Tonight’s episode of RAW finds us with 5 episodes of the Monday WWE program remaining prior to Wrestlemania, and there’s quite a bit to wonder about.

Will The Rock show up and answer to John Cena and/or The Miz?  He kicked off the heat between the trio prior to Elimination Chamber, and now that both guys competing in RAW’s World Title match at Wrestlemania have answered, are we going to hear more from The Great One?

The Undertaker is said to be returning to Smackdown this week, so he won’t likely be in attendance at RAW to say much, but what about Triple H?  The game stayed uncharacteristically silent when he approached The Dead Man to interrupt the heralded return on 2.21.2011, but we will eventually need to know what’s going on between the two – other than the fact that they’re going to be having a match at Wrestlemania.  The buzz about that match involves quite a bit of speculation:

– Will it be a Career Vs Streak match?  Could Shawn Michaels possibly be the special guest referee?  I saw that posted on Wikipedia for Wrestlemania during the middle of the Elimination Chamber pay per view, and while I ignored it then, it seems like quite the possibility now.

– What are Triple H’s motives?  Is it just about Shawn Michaels?  Is he involved in the Nexus storyline at all, which supposedly has a long backstory?

– Is Triple H just going to ignore Sheamus, who put him on the shelf for months?

– Is Undertaker going to just ignore Kane and Wade Barrett, who buried him?

Michael Cole ran away from Jerry Lawler last week.  Where does that put them tonight?  Will they work together?  Will Michael Cole find someone to wrestle by proxy?

What about the contestants for the Money In The Bank ladder match?  When will we find out who that’s going to be?

As the night starts, the music we’re hearing lets us know that we’re going to hear from Triple H, as it’s time to play the game!

Jerry Lawler and Josh Mathews are manning the announce desk without Michael Cole in sight, so at least the opening segment should be free of his annoyance.

Based on the hype graphic for the Wrestlemania match between Triple H and The Undertaker, apparently The Dead Man has a new nickname: The Last Outlaw.

Triple H claims that he’s the only challenge the Undertaker has left, and I suppose he’s ignoring John Cena, which is the only guy on the roster who I think has the potential to end ‘Taker’s streak.

Does anyone else look at Triple H as he’s giving this promo and question how much of that he believes?  He doesn’t seem sure of the fact that he’s going to be able to end the streak.

Triple H claims that if he can’t end the streak, he’ll die trying… does that mean he’s putting his career (and LIFE) on the line?

I couldn’t be happier to see Sheamus show up before Triple H can go anywhere, but just like last week, business gets handled without Triple H having to say a word.  Frankly I think it’s lazy to just write things off between the two of them by having Triple H just throw Sheamus around.  It’d be just as bad if this results in Sheamus not being on the Wrestlemania card because of it.

Announce table Pedigree, and from the very moment Sheamus walked into the ring and got kicked in the crotch, Sheamus got dominated.  Good work, WWE, you just buried a potential future superstar just so you wouldn’t have to let him be written into a bit of the Undertaker / Triple H story.

Later in the show, we’re apparently going to be hearing from HBK with his thoughts on the HHH / Undertaker situation.  Prime opportunity for him to lay the groundwork to become the special guest referee.

Coming back from commercial, they’re still trying to pull Sheamus away from ringside, and then the Anonymous General Manager rings in.  The GM doesn’t care if Sheamus is in no condition to compete, he still has to participate in the next match.

Match – Evan Bourne vs Sheamus

Bourne is just now returning from rotator cuff surgery, and he goes right to work on Sheamus.  Bourne makes short work, despite getting hit with one move by Sheamus.

Outcome – Even Bourne wins with the Air Bourne Shooting Star Press.

Before Evan Bourne can even leave the ring, “The Voice Of WWE” Michael Cole is announced, and he smiles all the way down to the ring.  Apparently he’s going to tell us his plans for Wrestlemania, but he has to wait for a commercial first.

Michael Cole, in the middle of the ring with a quiet crowd, returning from commercial, he still asks for our attention.  Pointless.

So Cole calls Lawler into the ring, reminding everyone that Lawler can’t attack him least he gets fired.  Michael then starts talking himself up, saying he doesn’t back down from a fight.  Cole still declines the challenge, however.  The crowd boos, but they don’t seem to realize that they were spared from a rough match.

Caveating what he just said, Cole says he WILL take the match with Lawler IF he’s allowed to have his trainer in his corner, AND if Cole-Sore can pick the special guest referee.  Lawler agrees to the terms.

Cole introduces his trainer:  Former World Champion, All American American Jack Swagger.

Why am I thinking that the special guest referee is going to be Vickie Guerrero (who got “fired” on Smackdown and has been ribbed constantly by Lawler over the past couple months)

As Swagger intimidates Lawler, Cole takes a moment and smacks him in the face.  As Jerry tries to get at Michael Cole, Swagger takes him down to the mat and then keeps an ankle lock on Lawler.

No word on the special guest referee.

After the commercial, Randy Orton hits the ring and talks about putting CM Punk into a permanent rehabilitation facility.  Punk shows up, laughs off the statement, then gets ready to come to the ring.  Then the Anonymous GM speaks up and books Punk vs Orton for Wrestlemania, with the following stipulation:

Over the next few weeks, Orton will face each member of New Nexus in the ring.  Anyone whom Randy Orton defeats will be barred from Wrestlemania.  Anyone who beats Orton will be allowed to stand at ringside during the Wrestlemania match.  If any member of New Nexus gets involved in these preliminary matches, the Anonymous GM will apparently disband the group.

Match – Randy Orton vs Michael McGillicutty

New Nexus barred from ringside, with the potential for New Nexus to be disbanded if they get involved.

Michael Cole reprimanded Josh Mathews for a comment, and Mathews accurately clarified that he never said that Orton’s wins were guaranteed leading up to Wrestlemania.  Does anyone actually think that Randy Orton is going to lose to a member of New Nexus before Wrestlemania?

It won’t be McGillicutty

Outcome – Randy Orton soundly defeats Mike McGillicutty with an RKO

Post match, Randy Orton punts McGillicutty in the skull despite Punk telling him not to (saw that one coming), and then he runs through the crowd to avoid New Nexus as they rush the ring.

The Miz shows up and talks all about how The Rock is ignoring him tonight, claiming that The Rock knows that The Miz is right.  Whatever that means…

I can’t believe Triple H doesn’t want to try to put an end to The Miz as one of his “remaining challenges” here in WWE.

John Cena shows up to remind us that the Wrestlemania match is actually between Cena and The Miz and currently The Rock isn’t actually involved at all.

Cena brought with him a “Doctor’s Note”, which apparently diagnoses The Miz with Obsessive Compulsive disorder – saying The Miz is obsessed with being “must see” and claims he has 200 ats, pees in milk jugs and has tons of pairs of blue khakis.

If that doctor’s note were real, this would be a HIPAA violation.

Cena gives The Miz some advice, telling him that Alex Riley is a big part of the reason why people don’t take him seriously as WWE Champ, and that The Miz should go at things alone without “sharing his legacy with another man”.

Suggestion from Cena:  fire Alex Riley here and now.

The Miz declines, saying he’s sharing his “brilliance” with Alex Riley and being a mentor.

John Cena makes a challenge:  Later tonight, Alex Riley vs John Cena, and if Alex Riley loses, he’s fired.  If Alex Riley wins, John Cena will have to announce that The Miz is the greatest superstar in the history of WWE.

For no reason that I can comprehend, The Miz agrees.  So essentially The Miz starts off by claiming that he wants to mentor Alex Riley and help the next generation of superstars.  Then he allows Riley to be pulled into a match in which Riley will be fired if he’s not as good as one of the top names in the business?  Brilliant.

Anonymous GM speaks up and says that he doesn’t want interference, so the match will take place in a steel cage.

80 minutes into the show and we’ve had 2 matches.  If this show returns from commercial and there’s no match, I’ll be disappointed.

Eve Torres is at ringside, and we know what that means.  Diva’s match!

Match – Battle Royal for the #1 Contendership to the Diva’s Championship

Apparently Eve isn’t happy with the way the Bella Twins have been acting.  Anyone think the winner will be someone OTHER than a Bella Twin?

Final three:  Bella Twin #2 Gail Kim, Maryse

My favorite platinum blonde, Maryse, eliminated.

Gail Kim eliminates one of the Bellas, but the other Bella shows up and throws out Gail Kim, and apparently the referees were too busy with Maryse to notice the “twin magic” and they award one of the Bellas with the victory.

Outcome – Bella Twin wins

After getting another look at what John Cena said last week, we hear from The Rock again.

I’m not doing this one word-for-word.  It starts off with The Rock mocking John Cena for rapping and wearing the silly purple hat and necklace.  Then The Rock takes a couple minutes to welcome himself back to Buffalo, talking about the excitement he’s bringing back to Buffalo… despite the interview being recorded remotely from The Rock’s home in Los Angeles.

The Rock says he’s happy to have the attention of John Cena.  He doesn’t seem too thrilled that Cena addressed him through rap… and I hope that Cena comes back next week and pokes fun at how The Rock won’t show up in person for these interactions.

The Rock talks about how this all started, with Cena calling The Rock “a liar” for claiming he loves the WWE.  The Rock feels insulted by Cena and then talks about how his love for WWE is endless.  (just, not strong enough to show up for 7 years… or even tonight)

The Rock claims he accomplished his goals in wrestling, and he wanted to accomplish success in Hollywood to help open the door to WWE superstars into Hollywood.  I guess The Rock forgets that Hogan was the one who opened that door, and WWE Films helped keep it open.

Consequences, The Rock claims, John Cena will have to face.  The Rock will be addressing John Cena in person sooner than Cena thinks.

Daniel Bryan is on his way to the ring, for what match I’m not sure given the short amount of time still remaining on RAW and the main event still to come after Bryan’s match, and The Miz attacks him from behind and leaves him on the arena floor after some brutality.  He claims to have done that “because [he] can”, welcomes us to The Miz Show, and then says he wants the main event to get started.

Sure, why not listen to a guy who runs around doing whatever he wants?  Empowerment is a great way to get him to stop doing that sort of thing.

Me thinks Daniel Bryan is going to eventually get his revenge in a golden type of way.

Next week, Stone Cold Steve Austin will be in attendance for RAW.  How great would it be if The Rock and Steve Austin were both in attendance that night?

Match time!

Match – Alex Riley vs John Cena

Seriously, if Alex Riley is going to be anywhere near the main event, even if it is just for a random RAW here and there, shouldn’t he get his own theme song?  That fact alone speaks to this being Alex Riley’s last night on RAW for a while.

When John Cena continued his entrance by throwing his hat into the audience and then rushed the ring, was anyone else hoping that he’d forget the cage was there and try to dive in between the ropes to enter the ring?

How many people leaped over to Twitter.com sine The Miz said he was going to be Tweeting from the announce table?

I didn’t.

The match progresses, John Cena regains control, looks for the Attitude Adjustment, but Alex Riley blocks it by grabbing the cage and pulling himself up, a very impressive counter / evasion for the rookie.

The two competitors battle it out on the top rope, trying to get over the top of the cage, but Cena gets the advantage and puts Alex Riley down in the middle of the ring, eventually with the Attitude Adjustment.

Cena then grabs the phone and takes a picture of Riley on the mat, and then there’s a battle between Cena and The Miz to see if John Cena can push his way through the door of the cage… and he does.

Outcome – John Cena wins the match by escaping the cage

Immediately after the match, The Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale on John Cena, leaving him face down outside the ring as the night comes to a close.

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