At ringside Justin Roberts welcomes the chairman of the board, Mr. McMahon who comes out on crutches to a decent crowd reaction. Vince says everybody knows he likes to do things in a big way, and we’re getting closer to Wrestlemania, so we need something bigger each week on Monday Night RAW. What better way to start RAW off this week, than with a fight? Vince McMahon says to give it up for the ultimate fighter, Paul Heyman. Heyman comes out in workout gear. Heyman’s going to tell a story, tonight, we’re going to see a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. He’s waited his entire life for this fight. Paul says he’s all man. Vince has as much chance as Tony Romo leading the Cowboys to the Super Bowl. Heyman wants to make sure since Vince’s dressed in his executive suit, that he wants to make an executive decision, before they fight, Heyman wants to say straight to his face, and Heyman tackles McMahon and starts nailing Vince with his crutch! He tries again, but McMahon blocks it and nails Heyman in the groin and takes Heyman down with the crutch, and Brock Lesnar’s music hits. Brock enters the ring and is face to face with Mr. McMahon. Time to play the game! Triple H walks out, and he is not wearing a suit tonight. His fists are taped and he looks like he’s ready for a fight. Triple H charges and Lesnar bails out of the ring. Triple H tackles Lesnar, and they’re fighting on the floor, going back and forth. Triple H rams Lesnar into the ring post a couple of times and Lesnar takes a clothesline over the barricade into the timekeeper’s area. Triple H tries to hit Lesnar with the crutch, but Lesnar counters. Lesnar slams Triple H onto the announce table, and Lesnar is busted open. Triple H rolls into the ring and Lesnar has the crutch before he throws it away and goes for a steel chair. Lesnar lunges for Triple H, and Triple H counters with a spine buster. Triple H has the chair and levels Lesnar with it, and Brock Lesnar retreats.
Tonight, C.M. Punk takes on John Cena; the winner goes on to Wrestlemania to face the WWE champion.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Ryback
Ziggler starts things by showing off a little bit. Ryback with a series of waist lock takedowns before Ziggler hits a nice drop kick. Ziggler taking it right to Ryback with punches and applies a front face lock until Ryback powers out of it. Ryback catches Ziggler mid-air with a power slam. Ziggler tries to slide out of the ring, but Ryback catches him. Ryback punishes Ziggler in the corner before he ends up on the outside, and we head to another commercial.
Back from commercial, and Ryback is in the middle of a huge vertical suplex Davey Boy Smith style and Ziggler rolls to the outside again. Back inside, and Ziggler tries to kick Ryback on his way back into the ring, but Ryback catches him and launches him backwards before Big. E Langston gets involved and levels Ryback with a clothesline. Ziggler rolls Ryback back inside and goes for the cover and Ryback launches him after one, followed by another beautiful drop kick from Ziggler. Ziggler avoids a charge in the corner and Ryback rams shoulder-first into the ring post and Ziggler nails the hanging DDT. Ziggler slaps on a sleeper hold, but Ryback counters with a stunner. Ziggler goes for a Stinger Splash and literally just runs into Ryback. Ryback flapjacks Ziggler and hits another spine buster. AJ and Big E. are on the apron to distract Ryback, but Ryback isn’t fazed. Ryback connects with another spine buster on Ziggler, and then hits him with a Shell Shocked for the win.
We’re treated to an in-depth look at “The Call” starring Halle Berry and David Otunga.
Back at ringside, and “Cult of Personality” hits as C.M. Punk is on his way to the ring before we head to commercial.
Back from commercial, and C.M. Punk has the microphone. Punk says tonight on live television the world will witness history and those fortunate to be here live is a night that they will talk to their grand children about. A story has been being told for years leading up to this moment, and poetically enough they’ll witness the end as well as the beginning. There are people that will have you believe that tonight is about an epic match between John Cena and C.M. Punk, but tonight is not about a match. Tonight is epic, but it is not about John Cena. As much as you want it to be, tonight is not about The Rock. Punk could stand out here and point at the Wrestlemania sign because the winner of tonight’s contest goes on to Wrestlemania, but tonight is not even about Wrestlemania. Tonight, obviously, isn’t even about the people. As important as the WWE championship is to Punk, tonight isn’t even about that. Tonight is about the one thing more important than the championship, than Wrestlemania, it is about the future. It is about C.M. Punk. Punk has held his WWE championship longer than any one in decades. He’s beaten John Cena more times than he cares to remember. He’s pinned The Rock, not once, but twice in four weeks. He is the best in the world and he’s earned the right to go to Wrestlemania in the main event. Punk is immortal, the greatest, the best, and an icon. Punk is God.
Donald Trump is announced as the newest celebrity to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Aside from being a part of Wrestlemania 23 and shaving Vince McMahon’s head, he also hosted Wrestlemanias IV and V in Atlantic City. Vince still hasn’t fully recovered from that shave.
The Great Khali vs. Mark Henry
Khali gains the upper hand early with a big boot and chops. Khali knocks Henry down, and Henry rolls to the outside. Khali follows Henry outside and Henry splashes Khali into the ring post. Back inside, and Henry splashes Khali in the corner and hits the World’s Strongest Slam for the win… Hopefully that’s the end of that.
Miz TV with Jack Swagger, Zeb Colter, and Alberto Del Rio
The Miz says normally he’d start off the show with a lot of hype, but tonight they’re cutting to the chase. The Miz mentions the controversy surrounding Jack and Zeb and tonight, The Miz is giving them the opportunity to say what they want to. Zeb says Glenn Beck chickened out when he invited him to RAW. Zeb introduces he and Swagger as real Americans. Colter mentions the eleven million undocumented workers in our country. The politically correct crowd refuses to call them “illegals.” “They” want to declare the eleven million as citizens. Americans have enough problems finding jobs as it is. These people stomp on our productivity. Zeb says Del Rio and his people drain America. The Miz interrupts and says he wants to hear what Alberto has to say. Alberto says to let Zeb finish. Zeb asks Alberto how hard it is to gain citizenship in Mexico. Zeb asks why anybody would want to be a citizen in Mexico, he does not know, but it takes ten years to become a citizen of Mexico. Zeb says a foreigner cannot own property in Mexico. He asks Del Rio what he’s afraid of. He asks what’s wrong with Del Rio and his people. Zeb says this isn’t personal. Del Rio represents success and the American dream. He encourages millions of people to sneak across our borders in search of that dream. Zeb wants those millions to know there’s only one successful Alberto Del Rio and the millions that fail conveniently forget to leave. Del Rio says it’s time for Zeb to shut up. Del Rio says America does not belong to them, it does not belong to him; it’s the greatest country because it belongs to every one. Del Rio says he’s not different than the people. Del Rio says they’re here for the same reason, to provide their families with a better life. If you work hard in America, every thing is possible. Alberto Del Rio is living proof of that. Alberto says Swagger and Colter are bullying people by hiding behind the constitution. Alberto hasn’t met a bully like Colter until now. Alberto says they should do something to make them leave. Swagger says they’ll see him at Wrestlemania. We the people.
Next week, RAW goes old school.
During the commercial break Zeb Colter confronted the Miz at the top of the ramp saying he didn’t like the biased-way he conducted the interview before Jack Swagger attacked The Miz.
Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro
After some brief back and forth, Orton hits a nice capture suplex before they start trading upper cuts and Cesaro gains the advantage. Cesaro lands a gut wrench suplex for a two-count. Cesaro begins working over Orton’s shoulder and slaps on a reverse chin lock before a “Randy” chant breaks out in the crowd. Cesaro starts laying in the upper cuts. Irish whip sends Orton to the corner, but he charges out with a clothesline and hits a powerslam. Cesaro rolls out to the apron and hangs Orton over the top rope. Back inside, and Orton hits the back breaker. Orton runs into a big boot. Cesaro comes off the second rope, but Orton hits an RKO out of nowhere for the win.
Backstage, Kane and Daniel Bryan are talking. Bryan says Orton looked impressive and suggests he and Kane get along tonight. Kane says they need to work together because they have the Prime Time Players tonight. Bryan says Kane should stay in the corner because he can take them on by himself. Kane says he can take them with one arm tied behind his back. Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox interrupt. Maddox says he’d like to see exactly what Team Hell No just said. Team Brickie wants to see Team Hell No take on the Prime Time Players tonight. Kane will have one arm tied behind his back, and Bryan will be blindfolded.
Back from commercial, and Sheamus is on his way to the ring in a tuxedo. Sheamus says everybody knows him as the friendly, arse-kicking WWE superstar, but he is also an avid movie watcher. He says last night he opened a cold one and watched a recording of the Oscars. He has a problem with The Academy; they overlooked one of the greatest actors of the 21st century, Wade Barrett. The trailer for “Dead Man Down” is shown, and Sheamus says he wants to show us another trailer that shows the pure acting skills of Wade Barrett. The clip is of Barrett as a henchman with no speaking part. Sheamus says he didn’t even realize Collin Farrell was in the clip until someone told him. Sheamus says Barrett is out of focus and that Tom Hanks wishes he could’ve gotten Forrest Gump that good. He sat on the edge of his seat waiting for Barrett to say or do something. Sheamus is interrupted by Wade Barrett’s music. Barrett says Irish men love the color green, and it’s never been more appropriate than right now with the amount of envy seeping out of Sheamus’ pours. Barrett says Sheamus can make his jokes and the idiots can laugh, but he can’t hide the fact that he is jealous of Barrett. Tomorrow Barrett is going to be attending the world premier of “Dead Man Down” and all Sheamus is going to be doing is going down to a seedy Irish pub. Sheamus tells Barrett to make sure the paparazzi get Barrett’s good side, but judging by his nose, it’ll be hard to do. Barrett goes after Sheamus, and Sheamus misses a Brogue Kick as Barrett rolls out of the ring.
Cody Rhodes vs. R-Truth
Damien Sandow is joining us for commentary. You’re welcome. Some back and forth leads to some dancing from Truth before he smacks Cody in the face. Cody misses the Disaster Kick and pushes Truth to the corner. Cody kicks Truth in the knee. Front face slam by Cody, but R-Truth tries to battle back. Cody now has Truth tied in the ropes and is choking him with his boot. Cody with a snapmare out of the corner and has Truth in a full nelson. Truth powers up back to his feet and sends Cody to the ropes. Truth wins with a quick Flatliner, and Sandow is in the ring trying to attack R-Truth, but Truth sends him packing.
One of Zeb Colter’s YouTube videos is shown about jobs. Colter says he hears millions of American people weeping because they lost their jobs. Swagger says his mom had to get a job because his dad’s twenty-five years at the factory were gone. Swagger was working at age fourteen because we’ve allowed people to sneak into our country because they’ll work for no money and hard-working, English-speaking folks are out of jobs. It’s wrong and Colter and Swagger know it. It’s time to correct this wrong. We the people.
Team Hell No vs. The Prime Time Players
Daniel Bryan is blindfolded and Kane has one arm tied behind his back. I can’t help but notice that Titus O’Neil still has a whistle around his neck. Bryan tries to lock up with referee Charles Robinson. Bryan is trying to feel for O’Neil and the crowd is yelling “No!” as he gets further away. O’Neil uses the whistle to distract Bryan and levels him with a clothesline from behind. O’Neil with a big body slam. O’Neil tags in Darren Young. Young hits a northern lights suplex for a two-count before another quick tag to O’Neil. O’Neil slams Bryan. O’Neil misses an elbow drop and Bryan rolls to the outside and hits Kane because of the blindfold. Young tags in and runs shoulder-first into the corner allowing Bryan to make a tag to Kane bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase “blind tag.” Kane is taking it to Darren Young with one arm. Kane teases a chokeslam, but Titus O’Neil is back in to prevent it. Kane finally gets Darren Young with the chokeslam for the win.
The Shield’s music hits and they’re coming down from the crowd and Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose grab microphones. Ambrose says it’s always got to get worse before it gets better. There will be no peace in WWE until there is justice and honor. They are The Shield, the most effective, dangerous unit in this industry and it makes a lot of people uncomfortable and that’s too bad. Assemble any super team and they still won’t be able to stop The Shield. Roman Reigns says they’re going to fight, and they’re going to win every single time. If you don’t believe in The Shield, justice is going to hunt you down, and grind your bones to dust. Rollins says at TLC they beat Team Hell No and Ryback, and at Elimination Chamber they solved the John Cena problem by defeating the super hero squad of Cena, Ryback and Sheamus. Chris Jericho stuck his neck out too far last week and Rollins put his knee in the back of his skull. Rollins asks if there’s any one else who wants to step up and Sheamus’ music hits.
Sheamus comes out to the top of the ramp and asks if they want a fight, why don’t they come up and fight him? Reigns and Ambrose leave the ring and Randy Orton comes out of the crowd and RKOs Rollins. Orton falls back into the crowd to a loud chorus of “Randy!” chants.
Jack Swagger vs. The Miz
Miz backdrops Swagger over the top to the floor and Miz tries for an axe handle off the apron, but Swagger catches him and slams Miz on the floor. Back in the ring and Swagger is working over Miz’s back but Miz fights Swagger into the corner. Swagger hits a splash in the corner and starts landing knees in Miz’s gut. Swagger scoop slams Miz and hits the Swagger Bomb for a two-count before locking in an arm bar. Miz powers out of it and hits the neck breaker. Both men are down, but Swagger is up first and catches Miz with a big powerslam for another two-count. Swagger punching away on Miz in the corner. Miz trying to rally back now, and hits the running clothesline in the corner. Miz with an axe handle off the top rope gets him a two-count. Miz with a roll-up gets another two-count. Miz gets tied up in the ropes and Swagger goes to work on Miz’s ankle and leg. Swagger locks in the Patriot Lock and Miz taps out.
Backstage, Josh Matthews is with John Cena and Cena says there’s a buzz in the air and they’re moments away from thunder dome in Dallas. A ticket to Wrestlemania hangs in the balance. Punk says Cena can’t win the big one. Cena asked for the match to prove Punk wrong. He’s been to the mountaintop ten times and tonight, none of it matters. Tonight, the better man goes to Wrestlemania. No excuses, no second chances. He doesn’t care what The Rock is cookin’, because he’s serving up humble pie. Tonight, the world will know their time is up, and our time is now.
C.M. Punk vs. John Cena
After several minutes of intense back and forth, Cena gets the first advantage with a big hip toss and C.M. Punk rolls to the floor before we head to commercial.
Back from commercial and Cena hits a big back body drop on Punk. Cena charges the corner and Punk side steps. Neck breaker by Punk earns him a two-count. Punk has Cena in the center of the ring in an MMA-like headlock using his legs, and Cena powers out with his sheer strength. Running face buster from Cena gets a two-count. Side headlock from Cena until Punk is up and running the ropes and nails a heel kick. Now Punk has a side headlock on Cena. Shoulder tackle from Cena. Cena tries for another and Punk ducks, and Cena rolls out to the floor. Suicide dive from Punk leads us to another commercial.
Back from commercial again, and Punk is still in control with an abdominal stretch. Cena hits a couple more shoulder tackles and goes for the spinning slam and Punk counters into an Anaconda Vise. Punk calls for the Go To Sleep, but Cena tries to counter into the STF, but Punk gets to the ropes. Springboard clothesline from Punk gets a two-count. Punk goes for another springboard, but Cena sidesteps and slaps to the STF. Punk manages to reverse into another Anaconda Vise and Cena counters into a crossface. Punk counters into a roll-up for a two-count and both men are down. Both men are up now and trading bombs. Cena starts to gain momentum, but Punk spin kicks Cena. Cena hits the spinning slam. Cena goes for the 5 Knuckle Shuffle, but Punk kicks Cena in the face as he’s bent over. Cena blocks a GTS. Punk hits the high knee in the corner, and Cena blocks the running bulldog into another slam. 5 Knuckle Shuffle connects and Punk slips out of the AA. Cena slips out of the GTS. Sit down powerbomb from Cena for a very close two-count. John Cena climbs to the top rope and Punk crotches Cena. Cena headbutts Punk back to the mat. Cena hits the leg drop from the top rope for another close two-count. Another big kick from Punk knocks Cena down. Another high knee nails Cena, but Cena catches him and hits the AA for another close two-count. This is pretty awesome. Punk rolls to the outside. Punk rams Cena into the ring post and Punk rolls back inside. Cena dives back in the ring at the count of nine. Punk nails the GTS on Cena for another two-count. Cena counters another GTS into an STF. Punk seems close to tapping, but eventually makes it to the ropes to break the hold. Punk hits a piledriver. Punk goes to the top for a Savage elbow, but Cena rolls out of the way. Cena hits a hurricanrana out of nowhere, and the AA for the win! John Cena is going to Wrestlemania to face The Rock as we go off the air.
Follow me on twitter @byrnside.