4/11 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Edge to deliver a shocking announcement, what's next for John Cena now that his WrestleMania 28 match with The Rock is set? The build toward the Extreme Rules pay-per-view begins
By Jason Powell
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Bridgeport, Conn.
[Q1] The show opened with Justin Roberts introducing Michael Cole as the only undefeated superstar in WWE. Cole brought his Slammy with him as he headed to ringside and took his seat inside the Cole Mine next to Josh Mathews and Jerry Lawler, who were behind the announcers' desk.
John Cena's music played and he headed to the ring for a promo. He said to look around because it's a great time to be in the WWE Universe. He said there's chaos, excitement, and energy. "Last week there was an announcement that was made that turned the WWE upside down," Cena said.
Cena stopped to let a good chunk of the crowd chant "Rocky." Cena hyped the match as "icon against icon" and "generation against generation." He said the match is on April 1, 2012, and he will be going one-on-one with The Rock. The "Rocky" chants grew louder for a moment. Cena said it's not just about two competitors fighting for bragging rights.
"I'm telling everyone right now that the main event for WrestleMania 28 will be for the WWE Championship," Cena said. He said it has to be for the richest prize in sports entertainment. He said in order for that to happen, he has to capture the WWE Championship. Cena started to challenge The Miz, but he was interrupted.
Randy Orton's music played. Cena flashed a great look of surprise as Orton headed to the ring. Orton said Cena should step aside and let someone who actually won their match at WrestleMania have the next shot at The Miz. Cena started to talk, but he was cut off again by more entrance music.
John Morrison's entrance theme played and he headed to the ring. After Morrison made his case, Vickie Guerrero belted out an "excuse me" or two. Vickie and Dolph headed to the ring together. Vickie said she should get the next shot. "Alright, if it's not me it should be Dolph Ziggler," Vickie said.
Dolph said he didn't come to WWE to waste his time with Snooki. "More importantly, I have never faced The Miz for the WWE Championship, so until then the line starts here," Ziggler said. The interruptions weren't over yet, as R-Truth's music interrupted Ziggler. Yes, Truth remembered which city he was in. Truth said he has never received a one-on-one WWE Championship match on any show. "And that's the truth," Truth said.
The anonymous general manager email chime sounded and then Michael Cole did his bit from inside the Cole Mine. He said the email came through on his iPad. The GM ruled that all five men would get their opportunity to earn a shot at the title in a five-man gauntlet match that the GM claimed to have invented. The winner of the match will face The Miz at Extreme Rules...
Powell's POV: Wow, it's a good thing that five challengers stepped up just in time for the general manager to put his new five-man match concept plan into action! The Orton interruption of Cena was great and then things kind of trickled downward from there. That said, I can't bitch too much since I'm all for working fresh blood into the title picture.
The announcers hyped Jerry Lawler with Jim Ross in his corner vs. Jack Swagger with Michael Cole in his corner. Cole said that if Lawler wins, he gets to face Cole again. Cole vowed to slap Ross if he got involved... Mathews hyped the Edge announcement and said it will shock the WWE Universe... [C]
[Q2] The first Awesome Kong vignette aired. A sillouette of her face was shown and she was holding a Barbie-like doll in her hand. She flicked the head off the doll and then laughed maniacally. Lawler asked what that was about. Mathews said he didn't know but found it disturbing...
Powell's POV: Kia Stevens won't be called Awesome Kong, but we'll go with that name for now. Cool intro as the idea is obviously that the monster is coming to destroy the Barbie Doll Divas. Very cool.
1. Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella) defeated Eve to win the WWE Divas Championship in 2:20. Eve had the referee use a marker to put an X on the hand of one of the Bella twins. The announcers raved about this as being great strategy. However, they didn't seem to know which Bella was wrestling and which one was at ringside. Cole was still hating on Eve.
The Bellas still attempted the Twin Magic spot. Eve showed the referee the X symbol. Rather than disqualify Brie, the ref told Nikki to "get out of here." Brie capitalized on the distraction and got the pin to capture the WWE Divas Championship...
Powell's POV: Kong can't arrive soon enough. The live crowd saw a title change and simply didn't care.
A shot aired of Sin Cara backstage. Cole said the new "mystifying" superstar would be in action after the break... [C] An ad hyped Big Show as the guest star for next week's WWE Tough Enough...
Backstage, Gail Kim told Eve that she was sorry about what happened. Eve said no one cares about anyone else in the Divas locker room because all they want is their next shot at the Divas Championship. Natalya showed up and tried to say she was sorry that Eve lost the title, but Eve blew her off and said all Divas are the same. Gail and Natalya said they're not like that. Tamina showed up and grabbed something out of a locker and walked away without saying a word...
Sin Cara made his entrance complete with the trampoline...
[Q3] 2. Sin Cara defeated Primo in 4:30. Cole said Sin Cara entered with a lot hype and now it's up to him to live up to it. Lawler said he may find the competition in WWE tougher than he's used to. Sin Cara used a few chops, which drew the usual Ric Flair response.
Both men ended up on the top rope. Primo slipped and pulled Sin Cara off the ropes and to the floor in the process. One of the announcers gave Primo credit for the move. Lawler said he wasn't sure if that's what happened. Funny. Sin Cara stood up and went back to the same spot to get the win with a wild high spot off the top rope... [C]
Powell's POV: The crowd popped for the pyro that went off on the stage when Sin Cara hit the trampoline before the match, but they were very quiet when the match started. Sin Cara's flashy offense popped them a few times. Sin Cara and Primo have been working together on the house shows, so I'm not surprised to see them have a Raw match. Sin Cara seemed to handle the botched spot as well as he could. He didn't really sell it, but Primo sold on the ropes long enough for Sin Cara to go right back to the planned finish. The mask may have helped cover a possible look of terror on Sin Cara's face.
After the break, highlights aired of The Rock and John Cena beating up The Corre... Back live, The Corre stood in the ring for a promo. Wade Barrett said he used to see the other members as equals, but if they're not holding up their end of the bargain, then maybe it's not taking it forward.
Justin Gabriel took the mic and said that his finisher has taken out more guys than anyone. Heath Slater boasted about he and Gabriel being tag champions. Ezekiel Jackson took the mic and bragged about slamming Big Show, and added that he's the most dominant person that Barrett has ever met.
Santino Marella's music played and he walked onto the stage with Daniel Bryan, Evan Bourne, and Mark Henry. He said that if The Corre was in the ring, his group is called APPLE: Allied People Powered Loathing Everything You Stand For. Santino said Team APPLE was challenging The Corre to a fight in the name of Vladimir Kozlov. The group headed to the ring...
Powell's POV: I hate to say it, but I'm okay if they break up The Corre just as they've apparently set Nexus on the back burner for now.
 [C] 3. The Corre beat Santino Marella, Evan Bourne, Mark Henry, and Daniel Bryan. The match was joined in progress. The heels worked over Bryan, who eventually made the hot tag to Santino, who fired up the crowd with his usual offense. However, Justin Gabriel caught Santino with a kick, and Heath Slater pinned him four minutes into the televised portion of the match...
Powell's POV: The apple core jokes from the announcers were about as lame as it gets. In fact, the whole thing didn't get even a mild chuckle out of this viewer.
Jim Ross made his entrance. Cole addressed him over the mic and called him a cross between Barney the Dinosaur and Porky Pig. Lawler went to the Cole Mine and shook it while trying to get inside. Meanwhile, Jack Swagger and Jerry Lawler had to be held apart at ringside. A referee had to hold Ross back from getting inside the Cole Mine...
Powell's POV: Ross going after Cole was the hottest part of the show so far. The live crowd popped big for that, and they were chanting "Jerry" while Lawler and Swagger were in the pull apart. The fact that Ross is still on television tells me there is finally reason to be optimistic that the end result of the feud will be Lawler getting him his job on Raw back. However, I still fear that Cole will reveal himself as the anonymous general manager and take his job back. I hope I'm wrong about that last part.
An ad for Smackdown questioned whether time is running out for Edge now that Alberto Del Rio has become No. 1 contender. Apparently, the producers of the commercial haven't heard about all of the rumors that the WWE announcers keep talking about!...
4. Jerry Lawler (w/Jim Ross) beat Jack Swagger (w/Michael Cole) in 5:15. Lawler mocked Swagger's lap around the ring early in the match. Cole was mic'd, and he annoyingly taunted Lawler and Ross throughout the match. Mathews didn't say a word, meaning there was no commentary. Swagger applied the ankle lock a couple minutes into the match, but The King reached the ropes.
[Q5] The cameras as much of Cole taunting at ringside as they did of the match. After selling for a couple of minutes, Lawler fired up and hit Swagger with repeated punches. Lawler also hit Swagger with a dropkick to the back. Late in the match, Cole stood on the ring apron, but Ross pulled him down. Swagger went after Ross, and Lawler rolled up Swagger for the pin.
Mathews chimed in after the match and said Lawler not only gets to face Cole at Extreme Rules, but he also gets to determine the stipulation for the match. Cole entered the ring and chewed out Swagger. "Are you an idiot?" Cole screamed. He said he paid Swagger good money. Cole slapped Swagger, who got pissed. Cole backed out of the ring and backed up the ramp.
Lawler checked in from ringside over the house mic. Lawler said the match would be a tag team match with he and Ross teaming to face the team of Cole and "your former friend" Swagger. Cole mouthed the words "I'm so sorry" to Swagger while standing on the ramp...
Powell's POV: Well, so much for the stipulation that Ross will get his job back. The Cole stuff is really getting tired. He's good at what he does more often than not, but he goes so over the top at times that it's hard to take the act seriously. WWE has to know that the fans want to hear Ross call matches, not wrestle matches.
A video recapped the Triple H vs. Undertaker match from WrestleMania 27. The video had still shots of the match and featured commentary from Steve Austin, Edge, Big Show, John Cena, and others...
Powell's POV: A strong video piece. I wish more pay-per-view matches were treated like major events after the fact, as I think it would help sell future pay-per-views if it felt like the shows mattered for more than a week after the show.
A shot aired of Edge talking to John Cena as some sappy music played. Mathews said we'll find out what Edge has to say after the break... [C]
[Q6] Edge came to the ring for a promo. He said a lot of people think that what WWE stars do is smoke and mirrors. He said he wishes that was true, but everyone in the locker room will say otherwise. Edge mentioned his spinal fusion surgery. He said he knows he has been wrestling on borrowed time ever since then.
Edge said he has been experiencing some tingling and he made it through WrestleMania 27. He said he had more tests that determined he has to retire. "Trust me, it's not my choice," Edge said. "The doctors have told me that I've got no choice, and thankfully they found out because I'm not going to end up in a wheelchair now."
Edge talked about the emotional roller coaster his week has been. He praised Christian and said they have been best friends for 27 years. He recalled the two of them going to WWE shows as kids and seeing stars such as Demolition and Hulk Hogan. He recalled going to WrestleMania and seeing Hulk Hogan face The Ultimate Warrior and saying that he was going to do it someday. Edge said he never would have believed that he would headline WrestleMania or hold more World Titles than anyone in the company.
Edge said he can't think of a better way to go out than successfully defending the World Hvt. Championship at WrestleMania. He recalled his first WWE match at age 23. "I feel like I've grown up in front of you," Edge said. "I've a whole lot of mistakes in front of you. I learned from them and I've become a man in front of you."
Edge said he went from being the silent guy running around wearing a trench coat that was too small for him in the streets of New York. He recalled other moments such as being in The Brood, teaming with Christian, and having a live sex celebration. "Thankfully it was with Lita and not Vickie Guerrero," Edge said with a smile.
Edge said he hopes he earned the respect of the fans because he gave them everything he had. He said he's going to miss the crowd and the reaction he got during his entrance. "I don't have to wear tights tomorrow and I'm going to go eat a whole lot of ice cream tonight," Edge said.
Edge mentioned all of the injuries and said if people ask him if he'd do it all again, the answer is "in a heartbeat." Edge thanked the fans, who rose to their feet and gave him a great standing ovation while the fans chanted, "Thank you, Edge." Edge left the ring and slapped hands with a few fans. He went to the top of the Raw stage and held up both index fingers with his back to the crowd. He smiled as his entrance music played and then he walked to the back...
Powell's POV: Wow! A great retirement speech. I'd love to be worked on this one, but it appears that this was a legitimate announcement. That was quite the shocker, and a genuinely emotional moment. "I'm not sure how it came across on TV, but the crowd here was absolutely in a state of shock," writes Dot Net correspondent Jake DeMarco. "They're still in an uproar."
Edge was shown walking through the backstage area as the Raw wrestlers gave him a standing ovation. The wrestlers in the gauntlet match were standing next to one another near the Gorilla position. Goldust (minus the makeup) was among the first to hug him. He stopped and hugged several of his co-workers as his eyes watered up...
Jerry Lawler sat between Josh Mathews and Jim Ross at the announcers' table. Ross said the last thing he expected when he came to Raw was for Edge to retire...
[Q7] The announcers were interrupted by The Miz's entrance theme. Miz and Alex Riley headed to ringside as Mathews hyped the gauntlet match. Miz joined the announcers on commentary for the match...
5. John Cena fought R-Truth to a double DQ in a gauntlet match at 30:40 that also involved Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero), Randy Orton, and John Morrison. Orton and Ziggler started the match. Miz boasted that he's defeated everyone on the list other than Ziggler.
Orton was in control of Ziggler when Nexus showed up. Orton went after them, but Ziggler rolled him up and pinned him with a handful of tights around 2:30. After the elimination, Mason Ryan, Mike McGillicutty, and David Otunga roughed up Orton. Ryan powerbombed him to complete his transformation into the Welsh Batista. [C]
Powell's POV: Orton must be losing a little something with his kicks, as those guys didn't sell the punt to the head nearly as long as some wrestlers from the past. There was no sign of Husky Harris.
R-Truth was out next and his version of the match started at the 7:10 mark. The fans weren't all that fired up about this portion of the match. Truth eliminated Ziggler from the match at 11:05. John Morrison's music played and he headed to the ring to face R-Truth.
[Q8] [C] Morrison and Truth locked up at 15:05. The crowd wasn't much hotter for this portion of the match since they really didn't have any incentive to cheer for one guy over the other. Then again, they had it when Ziggler was in there and they didn't react then either. Morrison missed Starship Pain, and Truth came back with Paydirt to score the clean pin over 20 minutes into the gauntlet match.
John Cena's music played and he headed to the ring while Truth rested on his knees in the corner. [C]
Powell's POV: The commercial breaks are not helping this match. There's just no flow to it. The crowd has been flat a couple times, and just when they perk up following a pinfall and an entrance, the show goes to commercial.
A new commercial for WWE Smackdown noted that Edge will surrender the World Hvt. Championship...
Cena and Truth locked up at 25:25, and the live crowd was hot with "Let's Go Cena" and "Cena Sucks" chants. Cena got the better of Truth, but he acted surprised when Truth managed to kick out of some of his covers. A nice small touch that can only help give Truth in-ring credibility. Cena hit a top rope legdrop, but Truth still kicked out.
[Overrun] Truth mounted a comeback, but Cena came back with his signature offense. He received about a 50/50 reaction from the live crowd when he did the Five Knuckle Shuffle setup. Cena picked up Truth for the Attitude Adjustment, but The Miz and Alex Riley hit the ring to stop it, and the bell rang at 30:40.
Justin Roberts announced that the referee had ruled the match a double disqualification. Ross and Lawler questioned the logic of the ruling. Good for them. The Miz said it looked like a double DQ meant that Cena and Truth are losers. Miz said they can both go to the end of the line because there is no No. 1 contender.
The anonymous general manager's email chime sounded. Lawler went to the podium since Michael Cole was backstage. Lawler announced that the general manager had determined that Cena and Truth will both challenge The Miz in a Triple Threat match at Extreme Rules.
After The Miz was cleared from the ring, R-Truth and Cena exchanged pats on the back that became harder with each pat. Cena finally shoved Truth, and they exchanged a look as Truth backed up the ramp to close the show...
Powell's POV: I'm not a fan of Triple Threat matches, but it is nice to see a new face added to the title mix. My guess is that Truth is turning. He was showing signs that a heel turn was in the works a while back, but then it suddenly halted. The anonymous general manager announcing the match would be consistent with his role as the person who books things that appear to be anti-heel, only to have them work out in favor of the heel. That's my early prediction and I'm sticking to it.
Obviously, the shocker of the show was Edge announcing his retirement. It was a stunning development that shocked viewers at home as well as the live crowd. I know there's a lot of skepticism because it's a pro wrestling retirement, but all signs point to it being legit. If they surprise me by turning it into an angle, then I'll be the first to tip my cap to Edge because I certainly am buying in. It was a treat to follow his career, and if this explains why he went over at WrestleMania, then good for WWE. He deserved that.
Chris Shore and I are teaming up for Dot Net Members' exclusive audio again tonight to discuss Edge's retirement and the rest of the show. You can join us by signing up for the ad-free version of the website, which currently includes stories on Triple H's role in talent development and the Scott Hall situation, by signing right now via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
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