WWE Monday Night Raw
Grand Rapids, Michigan
-The crowd is salty to start as Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez head out. They begin with rubbing in their title victory. Del Rio mentions that Ziggler won the title from him as he was injured, and is bitter that they cheered Ziggler. “We want Ziggler” chants begin as Del Rio grows angry with the fans. He talks about how Swagger was cheered although he is an ignorant pig.
Alberto Del Rio IS the Mexican Bret Hart! ADR fought for these people and they turned their backs on him. ADR is going to give them a second chance to show him the respect he deserves. CM Punk interrupts Alberto Del Rio to a huge pop. With his new Wolverine look, I want to call him Weapon XXX. Punk comes into the ring and greets the two of them.
Punk isn’t out here due to ADR’s problem with the fans, but instead his insistence that he is best in the world. Punk wants a match, but Paul doesn’t want him to fight for free. Paul doesn’t see money in the match, and Punk wants to fight for pride. ADR seethes as the crowd chants “Si!” ADR turns down Punk, so Punk asks Ricardo if he wants to fight. Vickie interrupts the men in the ring. Vickie pushes the match forward for tonight.
-Backstage, Paul backtracks with Punk. CM Punk relieves Paul of his managerial duties, but says that he’ll always be a Paul Heyman Guy.
Intercontinental Championship Match – Wade Barrett vs. Curtis Axel ©
Instead of the rematch, Vickie comes out and brings out her big surprise. Christian returns to a nice pop from the crowd.
Wade Barrett vs. Christian
“Welcome back!” chants to start. Christian escapes on a Wasteland attempt and tosses Wade. Christian leaps off of the top rope, over the ring post, and splashes down on Barrett. Wade comes back with a turnbuckle kick for two. Christian hits a dropkick from the second turnbuckle and follows with a clothesline.
Christian gets the elbow up in the corner and hits a tornado DDT for two. Wade comes back with the sidekick to the gut for two. Christian floats out of the pumphandle and dodges a corner charge. Christian quickly hits the Killswitch for the victory.
Final Thoughts: Christian looked good out there in his return. With Barrett forever floundering, the use of him to make Christian look good upon his return was a good call. I think that Christian still deserves ONE MORE MATCH.
-We get a brand new Wyatt Family vignette. This one is much more frightening and awesome.
Handicap Match – Team Rhodes Scholars vs. Sheamus
There are no tags in this match. Sheamus hits a snap mare from the top rope on Cody, but Sandow holds him back and Cody hits the Disaster Kick. They hit the double suplex and continue to beat on him. Damien hits The Elbow of Disdain. Cody slaps around Sheamus for a bit as Sandow holds him back. Cody gets dumped to the outside and Sheamus goes at Sandow, hitting a kneelift and the rolling Samoan Drop. Cody returns but gets clubbered in the ropes. Cody comes off the top but gets White Noise. Sheamus goes for the Brogue, but Sandow cuts him off with a rollup for the win. Sheamus gets the Brogue Kick on Cody because he’s a sore loser. Sheamus is a lousy babyface at this time.
Final Thoughts: This was fine until the post-match shenanigans where Sheamus couldn’t handle the loss.
-Backstage, HHH isn’t happy with Vickie’s lack of control over The Shield. He takes a dig at 3MB for the hell of it.
-Meanwhile, Kane needs to talk with Daniel Bryan. Bryan needs to be about Team DB. Kane mentions that Bryan is acting like a DB. Heh. They both declare an intention to become to WWE Champion and realize that their team is breaking up. Aww…
No Disqualification Match – Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
Bryan and Orton trade arm wringers and hammerlocks. Bryan takes Orton down and kicks at the leg. Bryan works into the surfboard and stomps down at Orton. Bryan continues kicking at the left leg in the corner. Orton reverses and stomps a mudhole. Orton follows with a slingshot suplex.
Orton goes for the Thesz Press and Bryan rolls through into a half crab, and Orton gets to the rope and reverses out. Bryan keeps working with the kicks in the corner, but Orton comes back with a rake to the eyes and tosses him outside. Orton follows and hits a clothesline. Orton rolls Bryan back in and gets two. Orton goes to the chinlock.
Daniel gets headbutted into the corner after breaking free. Orton hits some punches and whips Bryan, but Bryan flips out of the corner and hits the clothesline and fires himself up. Bryan hits the corner dropkick, and a second. He gets two. Orton charges and goes outside. Orton sidesteps the dive and Bryan goes into the barricade. Ouch, to say the least. Orton goes under the ring and grabs a kendo stick. Orton takes aim with a few shots to the midsection and grinds it into Bryan’s stomach. Orton tosses him in and gets two. We hit the break.
Randy is in control as we return, with Bryan seated on the top turnbuckle. Bryan fights back, butting Orton off. Bryan hits the front dropkick from the top and both men are down. Bryan kicks at Orton, but Randy comes back and hits an awkward Exploder.
Bryan looks hurt and can’t get the No Lock. Bryan tries to skin the cat but has lost use of his right arm. The trainer comes over and tries to stop Bryan from competing, but Bryan fights him off. Orton drops Bryan on the barricade. The match is called off, with Bryan injured and looking quite concerned.
Final Thoughts: The match was getting along just fine, but seemed to fall apart after Bryan missed his dive. Something in Bryan’s eye told me that this might be more than a stinger. I sure hope that I’m being worked.
-AJ Lee comes down to the ring, skipping along with her new belt. AJ gloats and kind of ignores Dolph’s own, serious problems. AJ puts herself over as a strong woman. AJ challenges the locker room. Stephanie McMahon answers the call. Steph calls out AJ about attributing to the stereotype of women tearing each other down. Wow. Steph wants AJ to act like a champion. AJ calls out Steph for marrying HHH and having daddy issues. So much for Steph trying to squash that stereotype, as she threatens AJ. AJ says that she is just like Steph, but younger. Steph takes her aside and threatens to take her job away. Kaitlyn and the rest of the Divas come out. Steph threatens their jobs too for interrupting her. Kaitlyn starts clobbering’ AJ. The screen goes to black as someone has a wardrobe malfunction. Langston separates the women, carrying AJ out. The segment would have been much better with Steph around to bury the entire division.
United States Title Match – Dean Ambrose © vs. Kane
Kane starts off fast, hitting a big boot. Ambrose hits a couple of chops, but walks into a powerslam. Kane hits his corner clotheslines and follows with a sideslam for two. Kane hits the top rope clothesline. The Shield run in and beat down Kane. Reigns hits the spear and they quickly hit the triple powerbomb.
Final Thoughts: This was just a way for WWE to talk about how Vickie has to deal with The Shield
-Vickie runs into The Shield and wags her finger at them. Ambrose asks if he’s going to get a spanking. Vince walks by and applauds their ruthless aggression. This doesn’t mesh well with HHH’s order.
-We get another Wyatt Family vignette.
-Zeb Colter comes out to rant from the ramp. He introduces his new client, Antonio Cesaro, noting that he speaks five languages, and the most important being English.
William Regal vs. Antonio Cesaro
This should be manly. Cesaro clubs away at Regal and hits the gutwrench slam for two. Regal bridges out, but takes a double stomp from Antonio. William fights back with some ferocious strikes. Cesaro reverses a double arm suplex attempt into a slam of his own. Impressive. Cesaro hits the chinlock, whirls him around and hits the Neutralizer for the quick win. Cesaro lays a flag on Regal and recites the Pledge of Allegiance with Zeb.
Final Thoughts: It’s too bad this match didn’t happen with both of them being pushed.
-John Cena comes out to grace us with his presence. He gets the standard, mixed reaction and milks it for a while. Cena talks about how much he appreciates honesty, and then immediately tries to sell them on him having a bad year in 2012. Cena says that he is at his strongest. Cena kind of buries MITB, saying that he will always be ready and is immune to a cash-in. Mark Henry comes out after this, holding his boots and leaving them at the ramp as he walks down to the ring. He comes in and shakes Cena’s hand. Cena goes to leave, but Henry wants him to stay. The crowd gets behind Henry as he looks to address the fans. “Thank you, Henry!” is shouted out from the crowd. “One More Match!” is shouted out from the crowd as Henry retires. Cena lets him hold the belt before he leaves. Henry tells the world not to cry for him, as he stands in the ring as a proud, proud man. In case you were wondering, the crowd adores Henry here. Mark throws in a Mae Young joke for good measure. Cena goes to congratulate Henry….and gets a World’s Strongest Slam! “You think it’s that easy?! I got a lot left in the tank!” What an awesome, awesome swerve that was. “That’s what I DO!” Henry yells from the top of the ramp. This had the feel and execution of a classic segment.
-Backstage, Henry formally challenges Cena to a title match at MITB. He plans on leaving one of his boots up Cena’s ass.
Heath Slater vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho hits a shoulder block to start and hits a couple of chops. Off the whip, Slater hits a heel kick and gets two. Jericho gets the boot up in the corner and heads up top, hitting the double axe handle. Jericho hits the bulldog but gets hit by Drew upon attempting the Lionsault. Slater gets two and then stomps away. Slater hits a slam and goes to the second rope. His knee drop misses and Jericho hits the bulldog and Lionsault. Jericho hits the Codebreaker for the win. Drew and Jinder attack, but Jericho dispatches the hapless jobbers with no trouble.
Final Thoughts: This was just a little match for Jericho to partake in between programs, it seems.
-Backstage, Matt Stryker asks Heyman about his relationship with Punk. Heyman says that friends need space and turns the attention to Curtis Axel.
Sin Cara vs. Curtis Axel
Miz babbles on commentary to start. Axel beats down on Sin Cara. The mood lighting remains. Axel hits a backbreaker. Cara hits a dropkick and another sends Axel out of the ring. Curtis rushes back in and hits a clothesline. Axel hits a suplex for two. Sin Cara tries to fight back and gets the boots up in the corner. He comes off the top with and misses a senton bomb, sort of. It was pretty ugly there. Axel finishes the match with a DDT.
Final Thoughts: This was just Axel squashing Sin Cara again, while searching for a suitable finishing move. WWE should consider debuting guys and having their finisher already set.
-Vince McMahon is backstage with Brickie, and talks about crying at Henry’s fake retirement speech. Vince is happy about the proposed title match between Cena and Henry. HHH and Steph show up and try to assert their authority over Vickie. I guess there are too many cooks in the kitchen.
– Also, Heyman gives Punk a hug and wishes him well in his match. This was uneasy.
Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk
I like ADR’s new thing of holding up his belt when he feels threatened. Punk is fired up to start, chasing ADR from the ring with strikes. Punk throws some kicks to Del Rio’s legs. ADR bails to jeers. Punk attacks on the outside; tossing in a chop and throwing him back in. Del Rio fights back with a kick and a few stomps.
ADR goes right back to the head with a kick and hits a snap suplex for just one. Punk comes back with knees in the corner. Alberto answers back with a few kicks. ADR runs into the corner and hits an enzuigiri on Punk’s shoulder. Del Rio bails from the ring after escaping from a GTS. Punk hits a dive to the outside and tosses Del Rio back inside. Ricardo distracts Punk and Del Rio kicks Punk to the outside.
Del Rio is in control as we return. Punk fights back, but gets hit with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. ADR comes off the top but gets a fist to the gut. Punk is selling the elbow hard. Del Rio ducks a roundhouse kick and puts the knees to the arm of Punk. Del Rio puts the forearms into Punk’s back and hits The Backstabber for two.
ADR misses the Si Kick and Punk gets a roll up for two. ADR returns and hits the Si Kick for two. Punk counters the cross armbreaker and hits the high knee in the corner. ADR takes a GTS and falls to the outside. ADR and Ricardo bail and Punk gets the countout victory.
After the match, Ziggler leaps out underneath the ramp and brutalizes ADR, chasing him to the back.
Then, Lesnar returns. He slowly stalks to the ring and begins to circle it. He enters and two circle each other. Brock grabs a microphone. He merely uses it to get close to Punk and hit him with an F5. That’s a clever way to do it. They show ends with Punk lying on his face.
Final Thoughts: A very good match that helps sets up our storylines for the next couple of months. I certainly can’t complain about that. It was a nice touch for Brock to use the microphone to bring Punk in.
–This was a terrific show. The only segment that fell flat was the Diva’s segment, and even that is going to be saved by DVRs and screenshots. I took a second look at Bryan’s apparent injury and I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. I certainly hope that I am being worked, as Bryan is a terrific actor. I’m quite certain that I’m being worked. Speaking of acting, Henry’s fake retirement speech and slam of Cena was just amazing work. With the respect he already gained with the fans, they bought into it, and he turned them into puppets. They enjoyed being tricked so well. Christian finally returned and can get ONE MORE MATCH if the chips fall the right way, and CM Punk working with Brock Lesnar is the perfect way to march towards SummerSlam. In fact, the two top matches at SummerSlam could very well be CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar, and John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan. This was a terrific show.
Watch everything except for Stephanie’s segment with the Divas.