WWE Raw Report
By: Todd Martin
Date: 06/11/12 from Hartford, CT.
The Big News: TNA has been really good lately.
John Laurinaitis came out to start the show, but as he introduced himself he was interrupted by Vince McMahon. Laurinaitis offered a handshake but Vince wouldn’t shake, saying he didn’t know where that hand had been. Vince asked Laurinaitis for one reason not to fire him. Laurinaitis responded people power and sucked up to Vince. Vince brought up the Brock Lesnar contract and Laurinaitis signing the wrong one legged wrestler. That got no reaction from the crowd but I thought it was an amusing line.
Vince buried Big Show and his new contract, saying Show hasn’t performed well since 1999 and is a terrible investment. That was quite the line about your PPV headlining monster heel. Laurinaitis responded that Vince is just biased because Vince’s head was once shoved up Show’s ass. Laurinaitis said the wrestlers look at him like a friend. Sheamus came out and called Laurinaitis the worst WWE GM ever and asked Vince to fire him. Laurinaitis was angry and said he would find an opponent for Sheamus. Vince told Laurinaitis to impress him or Laurinaitis will be fired. For good measure, Vince pushed Laurinaitis’ cart off the stage.
Sheamus beat Tensai. Tensai worked over Sheamus, including a knee to the head and Vader bomb for two. Sheamus made his comeback with punches against the ropes but was caught with a tree slam as he was coming off the top rope. Tensai followed with head butts but Sheamus hit the brogue kick out of the blue for the pin. Tensai looked as good as he has since coming back here.
Backstage, Vince told Laurinaitis that was strike one. Vince wanted to know Sheamus’ opponent for the title Sunday since Alberto Del Rio is out. Vickie Guerrero came in and suggested that Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler as former world champions should be considered. Teddy Long noted Great Khali and Christian are also former champions and those four should be in a fatal four way for the title shot. What a scary statement about what they’ve done to titles that four guys so low on the card all have held the title. Vince liked this idea so Laurinaitis took credit and offered a fist bump to Vince. Vince said Laurinaitis has small hands and left.
Back in the ring, Tensai was yelling at his second Sakamoto. Tensai attacked Sakamoto and threw him into the post and barricade. Then backstage R. Truth did goofy comedy about his invisible friend and said Cena will beat Show Sunday. Show knocked Truth out.
Beth Phoenix and Ricardo Rodriguez beat Layla and Santino Marella. Ricardo tagged himself in and wanted to go after Layla but then ran away when Santino came in. Beth came back in and fought with Layla. Ricardo tried to interfere but was sent out by Layla. Santino went for the cobra on Ricardo on the outside but Ricardo ran away into the ring post. Beth then pinned Layla in the ring with the glam slam. Afterwards, Santino pulled off Ricardo’s dress shirt to reveal a Justin Bieber t-shirt and Ricardo freaked out. WWE comedy.
David Otunga told Vince McMahon that John Laurinaitis is doing a good job but that Otunga would be a good replacement. Vince said he dislikes lawyers. Kofi Kingston came in and wanted a match with Big Show. Laurinaitis made it a cage match.
Daniel Bryan came out and said he’s nothing like CM Punk and Kane. He said they have a weakness for A.J. Bryan said he made Punk tap so Punk got with his ex-girlfriend to try to make him jealous. Meanwhile, Kane thinks he is getting to second base when a girl looks him in the eye and doesn’t vomit. Bryan said A.J. is still in love with him. The crowd chanted yes. He said that once you go Bryan, there’s no point in tryin’. Bryan said he isn’t interested in A.J. but just taking the title Sunday.
Punk came out. He said A.J.’s actually pretty cool but sort of crazy and he digs crazy chicks. He’s going to look like the biggest fool on the face of the Earth if she turns on him. Punk said Sunday he will either beat the delusional out of his mind freak or he’ll beat Kane. Bryan said Punk has changed, and that now he is a pandering sellout. Punk retorted, “So says the ‘superstar’ in the yes t-shirt.
Punk brought up his promo a year ago. He said people tell him that was one of the best moments in Raw history but he doesn’t like them because they weren’t behind him when he started in WWE. Great call there, Punk. The people who liked the references to ROH and Colt Cabana weren’t the ones who were with you from the start. It’s the people who like your WWE Universe references that were. Punk claimed he hasn’t changed at all since that promo and that he hasn’t kissed ass or compromised himself. Then he called Bryan goat face. It’s amusing to see Punk simultaneously distance himself from the things that got him hot while also claiming he hasn’t changed.
Kane came out. He brought up some of his goofy angles for comedy. He said his pipe bombs are actually pipe bombs and he will take the title at the PPV. A.J. was last out. She said when she looked into Kane’s eyes, she saw he has heart. She said she hasn’t gotten over Bryan. Finally, she said Punk is pretty much the coolest guy she’s ever known. A.J. said Sunday the best man will win. Laurinaitis booked a Bryan and Kane vs. Punk and A.J. match.
Dolph Ziggler beat Christian, Great Khali and Jack Swagger to earn a title shot on Sunday. Christian gave Khali the frog splash and they all covered Khali for the first elimination. Swagger put the ankle lock on Christian but Christian escaped and posted Swagger. Christian gave Swagger the kill switch but Ziggler covered Swagger for the second elimination. Ziggler went after Christian’s bad ankle. Christian hit a spear but Ziggler kicked out. Christian went for the kill switch but Ziggler avoided it and hit a famouser for two. Christian used an inverted DDT for pin. Christian went to the top but he was distracted by Vickie and came off the top onto his injured ankle. Ziggler hit the zig zag for the win. Sheamus came out and held up his title in Ziggler’s face.
This match and particularly the ending were very good. The crowd even got behind Ziggler some. This sequence of events with Ziggler is WWE in 2012 in a nutshell. They know this guy’s the most talented guy they have not at the top of the card, yet they job him out week after week because they don’t have the patience to build guys for bigger things. Then they lose a few of the handful of guys they actually protect and they have to throw Ziggler into a title match because there’s nobody on the card who’s actually good and protected. This guy was 2-12 in his last 14 Raw matches headed into this week and he’s a PPV title challenger. If you know this guy’s the best talent you have not in a current top angle, why on Earth do you job him out week after week?
A kind of crazed Natalya backstage talked about how special it was to have the whole Hart family together at WrestleMania when Vince wrestled Bret Hart. She wanted Vince to bring them back. He basically blew her off. This seemed booked just to indulge Vince’s belief that the Harts are crazy. Brodus Clay’s dancers wanted Clay back on Raw. Vince said no and they were disappointed. Vince then said somebody call my mama, the lights miraculously came on backstage and he danced with them. Zack Ryder was shocked and Vince said woo woo woo you know it. More WWE comedy.
Ryback beat Willard Fillmore and Rutherford P.S. Hayes. Even more WWE comedy. The Goldberg chants were louder than usual. Ryback won with the double Samoan drop.
Vince and Hornswoggle backstage laughed at the stupid segment from Friday mocking Jim Ross. Vince then contorted his face to mock Ross’ Bell’s palsy and did an Oklahoma impression. Remember when WWE would talk about how utterly classless WCW was for doing that? It’s just great for babyfaces to do comedy mocking people for crippling disabilities in general.
John Cena came in. Vince brought up Rock beating Cena at Mania. Cena sarcastically said, “Oh, now we’re using WrestleMania wins and losses to measure success,” as if he wasn’t talking a few months ago about how he couldn’t go on if he didn’t beat Rock because it was so important. Cena brought up Vince losing to Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Shane McMahon and others at Mania. Cena said Vince needs to handle his business with Laurinaitis. Otunga came in and Vince said nobody likes a sycophant who would kiss another man’s ass. He then turned around to William Regal sitting on the couch and said no offense.
Big Show beat Kofi Kingston in a cage match. Show destroyed him for a while. Kingston hit trouble in paradise but Show kicked out with ease. Kingston tried to run out through the door but Show caught him and gave him the KO punch. Show then very slowly walked out of the cage. This was effective in making Show look like a monster.
Sin Cara beat Curt Hawkins with a corkscrew plancha, handspring elbow and la mistica for the pin.
Backstage, Vince wished Daniel Bryan luck. Bryan said he thought Vince wouldn’t like someone like him. Vince said you can’t judge a book by its cover as nobody would see Bryan as a WWE superstar walking down the street. Bryan said he has proven Vince wrong. He then claimed that he’s like Vince in that they’re both self-made success stories. That’s a funny way of describing a wrestling promoter who was the son of one of the most successful wrestling promoters of all time. But whatever. WWE TV is mostly about the writing team indulging Vince these days anyway. Vince responded that he never finished anything in 18 seconds.
Vader beat Heath Slater. They announced Laurinaitis brought back a former Raw main eventer in honor of Raw’s 1,000th episode. This was fun and the crowd was really enjoying seeing Vader. We got “let’s go Vader and “you still got it” chants. Vader was more over than most of the current roster. Vader hit clotheslines and punches. Slater went for a body slam but Vader landed on him for two. Vader then hit the Vader bomb for the pin.
Backstage, CM Punk told A.J. not to worry because they would just have a handicap match. He said that unlike Kane and Bryan, they can trust each other. That was quite the line for a top face to deliver towards a completely untrustworthy crazy person. A.J. kissed Punk on the cheek.
CM Punk and A.J. beat Kane and Daniel Bryan. The heels worked over Punk. Punk at one point went for the tag but realized it was just A.J. there. Punk was knocked back and collided with A.J., so A.J. had to come in. A.J. smiled at Kane, skipped around him, then leaped into his arms and made out with him. Kane tagged Bryan back in and left. A.J. tagged back in Punk and Punk pretty much immediately hit a top rope elbow on Bryan for the pin.
Vince McMahon came out for the final segment with a lot of security. Vince said he has a soft spot for Connecticut as it is where he lived and where Stephanie was born. He said it was poetic that with a birth there would be a professional death and brought out Laurinaitis. Laurinaitis said he didn’t appreciate what Vince did to his scooter, but that Vince didn’t need security because Laurinaitis wouldn’t think of attacking Vince. Vince said the security wasn’t for Vince but to escort Laurinaitis away.
Laurinaitis pleaded with Vince, saying Raw and Smackdown have become destination TV. Destination for what? Laurinaitis said he is needed for three hour Raws. Vince teased he was going to fire Laurinaitis when Big Show came out. Show said Laurinaitis isn’t at fault for Show’s contract. Show said he did everything Vince asked over the years and couldn’t be a giant because giants are scary. That would make sense if he weren’t a giant monster for half of that time period. Show said now he is just going to be that giant. Thus, Vince needs to not worry about Laurinaitis but about the well-being of his golden goose Cena.
John Cena came out smirking. It’s a PPV Sunday, which means it’s time for Cena to tell some jokes. He joked about chicken nuggets. He said Show blames everyone for his problems except the guy who is responsible, Laurinaitis. Cena said Show has his contract, management behind him and the match he wants. Thus, if Show doesn’t win he will be a disappointment and sell out. Vince said that he will be at ringside Sunday and if Show loses, Vince will fire Laurinaitis.
Show grabbed Cena by the throat. Security tried to break them up but was thrown off and a brawl broke out. In the midst of this, Show accidentally knocked out Vince with a punch that looked to have missed by a wide margin. Everyone in the ring acted shocked and they gave the dreaded X signal for Vince. They’ve done one of these angles with Vince every time he has come back over the last five years and then he comes back in six months as if nothing happened. Why do they expect people to care?
This was a thoroughly grating show, filled with incessant dumb comedy and goofiness segment after segment. Vader was probably the highlight. No Way Out looks unappealing.