7/9 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Final hype for Money in the Bank, followup to A.J. kissing C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan last week, former WWE Champion to appear
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Denver, Colorado
[Q1] The show opened with a recap of the C.M. Punk, Daniel Bryan, and A.J. saga... Michael Cole gave a brief introduction and then A.J.'s music hit. Cole hyped that it was episode 998 of Raw. Jerry Lawler was on commentary with Cole. Once A.J.'s music stopped, she noted that she will be the special guest referee of the WWE Championship match at Money in the Bank.
"I realize that my actions can greatly affect the outcome of this match," A.J. said. She said the thought of that is "overwhelming and very emotional." A.J. got the "What?" treatment. She smiled and asked the fans to join her in welcoming C.M. Punk. There was a delay, and then Punk's music hit and he walked out to a big ovation.
Punk asked A.J. what this is all about. She recalled Punk saying she's unstable and needs professional help. "Well, I don't," A.J. said. "I am in full control of my mental faculties at all times." A.J. acted like she was on the verge of tears and said no one has ever cared about her or shown compassion for her like he did. She said she knew what she had to do when she kissed him.
A.J. said Punk's eyes send love straight into her heart and he fills her up with passion and desire. "In essence, you turn me on," A.J. said. Punk squirmed a little bit. "And now I know what I have to do," she continued. A.J. backed away from Punk and then dropped down on one knee. There were some boos.
A.J. smiles as she looked up at Punk. "C.M. Punk, will you marry me?" The crowd erupted with a mix of cheers, boos, and "Yes!" chants. Daniel Bryan ran to the ring while yelling "No!" repeatedly. Bryan said A.J. is about to make the biggest mistake of her life and he can't allow her to do it. He said Punk doesn't love her and he's merely playing her because she's the referee on Sunday.
Bryan said he knows he's hurt A.J. in the past, but he never stopped having feelings for her. He said Punk only cares about himself. Punk said Bryan doesn't know the first thing about him or how he really feels about A.J. Bryan said that if that's the case, he should say "I do." Punk squirmed again. Bryan told A.J. that he sees her as a special referee, whereas he sees her as a special person.
Bryan said he and A.J. are so connected that they had the same idea. He said that when he woke up, he didn't intend to stop a proposal, he intended to make one. Bryan dropped down on one knee and asked A.J. to marry him. "Whoa, whoa, whoa!!!" Punk said. "What a load of crap."
[Q2] Punk asked Bryan where the ring is if he really planned this. He said Bryan is a liar. Suddenly, the Anonymous General Manager email chime sounded. Michael Cole stood up and said, "May I have your attention please...." Cole walked over to a covered podium and unveiled it to reveal the GM podium.
Cole announced on behalf of the GM that he's running Raw tonight. The GM feels Punk and A.J. make a great couple, so he booked Punk and A.J. against the team of Bryan and Eve. Bryan threw a fit and said he and A.J. should be partners. The GM chimed in again and said that A.J. may or may not see Bryan in a different light if he beats Punk.
A.J. said the entire thing is really confusing. She said she knows Punk was surprised by her proposal, and was surprised by Bryan's proposal. She said they all need time to think. She said she's happy they have the match tonight because she believes that everything happens for a reason. She said she has a feeling that she's going to walk out of the arena with her future husband. A.J. skipped to the back as her music played...
The announcers hyped Chris Jericho and Big Show vs. John Cena and Kane for later in the show... [C]
Powell's POV: The segment really dragged and there were some long gaps between A.J.'s lines early on. Bryan was a little more over the top than usual. Two proposals in one segment? One can only assume that A.J. will leave with Bryan since they need to make it seem like the WWE Championship is in jeopardy heading into the pay-per-view. Meanwhile, the return of JeriShow will probably lead to a big brawl to establish that it's every man for himself on Sunday.
Highlights aired from Smackdown of Alberto Del Rio repeatedly slamming the car hood on Sheamus...
1. Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger in a non-title match. Sheamus finished off Swagger quickly with a Brogue Kick...
Sheamus defeated Jack Swagger in 0:50.
After the match, Alberto Del Rio appeared on the big screen while honking his car horn. Del Rio said he's going to take the World Hvt. Championship. Del Rio climbed inside his car. Sheamus turned and nailed Swagger with a Brogue Kick as Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez drove away...
Powell's POV: I'm happy we got those annoying World Champions out of the way early so we can get plenty of John Cena tonight!!!
Backstage, Zack Ryder talked about serving as general manager of "Zachdown." He told Santino Marella that he has more personality than the Raw general manager. Santino dressed like Sherlock Holmes and said he's going to find the Anonymous Raw General Manager tonight...
Powell's POV: If Santino actually finds the general manager, then one can only assume that it will be something comedic and probably not what they originally had in mind for the general manager. Honestly, I don't even care anymore as long as they tie up that loose end once and for all.
[Q3] [C] The announcers spoke at ringside and hyped that The Rock will be "live in St. Louis." They also hyped that Brock Lesnar will also appear that night to answer Triple H's challenge...
2. Dolph Ziggler and Tensai (w/Sakamoto) vs. Tyson Kidd and Christian. Vickie Guerrero joined the announcers on commentary. Late in the match, Sakamoto distracted the referee. Meanwhile, Tensai splashed Christian in the corner and followed up with a back splash for the win. Tensai roughed up Tyson Kidd at ringside after the match and powerbombed him onto the ring apron...
Dolph Ziggler and Tensai defeated Tyson Kidd and Christian in 1:30.
Powell's POV: That should have been you, Sakamoto! I root for Tensai's opponents with the hope that I'll get to see Sakamoto get his ass kicked.
At ringside, Cole said he's voting for the Anonymous GM to host Raw and Smackdown every week. Lawler said he'd have Teddy Long run Smackdown, and Mick Foley would run Raw. Cole got worked up and knocked a cup of water onto Lawler. Cole apologized and was saved by the GM chime.
"This can't be right," Cole said. "There's no way I'm reading this tonight." Lawler went up to the podium while drying himself off. Lawler announced on behalf of the general manager that Cole would face Lawler in a WrestleMania rematch. The GM chime sounded again. Lawler announced that the GM was letting the WWE Universe decide whether the match will take place. He encouraged viewers to visit the WWE website to vote... [C]
Powell's POV: Cole vs. Lawler on the go-home show for Money in the Bank? That will sell thousands of pay-per-views!
Brodus Clay and the dancers made their entrance...
[Q4] 3. Brodus Clay (w/Cameron, Naomi) vs. Drew McIntyre. After Clay's dance routine, the camera showed McIntyre sitting at ringside with his back to the dancing. McIntyre went for a top rope moved and jumped into Clay's battering ram headbutt. Clay followed up with the splash for the win. Clay danced with kids afterwards...
Brodus Clay defeated Drew McIntyre in 0:35.
Powell's POV: Apparently, the Anonymous General Manager is the same guy who books the new NXT based on the length of these matches so far.
Backstage, Santino's search took him to Chris Jericho, who said he hates the computer. Jericho asked how he's supposed to know that Santino isn't the Raw GM. Santino asked what if Jericho's right and then stormed off. Big Show entered the picture. Jericho talked about how they were one of the greatest teams in WWE history. Show said some of the most embarrassing moments of his career came when he was part of Jeri-Show. He said Jericho should stay out of his way so he doesn't knock him out...
The announcers hyped the main event tag match and said viewers would hear from John Cena after the break... [C] Stephanie McMahon looked back on her wedding with Triple H. Hunter called her a lying bitch, punched Vince, and knocked the set over...
Powell's POV: Wait, didn't Steph just talk about Shane McMahon training Vince McMahon as one of her favorite Raw moments? Couldn't they find someone other than Steph to stroll down memory lane? Ask Rey Mysterio. He's not doing anything.
John Cena made his entrance and cut a promo about Money in the Bank. He talked about how the match has great risks but unbelievable rewards. Cena said MITB is a must see event because the person who gets the contract "always, always, always" cashed it in to become champion.
Powell's POV: Unless that contract holder's name is Mr. Kennedy. There, I wrote it, now spare me the Cena correction emails, folks!
Cena said Big Show will be stopped by his hand. "This, I promise," Cena said. Cena said he will do whatever has to to win Money in the Bank. "I, John Cena, will win Money in the Bank," Cena yelled. Kane's music played and he made his entrance for the tag team match. Cole said Kane will set a record by competing in his sixth MITB match on Sunday. Cole hyped the Raw MITB match as the most prestigious in history. The heels made their entrances...
[Q5] 4. John Cena and Kane vs. Chris Jericho and Big Show. Cena got the better of Jericho early on, so Jericho tagged in Show and fled to ringside. Show ended up going for a chokeslam. Cena fought it off and tagged Kane into the match. Kane got some punches in, but Show got the better of their exchange and tagged in Jericho.
Kane blasted Jericho with an uppercut and then tagged Cena into the match. Cena worked over Jericho, who then distracted the referee while Show took a cheap shot at Cena heading into the break. [C] After the break, Cena went for a bodyslam on Show, but his weight was too much and Show got a two count.
Later, Cena tagged Kane into the match. Kane roughed up Show and got a two count. Show avoided a top rope move from Kane and then speared him. Jericho was tagged in and he put the boots to Kane and heeled it up to get some heat from the crowd. Show took a cheap shot on Kane as the show cut to commercial.
[Q6] [C] Kane ultimately made a hot tag to Cena, who hit his signature spots on Jericho and then kicked Show off the apron. Jericho went for the Walls of Jericho, but Cena avoided it and hit the Attitude Adjustment. Cena went for the cover, but Show pulled him out of the ring for the DQ.
John Cena and Kane defeated Chris Jericho and Big Show by DQ in 16:35.
After the match, Show ran Cena into the barricade and then clotheslined Kane. Show reached underneath the ring and pulled out a pair of ladders. Show wedged Jericho between the ladders and pressed down. Cena grabbed the other ladder and rammed it into Show a few times and cleared him from the ring. Cena celebrated in the ring...
Powell's POV: A solid television tag match given the limitations of the big men. Kane seems like an afterthought. They continue to establish that Show is superior to Kane, and they didn't even bother to have Kane attack Cena after Cena cleared Show from the ring. Kane was more entertaining and better utilized in the A.J. drama than he is in the MITB match.
At ringside, Cole and Lawler set up a replay of clips from the opening segment with Punk, Bryan, and A.J... Cole hyped the voting for his match with Lawler... [C]
A graphic noted that Raw has aired more episodes than Seinfeld, Friends, Cheers, and Frasier combined...
Backstage, Punk was warming up when Eve entered the picture and wished him luck. "Good luck to you too getting all that spray tan off after the match," Punk responded. Eve said she was talking about A.J. She said A.J. is highly emotional and she'll do whatever it takes to make sure Punk doesn't leave with the WWE Championship if she doesn't hear the words "I do" tonight.
Eve mentioned that Punk has held the belt for seven months. She said he's been overshadowed by The Rock, John Cena, Triple H, Big Show, and Brock Lesnar. "But A.J.? That must be pretty emasculating," Eve said. Punk showed frustration after Eve left the picture...
Santino continued his search and it led him to a cell phone. Khali reached out and took the phone away. He asked if Khali was the GM. Khali said yes. He asked again and Khali said no. Santino asked a third time. "Who's that?" Khali asked. Santino stormed off as Khali wondered aloud who the cell phone belongs to...
Sin Cara made his entrance for a Smackdown MITB qualifying match. The announcers previewed the Smackdown match and then the show headed to commercial...
[Q7] [C] The announcers hyped that Kofi Kingston and R-Truth vs. Hunico and Camacho will be the pre-show match leading into the Money in the Bank pay-per-view...
5. Sin Cara vs. Heath Slater in the Smackdown Money in the Bank qualifier. Sin Cara hit "What a Move" (according to Cole) for the win...
Sin Cara defeated Heath Slater to qualify for MITB in 1:45.
Powell's POV: I guess beating Doink was enough to put Slater in contention for a spot in the MITB match.
After the match, Slater said it's not fair. He demanded that a former champion come out and he would beat him. Bob Backlund's music played. Cue the crickets. Backlund walked out and looked around and then smiled. Cole ran through Backlund's credentials as Backlund played to the crowd at ringside.
Backlund continued to play to the crowd once he entered the ring. A group of fans chanted "You still got it" at Backlund, who offered Slater a handshake. Slater kicked him and knocked him down. Backlund recovered and applied the chicken wing finisher. Backlund eventually released the hold and played to the crowd as his corny music played...
Powell's POV: There was no referee present for the match, so Backlund just released the hold. I get a kick out of heel Backlund and it was nice to see him, but the majority of the live crowd either didn't feel the same way or they weren't old enough to remember him.
Cole stood up and said that was enough of what was going on the ring. He asked for the results of the poll, which revealed 75 percent of the fans voted for the match. Cole said the fans were hypocrites who say they don't want him to wrestle a match. He continued to vent as the show went to commercial... [C]
Powell's POV: Dear 75 percent, I hate you right now.
[Q8] Josh Mathews and Booker T took over on commentary and said they were among the 75 percent who voted for the match to take place...
6. Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole. Cole ducked to ringside after the bell rang. Booker stood up and threw Cole back inside the ring. Lawler picked up Cole and performed an airplane spin. The GM chime sounded. Mathews stood up and said that due to the blatant interference by Booker T, he was reversing the decision and the winner of the match was Michael Cole.
Michael Cole beat Jerry Lawler by DQ in 1:00.
Cole celebrated. Santino Marella's music played and Cole wasn't happy. Santino said he's searched everywhere in the building and there was only one place left to search - under the ring. The GM chime sounded. Mathews said the GM said, "No, I'm not. There's absolutely no one under the ring sending emails. Leave the ring now. That's an order."
Santino went to ringside and was pulled under the ring. Lawler pulled Santino out and Hornswoggle and a laptop came out along with him. Lawler asked if Hornswoggle was the person who caused all the misery. Lawler said he should put Hornswoggle over his knee and give him a spanking.
Powell's POV: I'm pretty sure that doubles as a Lawler pickup line.
Hornswoggle kicked Lawler in the shin and then bit Santino on the ass. Cole laughed and tried to get a high five from Hornswoggle, who kicked Cole. Hornswoggle got some cheers as he headed backstage... [C]
Powell's POV: It's important to note that medicinal marijuana is legal in Colorado, so that probably explains why that group of fans was cheering. I've already said that I won't even complain if the Anonymous GM payoff doesn't make sense because I just wanted the loose end tied up once and for all. That said, there are going to be some viewers who will be more pissed off that they brought it back and delivered that horrible reveal than they were when WWE creative just forgot about it. Oh, and how does any of this nonsense supposed to sell anyone on Money in the Bank?
Highlights aired of Zack Ryder winning the Smackdown battle royal. The announcers hyped that Ryder will be the general manager of Friday's television show... At ringside, Cole asked Lawler if they could finally put everything behind them. "No," Lawler responded...
Introductions for the mixed tag main event took place...
[Overrun] 7. C.M. Punk and A.J. vs. Daniel Bryan and Eve. Bryan jumped out to an early advantage and threw a series of kicks at Punk. He yelled, "Yes!" after each kick, and the crowd responded with "No!" chants. The women tagged into the match. A.J. got the better of their exchange. Eve tried to tag Bryan into the match, but he dropped off the ring apron.
C.M. Punk and A.J. defeated Daniel Bryan and Eve in 3:15.
After the match, A.J. hugged Punk, who didn't return the favor. Instead, Punk gave a big thumbs up to the camera. Bryan interrupted and said over the mic that he just proved she means more to him than any match. He asked A.J. to leave with him to go get married.
Punk grabbed a mic and said he's not going to lie to A.J. to save his WWE Championship. Punk said Bryan is using her because he thinks it will help him win the WWE Championship. Punk said he doesn't care if what he's about to say costs him his WWE Championship, he's not going to marry her.
A.J. got emotional. Punk said if that hurts A.J. somehow, then he's sorry, but at least he cares enough about her to tell her the truth. The fans chanted Punk's name. A.J. slowly walked toward Punk, nodded, and then slapped him across the face. Bryan was shown laughing. "Come home, A.J.," Bryan said. A.J. walked toward Bryan and teased hugging him only to slap him across the face.
A.J. stood between Punk and Bryan in the middle of the ring and smiled. She did the "Yes!" routine and the crowd chanted along. A.J. skipped to the top of the stage and her music played while she looked back at Punk and Bryan. "Who is going to be the champion come Sunday?" Lawler asked to close the show...
Powell's POV: They chose to keep the mystery of A.J.'s allegiance going rather than have her walk out with Bryan to tease that the WWE Championship is in jeopardy. I enjoyed the final segment and I am curious to see what they do on Sunday, but they really need to move onto a new chapter at Money in the Bank. The overall show was a mess that failed miserably to increase my interest in Sunday's pay-per-view. I'll have more to say about the show in tonight's WWE Raw audio review, and in Tuesday's WWE Raw Hitlist. Thanks for watching along with me, and check back throughout the night for WWE Smackdown taping spoilers.
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