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Raw: Cena and The Rock have a Kung Pao showdown
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


John Cena was supposed to help start the Daytona 500, but Mother Nature is obviously a fan of The Rock. She should enjoy tonight's show, then, as the two WrestleMania rivals are supposed to come face to face in Portland. Raw is live from the Rose Garden on USA.

Match 1 – CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan

And we're wasting no time tonight, getting right down to business with Punk and Bryan revisiting their match-up from this week's live SmackDown. Before we can get to that, Chris Jericho interrupts the proceedings looking quite miffed. What he has to say is apparently more important than the match, and it seems mostly to be Jericho taking more offense to Punk's claim to be the best in the world. Punk eventually gets sick of listening to Jericho calling him a wanna-be and a plagiarist, and the champ retorts that all of them have taken things from the guys who paved the way. Guys like Bret Hart, for instance. That doesn't really calm Jericho down, as he insists that he is actually the best in the world at everything he does. Punk wonders if Y2J is just trying to prove it to himself. Could it be jealousy that is motivating him? Saying he was born to be a pro wrestler, Punk draws the distinction between the two of them by questioning all of Jericho's pursuits outside the WWE. Jericho says everything else is window dressing, and that the only reason he came back was to embarrass Punk on the biggest stage possible. That's fine with him, because the champ thinks they could possibly have the greatest wrestling match in WrestleMania history. Bryan finally comes down the ramp, accompanied by A.J., John Laurinaitis and David Otunga. The ref tries to restore some semblance of order, and we go out to commercial. Did I mention that Teddy Long and Santino Marella are out with the announcers too? Punk starts taking over the match after a second commercial break. He goes up top to drop the big elbow, but he hurt himself too much to make the cover. Otunga jumps on the apron, and the two champs take each other out with double cross bodies. Santino goes after Otunga, Laurinaitis and Long get into it, and Bryan tries to walk out on the match. Sheamus throws him back into the ring to get hit by a GTS, but Laurinaitis tells the ref to call for the bell. Long will have none of it, shoving Johnny Ace to the mat. The GMs and their proxies argue while Punk tries to celebrate on the stage. Jericho seizes the moment by attacking from behind, slamming him on the stage and locking him in the Walls of Jericho.

With the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Edge and others giving their two cents on it, we revisit the Undertaker-Triple H match from last year's WrestleMania. It was pretty awesome, but will they be able to top it this year? #itsgoingtobetough

Match 2 – Kelly Kelly vs. Nikki Bella

Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler assure us it's Nikki, anyway. Kelly manages to roll through a pinfall attempt and use a bridge to secure the win. That was... actual wrestling. Well played.

Match 3 – John Cena vs. The Miz

Before any in-ring action can get underway, Miz wants to whine a bit about how he puts in so much work promoting the WWE but hasn't been given a WrestleMania match yet. Yeah, life's a you-know-what. Miz tries to make his case for a high profile match by taking it to Cena, but that only lasts until the Five Knuckle Shuffle and Attitude Adjustment set up the STF. Miz quickly taps out, leaving a smile on Cena's face. Meanwhile, The Rock is watching on a monitor backstage, jumping around a bit. Apparently he's not coming out just yet, though.

Match 4 – R-Truth and Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger vs. Primo and Epico – World Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match

Wow, there are enough tag teams in WWE to have a Triple Threat Match (#thisjustin). I would not have guessed that. The early action sends nearly everyone out to the floor, conveniently allowing a commercial break. Kingston stars when we return, hitting a double Boom Drop. Guys are flying all over the place for a few minutes until Swagger is hit with the Backstabber and pinned by the champs. For some reason, Kane chooses the moment right after the bell to make his way out, planting Epico and Ziggler with a double choke slam. Truth tries to battle him and gets a choke slam of his own.

Long and Laurinaitis exchange insults backstage. Long calls Johnny Ace a horse's ass before getting chased away. Thank goodness we are keeping the in-ring action short to give these two more time to argue!

A video package takes us back to the birth of the “hoeski.” And now we get to hear from Eve herself, though what she can say at this point is beyond me. Eve says there isn't a man in the world who wouldn't enjoy being used by a woman like her. Well... She says men should blame themselves for their weaknesses. Not sure what the point of that was. Kelly Kelly challenges Eve on her personality change but simply gets a dismissive laugh. And since pimping the WWE Studios movies is part of the deal on Raw, we get a look at the upcoming flick “Bending the Rules.” Two words: Poor Edge.

Main Event – Big Show and Sheamus vs. Mark Henry and Cody Rhodes

Rhodes has a quick announcement about Floyd Mayweather's upcoming May 5 fight against Miguel Cotto. Why? Because it's a great segue into another embarrassing Big Show WrestleMania moment, which in this case means Show getting clocked by Money Mayweather at WrestleMania 24. As Rhodes wants to part of Show, Sheamus decides to make the match a short one by pinning Henry after a Brogue Kick.

The Portland fans go nuts as The Rock makes his way to the ring. He says he's covered in goose bumps because it feels so damn good, though it sounds like he may be getting somewhat of a mixed reaction from some of the fans. A “boots to asses” chant does ring out for a bit. The Rock admits that he is not around every week, but he knows he would not exist without the WWE fans. He explains that when he said he was back for good, he meant it, though that didn't mean he would be around every single week. Rocky also says he respects the audience's intelligence and his heart and soul is in the business, and that the only reason he is standing there now is because he loves the WWE. Turning to Cena, he says that for years, he thought John was a phony. He disputes Cena's assertion that he has “gone Hollywood” and is unapproachable, stating that he doesn't want to talk to Cena, but would rather slap John in the face with a piece of Kung Pao chicken. Then, for some reason, he calls Cena a Kung Pao bitch. The Rock goes on to say the people are tired of Cena, but they aren't tired of being entertained, which is where he comes in. After some further exploration of his ability to make the crowd chant whatever he says, The Rock talks about Cena's missing balls, which finally gets John to come out and join the “fun.” Cena fesses up to being the guy who runs down The Rock when he's not here, but also when he is here. He draws the distinction between The Rock and Dwayne Johnson, saying he likes the former but not the latter. Cena tells Rocky he's going to beat the hell out of him at WrestleMania before leaving and telling his rival he can “continue trending.” The Rock isn't amused by the way Cena said his piece and left, insisting that The Rock and Dwayne Johnson are the same person. He's got to wrap this up, because it's gone quite long. Smell what he's cooking, then see us back here in seven!

Nick Tylwalk found himself hungry for Chinese food for some reason after tonight's closing segment. Send your best Kung Pao chicken recipes to him using Twitter, Google+ or good old fashioned email.