No Cena? No problem! A week after John Cena went under the knife the show must go on, and it is the Big Show that takes his place on the roster (see what I did there?). Over the weekend I went to the Raw house show in White Plains and the Big Show took on CM Punk in the main event, and he was indeed a face.
Punk and Paul Heyman start a cold open in the ring. Heyman takes the lead, recapping the finish to last week’s main event where Cena got a three count on Punk despite Punk getting his foot on the rope. Heyman summons Brad Maddox, the referee who made the call, to come out in order to apologize and sign his resignation. After the last month I know more referee names then I ever have before. For some reason he comes out, and the rookie ref admits his mistake and apologizes. By the way, this is the most babyface official in WWE history. He refuses to resign and that sets Punk off on a tirade against him. He says that AJ added him when Raw expanded to three hours because she needed more refs. If the connection to the current NFL referee lock out isn’t laid on thick enough, Heyman then handed the ref a sleep mask (aka a blindfold) with both the WWE and NFL logos on it.
Punk says that AJ should correct her mistake by coming out and firing him. Then after missing her cue, Punk says it again which finally gets AJ out there. She sends the ref back and yells at Punk and Heyman for holding her show hostage. Punk then says that AJ has is out for him because he would not marry him two months ago. Punk basically reveals that he had an affair going with AJ during that whole period of time during the Punk feud. Heyman pulls Punk back and mockingly proposes to AJ, saying that they could make the most powerful couple. AJ slaps Heyman and storms out, clearly shaken. This is like an Attitude Era storyline isn’t it? Completely ridiculous but I’ll be damned if it isn’t entertaining. Backstage AJ chews out the ref, saying that he embarrassed her and if he ever does anything like that again she will see to it that he never works in this business again (because she can do that?). She even cries on command (for your consideration…).
The show off plays lead off tonight as Dolph Ziggler goes one on one against Kofi Kingston. This match is apparently due to a twitter war. At least they weren’t TOUTing at each other. R-Truth is on hand, with Lil’ Jimmy apparently, with popcorn and a cup of water. Vickie Guerrero starts making faces at Jimmy, which gets Truth mad and starts a ruckus outside the ring that results in Vickie getting doused with water. One thing leads to another and both Vickie and Truth are kicked out. Long story short, the match starts, and Kofi almost immediately “lands” a phantom dropkick. Back from break Ziggler hits the first successful wrestling move of the night, with a reverse power slam (damn he’s good). He nails his dropkick by the way. Kofi pulls his signature set of moves together but misses Trouble in Paradise. He then lands two top rope moves but can’t get a pin on either. Ziggler then goes for the Zig Zag but Kofi turns it into an SOS and another 2 count. Kofi then hits a third move off the top rope (2nd cross body splash) but still can’t put Ziggler away. Kingston again goes for Trouble in Paradise, but Dolph escapes it again, turning it into a Zig Zag and a victory. Fantastic match. When the worst part is a phantom dropkick in the first ten seconds you’re doing okay. Ziggler needed to look good in order to appear as a real threat to Sheamus’ World Heavyweight Championship as possible. This match was a big step toward that.
I normally don’t recap Raw’s recaps of Smackdown, but it involves Kane and Daniel Bryan so I must make an exception. So Bryan distracts Kane during his match against Damien Sandow to make Kane lose. Whatever. Backstage as Kane is yelling about Bryan to Dr. Shelby, Kane says he is going to pull Bryan’s beard off of his goat face, which prompts Daniel to jump out of a nearby dumpster to defend himself. The rest is classic Kaniel greatness, but what was Daniel Bryan doing in a dumpster? Is he homeless? Is that supposed to be a goat thing? I want answers! Anyway now the three of them are meeting at a diner for role playing. Daniel is the customer and Kane is the waiter (I smell sitcom!). Kane (still in his wrestling tights by the way) is playing Gerald, the friendly waiter. If you’ve been paying attention to anything in the last few weeks, you can guess that things don’t go as planned. It all ends with Kane (I mean, Gerald) saying that he took the head cook’s goat beard, fried it, chopped it, and put it in everyone’s food (for your consideration…) The WWE Universe will pick their name tonight via twitter!
The Prime Time Players are back, and despite talking about being all business last week they are once again doing the whole “millions of dollars” thing. They are in a tag match against Santino and Zach Ryder (because you know, there are so few tag teams lately). The match ends in about two minutes as Young throws Ryder out of the ring and O’Neil slams Santino down for the pin. Maybe they’re getting a real push after all. Jim Ross is partnered with Michael Cole again tonight (no JBL), and a few times now they have mentioned how the referees are being extra careful about positioning and making the right calls during matches. Can’t imagine this turning into something later. On a side note, it’s a little weird have the two of them alone commentating again. They are both play by play guys and they are also both faces at the moment (Cole can’t exactly go heel again all of a sudden after the last couple weeks). It’s not bad, but it just seems like they are both doing their own broadcast and not listening to what each other is saying.
Mick Foley is in the house! He’s out to talk about CM Punk and how he’s gone down the wrong path and has basically lost his way. This quickly calls out Punk for his second appearance of the night. He’s demands respect (take a shot) and says that if Foley has something to say he should say it to his face. Foley is disappointed in how Punk has started aligning himself with Heyman. Foley, as someone who worked with Heyman, says that Heyman will ultimately do what is right for him, and that Punk doesn’t need a mouthpiece. Punk brushes off the Heyman comments which turns Foley toward the topic of Hell in a Cell. Foley says that he earned his respect (take a shot) in that type of match, and that he never had to ask for it. He says all the greats did the same. Foley says he wants Punk to prove he is the best in the world by stepping into Hell in a Cell with John Cena. Punk says that he has heard similar speeches from Punk before Summerslam and Night of Champions. Punk says he doesn’t need to sacrifice his body like Foley did, and that the only thing that matters is that he has held the WWE Championship for 309 days. Foley says that he only held the title for 29 days and that no one cares about statistics, they care about moments, and that Punk needs one more to be a legend. Foley says AJ is letting Punk decide if he wants the match on his own, but that he has to do it in the ring with Cena, who is in the house and will be ready for Hell in a Cell. So that match is definitely gonna happen. Foley was great and so was Punk in that spot.
Miz out next against Ryback, continuing the storyline that started last week when Booker T had Ryback come out during the Miz’s talk show. Ryback has a big scab on his head. He probably headbutted a wall or something. Ryback does Ryback and hits his big clothesline, but not before a fan ran into the ring and got taken back out by security. Ryback hits his power Samoan drop thing and gets a fast pin on the Intercontinental Champion. Really surprised the Miz put up such a small fight. He’s been great since returning and deserves better.
Whatever. We’re back at the diner where Kane and Daniel Bryan are having lunch! They say they’ll never be a good team, but then Daniel (as a fly lands on his head) talks about how it’s a shame because they were able to beat eight men together on Smackdown last week. This gets Kane reenacting it by slamming his arms on the table and screaming, which got Bryan yelling YES! It basically turned into the orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally, and to top it all off, Mae Young ends up being the old lady that says “I’ll have exactly what they’re having.” Somehow this keeps getting better every week. Kudos to Kane for being so willing to commit to whatever ridiculous things (both as a heel and face) the WWE throws at him. He is a legend.
Backstage AJ told the refs that everyone makes mistakes, to relax and have a great rest of the show. Then she told Del Rio, Otunga and Ricardo Rodriguez that they would be in a six man tag match against Sheamus (who brogue kicked all of them), Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara (the Mexicans). Tyson Kidd then jobbed for Wade Barrett. By the way, his forearm smash finisher is called the souvenir (BOOM!).
Michael Cole in the ring to interview Jerry Lawler via satellite from Memphis Tennessee. First off, Jerry is doing the interview from a throne. His voice is sore from having the breathing tube down his throat, but other than that he looks pretty good. Cole was told by the doctor that it’s a miracle that he progressed as far as he has. He says he doesn’t remember his match with Orton, and that when he woke up he thought he was with his girlfriend in Aruba two weeks earlier. He said that the incident was only a matter of time once Raw was extended to three hours, because he doesn’t think anyone can sit next to Cole for three hours and NOT have a heart attack (ZING!). Lawler finished up by thanking the fans and saying he will be back as soon as the doctors allow him, and there is no timetable at this time.
Six-man tag match next (the entrances had two commercial breaks by the way). It starts off all team face as all three faces land diving shoulder blocks into the three faces. Ricardo (wrestling in his tux) does a pretty good job selling a hurricarana from Sin Cara. Del Rio looks specifically good tonight, especially hitting enziguris (enziguries?). Sheamus gets a hot tag and Ricardo ends up being the legal man and gets knocked around by all of team faces special moves (except for the brogue kick). Sin Cara gets the pin after Sheamus and Mysterio do the brunt work. This is turning into his M.O. He sure start being referred to as the vulture, because he vultures wins like how short yardage running backs vulture touchdowns near the goal line after the feature backs do all the hard work in getting them there. Otunga ends up in the ring alone after the match and gets brogue kicked by Sheamus at the suggestion of Mysterio and Sin Cara. Remember, don’t be a bully!
Back at the diner, Dr. Shelby has one more phase of identity therapy. He wants Bryan to have a bite of spaghetti and meatballs, while Kane has one bite of salad. This is kind of a big deal considering Bryan is a real life vegan. Kane swallows some lettuce and Bryan actually takes a bit out of a meatball. Kane burps in Dr Shelby’s face, and then after Bryan says the meat isn’t as bad as he thought it would be he starts to gag like he is going to throw up. Shelby keeps yelling NO! at him, but Daniel indeed throws up in Dr Shelby’s lap. It would have been a poor end of the segment, but Kane saved it by yelling “check please” with a smile on his face at the end. Kane is my hero. By the way, after almost every one of their segments, Cole has been absolutely cracking up when they cut back to him. For once we are in total agreement. Cole announces the choices for Kane and Bryan’s tag team. There is Team Teamwork, Team Hell No (really?), and of course Team Friendship. If anything but friendship wins there will be a riot. It may just be in my living room but there will be a riot.
Kanial are finally out in the ring for the results and Team Hell No wins? Are you kidding me? It took 58% of the vote. Team friendship only got 38%. Rhodes and Sandow ambush them from behind and leave but who cares. I’m still pissed about the twitter vote. I can’t call them team Hell No. That’s horrible. Sandow and Rhodes set themselves up as the next contenders to the tag team championships, and called themselves the Rhodes Scholars. Now that’s a name! I’m still referring to them as Team Friendship. I don’t care what the WWE Universe says.
Layla and Alicia Fox lost to Eve and Beth Phoenix. Kaitlyn came out and said she saw the backstage tape of her attack and she was assaulted by a blonde. Eve blamed Beth Phoenix and kicked her ass. So I guess she’s a face now or whatever. Who cares? Team Hell No? Oh HELL NO!
Brodus Clay and Tensai started what appeared to be the last match of the night, but after a back and forth sequence Big Show makes his grand return and knocks them both out with WMD’s. Then he left. Didn’t show any emotion one way or the other. He is rumored to be the next to challenge Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship, which would be welcomed for no other reason than it not being Del Rio again. So the last full match ended 40 minutes ago, meaning there was barely any wrestling in the final our of Raw. Fascinating.
So instead of a main event we get John Cena with a microphone. He thanks the fans for their support in the Rise Above Cancer campaign (which he someone made to seem controversial?) and for the well wishes regarding his injury. He apologizes to the refs and fans for CM Punk. He pretends to M-F’er, but instead goes on a PG rated curse session. He guarantees that he will compete at Hell in a Cell, regardless of his physical condition. This brings out Punk for the third time on the night, and after staring down every little kid by the ramp, and says Cena is talking like a politician. He says he won’t accept Cena’s challenge for a match at Hell in a Cell, first because he’s had too many title shots already and second because Punk is going to make sure that he is not going to be medically cleared for Hell in a Cell. He turns his back and says that if Cena is still there when he turns back around that he will make him pay. While his back is turned, Cena pulls a lead pipe out of his sling and hits Punk with it when he turns around. Cena sees Punk off by saying “Now that’s what I call a pipe bomb.”
Cena hasn’t been this over in a while. Part of it is Cena, but I think a big part of it is Punk as well. He’s using every classic heel trick in the book from saying the town he’s in sucks to telling women they are stupid. Backstage, a hurt Punk continues his heel tirade by kicking Mick Foley down as he goes by. Punk turns around to do more damage to Mick but Ryback is in his way. Whaaaaaaaaa? Ryback? Is Ryback going to get a match against Punk next week? It looks that way. All I know is that tonight’s Raw went the final hour without a real match, and CM Punk didn’t have a match. Thank god for all the segments from Team
Hell No Friendship.