After a successful Summerslam showing, Monday Night Raw opens with the triumphant Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. Was last night Triple H's last match? Only time and promos will tell.
Heyman grabs the mic first and addresses the WWE Universe, expressing how "uncomfortable" last night's match was to watch. Heyman reminds us of his time as an announcer, seeing HHH's quad tear apart and finish a match. A torn quad couldn't stop The Game, but Brock Lesnar and a broken arm could. Heyman says that HHH quit on his family, his company, friends, fans and everyone when he tapped out. Heyman says nobody should feel sorry for Trips because he picked the fight. Heyman calls Scott Armstrong, last night's referee, down to the ring so that Brock Lesnar can "address him". Armstrong heads to the ring in a less than eager fashion, but finally makes his way up the stairs and into the ring. Lesnar has two words for Armstrong: "Good job." Heyman claims that Lesnar ended the career of HHH and has endangered the future of WWE. Heyman declares him the new "King of Kings", the master of the Brocktogon and the conqueror of the WWE Universe. Apparently all of the WWE Universe's members are Brock Lesnar's subjects now.
Interesting take on things from last night. Lesnar isn't expected to be around much, as he only has so many dates that he can be used for, so curious to see if this is a reign from afar or if they progress things right away.
CM Punk Touted that he feels after defending his title twice in one night, he should get to pick his opponent on Raw. AJ Lee is "taking it under consideration".
Match 1: Kofi Kingston and R-Truth (Tag Team Champions) and Sin Cara vs Cody Rhodes and Primetime Players
Winners: Kingston, R-Truth and Sin Cara via pinfall
Kofi and Truth show up with toys to give the kids. Can't really criticize giving toys to children, but it's kind of a cheap ploy when you take a step back. Young and Kofi start out and Kofi's speed helps him take early control. Young shoulders Kofi down and Kingston answers with a double leapfrog and back elbow. Truth is tagged in and they land a double hip toss. O'Neal comes in and takes a double dropkick, followed by Sin Cara dragging Rhodes outside and climbing to the top rope, but Rhodes distances himself. The Champs and Cara are in the ring and the PTP and Rhodes gather themselves into a commercial.
Kofi escapes a cravat and tags Truth in to run wild on Darren Young with an axe kick for two. Young fights back into it and Rhodes blind tags in, sneaking up on Truth with a Russian leg sweep for two. Cody hits a gourdbuster and stomps at the head of Truth. Titus tags in and keeps the pressure on Truth with strikes and a neck wrench. Truth fights up to his feet and punches his way out but runs into a boot for a near fall. Titus's turn for a gourdbuster, dropping Young on Truth. Young right into a bodyscissors and chinlock. Truth continues trying to fight out, but O'Neal gets tagged back in to attack Truth in the corner. Truth kicks his way out but gets leveled by a Titus clothesline for another two count and chinlock. The crowd rallies and Truth stands up, which leads to Titus punching Kofi of the apron; Truth surprises him with a heel kick from behind. Rhodes and Cara tag in and Cara opens up with a handspring elbow, hurricanrana and an enzuigiri from the apron. A springboard cross body gets a two count and the Tag Champs clear the PTP from the ring with stereo dropkicks. Truth backdrops Kofi onto the PTP and Rhodes tries to remove the mask of Sin Cara. Cara trips Rhodes and wins with a jackknife pin.
Expected double rivalry six man tag with the expected happy ending. Nothing fundamentally wrong, just nothing new.
An anger management tag team match will take place tonight - Kane teams with Zack Ryder and Daniel Bryan with The Miz. Angry guys teaming with people they have problems with? At least it's a bit different.
AJ Lee is to be interviewed and David Otunga shows up, offering his legal counsel. Otunga lets the "c" word slip and AJ says Otunga can offer his services in the ring, against an opponent to be chosen by AJ. AJ now addresses Punk's earlier Tout - She likes the idea, and Punk can choose any opponent, pending her approval.
Match 2: Ryback vs Mike Spinner and Andy Tabarez?
Winner: Ryback via disqualification
Ryback disposes of blue tights goof and knocks down black tights goof. Black tights takes a club to the back and gets tossed to the mat. The over the shoulder powerbomb is next, then he gets dead lifted into two more. Blue tights punches him from the apron and takes a reverse suplex over the rope for his trouble. Ryback readies for the double Shellshocked when Jinder Mahal attacks from behind and puts Ryback in the Camel Clutch. Ryback plants a hand and stands up, delivering the backpack chinbreaker, sending Mahal running. Blue tights makes the mistake of standing up behind Ryback and takes a lariat. As a show of strength and a message to Mahal, Ryback secures both guys on his shoulders and delivers the double Shellshocked.
Nice to see a Ryback match with some kind of change to it. Mahal and Ryback in a feud is still a bit odd, but progress is progress.
Dolph Ziggler finds Chris Jericho in the back and Ziggler wants a rematch. Jericho drops catchphrases and says it's Ziggler who doesn't know how to win the big one. AJ skips in and around both men and says as the GM, it's her job to make things interesting. A rematch will take place - If Jericho loses, his contract terminates. If Ziggler loses? Chris Jericho takes the MITB briefcase. Ziggler chases after AJ to protest.
Alberto del Rio heads toward the ring and slaps some agua out of the hands of Ricardo Rodriguez. ADR has filed a protest with Booker T concerning Sheamus' win last night. ADR thinks he should be the World Heavyweight Champion by now, since he got robbed by the referee and Sheamus. Alberto demands another title shot, right now. AJ's music cues up and she skips out to the stage. She doesn't have jurisdiction over the World Heavyweight Championship, but she can book Alberto in a match tonight.
Match 3: Alberto del Rio vs Randy Orton
Winner: Randy Orton via pinfall
Sheamus comes out as the match starts to observe from the commentary table. Orton opens with rights and a dropkick. Off the ropes, Orton shoulders Alberto to the floor. Back in, Orton bounces ADR off the top rope for an assisted suplex, getting a two count. Orton stomps the limbs of Alberto and drops a knee across the face for another two count. Orton stays aggressive in the corner and mounts for ten punches, but at five he gets dumped on his face. Alberto with a snapmare, kick to the back and a jumping stomp, followed by a chinlock. Orton dodges in the corner for his elevated school boy. Alberto kicks out and lands a dropkick to the face of a kneeling Orton. Back to the chinlock, then a snap suplex from ADR. Michael Cole is in full heel-asshole mode with Sheamus. There's grilling the man on the mic and there's obnoxiousness. Guess what side Cole is erring on?
ADR hits a double stomp then heads to the top rope, but Orton cuts him off. Orton meets him up top and hits a superplex. Rights back and forth as the men get to their feet, but Orton opens up with a pair of clotheslines and a powerslam. ADR rolls to the apron and Orton wants the elevated DDT. Alberto escapes and lands a step up enzuigiri for a near fall. Orton sneaks around as ADR approaches and hits the backbreaker. Alberto answers with kicks to the arm and wants the Cross Armbreaker, but Orton answers with a swinging neckbreaker. Alberto hops to the middle rope and Orton catches him for the elevated DDT out of the corner, which seems to be becoming a standard alternative. Orton coils and Ricardo Rodriguez hops on the apron, then gets scared off. Sheamus chases him off. ADR hits a Backstabber and pins Orton who gets his foot on the bottom rope. Sheamus points it out to the ref who stops the count. ADR turns around into an RKO in the confusion for the loss.
The Sheamus/ADR feud continues and Orton pins the number one contender (or at least the last one) which by wrestling logic immediately puts him in the title race. There needs to be some kind of change, as we've been very overexposed to this group.
Match 4: Brodus Clay vs Damien Sandow
Winner: Damien Sandow via pinfall
Apparently Brodus' leg is all healed up from Damien Sandow's recent attack, since he has no problem dancing. At least he has it taped up heavily. Tonight, Brodus gets his chance at revenge. Sandow, via a cut-in promo, says he will return the Funkasaurus to extinction.
Sandow wants a single leg takedown but the power of Brodus lets him take over early. Brodus misses a haymaker and Sandow wraps his leg in the ropes. Brodus fights off and hits a clothesline then delivers a back body drop. Brodus rams Sandow head first into the top turnbuckle then hits a belly to belly suplex. Clay continues with a big elbow drop, but Sandow fights up with strikes. Clay roars at his opponent and squashes him in the corner and hits a running headbutt to the chest. Clay wants another corner splash, but Sandow dodges and school boys him (with a handful of tights) for the quick win.
Clay is less than thrilled and lands a t-bone siplex and big splash. That might be a visual victory, but Sandow got the pinfall. Clay gets to celebrate with dancers, kids and music. Way to make winning not mean anything.
HBK is getting mic'd up ahead of his live via satellite interview.
Cole poses the question of whether HHH is done to Shawn Michaels. HBK says he knows what's going through the head of HHH right now. Shawn says you can't quite prepare for the day that shows it might time to hang up the boots. HHH is a man of integrity, unlike Heyman and Lesnar. Shawn speaks in the past tense about Triple H, to push the idea of him being completely done. HBK calls himself a burden to HHH in recent weeks, as he was a distraction. HBK didn't have the heart to tell his best friend that he didn't think he could beat Lesnar. Michaels says HHH has nothing to be ashamed of and is one of the greatest.
A very memorial-like setting, with still shots of HHH injured and beaten interspersed. This is all a build for HHH to say he's got one more in him. Whether that serves to be a rematch with Lesnar or something else, only time will tell.
Match 5: David Otunga vs Big Show
Winner: Big Show via pinfall
Big Show doesn't hesitate heading to the ring; he's still in a bad mood from Summerslam. Show explodes on Otunga and hits a big scoop slam then continues to pound on him. Show continues with a headbutt to Otunga who tries to fight back but pays for it. Big Show picks Otunga up then puts him down with the Final Cut and cocks the WMD. Otunga walks right into it for the end.
The crowd cheers the big mean monster, mostly because he just beat up David Otunga. Big Show had to let off some steam and Otunga had to be punished for using the word "crazy" around AJ, so everybody wins.
Match 6: Kane and Zack Ryder vs Daniel Bryan and The Miz (Intercontinental Champion)
Winners: No contest
Ryder bounces out half way down the ramp but gets serious once he lays eyes on his partner. Miz and Bryan are slightly less apprehensive. Bryan and Kane start out, but Bryan immediately tags Miz in. Kane goes right to work and then bring Miz to his corner, tagging in Zack Ryder forcefully. Miz rushes Ryder but gets knees to the face and a missile dropkick. Ryder tries to capitalize but takes a boot to the face. Miz with a boot to the head and a two count, then a tag to Bryan. The crowd goes ballistic with YES chants and Bryan drops NO knee drops to the ribs of Ryder. Bryan kicks at the chest of Ryder then drops a knee to the face fore two. Bryan jaws at Kane while Ryder crawls for a tag; Ryder gets a European uppercut instead. Miz back in and another boot to the face of Ryder. Ryder takes a backbreaker/neckbreaker combo from Miz who keeps control and tags Bryan back in. Kicks to the chest of Ryder from Bryan in the corner. Bryan rushes with an elbow and tags Miz by mistake. Ryder kicks off and makes a hot tag to Kane and Miz drops off the apron - No escape from Bryan. Bryan elects to slap Kane then runs into the crowd. Miz is gone too and Kane takes his frustrations out on Ryder with a Chokeslam. A worker at ringside is next, but Kane notices Ryder stirring in the ring so he disposes of the other guy and pounces on Ryder, delivering a Tombstone Piledriver.
Nothing short of chaos, which was kind of expected with this set up. Seems that the Kane/Bryan rivalry isn't quite settled. Ryder gets the brunt of the beatdown as usual.
CM Punk is interviewed by Matt Striker. Punk thanks AJ for respecting the champion enough to allow him to choose his next opponent. Punk says Cena is next, on one condition, to be presented later tonight.
Match 7: Divas Battle Royale, winner is #1 Contender to Divas Championship
Beth Phoenix is conspicuous by her absence. Kaitlyn takes a double suplex from Natalya and Tamina, who proceed to double team Alicia Fox. Alicia dropkicks both of them, but neither is eliminated. Tamina turns on Natalya, who ends up taking a tumble out. Kaitlyn and Eve are the last two left and Kaitlyn escapes an attempt from Eve to eliminate her, then answers by clotheslining her over the top.
Sloppiness all over, even on the finish. Layla sells a bit of concern, seeing the powerful Kaitlyn knock Eve over the top. The two of them should have a good match - Kaitlyn is a hell of an athlete and when Layla is at the top of her game, she's solid in the ring. Still curious when Sara del Rey will be mentioned or used or something. If she's strictly behind the scenes/training, they should call attention to it, as she is hugely respected.
Brock Lesnar Touts that he has accomplished everything in WWE and he's leaving, never to return. After being declared the new King of Kings. So that's how you write him away for a while, but it's incredibly lazy.
Vickie is in the back raging because of AJ's earlier decision. Vickie says Dolph needs to win for her tonight. Ziggler says he needs to win it for himself, hyping this up as the biggest match of his career. Ziggler says tonight, he'll win.
Match 8: Chris Jericho vs Dolph Ziggler, loser loses their contract (WWE or MITB, respectively)
Winner: Dolph Ziggler via pinfall
Vickie introduces Dolph as per the normal and Jericho enters with his ribs still taped. Jericho opens by running Ziggler over and a quick school boy, showing that the win is the key here. Ziggler bails to the floor to regroup. Ziggler runs into a small package then gets chopped down to the mat. Ziggler fights back and grounds Jericho then lands a jumping elbow drop. Ziggler runs into a boot in the corner and Jericho follows with a missile dropkick for two. Ziggler gets elevated to the floor and quickly hops back to the apron, only to take a corner springboard dropkick from Jericho, sending him careening to the floor...and us to a commercial.
Ziggler is in charge with a chinlock as we return. Jericho fights to his feet but ends up back on the mat so that Ziggler can do his headstand chinlock. Ziggler hits another jumping elbow drop for two. Jericho counters another chinlock attempt with a belly to back suplex, then kicks Ziggler out of the corner. Jericho with shoulder blocks followed by a double axe handle from the top. Ziggler avoids the bulldog but ends up sat on the top rope where Jericho follows. Jericho hits ten punches and a frankensteiner, almost landing right on his own head, good for a two count. Ziggler answers with his jumping DDT for another near fall. Ziggler wants a Fameasser, but Jericho counters into a Walls of Jericho attempt which Ziggler spins out of. More back and forth action sees Jericho hit the bulldog and try a Lionsault, but lands on Ziggler's knees. Ziggler hits the Zigzag for the win.
I expected an injury or some shenanigans, but Dolph won that one squeaky clean. As of now, Jericho is no longer under contract with WWE. Which is incredibly convenient, since Fozzy has an upcoming tour! Even better, Jericho has a built in return rivalry when/if he returns. Seriously though, Chris Jericho is the most consistent current-legend in putting over the young and deserving talent. Jericho grabs the MITB briefcase and whacks Dolph in the gut and over the back with it, then hits a Codebreaker. Dolph mimes a shotgun wound in the best possible way from it and is laid out. Jericho loses, but he lays Ziggler out as he leaves. Don't expect that to be the last you see of Chris Jericho - It may be for now, but that's absolutely not how Chris Jericho goes out. It's a shame he can't work a concurrent program with 3 or 4 guys. A Jericho/Tyson Kidd program? Just the kind of elevation Kidd could use to be taken seriously on WWE TV programming and a good built-in rivalry from the Canadian heritage and the Hart Dungeon.
CM Punk comes out, main eventing the show, although not in a match. This man really needs a new title belt. Punk hops to the floor and gets in the face of Jerry Lawler, reminding him that he said Punk turned his back on the WWE Universe. Lawler back pedals and Punk says that he should have the respect to apologize to the WWE Champion. Before Lawler can answer, John Cena's music hits. Punk returns to the ring to chat with Cena. Punk says that Cena knew Punk would be calling him out tonight, but invited himself to the ring instead of being respectful. Punk throws the WWE Title to the mat and says he's been taking a backseat to Cena, HHH, and The Rock. He took that backseat out of respect and now he wants that respect returned to him. Punk says that after defeating Cena time and time again, he should not have to take that backseat any longer. Punk says he elected Cena number one contender because he needs to beat Cena again. Punk looks over the crowd and sees the Cenation in full force and it makes him realize what the one condition will be. Punk says Cena gets his title shot if he admits that Punk is the best in the world.
Cena says that he has not been the WWE Champion for nine months. Through good times and bad times, Cena stays close with the WWE Universe because of respect. Cena demonstrates with a cheap Foley pop, getting the crowd to cheer. Cena runs a sports fan analogy - You love your team even when they lose. Cena will not call Punk the best in the world because he has to believe that he is the best. Cena says when he held the title for 380 days, he never once demanded respect. Cena won't stroke Punk's ego - Punk can choose anyone for the number one contender and Cena won't call him best in the world. Night of Champions takes place from Cena's hometown. Cena says if Punk beats him in his hometown, it "defines his existence". He's been champion for almost a year, how does he not exist? Cena says if Punk doesn't face Cena in his hometown, he has no respect for himself or the title. Cena leaves and Punk turns back to Lawler, wanting his apology. Lawler heads to the ring. Lawler apologizes and goes to leave, but Punk says he's not finished. Punk now wants Lawler to say that he's best in the world. Lawler won't say it and brushes past Punk, who delivers a kick to the back of his head. Punk squats down and stares at the knocked out Lawler then looks out into the crowd to conclude the show. He doesn't look happy with what he's done, but not especially remorseful either.
AJ was busy tonight! Chris Jericho leaves us, but not before giving the rub to Dolph Ziggler - He just beat Jericho clean in the middle of the ring and should now be seen as a legit threat to the World Heavyweight Title. Cena reminding everyone that he hasn't been WWE Champion for X amount of months is obnoxious. Cena not being champion doesn't mean that the company halts or that something is "wrong", so the verbiage comes off incredibly silly. Kaitlyn/Layla has the potential to be an interesting match as Kaitlyn brings the power of Beth Phoenix as well as the usual speed of the other divas and Layla brings the potential to be a solid opponent. Bryan/Kane continues, because I don't think WWE knows what else to do with the "crazy" Daniel Bryan they've concocted. Seems like we're still dealing with Sheamus and ADR which I think the crowds have grown tired of. Orton might be interjected after tonight and while Orton/Sheamus isn't anything new, it's at least different than what we're seeing right now.
CM Punk's quest for respect continues all the way to Night of Champions - Will he earn respect? Or will Cena earn another WWE Title? Give us your call in the comments or on Twitter @sbfantom and @thegeekasylum.