WWE Monday Night Raw aired live from Sacramento, Calif., on Oct. 8, 2012, and featured the return of Vince McMahon—both to television and to the ring.
Raw suffered from sagging ratings over the past few weeks, and the immediate reaction was to present an Attitude Era-style main event that is sure to get people talking. Will it result in a consistent ratings push?
That’s doubtful, and the WWE likely agrees with me. That’s why they removed Brian Gerwitz from the creative team (as reported by Mike Johnson of PWInsider) headed into tonight’s episode.
While it’s impossible to accurately predict what the creative change and Vince’s reappearance will accomplish, we can take a look back at this past Monday’s Raw.
Read on for the full breakdown of Monday’s Raw!
Promo 1: John Cena addresses his absence, provides an update, and demands CM Punk face him at Hell in a Cell. He also shared a moment with Ryback that could be very telling.
Transition 1: Highlights of CM Punk disrespecting Jim Ross from last week, complete with Ryback’s involvement.
Match 1: Ryback defeated Primo and Epico at 2:35 of a handicap match.
Transition 2: We are reminded that Vince McMahon will deliver a “State of the WWE Address” later tonight.
Match 2: Brodus Clay vs. R-Truth doesn’t happen when Vince McMahon comes on the Titan-Tron to bury both men, “The Funkadactyls” and “Little Jimmy.”
Promo 2: Vince McMahon delivers his “State of the WWE Address,” is interrupted and eventually slapped in the face by CM Punk (who was accompanied by Paul Heyman). Vince challenged Punk to a match, stating he’d fire Punk if he didn’t accept.
Match 3: Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara beat The Prime Time Players in a semifinal match in the No. 1 Contender Tag Team Tournament when Mysterio pinned Darren Young at 6:46.
Backstage 1: Paul Heyman tries to convince CM Punk not to go through with facing Vince McMahon later tonight, but Punk refuses to listen.
Transition 3: Replays of John Cena’s challenge to CM Punk and Vince McMahon’s ultimatum to CM Punk.
Match 4: World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus defeated Wade Barrett by disqualification in 12:27 after interference from Tensai and The Big Show.
Transition 4: Jim Ross leaves the commentary position in an attempt to talk Vince McMahon out of wrestling CM Punk later tonight.
Backstage 2: CM Punk talks to Raw General Manager AJ Lee, who says that Punk is afraid to face John Cena at Hell in a Cell. Punk reminds her that he’s wrestling Vince McMahon tonight, and what happens will be on her head.
Match 5: United States Champion Antonio Cesaro pinned Tyson Kidd in 3:55.
Transition 5: Vickie Guerrero and Ricardo Rodriguez introduce Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio, respectively.
Match 6: WWE Tag Team Champions Kane and Daniel Bryan beat Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio in 15:53 when Kane pinned Ziggler following a chokeslam (Hour 3 started during this match).
Transition 6: Video recap of the Vince McMahon-CM Punk altercation from earlier in the show.
Backstage 3: Jim Ross unsuccessfully attempts to convince Vince McMahon to back out of wrestling CM Punk.
Promo 3: Larry King hosts a special Larry King Now segment with special guests Intercontinental Champion The Miz and Kofi Kingston.
Match 7: Team Rhodes Scholars beat Zack Ryder and Santino Marella in a semifinal match in the No. 1 Contender Tag Team Tournament when Rhodes pinned Marella in 3:06.
Transition 7: “The Band” of Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal attack Santino Marella after the match.
Backstage 4: Paul Heyman tries to convince Vince McMahon to back out of his match with CM Punk later in the evening.
Match 8: Eve forced Kaitlyn to tap out in 6:04 to retain the WWE Divas Championship.
Backstage 5: Josh Mathews attempts to ask Alberto Del Rio about a tweet sent out by Randy Orton, but Del Rio doesn’t stay around long enough for Mathews to finish the question.
Transition 8: Justin Roberts had all of the cancer survivors in attendance stand and be recognized.
Backstage 5: Daniel Bryan (and eventually Kane) talk about looks with Larry King and the lovely and talented Mrs. King.
Backstage 6: Paul Heyman discussed wrestling Vince McMahon with CM Punk, and eventually decided that it’s best that Punk just debilitate McMahon before the end of the show.
Transition 8: One more look back at the Vince McMahon-CM Punk confrontation that led to tonight’s main event.
Match 9: WWE Champion CM Punk battled Vince McMahon to an unannounced no-contest when Punk left the ring after interference from Ryback and John Cena.
Promo 4: Vince McMahon delivered another ultimatum to CM Punk. He stated that Punk can choose either John Cena or Ryback as his opponent for Hell in a Cell—and if Punk doesn’t choose, Vince will choose for him.
Nine matches in total, but only 7 counted towards the total and average
Officially, 7 matches for a total of 50 minutes and 46 seconds
- Average Match Time: 7:15
- Longest Match: Kane and Daniel Bryan vs. Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio
- Shortest Match: Ryback vs. Primo and Epico
Backstage Segments: 6
In-Ring/On-Stage Promos: 4
Pre-Taped Vignettes: 0
Transitional Moments/Videos: 8
Total Elements: 27 (6.75 per hour, 2.07 per quarter hour)
Note: The match times do not include the CM Punk-Vince McMahon match, as there was no definite start or end to the match. The total time would have eclipsed an hour had this match had an official time. The average would have increased as well.
Overall, I give the show an “A.” When ratings are a legitimate concern, the WWE can really put out a good show. I don’t think we realize it, but CM Punk is being immortalized with this Vince McMahon interaction.
Look at the talent who has had it out with Vince: Steve Austin, The Rock, Shane McMahon, Mick Foley, Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels and John Cena. That’s quite the list for CM Punk to join.
Even when John Cena and Vince McMahon are back on Raw, CM Punk still carries the show. That’s not a compliment for CM Punk in as much as it’s a testament the importance of the top heel.
While I loved the idea of having a tag team tournament to reestablish the division, none of the “official teams” made the finals, and the losing team may not stay together. After Hell in a Cell concludes, I fear we might be back to square one with the division.
Kofi Kingston’s emergence as a potential challenger for The Miz is interesting, as I know they can deliver a good match. It’s a step in the right direction, but we’ll see if the WWE actually moves in that direction.
There is a lot of undercard heel momentum coming out of this week’s Raw. The Band had another good showing while Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow are looking dominant. The company really needs to build up faces, so we’ll see how this works for them on a long-term basis.
There were three unseen items from Raw this week that bear mention. The most obvious is the creative shake-up mentioned on the first slide. After the Vince McMahon-CM Punk promo, Vince publicly yelled at a ringside production manager about a sign that wasn’t confiscated.
In other unseen news, current NXT talent Xavier Woods (formerly Consequences Creed in TNA) worked a dark match against (and defeated) Michael McGillicutty.
It’s easy to expect the WWE to name WWE Champion CM Punk’s opponent for Hell in a Cell, and I expect that to be John Cena. We can also expect to know who will challenge Daniel Bryan and Kane for the WWE Tag Team Championships at the same event.
What I really want to see on Raw next week is something new. Debut someone from NXT. Turn someone unexpectedly. This week’s Raw gave off an “Attitude Era” vibe that I haven’t felt in a while. I am not calling for the return of the era, but incorporating one element per week wouldn’t hurt the current product.
I also want to see the middle of the card developed for Hell in a Cell. We know about the WWE and World Heavyweight Championship matches, as well as the WWE Tag Team Championship match. Is The Miz defending the Intercontinental Championship against Kofi Kingston at the event? Great, let’s set that up!
What about United States Champion Antonio Cesaro? Will Santino Marella be looking for revenge on The Band?
And the biggest question leading into next week’s edition of Monday Night Raw: Will Vince McMahon appear on a regular basis?
You Decide: What did you like about Raw? What didn’t you like? What do you want to see next week?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
Greg DeMarco is a wrestling fan of over 28 years and has also worked on the independent circuit as a promoter, announcer, character and booker. More of his work can be found at 411Mania. Greg also hosts a weekly radio show found at www.blogtalkradio.com/gregdemarco and streaming worldwide each weekend at www.vocnation.com.