It’s probably not a good thing that John Laurinaitis’ final words and Cyndi Lauper’s return to the WWE are the main things being teased at the start of the show.
Raw does start off feeding to the Long Island crowd with a suited up Mick Foley, and guess what? It looks like until a permanent general manager is found, WWE will be doing a week to week interim GMs for Raw and Smackdown, and they’ll be starting with local boy Foley. Mick first announces that Kane and Bryan will go against Sheamus and Punk (because Sheamus has absolutely nothing to do right now with no rivals). Next he introduces the first of our promoted appearances, as John Laurinaitis comes to the ring for his farewell address. The crowd gives him the business so instead of saying anything now, Johnny just says that before he got fired he scheduled a match for tonight putting John Cena vs the Big Show, David Otunga, and Johnny Ace himself. The Sheamus/Punk vs Kane/Bryan match leads things off, which means that once again we start things off with a wrestling match, and end things with a lousy soap opera. Maybe I’ll just watch the first two hours when we start getting three hour Raw’s every week.
Like most other good wrestling crowds, Long Island loves Daniel Bryan. The match barely started before the YES chants started. Meanwhile Cole makes mention that CM Punk’s title reign is the fourth longest of the last 15 years at 211 days, which says all you need to know about the last 15 years of wrestling. It’s a good match with plenty of good spots, but it also has three guys we just saw fight each other every night for a month. Fortunately Sheamus has been in and not Punk for most of the match (which I would normally never say), so we at least get something a little newer. A Bryan miss leads into Sheamus tagging in a fresh Punk which leads to him and Bryan having the best three minute stretch of pure wrestling you could ask for. At the end of it though AJ’s music hits (her interference now his prefaced with music) and Cray-J comes out in Kane gear, skips around the ring and heads back up the ramp drawing Kane out to follow her. Once again Bryan is left alone and once again Punk capitalizes with a Go to Sleep (this time followed with a Brogue Kick) and for the third week in a row, AJ distracts Kane leading to a CM Punk win. Bryan has got to get a feud going with Kane right? He’s been smacked around in each of the last two Raw’s because Kane can’t keep it in his pants. That means a Kane face turn would have to be in order too. If that’s what happens then that whole “embrace the hate” thing wouldn’t have exactly had legs.
Swagger and Ziggler arguing about who Vicki’s alpha dog is. Looks like she’s going to choose one of them tonight, with the two of them meeting in the ring for Vicki’s “ahem” services. I’d imagine Swagger wins just because he needs more help on the mic (the lisp doesn’t help). Losing to Swagger however would take Ziggler down another level which wouldn’t be good at all. Sure enough Ziggler tweaks his knee giving Swagger an opening to beat Dolph without take away too much of his cred in the process. Crowd very pro Ziggler by the way. After two failed tries, Ziggler reverses out of an extended ankle lock and hits a Zig Zag to earn the win and a lip lock with Vicki (gross). Ziggler continues his push while Swagger could be on the way to being buried without a manager or Ziggler’s coat tails to ride on.
We had been promised that Brock Lesnar would give his answer to Triple H’s challenge for a match at Summerslam, and my boy Paul Heyman is in the house to deliver the response. He is just so damn good on the mic. It’s a shame he’s not a wrestler himself. It’s still weird just seeing him in a WWE ring, but I guess he’s getting his with the ECW dvd so whatever. He gives a quick and emphatic NO to the crowd, which of course prompts Triple H to come out to retort. He says he doesn’t care what Paul Heyman says, and that he only wants to hear Lesnar himself, and he can give him the spotlight he craves. He reveals the poster for Summerslam with Lesnar on the cover as part of his plan to bring him out. To sum it up, Heyman doesn’t bite and trash talks Triple H, who resists doing anything until he mentions Stephanie (Punk would know about that). Triple H backs off Heyman when he realizes yet another lawsuit will be on his hands, but then cold cocks him anyway and storms off. So yes, Triple H/Lesnar is definitely happening at Summerslam, and I’ll bet those lawsuits get decided by the result.
Alberto Del Rio is back! Again! He couldn’t compete last night at No Way Out, but yet here he is on Raw just 23 hours later. Interesting. Perhaps he’ll finally get his shot at Sheamus at Money in the Bank, but tonight he’ll be facing Santino to defend Ricardo Rodriguez’s honor or something. Del Rio makes short work of the US Champion and Rodriguez gets a final parting shot for good measure.
Layla out (not to wrestler of course) to introduce Cyndi Lauper and Wendy Richter (I bet only 30% if anyone in the arena knows who Richter is). Layla adjusting her skirt right in front of the camera might be the highlight of this whole segment. Before Lauper can get into whatever she was going to say Heath Slater comes out to bash Lauper and sing his made up single “One Man Band.” One a life that poor guy has. Anyway to bring the whole Rock n’ Wrestling thing together, Roddy Piper comes out to shut up Slater and get a kiss from Layla (what a life this guy has). Piper presented Lauper with a gold record of “She -Bop” (the song about women pleasuring themselves) to make up for hitting Captain Lou Albano (RIP) all those years ago. Slater wakes up to interrupt again, only to be eye poked by Piper and have the gold record smashed over his head by Lauper. What could have been a pretty dumb segment ended up having a nice moment between Piper and Lauper and a cool throwback to Albano and the gold record.
AW (from All World Promotions) out to introduce Darren Young and Titus O’Neill against Epico and Primo. Once again the crowd is just dead for them. Darren Young specifically just isn’t smooth in the ring. He just needs an extra step or two to get where he needs to be for each move. Epico and Primo and turning face as they get the upper hand, but AW keeps The Prime Time Players from taking further damage, as to be healthy for their upcoming title shot, taking the count out. I’m surprised I even had this much to say about this match.
In more important news, Chris Jericho will apparently be back next week! Has it been a month already? He didn’t exactly seem happy with the WWE after getting suspended (I can’t blame him, he broke a foreign rule he didn’t know existed) and I’ll be curious how he performs, and how WWE uses him, in his return. He was primed to get a title shot against Sheamus before leaving, so he and Del Rio might compete for the same spot.
Johnny Ace in the ring for his final address. He’s still talking trash like he runs the place. Earlier he was ordering around Big Show and Otunga like nothing happened too. A heel to the bitter end (and until he comes back). He announces his teammates for his match again Cena, with Otunga staying loyal too while Big Show having had enough of the whole act. It never made sense that Big Show was so loyal to Johnny after signing his contract, since he couldn’t get fired anyway. Looks like someone finally told Show that because he just said that after last night he proved that he can beat Cena one on one, and that he’s moving on to bigger things (title shot?). He exits and Cena now comes in to face David Otunga and an injured John Laurinaitis. What a main event huh? The crowd screams for Zack Ryder and I can’t believe they he didn’t make an appearance in his home town of Long Island.
Anyway Otunga gets the upper hand for a minute and tags in Laurinaitis (who wasn’t really hurt) to get the pin, but when Johnny goes back to tag Otunga, David turns his back on him (face turn?) and Cena send Laurinaitis off with three Attitude Adjustments and an STU to end the show. Basically nothing happened for the entire two hour Raw. Once again, good luck moving up to three hours. I am curious who Cena will feud with now that Johnny is gone and Big Show doesn’t care about him any more. Perhaps we just found someone for Jericho? I hope not but maybe we’ll find out next week.