6/18 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Brock Lesnar's camp responds to Triple H's SummerSlam challenge, John Laurinaitis farewell address, Cyndi Lauper guest stars, No Way Out fallout
By Jason Powell
Dot Net Members will be listening to my audio review of WWE Raw. They are already listening to the 82-minute audio review of WWE No Way Out pay-per-view that Chris Shore and I recorded last night, and my 71-minute Q&A audio show from Monday. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up for membership now via Prowrestling.net/amember/signup.php. You are also encouraged to download our free iPhone, Android, and Kindle Fire apps.
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Uniondale, N.Y.
[Q1] The opening video kicked off the show... Pyro shot off on the stage and then Michael Cole introduced the show from ringside by hyping that it was only five weeks until Raw celebrates 1,000 episodes. Jerry Lawler checked in on commentary and set up an audio clip of Vince McMahon firing John Laurinaitis. Lawler hyped that Big Johnny would deliver his farewell address. Cole hyped that Cyndi Lauper was returning to WWE...
Justin Roberts introduced Mick Foley, who walked to the ring dressed in a suit. Foley's hometown crowd chanted his name. He said he was there as a blast from the past to promote the 1,000th episode of Raw. He said the WWE Board of Directors called him and said they were searching for the next permanent general manager. He said they are reaching out to former general managers to serve on an interim basis.
Foley said he will host Raw and Smackdown this week. He booked Daniel Bryan and Kane vs. Sheamus and C.M. Punk in a tag match featuring both World Champions. Foley added that while Laurinaitis was fired, he would get the opportunity to deliver his farewell address. Foley introduced Laurinaitis as the former VP of talent relations and the former general manager of Raw and Smackdown.
Big Johnny limped to the stage using his crutch. He was wearing a neck brace and had his right arm in a sling. Cole noted that John Cena escaped the cage to survive his cage match with Big Show. Laurinaitis introduced himself as the crowd booed him. He motioned for them to quiet down, which led to "You suck" chants.
Laurinaitis spoke in Foley's ear. Foley told the crowd that Laurinaitis requested that they keep the noise down. Foley also claimed that Laurinaitis stated that Long Island sucks. Laurinaitis took the mic and told the live crowd to shut up. He said he would give his farewell address later.
Laurinaitis said he booked the main event match last night. He said it will be John Cena facing Big Show, David Otunga, and him in a handicap match. Laurinaitis called Foley over and said, "Have a nice day," before shoving the mic into his chest.
As Johnny was walking to the back, Sheamus's music played. Sheamus walked down the ramp and looked at Big Johnny, who stood with his back to the guardrail. Sheamus headed to the ring and shook hands with Foley. C.M. Punk's music played and he came out for the tag match. He also stopped and mocked Laurinaitis, who headed to the back.
Cole hyped Punk's appearance on Jimmy Fallon's show tonight, and Lawler teased the Punk and Sheamus vs. Bryan and Kane match for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: Let me get this straight, Big Johnny was fired last night and we have to see him in at least three segments tonight? I can live with it if we're actually going to get a break from him at some point, but seeing is believing. Opening the show with Foley was a nice touch and his hometown fans were receptive. With WrestleMania 29 taking place in New Jersey, one has to wonder whether Foley will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year.
[Q2] Highlights aired from last week of A.J. kissing Kane...
1. C.M. Punk and Sheamus vs. Kane and Daniel Bryan. The "Yes!" chants started when the opening bell rang. Cole noted that Punk has held the title for 211 consecutive days. He said it's the fourth longest reign in the last 15 years. He said Punk passed Triple H on the list. John Cena had two longer reigns, and JBL had the other.
At 3:35, Punk performed a suicide dive onto Bryan at ringside and then clotheslined Kane with the top rope. Punk sprinboarded into a Kane uppercut and was down on the mat as the show went to break. [C] After the break, Punk made a hot tag to Sheamus, who was in selling mode for the heels moments later.
[Q3] Punk took a hot tag and worked over Bryan. He went up top for an elbow drop, but Bryan cut him off and superplexed him. As both men were selling on the mat, A.J. skipped to the ring wearing a Kane mask and a black and red outfit. She skipped around the ring. Kane dropped off the ring apron and walked to the edge of the ramp and watched her skip backstage. Inside the ring, Punk hit the GTS on Bryan, and Sheamus followed up with the Brogue Kick for the win...
C.M. Punk and Sheamus defeated Daniel Bryan and Kane in 14:20.
Cole hyped Brock Lesnar's answer for Triple H's SummerSlam challenge for later in the show... [C]
Powell's POV: Kane is one horny man. The match was entertaining and the finishing sequence of the GTS followed by the Brogue Kick was nicely done.
Backstage, Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger bickered. Swagger said Dolph was a World Champion for four minutes, whereas he was champion for four months. Dolph said Swagger has been riding his coattails and Vickie Guerrero knew it. Vickie showed up and said she's tired of them arguing and bickering.
She said it's time for her to make a decision on which one of them deserves her admiration, respect, and affection. "Those all sound like me," Dolph said. Vickie said she spoke to Foley and they would settle it in the ring up next. After they walked away, Vickie flashed a sinister smile...
Backstage, Big Johnny and David Otunga were having a laugh at Mick Foley's expense. Big Show entered the room and asked what was so funny. Johnny said Show is going to knock out Cena so that he can pin him. Laurinaitis said the people don't deserve him because he gave them the best fan experience ever. He said he would leave them with a lasting impression. "I don't find anything funny, anything at all," Show said...
Dolph Ziggler made his entrance... [C]
Powell's POV: Apparently, Big Show is more upset than laughing Laurinaitis is. I'm not crazy about the idea of Dolph and Swagger wrestling in hopes of keeping their spot with Vickie. I was hoping that Ziggler would leave on his own. We'll see how it goes, though. I'm giving away a one-month Dot Net Membership tonight. I will pick one winner randomly. Cut and paste the following onto your Twitter page during Raw to enter: Read @Prowrestlingnet's live coverage of WWE Raw at prowrestling.net #wwe #raw
[Q4] 2. Dolph Ziggler vs. Jack Swagger. Vickie Guerrero was at ringside. There was a loud "Let's Go Ziggler" chant that started after the opening bell. The crowd booed Swagger when he did pushups. Ziggler applied the ankle lock at 3:20. Dolph reached for the ropes, but Swagger pulled him back to the middle of the ring.
Dolph flipped out of the hold and followed up with his finisher for the clean pin. Vickie was all smiles after the match. She entered the ring and hugged Dolph and then gave him a big kiss on the lips...
Dolph Ziggler defeated Jack Swagger in 4:05.
A video recapped Triple H challenging Brock Lesnar to a match at SummerSlam...
Powell's POV: I don't have an problem with WWE replaying part of Triple H's promo. It wasn't positioned as a major selling point of the pay-per-view, and it felt like WWE was attempting to market to their pay-per-view audience last night. Besides, did anyone really pay $55 just to see Triple H cut a promo? As for Dolph, I really want him to move on from Vickie, not make out with her.
An ad for Smackdown questioned whether Dolph Ziggler proved himself at No Way Out or whether Sheamus was still World Hvt. Champion...
Powell's POV: They've already showed that Sheamus is still the champion on Raw. How does this keep happening? This is the type of quality control that became synonymous with WCW at its incompetent worst.
Jerry Lawler looked back on Steve Austin hitting Vince McMahon with a bedpan for his 1,000th Raw video...
Brock Lesnar's music played. After a pause, Paul Heyman emerged and walked to the ring with a smile on his face. There were some ECW chants, and Heyman received a pop from the adult males when he introduced himself. Heyman said every single person up in the tower caters to each and every one of Triple H's whims.
Heyman said Lesnar is not one of those people. "Here's a word that Triple H is probably not used to - no." Heyman said neither he nor Lesnar would drop their lawsuits against WWE, and Lesnar will not fight Triple H at SummerSlam. Heyman thanked the fans for their attention and the fans for their time.
[Q5] Triple H's music played as Heyman was about to leave the ring. Hunter looked around the building and said he couldn't help but notice that they're not in a bingo hall. He said he's not one of Heyman's cronies and he's not going to drink the Kool-Aid. "I know what you are, you're a habitual liar, that's the truth," Hunter said. "Here's the thing, Brock Lesnar is going to fight me at SummerSlam."
Heyman tried to interject and told Hunter to listen to himself. Hunter said he's only going to listen to Brock Lesnar tell him that he's going to step up and be a man and fight him at SummerSlam. "You want to know why he is?" Hunter said. "I can give Brock Lesnar what he wants. He wants to be the star. He wants to be what it's all about."
Triple H pointed Heyman's attention to the big screen where Brock Lesnar's face was featured on the SummerSlam poster. Hunter said Brock can have that if he steps up and agrees to fight him. Heyman said Lesnar has no ego. "Usually you lie better than this, Paul," Hunter responded. He said it's all about ego for Brock.
Hunter said Lesnar will take the match or he will go down in history as the guy who afraid of Triple H. "You're good, Heyman said. "You really are that damn good. You almost had me going. Wow." Heyman told him to stop. He said Hunter should stop pretending to be a wrestler and the ass kicker he used to be. He told him to go back to his ivory tower where everyone caters to his every whim and home to his little princesses.
"In Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman's world, you're not the king of anything," Heyman said. Heyman asked if he was making Hunter mad. He asked if he was going to hit him. He said Hunter is getting more like Vince every day. He said just as he used to push all of Vince's buttons, he knows how to push Hunter's buttons too.
Heyman dared Triple H to hit him. He said he would take one for Team Lesnar because he hit him they would own the joint and they wouldn't have anything for him. "But I do have something for Stephanie," Heyman said. Hunter grabbed him by the collar and eventually let him go. "I knew you wouldn't hit me," Heyman said. "I knew it because I can outthink you every single time. I know everything you're going to do long before you do it."
Heyman said he sees everything Triple H is going to do from a mile away. Triple H wound up and punched Heyman. Triple H picked up the mic and then knelt down over the fallen Heyman. "Did you see that coming?" Hunter asked. "You tell Brock Lesnar I will see him at SummerSlam... that is unless he's afraid the same thing will happen to him." Triple H's music played to close the segment...
The announcers narrated still shots of the Tuxedo match from the pay-per-view...
Lawler announced that Alberto Del Rio had been medically cleared and would face Santino Marella after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: A great verbal battle with both guys taking believable shots at the other. Heyman was drawing major heat with his mic work and I'm actually surprised they gave away Triple H punching him here rather than saving that for somewhere down the road. Perhaps it plays into the storyline going forward. If not, I really wish they would have delayed the viewer gratification.
Cole hyped Metallica headlining the Orion Music Fest for New Jersey... Ricardo Rodriguez introduced Alberto Del Rio...
[Q6] 3. Santino Marella vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) in a non-title match. Santino tried to pull out the Cobra sleeve, but Del Rio cut him off with a kick in the corner and finished him off with the Cross Arm Breaker. Ricardo entered the ring and roughed up Santino afterwards...
Alberto Del Rio defeated Santino Marella in a non-title match in 1:30.
Cole hyped Cyndi Lauper for after the break. A video showed her with Wendi Richter, Gene Okerlund, Roddy Piper, Lou Albano, and other WWE personalities...
Powell's POV: Didn't we see Del Rio beat Santino in a similar match a few weeks ago? It didn't serve much of a purpose then to have the U.S. Champion lose in such convincing fashion then or now. A good video with Lauper that brought back some memories for longtime fans and gave newer fans a glimpse at what she did with WWE in the past.
Layla introduced Cyndi Lauper and Wendi Richter and noted that it was Lauper's first appearance in a WWE ring in 27 years. They headed to the ring to "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and danced like old times. Cole immediately apologized to the fans. Heath Slater came out and called the segment a train wreck. Lauper asked Slater who he is. "Who am I?" he asked. "Honey, is that a joke?" He said his name and said he's the "One Man Band."
Powell's POV: Congrats to Slater for expanding his musical horizons beyond southern rock.
Slater told the "three broads" to bop to the corner so that he could sing his new "One Man Band" song. Roddy Piper's music hit and the crowd popped big.
[Q7] Piper said the Rock-n-Wrestling Connection launched wrestling and that was them. Piper took off his jacket and said he's been waiting a long time to do something. Piper said he loves Lauper and her singing. He had a gold record handed to him from ringside. Piper recalled "a great manager" named Lou Albano.
Piper said he had a bad day and hit Albano over the head with a gold record. He said he's sorry for that. He presented the gold record to Lauper on behalf of himself, Albano, and the entire WWE Universe. He said she is the best lady who has ever been paired with the business and he loves her for what she's done. Piper hugged Lauper.
Slater had enough and told them to shut up so he could sing his song. He repeated the words "One Man Band" a couple times. Piper told him sings like a bird - a vulture. Piper poked him in the eyes. Lauper slammed the gold record over Slater's head. Piper and the women celebrated while Slater bled. Cole apologized on behalf of everyone and said it was one of the worst in the 1,000 episodes of Raw...
Cole hyped the handicap main event...
Powell's POV: Let's not stop at this segment, how about someone apologize for the sad state of Raw for the last month? Cole seemed to be heeling it up from the word go and is back to ripping the Divas.
Highlights aired from No Way Out of the Prime Time Players winning the four-way...
4. The Prime Time Players (w/A.W.) vs. Primo and Epico (w/Rosa). A.W. introduced himself and his team on the ramp with a headset mic. At 2:05, Primo hit the Backstabber on Darren Young, but Titus O'Neil pulled his partner to the floor. A.W. moved his team away from a potential dive from the former tag champs and jawed at the ref and/or their opponents while they were counted out...
Primo and Epico defeated The Prime Time Players via countout in 2:55.
[Q8] Cole hyped the return of Chris Jericho to Raw next week and that the new Fozzy record drops August 14. Footage was shown of the band in concert at the Download Festival... [C]
Powell's POV: A.W. said they were already No. 1 contenders and didn't need the win, which is why they took the countout. The crowd didn't care about the match. They turned the Players and A.W., but they haven't given the fans any incentive to care about Primo and Epico.
Big Johnny stood in the ring and delivered a promo. He recapped what happened to him at the pay-per-view. Johnny said he and Big Show are not the losers. He said the big losers are the fans because they don't have People Power. He pointed at the fans and said, "You're a loser" repeatedly. He said everyone at home is a loser and so are the fans. He introduced David Otunga and Big Show as his partners.
Powell's POV: Sadly, Big Johnny was probably right about half the fans. Wait, I meant to edit that before I went on the website. Oops. Well, at least one of us isn't a loser and that's Matt Kennedy (@MKennedy4) who is the winner of tonight's contest.
Teddy Long was on commentary with the announcers. Big Show cut a promo in which he said he's on to bigger and better things. He said he sees no reason to compete in the ring. He told Otunga and Johnny that they were on their own against Cena. Show left the ring and headed backstage.
[Overrun] 5. John Cena vs. David Otunga and John Laurinaitis in a handicap match. Cena roughed up Otunga early on. Otunga tried to tag in Big Johnny, who backed away while acting injured. Eventually, Otunga got some offense in on Cena. Big Johnny called for the tag. He threw down his crutch and braces and put the boots to Cena.
Cena kicked out strong, so Johnny tried to tag Otunga back into the match. Otunga dropped off the ring apron and headed backstage. Cena roughed up Laurinaitis and then hit him with three Attitude Adjustments (while looking to Long for approval). Cena applied the STF and got the win via submission. "Farewell, John Laurinaitis, happy days are here again," Lawler said.
John Cena defeated John Laurinaitis and David Otunga in a handicap match in 5:50.
Powell's POV: I'm still rolling my eyes at the thought of Big Johnny being fired on Sunday and getting so much time on Raw tonight. Didn't they get pissed at Melina for showing up after she was fired? Okay, so it's different circumstances. Even so, I was ready for Big Johnny nonsense to end at the pay-per-view, but WWE apparently wanted to reward those who didn't order the pay-per-view by making sure they got to see Laurinaitis roughed up on his way out the door.
Overall, this was another weak effort by WWE. I enjoy the main event, er, um, WWE Championship program and I'm curious to see where they go with Dolph Ziggler, but the rest of the programs aren't doing much for me on the Raw side. I will have more to say in the WWE Raw Hitlist on Tuesday, and I'm going to hold off until morning for my WWE Raw audio review. Thanks for watching along with me and congrats again to our winner Matt Kennedy (@MKennedy4).
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