would win the tag titles. It could still happen in the near future.
At ringside was former St. Louis Rams QB Kurt Warner (my team!) talking about a new reality show called The Moment on USA Network. Josh Mathews interviewed him although I didn't pay attention that much. Nice "We Want Paige" sign in the background. I'd like to see her too.
Intercontinental Championship: The Miz vs. Wade Barrett
This is the rematch of the IC Title match that was on the pre-show at WrestleMania. Miz hit a clothesline early followed by a kick to the head and then a suplex. Miz hit the ten punches in the corner and then followed that up with a headlock. Barrett took control with a shot to the face followed by an elbow drop. Then he grabbed a headlock too. Miz threw Barrett outside the ring. Baseball slide dropkick by Miz to Barrett followed by a double axehandle off the apron to the floor. Barrett came back with a knee to the chest followed by a neckbreaker on the apron as the crowd cheered. There was a "let's go Barrett" chant a few times prior to that. The show went to break with both guys outside the ring.
Back from break, Barrett hit the Winds of Change for two. Barrett said "bang bang" then did an elbow off the apron Cactus Jack style. That was a nice tribute to the new Hall of Famer Mick Foley. Cole said there were over 16,000 fans at the show tonight. Miz hit a back suplex to even up the match again. Miz made a comeback with a high knee that he followed up with a boot to the face. Miz went for the backbreaker/ neckbreaker combo, but Barrett slipped on the neckbreaker part so it messed up a bit. Miz hit a clothesline followed by another double axehandle off the top rope for a two count. Miz hit a quick DDT for two. Miz tripped up Barrett to set him up for the Figure Four Leglock. Barrett tried to fight it and he was able to get to the ropes much to the delight of the crowd. Barrett hit a boot to the face. Barrett whipped Miz head first into the steel post by the turnbuckle. Barrett connected with the Bull Hammer elbow to win back the IC Title after 14 minutes.
Winner and New Intercontinental Champion: Wade Barrett
Analysis: *** That was a good IC Title match. It went back and forth with each guy in control for a solid amount of action. I was surprised by the decision to put the IC Title back on Barrett. I guess they just wanted to pop the WrestleMania crowd with a title change, but that switch ended up being meaningless. I thought the finish was really well done with Barrett using the steel post to his advantage as a setup for his finisher. I'd like to see Miz work on the leg of his opponent earlier in the match rather than at a point where he's about to go for the Figure Four Leglock. That should be the focus the whole match rather than just the finish. You have to set it up the right way or it won't have as much of an impact when it's applied.
Backstage, Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox were talking in her office. Sheamus walked in. He complained about Big Show knocking him out at WrestleMania, so he wanted Show in a match on Raw. Maddox said that Sheamus owed them one. Vickie gave him the match. Sheamus was pleased with that.
Backstage, Randy Orton walked up to Booker T. He asked for a favor. Orton wanted a match with Big Show. Booker said that Vickie already made the Sheamus vs. Big Show match. Orton tried to convince him to overrule Vickie by saying he's an actual GM unlike Vickie. Booker told Orton he got his match.
Analysis: It's interesting to see that the two people booking matches putting Show in matches against two different people.
Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter made their way to the ring. Colter did a promo talking about saving the country. Crowd was chanting "what" during the promo to try to piss him off. Then he said he wanted Del Rio to chant "USA" after they beat him. The match is after the break.
Analysis: That was about three minutes of "action" between those commercial breaks.
There was a recap from earlier when Mark Henry confronted John Cena to set up their non-title match later on Raw.
Jack Swagger & Zeb Colter vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez)
It's a two on one handicap match. Rodriguez still has his crutches with his left foot in a cast. Del Rio whipped Swagger into the turnbuckle followed by a hard kick to the back. Del Rio with a clothesline on Swagger outside the ring. De Rio hit a dive between the top/middle ropes to knock down Swagger. There's a "we want Ziggler" chant from the crowd. Colter got in a cheap shot so Swagger hit a chop block on Del Rio's leg. There's a "USA" chant as Cole said Colter was brainwashing people. Another "we want Ziggler" chant. Del Rio missed a corner enziguiri, which led to Swagger applying the Patriot Lock on the ankle of Swagger. Del Rio fought out of that and applied an arm bar using the top rope. The crowd wasn't reacting to this match very much. Swagger knocked Del Rio off the apron, which sent Del Rio into the security. That led us to the vintage floor to commercial break.
Back from break, Swagger remained in control as we saw that Swagger continued to work on the left leg of Del Rio. Swagger missed a corner charge due to Del Rio moving out of the way. Del Rio hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Superkick to the face by Del Rio got just a two count. The crowd wasn't interested as Del Rio tried to make his comeback. Swagger applied the Patriot Lock, but Del Rio made it to the ropes. Del Rio was able to counter Swagger with a Cross Armbreaker. Swagger tapped out after 13 minutes.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Analysis: ** It was basically a rematch from WrestleMania with Colter as an accessory that did nothing. The crowd wasn't really into it. I think it's the end of this feud, which is probably the right call. To Del Rio's credit, he did an awesome job of selling the leg injury during the match. He's very good at doing that.
Post match, Del Rio continued to sell the leg injury as the doctor went into the ring to check on him. All of a sudden, Dolph Ziggler's music started up. He made his way to ringside with Big E Langston and AJ Lee. The crowd popped huge because they were chanting for Ziggler the whole time.
World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler
Del Rio was in a lot of pain as he continued to sell the leg injury. Ziggler went right after him. He hit a Fameasser for a two count. Loud "Let's go Ziggler" chant. Ziggler missed a corner charge. Del Rio hit a jumping enziguiri kick with his right leg. Del Rio ended up applying the Cross Armbreaker, but Ziggler fought out of it by grabbing the bad leg of Del Rio. Ziggler hit the Zig Zag. He covered for the one…two…three! Dolph Ziggler is the NEW World Heavyweight Champion! It went about three minutes.
Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Dolph Ziggler
The crowd gave Ziggler a superstar reaction for the win. They absolutely loved it. He celebrated with Langston & AJ Lee. It was a really special moment for him as he celebrated in a big way.
Analysis: This was a special Raw moment that makes me love watching professional wrestling because it was a reward for a guy that's an elite talent that is finally getting reward with a major championship. Of course the World Title isn't booked as a great title all the time, but it did mean a lot when Ziggler won it. This crowd absolutely loved him for it too. That doesn't necessarily mean he's going to turn babyface any time soon. It just means it's a smarter crowd that is appreciative of a guy that is one of the best overall performers in the company. It was the right crowd for that moment. Also I'm guessing he's probably happy that he doesn't have to carry around that blue briefcase anymore. Now he gets to carry a championship. A nice trade off, for sure.
The 2013 Hall of Fame ceremony will air Tuesday at 10pm on USA Network in a one hour special. If you want to see the whole thing buy the WrestleMania 29 DVD.
The Undertaker made his entrance to a huge ovation, as usual. Loud "Un-der-taker" chant from the crowd out of respect for the man that had the match of the night at WrestleMania once again. Undertaker said he dedicated his WrestleMania match to the memory of Paul Bearer. As he was about to say more words about Bearer the music of The Shield started up.
The members of The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns) made their entrance through the crowd like usual. They surrounded the ring. Undertaker looked ready for them. Just as they were about to get him, Kane's music hit as Kane & Daniel Bryan ran down to the ring in support of Undertaker. Loud "yes" chants from the crowd.
Analysis: That's a nice tease for something potentially great down the road if Undertaker sticks around to compete in matches past WrestleMania. This could likely lead to a six man tag match possibly at Extreme Rules next month. It's a pretty awesome team when you have the Brothers of Destruction along with the best technical wrestler in the company in Daniel Bryan. As has been the case all night, the crowd was hot for this segment.
After a replay of Dolph Ziggler's World Title win, his team talked to Josh Mathews. Ziggler said he's been too damn good for too damn long. Ziggler said this was his WrestleMania moment and that he was going to show off his World Title. He ended it by saying "it's about damn time!" I agree with that.
R-Truth, Santino & Zack Ryder vs. 3MB (Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre & Jinder Mahal
It looks like we have a filler tag match. Ryder actually got a nice pop when he tagged in, so that's good for him. Mahal knocked Ryder to the floor, so 3MB isolated on Ryder in their corner. Nice running kick by McIntyre on Ryder. Ryder broke free by countering a suplex into a neckbreaker. Ryder brought in Santino, who hit his usual comedy spots on Slater. Truth gave Mahal a clothesline over the top rope. Santino pulled out the Cobra sleeve, McIntyre tried to block it, but Santino ended up hitting Slater with the Cobra to win the match for his team after about three minutes.
Winners: R-Truth, Santino & Zack Ryder
Analysis: *1/2 Like I said it was just a filler match. They probably realized they had five minutes to fill during the booking of the show, so they threw this out there. It doesn't really advance stories.
There were clips of various WWE superstars on different talk shows in the New York area to promote WrestleMania. There were also clips from Axxess as well. Hey look there's Natalya. Remember when she used to wrestle on this show? I miss those days. Oh crap there's Snooki. Bad memories from WrestleMania 27. This video package was lengthy.
In the locker room, Sheamus & Randy Orton were arguing about what happened with Big Show at WrestleMania.
There was a clip with my good friend Renee Young interviewing Big Show at WrestleMania. Show wanted the tag in the match to prove he could get it done, but instead Orton tagged himself in and took his thunder. The only thing important to Big Show is the Big Show. In other words he's selfish.
Sheamus made his entrance. He asked the fans if they want to see him kick Big Show's arse tonight. Randy Orton made his entrance. He said while Sheamus is out there begging for support…and then nothing. As Orton was talking you could tell he forgot his line. He even walked up to Sheamus and said "what's my line" multiple times. It's not like he could hide the fact that he forgot his line. "Big Show is mine tonight." He forgot that? LOL. Poor guy. He asked the fans if they wanted to see him kick Big Show's ass.
Michael Cole told us we could vote with either #WWEOrton or #WWESheamus to tweet who we wanted to see face Big Show during the show.
Analysis: I don't get how Orton forgot a promo that was so short.
As they returned from the break we found out that Orton got 77% of the vote while Sheamus got 23% of the vote. Booker T and Vickie Guerrero appeared on the ramp to announce it was Sheamus vs. Randy Orton. The winner of that match gets to face Randy Orton. So why do the Twitter vote? Because they book this show on the fly apparently.
Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
Sheamus knocked down Orton with a shoulder tackle as the crowd chanted "ole ole" to pass the time. This crowd is great. Orton hit a clothesline and then Sheamus hit one to knock him down for a two count. Orton hit a knee drop. It sounded like a "RVD" chant that was pretty randomly. Sheamus hit a forward roll. "JBL" chant, so the camera showed him and the crowd cheered loudly. Now they chanted "Jerry" for Lawler as Sheamus went to the top rope. Orton hit a dropkick on Sheamus. There was even a "Michael Cole" chant from the crowd with the announcers acting shocked that it happened. What a bizarre night, but it's hilarious! They went to break there.
Back from break, Orton hit a knee to the ribs of Sheamus. Random "ECW" chant by the crowd. The crowd was so not interested in the match that they started doing a wave, which is not something they do regularly on Raw. Sheamus hit an Irish Curse Backbreaker. He hit a shoulderblock in the corner followed by a knee lift. Sheamus got the ten forearm shots to Orton's chest as the crowd chanted a long. So at least they paid attention to that part of the match. Orton came back with his backbreaker variation. The crowd chanted "Randy Savage" randomly as the announcers laughed due to the confused look on Orton's face. Orton hit a powerslam. Overhead suplex by Orton followed by the vintage DDT off the middle ropes. Sheamus countered the RKO and hit the White Noise in the center of the ring. Sheamus missed the Brogue Kick because Orton moved out of the way, so Sheamus went over the top rope to the floor. Big Show's music hit and he threw Sheamus into the steel steps. I guess that's the end of the match around 15 minutes.
Winner: No Contest due to Big Show interference
The crowd chanted "Thank You Big Show" because they were not interested in that match. Show gave Orton the KO Punch to cheers. It's a backwards crowd, but I love it. Show threw Orton into the security wall outside the ring. Spear by Big Show on the floor outside the ring. The crowd chanted "we are awesome" because they are big fans of themselves. Show threw Orton over the announce table where he crashed onto the leather chairs of the announcers. The crowd reacted to Big Show throwing the chairs and none of them cleared the top rope. They were chanting "one more time" because they wanted him to throw another leather chair. He didn't. What a jerk.
Analysis: ** They got about 15 minutes, yet the crowd didn't seem to care. It didn't help that the match was thrown together even though they had the fans do a Twitter vote to see who would face Show. You could tell that the creative team messed this one up. It was also bad because Orton forgot his line. However, the crowd saved the segment. They were amazing. Their chants were so funny and so random that it saved the segment from being a disaster.
They went to break with Orton selling the attack by Show. Later in the show it's John Cena vs. Mark Henry.
This Friday on Smackdown, Triple H is on the show. I'm not sure what he's doing there, but he'll be on the show apparently.
There was a clip from earlier in the show when Kane & Daniel Bryan saved Undertaker from an attack by The Shield.
The man known as Fandango made his entrance to a nice reaction from the crowd. He was victorious over Chris Jericho at WrestleMania. His opponent is Kofi Kingston, who still gets pyro despite barely being on television these days.
Fandango vs. Kofi Kingston
As the match started, the crowd starting singing Fandango's theme song: "Do do do do do do do doo!" And so on. It was the most surreal thing I've ever seen/heard at a wresting show. When Fandango avoided an attack, the crowd cheered loudly. They kept chanting the Fandango song. The announcers mentioned it. When Fandango did a hair whip the crowd cheered. About one minute into the match, Chris Jericho ran down to the ring to go after Fandango. The "match" went about two minutes.
Winner via DQ: Fandango
Post match, Jericho won that battle with Fandango. He threw him over the top rope to the floor. Jericho threw Fandango into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho to a huge ovation. Jericho hit the Codebreaker to end the segment.
Analysis: It was an angle more than a match. The purpose was to let us know that the Jericho/Fandango story is not over. The best part about this was the crowd once again. Not only did they cheer Fandango, but they also hummed his theme song during his match. That was amazing. I've never heard anything like that before.
Once Jericho left, Justin Roberts announced Fandango as the winner via disqualification. Fandango properly said his name. Then Fandango's theme song started to play, so the fans sang along with it.
There were clips featuring WWE Champion John Cena on various talk shows on Monday morning.
As they returned from the break, the announcers talked about the worldwide headlines that WrestleMania garnered.
The announcers talked about the brutal battle between Triple H and Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. There was a video of Triple H getting his arm looked at by doctors. His arm wasn't broken as determined by the doctor.
Backstage, Paul Heyman was influenced by Josh Mathews. Heyman got cheers. Mathews asked him about the bad night for the "Paul Heyman Guys" (Lesnar & Punk). Heyman said Lesnar got knocked out 90 seconds into the match, but it still took Triple H over 20 minutes to survive. Heyman mentioned that Shawn Michaels got his face smashed in by Lesnar. Heyman said that Lesnar was ready for a fight tonight, but he doesn't let his client fight for free. Heyman transitioned to talking about CM Punk vs. Undertaker and said Punk will tell us how he feels next week on Raw.
Analysis: Heyman did a good job of talking about his friends in a positive way even though they both lost big matches at WrestleMania. Punk would have got a thunderous ovation in front of this smart crowd.
Team Rhodes Scholars and the Bella Twins made their entrance for the match that was supposed to happen at WrestleMania. Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls made their entrance too. They went to break with them dancing on the stage.
Tons of Funk & The Funkadactyls vs. Team Rhodes Scholars & The Bella Twins
The match was joined in progress. Naomi hit her move where she hit one of the Bellas with her ass. The crowd was still humming the Fandango song. Sweet T destroyed Rhodes with a rolling splash in the corner. Rhodes hit a Disaster Kick. Sandow tagged in to a nice ovation. Elbow of Disdain drew a pop from the appreciative crowd. Sweet T did a side suplex on Sandow as the crowd continued to sing the Fandango song. Clay got the hot tag and destroyed Sandow. He covered after an overhead suplex. The girls started brawling. Sweet T knocked Rhodes outside the ring. Clay & T did a splash at the same time to finish off Sandow. It went about two minutes.
Winners: Tons of Funk & The Funkadactyls
Analysis: 1/2* The crowd didn't care that much. Neither did I. I was fine with this being off the WrestleMania card. Hopefully Rhodes & Sandow are booked as a stronger team going forward.
There was a commercial for the new reality show called The Moment hosted by my guy Kurt Warner that is on USA Network on Thursday.
That Cena vs. Henry match is up in the main event next.
There were more still shots from WrestleMania.
Mark Henry got a pop on his entrance. You could hear some fans singing his addictive theme song because it's addictive and they are an awesome crowd. Cena got a mixed reaction like usual.
John Cena vs. Mark Henry
This is non-title. The crowd was humming the Fandango song a little bit as Cena did some ballroom dance moves. Henry decked Cena with a body attack. "Dance now," Henry yelled at him. Nobody is better at trash talking during a match. There was a "sexual chocolate" chant again. Henry: "Tell me a joke!" Henry whipped Cena into the corner as the crowd hummed the Fandango theme song again. Henry missed a splash. Cena hit a shoulder tackle on Henry. They went to the floor where slammed Cena's head into the announce table. Henry cleared off the announce table. Henry wanted to put Cena through the announce table. Cena fought out of that attempt. Cena threw Henry into the steel steps and he rolled into the ring before the ten count, so Cena won the match by countout after about four minutes.
Winner: John Cena via countout
Analysis: * Nothing special. The crowd didn't hate all of it, but it was never booked to be a match that would have an impact. It was just there to try to put Henry over as a threat to Cena and he proved that he was for a few minutes before the match ended rather abruptly.
Post match, Cena celebrated with the WWE Title. Henry went back in the ring to deck Cena with a clothesline. Henry dropped Cena with the World's Strongest Slam. Henry posed with the WWE Title.
Ryback's music started up as he made his entrance. Ryback decked Henry with a clothesline followed by a spinebuster as Henry rolled out of the ring to the floor. Ryback led the crowd in "feed me more" chants.
Ryback turned his attention to Cena as the crowd cheered. Ryback extended his hand to Cena while the crowd booed. They wanted action. Or they wanted to sing the Fandango song. Ryback did another "feed me more" chant, so Cena did it too and then Ryback destroyed Cena with a clothesline. The announcers were freaking out. Ryback hit Shellshock on Cena. Ryback held up the WWE Title as the show came to a close.
Analysis: Is it a Ryback heel turn? Possibly. It's hard to tell with the crowd chanting in support of the guy because they didn’t feel like cheering for Cena. I think it's open to interpretation. It could be a situation where Ryback is simply inserting himself into the title picture so that we now have a situation where Ryback & Henry are top contenders to Cena's WWE Title. That would mean a three man match at Extreme Rules although they have over a month to get there. A lot could change by then.
I liked the angle to end the show. It opens up a lot of possibilities. If Ryback goes heel then they better get him a manager because that's the best way for him to get over. I'm not sure if going heel is the plan or not. Since he was still playing to the fans I guess he's still a face, but there have been rumors of a heel run for him.
Three Stars of the Show
1. The New Jersey crowd – To the fans at the IZOD Center you did an amazing job. Thank you.
2. Dolph Ziggler – So happy for this guy. Deserves it as much as anybody.
3. Fandango – Just because.
8 out of 10
Last week: 6
2013 Average: 5.5
2013 High: 8 (April 2)
2013 Low: 3.5 (January 28)
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 5.5, 4, 4, 4.5
That 8 out of 10 is my highest rating for Raw this year. The 7.5 out of 10 was the Raw that had that John Cena/CM Punk match of the year. Maybe my score is too generous. I don't know. But it was a three hour Raw where I didn't feel like the show dragged. It was fun. Isn't that what wrestling is supposed to be?
I loved this show largely because of the crowd. Was the booking great the whole time? Not really. I didn't love some aspects of it, but sometimes you can just throw your hands up, say "who cares" and have fun at a wrestling show just because the audience is making it a lot of fun. I apologize if I didn't mention every single chant. There were so many of them.
Keep in mind that not every New Jersey crowd is going to be like this. The WrestleMania crowd is unique. It features a lot of "smart" fans that travel the world to go to the event and a lot of them go to Raw the next night too. We saw them in Miami on Raw last year as well. I don't know if singing Fandango's song is going to happen in every city. I doubt it. Of course Daniel Bryan's "yes" chants did catch on last year although that's a much easier thing to do especially when Bryan encourages it. I'm just saying that a crowd like that is very unique and it won't be like that all the time.
Of course the crowd involvement that we will never forget involved the humming of Fandango's theme song for much of the night. It happened in the last hour of the show and I was told by several people at the event that it carried over after people had left the building too. It evened happened outside the venue as fans went to the subway to find their way home.
The best part of the show was Dolph Ziggler cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase and leaving Raw as the new World Heavyweight Champion. He held it for almost nine months, so it was something we have been expecting for many months. I know I incorrectly predicted the cash in about a dozen times before it happened. Ultimately I'm glad I was wrong so many times because the moment when he won was special because the fans reacted to it in a huge way. It made it seem like a big deal even though the World Title was a part of a WrestleMania feud that fell flat. Fans know how deserving Ziggler is, so that's why they showed him that respect.
The match where the crowd really took over involved Randy Orton and Sheamus. I didn't like how it was put together, nor did I like how they asked fans to vote on Twitter only to throw that away to put on this match. Also Orton forgetting his line, which was probably one or two lines of dialogue, was a bizarre moment. Judging from his facial expressions during the match I'm guessing Orton wasn't too thrilled with the crowd chants. Here's video of the chants during that match.
Here's a video of the crowd singing Fandango's theme song during his match with Kofi Kingston.
Here's a video shared with me by TJR reader Elliott Cantor. It's from after Raw was over with John Cena addressing the fans, thanking them for being great and of course encouraging them to sing the Fandango song one more time.
The last video I'll share for now is a medley of the crowd chants from Raw. Thanks to TJR reader Adam D. for sharing this link.
This crowd was unforgettable. I'm sorry if I missed some of the chants. I'm not going to list them all or anything like that. If you saw the show you heard it. I'm sure that on youtube we'll be able to see some kind of medley with all of the chants from Raw.
The best thing I can say about Raw? It felt like kind of fun and entertaining show I want to watch every week. For the last month or two the crowds weren't very loud. They made some noise, but it wasn't consistent. This week's Raw was proof that a hot crowd helps any show and it can take it to that next level too.
One final thought. If I go to New Orleans for WrestleMania next year I'm definitely staying around on Monday night to go to Raw because I want to experience this in person. If you're going there next year keep it in mind.
We'll bring it home with some plugs.
We have a live two hour edition of TJR Radio on Tuesday at 10pmET/9pmCT with some TJR friends that were at WrestleMania including our usual co-host Frank The Clown, who will join The Ace and myself. It should be a lot of fun. Maybe we'll do an awful rendition of Fandango's theme song too. You never know! If you miss it live use that same link or get it on iTunes as early as Wednesday morning.
Also check out TJRWrestling.com every day for more work from me as well as our talented team of columnists. A few of them were at WrestleMania and already wrote about that experience, so if you like reading about the live perspective then check it out.
After TJR Radio tonight I think I may avoid anything wrestling related for like a day or two. It's been SO MUCH in the last week. But I love it too. I'm just saying it's been a lot to get through. With that in mind I'll probably have some kind of column on the weekend. Next week live Raw Deal at TJR. Hopefully it's a loud crowd.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
TJRWrestling.com and TJRSports.com
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