WWE Raw Results: CM Punk vs. Vince McMahon and the Episode's Best Moments
Pick apart Raw's missteps if you wish, but there was plenty of fun to be had on WWE's flagship show.
An imaginary child did a dance routine. Antonio Cesaro insulted American food. John Cena and Ryback presented CM Punk with a difficult choice.
There was plenty of entertainment to be had with a chuckle-worthy Larry King and Team Hell No segment and JBL's many quips.
The strength of this episode, though, was the number of matches that were featured, showing a welcome commitment to wrestling.
Several Superstar clashes engrossed us. Even the Divas match, though not a 5-star affair, was worth watching. A full-fledged angle is happening in that division.
Let's dig in and relive the best moments and battles from the latest Raw.
The Sacramento Crowd
An impassioned and involved crowd elevated the show from start to finish.
Aside from a moment of awkward silence for Antonio Cesaro, the Sacramento fans reacted to everything. They seemed to genuinely love the experience rather than nitpick WWE's decisions.
Even a pair of Larry King segments got them riled up somewhat.
There were no "What?" chants during promos or Goldberg comparisons when Ryback came out.
The fans did their job, providing the emotional soundtrack to the show's ups and downs, heroes and villains.
The only question is whether the fan incident at the end of the night is a work or if Punk legitimately layed the SmackDown on some grab-happy fan. Have a look at this video and decide for yourself.
Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus
Even though a Tensai and Big Show run-in ended it prematurely, Sheamus and Wade Barrett put on a masterful performance.
The two titans slugged it out in a match WWE billed as England vs. Ireland. They showed how brutal and intense a brawl could be without the use of ringside furniture and within the confines of the PG Era.
This is the best Barrett has looked since his return, the merciless warrior we were promised in his slick vignettes.
Barrett delivered a spin kick that rammed the steel steps into The Great White's knees. He later delivered a stiff, punishing kick to Sheamus, who hung slumped among the ropes.
While Sheamus took a mighty beating, he looked strong and resilient.
The welts on Barrett's face tell the story of the brutality of this phenomenal match.
Hell No vs. Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler
With the actual tag teams busy with the tag team tournament or getting squashed by Ryback, Team Hell No faced off against Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler.
This matchup was a showcase of some of the roster's best stars and certainly its hottest team.
The crowd reacted more intensely and more often to this match than anything else all night.
Daniel Bryan and Kane continued their odd-couple antics, both men teasing like they would tag each other and then childishly pulling their hand away.
Their synchronized dysfunction provided an intriguing contrast to Del Rio and Ziggler's crisp teamwork. Bryan received most of the punishment, getting caught in the wrong corner for most of the match.
Ricardo Rodriguez plugging his ears in reaction to Vickie Guerrero's squealing was a nice touch.
Ziggler sold a Bryan missile dropkick exquisitely. Kane finished the job with a chokeslam.
Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio vs. the Prime Time Players
The other tag team tournament semifinal fell flat while Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio's defeat of Titus O'Neil and Darren Young got fans excited for the finals.
Mysterio and Sin Cara have become more cohesive as a team each time out, both in terms of their ring gear and in terms of their ring work.
They started off the match with their fast-paced offense. They crashed into The Prime Time Players, kicking the action off with high-flying moves and high energy.
It wasn't a match that broke new ground, nor was it particularly amazing, but it featured good energy from both teams, furthered the story of the tournament and provided solid action on a busy night in the ring.
Mr. McMahon and CM Punk
CM Punk interrupted Vince McMahon's State of the WWE Address while wearing a visually popping, new yellow shirt.
McMahon reminded us all of his mic skills by creating believable tension between he and Punk.
Yes, the match that their spat spawned bypassed the usual time line. It had no time for buildup and gave us no chance to anticipate it, but the fight they had was entertaining.
Blood in the wrinkles around his eyes, McMahon survived an initial Punk beatdown and proved to be a scrappy survivor by holding his own.
A kendo stick exchange got the crowd rumbling so hard that it rattled the cameras.
Punk continued his descent into the darkness, somehow making us feel sorry for one of the most despicable villains in wrestling history.
The two men crafted a fantastic story even without Ryback and John Cena, who eventually chased the WWE champ out of the ring. According to a McMahon proclamation, Punk has to chose one of those men to face at Hell in a Cell.
That dilemma is going to help make next week's episode a mighty fine one.
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