So last week's return to reviewing Raw was a great success judging from feedback, so why not do it again?
We recap the whole CM Punk vs. Jerry Lawler situation which is somehow supposed to make me want to pay money to see Punk vs. John Cena. However, we cut live to Michael Cole who reveals that CM Punk has attacked Jerry Lawler backstage and laid him out.
Oh, we are also LIVE from Chicago, IL (where I'm sure CM Punk will finally get that massive heel reaction WWE has been waiting for).
Sheamus comes out to threaten Alberto Del Rio, but CM Punk immediately interrupts—to a massive babyface reaction of course—and reveals Lawler attacked him from behind first, so he got his ass kicked Chicago style. Punk conducts a little survey and Chicago does not think Punk turned his back on the “WWE Universe” (God, I hate that term) because Punk deserves some respect.
Sheamus has finally heard enough and says Punk is disrespecting him, so he challenges Punk to a fight. Punk tells Sheamus to shut up though because Sheamus is only the World Heavyweight Champion and therefore he's lower on the pecking order. To quote Scott Keith, "I love shoot comments that aren't supposed to be shoot comments."
AJ interrupts in her token business suit and books Alberto Del Rio versus John Cena, and CM Punk versus Sheamus for later tonight.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Randy Orton
Goofy opening sequence leads to Dolph hitting a dropkick but Orton answers with one of his own for a lazy two count. Dolph goes up and over in the corner but gets caught with a slingshot suplex and Randy gets two again. Ziggler recovers and hammers away but gets sent to the floor and tastes the crowd barrier. Can you believe Randy Orton is a nine-time world champion? Remember a time when that would actually MEAN something? We take a break while Ziggler sells the beating on the floor.
We return with both guys in the ring and Orton hits a high flapjack to set up a ten-punch in the corner. Ziggler goes low though to break Orton's momentum and hits a neckbreaker, sending Orton rolling to the floor where Dolph runs him into the barricade. You see that? STORY TELLING!! Showboat elbow gets two and Ziggler works a chinlock. I should note that Michael Cole is calling this match solo, revealing that he can be even more boring than usual.
Ziggler misses another elbow and Orton tries a comeback but Dolph hits a running clothesline for a near fall. Ziggler heads up top but gets crotched and Randy brings him down with a top-rope superplex for two. Orton launches his babyface comeback routine and Cole actually calls the powerslam correctly! Ziggler stops the draping DDT but still falls victim to a backbreaker for two. Ziggler shakes it off though and plants Orton with a DDT for two while Vickie annoyingly screams from the outside.
Dolph looks to finish with the Zig Zag, but Orton dodges and nails the draping DDT and tries for the RKO. Dolph wiggles out of it and heads to the corner where Orton follows with a rollup. Dolph rolls through though and grabs a handful of tights to steal a win.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
-Really good TV match here with both guys working hard and some hard-hitting spots, ***
The Miz joins Michael Cole for commentary...I take it back, I'll take Cole by himself.
It's time for the WWE Comedy Hour, as we head back to Anger Management with Daniel Bryan and Kane. Apparently, they had to created “anger collages” and Bryan's is just a mismatch of “yes” and “no”. Kane's collage is just an empty piece of paper which he sets on fire in the trashcan with his supernatural abilities. Good Lord, this was stupid. I guess Kane's abilities to light things on fire is restricted to ring posts and garbage cans? That's kind of a useless superpower.
Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes & Tensai
They haven't thrown Tensai back on the trash heap yet? Cara starts with Rhodes and flips around to confuse Cody and take yet another commercial break. Easy guys, it's only a three hour show.
We return with Sin Cara playing face-in-peril as the heels beat him down in the corner and Cody busts out a surfboard...whoa, Rhodes brought the moveset tonight. Cody rips at Cara's mask and brings in Tensai for an awful-looking clothesline and some “Albert” chants. Albert locks on a nerve pinch (thrilling) but Cara dodges, hits a kick and gets the hot tag to Mysterio. Rey beats on Cody and hits a seated senton for two then follows with a low dropkick for another two. Tensai breaks things up but Rey slides out of a powerbomb and gets hit with the 619. Cara adds a missile dropkick to get rid of Tensai but Cody sneaks in with a forward suplex for two on Rey. Mysterio recovers and counters to hit Cody with the 619 and Cara adds a Swanton Bomb for the three count.
Winners: Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara
-Mysterio and Cara hit their high spots but the majority of the match was sloppy and heatless, **. (Miz shouldn't quit his day job.)
Back to Anger Management, Kane and Bryan are forced to try trust falls! Kane actually catches Bryan but both guys let Harold hit the ground for being a jerk. You know, these guys could end up being a pretty good tag team together. Please, at least something come out of all this nonsense.
Sheamus vs. CM Punk
Hold on a second here because Punk wants to talk. He says you don't just throw the WWE champion out there in the first hour for a match and plus, it's Labor Day. Everyone gets a day off of work, that means CM Punk does too.
Backstage, AJ tries to stop Punk from leaving but Punk tells her he's taking a personal day. She also doesn't know who Matt Striker is.
-So yeah, take the massive Chicago babyface OFF THE SHOW...I'm sure that's what the people want to see.
Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger
COME BACK PUNK, PLEASE COME BACK!!!! Cole plays up Swagger's nine month losing streak as Alberto Del Rio joins us for commentary and Swagger throws shoulders in the corner. Sheamus floors Jack with a punch and comes off the top with a shoulder tackle for two. Swagger goes low with a chop block for two but gets caught with a boot on a charge and Sheamus makes his comeback. Swagger halts it and hits a pump splash for two but gets floored and Sheamus locks on the Texas (Irish) Cloverleaf for the submission. About time someone brought that one out of the mothballs, it's a solid move.
-The Miz actually got worse on commentary, if you can believe it. Not surprisingly, Del Rio attacks after the bell but Sheamus sends him scurrying. Sheamus lays out Ricardo with the Brogue Kick and knocks him cold. Call the whole thing *1/2 and tell Swagger to start putting applications in at Home Depot.
Eve vs. Kaitlyn
Layla is on commentary as the parade of mediocrity continues. Kaitlyn hits the lowest cross body in wrestling history for two then almost dumps Eve on her head with a hip toss. They stand around looking confused then go into a catfight spot as the crowd rapidly loses patience. The sloppiness continues as Miz and Layla talk over each other, giving me an instant migraine. Eve works a headlock and they screw something up TERRIBLY and Kaitlyn sells an injury while the audience boos. Eve kicks her in the gut and hits a neckbreaker to mercifully end this mess.
-Please don't ever let this Kaitlyn girl wrestle on television anymore,*** for the combination of the match and commentary.
Meanwhile, Jack Swagger tells AJ he's taking some extended time off. AJ freaks out because everyone (Brock, Jericho, Punk) is leaving her.
After a break, Anger Management ends but Kane and Daniel's peace and harmony ends with a big argument, causing the Anger Management guy to freak out...ha ha?
Of course, there's only one way to settle this Kane-Bryan thing: A TWITTER POLL!! The audience gets to choose if Kane and Bryan wrestle tonight, form a tag team or “hug it out.” ARRRRRRRRGHHHH.
Backstage, Alberto Del Rio's lawyer, David Otunga, has no comment on Ricardo's condition at this time.
Jinder Mahal vs. Ryback
Huge “Goldberg” chants erupt and Mahal works the arm. Ryback powers out but runs into a boot and Mahal hits a shoulder block for two. Ryback catches him with a scoop slam as Cole makes fun of Miz and Ryback hits a powerbomb. Clothesline of Death hits and the Muscle Buster finishes things.
-Just a squash like all the rest, *.
After a break, AJ makes Del Rio vs. Cena a Falls Count Anywhere match as she starts spiraling back into the world of crazy.
So the results of the Twitter poll lead to Daniel Bryan and Kane having to “hug it out” because stupid comedy is always better than a wrestling angle that might actually draw money or something.
Hug It Out Match
Daniel Bryan vs. Kane
This angle might be absolute garbage, but Daniel Bryan is a GENIUS for this Yes-No stuff with the crowd. After what seems like ten minutes, Kane and Bryan hug but the anger gets the better of both of them and a brawl erupts. Kane tries to Pillmanize Bryan's head, but Daniel bashes Kane with the chair and heads for the hills.
-I really fail to see how this was supposed to accomplish ANYTHING.
US Title Match
Antonio Cesaro vs. Santino Marella
I heard a rumor that the Kings of Wrestling reunited at one of the NXT tapings which means I absolutely must see that episode. Marella tries for the Cobra (without the sock puppet since it's in “love” with Aksana) immediately but, without the puppet, it has no effect. Gutwrench suplex takes Santino over as he desperately tries to get the sock puppet. Cesaro basically ignores the shenanigans and hits the Neutralizer for the win.
Winner and STILL Champion: Antonio Cesaro
-Okay, can we PLEASE get Santino onto Superstars where he belongs now? The match sucked but maybe Cesaro can rechristen the belt the European Championship as rumored and get an actually storyline going, 1/4*.
Zack Ryder vs. Heath Slater
This match was brought about via Twitter War! Ryder takes him down for two to start but a cheap shot turns the tide and Slater stomps away. Ryder hits the corner and Slater hits a neckbreaker for a near fall before hammering away. Slater drops a knee for two and works a chinlock but a charge to the corner hits knees and Ryder mounts his comeback. Woo Woo Woo Kick hits in the corner and Slater takes a facebuster to set up the Ruff Ryder to give Zack the win.
Winner: Zack Ryder
-Pretty standard stuff here but at least these two guys are on television, *3/4.
Vickie Guerrero hits the ring and stages a sit-in until AJ comes out to answer for her actions last week.
So we come back from break and Vickie recaps her problems with AJ via the Clint Eastwood method (which means she's talking to an empty chair). Oh wow, a Republican National Convention reference...those 10-year-old kids in the audience will totally understand that.
AJ hits the ring and reveals the Board of Directors has told her to apologize and not to lay her hands on talent ever again. Of course, Vickie milks the apology for all it's worth and smacks AJ around before laughing at her. AJ freaks out about her recent misfortune and takes her aggression out on a perfectly innocent chair. This went on for way too long.
Falls Count Anywhere
John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio
We take a commercial break during entrances for whatever reason and return to Del Rio hitting a backbreaker for two. Del Rio works a resthold while the male fans over the age of 15 let everyone watching know how badly Cena sucks. Del Rio and Cena clothesline each other for a double KO spot but Alberto recovers first and hits a back stabber for two. Del Rio heads up top but gets caught in mid-air by a Cena dropkick. What the hell was Del Rio even going for there? That's why spots like that annoy me.
Cena makes his SOS comeback and looks to finish but Del Rio heads to the apron and snaps Cena's neck over the top rope. We head to the outside for the first time and Cena hits the ring steps. Del Rio beats on Cena around the ring and a sloppy spot leads to Del Rio hitting the crowd barrier for a two count. Cena preps the announce table for some carnage but Del Rio catches him with an enzuigiri for two. They battle near the table and Cena tries an AA but Alberto sends him into the ring post. Del Rio grabs a chair but misses and Cena sends him into the first row near a big, fat guy.
Cena drags the ringsteps over to the announce table while Del Rio staggers back over and Albero hits the ring barrier again. Props to the dude in the crowd dressed like Randy Savage. Cena lifts Alberto into the Attitude Adjustment position and climbs the steps near the table, but Del Rio elbows out and hits a nasty back suplex through the table...for two? Come on now, there's no shame in jobbing after going through a table on your NECK.
Back inside, Del Rio grabs a mic and taunts Cena as the beating continues, but takes too long applying the cross armbreaker and Cena traps him in the STF. Alberto struggles to break but manages to get hold of the microphone and nails Cena in the head with it. Miz has said like three things this whole match.
Del Rio charges but crashes through the ropes and to the floor where he buggers up his knee but he still manages to suplex Cena on the entrance ramp for two. They battle over to Del Rio's Lamborghini and now it's Alberto's turn to hit the entrance ramp. Cena grabs a speaker for some damage (of course he stopped selling long enough to shoot the camera a goofy look) but Del Rio goes low and they battle into the locker room.
They crash through the interview set and Del Rio tries to finish but Cena hits an Attitude Adjustment on top of some crates to presumably finish. CM Punk, however, makes his return and knocks out Cena with a kick before placing Alberto on top for the win.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
-Punk hits Cena with a GTS using a car hood instead of a knee and demands more respect from Mr. Cena. Guess what? PAUL HEYMAN is driving the car! Okay, you have my attention.
-I could see the finish coming from a mile away but the match was still really good for a TV main event. Both guys took some hard shots and that table bump looked pretty nasty. A great showing from both guys and a nice way to close the show ***1/2.
This wasn't as near as bad as last week but there's still far too much dead air and boring segments to try to fill the three hours. There were still two really good matches on the show, but they took place over two hours apart. Does anyone in WWE understand the ridiculousness behind their Monday night show being LONGER than their PPVs? Until they ditch the time fillers and start giving more time to actual wrestling, this show is going to be a hard sell.