Last week, in the wake of WWE not having current WWE Champion CM Punk resigned to a contract, RAW held an eight man tournament to crown the new champion.
Only they didn't.
They held the first two rounds of a tournament, with the finals being held tonight with a match between The Miz and Rey Mysterio to determine who will next hold the gold.
Why is this interesting? Because that match isn't guaranteed to go off without a hitch.
CM Punk could "magically" become a contracted superstar again before the match is held.
CM Punk and/or one of his friends could do a run-in on the main event, stopping it from having a legitimate finish and by "friends" I don't mean "New Nexus." I'm talking about Colt Cabana, Luke Gallows or even Zack Ryder.
Wait, Zack Ryder?
Yes, Zack Ryder and I'll tell you why.
Last week, CM Punk crashed Comic-Con, which you can read about and watch the video footage at GuysNation in an article posted today.
During that "crashing," Punk posed a few questions (and pointed shots) at Triple H, one of which being something to the effect of "Why isn't Zack Ryder on television?"
My interest level in RAW tonight is just as high as it was exactly one week ago and you should be thinking the exact same thing. We didn't know about the title tournament exactly one week ago and we don't know what's going to play out tonight.
How does WWE continue to build on the situation which has been setup? We're about to find out.
RAW starts out on a hot note, with no opening segment to speak of, as they're jumping right into the WWE Championship match!
WWE Championship Finals—Rey Mysterio vs. The Miz
The show tonight is live from Hampton, Virginia and though it's roughly four hours away, I find myself wishing I was in attendance and it's almost feasible that I could've been there.
Hampton doesn't suffer from that "heel/face" confusion, and there didn't seem to be any cheers for The Miz during his introduction. The fans weren't 100% behind Rey Mysterio, but I didn't hear any cheers for The Miz.
Someone should tell Mysterio that in a match this big, he shouldn't do that crazy spot where he dives between the ropes and does a forward roll on the ground. Too much can go wrong for such a lackluster move.
The WWE Championship is on RAW, so how is this match about the future of the entire WWE? Michael Cole sucks.
Jerry Lawler is saying that the WWE Universe is firmly behind Rey Mysterio... but I don't think Hampton speaks for the entire ANYTHING.
Anyone who jumps at a nearfall anytime before the first Skull-Crushing Finale attempt is not keen to how things work.
Interesting powerbomb from The Miz, but I could guarantee a 2 count.
There's your first attempt at the Skull-Crushing Finale... now any/all pinfall attempts could be considered legit potential to end the match.
The same could've been said for the 6-1-9.
There's a full 6-1-9... and Rey goes to the top...
SPLASH FROM THE TOP....
Outcome - Rey Mysterio gets the win by pinfall to win the WWE Championship
While the announcers are busy talking about how Michael Cole is the only one in the WWE Universe not happy about the outcome, the camera cuts backstage to show that only half of the locker room is happy for Rey... and you can guess that The Miz wouldn't be happy about it.
Why wouldn't Dolph Ziggler be happy about the title switch? Wouldn't Mysterio be an easier target for him to get the belt from than a lot of the other options?
Seeing that The Miz attacked Mysterio after the match, Alberto Del Rio shows up and attempts to cash in the briefcase against Rey right then and there, but before ADR can officially get a new match started, Mysterio leaps from somewhere inside the ring and splashes down on him outside the ring, putting an end to that attempt, with ADR running for the hills with the briefcase still in his possession.
Apparently before the night is over, we will get a "State of the WWE Address" from HHH. Should be interesting.
Backstage some of the guys in the locker room, of whom I only recognize about half of them, help celebrate with Mysterio. Josh Mathews interviews Rey, who says that all his sacrifices and hard work is all worth it because he gets to bring home the gold. Something tells me that's foreshadowing for something to happen later in the evening which will result in him NOT taking the belt home.
Match - Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero) vs Evan Bourne
If Dolph wants to make up for his shortcomings last week against Rey Mysterio, he'll get his chance against a similarly sized opponent.
Good call by Michael Cole in establishing the obvious fact that the WWE booking team would think Bourne is deserving of a United States Championship match if Evan proves he can beat the United States Champion.
I seriously think all it takes to get a United States Championship feud going (or at least one which would be better than the past few US Title feuds) is to simply show an interest in becoming United States Champion.
Outcome - Dolph Ziggler gets the win by making Evan Bourne pass out with a sleeperhold
After the match, Dolph Ziggler dares the locker room to top the performance he just had. How will WWE follow it up after the commercial?
Diva's segment... with The Bella Twins arguing with Eve Torres... and the Keystone Light guy, Keith Stone, was nearby... and TV-PG now features an official backstage commercial.
The segment essentially has Keith Stone draw a crazy full-arm tattoo on one of the arms of one of the Bella Twins to help us be able to tell the two of them apart... and then Eve Torres does the "Keith Stone, you're so smooth" catchphrase before he does his "always" part.
Match - Eve Torres & Kelly Kelly vs Maryse & Melina
Not much to say about this match aside from the fact that both Eve Torres AND Maryse had some new ass-shaking moves going on which were OVERT and HOT.
Kelly Kelly doesn't go with the ass shaking, but she does lick her hand before SMACKING the asses of her opponents.
In a potential feud-starting moment, Kely Kelly openly mocks the entrance taunt of Maryse... though the match ends elsewhere.
Outcome - Kelly Kelly pins Melina after her standing legdrop.
Backstage, R-Truth is talking to HHH about something, and I wouldn't be surprised if that's the first time those two had spoken at any significant length of time.
Triple H's music hits, so you know what that means... time to bash CM Punk for his actions, showing that the WWE doesn't understand that the fans are actually SIDING with CM Punk!
The State Of The WWE begins with Triple H acknowledging why they're there right now... and he lays that on Vince McMahon, calling him a genius and says that all of this is made possible because of Vince's vision...
Some might say that the WWE isn't better than it is because of all of Vince's alleged predjudices.
Triple H puts over the fact that a new champion was crowned earlier tonight... and then he goes on to screw Mysterio even further than Teddy Long screwed Christian a few years ago, because Mysterio is defending his belt tonight...
...against John Cena.
So why is it that Rey doesn't get a fair shake? Why does he have to fight twice in the same night, having to fight one of WWE's top competitors - who, incidently, didn't have to wrestle earlier in the evening.
Triple H hints at the fact that he keeps hearing the name of one person mentioned everywhere he goes, and that he signed that person to a new contract and he's coming back to RAW... but instead of CM Punk, it's Jim Ross who is now back on RAW, and Michael Cole isn't a fan of it.
In fact, Michael Cole gets a mic, stands up on the announce table... waits for the booing masses to quiet down, and he addresses... Triple H.
Michael Cole says that Jim Ross isn't the future of WWE. He says that he has been a team player since Wrestlemania and will continue to do whatever WWE wants him to do... but he refuses to work with Jim Ross.
For two minutes, Michael cole berates Jim Ross, makes fun of him, and then throws a tantrum about not wanting to work with Jim Ross.
Triple H's response? His first thought was to fire Michael Cole, but apparently if Cole gets fired, he gets a huge severence package, so if Cole doesn't want to work alongside Jim Ross, he can feel free to quit.
Michael Cole is being given the rest of the night off, and he has unti Friday to think about his options... otherwise Triple H will "wish [him] well in his future endeavors".
Apparently Michael Cole isn't welcome at the announce table for the remainder of the evening... but he doesn't have the rest of the night off - Triple H booked him in a match.
After talking to Triple H backstage, R-Truth wants some face-time with Trips in front of the live crowd.
Truth blames Triple H for being part of the conspiracy from day 1... though R-Truth then goes on to say that he likes what he sees in there being a new regime.
Playing up the bat-shit craziness, R-Truth keeps making side comments to people who aren't there, as if he has an entourage.
Truth wants to know what Triple H is going to do for him... and Triple H essentially just acts like this is all just one big joke, and I wouldn't be surprised if Truth gets a Pedigree and sent back down to the mid-card before the night is over.
The live audience might be laughing at Triple H, but they clearly don't get the fact that he's working on burying R-Truth right now.
We then get the message that Triple H has re-signed yet another guy... and that guy wants a piece of John Morrison, who shows up and starts beating on R-Truth. The man who is being conspired upon by the Little Jimmies barely gets any offense at all, and John Morrison leaves Truth broken outside the ring.
We still don't know who Michael Cole's opponent is, but the match is next.
As if Michael Cole's old ring attire wasn't terrible enough, the gear that Triple H had for him ackstage... is one of Triple H's old ring attire shorts... and I'm not talking about the ones that go halfway down the thigh. In fact, I wouldn't call the area covered by that ring attire to be "thigh" at all. Not that I can stand to look at his pasty white legs.
Michael Cole does his best Triple H impression, complete with the water fountain'ing.
Wooo Wooo Wooo!
Match - Zack Ryder vs Michael Cole
So the WWE realizes that they need to give Zack Ryder a chance to be on television and also be a face, instead of their previous attempts to flash him up onto RAW but failing to capitalize on the fact that fans love him.
Before the match really gets started, Ryder hits his awesome leg lariat, then scores an easy pinfall victory
Outcome - Zack Ryder picks up his first win on RAW... possibly EVER!
We're welcomed back from commercial by Ricardo Rodriguez, who's going to make introductions for the first competitor in the next match.
Match - Alberto Del Rio vs Kofi Kingston
So they've mentioned that this match happened last week... how about acknowledging the storyline from a couple months ago when Kofi and ADR had heat with one another on Smackdown?
As we hit the first commercial break, Alberto Del Rio looks like he wishes he hadn't asked for this match, and Kofi Kingston wants his opponent to stop hiding outside the ring so he can continue on the offensive, but he apparently knows it's a commercial break because he doesn't follow after him to capitalize on his momentum.
Somehow Alberto Del Rio not only gets back into the ring during the commercial, but he gets on the offensive, too.
A message at the bottom of the screen indicates that WWE.com has a feature about Vince's tenure as WWE Chairman. Isn't that essentially just "history of the WWE up until now"?
Kofi somehow hurts his arm, and he lets that slow him down from setting up for the TROUBLE IN PARADISE because he can't properly do his "BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!" hand slapping taunt.
Come on, Kofi. You aren't He-Man or Lion-O with some special sword that needs some special taunt before you're ready to do battle. Just wait for your opponent, measure the distance, hit the kick and win.
Alas, instead, Kofi gets caught in the cross-arm breaker.
Outcome - Alberto Del Rio avenges his last week loss.
Instead of Mr Money In The Bank, would that make him Captain Mexico: The Mexican Avenger?
So how is it that with Hustle, Loyalty and Respect does John Cena agree to compete for the WWE Title after Rey had already wrestled to start the show? Doesn't that make you question his integrity?
Oh, I forgot, Kurt Angle is the one who cared about integrity.
The Miz gets interviewed backstage, and he's not happy with how HHH is running things. Apparently The Miz blames HHH for the fact that Mysterio won the championship earlier tonight, and then rambles on about how Rey isn't going to be good as being the public face of the WWE (which he probably won't have to worry about, considering how high the deck is stacked against Rey in the main event), and then talks about how Cena shouldn't get the title shot anyway, blaming Cena for losing the belt to CM Punk in the first place.
Just when I figured Cena might show up and refuse to take the match tonight... Rey makes his entrance.
There's still time...
WWE Championship Match - Rey Mysterio (c) vs John Cena
So John Cena comes to the ring and hands over his dog tags and throws his hat into the crowd, then pounds fists and allows this match to happen.
Jim Ross acknowledges the fact that "the competitor they aren't allowed to name" has left WWE and "vacated" the championship.
I'm still thinking he's going to make a return and have some sort of ladder match for the belts a la HBK vs Razor Ramon at Wrestlemania X.
Mysterio with an interesting start to the match, utilizing leg kicks to soften up Cena early on.
Anyone else not surprised that John Cena blocked (and countered) the 6-1-9? Even if Cena had never seen a Rey Mysterio match before tonight started, if he simply watched the beginning of the show, he could've known what to expect.
John Cena's not a great wrestler, but just like Undertaker, he's really good at having entertaining spots utilizing his signature moves from different spots when he's facing a highly talented competitor. What a difference a little variety makes.
Spot of the night, Rey Mysterio avoids being put into the STFU and in turn puts John Cena into the STFU himself. After nearly 18 years of seeing Rey Mysterio wrestle, this is one of the first times I can remember seeing him use a submission move... most certainly the first time he used his opponent's submission move against him.
Cena's leg took some punishment from that STFU, and he goes for the Attitude Adjustment and collapses under the pain in his knee, letting Mysterio get back into the match...
He goes to the top rope...
NO! Cena gets his knees up, connecting with some damage as Mysterio crashes down with his splash!
As the match continues, Mysterio nearly dies as John Cena stops a hurricanrana in the corner, goes for a powerbomb and Rey has to complete his flip-over to avoid potentially breaking his neck.
Just like with Kane from Smackdown a few days ago, a competitor with a bum leg does something stupid, as John Cena goes to the top rope for his top rope guillotine leg drop.
And as I'm typing this, I'm having trouble keeping up with the action as it transpires, and Mysterio is looking for a 6-1-9, only to get caught and dropped with an Attitude Adjustment... STEALING Rey Mysterio's WWE Championship.
Outcome - New "Champion" as John Cena wins by pinfall
After the match, CULT OF PERSONALITY HITS... and that's CM Punk's old music! Apparently not a ton of old school Ring Of Honor fans in attendance, because the fans don't know what to think!
CM Punk walks through the curtain, wearing an awesome Chicago-style lightning-bolt-holding fist, and that's an awesome perk if he got that written into his contract that he gets that as his new theme song.
CM Punk has his name on the faceplate of the championship belt, so I'm guessing what we saw tonight... it's not "canon", as they would say with comic books.
Face to face, John Cena and CM Punk stand in the ring, and each raise championship belts into the air... and it would seem that Punk is getting just as big of a reaction as John Cena.
The vacation is over, and now we'll have to tune in on Friday (or maybe next Monday) to find out what's going to happen.
If this means Summerslam is going to have a ladder match, I'm all in!
This article will be updated throughout the night, so keep checking back for the latest updates as they happen! If this article isn't up to speed, check the GuysNation version, which, as always, will have the infamous polls before the night is over!