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Smarky Re-Cap: WWE Raw - 18th March

We start Raw with the challenger for the WWE Championship (the champion was clearly busy) with a fancy new yellow shirt. I think we can safely say that Cena has run out of colours. Brown is next. Get ready. Cena starts spouting off some stuff about WrestleMania, but is interrupted by Darren Young and Rufus Pancake Patterson, which in reality in Titus O'Neil in a wig. Because you know, Titus O'Neil in a wig is way better than Titus O'Neil without one. After some "funny" (I use that word loosely) back and forth banter, Cena challenges his black counter-part Darren Young into the ring for a match. Cena immediately throws Young out of the ring after the bell rings and we fade to commercial. We waste no time when we come back from the break, as Cena is already in the midst of hitting his Fives Moves of Doom for the win. The announcers hype the return of the Undertaker, who I'm almost 100% sure returned 2 weeks ago. Apparently not being on Smackdown qualifies you for a return on on Raw. In that case, John Cena would be returning every singe week. We cut backstage to see a sweaty Ryback hit himself as he mentally prepares himself for his match with Otunga, because the only way to beat Otunga is with extreme concentration and a little bit of luck.Otunga is a very, very, very dangerous man.Ryback makes his way to the ring as David Otunga does some totally not Chris Masters poses in the ring. After Ryback hits all of his signature moves, Otunga gets laid out with the Shell Shocked and Ryback gets the win. I guess the movie thing hasn't boosted Otunga's WWE career like he thought it would. Ryback picks up the mic and starts doing his best John Laurinaitis impression, but is interrupted by Mark Henry's music. Vickie Guerrero comes out with Teddy Long, because apparently black man is the only guy who can talk some sense into another black man. They stop Henry from going down to the ring and announce that Ryback will be facing Henry at 'Mania instead if the Shield. Pretty obvious that it was going to happen, but it's nice to see. I'm still not sure what this feud is about. Who has the most intimidating stare? We get another video package hyping the debut on Fandango. WWE likes to do the whole postponing debut thing where the guy refuses to wrestle. Happened with Sandow, now with Fandango (sorry, FAAAHN-DAAAHN-GOOO). By the way, Fandango said his name wrong in the video package. Now he's probably going to kill himself.We come back from the break to see Fandango make his entrance using some pretty drastic set pieces, one of which included a giant lighted up Fandango silhouette that hung above the ring. WWE must have some faith in the guy if they are making him set pieces. Before the match can start, Fandango challenges Natalya to say his name. Natalya gets half way through the name before telling Khali to take out Fandango. He books it out of the ring and declares that he will once again not compete. I know it's getting a little tired, but holy crap did he get heat. Johnny Curtis is doing a great job with the character so far. I think a feud with Brodus Clay would make more sense than a feud with Khali though.We come back from the break to see R-Truth dance his way down the ring, looking a lot more like a drug dealer than usual. Damien Sandow follows and craps all over R-Truth. It's a little weird that people are cheering for Truth since he's an illiterate stoner and Sandow is a well spoking intellectual, but I guess once you establish who the bad guy is the good guy is just whoever faces him. After some pretty one-sided offence from Truth, Sandow leaves the ring and gives Truth the count-out victory. So, is R-Truth getting a random push? Are we getting Truth vs. Sandow at 'Mania? I hope neither of those comes true. We go backstage to see the Bellas crawling all over Cody Rhodes, which causes Kaitlyn to cancel her plans with Rhodes. I guess we are supposed to sympathize with Rhodes, as he is starting to turn face, but they guy is cheating on Kaitlyn with Cena and Bryan's girlfriends. What a heel.After a very long 6 day hiatus, the Undertaker has returned to Raw!After a pretty dull first hour, Undertaker's gongs hit and it's time for his return after a long zero week hiatus! The second hour finishes as Undertaker finally makes it into the ring, and he picks up the mic and starts talking about how CM Punk has made it personal. We start to hear Paul Bearer's voice, and it is revealed to be CM Punk on the tron, who is using the urn as a puppet. Yep, this is happening. As long as Bearer's family is okay with this, so am I. No such thing as bad heat for a heel. After juggling, throwing, and dropping the urn (and a good ol' "shit" slip up from Punk). It seems like they forgot the cue to go to commercial, since there was just 5 seconds of dead air where Punk was awkwardly looking into the camera. Good thing "Bow Down To The King" came on. Eases the awkwardness.Punk does a pretty good Paul Bearer expression, though.After a re-cap of what literally happened 3 minutes ago, Team Hell No make their entrance to face the team of Epico and Primo, a team who totally has a chance of winning here. After a good few minutes of action, Team Hell No's ex-girlfriend AJ comes out and does one of her classic "skip around the ring". Either this is a rerun from last summer, or we are getting Team Hell No vs. Dolph Ziggler and Big E and WrestleMania. We go backstage to see Chris Jericho cutting a promo on his IC title match later tonight, but he is interrupted by Fandango. Jericho tries to say his name, but in classic Jericho fashion, purposefully butchers it multiple times. Looks like we are getting Fanango vs. Jericho at 'Mania, which I am oddly okay with. By the way, I would never introduce myself to Jericho. "What was your name? Carlos? Carmen? Carpoop? Carsex? Carflaggerwaffle?".Hey look, it's that guy.We come back from the break for Rhodes vs. Alberto. At first I thought my stream was glitching, but it turns out Del Rio's theme was remixed. Meh. I liked it better before. After a good 10 minute match, Del Rio makes Cody tap out with the armbar. Weird moment during the match where the crowd started to chant USA. Are you booing Del Rio, or do you just chant USA at all the good guys, regardless of where they are from? Before Del Rio's music can even start to get going, Swagger attacks Del Rio from behind, but Del Rio fights him off. Del Rio goes for Zeb, but Swagger comes from behind and slams him into the steel steps. To be honest, the Del Rio/Swagger feud has had a better build up than Rock/Cena. Seeing as Rock hasn't even been on Raw in 2 weeks, it shouldn't even be the main event. Taker/Punk should. Ridiculous. After breaking Ricardo's ankle with the ankle lock, Swagger slowly makes his way out of the arena as Del Rio tends to his friend.Fun Fact: Managers ankles are apparently way easier to break.After the announcer's hype the Hall of Fame, it's time for the reveal of another inductee! And it's?..Booker T. Sigh. Don't get me wrong, Booker T is extremely worthy of the honour, but this would've been the perfect time to induct Paul Bearer. They did play the "We commin' for you!" promo though. Well, the first four words of it at least? After a whole commercial break of Orton posing to the crowd, Sheamus joins his WrestleMania partner to face 3MB. Yep, we're getting this match again. Sheamus and Orton win (of course), and the Shield's music hits as they conveniently make their way through the crowd from the hard camera side. Before they can do anything, Big Show runs (could you call it that?) to the ring and stand with Orton and Sheamus, which sends the Shield back to the concession stands. Looks like Big Show will be celebrating his sweet 16 face turn at WrestleMania.If 3MB can't take out Orton and Sheamus, I don't know who can.After a short commercial break, it's time for Ziggler vs. Kingston number 675,935. They might as well just make "Greatest Rivalries: Kofi vs. Dolph". After some short action, Ziggler gets the "W" (as Joseph Park would say) over Kofi, and officially starts his biggest winning streak ever with 3. Kane's pyro hits and Team Hell No makes their way down to the ramp. Team Hell No challenges Ziggz and Big E for a match, but AJ makes it a title match at WrestleMania. Should be good, but it's pretty clear that Team Hell No will win. Since the WWE Champion and WrestleMania 29 main evener the Rock is not actually on Raw (again), we get a nice little "please forget that the Rock didn't show up" video package. The same video package that has played 60 times over the course of the last month.2 Raws in a row? I don't got time for that.After a lot of video packages, it's time for the main event (yes, the main event) IC Triple Threat Match. If I had it my way, I would have Jericho win the title by pinning Miz, setting up Wade vs. Jericho at 'Mania where Wade would regain the belt, put Miz is probably going to win here. Great match so far. A lot of good action, including a nice spot where Jericho Lionsaulted the Miz while he had Wade in the Figure Four. After Jericho hits Miz with a Codebreaker, Wade and Chris fight over the pin on Miz, but they waste too much time allowing the Miz to recover. After another 5 minutes of great match-yness, Miz catches Jericho with a SCF, but Wade rolls up Miz for the win. Awesome. It's about time Wade got some credibility. The guy's a huge talent.A wild Jericho appears!Time for a good old fashioned contract signing! Triple H makes his way to the ring with his leather jacket, which will never be as good as his denim vest leather jacket thing that he used to wear. Paul Heyman comes down to the ring with a group of security guards and no Brock Lesnar. After a very long promo from Heyman, he jokingly says that the stipulation will be that the loser gets Stephanie. Triple H snaps and throws all of the security guards out of the ring and assaults Heyman. He (aggressively) signs the contracts and throws Heyman to the outside, but Brock comes out smashing a chair to the ground. HHH wields his trusty sledgehammer, but Lesnar just smiles and points at the 'Mania sign. They go to the top of the ramp, where Heyman reveals that the stipulation is a No DQ match, and that Triple H's career is on the line. Pretty decent Raw when it came to the main event stuff (except the Rock/Cena stuff, because ROCK WASN'T THERE). Still, 'Mania is looking like it's going to be pretty good.Shocker of the night, the contract signing didn't go peacefully.Make sure to follow me on Twitter @SmarkInProgress, where I will be making "Hall of Fame, we common' for you!" jokes for the rest of time.WOI BARRUH!

We start Raw with the challenger for the WWE Championship (the champion was clearly busy) with a fancy new yellow shirt. I think we can safely say that Cena has run out of colours. Brown is next. Get ready. Cena starts spouting off some stuff about WrestleMania, but is interrupted by Darren Young and Rufus Pancake Patterson, which in reality is Titus O’Neil in a wig. Because you know, Titus O’Neil in a wig is way better than Titus O’Neil without one. After some “funny” (I use that word loosely) back and forth banter, Cena challenges his counter-part Darren Young into the ring for a match. Cena immediately throws Young out of the ring after the bell rings and we fade to commercial. We waste no time when we come back from the break, as Cena is already in the midst of hitting his Fives Moves of Doom for the win. The announcers hype the return of the Undertaker, who I’m almost 100% sure returned 2 weeks ago. Apparently, not being on SmackDown qualifies you for a return on on Raw. In that case, John Cena would be returning every singe week. We cut backstage to see a sweaty Ryback hit himself as he mentally prepares himself for his match with Otunga, because the only way to beat Otunga is with extreme concentration and a little bit of luck.

Otunga is a very, very, very dangerous man.

Ryback makes his way to the ring as David Otunga does some “totally not Chris Masters” poses in the ring. After Ryback hits all of his signature moves, Otunga gets laid out with the Shell Shocked and Ryback gets the win. I guess the movie thing hasn’t boosted Otunga’s WWE career like he thought it would. Ryback picks up the mic and starts doing his best John Laurinaitis impression, but is interrupted by Mark Henry’s music. Vickie Guerrero comes out with Teddy Long. They stop Henry from going down to the ring and announce that Ryback will be facing Henry at ‘Mania instead of the Shield. Pretty obvious that it was going to happen, but it’s nice to see. I’m still not sure what this feud is about – Who has the most intimidating stare? We get another video package hyping the debut of Fandango. WWE likes to do the whole postponing debut thing where the guy refuses to wrestle. Happened with Sandow, now with Fandango (sorry, FAAAHN-DAAAHN-GOOO). By the way, Fandango said his name wrong in the video package. Now he’s probably going to kill himself.

We come back from the break to see Fandango make his entrance using some pretty drastic set pieces, one of which included a giant lighted up Fandango silhouette that hung above the ring. WWE must have some faith in the guy if they are making him set pieces. Before the match can start, Fandango challenges Natalya to say his name. Natalya gets half way through the name before telling Khali to take out Fandango. He books it out of the ring and declares that he will once again not compete. I know it’s getting a little tired, but holy crap did he get heat. Johnny Curtis is doing a great job with the character so far. I think a feud with Brodus Clay would make more sense than a feud with Khali though.

We come back from the break to see R-Truth dance his way down the ring, looking a lot more like a drug dealer than usual. Damien Sandow follows and craps all over R-Truth. It’s a little weird that people are cheering for Truth since he’s an illiterate stoner and Sandow is a well spoking intellectual, but I guess once you establish who the bad guy is, the good guy is just whoever faces him. After some pretty one-sided offence from Truth, Sandow leaves the ring and gives Truth the count-out victory. So, is R-Truth getting a random push? Are we getting Truth vs. Sandow at ‘Mania? I hope neither of those comes true. We go backstage to see the Bellas crawling all over Cody Rhodes, which causes Kaitlyn to cancel her plans with Rhodes. I guess we are supposed to sympathize with Rhodes, as he is starting to turn face, but the guy is cheating on Kaitlyn with Cena and Bryan’s girlfriends. What a heel.

After a very long 6 day hiatus, the Undertaker has returned to Raw!

After a pretty dull first hour, Undertaker’s gongs hit and it’s time for his return after a long zero week hiatus! The second hour finishes as Undertaker finally makes it into the ring, and he picks up the mic and starts talking about how CM Punk has made it personal. We start to hear Paul Bearer’s voice, and it is revealed to be CM Punk on the tron, who is using the urn as a puppet. Yep, this is happening. As long as Bearer’s family is okay with this, so am I. No such thing as bad heat for a heel. After juggling, throwing, and dropping the urn (and a good ol’ “shit” slip up from Punk). It seems like they forgot the cue to go to commercial, since there was just 5 seconds of dead air where Punk was awkwardly looking into the camera. Good thing “Bow Down To The King” came on. Eases the awkwardness.

Punk does a pretty good Paul Bearer expression, though.

After a re-cap of what literally happened 3 minutes ago, Team Hell No make their entrance to face the team of Epico and Primo, a team who totally has a chance of winning here. After a good few minutes of action, Team Hell No’s ex-girlfriend AJ comes out and does one of her classic “skip around the ring”. Either this is a rerun from last summer, or we are getting Team Hell No vs. Dolph Ziggler and Big E at WrestleMania. We go backstage to see Chris Jericho cutting a promo on his IC title match later tonight, but he is interrupted by Fandango. Jericho tries to say his name, but in classic Jericho fashion, purposefully butchers it multiple times. Looks like we are getting Fanango vs. Jericho at ‘Mania, which I am oddly okay with. By the way, I would never introduce myself to Jericho. “What was your name? Carlos? Carmen? Carpoop? Carflaggerwaffle?”.

Hey look, it’s that guy.

We come back from the break for Rhodes vs. Alberto. At first, I thought my stream was glitching, but it turns out Del Rio’s theme was remixed. Meh. I liked it better before. After a good 10 minute match, Del Rio makes Cody tap out with the armbar. Weird moment during the match where the crowd started to chant USA. Are you booing Del Rio, or do you just chant USA at all the good guys, regardless of where they are from? Before Del Rio’s music can even start to get going, Swagger attacks Del Rio from behind, but Del Rio fights him off. Del Rio goes for Zeb, but Swagger comes from behind and slams him into the steel steps. To be honest, the Del Rio/Swagger feud has had a better build up than Rock/Cena. Seeing as Rock hasn’t even been on Raw in 2 weeks, it shouldn’t even be the main event. Taker/Punk should. Ridiculous. After breaking Ricardo’s ankle with the ankle lock, Swagger slowly makes his way out of the arena as Del Rio tends to his friend.

Fun Fact: Managers ankles are apparently way easier to break.

After the announcer’s hype the Hall of Fame, it’s time for the reveal of another inductee! And it’s…..Booker T. Sigh. Don’t get me wrong, Booker T is extremely worthy of the honour, but this would’ve been the perfect time to induct Paul Bearer. They did play the “We commin’ for you!” promo though. Well, the first four words of it at least… After a whole commercial break of Orton posing to the crowd, Sheamus joins his WrestleMania partner to face 3MB. Yep, we’re getting this match again. Sheamus and Orton win (of course), and the Shield’s music hits as they conveniently make their way through the crowd from the hard camera side. Before they can do anything, Big Show runs (could you call it that?) to the ring and stands with Orton and Sheamus, which sends the Shield back to the concession stands. Looks like Big Show will be celebrating his sweet 16 face turn at WrestleMania.

If 3MB can’t take out Orton and Sheamus, I don’t know who can.

After a short commercial break, it’s time for Ziggler vs. Kingston number 675,935. They might as well just make “Greatest Rivalries: Kofi vs. Dolph”. After some short action, Ziggler gets the “W” (as Joseph Park would say) over Kofi, and officially starts his biggest winning streak ever with 3. Kane’s pyro hits and Team Hell No makes their way down to the ramp. Team Hell No challenges Ziggz and Big E for a match, but AJ makes it a title match at WrestleMania. Should be good, but it’s pretty clear that Team Hell No will win. Since the WWE Champion and WrestleMania 29 main eventer, the Rock, is not actually on Raw (again), we get a nice little “please forget that the Rock didn’t show up” video package. The same video package that has played 60 times over the course of the last month.

2 Raws in a row? I don’t got time for that.

After a lot of video packages, it’s time for the main event (yes, the main event) IC Triple Threat Match. If I had it my way, I would have Jericho win the title by pinning Miz, setting up Wade vs. Jericho at ‘Mania where Wade would regain the belt, but Miz is probably going to win here. Great match so far. A lot of good action, including a nice spot where Jericho Lionsaulted the Miz while he had Wade in the Figure Four. After Jericho hits Miz with a Codebreaker, Wade and Chris fight over the pin on Miz, but they waste too much time allowing the Miz to recover. After another 5 minutes of great match-yness, Miz catches Jericho with a SCF, but Wade rolls up Miz for the win. Awesome. It’s about time Wade got some credibility. The guy’s a huge talent.

A wild Jericho appears!

Time for a good old fashioned contract signing! Triple H makes his way to the ring with his leather jacket, which will never be as good as his denim vest leather jacket thing that he used to wear. Paul Heyman comes down to the ring with a group of security guards and no Brock Lesnar. After a very long promo from Heyman, he jokingly says that the stipulation will be that the loser gets Stephanie. Triple H snaps and throws all of the security guards out of the ring and assaults Heyman. He (aggressively) signs the contracts and throws Heyman to the outside, but Brock comes out smashing a chair to the ground. HHH wields his trusty sledgehammer, but Lesnar just smiles and points at the ‘Mania sign. They go to the top of the ramp, where Heyman reveals that the stipulation is a No DQ match, and that Triple H’s career is on the line. Pretty decent Raw when it came to the main event stuff (except the Rock/Cena stuff, because ROCK WASN’T THERE). Still, ‘Mania is looking like it’s going to be pretty good.

Published with permission from WWE_Stats.

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