9/24 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Jerry Lawler interview, John Cena appearing after elbow surgery, the build to Night of Champions continues
By Jason Powell
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Albany, N.Y. at Times Union Center
[Q1] The show opened with C.M. Punk seated in a chair inside the ring with Paul Heyman standing behind him. Heyman said the show would not begin until justice was served. Heyman pointed to the screen where footage played of the tag team main event from last week that concluded with the referee counting to three to give John Cena a win over Punk.
Heyman said the WWE Universe are all witnesses to a "grand injustice." Heyman asked referee Brad Maddox to join him in the ring to apologize to the WWE Champion, admit to his mistake, and tender his resignation. Maddox walked out wearing his referee gear. Cole noted that Maddox made a bad call in the main event. Jim Ross was on commentary with Cole and also acknowledged it was a bad call.
Once in the ring, Maddox confessed. "I made a mistake," he said. "It was my first main event match. I was nervous." He said he should have checked the ropes and he apologized. Heyman said Maddox should followup by resigning. The fans rallied behind Maddox. "I do apologize, but I don't feel..."
C.M. Punk stood up and said he doesn't care what Maddox feels unless he's ashamed. Punk said Maddox embarrassed himself and the WWE Champion "on my show." Punk questioned how Maddox could look at himself in a mirror and pretend to be a man. Maddox said that when Raw expanded to three hours, A.J. called her and said they needed more officials.
Heyman called Maddox a scab, a rookie, and a replacement referee. Heyman pulled out a pair of night blinders with WWE and NFL logos. Punk said Maddox is a buffoon who was hired by the idiot general manager. He said that if A.J. was good at making decisions, she would come out and fire Maddox. A.J.'s music played.
Powell's POV: You had to know they would get in on the NFL replacement referee controversy. I like it because it's timely and the way they're playing it up fits within wrestling rather than it being a case of creative reaching just to make a joke.
A.J. entered the ring and told Maddox he could go to the back. Heyman said he assumed she was there to change the finish. She said that when you assume it makes an ass out of you and me. She said she wasn't going to let them take her hostage. "Who in the hell do you think you are?" A.J. asked.
Punk fired back that he's the WWE Champion. He said he's the reason A.J. collects a paycheck and all the fans were in the building. Punk said he knows why there's so much hostility between him and A.J. and wanted to show everyone. Footage aired from a past Raw of A.J. asking Punk to marry her.
Back live, Punk looked down at A.J. and laughed. He mentioned having hundreds of text messages and voice mails that A.J. left him. "I'm sorry, am I embarrassing you," mocked Punk. He told A.J. to let everyone know how intimate they were behind closed doors. "Let everyone know that I'm the reason there's a little skip in your step," Punk said. "Tell them I'm the best in the world."
Heyman backed Punk up and mentioned the politics he mentioned in his DVD and told him he would handle this. Heyman dropped down on one knee and said, "Marry me, A.J." He told her they could top power couples like Brad and Angelina, Bill and Hillary, and even Triple H and Stephanie.
Heyman said they would be the most powerful couple in sports entertainment history. He said he could come up with all the ideas and she could take credit. He said he likes women who are young, dumb, uninhibited, and ambitious. Heyman held his arms open. A.J. smiled and then slapped him across the face before leaving the ring. "Heyman is a slime ball," Ross said on commentary...
A graphic showed a still shot of Jerry Lawler receiving CPR with a mask on face. Cole hyped the Lawler interview...
Powell's POV: Was this there way of driving home that A.J. is a babyface or will her character still be all over the map? Awesome heel mic work from Punk and Heyman. No one in the business is touching their heel act right now. I could have done without the shot of Lawler in that position.
[Q2] [C] Backstage, Maddox was getting a pep talk from another referee when A.J. entered the picture. Maddox said he would never make that mistake again. A.J. said that will never happen again because she will "personally see to it that you never work in this business again." She said she doesn't like cleaning up his messes. She said she put him in the main event and he made her look like an idiot. He said he's very sorry. She stared off into space...
Powell's POV: I guess that answers that A.J. question. All over the map. I like complex characters, but I feel like WWE would be better off giving fans some clue as to how they should feel about A.J. rather than going back and forth. Of course, there could be a bigger story at play that would explain this approach.
1. Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. Kofi Kingston (w/R-Truth). R-Truth sat down on commentary and acted like Little Jimmy was with him. Vickie taunted Jimmy. R-Truth and Kofi ended up knocking a soda on her. The ref tossed out the sidekicks. They cut to break with Kingston in control shortly into the match. [C]
[Q3] Kofi started his comeback around 7:00. The crowd was into his offense. Ziggler cut off the SOS, but Kingston came right back with a kick in the corner and then a springboard punch for a two count. Dolph hit the Fameasser at 8:15 for a near fall. Kofi came back with the SOS for a really good two count.
At 9:40, Kofi hit the high cross body block for another strong near fall. Kingston punched the mat in frustration over not being able to put Ziggler away. Kofi went for Trouble in Paradise and missed. Ziggler came back moments later and hit his finisher for the clean pin...
Dolph Ziggler beat Kofi Kingston in 10:30.
Powell's POV: Kofi and Ziggler worked together about a million times in the past, but it felt fresh because it's been so long. Cole and Lawler did a good job of playing up the athleticism and how the match could have went either way. Ross brought the sports feel to the match as he always does by stating that it could come down to which one of the wrestlers made the first mistake. I hope they get Kingston away from Truth and give him that long overdue singles push.
Cole and Ross spoke at ringside about John Cena's surgery. Ross said it was supposed to be routine, but it was "like a junkyard" once they got inside. They said viewers would hear from Cena later in the show... [C] An ad for Saturday Morning Slam hyped Santino Marella vs. Heath Slater with The Miz on commentary...
A Smackdown recap aired with footage that focussed on the Kane and Daniel Bryan drama. There was no shot of Edge in the footage even though he appeared on the show... The announcers set up a pre-tape of Daniel Bryan and Dr. Shelby at a diner.
[Q4] Shelby told Bryan that he set up a role playing situation for Bryan and Kane outside the work environment. Kane showed up wearing an apron and asked if he could take Bryan's order. He laughed. He ordered veggies and said he'd like a tag partner who isn't a freak. Shelby said Kane is Gerald today as part of the role playing.
"Gerald" said they have a new cook because the old cook was annoying so he grabbed him by the goatee and slammed him into the deep frier, then chopped him into little pieces and sprinkled it all over every meal that he served. A woman was shown gasping as she looked down at her food. Shelby said he was kidding...
Cole said viewers could pick the team name for Kane and Daniel Bryan later tonight... [C]
Powell's POV: Team Friendship better be an option. The skit was more over the top nonsense with Kane and Bryan. I actually mean that as a minor compliment, though this one wasn't nearly as fun as the better anger management skits.
Cole hyped that Criss Angel is the social media ambassador for Raw...
2. Santino Marella and Zack Ryder vs. The Prime Time Players. The heels got the better of Ryder early, but he made the leaping tag to Santino at 1:00. Santino set up to use the Cobra on Young, but Titus O'Neil had tagged in. O'Neil quickly put Santino away with power moves. The Players did the dumb "Millions of Dollars" dance afterward...
The Prime Time Players defeated Santino Marella and Zack Ryder in 2:00.
Powell's POV: Serious Titus O'Neil is a big improvement, but I hope they do away with the dance and have Young develop a character that isn't such a turnoff. The good news is that the right team went over in that the Players are the real tag team, whereas Santino and Ryder are singles wrestlers who team up occasionally.
A shot aired of a locker room door that read "Special Guest." Ross acknowledged it and said we'd find out who the person is after the break... [C] An ad for Smackdown questioned whether Kane and Bryan will ever find common ground... The announces hyped the WWE partnership with the Rise Above Cancer campaign...
Mick Foley's music played and he came to the ring as the special guest. Foley said he came to Raw not as a legend, but as a card carrying member of the WWE Universe. He said he sees things on Raw that sometimes move and inspire him. He cited the emergence of C.M. Punk. The crowd booed.
[Q5] Foley said the reaction was very telling. Foley said the Punk he knew taught people to stand up for themselves and gave a voice to the voiceless. Punk's music played and he eventually made his way to the ring to confront Foley minus Paul Heyman. Once there, Punk bumped into Foley intentionally while walking in the ring.
Punk told Foley not to grandstand in front of the people. He said that if he has something to say he should say it to his face. Punk said Foley is trying to stay relevant and asked if he was really there because he's selling a kids book. Foley recalled sending Punk a text that asked him how it felt to be the biggest start in the world after he won the WWE Championship. He said Punk responded two minutes later saying that it meant a lot coming from him.
Foley said he's bothered by Punk's actions and his association with Paul Heyman. Punk turned to the crowd and said he doesn't need their help. He said they should grab a mic and say what they have to say and he'll shove the mic down their throats. Foley said he was a Heyman guy. He said Heyman can get you a certain way, but you have to make the journey yourself. Foley said he stopped listening to Heyman and made decisions on his own.
Punk assumed that Foley was going to tell him Heyman was a slime and a liar. Foley said Heyman never lied to him, but he's going to do what's best for Paul Heyman, not what's best for you. Foley questioned why Punk, one of the best talkers in the business, needed a mouthpiece. Foley said Punk has to decide whether he's going to be an inspiration or a Kool-Aid drinker.
Punk yawned and questioned whether they were finished. Foley said perhaps Punk will listen to him about something he is well informed about - Hell in a Cell. He recalled how the match made his career and shortened it at the same time. Foley said not one day has gone by that he had to ask for people's respect because he earned it that night.
Punk asked Foley if he wants the old C.M. Punk. Foley said he wants Punk to show the world by stepping inside Hell in a Cell with John Cena. Punk said he heard a similar speech from Cena about how he'd earn respect by walking out of Boston with the WWE Championship. "And look at me now," Punk said while throwing the belt into the air and letting it fall to the ground.
Punk recalled being punched out by Bret Hart. He said it would be more embarrassing to attack Foley because Foley is beneath him. Punk said he knows he doesn't need to do anything for the fans because they turned their back on him. He said Foley would set himself on fire for the adulation of the people. Punk said he just wants to bring the people to their knees.
Punk said he raises the bar by holding the belt for 309 days. Foley responded by saying "29." He said that's the total number of days he held the belt during his three title reigns. Foley said people don't care. "Do you want to be a statistic or a legend?" Foley asked while getting worked up. Foley said A.J. allowed him to come out and ask about the Hell in a Cell match.
Foley said Cena had elbow surgery but he should be ready for Hell in a Cell. He said Punk gets to make his decision and announce it to Cena's face. He told him to think good and hard while he makes the decision for himself, Foley, and the fans. Punk look down at the WWE Championship while Foley left the ring...
Powell's POV: Awesome segment. The live crowd wasn't red hot for it, but it came off great at home. Punk continues to deliver the best promos in the business and that was an example of what Foley can do when he has something to sink his teeth into. I wish they would have backed up Foley's words with footage of his HIAC escapades, but perhaps that's no longer PG, especially with the election right around the corner.
[Q6] [C] An ad aired for WWE Main Event's debut on ION television on October 3... The Miz made his entrance. Footage was shown of Ryback throwing furniture toward him last week...
3. The Miz vs. Ryback in a non-title match. Ryback got the better of Miz early. Miz fled from Ryback outside the ring, then kicked Ryback's chest as he tried to follow him back inside the ring. Miz got a one count after three kicks tot he head. Ryback came back with a powerbomb.
An idiot fan entered the ring and was pounced on by security. Ryback went right to his finisher and hit the move for the win...
Ryback beat The Miz in a non-title match in 3:00.
Powell's POV: The announcers tried to make it seem like this was a surprising outcome. This would have been much more effective if Miz had actually won a non-title match since he won the Intercontinental Title. Ryback had a gouge on his head from the cut he suffered during a house show over the weekend. A doctor came to the ring and stopped the match on the spot, but Ryback was back in the ring the next day.
Footage aired of Daniel Bryan and Kane eating together at the diner. They bonded over beating eight men with chairs on Smackdown. Bryan yelled, "Yes!" over and over while Kane bashed the table. Mae Young was shown sitting at the diner. "I'll have exactly what they're having," Young said... [C]
Powell's POV: That was a play on the diner scene in "When Harry Met Sally." It may seem like a dated reference since the movie was made in 1989, but it's classic enough that I'm sure most people figured it out. Meanwhile, as for the fan run-ins, there were actually two.
[Q7] Backstage, A.J. told a group of referees that they are the backbone of the company. She looked at Brad Maddox and said everyone makes mistakes. She told them to go out and have a good rest of the show. Alberto Del Rio, David Otunga, and Ricardo Rodriguez entered the room as the refs left.
She said all three men have been victims of the Brogue Kick, so she booked them in a six man tag against Sheamus, Rey Mysterio, and Sin Cara. The heels protested because Ricardo isn't a competitor. However, Ricardo whipped off his neck brace and said he wanted to do it. "Ariba!" Ricardo yelled...
4. Wade Barrett vs. Tyson Kidd. Only Barrett received a televised entrance. Kidd jumped out to a fast start, but it didn't last long. Kidd had another hope spot, but Barrett ended that with a swinging sidewalk slam. Barrett finished off Kidd with an elbow shot to the head he calls The Souvenir.
Wade Barrett beat Tyson Kidd in 2:20.
The announcers set up the Jerry Lawler interview for after the break as still shot footage aired of Lawler being treated by the EMT crew...
Powell's POV: Damn, is there anything the WWE camera crew doesn't film? Tacky.
Michael Cole stood in the ring and said they would attempt to go live to Memphis for an interview with Jerry Lawler. Cole ran through what happened with Lawler two weeks ago and said Dr. Michael Sampson told him earlier today that Lawler is so far along in his recovery considering the traumatic events that his body went through. Cole asked the fans to join him in welcoming Lawler.
Jerry Lawler was shown on the big screen seated on the throne in the collectables room in his home (same room as the press conference he delivered last week). The fans gave Lawler a great ovation. Cole said Lawler looks fantastic. Lawler noted that his voice is raspy because of the tube he had down his throat. The fans applauded again when Lawler was finished speaking.
Lawler said he doesn't remember a bit of his match from Raw two weeks ago. He said he remembers waking up in the hospital. He said he thought he and his girlfriend were still in Aruba from "two weeks" earlier. Lawler spoke about how overwhelming the fan reaction has been. He thanked the fans from the bottom of his heart.
Cole said the question is when will The King return on Raw. "Well, Michael, let me just say first of all, it was probably just a matter of time," Lawler said. "Once Raw went from two hours to three hours, I defy anyone to sit next to you for three hours and not have a heart attack." Lawler said he's leaving his return up to the doctors. He said he will be back as soon as they gave him the green light. The fans gave Lawler another round of cheers and a "Jerry" chant broke out...
Powell's POV: It really is amazing that Lawler is back on Raw even via satellite just two weeks after the heart attack. Lawler's voice doesn't seem to have improved since the press conference, but he looks great.
[Q8] Heel ring entrances for the six-man tag took place. Cole also noted after returning to the booth that Lawler's heart attack was the most frightening moment of his life... [C] The babyface introductions took place and they took another commercial break... [C]
5. Sheamus, Rey Mysterio, and Sin Cara vs. Alberto Del Rio, David Otunga, and Ricardo Rodriguez in a six man tag. All those introductions, yet the match was joined in progress. Ricardo wrestled in his tux, yet took the tie off. Sin Cara roughed up Ricardo until Del Rio hit him with a shot from behind. Ricardo got in a shot and a one count before tagging out.
[Q9] There was a brief "Sin Cara" chant as Del Rio was getting the better of him. Ricardo removed his jacket and asked to be tagged in. Del Rio complied. Ricardo went for the mask, but Sin Cara kicked him and took him down with a huracanrana. Sin Cara tried to tag Sheamus, but it wasn't his time to enter, so he pulled his hand back so that Mysterio would be tagged instead. Oops.
The Prime Time Players were shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Darren Young still has his stupid pick. That's heat! Ugh. Later, Sheamus took a hot tag from Mysterio and got the better of the heels. Mysterio went to ringside (see the POV below) and then came back later to hit the 619 on Ricardo. Sheamus tagged Sin Cara, who hit the Swanton on Ricardo for the win. Afterward, Sheamus dropped Otunga with the Brogue Kick...
Sheamus, Rey Mysterio, and Sin Cara defeated Alberto Del Rio, David Otunga, and Ricardo Rodriguez in a six man tag in 7:25.
The announcers hyped that John Cena would provide an update on his elbow surgery... [C]
Powell's POV: Dot Net reader Zim reported that Mysterio tweaked his knee and was fussing with it at ringside while limping at one point. He climbed onto the ring apron gingerly as the match continued. He did return to the ring and hit the 619 and stuck around for the babyface posing after the match.
Back at the diner, Dr. Shelby told Kane and Bryan that they made tremendous progress. He said it was time for one final piece of therapy. He had the waitress give them the food that the other man ordered and asked them to take one bite to talk a mile in the other man's shoes.
Kane stared at a leaf of lettuce while Bryan stared at a meatball. They both took small, pained bites. Shelby asked Kane how he felt. Kane let out a loud burp. Bryan said it wasn't as bad as he thought, then eventually puked in Shelby's lap. "Check, please," Kane said...
[Q10 The voting options for the Kane and Bryan team are Team Teamwork, Team Hell No, and Team Friendship... [C]
Powell's POV: A canned belch? The vegan nibbles on a meatball? These comedy skits jumped two sharks for this viewer. That said, a vote for anything other than Team Friendship makes you a horrible human being.
A WWE commercial for breast cancer awareness aired...
Daniel Bryan made his entrance. Kane made his entrance. Ross asked how long they could hold the tag titles. "As long as they want," Cole said. He must have been corrected because after a slight pause, he said it probably wouldn't be long because they don't get along.
The team name voting was revealed. Team Hell No won. Boo!!! Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow hit the ring and attacked Kane and Bryan from behind. Cody and Sandow went to the stage. Rhodes said it was time to talk real tag team names. He introduced himself and Sandow as "Team Rhodes Scholars." Sandow said Kane and Bryan finally have a reason to be angry...
Powell's POV: A weak attack that didn't carry any weight. Quick shots that startled the tag champs. Rhodes and Sandow came off like pests more than two guys going for real heat. Team Hell No? People suck.
Highlights aired of Paul Heyman asking A.J. to marry him and eating a slap in the face for his trouble... Highlights aired of Mick Foley and C.M. Punk from earlier in the show... The announcers hyped John Cena's appearance for later... [C]
[Q11] 6. Eve and Beth Phoenix beat Alicia Fox and Layla. Beth performed a slingshot suplex on Alicia. Eve tagged herself in during that move and ended up getting the pin moments later...
Eve and Beth Phoenix defeated Alicia Fox and Layla in 2:00.
After the match, Kaitlyn limped onto the stage using a crutch. She said she couldn't see her attacker at Night of Champions, but she could see her hair. She said the Diva who attacked her at Night of Champions was a blonde. Eve acted shocked and pointed the finger at Beth, who said she didn't do anything. Eve kicked Beth and dropped her with a neckbreaker... [C]
Powell's POV: The live crowd was as flat for that angle as anything. No one cares who attacked Kaitlyn because they don't care about Kaitlyn. Oh, and it doesn't help that it was obviously Eve. Apparently, Kaitlyn remembered this today because she never mentioned hair color at the pay-per-view. I hope this isn't one of those stories that concludes with security footage showing up weeks after the fact that shows what really happened.
7. Brodus Clay (w/Naomi, Cameron) vs. Tensai. Sakamoto was nowhere to be found. Big Show walked out and punched Tensai and knocked him out. The ref called for the bell. Clay fired up and ran right into a punch from Big Show, who stood over both fallen big men...
The announcers hyped John Cena for after the break...
Powell's POV: Meanwhile, the kids who attended the live events and watched Show work as a nice guy over the weekend must be so confused. No Team Friendship, no Sakamoto, no Sakamoto ass kicking. This show can go to straight hell. I don't ask for much in life. Give me my Monday night Sakamoto ass kicking and I'm in a good mood the rest of the week. Thanks for nothing, WWE.
[Q12] [C] The announcers hyped Big Show vs. Randy Orton as the main event for Friday's Smackdown television show...
Powell's POV: Wow, they actually advertised the main event within the show and not just in a throwaway commercial that most people miss while flipping channels or in the bathroom.
John Cena made his entrance to a mixed reaction. He had his arm in a sling and had his somber face on. He didn't talk into the camera, he didn't smile, and he didn't run to the ring. Once in the ring, he kept the straight faced approach, though he did raise his good arm to the crowd.
Cena held out the mic to soak up the mixed reaction. Cena said there are mixed emotions, as always, about him. He said he wasn't supposed to be there, but with his future in question he wanted to personally thank the fans. Cena said he knows "those guys" (while looking at the back) aren't going to like it, but he wanted to thank the fans for their help with Susan G. Kormen foundation.
Cena said the people behind the charity are overwhelmed by the support of the WWE audience. He said it goes to show that people should never doubt the WWE Universe. Yes, I'm sure "those guys" are livid! Cena acknowledged the mixed reaction and said it's good to hear that after the tough week he had.
Cena apologized to referees Chad Patton and Brad Maddox. He said Punk is a man who says he speaks the truth, yet grossly misquoted him. He said he told Punk that walking out of Night of Champions as WWE Champion would define who he is. He said ever since then Punk has turned into a different guy. He said Punk has turned into a "monkey frickien son of a bee sting." Yes, he actually said something like that.
Cena said he did everything he could to keep it PG and he hopes it was okay. Cena said they have a lot of fun on Monday nights, but every Monday is crazy because of the fans. He said the fact that he has to sit on the bench for a while sucks. He said he wanted to make a guarantee.
Cena guaranteed that he would walk into Hell in a Cell and would fight. Cena started to get worked up, but Punk's music cut him off. Punk and Heyman walked onto the stage. Heyman held up the WWE Championship behind Punk and held it there as they both walked to the ring together. Punk stopped to glare at a redheaded kid and then teased that he was going to let a young fan slap his hand only to pull it back. "Look at that pathetic display," said one of the announcers.
Punk said Cena's speech was beautiful. He said he's heard a lot of politician speeches and he thinks Cena missed his calling. He said Cena has the character assassination part down. Punk said he doesn't buy the crap that Cena shovels. Punk said there's only one C.M. Punk and Cena knows him well because he's beaten him repeatedly.
[Overrun] Punk mentioned his WWE Championship consecutive day streak and said he won't be defeated by a one armed man. Cena said Punk should shut his mouth, face him at the pay-per-view, and see what happens. Punk said it's not fair and there are others in the back who deserve a shot.
Punk stopped and listened to the fans. He said they were booing him, but he wouldn't be a "passive/aggressive weenie" like Cena. He said he would tell them to shut up and deal with them later.
Punk said he was going to give Cena a word of advice. "Run," Cena said. "I know both of your legs still work. Run while you still can." Punk said he was going to turn around and count to five. He said if Cena was still there he was going to beat him like he's never beaten anyone before. Punk said he won't have his integrity called into question. "I am the WWE Champion and I command respect," Punk said. "You have until five."
Punk turned around and Heyman did the same. Heyman held up the belt. Punk counted down from five. Cena pulled a pipe out of his sling. Punk took a step forward and stopped. Cena struck Punk in the gut. "Real men wear pink," Cena said. "I hope to see you at Hell in a Cell. Now that's what I call a pipe bomb."
Cena celebrated with the fans as Punk headed backstage. The camera showed Punk walking through the backstage area. He and Foley exchanged looks. Punk walked back to Foley and said, "You know what, Mick..." Punk kicked Foley. Punk started to walk away. He turned around again and started to talk, only to stop in his tracks and drop his jaw. Ryback was shown standing over Foley...
Powell's POV: A good finals segment that continues the build for their pay-per-view match without actually announcing it. One can only assume that they either view Ryback as the potential replacement if Cena isn't ready for Hell in a Cell or they were just setting something up for next week. The live crowd either didn't react to Ryback staring Punk down to close the show or it wasn't mic'd well. I hope they don't rush into that match and damage Ryback in the process.
Overall, the three hour shows continue to drag despite the fact that this episode had some killer mic work from Punk, Heyman, and Foley. This was the best Mick Foley we've seen in a long time. Here's hoping WWE will save his appearances for when it counts rather than using him in all of the cornball segments we've seen him in over the years. Thanks for watching along with me tonight. Check back on Tuesday for the WWE Raw Hitlist.
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