WWE Raw - June 18th, 2012
Cyndi Lauper will guest host, but Long Island's own, Mrs Foley's baby boy, Mick Foley opens up the show for us. The crowd goes wild for him, as they always do. Mick is happy to show up in his "best" suit to help promote the 1000th episode of Raw. The Board of Directors is reaching out to former General Managers in the interim with Big Johnny on his way out and Mick was one of the first choices, since he's from right there, in Long Island New York (cheap pop!).
Tonight, Kane and Daniel Bryan will takw on Sheamus and CM Punk in a tag match. Although Lauranaitis was fired, he will give a farewell address, and he heads to the ring in a sling, neckbrace and on a crutch. Foley gives Ace a big hug, drawing a grimace from the ex-executive. John Lauranaitis introduces himself and the crowd gives him the business. Foley fibs and tells the crowd Ace said "Long Island sucks", which the crowd is upset about. Ace has had enough and yells at the crowd to shut up, because WWE fans are rude. Big Johnny will give his farewell address later tonight. His last act, before he was fired, was tonight's main event - A handicap match pitting John Cena against Big Show, David Otunga and himself. Ace tells Foley to "have a nice day" and vacates the ring. Ace finally shows a bit of passion, and all it took was a pink slip. Before Johnny can even reach the bottom of the entrance ramp, Sheamus makes his entrance. CM Punk is out next and "kicks sand" on Johnny's shoes, then tells him he's ouuuuuuuta here. A fun opening with Foley and some former boss mocking, but once again the two major champions jerk the curtain. Please please please value the belts at some point.
Match 1: CM Punk (WWE Champion) and Sheamus (World Heavyweight Champion) vs Kane and Daniel Bryan
Winners: CM Punk and Sheamus via pinfall
The commentators make a huge deal over Foley making this match, but it's the exact same match that opened Smackdown just a few nights ago. Plus Punk and AJ teamed against Kane and Bryan one week ago. Sheamus and Bryan start tonight, to an incredibly strong YES chant. Sheamus opens with the power game, but Bryan dumps him over the top. Sheamus answers back with an over the top rope shoulder, followed by a big tilt a whirl backbreaker. Sheamus tags in Punk who flies in with a tope for two. Strikes from Punk are answered in kind by Bryan who tags in Kane. Kane lays into Punk in two corners and tries a quick cover for one. Michael Cole reminds us that Kane is a "strange dude"; thanks. Punk fights back, but gets frustrated that he can't knock Kane down, leading to him walking into an elbow. Punk fights out of the opponents' corner, but Kane stops him in his tracks. Off an irish whip, Punk ducks a clothesline from Kane, gives Bryan a suicide dive and drops Kane throat first on the top rope, but a springboard attempt is countered by a Kane uppercut, leading to a commercial.
Back from break, Kane is still in control and Punk tries for a GTS, but Kane gets his feet down. Kane tries a Chokeslam, but Punk kicks him in the head, allowing Sheamus to tag in and give Kane a shoulder from the top. Sheamus goes into his corner attack routine ending in a powerslam for two. Kane walks into the Irish Curse and Bryan takes a forearm for good measure, followed by the big forearms to the chest. Kane hits Bryan by mistake, but manages to drive Sheamus over the top by his throat. Bryan, already on the floor, hits a low dropkick on Sheamus, drawing the ire of Punk. Kane rolls Sheamus in and tags Bryan, who lands another low dropkick, followed by kicks in the corner. The crowd chants "Yes" along with Bryan and after making some distance, Sheamus takes a corner dropkick from Bryan and a two count. Sheamus fights up out of a chinlock, but takes a knee to the gut and a kick to the chest for a one count. Kane tags in, and Sheamus fights back up to his feet, only to take a side slam. Kane heads to the top rope and lands his diving clothesline for two. Bryan tags back in to keep the pressure on the World Heavyweight Champion. Bryan readies for another corner dropkick but comes up empty this time. Punk tags in and nails a leg lariat, a clothesline and a powerslam after a neckbreaker attempt and a GTS attempt. Punk lands a knee in the corner and a bulldog.
CM Punk ascends the top rope, but Bryan springs to his feet to stop him. Bryan delivers a top rope superplex, leaving both men down. AJ's music hits and shes skips out to the ring decked out in a Kane mask and gear, looking very Harley Quinn-like. After a lap of skipping around the ring, Kane slowly follows her toward the back. The three men left in the ring are nothing short of flabbergasted. Sheamus gets a tag, and as Bryan yells after Kane, he takes a GTS, leaving him standing for a Brough Kick. Ouch.
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Tonight, we find out if Brock Lesnar accepts the challenge of HHH for a one on one match. Good thing we got all those champions out of the way early in the show to make room for that.
Ziggler and Swagger are arguing in the back about who the real star between them is. Vickie Guerrero interrupts and says she's going to make a choice between them. Tonight, they settle it in the ring. Strong Ziggler chants from the vocal crowd.
Big Johnny and David Otunga make bad Muppet jokes and Big Show walks in. Cena couldn't beat Show by himself, so how will he fare in a handicap match? Johnny plans for Show to knock Cena out and get the pinfall himself. Johnny says that the WWE Universe doesn't deserve him, so he's going to leave a lasting impression.
Match 2: Dolph Ziggler vs Jack Swagger
Winner: Dolph Ziggler via pinfall
As Ziggler finishes his entrance, he tells the crowd that he delivers every damn time. Aside from the win/loss record, I agree. Back from a commercial, Swagger is half way through his entrance. Doesn't bode well for him. This match will be for Vickie's services. Swagger opens with a take down and some pushups; look who's a show off now. Ziggler grabs a leg and drops Swagger, followed by a strut. Swagger shoots for the leg, but Ziggler grabs a headlock. Swagger throws him overhead and Ziggler sells the knee on impact. A chopblock from Swagger shows us the direction his attack will take and he continues on that path. Swagger removes the knee pad and drops elbows on the joint. A leg lock affords Swagger time to scream at Ziggler "I'm better that you!". Ziggler gets an inside cradle, but Swagger puts him in the Ankle Lock. Ziggler tries for the ropes but gets dragged back to the center of the ring. Ziggler rolls inside to kick out, but Swagger flips him back over. Ziggler finally rolls through and puts Swagger in the ringpost, leaving him open for the Zigzag and the pin.
Vickie gets in the ring to congratulate her man. Vickie plants a kiss on Ziggler and they head on to the back. I would have guessed Ziggler won and told the cougar to hit the bricks, but apparently he's happy with a separation from Swagger. Either way, it's good to see him strike out on his own. Here's hoping in the coming weeks he has good, competitive matches with WINS.
A recap of HHH's challenge to Brock Lesnar plays and a limo pulls up in the back.
Raw 1000 moment with Jerry Lawler: 1998, Mick Foley brings presents to Vince McMahon in the hospital. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin strikes and beats the tar out of Vince in his hospital bed. Seems like all these memories are skits. It'd be super if some of these guys could "never forget" some wrestling matches or something from 1000 episodes of Raw, but hey, it's not my show.
Brock Lesnar's music hits and Paul Heyman emerges to a warmer welcome than someone in his position should get; New York fans are never scared to let people know who they appreciate. An audible "ECW" chant begins. Heyman introduces himself as the advocate for Brock Lesnar. Lesnar doesn't cater to HHH's whims - Brock Lesnar says "no", he will not drop his lawsuit against WWE. Heyman won't drop his lawsuit against HHH. And "no", Brock Lesnar will not fight HHH at Summerslam. Heyman says "thank you" and readies to leave the ring, greeted by HHH's music. Heyman stays put as HHH enters. Hunter drops some ECW-related insults. Lesnar will fight HHH at Summerslam. HHH wants to hear it from Brock, not from his advocate. I'll give Lesnar what he wants - To be the star. HHH has the production truck put up a mock up of a Summerslam poster with Lesnar's face on it. Heyman says that you can't play to Lesnar's ego; he doesn't have one. Hunter says it's all about ego for Lesnar. If Lesnar doesn't fight, he goes down in the books as the guy that's scared of HHH. Heyman tells Hunter to stop pretending to be the ass kicker he used to be. He tells HHH to go home and asks if he's getting mad. Heyman dares Hunter to hit him. Lesnar's lackey says he's got something for Stephanie and Hunter grabs him by the neck. Heyman basically begs for a crack in the jaw, but The Game thinks twice. Heyman says he's smarter than the cerebral assassin and that he sees what HHH will do a mile away - Then he gets punched out. "Did you see that coming?" Hunter expects to see Lesnar at Summerslam, unless he's scared the same thing will happen.
You really can't go wrong with Paul Heyman on live television; it doesn't get much better. Both men played their roles as they needed to. Officials tend to Heyman and help him up and out. Eventually someone will do something that motivates Lesnar to fight HHH; no way that punching Heyman will be that motivation.
A quick recap of last night's Tuxedo Match between Ricardo Rodriguez and Santino Marella; this can only mean one of them is up next. And there it is - Alberto del Rio takes on Santino Marella next.
Match 3: Santino Marella (United States Champion) vs Alberto del Rio, non-title
Winner: Alberto del Rio via submission
Del Rio missed his championship chance by just one night - He should be fuming over that. His gold pyro was apparently back for one night only a few weeks ago; none tonight. Del Rio opens up with kicks and aggression. Del Rio goes right to work on the arm of Marella. Santino splits to dodge and delivers a hip toss, but comes up empty on a headbutt attempt. Santino kicks ADR away and reaches for the Cobra, but del Rio lands a big enzuigiri followed by the Cross Armbreaker for the win. Ricardo drops a recovering Santino with a single arm DDT, delivering payback for last night's Tuxedo Match and joins ADR on the stage.
A video package of Cyndi Lauper's involvement with Wendy Richter way back when plays, preceding her appearance on Raw.
Layla is in the ring to introduce Wendy Richter and Cyndi Lauper. The crowd doesn't care in any way, shape or form. The crowd cheers a bit for Richter, but breaks into a "We want Ryder" chant. Heath Slater interrupts and says that even though they're nowhere near the Long Island Railroad, he's staring at a trainwreck. Lauper asks who he is. Lauper also has no concept of how a dialogue works on live television. Slater says he's going to debut his single. "We want Ryder" again, and Slater doesn't care what they want. Slater sings poorly and is interrupted by Roddy Piper. Now the crowd cares. Layla steals a kiss from Piper (no, that's not backwards) and Piper greets Lauper and Richter. Piper tells "Miss Slater" to hit the road. Piper declares his love for Cyndi Lauper and presents her with a gold record to replace the one he broke over Captain Lou Albano's head. Slater tells the old folks to shush and kick rocks so that he can repeat his 'single'. Piper tells Slater that he sings like a vulture and pokes him in the eye, then Lauper cracks him over the head with the golden record. Slater is sliced open by the glass, which doesn't seem to have been intended. The first pop in the head was fine, but Lauper hit him again and wrapped it around his head. Big old waste of time considering we're 3/4 of the way done with the show and three matches in. This will be a moment for someone to remember in another 1000 episodes that nobody will care about. A New York wrestling crowd is not the crowd to do this with; they're never shy about booing.
Recap of the fatal four way tag match from last night. Guess who's next?
Match 4: Primo and Epico vs The Prime Time Players
Winners: Primo and Epico via countout
Abraham Washington is now entirely referred to as AW, even on a nameplate. Ok then. AW introduces the Prime Time Players. Epico and O'Neil start out. Titus uses his power to take control early. A big scoop slam and tag to Young for the gourdbuster-your-own-partner double team move, followed by two quick covers. Young pulls at the face of Epico and puts him in a chinlock. Epico dodges an attack and tags Primo, who comes in and lays into Darren Young. Primo lands his version of Jeff Hardy's whisper in the wind and Titus and Epico end up outside. Primo escapes the Gutbuster attempt from Young and lands the Backstabber. Titus pulls Young out to avoid the pinfall and the Prime Time Players decide that that the Colons don't deserve a real match; they leave and get counted out. They're the number one contenders, so they see no reason to fight. Fair enough - If anything, it establishes that AW is doing the thinking for the PTPs.
Chris Jericho returns to Raw next week.
John Lauranaitis is in the ring, and begins to introduce himself, but catches the mistake. He says Cena cheated at No Way Out, what with the outside interference and such. Ace says he's not the loser here, nor is Big Show. Apparently the WWE Universe is the loser, because we no longer have People Power. He continues on that the folks at home, in the arena, etc are all losers. Big Johnny continues that the next time we see him will be when he is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Tonight, Johnny leaves us with the "biggest beatdown of Cena ever". He then introduces David Otunga. In the main event. Of a show that Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and Sheamus opened. That is so ass backwards it hurts.
Match 5: John Cena vs
Winner: John Cena via submission
Teddy Long joins the boys at commentary and finally discards his giant name tag. Big Show grabs a microphone and reminds the crowd it took 6 men, including John Cena, to defeat him. Show thanks Big Johnny for his iron clad contract and bonus. He continues to thank Johnny for letting him be himself. Big Show has proven he can beat John Cena on his own; he sees no reason why he should compete tonight. Big Show tells Ace and Otunga they're on their own. Cena's music hits and he rushes the ring to greet the crowd.
The Cena Sucks/Let's go Cena chant starts up and Otunga poses. Cena opens with a scoop slam and elbow drop on Otunga, followed by a whip to the corner and a facebuster. Otunga reaches for a tag and Ace backs away. Cena gives Otunga a vertical suplex and Otunga once again reaches for a tag which Ace won't give him. Cena slaps Otunga in the back and deadlifts him into a side slam. Cena whips Otunga to the corner and rushes him, but Otunga dodges to take control. Outside the ring, Otunga throws Cena into the stairs hard enough to move them away from the ring post. Otunga rolls Cena back in and lays into Cena with forearm clubs. Otunga whips Cena to the corner and hits an awkward clothesline followed by a running shoulder. Otunga takes his time and then makes a cover for two. Otunga drops an elevated elbow drop. The crowd rolls into a "We Want Ryder/Woo Woo Woo" dueling chant. With Cena down, Big Johnny asks to be tagged, crutch and all. Ace throws the crutch out and takes off the sling and neck brace, then lays boots to Cena. Cena kicks out after one and Ace wants to tag Otunga in for more damage, but Otunga hops off the apron, leaving Ace by himself. He turns around and Cena begins to lay into him. Cena rips the shirt off of Lauranaits' back and chops his back. Cena drops him with a spin out powerbomb, followed by the Five Knuckle Shuffle and an Attitude Adjustment. Cena picks Lauranaitis up and gives him another Attitude Adjustment. The crowd begs for one more and Cena obliges. For good measure, Cena locks in the STF and Big Johnny taps out right away.
Cena tosses wristbands to the crowd and celebrates. Teddy Long is all smiles at ringside; he didn't say anything on commentary.
Surprisingly, there was no attempt to sing Big Johnny off - these types of endings usually lead to a "na na na na hey hey hey goodbye" for the departing party. It's always fun to see Mick Foley since the crowd is always receptive of him, especially in New York. AJ has hit a new point in her shenanigans and she's obviously helping CM Punk of her own volition; this was an interesting twist. Apparently Kane will follow similar colors. Ziggler vs Swagger was a bit imbalanced - Ziggler obviously had to pull the win out here and it's great that he did it clean, but he got whipped all over the ring for 90% of the match. It's an odd choice to make for a guy that's more than likely heading to Money in the Bank as one of the most favored men to win.
The tag matches were fun and Alberto del Rio makes a dominant come back, but the stuff with Lauper was another indication that the people setting this show up are more interested in what they want to see than what the fans want to see. There couldn't be a person that paid to attend this show that would rather see that nonsense than just putting Slater into a five to eight minute match with someone the likes of Tyson Kidd or Justin Gabriel. The show ends with a sendoff for John Lauranaitis - I give it a week or two until he's back on TV in some capacity. Until then, we'll get guest General Managers which can either turn out really well or really badly. Here's hoping for "really well" - TNA has nowhere near the market share or influence that WWE has, but looking solely at quality of product, TNA has been far more consistent in the last month or two.