I covered Summerslam live last night. If you missed my recap of the event, click here to check it out.
Live from Fresno, California this is the Raw Deal for episode #1004. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport if you're not doing so already. Thank you.
There was no opening music or fireworks to begin the show. Instead, it was the voice of Michael Cole. Ring announcer Justin Roberts introduced Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. The announcers for the show are Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler. Another three hours with these two? Ugh. I'd love for William Regal to join them to make a three man team.
Brock Lesnar entered the ring with Paul Heyman as the announcers talked over still photos of the Lesnar/Triple H match that Lesnar won with the Kimura Lock on the left arm of Triple H.
Paul Heyman grabbed the microphone. He said it was an uncomfortable match to watch when you consider Triple H's ability to withstand punishment. Heyman said that eleven years ago he sat at the announce desk doing a far better job than those two (Lawler and Cole), which is damn true. He said he watched Triple H's quadriceps rip off the bone and Hunter finished that fight. The match in question was Chris Jericho & Chris Benoit defeating Triple H and Steve Austin to win the tag titles in a match that I'd consider one of the best Raw matches of all time. It's also one you will never see on WWE TV again because of Benoit's involvement. He called Hunter a warrior for continuing to fight despite the debilitating injury. "A torn quad couldn't stop Triple but Brock Lesnar could." That was a good line. He said that Lesnar forced Triple H to tap out. He accentuated the point by saying Lesnar forced Triple H to quit. He said Triple H quit on his family, his company, his friends, his fans and all of you while pointing at the fans. They get two mentions. He said Lesnar stripped Triple H of his dignity and manhood. He said he left Triple H a shell of a man. Heyman doesn't feel sorry for Triple H. Heyman mentioned that Triple H was the one that asked the referee to throw the rules out so that it could be a fight to the finish.
Heyman asked for referee Scott Armstrong to come down to the ring because Brock Lesnar wanted to say something to him. Armstrong reluctantly made his way down to the ring. If you don't already know, Armstrong had a long career as a wrestler before he became a referee so he's very comfortable in settings like this. I also think Armstrong is the best referee in WWE today too. Heyman said that his client has two words for Armstrong. He gave the microphone to Lesnar as Armstrong looked scared. Lesnar tapped Armstrong on the head and said "good job" to Armstrong. Armstrong left. Heyman said that Lesnar was the new "King of Kings" and the crowd booed him for that one. He waited it out before continuing. Heyman called Lesnar the "master of the Brocktagon" and the "conqueror of the WWE Universe." He said the fans are the loyal subjects to the Lord and Master of the WWE Universe, Brock Lesnar. They left to boos.
Analysis: Heyman is on another level from everybody else when it comes to promos. His delivery is perfect. The crowd hated every word he said while Lesnar did an awesome job of just standing there like a monster. I liked the bit with Armstrong coming out while Lesnar said "thank you" to him just because Armstrong did a great job of acting scared of the dominant heel. As I've said in other weeks, I like it when Lesnar says only a few words while Heyman carries the majority of the promo.
Coming up later, we'll hear from Shawn Michaels via satellite for a live interview.
Analysis: The theme of the show is the announcers talking about if it is the end of Triple H's career. It's very annoying even after the first segment of the show.
The "Did you know" was about how Summerslam was more socially active than a bunch of television shows last night. They are really reaching for these DYK things huh?
They aired a Tout from CM Punk from earlier when he said he gets to pick his own opponent for Night of Champions. Cole & Lawler said AJ Lee was taking it under advisement.
Before the next tag match, there was a clip from the PPV where R-Truth dumped some water on the ground with the idea that he was dumping it on his imaginary friend Little Jimmy. Some six year olds might have laughed, so congrats for that.
Kofi Kingston, R-Truth & Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes, Darren Young & Titus O'Neil
Even though they lost last night, Young & O'Neil don't look too upset because they still did their entrance when they're all excited. The Rhodes issue with Sin Cara is that he thinks he wears a mask because he's ugly. I think it took the creative team ten seconds to come up with that one. The face team dominated the action by knocking the heels outside of the ring early on. Young & O'Neil were dropkicked by Truth & Kingston outside of the ring while Sin Cara scared Rhodes outside the ring. They went to break a few minutes into the match with the heels on the floor for the vintage floor to commercial spot.
Analysis: It was hard to get into the match early because the announcers kept going on about if it's the end of Triple H's career. If this continues for three hours it's going to be very annoying.
Back from break, Truth hit a nice scissors kick to the back of the head that earned him a two count. Cole mentioned that Khloe Kardashian-Odom is the Social Media Ambassador of Raw. The heels ended up gaining control of the action, so they isolated Truth in their corner. I like the tag move of the PTPers when O'Neil gives Young a front suplex onto their opponent. O'Neil doesn't have much on offense other than the basic power moves. Putting him in a tag team is the right move. Truth was able to get a jumping side kick to the head of O'Neil while O'Neil was looking at Kingston. Sin Cara got the hot tag on the same time as Rhodes. Sin Cara hit him with a nice headscissors followed by a hard kick to the head and then a crossbody block for two. Young saved his partner as the match broke down. Kofi hit a dive over the top onto Young & O'Neil on the floor. In the ring, Rhodes went to rip off the mask of Sin Cara. Cara fought out of it, he rolled through and he covered for the victory after 12 minutes.
Winners: Sin Cara, Kofi Kingston & R-Truth
Analysis: **1/2 That's the kind of match we need to see more regularly on Raw. A tag team match that gets over ten minutes that adds some heat to two different feuds at the same time. We It was a basic tag with the faces dominating early, the heels isolating one of the faces and then they did a good job of giving us an entertaining finish. The story is that Rhodes is obsessed with exposing Cara and as a result of that he lost this match. It's a simple story that works.
Coming up later on Raw is Kane & Zack Ryder vs. Daniel Bryan & The Miz. The idea is that Kane and Bryan are teaming up with guys that they had differences with in their past as a way to deal with their anger management. It's nice that we're allowed to remember that Kane assaulted Ryder so much six months ago yet now he's cheered by the fans that he turned on because they made him soft.
Matt Striker interviewed Raw GM AJ Lee backstage. David Otunga showed up with his Thermos. Otunga said he was filming his movie called The Hive. He said she might need some legal counsel. After he said the word "crazy" she made an angry face. She said if he wants to offer his services he can do that in the ring tonight against an opponent of her choosing. Regarding Punk's request to name his challenger for Night of Champions, she said Punk can name anybody he wants pending her approval. Then she skipped away.
Analysis: There are a lot of people other than Otunga that I'd like to see in matches, but it's no surprise that they're putting him back into the ring now that he's back after being away for a couple months.
The announcers talked about Khloe Kardashian Odom as the Social Media Ambassador for the night. They read a tweet. "Oh no not these two. Paul Heyman is the worst." Cole said he agreed. Lawler laughed. I hate these announcers so much.
Ryback made his entrance. His music now says "Feed Me More" repeatedly. It's a smart move because it will get fans used to chanting it during his entrance.
Ryback vs. Mike Spinner & Andy Tavares
No promo from the jobbers? I miss those. They didn't even get a name display. Ryback threw one of the guys to the outside quickly. Ryback hit a powerbomb. He followed it up with two powerbombs. He hit a suplex on one of the dudes by bringing him from outside the ring. Ryback went to give both guys his finisher, but Jinder Mahal ran into the ring to attack Ryback. It only went about 90 seconds before the finish.
Winner via DQ: Ryback
After the ref rang the bell, Jinder Mahal continued to stomp away on Ryback. Mahal gave him the Camel Clutch. Ryback powered out of it and dropped down onto his butt while Mahal was on his back, so it was a backbreaker like move. Back in the ring, Ryback hit a hard clothesline. Then he picked up both guys and delivered his Shell Shocked finisher. Why don't the announcers use the name it's been given? Ryback's music started to play as looked at Mahal and the crowd joined in on the "feed me more" chants.
Analysis: It's nice that they have finally given Ryback a feud. This battle with Mahal has mostly taken place on Smackdown.
Backstage, Chris Jericho was shown texting on his phone. Dolph Ziggler walked up to Jericho. Ziggler wanted a rematch tonight. Jericho said he's a 6 time World Champion and he knows how to win the big one. GM AJ Lee skipped into the screen. She said she was booking the rematch except she was going to raise the stakes. AJ said that if Jericho loses then his contract is terminated. If Ziggler loses then his Money in the Bank contract goes to Jericho.
Analysis: It looks like that's how Jericho will be written out of storylines since he'll be leaving after this week's show to go on tour with his band Fozzy. Storyline wise it makes no sense that somebody would get fired for losing a match after they won the night before, but they needed a way to write him out that made sense without saying "he's leaving to be with his band."
Alberto Del Rio was shown walking backstage in his ring gear. He was angry. We'll hear from him next.
Alberto Del Rio made his entrance without a car. Maybe the rental place in Fresno didn't have any fancy cars for him to drive into the building with? Del Rio grabbed the microphone. He showed a picture of his foot on the rope from Summerslam while referee Mike Chioda counted the pinfall against him. Del Rio demanded another World Title match against Sheamus right now. Raw GM AJ's music started up.
AJ said she has no authority over the World Title scene. She said since Del Rio was out there all ready to go in his gear she would give him an opponent tonight that will make Booker T consider his request for another World Title shot. She said his opponent will be…."I hear voices"…Randy Orton. Orton made his entrance to a big pop as the show went to break before the match could begin.
Analysis: One of the things that WWE always does well is they time their commercial breaks at the right time. I watch TNA Impact Wrestling regularly and they take commercials at some odd times. I like the commercials when they happen after somebody makes their entrance more than during the match, but even during a match WWE does it the right way with the floor to commercial spot.
As they returned from break, Sheamus joined the commentary team. The match started as he took a seat.
Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio
Sheamus said the "Luck of the Irish always reigns true" to explain his title win at Summerslam. Orton gave Del Rio a nice slingshot suplex early. After Orton's nice opening flurry, Del Rio was able to slow it down. He hit a nice snap suplex followed by a double stomp on the chest. Orton was able to come back with a superplex for two, which has become a signature spot in every Orton match. Orton hit his powerslam. Del Rio countered the DDT off the ropes. He hit Orton with an enziguiri to the back of the head. Orton hit his backbreaker. Del Rio came back with a kick to the side. Orton countered the Cross Armbreaker into a swinging neckbreaker for two. That was a really nice sequence right there. I'm a big fan of Orton's in-ring work especially in the last couple of years. Del Rio went to the top, but Orton stopped him with some fists to the face and then hit his DDT off the middle ropes out of the corner. That’s a nice variation to that spot. Orton wanted the RKO. Rodriguez distracted him. Sheamus scared Rodriguez off. Del Rio hit the Backstabber on Orton. Del Rio pinned him. Orton put his foot on the ropes. Sheamus told the ref Chad Patton that Orton's foot was on the ropes. Del Rio yelled at Sheamus. Del Rio turned around and Orton gave him the RKO for the pinfall victory after 9 minutes.
Winner: Randy Orton
Post match, Cole was complaining about how Sheamus didn't point that out to the ref at Summerslam. He brings up a valid point. Orton celebrated the win. The announcers focused more on the Sheamus/Del Rio story.
Analysis: **1/2 I enjoyed that match. Like with the match earlier in the show, it got enough time and told a good story. I thought their chemistry was excellent. Orton had some really nice reversals to Del Rio's regular moves while they did some variations on familiar spots that kept them fresh. If these two got 15-20 minutes in a singles match I have no doubt that it could reach the four star level and beyond. They know what they're doing out there that's for sure. I wouldn't be surprised if Sheamus vs. Del Rio vs. Orton is the World Title match at Night of Champions although I'm personally sick of triple threat matches.
Coming up later, CM Punk gets to name his next WWE Championship opponent as long as AJ Lee approves it.
There was a quick interview with CM Punk backstage that was on WWE.com. He said AJ is out to get him and he had to beat two guys twice in the same match.
They mentioned Shawn Michaels appearing via satellite once again.
The "Did You Know" was about how WWE supports the US military. That's their go to "DYK" when they have nothing else to say.
We got a replay of Antonio Cesaro's United States Title win over Santino on the Summerslam pre-show. They even replayed the bit where Cesaro said a word in five different languages. Then they filmed a Tout video after the match and we got to see the Tout video.
They showed the same video that aired during Summerslam that highlighted all of the WWE activities over the weekend. They love the media attention they get in Los Angeles, which is why they have Summerslam there every year and will have it there next year as well.
Brodus Clay made his entrance along with the Funkadactyl girls. They aired a video about his issues with Damien Sandow in recent weeks. They will be having a match after the break.
Analysis: That's what I call a filler segment. Hopefully it's the only one we see this week.
Coming up later it's Chris Jericho with his WWE contract on the line versus Dolph Ziggler with his Money in the Bank briefcase on the line.
Damien Sandow made his entrance. They had a pre-match promo with Sandow where he basically said he'd help society get rid of somebody like Clay. Thank you Sandow.
Brodus Clay vs. Damien Sandow
Clay opened up with power moves early. He hit a clothesline followed by a back body drop. He hit a belly to belly suplex on Sandow followed by an elbow drop. Sandow tried to come back with punches, but Clay hit a headbutt and then a splash in the corner. The girls at ringside cheered because they're not programmed to do anything else. Clay hit a headbutt to the chest of Sandow. Clay went for a charge in the corner, Sandow avoided it, rolled him up and grabbed the tights for added effect. It was enough for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner: Damien Sandow
Post match, Sandow said "you're welcome" to Naomi and Cameron at ringside. Clay gave Sandow an overhead suplex followed by a splash. Then he danced with the girls.
Analysis: 1/2* The crowd was pretty dead for it. Sandow didn't do a whole lot except take a beating for three minutes before cheating to get the win. I'm not sure it does much in terms of getting him over with the fans as a credible performer especially when Clay dominated him after the match too. I assume the feud isn't over. I would like it to be because that wasn't a very good match. Sandow's a future main eventer. Clay is not. Sandow needs to win the feud quickly.
After the match, back to the Triple H story about whether his career is over. They showed some tweets from WWE Superstars that were told to tweet about it earlier in the day. If you follow them on Twitter you can see them all tweeting about it at the same time. Why? Because they're told to. Everybody has a price, after all. Ted Dibiase Sr's theme song is so right.
Up next, Shawn Michaels will talk to us via satellite in his home in San Antonio. His right arm was in a sling to sell the broken arm injury at the hands of Lesnar last week. The sling was on the correct arm, so that's a good thing.
Michael Cole welcomed us back to the show. He talked to Shawn Michaels via satellite. Michaels said he feels like he knows what is going through Triple H's head. He said you can tell yourself the end is near and prepare yourself, but there's really nothing that prepares you for that day when it hits you right in the face. He said the thoughts you have happen privately on your own when in reality it happens in front of thousands in the arena and millions on PPV. He said you can't prepare yourself to deal with your own professional mortality. He said he knew what he was going through. He said it might be the end of an amazing career. He said Hunter was a man of honor and integrity, which Lesnar and Heyman know nothing about. Michaels said Hunter always gave it everything he had just like he did last night. He said that's who The Game is. Michaels said he was around because he wanted to support his friend, but now he realizes it was stupid because he became a distraction. Michaels said he knew that Hunter knew where his heart is. Michaels said he needed to tell HHH that he didn't think he could beat Lesnar. Michaels said it wasn't easy for him to say. "Hunter, you have nothing to be ashamed of. You are one of the greatest superstars to ever live. I've always respected you. And I'll always be proud of you. And I've always loved you. We all love you." Michaels said "on behalf of myself and the entire WWE Universe thank you on a job well done."
There was some applause when it was over. It went to break after showing a picture of Triple H in pain in the ring at Summerslam.
Analysis: I thought Michaels was incredible here. It wasn't much of an interview. Obviously Michaels likely taped it earlier in the day because Cole only said one thing at the very beginning before Michaels delivered the promo. What he said was perfect because he admitted fault in that he should have told Hunter he didn't think he could beat Lesnar, but that it was too tough to say that to his friend's face. I think a lot of people can relate to something like that. It worked really well in my opinion. Now the question is does this mean Hunter will be mad at Michaels for not believing him and then perhaps lead to a Hunter match against Michaels at WrestleMania? I doubt it. However, I'm sure the rumors will exist that such a scenario could happen. I personally believe Michaels is legit retired and will stay that way, but in the wrestling business you never know.
There was a reminder about how CM Punk would name his next WWE Championship opponent if AJ Lee approves it. It's nearly two hours into the show. I don't think the announcers have mentioned John Cena's name.
David Otunga made his entrance. He didn't do his muscle poses at the top of the ramp like he used to do. I have no problem with that. Instead, he did his poses in the ring. The man that AJ Lee picked as the opponent of David Otunga? Big Show.
Big Show vs. David Otunga
I thought it would be a babyface. I guess not. Show chopped the baby oil off of Otunga's chest followed by a big body slam and a series of punches to the ribs of Otunga. Show continued to dominate the action with another hard chop to the chest of Otunga. Show hit the Final Cut, which Cole called as "oh man." He's the worst at calling moves. Otunga stumbled back to his feet. Big Show knocked him out with the BIG RIGHT HAND~! for the win. The match went about two minutes.
Winner: Big Show
Analysis: Squash match to remind us that Big Show is still a threat despite his loss at Summerslam. I think we already know this, but thanks for the reminder.
Post match, they showed footage of Big Show after his WWE Title match last night. He complained about how it was two on one against him. Show said he gets screwed every time. He asked when he's going to get a one on one match. I don't know or care. Sorry big guy.
Coming up next is the Kane/Ryder vs. Bryan/Miz tag team match. That's the match that will take us to the top of hour three.
They thanked Kevin Rudolf for his "Don't Give Up" song that was ridiculously overplayed as the theme song of Summerslam.
As Kane made his way to the ring, Cole called Kane's Summerslam match against Bryan unbelievable. What was so unbelievable about it? It was a pretty standard ten minute wrestling match. Ryder was apprehensive about teaming with Kane. He should be happy he's actually booked on Raw. Pre-match, Bryan got in a fan's face and yelled "no" at him while the fan yelled "yes" at him. He's made that a regular thing, which his fine by me.
Kane & Zack Ryder vs. Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz
Early on Bryan didn't want to wrestle Kane, so Miz was forced to wrestle for his team. The crowd quickly chanted "we want Ryder" as the announcers chose to not mention it. Ryder tagged in and hit a nice dropkick on Miz off of the middle rope. Lawler said he loved the job that AJ Lee was doing. Lawler likes everything any babyface does. His comments are robotic at this point in his career. Miz was able to slow down Ryder and Bryan tagged in to work on the left arm of Ryder. Bryan hit Ryder with a series of kicks to the chest while yelling "no" and then he dropped a knee to the face of Ryder for a two count. Bryan tagged in Miz, who continued to isolate Ryder for his team. Miz hit a neckbreaker for two. Bryan tagged in to deliver more kicks to the chest of Ryder. His corner charge missed as Ryder move and Bryan hit Miz. Ryder tagged in Kane for the hot tag. Miz wouldn't accept the Bryan tag, so Bryan was forced to face off with Kane. Bryan slapped him, so Kane got angry and Bryan ran into the crowd. He left the arena. Apparently Miz left as well. The match went about seven minutes.
No match result announced. Countout?
Post match, Kane gave Ryder a Chokeslam for the hell of it. Kane grabbed some random dude at ringside that the announcers said was the timekeeper even though it wasn't Mark Yeaton the regular timekeeper. It was obviously some indy guy because Kane threw him over the security wall. Then Kane went back into the ring where he delivered a Tombstone to Ryder. Kane left.
Analysis: * This was one of those instances where I have to say it was an angle more than a match. The announcers didn't give a damn about Ryder being down. It was all about Kane going nuts. This would have been more effective if Kane was still a heel. Kane going crazy as a babyface has been done many times over the years. It's more fun when he's a demonic heel. Anyway, I would assume that we'll get another Kane/Bryan match at Night of Champions on PPV next month.
We saw a clip of Cena commenting after his match last night. He said he's never seen anything like it in his career where they each beat Big Show at the same time. Cena was reluctant to say that CM Punk was the best in the world.
Backstage, Matt Striker talked to CM Punk. Punk said he had to thank AJ to allow him to choose his next opponent. He said he wants to pick somebody that the WWE Universe loves. Punk said he'll pick John Cena. On one condition. He said he's going to demand respect from John Cena. I guess that's our main event of the show.
There's a divas battle royal coming up next for the number one contender's to the Divas Championship.
The graphic before the break featured every diva on the roster other than WWE Divas Champion Layla. There was no Beth Phoenix or Kelly Kelly in this battle royal even though both were in the graphic. No idea why. I don't think either of them is injured.
Battle Royal to Determine #1 Contender for Divas Championship
Layla sat beside the announce table. The women in the match are Eve, Rosa, Natalya, Kaitlyn, Aksana, Alicia and Tamina. Only seven women. Aksana and Rosa rolled out of the ring together while grabbing eachother's hair so they were eliminated. Kaitlyn avoided a double team by Natalya and Tamina, who I guess are supposed to be heels. Alicia avoided an elimination from Natalya and Tamina while Cole called it "riveting action" sarcastically. The crowd was dead. Natalya got eliminated when Alicia avoided a charge, Tamina kicked Alicia out of the ring and then Kaitlyn threw Tamina out. That left Kaitlyn and Eve. Kaitlyn avoided an elimination. Kaitlyn gave Eve a clothesline, Eve didn't go over the top rope and then Kaitlyn did it again so Eve could properly go over the top for the elimination. It went about four minutes.
Analysis: DUD That wasn’t very good. Fans have a tough time getting into the Divas matches because they get such little time. The crowd was dead for all of it until the very end. It didn't help that Cole buried it on commentary with sarcasm. What good does it do to bury talent that's trying to get over and can't do so because they get such little time? Also it's disconcerting that there were only seven women in the match and there was no reason given as to why Beth or Kelly weren't there. I would have liked to see Natalya win that. Instead she continues to be booked poorly. At least she's not farting anymore.
There were photos showing us images of the Lesnar/Triple H match at Summerslam. Then there was a replay of Heyman's speech from earlier.
They aired a Tout video from Paul Heyman's account with Lesnar saying he has nothing left to accomplish in WWE. He said he was quitting WWE.
Analysis: That's how they are writing Lesnar out of storylines until later in the year or possibly around the time of the Royal Rumble. As has been reported for months, Lesnar's contract has a limited schedule. We don't know the exact number of events he's booked for, but it's supposedly between 20-30 dates total. In other words, they're not going to waste his limited dates on events in September, October, November and December. I guess Survivor Series in November is possible, but I think the Royal Rumble is more likely.
Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler is next. If Jericho loses he is gone from WWE. If Zilggler loses then Jericho gets the Money in the Bank contract that Ziggler has.
There was a Wade Barrett video again. The Barrett Barrage is already beginning. I'm going to a Smackdown house show in a few weeks with an advertised main event of Sheamus vs. Ziggler vs. Barrett. He's been on house shows for the last month or so. His TV return is imminent.
AJ sent a tweet that Bryan would be sent to some anger management classes next week.
Backstage, Vickie Guerrero said Ziggler needs to win for her. Ziggler said he will win for himself because it's the biggest match of his career. He assured her that he will win.
Jericho vs. Ziggler after the break.
Back from break, Vickie Guerrero introduced Dolph Ziggler. He didn't get much of a babyface pop, which is the intent as a heel of course. Chris Jericho got a very good reaction. Jericho had taped ribs again to sell the attack he received from Ziggler on Smackdown last week.
Chris Jericho (WWE contract on the line) vs. Dolph Ziggler (Money in the Bank briefcase on the line)
Jericho some quick pinfall attempts early, which earned him a couple of two counts in a row. Ziggler charged at the corner, Jericho got his boot up and then hit a missile dropkick off the middle rope for two. Jericho gave a backdrop to Ziggler, which sent him to the floor and then Jericho hit his springboard dropkick off the middle rope. That knocked Ziggler down as the crowd chanted "Y2J." It also meant it was time for the vintage floor to commercial spot three minutes into the match.
Ziggler had Jericho in a reverse chinlock while doing a headstand. Ziggler hit an elbow drop to the heart of Jericho for two. Jericho hit a back suplex. Jericho connected with a double axehandle off the top. Ziggler charged, but Jericho moved and Ziggler was seated on the top rope as Jericho hit him punches followed by a hurricanrana off the top. Jericho didn't get his head all the way around so it hit the mat pretty hard. He was okay though. Ziggler came back with a DDT for two. Jericho went for the Walls of Jericho, but Ziggler got a rollup for two. Jericho got his bulldog followed by the Lionsault attempt that missed because Ziggler got his knees up. Ziggler hit the Zig Zag for the pinfall victory after 10 minutes of action.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Post match, Ziggler was celebrating while the announcers said he was showing off after his victory. Jericho grabbed the Money in the Bank briefcase from Vickie Guerrero while she was on the apron. He hit Ziggler in the stomach with the briefcase followed by a shot to the back. Some fans were booing him. Jericho hit a Codebreaker on Ziggler. Jericho's music played. That could be the last time we hear Jericho's music for a long time.
Analysis: **1/2 Good match. The match at Summerslam was better because it went longer. We really only saw six minutes of action here since three minutes of it happened during the commercial break. There weren't as many sequences with nearfalls by each guy. The last few minutes were very entertaining of course. As for Jericho, his contract is now terminated in storyline. It's ridiculous that he would just be fired like that, but obviously he's going on a tour with his band Fozzy as those of us on the internet know. They had to write him out of storylines somehow. It would have been better if they played it up a bit more. Having two hours of build to a match that is supposedly the last of somebody's career is ridiculous. I have no idea when Jericho will be back, but I assume he will return next year. For now I'd like to wish him the best in his Fozzy endeavors.
How do they follow that up? With a preview of a WWE Films movie called The Day.
CM Punk was shown walking backstage. He's coming to the ring after the break.
CM Punk entered the arena to a good reaction. He was wearing the pink, black and white gear once again although he had shorts on over his tights. Punk grabbed the WWE Title. He walked over to Jerry Lawler at the announce table. Punk brought up how Lawler said Punk turned his back on the WWE Universe. Punk wanted Lawler to admit that it was a lie. He wanted Lawler to admit he was wrong and apologize to Punk. Instead, John Cena's music started up.
John Cena made his entrance. He received mostly cheers from the crowd. Punk was mad that Cena didn't wait for Punk to call him out. Punk said ever since WrestleMania he's taken a back seat to Cena, Triple H and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. He said he took a back seat out of respect. He said respect should be given to him. "I am the WWE Champion and I have been for nine months." He mentioned how fans ask him why he hasn't been in the main event. Punk said every match he has is the best and Cena goes on last because he has respect for him. There was a "Cena sucks" chant. He said he beat Cena at Money in the Back last year and at Summerslam last year as well as Summerslam on Sunday. Punk said the reason Cena's the number one contender because he's going to beat him again. He said even though he's beaten him it doesn't really matter because he sees all the green gear and the Cenation in Fresno. The fans chanted for "Cena" now. Punk said the title shot is Cena's at Night of Champions if Cena admits that Punk is the "best in the world."
Cena finally spoke. He said that Punk's been WWE Champion for nine months, which he means he hasn't been WWE Champion in nine months. Actually Punk beat Del Rio for it, but Cena is close. Cena said their relationship is about one word: respect. Cena sucked up to the crowd by saying Fresno and mentioning Fresno State University. He said if they don't win the National Championship their fans still stick by the team because they are proud of the city and it represents who they are. Just like this (he was grabbing the logo on his shirt) "represents all of us." He said Punk made valid points, but Cena won't let all of them down. He said he's not going to call Punk the best in the world because to succeed he has to believe that he is the best. He said it's not for acceptance, it's not arrogance or cockiness and that he had to did it for the fans. Cena said for a year he said he'd beat The Rock and he believed it the whole way. He said if he got another shot at Rock he thinks he would beat him again. Cena said he once held that WWE Title for 380 days straight. Cena said he didn't demand anything from anybody. He said he's been WWE Champion for 274 days and all anybody remembers about him is the night he blew a kiss to Vince McMahon when he left town (Money in the Bank 2011). Cena said he's not there to stroke Punk's ego. He's not going to say Punk's the best in the world and he's confident in his ability to get another shot at the WWE Championship if Punk chooses somebody else. Cena said Night of Champions is in his hometown. He said if Punk beats Cena at Night of Champions in Boston then that will define his existence. Cena said the choice is yours. Choose anybody. Don't demand respect from the fans. He said if you don't pick me you have no respect for the WWE Championship and no respect for yourself. Cena left. He walked backstage.
Analysis: I thought that was a fantastic promo by Cena. More on that shortly.
Punk turned his attention to Jerry Lawler. He asked for his apology from Lawler. The crowd was booing him. Punk said he did not turn his back on the fans. He asked Lawler to go into the ring. Lawler went into the ring. Punk wanted an apology. Lawler said it's a misunderstanding and if that's what Punk wants then he apologizes. Punk wanted Lawler to say that Punk was the best in the world. Punk said if Lawler said it then we will forget about him saying Punk turned his back on the fans. Lawler said he couldn't say that. He walked away. Punk kicked him in the back of the head. The majority of the crowd booed Punk.
Punk looked down at the fallen Lawler as the show went off the air.
Analysis: I know that Jerry Lawler is the babyface announcer and Punk kicking him in the head is a way to get him heel heat, but as somebody that has complained about Lawler's subpar commentary these last few years I'd like to say THANK YOU CM PUNK! THANK YOU!
Now that I've got that out of the way, I thought that was an excellent ending to Raw. Yes, I'm the kind of fan that likes when matches end Raw. I will admit to that fact. However, I'm not opposed to a Raw ending when it involves promos between two guys who are as skilled on the microphone as Punk and Cena. I thought everything Punk said was brilliant. He has taken a back seat to Cena during his WWE Championship. From his character's point of view you can see why he would be upset about it. To counter him, Cena made a lot of great points too. He did the babyface thing by saying that you shouldn't demand respect from people. It's something you earn, which he has done.
The ending was done to put heat on Punk. Attacking the lovable babyface announcer is a tactic they've done before during a heel turn like when Steve Austin beat up Jim Ross after his heel turn in 2001. Punk is clearly going to take more of a heel direction to go against Cena, which is the smart move. It's also the right call to do it now considering Cena will be wrestling in his home town of Boston (West Newbury, Massachusetts is close enough) and even though he's been booed in that city in the past if they do it the right way he can certainly get some cheers this time around.
I like the direction of where things are headed.
Three Stars of the Show
1. Chris Jericho - Don't know when he'll be back. I'll miss him.
2. CM Punk - HEEL~!
3. John Cena - I am not a hater. Never have been. That promo was money.
7 out of 10
Last week: 4.5
2012 Average: 5.85
2012 High: 9 (January 30)
2012 Low: 3 (July 9)
Last 5 Weeks: 4.5, 7, 7, 6.5, 7.5
I enjoyed Raw this week. Outstanding promo work done by Heyman, Michaels, Cena and Punk especially. I don't have much more to add about them since I covered it in heavy detail already.
The Jericho/Ziggler match stipulation was really rushed. I understand they had to write Jericho out of the storyline because he's going away to be with his band, but the idea that his WWE contract would be ripped up just like that is silly. Why would a babyface GM do that to another babyface that has not done anything to them to warrant such a stipulation? They could have done an injury angle. I'm assuming they didn't do that because of the big Triple H injury angle from Summerslam. It felt way too rushed.
I liked the in-ring action. The tag match early was a fun match that the babyfaces won, Orton had a lot of chemistry in his victory over Del Rio, the tag with no finish was okay until the ending and of course Ziggler/Jericho had a very good television match.
The divas battle royal was really bad. The lack of attention paid to the divas is clearly evident because the crowd did not care about them at all. It's not the fault of the women. Nobody is going to get a reaction if they are not put on TV regularly.
Thanks to several strong promos, good performances in the ring and the exits (at least for now) of Lesnar & Jericho it was an above average edition of Raw. Keep it going, WWE.
Just because I love you guys, here's that match Paul Heyman was referencing earlier in the show when Triple H tore his quadriceps in May of 2001.
Also, here's TJR reader Oscar Valencia with a TJR sign from Raw tonight in Fresno. I don't think it made TV, but I appreciate the support and since he sent me the photo it gets posted in the column. Sounds like a good deal huh?
That's a wrap for this week. Let's bring it home with some quick plugs.
Check out TJRSports.com for articles covering all sports. I wrote a column about ten NFL thoughts on my mind as we near the beginning of the new NFL season in a couple of weeks. We have content posted every day with a heavy concentration of NFL pieces, so check it out if you haven't done so already. Once NFL season gets here I'll write about it every Thursday, Friday and Monday. I'm ready. My season preview is coming soon too.
I'll be back on Thursday with my "Twenty Ideas for WWE to Consider" column that has become an annual thing for me. I wrote it in 2008, 2010 and 2011. Not sure why I didn't write it in 2009. I'll be sure to link you to those ones when I post it on Thursday. It's almost done now, but I will post it on Thursday.
Then next Monday the Raw Deal will be live on TJRWrestling.com, which is the site you should be checking out every day for our wonderful wrestling columns that are free to you. We have a great staff putting out content on a daily basis such as "The Melo Man" in his debuting Melo Out colum. I'm really proud of our growth and I can assure you much like the Barrett Barrage we are only getting started. The difference is we use our keyboards rather than our fists.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org
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