Live from Laredo, Texas this is the Raw Deal…
They aired a video package highlighting what happened last week when Big Show attacked John Cena like he has done many times of late. Then the Raw intro aired. A new song on the 1,000th episode would be very welcome. This is episode number 997 by the way. The announcers for the show are Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler as always.
The GM of Raw this week is Teddy Long. He already booked a tag match playas: CM Punk & John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan & Chris Jericho. Congrats to CM Punk for actually being in a main event as WWE Champion because he’s on John Cena’s team. That’s a bit of a joke, but there’s some truth to it too.
By the way, there’s a Money in the Bank briefcase hanging above the ring. It’s the same red briefcase they used back when there were Raw & Smackdown ones. Instead of a red briefcase, why not put a picture of the WWE Title on the briefcase to signify that the person that gets that briefcase will get a shot at the WWE Title?
John Cena comes out smiling. The crowd is very pro-Cena this week. He thanked Jericho and Show for helping him prepare for Money in the Bank by showing him that anything can happen. He busted out the “you have no friends only enemies” line that we tend to hear 748 times during the build to the Royal Rumble. He said he will be prepared for his first Money in the Bank ladder match. He said that he’ll win the Money in the Bank contract and be the WWE Champion.
All of a sudden the “Yes” chants of Daniel Bryan began. Bryan made his way out to the ring without his music playing. Bryan said that Cena wasn’t relevant to him. Then he said that he would defeat CM Punk at Money in the Bank to become the WWE Champion. Bryan said he’d be relevant to him when Cena wins the briefcase and is the first one to lose when he cashes in the briefcase. Cena said at least one person would disagree with him, which is a reference to himself I assume.
That led to CM Punk walking down to the ring without his music. He said he disagreed with Daniel Bryan, which led to a lot of “yes” chants. Bryan was mad about all the yelling. He asked for somebody to have an original thought without stealing his catchphrase. Punk said his original thought was that AJ was going to count Bryan’s shoulders to the mat for the 1, 2 and 3. He told Cena that if he wins the MITB ladder match then he guesses it will come down to just those two again. That’s what I think will happen. More on that in a bit.
The music of Chris Jericho started up. At least he got music unlike the other two guys. Jericho called Punk a wannabe. Jericho told Bryan that people steal his catchphrases – then says “no offense Mr. Best in the World” to Punk. What’s ironic about that is that Bryan called himself that in ROH years ago. Punk fired back at Jericho with a great line: “None taken, Mr. Bon Jovi.” That cracked me up because Jericho is looking very Bon Jovi-ish of late. Jericho told Bryan to come up with some other catchphrases, which led to Jericho saying “would you please shut the hell up.” Then he said “welcome to Raw is Jericho.” Then “after tonight none of you in this ring will ever, everrrrrrr be the same again.” Oh the Jericho catchphrases. I missed those.
Jericho told Cena that he invented the Money in the Bank ladder match (read his second book), so that’s why he’s going to win the match. He dared anybody to come to the ring to tell him otherwise. Kane’s music started up as he entered the ring. He walked up to Jericho and simply said: “otherwise.” He’s a smartass Big Red Monster isn’t he?
Big Show’s music started up. Bryan attacked Cena from behind. Punk took out Bryan, Jericho took out Punk and then Kane went after Jericho while Show went after Cena. Kane went after Show. Show decked Kane with a clothesline. Everybody else was down while Big Show was standing tall in the ring. No finishing moves were used, yet five guys were selling basic moves like clotheslines as if they were finishers. Better than no-selling at least.
Analysis: That was an entertaining opening segment, I thought. It’s certainly better than listening to Cena by himself for ten minutes or doing that awful Star Wars routine from last week. My prediction for the PPV is Cena wins MITB and instead of cashing in on an unsuspecting champion, he’ll challenge the champ (Punk) to a WWE Title match at Summerslam. That’s where Cena wins the WWE title back, which would essentially be Punk returning the favor from last year. They could have Show win to lead to a match against Punk at Summerslam, but with Lesnar/HHH on the card I doubt Cena is going to be in a match that’s not for the WWE Title at Summerslam. He’ll always be in one of the top two matches. I’d rather see a singles match than a three way or four way, but both of those things could happen too.
Big Show left the ring as they went to break.
The “Did You Know?” was this: When Raw debuted in 1993, Kim Kardashian was 12 (so was I), Katy Perry was 8, Rihanna was 4, Miley Cyrus was 2 months old, and Justin Bieber wasn’t even born yet. Those are the celebrities they choose to highlight? I feel sorry for the youth of the world. When they returned from break Cole said: “And Jerry Lawler was in his prime.” True. And funny. Did I just praise something Cole said? Shoot me.
The announcers plugged that Charlie Sheen is the “social media ambassador” for the 1,000th episode of Raw. That means he will be tweeting while he watches Raw. I wonder how much he gets paid just to do that? God Bless America. I don’t follow him on Twitter, but I’m sure they’ll annoy us by mentioning how “hilarious” his tweets are.
Cody Rhodes, David Otunga & Primetime Players (Darren Young & Titus O’Neil) w/AW vs. Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Santino & Christian
It’s good to see R-Truth back in action after dealing with a foot injury. He’s been off shows for about a month. He is one half of the tag champs along with Kingston in case you forgot. Christian hit a nice dropkick on Young early. Kingston hit a lovely springboard clothesline on Young. O’Neil pulled Young out of the ring to save him from another attack. Kingston took out O’Neil with a dive. That led to Young decking Kingston with a clothesline. They went to break with all eight guys arguing on the floor.
Back from break, the heels were working over Kingston. AW was miked up at ringside and all he really did was encourage O’Neil as he worked over Kingston with a body slam. Kingston came back with a dropkick to free himself and hot tag Santino while Otunga got the tag for his team. That led to a brawl between the two tag teams. Truth & Kingston knocked them to the floor, so Young & O’Neil left because AW said they don’t need this. Otunga knocked down Santino and went to tag in Rhodes, but Cody left. All of a sudden the music of Brodus Clay started up, which scared Otunga. If you remember Otunga had hurt Clay’s knee. Clay threw Otunga back in the ring and Santino “decked” Otunga with the Cobra to the throat for the win. The match went about 8 minutes.
Winners: Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Santino & Christian
Post match, Christian gave Otunga the Killswitch. Then Brodus gave Otunga the Big Splash. Then they all danced with the girls as well as a bunch of random kids from the crowds.
Analysis: *1/2 The deal was that since Teddy Long was in charge, David Otunga got beat up since he was an ally of John Laurinaitis when he was in charge. It’s a heel receiving his comeuppance. It’s a basic story that works. By the way, Brodus looked pretty happy for a guy that had his undefeated streak end last week against Big Show. Just saying.
In the locker room, Teddy Long was dancing in his office. Alberto Del Rio & Ricardo Rodriguez showed up. Del Rio wanted a shot at the World Title held by Sheamus. Long told him that the Board of Directors have named Del Rio the number one contender for the World Title at Money in the Bank. Long said Del Rio would be in a match up next. Del Rio asked who. Long said: “Why don’t we call it a Teddy Long surprise, playa?”
Analysis: I thought that meant a returning Rey Mysterio. I was wrong.
We got another Raw 1,000 moment this time courtesy of Stephanie McMahon. She talked about the time when her brother Shane McMahon helped her dad Vince McMahon train for the 1999 Royal rumble. Great clip. Hilarious. Vince and Shane at their best. I miss Shane McMahon on WWE TV. It was a Rocky Balboa like training session with a McMahon twist.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Sin Cara
The surprise opponent of Del Rio was Sin Cara. They never really had a match because Del Rio attacked him before it could begin. He attacked him with kicks and then he threw him into both turnbuckles shoulder first. Cara went to the floor, so Del Rio slapped on the Cross Armbreaker as Cara tapped. The ref made Del Rio break it up. During all of this, the crowd was chanting “culero” at Del Rio, which I’m told means “asshole” in Spanish. I like learning how to swear in different languages.
Match Result: No Contest
Analysis: Obviously they’re trying to put over Del Rio strong to build him up for the World Title match against Sheamus. Simple booking. It’s effective, though.
Backstage, AJ was shown with CM Punk-like wrist tape with the Straight Edge “X” symbol on them. Daniel Bryan showed up with a flower he found conveniently ten feet behind her. He gave the flower to AJ. She was onto him, realizing he only gave that to her because she was the ref of his WWE Title match at Money in the Bank. She said she’d win her match tonight and then run into the arms of the man that the WWE Universe feels is her soulmate – that is CM Punk apparently. Then she bit the flower and spit it out. She’s a spitter? Okay then. She walked away while Bryan looked frustrated that he couldn’t manipulate her. Crazy chicks are tough to deal with.
After the break we’ll hear from Paul Heyman.
We got the video package reminding us of the Triple H/Lesnar/Heyman story. It’s amazing how Triple H always seems to be on the show even when he’s not physically on the show. Of course he’s in the “real” main event of Summerslam, but they seem to replay these things every week.
Paul Heyman spoke live via satellite. He said that Brock Lesnar would answer Triple H’s challenge three weeks from now on the historic 1,000th episode of Raw on July 23rd. Heyman said if Lesnar accepts this challenge he will end Triple H’s in-ring career. Then Triple H can be the doting father and the executive he is. He said if Lesnar accepts the match at Summerslam it won’t be a match – it’ll be a mercy killing. Then Heyman laughed. That was a good promo that didn’t take too much time and put over that we’ll see Lesnar on July 23. That will help ratings on July 23rd big time.
Once Heyman was done, we were told that we’d get Big Show vs. Kane in a No DQ match later (ugh) and Sheamus/AJ vs. Ziggler/Vickie is up after the break.
Sheamus & AJ vs. Dolph Ziggler & Vickie Guerrero
Vickie referred to herself as the “queen diva” during her intro. Apparently Vickie doesn’t like AJ because AJ referred to her as grandma in a tweet. What a creative feud. Sheamus started with Ziggler, which meant Sheamus beating him up like he has done for the last month or so. Dolph’s here to show the world (his theme song) how to lose matches. At least he sells the Brogue Kick better than anybody. Ziggler dropped him with a nice DDT. Sheamus decked him with a hard forearm to the face followed by the White Noise. Ziggler avoided the Brogue Kick by tagging in Guerrero. That meant AJ had to tag in. Sheamus gave Ziggler a big kick while he was on the apron to knock him down to the floor. That’s not very sportsmanlike. Vickie was mad at Dolph for tagging her in. AJ gave Vickie a kick in the gut, Vickie dropped to her knees and then AJ hit a Shining Wizard for the pinfall. Good move. Match went about 4 minutes.
Winners: Sheamus & AJ
Post match, AJ grabbed the microphone and said “yes” repeatedly on her way up the aisle. Sheamus celebrated by posing. Yes World Champion, be happy that you won because of a tiny woman. That’s manly!
Analysis: * They have jobbed Ziggler so much of late that it leads me to think he’ll win the Money in the Bank ladder match for the World Title assuming he’s in it. Nobody deserves it more than him. Is AJ saying “yes” because she’s happy for the win or for all of the screen time she is getting? A little of both. I give her credit, though. She is doing well and the crowd loves her.
Backstage, there’s more AJ. She walked up to CM Punk, who was talking on the phone. He told the person on the phone that he would call them back. He said he was talking to his sister. He said she didn’t see her match. She was angry that he didn’t see her match. She walked away with a sad face while Punk just shrugged his shoulders.
Analysis: Punker, you’re not alone with that reaction my friend. You are not alone. Let’s drink to that. Ginger ale, I guess.
Heath Slater was in the ring. We got a video package of him getting beat up by superstars of the past. Heath said he is not a clown, so that led to the music of Doink The Clown. Groan.
Heath Slater vs. Doink The Clown
Cole reacted to Doink like he was a big star. He also laughed about Doink as if he was actually funny. Doink was played by the Brooklyn Brawler Steve Lombardi in this instance, in case you cared or were wondering. Slater beat him in about two minutes after throwing him into the corner and then hitting a neckbreaker.
Winner: Heath Slater
Analysis: DUD That’s his finisher? No wonder he loses all the time. Slater’s not a bad performer, but this gimmick is going to do him more harm than good.
Post match, the music of Diamond Dallas Page started up. He got a huge ovation. Slater did the DDP hand sign. He went into the ring, shook the hand of Slater and then gave him a Diamond Cutter to a big pop. That was fun.
Analysis: Why didn’t Page get the match? He’s in really good shape for somebody in his mid-50s with his “yoga for guys” deal. I’m assuming (don’t know for sure) it got nixed because word spread on the internet over the weekend that Page would be there. Stop reading the internet news sites, WWE. DDP was the right guy for the match. Doink was brutal.
There was a plug for No Holds Barred on DVD. They made fun of how cheesy it was back in 1989. Then why promote it? What a waste of time.
We saw Kane & Big Show walking backstage in preparation for their match up next.
There was video of John Cena & Alicia Fox visiting troops at the Walter Reed Medical Center. Fox was dressed like a normal person that used to be called a boy. Cena was wearing the same clothes he always wears. Good for them.
We were reminded of the WWE Title Money in the Bank Ladder Match contestants: John Cena, Big Show, Kane & Chris Jericho. They could add others to the match like Rey Mysterio and The Miz (who is out filming The Marine 3), but I wouldn’t be surprised if they just kept it as a four man match.
No Disqualification Match: Big Show vs. Kane
Show knocked Kane out to the floor with a shoulder tackle. Kane took the bump by crashing into the security wall. That’s a good bump for somebody his size. Show missed a charge and went crashing balls first into the same security wall. Show was able to come back by throwing Kane into the steel steps. Show countered a chokeslam by slamming Kane against the announce table and then gave Kane a kick to the throat. Show grabbed a chair as they went back into the ring, but Kane attacked before he could use it and Kane hit a nice DDT on Show for a two count. Show avoided the Kane clothesline. It’s like he does it in every match. Kane picked up the chair. Show gave Kane a spear into the chair. Then Show gave Kane a chokeslam onto the chair that was now on the mat. That was enough for the win after 4 minutes of action.
Winner: Big Show
Analysis: *1/4 You know they’re pushing Show strong when they have Kane job clean in under five minutes. That’s rarely happened. By the way, we’ve seen this match dozens of times over the years. I would be happy if I never saw it again.
Backstage, Teddy Long bumped into a returning Eve. She’s still wearing the glasses. He put a name tag on her shoulder similar to how she made him wear a nametag. He walked away. She ripped it up and walked away where she bumped into…you guessed it…AJ. She told her to leave the mindgames to grown up and be like a little girl that cries in the corner. AJ talked back to her saying Eve will do anything for attention. She said Eve tried to butter up Laurinaitis, but he’s gone now. She said Eve will do anything to get attention by referencing movies and reality shows (she is in one of those coming out soon). AJ: “Want to see how to get attention? I’ll show you. I’ll show all of you.” As I say all the time I enjoy Eve…if she’s not wrestling. Usually.
They aired another Raw 1,000 moment with Alberto Del Rio talking about how his memorable Raw moment was when DX invaded WCW in 1998. He said that’s when they started watching WWE in Mexico. It’s smart of Del Rio to suck up to Triple H with his moment. It’s all about the game and how you play it, after all.
Tyson Kidd was in the ring. Yes! And while he was in the ring they ran down the guys in the World Heavyweight Title Money in the Bank Ladder match (a mouthful – that’s what she said). The participants are Tyson Kidd, Santino, Christian, Damien Sandow and Tensai. More participants will be announced on the live Smackdown on Tuesday.
Tyson Kidd vs. Tensai w/Sakamoto
Tensai attacked with shoulderblocks early. The ref forced him to break in the corner. Kidd used that opportunity to roll him up and he got the pinfall after about 20 seconds.
Winner: Tyson Kidd
Analysis: I’m all for Kidd getting wins because he’s barely been on Raw of late and he deserves the chance to be on here. Hopefully he’s on more often in longer matches that allow him to showcase what he can really do in the ring. It’s all about the baby steps, though, so fine by me. This had a definite 1-2-3 Kid kind of feel to it. Remember when Tensai was beating Cena and Punk? His stock has fallen big time.
Post match, Tensai attacked Sakamoto again.
Analysis: The crowd didn’t care. Neither did I. Why should we care? We have no reason to care about Sakamoto. Perhaps we should care that he’s an innocent victim, but there’s no reason for us to have sympathy towards a guy we don’t know anything about.
Even though he lost, Tensai left with his music playing. Whoever is in charge of music is a sympathetic person. The man lost. Don’t play his music!
Backstage, Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho had an epic meeting. Bryan told Jericho not to wear his stupid jacket because it’s embarrassing. Jericho questioned Bryan’s jacket as he wondered if it was maroon. He also wondered about Bryan’s beard. Jericho said they need to work together to beat Cena & Punk, so he asked what do you say? Bryan: “Yes!” Then it led to Bryan shouting “yes” repeatedly while Jericho told him not to say that “ever again” repeatedly.
Analysis: I enjoyed this immensely. And I don’t say immensely very often. That’s how good it was.
Backstage, CM Punk and John Cena were talking. Punk asked Cena to follow his lead. Cena smiled. He patted Cena on the back and said he’ll just listen to him. That segment would lead some to think that one of them is turning heel soon. I don’t think so. I just think they’re building up the intensity with them for the likely Summerslam matchup.
Back from break, the “Did You Know?” informed us that Raw debuted in 1993, 11 years before Facebook was even invented. Raw also debuted many years before these awful “Did You Know?” facts that hurt my brain on a weekly basis.
Backstage, Josh Mathews tried to talk to Tyson Kidd in the locker room. Kidd said he was feeling on top of the world. Out of nowhere, he was attacked by Tensai who threw him into the locker two times. Tensai did his huffing and puffing. Then he left. He is the loudest breather in the history of the longest running weekly episodic show in television history.
CM Punk & John Cena vs. Chris Jericho & Daniel Bryan
Hey Jerry Lawler, please stop trying to do the Jericho “ever again” thing…ever again. And please retire while you’re at it. William Regal is ready for the chair. Jericho’s face when Cena’s music hit was hilarious. Here’s a pic if you missed it. Punk started with Bryan. They did their usual array of awesome moves at the fast pace we’ve come to know and love. They tagged out so Cena faced off with Jericho. Cena controlled him with a shoulderblock and then he knocked Jericho off the apron. Jericho went crashing into the security wall as we got our floor to commercial spot.
Back from break, the heels were working over Cena. Jericho knocked him down with a clothesline. Jericho even did the “Come on, baby” cocky pin that I love. I missed this man while he was away. Can you tell? Jericho slowed Cena down with a back elbow and then he missed the Lionsault like he usually does. Bryan tagged in to prevent the hot tag to Punk. After a series of kicks, he hit a picture perfect dropkick on Cena in the corner. Jericho tagged in. He messed up a spot with Cena where it looked Cena went for the Fisherman’s Suplex and Jericho was going to counter with something, but they didn’t get the counter spot right. Oops. Jericho ended up grabbing a headlock to reset things. Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment, but Jericho came back with a perfect looking DDT. Jericho went for his bulldog variation. Cena countered it and threw Jericho into the turnbuckle. Cena did a good job of building up the drama before the hot tag to Punk, who went after a tagged in Bryan. Punk hit his high knee in the corner and then a powerslam for two. He put Bryan into the Anaconda Vice. Jericho made the save. Cena threw Jericho out of the ring. They fought up the aisle. They fought all the way to the back. I guess fighting to the back is more important than winning the match. Back in the ring, Bryan hit a hurricanrana and Punk was able to roll through for a two count. Bryan came back with a kick to the head followed by another kick to the head while Punk was on his knees. Bryan went to the top rope. Punk cut him off. Mongolian chop! Punk hit a top rope superplex to a big ovation. That led to a two count.
All of a sudden the music of AJ started up. She skipped around the ring as she usually does. Can we stop with the music playing during matches? While the guys fought in the ring, AJ stood on the apron. Punk and Bryan collided with a crossbody block at the same time to knock them both down. That was AJ’s cue to walk around the ring and she found a table by the ring steps that were near the announce table. She set up the table on the floor. The guys in the ring were down for about a minute while she slowly climbed the top rope and looked at the table below. The idea is she was going to jump because she felt like Punk ignored her earlier. Bryan stood on the floor beside the table telling her not to jump. Punk was on the apron telling her not to jump. She pulled Punk in for a quick kiss. Then she shoved Punk off the apron and he went crashing through the table. The match went about 12 minutes until it abruptly ended.
Match Result – No Contest Due to Crazy Chick
How’s that for an official match ruling? AJ celebrated by yelling “yes” repeatedly while standing on the middle ropes. They replayed the finish. The crowd joined in with the “yes” chants. The show ended with a shot of the guys lying in a heap on the broken table while AJ looked down on them while she was on the ropes.
Analysis: **1/2 It’s hard to rate a match with a non-finish, but the work in the ring was still good. All four guys know what they’re doing obviously, so I enjoyed it while it lasted. My gripe with the finish is shouldn’t wins and losses matter? I mean I know they don’t and any fan that really understands the business knows they don’t matter, but from the perspective of wrestling being a “sport” the wins are what should be important. Instead we saw two guys choose to leave the ringside area. Then we saw two other guys put over concern, whether genuine or not, of the guest ref of their match in two weeks over the outcome of the match. I guess that means the WWE Title match at Money in the Bank is important, but the match result on the TV show with millions of viewers does not matter. Know what I mean?
It’s not a major gripe because I like the story. This AJ storyline has a lot of people talking. A lot of guys really like her as a performer and they also think she’s hot. I enjoy her work as a performer, but she’s not my type in terms of the hotness. Obviously she’s a pretty girl. Not denying that. I just don’t see her as a sex symbol type. I’m more of an Eve guy, I guess. That’s not taking anything away from AJ’s work. She’s been phenomenal. I don’t blame WWE for putting her all over the show. I just wish they put the same kind of care into some of the midcard male acts that could use that same screen time to be elevated to the main event level.
Three Stars of the Show
1. AJ – She had the most segments. That always helps.
2. Chris Jericho
3. Daniel Bryan
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 6
2012 Average: 5.80
2012 High: 9 (January 30)
2012 Low: 3.5 (May 14)
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 4.5, 6, 4.5, 5.5
It was an angle driven show more than it was a show about in-ring performances. From the perspective I like what they did. AJ has gone from being just another woman on the roster to being a standout performer. When an angle can do that for somebody then you can’t help but praise it. Give credit to her as well as Punk, Bryan, Kane and the creative time for delivering a compelling storyline where we don’t know what’s going to happen next.
With Money in the Bank, the historic July 23rd edition of Raw and then Summerslam on the horizon I think WWE could have a lot of momentum this summer. I’m hoping for the best.
I’ll be back next week with the Raw Deal. It was originally going to be live, but I forgot about the MLB Home Run Derby, so it will likely be a Tuesday posting again. I’ll have some kind of Canton’s Corner column on the weekend. That could be the TNA related one I keep mentioning. I’m also working on major column towards the end of July and working on another project, so I’m keeping busy believe me.
Keep checking us out at TJRWrestling.com every day for the awesome columns provided by our wonderful staff, which will include Andrew Johnson’s “Smacking of Smackdown” column tomorrow in honor of the Great American Bash edition of Smackdown that happens tonight.
Finally, happy July 4th Independence Day Holiday to all my American friends out there. Be safe and enjoy it.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook TJRWrestling.com on Facebook
My personal 10+ year column archive TJR Column Archive