My Cliff’s Notes version of Raw can be found at the end of this article, immediately following My Questions (that I hope you’ll answer for me) and My Predictions.
Opening Segment - Rather than a video recap, Raw begins with a shot of Triple H walking backstage, on his way to the ring. He runs into John Lauranaitis, who expresses his fake empathy for the COO's encounter with Brock Lesnar. Triple H returns the fake empathy when he reminds us that the Vice President of Talent Relations has a match with John Cena at Over the Limit, just six days from now.
Cue the music: No fear, no doubt, all in, balls out...
When the Raw theme concludes, Triple H makes his way to the ring. He talks about how offended he is that Lesnar returned to bring "legitimacy" to the WWE, claiming that is an insult to himself, Shawn Michaels, the Undertaker, and a list of other past and present professional wrestling icons. He then went on a rant claiming that Brock has a history (his original stint in WWE, then his time in UFC) of arriving somewhere with a great deal of hype, making his way to the top, and then quitting when it became too hard. He is soon interrupted by Lesnar's theme. Paul Heyman makes his way to the ring with what appears to be more legal counsel. We find out that Lesnar is suing Triple H. Paul Heyman is brilliant on the mic until Triple H threatens to beat him up. With no real specifics given, the Triple H/Lesnar feud continues.
Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler then review two video packages with us. The first is Johnny Ace, The Big Show, and Eve. We find out that The Big Show will face Kane tonight, and if TBS doesn't apologize (again) for mocking the GM, he will be fired. Then we see a package for Johnny Ace and Lord Tensai's attack on John Cena, and we find out the two Johns will be face-to-face in the ring tonight.
CM Punk & Santino Marella vs. Daniel Bryan & Cody Rhodes - As these men make their respective intros, a Marella/Rhodes feud is teased. Neither man yet has a match at Over the Limit; I hope this doesn't mean they will have a unification match. This is a rare treat, giving us four guys that have legitimate in-ring skills and captivating personalities. Match ends when Bryan flees the ring and Rhodes falls victim to Punk's GTS.
Post-match, we find out that Chris Jericho faces Randy Orton tonight, and that Johnny Ace has a big announcement that will change the future of the WWE.
Beth Phoenix vs. Alicia Fox - Phoenix gets a rematch against Layla at the PPV, and I've got to believe this will be a squash. Layla comes out to watch the match from the ramp and she looks nervous as Phoenix finishes off Fox in what had to be less than two minutes. Phoenix continues to beat on Fox post-match, only to be saved by Layla. With Kharma's return potentially happening any day now, I'm really not sure where WWE is going with the Divas.
We are shown a repeat of the Make-A-Wish video package narrated by John Cena, highlighting the article he wrote for USA Today. After the commercial break, we find out that the YouTube Pre-Show will apparently be a part of every PPV for a while (reminiscent of the "Free-For-All" we used to get during the Attitude Era), as we get Kane vs. Zack Rider to warm us up for Over the Limit.
The Big Show vs. Kane - Before we get our next match, we have to watch the third (and longest) video recap of the heat between Johnny Ace, Eve Torres, and The Big Show. David Otunga makes his television return as he accompanies Johnny Ace to the ring to watch the match. The match isn't great, but still above average for a match involving two of the biggest men in the company. It makes you really appreciate when they leave The Great Khali out of these situations. Mid-match, Johnny Ace gets on the mic, demanding an apology from The Big Show. As TBS is distracted, Kane takes advantage, hits the chokeslam, and gets the victory.
Post-match, Johnny Ace continues to belittle The Big Show. Will there be a Pay-Per-View payoff? He tells TBS if he doesn't receive a genuine apology for the disrespect he has been showing recently, that Show will be fired. Show gives a sentimental speech about how much he has given to the industry, how much he loves the WWE Universe, blah blah blah. He apologizes one more time and all but begs not to be fired. Johnny makes him repeat the apology and Show is almost in tears. After repeating the apology, Johnny tells Show he literally has to beg for his job, on his knees and everything. Show agonized over bringing himself to one knee. Show pleads with Johnny to let him keep his job without having to suffer the humiliation of dropping to his knees. Just as Johnny is ready to announce Show's firing, Show drops to a knee to apologize through his tears. Despite the tears, he is future endeavored.
Please, please let this be the end of sappy Big Show. Please let this bring back the angry ass-kicker.
Brodus Clay, Kofi Kingston, & R-Truth vs. The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, and Jack Swagger - This match serves to fuel the feud over the Tag Team Titles; will we also see The Funkasauras vs. The Miz at OTL? They are really putting The Funkasauras over, as he takes out all three of his opponents early on in the match. Per usual, AW and his four potential clients are watching the match together. After a respectable match, Clay pins The Miz, securing the win for the good guys.
After we return from the commercial break, CM Punk and Alex Riley are joking around about Bryan's Yes Lock when AJ approaches Punk to wish him luck at OTL. Punk thanks her before calling her "unstable." AJ's facial expression completely sold the idea that something isn't quite right upstairs. Kudos to AJ for pulling this off, as something with this much drama generally blows up in WWE's face.
Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton -
If they go through with a Rhodes/Marella feud, would you like to see the US and Intercontinental Championships unified?
As far as Kane's character goes, do you like the mask, or is it time for him to lose it again?
Is Sheamus a transitional champion, or will he survive the Fatal Four-Way at Over the Limit to continue his reign?
Somehow, Layla will retain her title at Over the Limit, which somehow ties into WWE's long-term plan for the Divas Division and Kharma's imminent return.
The Miz will cheat to defeat Brodus Clay at Over the Limit, and Clay will get his revenge with a clean win at Money In The Bank.
AJ will be the deciding factor in the WWE Championship match at Over the Limit.