Punk. Cena. Heyman. AJ. Ryback. I have absolutely no idea what the WWE is doing with all these people right now. Perfect time for Vince McMahon to come back, ignite a ratings boost, and deliver his state of the WWE address.
But before that, cyborg John Cena is in the house. He has some kind of weird spider-man like tape on his arm that doesn’t look like it does anything at all. He goes into a stand up routine to recap everything going on in the WWE the last few weeks. He brings up the size of Antonio Cesaro’s nipples, and also asks AJ out on a date (preferably to In-N-Out burger cuz ya know…sex). He has the crowd fully on his side until he starts to talk about CM Punk. He makes another plea to get Punk to agree to meet him at Hell in a Cell. His case now is no one cares that he’s champion because he is avoided big moments. Whatever. It’s more of the same from all parties that we’ve been getting the last few weeks. “Fight me!” “No!” “Please!?”
As Cena heads up the ramp, Ryback’s music went. For a second the crowd started buzzing because it looked like he was going to be involved with Cena somehow. Nope. Instead he just whizzes by him for the first match of the night. This time the poor bastards that have to job out to him are Epico and Primo. The cousins actually control most of the match (with Ryback no-selling of course) but one of them slaps Ryback for some reason and you can guess the rest. Ryback actually pulls off Shell-Shocked this week although he fumbles around too long trying to pin them both and makes it look weird. I wonder if/when we’ll see him again tonight.
Happy monster turned jobber, Brodus Clay, out next to take on R-Truth. Truth can’t go through with the match because (wait for it) Lil’ Jimmy is going through puberty. Yup. Not only that, but he wants to dance. So instead of wrestling, Brodus, Truth, and the women dance with Lil’ Jimmy. Maybe he’ll get sent to boarding school so we don’t have to not see him anymore. Truth pretended to do the Kid n Play dance with Jimmy, which I’ll admit is kind of funny. Thankfully Mr. McMahon interrupts the segment to inform us that he’s ready to make his address and to get out of his ring (he did it in a nice way but still).
I was convinced that there would be a podium and more pomp and circumstance. More like a presidential state of the union address. Missed opportunity. Vince plays to crowd by saying there is room for everyone and mentions Kane and Bryan and so on, but says that first and foremost this is a place for action. Where the best faces the best. Just mentioning the best now is good enough to get CM Punk to come out sporting a freshly buzzed head (and a new t-shirt no less!). Apparently Vince not mentioning Punk at all is a sign of disrespect (take a shot) because he won’t face Cena. Punk even gets on the crowd members that chant his name, saying that they do it ironically and if he wants crap out of them he’ll scrape their tongues. He’s so good. Vince says since Punk is a Paul Heyman guy, Vince isn’t a CM Punk guy. This sets Punk off, saying that he’s the only thing the WWE has going for it right now, and that Vince should thank him for making him so much money. Heyman even tries to get Punk to calm down but no dice. Vince says that the most important part of the WWE is the fans (cheap pop), and that you need to listen to them. He then says Punk is nowhere near being among legends like Shawn Michaels, Andre the Giant, Brett Hart, Triple H and Steve Austin.
It’s the Austin part that sets Punk off again. He says he’s not like Austin because Austin took shortcuts by only being famous for beating up Vince McMahon, a “clueless, inept, millionaire.” This Punk/Austin thing has been picking up steam lately. That’s twice in two weeks Punk has talked about Austin. Then there is the video that got deleted off YouTube to promote WWE 13, where Jim Ross interviewed Punk and Austin together. Could they meet at WrestleMania? Since no one ever really retires, you can’t count it out right now. Anyway Punk says Vince has been slapping him in the face for years now, so Punk actually slapped Vince in the face and McMahon goes down. Heyman is clearly not happy with what’s Punk is doing. McMahon responds by saying he will fire Punk if he doesn’t face Vince in the ring tonight (say what?). Vince says he may not beat him, but by the end of the night Punk will know the meaning of respect (take a shot). Punk of course accepts immediately, but Heyman tells him he struck the wrong man (he would know). Punk ends the segment by simply telling Heyman, “trust me.”
Moving on to round two of the tag team tournament, the Prime Time Players now face the masked mexicans (ok not their real name, but you know exactly who I’m talking about don’t you?). The teams look pretty good against each other. PTP’s power moves go well with Mysterio and Sin Cara’s speed set. After a bit of a free for all, Young hits his finisher on Sin Cara, but he isn’t the legal man. Mysterio comes in to hit the 619 and take the win. I like that so much attention is going toward the tag team division, but it would be nice if some actual tag teams won some matches. Ryder and Santino? Rhodes and Sandow? Mysterio and Sin Cara? Tell me some of these pairs will stay together or we’ll be right back where we started a month ago. Backstage, Heyman tries to talk sense into Punk by telling him the last thing he wants is a guy like Vince McMahon using all of his time and resources to make his life a living hell (again, he would know).
The match I was hoping would be for the title in a PPV at some point is a midcard now as Sheamus takes on Wade Barrett. Thankfully the scab thing on Sheamus’ nose is finally starting to heal. Just a few seconds into the match the Big Show comes out to observe things. The theme seems to be that they are interfering in each other’s matches to cost them wins and get under each other’s skin. I hate to say I told ya so but these guys are putting together some pretty good sequences. Every blow seems to have some extra weight to it. Barrett yanks Sheamus by his leg outside on the floor and Sheamus appears to have hurt his leg. We’ve seen him sell and injury only to completely ignore it in the end so let’s see how this plays out. Sure enough, back from the commercial Barrett is working the head and the leg is never mentioned again. He’s just keeps kicking him in the face. Sheamus has really taken some bumps the last couple weeks. Barrett is getting the same treatment Sandow did last week. The crowd just isn’t there for him as much. Just as Sheamus starts to mount some offense, Tensai comes out and attacks Sheamus with Wade Barrett while Big Show watches. Tensai gets caught with a Brogue Kick and Sheamus throws Barrett out of the ring. Now it’s Show’s turn. Sheamus goes to hit him with a Brogue Kick but Show just catches it (uh oh). Big Show throws Sheamus out of the ring and walks out. Message made. Sheamus can’t just knock out Big Show with a kick.
US Champion Antonio Cesaro takes his not that big nipples up against Tyson Kidd. Kidd pulls off a couple of nice moves early but after that it’s all Cesaro. It does last longer than his match against Clay last week though. I’m all about Cesaro’s flying uppercut move. I think he should switch it with the neutralizer as his finisher.
That match is followed with a tag match putting Team Hell No (stupid name) against Ziggler and Del Rio. Why would Daniel Bryan ever be surprised when Kane comes out now? They are partners. He has to know he’ll be making his flame entrance by now right? Bryan doesn’t even let Kane set the ring on fire before arguing with him again about which one of them is the tag team champions. It’s going to suck when that’s completely played out next week. Michael Cole accidentally talks about the team of Kane and Dolph, and JBL (back from mountain climbing) wastes no time in letting him hear about how bad he his. I really like JBL. Pretty much every Kane/Bryan tag match. They struggle while their opponents work well as a team. Ziggler applies the rude awakening (complete with ass shaking). He’s so cool. Bryan plays his role here well, getting his butt kicked for the entire middle portion of the match, until a Del Rio miscue finally gets Kane in. His momentum doesn’t last long through as Ziggler hits him with a fame-asser for a very close near fall. Kane eventually lines up Dolph for a shot off the top rope, but Bryan tags himself in to hit a missile dropkick. Kane then tags himself back in and nails Ziggler with a choke slam for the win. My hope is that by the end of Hell in a Cell, they actually start working as a team on purpose. They are capable of some great matches but the gimmick is starting to get in the way of it.
Backstage, Jim Ross is trying to talk Vince McMahon out of facing CM Punk. I have no idea why. No one mistreats JR like Vince. He’s worried that Vince will end up like Lawler did after his match with Punk, and if that’s not a sign that Lawler is fine now I don’t know what is. Vince ignores him and asks Ross to call the match, then makes him yell the final call with Vince winning right then and there. He goes the whole nine, yelling “McMahon! McMahon!” like he did with Stone Cold back in the day. There has been so much padding in tonight’s show that I haven’t even bothered mentioning most of it. This segment is only slightly better than the others.
Speaking of padding, Larry King is on the stage with his wife to interview the Miz. Ugh boy. After promoting Larry King Now, the Miz announces that it is his birthday. Larry King says that no one cares that it’s his birthday, and replaces Miz with Kofi Kingston, who for some reason is already suited up like he knew he was going on the show. Kofi says the good word is that Raw is life in Sacramento which gets the crowd going. The Miz then won me over for good by calling out Kofi for using a “Sacramento cheap pop.” He then says he has had more championships than King has had wives, and Kofi has had main events (double burn!). King’s wife then throws water in Miz’s face and Kofi takes Miz backstage to kick his ass. Happy birthday Miz.
On with the tag team tournament as Zach Ryder and Santino (team Co-bro?) will most likely lose to the Rhodes Scholars. Cody has a nice shiner on his left eye and there is a lot of purple in the ring right now. Santino must not have gotten the message. After putting on such a great match last week, Sandow barely sees the ring tonight as Rhodes spends almost the entire match as the legal man. Santino has Cody on the ropes and looks to apply the cobra sock on his hand, but Sandow distracts him long enough for Rhodes to deliver a disaster kick and take the match. So that means it will be Sin Cara and Mysterio versus Sandow and Rhodes next week. Could be a lot worse. After the match, Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre beat Santino down and play air guitar when they are done. I take two things from this. 1) Zach Ryder doesn’t care about Santino; 2) there is now a heel jobber group that specializes in beating up face jobbers.
Eve put her Divas Championship on the line against Kaitlyn which Layla does commentary. Layla sounds like an idiot whenever she talks. Nothing she says makes sense and she contradicts herself with every word. It’s made even worse when someone as good as JBL calls her out. Eve won by submission by taking advantage of Kaitlyn’s ankle injury. Layla had to come to her rescue, and I guess it’ll be Eve versus Layla at Hell in a Cell.
Backstage Daniel Bryan is talking to Larry King (yes he’s still there) about being called goat face, which gives him another excuse to exclaim how he is “incredibly attractive” He also admitted that he slept under a bridge once. Kane then pops up to start arguing with Bryan some more. Bryan responds by saying Kane looks like he got slapped in the face with a fruit roll-up (YES!). After Larry King leaves, Kane says that he thought it was Skeletor. Every time I think I’ve had enough of them, something like that happens. Unreal.
The show is just about over so it must be time for the main event. Punk jumps McMahon while he’s coming down the ramp and pummels him ringside before the match even starts. Once in the ring, Vince tackles Punk but Punk quickly restores order. The most noticeable thing about this match is that Punk doesn’t have any sleeve over his boots. Punk throws on a headset and yells “What a maneuver!” in Vince’s face before slamming him into the announce table. Vince, with his eye bleeding, takes the offensive again. Hitting Punk with the microphone. You can’t say Vince doesn’t love his company. McMahon pulls out a kendo stick and Punk runs out of the ring. Heyman goes to bring Punk the title but McMahon decks Paul and takes the belt. Punk finds a kendo stick of his own and gets back in the ring. To chants of ECW they start whacking each other and Vince has the upper hand under Punk delivers a low blow and takes both sticks. The arena was actually shaking for a second from the noise (literally. the camera was really shaking).
Punk puts Vince up for the GTS but then Ryback comes out! Punk leaves the ring as soon as Ryback enters and again looks to leave. Cena then comes down the ramp and hits Punk from behind, throwing him back in the ring to take a hard clothesline from Ryback. Punk then gets put up for Shell-Shocked but he escapes, takes his belt and hops the barrier to try to leave through the crowd. Before he leaves the arena Vince grabs a mic and tells Punk that he has to choose between John Cena and Ryback to be his opponent at Hell in a Cell. Now that’s interesting. So that’s how he’ll end up facing Cena again. In this case it’s the best option. Either way, they better get this settled soon because they currently are selling the event on Sheamus versus Big Show (the only booked match) and that won’t get it done.
I think it’s also notable that once again Punk is leaving Raw with his tail between his legs. WWE Creative isn’t showing the best in the world that much respect (take a shot). Maybe he will finally look like a threat again next week.