If you want my Cliff’s Notes version of Raw, scroll to the end of the article. If you want to find the questions I hope you’ll answer for me, SKIM THE ARTICLE FOR ANYTHING IN ALL CAPS. If you want to skip to my predictions, look for the ***.
After his absence at SmackDown, John Laurinaitis opens Raw by coming out to say that he set up Cena because Cena made fun of his voice. Cena won’t be live tonight, per Laurinaitis' request. He tells the wrestlers in back that if anyone makes fun of his voice like Cena did, they will pay the consequences. Queue the opening riff to “Cult of Personality."
CM Punk comes out to say he’s going to help Laurinaitis learn what the people really want, given his “People Power” campaign. Punk managed to get political for an instant when he implied that Laurinaitis was a Republican (I’m already sick of typing the general manager’s last name, so he’ll just be “Johnny Ace” for the rest of this article).
Punk’s promo was subpar for Punk, but that’s still better than most other grapplers' mic skills. CM Punk vs. Lord Tensai is set for tonight.
The Big Show gets his Intercontinental Title rematch next. ***There’s no way Rhodes loses the title.
The Big Show mocks Johnny Ace’s voice backstage. The vice president of talent relations doesn’t hear it, but Eve does. Is this foreshadowing?
Cody Rhodes gets off to a rough start. He takes his title and runs. The Executive Administrator comes to the ring and calls out The Big Show for making fun of Johnny Ace’s voice. She shows off her pair of big, beautiful power muscles by making TBS apologize twice.
I'm not a huge fan of The Big Show, but they need to do something with him. He can't feud with Eve. WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE WITH THE BIG SHOW?
After a commercial break, we are shown a replay of last week’s Tag Team Title exchange. Then we get Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler, with all of the ringside characters you’d assume.
The rumor sheets, as of Monday afternoon, all said Mason Ryan was Ziggler’s new bodyguard. Instead, we see Ryan backstage with Epico, Primo, Rosa and AW, watching Kofi/Ziggler on a monitor. We are informed by Cole that a) AW has said he is waiting for just the right moment to invoke Epico and Primo's rematch, and, b) AW is willing to work with anyone who wants his services.
Ziggler gets the pin after Swagger interferes. It's about time one of Vickie's boys got a win on a show other than Superstars. *** I predict AW requests the Tag Title rematch for Over the Limit, then Vickie gets Ziggler/Swagger thrown into the match as well, and AW throws a fit.
The Cena interview is next. Blah blah blah, exactly what you’d expect . He uses the word “ass.” Looks like the match is still on with Johnny Ace for OTL.
We see Kelly Kelly and Layla walking together backstage toward the ring. After the commercial break, Beth Phoenix is on commentary and refuses to talk about her ankle "injury."
Kelly Kelly and Layla stop to hug on the way to the ring. Their opponents are Natalya and Maxine. Natalya takes a huge bump when she's pulled off of the apron. Shortly after, bimbos win.
I think Beth Phoenix is hot, and I’m not afraid to admit it. Does the fact that she's already back on TV mean that Kharma's return is being pushed back? WOULD YOU RATHER SEE BETH PHOENIX OR KHARMA AS THE NEXT DIVAS CHAMPIONS?
Up next is Randy Orton and Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio. All four men get their full-length intros. This feels reeeeeeally long. As the match starts, I begin to wonder if their’s an ulterior motive for putting Y2J into a match with three SmackDown superstars.
Great match out of all four competitors. The contest ended when Sheamus accidentally nailed Orton with the Brogue Kick. Y2J got the pin on the World Heavyweight Champion, giving both Jericho and Orton a reason to potentially be involved in the title match at Over the Limit. Orton nails Sheamus with the RKO before leaving the ring.
We return from a commercial break, and Johnny Ace sends Eve out to tell The Big Show that his apology didn’t seem sincere. As soon as she leaves, Johnny is approached by ADR, Y2J and Orton, all claiming to deserve a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship.
Sheamus joins the fray and gets called a “clumsy ass” by Orton. Johnny Ace tells Sheamus his title defense at Over the Limit will be a Fatal Four-Way.
Hold up! So you're telling me that at Extreme Rules, Chris Jericho lost (for the second time on consecutive PPVs) to CM Punk in a match for the WWE Championship, and Daniel Bryan lost (for the second time on consecutive PPVs) to Sheamus in a match for the World Heavyweight Championship—and then the next PPV, they both get title shots against the champion of the brand they don't work for? DOES ANYONE ELSE HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THIS?
The Funkasauras is up next, bringing the Fuckadactyls with him, getting the Funkateers pumped. The Miz is introduced as his opponent and does a great bit on the mic that includes a Mike Tyson’s Punchout reference to “King Hippo.”
I’m a bigger fan of The Miz than most. I really don’t want to see The Miz job to Brodus Clay, but I don’t have high hopes. Brodus Clay gets the victory, and without any mention of Swagger or Ziggler, it looks like the Funkasauras has moved on. ***I predict Brodus Clay will suffer his first real loss sometime after No Way Out, building a legitimate feud with a pay-off at Money In The Bank. Then he challenges for the US or IC Title at SummerSlam.
The Miz continues to be used way below his potential. I thought there was supposed to be a big pay-off after his win for Johnny Ace at WrestleMania 28. WHEN WILL THE MIZ RETURN TO PROMINENCE?
Does anyone else think it’s funny that Eve, Mark Henry, Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus represent WWE for the Be A Star anti-bullying campaign? These are little kids.
Isn't WWE sending a mixed message? Maybe I’m just not giving today’s youth the credit they deserve for being able to distinguish between reality and what they see on WWE programming.
After the commercial break, we get an update on the “injury” of COO Triple H, but not before sitting through a recap of last week’s attack.
If you watch SmackDown and Superstars, this is the fourth time you’ve seen this (if you include Raw last week). Probably the fifth, since I’m sure there was at least one replay on Raw last week. Triple H is apparently scheduled for surgery, is currently wearing some crazy arm-brace, is still performing his duties as COO and as part of Floyd Mayweather’s entourage and will be live on Raw next week.
Cole informs us that Brock was invited to join the show tonight but sent his “legal representation” instead. Out comes Paul Heyman!
I really, really hope Heyman remains on WWE television for the duration of Lesnar’s stay. Heyman reads a letter from Brock that claims he’s never coming back. ***I predict Triple H calls out Paul Heyman next week and informs him that Brock Lesnar can't quit (due to contractual obligation). This will directly or indirectly lead to Lesnar/Helmsley at SummerSlam.
The Big Show is backstage chatting with a couple of guys from some struggling USA show about sexy detectives. They start making fun of Johnny Ace’s voice. TBS laughs like the Jolly Green Giant, and Eve approaches.
Time for a sexy reprimand! To his credit, The Big Show has a great “Aww shit, I'm busted!” face. If he keeps it up, he may land a legitimate acting role some day, a la Andre the Giant in The Princess Bride.
As CM Punk comes to the ring for his match against Lord Tensai, Johnny Ace interjects and informs the WWE Champion that it will be a handicap match. Daniel Bryan gets to join Tensai.
Solid match from three solid grapplers. CM Punk is often compared to Steve Austin, but he doesn’t have the superpower of always overcoming all obstacles, so he loses the handicap match, and Raw goes off the air after Bryan gets him in the Yes Lock.
Let's hope these two feud for a really long time, as they aren't giving their match at OTL the buildup that it deserves.
Both Cena and Orton used the word "ass" this week—looks like we're slowly on our way to a higher parental rating. Brock Lesnar no-showed/claimed to quit via "legal representative" Paul Heyman.
Cena only appeared via satellite, but the show still felt stacked. Mason Ryan has apparently joined AW's crew, along with Epico, Primo and Rosa. The Big Show seems to be feuding with Eve. Beth Phoenix is back on TV, and the Miz is the most recent victim of the Funkasauras.
The Tag Team Division and Divas Division are starting to take shape, but they still have a lot of work to do.
Orton has reasserted himself into the World Heavyweight Title picture, and OTL will prove whether Sheamus is legit or simply a paper champion. Lord Tensai remains a part of the main event picture, and John Laurinaitis/Eve are feuding with just about everyone.
Over the Limit isn't looking as promising as Extreme Rules, but it has potential. WWE has a week and a half to seduce the few members of the WWE Universe that still legally purchase PPVs.