TONIGHT: Only two episodes of Raw left until Wrestlemania. Mark Henry is slated to compete against John Cena, if Cena is fully recovered from the accident he got into today in Philadelphia. WWE’s Twitter feed teased that Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler may end up on Team Laurinaitis after tonight. I think we can expect CM Punk’s comments in regards to the bombshell Chris Jericho dropped on the WWE Universe last week. All that, and…other stuff!
-The usual fireworks show opened Raw inside the sold-out Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler opened the show talking about the sold-out crowd, as well as the End of an Era match where all three participants will meet in the ring tonight. And don’t forget Mark Henry vs. John Cena, with Rock in Philadelphia as well.
-CM Punk was introduced and he walked to the ring. It’s still weird hearing Cole call Lawler “Jerry” rather than “King.” They showed Jericho’s comments about Punk’s father from last week. Punk started his promo by saying Jericho isn’t in the arena tonight. He said it goes to show what kind of man Jericho is, but in reality, it’s a gift. He said Jericho pissed him off. Punk struggled to admit what Jericho said about his father last week, and his pause was met with a “CM Punk” chant. Punk said it’s not Jericho’s story to tell and it’s none of his business. He said he’s basically under a microscope out there on live TV in front of millions of fans. He said everyone is affected by alcoholism and he doesn’t want some kid to think that because he’s got it bad that he can’t turn into something big. He talked about Jericho wanting to play head games. Punk said if there’s a devil in his DNA, it’s Jericho’s problem. Good line. He vowed to let the monster out against Jericho. He said he won’t let his past dictate his future. Punk said the end of Jericho’s story is that Punk’s father has overcome his addictions and beat his demons. Punk said at Wrestlemania, Jericho is his obstacle and he’s going straight through him to prove that he’s the best in the world. Different kind of promo than we’ve heard from Punk in the past, but it was well-done.
As Punk’s music played, Jericho came on the Titan-Tron “Live via satellite.” Jericho said he didn’t want to face Punk in person because he wants Punk to hear what he has to say. Jericho said he was out of line last week, and apologized. He said this is “Chris” talking, no fancy jackets or none of that stuff. He said he never should’ve brought it up, and apologized to Punk. Crowd booed. Jericho said he’ll never say anything about his father ever on the show again. “However…your sister…that’s a whole other ballgame isn’t it.” Jericho said he found out all about his sister’s substance abuse problems. Jericho said addicts will do anything to get their fix. Jericho said even if Punk overcomes the temptation of drugs, he won’t overcome Jericho at Wrestlemania. Punk stormed around the ring, and his response was heavily bleeped. He then hurried up the ramp to the back, obviously peeved at what he just heard.
-Big Show and Kane were walking backstage. They square off one-on-one next.
(1) Kane vs. The Big Show Kane was already in the ring with his welder’s mask on, shooting his pyro out of the corner. As Show entered the ring, Cody Rhodes came out. He was to join the commentary team, but first, Cole sent it to a video package of Big Show. It started off positive, but took an ugly turn when showing his Wrestlemania moments. Once the match began, Rhodes instead shadowboxed where gloves at ringside. Kane escaped a chokeslam, but ran right into a spear from Show. Show went to the second rope. Rhodes got onto the apron, but Show shoved him off. Kane chokeslammed him off (not as impressive as it sounds) and made the pin.
Winner: Kane, at :52. The whole segment felt rushed.
After the match, Rhodes hit a disaster kick on Show. Rhodes then grabbed handcuffs(?) from ringside and tied Show up behind his back and in the ropes. Rhodes repeatedly pounded on Show with the boxing gloves. Several referees had to restrain Rhodes. Someone had a bolt cutter to finally release Big Show. He struggled to get to his feet in the ring. They replayed Cody’s attack.
-Cena vs. Henry is still to come.
-We got another replay of Rhodes’ beat-down of Big Show.
(2) David Otunga vs. Santino Marella Cole said two members would be added to Team Johnny tonight. Ace and Long sat at ringside for the match. Marella showed off his painted-on abs. Crowd was way behind Santino. He did a pose-off once the match started and the crowd booed Otunga loudly. Santino seemed to hurt his leg flexing and Otunga capitalized. Santino with some lefts, then a hip-toss. Cobra sighting! As Ace and Long argued at ringside, Ace left his phone on the apron. Santino grabbed the phone and stomped on it. he walked right into an Otunga spinebuster, unfortunately. That ended things.
Winner: Otunga, at 1:46. Well, at least Otunga is picking up wins here and there to look somewhat credible as captain.
Ace did the trombone celebration after the match to mock Santino. Long had enough, so he slapped Ace and left the ring before Ace could get his hands on him. On the stage, Long danced to his theme song. Worth it just to see Teddy dance and Ace celebrate.
-They briefly replayed Triple H accepting Undertaker’s challenge and making it Hell in a Cell. The three men involved in that match will be in the ring together tonight.
-The Rock is next, and he has a message for John Cena.
-Looks like a vignette for a new superstar. Hakushi? No, I guess not. Lord Tensai, actually, but he has lots of tattoos.
-The Philly skyline was shown.
-Lawler and Cole talked about the discussion on WWE’s social network and King said it’s 50/50 on who the fans think will win.
-Rock was on the video screen. Rock did the “finally…” thing and said it’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He was standing in front of the statue of Rocky Balboa, and he said Philly is a city of fighters. He said he was inspired by the statue, and he showed a picture of himself at 12 posing like Balboa in front of the statue. Rock made fun of himself for looking goofy at 12 and said even at that time, he dreamed of being the greatest of all-time. He said one year after that picture was taken, the first Wrestlemania took place. They showed a clip of Hogan, then Warrior from WM VI. Rock said he had no idea what Warrior was talking about, but he became an icon. Then he mentioned headlining his first Mania, right here in Philadelphia, against Steve Austin. Rock said he made a vow after losing that he’d never fight someone in jean shorts (and THAT didn’t happen), but he eventually went on to beat Austin and Hogan, but there’s one guy left. Warrior? No, John Cena. But tonight, he’s going to get in his car, come to the arena, his music will hit, he’ll get into the middle of the ring and send Cena a message loud and clear. And if Cena doesn’t get that message, Rock will drive to Pat’s for the biggest cheesesteak, and stick it straight up Cena’s candy ass. Then when Cena is running around Philly with a cheesesteak up his ass, all the greats will thank the Rock. They’ll say “bang, bang!” “Whoooo!” and, looking down from above, “oooh yeah, dig it!” Rock said at Mania, when he beats Cena, the dreams of that 12-year old boy will come true. “Yo Adrian, I did it! If ya smell what the Rock is cookin’!”
-Daniel Bryan came to the ring with AJ in tow. He faces Zack Ryder next.
(3) Daniel Bryan vs. Zack Ryder They showed clips of a Ryder Rally from earlier today in Philly with Zack Ryder saying he should be on Team Teddy. The crowd chanted “We want Ryder woo woo woo.” Bryan locked lips with AJ before the match. Bryan gained the early advantage. Cover for two :55 in. Rear face-lock by Bryan, but Ryder worked out of it. Big boot put Bryan down in the corner and he got whitewashed by Ryder. Tried to go for his finish, but Bryan let him jump in the air, then stepped aside, grabbed the arm, and applied the LeBell Lock. Ryder immediately tapped.
Winner: Bryan, at 1:41. Hopefully Ryder can get a spot on Team Teddy. No surprise Bryan won cleanly here.
-They showed the TMZ story of John Cena being rear-ended earlier today. Apparently, the marketing rep who was with him doesn’t think he’s fit to compete. I thought they’d start the show with that news – feels like burying the lead to discuss it at this length so late. We’ll find out if Cena is ready as he takes on Henry next.
-Flo Rida will play The Rock to the ring at Wrestlemania.
(4) John Cena vs. Mark Henry Cena looked fine in sprinting to the ring. Cole said WWE doctors have cleared Cena to compete, but wondered if he was hurt anyway. He said whiplash-like injuries could take days to develop. Henry shoved Cena off a few times, once sending Cena under the bottom rope and to the floor. Henry pounded on Cena in the corner and laid in a few right hands. Cena was tossed between the ropes and to the floor. Big overhead forearm to the chest of Cena. Cena tried to get back in, but Henry manhandled him pulling him out and threw him into the barricade. “You ain’t goin’ nowhere!” he shouted. Beautiful. They went to break 2:22 into the match.
Back at 5:28. Cena attempted a comeback, but Henry just ran him over with a clothesline. He yelled with intensity, then splashed Cena. It got a two-count at 6:00. Henry missed a corner splash and Cena took him down with a suplex. Five-knuckle shuffle to Henry, but he couldn’t get Henry up for the AA. Cena flipped out of a World’s Strongest Slam and gave Henry the AA for the win.
Winner: Cena, at 7:56. Henry dominated and Cena didn’t kick out of the finish, so I’d say that was a success for Henry.
The Rock’s music hit right after the match, and he walked out on stage. Rock charged into the ring and gave Henry a Rock Bottom. Brief stare at Cena, then he headed back up the ramp. They replayed Cena’s AA to Henry, then Rock’s Rock Bottom.
-The announcers talked about Hunter vs. Taker at Mania and then sent it to a clip of Shawn Michaels revealing that he’s the special guest ref. Later tonight, Michaels, Taker, and Triple H will be face-to-face-to-face.
-The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia was shown.
-Cole sent it to footage of the Divas on Extra last week, where they shot an angle for Wrestlemania. It’s official: Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos vs. Beth Phoenix & Eve.
-The Miz was in the ring out of break. He said that in 1987, King Kong Bundy was in Wrestlemania II, then he fought in a midget match the next year. He said that’s known as the biggest drop-off in WWE Wrestlemania history. Until now. He refused to accept that he won’t be on the show, going so far as to throw out an open challenge tonight to prove that he deserves to be on Team Johnny at Mania. Before he could finish his catchphrase, Sheamus’ music hit. We’ve got a match!
(5) The Miz vs. Sheamus Miz tried a short DDT, but Sheamus just picked him up and put Miz on his back for a forward slam. Johnny Ace and David Otunga were shown watching the proceedings backstage. Back-breaker/neck-breaker combo from Miz for two. Miz locked Sheamus in a rear chinlock after aggressively keeping him grounded. Sheamus fired back with boots in the corner, then a powerslam for two. Brogue Kick missed and Miz delivered a kick to the gut. He hit the ropes, but this time the Brogue Kick connected, folding Miz almost in half.
Winner: Sheamus, at 2:59. At least Miz is losing to main eventers!
Ace and Otunga did not look impressed backstage.
-This Wednesday night, Chris Jericho will be on Jimmy Fallon. Cole then flipped it to footage of Jericho’s comments from earlier. A graphic for Punk vs. Jericho was shown. As was one for Kane vs. Randy Orton. We’ll hear from Orton next.
-Tonight, the End of an Era folks will be in the ring tonight.
-Josh Mathews was…somewhere in the arena. He introduced Randy Orton. Orton walked out and to a platform on top of the stage over to the side. Mathews asked him how he plans on beating the Monster. Orton said the question should be “how does the Monster plan on beating me?” Very philosophical for Orton. Orton talked about beating Kane so badly last summer that Kane shook his hand and became human. Orton talked about Kane’s nicknames and said he’s none of those things. “My name is Randy Orton,” he concluded.
-They aired a Be A Star video with Big Show, David Otunga (yes, WITH the mug) and Stephanie McMahon with them in Bridgeport schools.
-The announcers were shown on camera but before Lawler could fully react to the video, Vickie Guerrero came out and announced the two newest members of Team Johnny at Wrestlemania: Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler. They take on two Team Teddy members, R-Truth and Kofi Kingston, next.
-Back from break, both teams were holding back their women from erupting into a brawl, with Aksana at the side of the babyfaces. Finally, the women were calmed down enough and sent outside the ring so the match could begin.
(6) Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston & R-Truth Kofi with a high-flying start, including a cross-body off the top rope. Ziggler clotheslined Kingston while he was in the heel corner. Swagger Bomb for two. Stephanie McMahon was shown to be Trending, FWIW. Ziggler and Swagger continued to wear Kingston down. Swagger did push-ups on top of Kofi’s back. Ziggler yelled to Kingston that he’d never make it over to the corner. Crowd got behind Kofi, and he was able to DDT Swagger at 3:13. With both men down, the crowd implored Kingston to make a tag. He did, after Ziggler came in. Ziggler bounced around for Truth. He connected on the Lie Detector, then a face-first suplex. Swagger tried to help but failed and was clotheslined over the top. Kingston propelled himself onto Swagger, using the steps as a launch pad. Back in the ring, Ziggler hit the Fameasser on Truth (Truth dove right into it). He put his foot on the rope on a pin, but Vickie shoved it off and the ref didn’t see it.
Winners: Ziggler and Swagger, at 4:35.
Aksana confronted Vickie after the match and shoved her down. She tried to inform the ref of what happened, but Vickie got in Aksana’s face and the two had a pull-apart brawl.
-They showed Hunter doing Undertaker’s vintage moves at the MSG house show last night, including the throat-slash gesture and the Tombstone of Dolph Ziggler.
-Next, the three icons will be in the ring together.
[Commercial Break- CM Punk & Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan & The Miz on Smackdown Friday night]
-Back from break, they showed the finish of Henry vs. Cena and The Rock’s involvement.
-Next week, there will be one more in-ring confrontation between The Rock and John Cena.
-Out first for the main event segment was Shawn Michaels. Once in the ring, Michaels said all people are talking about is him as guest referee. He said after all, he did make a career out of stealing the show and doing it at Wrestlemania – and this year will be no different. He said it’s cool to hold the end of an era in the palm of his hand. He told the fans they’d have to wait ‘til Mania to find out what happens. But can he be an impartial referee? Before he answered that, he addressed Undertaker. He said “end of an era” is just code for “end of the streak.” He said he has stood in Taker’s shoes, and knew the end was inevitable. Taker is in the same place. The bell tolled, lights went out, and Taker made his entrance.
Undertaker’s theme, “Rest in Peace” (how creative) is now available on iTunes, BTW. Michaels tried to speak first, but Taker stopped him. He said Shawn did enough talking last week and it would be in his best interest to shut up and listen. Taker reiterated that the match has to remain pure. He told HBK that before he and his buddy start making plans…but before he could get further, Triple H’s music hit, right at 11:00 EST.
Hunter did his full entrance, complete with the spit-take. Hunter said Taker needs to stop worrying about Shawn, since as much as HBK’s ego wants it to be about him, it’s not. He said it’s about him and Taker. He said their careers have run side-by-side, and they also have Hell in a Cell in common. There have been 24 HIAC matches, and he and Taker have been in 19 of them. Trips said the Cell is where he learned to push the limits, where he learned what it takes to end another man’s career. He said that’s where he thrives and excels. Hunter pointed at the sign and said it’s all on the line April 1st. He said everyone will see the end of an era…the Undertaker’s. Hunter said he knows what it takes to end Taker, but Taker asked, “are you sure?”
Taker said Hunter’s mind, body, soul, wife, kids…is he willing to put it all on the line? That may be a tad overdramatic, and that’s saying something for this feud. Hunter said he was ready. Taker turned around and was about to leave, but stopped short. He walked back over to Hunter and asked if he remembered when he said Shawn was better than him. “He is,” said Taker. Michaels just smirked as he stood next to Hunter. Trips glared at Michaels, who suddenly wasn’t so jovial. They stayed with Triple H and Michaels’ reactions as the show ended.
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Was that Shane Douglas in the crowd trying to draw attention to himself? I guess he thinks being on camera for a minute is gonna draw attention to his promotion full of ECW washouts. Lord Tensai is a pretty cool name- a rarity for the WWE.The name means prodigy or genius in Japanese according to Jason Powell. I've always like ATrain, and I hope he gets a good push and gets over. Last I read the plan was for ATrain to be Laurinaitis' bodyguard, but maybe that's changed.Jericho and The Rock really brought it on the mic tonight. The show wasn't as good as previous few weeks shows, but still pretty solid.
Brodus streak ends at 1 Raw, but there's always Smackdown. Figure they add Ryder on SD or the website, add a fifth guy on that show, and then on the last Raw each GM plays their trump card: Ace brings back Alberto, Long counters with the guy he put out of action, Mysterio.
Originally posted by Reverend J ShaftBy the way, is Lord Tensai Hakushi's shidoshi or something?
I prefer a Hirohito reference. He's finally here! He waited 60 years for revenge for the a-(hmm!)-bombing of Japan, what was another 8.
A-Train is looking at a Jamal-to-Umaga-like surge.
I think Rock's field reports have been by far the best stuff he's done.
Liked Bryan getting a strong win, not sure why that had to be Ryder in his first match in 3 months though.
A-Train is returning! A-Train! He was quite the icon back in the early 2000s. I was just thinking about him the other day, about how cool it was that he randomly showed up in Japan and started dominating their tag team division.
Him, Angle, Big Show, Heyman, and Team Angle made quite the perfect faction back in '03.
Punk called what Jericho said "Bullshit!" twice. Was kinda bummed Jericho was only "via satellite" and Punk just got the opening promo, since we kinda paid to see those two continue their feud more than any of the other guys.
Incredibly hot crowd all night long, we got there during the Superstars tag match of Primo & Epico vs. A-Ry & Mason Ryan and the crowd was actually chanting for Ryan! (Second Superstars match was Beth & Eve vs. Tamina & Natty... apparently farting = face turn. We missed whatever dark match there was.)
Loved the whole wacky Big Show video...all it needed was Yackity Sax.
Easily Rock's best stuff in weeks. Last night he tweeted a bunch of pictures with fans hanging out near the Art Museum area so he obviously filmed it the night before.
The kids in the audience were leaving in droves during the show-closing promo...I guess a combo of it being a school night and that angle not connecting with the younger Cena fanbase?
AFTER the show however... Miz came back out to talk about how he deserves to be at Mania. Then came Rocky, and they were out there for nearly 20 minutes, with Miz running down the Eagles and Phils (including a timely reference to Chase Utley's latest knee troubles), then Rock pointing out a few Eagles in the front row. Miz tried to buddy up to the Rock, offering to be in his corner at Mania and then they can go make more G.I. Joe and Fast & Furious sequels together. It all ended, of course, with a Rock Bottom and People's Elbow, and plenty of loud "Boots To Asses" and "People's Elbow" chants. Also the Miz got to point out more than once that "Cleveland Rocks."
They announced an SD! taping for Philly in mid-September.
One of the best moments of the night: meeting an 8 or 9 year old kid on the subway who not only brought up the Giant Gonzales, but knew which Mania he fought the Taker! I asked him, "Why do you know that? He was a terrible wrestler!"
I was also there live with a couple of friends. It really wasn't that great a show, but being there live will almost always make up for a lackluster show. I was happy to see Rock go back out there after the TV show, especially as he had promised a "surprise" and hitting Mark Henry with a Rock Bottom wasn't a good surprise.
People in Philly love Teddy Long just a little too much. He was more over than Ryder.
"Put on your helmets, we'll be reaching speeds of 3!" "It was nice of you to give that dead woman another chance." "All right, look alive everybody...oh sorry Susan."- MST3K: Space Mutiny Click Here (facebook.com)
The most compelling part of the Taker/HHH build has been watching to see if the hood slips off, and Taker gets 'Shockmastered' on live TV. Is it possible that they're going to glue on a hairpiece, or just do the big bald reveal at WM? (I don't think the Booger Red buzzcut goes with the Undertaker mystique.) But for my money the match was sold at "Hell in a Cell" - otherwise, we all know it will be 20-30 minutes of an excellent match where our emotions will be fked with, and then the Undertaker wins. The subsequent promos seem entirely unnecessary here.
Though I almost thought they were going to overtly say 'Career vs Career' there.
Does Henry looking that good against Cena mean that he's agreed to terms on a new deal?
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Per Wikipedia, Hell in a Cell matches that did not involve Undertaker or HHH:
Mankind vs Kane - 8/24/98 (on Raw is War, 7 1/2 minutes, no contest) Randy Orton defeated John Cena - HiaC 2009 (an event that also had separate Taker and HHH Cell matches) Randy Orton defeated Sheamus - HiaC 2010 (where there was also a Taker Cell match) John Cena defeated Alberto Del Rio, CM Punk, Jack Swagger, and Dolph Ziggler - 9/26/11 (this was a 5:00 Monday Raw Dark Match)* Mark Henry defeated Randy Orton AND Alberto Del Rio defeated John Cena and CM Punk - HiaC 2011 (arguably the only WWE event sold on the Cell gimmick without HHH or Taker involved)
* - edit: HHH must use Wiki too, since this was counted in the 24 previous cell matches referenced in the promo
(edited by TheOldMan on 20.3.12 0041)
** - Further edit: But I notice that's actually 6 matches that neither HHH or Taker appeared in, not 5. The discrepancy is Trips double counting the 6-way HitC WWE Title match at Armageddon 2000, the one where Rikishi fell into a truckbed of hay. The only previous Cell match in which BOTH Taker and H were involved. (Whew.)
Some might see a profanity-laden Punk response a bit beneath him, but given some of the things Jericho was throwing at him, I thought that was a very human reaction. Good work from both guys.
I'm really surprised they had Cena work tonight and risked him hurting himself before the big money match in two weeks.
I know that A-Train wasn't always the best worker on the roster, but at this point, I'll gladly take him (with a few years of New Japan seasoning) over some of the goofs they've called up from FCW over the past few years.
I feel like more should have been made of Zack Ryder's return. I mean, not only was the guy in a full body cast at one point, but he took even more punishment after that! The fact that he can even walk is a miracle in itself, but no mention is made of how remarkable his return to the ring is, worked injury or no.
That very public kiss has me thinking AJ's practicing her heel turn. That's going to be glorious!
I remain intrigued by HHH/UT HiaC and it's going to be interesting to see who lays out Shawn first.
I thought the Rock promo was probably the best one yet. I don't know about an hour dedicated to Rock/Cena infomerical. As someone stated before, its about time Cena started selling for Rock. Now, maybe instead of doing shoot promos that no one gets, we can go into a compelling storyline of Rock needs to beat Cena to be the greatest ever since he put the Icons of Rock N Wrestling and Attitude at Mania, he needs to beat the PG one too. That is far more interesting than notes on a wrist and having your BFFS backstage tweet shit.
Punk should be the one doing all the anti-bullying campaign stuff. He was sincere and seem to speak from the heart. That however was once again over clouded by the need to take a feud that was about pure wrestling and shove it into the toilet. I know the talking internet heads were saying how great this is, I disagree. This is diminishing from what could be the best pure match since Benoit/Kurt at X-7 or Brock/Kurt at X-9 til that botched spot. I am not feeling this feud at all anymore.
Shockingly, the GM feud has me interested. I am a mark for big storylines with a cast of thousands and something fairly meaningful on the line. I think the most memorable storylines involve more than two parties. And while as silly as Vickie/Aksana was, I like the tension and some of the matches its creating. A-Train as some Asian guy, yeah that doesn't sound racist at all. Ugh! Taker/HBK/HHH ending the show lead to an early bed time, thanks guys. All in all, it was pretty good show especially the Miz/Sheamus match that was decent. Yet, I get the feeling all this no touching policy in Cena/Rock, Punk/Jericho and HHH/Taker has lead to more promo time than necessary. If some of these guys would at least be in tag matches, it would be ok, but it seems for everyone bitching about Rock's rather loose work load. Taker, HHH and Jericho aren't doing much either.
(edited by lotjx on 20.3.12 0720) The Wee Baby Sheamus.
Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
Originally posted by graves9Was that Shane Douglas in the crowd trying to draw attention to himself? I guess he thinks being on camera for a minute is gonna draw attention to his promotion full of ECW washouts. Lord Tensai is a pretty cool name- a rarity for the WWE.The name means prodigy or genius in Japanese according to Jason Powell. I've always like ATrain, and I hope he gets a good push and gets over. Last I read the plan was for ATrain to be Laurinaitis' bodyguard, but maybe that's changed.Jericho and The Rock really brought it on the mic tonight. The show wasn't as good as previous few weeks shows, but still pretty solid.
(edited by graves9 on 20.3.12 0013)
I didn't see it or anything - I'm in Denver for the week and, apparently, "live" means "live" so I only caught the last hour or so.
There's footage of the "invasion" posted to his Youtube account but it's just a bit sad - and, apparently, filmed using the worlds smallest camera lens.
The question is where is Al Wilson? I told you I was scared that of the power of ZE ROBO-BOOGIEWOOGIE MAN might kill our hero. I guess that was the cliff-hanger season finale. I can't wait for the new season. It's like waiting for the Sopranos.