WWE Raw Report
Date: 07/16/12 from Las Vegas, NV.
The Big News: John Cena announced he will cash in his Money in the Bank championship match next week on the 1000th Raw and A.J. will marry Daniel Bryan on the same show.
CM Punk came out to start the show. He said that it was a year ago in Las Vegas when he cut his promo on the stage. Punk asserted he was the best in the world and then proved it. Punk said next week is the 1,000th Raw and a guy like him never would have been on the first episode of Raw. That’s a bit of a stretch.
Big Show interrupted. He said he almost had the briefcase and if he had won MITB, he would cash it in to start Raw and take Punk’s title. Punk said Show did what he always does: beat up everyone and then lose. So now a guy half his size has the title and the respect and Show has no title and no respect. Show said the people don’t respect Punk and if Punk let they would immediately move onto someone else. Show labeled Punk just a cog in the machine. Punk retorted, “I’m the WWE champion and you’re not.” He said it with the same verbiage and cadence of a memorable Randy Savage promo on Ultimate Warrior in 1992 but I’m not sure if it was intended as an homage.
Punk said Show is a bitter, underachieving shell of a man who just happens to be a giant. Show vowed to beat up Punk later in the show and said after the match, Punk might lose his title to John Cena. This was a strong start to the show, with good interplay between Punk and Show.
R. Truth and Kofi Kingston beat the Prime Time Players. The heels beat up Kingston. Kingston got the tag to Truth. Truth hit a DDT on Titus O’Neil and covered but Darren Young broke up the pin attempt. Truth threw Young out of the ring. A.W. got on the ring apron to protest but Kingston gave O’Neil trouble in paradise and Truth covered for the pin. A.W. after the match yelled about getting another title shot. If this is building to them winning the titles, this has been quite the setup.
Backstage, A.J. told Daniel Bryan she called his match down the middle. Bryan seemed fine with this and apologized for what he has said to her after WrestleMania. Bryan said he has no agenda and that he was so caught up in being the champion that he made her the scapegoat. Bryan started to say that he now he could finally admit something when he was interrupted by Eve Torres. Eve was mad at Bryan for last week and said she would get to choose her partner for a match later in the show against Bryan and A.J. Eve said payback is what A.J. is. I think she was saying A.J. is a bitch. A.J. asked Bryan what he was going to say. Bryan said he would tell her after they won their match and kissed A.J. on the cheek.
Alberto Del Rio beat Zack Ryder in quick order. He hit an arm breaker, posted Ryder, and applied the armbar for the submission. After the match, Rey Mysterio made his return to help out Ryder. Mysterio hit the 619 and Del Rio bailed.
Rikishi beat Heath Slater. They had an amusing backstage segment before the match with Slater bragging about all the segments where legends humiliated him, framing it in a positive way like Cyndi Lauper presented him with a gold record and DDP taught him the diamond cutter. Rikishi was wearing more than he used to. Rikishi won quickly with a stinkface, Samoan spike (gesturing to the sky for Umaga) and the banzai drop. The lights then went out and the Usos came out to dance with their father. This was a very fun segment all around.
Daniel Bryan and A.J. beat Miz and Eve Torres. Miz was in control on Bryan early so A.J. tagged herself in. Eve took over immediately on A.J., but A.J. made a comeback with a shining wizard and covered Eve. Miz distracted the referee so A.J. knocked Miz off the apron. Eve rolled up A.J. but Bryan reversed the small package for the pin.
After the match, Bryan said he was always too scared or stupid to say he loved A.J. back. Bryan said he loves A.J. The crowd booed. Bryan said last week he asked her to marry him because he wanted to be WWE champion but this week he didn’t want anything except to be with her. He presented her with a ring and asked her to marry him. A.J. said yes. The crowd booed. They chanted yes together.
Bryan was acting completely sincere and earnest here, but the crowd wasn’t with him. If they were supposed to be and A.J./Bryan are going to be a face couple, WWE made a mistake by not setting it up with at least teases here and there before this week. I thought it was kind of sweet but the crowd clearly didn’t. If this is just leading to a swerve in some direction, it doesn’t really matter. Of course, they announced the wedding will take place on next week’s 1,000th Raw. That sounds like one they would have been better off saving for another week, both because the 1,000th Raw doesn’t need ratings help and because they could have used more time to set it up.
A match between Ryback and Jack Swagger didn’t start. Swagger jumped Ryback before the bell could ring. Swagger hit a gut wrench power bomb and Vader bomb but Ryback avoided the ankle lock. Ryback hit a clothesline, spine buster and three successive power bombs to send Swagger rolling out of the ring.
Dolph Ziggler came out with the MITB briefcase. He said that every time MITB has been cashed in successfully so he will be the next WWE champion. Ziggler said he will cash in on Sheamus and be a better champion than Bret hart, Steve Austin or Rock. Chris Jericho interrupted.
Ziggler immediately began putting Jericho down. He asked Jericho the last time he won anything. Ziggler said Jericho talks a lot but keeps losing. Ziggler claimed Jericho has been given more chances than anyone and is just coasting. He called Jericho all hype and again asked the last time Jericho won an important match. He suggested Jericho is losing his touch. Jericho gave him the code breaker and left. This was another very good segment. Ziggler’s delivery was strong and the story is interesting even if Ziggler did appear to be going around in circles briefly repeating the same lines.
Brodus Clay beat JTG with an exploder, head butt and splash.
CM Punk beat Big Show via DQ. Show beat up Punk forever. Show went for the KO punch but Punk ducked under and hit a high kick, two enzuigiris, three running knees and a top rope elbow. Show powered out of the pin attempt. Punk went for a springboard but was caught with a choke slam. Show covered but Punk got his foot o the bottom rope before three. Show went after Punk’s ribs and then just randomly threw down the ref for no reason to end the match. This was a good match before the terrible finish.
After the match, Show kept attacking Punk. Cena came out with a briefcase. They acted like Cena was going to cash in when he was obviously going to protect Punk. Cena started to say when he would cash in MITB. Show interrupted and said Cena would cash in immediately, even though he obviously wasn’t going to. Cena announced he would cash in next week on 1000th Raw when Punk is ready. Cena then hit Show with the briefcase to end the show. I think this is a good hook for the 1000th Raw and they can set up the rematch for SummerSlam.
I really liked this show. It was well booked, fun and the angles were interesting. That bodes well for a very fun show next week when they pull out all the stops.