Heee'ssss Baaacckk!!! That's right, the boss is back in town, and of course, it is in the capital state of WWE. Mr. Vincent Kennedy McMahon returns tonight to give WWE General Manager and Executive Vice-President Of Talent Relations a "performance evaluation." What will said assessment consist of?
Also, how will Kane, Daniel Bryan, & WWE Champion C.M. Punk antagonize each other six days before their schedule Triple-Threat match for the title. And what mind games will A.J. play this time?
With the heavy rumors of Alberto Del Rio being pulled from the World Championship match VS. Sheamus on Sunday due to (for real) injury, who will replace the "Mexican Aristocrat" as The Great White's opponent at No Way Out? How will this be determined?
Finally, with this being the last Raw before the Pay-Per-View, as usual, you will get my predictions on wins/losses for the big show.
Now on to the 3-hour Raw, live from Hartford, Connecticut!
Monday Night Raw for June 11th, 2012 - "Evaluation Time"
Introduction Segment: Welcoming
The regular Raw video plays with the pyro exploding in the arena to properly kick off the show. Michael Cole welcomes us, as does Justin Roberts, who introduces the General Manager of both Smackdown & Raw.
Segment #1: Arena Promo
Mr. John Laurinaitis wheels his way down to the ring in his "People Power" scooter. Big Johnny is all smiles and waves to the crowd as he hobbles into the squared circle. All he can utter is his name before "No Chance..." blares over the speakers. He's here!
Mr. McMahon marches to the ring, microphone in hand. Huge adoration from the fans. Johnny offers a handshake, to which Vince declines. He says this is all business and begins with the "Job Performance Evaluation." Vince demands one reason to save Laurinaitis' job.
Despite fumbling on 100th (1000th) episode of Raw, Laurinaitis echoes his "People Power" campaign as to what he has done for Monday Night Raw, and then sucks up to the big man. Laurinaitis calls himself an "astute businessman", to which Vince disputes this, listing errors in Johnny's leadership.
These errors included signing Brock Lesnar and costing the WWE two lawsuits (Johnny blamed that on Triple H), apparently signing the wrong one-legged wrestler (can't wait to read that story!), and re-signing the useless (according to McMahon) talent of The Big Show.
For some reason, World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus interjects himself into the evaluation. He does no kind to Laurinaitis, and orders McMahon to fire him! In turn, Laurinaitis orders Sheamus to wrestle an opponent of the G.M.'s choosing, and Vince tell shim that it better be a good opponent. In fact, every match should impress the owner, because if not, Johnny will here the two words "YOOOUUUU'RE FIRRREEED!"
Laurinaitis stomps off in a huff, with crutch under the arm, while Sheamus laughs on and Mr. McMahon hijacks the scooter and dumps it off the Raw stage.
Match #1: Single - World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus VS. Tensai (with Sakamoto)
Prior to the bout, we are informed that Alberto Del Rio will indeed be pulled from the PPV this Sunday, and later there will be a new #1 Contender crowned.
Oh, and Laurinaitis announces Tensai as Sheamus' opponent. (Yawn). Lock up and tussle between the two. Shoulder knock down from Tensai, but Sheamus fought back after a slap. They brawl back and forth for a while, before Sheamus clotheslines Tensai out of the ring.
Back live, Tensai has Sheamus in the corner and pummels away. Stiff knee-to-the-head by Tensai and a running back-splash in the opposite corner. Off the second rope, Tensai splashes down for a near-fall! Sheamus fights back again and builds momentum with harsh blows. Sheamus attempts one of his signatures, but Tensai reverses and dumps Sheamus over. Great White counters again and hammers away on Tensai against the ropes.
Sheamus ascends the top rope but gets caught into the double-chokeslam. 1 - 2 - Sheamus gets the shoulder up! Tensai looks shocked and the begins to head butt Sheamus on the mat. Another back and forth ensues before Sheamus sneaks in the Brogue Kick and the victory!
Winner via Pinfall: World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus
Segment #2: Office Promo
Mr. McMahon is in Laurinaitis' office and is quizzing the General Manager on his decision to who will replace Alberto Del Rio. Vickie Guerrero enters and pleas for Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler to face Sheamus in a Triple-Threat match. McMahon likes this idea, unless Laurinaitis comes up with something better. Big Johnny refers to Teddy Long, who suggests Dolph & Jack join The Great Khali and Intercontinental Champion Christian to have a Fatal-4-Way and determine the #1 Contender. McMahon loves this one and Johnny takes the credit.
Segment #3: Beatdown
Still in the ring is Tensai, who is berating his trainer Sakamoto, then lays an attack on him.
Segment #4: 1000 Raws
Cole & Lawler plug the huge show coming up on July 23rd (as I just did!) and air a video packages of celebrity Seth Green talking about his appearance from July 13, 2009.
Segment #5: Backstage Promo
Matt Striker is with WWE Tag-Team Champion R-Truth, who says that it wasn't him but Little Jimmy who wasn't feeling well following Big Show's assault two weeks ago. R-Truth proclaims that John Cena will beat Show, but then gets promptly knocked out by Show.
Match #2: Mixed-Tag-Team - United States Champion Santino Marella & Divas Champion Layla VS. Ricardo Rodriguez & Beth Phoenix
Beth & Layla start this bout. Waistlock and headlock by Layla. Rodriguez tries to interfere but gets kicked off by Layla. Phoenix takes advantage with a hard slap to the chest. Ricardo blind-tags Beth, who suplexes Layla. Rodriguez realizes what he did and quickly tags back out.
Beth takes over again until Layla headscissors/headlock takes down both Phoenix and Rodriguez. Santino taunts Ricardo on the outside with The Cobra, and Rodriguez runs right into the ring post. In the ring, Beth harshly kicks Layla and then plants her with the Glam Slam. 1 - 2 - 3!
Winners via Pinfall: Beth Phoenix & Ricardo Rodriguez
Post-match, Ricardo celebrates despite not doing anything in the match. Santino tears off his white shirt to reveal a Justin Bieber t-shirt underneath. Rodriguez runs off embarrassed.
Segment #6: Office Promo
David Otunga compliments both Mr. McMahon's suit and Laurinaitis' job. However, Otunga tries to plug himself to replace Johnny if needed, but McMahon doesn't buy it. Kofi Kingston barges in and wants to know were Laurinaitis is. On cue, he walks in too and books a match for Kofi and Big Show, inside of a Steel Cage! McMahon responds with "not bad."
Up next, Daniel Bryan!
Segment #7: Arena Promo
Daniel Bryan is out and declares that he is not like his other opponents, C.M. Punk and Kane. He says this because they have a weakness, in A.J. Bryan claims Punk is jealous of Daniel's superior wrestling ability and he says that Kane thinks "it's getting to second base when a women looks him in the eyes and doesn't vomit!"
It's also question and answer time. The q: "this Sunday, will I emerge as the new WWE Champion?" "Yes, yes, yes, yes...!" His opponent, and WWE Champion, C.M. Punk cuts him off.
The "Straight-Edge Superstar" accuses Bryan of talking about A.J. way too much to be not interested. Punk takes another shot, saying that A.J. is out of Daniel's league, as is he to C.M. inside the ring. The "Second-City Saint" proclaims that he will walk out the WWE Champion come Sunday.
"No, no, no!" retorts Bryan. He insults Punk and then calls him a "sellout." Punk reminds Daniel that almost a year ago, he spoke his mind on the stage of Raw during the shoot/work promo in June 2011. Punk says he is still that same guy and has not changed a bit. He doesn't say the same for Bryan, who calls a "self-absorbed, insecure, obnoxious, goat-faced moron!" Punk says he will give Bryan a wake-up call on Sunday, ironically enough, when he puts him to sleep.
Kane now enters and informs his two much-smaller foes of what he has done during his tenure. Kane declares that his "pipebombs" are actually pipebombs, like lighting J.R. on fire, electrocuting Shane McMahon's testicals, and tombstoning a priest (missed that one!). Kane then states he will become the new WWE Champion.
The person in the middle of all of them now walks down. A.J. begs them to stop and then plays more mind games. She tells Kane he has a heart, is still in love with Daniel Bryan, and the WWE Champion is the coolest guy she's ever known. In the end, she knows the best man will win this Sunday.
Making another match is the General Manager, who books a mixed-tag-team match, with Kane & Bryan teaming to take on WWE Champion C.M. Punk & A.J.!
Up next is the Fatal-4-Way
Match #3: Fatal-4-Way-Elimination - Intercontinental Champion Christian VS. The Great Khali VS. "The Show-Off" Dolph Ziggler VS. "The All-American-American" Jack Swagger
They all face-off with Khali taking out the competition early and then dominating. Eventually, Swagger & Ziggler get smart and double-team Khali. Christian flies off with a Frog Splash and all three cover Khali to eliminate.
Khali is eliminated.
Back live, on a more even playing field, it is now Christian, Ziggler, & Swagger. Christian is fighting off both Dolph & Jack, until he gets nicely dropkicked by Ziggler. They double-team with a sit-down-facebuster, and Vickie slaps Christian. Ziggler gets tossed over the ropes and Christian fires back against Swagger.
Diving elbow from Christian but he gets rolled up by Dolph. 1 - 2 - Ziggler kicks out! Swagger then gets out of a Killswitch but misses a second-rope splash. Christian with a sunset-flip, which is reversed into the Ankle Lock from Swagger.
Christian counters and drops "The All-American-American" with the Killswitch, but Ziggler sneaks in and gets the pin!
Jack Swagger is eliminated.
Christian tries a quick roll-up too, but to no avail. Dolph tries to go for the ankle of Christian but gets caught in a flapjack. 1 - 2 - Dolph kicks out! Another beautiful dropkick from Dolph but only for 2! Ziggler locks in a submission hold to do further damage to Christian's ankle.
Christian gets out of that and then counters a sleeper a bit later. Christian with a spear, but Ziggler still kicks out after 2! Ziggler ducks the Killswitch and drives Christian with the Fameasser. 1 - 2 - Christian kicks out! Zig-Zag is missed and a dropping DDT from Christian for another near fall! Christian goes up the turnbuckle but gets distracted by Guerrero. He jumps off onto his injured ankle, allowing Ziggler to hit the Zig-Zag and put him away!
Winner via Pinfall & NEW #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship: Dolph Ziggler
As Dolph celebrates, he walks up the stage to meet his new opponent, Sheamus. "Great White" stares down his challenger and shoves the title in his face. Dolph just mouths off.
Segment #8: Backstage Promo
Natalya wants Vince to bring the whole Hart family back, and he will think about it. Meanwhile, he engages in a dance with The Funkettes, much to the shock of "Long Island Iced-Z" Zack Ryder.
Match #4: 2 on 1 - Ryback VS. Willard Fillmore & Rutherford Hayes
(Gee, I wonder who wins!) Job-city, as Ryback polishes these dudes off like normal.
Winner via Pinfall: Ryback
Segment #9: Office Promo
Vince and Hornswoggle are mocking J.R. John Cena then walks in and tries to convince McMahon to fire Laurinaitis. McMahon doesn't give one way or the other, but does berate Otunga again for sucking up. McMahon tells him that no one has respect for anyone who would "pucker up and kiss another man's behind, no offense." The "no offense" was to William Regal sitting on the couch, who in 2001, did just that act, being the first member of the Vince McMahon "Kiss My Ass Club." (Great reference!)
Match #5: Steel Cage Single - WWE Tag-Team Champion Kofi Kingston VS. The Big Show
Big Show dominates and lays waste to Kofi most of this bout, until Kofi manages a "Trouble In Paradise" spin-kick, for a 2 count! Kofi tries the escape but gets pulled back in. Knockout punch and Show walks out the cage to win.
Winner via Exit Of The Steel Cage: The Big Show
Match #5: Single - Sin Cara VS. Curt Hawkins
Wristlock start by Hawkins, which is countered with a springboard snapmare and double-flying headscissors from Cara. A corkscrew plancha to the outside pleases the crowd, but Hawkins yanks Sin from behind and back out the ring. Cara comes back with a springboard back elbow, dropkicks, and springboard armdrag. Cara plants his spinning headscissors facebuster for the 1 - 2 - 3!
Winner via Pinfall: Sin Cara
Segment #10: Backstage Promo
Following the No Way Out card rundown, Vince greets Daniel Bryan, who is getting ready for his match. Vince is impressed with Daniel, which Bryan doesn't quite believe. Vince dolts out the "can't judge a book by the cover" to explain his admiration of Bryan. Daniel says he and McMahon are alike, with them both being "self-made success stories who defied expectations."
Also, Mr. Laurinaitis has invited a former Monday Night Raw main-event to compete up next! (Intriguing!)
Segment #11: 1000 Raws
Dolph Ziggler recalls his favorites, which was the first Monday Night Raw on January 11, 1993.
Match #6: Single - Heath Slater VS. ???
Slater takes the microphone and questions why they are celebrating the past, when they should be looking at the future. According to him, it's "Slater Time." But his opponent has that original moniker - that's right, "IT'S TIME, IT'S TIME, IT'S VADER TIME!"
Vader is the opponent from the past and hasn't changed a bit. According to the fans, "you still got it," and Vader does, totally dominating Slater. Big belly-to-belly suplex and Vader finishes Heath off with the Vaderbomb splash!
Winner via Pinfall: Vader
Segment #12: Backstage Promo
A.J. is freaking out about the match, but Punk promises nothing will happen to her. He tells her to just stand on the apron and he will do all the wrestling. Oh, and don't do anything crazy!
Match #7: Tag-Team - Kane & Daniel Bryan VS. A.J. & WWE Champion C.M. Punk
Kane & Punk begin, with C.M. delivering a couple kicks to Kane. Corner knee/bulldog combo is pushed off into a big boot from Kane. Tag to Bryan, who comes in and kicks away at Punk. Bryan grips on a grounding headlock, but is pushed into the ropes and a calf-kick from Punk. Swinging neckbreaker and a powerslam. 1 - 2 - Bryan kicks out!
Punk flies off with the elbow, but misses. He tries to tag A.J., but then remembers. Kane grabs Punk by the throat, but no-go, and then a Tombstone attempt is foiled too. Kane slaps Punk into A.J., so an "official" tag was made.
A.J. gingerly walks toward Kane. She smiles flirtatiously at the Big Red Machine then skips around him like a child. She hops up on Kane and plants a huge make-out session kiss upon his lips. Kane just stares at her and then tags in Daniel. Kane walks away. A.J. quickly tags back Punk, who dives off with the elbow and the 3-count!
Winners via Pinfall: A.J. & WWE Champion C.M. Punk
Post-match, Kane is staring from the stage and A.J. sits down in the middle of the ring, ala Punk. All three men are confused as to what's going on.
Up next, the fate of John Laurinaitis!
Segment #13: Arena Promo
The Chairman Of The Board is back in the ring, followed by a bunch of "security." Mr. McMahon recalls fond memories of Connecticut, particularly his daughter Stephanie being born in Hartford. So, as one life began, another "professionally" should end he thinks.
John Laurinaitis struggles to the ring again on his crutch. Laurinaitis says that Vince doesn't need the security for himself, but Vince informs that the hired-help is actually for Big Johnny when he is escorted out of the building. Laurinaitis tries another "suck-up" tactic to save his gig.
Vince's response: "John Laurinaitis..."
Before he can finish, The Big Show interrupts. He reminds the boss about his iron-clad contract, which if he was to be fired, then Vince would have to pay Show millions of dollars for years to come. He then takes more trips down memory lane, recalling all the humiliating tasks Vince made him to. Show's had enough and is now going to be a giant.
Show threatens that instead of John Laurinaitis, it should be John Cena Vince should be worried about. That man now comes out and shakes Vince's hand. Cena then criticizes Show's actions, telling him that he has always been a "giant." Cena plays head games with Show, demanding that Big has to beat him to justify everything that Show was talking about. Cena ponders what happens if Show doesn't win.
McMahon interjects and informs us that he will also be in a corner Sunday. If Show loses, then Laurinaitis is fired. A brawl now ensues and Show "accidentally" knocks out Mr. McMahon. Laurinaitis and Show high-tail it, while Cena stares on in awe to close the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter's Rumblings - By Moe Tapp
Man, was there a lot in this show! Most of it great too, but still a little too much. It really will be hard to do three hours in a month and half full-time. Good luck! In any case, onto the nitpickings and predictions.
Excellence: Mr. Vince McMahon - he was on it tonight, especially with the one-line zingers. It was refreshing to see him in the baby-face boss role this time around, and he really played it perfectly. Tensai/Sheamus - actually a better match than I thought, especially since I'm bored of Tensai and couldn't care less about his wrestling right now.
Bryan/Punk/Kane/A.J. promo/match to set up more for No Way Out - all four know how to sell this angle/program and are doing it very, very well!
Dolph Ziggler as #1 Contender - great choice, and more on him in my predictions.
Nice to see Vader again, and yes, "he still had it!" Also, cool that each week will be another past Raw main-eventer up until July 23.
Lastly, THE CROWD! Other than Vince, Hartford loves WWE and was really in-tune with everything tonight. That is also very refreshing to actually HEAR a crowd with degrees of passion and excitement for all that went on during the broadcast.
Bogus: First mixed-tag, Funkettes, Sin Cara/Hawkins & Ryback did nothing for me other than "filler." Shame Alberto Del Rio is out of his program with Sheamus - those two had a great rivalry going. Even though he had a decent match, still don't care anymore about the Tensai gimmick - I think it wore out after his inconsistent wins/loss and opponents.
Overall, a great "go-home" show prior to the Pay-Per-View and set up very well. Onto my guesses:
The Big Show over John Cena via screwjob with Vince & Laurinaitis
I'll try again with Daniel Bryan winning the WWE Championship thanks to (somehow) A.J. and this being an entire ruse between them both to fool everyone
Christian retains his Intercontinental Championship against Cody Rhodes
As much as I want Dolph to win, he needs to be built slowly, so I say that Sheamus will win, but these two will continue a storyline through the summer and a battle for the World Title
Let's see (as always) how I do after No Way Out. Enjoy for those who are watching, actually looks like it could be pretty good. Until next time as always, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers & Wrestling Fans!