Tag Archives: laurinaitis

CM Punk’s Heel Turn on The Rock Caps 1000th Raw

Before I even say anything the WWE has a new slogan. “Then, Now, Forever.” This is interesting because it is exactly how long I feel like this 1000th episode has been getting promoted for. Let’s see how much substance actually comes with all the hype.

After a montage that lasted longer than a Ryback match, Vince McMahon came out first to address the crowd and formally introduce Michaels and Triple H as DX. Kind of odd having the COO of your company come out as a symbol of rebellion but whatever. Didn’t take long for X-Pac, Billy Gunn and the Road Dogg to come out in a hummer (no Chyna) and reunite join them to form the massive Suck-It-Bot. Okay that last part didn’t happen but it might as well have. This is pretty much going to be a cheap pop-athon. A few other notes: Props to Triple H for mentioning he as the only one that still had hair and for railing on Shawn about losing his smile and doing Playgirl. Also oh man did X-Pac get fat. I know no one is in as good of shape as they used to be (myself included) but for such a skinny guy back in the day it sure does stand out on him. Damien Sandow cut them off to do his whole morals thing and a quick comedy bit later he was superkicked and pedigreed and just like that consider 20 minutes successfully killed.

What special edition of Raw would be complete without Jim Ross. He’ll be calling the first match of the night with Cole and Lawler who are both tuxedos. I guess Ross didn’t get the message. He also has a goatee going. Maybe this is evil JR. 30 minutes in Cole hasn’t said a dumb thing to either of them. This really is a special Raw. Rey Mysterio, Sheamus and Sin Cara join forces for this first match against Jericho, Ziggler and Del Rio. Jericho brought out some old favorite moves early on which was cool. Then after Del Rio laid down some of the worst looking knee drops I’ve ever seen, Sin Cara finally tags out to Sheamus and we get some real action. Everyone gets their moves in (making Sin Cara look specifically out of place) before the sequence ends with Ziggler decking Jericho, who then turns into a brogue kick to take the match. Jericho and Sheamus specifically work well together. Too bad they won’t be able to do it anymore because Jericho’s face turn is just about complete.

You know what sucks? Tout. There is a reason some people get paid to be on TV and others (like me) just watch it. If they continue with this I can at least know when to go fold the laundry. Charlie Sheen actually appeared on the show by the way, via webcam at least, to talk to Cole and Lawler. He obviously has never watched wrestling until today but it’s all good. I still have no idea what his role is, but that doesn’t matter either. Layla tries to talk AJ out of the wedding, leading to a segment about how AJ could be the least crazy person around. Enter Jim Duggan, R-Truth and Roddy Piper playing jump rope with little Jimmy, and Mae Young showing up with her son the hand. All grown up too! Easily the best part of the show so far. Awesome.

Just after Lawler gets his Sonic order the new resident jobber Jack Swagger comes off losing to Ryback last week to losing to Brodus Clay this week. Really feel for the poor guy. Wasn’t that long ago that he was the US Champ. He’s a hard worker and STOP EVERYTHING IT’S DUDE LOVE! He’s out to be in Clay’s corner and in the time it took to tell you that the match ended on a Funk Dat or whatever that splash move is called. Cue the dance session, throw in a mandible claw on Swagger and we’re done. The Dude Love character is just about the best Clay could hope for and even Foley didn’t take it that far. Backstage Daniel Bryan is getting ready for the wedding while talking to mental hospital workers. The plot thickens.

Your Weekly GM Photo

I guess we won’t have to wait much longer because one hour in we get the wedding. Slick (who I’m sure very few of you and the crowd remember) is out to handle the ceremony. Daniel Bryan comes down the aisle to his music, chanting YES in a white tux. Way to sell the legitimacy of the whole thing (of course this is par for the course in WWE weddings) Slick is amped up for the proceedings, and AJ is completely corpsing. Just before Slick was about to announce them as man and wife, AJ says she wasn’t saying yes to Bryan, but to Vince McMahon (stay with me), who proposed that she become the new GM of Raw. AJ skips out on Daniel Bryan and uh, this is just ridiculous. I know I can’t try to make that much sense out of a wrestling storyline, but where does that become a good idea? This could get bad fast. Also, it looks like Bryan is going face after all. Bryan freaks out and tosses everything around only to be visited by CM Punk. They get into an argument about who the greatest of all time is, and cue the Rock from the gorilla position to add his two cents. For a guy that has only had three matches since 2004, he sure does have a lot of different t-shirts. After calling Bryan Frodo, Rock announces that he will get a WWE Championship title shot at the Royal Rumble. Punk of course says that he will still have the belt by then, and you can fill in the blanks from there. Oh yeah, Daniel Bryan got Rock Bottomed too.

Bret Hart out as guest ring announcer for the IC title match between Christian and The Miz. Miz is certainly getting a lot of work in since he came back. In two weeks he’s been in the MITB match and now a title shot. Charlie Sheen will be back for more commentary after the match. I had completely forgotten he was on the show to begin with. Christian sells a knee injury early and misses a pair of chances at a kill switch before Miz hits a skull crushing finale to take the Intercontinental Championship. Solid match and the crowd popped for Miz who, like Ziggler, is getting a fresh push. Now on to Sheen. Apparently all he is doing is watching the show from his house. He’s pretty much just recapping what we’ve already seen with little input. Kind of sounds like what I’ve been doing here.

Super H move

Triple H out for the 2nd time tonight, now to get back to his present ass kicker mode to get his answer from Brock Lesnar about Summerslam. Paul Heyman again comes out in Lesnar’s place. He again says no and Triple H goes into the same nonsense about Lesnar being afraid of him. Heyman starts to take digs at Triple H’s kids, and Stephanie McMahon gets to make her appearance for the night. She essentially does the same routine Triple H did and slaps Heyman in the process. Apparently that was all it took to get Heyman to agree to let Lesnar fight. Ridiculous. Heyman goes back to talking about the kids and now Stephanie takes down Heyman, which triggers Brock Lesnar to come out and give us a quick preview of Lesnar/Triple H. Triple H actually knocks Lesnar out of the ring, Lesnar drops an F-bomb, they both takes their shirts off and for some reason Lesnar’s music plays to end the segment. So the match that we knew was happening for weeks is finally official in the WWE Universe.

Santino and Hornswaggle bring out some brawlin’ buddies (new version of wrestling buddies). Not sure what he’s out there for because Howard Finkel is there to introduce Heath Slater, who is in a no DQ match against WWE legend Lita. Yeah that’s right. The youngest and most in shape person to take on Slater yet. For protection, Lita called out Farooq and Bradshaw. Slater wants no part of them and tries to get out, but all of the other legends Slater faced came out to bring him back into the ring. Twist of fate, clothesline from hell and a moonsalt later and Slater is done. I’m a bit tapped out on seeing WWE legends beat up on Heath Slater. Let’s move on. Remember Sean Mooney? Well he’s back too to interview Bryan. Nothing really happened in the interview, but I just think it’s cool to know Sean Mooney is still alive.

Brothers of Purple Lighting

Mean Gene hanging out with Ryder and Cena backstage when The Rock stepped in to wish Cena luck and talk more Royal Rumble. Can we even get through Summerslam first? I guess there is no way the winner of tonight’s match doesn’t hold on to it until the Royal Rumble. Kane was set to go against Jinder Mahal, but he brough out a bunch of other people you don’t care about to help him take care of business. I’ll be damned though if the Undertaker didn’t come out in a Legion of Doom style coat to help his brother clean house. Undertaker is still rocking the mohawk he had at WrestleMania, although it took a while to know for sure since Taker botched taking his hood off. The Brothers quickly make jobber soup, hitting a couple of chokeslams and tombstones before posing and doing all the fire and brimstone stuff. Undertaker barely comes out, but if there was ever a good day to come out this was it. Funny enough, this was followed by a bully campaign message.

Another brief and pointless Sheen appearance and it’s finally main event time. This is only the third real match that we’ll have in this three hour Raw. I’m not counting Clay/Swagger, Lita/Slater or the Kane/Undertaker vs jobbers “matches.” Punk and Cena start with a handshake. So much has changed since MITB last year. Slow pace to start but it lets the crowd rev up. I think they have been so starved for a real good match that they are at an absolute high right now. I see time running out on the show and I realize Big Show hasn’t been seen. You see where I’m going with this? Things pick up a bit but still very deliberate. Rare for a Punk match. They trade momentum swings and block each other’s signature moves, and Cena escapes a GTS and lands and AA but the referee is down. Guess who’s right? Big Show comes out to knock out Cena and leave. Punk reluctantly revives and ref and goes for the pin, but he took so long that Cena kicked out. Cena then reverses a GTS into an STF (I hate abbreviations) but before Punk can tap out Big Show comes back again to take out Cena. Punk does nothing for some reason but The Rock comes to Cena’s rescue. Rock goes for a People’s Elbow but Punk attacks Rock, then hit’s a GTS and holy pipe bomb we have a full on Punk heel turn. I wasn’t too thrilled with the early goings but what a way to end the 1000th episode of Raw.

This all but guarantees Punk versus Rock at Royal Rumble, and it looks like we’re going to get the heel Punk that held was telling us not to buy Jeff Hardy DVD’s instead of the face Punk that was like a wrestling Deadpool. I imagine it will be about Rock behind handed a title shot or something. There was also a lot of reluctance and confusion on Punk’s face the entire time, but I expect that to fade by next Monday. This can only be good.

Thoughts from Money in the Bank and Raw #999

I figure that recapping 24 hours of wrestling a week after it happened is a little ridiculous, so instead I’ll just drop some quick reactions now that I’ve finally gotten to watch Money in the Bank and the following Raw.

It’s about damn time!

Dolph Ziggler wins Smackdown MITB Match
I thought the Sin Cara botch off the top rope was bad. Then I saw Lord Tensai. Good lord what a crappy pair of wrestlers. It also seems that everyone is beginning to appreciate Ziggler the way I do. The crowd absolutely loves him and was behind him whenever he got close to winning. Couldn’t be happier that he won in the end. Nobody takes harder hits and he is ready to go to the next level. Overall a good match with plenty of big moments.

The Phoenix crowd also popped for the Miz returning as well. Pretty sure The Marine 2 is going to suck, but it’s good to have him back. WWE needs reliable heels like him. Especially when Sin Cara and Tensai are stinking it up in the ring.

Sheamus def. Alberto Del Rio to retain the World Heavyweight Championship
Del Rio must have been told to add some personality to his in ring persona because he’s been more animated that I remember him being in a while. Not a bad match but the pace was too slow. Especially coming off the MITB match. Picked up a bit with the finish, but overall a predictable and at times boring match. Crowd cheering for Ziggler was awesome, especially the pop when he finally came out. I would have lost it if he actually cashed in and lost though.

All you need to know about the tag match is that AW was the only thing that worked. Some of his comments were actually kinda funny. Match went way too long though.

CM Punk def. Daniel Bryan to retain the WWE Championship
Digging Bryan’s new hobo jacket. Of course these guys have a great match. They are the best in the business and they compliment each other well. Plus they’ve been in the ring with each other so much it would be hard not to have excellent chemistry. Fast, precise, creative, high impact. Great stuff. I just want to know what the point of AJ being a ref was. Just like when Laurinaitis was guest referee, AJ barely had any impact at all.

By the way, Ryback actually took a bump. Still not getting over though.

SURPRISE!

John Cena wins RAW MITB match
Much to my surprise this match got off to a great start. Cena hitting an AA on Show through the announce table was pretty damn cool. Interesting to see everyone else bury him with all the ladders. A lot more throwing ladders overall. Completely different that the first MITB match. More about power moves. Still good though. Big Show’s big ladder is hilarious. Finish was strong too. Show staring down Jericho was great but I’m pretty sure Cena wasn’t supposed to win at the moment he did. Looked like he was supposed to finish taking down Show before pulling off the case. Made for a more authentic reaction from Cena. Good PPV overall. Sheamus/Del Rio was the closest thing to a dud and even that was okay. Minimal complaints.

Monday Night Raw Episode #999
With the 1000th episode of RAW next, you wouldn’t expect much to actually happen this week and that’s pretty much what happened. Not much. Rey Mysterio did come back though and immediately got into it with Del Rio. Maybe this means we can get Sin Cara out of here. Heath Slater got to lose to Rikishi, and Rikishi dancing with his sons the Usos was a nice touch. Rumors were that Daniel Bryan could go face, and that seems to be what is happening with him proposing (with ring!) to AJ and they’ll be getting married next week (of course). Jericho could also be in for a face turn and feud with Ziggler. Predictably Cena isn’t going to take advantage of an injured champ with his MITB case (which is why I didn’t want him winning). So he’ll face Punk next week in what may be the only match we see on Raw’s 1000th episode. Cena winning the title on the landmark episode would be soooooooooooo WWE. I guess we’ll have to just wait and see.

Two Wedding Proposals and Three Squash Matches on Raw

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).

Half the match

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.

ERMAHGERG, LERDERSH!

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.

Welcome to the gun show

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.

Hype, Hype and More Hype plus AJ Drama on Raw

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.

One of these men can’t wrestle like the other

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.

Face Doink

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.

Take a seat (Get it!?)

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.

Money in the Bank Takes Shape on Raw

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.

Your weekly AJ photo

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.

Tug of War for the right to get kicked by Sheamus

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.

Old, Older and Oldest

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.

Foley, Piper and Heyman Return in Uneventful Raw

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.

Your weekly AJ photo

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.

Better than the tag match

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.

So long Johnny

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.

Johnny Ace Fired, Triple H Speaks at No Way Out

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.

Insert “White” move name here

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.

WORDS!!!!!

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.

Turning the creepy factor to 11

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.

Vince McMahon Knocked Out on 3-Hour Raw Supershow

Like it or not, the start of three hour Raw’s is here. The hope is that an extra hour of Raw means more matches. To pump up the excitement we’ve been promised the return of Vince McMahon to give a live job performance review to John Laurinaitis. Better get your strut on now because here we go!

Johnny Ace leads off, but Vince interrupts and wastes little time saying he has plans on firing John. Among the Laurinaitis bashing, McMahon reveals that Johnny hired the wrong one-legged wrestler (“true story”), and that Big Show hasn’t been effective in the ring since 1999 (burn!) These two haven’t been able to get a single line out without flubbing. Maybe the extra hour will just be spent stuttering.

Sheamus comes out to get a cheap pop off McMahon’s heels and suggest Johnny get fired, so now Laurinaitis says he’ll find someone in the back that will make him pay for his remarks. Vince says that this match, and all the other matches tonight, better be impressive or Johnny is fired. (guess, Big Show takes out Vince)

So who does Johnny choose to face Sheamus? Resident surprise heel Lord Tensai of course. I love that pushing his mentor or whatever aside is becoming part of his entrance. Unfortunately that’s all I like about him right now. Tensai just looks slow tonight. Not on at all to me. We can also now effectively declare his push dead. Sheamus kicked out of his finisher (second time in two weeks that’s happened), and hit a brogue kick for the win. The crowd just can’t commit to Prince Albert as Lord Tensai. WWE has slowly let the Japanese warrior gimmick go. His headpiece is gone, he speaks perfect english (at least in ring), and now after the match he beat up his worshiper (just cuz). He even looked sloppy doing that.

More active than Del Rio

McMahon calls the match strike one because Johnny’s guy didn’t win. I thought the idea was to have impressive matches. Either way Johnny loses. Later on the show we’ll see Christian, Khali, Ziggler and Swagger in a fatal four way match to determine Sheamus’ opponent at No Way Out. This is all because Alberto “can’t stay in the ring” Del Rio suffered a concussion (said to be from last week’s match with Khali, I believe it to be from a house show), and can’t compete at No Way Out. It’s pretty sad when your ring announcer gets more time in the ring than you do. He’s a guy the WWE needs so badly to  be performing right now, and it’s just another blow to a potentially successful career. The clock is ticking on him if you ask me.

Jerry Lawler just put Raw going to 1000th episodes to shows like Seinfeld and Gunsmoke. Do they really think people put Raw on this stage? It’s a totally different type of program. 26 episodes per season for a regular sitcom. Raw and Smackdown have a new episode every week. It’s like saying the Pittsburgh Pirates are better than the Pittsburgh Steelers because they have more wins in their history. It’s technically true but since one plays 162 games and the other plays 16, it’s not really fair to compare.

Big Show still beefing with Kofi/Truth I guess. Truth just got got mid interview with a WMD from Show backstage. Kofi now wants a piece of show, and Laurinaitis responds by putting them in a steel cage match. Blerg. Also, Santino and Layla just lost to Ricardo (yeah, I know) and Beth Phoenix. The highlight of the match was Santino pulling off Ricardo’s dress shirt (he comes to the ring in his tuxedo) to reveal a Justin Bieber shirt. At least the Divas were involved in a match this week.

Daniel Bryan out to cut a promo. Says he’s the only one that won’t be distracted by AJ. Says Punk is just going after AJ to make him jealous and Kane is an idiot or whatever typical heel stuff we always here. I will give him points for the line, “Once you go Bryan, there’s no point in tryin.” That’s has t-shirt written all over it. Punk interrupts to say he’s going win, which of course means Kane will come out soon as well. To me he’s like the little brother nobody wanted to play with them, but he has to get involved or you’ll get in trouble. He just has no place in this feud and it’s even more obvious in the promos.

Cray-J to the rescue! Still in her CM Punk gear, she says Kane has a heart after looking in his eyes, that she’ll never get over her first love Daniel Bryan, and that CM Punk is just the coolest guy on the planet (no really, that was exactly what she said). She then said she is sure the “best man” will win, which basically means she’s gonna be all up on whoever wins on Sunday. Johnny Ace gets on the big screen as a fifth member of this overstuffed beef fest, and puts Bryan and Kane together in a tag match against Punk and AJ. Not sure if going to three hours every week was a good idea right now.

Fatal Four Way elimination time. So we know Khali isn’t winning. Christian already has a match booked. Jack Swagger has had no push whatsoever. This is all set up for a Dolph Ziggler title shot and I couldn’t be happier. Of course Khali is taken out in a matter of minutes. He just can’t move. Andre the Giant wasn’t mobile, but there wasn’t anyone to match his size so it was impressive just seeing someone that big. Now there is Kane, Undertaker, Big Show, all gigantic guys that can move. Khali just isn’t entertaining. Can’t take bumps, has no variety of moves. All he does is get booked in high stakes elimination style matches and get taken out first. He needs to go.

I’ve beaten you twice, fella!

Ziggler and Swagger working as a team on Khali first and then Christian. Curious to see if Christian eliminates Swagger, or if Christian gets knocked out to really drive a stake through the Ziggler/Swagger partnership. Dolph has been talking about taking the next step in a solo career for weeks now, and Swagger is the last thing holding him back. Well I got my wish but not how I thought it would happen as Ziggler snuck in to pin Swagger. Nice twist. Christian and Ziggler put together a nice finish to end a strong match. Big moves on both sides and much to my satisfaction Ziggler won with a zig-zag off a missed frog splash. Ziggler yells “It’s about damn time!” and I agree. The only problem is that Sheamus had already beaten Ziggler twice last week alone. They’re going to have a hard time convincing anyway that there is even a chance Ziggler pulls off an upset.

Backstage the Funkadactyles (is that what they’re called) convinced Vince to reverse the ban Laurinaitis had on Brodus Clay. I didn’t even realize he was banned in the first place. A dance session and a Zack Ryder appearance later and we’re only half way through this three hour Raw. I wonder if the fans in the arena are as exhausted as I am.

Oh god it’s Ryback. The only thing good about his matches are that they showcase local products they we’d never see otherwise. By now you know what to expect. Ridiculous quotes from this match include; “I hit hard,” and “finish him,” and “feed me three!” Really? Sometimes I think he knows he’s a joke. At some point he has to take on someone that weighs more than 120 pounds right? Even Brodus Clay got into a real feud eventually.

By the way David Otunga will be opening No Way Out on YouTube by getting smacked around by Brodus Clay.

Kofi versus Show in a steel cage is pretty damn boring. Show just tossed Kofi around and yelled at the crowd. Essentially it was a promo with glimpses of a match in the middle. Body slam followed by “Smile for me.” Throw against the cage followed by “Are you entertained?” WMD followed by “No one can stop me.” Kofi put on maybe three offensive moves before Big Show finally just walked out of the ring with no suspense. I don’t think this one will be on the next Steel Cage DVD, but it was at least better than any promo Randy Orton ever cut. Also Sin Cara came out and did more Sin Cara-ey stuff against Kurt Hawkins. Are armdrags really supposed to do that much damage? It’s fun to watch but so is watching cat videos on YouTube.

Hey remember Heath Slater? Well he’s on Raw for the first time in a while and OH MY GOSH IT’S VADER TIME! I wasn’t even sure Vader was still alive but here he is to get put over by Heath Slater. Poor Heath. He isn’t even the best red headed superstar. He’s a hell of a lot flabbier, but he sure can still get the crowd going. Perhaps with the extra time on the shows and the upcoming 1000th episode we’ll see a lot more WWE alumni for a while. After all the current talent keeps getting hurt or suspended, they might not have a choice.

Kane, chick magnet

Main event time. Before coming out AJ delivers a kiss of death on Punk’s cheek. I really can’t figure out who is going to win at No Way Out. Punk has carried the belt really well and there is no reason to believe they’ll drop him down a step. However Bryan needs a win pretty bad to keep his superheel status going. The one thing I’m pretty sure about though is that Kane has no chance whatsoever of winning. Anyway on to the match. Blah blah blah AJ gets accidentally tagged in against Kane and wouldn’t you know it, she skips around Kane and then makes out with him for a good 15 seconds, and Kane just leaves to hide his “excitement” or something. So now it’s Bryan alone against Punk who beats a distracted Daniel on an elbow from the top rope (it has to finish people occasionally) and AJ goes back to being all about Punk (no making out though). I’m not fairly convinced that Bryan, the only person not getting the Cray-J eyes, will win on Sunday. Kane and Punk are completely confused and it wouldn’t shock me if Bryan wins the belt and AJ back in one ridiculous swoop.

Plot device main event time! Vince in the ring with a team of security guards. Laurinaitis really needs to learn how to use crutches. He’s just walking normally. I can’t get over it. Johnny takes one last stab at begging for his job but it’s obviously not going to change Vince’s mind, but just as he was about to deliver the final blow, big surprise, Big Show interrupts the proceedings to reiterate that he has an iron clad contract and that it was all of McMahon’s decisions on how to treat Big Show that drove him to what he is now. Show then turns it into another promo against Cena, to which Cena of course has to come out and reply in his stupid Cena way. Vince jumps in and says that if Big Show loses, Johnny really is fired (convenient) which starts a little melee between the four parties involved, and ends with Show landing a WMD on Vince McMahon. So now Johnny’s freaking out, Cena looks like someone ran over his dog, and Show looks like he ate a big mac too fast. I’m going to say there is a 5% chance Cena actually wins this match, and I think it’s 50/50 right now that Vince McMahon is the one that makes him lose.

Right now my excitement level for No Way Out is set to curious. I can’t say for sure it’ll be a good PPV, but I do think it will set the stage for the next few months, where Over the Limit ended up having more short term effects.

Cole Gets Cena Over and AJ Digs Kane on Raw

A long day at work may have delayed it, but if John Cena can come back after being punched in the face once, I’ll be damned if I let a couple extra hours in the office keep me from delivering the Raw recap. So with no further delay let’s do it!

Cena wasted no time returning to Raw, but to ensure that he got as big of a pop as possible, Michael Cole was brought in to introduce him for and interview instead of going with the opening monologue like normal. We get more of Cena not doing the right thing by sticking up for his friend the Big Show. Were they ever really friends? Didn’t they have a big rivalry before? Only guy I thought was actually Cena’s friend was Zack Ryder and we saw how that ended. Apparently in the background of that whole mess Cena and Show were buddies too.

Cena said he won’t judge Show for taking the easy way out after he just judged him for taking the easy way out. There are brand new levels of hypocrisy here. Cole then started dropping major truth bombs. Says Cena isn’t the center of the universe (he isn’t), says he’s overrated (he is), and says that he hopes Big Show puts an end to us having to sit through all of Cena’s matches at No Way Out (if only we didn’t have to sit through another one). Cole did it in an annoying Cole way, but I’m actually on board with all of that.

Laurinaitis comes out and informs us that John Cena can pick his opponent. This is followed immediately by announcing that Big Show is off tonight (fine by me) and Johnny Ace has retired from competition (even better). Cena says he’s going to face someone who is uninteresting, overrated and is being shoved down our throats every week (sounds like he’s gonna face himself). In classic Cena fashion he will be going against who else, but Michael Cole. Has Cena been in a real wrestling match since WrestleMania? How many was he in before WrestleMania? It’s just a joke. Backstage Cole pleads for Laurinaitis to keep this from happening since he has supported Johnny since day 1 (again, true) and that’s not what the people want to see (also true, but not in the same way). Johnny says it is what they wants to see and not to call him Johnny. The list of enemies gets bigger and bigger for Johnny Ace. Doesn’t he need to side with someone?

Feud Building 101

First match of the night is Ziggler vs Sheamus. Is it weird that the first thing I think of here is how awesome Ziggler will sell the Brogue Kick? Dolph needs to step up if he’s going to big a top heel and he’s getting time to shine a bit early on. Unbeknownst to me Finley’s old finisher that Sheamus took is now called White Noise. Does he have any moves that are not named after being white or a celtic warrior? Borderline racist no? Del Rio met Sheamus  coming up the ramp to deliver some damage on his arm. That’s how you build an old school rivalry. No long winded monologues. Just a couple of random assaults to leave the hero injured. Del Rio gets mucho fuego.

Stop the presses! Vince McMahon is coming back to Raw next week, and he’s going to give John Laurinaitis a job evaluation. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen the big boss and I’m curious in what capacity he’ll be back. I’m going to guess he’ll come back hell (since Johnny Ace isn’t going anywhere) and that he’ll play some part in the Cena/Big Show match. I’m basing this on absolutely nothing of course.

Hey remember Sin Cara? Well too bad because he’s back anyway. Good to see that he got rid of the trampoline in his entrance. There are enough things to make fun of him about (like this). Anyway five minutes later he finished beating up on Hunico, and now we have to watch Ryback next? If there is anyone that is in dire need of a makeover it’s this shmohawk. Well not only is he not getting a makeover, but he’s going against the same dopes he smacked around at Extreme Rules. More of the same here. Ryback showing he’s strong and getting booed anyway. I’m sorry, but you can’t get put over by beating people who look like me. There is just nothing to like about him right now. Not the move set, not the marching, and definitely not the idiotic yelling. “Feed me more?” Good grief.

So after two wastes of time we now get CM Punk versus Kane where there “must be a winner” after what happened on Smackdown. Bryan is on hand of course since the three will be involved in a Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship at No Way Out. I can’t explain enough how disappointed I am that the Bryan/Punk feud has gone in this direction. At Over the Limit we got a classic old school wrestling match with the promise of getting a rematch in a couple of weeks. After the ending to that match it seemed like we were poised to have an I Quit match that surely would have at least equal the quality of the last one and could have supplied some real drama. However due to what I imagine to be less than stellar ratings, the rematch is getting all these other ideas thrown into it. Cray-J was an unnecessary but natural progression, but throwing Kane in too just seems like overhaul. It has to be really difficult to book Kane right now. He’s past his prime at not in the same league as Punk or Bryan or Sheamus, but he’s still a bigger household name than most of the roster so he has to be put out there. So here he is getting thrown into a rivalry for the championship that he has no business being involved in just to get a few more butts in the seats for a PPV that hasn’t sold out yet. Ironically I was on the fence about buying a ticket until discovering this update to the card.

By the way, during the break in the Punk/Kane match, there was a commercial for TNA Impact. I’m pretty shocked that was allowed by WWE.

Anyway back to the match. CM Punk has to stop acting so surprised when his elbow drop doesn’t result in a 3 count. That goes for everyone with their signature moves I guess, but it seems a little more ridiculous with Punk. A few kicks and punches and some Bryan interference later, AJ comes out to help her boy Punk again, and again it leads to Punk losing (foreshadowing?). Hold on now because another wrench has been thrown into the mix. Kane set his sights on AJ until Bryan jumped in (no idea why) and got kicked around by Kane too. So now AJ starts giving Kane the crazy sex eyes and Kane is even freaked out by her. So now she can be in anyones corner. I really can’t keep up with this. I never wish injury on anyone, but things would be so much better if Kane broke his leg or something so we can go back to a regular love triangle instead of this love parallelogram or whatever we have going on here.

Truth/Kofi beat Rex/Hawkins in the third squash match of the night. This show is reminiscent of the old Saturday morning wrestling shows I used to watch as a kid. A bunch of squash matches with only one or two competitive matches to speak of. Don’t worry, Cena vs Cole is next (ugh).

I love you too

Well not so fast. To earn the right to face Cole in a no DQ match, Cena first has to beat none other than Lord (surprise heel opponent) Tensai. The theme of this show seems to be overrated, overhyped and shoved down our throat personalities. Well guess what, Cena delivered a clean win over Lord Tensai. Slowly but surely these unbeatable brutes are starting to take some damage. First Clay, now Tensai. Somehow Ryback is still undefeated, but I guess he needs to face an actual wrestler first before he can lose.

So um, Cena vs Cole. Cena stripped Cole down to his undies for some reason and gave Cole a few slaps. This all led to Cole getting embarrassed combined with a promo for JR’s BBQ Sauce. Cole apologized to Lawler, then to JR, then got doused with BBQ sauce. Tensai came out and made it look like Cole was going to pull the same trick Laurinaitis did, but Cena kicked out (why Tensai wouldn’t hang around to finish the job I have no idea) finished off Cole and ended Raw in as crap of a way as possible. Basically nothing happened unless you count AJ turning into the craziest horndog diva ever.

Randy Orton Suspended and What it Means for WWE

So I guess we don’t have to worry about who Randy Orton will face at No Way Out anymore.

Just days after his supposed opponent, Chris Jericho, was suspended for desecrating the Brazilian flag, now Randy Orton has been suspended by the WWE for 60 days due to violating the company’s Talent Wellness Program (probably steroids).

This is a big blow to both Orton and the WWE. Orton has seen his stock fall considerably over the last few years, going from superstar 1-A facing John Cena in seemingly every main event, to being forced into a feud with Kane as part of a mid-card at WrestleMania 29. It seemed as though Orton was getting yet another chance to get back to the top of the mountain. He was part of a four-man title match at Over the Limit last month, and was getting set up for a feud with Chris Jericho who is as good at putting other people over as anyone could ask for. But Jericho’s suspension forced WWE to go in another direction, which likely would have been Dolph Ziggler. As much as I love Ziggler, he doesn’t have nearly the star power that Jericho does (more on that later) and is a harder sell for a big event. Now Orton’s second violation means he will be out of the picture for two months, which pretty much buries the coverboy for WWE’12. It’s been a rough year for the Viper.

This could be Ziggler’s time to shine

The WWE is perhaps put in a tougher spot than Orton. As of now the only matches scheduled for No Way Out on June 17th are Cena vs. Big Show, Sheamus vs Del Rio, Christian vs Rhodes and Punk vs Bryan (with maybe Kane thrown in somehow). Orton vs Jericho was supposed to be a big part of the show, and now both men are suspended. Obviously they need someone to replace them. Like I said before, it was looking like Ziggler was going to replace Jericho to face Orton, and was being set up for a push after Raw this week. He’s the most talented heel among the mid-carders and is more than due to get a bump. Orton would have been a good starting point to get him on people’s minds again, but now that he’s gone who else is left? Zach Ryder? He was on YouTube opening the last PPV. Miz is a guy that could step up, but he is in the same place as Jack Swagger right now. A heel that no one cares about. If they really wanted to commit to Ziggler having him hand Brodus Clay his first loss would be a nice start. A Ziggler face turn could also be in the works, if for no other reason that to get him someone new to go against.

The one thing this hopefully does guarantee is that all (or at least most) of the titles will be defended at No Way Out. The main two are always in the mix, but when was the last time Santino defended his US Championship? How about Truth and Kofi defend the tag titles? With the WWE currently being as shallow as it’s ever been, it would be good to add some importance to the non heavyweight belts. The more people they have competing for something the better.

Obviously Smackdown won’t have anything to add since it already happened. But I’m sure we’ll see something new start brewing Monday night on Raw with only two weeks until No Way Out. Have any thoughts on what could happen? Sound off in the comment section below.