WWE Raw Rundown: Episode One “A Punk, a Goat, and a Bat”

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Welcome to the first episode of the RAW Rundown! I’ll give you guys a unique take on Monday’s shenanigans in the world of WWE and their anti-logic. I’ll run down the matches, important plot points and anything else that begs to be said. I’m going to beg the wrestling Gods to treat me better this week than they did last week, otherwise we are screwed. In any event, let’s get to the action!

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We kick off the show with… wait for it… AJ! Apparently the stipulation of her as the special guest referee for the CM Punk/Daniel Bryan WWE Title match at Money in the Bank is starting to weigh on her a bit. I mean, she’s only had two weeks to grasp this concept and all. Next out is… wait for it… the straight-edge superstar, CM Punk! I’m going to hold on to my belief that this is the best put together storyline that they’ve had in a few. Nevertheless, back to the show: last week Punk basically told AJ she needed to seek psychiatric help, she was unamused. In her warped logic, “when you called me bat-s*** crazy I saw love in your eyes”, because that just makes sense, right?

Daniel Bryan, AJ Lee, CM Punk

This is what a storyline looks like holding on for dear life…

We get a little more discussion and heart-warming sentiment before AJ drops down to a crazy knee and crazy proposes to not nearly as crazy Punk (side note: For as well as the WWE has done with this angle and as well as AJ has sold it, Punk has done a bang up job acting and selling all this). Daniel Bryan runs out screaming “no”, and goes on to claim Punk is trying to manipulate her, as she is the ref on Sunday. D-Bry still loves her and had every intention of proposing to her, only he is sans ring. So… creepy love triangle.

The anonymous Raw general manager returns

The anonymous Raw general manager returns

The trio are interrupted by THE ANONYMOUS RAW GENERAL MANAGER! Guess who’s the special guest GM this week? Yeah, not too amused either. The self-aware laptop makes a main event of CM Punk & AJ Lee vs. Daniel Bryan & Eve. Needless to say Danny is none too pleased by it. The segment closes by AJ admitting “I have a feeling I’m going to walk out of this arena with my future husband”. Unfortunately unless there is a massive swerve somewhere soon, WWE jumped the shark yet again on another storyline.

Match No. One: World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus versus Jack Swagger

Jack Swagger gets the jobber entrance (non-televised) and starts off with a collegiate style belly-to-back takedown followed by throwing the Irish born champ to the turnbuckle. That’s all the offense he gets as Sheamus catches him in a move mid-air and hits White Noise before a Brogue Kick to end it. Makes sense, really, jobber entrance and squash match.

Sheamus’ opponent for the title on Sunday, Alberto Del Rio, shows on the Titantron and proclaims that he’s gonna take him out and take his belt. In a fit of rage Sheamus connects with yet another Brogue Kick to Swagger who is trying to get to his feet. Words cant really describe what transpires next, but I’ll try.

We go backstage to Santino Marella congratulating Zack Ryder on winning a battle royal to take over the GM job of Smackdown this Friday. Zack is psyched, obviously, and calls it ZACKDown (har har har), saying he’ll do a better job than a lame computer could do. This prompts Santino to pull out his Sherlock Holmes kit, putting on the hat, magnifying glass and pipe. He mentions that he is determined to find the true identity of the Anonymous Raw General Manager before the night is out, before going off looking at stuff. Somehow I get a feeling this could be either a really clever pay off, or the dumbest thing I’ve seen in years. This is the WWE, so it could go either way sadly.

Back to RAW with an announcement of a tweet posted prior to Raw starting, The Rock stating he will be at the 1000th episode in two weeks, and will fulfill his promise of going after the WWE Title. Whether it will be a challenge, match, or declaring a match down the line, it should be interesting to see what goes down in two weeks.

Match No. Two: Tyson Kidd/Intercontinental Champion Christian versus Tensai/Dolph Ziggler

DOUBLE JOBBER ENTRANCE! Match picks up right away with Tyson Kidd and Dolph Ziggler. Kidd makes a charge at Tensai in the corner, allowing Ziggler to go on the attack. Dolph holds the offensive advantage before Kidd floors him with a flipping neckbreaker. Tyson makes the hot tag to Christian who continues the beating, leading DZ to tag in not-so-Lord Tensai.

Take that you non-japanese guy!

Christian is relentless with his attack the white dude pretending to be Japanese, until Tensai’s manager Sakamoto distracts the referee, allowing for Ziggler to hold Christian long enough to be crushed in the corner. Tensai hits a running senton splash on the Intercontinental Champion to pick up the victory.Afterwards, Tensai manhandles Tyson Kidd on the outside, which is really sad, when you consider that he has about two-hundred pounds I’m guessing a good 8-10 inches on the cruiserweight Kidd.

Meanwhile at the headquarters of the Legion of – whoops, wrong genre. Back at the broadcast table, resident d-bag Michael Cole and Hall of Fame creeper Jerry “The King” aka “I’m sixty and wear bedazzled Ed Hardy shirts every week” Lawler are arguing over who should be the permanent GM of Raw and Smackdown when the Anonymous Raw computer GM chimes in, claiming that he had missed seeing the two of them bicker and that they should have a WrestleMania rematch. It only takes another thirty seconds or so before another message comes up notifying that the WWE Universe will have a chance to vote the match to happen or not.

I’m both fuming and spamming WWE.com voting no as we speak. If this match happens, I will cry. I swear to you I will cry. I don’t often comment on the WWE “did you know?” segments, but this one feels particularly sad to me:

“If you watched 1 hour of RAW every day, I t would take almost 5 and ½ years to watch every show.”

Immediately I begin to wonder what I have done with my life. However, there is no time to waste! We get another Brodus Clay (squash?) match!

Match No. Three: Brodus Clay versus Drew McIntyre

Remember those tears I claimed I’d cry? Well I’m crying them right now, because this is indeed going to be a squash match, against Drew McIntyre. I will go on record to say that I love Drew Mc and think his ring work has gotten so much better despite the raw deal that he’s been served the last year. Nevertheless, Drew gets a single kick on the Funkasaurus before taking a sick looking headbutt to the chest and a standing splash for yet another L in the record books.

This is going to hurt me, more than it hurts either of you…

Next we have Santino continuing his buffoonery, in search of the Anon GM, stumbling across Chris Jericho. Marella accuses Jericho, before he has it turned around on him.

Several “hmm’s” later, Santino storms off stage left as Big Show enters stage right. Chris talks to him about how they were one of the greatest tag teams that ever lived and tonight they have a chance to weaken Cena and Kane before the Money in the Bank match this Sunday. Show interrupts him and pretty much tells him “stay out of my way and I wont punch you in the face really, really hard”.

Match No. Four: John Cena & Kane versus Chris Jericho and Big Show

Anyone remember how less than five months ago Kane was trying to get Cena to “embrace the hate”? Now they are tag team partners tonight and asked to embrace the friendship (cue the rainbows).

Cena comes out and talks about the four-way at MitB and the risks/rewards involved in the Money in the Bank match. Oh yeah, Cena stands by his word dammit! That word being the promises he will stop the unstoppable Big Show, and second that he will win Money in the Bank.

Give me back my happy meal toy!

 

A lot of back and forth action, starting with Cena and Jericho. Eventually we get tags in and have Kane and Big show trading shots. The showcase of this match is obviously Cena vs. Show, as they spend the biggest fraction of the match going toe-to-toe. Once more we have Kane and Show going at it, with Kane hitting a running DDT, and Big Show hitting a spear that Jerry Lawler calls out about a solid three seconds before it happens.

The match concludes with Cena receiving the hot tag, connecting with the Five Knuckle Shuffle, and Attitude Adjustment on Jericho. He pins Chris Jericho for a two-count before Show pulls him out of the ring. For reasons unknown to me, the referee calls for the bell and disqualification, despite that never counting as one before! Show hurls Cena into the barricade, and proceeds to remove a number of ladders from under the ring and lay waste to Jericho and Kane. Super Cena returns to the ring with a ladder and sends Big Show over the top rope to end the segment.

Returning from commercial, we have CM Punk backstage warming up for the match tonight as Eve drops in to talk. She wishes him luck tonight, claiming that if he doesn’t say “I do” tonight, that AJ may do everything in her power to make sure he doesn’t walk out of Phoenix on Sunday as the WWE Champion. Eve continues by saying that it must be hard, being overshadowed by Cena, and The Rock and how it must be emasculating.

On to the running joke of the night, “Sherlock Marella” in search of the identity of the RAW GM stumbles across a cell phone and believes it is the phone belonging to said Anonymous Raw GM. The Great Khali comes into picture and takes the phone out of Sherl—err Santino’s hand. Santino asks Khali if he is the Anonymous Raw General Manager, and Khali says yes. Stunned, he asks again and Khali says no. One final time (at least I hope) he asks, to which Khali responds “who that?”. Santino walks away, and the good ol’ fashioned racism moment of the night, Khali looks at the iPhone in his hand and says “what is…cell phone?”

This is how I choose to spend my Monday nights, folks. Ten bucks to whoever can tell me why.

We get the announcement that the WWE Tag Team Championships will be on the line Sunday, as R-Truth and Kofi Kingston face Hunico and Camacho! Nevermind that the “Prime Time Players” are the #1 contenders to the tag team champs. Nevermind indeed!

Match No. Five: World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank Qualifying Match Sin Cara versus Heath Slater

Jobber entrances aplenty, this time Heath Slater is getting one. I get the mysticism of the lighting change during Sin Cara’s matches, but it is a bit obnoxious and has to be uncomfortable for eyes to adjust to for a bit.

 

 

Anyways, Heath holds Sin Cara back, keeping him grounded early on. Eventually the Mexican luchadore gets reversal and the advantage, doing some nifty flippy things before his tornado arm breaker finisher to get the last spot in the Heavyweight MitB match!

Lucha Libre to the rescue!

 

After the match we get Heath going on a rant angrily about how things aren’t fair, and that he is a future champion. Slater issues an open challenge to any former champion. Much in same vein of recent weeks, Heath is greeted by a former WWE Legend in Bob Backlund.

 

Yes, you read that right, former World Champion Bob Backlund answers the call. We are reminded that Backlund holds the second-longest streak as champion in WWE history. There is no referee in the ring, so there is really no actual match, but I will tell you that Heath Slater went to clothesline the legend and was quickly dispatched with the cross-face chicken wing submission.

 

This next part I don’t want to write, but because I can’t just omit things, I will do so… for you reader! The poll was revealed, 75% in favor of a Michael Cole v. Jerry Lawler match tonight (sigh).

It’s all rigged, I swear to you. Every single person that I spoke to spammed the poll like crazy voting no, because who really wants to see this match happen again?! Wouldn’t be surprised if for every “no” there were a dozen or so “yes” votes. We go to commercial and come back with Booker T and Josh Mathews at the broadcast desk to call this horrendous match. Cole tries to run out of the ring right away to avoid a Lawler attack, and Booker tosses him back in the ring behind the referee’s back. The King fakes a handshake, opting for an airplane spin to Cole up on his shoulders, followed by a three-count to end the match. The computer chimes in once again, reversing the decision because of Booker T’s interference.

Here comes Santino claiming that he’s searched all around the arena for the GM. If he isn’t anywhere else, he has to be under the ring. Nonsense occurred, leading to Santino being pulled under the ring. Lawler would come to his rescue, pulling Hornswoggle and a RAW laptop along with him. ‘Swoggle ends up in the ring, kicks Lawler in the shin, shoves his face in Santino’s lower back (yeesh), and kicks Cole in the shin before taking off up the ramp.

This whole damn thing has been useless! Remember when I mentioned earlier it could pay off or be the dumbest thing? Well I should have known better, it is after all the WWE. I can not confirm or deny whether or not I am crying.

Match No. Six: WWE Champion CM Punk/AJ Lee versus Daniel Bryan/Eve Torres

The match was never really meant to be much. Daniel Bryan and CM Punk started it off, and they always do good work together. AJ makes the force tag, which in mixed tag rules means Eve must come in as well. AJ and Eve brawl back and forth for a few minutes before Eve tries to tag D-Bry back in. Bryan steps off the ropes and refuses the tag, allowing AJ to get a roll-up pin for the victory.

Post-match, Punk grabs a microphone and tells AJ that he doesn’t care if what he says costs him the title, but he will not marry her and he is sorry if that hurts her. She looks crushed for a minute, before nodding and saying something. Out of nowhere she lunges forward and gives Punk the old fashioned five across the face which causes CM Punk to go angry face.

Like a weird creepy person, Daniel Bryan starts screaming “COME HOME! COME HOME AJ!” She walks up to him and slaps him across the face as well. AJ Lee stands in the middle of the ring giggling and chanting “YES! YES! YES!” and the crowd eats it up as she exits to end the show.

Good 'ol five to the face!

So there you have it July 9th 2012 is in the books. I don’t know what the hell they are doing, and all bets are off heading into Money in the Bank. That being said, this was poor for a go-home show. Too many squash matches, the Raw GM reveal was outright insulting as a fan, and I am afraid that the WWE is on its way to destroying the best storyline they currently have going.

Thank you all so much for the read, hopefully you found some enjoyment out of it, and I look forward to bringing you the best and worst of Monday Night Raw on the RAW Rundown!

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Source : All images courtesy of wwe.com