Monday Night RAW recap: Episode 1001

Location: US Bank Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio
Announcers: Jerry “The King” Lawler, Michael Cole

Preface: Tonight was the start of 3 hour RAWs. Last week we saw CM Punk stand by and allow the Big Show to attack John Cena after their championship match. We also saw CM Punk lay out the Rock with a flying clothesline; disrupting the most electrifying move in sports entertainment. Was it a full heel turn for Punk? Is he now a tweener? Answers to come.

Full Disclosure: I didn’t cover any of the backstage stuff that happened during RAW. I normally don’t cover the minor backstage interactions and with RAW moving to three hours, I really don’t have the time to address everything. Obviously the Daniel Bryan stuff was fantastic.

CM Punk promo

Wow, what a promo. What a way to start off RAW. CM Punk sat indian style Native American style on the announcers table while he confronted Jerry Lawler over what he said last week. Native American style = shit is about to get real. Jerry Lawler closed RAW last week telling the fans that CM Punk had “turned his back on the WWE Universe.”

I always find it interesting when wrestlers use knowledge they gained from actually watching the show. We rarely see this. For example, the CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Kane triple threat match at No Way Out ended with AJ Lee taking a bump off the apron. Kane got distracted and CM Punk capitalized with the GTS for the victory. After the match Kane carried AJ Lee to the back, but we saw her smiling at Punk in the ring, as if the entire situation had been orchestrated. You’re telling me that Kane didn’t go back to his hotel room that night and order the No Way Out replay?

So we learned that CM Punk watches RAW because he wasn’t happy with Lawler’s comments to close the show. Later on we learned that AJ Lee watched last week as well because she saw the men in white coats and called Daniel Bryan out on it. Going forward I want a precedent established. Either every “superstar” watches RAW and studies the tapes or none of them do. I dislike the ambiguous nature that surrounds this.

Back to RAW. CM Punk’s promo addressed everything we could have hoped for; Jerry Lawler’s stilted and hackneyed commentary, Dwayne showing up for one week and immediately being granted a title shot, and the focus of the show not being on the WWE champion. I was surprised at how quickly the audience turned on CM Punk. The kindergarten crowd let him hear it. He’s been your champion for the past 8 months, I think he at least deserves the opportunity to explain his actions.

I love how @CMPunk turning #HEEL just means he tells the truth!@WWE #Raw #FireJerryLawler

Moments after saying he hates to be interpreted Big Show came down to the ring. Rabble, rabble, rabble, Show vows to become next WWE champion.

John Cena, not happy that other people are getting attention, runs down and clears Big Show out of the ring while CM Punk calmly watched. The WWE missed an opportunity here for the two of them to have some interesting back and forth on the mic. The segment had already gone about 18 minutes, but it’s a 3 hour show now. I guess they needed to reserve enough time in the show for us to see Stephanie McMahon slapping Paul Heyman 3 times.

AJ Lee’s terrible music hit and she gave us our main event for the night. John Cena vs the Big Show with the winner facing CM Punk for his title at Summerslam. It was at this point that the creative team was faced with two clear choices.

1. Have John Cena become number 1 contender. Challenge CM Punk at Summerslam. Watch as they put on another quality match and tear the house down.

2. Fail to give us a clear winner, creating a convoluted triple threat match that no one wants to see.

Vince, your creative team blows.

Non-title match up
Santino Marella vs Alberto Del Rio

“Santino Marella whose held the United States championship since March.” Sorry Cole, it’s not that impressive if all he ever wrestles are non title matches.

Del Rio dominated the entire match up. After the match Del Rio grabbed the stick and said he would not compete unless it was in a match for the world title. Pretty much every tweet I saw was similar in fashion to Mr. Holzerman’s here. Take the belt off Santino immediately. I’m not a Santino fan, nor am I a hater. What I am a fan of,  is championship belts having credibility. The United States title has ZERO credibility. And how can it? The belt is very, very rarely defended on television.

The WWE needs book their US and Intercontinental titles the same way they booked the Hardcore championship when they put it on Rob Van Dam in 2001. RVD defended the belt nearly every week, having excellent matches in the process. RVD claimed on his DVD that the WWE retired the belt because it started to mean too much. That sounds like a pretty good problem to have. Give the belt to someone with some actual wrestling ability and have them defend it on a weekly basis.

I love Santino but if this is how he’s gonna be booked, put the belt on Cesaro, for Christ’s sake.

Vicky Guererro dance segment

Vicky gave us her best Elaine Benes dance moves. Thankfully Damien Sandow puts a stop to this. But my good will towards him ends as soon as he showed us footage from last week. We get it. We all watched RAW 1000. Sandow attacked the Funkasauras and ripped off his necklace. I’m undecided how I feel about Damien Sandow, but I know for sure that I’m over Brodus Clay.

Street fight
Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus

We were treated to a very good match up on free television. Match of the year candidate for sure. I agree with Joey Styles’ tweet, but I’m gonna suggest Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan was a little better than anything Danny Doring or CW Anderson ever did in ECW. This match was great and without a doubt one of the highlights to RAW.

After the match Daniel Bryan refused to leave until a doctor came down to the ring. R-Truth and Kofi Kingston sauntered down with no regard for a fellow wrestler’s injuries. This provided one of the more comedic moments in RAW history. Daniel Bryan punting Lil Jimmy out of the ring was almost as good as Snitsky punting the baby. If R-Truth sold half as well in the ring as he did to Lil Jimmy’s injuries, he’d be a main eventer.

Kofi Kingston vs Titus O’Neil with AW

Forgettable match, unforgettable AW comment.

 “Titus O’Neil is like Kobe Bryant in a Colorado Hotel Room… UNSTOPPABLE!”

That’s not PG. I guarantee he was ripped a new one immediately after he went through the curtain backstage. Let the record show deplorable violence with a chair and Singapore cane is acceptable, referencing 9 year old rape allegations is not.

AW threw his shoe at Kofi, leading to a distraction. Titus O’Neil with the slam and victory. 

One Man Baaaaaand segment
Heath Slater vs Randy Orton

Orton returns from suspension to take out Heath Slater. Looks like Randy watched JBL last week because his clotheslines looked stiff as hell. It appears as though he’s returning as a bland Face with zero charisma, average wrestling ability and no general direction,. He should feel comfortable with this role. 

Tag Team match
Jericho/Christian vs The Miz/Dolph Ziggler

Absurd amount of talent in the ring for this match. This match as well as the Bryan/Sheamus street fight made RAW worth watching this week. Great wrestling all around. These guys made each other look good in the ring.

Jericho with the Codebreaker on Miz for the victory. After the match Ziggler hit Jericho in the head with the Money in the Bank briefcase. I’m not sure if these two have an announced match at Summerslam yet, but if/when it happens, it could steal the show. 

One on One match
Tensai vs Tyson Kidd

Very quick match. Tensai with the victory getting payback from Tyson Kidd’s win a few weeks ago. Albert attacks him after the bell. The referee reversed the decision after the match because Tensai continued to beat up Tyson Kidd. Nuts to that. That is one of the stupidest things the WWE does. This might be the one thing that bothers me more than matches not becoming “official”  because a competitor is attacked before the bell rings. What possible logic could a referee use to reverse a match decision after the three count? Oh he just kept hitting the guy, so that nullifies everything that just happened in the ring leading to the pin fall? I realize that it’s entertainment and I might be taking things a bit too seriously, but I’m calling shenanigans on this. No amount of ass kicking AFTER the bell rings should take away a previously earned victory. 

Number 1 contender match
John Cena vs the Big Show w/CM Punk on commentary

Back and forth match until John Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment on the Big Show. CM Punk made the save. He then got on the mic and declared that there was no winner. As Punk was leaving AJ Lee predictably entered to let us know we would be seeing CM Punk vs John Cena vs the Big Show in a triple threat match. RAW went off the air with CM Punk yelling in AJ Lee’s face. He missed a golden opportunity here for the perfect retort

So now that CM Punk is a heel he immediately morphed into heel champion who is afraid to defend his belt mode. The WWE only knows two kinds of heel champs. Either they are completely invincible and can beat everyone with one hand tied behind their back (HHH) or they have to cheat to win and never want to defend their title (every other heel champion.) 

Grade: B

Final thoughts:  We got recaps of RAW 1000, recaps of this past Smackdown and recaps of events that took place on the current episode of RAW. Did we really need to watch the full Brock Lesnar/HHH video three times? I watched RAW last week. I didn’t need to to rewatch it this week as well. I’m pretty sure the recap packages/pyro accident footage/commercials consumed 2 of the 3 hours of RAW. It got to the point where I was developing conspiracy theories of the WWE setting the fire on purpose.

Monday Night RAW moved to three hours long, but I guess that is still not enough time to feature any divas. Don’t get me wrong, I HATE pointless divas matches, but I would rather watch Beth Phoenix “Ryback” the shit out of somebody than see Stephanie McMahon slap Paul Heyman three times.

CM Punk returning to be CM Punk was great. This week he finally took off HHH’s blazer and went back to “Leader of Nexus” and “Straight Edge Society” CM Punk. 

Completely Arbitrary Top 5

5. AW – Doing his best to bring back the attitude era, one sexual assault joke at a time.

4. Randy Orton – Don’t get used to seeing him in this spot. His return ovation is really the only reason
he made it.

3. Miz/Jericho/Ziggler/Christian – Doing what they do best, wrestle quality matches.

2. Daniel Bryan – Big part of the show. Wrestled in a great match against Sheamus and his backstage stuff with the doctor showed just how great of a character he is.

1. CM Punk – The voice of the voiceless criticizing Lawler’s commentary might earn him the number 1 spot for life.

Thanks for reading. Do yourself a favor and check out this ROH promo from CM Punk when you get some spare time. I would put it right up there with anything Steve Austin or Mick Foley did in ECW. 

Don’t forget to leave a comment down below and follow me on Twitter @TheRawLibrarian

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