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Raw: Undertaker's reverse psychology and Cena's new attitude pay off
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


There’s no stopping it now. And when I say “it,” I mean the figurative WWE bus roaring down the road to Miami and WrestleMania. Tonight we’ll find out who CM Punk will face on wrestling’s biggest stage thanks to a 10-man battle royal with everyone who didn’t win the Elimination Chamber matches Sunday night. Raw is live from the Target Center in Minneapolis.

We join this one a few minutes in thanks to some technical issues at SLAM! Wrestling South. Eve Torres is getting tons of boos from the fans as she attempts to explain the kiss she shared with John Cena a week ago. She says they've been friends for a long time, but Cena fires back that because of her, he lost a great friend in Zack Ryder - he lost a broski for a hoeski. The fans like that one. Cena wonders why she didn't just wait and kiss The Rock since both of them are scandalous bitches. That comment reduces Eve to tears, and when Cena tries checking on her, she goes for another kiss. Cena escapes, quipping that he is disease-free and would like to keep it that way, while referees are left to escort Eve back up the ramp.

The Undertaker watches clips of both his recent confrontations with Triple H and their match at WrestleMania XXVII in the world's spookiest video room. He promises to write the end to Triple H's story tonight.

In case you’re wondering, #hoeski is trending on Twitter right now.

Match 1 – Sheamus vs. Mark Henry

Yes, Henry is currently suspended on SmackDown by order of GM Teddy Long, but John Laurinaitis is allowing him to compete on Raw, probably as a favor for Henry's support last night. Sheamus holds his own in a very straightforward affair, looking to seal the deal with the Brogue Kick. Henry dodges it (no, really!) and gets Sheamus up for the World's Strongest Slam, but the Great White escapes the danger and connects with the Brogue Kick to finish this one.

Laurinaitis tells David Otunga that all the people are talking about him, Mr. Excitement. Long drops by for business, not pleasure. He wants the WWE Universe to decide which of them should be running both shows, but Laurinaitis replies that he only cares about what the Board of Directors thinks. After a few more pleasantries, they agree to settle their conflict on this particular evening by having Otunga take on someone from the SmackDown roster. Long gets the last word, telling Otunga that his bow tie makes him look like Pee-Wee Herman's fairy godmother. Stay up!

Match 2 – R-Truth and Kofi Kingston vs. Epico and Primo

Kingston gets a hot tag and starts flying all over the ring. The tag team champs get some distraction help from their manager Rosa, but it turns out to be ineffective. As Truth neutralizes Epico on the outside, Kofi ducks out of a Backstabber and pins Primo with the Trouble In Paradise. Jerry Lawler asks rhetorically if a tag team title shot could be in Truth and Kingston's future. Why not? It's not like the WWE has tons of tag teams competing for the honor.

Ron Simmons is officially announced as the next inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame. I can think of only one appropriate comment: Damn! Backstage, Josh Mathews talks to Chris Jericho, who calls what happened to him at Elimination Chamber a travesty. The rules called for competitors to only lose by pinfall or submission, neither of which happened to him. He vows to make everyone in tonight's battle royal understand why it's the end of the world as they know it.

Match 3 – David Otunga vs. Ezekiel Jackson

Looks like Long has selected Jackson to represent his brand. Unfortunately, it proves to be a poor choice when Otunga wins this quick match by pinfall. Laurinaitis can't seem to wipe the smile off his face (thank you Muppets!), and Michael Cole is pretty pleased about the outcome too.

Through the power of video technology, we get a second look at Shawn Michaels talking Undertaker with Triple H last week. Oh, and the Deadman is on his way out to get the answer he wants from The Game.

The newly short-haired Undertaker makes his typically dramatic walk to the ring. He says living with the memories of what Triple H did to him last year at WrestleMania have been a living hell. He can't bear the uncertainty, which is why he challenged Triple H to a rematch. The Deadman never expected The Game to say no, but he says the choice was not Hunter's to make. Undertaker tells Triple H that the two of them are the last of their kind, like it or not. He says they need to end the uncertainty, and that Triple H can't lie to him about it. Naturally, Triple H isn't going to let that kind of talk go without a personal response, and he heads down to the ring. He only gets a few words out before 'Taker cuts him off, calling his excuses pitiful. The COO says he understands how bad 'Taker wants this, but he says his job is now to make sure their era carries on, that the WWE continues to thrive. He has no desire to extinguish the flame of the torch that the Deadman carries. Undertaker asks a clarifying question: Is it bad for business if he's gone or bad for business of Triple H is gone? According to Trips, it's just plain bad for business. The Game sticks to his guns, declaring that he won't be the one to finish the Undertaker's legend. He's almost out of the ring when the Phenom calls him a coward. Oooh, now you done did it. Or maybe not, because Hunter says he sees what 'Taker is trying to do, and it's not going to work. Undaunted, the Deadman tries another tactic, telling Triple H that Michaels was always better than him, and that he knows he can't do something HBK was unable to do. That may have worked, because an angry Game takes off his jacket and tie and returns to the ring. HHH knows he can finish it even though Shawn couldn't, and the fans chant “Prove it.” Yep, that did it, as Triple H agrees to the WrestleMania rematch. But Hunter says if they are doing it, they need to go all the way. That means Hell in a Cell.

Match 4 – Daniel Bryan vs. Santino Marella

Bryan's boasts about outlasting five other men in the Elimination Chamber are quickly halted by the slightly more businesslike Marella. He goes for an early Cobra but ends up in the LeBell Lock. The Cobra is out of reach, and Santino is quickly forced to tap out.

Match 5 – Kelly Kelly and Aksana vs. The Bella Twins

I don't watch SmackDown, so this Aksana lady is new to me. I do know the Bellas always have some sweet ring gear. Surprisingly, the Bellas use twin magic to steal a win. Oh wait, that's not surprisng at all. #straightfiller

Cena returns to the ring to talk about WrestleMania and The Rock. A bit of a “Rocky” chant gets going, but Cena says he's just Dwayne now, surrounded by an entourage since he went Hollywood. Cena respects Johnson's success but has beef with him for leaving the WWE. Admitting that his own movies haven't been that great, Cena says at the end of the day, he always stuck around, while The Rock said he would never leave again... and then left. Cena adds that the only reason Johnson returned was to promote Fast Five and launch his Twitter account. In contrast, Cena fights for all of the people who've dreamed about becoming a professional wrestler. He can't wait until April 9, when he's at Raw and Johnson is on a movie set laughing at his stunt double. He's here, he's always been here, and he'll always be here. Cena concludes by saying that The Rock will have to kill him to beat him in Miami.

CM Punk joins the announcers for the battle royal that will determine who faces him at WrestleMania. He's sporting a sports jacket that he got at a thrift shop over his ring gear.

Main Event – The Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes vs. R-Truth vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Wade Barrett vs. The Great Khali vs. The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Santino Marella vs. Chris Jericho – No. 1 Contender Battle Royal

Khali is the first man out after darn near everyone else teams up to dump him out to the floor. After a commercial break, everyone else is still alive. Miz is the next man out, saving himself temporarily but eventually getting kicked off the apron. The obligatory sequence of various finishers comes next, followed by Santino eliminating Barrett and Truth. Big Show picks up Ziggler and throws him out, where he lands on the two previously eliminated grapplers. Jericho knocks Kofi off the top turnbuckle, so he's out. Jericho, Rhodes and Marella try to team up on Show, hitting moves on the big man while he's on the mat. Jericho tosses Santino out, but he holds on to the top rope and hits Jericho with the Cobra. Sadly, Rhodes eliminates Marella right after his moment of triumph. Show suplexes both of his remaining foes, then throws Rhodes out. He gets Jericho onto the apron only to have Rhodes assist from the floor in pulling him over the top rope. Punk tries to offer his hand to Jericho but has it rebuffed, adding to the tension between the two men who will now officially face off in Miami. See you in seven!

Nick Tylwalk is wondering why the WWE waited until there were six weeks left until WrestleMania before letting John Cena cut that promo on The Rock. Share your thoughts and/or conspiracy theories with Nick on Twitter, on Google+ or by email.