The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 06/04/12



Live from Greenville, SC this is the Raw Deal…

The show begins with a video package highlighting last week’s happenings when Big Show beat up a bunch of people. No Nickelback song or pyro to start the show. I guess they’re saving some money on the pyro huh? Instead we get Michael Cole in the ring. He was there to interview John Cena. Cena wasn’t on Raw last week and the show got a low 2.7 rating. That meant you could pencil in…no wait…write in bold, black ink letters…that Cena would start the show and be in the main event. He made his entrance to a good reaction.

John Cena was in the ring with Michael Cole as Cole went through the names of people that Big Show destroyed last week on both Raw and Smackdown. Cole went over the same thing that Show did last week by talking about how Cena made jokes after Show got fired rather than helping his friend. Cena asked him if he had a collection of My Little Ponies. Is that a gay joke? Be a star! Cena called John Laurinaitis a “power hungry bully.” Cena admitted that he didn’t help Big Show right away, but he was going to get Laurinaitis out of there. “What type of idiot wouldn’t hire back the World’s Largest Athlete?” Then Cole said it’s not a sure thing that somebody would hire Big Show back. Cole defended Show for doing the sure thing by joining up with Laurinaitis. Cole called Show a seven foot giant that nobody can beat. I guess we’re supposed to forget all of the times he’s lost over the last 13 years in WWE, which is plenty. Cena’s mad because Big Show claims the fans turned on him when in fact Big Show turned on the fans. That’s true, but Cole turned it around by saying that Cena was jealous at Show. Maybe he’s jealous because Show won at WrestleMania and he wasn’t a punching bag for Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules like Cena was. Cole claimed that he supported Cena from day one. Cole: “I don’t think you’re interested anymore. In fact I think you’re overrated.” He hopes Big Show takes him out. Cole reminded him that he could not strike an announcer.

The music of Raw GM John Laurinaitis started as he entered at the top of the ramp. No Eve? Staring at her makes me tolerant these monotone promos. He was still in motorized cart sponsored by People Power. He said last week he let Big Show pick his opponent, so this week in the fairness of People Power he’s going to grant Cena the same privilege. That’s just lovely isn’t it? Laurinaitis informed Cena that he can’t pick Big Show because he isn’t there because he has selective days off. Laurinaitis also informed him that he has officially retired from one on one competition. Cena wanted to face Laurinaitis, but that’s a no go because of the retirement. Cena did a big build up for his opponent…Michael Cole. His music played. Cole protested the selection. The crowd was excited about it. I wasn’t thrilled with it. Laurinaitis left the stage as Cole wanted it to be changed. Cena’s music played again as they went to break after 14 minutes.

Analysis: They didn’t say anything new. All they did was book the match that would be the main event, which is pretty typical of the Raw opening segment.

Later on in the show it’s CM Punk vs. Kane in a “must be a winner match” that is a rematch from Smackdown. It’s not a true rematch because the Smackdown match was for the WWE Title and this is just a regular match, which should have tipped you off in terms of who the winner will be.

Lawler tells us that up next is Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler as we see Sheamus walking backstage. That’s another match we saw on Smackdown this past Friday. The creative team is really coming up with some fresh, new matches huh? I wrote about Smackdown as well as the suspension of Randy Orton in Saturday’s Canton’s Corner column, so check that out right here if you missed it.


The “Did You Know?” informed us that WrestleMania 28 has been the #1 selling sports DVD in the US, instantly passing this year’s Super Bowl DVD. That likely happens every year. The Super Bowl also got over 100 million viewers in the US, so the NFL and Super Bowl are not jealous. I doubt many people buy the DVD except for those that are fans of the New York Giants, who won the Super Bowl.

Backstage, Cole ran up to Laurinaitis asking to get out of the match. Laurinaitis explained that there was a rumor that said everybody’s job would be evaluated and that he’s all about giving the people what they want. Cole said the people don’t want to see Cena beat him up, so of course the people in the arena cheered. Laurinaitis said yes they do. He told him to go back to the announce position. Laurinaitis: “And by the way don’t call me Johnny.” We’re not even twenty minutes in yet and I’m already sick of Cole. Now we’ll have to hear him complain for the next hour and then see him in a match. I’m not a fan.

We got the replay from Smackdown when Sheamus gave David Otunga the Brogue Kick after he had demanded an apology.

Vickie Guerrero introduced Dolph Ziggler. She was wearing a very tight dress that I wish any other diva was wearing. Just saying. Ziggler came out for his match with Sheamus. The World Champion Sheamus got a good ovation for his entrance in this non-title match.

Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler w/Vickie Guerrero

Sheamus used his power early, hitting his rolling senton to put Ziggler down. Ziggler pulled the rope down, so Sheamus went over the top to the floor. Ziggler failed to throw him into the ring post. Guerrero distracted Sheamus by yelling at him, so Ziggler went back in the ring and hit a dropkick that knocked Sheamus outside the ring. That led to the vintage floor to commercial spot.


Back from break, Ziggler was still in control of the match. Sheamus made a comeback with a series of forearms followed by a powerslam for two. Ziggler hit a DDT on Sheamus for two. He went to the top, but Sheamus cut him off. Ziggler ended up getting the Fameasser off the middle rope for a nice two count. They still need to give that a name for Ziggler. The Dolph Drop? I don’t know. Ziggler went for the Zig Zag, but Sheamus dropped him with the White Noise. Then Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick to finish him off at the nine minute mark.

Winner: Sheamus

Analysis: ** The Smackdown match was better than this, but it was still solid. If you were hoping that Ziggler would get a bigger push due to the suspension of Randy Orton the way I was then you might have to wait a bit on that because on Raw it was just another loss for the show off. Sheamus must like working with Ziggler because he makes the Brogue Kick look better than anybody.

After the win, Alberto Del Rio attacked Sheamus at the top of the ramp. Ricardo Rodriguez grabbed Sheamus by the legs while Del Rio knocked him down. Del Rio slapped on the Cross Armbreaker while they were by the steel ramp. Sheamus dropped down to the ground below while Del Rio looked down on him.

Analysis: It was payback from when Sheamus attacked Del Rio from behind in the same position. It also means another left arm injury for Sheamus, which is shades of when he feuded with Daniel Bryan.


Back from break, John Laurinaitis asked some stooge where his coffee was. The stooge left. Speaking of coffee, there’s David Otunga in bowtie. He told Laurinaitis that he saw on that next week Vince McMahon would return next week to give Laurinaitis a job performance evaluation. It’s no surprise that McMahon is going to be back after the ratings dipped last week.

Analysis: Let’s try to figure this out. Last year, Triple H fired Vince McMahon because he was power hungry. The board appointed Triple H as the Chief Operating Officer of the company, so Vince basically became another guy. Then Laurinaitis became GM of Raw and Smackdown and somehow has more authority on both shows than Triple H, who is technically his boss. Now Vince is back to give Laurinaitis a job evaluation? Okay then. I would assume that they will say Vince is representing the Board of Directors in this instance and that’s how they’ll run with it because if they do anything else then this already confusing angle will make even less sense than it already does. Does your head hurt? Probably. Mine too.

At the announce table, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler talk about the McMahon article on Another mention of Cena vs. Cole for later.

Sin Cara made his entrance. If you missed his return on Raw, he’s wearing red & white now rather than blue & orange. There’s no more trampoline in his entrance. He just slides into the ring now like many other wrestlers.

Sin Cara vs. Hunico w/Camacho

Even though Sin Cara doesn’t wear the blue & yellow colors anymore, those colors are still spotlighted in the ring for his matches. Can we change that please? You may remember that last year Hunico had a run as fake Sin Cara. Who is the father of Camacho? Haku also known as Meng. Now you know. Sin Cara started out quickly by hitting an acrobatic arm drag and then a springboard hurricanrana on the floor. Hunico came back with a kick to the head. Hunico missed a corner splash, Sin Cara got him with a kick to the face and then a nice flying headscissors. Sin Cara hit a cartwheel into a back elbow. He knocked Camacho off the apron. Sin Cara hit his finishing move, which is the headscissors into a face plant/arm breaker combo. It really needs a name too. Anyway, that’s enough for the finish after about three minutes.

Winner: Sin Cara

Analysis: *1/2 It was an impressive performance from Sin Cara. I’ve been a fan from the beginning. I’m glad he didn’t botch any of his moves because that’s something that has been problematic for him in the past. Of course working with Hunico made that easy for him because they have a history of working together, so the chemistry is there. Not everybody in the company can work Sin Cara’s style. Hopefully in his second year in WWE he’s able to adapt to them too.

Up next is Ryback.


Back from break, we get clips of Ryback destroying jobbers on Smackdown.

A Raw 1,000th episode flashback clip aired. John Cena said his favorite moment was when he was “welcomed to the Raw family” in the draft lottery on June 6, 2005. Seven years later he’s still there and not leaving anytime soon. That led to a plug of the July 23rd Raw that is the start of weekly three hour Raw episodes.

Before the Ryback match, we met the jobbers Arthur Rosenberg and Stan Stansky. They are really tiny of course. They did an awful promo before the match where they spoke at the same time to make it even worse.

Ryback vs. Stan Stansky & Arthur Rosenberg

It’s the Raw debut of Ryback even though it’s not the Raw debut of the man portraying Ryback since Skip Sheffield was a part of Nexus. This gimmick is much better than that “yup yup what it do” stuff he was saying before. Ryback is also a face that is getting a good reaction. He’s booked similarly to Goldberg in WCW in the late 1990s. He squashed both guys in the corner and then gave them a clothesline at the same time that looked very stiff. He picked up Rosenberg and Stansky at the same time. He gave them his fining move where he puts them on his shoulders and drops them down in a move similar to Samoa Joe’s muscle buster. That move needs a name too. The match went about two minutes.

Winner: Ryback

Analysis: 1/2* Cole wondered how you stop Ryback. Maybe if you book him against people that aren’t jobbers. It’s getting tiresome to see him beat two guys every single week. When is he going to get a feud? That will be a test to see if the gimmick is working. I know you guys don’t like spoilers, but I have a feeling Kevin Nash will be the one to beat Ryback at Starrcade. Wait a second. Let’s just move on.

There are three moves that we’ve seen so far that need names: Sin Cara’s finisher, Ryback’s finisher and Ziggler’s Rocker Dropper/Fameasser. A finishing move or signature move needs a name to make it stand out from everything else. Having an announcer say “whattamaneuver” like Vince McMahon circa 1988 isn’t enough. After tweeting about this, @kjbrophy on Twitter mentioned that Sin Cara’s finisher is called “La Mistica” but I didn’t hear it this week on Raw.

After the break is the Kane/CM Punk match in the “must be a winner” top of hour two spot.


CM Punk made his entrance. While Lawler mentioned the No Way Out triple threat match for the WWE Title with Punk defending against Bryan & Kane, Cole made his phone call. This Cole stuff likely drove viewers from the show instead of keeping them tuned in for later.

Daniel “Yes” Bryan made his entrance. He said it was Q&A time with him. “Has AJ gone completely delusional since I dumped her? Yes. Will Kane destroy CM Punk tonight? Yes. At No Way Out in the triple threat will I become the new WWE Champion? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes!” And then the pyro went off. That was a high quality Q&A session from the best heel in WWE. Kane made his entrance.

CM Punk vs. Kane in a “Must Be A Winner” Match

Bryan sat at the commentary table, but he didn’t join in on commentary. That’s a shame. Punk knocked Kane out of the ring early with a clothesline over the top rope. Punk hit his signature dive between the top and middle rope. Punk hit a double axehandle off the top to the floor where Kane was. Back in the ring, Punk hit a crossbody for two. Kane regained control with a seated dropkick followed by a series of punches and kicks. Kane slammed him down followed by a legdrop by two. Cole pointed out that it’s been 14 years since Kane won the WWE Title, but he has won the World Title since then. Punk made a comeback with a spin kick to the gut. Kane grabbed him by the throat and threw Punk over the top to the floor for the vintage floor to commercial spot.


Back from break, Kane hit a back suplex on Punk. Kane slowed it down with a choke. He went up top, but Punk found the energy to hit a running knee while he was up there. Punk hit a running knee in the corner followed by a sloppy bulldog for two. Punk hit his springboard clothesline as his comeback continued. Punk couldn’t get Kane up for the GTS, so Kane hit him with a boot to the face. Punk hit a neckbreaker for two. Business was picking up at this point as they say. Punk went to the top and hit the top rope elbow. He was shocked that it didn’t pin Kane. I was not shocked. Kane escaped to the floor where Kane threw Punk into the barricade right beside where Bryan was sitting. Bryan kicked him in the ribs twice while the ref was looking at Kane. Kane went for a chokeslam. Punk hit a roudhouse kick so both guys were down. That led to AJ (Lee is her last name that they never use) running to the ring to tell the ref that Bryan attacked Punk. She’s in Punk gear because she’s such a huge fan of his. Punk dove through the middle and top rope to take out Bryan. Punk rolled back in, Kane grabbed him by the throat and hit a Chokeslam for the win at the 14 minute mark.

Winner: Kane

Analysis: **1/2 Punk lost to Bryan last week on Raw. He lost to Kane this week. It was a good match that was at a very slow pace prior the break, but when they came back to the action it really picked up and I liked a lot of the exchanges they had. Punk has obviously proven that he can have quality matches against anybody since we’ve seen him do it with Kane twice now while also having a good match with Mark Henry a couple of weeks back too. That’s a reason why he’s arguably the best performer in the business because he can put on an entertaining match with anybody no matter their size or talent level.

Post match, Bryan attacked Kane from behind. That wasn’t successful. Kane ended up stalking AJ in the corner. She smiled at him. He left the ring quickly. He’s old enough to be her dad really, but I have no idea where this is going. AJ went over to support Punk while Bryan looked on from ringside.

Analysis: My prediction for No Way Out is that Daniel Bryan will walk out as WWE Champion after pinning Kane. I think AJ will screw things up for Punk somehow and they added Kane to the mix so Punk could drop the title without getting pinned. That way they can have Punk chase Bryan for the title for a couple of PPVs. That’s my feeling at this point. It could always change, of course.

Later on, Cena vs. Cole.


The “did you know?” was: “WWE’s Facebook network has more fans than Major League Baseball and its 30 MLB teams’ pages COMBINED.” Yes they capitalized combined at the end there. They are so excited about that.

Backstage, Josh Mathews asked AJ about the look she gave Kane. He mentioned she portrayed fear and then she smiled. She said she likes when men look at her. Then she asked Josh to look at her. AJ “Do you not like aggressive women? Because I do.” That Q&A right there is going to make her very popular. She tapped Josh on the head and said he might just be her type.

Analysis: I’m not sure what kind of gimmick you can say AJ is portraying, but it’s something where she likes the attention of men and flirts with them to get out of any situation. Then again I may be totally wrong. I can never figure out crazy chicks.

We got another video of the Cena/Cole angle. That led to Cole pleading to the WWE Universe to ask Laurinaitis to call off the match.

After mentioning the Big Show/John Cena match at No Way Out, it led to a Big Show video package where he spoke about what he did. He claimed to be suppressed for 18 years. It’s as if he’s saying he was a babyface for 18 years when in fact he was a heel for many years of his career. He was even a heel two years ago when he gave Cena a chokeslam into a spotlight. He ended it with: “I’m not an entertainer. I’m a giant.” That’s not a good way to sell a PPV is it? The sitdown was pretty good, but you’re asking too much from the fans if you want us to just forget that this guy was a heel for many years in his career.

Kofi Kingston and R-Truth made their entrance for a tag match. They were taped up due to the beating they received last week at the hands of Big Show.


Kofi Kingston & R-Truth vs. Curt Hawkins & Tyler Reks

No entrance for Hawkins & Reks. When the show returned from break they were already in the ring. Kingston worked on Hawkins at the start. Truth got a tag and hit a legdrop. Hawkins brought in Reks, who was able to overpower Truth with a backbreaker for two. The heels had control for less than a minute when Truth hit a back kick on Reks. He tagged in Kingston, who was on fire on the now legal man Hawkins. Dropkick on Hawkins followed by a forearm and the Boom Drop. He knocked Reks off the apron. He hit a crossbody on Hawkins. Reks broke up the pin, so Truth took him out of the ring. Hawkins missed a corner splash, which led to Kingston hitting the Trouble in Paradise kick for the win at the four minute mark.

Winners: Kingston & Truth

Analysis: *1/2 I like Hawkins & Reks, but they didn’t have a chance here. They were there to put over the tag champs. There’s nothing wrong with that. I just hope that the champs get an actual feud sooner rather than later. A feud with the Primetime Players Titus O’Neil & Darren Young could be entertaining. I also think Primo & Epico could be a good feud, but they’ve been on TV even less since signing with AW. Worst agent ever?

Backstage, John Cena was shown walking to the ring while Michael Cole looked on with a worried look on his face.


Triple H talked about his most memorable Raw moment in honor of the 1,000th episode. He said his favorite moment was when he returned to Raw on January 7, 2002 in Madison Square Garden. This was after he tore his quad in May of 2001. That’s one of the loudest reactions in Raw history. No doubt about that. I would say his best move was dumping Chyna for Stephanie, though. It’s all about the game and how you play it.

John Cena made his entrance. While he was in the ring, the music of John Laurinaitis started up. He said that it’s clear to him everybody wants to see Cena vs. Cole. He said that he always over delivers, so the match will happen as a No Disqualification match provided that Cena is victorious over his first opponent: Tensai. Laurinaitis left.

John Cena vs. Tensai w/Sakamoto

The deal is that if Cena beats Tensai then he gets Cole. Tensai attacked Cena with power moves from the beginning while Cole celebrated. Cena came back with a clothesline that knocked Tensai to the floor. Sakamoto attacked Cena on the floor as they went to break for the vintage floor to commercial spot. That’s the third one of those in the show.


Back from break, Tensai was in control of Cena. He whipped him in the corner, but John came back with boots to the face. Tensai hit a legdrop on the arm. The camera kept showing Cole standing up at the announce table. Tensai rammed Cena into the announce table, which led to Cole slapping Cena in the face. Tensai whipped Cena into the steel steps. Tensai hit a butterfly suplex for two. Cole was screaming at ringside for the ref to count faster. Tensai missed a splash so Cena decked him with two shoulderblocks and then the spinning slam. That led to Cena hitting the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Tensai got back up and Cena gave him the Attitude Adjustment for the win at the nine minute mark.

Winner: John Cena

Analysis: **1/4 The rumor is that management isn’t thrilled with Tensai’s inability to get over with the crowd, so this could be the end of the gimmick. They already stripped the “Lord” part of his name. I don’t think he’ll be released or anything like that, but you never know. Cena did a good job of taking the beating, coming back and hitting his signature spots for the win. The crowd was pro-Cena here.

The bell rang as Cena’s match with Cole began.

John Cena vs. Michael Cole

Cole tried to run away. He was still in his suit. Cena caught him in the crowd. He threw Cole back in the ring. Cole had a microphone now, so he tried to talk his way out of having the match. Cole took off his jacket and tie. He bragged about how he embarrassed Lawler at WrestleMania. Please don’t make us remember that awful feud with Lawler. Cena said we’ll remember Cole as the guy that got his ass kicked tonight. Cena pulled off his pants (not a phrase I enjoy writing) and Cole was in his undies. This is when it’s not a good thing to have a big screen HD. Cena slapped Cole a few times. He put Cole in a headlock. He made Cole apologize to Lawler for WrestleMania last year, so he did. Can we get an apology for enduring that awful Cole/Lawler feud that went three months last year? I want an apology too! Cena wanted an apology for Jim Ross too. Cole called JR his idol, mentor and the guy he looked up to followed by Cole saying sorry. Cena plugged JR’s BBQ sauce, which Cole said “it’s slobberknocker good.” Lawler conveniently had some of JR’s BBQ sauce. Cena grabbed three bottles of it. I’ve tried it and it’s pretty good. Cena squeezed the BBQ sauce all over Cole. Cena went under the ring and grabbed the fire extinguisher. That led to a “yes” chant as he turned the fire extinguisher on Cole. Cena went for the AA when all of a sudden Tensai showed up with a double choke bomb. Tensai left. Cole covered for a count of two. Cole picked up the fire extinguisher. Cena ducked the attack and hit the Attitude Adjustment for the victory at the nine minute mark.

Winner: John Cena

The show ended with replays of the match as well Cena celebrating his wins. Lawler plugged that Vince McMahon would be on Raw next week in a special three hour episode. Cena sprayed the fire extinguisher on Cole some more as the show came to a close.

Analysis: DUD That was one of the worst “matches” in Raw history. Obviously it wasn’t done to be a good match or anything like that, but it was still placed in the main event slot and given ten minutes of air time. It’s a good thing they didn’t play a Be A Star video after that match because Cena was such a bully to Cole there. I’d like an apology not for that, but for putting a segment like that in the main event. What a waste of time.


Three Stars of the Show

1. CM Punk

2. Kane

3. Dolph Ziggler

The Scoreboard

4 out of 10

Last week: 4.5

2012 Average: 5.80

2012 High: 9 (January 30)

2012 Low: 3.5 (May 14)

Last 5 Weeks: 4.5, 5.5, 3.5, 6, 5.5

Final Thoughts

It was a below average edition of Raw. I’m not a hater by any means, but ever since Extreme Rules it’s hard for me to say that WWE has been producing quality television shows. If you missed this edition of Raw, was there anything of significance that really happened? No. I don’t think so. The only thing that was really noteworthy was the development in the WWE Title picture, which I’ll get to shortly.

Like I said in the open, it wasn’t a shocker to see Cena pushed heavily in the opening segment as well as the main event of the show. He was on for the first ten minutes and for the last twenty minutes. I didn’t think he did a bad job by any means, but nothing was accomplished as far as making me want to see his match with Big Show.

The most effective part of the broadcast was everything involving the Punk/Bryan/Kane feud with AJ thrown in there as well. It’s an intriguing story because it’s the one match at No Way Out where we really don’t know what may happen. They have done a good job of setting it up to where any of the three guys in the match can come out the victor. I also liked the follow up interview with AJ. She’s doing a good job.

While I liked the Punk/Kane and Sheamus/Ziggler matches, we did see both of those matches on Smackdown and I thought they were better matches on Smackdown too. I don’t understand the need to repeat matches that we just saw a few days ago.

It’s also a bad sign that for the third straight show (last week’s Raw, Smackdown and this week’s Raw) there was no use of the divas at all. Yes we saw AJ and Vickie, but no sign of Divas Champion Layla. We didn’t even get to see Eve, which disappoints me greatly.

I think the absence of key players like Chris Jericho and Randy Orton were felt here. It will be two months until we see Orton return while Jericho will be back at the end of this month. My hope was that their absence would lead to some different people in bigger roles, but instead we ended up getting even more Cena than I was expecting and a return to pushing Michael Cole as more than announcer. That earns a major groan from me. We don’t need more Cole. We need younger talent that doesn’t get the chance to be in the ring that often.

The No Way Out PPV on June 17 is likely going to be one of the least watched WWE PPVs of the year. The Cena/Show feud isn’t fresh since they’ve feuded twice before, the WWE Title picture is okay but not great and the World Title is obviously a level below that. There’s not a whole lot going on in the midcard either. Right now they have only announced three PPV matches with one episode of Raw left. Instead of pushing the PPV, they would rather push Vince McMahon on Raw next week as we’re left trying to figure out who is in charge of WWE. I don’t think people care about the PPV because it appears as if WWE doesn’t care about it very much. The 1,000th episode of Raw on July 23 seems like the bigger deal. It also doesn’t help that game 3 of the NBA Finals will be June 17, so that’s going to hurt the PPV numbers big time.

Hopefully things get better after No Way Out and on the road to Money in the Bank as well as the historic July 23rd edition of Raw and then Summerslam.


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I’ll be back on the weekend with my Canton’s Corner column as well as next Monday with a live edition of the Raw Deal at

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