WWE RAW Rundown: Episode Three “History”

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Welcome to the third installment of the WWE 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. If the WWE screws this week up then they’re heading for disaster. So let’s all hope for nostalgia and positive story progression!

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Tonight marks one of the most important nights in the history of the WWE, as Monday Night Raw reaches it’s historic 1000th episode. Add to that pressure, the fact we are now venturing into a permanent (or at least for now) three-hour airtime, and this has all the potential to either burn in flames, or rise to a new level of entertainment. So, with the crowd in St. Louis Missouri anxiously awaiting the action tonight, let’s head to the ring!

RAW kicks off with that all too familiar “No Chance!”, calling out the unmistakable swagger of the man himself, Vincent Kennedy McMahon. He doesn’t really say a whole lot to be honest. It really seems his goal is to get a minute of face time before announcing the reunion of DX, for one night only.

Are you ready?!

Triple H and Shawn Michaels come out to a warm reception from the crowd in St. Louis. In the middle of their in-ring introduction, HBK stops Triple H and takes a microphone, needing to catch his breath. He goes on to say something is missing. Both men unnecessarily discuss about their respective underwear, before stumbling on… oh yeah, there used to be more members of DX! Cue the entrance of the New Age Outlaws (Road Dog Jesse James, Billy Gunn) and “X-Pac Sean Waltman in a jeep reminiscent of the DX invasion of WCW Monday Nitro in Atlanta Georgia.

Degeneration X: One Night Only

The group hits all their gimmicks and spots on the mic, with a particularly amusing bit of kayfabe Triple H cracked jokes about being the only one with a full head of hair, Shawn Michaels “losing his smile” and “posing for playboy”. At one point Damien Sandow interrupts the quintet to chastise them on their behavior. Sandow is really starting to grow on me, he’s got great mic skills and solid technical mat ability on top of that. Well after a brief deliberation between DX, Damien Sandow receives some Sweet Chin Music, followed by a Pedigree to end the segment. Poor guy. At least you can say you got knocked the hell out by the legendary DX. I mean, you’re not Heath Slater or anything.

Back from commercial and we get Jim Ross! Yes! This is only fitting, and it would not have been right to hold him out of this show with all he’s done for the company.

Match No. One: Rey Mysterio / Sin Cara / Sheamus versus Chris Jericho / Dolph Ziggler / Alberto Del Rio

Ziggler dropped out of the ring by the Red Ranger

Ziggler and the Red Ranger (Sin Cara) start the match, and it quickly turns into “lets all assault Sin Cara” night as all three on the heel team go to town on the masked luchadore. Eventually we get Sheamus in who proceeds to botch a back breaker on Chris Jericho before correctly hitting it the second time. The match gets out of hand as Rey Mysterio does his one move for the night, taking Alberto Del Rio out of the ring. Sin Cara recovers to kick Dolph Ziggler in the head to the arena floor. Sheamus and Jericho reverse a couple of their own moves before Sheamus attempts the Brouge Kick and gets his leg caught up on the ropes. Chris Jericho runs to the rope for a springboard but is met by a hard forearm by Ziggler. Clearly this is retaliation for the Codebreaker Jericho gave him last week. The Great White Sheamus knocks Ziggler back to the ground, connecting on a Brouge Kick to Jericho and scoring the pinfall victory for his team.

It is at this point where Jim Ross..leaves?! Really WWE? You give us a maximum of five minutes of Jim Ross on a three-hour broadcast. This is absurd, and horribly offensive to my ears.

Nevertheless, we return to the show with four or five “touts”, aka WWE’s next colossal failure waiting to happen, from fans who really just want to be funny. Unfortunately for all of us couldn’t be farther from. After one disaster, we jump straight to the next one, a Skype session with Charlie Sheen. First off the picture is grainy (as all of our own Skype situations have probably yielded in the past), the audio is completely out of sync, and Charlie sounds as though he isn’t even watching RAW, and has little to no idea who these people even are outside of his comparisons of DX and Sheamus to himself. There’s still more of this train wreck to come later!

We cut to AJ brushing her hair, speaking to Layla as she prepares for her wedding later tonight. I’d like to personally thank WWE programming for giving me this wonderful pairing in one room. I know you could have had any WWE Diva in the room with AJ, but you picked Layla, and that is alright by me! Ahem… where was I?

Layla asks AJ if she is sure she wants to go through with the ceremony, and AJ has a mini-freak out on her for it, claiming everyone in the WWE is mentally unstable. She opens the locker room door to reveal Hacksaw Jim Duggan, followed by Roddy Piper and R-Truth playing jump rope with “Little Jimmy”. The following sentence I never thought I would be writing, and I swear to you I couldn’t make it up if I tried. After cutting back to Layla and AJ, the two freeze staring into the doorway as the camera pans back over to show Mae Young and her son… the hand she gave birth to years ago on an episode of Monday Night Raw. Yep.

There’s a brief plug for Sonic Drive-Thru (which is delicious, might I add) before our next match. Really shameless, but hey… people have to eat.

Match No Two: Jack Swagger versus “The Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay

A dancing duo made in Hell.

Swagger continues to get the jobber entrance before Brodus enters the ring. You think this match is going to be bad enough, but Brodus gets on the mic and introduces his “brotha from anotha motha”, Dude Love. In all the nostalgia of the night, this probably could have been forgotten. Swagger is distracted by Love outside the ring and turns right around into a variation of a package belly-to-belly suplex followed by a splash for the win. With that twelve second match ended, Dude Love climbs into the ring to celebrate, but ends up locking the tye-dye Mr. Socko on Swagger before continuing the celebration.

You know, I’m not the biggest fan of Jack Swagger, but these short squash matches are really starting to get to me. These guys (Swagger and Drew McIntyre mostly of late) can wrestle and really just deserve the chance. Sadly, this passes as entertainment for a lot of the fans in attendance at these shows. Or maybe it’s just that I am not on board the Funkasaurus fan club. Take your pick.

Triple H is backstage talking yoga with Trish Stratus (who runs her own yoga studio), as she shows him some yoga maneuver that probably has a fancy name that I can only describe as “bending over to touch your toes”. She gets behind him to help as the remaining members of DX barge in. There are a few jokes about how the moment looks, something about “in the rear” before everyone takes off, leaving X-Pack to creep on Stratus for a moment. I’d like to take this time to mention… HOLY HELL, how’d you get so huge X-Pac? Don’t you own a stairmaster, or a gym membership? Can’t you do a few crunches? Needless to say, Sean Waltman looks like he’s had his fair share of Sonic burgers, and polished it off by eating Hornswoggle.

(This episode of the RAW Rundown, brought to you by Sonic Drive-Thru!)

Now, it’s time for the wedding of AJ Lee and Daniel Bryan. Jerry Lawler introduces the master of ceremonies and pastor, WWE Legend Slick! For those of you who aren’t familiar with the “Doctor of Style”, Slick was a pioneer in his day, as the first African-American manager. The aforementioned crowd in St. Louis, who have died since the opening segment with DX, have a little fun with Slick as he attempts to go through the wedding spiel chanting “WHAT” after every line. Kind of funny, when you note that it’s so out of script that AJ is caught cracking up at one point. The two exchange vows and “I do’s”, before AJ cuts off Slick to announce she didn’t say yes to Daniel, but to someone else who made a proposal earlier in the night.

No Chance” brings Vince McMahon back out to first clear things up that he made a BUSINESS proposal. Ladies and Gentlemen, the new General Manager of Monday Night Raw… AJ Lee! This is super high-risk/high-reward. If they can keep her character fresh and not over saturate every night with segments featuring her, it could be very interesting. Otherwise they risk going Zack Ryder with her and force-feed her to us all and kill the excitement and intrigue surrounding her.

Wedding dress and Chucks… you's a classy lady, AJ!

We head to commercial and come back as Daniel Bryan is still losing his crap in the ring. Suddenly, CM Punk comes out and rubs the previous happenings in Bryan’s face. Daniel Bryan pretty much snaps, saying “not only am I the best in the world, I am the greatest WWE superstar of all time!” This brings out The Rock, to the loudest pop of the night.

Seriously, this crowd as been pretty god-awful tonight but for a select few moments. If I was there, I’d probably feel a bit ashamed, and if I were Vince, I’d be a bit disappointed by their responses.

The Rock starts speaking but is interrupted by D-Bry, only to be RE-interrupted by The Rock who goes on to say that he isn’t here to talk to someone who looks like a hobbit, but to speak to/about the WWE Champion. Continuing, he says that it’s just been passed down that at the Royal Rumble [in January] whomever is champion, will go one-on-one with The Great One (he goes on to clarify that of course “The Great One” is himself, in case we haven’t been paying attention these last fifteen or so years).

Punk chimes in stating that it’s going to be The Rock versus CM Punk at The Royal Rumble, and just like he is going to end John Cena tonight, he’s going to beat Rocky. Daniel Bryan gets involved, angered that the attention is off himself. Bryan claims that somehow he will be WWE Champion, and greater, the face of the WWE. Rock banters with him saying “he looks like what would happen if a homeless lumberjack banged an Oompa Loompa” (no, really). Rock finishes, saying that he’s sorry D-Bry didn’t get married, but he is still going to give him his wedding gift: a Rock Bottom.

Oh Rocky, you shouldn't have.

Back, we have Brett “The Hitman” Hart introducing Christian and the man who has been selected by the fans to face him tonight:

Match No. Three: WWE Intercontinental Championship
Champion Christian versus The Miz

In case you forgot…. he's Awesome. Just sayin'.

The level of disdain in his voice when calling out Miz is fantastic comedy. The match kicks off with a great deal of back and forth action, but Christian dives from the top rope outside the ring to Miz and looked to have possibly hurt his knee. It’s shown over the commercial break Miz whipping Christian over the steel steps outside, focusing on the knee. Miz continues on offense, before Christian reverses an attack into a reverse DDT. He fights through the injury to control the match for a bit, before the two exchange brief moments of dominance. In an incredible sequence of events, The Miz reverses Christian’s Killswitch, Christian slips out of Miz’s Skull Crushing Finale but falls awkwardly on his knee reversing a back drop allowing Miz to hit the his finisher and become the new Intercontinental Champion.

 

Guess what? More Charlie Sheen time! He chooses to take several shots at Daniel Bryan, as well as plugging his own show, which he points to the logo on his hat. At least this time it’s a very short conversation before we head to commercial. Do you need a drink? I need a drink! And perhaps some Sonic Drive-Thru!

Hey, welcome back! We go to a replay months ago when Brock Lesnar “broke” Triple H’s arm. H, in the ring now, calls out Lesnar to finally get a response about the proposed match at SummerSlam. Lesnar’s music hits, but instead we get more Paul Heyman, which I am okay with considering Brock can’t really speak. Heyman busts Triple H’s bubble by telling him that he still refuses the match. The two jaw back and forth about going and finding Brock in the back, and the two lawsuits already against Trips and the WWE. Hunter calls Lesnar a coward and Heyman brings his kids into the conversation, which brings out Stephanie McMahon!

Stephanie laying into Heyman because it's the popular thing to do these days.

Stephanie calls Paul Heyman out, accusing his lawsuits as jealousy over his failures at WCW, ECW, and WWE. She goes on to take shots at Heyman’s family and kids’ being ashamed of him before he loses his cool and accepts Triple H’s challenge against Lesnar for SummerSlam. This brings out Brock Lesnar, and the two exchange knees, fists, and other body parts before H eventually clotheslines Lesnar out of the ring. In our “really beyond PG” moment of the night, Lesnar pulls off his shirt and hurls it at H, screaming out “F*** off!” as we go back to out 1,627,819th commercial break of the evening. This is what three-hours is gonna be like folks! Settle in, it’s going to be a long ride.

I’m going to avoid going into any depth about Santino coming out with Hornswoggle to toss out WWE Brawlin’ Buddies stuffed things to the crowd and cut to Heath Slater who challenges any Legend to a No-DQ, No Count out match.

Match No. Four: Heath Slater versus Lita

Not a bad way to go, Heath…

Out comes Lita who tells Heath that she did hire a bit of protection. Cue A.P.A music, to the return of Ron Simmons and JBL. At this point Heath tries to high-tail it out of there, but the remaining WWE Legends he has faced come out and throws him back in the ring. Lita quickly hits the Twist of Fate on Slater, before JBL murders him with a “Clothesline From Hell” (that Heath sells like a CHAMP). Lita climbs the turnbuckle and lands a moonsault before pinning the One Man Band, and picking up the win. Not to be outdone, the legends all stand around a downed Slater as Simmons looks down at him and… “DAMN!”

I have to say, it is kind of impressive how great of shape some of these vets are in. With a profession that has sadly provided so many tragic deaths, and young deaths, it really is great to see these older stars still looking like they could go one more time if they had to. Was especially great to see JBL, and Lita… and lets not forget Lita.

Before yet another break we go backstage where the man who was a part of the first Monday Night RAW, Sean Mooney, is standing by with Daniel Bryan. D-Bry goes on a rant about being insulted and embarrassed by AJ, and by The Rock, and now Charlie Sheen wants to call him an “oompa loompa”. He takes shots at his lifestyle before saying “if Charlie Sheen were standing right where you are, I’d slap the Yes Lock on him before he ever got a chance to say ‘Winning!’”

We come back to Zack Ryder, “Mean” Gene Okerlund, and John Cena talking in the back. Ryder claims that he solved the long-standing debate of who was behind G-TV: Gene Okerlund. The three go back and forth about it before The Rock walks into picture. He offers “good luck” to Cena on his match tonight. John Cena tells him that he’s going to win tonight, and get the chance to face The Rock one more time, at the Royal Rumble. Apparently Rock looks forward to it. You know what I’m not looking forward to? All these commercials. Speaking of commercials… have another!

Here comes Kane to the ring, followed by… what is this… I believe this is Job Squad 2.0. Jinder Mahal, Curt Hawkins, Tyler Reks, Hunico, Camacho, and Drew McIntyre come out to the ring complaining about being beaten for 999 episodes, and now they wish to take back what is theirs. They surround Kane in the ring when the unmistakable music of the Phenom, The Undertaker returns for the first time since Wrestlemania. Undertaker enters the ring and removes his Super Shredder robe as the Job Squad stand there like idiots.

Brothers of Destruction, putting down jobbers since…well, forever I guess.

I guess it’s too smart to expect people to haul ass out of the building when the Undertaker and Kane are in the ring. Instead they opt to fight on, except what happens looks a lot less like fighting and much more like slaughter. Kane and Undertaker lay waste to everyone before hitting dual chokeslams and tombstone piledrivers to Curt Hawkins and Hunico. Afterwards, they pose in the middle of the ring to a great pop and “this is awesome” chants. I’ve only mentioned it once or twice, but this crowd, aside from the Rock, DX and this moment, have been DEAD. It really is depressing. It’s like they’re waiting for hometown boy Randy Orton would come out. Keep waiting kiddies. Maybe if he hadn’t have violated the wellness policy for the second time, he wouldn’t have been suspended.

Yippie, we get more Charlie Sheen now. Michael Cole quotes to Sheen what Daniel Bryan mentioned earlier about him. Sheen makes a couple of terrible jokes, before essentially challenging Daniel Bryan “the next time he’s in LA”. For the record, SummerSlam this year is in Los Angeles. If this is brought up next week on RAW, they’re going to wrestle and I will rage quit. RAW has been live for 2:55 minutes, and guess what: It’s time for the Main Event! Let’s get ready for some crazy over-run!

Match No. Five: WWE Championship Match
Champion CM Punk versus John Cena

Cena comes out with the Money In The Bank briefcase first followed by CM Punk and his war cry “It’s Clobbering Time!” Both guys look amped and ready to put on a show.

These two have put on some spectacular matches in the past, and as long as you can tolerate rest holds, this match really doesn’t fail to live up to hopes. The early going is full of submissions and power moves from John Cena, before the action picks up midway through. Cena and Punk exchange blows to dueling “yes” chants. Punk whips Cena into the ropes but is met with a flying shoulder block, not once but twice. Cena goes for a back body drop but Punk slips out and reverses into a jump kick, followed by a clothesline and his patented running knee in the corner. On the bulldog that follows, Cena tosses CM to the canvas and sets up for the Five-Knuckle Shuffle, only to receive a stiff kick to the head that sends him staggering and another that floors him.

Punk calls for the Go To Sleep and lifts Cena onto his shoulders, bet John Cena slips out and shoves CM Punk away, unfortunately right into the referee who goes tumbling out of the ring. Punk’s momentum carries him backward into Cena who connects with the Attitude Adjustment. Cena gets the cover but with no referee to count, there’s no use. John goes to look for the ref and notices him out on the floor. Big Show charges the ring as Cena re-enters and hits him with a giant (no pun intended) spear and W.M.D punch. All the while, CM Punk watches on in the corner, stunned. Show leaves the ring as Punk looks as though he is fighting himself internally on what he should do. CM leaves the ring and gets the referee to his feet and back into the ring as some drunk douche chants “TNA” in the background.

 

A Punk divided.

Finally, CM Punk runs for the cover that Cena kicks out of in two. Punk lifts John Cena’s body up for a GTS, but Cena slips out and locks in the STF in the middle of the ring. This time the Big Show comes out with the referee looking, causing a disqualification victory for Cena. For those who don’t know, titles dont change hands by DQ, allowing Punk to retain. CM Punk stands by watching Show destroy Cena when The Rock’s music hits. Punk exits the ring as Rock goes to blows with Big Show, and connects with an impressive spinebuster. Rocky sets up for the People’s Elbow, and CM Punk slides back into the ring and interrupts it with a forearm clothesline to level the Rock. The Rock over-sold the clothesline which makes me giggle like a child, legitimately. Punk taunts Rocky as he gets to his feet, before lifting him up and dropping him with the GTS.

The crowd boos Punk fiercely as he stands there, that look on his face that we all saw often in the ‘heel CM Punk’ days, and as the show goes off air, Jerry Lawler remarks “…I think CM Punk has turned his back on the WWE Universe”. I hope, Jerry, I really hope.

The WWE really needs something to spice up their summer, and have been hoping to do so recently. In recent years we have had the Nexus summer angle, and last year the CM Punk “pipe bomb”/contract dispute angle. This year, we may have the return of heel Punk. While a lot of fans may dislike it, the champ really does play as a better heel than anti-hero or face.

So that will do it for another week of the WWE RAW Rundown for July 23rd 2012, one-thousand episodes for the archive! It was actually a pretty solid night. There were a few things here and there which were disappointing (only five minutes of Jim Ross, H making Lesnar look like a b*tch, Swagger/Clay squash, Sheen/Skype chat) but really the great majority of it was awesome (Miz IC champ, DX return, AJ new GM, CM Punk vs. John Cena, Punk heel turn, Sandow sighting).

I hope you, reader, have enjoyed the read as I have enjoyed bringing this to you. As always, feel free to leave comments about the show, about specific segments or storylines, or anything you want in the comments section. Don’t forget, come back next week as I look forward to bringing you the best (and worst) of RAW every week, on the RAW Rundown!

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Source : All Images courtesy of WWE.com