The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 06/18/12
Live from Long Island, NY this is the Raw Deal…
The show begins with the usual Nickelback intro song. I’m ready for that song to be changed. The show began with an audio clip of Vince McMahon telling John Laurinaitis that he’s fired at No Way Out on Sunday. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler told us that Laurinaitis would be allowed to give his farewell address.
The first person we got to see was Mick Foley, who is a Long Island native. He talked about how the Board of Directors wanted to seek out former GMs to run Raw and Smackdown until they find a permanent replacement. Since he was the former commissioner (in the awesome year 2000) he’s in charge of Raw and Smackdown this week. I’d be in favor of Foley being the permanent GM of one of the shows, but I’m not sure if he wants to do it or if WWE would consider him.
Analysis: Former GMs will be brought back? Mike Adamle! Yes! I mean no. I’m guessing no invite for Eric Bischoff huh?
Foley announced a tag match for later in the show: Sheamus & CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan & Kane. He said even though Laurinaitis was fired, he has been given the opportunity to give his farewell address. He introduced him as the former Executive Vince President of Talent Relations and the former GM of Raw and Smackdown. Even though he got fired he still gets his entrance music, so that’s nice. I’m guessing most of you wouldn’t get entrance music if you got fired.
There was a loud “you got fired” chant as Laurinaitis walked to the ring with his right arm in a sling, a neck brace and a crutch on his left side. Laurinaitis wanted the crowd to keep the noise down while Foley told the crowd that Laurinaitis said that “Long Island sucks.” JL called the fans rude. He wanted to give his farewell address later. He said last night before he was fired he made a match for tonight: John Cena vs. Big Show, David Otunga & John Laurinaitis. He told Foley to have a nice day and he left.
Analysis: This is the greatest company ever. Not only do you get entrance music after you get fired, but you also get to book matches that are the main event even though you got fired. I thought the promo was a nice way to make the crowd happy from the get go, so it was a good start. I was hoping we’d get more Foley on the show. It turns out that was all we would see of him.
Sheamus made his entrance for his tag match. He smiled as he walked past Laurinaitis. CM Punk made his entrance as well. He told Laurinaitis: “you’re outta here!” They went to break with the WWE Champion and World Champion awaiting their opponents.
CM Punk & Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan & Kane
The crowd was really hot for Bryan on his entrance with a lot of “yes” chants for him. Sheamus dominated Bryan early with a shoulder tackle followed by a backbreaker. The announcers pointed out that CM Punk has held the WWE Title for 211 days, which is the 4th longest in the reign in the last 15 years with only John Cena and JBL having longer reigns (Cena had two that were longer). I will point out that despite successfully defending the WWE Title at six straight PPVs, Punk has not been in a PPV main event since December’s TLC show (Cena was off that PPV). The heels were able to isolate Punk in their corner a little bit, but Punk took out Bryan with a dive in between the top and middle ropes. His springboard clothesline attempt on Kane was countered by a Kane punch to the throat. They went to break without a floor to commercial spot. That’s rare.
Back from break, Kane went to Chokeslam Punk, but Punk kicked him in the head with a hard kick. Punk tagged in Sheamus, who unloaded on Kane with a shoulderblock, high knee and powerslam. Sheamus hit the Irish Curse Backbreaker to Kane followed by the clubbing forearms to Bryan. Kane came back to dump Sheamus over the top to the floor. Bryan hit a running dropkick on Sheamus while he was on the floor. Bryan tagged in and hit his impressive running “yes” dropkick in the corner. Sheamus hit his sidewalk slam followed by his patented clothesline off the top rope for two. Has that move ever pinned anybody in 15 years of him doing that move in every match? The crowd was really into Bryan’s act, chanting “yes” for every kick he did. He missed a running charge in the corner, so Sheamus made the hot tag to Punk. He hit a quick powerslam on Bryan followed by the high knee into the corner and then the bulldog. Bryan countered the top rope elbow and gave Punk a superplex. All of a sudden AJ Lee’s music started up. She was wearing a red Kane mask along with red & black attire. She skipped around the ring. Kane dropped off the apron wondering what she was doing. Bryan was yelling at Kane to come back. Punk took advantage by hitting a GTS and then Sheamus knocked out Bryan with a Brogue Kick for the victory after 14 minutes.
Winners: Sheamus & CM Punk
Kane spent the end of the match looking up the aisle with a confused look on his face. After the match, they replayed the AJ “skip-in” and then the awesome finishing combo.
Analysis: *** I really liked the match. These are the kind of 10-15 minute tag matches we need to be seeing on a regular basis because they’re usually above average matches. I’m not sure what the WWE Title picture will be going forward, but I’d be in favor of another Punk/Bryan match. It could be another triple threat with Kane involved. I’m just throwing it out there. We don’t know what it may be yet, so until we get something official it’s all speculation. The other big part of the match was obviously AJ Lee dressed in Kane gear and Kane following her backstage. It’s a bizarre story that is working very well. Everybody involved is doing a great job. I’m intrigued to see where it all leads.
Later on, will Brock Lesnar accept Triple H’s Summerslam challenge?
The “did you know” was bragging about how 1 million females watched Raw last week and more males watched it than anything on ABC, Fox, NBC & CBS. Thank you Nielsen Media Research for the info.
Backstage, Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler were arguing about who was the better of the two. Vickie Guerrero broke up the argument. She said it was about time they determined which one of them deserves her attention and admiration. They’re going to settle it in the ring right now.
In the locker room, John Laurinaitis was talking to David Otunga. They were laughing about things. Big Show showed up. Laurinaitis said it was funny because of how the night will end with Cena knocked out. He said it’s funny that the WWE Universe will never forget the name John Laurinaitis. He said he’d give the WWE Universe a lasting impression they will never forget. Show was all serious as he told Laurinaitis that he didn’t find anything funny at all. Laurinaitis & Otunga were confident that things would go their way.
Dolph Ziggler made his entrance. He got a nice pop from the crowd, who is known for liking the great in-ring workers.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Jack Swagger
Why are they fighting over Vickie Guerrero when she has done nothing for them in terms of helping their careers get to the next level? I like both guys, but this match seems forced to me. Swagger went to give Ziggler a back drop and Ziggler looked to have tweaked his left knee. Swagger went right after it by attacking the knee with his shoulder. Swagger continued the attack on the knee by stretching it and putting his own leg against it to cause pain to Ziggler. Ziggler missed his Fameasser as Swagger moved, so Swagger put him in the Ankle Lock right in the middle of the ring. There was a “Let’s Go Ziggler” chant just as there was at No Way Out. Ziggler was able to roll out of the Ankle Lock and drove Swagger into the turnbuckle. Swagger bounced back right in the Zig Zag for the Ziggler win after four minutes.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Post match, Vickie Guerrero went into the ring. She hugged Ziggler and then gave him a kiss on the lips. Didn’t they already try that “relationship” before? Hopefully there’s a twist coming.
Analysis: *1/2 That was fun. I wish they got more than four minutes, though. It could have been great. I was hoping the ending would have been different. Instead of Vickie kissing Ziggler, Dolph should have told her that he didn’t need her anymore. He could break out as a singles star if he was free of her although that would lead to a face turn. I’m not sure if they want to turn him face.
They recapped the Triple H promo from No Way Out where Triple H challenged Brock Lesnar to match at Summerslam. In case you missed it, here’s my No Way Out recap from Sunday. We’ll hear an answer later. Meanwhile, a limo arrived and we’ll find out who is in it after the break.
Another memorable Raw moment aired. It was Jerry Lawler talking about his favorite moment on October 5, 1998. It was when Vince McMahon was in the hospital and Mr. Socko made his debut as Mankind tried to cheer up Vince. Then Steve Austin showed up. He attacked Austin in the bed. It was a classic moment for sure. Stop reminding me when Raw was really great and then I have to watch things like tuxedo matches on PPV.
Brock Lesnar’s music started up. Paul Heyman walked out in a suit as Michael Cole reminded us he was the representative of Brock Lesnar. There was a light “ECW” chant for him. He said “no” to the idea of Brock Lesnar dropping his lawsuit against WWE, no to him dropping the lawsuit against WWE and no Brock Lesnar will not fight Triple H at Summerslam. He thanked us for our attention and went to leave, but then the music of Triple H started up. It’s time to play the game, Paul.
The man known as the Chief Operating Officer Hunter Hearst Suit McMahon Helmsley (COOHHSMH for short!) made his entrance. Hunter called Heyman a habitual liar. Hunter showed Heyman a graphic that had Lesnar’s face on a Summerslam poster. All Brock has to do is agree to fight Triple H. They talked about ego with Hunter saying Brock had a big ego while Heyman denied that Lesnar had an ego, which is a lie of course. Heyman told Hunter to stop acting like a tough wrestler like he used to be. He told Hunter to go back to his little princesses (his kids) and play the king of kings. Heyman: “Are you getting mad? Are you going to hit me now big man wrestler?” Heyman said he’s getting to be more like Vince every single day. Heyman said he knew how to push Hunter’s buttons just like he knew how to push Vince’s buttons. Heyman told Hunter to hit him as the crowd cheered that idea. Heyman said if Hunter hit him then he and Lesnar would own the company. He said “in our WWE we don’t have anything for you.” Then Heyman paused and fired back with: “But I do have something for Stephanie.” Hunter grabbed him by the throat. He thought about hitting Heyman, but he didn’t do it. Heyman said he knew Hunter wouldn’t hit him because he’s smarter than Hunter and sees everything he’s going to do from a mile away. Hunter punched him in the face. The crowd cheered that move. Hunter picked up the microphone: “Did you see that coming? You tell Brock Lesnar I’ll see him at Summerslam. That is, unless he’s afraid the same thing will happen to him.” Hunter left as his music played to a nice ovation from the crowd. He should end his promos by saying “The Chaperone has spoken” just to remind us of that awful film of his.
Analysis: It was the verbal battle of two men named Paul that are in their 40s that think ponytails are still a fashionable look. There was nothing wrong with the segment, but it didn’t further the story that much. I’d assume that we won’t actually see Lesnar again until the historic July 23rd episode of Raw. Until then, we may see another faceoff between Triple H and Heyman that features another lawsuit threat, but the action won’t really pick up until Lesnar returns next month. Lawsuits don’t sell stories. Action does.
Coming up later is a 3 on 1 Handicap match featuring Big Show, John Laurinaitis & David Otunga vs. John Cena.
They showed pictures of the Tuxedo Match. That will lead to Santino vs. Alberto up next.
Ricardo Rodriguez, fully dressed in a tuxedo, did the in-ring intro of Alberto Del Rio. If Alberto was cleared to wrestle here then how come he wasn’t cleared on Sunday? Maybe they just wanted to play it safe with him because that would have been a longer match than this one.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Santino
The worthless US Title that Santino holds is not on the line here. Of course it’s not. Del Rio got offense in early including a dropkick and working on Santino’s arm. Santino came back an arm drag followed by a boot to the face. He went for the Cobra, but Del Rio countered with a kick to the head. Del Rio put him in the Cross Armbreaker and Santino tapped out after about 90 seconds of action.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Post match, Ricardo was very happy. He taunted Santino and then gave him a single arm DDT just for the hell of it.
Analysis: 1/2* Why is a title on a character that is often booked like a joke and a loser? It’s a waste of the title.
They hyped up the appearance of Cyndi Lauper up next.
The “did you know” said that when Raw debuted on January 11, 1993 stamps cost 29 cents and a gallon of gas cost just $1.11. And Vince McMahon didn’t have an obsession with Twitter. I added that last part.
I’m not going into long details here. Layla introduced Cyndi Lauper & Wendi Richter. Heath Slater interrupted. Lauper didn’t know who he was. He started to poorly sing a “one man band” song. There was a brief “we want Ryder” chant. This segment was dying big time. As the segment was dying, Roddy Piper’s music started up. He gave Lauper a record plaque. Slater wouldn’t shut up, so Piper poked him in the eyes and Lauper smashed the record over his head. The crowd popped for it. I cheered because it was the end of the segment. Cole apologized for this segment being one of the worst segments in the history of Raw.
Analysis: Cole was right. It was one of the worst Raw segments of all time or at least this year. I understand Lauper’s significance in WWE history, but when 27 years go by a lot of the fans don’t really have much interest in seeing her. It was odd that Cole said it was great when Lauper came out at the beginning and then once she started talking he was ripping it big time. Did the person that produces the announcers have a change of heart? I miss when Jillian would sing poorly. At least she was nice to look at.
Another plug for the 3 on 1 Handicap Match.
In the ring, Primo & Epico were standing with Rosa in the ring awaiting their opponents. AW showed up saying he was the owner of All World Promotions. He introduced his new clients Darren Young & Titus O’Neil who are collectively known as The Primetime Players.
The Primetime Players w/AW vs. Primo & Epico w/Rosa
O’Neil started with Epico early. He gave him a big boot a slam followed by a move where he suplexed Young onto Epico for a two count. The camera closed in on Rosa as she slapped the mat with her hand. That was a good call by the director. More of that please. Epico tagged in Primo and he hit a nice splash off the top onto Young for two. O’Neil broke it up. Primo knocked him out of the ring with a dropkick. Primo hit the Backstabber on Young. He went for the cover, but O’Neil pulled Young out of the ring. The Colons gave them dropkicks to knock them out to the floor. They went for a dive, but AW pulled his team back. They walked away from the match, so the ref counted them out after about three minutes of action.
Winners via Countout: Primo & Epico
Analysis: * The crowd didn’t care about Epico & Primo as a babyface team because aside from last night there was little reason for fans to cheer for them during their run as a team. A promo would have helped. I like the Primetime Players, but walking out on a match is the kind of lame finish they do far too often. It’s not effective. I would assume they have a rematch on Smackdown where they can have a longer match that sees the PTPers go over clean and then soon after I’d expect them to become the tag team champions as well.
Up next is the 3 on 1 Handicap match.
There was a video hyping up Chris Jericho’s return to Raw next week. They aired a clip of him performing with his band Fozzy recently. I assume they won’t mention his 30 day suspension due to the Brazilian flag incident, but you never know. I missed him. I’m glad that he’ll be back. I’ll be writing live next week.
They returned from break with John Laurinaitis cutting another promo. He recapped the end of No Way Out when Cena won the cage match, McMahon fired JL and Cena dumped JL through the announce table with the Attitude Adjustment. He said he’s not the loser. He said you (the fans) are the losers because now you don’t have People Power anymore. He kept calling us losers. He said the next time we’ll see him is when Mr. Laurinaitis is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He said it was a dark day, but now we’re going to see the biggest beating of John Cena ever. He introduced David Otunga. Hopefully this is the last time we see Otunga in a main event of Raw, but I doubt that. He shouldn’t be near a main event with his lack of in-ring skills. Big Show entered after Otunga. They went to break.
Back from break, Teddy Long was sitting at the announce table. He ripped up his “Hello My Name is Teddy” name tag while Cole was sucking up to him.
Big Show went on the microphone. He said it took six men to defeat him last night. Does Zack Ryder getting punched off the cage like a jobber count as one of them? Show thanked Laurinaitis for his new iron clad contract and his big, fat bonus. He wanted to thank JL for letting him be himself. He said he’s proven he can beat John Cena on his own and that he’s onto bigger and better things. He said there’s no reason for him to compete in this ring. He told them they were on his own.
Analysis: I like that move by Show because it plays up the selfish aspect of his character. He doesn’t need anybody else because of his contract and there’s no reason for him to be loyal to Laurinaitis. I think “bigger and better things” could mean he’ll be the top contender for CM Punk’s WWE Title or possibly Sheamus’ World Title. I think it will be the WWE Title because Sheamus might be feuding with Del Rio or Jericho.
John Cena made his entrance with a big smile on his face. The dueling “Let’s Go Cena/Cena Sucks” chants started up early.
John Cena vs. David Otunga & John Laurinaitis
Cena destroyed Otunga early. He whipped him hard into the corner and gave him a bulldog. Otunga tried to tag out, but Laurinaitis didn’t want to tag in. Cena gave Otunga a suplex. Cena gave Otunga a side slam. Cena missed a charge in the corner, so Otunga whipped Cena shoulder first into the steel steps. Otunga hit a shoulderblock to knock down Cena. There was a “we want Ryder” chant while Otunga worked over Cena with some kicks. Laurinaitis asked for a tag. Otunga tagged him in. Laurinaitis threw off his arm brace, his neck brace and his crutch. He stomped away at Cena while yelling “people power.” I laughed at that. Laurinaitis wanted to tag in. Otunga walked out. The crowd cheered. I don’t think that’s a face turn for Otunga. It’s just a case of people hating Laurinaitis so much that they like it when anybody disrespects him. Cena gave Laurinaitis his spinning slam and then a Five Knuckle Shuffle. He gave Laurinaitis an Attitude Adjustment. Teddy Long told him to do it again, so Cena gave Laurinaitis another Attitude Adjustment. He followed it up with a third Attitude Adjustment. Cena put Laurinaitis in the STF as Big Johnny tapped out to end the match after six minutes.
Winner: John Cena
Analysis: 1/2* Goodbye John Laurinaitis. It was a decisive finish that gave the Laurinaitis character an ending that is satisfying to the viewers at home.
After the match, Cena celebrated the victory while Cole & Lawler talked about how Laurinaitis gave us a lasting impression we would never forget just like he said earlier in the show.
Cole: “People Power is done. The Mr. Laurinaitis era is officially over. It’s Johnny bye bye. Goodnight from Monday Night Raw.”
That sums it up pretty well huh? I think so.
Three Stars of the Show
1. John Laurinaitis – Since this is his swan song he should be honored for doing a good job as GM of Raw.
2. CM Punk
3. Dolph Ziggler
4.5 out of 10
Last week: 6
2012 Average: 5.76
2012 High: 9 (January 30)
2012 Low: 3.5 (May 14)
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 4.5, 5.5, 3.5, 6
The best part of the show was clearly the Punk/Sheamus vs. Kane/Bryan tag match. That story surrounding AJ and Kane is turning into one of the better parts of WWE TV every week. It’s all about creating something different for fans to get invested in. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next with them.
I enjoyed the Ziggler/Swagger match, but I think it would have been better if Ziggler won and then went out on his own rather than being paired with Vickie again. Hopefully that’s something he can do in the near future because he’s ready to be a singles act rather than somebody that needs a manager.
That Cyndi Lauper segment was brutal. I don’t blame the crowd for not caring at all.
I didn’t hate the Triple H/Heyman segment. It’s just that it didn’t move the story along that much. The challenge is out there, Heyman said no for Lesnar and Heyman got hit again. That was it. If you missed it you didn’t miss very much really.
I’ll miss John Laurinaitis a little bit. I won’t miss having to write the name “Laurinaitis” all the time because that’s so long that I reverted to writing JL a lot through this past year. The early part of his run wasn’t very good, but he got better as time went on and became an enjoyable “goofy boss” type of character. Not every boss has to be the smartest guy on the show. He was booked different than McMahon. He was a bit of an idiot, but he was still mean in the things he did. I thought he would have had a longer run as the man in charge. I assume they know who the next GM is and it’s only a matter of time until we figure out who is in that spot. Having guest GMs for a few weeks or months isn’t a bad thing.
If you’re wondering about Long Island native Zack Ryder he was on Superstars. He also showed up after Raw to join in on the attack on Laurinaitis much to the delight of the crowd. I think it’s stupid not to use him on Raw when people like him so much and it’s in his hometown. Maybe Vince finds it funny to piss the fans off? I have no explanation for why he does what he does.
Lastly, big thanks for TJR writer Marc aka “Fozzie” for bringing this sign to Raw. A lot of people were messaging me about seeing it in the back corner of the ring during promos featuring HHH, Piper and others. Thanks for all of the support with the signs. I think there’s been five or six in the last two months and it’s always great to see.
Please be sure to “Like” TJRWrestling.com on Facebook. I’ll be posting there regularly with plenty of discussions as well as Q&A’s, videos, links to articles and much more. Thank you.
Check out my buddy Brandon Stroud’s Best & Worst of No Way Out column over at WithLeather because it’s a great read where he makes a lot of smart points as always. There’s also a link to an interview he did with WWE Superstar Derrick Bateman that is worth your time as well.
We have another edition of TJR Radio on Wednesday at 10pmET/9pmCT for two hours. We’ll look back on the first half of 2012 and offer some predictions for the second half of the year as well.
I’ll be back on the weekend with my Canton’s Corner column. The next Monday with a live edition of The Raw Deal. Keep checking out TJRWrestling.com for all of the great content provided by our amazing writing team. Have a great week.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
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