Raw comes to you live from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Video package from last week’s show.
Jerry Lawler starts off in the ring. “I know this is not the way Raw normally starts.” What? Yes it is. Almost every Raw starts with a promo. It’s maddening. Lawler said he apologized to Punk for saying that Punk turned his back on the WWE Universe. “Last week I apologized to CM Punk. This week I want an apology from CM Punk.”
CM Punk comes out with a new haircut. It’s very similar to Randy Orton’s. Punk says he’s not the bad guy Lawler is making him out to be, and he didn’t turn his back on anyone. Rather, Lawler turned his back on the fans when he said that Punk turned his back. Punk begins giving apologies, but on Lawler’s behalf. Punk says Lawler got into the Hall of Fame by beating up a bunch of nobodies in Memphis and fighting Hollywood people. He says Lawler has become a child at the announce desk, blurting whatever is yelled into his ear via headset. Lawler has never been WWE Champion, and “when you finally got your big WrestleMania moment you couldn’t beat Michael Cole!” Punk said most of all he’s sorry about the man that Lawler has become. “You wanna fight me, Jerry Lawler?” Punk said everybody knows that he would embarrass Lawler if they had a match, and at the end of the night, Lawler is going to leave embarrassed anyways, either because he gets beat up or because he wouldn’t accept the fight.
Overall, a fantastic promo by Punk. He’s a full-on heel, but the fans are still behind him and he’s still getting pops. Well done promo.
Ryback d. Jack Swagger (D-)
Swagger got some offence in early, including an Ankle Lock. Swagger took a back body drop but landed awkwardly on his head. Ryback then hit a big clothesline, followed by Shell Shocked for the pinfall at 2 minutes. Or, as Cole calls it, “look at this!”
Triple H promo later.
John Cena vs. The Miz later.
Layla d. Natalya (D)
Vickie Guerrero interrupted early because she had an announcement to make, so the Divas had to hurry up. She’s stood on the apron the whole time. Geeze, what a bitch. These matches are quick, too. Sometimes I can’t even take a piss and come back before Kelly Kelly has her arms up. After many of the moves, the camera kept cutting back to Vickie. Can we focus on the match please? Layla hit a crossbody off the middle rope for two, followed by her flying butt to the face thing. Layla tried a baseball slide to the outside, but Natalya caught her with the apron and got a few strikes in, just like Finlay used to do. Layla powered out of a Sharpshooter, then hit a kick to the head for the pinfall at 3 minutes.
Post-match, Vickie made Layla leave. She begins complaining about GM AJ and her stipulation with the Jericho/Ziggler match. She asks the Board of Directors to remove her and put herself in charge. AJ’s music hits, and she skips down to the ring. She takes the mic, looks around. She slaps Vickie in the face, tackles her and they start brawling. Vickie eventually escaped on all fours.
Triple H DX video package.
Daniel Bryan is in anger management class. A kid walks in wearing a goat mask, and Bryan thinks it’s an insult towards him. He’s screaming at the kid, but the teacher says it’s his son, and he’s a goat in the Noah’s Ark play. The dad tells his son, “Richard, this man is sick and needs help.” Ha! Nice finish.
The Raw Social Media Ambassador is Dominic Monaghan.
CM Punk tweets that if Lawler fights him, he’ll let Lawler have the first punch. Lawler grabs a mic and stands on the announce desk. He says he beat guys like Jesse Ventura, Harley Race, and Superstar Billy Graham in Memphis. He admits to acting like a child and never having been WWE Champion. But being a Hall of Famer means standing up to somebody when the time is right. Lawler says he knows he’s not the best in the world, but knows that Punk isn’t either. Lawler: “You wanna know what Punk if I’ll fight you. You damn right I’ll fight you tonight!”
Overall, well done. Short and to the point.
John Cena vs. The Miz (C-)
After the commercial, Miz was in control. At one point, the camera got too close and Cena could be heard calling a spot. Miz went off the ropes, but Cena tripped him and applied the STF. Miz got the rope break. Miz went for the Skull Crushing Finale. Cena fought out, but Miz hit a Side Effect for two. Cena then went on his usual offence, hitting the Five-Knuckle Shuffle and Attitude Adjustment for the pinfall at 11 minutes. Meh.
Cole says the WWE Universe can pick the kind of match we’ll see in the Punk vs. Lawler match. The RAWActive choices are #WWETables, #WWECage or #WWENoDQ. Better than a few weeks ago when all of them were essentially the same. Since a picture leaked of a steel cage, I guess we’re getting a steel cage.
Another Triple H video package.
Randy Orton & Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler & Alberto Del Rio later.
Daniel Bryan in anger management class. Harold tells a story of his boss making him angry. Bryan tells them that AJ that was his fiancée but has it in for him. Kane walks in with his welder’s mask. He sat beside Bryan to end the skit.
Santino d. Heath Slater (F)
Both guys are dancing early in the match. “Boring” chant from the fans. Tell me about it. Santino kept rolling out of the way as Slater climbs the middle ropes on opposing turnbuckles. Santino gets the Cobra ready, but Aksana’s music hits. Santino hit a clothesline for the pinfall at 3 minutes. This had no flow or reasoning to it. Just random for the sake of random.
WWE Superstarts tweeting about Triple H. That included Chris Jericho.
“Did You Know?” the WWE App has topped 1 million downloads in 10 days.
Punk/Lawler plug for later.
Brodus Clay & Sin Cara d. Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow (D)
Cara got worked on but made the hot tag to Clay. Cara knocked Sandow to the floor, then hit a top rope dive. Rhodes went for the Disaster Kick on Clay, but it was countered into a headbutt. Nice. Clay hit the big splash for the pinfall at 3 minutes.
More anger management. Kane said he was the devil’s favourite demon. Doc asks what made him angry. Kane talked about psychological damage from his brother burning his parents, burying alive his brother twice, torturing, kidnapping and lighting people on fire, electrocuting a man’s testicles (Shane McMahon), t rapping his father in a meat locker. “Years ago I had a girlfriend named Katie. Let’s just say that didn’t work out well.” Wow. Amazing. “I have an unhealthy obsession with torturing Pete Rose.” Doc says to make anger collages for next class. Bryan is pissed. Harold stays and tries to thank Kane for sharing. Kane grabs him by the neck and says “no problem.” Overall, amazing!
Triple H appearance later.
Triple H video package.
R-Truth d. Daniel Bryan via Countout (F)
Truth gave Bryan a back drop over the top rope to the floor. He cut a promo using Little Jimmy, then gave the mic to Bryan. He started screaming “NO!” for the countout at 3 minutes. Terrible.
Triple H plug.
Hey, Triple H is here! No warning? He’s out in a suit with his left arm in a cast. “Am I going to retire?” HHH says WWE has taught him to never say never. He wanted to retire from wrestling before wrestling retired from him. Everyone comes to a crossroad in their career, and he’s at it now. You can never fight time, because time always wins. He doesn’t want to be the guy that hung around too long. Brock Lesnar has made him question whether or not he’s done. He wants to rise again to kick Lesnar’s ass because that’s what he does. “That’s what I want to do, but I can’t. The truth is because I don’t know if I can.” He pauses, then thanks the fans for all their support over the years, and the superstars for putting their bodies and wellbeing on the line for the fans’ entertainment. “Thank you for letting me play the game. You all gave me the reaction every night. I’ll never forget each and every one of you. Hopefully, in some way, you’ll never forget me.” “Thank you Hunter” chant as HHH begins to tear up. He did his usual pose with one arm as tears are rolling down his cheek. He stopped at the top of the ramp, looked back, then left at 15 minutes.
Great promo, and very believable. There’s no chance he’s retiring yet, though. According to reports, he’ll face Brock Lesnar at HIAC.
Sheamus & Randy Orton d. Dolph Ziggler & Alberto Del Rio (C)
For Ziggler’s entrance, Chris Jericho’s music hit. Instead of Y2J, it was Ziggler doing his pose. As usual, the faces control into the break and the heels control after it. Sheamus and Ziggler got the tag in. Ziggler countered White Noise, but Sheamus landed an Irish Curse backbreaker, but Del Rio broke up the pinfall. Orton hit a backbreaker on Ziggler, then Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick for the pinfall at 9 minutes.
Backstage, Lawler is talking to Cena, and asking him not to interfere. Lawler says he’s fighting Punk for himself. Cena wishes him good luck.
“Be A Star” commercial.
Zack Ryder d. David Otunga (D-)
Kane is on commentary, but says nothing. Otunga in control, but Ryder went off the ropes and hit a Rough Ryder for the pinfall at 3 minutes. Post-match, Kane choked Ryder, but left him and Chokeslammed Otunga.
“Did You Know?” NBC’s replay of WrestleMania 28 was the most socially active show on Saturday night.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Randy Orton on SmackDown.
Twitter vote results are in: Cage: 48%, NoDQ: 32%, Tables: 20%.
AJ comes out and announces CM Punk’s Night of Champions opponent for the WWE Championship: John Cena.
Night of Champions plug.
Steel Cage Match: CM Punk d. Jerry Lawler (D+)
Punk lets Lawler land the first shot, and it’s a massive one that stuns Punk. Very slow pace early, with Punk working over Lawler in every which-way. Lawler tried to escape out the door, but Punk pulled him back in. Lawler dodged a neckbreaker by shoving Punk into the cage, then got some offence in, including a middle rope fist drop. Lawler tried to escape again, but Punk pulled him back in. Punk is now bleeding from his forehead, and it’s all over his white wrist tape. Punk applied the Anaconda Vice for the submission at 8 minutes.
Post-match, Punk grabbed the WWE Championship and a microphone and tossed it in the ring. Then he grabbed a steel chain and lock, locking himself and Lawler inside the cage. He wants Lawler to call him the best in the world. Lawler says “hell no.” Punk lands a long combo of elbows to the chest, and asks Lawler to say it again. He won’t, so Punk starts with forearms to the head. Cena runs out, but can’t get into the cage. People have been climbing this thing for decades, just climb from the outside in, dumbass. Cena tells the guys to raise the cage. They eventually do, and as Cena runs in, Punk runs out and leaves.
Overall, it was done well, as the crowd was booing Punk a bit by the end.
Three Stars of the Show
** CM Punk
*** Triple H
Final Grade: F
This sucked. Again. A lot of short matches with no substance. Bryan/Truth was just bad overall. HHH’s story will continue although I don’t think anyone believes he’s retiring. Punk/Lawler was pretty well done, but overall, the show was just not well done. Kane’s comedy stuff in the anger management class was the lone bright spot in an otherwise dull three hours.