In a move that surprised no one, AW, real name Abraham Washington and the manager of the Prime Time Players, has been released by the WWE. He drew a large amount of negative press two weeks ago on Raw when, while mic’d up to the arena during a match, he made the following inappropriate (by current WWE standards) rape joke involving Kobe Bryant; “Titus O’Neil is like Kobe Bryant at a hotel room in Colorado … he’s unstoppable.” Ouch. Here is the statement from WWE.com:
“WWE has come to terms on the release of WWE Superstar A.W. as of today, August 10, 2012. WWE wishes A.W. the best in all his future endeavors.”
Holy crap they actually said future endeavors! John Laurinaitis must have written this release himself!
While it was expected that AW would have to look for a new job, it is surprising that he got to go on TV the last week like nothing ever happened. A week later on the same show there he was, ringside like normal. Mic’d up like normal. Telling jokes (appropriate of course) like it was just another show. Considering how careful the WWE is about its image, with an anti bully campaign to boot, I can’t imagine how they thought this would just go away with AW simply apologizing via twitter.
On a side note I’d like to know what this means for the prime time players, who were just starting to get a push. Their whole gimmick revolved around AW pulling the strings (and themselves from contests) so now they are just another tag team.
I suppose we’ll find out Monday, but until then lets send off AW properly with two words (said over and over again):
With more love for CM Punk and Daniel Bryan than AJ, here is your Raw recap!
If you didn’t check out the Great American Bash Smackdown show on Tuesday, you missed AJ whoring it up with both Punk and Bryan to essentially say that it’ll be anyone’s match at MITB. Last time Punk had to deal with a special ref was Johnny Ace in his match against Dolph Ziggler, and Laurinaitis ended up not doing a damn thing. I have to believe this will be different. It all just makes me wonder how one would become a guest referee. Johnny Damon would never be brought it as a special guest umpire for a Yankees/Red Sox game. Does AJ even know how to be a ref? With all that said, I can’t help but think Bryan is taking the title this Sunday.
AJ of course opens up the show and calls out Punk to tell him she’s not crazy, and then proceeds to act crazy. Punk looks like he’s had enough of it all and to be honest so have I (and so does the guy holding the “boring” sign in the crowd). It’s just becoming too much and hopefully it gets toned down after this week. Anyway AJ gets down on one knee (uh oh!) and proposes to Punk (phew!). Before Punk could answer, Daniel Bryan comes out to stop it and beg her to not go through with it. By the way, Daniel Bryan looks just like Ernest Hemingway. Anyway so Bryan ends up proposing to AJ. Punk of course throws out the fact that it’s bull because he doesn’t have a ring, and then wouldn’t you know it, the ANONYMOUS RAW GM IS BACK! Yup, the gimmick that couldn’t decide if it was a heel or face, or who it was in the first place, is the interim manager this week.
So the computer puts together a match, and I quote, putting AJ and Punk against Eve and Bryan in a mixed gender match. Anyway AJ leaves thinking she’s leaving the arena with her future husband, annnnnnnnnnnnd this angle has completely jumped the shark. Maybe she’ll marry Kane, who is going to team up with Cena (I guess they buried the hatchet for the whole “embrace the hate thing”) against Jericho and Big Show (hopefully to be announced as JeriShow).
First match of the night is Sheamus versus Swagger. I wonder when he’ll leave to be in the Marine 3? White Noise plus Brogue Kick equals squash match. Del Rio talks trash on the big screen and Sheamus kick Swagger again. Way to promote their match. With the extra time, we find our US Champion Santino doing a Sherlock Holmes impression in an effort to find out who the anonymous GM is. I guess he won’t be wrestling again.
Ziggler and Tensai pairing up against Christian and Tyson Kidd (is this tag team night?). Outside help leads to Tensai pinning Christian and that’s two matches that lasted a combined five minutes. My boy Ziggler barely even broke a sweat. Tensai keeps beating up Tyson Kidd for Kidd pulling a win out of his ass last week. Do I really have to keep up with a Tensai/Kidd feud?
Anyway Cole and Lawler argued about who the permanent GM’s are and it Cole threw a drink at Lawler or something and got pissed. Turns out the laptop is now a face, announcing that Lawler will face Cole in a WrestleMania rematch. Now Brodus Clay is coming out for a match against Drew McIntyre. Big surpise, another squash match. So far this is the worst Raw I’ve seen in a while.
Cena/Kane versus JeriShow time. I get the feeling this match will last longer than two minutes. Of course before they start however, Cena has to come out to promote Money in the Bank and saying absolutely nothing in the process. He’s actually telling us Money in the Bank is a must see event. He might as well give us the link to order it from our local cable provider. Unbelievably shameless promotion. No JeriShow music by the way. Show actually made a point backstage to say that JeriShow sucked for him and he’s taking the lead. He’s even a heel to the other heels. Show is still acting as the unstoppable force, pushing around Cena and Kane. These show’s right before a PPV are always weird. All the story telling is mostly done and it’s just reestablishing everything we saw for the last month.
Cena pulls a SuperCena move on Show, which Show sells for a bit but bounces back against Kane and brings Jericho in. The whole thing leads into a furious finish with Cena and Jericho at the forefront and Show pulling Cena outside to prevent a pin and the match is stopped (although I can’t figure out why). With everyone down Big Show brings out some ladders and beats everyone up. If you haven’t noticed, Big Show is big and strong and mean. Cena of course comes back to hit Show with a ladder and pose in the ring. Best match of the night by far, but that is only saying so much. Now Raw is asking in a poll if we want to see Lawler fight Cole. No, we do not.
Sin Cara versus Heath Slater for a spot in the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank Match (get all that?). An ill timed commercial break meant that we don’t hear the “One Man Band” theme song. So obviously Sin Cara wins the match, but the big question is what legend will come out to beat up on Slater. The answer? Bob MUTHAEFFIN Backlund that’s who! Most of the crowd doesn’t remember who he is, but I have to say for a really old man he looks pretty damn good. He’s going with the insane version that challenged Brett Hart, and unlike Psycho Sid, Backlund comes out in his tights and quickly applies the crossface chicken-wing. Awesome.
Apparently I was dead wrong about the WWE Universe (or at least the people that vote) and 75% said they wanted to see Lawler versus Cole. I imagine this poll was heavily doctored. So not only do we get this damn match, but Josh Matthews and Booker T have to come in to announce it. Lawler won in about 20 seconds, but because Booker threw Cole into the ring, the anonymous GM declared Cole the winner. Here is where it gets even worse. Santino somehow deduces that the Raw GM is under the ring, and is in fact Hornswaggle. So after all of that nonsense with this stupid computer, this is how it ends. Now this could be the worst Raw ever.
At least we have Punk/AJ versus Bryan/Eve right? Well if my clock is correct there is only eight minutes of show left so I’m not expecting much. We get about 90 seconds of Punk/Bryan before AJ tags herself in and now it’s her and Eve. Despite everyone’s wishes AJ won’t let Eve tag Bryan. Then Bryan turns his back on Eve, giving AJ a win. Bryan than said he did it because AJ is more important than a match and tries to get AJ to leave with him. Punk then does himself no favors and says he won’t marry AJ. AJ responds by slapping both Punk and Bryan, and we’re right back where we started. What a waste of two hours.
I’d love to say that you can come here after Money in the Bank to find out how this all plays out but I’ll be away for the week. Don’t worry, I’ll be back in time for Raw’s 1000th episode and more importantly The Dark Knight Rises. I really dodged a bullet on that one.
For the record, here are my predictions for MITB:
Cody Rhodes wins MITB World Championship match
Sheamus defeats Del Rio
Kofi and Truth defeat Hunico and Camacho (fans lose as well)
Chris Jericho wins MITB WWE Championship match
Daniel Bryan defeats CM Punk
I also predict Ryback will beat someone who weighs under 180 pounds.
Before this week’s Raw even started I feel like I already knew everything I needed to know. Teddy Long was already announced as this week’s interim GM and announced that Punk and Cena will face Bryan and Jericho (ya know, because Cena/Jericho is a thing again). AJ will interfere somehow I’m sure, because she has been named the referee of the Punk/Bryan match at MITB because apparently she won a fan poll online. I didn’t even know there was a fan poll until today, but if those are the kind of things I miss out on by not visiting WWE.com every day, I can deal. Oh yeah, and Jack Swagger is now getting beat by Tyson Kidd so no MITB match for him (oh how the mighty have fallen). The only reason left to watch it seems would be for Brock Lesnar’s response to Triple H’s second challenge for a match at Summerslam, and that’s only because it means more Paul Heyman talking trash and possibly getting hit again.
John Cena opening the show doing what John Cena does, recapping last week like he was reading last week’s production notes. I guarantee sewage baby will be trending by the way. Bryan comes out to do more of the same, but he does it in a much less canned way and is followed by Punk turning the YES chant into another bit and giving Jerry Lawler a reason to have a live mic laying on his table. Oh yeah, Jericho came out too to run through all of his catchphrases (yes, all of them) in what was easily the best part of this open. Big Show and Kane came out as well, leading to a big fat ruckus of a preview for the Money in the Bank match. Kane clearly seems to be a face now, taking Jericho on by himself, and saving Cena from a choke slam by going after Show. Show of course cleaned house to prove he is the dominant figure in this whole thing, which means to me that he’s definitely going to lose.
Coming back from break it was again reiterated that Charlie Sheen will be acting as social media ambassador, and now I actually know what that means. He’s going to live tweet Raw. Welcome to the club buddy. He may not even appear on the show. First match is an 8 man tag putting Truth, Kofi, Christian and Santino against Young, O’neal, Rhodes and Otunga (who somehow still has a place in WWE post Laurinaitis). For some reason AW is mic’d, so the whole arena gets to pull The Prime Time Players from the match because they took a couple bumps. Rhodes leaves too, leaving Otunga all alone against the four faces and Brodus Clay. Clay punks Otunga into taking a Cobra shot, match over. In true anti-bullying fashion, all the faces decide to get their finisher in after the match on Otunga, who I guess is taking the post Laurinaitis punishment now (so THAT’S why he’s there!)
Backstage Teddy let’s Del Rio know that he will face Sheamus for the Heavyweight (not as important as the WWE) Championship at Money in the Bank. Alberto is also informed that he has a match next against a surprise opponent. Normally that surprise would either be Sheamus or Tensai, but since he’s already facing Sheamus in 2 weeks and Tensai is a heel, I’m actually not sure who he’ll face. Turns out it’s, Sin Cara? Whatever. Del Rio bum rushes Sin Cara and beats the crap out of him before they even got his lighting going. Finishes with the armbreaker outside the ring, injuring him before the match ever started. Take that Teddy Long!
Backstage Bryan is trying to get on AJ’s good side leading up to the MITB match, and she is totally playing it off as if she is planning on screwing Bryan over. I really think she’s going to double cross punk and win the title for Bryan. That way they can have that I quit match I keep hoping for at Summerslam. If Punk beats him for a third straight time in a PPV there is no reason for another one. I’d be really surprised if it didn’t turn out this way.
Paul Heyman in the WWE Connecticut studio to announce that Brock Lesnar will make his announcement regarding Triple H’s challenge at the 1000th episode of Raw in three weeks. Heyman goes into hype mode and once again kills it. He’s so good that it’s sad the actual match won’t be able to live up to his hype. Also Kane and Big Show will have a no DQ match later. Ya know, because they hit each other an hour ago.
Ziggler and Vicki (still with him after slapping him on Smackdown) against AJ and Sheamus. Can we fit another guy in the #AJALL storyline? What a hoski. So this is how we promote a World Heavyweight Championship match? Del Rio has a non match and Sheamus gets a bit part in the AJ storyline? Just get rid of the belt and be done with it. So Sheamus basically smacked around Ziggler with a bunch of “white” themed moves but Ziggler tagged Vicki just before he could get hit with a Brogue kick. Sheamus got him anyway and AJ made short work of Vicki for the win. AJ went back to celebrate with Punk, but of course he was busy talking on the phone with his sister so he missed the whole match. Now Punk is on AJ’s bad side. UH OHHHHHHHH.
Oh man, Heath Slater is going to bet beat up by Doink this week! It looks like he’s wearing the same wig that he had 15 years ago. No Dink by the way. Doink didn’t even bother taking off his clown jacket before…Heath Slater won? Not so fast, Diamond Dallas Page, who I kept hearing was in the house, came back as well to promote some yoga and drop a RKO Diamond Cutter on Slater.
Time for Kane versus Show. I keep looking at these guys and imagine how the crappy wood ladders they use will probably break under the weight of either of them. I’ve got to think it will be Jericho winning this match, with him then cashing in right after Punk reclaims the title at Summerslam (just like last year and yes I don’t think WWE is creative enough to not do that). I just can’t imagine Cena running in after a match and picking up a cheap win. Aside from Show landing a superkick on Kane’s jaw, the match is exactly what you think it would be. Big Show spears a chair holding Kane, injuring his own shoulder in the process. Show hits a choke slam down onto the chair for the win, but Show sold the shoulder injury after the match so that could play our somehow. Hard to climb a ladder with one arm.
Eve is back! Meh.
Tensai versus Kidd next. I’ll take this opportunity to mention that the Smackdown ladder match at MITB looks like the most boring thing I’ve ever seen. In the time it took me to type that one sentence, Kidd stole a victory with a quick roll up pin and got the hell out of there. It looks like they want him to get the underdog buzz that Santino had during Elimination Chamber. Tensai of course beat up his manager guy. Backstage, Jericho and Bryan are the new Laurel and Hardy of wrestling. Cena and Punk are the new Don Imus and Howard Stern. Punk wants Cena to just follow his lead. Cena agrees like a little bitch. No way in hell they are winning tonight. Pissed off Tensai got some revenge on Kidd in the locker room too. I wonder if Josh Matthews ever conducted an incident free interview?
Main event time. All parties involved get to do there thing. Jericho definitely has some extra charisma in the ring since he came back. It’s good that he’s bringing back all of his old cliches from back in the day. He has too many to not use any of them. Like any tag match involving Punk these days, CM spends most of the match outside the ring. That means that in a tag match consisting of three of the best talents on the roster, two of them are not in the ring most of the match because Cena has to be out there instead. I’ve seen this match a million times before, as Cena gets knocked down any time he starts building momentum, only to finally get to Punk who runs through his entire array of moves.
Jericho and Cena take things outside leaving Punk and Bryan (the legal men) in the ring. If you’re thinking that this is the perfect time for AJ you’re right. Just after a Punk superplex evens the field AJ comes skipping in only neither Punk or Bryan acknowledge her. AJ decides to take out a table threatens to jump off the top rope before Bryan and Punk both notice and talk her down. AJ then kisses Punk, and pushes him off the ring, onto Bryan into the table. Consider AJ an impartial, crazy referee.
Tonight’s Raw is brought to you by the number three. We finally started to get some details on what to expect from Money in the Bank in a few weeks, and while I like some of it, I hate a lot of it.
We didn’t even get to the credits before adding more to the love square between Punk, Bryan, Kane and AJ. The cold open has AJ breaking up with all three of them. Well, at least practicing in front of a mirror. The weird thing (yeah, the only weird thing) is that she says she can’t be with Kane because he’s a monster. Yeah, a monster that has already been married before.
Continuing the weekly GM routine, since Mick Foley was a face GM last week, this week we need a heel GM right? Enter Vickie Guerrero. Her first order of business? Getting right back into the love square with a three man elimination match between Bryan, Kane and Punk. Usually elimination matches have high stakes like a championship or a title shot. Do they win AJ here? Of course WWE has to get twitter involved in all this as well, telling the Universe to tweet who they want AJ to be with. By the way, there is an option to choose all three. I think it should be noted that they are all wearing the same colors as each other, (red and black) and so is AJ.
I’ve been watching the same three guys go against each other way too much in the last couple months (with seemingly another one coming at Money in the Bank), and I feel like the whole match is coming up with a reason to get Kane out of the ring to please the fans with a few minutes of Bryan versus Punk. Remember the whole reason he’s even involved in this at all is that Punk and Bryan kept tricking Kane to beat up the other one. He’s a walking plot device.
Punk and Bryan are teaming up quite a bit against Kane. But still the whole match seems geared toward keeping Kane out of it as much a possible and with good reason because the match highlights are once again between Punk and Bryan. Eventually Kane does get in there and is about to choke slam Punk before AJ finally comes in and repeats her act from last week, skipping around the ring to distract Kane, giving Punk the opening to hit a GTS and get the pin. Bryan however kicked Punk in the head, and winning the match. In his trash talk exiting the ring, Bryan made mention again that he made Punk tap, two months ago! Is that still something they are running with? Can they just book the I quit match already and be done with it? I’ve got my hopes set for Summerslam, but I’m not counting on it for no other reason that it would be awesome. Fine opener, but it’s really going to take a lot of steam out of their next PPV match (more than it already has) if we keep seeing the competitors fight each other every single week. They know there are other people on the roster right?
Backstage Alberto Del Rio is back to trying for a title shot (if he can stay healthy for it) by sweet talking Vickie Guerrero. How much power does a one week GM have exactly? Dolph Ziggler of course thinks he deserves a fourth shot at beating Sheamus, and Vickie decides to have them compete in a contract on a pole match to determine the number one contender. So once again Ziggler is facing another heel one on one. Face turn maybe? I hope not.
Big Show versus Brodus Clay up next. Michael Cole announced that Vickie Guerrero lifted the ban on Clay that John Laurinaitis set in place weeks ago. Didn’t Vince do that last week? Can we keep our stories in check please? In case you were wondering, Clay still has that dopey funky entrance. I’m curious how they treat him after getting smacked around by Show a month ago. Brodus did skip all the funk nonsense during the match, but he also skipped most of the unbeatable thing too. He pretty much jobbed for Show, who made pretty short work of him for a guy who hadn’t lost a match until now. They’ll blame Clay’s knee injury on the loss, and he sold it pretty hard after the match ended too. He also had a nip slip. Good night for Brodus. It got even better when Big Show came back to hit a WMD on Clay as he was getting escorted out up the ramp during the break.
So now AJ is talking to the real Kane, and up to this point it could be the weirdest thing Kane has done since coming back. He tell’s AJ that he can’t be with her because he’s a monster and that he wears a mask (is Sin Cara a monster too?). AJ makes him feel things he’s never felt before, but he only finds pleasure in eviscerating people. After all that, Kane then says even he thinks she is crazy, and leaves. So is he a face now? Is he supposed to be a monster, even thought he just said he has feelings for her and is completely self aware? Has WWE creative thought of any of this when they were writing this nonsense?
You know how last week Jack Swagger lost to Dolph Ziggler and therefore lost Vickie Guerrero’s services? Well now Swagger is facing Santino for the US Championship, which is being defended for the first time since April 16th. What a joke. One side note, Cole and Lawler told us to check out the extreme measures Swagger had to go to in order to get this title shot granted by Vickie on WWE.com, but I’ll save you the trouble. He went on his knees and begged. That’s it. I don’t know why I even bothered to check it out. Santino wins blah blah blah, but I think I’ll take this time to bring up the announcement of a new show coming to ION in October, since this is the kind of match it may be showcasing. So not only will we be getting three hours of Raw, two hours of Smackdown, and eventually an entire network to watch. We’ll also be getting an additional show on Wednesday night’s starting in October. Essentially I imagine that this show will replace Superstars online. This would all make sense if they were showcasing more talent, but it looks like both Raw and Smackdown show mostly the same talent. This would never happen, but I think it would be great (and probably cheap) if they filmed the house shows each week and put the best of them on TV in one show. They are usually the same matches over and over again so picking the best version should be easy. Tell me that’s not a good idea.
John Cena in the ring to make the historical announcement that he tweeted earlier today and was promoted all night. Before saying anything else, GOOD GOD DOES THIS SUCK! John Cena spent what seemed like forever recapping his feud with Johnny and Show to the theme of the original Star Wars trilogy, and thank the lord Jericho came back from his suspension/tour with Fozzy to interrupt a waste of five minutes. Cena himself couldn’t even keep his composure, pulling a Jimmy Fallon over the whole thing. Anyway so Jericho is back, minus the light up jacket (don’t worry, still wearing leather), saying everything we were all thinking about Cena. Cena finally makes his dumb ass announcement that he’s entering the MITB match to stop show (and that he’s going to win the whole “fudging” thing). Well guess what, Jericho (still a heel it seems) is going to enter the ladder match as well. It’s pretty ridiculous by how much Cena gets outdone by Jericho in this promo.
Vickie comes out and announcers that there will be two MITB matches, one for each major championship (getting rid of the drama of who the winner will challenge). After Jericho references his suspension (sly devil) Vickie says that the competitors of the WWE Championship version of the MITB match will consist solely of former champions. So now the Money in the Bank match will include Kane, Big Show, Chris Jericho and John Cena. Apparently we went back ten years in the past. Maybe Shawn Michaels and Triple H will fill out the final two spots, Jim Ross can call the match and we can go back to this show being called Raw is War. The only good thing to come out of this is that CM Punk with face Daniel Bryan one on one for the title. By the way, Cena will take on Jericho later tonight. UGHHHHHHHHH
Say what you want about Heath Slater, but he’s been getting on TV a lot lately. He’s back again to take on a former Raw legend or whatever, and he’s going to run with his new one man band gimmick. It’s even his new entrance music, and it’s awesome. The only thing they did wrong was put music with the vocals. It needs to be a capella. Anyway would you believe that Psycho Sid came back to face him? Would you believe that he’s wearing regular jeans with knee pads and boots pulled over them? Would you also believe that he still has the same hairstyle that he had in the 80’s? I think we just founds another possibility for the MITB match.
Ziggler versus Del Rio time. I have to say I like the idea of heels facing each other more. Faces do it all the time and it adds more variety to the amount of matches possible. Not that they wouldn’t just repeat the same matches anyway, but it’s nice to know other options are out there. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw a pole match that didn’t involve diva’s. Good to see the fellas get a shot at the pole (hehe). Crowd very pro Ziggler. A little too much climbing the pole and not enough wrestling for my taste. Although the samoan drop off the top rope was pretty cool. So in a skirmish the contract gets ripped off the pole by Ziggler but he never held it, and now both guys are fumbling around the contract that a bunch of idiots. In the middle of the whole thing, Sheamus comes out and says Vickie made a triple threat title match for Smackdown this week. So the match is over. What was the point of that? Why did they even have a match? Why do they keep wasting our time? Is this how they are going to fill three hours? Why am I asking so many questions this week? Do I expect them to be answered?
Divas. Bikinis. Vickie. Battle royal. AJ wins. Does YES chant. Moving on.
Forget everything I said about Jericho ditching the light up jacket. It’s back in full force for his match against Cena. First time in two years it has happened. We haven’t asked for it to return. Either way after a pretty good exchange of moves the Big Show comes out while Cena is in the Walls of Jericho and hits a leg drop on Cena. Match over via DQ, and Jericho exits to let Show do whatever he wants. Choke slam and a chokehold leave Cena unconscious to end the show. I thought Show was looking past Cena now? I guess wanting the title changes that.
The best thing about this week might be that Ryback was not seen at all. Too many other matches to not finish I guess. Let’s see if that continues next week, and perhaps we might get more old wrestlers in the MITB match as well. I must also make note of Charlie Sheen being social media ambassador or something for the 1000th Raw in a few weeks. I have no idea what that means, but Sheen has a show to promote so WWE will let him on.
More reliable than Dolph Ziggler selling a finisher, here is your Raw Recap! We have a lot of questions to answer coming off John Laurinaitis’ firing, so let’s see if we get any answers.
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.
Smackdown sure did add a little spice to No Way Out didn’t it? We already knew if Big Show lost that Vince McMahon would fire John Laurinaitis. But now Johnny Ace plans to fire John Cena if he loses because Cena punched Laurinaitis (and looked like he hurt his hand in the process). I thought Show would win from the beginning and I’ll stick to my guns. John Cena is due for some time off anyway. Let’s see how right I am and watch some No Way Out, in real-time!
Ziggler/Sheamus got an abbreviated version of Ziggler’s short feud with CM Punk, with the Show Off getting a cheap win over Sheamus on Smackdown to provide the smallest glimmer of a chance that he can actually pull of the upset. It should be kept in mind that Ziggler was the WWE’s fourth choice to face Sheamus, after Jericho and Orton got suspended and Del Rio got injured, so a little repetitiveness can be excused here. Of course this all but guarantees the Sheamus will retain the title, but at least Ziggler got some more much deserved time in the spotlight.
These two opened up the show with about as strong of a match as you could have asked for. If you thought for even a second that Ziggler would win then you havent been watching very long. Ziggler stepped up his game for the PPV and really had the crowd popping for him by the end. Sheamus was solid as well, but it wasn’t far enough removed from the matches they had just a couple weeks ago. Good match, but not much better than the one I saw twice before. It took a long time for Ziggler to get back to this level after he lost to Punk, and I just hope he doesn’t get pushed back quite as far this time. Sheamus is Sheamus. We’ll see who’s healthy or not suspended for Money in the Bank next month. Anybody know what’s up with Wade Barrett?
Tuxedo match time. I still don’t get why Santino needs to carry the US Championship if all he is going to do is get into feuds with ring announcers and managers. Give the belt to someone who needs it. As for the match, as much as I enjoy a Finkel throwback, this doesn’t need to be part of a PPV in 2012. The crowd seems to agree. They milked it for wait too long, and watching two guys take each others clothes off just isn’t doing it for me.
The second real match of the night was Cody Rhodes vs Christian for the Intercontinental title. Christian really plays the crowd too much. He tries so hard to get a pop and it just isn’t coming. If you have to ask the crowd to clap with you all the time it isn’t going to happen. He acts (and looks) like an aging rock star trying to get the crowd to remember him. I’m not a big fan of either guy here, but they sure can work a match. There was enough here to keep me entertained, but not enough that I’ll remember any of it in the morning. Two missed disaster kicks lead into a spear and Christian retains. I still find it interesting that Christian uses Edges spear (including taunt) to finish matches. I wonder when someone will try a stunner in a match. So now both men are somewhat left with no clear path in front of them. No one immediately comes to mind to challenge Christian next. If they want to keep Ziggler moving forward giving him a shot at the Intercontinental title (and more importantly, a win) would work well. I’m just about done with Rhodes though. If they can’t find room for Miz, I don’t see how he fits in either.
With some time to kill before Triple H comes out, WWE decided to prove that they actually do have a tag team division by having a Fatal Four way tag match to determine the number one contender. The participants are Epico and primo, Kidd and Gabriel, Prime Time Players, and the Usos. Right now I’m worried that the intros will be longer than the match. Usos easily have the best repertoire of moves to work with, but regardless the crowd is absolutely dead. The stupid tuxedo match got more pop than this. No heels, no faces, just eight people nobody cares about. Tag team matches are supposed to be super uptempo exhibitions. This is moving at the same pace as a Divas match, only with more people outside the ring. At least some of the Divas are pretty. The Prime Time Players get the pin over Epic or Primo (I never looked into who was who) with the help of A&W root beer management or something. Titus and Young are the new big heel tag team I guess. Boring match with not nearly enough spots considering how many people were involved. They sure did milk their victory though.
Triple H makes his not so long awaited return to talk about who else but Brock Lesnar. He’s pissed about being sued, he doesn’t like Lesnar, so guess what he wants to do? He wants to fight him, and he wants to do it at Summerslam. So that pretty much means it’ll be Triple H vs Brock Lesnar at Summerslam. Can we even talk about Money in the Bank for five minutes before looking ahead to August? MITB was the PPV that started the whole Punk revolution. You’d think it would be treated as more than a stop on the way to Summerslam. I think the saddest thing out of all of this is that this announcement could be the biggest thing to come out of this PPV. The matches aren’t exactly breaking any ground.
On to the Divas match. So they had the tag match to cool the crowd off Christian Rhodes, which was followed by Triple H talking for 10 minutes. Now were getting a Divas match? Not much of a middle card here. We haven’t even gotten to Ryback yet. So the big moment of the match was Layla stealing Beth’s headband and dancing around the ring, because the Divas matches were being taken way too seriously. Layla actually controlled most of the match and pulled off the win. Another loss for Beth Phoenix who’s taking a step back lately. Layla on the other hand is really getting a push. It sets up nicely for Mable Kharma if she ever comes back.
Sin Cara vs Hunico in another match we’ve seen twice already. Hunico is actually showing some of his move set here. Good to see Sin Cara get smacked around a little. Sin Cara won anyway though, on some moves that don’t look nearly as impactful. It’s weird that he’s getting this kind of push again. It’s also weird that he needs his own lighting for his matches. So far we’ve only seen one match that we haven’t seen already in the last month, and that was only because we don’t care about anyone that was in the tag match.
Finally time for the triple threat match. AJ had been visiting Punk, Kane and Bryan throughout the night, so it has to turn into something here. Of course Kane was a bit more creepy and forceful with her, which opens things up to have him be more involved in the finish one way or the other. They were trying their best to make up for the last hour or so of the show. Each man is hitting a big move one after the other. The pacing of triple threat matches always seem off for me . The action is good here, but anytime someone takes a bump they are out of it for five minutes. The highlight midway through was a Daniel Bryan double dropkick, closely followed by Kane and Punk combining to performing the Road Warriors finisher, the Doomsday Device. Bryan, who had been gaining momentum and had full control of the crowd at one point, got caught in a GTS but Kane pulled him out so that Punk couldn’t pin him. With Bryan knocked out it turned into Kane vs Punk one on one, and after all the hoopla about AJ, she finally comes to the apron only to be immediately knocked off by Kane going into the rope. Kane was briefly distracted with concern for the psycho, just long enough for Punk to deliver a GTS on him as well, securing the win and retaining the title. Still concerned with Cray-J, Kane carried her off as she gave the ol’ crazy eye to Punk. Looks like Kane just got got! Bryan again found a way to lose without really losing, and Kane now has a legit reason to beef with Punk. I’m not shocked Punk won, but it seemed as good a time as any for him to lose it to Bryan. I’ll never complain about someone keeping the belt for two long though.
Ryback match to kill the crowd. 2 local twigs, rinse and repeat. There is nothing to say anymore. He does have new tights with all of his catch phrases.
Big Show vs John Cena in the steel cage close it out of course. Cena has both of his hands taped. I’m guessing he really did hurt his hand on Lautinaitis’ face, and taped both to make it seem like it’s not to cover an injury. Sure enough, Cena opens up trying to slug it out, making use of the taped knuckles. No effect though as Show just tosses him around. Early on this is very similar to the Cena/Lesnar match. Show is completely dominating but he’s out to injure and not to win. Essentially we’ll be one Super-Cena move from having Johnny Ace fired. Big Show teased a choke slam off the top rope which could have been the move of the year if he actually did it. Instead he ends up going for a flying elbow off the actual top rope (Undertaker style) but missed. Plenty of height though. Shades of a young Paul White. Cena keeps going for pin. I can’t stand how these matches can end via pin fall now. What’s the point of having it in a cage then? Soon enough McMahon and Laurinaitis both started to get involved, and Vince inadvertently slammed the cage door in Cena’s face. A WMD to the ref, a choke slam to Cena, and suddenly Show is the only man standing in the cage. Show makes the move to get out, but Brodus Clay leads all the faces that he beat up this month to come out to keep Show from escaping (talk about No Way Out!). Kofi Kingston finally delivers the blow to take him down and we’re back to even again. Cena gets Show to walk into an Attitude Adjustment to knocks him out but still no ref. Now it’s a race to get out of the ring with Big Show headed for the door while Cena goes over the top (sure are a lot of ways out!). With some help from the faces, Cena gets over the top first to take the win. Overall a better than I anticipated to be honest. The show ends with Vince belting out a big fat “YOU’RE FIRED” followed immediately by Cena hitting an AA though the Spanish announce table to wrap things up. Pretty much what everyone wants to happen to Michael Cole.
Overall it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. Nothing really happened outside of the main event. No titles changed hands (all held by faces btw) and not many storylines went anywhere knew. All we really did was bridge the gap between now and MITB. Triple H announcing the match at Summerslam we already knew about should not stand out so much on a PPV.
We are left with a couple of questions moving forward. Who will be the new GM? Is Big Show leaving for a while? Will Vince McMahon be staying at all? Hopefully some of this will reveal itself Monday night.
Oh yeah, Brodus Clay did Brodus Clay stuff to David Otunga on YouTube.
Well it’s the day after another PPV which means it’s time for all of the storylines and matches to take shape. Since I was home to actually watch Raw as it happened, I figured I would take the opportunity to write this week’s recap along with the actual show. Let’s see how it goes.
Cena opened up to recap the PPV as usual. No hat throwing, or saluting the crowd. All business. Obviously he’s pissed about losing last night. Even more obviously, he wants to know why Big Show double-crossed him, but has to do it in a John Cena way. He also made a point to explain why he embarrassed Johnny instead of just beating him, and that he’d do it again if he could because that’s what he deserved. Sour grapes bro.
To keep these feuds moving Cena now has a bigger problem with Show than Johnny. He’s acting like he’s really angry with the whole thing, and it’s extra weird to hear Cena bitch and moan like it’s real. Cue John Laurinaitis, who comes out in a rascal and crutch because he’s all injured and junk. He states that now that he isn’t in any matches, if anyone touches him that person will be terminated.
As expected, Johnny’s first act was to announce that the Big Show was rehired, and that he will face Cena at No Way Out confirmed. Heel turn, engaged. Show comes out to explain himself and basically says he did it because he didn’t get any sympathy from anyone. Ummm okay. All the fake WWE twitters were talking about it and Cena said he’d be hired back by whoever the next GM was (including the mystery GM). Not exactly the best reason for a heel turn but whatever. Now he’s mad at Cena for judging him or something and asking why he sold out. Off night for WWE creative.
This was followed by David Otunga coming out for a match against Cena. He dedicated the match to Laurinaitis and then got smacked around in about two minutes. Cena won with an STF and held on to send a message to Johnny. This got Curt Hawkins, Tyler Rex, Darren Young and Titus O’neill out to attack Cena. Looks like they are making up the brute squad for Johnny Ace (I guess Big Show is playing Andre the Giant’s part). Sheamus comes out to help Cena. He bumped Johnny on the way in, but I guess that isn’t enough to get fired.
To stick it to them for whatever it is they did wrong, Johnny is putting Cena and Sheamus in a 2 on 3 handicap lumberjack match. I’m not even sure what that means.
Santino strikes Ricardo Rodriguez so he can introduce Alberto Del Rio instead. Five minutes of slapstick later Del Rio comes out for his match against Randy Orton. But first, another commercial. So they came back from break to introduce Alberto Del Rio. Then they announced that the 1000th episode July 23rd, and it would be the beginning of regular 3 hour Raws. Yikes! How long will it take Del Rio to come out then?
Announcers tell us the winner of Orton/Del Rio would have to be the two front-runners for another title shot, and since they are fed all the info, we know it to be true.
I doubt I’m te first to say it, but Orton kinda has his own five moves of doom thing going with the 2 clotheslines into body slam, followed by the 2nd rope DDT and finally the RKO.
Well I guess I was wrong about Jericho being gone. He came out to give Orton 3 codebreakers and go on a rant about being the best in the world (considering he’s 0 for 5 in PPV’s that doesn’t hold much water but whatever). Looks like these two will get together at No Way Out. I’m just curious if that means we’ll see more of Jericho on SmackDown. I did not see that coming. By the way, what is it with Jericho’s outside the ring attire? Whenever he interferes in a match he’s wearing leather pants and no shirt. If he planned far enough ahead to take his shirt off, why not just come out in regular gear? If we expect it to be impromptu, then how about Jericho just leaves his shirt on to he doesn’t look like an exotic dancer? Am I asking too much of pro wrestling for the men to not look like strippers? I am? Well then let’s move on.
Daniel Bryan shows up to call out CM Punk about the finish to their match last night. Doesn’t exactly care that he was pinned 1-2-3. Only that Punk tapped after. Classic heel argument. I don’t know what is up with this Raw crowd, but they were booing Jericho and now they are booing Bryan.
Punk comes out, shows how Bryan hit Kane on SmackDown last week to set up Punk for a Kane beat down. Then he introduces Kane as Bryan’s opponent. Heel vs heel? Can’t wait! After about 10 seconds and the tease of Punk commentary, Punk sets up Bryan to look like he was going to hit Kane with a chair again, and Kane goes medieval on Bryan. Not exactly a match, but pretty good stuff. Punk threw an anaconda vice on Bryan and got him to tap out. Message sent. We’re definitely having a submission match at No Way Out. This is gonna be awesome.
Backstage Punk ran into more crazy AJ nonsense after the break. It’s kind of like watching an improve class. She shows as many emotions as possible in the shortest amount of time possible. Punk said he “sorta digs crazy chicks.” The Punk/Bryan rematch could be getting all the story they lacked the first time around and then some.
New Intercontinental Champion Christian came out next to face Jinder Mahal. Would we finally get our first real match of the night? Turns out we will! Average match. The only stand out is Christian following up the kill switch with a frog splash off the top rope for the win. The kill switch could be out as a finisher.
Beth Phoenix beat the tar out of Kelly Kelly. There is so much spray tan smeared on the mat right now.
Time for that previously announced 2 on 3 lumberjack tag match. Turns out Cena and Sheamus will take on Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, and Lord Tensalbert. Of course all the lumberjacks are heels too. The most interesting thing to me is that there is no sign of the Miz. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
Tensai seems to have a big gash in the middle of his face. Orton had something similar during his match. Too weird a spot to have been blading (which is barely done anyway). Something weird going on. Of course the whole thing ends with the entire lumberjack crew going in the ring (no bell? somehow this is legal). All the faces (including Punk which is pretty interesting) came out to help out Cena and Sheamus. It’s not exactly the invasion angle, but we do have the makings of half the roster going against the other half on a regular basis. Cena went off to find Big Show who sucker punched Cena with the WMD to end the show. A lot of story lines were thrown out there at once tonight. We’ll see how much of it sticks. Overall not a bad show considering that it only had two matches have a real beginning and end. That’s one per hour if you aren’t a math major.
I originally was not planning on watching WWE: Over the Limit last night. I was driving home from Toronto and figured that I could catch the highlights online somewhere. This, after I pleaded that everyone bought the PPV so Punk and Bryan didn’t get blamed for poor numbers. Anyway so a couple of hours into the 9 hour drive home the wife, who hates wrastlin; gets a craving for buffalo wings. Since we didn’t want to go too far out of our way she looked up some places on her phone and found a Buffalo Wild Wings just off the highway in Rochester. So we go in and to my surprise what do we see? CM Punk vs Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship! Needless to say I was thrilled. Even more needless to say, the wife was not.
So with no further adieu, let’s talk about the last hour of over the limit.
Punk/Bryan was the match the WWE seemed to never want to admit the fans wanted. I can’t remember a WWE title match with two peaking superstars be undersold so much on a card. Bryan won the title shot by beating Jerry Lawler, Punk came out to applaud him, and that was pretty much it. They interacted with each other the last couple weeks but there was no war of words. No storyline whatsoever aside from Punk getting injured by Kane on Friday’s SmackDown partially due to Bryan. Essentially they announced Punk/Bryan a month ago and said “See ya on May 20th.”
Thankfully both men proved their worth and completely delivered, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. With the exception of the random shoot I can’t stand most of the segments and promo’s that aired today. I watch wrestling to see wrestling. Not beefed up guys that can’t act. When I want that I watch The Expendables. This was all about two best performers going one-on-one for the title and they put on a chain grappling clinic. There were ooh’s and ahh’s throughout the match with plenty of fast moving momentum swinging moments. The main thing that I look for when giving an opinion of a match is whether I can predict the finish. I had a feeling Punk would win, but there were a number of times I thought Bryan would surprise me. They had me guessing the whole way, and the best part was that it was kept in the ring, with no interference. Just old school wrestling at it’s best.
The finish was also great and holds up with the theme that had been built between the two over the last number of months. Two extraordinary performers with similar backgrounds, can’t really get an edge on each other. After numerous submission attempts, Bryan finally applied the Yes! Lock on Punk, and Punk countered by rolling over Bryan while still in the hold, getting the pin just before tapping out. A clean finish that leaves just enough doubt to give Bryan reason to get a rematch and keep his momentum. Submission rematch at No Way Out perhaps?
As good as Punk/Bryan was, Cena/Laurinaitis was just a train wreck. This had been hyped to no end for the last couple weeks, and through all the talking it was revealed that if Johnny lost he would be fired. So right away you knew he wasn’t losing. Then after the whole Big Show firing segment last week, everybody seemed to know how it was going to happen too. After all the delaying and video packages and talking, the match itself was a joke. Cena toyed with Johnny Ace the whole time, performing maybe 3 actual wrestling maneuvers. It actually reminded me a lot of the old Bobby Heenan weasel costume matches. Those were never the headline of a PPV though.
Cena was in all his glory. Going on the microphone, playing to the crowd. He did everything but actually hurt Laurinaitis. Dumping garbage on his head? Scaring him with a fire extinguisher? What a joke. After what seemed like forever, here comes Big Show, who of course sold out to save his job, hit Cena with the WMD, and gave Johnny Ace the win. Show walks off, end credits, just awful. This is the kind of thing that got me to stop watching wrestling all those years ago. Story and flash over wrestling and substance. Occasionally the WWE showed a willingness (sometimes against common sense) to change their plans when the rest of the world knew what they were doing. Not the case here though. Nothing shocking, nothing entertaining, just a waste of time. I’ll assume Cena gets into a feud with Big Show leading to a match at No Way Out. I also assume I won’t care about it.
I haven’t watched the rest of it yet, but it sounds to me like the rest of the show was mostly straightforward. Layla retained her Diva’s Championship, as did Kofi and Truth with the tag titles (and we know how much I love titles being retained). Brodus Clay and Ryback did what they also do against Miz and Camacho. Kane did more Kane stuff to Zack Ryder on Ryder’s home turf (YouTube). Does this mean he needs to relinquish his made up internet championship belt? No, it doesn’t.
Sheamus held on to the Heavyweight Championship against Orton, Jericho and Del Rio. I hear that it was an exciting match and it also seems that this could be the last we see of Jericho for a spell as he goes on tour with Fozzy. The other two could both continue to compete for the Sheamus as they have nowhere else to go at the moment. Either could take on Sheamus at No Way Out, but we could also get a triple threat match as well.
The other news worthy moment from the show had Christian winning a 20-man battle royal to claim an intercontinental title shot, then pulling it off with a win over Cody Rhodes. The most interesting part of the whole thing was that he did it as a face. He was a good heel on a program that needs them, but it looks like he’ll get a run as a face while likely getting a rematch with Rhodes next month.
Tonight’s Raw spent roughly half of the show featuring people wearing suits. These well dressed executives however are also prone to putting their hands on your face.
Triple H started the show by spending about 10 minutes recapping the last month of WWE action. WrestleMania happened. Cena beat Lesnar. Lesnar quit. Oh what an exciting month it has been! Finally Lesnar’s music hit and Paul Heyman came out. I can’t say enough how much I love that man. Heyman served Triple H with a lawsuit and started trash talking the COO, who responded the way any executive would. He grabbed Heyman’s face and squished his cheeks together, threatened to hit him but instead let go and left the ring. Point, Triple H right?
WRONG! Now Heyman is saying he plans to sue Triple H for assault and battery. Looks like we could be seeing more of Heyman after all. It makes sense to have Heyman be an extension of Brock Lesnar. That way Lesnar can stay fresh in everyones minds without actually making an appearance. I’m really just happy for the potential (although not realistic) chance at getting more of this:
The other suited figure of course is John Laurinaitis. Johnny took offense to the Big Show making fun of his voice last week (you know, because he’s the first), and he made it his personal mission to make sure Show paid for it. Even already made him apologize once for his job, which he did. Now it was Johnny’s turn. First he made Show turn on the waterworks and eventually get on his knees and beg for his job while apologizing to the GM. That of course was not enough for the power trippy Johnny Ace and Big Show got fired anyway. This was the key segment of the show and there is a very good possible reason why.
The big finish, like all finishes now when Cena is involved, turned into a big talking session between Cena and his opponent, John Laurinaitis. Johnny talked up how he can make all the changes he wanted and put the match in his favor, until everyone’s favorite hoeski, Eve, delivered a message from the board of directors. It reads that the match will be a one-on-one match, with no added stipulations, no special guest referees, and if Laurinaitis loses he will be terminated. There is one last addition to the message. If any WWE superstar interferes in the match, he or she will be fired. Isn’t it interesting that this news comes out right after the Big Show was fired? Hmmmmmmmmmm.
So here’s the rumor. The now fired Big Show will come back at Over the Limit and help Laurinaitis (legal since he isn’t a WWE employee) defeat Cena, to which Johnny will return the favor by giving Big Show his job back as Laurinaitis’ personal body guard. This makes Big Show a reluctant heel and gives Cena an excuse to lose to Johnny Ace. With that in mind I also have a weird feeling that Daniel Bryan will take the WWE Championship from CM Punk. WWE loves throwing people off who better to unseat Punk (even if it’s only for a short time) than the white hot Bryan. Could this be where the AJ storyline finally comes back into play? I guess we’ll find out Sunday.
Nothing else really happened for the rest of the show. Beth Phoenix is back and will probably win the Diva’s Championship back from Layla. Ziggler and Swagger get a tag team title shot against R-Truth and Kofi Kingston, and Kane will get the YouTube treatment as he’ll open up Over the Limit against his good buddy Zach Ryder. Let’s see if it lasts more than 30 seconds.
I honestly think we could have an all heel PPV this time around. I think we’re due and it would be a nice change of pace considering how faces seem to keep winning lately. Eventually it has to turn just to keep it interesting (I do think Sheamus retains his title though). Unfortunately I won’t be able to watch this one live as I’ll be on my way home from Toronto and I don’t think the rental car will even get basic TV so we can forget about PPV. Let me know what you think of it and I’ll be back with a Raw wrap-up Monday night.
It’s Monday night again, which means that someone you haven’t seen in a while needs to make a special appearance on Raw. This time it wasn’t a wrestler, it was ECW founder and super hype machine Paul Heyman who came back, representing his boy Brock Lesnar. Since Lesnar went off the handle last week and brock his boss’s (Triple H) arm, all the circles speculated that Lesnar would be “fired” for his actions. I assumed that instead Brock would not only remain hired, but would also get his demands met since Triple H was out of commission and John Laurinaitis, who agreed to the demands in the first place, was still around. However Heyman threw us all for a loop when he announced that Lesnar had quit the WWE, due to the way he had been treated by WWE brass and whatever the hell else he was saying. All that matters is Brock quit, and no one can cut a promo quite like Paul Heyman.
Of course Lesnar hasn’t really quit. He’s signed to a lucrative contract that expires after WrestleMania 29. He just “quit” until his next appearance, which are limited based on his deal. Odds are that he will come back at the same time Triple H comes back from his broken arm, so the two can meet. This would most likely be at SummerSlam, and I’ll take a wild guess that after that the only other times you see him in a match are at Survivor Series, Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania. This is simply based on the idea that he has a limited number of appearances, and WWE would likely use those for their biggest events and leading up to ‘Mania.
The other piece of news that came out of Raw was the announcement of a Fatal 4-Way match for the World Heavyweight Championship putting current champ Sheamus against Alberto Del Rio (which we knew), Randy Orton (alright) and Chris Jericho (wait, what?). Apparently after losing to Punk twice and failing to secure another rematch last week, Jericho seems to have completely forgotten about Punk and has now moved on to wanting this belt instead. I know I wanted that feud put on hiatus for a while but wasn’t there a better way to do it? Couldn’t he have blamed not winning the beat the clock challenge on someone and then get into a feud with him? Here we just had Jericho thrown into a tag match with Del Rio against Sheamus and Orton, where Sheamus accidentally Brogue-Kicked Orton, paving the way for Jericho to pin Sheamus, leading Jericho to now believe he should be champion. This now makes four straight PPV title shots for Jericho, who has barely won a match since returning. At some point he has to beat someone just to justify him being here. Of course now Orton wants revenge on Sheamus too since “accidents don’t happen in the ring” (just ask The Rockers).
CM Punk got his beef with Laurinaitis going again, ridiculing the GM to the point that Johnny Ace put Punk in a handicap match against Daniel Bryan and Lord “I swear I’m not Prince Albert” Tensai. By Punk’s standards it was a pretty ordinary segment, and the more I think about it, face Punk has been pretty lame the last couple months (outside the ring of course, inside he can still do no wrong). Although I suppose it’s hard to have a good shoot when you’re the WWE Champion that main events PPV’s and is getting everything he wants. Most of the good rants are from disgruntled employees usually on the way out anyway (much like Punk thought he was before MITB).
Naturally Punk lost and Bryan grabbed some more momentum heading into Over the Limit, but the real story to me is the Laurinaitis angle. His feud with Punk had been put aside for Cena, but now that Laurinaitis is set to face Cena in two weeks, the Punk feud is heating up again? He’s also making an enemy out of Sheamus, while Eve (his assistant) is starting things up with Big Show (who beat Cody Rhodes via count out so no IC title and no more rematch clause). Isn’t that a lot of heat from a lot of different directions? I mostly think it’s a sign that there aren’t enough good heels (and the ones they do have get cheered like Jericho and Bryan), and they need someone to keep all these faces on the right side of the crowd. That’s all fine, but it means that we now need to have Laurintis and/or Eve on screen for most of the show since they are involved in everyone’s storylines.
Makes sense for getting Cena cheers and even for Sheamus since Del Rio isn’t exactly bueno on the mic. But do we really need Johnny to promote Punk vs Bryan? Both of them are so good on the mic and get such a good pop from the crowd. They should be able to psych people up on their own. I thought the same of Punk vs Jericho too but that had the whole drinking angle. No accounting for taste I guess. The one thing this does for me however is create the possibility of Laurinaitis or Eve getting involved in any and all matches. Don’t be surprised if we have a mostly heel-driven Over the Limit.
As for the rest of Raw, Beth Phoenix will challenge Layla for the Diva’s Championship at Over the Limit, The Miz came really close to beating Brodus Clay, Dolph Ziggler took out Kofi Kingston (with some aid from Swagger of course), Mason Ryan seems to be coming back, and finally this happened somehow at the Mayweather/Cotto fight: