8/27 Kester's WWE Raw Live Coverage Review: Fallout from CM Punk's attack on Jerry Lawler, Triple H retirement talk continues, and Daniel Bryan gets another round of psychiatric evaluation for his anger management
By Ryan Kester
Monday Night Raw on USA
Aired live from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
[Q1] A recap of last week's show-closing segment was aired…
Jerry Lawler made his way to the ring from the announce booth and he said he needed to get something off his chest. Lawler recalled his comment he made on Raw 1k and he decided last week that, out of respect for the WWE Championship, he should apologize for. He said he did that last week and was rewarded with a kick to the back of the head. Lawler said he wants an apology this week.
Lawler looked to the entrance as the fans chanted for Punk. Punk's music eventually hit and the crowd popped. Punk made his way to the ring. Punk wondered why Lawler wanted an apology for Punk doing his job. Punk said he was justified in attacking The Rock for disrespecting him and he was justified in attacking Lawler for slandering the fan's beloved champion. This was met with a mixture of cheers and boos.
Punk apologized, but he said he apologized that all it took to get into the Hall of Fame was to have the sort of career Jerry Lawler had. Punk mocked Lawler's accomplishments and shortcomings. Punk said he was sorry for the man Lawler had become.
Punk called Lawler out for looking pissed and asked if Lawler wants to fight. Punk said Lawler is just a commentator whereas he is the Best in the World and he would embarrass Lawler. Lawler said he came out for an apology, not a fight. Punk said he may not be asking for a fight but he can see Lawler wants one. Punk said he would have no problem fighting Lawler.
Punk said by the end of the night Lawler would leave embarrassed; either because Punk beat the crap out of him or because he put his tail between his legs and kept quiet.
Punk walked up the ramp and as he made it to the stage Lawler responded that he would think about it…
Ryan's Reaction: Very effective opening segment. It kind of left on a low note with Lawler's response and his music, but it was good enough to forgive it. I like the work Punk is doing as a heel thus far tonight, but I can't help but get the feeling that there wouldn't be as many cheers if WWE and Punk didn't take the slow burn route and actually gave him a hard turn.
[Q2][C] Jack Swagger stood in the ring as Michael Cole read some statistics about Swagger's losing streak. Ryback's music hit with a slight update.
1. Ryback vs. Jack Swagger. Ryback wasted no time in dropping Swagger with a clothesline. He worked some power offense briefly but Swagger began to fight back.
Swagger's hope spot didn't last long, however, and Ryback went right back on offense. A Goldberg" chat started so Ryback started a "Feed me more" chant to silence it. Clever.
Ryback put Swagger away with his fisherman muscle buster…
Ryback defeated Jack Swagger in 2:09.
After the match, Swagger was fuming and a few fans gave him their sympathies…
Cole hyped Triple H's live appearance and the possibility that he may hang up his boots. Cole then tried to get an answer form Lawler about facing CM Punk, and Lawler said he's thinking about it still… [C]
Ryan's Reaction: Nothing special. The only thing really of note there was how much the announcers discussed Swagger's losing streak. Ryback needs to have a real feud sooner or later.
2. Layla vs. Natalya. Vickie Guererro came out early in the match and demanded that they get things over with quickly because she had an important announcement to make. Yep, that makes this feel important.
[Q3] Layla danced around the rink to no reaction and shoved her butt in Natalya's face. Natalya became incensed by this and went on the offense. Natalya went for the sharpshooter, got kicked off, and Layla kicked Natalya in the head a few moments later to pick up the win.
Layla defeated Natalya in 2:44.
Vickie kicked Layla out of the ring as soon as the match was done. Vickie bragged about Dolph Ziggler retiring Chris Jericho last week. She called AJ's putting Dolph's contract on the line unfair and called for the Board of Directors to remove that "mentally deranged child" from her position of power. Thems fighting words.
Sure enough, AJ skipped to the ring and slapped the taste out of Vickie Guererro's mouth. The two brawled on the mat for a moment before Vickie got away and ran for the hills. AJ had a sadistic smile on her face…
Cole hyped the first of Triple H's "momentous moments." Footage of Triple H's various DX segments aired… [C]
Ryan's Reaction: Not really sure what the point of that was, but they sure made the Divas feel more worthless than usual by focusing entirely on Vickie. AJ here was awesome and it was nice to see a bit of her range that has been buried by her GM role.
Footage aired of Daniel Bryan attending group therapy. A kid with a goat face mask showed up and Daniel Bryan lost his mind. Turned out it was the therapist's kid and he's a goat in a Noah's Ark play. Yes, I get all the pertinent details. Daniel Bryan went back to the group and fumed.
Cole brought up a tweet from CM Punk and he tried to prod further for Lawler's decision. Lawler got a live mic, stood on the announce table, and read through the "nobodies" down in Tennessee that he beat back in the day.
[Q4] Lawler said you don't get into the Hall of Fame in the WWE unless you stand up for what is yours. He said he knows he's not the best in the world, but neither is Punk. He said he will fight Punk tonight… [C]
Ryan's Reaction: This sort of thing is where Jerry Lawler shines. He has been a ho-hum commentator since JR left the booth and took Lawler's interest with him, but Lawler really seems to get into working with young heels. I hope WWE has a plan to help get Punk over as a heel tonight and erase some of that grey area that Punk's been residing in since he attacked The Rock.
John Cena's music hit and he made his entrance completely with wisecrack that I can never seem to understand. The Miz quickly followed.
3. John Cena vs. The Miz in a non-title match. John Cena took control early and the show cut to commercial about a minute and a half into the match… [C]
Back from the break, Josh Matthews replaced Jerry Lawler on the announce team. Cena continued his dominance.
[Q5] Miz eventually got in some offense, but Cena made his comeback and put Miz away with an Attitude Adjustment.
John Cena defeated The Miz in 10:40.
Cole set up another Twitter vote for a match stipulation with tweeters able to choose from a Tables match, a Steel Cage match, and a No Disqualification match for Punk vs. Lawler later. Check the main page if you'd like to know which option WWE is likely to go with… [C]
Ryan's Reaction: It's been a couple of years, but I still felt like I saw too much of this match before. Neither man has added diddly to their repertoire since then, so that likely has a lot to do with it.
More footage of Daniel Bryan in the group therapy segment aired. Bryan wasn't interested in Harold's story. Poor Harold. Daniel Bryan complained about AJ and Kane. Bryan said he didn't see how it could get any worse. Then Kane showed up as the last participant. Kane ha don his Predator mask. This made me smile. Likely more than it should have.
Moving on, Heath Slater made his entrance and WWE aired a Slater Tout about his "winning streak."
[Q6] 4. Santino Marella vs. Heath Slater. Matthews and Cole are discussing the Marella/Cobra dynamic with straight faces. That story hurts my head.
Santino worked his comedy set early but Slater quickly took control. Slater controlled the majority of the match.
Marella made a late match comeback and, despite a brief distraction from Aksana who appeared on stage, put Slater away with The Cobra… [C]
Santino Marella defeated Heath Slater in 3:09.
Ryan's Reaction: The feeling of the show dragging is beginning to set in and we're only an hour and twenty minutes in. That's never a good sign. WWE really needs to pad these shows out with solid stories rather than filler. Three hours of well throughout stories can still be entertaining. Filling the show with more padding that they used to use to get through two hours just makes viewing feel like a chore.
Josh Matthews gave us a tech demo on the new WWE app on his iPad. Yeah, that padding…
Damien Sandow cut a brief promo about the miracle of finding someone else in WWE he can have an intelligent conversation with. He introduced Cody Rhodes, who got some cheap heat comparing the fans to Brodus Clay. He threatened to target Sin Cara's mask and he and Damien entered the ring…
[Q7] [C] 5. Brodus Clay and Sin Cara vs. Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes. The match was joined in progress. Cody Rhodes controlled Sin Cara and the heels kept him in their corner for the majority of the match.
Sin Cara got a tag off to Brodus, and Sin Cara managed to take out Damien Sandow. Brodus put Rhodes away with a big running splash.
Brodus Clay and Sin Cara defeated Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes in over 2:31.
The therapist asked Kane to remove his mask, and the therapy session became about 100% less awesome when he obliged. Granted, Kane has a name tag on so that helps a bit. The therapist asked Kane about his childhood, and Kane recapped the old story from the Attitude Era days. I'm not proud of it, but Kane's straight-faced mentions of fried testicles, Katie Vick, and an unclear urge to attack Pete Rose had my laughing pretty hard. After everyone else left, Kane made a friend with Harold… [C]
Ryan's Reaction: I may lose my internet fan card for this, but that segment had me laughing. It reminded of Kane and Undertakers brief moment before No Mercy 2002.
Another Triple H career recap video aired…
[Q8] 6. R-Truth (w/ Kofi Kingston) vs. Daniel Bryan. After a few minutes of Little Jimmy nonsense, Daniel Bryan began to work over Truth. Truth created some separation and cut a mid-match promo to get the crowd chanting Yes at Daniel Bryan. Bryan started telling No at people and got in one fan's face as R-Truth slipped into the ring and won via countout.
R-Truth defeated Daniel Bryan via countout in 3:02
After the match, Bryan lost his cool and started yelling no several times while the crowd mocked him with another slew of yes chants… [C]
Ryan's Reaction: Daniel Bryan is doing excellent work with his phase of his character. It's always a good thing when you have a heel that the fans can wake up for and get under the skin of, and it's a very rare thing in WWE these days. Bryan may not be in the title picture at the moment, but he's easily one of the most over heels on the roster.
Triple H made his entrance. He was wearing a cast but was otherwise in his business attire. Triple H looked to be nearly in tears and the announcers were show standing respectfully at ringside. Lord, they are laying it on almost corny thick here.
[Q9] Hunter took several moments to collect himself while the fans cheered and eventually chanted his name. Triple H said let's get to the chase and then proceeded to stall for another minute. Triple H said "never say never" and he recalled what he wanted to do with his career. He said he wanted to retire before he was forced to do so and he started to choke up.
Triple H said everyone comes to a crossroad in their career when they have to ask if it's time. Triple H said time is the one thing you cannot fight, it will always in. He said he never wanted to be the guy that hung on too long or was just waiting for the nostalgia pop or willing to get in the ring just for a check.
Triple H said Brock Lesnar made him face that crossroad. "Am I done?" Triple H asked. The fans chanted no and Triple H listed all the reasons why he should stop. Triple H said he wanted to live up to his monikers and kick Lesnar's ass because that is what he has always done.
Triple H said that's what he wanted, but he can't do it. He said he can't because he doesn’t know if he can get the job done. Triple H said if he can't make that claim, then he has answered his own question. The fans chanted "you can do it" and Triple H quickly silenced them.
Triple H thanked the fans and put over the entire locker room for putting their health on the line for the fans. Triple H said the fans got him through all of the setbacks in his career. He thanked them again and then said "Thank you for letting me play the game." We just hit "I love you, Pop" level.
Triple H left the ring to a healthy ovation…
Ryan's Reaction: That was good mic work from Triple H, minus the cornball closing line. The problem is that felt like a bit of a waste. Triple H didn't need that to be any more over with the fans than he already is and they failed to answer the retirement question like they hyped all evening. Still, solid work from triple H, I simply wish it actually led to something instead of making the story tread water.
[Q10] [C] Dolph Ziggler came out to Chris Jericho's music and lighting. Funny. Ziggler bragged about retiring Jericho and claimed that fans would never see Jericho again.
7. Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus and Randy Orton.Orton and Ziggler started things off. Orton got the better of Ziggler quickly and Sheamus took out Del Rio on the outside. The show went to break less than a minute into the match… [C]
Back from the break, Ziggler and Del Rio were taking the fight to Orton. Orton eventually got the hot tag, and Sheamus stormed the ring. Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick on Ziggler to pick up the pinfall victory.
Sheamus and Randy Orton defeated Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler in 8:24
[Q11] Backstage, Lawler instructed John Cena to let him fight his fight in the ring tonight. Cena eventually wished Lawler luck… [C]
Ryan's Reaction: That match was disappointing. Less than half of it actually aired on TV, and I really don't think Ziggler needs to be taking pins when he should be being built up for his eventual World Title run.
Kane made his entrance and took Josh Matthew's spot, who had run aware in feat of Kane.
8. Zack Ryder vs. David Otunga. Otunga dominated the early going. Kane kept quiet on commentary.
Ryder made his comeback and hit the Rough Ryder for the pinfall victory.
Zack Ryder defeated David Otunga in 2:22.
Kane got in the ring, choked Zack Ryder, let him go, and chokeslammed Otunga instead…
Ryan's Reaction: The match was a throwaway and the Kane angle undid some of the good will he earned wit that hilarious therapy bit from earlier. This show has had way too many throwaway segments.
[Q12] [C] Matthews found his courage and stood in the ring to reveal the stipulation for the main event, a steel cage! It's so convenient that they had one set up on the ceiling. AJ made an entrance and aid that Punk would defend his championship at Night of Champions against her choice, John Cena.
Jerry Lawler was shown walking through the back… [C]
9. CM Punk vs. Jerry Lawler in a steel cage match. Punk insisted on Lawler getting in the first shot, and Lawler gave him one hell of a right. That was about the most of Lawler's dominance as Punk quickly took over and worked a noticeably more heelish style than usual.
[Overrun] Punk went to the top rope but Lawler shot up and swept his legs. Lawler made a beeline for the door but Punk dragged Lawler back into the ring. Lawler began to make his comeback and he hit his flying fist drop for a near fall.
Punk bled from the forehead as he locked in the Anaconda Vise, forced the tap, and held on until the referee could pull him off of Lawler.
CM Punk defeated Jerry Lawler in 7:23.
After the match, Punk grabbed a mic and a chain and lock from a toolbox. Punk locked Lawler and him in the cage. Punk gave Lawler a chance to tell Punk he is the best in the world. Lawler defiantly said hell no, so Punk tried to drill through his chest with a flurry of elbows. Punk demanded Lawler to say he was the best again, and Lawler again declined. Punk continued his assault.
John Cena ran out and yelled for the cage to be raised. Punk continued his assault and Cena repeated that Punk was way out of line. The cage was finally raised and Punk departed while Cena checked on Lawler. Punk was booed mercilessly as he waked form the arena.
Ryan's Reaction: That is more like it. I wish that this moment happened several weeks earlier, but this could be what Punk finally needed to go full heel. Overall, this show was a chore to get through. There were some bright spots here and there, but if WE cut out all of the unnecessary filler they pumped this show full of they'd have trouble getting to the two hour mark, let alone the marathon they expect viewers to sit through. I'll have more to say tomorrow in my Rundown of this show and be sure to check back for further thoughts from Jason Powell with his hitlist and Will Pruett with his Pause review. Jason Powell will be by later with his all access audio review of the show. Thanks for reading along with me tonight.
If you have any questions or comments or just wish to chat with a fellow wrestling fan about whatever, then feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter at @TheRyanKester.
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