Before starting the recap tonight, the condition of Jerry Lawler has to be mentioned. In the middle of the program during a match, Jerry “The King” Lawler suffered what multiple reports confirm was a heart attack. He collapsed and was brought backstage where he was given CPR and eventually taken to a hospital. Michael Cole would give updates throughout the rest of the night, and assured us that this was not part of tonight’s entertainment. He is currently in hospitalized and is in stable condition. His heart is beating on its own and he is breathing on his own. We obviously wish Jerry Lawler and his family the best during this time.
Not to make it about me but I know I have said very little nice things about Jerry Lawler. I had a less than pleasant experience when I met him at last year’s New York Comic Con. However Lawler was nothing if he wasn’t professional toward me. He did not need to grant me an interview, but he did. Then after the talk, which had a couple of awkward moments due to certain comments both ways, he gladly signed a photo for my nephews and I was on my way. Based on the reaction he has gotten on twitter from both current and former superstars, and the fans, I am certainly led to believe that the man who signed the photo and granted me the interview is closer to the real Jerry Lawler than the one I had a short and, in hindsight, meaningless argument with on camera. I sincerely hope that I get a chance to interview him again.
Now as I’m sure he would want it (if he even knew what I was doing that is), here is your Raw Recap:
Sharpen your ice skates and grab some maple syrup because Raw is in Montreal this week! Not only that, but Bret “The Hitman” Hart is in the house for his first WWE appearance in Montreal since the screw job. The Canadian crowds are usually great so I am expecting nothing less tonight.
Bret kicks off the show sporting jeans, a blazer and a pink plaid shirt instead of the denim shorts he’s usually comes out in these days. The crowd is going nuts for their fellow countryman. Bret can’t even get a word in. Every time he starts the talk the crowd picks up and he has to start over. He calls the day of the screw job the darkest and also one of the proudest in his career, and thanks the fans for all the support since then. After he wraps it up CM Punk comes out (without Paul Heyman) in his Bret Hart themed outfit. He gets into a nice stare down with a fan in a Hart shirt yelling that Brett is the best. The crowd is very anti Punk.
Punk tells Bret that the screwjob has been discussed and detailed more than enough and wonders what would have happened if Punk faced Bret Hart instead of Shawn Michaels. Hart of course plays to his hometown crowd and says he’d put Punk it a sharp shooter in ten seconds. Punk however says that the match would have completely changed the WWE. Since he would have won without Vince McMahon’s help, there would be no Attitude Era, and then Punk would have jump ship to the thriving WCW, and the WWE would not exist. Bret goes into the “best there is” gimmick, which sends Punk on a rant about how it pisses him off that Hart still says that, and sets his sites on Lawler in the middle of it, cracking a couple of remarks on him as well. Punk calls Hitman overrated and they get into an argument about respect. Punk says when he beats Cena he’ll be known as the greatest WWE Champion of all time and Cena will become a broken, empty shell of a man, just like Bret Hart. Tons of heat for Punk as he leaves the ring to an a**hole chant. Perfect way to depict Punk in full heel mode. You can always count on a Canadian crowd. The only question is will the boo Cena even harder when he talks to Hart later on.
Turns out Punk’s opponent tonight will be decided by the WWE Universe. The twitter options are Brodus Clay, Jerry Lawler and Randy Orton. I’m guessing Orton will take the vote but it can go either way. I’m not going to pretend to know what the people who actually vote on this are thinking.
The tag champions R-Truth and Kofi Kingston team up in the first match of the night against IC Champ, Miz and US Champ, Antonio Cesaro. Cesaro bores the crap out of the crowd by saying prestige in every language. More interesting is the news that there will be a battle royal during the YouTube pre show for Night of Champions, and the winner will challenge Cesaro for his US Championship during the PPV. If Santino wins I might strangle a cobra (get your mind out of the gutter). Truth and Kofi, who still don’t have an opponent at NOC, have all the momentum early highlighted by Kofi doing a flip off Truth’s back onto Miz and Cesaro on the outside. This seemed a little pointless since Kofi can just as easily do the same move spring boarding off the top rope. The highlight of the match so far is Aksana sprawled out on the apron blowing kisses at Cesaro. Miz and Cesaro turn the tide with Truth in the ring, but Truth eventually gets to Kofi he goes through his assortment of moves against Cesaro, but Miz interferes just long enough to delay Trouble in Paradise. Both Miz and Truth get tossed outside the ring, and Kofi ducks under a clothesline to hit a Trouble in Paradise to secure the victory.
Looks like despite the Kane/Bryan anger management sessions sadly coming to an end, the WWE is still trying to find comedy by putting its talent in enclosed rooms off site in pre-recorded comedy bits. This time David Otunga has called for a court ordered deposition with his client Ricardo Rodriguez, and Sheamus, the man who kicked Ricardo in the face. Right off the bat, this bit is a lot more gimmicky. Sheamus gets sworn in, and starts to “swear” at Otunga. For some reason Sheamus also pretends that his last name is Lipschitz (his real name is Stephen Farrelly by the way and I’m pretty sure he’s a jewish as the pope). This is basically all just to tell the joke, “If you’re Lipschitz, then what does your arse do?” Get it!? Anyway, through way to many camera cuts and closeups of Otunga’s face, David builds the case that the Brougue kick should be permanently outlawed, it’s already not allowed for his match against Alberto Del Rio at NOC) due to the physical and mental damage it causes its victims. He brings up Daniel Bryan going crazy and Ricardo wearing a neck brace and blah blah blah. If the pile driver and Randy Orton’s punt have been outlawed in real life, they could have made this a lot more convincing by brining up those moves as precedent. We also have a wrestler trying to outlaw a move in a “sport” that is all about hurting people. Also, Otunga is supposed to be suing Sheamus for hitting Ricardo, but the entire segment was about outlawing the damn kick. There is a lot of reaching here and it all just means a Del Rio/Sheamus match that will be Brogue Kick free. That might mean something if Sheamus hadn’t just started using the
Texas Irish Cloverleaf. Sheamus will face Otunga in the ring later on.
Divas match next putting Layla and Kaitlyn, who are facing each other for the Divas title this Sunday, together with Eve, who is overacting as a face, against Natalya, Beth Phoenix and Alicia Fox (who is a heel now I guess?) The Divas have been getting on TV pretty often lately since barely being around for the month or so prior to Summerslam, so the least I can do is sum up there matches. Natalya doesn’t get any reaction despite being a member of the Hart family, Alicia hits a pretty good bridge, and Eve tags herself in to pin Alicia for the victory, much to the chagrin of Layla. That pretty much sums up all the Diva story lines for the last month.
With all of Canada booing his pink and black wearing ass, CM Punk is out for his match against an opponent of twitter’s choosing. Looks like I know the audience a little better than I thought because 75% of the WWE Universe voted for Randy Orton. Lawler and Clay basically split the remaining votes by the way, which says they want to see Brodus Clay as much as they want to see a 61 year old man (Lawler had his shirt off anyway just in case). Orton and Punk had a great match at WrestleMania a couple of years ago, and as much heat as Punk was getting earlier, they are split between him and Orton. After a short exchange of moves Punk escapes an RKO and attempts to leave the arena. Orton isn’t having it though and he runs up the ramp to drag Punk back into the ring. Punk paid tribute to Bret Hart with an elbow from the second rope. He then goes for the flying elbow (a la Randy Savage) but Orton turns it into a superplex. Orton continues to build momentum and yells “C’mon Montreal” at the crowd, turning the semi split crowd.
After hitting a second rope DDT, Orton gets ready for an RKO but Dolph Ziggler attacks Randy from behind, giving Orton the win via DQ. Orton beats down Dolph and gets ready to give him and RKO, but now Punk jumps in and Randy takes him out as well. With both men down, Orton again looks to hit an RKO on Punk but then Ziggler strikes again, now getting him in the corner. Punk jumps in and starts attacking him as well. (Punk and Ziggler are working together! I think my head is going to explode!) With Orton getting beaten down the crowd chants “Jerry!” and Jerry gets in the ring and goes after Punk. Lawler and Orton clean house and go after their respective rivals outside the ring as they go to commercial. Back from break and AJ decided that Lawler and Orton will team up in a tag match against Dolph Ziggler and CM Punk (my two favorite guys as a tag team. again, I think my head will explode). Lawler’s dropkicks are as good as Cena’s. With Ziggler and Lawler in the ring, the crowd screams for CM Punk. Instead Orton gets tagged in and beats up on Ziggler before Dolph tosses Orton out of the ring. Finally we get a Paul Heyman appearance and ECW chants from the crowd! He meets Punk in his corner and they chat for a while ringside about how much Montreal sucks. Vickie Guerrero tries to butt it but just gets a blank “excuse me” from Punk. Pretty good stuff. While they’re talking Ziggler gets RKO’d and the match ends, with Punk never even glancing to the ring as he and Heyman walk up the ramp. Backstage, when asked by Josh Matthews what their relationship is, CM Punk simply states, “I’m a Paul Heyman guy.” So am I.
(With all of the ring action Lawler has gotten lately, one can’t help but wonder if that had a role in what happened. I know that he wrestles at least a few times a month anyway, so it probably doesn’t matter)
WWE is now pimping a 3 disc set called Rock vs Cena: Once in a Lifetime. That’s going to seem kind of odd when they face each other again sometime in the next seven months.
Who cares about that though, because there is more anger management! Kane and Bryan went into the same room backstage, thinking that the other one had something to say to him (like how a lot of sitcom quarrels end). Turns out it was all the doing of their psychiatrist, Dr Shelby, whom Kane calls the most evil monster he’s ever encountered. AJ called him in because they were so close to a breakthrough last week (with the hugging and such). He said he has a plan for them that will either cure them, or send them into an abyss that they will never recover from, and it all counts on them trusting each other. The tag team is going to happen! They will face the Prime Time Players for a tag team title shot at Night of Champions!
Before we get to that though, we get Heath Slater demanding a rematch against Zach Ryder. Instead of Ryder however, Ryback comes out instead (there is a joke there, but since Ryder made it I don’t want to). Thankfully the pink eye looks completely healed now. Ryback wins of course. Moving on.
Now that that’s out of the way we can get to the tag match. The crowd absolutely loves Daniel Bryan. Early front runner for match highlight is the three guys in suits dancing in unison with the Prime Time Players. That is immediately trumped by the crowd chanting “Oui!” (French for YES!) at Bryan. They also chanted “Prime Time Losers.” The match itself was a lot of Daniel Bryan getting beat up. In the middle of it all the crowd’s attention directs itself toward the broadcast area and there is prolonged silence. Eventually Michael Cole starts calling the match and we start getting “Jerry” chants. Eventually we get a shot with the announce table in the background and Lawler is nowhere to be seen. While this is going on Bryan gets a chance to tag Kane in but he refuses, and misses a head butt from the top rope instead. Now the crowd is all looking toward the ramp where I assume Lawler is being helped out of the arena. Everyone in the ring does there best to keep the energy up but the crowd is way too concerned about Lawler to make much noise. Meanwhile it hasn’t even been acknowledged yet, which can be understood considering they probably don’t know what happened yet either. Again Bryan refuses to tag Kane, but Kane tags himself in with a hard slap and does his thing. After Kane choke slams Darren Young, but before he could finish him off Daniel Bryan slaps Kane to tag himself in. Kane responds by choke slamming Bryan onto Young, giving them the victory by pinfall, meaning that they will face Truth and Kofi on Sunday with the tag team championship on the line. Good setup but completely overshadowed by what happened to Jerry Lawler.
Alberto Del Rio up next to take on Tyson Kidd. He’s likely only getting on Raw tonight because he’s from Calgary and they are in Canada. I notice people going up the stairs to the bathroom or something. Not a good sign. Especially when you consider how many commercial breaks there are during these shows. Crowd is luke warm. Tyson Kidd applies a sharp shooter after first crossing the legs the wrong way and the crowd goes nuts (“Brett Hart used to do that!”) Del Rio eventually gets the ropes, turns the tide and applies the cross arm breaker for the submission win. Del Rio cuts a quick, boring promo. At this time Michael Cole, noticeably emotional, finally addresses the absence of Lawler. He says that Lawler passed out and was taken to the back where CPR was administered on him. Cole would update Lawler’s status throughout the night.
To pay respect to Lawler, the rest of the show would be without commentary.
Sheamus versus Otunga up next. Sheamus has been tweeting about getting his kick reinstated so we naturally got to read all of his tweets just now. I know people hate Michael Cole’s announcing, but it really is weird watching wrestling with no commentators. Aside from going to live shows I don’t think I ever have. Sheamus needs little time to beat Otunga, beating him with the Cloverleaf. He starts to leave the ring but comes back in with the intent of delivering a Brougue Kick. For a face he sure is a jerk. He hits Otunga with it, and AJ immediately comes out. However, before she can say anything Booker T comes out and says that if Sheamus uses the Brogue Kick at any time before his investigation is over (I have no idea what he is investigating), Sheamus will be stripped of the World Heavyweight Championship. Fair enough.
Backstage Dr Shelby is talking to Kane and Daniel Bryan about the match. They are about to go at it but Dr Shelby interjects, and they warm to the idea of being a tag team. That is until they discuss who’s name should come first of course. Sadly Dr Shelby’s suggestion of Team Friendship was knocked down. Meanwhile, Randy Orton versus Dolph Ziggler was confirmed for Night of Champions, even though neither is a champion.
Cody Rhodes now against Rey Mysterio who is in Lakers colors. Rhodes dominates early and hits a sloppy disaster kick (not outlawed) but only gets a two count (that’s why). Rey turns the match around, nailing some high flying moves and a kick to the head. He sets Rhodes up for a 619 but gets distracted by Miz, give Cody the opportunity to hit a Cross Rhodes and take the match. Miz then comes in to give a skull crushing finale to Mysterio, but Rhodes steps in and hits a Cross Rhodes on Miz. He holds up Miz’s Intercontinental Championship much to the delight of the crowd, and perhaps we have a triple threat match on our hands.
Bret Hart finally comes out again to interview John Cena. Talking was never Bret’s strength but you have to do something with him when in Canada. Crowd not exactly pro-Cena. Bret likens the Cena/Punk feud with his feud with Shawn Michaels. Hart says he sees a lot of himself in Cena, which draws a lot of ire from the crowd. He also says he sees a lot of the old Shawn Michaels in CM Punk. A “You can’t wrestle” chant starts, which Cena quickly deflects by praising Bret Hart, which is always good for a cheap pop. Cena goes into the same stuff we’ve been hearing all month, and Punk finally comes out after Hart calls him a phony. Punk then calls Cena the biggest phony in the industry. Punk says he is out to defend himself to all the trash talking Cena and Hart are doing. He says that both John and Bret were surpassed as top dog by superior athletes, Cena by Punk and Hart by Michaels. He continues to say that he is better than Michaels, and Austin, and the Rock. He says he is the best wrestler, talker, technician and brawler. Cena responds by saying that the whole time Punk has been champion the championship has been irrelevant. He talks about all the main events passing without Punk and the biggest thing he did was have his microphone turned off. Cena says that throughout all of his success and failure he has always just been himself, while Punk constantly changes ideologies, wears other legends’ colors and stole Randy Savage’s elbow (oooooooh). He says this is all because he doesn’t know who he is, and that he’s identifying himself by the WWE Championship that he will lose Sunday. Cena then breaks out a little French for the cheapest pop of all time, calls Punk a son of a bitch and says he’s going to kick his ass. Punk, suddenly looking very unsure of himself, then goes to take a cheap shot at Hart, but Cena blocks it and tells Punk to fight him instead. With Cena backed away, Punk again goes to hit Bret, but he blocks it and knocks Punk out of the ring. Punk leaves with his tail between his legs and Cena holds Hart’s hand up in the middle of the ring to end the show.
I rarely says this, but Cena was damn good tonight. He had plenty of ammo and hit with all of it. Punk looked shook and that sold it even more. However in spite of those powerful words I’m not more convinced than I ever was that somehow, probably with Paul Heyman’s help, CM Punk will retain the WWE Championship at Night of Champions. This of course sets into motion Rock defeating Punk at Royal Rumble, John Cena winning the Royal Rumble, and Cena beating the Rock for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. I also expect Sheamus to get Del Rio to tap out, Kane and Bryan to win the tag title, Ziggler to beat Orton and the Divas match to suck. We’ll see how right I am on Sunday night.