The Three Stooges...yup. "The Slapstick Comic Genuises." Plus, Mark Henry vs. CM Punk for the WWE Championship tonight!
Opening pyro greets us in the arena, live in Washington, DC! And what do we see, a lot of "YES!" signs! I appears that Big Johnny will be kicking things off tonight.
John Laurinaitis In Ring Promo
Johnny is going to introduce the new face of the WWE—a man not about catchphrases, but a man who will carry the WWE banner for years to come. He shows a video recapping Cena's promo, and Lesnar's insane reemergence. The crowd was more electric for Brock than Rock at that point. We of course see he "F5 Heard ‘Round The World."
Brock is out, and he hasn't changed clothes since last week! Michael Cole does mention the UFC—smart move. The pop isn't as crazy, but he isn't a surprise now. Brock thanks Big Johnny, which gets boos from the audience. He mentions Laurinaitis bringing legitimacy back to the WWE, and he's immediately interrupted by another big Johnny—Johnny Cena.
King wonders if this is a good idea for Cena as he heads to the ring. The crowd reaction for Cena is as expected. This moment is great, but would be even better with Paul Heyman. And they fight! It doesn't take long for the entire locker-room to empty, and who gets a pop? Daniel Bryan. I'm surprised he's out there. The locker room can't seem to hold them a part, and Cena is legitimately bleeding from the mouth. Cole calls it "chaos!" and I have to agree. I'm loving it, the exact opposite of Rock-Cena, where here was very little physicality until the match. Seriously, everyone is out there! Del Rio, Miz, officials, everyone. There's Billy Kidman in a suit, and Daniel Bryan is the guy who can actually hold Lesnar back!
Cena jokingly asks how he looks as Brock slowly leaves, and we go to break.
Very effective. Brock can talk, but not to Cena's level. No one wants to see him talk, they want to see him SMASH. This was a nice SMASH tease. I loved that the majority of the roster was out there, it really puts over both guys—which Cena can really use at this point.
We're back with highlights of what we just saw.
Teddy Long & Big Johnny Backstage
John Laurinaitis yells at Teddy Long backstage, as it was his job to contain Cena. He has to go and get Cena now, to explain his actions. Eve wants some time with Big Johnny, and it ends up being postponed for a phone call.
Brodus Clay & US Champion Santino Marella vs. Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler
We started off with highlights of the birth of FunkTino, which I really liked. Mainly because it added some toughness to Brodus. Vickie is out to introduce the greatest tag team in the universe—Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler.
Ziggler & Santino start, and Dolph gets an early one count. Santino with a deep arm drag, and Swagger is in with Brodus. Some good big-man offense from Brodus, and this is already his longest TV match since the new gimmick. Swagger cuts out the knee, and works Brodus over the ropes as we head to break.
We're back as Dolph gets a two count on Santino, and Swagger is tagged in. Swagger keeps Santino away from tagging Brodus—probably a good idea. Cole references Swagger's new haircut—which I hate. The ‘do, not the reference. Ziggler back in, and he has a side-headlock on the US champ. In comes Brodus toa mild pop! Clotheslines and a headbutt for Dolph, followed up an Exploder Suplex and the Big Splash. That's enough for the win.
Winners: Santino & Brodus Clay (Brodus pin on Dolph, 7:52)
Good tag team match, proving they could still save the division. If they cared.
Backstage, Johnny blows off Otunga because it's a busy night for him. He then yells at Teddy Long, but Cena shows up. He says that Lesnar is gone, but Cena's still there—because he loves this. Cena vs. Lesnar is on. Cena asks for a match—and says Johnny can pick the opponent. He said legit a lot, so I imagine it'll be his new shirt. Otunga vs. Cena is booked for later, with Johnny a ringside.
Backstage, Santino is looking for the Three Stooges. We had a Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks sighting, so don't expect to see them again for weeks.
Later tonight: Punk -v- Henry!
We come back and revisit the two big issues of tonight—Cena-Lesnar and Santino looking for the Stooges. He finds Kane. And run-walks away.
R-Truth makes his way out. Followed by Cody Rhodes. Over/under on a Big Show appearance?
R-Truth vs. Cody Rhodes
R-Truth held the ropes open for his imaginary friend. Cody Rhodes is all business. I love that they're wrestling just to have a match. R-Truth in control early. Dances, & punches. Cody cuts him off, his the Alabama Slam and Big Show is out at 0:45. We get highlights of Cody losing last week. So Big Show introduced highlights of Big Show introducing highlights. Once those are over, R-Truth nails a Lie Detector for three.
Winner: R-Truth (pinfall, 1:38)
Nothing match that continued the Big Show-Cody story. Unless this ends with Cody going over, I'd rather he move on. And I doubt he does either...
Backstage, Santino opens a box that contained the Stooges. They're in character, as expected. I am not excited about their presence on the show of their movie. We finally go to commercial.
We return with the boys from Dream Machine, which debuts after tomorrow's live Smackdown on SyFy. Lord Tensei makes his way to the ring.
Lord Tensei vs. Yoshi Tatsu
Yoshi Tatsu is offended by Tensei, since he's not Japanese. Lawler explains that he doesn't claim he is, just he dominated the Japanese. Now while wrestling like a ninja, by the way. Tatsu is wearing all black, meaning he's serious. Chops early by Tensei. Yoshi throws a chop that is no-sold. Loud "ALBERT!" chant by the crowd. Double Underhook Delayed Suplex is followed by a Senton. Tatsu is up, and immediately beaten down in the coener. Ichi Ban Baldo Bomb in the center of the ring, and ‘Lil Naitch calls for the bell.
Winner: Lord Tensei (referee stoppage, 2:00)
Tensei isn't done yet, and applies THE CLAW to Tatsu.
That is the only redeeming factor of Tensei thus far. I've been longing for The Claw. I'm not saying I don't like it, but his offense is slow and boring. But I LOVE THE CLAW!
We see highlights of Chris Jericho's attack on CM Punk last week, and promote Punk-Henry for later tonight!
Cole & Lawler welcome us back, and Lawler mentions that they have 30 wounded warriors in the crowd. And you know the WWE hooked up them and their families, letting in over 100 people free. Can't help but commend the WWE for that.
Extended highlights of Chris Jericho's attack on CM Punk from last week.
CM Punk makes his entrance, and immediately grabs the mic. He squats in the center of the ring, bit doesn't sit. He then stands and speaks. He "breaks his silence" from the past week (outside of his FOX appearance of course). He puts Straight Edge over as his personal choice. It's his way of life, and he's proud of it. He mentions reasons for being Straight Edge—but prefaces it by saying it doesn't matter and it's no one's business. It doesn't even matter, he's the "best damn wrestler in the world" either way. That gets a nice "CM PUNK!" chant. He's upset about Chris Jericho revealing his father's past, making up stories about his sister and talking ill of his mother. Jericho wanted to get into his head--but he still made Jericho tap at ‘Mania. Then Jericho took it one step further—one step too far. And all he could think about was smelling exactly like his father did. And that gets Punk emotional.
Jericho interrupts Punk from the Titan Tron, and Jericho asks if Punk is hung-over. He says Punk is still tipsy, and we're all witnessing Punk's first bender. Punk denies, but Jericho immediately talks about step 1 of Punk's 12-step recovery program. I'm thinking Jericho did a pre-tape. I wonder how many dates are on his contract? Jericho calls him CM Drunk, which gets under Punk's skin. Since that goes exactly against the core of Straight Edge—total self-control. Punk tells Jericho he hasn't broken him, and he's coming after Chris Jericho from the dark place he's been sent to.
"It's no longer about me being the best in the world, this is about me…kicking your ass!"
Speaking of ass kicking...enter Mark Henry. Did you forget, Punk?
Very effective promo that makes me care about the feud even though Punk already won. Punk has always been a great promo guy. Make it personal and he's even better.
WWE Championship Match
CM Punk (champion) vs. Mark Henry
Punk immediately goes after Henry to start. He rocks Henry with a clothesline, but a second sees Punk go down instead. We head outside, and Punk attacks Henry with the announce table monitor.
Winner: Mark Henry (DQ, 0:48)
Punk tries to attack further, and Jericho IS here. He makes his way out, with alcohol in hand. Henry attacks Punk with multiple World Strongest Slams in the center of the ring. Jericho, with his awesome jacket, slides the alcohol in the ring. He opens a beer to pour on Jericho, but Punk catches him first. Code Breaker follows from the former Y2J, and an irate Jericho opens up multiple cans to pour over Jericho. I still don't think it is real alcohol (much like last week), but I do believe Cena was really bleeding, friends.
"It's all for you! Drink it in! Drink it in, Punk! ... You want another drink? This one's for your father!"
Punk makes his way to his feet, and charges. Jericho responds with another Code Breaker, then goes to retrieve the belt. Punk is out in the ring.
The match was an after-thought, but leaves me excited for Punk's next feud, after Jericho. As for the matter at hand? When you put two men together, and both are capable of carrying a feud, you have the potential for magic. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.
B.A.Star. ... WOO! WOO! WOO! ... Ricardo Rodriguez. Means one thing.
Smackdown highlights? By the way, I don't think ADR pulled the famous Eddie trick. I think he won on accident. And that set Sheamus off.
Zack Ryder vs. Alberto Del Rio
ADR immediately pounces on Ryder. Seated dropkick for two. Del Rio beats on Ryder in the corner, working over his arm in the process—nice bit of psychology. Ryder reverses fortune, connecting with the Broski Boot. Rough Ryder is avoided, allowing Del Rio to slap on the cross arm breaker.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio (submission, 1:24)
Del Rio wipes his nose with Rider's wristband.
I liked the match, but I was looking forward to a longer match that would have put Ryder over in a loss. But Del Rio has a PPV title shot coming up, right off of a return. So it makes sense.
Up next! The Three Stooges join us in the arena. I am (not) excited to recap that.
Three Stooges in Ring
We start with two stooges, and it doesn't go well. Curly finally makes his way out doing his Hogan impersonation. Lawler: "He lost some weight!" That, of course, is a dig, since Will Sasso if far fatter than Hogan. He does a good Hogan impersonation, using "dude" as much as "brother," which is often overlooked. But this is pointless—especially in the ring for the fans to crap all over.
Here comes Kane to possible save this segment. Moe and Larry bail, and Sasso does the typical Hogan shtick. That does get a reaction. Curly eats a chokeslam like a champ. He impersonation and the chokeslam were great, the rest wasn't.
Mark Henry Backstage
Mark Henry is backstage with Josh Matthews, and asked to explain his actions. Does he really have to? A) He's Mark Henry, son! [/Critchell] B) He was provoked by Punk. Thankfully he doesn't really answer the question, he just promoted a No-DQ, No-Countout title match for next week. Henry confuses the belts, but he can get away with that. He's Mark Henry.
We come back, and we hear that Josh Matthews will interview Brock Lesnar momentarily. I wonder if Matthews is going to be...just another victim.
Highlights from earlier.
Josh Matthews with Brock Lesnar
Brock talks about leaving, then going to the UFC. He claims their success was on him. His blood, sweat & tears. He's back at the top, where he belongs. He mentions popping Cena in the mouth. And points out that the suits are proud to have him back.
"I'm not here to make any friends. I'm a WAR MACHINE. An ASS KICKER! And a proud one at that."
Highlights of WrestleMania 28's Hell in a Cell match between Triple H & The Undertaker, with the current roster providing some perspective. I don't know about them selling it as the greatest match ever. But with the Cell and JR calling the action, that's obviously what they were going for.
David Otunga makes entrance. Otunga is accompanied by John Laurinaitis, and does the Chris Masters poses. Otunga faces Cena…NEXT!
David Otunga vs. John Cena
We get some shots of the wounded warriors before Cena makes his way out. Boos for Cena, as expected. Cena is stuffed up—see, it was legit! Even the kids are booing him now. How many times have we done this? It has main evented RAW at least one other time, right?
Highlights do a great job of selling the Lesnar shot to Cena's mush.
Dueling chants for Cena. Cena takes Otunga down to start. Lock-up and Otunga grabs a headlock. Cena gets out, rather easily. Dueling chants are now louder. Otunga kicks Cena in the corner, and the ref pulls him out—not sure why. That opens the door for Cena, but Otunga is quick to regain control. Shoulder blocks send Cena down, fllowed by a clothesline. Otunga, in the ring with John Cena, stops to pose. And he went to Harvard?
Combo of clotheslines and a shoulder block by Otunga gets two. The Rock smiles as the crowd chants Fruity Pebbles. Cena's mouth is bleeding again. Otunga is posing way too much—yes, I know he's in character. Cena takes control. 5 Knuckle Shuffle. Attitude Adjusment. STF and Otunga taps.
Winner: John Cena (submission, 5:05)
And here's Lesnar! Low blow to remind us that he's the heel. Sure, but they still won't cheer Cena! F% to Cena by a very maniacal Brock. Lesnar stands over his fallen prey. We get some replays and Lesnar leaves, very proud of his work. John Laurinaitis stands by the announce table, also proud.
Credit: Tony Acero