Raw: The Rock (and The Sock) return to electrify Boston
NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling
I like this new fellow, The Rock. He's got a great look and is very charismatic. What's that? He's not new but one of the most popular WWE wrestlers ever? Well, then, by all means, let's welcome him back as we go three hours live from Boston.
Raw gets Rocked tonight as The Great One returns to the show. But first, someone a lot less exciting: Michael Cole. He's out in the ring to get Jim Ross to take the Michael Cole Challenge, and the stakes are high: If J.R. wins all three challenges, he'll get his old job back as the voice of Raw, and Cole will quit. The first challenge is arm wrestling, and Cole prepares with a host of theatrics. Shades of Over the Top! Ross defeats Cole in less than a second. Undaunted, Cole says the second competition is a dance-off. It's hard for words to describe what happens when Ross starts dancing, but the fans seem to like it. But let's not get too excited yet. The last competition is called “Who Weighs Less?” Cole tips the scale at about 200 pounds even and J.R. comes in around 238. Hang on, though, because CM Punk is crashing this party. Punk calls the whole thing a colossal waste of time, except for Ross' dancing. He wants the show to be entertaining, which it will be when he becomes the WWE Champion. John Laurinaitis interjects to brag about his 38,000 Twitter followers. No, really. He books Punk and Big Show versus Mark Henry and Alberto Del Rio. Cole gets in Punk's face and demands an apology. You know this isn't going to end well, and it doesn't, with Cole getting a head butt and the Anaconda Vice.
Someone else is back on Raw, and it's Mick Foley. He goes for the immediate cheap pop as only he can.
Match 1 – Sin Cara and Kofi Kingston vs. Cody Rhodes and Hunico
All four of these men will be in the traditional five-on-five Survivor Series match on Sunday. Yes, they still have those. After a word from our sponsors, Sin Cara flies to the outside to neutralize Hunico. That leaves Kingston mano e mano with Rhodes, who nails the Cross Rhodes to get the fall.
The leader of Team Bring It is on his way into the arena. No bait and switch tonight folks, The Rock is really here.
Santino Marella plays WWE '12 and pits The Rock and John Cena against each other for “the right to face Santino Marella at WrestleMania.” Funny, that. Zack Ryder gets into a bit of a Rock-Cena proxy battle with Santino but does end up getting another signature for his online petition.
Excuse me! Vickie Guerrero hits us with the bad news that Christian has an ankle injury to go with his hurt neck, and thus is out of Survivor Series. She blames Teddy Long for forcing Christian to compete while he was not healthy. Dolph Ziggler interrupts to announce that he is officially on Team Barrett. He's also getting ready for in-ring action after the break.
Match 2 – Dolph Ziggler vs. Mason Ryan
Before we get to the action, Laurinaitis tells J.R. to hit the road and reinstates Cole (sporting an arm sling) at the announce table. While Ryan is busy tossing Ziggler around, Guerrero decides to slap him in the face. Ryan wins by disqualification, and John Morrison chucks Ziggler back in the ring to get his just desserts from Ryan.
Ryder hits up Foley to sign his petition. Mick wants to wear the chain... just kidding. That's one more broski on board. Mick hits the ring after the break to talk about The Rock and Cena. He tries to talk the boobirds in the crowd into seeing Cena as one of the greatest performers in WWE history. Even in Boston, it's a mixed reaction as Cena comes down the ramp. John says he and The Rock don't need to be friends to be a tag team. Foley backs up a step and calls his own relationship with Cena one built on mutual respect. But Mick got himself in trouble by going on Twitter and asking people to give Cena more credit for the great matches he's been in, something he says caused a firestorm of controversy. Foley wants to do a “This is Your Life” for Cena, but John doesn't know if this is a good idea. What song did Foley use to score that? SLAM! Wrestling intern, please get on that. Mick brings out Cena's little league baseball coach, Bull Buchanan, and John Cena Sr. Cena thanks Foley for his efforts but says his life is in the ring, and people are free to feel any way they want about him. Calling it a catastrophe on par with the Gobbledy Gooker, Cena is ready for the segment to end... and The Rock comes out to do just that. He gives Foley a Rock Bottom and exits without saying a word.
Match 3 – Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger
As you'd expect, this is a physical, straightforward battle. Sheamus goes for the Celtic Cross, but Swagger escapes, comes off the top rope and applies the ankle lock. Sheamus manages to wriggle out and hit the Irish Curse. A Brogue Kick seals the deal, much to Vickie's shrieking dismay.
The Bella twins talk to Del Rio about partying with him after he wins at Survivor Series. Ryder suggests coming to fist bump with him all night in the L.I. Instead. It doesn't go over well. Woo, woo, woo!
Match 4 – Kelly Kelly vs. Natalya
Not a fan of Kelly wrestling in a Tom Brady jersey, but that's a matter of personal preference. The match itself is short, with Kelly rolling through a Sharpshooter attempt to get the three count. Did I mention that they gave us a look at the Kelly Kelly cover shoot for Maxim before the match? I didn't? Hmm, must have been distracted...
Laurinaitis tells Brodus Clay on the phone that he won't be making his re-debut this week (again!). The acting GM then turns to Del Rio, mentioning how much trouble it would be for the WWE if Punk wins the title on Sunday. Alberto tells him not to worry, as he'll be champion much longer than Laurinaitis will be GM.
Backstage, Awesome Truth gets some interview time. Miz and R-Truth aren't in a very talkative mood, answering exactly zero questions. Meanwhile, Punk is assaulted by Del Rio on his way to the ring. Referees appear en masse to pull them apart, but is the damage already done?
Match 5 – Alberto Del Rio and Mark Henry vs. The Big Show and CM Punk
All four men work in every combination in the early going. Punk is selling the backstage attack, while Jerry Lawler sells how CM's face turn worked. Punk tries coming off the top rope against ADR, but Henry catches him in mid-air and slams him down. Though Show takes Henry to the floor, Del Rio is able to slide in and pin Punk. He locks in the cross armbreaker to add injury to insult after the bell.
Santino comes out to vow that he'll be a champion next time he returns to Boston. For some reason, Kevin Nash picks this time to make his way down the ramp. Marella doesn't want to get beat up, but Nash says he is one of Santino's biggest fans. Big Sexy asks to see the trombone, but all that gets Santino is a big boot to the face. Nash does more whining about not getting hired by Triple H after receiving the biggest ovation of anyone at the Royal Rumble. A jackknife powerbomb to poor Marella puts an exclamation point on things.
A slimmed down Jonah Hill will be the guest star on Raw next week. And just in case you hadn't heard, WWE '12 is going to be available for PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii a week from tomorrow. I wouldn't mind getting that for Christmas. Hint, hint.
Main Event – Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton
Barrett has his whole Survivor Series team with him. Not to be outdone, Orton brings his squad to back him up. It's all Barrett early, with Orton struggling to get out of some holds. He backdrops his way out and connects with a clothesline and a powerslam. DDT off the ropes for Orton. The Viper stalks, but Rhodes comes in, everyone else follows, and the match is officially over. Hunico is left at the mercy of all five faces, and he gets an RKO before Mason Ryan tosses him out to the floor onto all of his teammates.
The roof is officially blown off the TD Garden as The Rock hits the ring. He says he was eating breakfast by 3:30 and training by 4:30 this morning so he could be ready to shoot the G.I. Joe sequel. But he couldn't wait to get to the arena to address the millions (and millions) of his fans. He says he loves Foley like a brother but couldn't sit by during the earlier segment. The Rock talks up his ability to make things trend on Twitter. The fans start a “boots to asses” chant in response. Rocky calls out Awesome Truth and is obliged when the two heels make their way out. Really? Dissing the idea of Raw getting “Rocked,” they say they make Raw get awesome every time they appear. Truth wants to go right now, but Miz says no, because they don't care what The Rock or the people want. Awesome Truth is content to make history by beating him on Sunday. It's not over yet, though, as Cena wants to add his two cents. Cena apologizes for his partner for bringing nothing for the last seven years but crappy messages via satellite. The Rock retorts by saying Cena isn't used to having the support of someone who's already reached puberty. More Twitter-related repartee follows until The Miz brings an end to it. He's sick of them making Miz and Truth an afterthought. Truth says he'll see them Sunday, but The Rock wants to put boots to asses right now. Rock Bottom on Miz and The Rock walks out, leaving Cena staring at him from the ring. The Rock gives Cena his own “you can't see me” gesture and Cole says the two of them can never coexist as the show fades out.
Monday Night Raw in Boston Photo Gallery
Nick Tylwalk has been writing for SLAM! Wrestling for over a decade but still can't get "fingers to keys" trending worldwide. Follow him anyway at @Nick_Tylwalk or email him at email@example.com.