A cliffhanger and a question mark loom over tonight’s Raw. The cliffhanger is the pondering that WWE Champion C.M. Punk has about John Cena, and will he name him the #1 Contender for the title?
The question mark is Triple H’s career – “The Game” is set to address the WWE Universe regarding SummerSlam, Brock Lesnar, his future, etc…What will the former 13-time World Heavyweight & WWE Champion have to say?
Plus, following Smackdown’s big backstage brawl between tag-teams, what will their respective General Managers do to determine a team that will face Kofi Kingston and R-Truth for the championships?
Finally, will there be a Wade Barrett sighting, other than promos?
All this and much more, so read on to find out what happens on Monday’s favorite wrestling program…
Monday Night Raw Report for August 27th, 2012 – “An Unanswered Question and An Unanswered Demand”
Introduction Segment: Recap & Welcoming
A video package of last week’s ending with WWE Champion C.M. Punk, John Cena, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and their confrontation airs. The regular Raw video plays and the pyro goes boom, as Monday Night Raw is live from the B.O.O. Harris Bradley Centre.
Michael Cole welcomes us to Raw, then begins to read Jerry “The King” Lawler’s tweet following last week. Lawler rises from the announce table and takes the microphone, entering the ring.
Segment #1: Arena Promo
He admits that he may have miss-spoke regarding a remark he made toward WWE Champion C.M. Punk. He says he did apologize to Punk, but then got kicked in the head right after. Instead of apologizing again, Lawler wants C.M. to come out and say “sorry” himself.
The WWE Champion does strut out (with a new look of a recently shaven head) and questions Jerry’s request. He turns it around and claims that “The King” turned his back on the WWE Universe when he “slandered it’s beloved champion.” Due to the lack of respect Lawler showed Punk, as the champion claimed, that’s why he got booted in the head.
However, “The Straight-Edge Superstar” does apologize.
“I am sorry Jerry Lawler. I’m sorry that all it takes to get in the WWE Hall Of Fame is to beat a bunch of nobodies from Memphis. To get into a slap-fight with a Hollywood comedian. To act like a juvenile, infantile 14-year-old for your entire twenty-three year career here in the WWE. I’m sorry that your jealousy and lack of respect for me stems from never being WWE Champion yourself. And I’m sorry that when you finally got your big WrestleMania moment, you couldn’t beat Michael Cole! I’m sorry I’m raising my voice and I’m sorry that you’ve become the WWE’s circus-seal, ready to regurgitate any opinion that’s barked in your ear. Most of all, I’m sorry about the man you’ve become.”
Punk sees that he may have touched a nerve (gee, ya think!) and questions him to fight. “You’re just a commentator, I’m the best in the world, and everybody knows, because they paid to see me, that I would embarrass you, I would embarrass you.”
Lawler reiterates that he wants an apology, not to fight. Punk though says he can see it. He knows that Lawler wants to fight, and challenges him to fight. He leaves him with a decision: “you’re gonna leave embarrassed. You’re either gonna leave embarrassed because I’m gonna beat you within an inch of your life, or you’re gonna leave embarrassed because you wouldn’t fight me. Decision’s yours King. Think about it.”
The WWE Champion shouts out “respect” as he walks up the ramp, while Jerry says he will “think about it” and goes back to the commentator table.
(Great opener segment!)
Match #1: Single – “The All-American-American” Jack Swagger VS. Ryback
Lock up and Swagger tries an easy control with knees. He ducks a clothesline but gets a big boot instead. Ryback slams his head three times on the mat and literately shoves his face onto the canvas. Jack counters with a drop-toehold into the ropes and runs off with a shoulder block. Big scoop slam and Swagger goes for the “Swaggerbomb,” but Ryback attempts a counter. However, “The All-American-American” grabs his feet and goes for the Ankle Lock, but Ryback kicks him off.
Ryback builds up momentum and wants to “finish it!” Ryback hoists Swagger up and drives him with the marching Samoan Drop. Ryback covers and “finishes it!”
Winner via Pinfall: Ryback
Cole & Lawler now speculate on Triple H’s career and hype up his appearance. It also announced that John Cena will take on Intercontinental Champion The Miz, and Jerry Lawler….is still thinking.
Match #2: Single – Natalya VS. Divas Champion Layla (Non-Title)
Prior to the bout, you must excuse her! Vickie Guerrero marches out and demands this match to be over with quickly, since she has an important announcement to make. The bell rings and Natalya takes down Layla with a sweep of the legs and shoves her to the mat, then stomps on her.
Layla counters an Irish Whip into a roll-up for a near-fall, then springboards off the middle corner rope with a crossbody for another two! The Divas champion rear-bumps Natalya, but gets caught in the ring apron, which Natalya pulled out. Layla shoves off a Sharpshooter, but Layla reverses a suplex into a small package, but only receives two. She then nails Natalya in the head with a high kick and gets the victory!
Winner via Pinfall: Divas Champion Layla
Vickie shoes Layla out of the ring pronto and begins her announcement.
Segment #2: Arena Promo
Guerrero cites last week’s match, between Chris Jericho and Dolph Ziggler. She reviews the stipulations, in which Jericho losing would cause him to be terminated, and if Ziggler lost, he would hand over the Money In The Bank Briefcase to Jericho. She called this an abuse of power by Raw General Manager A.J. Lee and demands a new G.M., who is an “adult” be named.
The Raw G.M. does skip out, and just as she is about to say something, A.J. swerves and slaps Vickie! She then attacks and rolls around with Guerrero, until Vickie leaves the ring. A.J. gets up and smiles, like nothing is wrong.
Segment #3: Video Promo
Cole says that throughout the evening, we will be taking a look at highlights from Triple H’s career. The first up are clips from his run with D-Generation X.
Segment #4: Video Promo
An earlier recording of Daniel Bryan in “Anger Management” classes airs. He protests that he has issues and is not an angry man. “I am fine.” A young boy with a goat mask then walks in, and Daniel goes off, claiming a joke and that he is not a “goat-face.” The “doctor” calms him down to end round one.
Segment #5: Arena Promo
A tweet from WWE Champion C.M. Punk is read and he will let Jerry Lawler have the punch if he chooses to fight Punk. Lawler then stands up on the announcing table and goes through the “accusations” from earlier.
He names those “nobodies” in Tennessee as Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Harley Race, Jack Brisco, “Superstar Billy Graham, Bill Dundee, and the list goes on. Lawler wonders how long Punk may have lasted in Memphis. He might act like a fun-loving 14-year-old sometimes, he has never won the WWE Championship he does respect comedian, the late-great Andy Kaufman.
He says he is a WWE Hall Of Famer, but you don’t get in there unless you stand up when the time is right, to someone who’s younger than you and in the prime of their life.
“C.M. Punk, I know I’m not the best in the world, but I don’t think you are either. So I’ve never backed down in a challenge in my life, and I’m not gonna start tonight. So you wanna know Punk if I’ll fight you? You damn right I’ll fight you tonight!”
Lawler walks to the back as Cole hypes up the impending contest.
Match #3: Single – John Cena VS. Intercontinental Champion The Miz (Non-Title)
Collar-elbow tie-up and a side headlock takedown by The Miz. Cena whips Miz into the ropes and leapfrogs him into a side headlock takedown of his own.
Miz apparently avoided receiving the A.A. (it was not seen because of bad camera work, who were focused on Cole and new commentator for the night, Josh Matthews – oops!) Cena hits the bulldog off the ropes but only gets a one-count. Miz is whipped off the ropes but comes back with a couple of kicks and gets a near-fall! The I.C. Champion measures Cena in the corner and runs at him with a clothesline, then dives off the top-rope with an on-target axe handle.
Miz clamps on a grounding rear-chinlock, as the fans chant “Lets go Cena/Cena sucks.” Cena reverses a suplex into one of his own, but gets caught with a back/neckbreaker combo by “The Awesome One.” 1 – 2 – Cena kicks out! Straight kick to the face, but Cena gets the shoulder up again! Miz is looking frustrated now.
Cena reverses another kick into the STF submission, but Miz crawls and breaks it with the ropes. Cena staggering to get up and walks right into a DDT. 1 – 2 – John kicks out! Miz again sets up Cena for the Skull-Krushing Finale, but Cena reverses into another A.A. try, but Miz gets out of that into a front-slam.
This time, Cena ducks out of a running clothesline in the corner and “powers up.” A couple of shoulder blocks and the spin-out back-drop, plus a 5-Knuckle Shuffle and the Attitude Adjustment complete the bout!
Winner via Pinfall: John Cena
Time for the poll of the night – this one involves Lawler & Punk in either a “Tables Match,” “Steel Cage Match,” or “No-Disqualification Match.” (Considering I have yet to see a cage, I wonder which one will win out!)
Segment #6: Video Promo
More highlights of Triple H’s career played, this time a general montage of his “Cerebral Assassin” ways.
Segment #7: Video Promo
Another airing of Daniel Bryan’s “anger management” class is shown, this time where his rips on Raw General Manager A.J. for making him go there, among putting him in matches and leaving him at the altar. The doctor informs Bryan that their last patient is about to join the group, who of course is Kane. The “Big Red Machine” takes a seat, despite the fear of the other patients and Daniel’s disapproval.
Match #4: Single – “The One-Man Band” Heath Slater VS. Santino Marella
A few comedy bits ensue before Slater gets control and dominates. He chokes and slaps Marella against the ropes and slingshots him. (Note, the crowd chants “boring” and I agree, but not because of Slater.) Marella fires up to the point where he puts on “The Cobra,” which again gets distracted by Aksana, but instead he still manages to get the job done over Heath with the Cobra Chop!
Winner via Pinfall: Santino Marella
Match #5: Tag-Team – “The Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay (with “The Funkadactyls” Naomi & Cameron) and Sin Cara VS. Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes
Before the match, Rhodes cuts a small promo ripping the Milwaukee people, comparing them to Brodus’ girth and Car’s “hideous looks.”
Live again, Rhodes has Cara locked in a rear-chinlock and tries to unmask him. Knee-to-the-face for a one-count from Cody. Sandow is tagged in and he drops Cara with a Russian Legsweep and a spinning elbow drop. Rhodes back in and works over Cara, but Sin shoves him against the ropes and sends him flying with a Hurricanrana. Cara manages to crawl and slap hands with Brodus to trade.
Clay dominate with a running powerslam, but Sandow breaks up the pin and kicks away at his knee. Cara breaks that up and dives off the top rope onto Damien on the outside. Brodus headbutts Cody and splashes him for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winners via Pinfall: “The Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay (with “The Funkadactyls” Naomi & Cameron)
As usual, the winners celebrate and dance with young fans.
Segment #8: Video Promo
The last installment of “Anger Management.” The doctor asks Kane to remove his mask and then tell the group about himself. He does so, and then proclaims “I’m the devil’s favorite demon.” Doctor wants him to share, which Bryan says “this is a bad idea,” and shakes his head.
Much like the movie “Austin Powers International Man Of Mystery” with the character Dr. Evil in his session, Kane recalls his entire history from birth to now, including “for reasons never quite explained, I have an unhealthy obsession with torturing Pete Rose.”
The doctor decides to end the session and then asks his patients to make an “anger collage.” Bryan questions what it is and then the doctor himself, saying he looks like “Mr. Rogers with a cheap sweater, horrible pants…” as they walk out the door.
Harold, another patient, thanks Kane for sharing, and Kane responds by grabbing him by the throat, “no problem Harold.” (This was actually really funny, mainly due to Kane.)
Up next, Daniel Bryan is in the arena and will take on one-half of the tag-team champions. Also, another of Triple H’s greatest moments will play.
Segment #9: Video Promo
As mentioned above, a montage of “The Game’s” monumental achievements in his wrestling career are shown.
Match #6: Single – Tag-Team Champion R-Truth (with Tag-Team Champion Kofi Kingston) VS. Daniel Bryan
Daniel opens the contest with a sportsmanship fist-bump with R-Truth. Lockup and a hammer lock by both, into a side-headlock takedown. Truth wants another fist-bump, but gives it to “Little Jimmy” instead and Bryan headbutts and kicks away at him. Truth boots Bryan in the face then runs out of the corner with a clothesline.
Two slaps and a tornado elbow for a two-count from Truth! Truth holds onto the ropes then chucks Daniel out of the ring. Another harsh slap and Truth takes a microphone, inciting a “yes” chant from Milwaukee. Bryan takes the mike and snaps, repeatedly screaming “no”, but also gets counted-out in the meantime!
Winner via Count-out: Tag-Team Champion R-Truth (with Tag-Team Champion Kofi Kingston)
Daniel snaps again, taking out the steel steps and having a tantrum in the ring.
Up next, Triple H!
Segment #10: Arena Promo
Donned in a suit (minus jacket, but cast on left arm added), Triple H soaks in the adoration from the crowd and slaps many hands in the aisle on the way down. To add effect, Cole & Matthews are giving him a “standing o” too. He cuts to the chase and wants to kill the suspense right away. “Am I going to retire?”
HHH starts at the beginning, citing two things he wanted to accomplish: “one, was try to step foot in this ring and create something that people would never forget, and the other was to retire from all of this before all of this retired me.”
“The Game” says that everybody comes to a crossroad in their career and they have to ask themselves, is it time? Time is the one thing that no one can fight and it will win.
“I never wanted to be the guy that was just hanging out. Never wanted to be the guy that hung on too long, the guy that was just waiting for the nostalgia pop, never wanted to be the guy that was quite frankly getting in the ring ’cause someone was willing to write him a check. I never wanted to hang on too long, I didn’t want to be the guy that was just too beat up and too crippled inside to be able to hold his own kids. I never wanted to be the punch-drunk fighter that couldn’t have a life when this was over. That being said, for the first time in my career, I find myself at that crossroad.”
Triple H says that Brock Lesnar has made him ask the question, “am I done?…” “I don’t know. I’m beat up, I’m probably more tired than I’ve ever been in my life, I’m broken again. What I want to do is I want to come out in this ring and I want to be ‘The Cerebral Assassin’, I want to be ‘The King Of Kings,” I want to be ‘The Game,’ I want to be ‘Triple H,’ I want to tell you ‘I am going to rise up again and I am going to kick Brock Lesnar’s ass, because that is what I do!’”
“That’s what I want to do, but I can’t. And the truth is because I don’t know if I can.” Triple H says that if he can’t say he can be better than before and beat Brock Lesnar, then maybe he’s answered his own questions. “You can do it” chants ring out now.
“The Game” takes a minute now to say “thank you” to all of us. Triple H says that despite our feelings for them, “every superstar that walks down that ramp, every person that steps through those ropes into this ring, does so for one reason. They put their bodies, their health on the line. They leave it all in this ring. They sweat, they pay the price, they sacrifice everyday for one thing, and that is for your entertainment. And trust me, every single person stands back there behind that curtain and right before their music hits, when they’re alone and they’re inside of themselves and there’s no one else around, they question themselves, they question whether when they walk out that curtain anyone will care.”
“And I can honestly say that for my entire I feel like every time I walked out that curtain, all of you have cared. And that’s gotten me through all of it. When I was exhausted from the road, when I was broken, when I was beat up, when muscles were torn, when bones were broken, what got me through all of it, was all of you and all of your reactions, and for that I can honestly say ‘thank you from the bottom of my heart.’ ‘Thank you for letting me play the game.’ You all gave me the reaction every night and for that I will never, ever forget each and every one of you. And hopefully, if I’ve succeeded at all in my career, then hopefully I have done something in this ring, and hopefully in some way, you’ll never forget me. Thank you.”
Triple H drops the microphone, listens to the applause and calls of his name, gives the fans some more hand-slaps, turns around on the stage, and walks away.
Match #7: Tag-Team – “The Showoff” Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez) VS. Randy Orton and World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus
Prior to the match, Ziggler comes out with Jericho’s music, then cuts a small promo. He says that “Y2J will not be seen at this time because of me. I cost him his WWE contract, and you will never, ever see Jericho again.”
Orton and Ziggler start it off. Randy drops Ziggler with a shoulder block then a clothesline after Dolph leapfrogs him. Springboard suplex, then Orton tosses Del Rio out of the ring. Sheamus follows up with a diving shoulder block off the apron to take out Del Rio. Powerslam from Orton, but Ziggler rolls out of the ring for a break.
Alberto chucks Orton back in the ring and Dolph takes control, wearing him down with a rear-chinlock and knee-to-the-gut. Del Rio is tagged and he hammers away on Orton’s left arm, hoping to weaken it for his submission later. Orton rolls over Del Rio in the corner for a roll-up but only gets two. Randy manages to throw Alberto over the ropes and slowly crawls to Sheamus.
The World Heavyweight Champ unloads and cleans house on both Ziggler and Del Rio. Dolph slides out of a fireman’s carry, but gets slammed with the Irish Curse backbreaker. 1 – 2 – Del Rio breaks it up. Ricardo tosses the briefcase to Ziggler, but Orton catches him in a backbreaker and Sheamus nails the Brogue Kick to cover and get the W!
Winners via Pinfall: Randy Orton and World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus
Segment #11: Locker Room Promo
Jerry Lawler is telling someone that while he appreciates this person being back there, he doesn’t want his help. The camera reveals it to be John Cena. Lawler states that if Cena helps, then Punk will throw it in his face that he needed aide to beat him. Lawler says he needs to beat C.M. Punk on his own. Cena tells him “good luck,” slaps his shoulder and walks off.
Match #8: “Long Island Iced-Z” Zack Ryder VS. David Otunga
(Kane comes out before this contest and sits on commentary. Josh is stands away from the table, as does Cole.) Otunga is aggressive and all over Ryder with kicks, a clothesline, and a shoulder block. Suplex from David for a two-count. Zack counters with a faceplant, but Otunga yanks him off the middle rope. Out of nowhere, Otunga misses a clothesline and Ryder drives him down with the Roughryder Leg Lariat for the victory!
Winner via Pinfall: “Long Island Iced-Z” Zack Ryder
Post-match, Kane wants to chokeslam Ryder, but has second thoughts and switches to Otunga, slamming him down by the throat.
Backstage, WWE Champ C.M. Punk is warming up with kicking practice against a pad.
Up next, the poll results will be revealed.
It is made known that Smackdown General Manager Booker T. has booked (pardon the “pun”) Dolph Ziggler to take on Randy Orton this Friday on Smackdown!
Segment #12: Arena Promo
Well, I was wrong, as Lawler and Punk will go on in a Steel Cage Match. Raw General Manager A.J. Lee then announces that C.M. Punk will defend his WWE Championship at Night Of Champions against….John Cena!
The main-event is next!
Match #9: Single (Steel Cage) Jerry “The King” Lawler VS. WWE Champion C.M. Punk
Punk stands and demands Lawler to take the first shot. “The King” obliges and punches down C.M. The WWE Champ comes back with kicks and knees in the corner, and then a neckbreaker. Punk continues to pound away on Lawler, then tear at his mouth. He now toys with Jerry, just lightly kicking him around the ring, and yelling “I’m the new king of Memphis, Tennessee.” Punk punches away a bit more, then begins to ascend the top rope, where he turns around, hops down, and runs at Lawler in the corner.
“The Straight-Edge Superstar” goes to the top again, but Lawler trips him up and attempts to crawl out the cage, but is pulled back in. Repeated elbow drops from C.M. and a neckbreaker, but Lawler shoves him into the steel mesh fence. Lawler starts punching now, and takes Punk down with a clothesline. He climbs the turnbuckle and hits the Fist Drop! 1 – 2 – C.M. Punk gets the shoulder up!
Punk is busted open, but cuts off Lawler before he can escape and runs at him with a knee-in-the-corner. The WWE Champion signals for the Go-To-Sleep, picks up Lawler and locks him in the Anaconda Vice instead, forcing Jerry to tap out!
Winner via Submission: WWE Champion C.M. Punk
Post-match, Punk grabs a chain from under the ring, re-enters and locks the cage. He holds up Lawler by the head and demands him to say “I’m the best in the world.” Lawler responds with “hell no,” and Punk beats on him some more.
Punk reiterates his favorite statement and reiterates the punishment on Lawler. Cena runs down and orders the cage to be opened. Cena is yelling at Punk from the outside that he is “way out of line.” As the cage is being raised, Punk rolls out, collects his WWE Championship and walks off with his hand held high. Cena is in the ring with officials, tending to Lawler as Raw fades to black.
End Of Raw.
This was an “meh kind of…” Raw. I say that because while the promos were great, most of the matches were kind of “throw-away.” More explanations below.
Excellence: Opening promo – C.M. Punk was awesome in his “apology” to Lawler, bringing up all of his real-life faults and failings. This type of talk starts to make you hate him because you know he is throwing stuff in people’s face and basically bullying them. Heel turn starting to be accomplished. Lawler’s response was equally great because he stood his ground, and then made us wait for a while before his decision. And his deciding promo was also well-done because he stood up for all he believed in and had done in his career.
Ryback/Swagger – actually a bit of competition this week for Ryback, and was a pretty decent match ta-boot!
The “Anger Management Classes.” At first, I thought this would end up being too “hokey”, but Bryan really made it work with his personality, and then Kane, completely ripping off the movie I mentioned in the original recap above, was brilliant and really funny, all while speaking like Kane – serious! It just made me laugh and actually made these go over well. Also, Daniel losing the way he did was great too, because it continued and played up his “anger” storyline perfectly.
Triple H’s promo – no matter his career, both in and out of the ring, and what people (and you) may think/say about him, you CANNOT DENY that he is one of VERY FEW (probably the TOP THREE) that you sense has a GENUINE love and passion for professional wrestling, and it shined through in his speech tonight. That is why I basically quoted word-for-word what he said, to display that DESIRE and LOVE for this business. Enough said! (Oh, and of course he’s coming back – got to get that revenge match!)
Main-event – Heel turn for WWE Champion is now accomplished! C.M. Punk toying with Lawler during the match, and then beating him down after in the locked cage solidified his bad guy persona. Finally, (even though I’ll tell you next week for sure when they’re in Chicago), it looks like he will be a true heel with no “grey.”
Bogus: Except for the two in Excellence, the rest of the matches for different reasons. Layla/Natalya, Slater/Marella, & Otunga/Ryder were fillers with no “spark”; getting bored of the Rhodes/Cara & Brodus/Damien feuds – time too move on for Sandow and Cody; the tag-team bout with Sheamus/Orton & Ziggler/Alberto was too short, and didn’t like Dolph taking the pinfall. He beat Jericho last week, but can’t win against Orton in tags? Something wrong with that!
However, my biggest beef is the Cena/Miz. And I think you know why! But just in case, The Miz – the INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION – has eaten ANOTHER LOSS! And this particular bout seemed a waste and just “thrown out there.” Cena didn’t even make an appearance until this match and it felt like he was just another guy on the roster. No usual fanfare or hype for him this week, until near the end of the show. Again though, The Miz, who is the I.C. Champion SHOULD NOT be LOSING these matches. It DISCREDITS HIM AND THE CHAMPIONSHIP!!!!
And I’m done ranting for this week! Unfortunately, while there was some good on Raw, there was definitely a lot of not-so good, as demonstrated in my “Bogus.” So, here’s hoping they improve for next week and until then, as always, Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans!