Live from Sacramento, California this is the Raw Deal for episode #1011. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
John Cena's music started off the show. No "Tonight is the Night" theme song. No pyro. He made his entrance. The announce team for the night is Michael Cole, Jim Ross and John Bradshaw Layfield, who is back from his climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa last week.
Cena said he missed this. He was gone for one week. Said it felt like a year. It did not feel that long to me. Cena talked about how the tag champs are fighting. He made goat noises. He said Antonio Cesaro has a large nipple. Really. Cena talked about the girls saying they were always fighting and he wanted to ask AJ Lee out on a date. He threw in a joke about going to In and Out with her. It didn't really work. He talked about how Vince McMahon was there and Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to be tweeting about the show.
Cena went on to talk about Hell in Cell saying that CM Punk had the choice to face him that night. He said what does it matter if CM Punk is the best in the world and the people aren't watching? Probably not a good thing to say after last week's low ratings. Cena encouraged the fans to tell Punk what they want from him. He talked about how even with his injury he was still going to be at Hell in a Cell. Cena delivered a message to Punk: "Don't be a punk. Be a man. Face me at Hell in a Cell." He told Punk to cement his legacy by facing Cena in the Cell. Cena left to a good ovation at the end of his eight minute promo.
Analysis: There wasn't much to the promo. Basically Cena was just there to say that he'll be ready for Hell in a Cell. The line about Antonio Cesaro's large nipples seems like something he said to make the boys in the back laugh, but it seemed very strange to hear that in a promo.
As Cena's music played, Ryback made his entrance. When he walked past Cena they just stared at each other. A clip aired from last week when Ryback saved Jim Ross from being embarrassed by CM Punk.
Ryback vs. Primo & Epico w/Rosa Mendes
It's a two on one handicap match. The cousins took down Ryback early with some tag moves, but they weren't successful at pinfall attempts. They worked together to knock down Ryback with dropkicks. Loud "feed me more" chants. Ryback came back with clotheslines on both guys. He picked up Epico and Primo at the same time. He put them on his shoulders. He delivered the Shell Shocked on both guys at the same time. He covered for the victory after two minutes.
Analysis: Typical Ryback match. He didn't do that many moves aside from the clotheslines leading to the finish. Cole called the finish right, so that's a good thing. The crowd was very loud for Ryback as they chanted "feed me more" before the match, during the match and after the match. The reaction for Ryback gets louder every week. That's a good sign for him.
Coming up later is Vince McMahon's "State of the WWE Address."
Analysis: It should be noted that prior to Raw airing, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reported that McMahon demoted head writer Brian Gewirtz. He did not get fired, but he went from head writer to a consultant. Obviously that's not something that would be addressed on the air. It's a big move because Gewirtz has been head writer for over a decade and has had a lot of influence. It will be interesting to see how things change with him no longer in that role. Obviously Vince McMahon is still head booker and Triple H is his right hand man, but Gewirtz losing his "spot" so to speak is significant in the long run.
Brodus Clay made his entrance. This is where I hit FF on the DVR.
R-Truth was in the ring. He was talking to "Little Jimmy" in the ring. Truth said that they could fight any time, but instead he just wanted to dance. Cole was yelling as if he could see Little Jimmy. Truth started dancing with Brodus Clay, the Funkadactyls and I guess Little Jimmy as well. Thank God Vince McMahon interrupted it by appearing on the video screen to say that it was time for the State of the WWE Address.
Analysis: What an awful segment. Cole trying to sell that Little Jimmy was there is pretty stupid. It's odd that Vince is doing the State of the WWE Address in the first hour rather than at the top of hour two or three. It's also the sign that an angle is coming.
The "Did You Know" told us about the way WWE supports the US Armed Forces.
Vince McMahon's State of the WWE Address
He talked about the previous segment saying there was room for all of that stuff in WWE. He said what they had in WWE was action, drama and humor. Vince said the most important thing they have in WWE is action. "You want to see the best against the best." CM Punk's music started up.
CM Punk entered in his brand new yellow shirt that says "GTS" on the front and "Best in the World on the back. Go to TJRWrestling.com and click on the WWEShop logo if you're going to order it. I can shill, right? Of course he had Paul Heyman with him. Heyman was carrying the WWE Championship. Punk's hair was shorter. Nearly all bald.
McMahon said he felt disrespected. Punk claimed that McMahon took a shot at him because he wouldn't step in the ring with Hell in a Cell. Punk pointed out that GM AJ Lee left the decision up to Punk. The champion said his usual spiel. McMahon said that he wasn't a CM Punk kind of guy. Punk said that when he gave his infamous speech last July he said he was a spoke in the wheel, but now he's on top of the world. Heyman wanted Punk to watch himself. Punk said the fans don't appreciate him. He said maybe this time he'll take his title, jump the rail and not come back after he blows a Vince kiss.
McMahon asked him if he thinks he's the guy that makes things a success. Punk bragged again. McMahon said it's not Punk and it's not himself that is the reason for their success - it's the WWE Universe. McMahon said he listens to the fans in the arenas, on the street, on Twitter, on Tout and they're saying they want Punk to step up.
He said Punk is not the caliber of Andre the Giant, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Triple H and Steve Austin. Punk said he's nothing like Austin because he never backed out of a fight. Punk mentioned that Austin backed down from fights. He said that what Austin did to get to the top was beat up a clueless millionaire. He is referring to Vince of course. Punk said that now that millionaire is a senior citizen. Punk said it was a slap in the face to see how Vince McMahon has slapped him in the face for years. Then he slapped McMahon in the face. Vince sold it by falling down. Vince fell all the way to his back. Punk dropped the microphone "pipe bomb" style.
Vince said he wanted to fire Punk, but that would be too good for Punk. He wanted Punk to fight him. McMahon said that by the end of the night Punk was going to learn something about respect. Punk was happy about it while Heyman wasn't sure. The segment ended right there.
Analysis: I thought it was an amazing segment featuring the best talker in the business, Punk, going at it with his boss. McMahon's always been good in the promo department too. In this case he was in the role of babyface owner and the crowd was supportive of him trying to deal with a disgruntled employee. The Punk slap was set up well because it was unexpected. After it happened there was a big reaction from the crowd. It wasn't an obvious happening, so it worked well. Announcing Punk vs. McMahon is a good way to keep fans interested in the show.
A recap of Punk's attack on McMahon.
The announcers let us know that Arnold Schwarzenegger was the Raw Social Media Ambassador on Twitter (@Schwarzenegger). He's excited about Punk vs. McMahon. He even used the phrase "I'll be back" in a tweet.
Tag title tournament match is next. This next match is a semifinals contest. The other semifinal match is Rhodes Scholars vs. Ryder/Santino later in the show.
The Primetime Players vs. Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara
Sin Cara started with Young. Mysterio held down the rope, so Young went flying to the floor. Mysterio hit a running senton off the apron onto Young on the floor. Sin Cara took down O'Neil with a dive outside the ring. That led to the vintage floor to commercial break.
Back from break, they aired a clip where the PTPers threw Sin Cara into the security wall. Sin Cara came back with a spinning DDT off the middle rope. He tagged in Mysterio, who hit a seated senton and then a headscissors on Young. Mysterio kicked him down for a count of two. Sin Cara took down O'Neil with a missile dropkick. Young hit his finisher on Sin Cara, who was not legal. Mysterio gave him a drop toe hold followed by a 619. He followed that up with a top rope splash for the victory after seven minutes.
Winners: Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara
Analysis: *1/2 It was a solid match. It could have went longer because we barely saw when the heels were in the control due to it happening during the commercial break. At least we're getting tag teams fighting for something. That makes matches like this worthwhile. I'm a fan of the Mysterio/Cara team. Their win was not a surprise.
Backstage, Punk was talking to Heyman. Heyman called this a must-lose situation. Punk said he's going to end him by stepping on his throat. Heyman said if that happens then McMahon will make their lives miserable. Punk said he'd find a way to win this. He told Heyman there was nothing to worry about.
Analysis: Quick segment. Got the point across. Heyman is worried that doing this will hurt their futures while Punk is confident that not only will he hurt McMahon, but this deal will work out for them in the end. The feelings of each man makes sense. Segments like this are worthwhile.
Up next is Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett at the top of hour two.
Plug time: The TJR Radio show returns on Tuesday October 9th (tonight) at 10pmET for two hours. We talk about WWE for 90 minutes of the show. Then in the last 30 minutes we'll talk about NFL. To listen to the show click RIGHT HERE. If you miss it live go to TJRWrestling.com on Wednesday morning and we'll post links so you can download it or listen to it via iTunes.
Recap of Cena's earlier promo. Then a recap of Punk's slap on McMahon as well as McMahon's promise that by the end of the night Punk was going to learn about respect.
Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett
This is non-title of course. They locked up. Big Show's music started up. He even got a graphic saying his name. He sat at ringside watching the match as Sheamus took down Barrett with a side headlock. Sheamus gave Barrett a shoulder block. Cole was arguing with JBL, so he told JBL to climb a mountain. JBL: "It's easier than carrying you." Great line. And so true! Sheamus dropped Barrett with a suplex. Very slow pace to the match early on. Sheamus gave Barrett a knee lift that sent Barrett to the floor. JBL referred to referee Scott Armstrong as "Hashtag Hard Body Ref," which is funny because that's what Armstrong always mentions on Twitter. Barrett ended up avoiding an attack and then tripping up Sheamus so he went crashing on the floor. There's your vintage floor to commercial spot five minutes into this match.
When they returned from break, Sheamus gave Barrett a clothesline over the top rope. There were clips of some hard shots between them during the break. They both work a physical style, so their offense is better looking than what you might see in a regular match. Barrett won a battle out on the floor with a hard kick to the face. Barrett continued to control the action with a knee to the gut of Sheamus. Barrett tied up Sheamus in the ropes. Then he hit him with a hard boot to the face that left Sheamus in a lot pain off the ring apron. Barrett missed an elbow off the middle rope. JBL called that move a mistake. That makes sense because Barrett doesn't jump off the ropes very often.
Sheamus made a comeback with a running knee lift. Barrett charged in, so Sheamus threw him out to the floor. That led to Sheamus giving Barrett the ten forearm shots to the chest while they were on the apron. All of a sudden, Tensai entered the ring. That led to the DQ finish after 12 minutes.
Winner: Sheamus via DQ
Post match, JR mentioned that Tensai was getting revenge from Smackdown. Sheamus dropped Tensai with a Brogue Kick. Barrett bailed. Sheamus went for a Brogue Kick on Show, but Show caught the foot and flipped Sheamus over the top rope. Show walked away while Sheamus had a shocked look on his face because of how Show countered his finishing move.
Analysis: **1/2 I really enjoyed that match. Barrett was at his best working with Sheamus because they both work a physical style. I'm not surprised by the lack of a winner due to wanting to keep them strong. It would be stupid to have Sheamus lose here while Barrett's still on the rise and having him lose a match with no build would hurt him more than it would help him. My hope is that this is a feud that they can revisit in the near future because they obviously have some chemistry together. Much like Sandow/Sheamus last week, this match has me excited about another possible main event level opponent for Sheamus.
The announcers talked about McMahon vs. Punk. Ross said he wanted to go talk to McMahon about it, so he went backstage. Coming up later is Daniel Bryan & Kane vs. Alberto Del Rio & Dolph Ziggler. They showed JR walking backstage as they went to break.
Coming up later on Raw is "Larry King Now" with his special guest The Miz.
Backstage, CM Punk walked up to Raw GM AJ Lee. Punk said he'd break the arms and legs of McMahon while also putting him in a wheelchair. He wondered if the Board of Directors would have a problem with that. AJ said he was scared to fight Cena at Hell in a Cell and wondered if he was scared of Vince. Punk said that when he destroys McMahon it would be on AJ's hands because it's her show.
Analysis: This was done to put over how Punk is very confident about his match with McMahon later on while also putting some worry into AJ.
There was a clip of John Cena on the Kelly & Michael morning show. They showed the part where Cena talked about the Susan G. Komen for the cure of cancer. Kelly said she appreciated him doing that.
The CM Punk DVD is released today (Tuesday). I want to urge everybody out there to purchase it if you're going to see it. Don't download a stream. Don't find it for free somewhere on the internet. Buy the DVD to support Punk and the kind of wrestler that he is. That's the best way to send WWE a message about what we want to see and who we want to see. I haven't bought it yet. I will on Tuesday night. I've been told by enough people I trust that it's a fantastic documentary plus there's a great selection of matches. Punk had his hands in everything on the DVD, so you know it means a lot to him. Support him by buying it if you plan to watch it. It's the best thing we can do.
Tyson Kidd was in the ring awaiting the United States Champion, Antonio Cesaro. There was a pre-match promo from earlier in the day when Cesaro was seen ordering some chili cheese fries. He said it was disgusting and that only a swine would eat that. He left while the guy at the restaurant that served him had some of the chili cheese fries. I guess he's a swine.
Antonio Cesaro vs. Tyson Kidd
This is also a non-title match. Kidd grabbed an arm lock early. He hit a nice armdrag followed by a rollup using his legs. Cesaro came back with a kick to the gut. Cesaro hit a leaping stomp on the apron by the ropes. Gutwrench Suplex by Cesaro. The crowd isn't that loud for this match. They've been loud for most of the show. Kidd tried a comeback, but Cesaro dropped him neck first on the top rope so Kidd landed on the floor outside the ring. Kidd hit a running kick on the apron followed by a dropkick to send Cesaro to the floor. Kidd got another athletic nearfall with a rollup using his feet. Kidd hit a legdrop to the back of the head of Cesaro. He missed a springboard elbow off the top rope. Cesaro lifted Kidd up into the air and then hit a huge uppercut to knock Kidd down. Cesaro finished him off with the Neutralizer after five minutes.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro
Analysis: ** Good match for five minutes. Obviously if you've read my work you know I'm a fan of Kidd. I understand why he lost because Cesaro's holding a title while Kidd is barely on the show. Still, Kidd showed how talented he is while Cesaro was excellent in terms of how he finished him off. I love that uppercut shot after throwing his opponent in the air. Cesaro still needs a feud, though.
Team Hell No vs. Ziggler & Del Rio is next.
The "Did You Know" told us that last Wednesday, more viewers watched Main Event than both MLB games on ESPN and ESPN 2 - combined. What? No underlining? The MLB playoffs probably hurt Raw this week and in the weeks ahead. Congrats on that, Main Event.
The competitors for the tag team match made their entrance. I like how JBL pointed out that the difference between his entrance with Del Rio is that he (JBL) didn't have to drive. This is true. JBL said he has two characters in the WWE 13 game, so he's going to play himself against himself. I'm a fan of his promos, but not his matches. Loud reaction to Daniel Bryan of course.
Daniel Bryan & Kane vs. Dolph Ziggler & Alberto Del Rio
This is non-title of course. Here's a wrestling "inside" thing that's not new, but figured I would share anyway. The babyface team always stands on the apron on the side where they are facing the main camera aka the hard camera. That's been Bryan/Kane for many weeks even when they were against Truth/Kingston. Ziggler started with Bryan. Two of the best in the world. Bryan teased a tag to Kane, but changed his mind. Eventually Kane tagged in after Del Rio was also in there. JBL took a shot at Mil Mascaras during the match saying that he was selfish. I love JBL's commentary. Kane dumped Ziggler to the floor and then Bryan tagged in to hit his running knee off the apron onto Ziggler. That led to the floor to commercial spot.
Back to the action, Kane dropped Ziggler with a big boot. Bryan tagged in to hit a clothesline. Dropkick in the corner that the camera missed. Bryan did a top rope hurricanrana that Ziggler rolled through. That's not easy. These guys are awesome. Heels cheated leading to Ziggler hitting a dropkick on Bryan as the heels controlled the action by working over Bryan. Del Rio hit a nice kick to the jaw on Bryan. Ziggler neckbreaker on Bryan. Del Rio hit a snap suplex on Bryan as Cole mentioned Kane is celebrating 15 years in WWE this month. Bryan missed a dropkick in the corner while making his comeback, so the heel attack continued. Then Ziggler missed a corner splash leaving he and Bryan down for the double KO spot. Ziggler prevented Bryan's attempt to tag in Kane. Del Rio got a two count on Bryan that Kane saved for his partner. Del Rio missed a corner charge, so he went crashing into the ring post and that led to Bryan brining in Kane for the hot tag. Kane hit a clothesline in the corner. Ziggler ended up tagging in and he hit the Rocker Dropper on Kane for two. The Dolph Dropper? Maybe I'll call it that. It's an awful name, I know. Kane hit a sidewalk slam on Ziggler. Bryan tagged himself in to deliver a missile dropkick to Ziggler. Del Rio saved his partner. Then Del Rio fell to the floor after missing a dive attempt on Kane. Bryan hit a hard kick to the face of Ziggler. Kane tagged himself in. Chokeslam on Ziggler finished him off at the 16 minute mark.
Winners: Team Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan)
Analysis: *** It was a very good tag match featuring four guys who know how to have these kinds of quality tag matches if they are given this much time. Bryan was the babyface that the heels worked on for the majority of it and then Kane finished them off. It's why this team is perfect because Bryan's as good as anybody in the ring while Kane's offense is perfect for the hot tag sequence. The crowd was into the match for the most part. Nothing wrong with this. It did a good job of putting over the tag champs of being an effective tag team even though they don't get along that well.
Post match, Bryan argued with Kane.
Cole and JBL once again showed us clips of the Punk/McMahon segment from earlier in the night.
Backstage, Jim Ross was talking to Vince McMahon. Ross reminded McMahon of last week at JR Appreciation Night after Raw went off the air when McMahon called Ross an American icon and his friend. Ross said that McMahon had no reason to have this confrontation with CM Punk. He even mentioned what happened to Jerry Lawler. It's not like Lawler had a heart attack because he had a match with Punk. Oh revisionist history. McMahon wanted Ross to call his match with the same enthusiasm that he used to call Austin matches. McMahon wanted him to do it now so Ross said: "McMahon! McMahon! He's beating CM Punk like a government mule! McMahon wins. He broke him in half!" Vince enjoyed it. Ross told McMahon it was still a bad move. McMahon quoted one of the greatest superstars of all time: "It doesn't matter what you think!" That's The Rock for those that don't know. Maybe two of you don't know. Ross wished him good luck.
Analysis: An okay segment. A little awkward at times too.
There were pics of JBL's climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. All the money raised goes to underprivileged kids. The climb was over 19,000 feet. It's pretty awesome. Respect.
We were introduced to Larry King, who had a table at the top of the ramp and his wife Shawn was with him. The Miz entered to be his guest. Miz told us that it was his birthday, which was true. He's 32. One month older than me. Miz wanted the fans to sing "Happy Birthday" to him. King says nobody cares that it's Miz' birthday. King said he was going to replace his boring guest for a new guest…Kofi Kingston. Kingston sucked up to the fans by saying Raw was live in Sacramento. Miz can't tell who is more irrelevant, King or Kingston. Miz told Larry he wishes he was as good as Miz when he was his age. Miz to Larry: "I've had more championships than you've had wives!" Number of wives for Larry King? Eight, but he had the same one twice. I guess that means seven. Miz has had 9 championships, so he wins. Miz told King to get off his stage or else he'll have another divorce, this time with Miz divorcing King's head with his body. Weird choice of words. Shawn threw her cup of water in the face of The Miz. Kingston attacked Miz with a punch. Then King threw Miz off the stage, but it wasn't a big fall by any means. Kingston hit a forearm shot to the face of Miz out on the floor. King left.
Analysis: I never thought Larry King would be used to set up a feud for the Intercontinental Title. There you go. Miz was excellent here. Happy birthday to him.
Another reminder that CM Punk vs. Vince McMahon is coming up. Cole said it was McMahon's first in-ring action in two and a half years.
Santino and Zack Ryder made their entrance. Cole told us that they call themselves Team CoBro. They face Team Rhodes Scholars. Whoever wins this match faces Mysterio & Sin Cara in the finals of this tag tournament to see who gets to face Bryan & Kane for the tag titles. Prior to the match, Team Rhodes Scholars said their IQ was infinity. Then they insulted Santino & Ryder. JBL: "I talked to Zack Ryder backstage. I was losing 10 IQ points per minute. Had to leave while I could still read." That was great.
Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow vs. Zack Ryder & Santino
JR is back at the announce table. Ryder hit a clothesline on Rhodes. Sandow tagged in with a clothesline to Ryder. He worked over Ryder before bringing Rhodes back win, who gave Rhodes a kick to the ribs. JBL was ripping on Ryder, which was wonderful. Sandow hit the Elbow of Disdain for two. Ryder gave Rhodes a flapjack, which brought in Santino. He hit the hip toss followed by the chop to the head of Rhodes. Santino went for the Cobra. Sandow distracted him. Rhodes hit the Disaster Kick for the win after about three minutes.
Winners: Rhodes & Sandow
Analysis: * It was just okay. Felt rushed. Would have preferred to see Sandow/Rhodes versus Kidd/Gabriel because that would have been a much better match. Now Rhodes & Sandow face Mysterio & Sin Cara. Obviously Rhodes/Sandow are likely the winners there to set up the tag title shot against Kane/Bryan.
Post match, Rhodes and Sandow left. As they left Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre & Jinder Mahal entered the ring. The three of them attacked Santino with kicks to the head. They knocked Ryder to the floor. Slater danced while the others played in the background…I guess you could say.
Analysis: All they did was kick Santino a few times. No finishing moves? Alrighty then.
Backstage, Paul Heyman went to talk to Vince McMahon. Heyman apologized to McMahon. He said he knew McMahon since he was 14 years old. Heyman wanted to broker the piece between McMahon and Punk. McMahon said that Heyman has been poisoning Punk's mind for years. Heyman told him that he was there for Vince's sake, not for Punk. Heyman: "Please don't make CM Punk do to you what Brock Lesnar do to your son-in-law Triple H." He is referring to Lesnar breaking the arm of Triple H (again) at Summerslam.
Analysis: More solid build up to the main event coming up later.
Eve was shown walking backstage holding that awful looking Divas Title.
The "Did You Know" told us that Last Friday's Smackdown was Syfy's most watched regularly scheduled program for the 105th week in a row. Is that a good thing for Smackdown or a sign that it's on a bad network?
Layla was sitting in on commentary. I miss heel Layla. Face Layla has no personality and is very boring. Eve entered first. Kaitlyn entered second with a heavily taped left ankle. Kaitlyn has an awful theme song. I like her, but that song is brutal. Maybe worse than Layla's song. I didn't think that was possible.
Divas Championship: Eve vs. Kaitlyn
This is for the title. It's the title shot Kaitlyn never got because of her "ankle injury." Kaitlyn took her down with a shoulder block. Kaitlyn hit a suplex for two. Back body drop by Kaitlyn. It looked like Kaitlyn was putting Eve in a Torture Rack that looked very awkward. Eve fought out of it and Kaitlyn ended up hitting a backbreaker. After hitting the move, Kaitlyn was favoring he injured ankle again. Eve kicked at the ankle of Kaitlyn. Eve put Kaitlyn in an ankle lock type of submission move and Kaitlyn tapped out after three minutes of action.
After the match, Layla checked on Kaitlyn. Eve wondered if Kaitlyn was okay. Layla shoved Eve, who ended up leaving.
Analysis: 1/2* Match was pretty boring. I did like that Kaitlyn was using more power moves. The Torture Rack didn't look that good though. The crowd didn't care too much. This isn't a great mix of talent for the Divas Title. There's no question the divas division is hurting right now.
Backstage, Josh Mathews talked to Alberto Del Rio who was with Ricardo Rodriguez. Mathews brought up Orton, who Del Rio attacked two weeks ago. Mathews told Del Rio about a tweet saying that Orton will be at Smackdown this week. Del Rio just left without saying anything.
Analysis: You can pencil in Orton vs. Del Rio at the Hell in a Cell PPV.
There was a mention of all the breast cancer survivors in the arena. Go to Komen.org/WWE for more info.
Backstage, Larry King was with his wife Shawn. Daniel Bryan talked to King. He asked if King remembered when David Letterman would say that King looked like an owl. Bryan complained about people saying that he looked like a goat. He said honestly King looks like an owl, but he (Bryan) is incredibly attractive. Bryan hit on King's wife who said that Bryan was a troll that sleeps under bridges. I'm sure she married Larry for his looks and not his money. Kane showed up to say he carried the team. King and his wife left. Bryan delivered the line of the night to Kane: "You look like somebody slapped you in the face with a Fruit Rollup or something!" They continued to argue as Bryan told Kane that he scared off Larry King. Kane had a great line too: "That was Larry King? I thought it was Skeletor."
Analysis: The tag champs continue to be the most entertaining part of Raw. They even made Larry King interesting. Nobody has done that in 50 years!
Backstage, CM Punk was warming up for his match. Heyman spoke while Punk was shadow boxing. Heyman pondered what would happen if Punk rendered McMahon completely brain dead so that he could never make another bad decision in his life. Punk said he was going to victimize McMahon.
They read some lame tweets from Arnold Schwarzenegger. He worked "smackdown" into a tweet. How cute.
Another video of Punk slapping McMahon leading to McMahon making his match against Punk.
Vince McMahon made his entrance. He was wearing all black. Punk attacked McMahon from behind on his way to the ring. Punk is so angry that he didn't even tell us it was clobbering time. What a mean guy.
Vince McMahon vs. CM Punk
Punk attacked McMahon on the floor by hitting him with forearms to the chest. JBL did a good job of explaining Punk's actions. Punk stalled in the ring. McMahon took him down with a tackle. They exchanged fists. Vince walked right into a roundhouse kick by Punk. Cole pointed out that McMahon was retirement age while JBL pointed out that McMahon is in great shape. Punk slammed McMahon's head into the commentary table. Then in a great moment Punk put on the headset and yelled: "What a maneuver!" That's one of the most famous announcing catchphrases that McMahon used to say when he was an announcer. Punk put McMahon on his shoulder, but Vince slid off and shoved Punk into the ring post. McMahon, who now had a cut by his eye, threw CM Punk over the announce table in a big spot. McMahon grabbed the microphone to say he would teach Punk about respect. McMahon dived over the announce table and punched him in the head repeatedly. JR was the only one still able to commentate. He said the main event was "full of attitude." I liked that choice of words.
McMahon rolled Punk into the ring. Vince had a cut around his left eye. All the announcers were back now. Vince grabbed a kendo stick. Punk left the ring. Heyman grabbed the title. He was going to give it to Punk. Instead, McMahon punched Heyman in the head. He held the WWE Title in the ring. Punk grabbed a kendo stick under the ring. He went into the ring where they had a kendo stick duel. McMahon destroyed Punk with the kendo stick as the crowd popped loudly. It looked like the main camera was even shaking from the noise. McMahon went for a KO shot, so Punk gave him a low blow right to the grapefruits. Punk hit McMahon with the kendo sticks. He signaled for the Go To Sleep. Just as he was about to finish off McMahon, Ryback's music started up.
No Match Result
Ryback made his entrance. Punk left the ring as Ryback stood in the center of it. John Cena prevented Punk by leaving as he rolled him back in the ring. Ryback hit a huge clothesline on Punk. Wow listen to that pop! This angle is really working. Ryback went for the Shell Shock, but Punk slipped off his shoulders and he left the ring.
Punk took the WWE Title and he went into the crowd. This is where I wish the show ended or that Punk went into a section of the crowd where there weren't fans everywhere around him. McMahon told him that hopefully Punk learned about respect. He said it was decision time. You could see as he was talking, Punk was dealing with unruly fans. At Hell in a Cell you either face Ryback (just at that moment Punk was seen elbowing a fan) and Vince was stunned after what he just saw. His other choice for an opponent was John Cena. Finally a security guard got to where Punk was. McMahon told Punk to make up his mind. If Punk doesn't make up his mind then McMahon will do it for him. Punk looked on angrily.
The show ended with McMahon, Ryback and Cena standing in the ring while Punk looked worried in the crowd.
Analysis: No rating for the match because it was more of a fight than anything, but I was very entertained by it. Even though McMahon is 67 years old he still knows how to put on an exciting match that compels people to tune in. Punk was terrific as the arrogant heel that used all of the cheap tricks to get the crowd to hate him. I think this crowd hated him more than any crowd that we've heard since Punk turned heel at the end of July. Did you hear that huge reaction to Ryback's clothesline on Punk? That's a great sign for WWE. It should let them know that Ryback's really earning the support of the fans and that they believe in him. I like that he failed to connect on the Shell Shocked finishing move on Punk too. Save it. It's not the time to give it away yet.
My Thoughts on the CM Punk incident with the fans
As for the CM Punk incident with the fan, here's clip of what happened. Hopefully the video doesn't get taken down. If it does head over to Deadspin because they've got it covered too.
My thoughts in point form style:
- It's unfortunate that any fans put their hands on Punk. If you go to a wrestling show, don't touch a wrestler unless it's to give them five or something like that. You can see why Punk got angry. He was getting shoved from the back. If you can't see somebody shove you and they do it repeatedly then it's going to piss you off. That's human nature. What if somebody punched him in the back of the head? There was no security there to watch his back. Punk was protecting himself.
- I think putting Punk in the crowd without security around was a bad move by WWE too. Some fans don't know better. They want to hit heels. Use the ramp to run away. It's why it's there. Fans can't get to you there. They know it's part of the show. When a wrestler is in the crowd some fans are stupid enough to think they are part of the show and will do something to get seen. In this case a few of them decided to shove Punk without him being able to see them.
- Some people will probably think it's a work. I don't think it's a work. But when it comes to wrestling some fans will always think that way because it's part of the business. You could argue for that opinion because there was a camera phone right there to film this Punk incident. Of course camera phones are at all shows all the time in all sections of the building and even when you are told not to film the show people still do it. But if you believe it's a work you will run with that theory.
- It's a shame this incident happened. I expect the mainstream media to pick up the story talking about how mean CM Punk is. Maybe some will say how bad wrestling is. They're stupid if they do that, but a lot of the mainstream press towards wrestling is stupid and always will be because they don't know how the business really works.
- The person most at fault is the guy that shoved the bald headed fan who happened to hit Punk in the back of the head by accident. Then Punk turned around with an elbow to the face and then a shove to the face. That's when security finally showed up. Punk will likely take the heat for this. Maybe he'll be fined. I doubt he gets suspended. He shouldn't. Wrestlers are taught to protect themselves, so that's what he did. Plus the guy is not really hurt. Maybe his glasses broke. Great. Pay for new glasses and give him front row tickets the next time WWE is in town. Maybe let him backstage to meet some wrestlers.
In the end it's not a big deal. It was a misunderstanding where a few idiots felt the need to try to get their hands on the WWE Champion and he took his anger out on the wrong person. Nobody got hurt. I wouldn't write so much about it except that's all I'm getting in emails, Facebook and Twitter. Everybody wants to talk about this. So that's my say in the matter. Hopefully by next week it's over and we can go back to focusing on the storylines.
Three Stars of the Show
1. CM Punk
2. Vince McMahon
8 out of 10
Last week: 6
2012 Average: 5.89
2012 High: 9 (January 30)
2012 Low: 3 (July 9)
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 7, 6, NR, 6
That was a fantastic edition of Raw. The last time I gave Raw a score of 8 out of 10 was April 2nd, which was the night after WrestleMania 28. The highest rating for a Raw this year was the 9 on January 30 and then those two ratings of 8 are the next highest. In other words, this was one of the three best Raw episodes of the year.
It's a shame that all of the good work that went into this show will be forgotten by most people because they'd rather talk about what Punk did in the crowd after he got touched by fans who should have known better.
Vince McMahon delivered an excellent performance. It seemed like he was fired up due to the low ratings Raw has received in recent weeks and it was a case of him showing his talent how to get the job done. A lot of them can learn from him. He brings a lot of intensity to the table.
Sacramento was a great crowd. They were loud all night. It's just that a few fans in that section decided to be a part of the show and that really was a bad decision.
I love the commentary of JBL. I hope that even when Lawler gets back they keep JBL on the announce team because a three man team with him doing the heel work would be very entertaining.
The cliffhanger at the end of the show is good too. Will Punk pick Ryback or Cena as his opponent at Hell in a Cell or will McMahon pick his opponent for him? It wouldn't surprise me if it ends up as a triple threat match at Hell in a Cell with Punk finding away to escape as WWE Champion one more time. I guess we'll find out next week what it will be officially.
Last week I wrote my full WWE roster evaluation. Here's the Raw part, here's the first half of the Smackdown part and here's the third part with the final rankings with Daniel Bryan coming it at the #1 spot while CM Punk is second overall. It was a lot of fun to write. I'm still responding to the feedback, but should be done in a day or two. It's my biggest column of the year. Thanks for all the support!
TJR Radio show returns on Tuesday October 9th (tonight) at 10pmET for two hours. We talk about WWE for 90 minutes of the show. Then in the last 30 minutes we'll talk about NFL. To listen to the show click RIGHT HERE. If you miss it live go to TJRWrestling.com on Wednesday morning and we'll post links so you can download it or listen to it via 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. Two weeks ago I went 12-3. This week I went 11-3. Others are writing analysis of the games. We've also got NBA previews going up. We're all over it.
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John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org
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