5/21 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: John Laurinaitis still in control, C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan followup, Over The Limit fallout
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Richmond, Va.
[Q1] The show opened with footage and mostly still shots from the WWE Over The Limit pay-per-view that focussed on John Laurinaitis beating John Cena thanks to Big Show's interference... Michael Cole checked in from ringside along with Jerry Lawler...
John Cena's music played. Cole referred to him as a loser. Cena walked toward Cole and shot him a look. Cole questioned what the look was for. Cole said Cena shouldn't be mad at him since he just lost to a better match. Cena said that win, lose, or draw he comes out every Monday and says it was great, congratulates his opponent, or moves on.
"What the hell happened?" Cena asked. "What the hell? What the hell? John Laurinaitis beat me." Cena said it a second time for effect. He said it's not how it happened or why something like that happened in the first place. He grunted and said that ever since Laurinaitis arrived, he's been a selfish, power hungry bully.
Cena said he and the fans were all having fun last night, but then Laurinaitis ran away and Big Show brought him back. Cena said it was fun again until Big Show, "a man I used to call a friend" knocked him out cold. He said some experts are questioning why he didn't just pin Cena in the first place. He said he's happy he did what he did to Laurinaitis throughout the match.
Cena said he's not happy about Big Show. "The World's Largest Athlete decided to sell out," Cena said. Cena said he didn't know who the new general manager back, but he said they may as well have brought the computer back. He mocked Cole's old lines he used to speak on behalf of the anonymous general manager. Cena assumed Laurinaitis would come out and have some big plan for the next pay-per-view and boast about People Power.
Big Johnny's music played. Eve walked onto the stage. Cena said Big Johnny got really hot, but he still sucks. Eve introduced Big Johnny. Laurinaitis drove a scooter onto the stage. He had a crutch with him and Eve comically helped him get to his feet. Laurinaitis said he was rushed to the emergency room after their match last night. He ran through the possible injuries he claimed his doctors said he had.
Laurinaitis said all of the injuries he suffered are okay because he proved that he's a fierce competitor inside the ring. He announced that no one can lay a finger on him ever again or they will be immediately terminated. Big Johnny turned his focus to Big Show as the man he said he rehired on Saturday and gave a great bonus to.
Laurinaitis introduced Big Show and said Cena will face him in four weeks at the No Way Out pay-per-view. Big Show walked onto the stage wearing a suit and stood next to Laurinaitis and Eve.
[Q2] Show said he assumes Cena and everyone else want an explanation for his actions. "Quite frankly, none of you are entitled to my explanation." Show did say that he was on his knees last week begging for his job. He said no one loves the business more than he does. He said he was so upset that he found himself crying. He said the fans watched and he got no sympathy from anyone.
Show got angry and yelled about how he did what he had to do and did what each and every one of the fans would have done. "I have an ironclad contract now," Show said. "How dare you, Cena, or any of you judge me?" Show yelled. He said he will be judging Cena on June 17 when there is no way out. "Because you, my friend, I'm going to knock out."
Show left the stage and David Otunga walked out in his ring gear. He said that Cena lost to Laurinaitis and now it's time that he loses to him. Cena said he's not in the mood. He told him to go backstage and watch reruns of Law and Order. "If you get in this ring with me tonight, I promise you I'm going to hurt you," Cena said. Otunga responded by saying, "So be it." He then dedicated his match to Laurinaitis. Otunga posed before heading to the ring... [C]
Powell's POV: They just made me hate the Over The Limit main event even more than I did. If Show re-signed on Saturday, then we're supposed to ignore the fact that they risked Big Johnny's job for over ten minutes before executing their plan. The Show promo felt forced and cliche. The whole thing felt flat to me and I'm even less excited about this feud than I was last night, which I didn't even think was possible.
They aired a brief recap of Big Show's promo...
1. John Cena vs. David Otunga. Otunga ran away. Cena eventually got his hands on him and forced him to tap to the STF.
John Cena defeated David Otunga in 2:00.
After the match, Cena glared at Laurinaitis and Eve. Tyler Reks, Curt Hawkins, Titus O'Neil, and Darren Young hit the ring and attacked Cena. Sheamus ran out and helped Cena clear them from the ring. Laurinaitis stood up and claimed he didn't give them permission to do that. He sent them backstage. Laurinaitis booked Cena and Sheamus for a two-on-three, handicap lumberjack match later in the show...
Cole hyped Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio to determine the No. 1 contender for the World Hvt. Championship, and Lawler played up the finish of the WWE Championship match and said Daniel Bryan would call out C.M. Punk... [C]
Powell's POV: By the way, several readers have accurately pointed out that Big Show being rehired on Saturday means he should also be fired given that the board of directors ruled that anyone active member of the roster would be immediately terminated. The convention that Chyna passed out at didn't have holes this big.
[Q3] Santino Marella came to the ring and confronted Ricardo Rodriguez for having a bad accent and big eyebrows. They did an "R" rolling bit. Santino eventually hit Ricardo with The Cobra. Santino then filled in as the personal ring announcer of Albert Del Rio. He comically rolled his R's again.
At ringside, Cole and Lawler set up a video that touted that WWE Raw will celebrate its 1,000th episode and move to three hours on July 23. Del Rio made his entrance in a $149,000 car... [C]
Powell's POV: Yes, that's right, we're going to get three hours of this crap we're seeing tonight beginning July 23!!!
Randy Orton made his entrance. Lawler brought up the gaping hole in the Show contract signing. Cole said he found out that Laurinaitis and Show reached a verbal agreement, but he wasn't technically signed until Monday morning...
[Q4] 2. Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio. Orton got off to the fast start, but Del Rio caught him with a kick on the apron and clotheslined him on the top rope, causing Orton to fall to ringside. [C]
Powell's POV: The pacing of this show is really bad. They made plenty of time for a bad show opening segment and a silly comedy routine, but now they're making up for it by going to commercial. As for the announcer explanation, at least they're trying to explain it.
After the break, Del Rio was in control until he made ran toward Orton and tumbled through the ropes feet first. Orton came back with some of his signature offense, including the DDT off the middle rope. Moments later, Chris Jericho entered the ring and hit the Codebreaker on Orton. The referee called for the bell and the fans chanted, "You suck" at Jericho.
Randy Orton fought Alberto Del Rio to an apparent no-contest in 7:15.
Jericho took the mic and said he is the best in the world at what he does. He asked Orton if he understood, then repeated the line for a third time. Jericho followed up with a second Codebreaker and then got down on his hands and knees and asked Orton whether he understood what he was saying.
A manic Jericho said, "I'm the best in the world." He was about to leave the ring when he stopped went back to Orton. He picked up Orton by the head and dropped him with a third Codebreaker...
The announcers hyped the handicap lumberjack tag match for later in the show... Daniel Bryan was shown walking backstage. Lawler said he expected him to call out C.M. Punk after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: A good performance by Jericho and the announcers put him over as being "disturbed." It will be interesting to see if they go with another four-way match or split those wrestlers up at the next pay-per-view.
An ad for Smackdown actually questioned whether John Laurinaitis was terminated after his match with John Cena. Good lord...
Daniel Bryan headed to the ring with a mic in his hand while the announcers spoke about the finish of the WWE Championship match at the pay-per-view. Bryan said a great injustice was done at WWE Over The Limit. He said he should be the WWE Champion.
[Q5] Bryan showed footage of the big screen of C.M. Punk tapping to the Yes! Lock (after the referee counted Bryan's shoulders to the mat). Bryan said it was question and answer time. He asked whether he made Punk tape out. Yes! Should he be WWE Champion? Yes! If he faces Punk one more time, will he make him tape out again? Yes! Yes! Yes!
Bryan said the only reason he isn't the WWE Champion right now is because of the gross incompetence of one referee. "I demand a rematch," Bryan yelled. C.M. Punk's music played and he walked onto the stage with a mic in his hand.
Powell's POV: Who wants a free six month Dot Net Membership? I will pick one winner at random. Cut and paste the following on your Twitter page right now: Read @Prowrestlingnet's live coverage of WWE Raw at prowrestling.net #wwe #raw
Punk said it was an amazing battle, but he said Bryan is forgetting one thing - he pinned him 1-2-3. Punk showed footage from Smackdown of the Punk vs. Kane match that Bryan interfered in by hitting Kane, who thought it was Punk. Lawler said Kane wore out Punk with a steel chair. Cole said Punk was injured and it created a target for Daniel Bryan. Punk introduced Kane as Bryan's opponent...
3. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane. Punk was on commentary. He was challenged by Punk about tapping. Punk reminded him that it was after he got the three count. He said there's not shame in tapping in practice, which is what it became after he won the match.
Bryan hit a suicide during the match. Punk stood up from the announcers' desk and grabbed a chair. He was about to hit Kane with the chair, but Bryan took it from him. Punk said down. Kane recovered and saw Bryan with the chair. Kane kicked Bryan in the head and then struck him with the chair for the DQ, and followed up with several chairshots. Punk feigned concern for Bryan after the match.
Daniel Bryan defeated Kane by DQ in 1:50.
Punk said he was just the man to check on Daniel Bryan. Punk stood up from the announcers' table and entered the ring. Punk applied the Anaconda Vice on Bryan, who tapped repeatedly... [C]
Powell's POV: Was someone in WWE that concerned about Punk tapping out after the three count? Was that Punk or Bryan channelling the MacGruber sex scene with the grunting while the Anaconda Vice was locked in? I was hoping that Bryan would get the better of Punk tonight and get some big heat tonight rather than taking a pounding from Kane and Punk. I guess they felt like Punk had to outsmart Bryan and look strong coming out of the pay-per-view.
[Q6] A giddy A.J. approached C.M. Punk backstage and told him it was great watching him beat up Daniel Bryan. Punk asked if she was off her rocker or just sadistic. She got upset and started to cry. He told her she has to know she's been acting like a fool the entire time. Punk finally gave in and pulled her in for an uncomfortable hug. "Stopped crying and..." She immediately stopped crying. "I sort of dig crazy chicks," Punk said before walking away...
Powell's POV: I love the weekly A.J. segments. I assume this will lead to Daniel Bryan getting jealous of his ex-girlfriend and Punk.
Footage aired of the Paul Heyman and Triple H segment from last week... At ringside, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler discussed the potential lawsuits from Lesnar and Heyman. They plugged a website story that questions whether Lesnar and Heyman actually have a case...
Justin Roberts introduced Christian as the man who was returning to Raw after eight weeks, won the People's Power Battle Royal, and captured the Intercontinental Title at Over The Limit. Christian made his entrance. Cole hyped that Christian would be in action after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: That big buildup from Justin Roberts and the same decent reaction that Christian would have received without it.
Cole narrated still shot photos of Christian beating Cody Rhodes to win the Intercontinental Title...
4. Christian vs. Jinder Mahal. At 3:00, Christian hit the Killswitch. Cole noted that would usually lead to Christian going for the cover. Instead, Christian went to the top rope and splashed Jinder for the win...
Christian pinned Jinder Mahal in 3:15.
The announcers hyped the handicap tag match... Kelly Kelly was walking through the backstage area smiling. Lawler hyped that she was named to Maxim's Hot 100, then said she'd be facing Beth Phoenix after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: Christian is using the Frogsplash as his finisher. Meanwhile, you can tell the babyface Divas because they smile for no apparent reason. By the way, we'll name our contest winner during the main event. Lord knows we'll need something to keep us interested until Big Show comes out and beats up John Cena.
[Q7] Cole said there was talk on Twitter about what Big Show did to John Cena. They recapped the Show promo from earlier in the show...
5. Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix. Layla was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Beth dominated the offense early. Kelly had a brief comeback, but she went for the handspring move in the corner and was nailed with a double ax-handle. Beth finished her off with the Glam Slam...
Beth Phoenix defeated Kelly Kelly in 2:30.
Powell's POV: The announcers tried to tell the story that it was an upset for Layla to win at the pay-per-view. This would have been more effective if Beth wasn't in the ring with the woman Kelly given that they told the same story with after Beth lost her at past pay-per-view events.
A graphic showed some of the recent WWE wrestler tweets regarding Big Show turning on Cena... Backstage, Laurinaitis drove his scooter around while smiling like a babyface Diva... [C]
John Cena and Sheamus made their entrances for the main event. Vickie Guerrero came out and did the "Excuse Me" routine.
[Q8] Vickie introduced Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger as two of the opponents for Cena and Sheamus. Sakamoto came out and threw salt. Tensai was introduced as the third man of the heel team. A group of heel lumberjacks came out. Lawler said he didn't see one superstar who was friendly with Cena and Sheamus...
Powell's POV: Tensai has lost his lordship. He's a commoner just like the rest of us now. Congrats to Dot Net reader Bob L from Philadelphia, Pa. for winning the six-month membership. We will do this again soon, so keep checking our live coverage reviews and our Twitter page for updates.
6. John Cena and Sheamus vs. Tensai, Dolph Ziggler, and Jack Swagger (w/Vickie Guerrero, Sakamoto) in a handicap, lumberjack match. Big Johnny walked onto the stage with the use of a single crutch. Sheamus held his own early and tossed Ziggler onto some lumberjacks. Tensai checked in and took control going into the break. [C]
After the break, Tensai worked over Sheamus and threw him to ringside where a group of heels that consisted of the heroes of WWE Superstars, Chris Jericho, and Alberto Del Rio roughed up Sheamus. The heels then took turns working over Sheamus as he tried to make the tag. Big Show walked onto the stage and removed his jacket.
[Overrun] After being worked over by the heels for several minutes, Sheamus hit a rolling senton and made the hot tag to Cena. The crowd fired up as Cena worked over Ziggler. However, the lumberjacks attacked Sheamus at ringside and Cena went outside the ring to help.
The lumberjacks followed Cena into the ring and attacked them while Chris Jericho hilariously jumped up in down while taking delight in what was happening. A group of babyface wrestlers ran to the ring to counter the heels. Cena escaped and headed backstage in pursuit of Big Show.
John Cena and Sheamus fought Tensai, Dolph Ziggler, and Jack Swagger to an apparent no-contest in 15:30.
Cena found Laurinaitis,w ho was hobbling around on his crutch. Cena demanded to know where Big Show was. Laurinaitis said he didn't know where Show was and reminded Cena that he would fire him if he touched him. Cena pondered that thought and then turned around and walked into a WMD punch from Big Show. Cena sold it like he'd been shot. Show walked toward Laurinaitis as the show went off the air...
Powell's POV: Wow, that show was bad and uninspired. Gee, if only they had a third hour. Ugh. There are so many storyline holes in the top story that it's frustrating to watch. For instance, why doesn't Laurinaitis fire Cena if he has that power? After all, he fired Big Show last week. There are plenty of issues and it feels like they are going overboard with Big Johnny at a time when they should be scaling back.
Worse yet, this show made me feel like Punk vs. Bryan is going to take a backseat to what feels like a tired Cena vs. Show feud even though it's just getting started. Here's hoping that changes as the pay-per-view gets closer. I'm not foolish enough to think they'll put the spotlight away from whatever Cena is doing, but I hope he at least shares it this time around. Thanks for watching along with me tonight. Check back on Tuesday for the WWE Raw Hitlist.
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