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WWE RAW - April 8, 2013
by Samoa Rowe
Written in April 2021. Follow me on Twitter @SamoaRowe.
From the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Our hosts are Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, and Jerry Lawler. It's the night after Wrestlemania, which means the crowd is full of noisy international fans who are on vacation and likely been partying all day long.
New WWE Champion John Cena enters to a chorus of boos, but he's in good spirits after having defeated The Rock. The announcers are making excuses for a "partisan crowd" as if Cena wasn't getting booed out of most arenas during this time (including Boston area venues). Cena cuts a sarcastic promo about all the respect, adulation, and cheers one gets for winning a ‘Mania main event while the crowd jeers and then shifts to chanting "boring." Cena asks if the fans want him to dance, maybe a "heel turn?" Cena runs through his catchphrases while the fans chant "same old sh!t." Strap in folks, we've got two more years of this, followed by five years of a similar Roman Reigns push. Cena wants to defend his title tonight and Mark Henry answers the call. The fans interrupt Henry's promo with a "sexual chocolate" chant. Cena quips that the fans want to "have sex with chocolate." PG-era, folks. Henry thinks his destruction of Ryback at ‘Mania should grant him a title match, and the fans actually chant "Feed me more." Cena makes fun of Henry's "breath of a thousand asses" and accepts the match. Smackdown GM Booker T arrives to overrule the match because The Rock is the #1 contender (still waiting on that rematch 8 years later). Cena quips "Once in a lifetime best out of 3?" Since The Rock is injured, Booker gives Henry a match against Cena for a future shot at the title. I don't know why they thought it was a good idea to have a babyface GM make a less interesting match for later, but I don't run this company. That's a wrap on the obligatory 20 minute talking segment that opens Raw 99% of the time.
Daniel Bryan (with Kane) vs. Big E Langston (with Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee)
Bryan can't help but smile while shouting "NO!" at the adoring crowd. Bryan tears into Big E with quick kicks, but Big E answers with a strong uranage. The fans chant "We want Ziggler" while Big E works Bryan over (boy, do they get their wish later or what?). The fans switch to a more appropriate "Daniel Bryan" chant and he sunset flips Big E into position for YES kicks. AJ distracts the ref while Dolph pushes Bryan off the top rope. Kane steps in, but Ziggler pushes Bryan onto him. The Big Ending finishes at 2:21. Fine TV match without a minute to spare.
Winner: Big E Langston
The Miz © vs. Wade Barrett
This year it's Miz's turn to play the loser who wins a title at Wrestlemania and job it away 24 hours later. Miz withstands an early onslaught and returns fire with a vertical suplex. The international fans chant "Let's go, Barrett" as he escapes a chinlock. Miz returns to the chinlock but Barrett smashes free with a closed fist. Miz answers with a baseball slide dropkick and double axe handle off the apron. Barrett hits a neckbreaker through the ropes and it's "RAW ROLLS ON LIVE" time. Back from commercials, Miz runs into Barrett's Winds of Change slam for a hot nearfall. Barrett does the BANG BANG gesture and nails a Cactus Jack elbow drop! Miz reverses a chinlock into a back suplex. Miz mounts a comeback to mostly boos. Miz botches his combination neckbreaker and the fans REVEL in the opportunity to chant "You f'd up." Miz's double ax handle gets 2. Barrett blocks the Figure Four, but Miz blocks the Bullhammer to hit a DDT. Miz blocks Wasteland and locks on the Figure Four. The fans will Barrett into a rope break. Barrett smashes Miz into the ring post and finishes with the bare elbow Bullhammer to win at 9:57 (shown). Well constructed long format TV match, thanks to the red hot crowd, ***.
Winner and new Intercontinental Champion: Wade Barrett
Sheamus visits Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox to complain about Big Show knocking him out at Wrestlemania and demands a match. That's brave of Sheamus to seek a Big Show match in front of this crowd.
Randy Orton approaches Booker T in search of a favor. Like Sheamus, he really wants a match against Big Show. Booker claims he cannot overrule Vickie Guerrero. Orton appeals to Booker's newfound HOF status and changes his mind.
Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger complain that America is not great again on their way to the ring. I'll be honest, sometimes I lay awake at night wondering if Donald Trump's entire presidential campaign was inspired by what he saw Zeb and Swagger doing at Wrestlemania 29. It's not entirely out of the realm of possibilities.
Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger vs. World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez)
This is the smiling "Born in Mexico, made in America" version of Del Rio that no one really liked all that much. He's the reigning midcard "World Champion" of Smackdown. The fans chant "We want Ziggler" while Del Rio and Swagger trade holds. Del Rio hits a tope suicida, which only earns him more Ziggler chants. Zeb cheap shots from the apron, allowing Swagger to take out Del Rio's knee. Swagger picks apart the ankle in preparation of the Patriot Lock. Del Rio answers with a draping armbar, but gets unceremoniously tossed to ringside while RAW ROLLS ON! Back from commercials, Swagger is dominating with a back suplex. Del Rio rallies with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Del Rio is hobbled, which allows Swagger to hit a belly to belly suplex. Swagger puts on the Patriot Lock but Del Rio gets the ropes. Swagger won't let go, so Del Rio reverses into a cross armbreaker. Swagger taps at 8:00 (shown) and packs his bags for permanent midcard purgatory. Match was competent, but the crowd worked against them throughout, **¼.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Del Rio totally oversells his ankle injury while medics check on him, and Dolph Ziggler
's music hits to a monstrous ovation. Seriously, we're talking Austin 1998 levels. Dolph marches to the ring and cashes in Money in the Bank.
World Heavyweight Championship:
Alberto Del Rio © (with Ricardo Rodriguez) vs Dolph Ziggler (with Big E Langston and AJ Lee)
Ziggler pummels the bad leg and hits a swinging DDT for a red hot nearfall. Ziggler misses a head of steam and the crowd groans as Del Rio hits an enziguri. Del Rio locks on the cross armbreaker and Ziggler considers tapping, but he breaks free by attacking the bad leg. The Zig Zag claims the gold at 2:02 and the building erupts again. Possibly the best MITB cash-in in terms of crowd approval. Obviously, this ended up going nowhere, and Ziggler would end up back where he started in a matter of weeks. This is a cool moment in its own right.
Winner and new World Heavyweight Champion: Dolph Ziggler
The Undertaker comes to the ring to celebrate his victory over CM Punk at Wrestlemania. That brings the streak to 21-0 and enough time has passed that I've somewhat forgotten what a big deal it was throughout the late 2000's and early 2010's. Undertaker is the first babyface of the evening that the fans actually like and they give him a standing ovation. Undertaker tries to pay respect to the late Paul Bearer one more time, but he's interrupted by The Shield! They surround the Dead Man, but get caught off by Kane's pyro. Kane and Daniel Bryan rush in to stand side by side with Undertaker and chase off The Shield. Crowd loves this.
We're reaching the part of the show where I start feeling like "Hey, that wasn't so bad, why do I always complain about Raw?" and then realize there's still more than half the show left to go. The 3 hour format is just brutal.
Josh Mathews interviews Dolph Ziggler and friends about his big championship win. Dolph says this is his Wrestlemania moment and it's about damn time.
Santino Marella, Zack Ryder, and R-Truth vs. 3MB (Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre, and Jinder Mahal)
Wow, could anyone have guessed where things would go for Jinder and Drew from here? Truth gets the better of Heath and finds time to dance. Quick tag to Santino, who also brought his dancing shoes. Another quick tag to Ryder, who just plows through Jinder like he owes him money. Drew spinebusters Ryder onto the ring frame to right the ship. Drew hits the Claymore as a mere transitional move, and 3MB cut Ryder off. Drew looks sharp, but eats Ryder's neckbreaker. Hot tag to Santino, who runs wild through Heath. Santino shakes off Drew to hit the Cobra on Heath and win at 3:30. This felt tailor-made for a debuting wrestler to interfere and beat everyone up, but they actually went through with the match and had a normal finish. Acceptable filler.
Winners: Santino Marella, Zack Ryder, and R-Truth
PSA highlighting how darn nice it was of WWE to offer support to Hurricane Sandy victims and teach kids to stop bullying. I know, the irony is sickening.
Last night, Renee Young interviewed Big Show about his 1,047th heel turn (that's a legitimate stat, look it up) when he betrayed Sheamus and Randy Orton. Show claims that THEY turned on HIM, and didn't appreciate the way he sacrificed himself against The Shield.
Sheamus comes to the ring and just dies playing babyface to a crowd that detests him. He is expecting a match with Big Show, and gets Randy Orton instead. The fans only like Orton slightly more as he makes his case to be Big Show's @ss kicker. Turns out fans can vote for who they want to face Show on the WWE app. This is complete dreck. Back from commercials, Orton and Sheamus are still arguing. Orton wins the fan poll with 77%, prompting Vickie Guerrero and Booker T to come out together and throw out the results in favor of a straight up Orton vs. Sheamus match, winner gets Big Show sometime later. You can hear an audible groan across the IZOD Center.
Sheamus vs. Randy Orton
I seem to remember this match is notorious for the crowd hijacking the show. You can feel the hostility from the audience as they lock up. First, we get an "Ole" chant. Sheamus gains control to a "Mike Chioda" chant. Orton seems to relish the moment as he puts on a chinlock, but Sheamus suplexes free. Sheamus applies a chinlock to a "RVD" chant and Orton reverses into a back suplex. The commentators try to laugh off the crowd but they ramp it up with a "JBL" chant, and they're emboldened by Bradshaw's gleeful response. Sheamus dropkicks Sheamus in mid-air as the fans chant for Lawler and even Michael Cole. They take a commercial break with 6:40 gone, and seriously, WHO BOOKED THIS CRAP? They HAD to know that this audience would reject a slow, plodding Orton vs. Sheamus match, and they sent these guys out there to get eaten alive anyway. Back from commercials, the fans are swiftly moving from one ironic chant to another as Orton and Sheamus have the most WWE-style match ever. The fans up the ante by doing the wave, and even Sheamus looks a bit amused. Sheamus blocks the RKO and hits White Noise. The Brogue Kick misses and Big Show's music hits. Show lumbers to the ring to throw Sheamus into the ring post and I assume the match is thrown out at 12:30 (shown), which is just perfect. Fans chant "Thank you, Big Show" while he hits Orton with a KO punch. This was a five star social experiment, but a total DUD otherwise.
Show continues beating up Orton to massive (ironic) crowd approval and a "We are awesome!" chant. Credit to WWE, they have an arena full of their most passionate superfans, who all spent big money to fly across the ocean and pay premium tickets for multiple events, and they are vocally rejecting anything and everything that's being presented to them. This segment encompasses WWE's strange relationship with their fanbase throughout the 2010's.
Fandango vs. Kofi Kingston
Fandango has a total loser dancer gimmick and silhouette lights straight out of 1995. The drunk superfans in the crowd latch on to Fandango's stupid music and start singing and dancing. This, of course, led to WWE completely misunderstanding the fans' ironic response and thinking "Hey, we've got a big star on our hands!" Like Ziggler, Fandango would get injured in the coming weeks, and his push would never recover. Fandango and Kofi barely do anything before Chris Jericho
runs in to attack Fandango and draw a DQ at 1:32. Nothing match, but the fans are happy to see Jericho.
Winner via DQ: Fandango
Jericho smashes Fandango around ringside, even though we just spent four hours watching Big Show do the same to Orton. Jericho makes Fandango tap out to the Walls and two referees have to pry him off. Fandango stumbles up and eats a Codebreaker. All's well that ends well. Fandango amusingly touts his victory on the mic on his back. The fans hum and dance along with his music and the rest is history.
Triple H may have defeated Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania, but he required x-rays on his arm.
Josh Mathews interviews Paul Heyman backstage about the disappointing losses his guys suffered at Wrestlemania. Paul defends Brock, saying he hung in there against Triple H for 23 minutes, smashed Shawn Michaels, and still managed to injure Triple H. Paul won't talk on CM Punk's behalf.
Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow) and The Bella Twins vs. Tons of Funk (Brodus Clay and Tensai) and The Funkadactyls (Naomi and Cameron)
This match was supposed to be a part of Wrestlemania but had to get cut to make room for about 2 hours of self-congratulatory PSA segments. No big loss in the grand scheme of things. The match started during a commercial break, so it looks like they're lucky they didn't get cut again tonight. Cody is sporting his stupid mustache and takes a rana from Naomi. Tensai cannonballs Cody into the buckles, but misses an elbow drop. Disaster Kick on Tensai. Sandow, well loved by the crowd, hits the Elbow of Disdain. Tensai hits a back suplex and tags in Clay, who runs wild through Sandow. The Bellas break up Clay's cover, so the Funkadactyls remove them. Sandow finds himself alone for a Tons of Funk sandwich. Double splashes finish Sandow at 2:26 (shown). Complete fluff.
Winners: Tons of Funk and the Funkadactyls
Mark Henry vs. WWE Champion John Cena
Cena shuffles his feet and showboats early on, but Henry chops him down with a clothesline. The fans resume entertaining themselves by singing Fandango's music while Henry picks Cena apart. Cena answers with a running shoulder block, bu Henry rolls out. Henry nails a kick to the gut and prepares the announce table, but Cena slips out of a slam. Henry rams Cena's spine into the ring post, but Cena pops up and drives Henry into the steps, and wins via count-out at 3:18. Mercifully short, not exactly a brave victory by the new champion.
Winner: John Cena
Henry is rightfully upset and knocks Cena down after the bell and poses with the WWE title. Ryback arrives and hits Henry with a meat hook clothesline and spinebuster. The fickle fans are really into Ryback's "Feed Me More" shtick. The fans boo Ryback for helping Cena to his feet. Cena seems bothered by Ryback's continued crowd gesturing, so Ryback puts him down with the Shellshock and poses with the belt while the fans play along. This would lead to some decent WWE title matches, but in a few months Ryback would be back to square one in the midcard.
Final Thoughts: Memorable show, thanks to the superfans in the crowd, and a fascinating time capsule of the era. Like just about every Raw since mid-2012, it could have stood to lose 90 minutes, but I'm not sure there's any good left in b!tching about it.
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