If you missed my Night of Champions recap you can read that here.
Live from Bridgeport, Connecticut this is the Raw Deal for episode #1008. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. If you could also "Like" this post that would be wonderful as well. Or super even.
The "Tonight is the Night" song started us off this week. No video package. I've begun to like this theme song.
The theme song of CM Punk began and Paul Heyman emerged. Announcer Michael Cole pointed out that Heyman was not the WWE Champion (gee thanks), but he was an associate of CM Punk. Heyman mentioned the draw that occurred during the Punk/John Cena match at Night of Champions. He called out the referee from last night, Chad Patton, to explain his decision from the night before.
Chad Patton walked out to the ring in his referee shirt. A still photo showed when Cena had Punk in the German Suplex and both of their shoulders were down. Patton agreed with his decision. After that video ended, there was camera phone footage showing the finish of the match from a side angle. It also showed Cena's shoulders down at the same time as Punk. Heyman said that it was conclusive evidence that the match ended in a draw and that's why CM Punk is still the WWE Champion for the 303rd day. Heyman went on a rant about respect, but the music of John Cena started up.
John Cena made his entrance to a big reaction. He had on his pink hat, pink and black shirt and pink wrist band in support of cancer research. Cena said that it may surprise us, but he agreed with Heyman and said that Patton made the right call. Cena said after the match he realized the finality of what happened. Cena compared it to ending the Super Bowl in a tie and that he's sure that everybody wants to see how the match would end. Basically he didn't think a tie was what people wanted to see. Cena asked Heyman if he thinks that Punk earned respect by that performance last night. Heyman simply said "yes" and the fans reacted the same way. Cena said respect isn't earned by a draw or hitting a guy after the match, which what Punk did at Night of Champions. Cena said Patton made the right call, but he wants to find out who the winner is going to be. Cena said he'd even do the match with one leg, which is a reference to his ankle injury from last night. Cena wanted the match right now. Heyman said Punk wasn't there yet. Heyman said: "I am the voice of the voice of the voiceless." Is that his official job title? Haha.
Alberto Del Rio's music started up. He entered the arena along with his ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez. He complained about the Brogue Kick being reinstated right before his title match, so he says he's the one that deserved a rematch. He had three straight title matches against Sheamus and lost each one. Move on, dude.
It's "light it up" time as Raw GM AJ Lee skipped around the ring for her appearance. She's wearing a skirt in set of pants, so that's new. AJ said maybe both guys deserve another chance. She said CM Punk will team up with Alberto Del Rio against Sheamus and John Cena. It was Teddy Long's 65th birthday a few days ago and I'm sure he's marking out that she made a tag team match playa. She said the winner of the match would determine if there's a rematch and who would be in it.
Analysis: I liked the promo with Heyman bringing out Patton and then talking to Cena. The Heyman/Cena dynamic is not something we've seen recently, so it had a refreshing feel to it. Heyman did a good job of speaking for Punk, who wasn't there yet. It's a good way to keep the storyline fresh in the minds of the audience without giving away too much too early.
The logic of the GM is questionable once again. Why does Cena have to earn another match? He didn't lose. It should be given. It's no surprise that they are combining the two title matches from a night earlier to create the tag match main event on Raw. That's something they do fairly regularly.
Backstage, Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio were walking in preparation for a match coming up after the break.
At the announce table, Michael Cole was wearing a "Long Live The King" shirt in support of Jerry Lawler. Cole recapped the Lawler heart attack from last week. He said he was recuperating in hospital all week and shared a Tout from Lawler on Thursday. Cole reported that earlier in the day, Jerry Lawler returned home in Memphis. Cole said hi to Lawler, who was watching at home. Cole also said next week he would have an exclusive interview with Lawler.
John Bradshaw Layfield made his entrance. He called the action with Cole at Night of Champions. He's joining the commentary table for Raw. We also got the entrance of Jim Ross. He's also on commentary for Raw this week. Ross said that Cole did a great job last week and said they would have some fun this week on Raw. I'm a huge fan of this announce team. I would prefer it if it was just Ross and JBL, but I don't mind Cole when his heel act is toned down as it was at Night of Champions.
Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara vs. Primo & Epico w/Rosa
Sin Cara started with Primo. He hit his arm drag off the top on Primo. Sin Cara hit a corner splash. Nice tag team spot with Sin Cara & Mysterio as they kicked Primo at the same time. They went to break about one minute into the match.
Back from break, Sin Cara hit a tornado DDT on Primo. Cole called it the turning point of the match. We never saw when Sin Cara was selling moves, but this sure seemed like the hot tag spot. Mysterio tagged in and hit some of his regular moves on Epico, who also tagged in. Mysterio hit a nice headscissors and then tagged in Sin Cara. Both of the Puerto Ricans were set up in the 619. Mysterio connected on both of them. He took out Primo with a senton on the floor. In the ring, Sin Cara hit a Senton Bomb on Epico for the win after 7 minutes.
Winners: Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara
Analysis: *1/2 I wish we got to see more of the match, but the commercial really cut into it and we barely saw the faces in turmoil. The crowd was behind everything they did. I'm a huge fan of this team. Great move to put them together. As for Epico & Primo, they've clearly fallen down the ladder in terms of teams. It was about Mysterio & Sin Cara in this one.
Post match, The Primetime Players Darren Young & Titus O'Neil attacked Mysterio & Sin Cara. They hit their finishing moves on Sin Cara and Mysterio. The crowd booed them loudly. O'Neil said that their tag title shot was taken away from them. He said they will take what they want.
Analysis: Looks like we have a feud between tag teams not involved in the tag title situation. A tag division is brewing, my friends. And I like it a lot!
Tag titles rematch coming up later: Kane & Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston & R-Truth. Also John Cena & Sheamus vs. CM Punk & Alberto Del Rio. It's tag match night, I guess.
They announced their partnership with the Susan G. Komen breast cancer awareness organization. They also focused in on the middle rope that is now pink. For more info visit Komen.org/WWE.
In the ring, Beth Phoenix was awaiting her opponent. One of the best divas in WWE doesn't even get an entrance anymore? The show is three hours long. Is there no time? At the announce table is former Divas Champion Layla. Before the match started they said Kaitlyn was injured with "torn tendons" which really means "she needs to improve in the ring, so we're writing her out until she gets better." Now you know.
Eve vs. Beth Phoenix
This is non-title. They're both heels. Eve wanted a handshake before the match, but Beth just shoved her down. Eve's gimmick is to smile incessantly because she's trying to show that she has changed from being a bitch. Phoenix tried to go for the Glam Slam, but Eve kicked her in the shin to get out of it. Phoenix clotheslined her in the corner as the crowd showed no interest in the match. Phoenix went for a powerslam, Eve shoved her in the turnbuckle and then beat her with a rollup in a match that went under two minutes.
Post match, Layla called Eve manipulative. What did she do that was so bad? She didn't even cheat to win. Eve held up the Divas Title in the face of Layla.
Analysis: 1/2* A rollup finish in a divas match? What else is new? That's how they always book these matches. It's a shame that Phoenix has been booked so poorly that she's a nobody because she should be doing more than she is. The crowd didn't react to any of this. It's nothing against Eve. These women just need more time to get these stories over.
We were reminded of the main event once again.
Brodus Clay made his entrance along with Cameron and Naomi. Welcome back to Cameron, who lied to cops about what she did for a living after she got pulled over for a DUI. And it didn't get her fired? I guess her dancing is so important.
Antonio Cesaro was on commentary with Aksana by his side.
Brodus Clay vs. Heath Slater
Clay dropped Slater with a clothesline early. Slater was able to knock him down with a dropkick to the knee and then a reverse chinlock to kill the crowd even more. Clay hit a forearm to knock Slater down. Clay whipped Slater in the corner. He went for a charge, but Cesaro jumped on the apron to distract him. Slater hit a neckbreaker for two to no reaction. Slater went up to the top rope for something. It didn't connect because of a Clay headbutt to the chest. Clay hit a big splash to pin Slater after two minutes.
Winner: Brodus Clay
Analysis: DUD If you've seen one Clay squash match then you've seen them all. This means a Cesaro/Clay feud is being built up. Good luck with that one, Antonio.
Post match, Cesaro left while Clay danced with the kids. JBL said Clay needed to be more serious and focus on championships. After JR said that the kids dancing with Clay in the ring had a memory to last a lifetime, JBL followed up by saying that if you want a memory you should win a championship. JBL is fantastic on commentary. I love a heel announcer that knows what he's doing.
Backstage, The Miz was walking for his Miz TV segment.
The Miz made his entrance for his new "talk show." He bragged about how he beat the odds at Night of Champions to retain the Intercontinental Championship. He said when you're as good as him you get your own talk show segment.
He welcomed us to his talk show, which was a set that had a few couches and the "M" symbol. Miz referenced Piper's Pit, Highlight Reel and Cutting Edge. He said Roddy Piper, Chris Jericho & Edge were never as controversial, charismatic and awesome as him. Heels lie, kids. He bragged about winning the fatal fourway at Night of Champinos. He introduced Smackdown GM Booker T as his guest.
Miz asked Booker how it felt to be the first guest on his show. When Booker tried to talk, Miz took the microphone away. Miz kept asking questions and he didn't let Booker talk, so a "Booker T" chant started up because the crowd was getting bored. Miz wondered if Booker missed the spotlight. When Booker was about to speak, he yanked the microphone away again. Miz told him that his time is over. There was a "boring" chant from the fans as Booker took the microphone away. JBL said he couldn't agree more with the boring chant. Booker said that Miz needed a new guest - a superstar that is used to defeating multiple challengers at one time. That led to the music of…Ryback. Feed me more.
Ryback made his entrance. Congrats to him for having a t-shirt. It says "Feed Me More" on the back of it. Ryback entered the ring as Booker left. Miz left out the other side. There were some "Goldberg" chants of course. Ryback threw a couch at Miz outside the ring. He kept throwing things at Miz. Why doesn't he just go outside the ring to chase him? Because nobody ever does that. Ryback threw the other couch out of the ring. Miz ran up the ramp. Ryback led the crowd in "Feed Me More" chants to end the segment.
Analysis: The segment was ridiculously boring. I don't blame the fans for chanting "boring" during it. Either Miz was instructed to make it that way or the segment really sucked. You decide. It looks like we'll have a new Intercontinental Champion sooner rather than later. I had predicted last week that he would go for the US Championship. Instead he's being booked in a IC Title feud likely because Miz is a more high profile opponent and management is ready to get behind the Ryback character.
Back at the announce table, Cole talked about the Jerry Lawler situation again. They re-aired the Tout that Lawler sent out thanking the fans for their support. Cole reported that Lawler was at home. Ross said they're keeping his seat warm and looks forward to talking to him next week on Raw. JBL wished him well as well and he put him over because Lawler had to work with Cole & Ross in his career. Heel JBL is great!
The "Did You Know" was bragging about Smackdown ratings beating other cable shows on Friday night. If it was on Thursdays wouldn't it do much better in the ratings? I think so.
Backstage, CM Punk was talking to Paul Heyman. Josh Mathews interrupted them. He asked Punk if he was looking forward to teaming up with Alberto Del Rio. Punk said he wasn't looking forward to teaming up with anybody. He complained about respect like he always does.
Santino made his entrance. Vickie Guerrero introduced Dolph Ziggler. It should be noted that Ziggler's t-shirt is now black rather than pink because a babyface Cena is now wearing pink in support of breast cancer and that means Ziggler has to change colors. If you go to Dolph Ziggler's WWEShop.com page you can see the pink shirt is now 40% off as well.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Santino
Congrats to Vickie Guerrero for sporting the most cleavage of Raw. Santino took him down, so Ziggler came back with a dropkick. Ziggler whipped him into the ropes and Santino did his speed walking to throw him off. Santino got a two count followed by an armbar, but Ziggler just knocked him down. JBL talked about Santino's career and mentioned Santino was a judo Canadian national champion as well. Should he be talking about Santino as a Canadian? He actually lives near me in Milton, Ontario, but it's rare to hear them mention him as being Canadian, which he is. Ziggler got a neckbreaker followed by an elbow drop as a "Let's Go Ziggler" chant started up. Ziggler ripped out the Cobra sleeve from Santino's singlet. Ziggler decked him with a forearm. He did the Jericho cocky pin for two. Santino came back with his hip toss followed by his headbutt. Vickie pulled the Cobra sock out of the ring. Santino argued with her. Ziggler hit the Zig Zag. He pulled Santino up. He gave him the Zig Zag again for the win. Match went about four minutes.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Post match, Vickie put the Cobra sleeve into the mouth of Santino.
Analysis: * The right man won of course. Ziggler loses on PPV again and then wins on Raw. It's how he rolls. I wasn't a fan of Ziggler needing Vickie to take away the Cobra from Santino in order to distract him enough to beat him. Heels cheat, though, so I guess it's okay.
Coming up is Kane & Daniel Bryan defending the tag titles against Kofi Kingston & R-Truth.
Plug time. TJR Radio is on today (Tuesday) at 10pmET/9pmCT. We'll be talking about Raw, Night of Champions, Jerry Lawler and whatever you asks us about. It's two hours of fun. If you miss it I'll put the link up on TJRWrestling.com on Wednesday morning so you can play it, download it or get it on iTunes.
Wade Barrett vs. Justin Gabriel
Barrett's look is better with the beard. He's also rocking a "Barrett Barrage" t-shirt. Cole: "This will be a test for Wade Barrett." Me: "No it won't." Barrett slowed down Gabriel with a boot to the stomach. Barrett crashed the ribs of Gabriel into the ring post. Barrett gave him a backbreaker. He worked over Gabriel with a series of punches to the ribs. Barrett had Gabriel in a submission move in the ring. There was a "We Want Nexus" chant that Cole acknowledged. Why did they chant that? Probably because they used the "boring" chant earlier. Gabriel came back with a kick to the face, so Barrett just punched him in the ribs again. Gabriel put him down with a neckbreaker variation followed by a moonsault off the top rope (not a Lionsault). Gabriel tossed him up in a back body drop type move, but instead Gabriel crashed on his stomach. Barrett nailed him with a forearm to the face for the pinfall win. Cole called the move "ooooohhhhh!" The match ended after four minutes.
Winner: Wade Barrett
Analysis: * It was another match that the fans were dead for. At least they were alert enough to cheer for the Nexus. Maybe if fans cared more about the Nexus when it existed it would have lasted longer. I'm a fan of both guys in this match. This match just didn't work with these fans. It will be interesting to see who Barrett feuds with going forward. I'm not sure if it will be Sheamus because there's a rumor of another guy working with him (he's a "big" guy), so I'm not sure who Barrett's next opponent is.
FYI, I'm going to a Smackdown house show on Sunday and the main event is Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett vs. Dolph Ziggler.
Another reminder of John Cena & Sheamus vs. CM Punk & Alberto Del Rio.
Backstage, Jared from Subway was backstage with R-Truth and Kofi Kingston. Truth talked to Little Jimmy. Jared gave them some sandwiches. They left. Damien Sandow showed up. He used big words to suggest a new sub. Jared gave Sandow a Meatball Marinara. Sandow said "You're Welcome." Zack Ryder showed up. I hit fast forward by this point. Blatant advertising doesn't work for me. He got a sub. Then Ryback showed up. He said: "Feed me more." Jared gave him a sub. Ryback took another one.
Analysis: Not very funny. Waste of time.
Backstage in another area of the locker room, Sheamus was talking to his tag team partner John Cena. Cena said they can't just win. They had to make a statement. Sheamus said there's no doubt in his mind that they will win. Sheamus told Cena that after the match they will celebrate. He used his forced comedy again. It's not really working that well.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan was walking around with his tag team title saying: "I'm the tag team champion." In another area of the backstage area, Kane was walking around with his tag team title saying: "I'm the tag team champion." They're in action after the break.
Back from break, there was a clip of Jerry Lawler getting out of a WWE private jet in Memphis, Tennessee. He was greeted by the WWE doctor, Michael Sampson, that Cole credited for saving his life. Lawler looked pretty good for somebody that had a heart attack last week. We'll hear from him next week on Raw.
WWE Tag Team Championships: Daniel Bryan & Kane vs. Kofi Kingston & R-Truth
The titles were on the line here. The tag champs argued at the start of the match. Kingston hit a cross body on Bryan for a two count. Bryan brought in Kane, who dominated Kingston with power moves until Kingston used his speed to knock Kane out of the ring. Then Kingston gave Bryan a back body drop over the top rope, which led to him crashing on Kane on the floor. That led to the floor to commercial break.
Back to the action, R-Truth was in the ring with Kane. He knocked down Kane with a dropkick. Kingston tagged in and he nailed a top rope cross body block on Kane for two. Kingston kicked him in the face followed by a Boom Drop. He set up for the Trouble in Paradise, but Kane avoided it and then he decked Kingston with an uppercut punch to the bad. Bryan tagged himself into the match. He argued with Kane. Kingston brought in Truth. Is that the hot tag or was Bryan's? I can't tell in this match haha. Truth hit a front suplex on Bryan. The challengers worked together to isolate Bryan while JBL criticized Kingston for making a poor cover attempt on Bryan. JBL is great! Kingston hit a dropkick to the jaw. Kingston & Truth hit a double Russian legsweep on Bryan for two. Bryan regained the momentum by dropping Truth's head into the middle turnbuckle after a drop toe hold. Kane tagged in, hit his top rope clothesline and a low dropkick for two. Kane hit a sidewalk slam on Truth. Bryan argued with Kane and he hung Kane's arm across the top rope, so Truth hit the Little Jimmy on Kane. Bryan made the save. What a bizarre matchup! Kingston took out Bryan with a clothesline to the floor. Kane hit a Chokeslam on Truth. Bryan tagged himself in. Bryan put the No Lock on Truth. Truth tapped out after 13 minutes of action.
Winners: Daniel Bryan & Kane
Analysis: **1/4 It was a good match with a weird dynamic since there really wasn't a heel team involved although Bryan is still a heel. I think he's barely a heel at this point, though. The dysfunction of the Kane/Bryan team is fun to watch. The crowd wasn't that into the match, though. They've been dead for a lot of the show.
Post match, Bryan celebrated with both tag team title belts and said "I'm the tag team champions." Kane grabbed both titles. He said the same thing. The crowd chanted "hug it out." Bryan urged Kane to hug him. Kane hugged him. Bryan took one of the titles, he yelled "I'm the tag team champions" and Kane did the same thing at him.
Analysis: The hug got a bigger reaction than anything else. It's amazing that a man like Daniel Bryan, arguably the best in-ring performer in the world, is so popular for hugging it out. Who would have ever thought that? That's "sports entertainment" though. You have to be able to wrestle and be a character as well.
There was a clip from a Be A Star rally from Bridgeport from "last March." It had Stephanie McMahon, Big Show and David Otunga in it. It was when Show was still a babyface. They introduced some kids in the crowd that were part of a local afterschool program that were part of the Be A Star initiative.
Backstage, Randy Orton was walking to the ring for his match against Tensai.
Did You Know? WWE Home Video has 75 out of the top 100 selling Sports DVDs in America including "50 Greatest Finishing Moves in WWE" at #1! When they compete against DVDs they are a sport. Otherwise they are entertainment. How you use your words is WWE's way of being a star.
Randy Orton vs. Tensai
Congrats to JBL for actually putting over Tensai's accomplishments in Japan. Tensai knocked Orton down with a shoulder block. Tensai nailed Orton in the ribs with a forearm shot. Tensai gave Orton a powerslam for two. Tensai got an elbow drop for two. As they have been most of the show, the crowd is pretty quiet. Tensai slapped on a bearhug. Orton tried to fight out of it, so Tensai gave him a headbutt. Tensai applied the vice grip to kill the crowd even more. Some fans were chanting "Albert" to let us know they were still watching this. Finally Orton hit his powerslam. Tensai went to the floor Then like a dummy he leaned his head over the middle rope, so Orton dropped him with his DDT off the ropes. Orton went for the RKO. Tensai shoved him off, charged at him and then Orton hit the RKO for the win after 6 minutes. At least the crowd popped for that.
Winner: Randy Orton
Analysis: * I like Orton's in-ring work, but it was a struggle for him against a bigger opponent like Tensai. Orton's much better in an athletic match against an opponent of similar or smaller size. Once again it was a short match where the winner was never in doubt. The crowd was dead silent for about five minutes of it. Congrats to Orton for not giving the middle finger to any fans on this show. That's quite an accomplishment for him.
Cole hyped the main event as a "super main event." Yes because we're supposed to act like we never see top guys teaming up for a tag match. It always happens.
Backstage, CM Punk was talking to Paul Heyman when Alberto Del Rio and David Otunga walked up to them. Otunga wanted Punk to follow Del Rio's lead. Heyman said Punk's been WWE Champion for 303 days, which means Punk follows nobody's lead. Otunga said on behalf of Del Rio that it looks like CM Punk sleeps on a cardboard box on the street. Heyman suggested Del Rio go back in a time machine to last year's Survivor Series when Punk beat Del Rio for the WWE Championship. Punk told Del Rio he looked forward to teaming with him. Del Rio said it will be an honor. Del Rio and Otunga left.
Analysis: It was all about two guys not trusting eachother. Funny how they had their "associates" speaking for them.
Damien Sandow's music. "Silence the music. I am about to speak!" I love this guy. He said the "season of sloth" aka summer vacation has now ended. He said back to school is his most beloved season. Sandow told Jim Ross that "slobberknocker" is not a word. He said he had a list of vocabulary words that will better prepare us for the academic year. I have two university diplomas. I don't need this, but I'll write it out for you guys. His first word is temerity and his sentence is "how dare you have the temerity to question anything I say." His second word was ignoramus. The third word was miscreant. The crowd was chanting "what" so he told them to remain silent. Zack Ryder's music started up to a nice ovation. Ryder's words were "shut" and "up." Cole laughed. Ryder said AJ made a match between the two of them right now.
Damien Sandow vs. Zack Ryder
The action started during the break. When we came back, Ryder hit a clothesline to knock Sandow to the floor. Ryder hit a cross body block over the top. He rolled him back in for a two count. Sandow countered a Ryder attack by throwing him neck first into the ropes. Sandow grabbed a headlock. JBL was ripping on Cole's vocabulary, which was very entertaining. He should make fun of him for saying "ooohhhh" too much when somebody hits a finishing move. Sandow gave him a Russian legsweep followed by his elbow drop for two. Sandow missed a corner charge, so Ryder got a rollup. Small package by Ryder got two. Ryder knocked down Sandow with a face crusher and then a spinning clothesline. He hit a forearm in the corner, but Sandow rolled out to the floor before the Broski Boot. Ryder gave him a clothesline on the floor. Back in the ring, Ryder ended up connecting on the Broski Boot. That led to a two count. That's a better move than Ryder's finisher. Sandow kicked Ryder in the ribs, which led to Ryder crashing throat first on the middle ropes. The announcers missed it because they were showing a replay. Sandow hit his neckbreaker finisher for the win after 6 minutes.
Winner: Damien Sandow
Analysis: ** This was the best of the shorter matches on Raw this week because both guys got a significant amount of offense in. They built up to the finish very well. Sandow winning wasn't a surprise by any means, but at least he didn't bury Ryder in winning the match.
There were more clips of Jerry Lawler returning to Memphis. Next week there will be an exclusive interview with Lawler.
The "super main event" is next.
Analysis: Big Gay Al from South Park agrees that it is super. Thanks for asking.
Sheamus made his entrance first for his team. John Cena entered to a big reaction. Alberto Del Rio was next. CM Punk entered last with Paul Heyman by his side. Punk no longer wears one of his t-shirts and instead wears a grey hoodie. As Punk did his "look at the watch" routine, Heyman showed him his watch before Punk yelled: "It's clobbering time!" Then when they were on the ramp, Heyman gave Punk a running high five. So silly yet so awesome at the same time. Just as he did at Night of Champions, Punk held up the WWE Championship above his head for about one minute. They went to break with Punk still holding the WWE Championship above his head.
John Cena & Sheamus vs. CM Punk & Alberto Del Rio
The referee for the match is Brad Maddox, who is a new ref on the main roster of WWE as of a few weeks ago. He's been a part of the company in FCW for a couple of years and worked as a wrestler also. Punk quickly tagged in Del Rio at the start of the match because he didn't want to face Cena. Even though Cena sprained his ankle at Night of Champions he was still working here. Either it wasn't hurt that much or he's just a tough dude. I think it's a little of both. Cena took down Del Rio with a back body drop. Sheamus and Cena made some tags back and forth. Del Rio got free, so he brought in Punk. Cena gave Punk a bulldog. Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment. Punk elbowed him in the head to get out of it. Punk retreated to the floor. The heels isolated Cena in their corner. JBL complained about how Cole and JR were putting over Cena's ankle injury from the night before yet they didn't talk about Punk surviving that match. Cena was able to get out of an attack to bring in Sheamus. Sheamus decked Punk with a clothesline. Punk elbowed his way out of the corner to bring in Del Rio, who decked Sheamus with a side kick to the head. Del Rio missed an attack, so Sheamus destroyed him on the apron with the ten clubbing blows to the chest. Sheamus hit White Noise. Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick, but Punk distracted him and Del Rio hit the Back Stabber on Sheamus for a good nearfall.
Punk took control of the match with a surfboard submission move against Sheamus. Punk prevented Sheamus from tagging in Cena. Del Rio got a nearfall after a kick to the head of Sheamus. Del Rio charged in, but Sheamus destroyed him with an Irish Curse Backbreaker. Punk tagged in and Cena tagged in. The crowd exploded. Cena hit his shoulderblocks followed by his spinning slam. Cena put him in the STF after Punk tried to counter the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Del Rio saved Punk, so Sheamus decked Del Rio with a Brogue Kick to a huge pop. Punk knocked down Sheamus with a clothesline. When Punk turned around, Cena was there to connect with an Attitude Adjustment. Cena covered for the one…two…Punk's foot on the rope - the ref missed it and three for the victory. The match went 11 minutes.
Winners: John Cena & Sheamus
Analysis: *** Very good main event tag match. I wish it went ten minutes longer because they could have really had something special. The best main events on Raw are usually tag matches featuring top guys because the crowd gets into it and they know how to build up to the finishes very well. It would be nice if they did matches like this more often.
Post match, Paul Heyman was yelling at the referee that CM Punk had his foot on the rope. Cena celebrated with Sheamus. The announcers all agreed that the referee made a bad call. They replayed the finish to show that Punk's foot was clearly on the middle rope before the three count. Punk argued with the referee Brad Maddox. The ref left the ring. Punk and Heyman continued to argue with him. Punk was telling the ref that he understands there's no instant replay, but his foot was on the ropes. The show ended with the referee, Punk and Heyman walking backstage as the announcers went quiet to let the pictures do the talking.
Analysis: This is the second "ref missed a call on the finish" angle they've done in the last two months since Sheamus beat Del Rio at Summerslam in similar fashion. I'm not trying to be critical, but when you repeat things that are only one month apart it shows a lack of creativity in my opinion. Maybe it's being done because so many people, myself included, are hating the replacement referees in the NFL? I'm not sure.
It's obvious that CM Punk vs. John Cena will main event Hell in a Cell. They chose not to announce it this week. With a draw finish and now a controversial referee decision they have plenty of time to say that the next Punk vs. Cena match can only be settled at Hell…In…A…Cell. Cue the ominous music. But they do have six weeks between PPVs, so there is time for them to set it up.
Three Stars of the Show
1. CM Punk
2. John Cena
3. John Bradshaw Layfield - So refreshing to have a good heel announcer.
6 out of 10
Last week: No rating
2012 Average: 5.81
2012 High: 9 (January 30)
2012 Low: 3 (July 9)
Last 5 Weeks: NR, 6, 4, 7, 4.5
The show was okay at times, but not great. There were too many squash matches in a three hour show that should feature more competitive in-ring action. That's what PPVs are for, I guess. I'm just tired of seeing 3-4 minute matches with obvious outcomes. A little more creativity would be nice.
The announce team was excellent. Michael Cole was back to playing the impartial babyface announcer that just called the action without supporting any of the heels. I thought JBL was fantastic as the antagonistic heel announcer that supported the heels in the match, questioned a lot of things that Cole & Ross were saying and generally offered the kind of different perspective that was great to hear. JR did a very good job of course, but when he's not the lead play by play guy he loses a bit of his luster because on this show he was just a babyface announcer trying to get over stories while Cole barely called the moves.
I know that next week JBL won't be announcing. He's attempting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro this week, so he won't be around to commentate on the show. I imagine that it will just be Cole and Ross unless they decide to add a third man to the team. All indications are that Jerry Lawler will return when his health is better, which could be weeks or months from now.
What I did like is that it looks like the IC & US Champions have new feuds with Miz dealing with Ryback and Clay going after Cesaro. While I'm not a fan of Clay as you might have guessed, at least it's a feud for Cesaro.
I'm still very much interested in the Punk vs. Cena story. I love their matches together. More please.
The good thing about WWE right now is that the next PPV, Hell in a Cell, is six weeks away on October 28th meaning that there's plenty of time to build up storylines heading into that show.
Lastly, there was no "RawActive" match this week. Did anybody miss it? No. I'm surprised they forgot about it.
I'm not sure if I'll have any smaller columns this week. I'll see what I can do. My focus is on my WWE Roster Evaluation column (Raw & Smackdown rosters) that I plan to post on September 26 & 27, so I want to make sure I get that done in time. I've already started on it. It will be one of my biggest columns of the year.
As I mentioned earlier, TJR Radio is on today (Tuesday) at 10pmET/9pmCT. We'll be talking about Raw, Night of Champions, Jerry Lawler and whatever you asks us about. It's two hours of fun. If you miss it I'll put the link up on TJRWrestling.com on Wednesday morning so you can play it, download it or get it on iTunes.
Keep checking out TJRWrestling.com for extra columns from me and the wonderful work of the TJR staff as well. Thanks for all the support! Also at TJRSports.com we're covering the NFL from all angles. I'm writing weekly picks. Others are writing analysis of the games. We're all over it.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org
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