WWE.com RAW Results Report for March 18, 2013:
PITTSBURGH — When one is on the road to redemption, it makes perfect sense that the path would lead through Prime Time. John Cena came to the Steel City to expound upon the significance of his personal Road to WrestleMania, but the 10-time WWE Champion found his heartfelt moment interrupted by The Prime Time Players, who derided the Cenation leader and insisted he find a better use for the WWE Universe’s precious time.
Cena, in a surprising turn of events, agreed. It must be said, though, not in the way the tag-team stalwarts probably expected, because Darren Young soon found himself in a match against the No. 1 contender to The Rock’s WWE Championship. Even with Titus O’Neil cheering on Young in the Afro’d guise of his alter ego, “Pancake Patterson,” Mr. No Days Off found himself at the mercy of the Cenation leader, eating a Richter-scale-adjusting Attitude Adjustment that led to a victory for Cena.
Ryback def. Otunga
A banner weekend for David Otunga — the former WWE Tag Team Champion co-starred in “The Call,” the No. 1 thriller in America — led to a miserable Monday when WWE’s resident legal eagle found himself on the wrong end of a one-on-one bout against Ryback in Pittsburgh. While the Harvard-educated Superstar may be able to add “movie star” to his already extensive resume, the “Human Wrecking Ball” still feasted upon the chiseled counselor under the bright lights of the CONSOL Energy Center. Otunga got his licks in, but the monstrosity won out in the end, plastering Otunga with Shell Shocked before victory emboldened him to do something rather rash.
Ryback seized hold of a microphone and roared that, regardless of his business with The Shield at WrestleMania, he would eventually cross paths with recent rival Mark Henry once again. Henry, who lurched forth from the locker room, seemed like he’d rather not wait for that unspecified day to arrive. But faster than you can say “feed me Mark,” Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero appeared and granted the big man his wish, with one caveat: Ryback would be removed from the Six-Man Tag Match alongside Randy Orton & Sheamus at WrestleMania, and would instead face Mark Henry at The Show of Shows.
If the theme of the evening was redemption, then Fandango was certainly in the giving spirit when he granted Natalya a chance to make up for The Great Khali’s mangling of his name the previous week. Of course, no good deed goes unpunished, as Natalya took advantage of Fandango’s narcissism by letting Khali loose on the balletic brawler while she attempted the proper pronunciation. The WWE Universe was certainly excited to see the egomaniacal Fandango get slapped around a bit, but it appears that will have to wait as well. The big man wasn’t quite fleet of foot enough to catch Fandango before he disappeared through the curtain and away from Khali’s clutches.
R-Truth def. Damien Sandow via countout
Still stewing from a tag team loss the the previous week, Damien Sandow proved the importance of a keen mind when he decided he’d rather suffer a count-out loss to R-Truth than a pin in Pittsburgh’s CONSOL Energy Center. Spewing a bit of classic philosophy at the former WWE Tag Team Champion before the bout, Sandow threw punches that were just as effective as his proverbs … until Truth struck with the Lie Detector to bring him within an inch of victory. Sandow had the wherewithal to roll out of the ring, though, taking the 10-count loss instead of risking a pin at Truth’s hands. He’d likely say it was a wise warrior choosing to fight another day. Truth would call it a win.
The Undertaker demanded CM Punk return Paul Bearer’s urn to him
There was little preamble when The Undertaker arrived in the Steel City to address CM Punk’s heinous theft of the late Paul Bearer’s urn, simply an ultimatum: Return the talisman to The Phenom, and Punk’s soul would be spared, even if his in-ring fate is sealed already for WrestleMania (“I’m gonna hurt you, and I’m gonna hurt you bad”).
Punk, of course, had other ideas, appearing on the TitanTron from a remote location with the urn in hand, mocking The Father of Destruction’s voice and warning The Deadman that he’d been consulting with the late Bearer on how to defeat him at WrestleMania. “I don’t have powers,” Punk said as he further desecrated the urn by tossing it around like a basketball, “accidentally” dropping it at one point while The Phenom fumed in the ring. “I am the higher power,” Punk added. “I am the one in 21.”
WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No def. Primo & Epico
Dr. Shelby would be proud of Kane and Daniel Bryan, whose rocky start to 2013 has led to their most productive streak ever as a tag team. The WWE Tag Team Champions have decimated nearly every tandem to cross their path in the last couple of weeks. They added Primo & Epico to the list of their vanquished foes, but AJ Lee wasn’t about to make it such an easy 1-2-3 for her former paramours.
Looking to weaken Team Hell No’s psyche following their respective singles losses to Dolph Ziggler, AJ skipped circles around the ring during the bout in an attempt to worm her way into Hell No’s heads. The scheme didn’t quite work, though, as Kane (who could barely contain his rage following CM Punk’s mockery of Paul Bearer) obliterated Epico with a Chokeslam to earn the win. But AJ didn’t seem like she cared in the least when the champs made a move to confront her on the apron after the bout, skipping away without a care in the world.
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Cody Rhodes; Jack Swagger attacked Ricardo Rodriguez
Heavy lies the crown of the World Heavyweight Champion, and while Alberto Del Rio certainly understands the dangers his championship puts him in, The Essence of Excellence got a harrowing wake-up call when Ricardo Rodriguez found himself in the crosshairs of Del Rio’s No. 1 contender.
Del Rio’s night began on a much more positive note, however, when he went up against Cody Rhodes in a singles contest. The World Champion acquitted himself well in the dynamic, fast-paced bout against the former Intercontinental Champion, countering Rhodes’ fluid offense with whip-fast maneuvers of his own. Rhodes was no slouch either, frustrating Del Rio by withstanding the full brunt of the champion’s offense. But despite his Herculean effort, the “Essence of Mustachioed Magnificence” still found himself trapped in Del Rio’s Cross Armbreaker in what amounted to an ignominious ending to a hard-fought night.
Of course, this was when Swagger made his move, assaulting Del Rio and tossing him in a heap over the announce table. With the champion indisposed, Swagger made his most heinous move yet by trapping Ricardo Rodriguez in the Patriot Lock, unnaturally twisting the ankle of Del Rio’s beloved friend at Zeb Colter’s behest until Ricardo was left writhing in agony. Del Rio eventually got his bearings, but the look on Swagger’s face suggested the damage had already been done.
Randy Orton & Sheamus def. 3MB
Now one partner light headed into their WrestleMania bout against The Shield, Randy Orton and Sheamus came into their match against 3MB in need of a victory, moral or otherwise. Happily, they ended up with both, plus a bonus perk in a potential WrestleMania replacement for Ryback to boot. The Apex Predator and The Celtic Warrior handily dismantled Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre in the tag match, but when The Shield emerged from the throngs of the WWE Universe, the former World Champions appeared to be headed for another beatdown at the hands of the men in black.
Salvation came, however, in the tremendous and unlikely form of Big Show, who stormed from the locker room to help Orton and Sheamus drive the NXT veterans back in a wordless, gesture of good faith toward a potential team-up at WrestleMania. Whether the former champions will accept the giant’s apparent offer remains to be seen, but The World’s Largest Athlete has certainly put in a hell of an application for Ryback’s old job.
Dolph Ziggler def. Kofi Kingston; Team Hell No challenged Dolph & Big E to a match at WrestleMania
The Showoff’s roll continues following wins over the individual members of Team Hell No. His third victory in two weeks came at the expense of former Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston, who found himself in the path of Big E Langston in what has become Ziggler’s M.O. en route to a series of dubious wins. Mr. Money in the Bank had been evenly matched up in the bout against his longtime rival when AJ Lee distracted the referee. Langston capitalized by bulldozing The Boom Squad General into oblivion, leaving Ziggler to pick the bones with a Zig Zag and the 1-2-3.
Lest the WWE Universe think Dolph was getting off that easily, though, Team Hell No put an end to his victory parade by challenging The Showoff and Langston to a tag team match. Before Ziggler could reply, AJ Lee snatched the mic and accepted on behalf of Ziggler and Langston, with two conditions: The bout would be for the WWE Tag Team Titles, and it would take place at WrestleMania.
How did the champs respond? Truth be told, there was really only one response for Kane and Bryan to give: “YES! YES! YES!”
Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett def. Chris Jericho and The Miz
Wade Barrett found himself in an unenviable position on Monday night where not one but two former Intercontinental Champions wanted to get their hands on the brawling Brit’s mantle. But give credit where credit is due: The Barrett Barrage is far more than just lip service. Despite overwhelming odds and the pedigree of his two opponents, the Englishman managed to outwit and outfight both Chris Jericho and The Miz en route to retaining the prestigious championship in a Triple Threat Match that stemmed from a “Highlight Reel” gone sour the previous week on Raw.
With both Jericho and Miz spoiling for a fight, Barrett certainly had the deck stacked against him, but the champion turned the bout in his favor by taking advantage of Miz and Jericho’s considerable animosity for each other. The Englishman toughed it out against Jericho and Miz’s numerous attacks (including a Figure-Four Leglock/Lionsault combo that nearly hobbled him), until he was tossed from the ring and his opponents quickly turned on each other. Barrett bided his time on the outside, waiting until The Awesome One executed the Skull-Crushing Finale on Jericho before rolling up an unsuspecting Miz, notching the three-count and ensuring the great Barrett Barrage will continue on.
Triple H attacked Paul Heyman and signed his WrestleMania contract
Let it never be said that Paul Heyman does not have a plan. And following his dastardly, duplicitous contract signing with Triple H on behalf of Brock Lesnar, let it never be said that he didn’t get The King of Kings exactly where he and Lesnar wanted him. Following Heyman and Lesnar’s ultimatum last week — Triple H gets his proposed WrestleMania match if Heyman and Lesnar get to reveal the stipulationsafterthe contract signing — it probably wouldn’t have taken much prodding from Heyman to get The Game to sign. But Heyman couldn’t resist twisting the knife anyway, needling The King of Kings with crass quips about his wife, Stephanie McMahon, and he paid quite dearly for it.
Triple H handily fought off the mad scientist’s personal security before beating Heyman (who fruitlessly screamed for Lesnar to help) to a pulp, only signing the contract after he was satisfied with Heyman’s humiliation. Lesnar came running then, chair in hand, but Heyman called The Anomaly off before announcing the stipulation: No Holds Barred. But The Game’s excitement over that stipulation turned to consternation when Heyman revealed the second condition of the bout: The King of Kings’ career would be on the line, too. Even battered and beaten, let it also never be said Paul Heyman has lost his flair for instigating chaos.