Raw 1001 will set the tone for Raw as we continue into the three hour era. Tonight, CM Punk addresses his actions from last week, AJ begins her new role as General Manager and John Cena makes 12 year olds happy. Earlier tonight there was a pyrotechnic mishap and the Titantron caught fire. People filed in late, but that's got pretty much no bearing on the show itself...or maybe it's an omen.
A recap video of last week's Raw 1000 plays to open the show; they're absolutely getting mileage on this video. The video of course ends with CM Punk's attack on The Rock, which will lead to Punk's show opening promo about his actions. For the record, the video ends 8 minutes into the show and the WWE Champion makes his entrance. Crowd is still receptive, if not a tiny bit of boos mixed in.
CM Punk says that everyone wants their "Wrestlemania Moment"; last week, he had a "Raw Moment" that was bigger than some Wrestlemania Moments. Punk will explain last week, but he wants to say something first. Punk was uncomfortable with the way Raw 1000 ended, with Jerry Lawler yelling "CM Punk has turned his back on the WWE Universe". Punk gives Lawler a stern look, then steps to the floor and approaches the commentary booth. Punk swings his legs over and sits cross legged on the table, directly in front of Lawler. Punk says he's used to hyperbole on commentary, but that was a huge jump. If anything, it was Lawler who turned his back on Punk - The Rock is not the WWE Universe. The Rock is one man, who came in and showed the WWE Champion a lack of respect. First off, he interrupted Punk with his shtick, ignoring the Champ. Then he "lowers himself" to address Punk and acts as if he'll just take the title from him. Punk showed him respect afterwards by not hurting him. At the end of Raw 1000, The Rock tried to make it all about himself; which is when Punk showed him the type of man he's dealing with. This is not a popularity contest, it's the WWE and Punk is it's champion (this draws a very mixed reaction). Now The Rock has "found his silence" and Punk says he knows what that means. Punk says every episode should end with the focus on the WWE Champion, just like last week. Right on cue, to disobey the champion saying nobody should interrupt him, Big Show's music hits and he heads toward the ring.
Punk returns to the ring to meet him with a determined look on his face. Punk wants the music off. Big Show says it's not hard to steal the spotlight from CM Punk. Yes, at the end of Raw 1000, the focus was on Punk, but the episode itself was all about Big Show. He's the one that cost Cena the title and his Money in the Bank briefcase. Show says if Punk is the best in the world, how come he couldn't beat Cena after he was knocked out? Big Show vows to be the next WWE Champion. This amuses Punk, who says Show always loses lately. The conversation draws John Cena at a full sprint to the ring. Cena lays into Big Show, who shoves him off and bails from the ring. Apparently, since AJ is the General Manager, they use her surname - The announcer welcomes AJ Lee out.
AJ is here to announce the main event of the evening: Big Show vs John Cena. The winner faces CM Punk at Summerslam for the WWE Championship. Cena is livid with Big Show, Big Show is happy to bail and AJ has made a logical booking choice. If you're going to open Raw without actual wrestling, this is the way to do it. Punk doesn't outright say that his actions last week were due to his jealousy of not being in the spotlight, even as Champion, but that definitely seems to be the path they're taking.
Daniel Bryan is in the back, teasing knocking on the Raw GM door, but he walks away.
Match 1: Santino Marella (United States Champion) vs Alberto del Rio, non-title
Winner: Alberto del Rio via submission
No car for Alberto tonight due to the Titantron fire; he enters from the stage. Santino opens with rights, but del Rio levels him with a clothesline, then follows with repeated boots. Santino fights back, but gets caught by a headbutt and snap suplex. Del Rio follows with a jumping stomp, then backs Santino into a corner and strikes at him. Santino dodges in the opposite corner and backdrops ADR to the apron, then dropkicks him to the floor, leading to commercial.
Del Rio is working the arm as Raw returns. Santino fights to his feet, but quickly gets leveled by del Rio, who follows with a double stomp to the midsection. More boots to Santino, followed by an armbar. Santino fights to his feet yet again, but ADR wants a headlock; Santino counters with a saito suplex. Santino now lands jabs and a forearm and does the splits to lead to a hiptoss; del Rio kicks him while he's on the mat to put a stop to the attempt. Del Rio hops to the middle rope and tries a double stomp, but comes up empty. Santino pulls out the Cobra, but gets booted and thrown into the ringpost. Del Rio with double knees to the arm and rolls over into the Cross Armbreaker.
I feel like I've seen ADR make Santino tap for weeks now; much longer than an average Santino match. Perhaps an attempt to give a little bit of prestige back to the US Championship? Del Rio stands over Santino, mic in hand and says he destroyed the US Champion without issue. Santino Marella is beneath ADR, as is Sheamus. All of the WWE Universe are beneath him. ADR says if a match is not for the World Heavyweight Title, he will not compete; he says he will not compete until Summerslam. Interesting twist, but we'll see ADR in some form in the coming weeks, even if it's not official matches.
Daniel Bryan approaches the Raw GM door once again but can't bring himself to knock.
Back from commercial, Brodus Clay's dancers are mid-routine. First time that they haven't televised Clay's entire intro. Vickie Guerrero asks if they really call that dancing, because it looks like a disgrace. Vickie wants the little girls to step aside so that the "queen diva" can show her how to dance. Vickie repeats her dance contest moves. This is not a good sign; we're already filling time and we're one hour into a three hour Raw. Damien Sandow's music hits and I, for one, am thrilled to have him stop this. Sandow introduces himself as the martyr of the WWE Universe, after the actions of Degeneration X last week. Sandow immediately attacks the knee of Brodus Clay and begins to beat on him. Sandow delivers his knee strikes and pounds him on the mat. He breaks Brodus's gold chain, which of course, means war. Sandow seems quite content with his actions - Good sign to have him beating up Brodus Clay unopposed. Sandow just needs longer matches to show what he can really do in the ring, since he has his character down to a science.
A recap of Dolph Ziggler mouthing off to Chris Jericho on Raw two weeks ago, followed by Ziggler not cashing in on Sheamus on Smackdown. Tonight, Chris Jericho and Christian team against Mr. Money in the Bank Dolph Ziggler and the Intercontinental Champion The Miz. That certainly seems to point to a face turn for Jericho.
Bryan barges into the GM's office and AJ says it's nice to see him. Bryan sasses her and asks if she's insane; AJ tells him to shut up. She's not his bride-to-be anymore, she's his boss. AJ mentions the men in white coats that were scurrying about in the back prior to the nuptials last week that Bryan was conferring with. Bryan says he was committed to AJ; he wasn't going to commit her. AJ says she'd like to start with a clean slate; Daniel Bryan has a match with Sheamus tonight. Bryan asks if it's for the World Heavyweight Title and AJ says no...no...NO. NO. NO!
The same recap of HHH/Heyman/Lesnar that was played on Smackdown is shown. Glad to see we've made more time to recap previous shows. We're over an hour into the show and we have one real match and one quick in-ring fracas. Not good.
A WWE poll is to take place on Twitter via hashtags to determine the type of match Bryan and Sheamus will have: No holds barred, Falls Count Anywhere or Street fight. Those are all pretty much the same match, so although the fans get to make a "choice", nobody has to make much of an adjustment. Sheamus says he's happy to see that the power was put in the hands of the fans, then asks if Striker if he feels alright tonight, as he looks nervous. That must be some foreshadowing.
Match 2: Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus (World Heavyweight Champion), non-title Street Fight
Winner: Sheamus via pinfall
Bryan wants the WWE Universe to stop chanting YES, only he can chant YES. The crowd chants YES at him and he screams NO back. With the hobo beard and the yelling at the crowd, it's entirely possible that they're building toward a minor insanity angle with Bryan. AJ mentioned the men in white from last week, maybe they eventually catch up with Daniel?
Lawler grabs a mic and says it's time to reveal the Twitter poll results: A Street Fight. Bryan immediately opens with a running knee and kicks to the chest. Sheamus fights back with big rights and lefts. Bryan backflips over Sheamus from the corner, but runs into a tilt a whirl backbreaker, which Michael Cole calls the Irish Curse. Bryan drop toe holds Sheamus into the middle turnbuckle, then kicks the rope into the face of the World Heavyweight Champion. Bryan drops a knee to the back of the head and bars out the arm of Sheamus. Sheamus powers out and away and strikes back at Bryan, then follows with a back elbow. Sheamus with repeated knee drops and a cover for two. Bryan is deposited on the floor and Sheamus follows, then throws him into the barricade. Sheamus continues by throwing Bryan into another barricade. Bryan kicks at Sheamus, but ends up taking a back body drop onto the steel ramp. Sheamus fights Bryan up to the stage and throws him into the WWE symbol. Bryan recovers and knees Sheamus in the head, then dropkicks the knee. Bryan delivers kicks to the chest then a running dropkick, which sends Sheamus off the stage to the floor. Bryan follows with a running knee from the stage to the head of Sheamus.
Back from break, Bryan has Sheamus in an armbar back in the ring. Sheamus powers up to his feet and delivers elbows to the face of his opponent, but runs into a knee to the gut. Bryan dropkicks Sheamus to the floor and tries another running knee, but gets caught and takes a fallaway slam into the barricade. Bryan ends up in the timekeeper's area, which allows Sheamus to bend him backwards over the barricade and deliver forearms to the chest. Sheamus then suplexes Bryan back to the main floor area. Sheamus rolls Bryan into the ring and gets out a chair and kendo stick. Bryan tosses both objects out of the ring, but gets clotheslined to the floor where they landed. Sheamus gives chase, but gets a kendo stick shot, then more to the arms and midsection in the ring. The crowd chants YES with each strike. Bryan grabs the chair and sets it up in the opposite corner (rule of thumb: If you set it up, you're gonna get hurt by it!). Sheamus counters a kendo stick shot and headbutts Bryan away. Sheamus lays into Bryan with the kendo stick, but Bryan dropkicks him into the corner, where he hits his head on the prone chair - That's rare, since Bryan was the one who set it up.
Bryan is on the floor with the steel chair, but Sheamus bowls him over with a shoulder block, then whacks him with the chair. Sheamus disassembles the steel steps and picks Bryan up, but he escapes. Sheamus lifts Bryan again, but he slides down Sheamus' back and pushes him shoulder first into the ringpost, while upside down...very cool. Bryan puts the stairs in the ring and then whips Sheamus into the barricade. Bryan throws Sheamus into the ring, then readies the stairs for use. Bryan wants the kendo stick, but Sheamus grabs the other end. Sheamus uses the stick to drag Bryan in and lifts him for a fireman's carry. Sheamus steps onto the stairs, wanting White Noise, but Bryan escapes and pushes him off, but Sheamus returns with a surprise Brough Kick, landing Bryan on the stairs. Sheamus drags him flat to the mat and pins him.
Excellent street fight. The champion comes out on top, Daniel Bryan is made to look incredibly tough. I'm usually pretty against a random Brough Kick to end Sheamus' matches, but this was all around well done.
Back from a commercial break, Bryan is still on the mat but gets his hands on a mic. Bryan says he hurt his neck and needs a doctor. He screams NO into the mic and fights off the refs who are trying to help him. To be fair, if his neck was actually hurt and these dumbass refs were jostling him around, that would be a major problem. Given that he's crawling around the ring on his side, his neck seems pretty fine to me. A replay of the open of the show plays, which is necessary, because we all know that we can't remember what happened an hour ago. Bryan is still asking for a doctor, and Kofi Kingston's music hits, bringing out the Tag Team Champions.
Kofi says he knows that Bryan is having a rough time, but he should just leave. R-Truth makes a rhyme. Bryan laughs and addresses Little Jimmy in the corner, then place kicks him clear out of the ring. Truth is visibly distraught. Bryan says that Truth is out of his mind and he needs to go. Men in white come toward the ring for Truth and AJ enters the scene. She says that Truth isn't the one who needs help; it's the little guy in the ring. AJ says that Bryan seems a bit mentally unstable tonight and in the interest of a safe working environment, he needs a psychiatric evaluation. Bryan comes face to face with AJ with a livid look in his eye, but continues to the back. Well, I called that one!
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Friday night, Mr. McMahon will name the new General Manager of Smackdown.
R-Truth sits Little Jimmy in a chair next to the commentators.
Match 3: Kofi Kingston (1/2 of the Tag Team Champions) vs Titus O'Neil
Winner: Titus O'Neil via pinfall
Classic speed/agility versus power. Titus takes quick control, but Kofi fights back with boots and a cross body, but gets caught and driven across Titus' knee. Titus tosses Kofi around, but he tries to fight back. Titus with a scoop slam for one. Titus settles on a chinlock, but Kofi slips out, only to get pounded back to the mat. Titus holds Kofi and tries a slam, but Kofi swings himself out and lands a DDT. Kofi hits double chops to the chest followed by a dropkick and a jumping clothesline. Kofi lands the Boomdrop and Darren Young hops on the apron. Truth takes out Young, AW hops on the opposite side and screams "Yo mamma" at Kofi then throws his shoe at him. Kofi throws the shoe back at AW, but turns around into Clash of the Titus.
The heels cheat and deceive, but a win is a win. We'll soon see Primetime Players vs Kofi and Truth for the tag titles, likely at Summerslam.
CM Punk is in the back with Cena, saying he was close to the ropes last week. He admits that he took advantage of Show's interference. Punk says he has no issue with Cena, but he is always brutally honest: He doesn't wish Cena luck. Punk's new "brutal honesty" will be the angle that gets him into fights moving forward, as Cena looks about ready to deck him one.
Michael Cole apologizes for AW's remarks during the last match, where he made a joke in poor taste. This is where we're at as far as immediate apologies? Sad.
Match 4: Heath Slater vs Randy Orton
Winner: Randy Orton via pinfall
Now that the legends have gone back to the retirement home, it's time for Slater to get his career back on track. He is challenging any current superstar to come out for a match. Randy Orton's music hits to bring back the Viper. Orton has shaved clean and lost some muscle mass. Slater opens up aggressively, but runs into a pair of clotheslines and a snap powerslam. Orton puts Slater on the apron and readies for the spike DDT; he connects. Orton coils, ready for the first RKO in two months and strikes.
Pretty standard "welcome back" match for a star, consisting of mainly his signature spots. Orton is all smiles after the match; not sure what the plan might be for him moving forward.
Daniel Bryan is in the back, and he doesn't want to answer questions. He's in a small room with a "doctor". Bryan answers a flurry of questions with YES's, then YES's at nothing with a psychotic look on his face. Should be interesting to see where this goes; perhaps a ploy on his part to get people to stop chanting YES, as he told the crowd not to do so earlier tonight.
Match 5: Chris Jericho and Christian vs Dolph Ziggler and The Miz (Intercontinental Champion)
Winners: Chris Jericho and Christian via pinfall
Interesting dynamic: Two veterans against two younger guys, one a champion and the other a future champion (in theory). Ziggler and Christian start out and Ziggler shows off by out wrestling him. Christian slaps Ziggler then delivers a flapjack for one. Ziggler fights back and tags Miz in, who runs into a double leg takedown and a flurry of punches; Miz immediately tags back out. Christian tags Jericho in, and Ziggler tags Miz in. Jericho delivers a hip toss and clothesline for one. Jericho with a scoop slam and elbow drop for another quick nearfall. Jericho with a chop into the corner and another one for good measure. Jericho chases Miz in the opposite corner, but runs into a boot. Miz tags Ziggler back in, who delivers rights to the head. Jericho runs Ziggler over with a shoulder. Jericho ends up on the apron and quickly ascends the top rope to deliver an axe handle. Ziggler and Miz end up on the floor and Christian delivers a cross body from the top to the floor on both men, leading into a commercial. Wasn't that how Christian hurt his leg and lost his title a week ago? And for that matter, his leg is all healed up already?
Back to action, Jericho is fighting out of a chinlock. Jericho rolls Miz up for two, but takes a clothesline for two on the other side. Miz settles back into the chinlock, but Jericho delivers a belly to back suplex. Tags on both sides and Christian delivers clotheslines to Ziggler and a forearm. Christian springs to the floor and delivers a right, then a second rope back elbow. Christian wants the Killswitch, but Ziggler throws him to the corner. Christian lands a kick and a springboard sunset flip for two. Christian fights out of the enemy corner but ends up taking a Ziggler dropkick to the mouth for two. Ziggler tags Miz in, who lays stomps and a boot to the face of Christian. Miz chokes the former IC champ in the ropes and Ziggler lands a cheap shot. Miz slingshots Christian into the bottom rope and gets a two count. Miz goes back to the chinlock and Christian fights to his feet. Christian tosses Miz to the floor. Christian wants a tag, but Miz drags Jericho off the apron, leading to Ziggler and Miz both stomping Christian in their corner. Ziggler tags back in and lands his jumping elbow drop for two on Christian. Ziggler with a chinlock of his own and a headstand. Christian fights up to his feet yet again, but falls victim to a neckbreaker. Ziggler wants the Fameasser, but completely misses: Safe to assume there was a miscommunication there. Ziggler resets to try again and Christian hits a sitout powerbomb, which he should have hit 20 seconds ago.
|Somebody had a brainfart here - Courtesy of http://ilovewrestlinggifs.tumblr.com/|
Tags on both sides and shoulders from Jericho, then a springboard dropkick to Ziggler on the apron. Jericho lands a facebuster and the Lionsault, but Ziggler breaks up the pin attempt. Christian hits the spear on Ziggler, but gets tossed to the ringpost by Miz. Jericho grabs Miz and wants the Walls of Jericho, but Miz spins out and boots Jericho right in the face. Miz wants the Skull Crushing Finale, but Jericho counters. Miz ends up in the corner next to Christian - He delivers a thumb to the eye of The Miz to return the favor from Smackdown and Jericho hits the Codebreaker for the win.
Ziggler cracks Jericho with the briefcase from behind, leaving him out on the mat. The Ziggler/Jericho program will continue, and everybody should be happy about that. It can only lead to good matches and good things for Dolph Ziggler moving forward.
Daniel Bryan is still in the back with the "doctor", ready to take a Rorschach test. Airplane, crown, space ship. The space ship is a goat, which sets Bryan off on a tirade. He says if anything is "goat" about him, it's that he's the greatest of all time. Bryan asks if Charlie Sheen has put the doctor up to this and goes off on another tirade. I still absolutely abhor the idea of Daniel Bryan's in ring talent squandered on a celebrity feud, but brink-of-insanity Bryan is looking to be incredibly entertaining.
Match 6: Tensai vs Tyson Kidd
Winner: Tensai via pinfall -> Reversed to Tyson Kidd via DQ
Tensai doesn't get an intro, but Kidd does. That's always a good sign. Kidd lands kicks and an enzuigiri, but runs into Tensai's shoulder, then gets avalanched in the corner. Tensai slingshots Kidd into the middle rope and drops two elbows. Tensai now pounds the back of the head and slaps on a nerve hold. Kidd fights to his feet and kicks Tensai in the head, then rolls him up for two. Kidd lands another enzuigiri from the apron, then lands Code Blue for two. Kidd keeps on Tensai, but ends up taking a choke bomb and senton. Tensai pins him.
Tensai continues to attack Kidd after the match. Tensai lands a backbreaker drop and the ref reverses his decision. Tensai takes his aggression out on Sakamoto, who seems all too happy to get his ass beat. So Kidd was allowed to let loose in this match a bit, even landing what is sometimes his finisher. Tensai still comes out on top, but is technically the loser. Weird feud, but Tyson Kidd absolutely deserves time on Raw, so it's welcome.
Back to Bryan and the doctor: Bryan has been found to be bitter and ill tempered, but sane. Bryan is free to go. The lights go red and Kane grabs Bryan by the throat, saying he's Bryan's anger management therapist, then tosses him around the room. Daniel Bryan is having a terrible week.
CM Punk heads to the commentary table for Raw's main event.
Match 7: Big Show vs John Cena, Number one contender's match
Winner: No contest
Punk says he doesn't care who wins this match tonight. Big Show jaws at Punk while he awaits the arrival of John Cena. Punk says he was too close to the ropes to have tapped to the STF last week. Punk is very snappy and indignant with Lawler; definitely a more aggressive WWE Champion. He says that he doesn't appreciate Rock showing up once in a blue moon to soak up some spotlight.
Cena opens up with rights on Big Show, but takes a shot to the gut and sells it like death. Cena can only do "out cold sell" or "no sell"; there's just no middle ground for him. Show whips Cena to the corner and follows ass-first. Big Show with another big shot to the gut, followed by a headbutt. Show continues with a frying pan chop in the corner then one in the opposite corner. Cena dodges a third and tries a sleeper hold, turning Big Show bright red. Big Show backs into a corner to break it and then tries a crossbody, but gets caught. Big Show throws Cena, but ends up back in the sleeper. Show drops to his knees as Punk and Lawler verbally spar. Cole is calling the action in a straight forward fashion. We are officially in bizarro Raw. Show "passes out" and Cena pins him for a two count, but gets tossed out to the floor, which he once again sells like a stab wound...
Back from the default "guy on outside" commercial, Big Show is in charge. Cena fights back with rights and tries a running shoulder block, but bounces off of Big Show. Show steps on the midsection of Cena. Big Show once again whips Cena to a corner and chases with an ass attack. Show tries it one more time, but Cena gets his feet up. Cena comes back to life and strikes Big Show with karate movie back fists and shin kicks, then runs into a Big Show bearhug. Cena elbows out and tries to scoop slam Big Show, but ends up crushed beneath him. Show calls for the Chokeslam, but Cena counters into a DDT on a 450 pound man that somehow made no sound and had no impact. It boggles the mind.
Cena gets to his feet again and runs into a side slam. Big Show heads to the second rope for a Vader Bomb, but comes up empty. Cena lands a diving shoulder and leads to the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Big Show gets to his feet and lands the Chokeslam, but Cena kicks out at two. Cena ends up on the floor, crawling away from Big Show. Cena gets back in the ring, then gets punched right back out. Show wants to slam Cena into the ringpost, but Cena slips down the back and slams Show face first instead. Cena rushes Big Show, but gets tossed clear over the commentator's booth and into CM Punk. John Cena barely beats the 10 count and rolls into the ring. Big Show signals for the WMD punch and Cena ducks, then lifts Big Show for the Attitude Adjustment. Punk attacks from behind, causing Cena to drop Big Show, then delivers a kick to the skull of Big Show, leaving Punk the only man standing.
Punk grabs a mic and declares nobody to be the winner - They're both losers. Punk heads to the back, passing AJ. AJ says they're not losers; they're both winners. At Summerslam, CM Punk defends against Big Show...and John Cena in a triple threat match. Punk says AJ can't do this to him and demands that AJ show him respect, so she grins right in his face.
So the predictions were true: We get an extra hour of TV, but barely any extra wrestling. I don't think anyone really expected it, but most were hoping for it. Nice to see Tyson Kidd on TV, entrance and all, even if it meant a loss and oddly continued feud with Tensai. Randy Orton returns to beat up a punching bag. Nothing else of enormous consequence. Hopefully there's something better in mind for Bryan than a feud with Charlie Sheen. Not a terrible episode, but I'd be much happier with two hours of TV and not seeing the same recap three times in one episode.