-I have almost no witty teaser, as I’ve been preparing for football season all week. That said, SummerSlam 1990 was 22 years ago tonight, and I was there in Philadelphia to see my hero The Ultimate Warrior defeat Ravishing Rick Rude. I have nothing else to add, really. WWE’s been boring lately, but I’m trucking forward anyway. I’m a soldier, like Kellen Winslow, man.
-Live from Milwaukee, where Beer Nuts is the official disease ($1 to George Carlin’s estate).
Opening Segment: Jerry Lawler
Lawler says that this isn’t the way Raw usually starts. With pointless talking? Always, King. He recaps the entire ending angle with Punk, which is better than a video package explaining it, I guess. He demands an apology from Punk, which I’m sure will be sincere. Dig the Lance Storm haircut on Punk. Punk makes it clear that Lawler deserved the kick, but he does apologize: he’s sorry that Lawler’s career is a sham built on beating nobodies and being a lousy announcers. He’s sorry about the man Lawler has become. Punk goads him into a fight, because if one thing’s going to make me hate Punk, it’s him beating a half-assed announcer who hasn’t been interesting since 2000. Punk promises Lawler will be embarrassed tonight, one way or another. Lawler’s entire parting shot: “I’LL THINK ABOUT IT.” He’s so bad ass, he’s going to take threats UNDER ADVISEMENT!
[adinserter block=”2″]Segment Rating: 3/10. I have no interest in seeing Punk destroy Lawler. He was even off his game promo-wise, but I can’t blame him.
Match 1: Jack Swagger vs. Ryback
Hey, Swagger’s alive! Well, not for long. Swagger gets some token offense, an even tries the ankle lock before Ryback awkwardly escapes, and drops Swagger ON HIS HEAD with a botched backdrop. Lariat and Ry-Backhammer finish.
WINNER: Ryback via Ry-Backhammer
Rating: 0/10. That may have been Ryback’s worst match to date, and he nearly killed Swagger to boot. Not that WWE hasn’t tried.
Match 2: Layla vs. Natalya (Non Title Match)
There weren’t nearly enough shots of Layla in her hooker boots last week. Vickie interrupts for some reason, because she has an announcement to make, so the Divas had better hurry. I’m certain they well. Slow wrestling follows, akin to GLOW except with Layla’s awful dancing. Natalya steals the Finlay apron-trap trick and pummels Layla. Crowd is acting very weird. Kick to the head finishes.
WINNER: Layla via kick to the head
Rating: 1/10. Eh, slightly better, but I wouldn’t say Raw’s off to a good start or anything.
-Vickie throws Layla out. Hey, remember when they were allies? She complains about AJ nearly costing Dolph his briefcase with a whimsical booking decision. That’s what I wanna see, Vickie and AJ feuding. Is it Thursday yet? AJ skips out, and she is looking exceptionally fine tonight. She slaps Vickie and beats the excessive makeup off of her. I approve.
-Various HHH highlights are being shown to commemorate his non-retirement.
-Daniel Bryan attends anger management. A kid in a goatface mask walks in, because it’s pure comedy.
-Lawler namedrops people in Memphis he’s beaten, and says he’s not sure how long Punk would have lasted in Memphis. Surely Punk’s too good to wrestle in that ratty TV studio on Saturday mornings. Oh, and Lawler doesn’t think Punk is the best in the world, and he accepts the challenge. Wow, emotion from Lawler?
Match 3: John Cena vs. The Miz (non title)
Why’s Cena on at 8:50? It’s not a school night for the kids in most places, is it? Cole’s now flying solo with Lawler preparing. Cena gets the better of a wrestling sequence, so it looks like this one’s going to last a bit. Cena manages a second headlock takeover as we hit the early commercial. We come back with Miz in control, and Josh Mathews has joined Cole at ringside. TOUGH ENOUGH REUNION! We need fat Darrel and the crazy suicidal chick from Season 3 now. Miz lands the corner clothesline, followed by a double axe handle for 2. Miz gets the backbreaker followed by the neckbreaker for 2. I have this crazy notion that Cena may, just may, shake off all this punishment and win. Cena gets the STF out of nowhere, but Miz makes the ropes, making half the fans happy. Miz gets a stump DDT with GUSTO for 2. Cena took a nice javelin bump there. Miz can’t crush the skull, Cena can’t adjust the attitude, but Miz CAN give Cena a side effect for 2. Second corner clothesline misses, and Cena goes into Victory Sequence, including AA, to win.
WINNER: John Cena via Attitude Adjustment
Rating: 5/10. Basic match, though much less insulting than their WrestleMania and Over the Limit matches last year. A fine TV match.
-Just saw the trailer for the WWE’s 50 Best Finishers DVD, and oh my God, Benoit’s in it. He takes a Diamond Cutter from DDP. Not sure how to react, really.
-More Bryan hijinx. This time, Kane shows up in costume. What’s he angry about, novocaine costs on the rise?
Cheap Plug: my take on Terrell Owens going out with a whimper http://www.footballnation.com/content/the-fall-terrell-owens-from-the-eyes-an-eagles-fan/16320/
Match 4: Heath Slater vs. Santino Marella
Marella throws some kung fool, and manages to outwrestle Slater with some slapstick comedy. A dance contest erupts, and the crowd dares boo Slater’s swank footwork. Boring chants kick up, which is always a good sign. Marella keeps rolling away from Slater’s dive attempts, and the crowd boos instead of laughing. They finally pick things up, as Santino comes back with his usual sequence, and Cobra comes out, but WAIT. Aksana’s sax music kicks up, and the crowd is confused, as Aksana gyrates on stage. Cobra manages to turn and nail Slater anyway for the win.
WINNER: Santino Marella via Cobra
Rating: 2/10. I have nothing to add.
Match 5: Brodus Clay/Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes/Damien Sandow
Rhodes and Sandow should form a team and go for the belts. Call em “The Rhodes Scholars”. We take a break before the match and come back with Rhodes dominating Rhodes, getting 2 off a knee to the face. Sandow lands the Cubito Aequet on Cara for 2. I just wanted to type those words. Cara manages to tag Clay, who takes over by steamrolling through Rhodes. Powerslam gets 2, with Sandow saving. Cara takes out Sandow with a plancha, and Clay gets Rhodes with the rhino headbutt and Funk It.
WINNERS: Brodus Clay/Sin Cara via Funk It
Rating: 3/10. Hardly saw it, thanks to commercial. Shame, because this could have actually been a fun match.
-Part III of Anger Management. In the spirit of “anything Kane does is hilarious, as long as he’s in costume”, I have to say him wearing a nametag makes me laugh. Kane recounting his entire sordid history is the funniest thing WWE has done all year.
Match 6: R-Truth vs. Daniel Bryan
D-Bry fists bumps Truth to show solidarity. The fans chant goatface, because they’re sad. Bryan gets mad, but Truth manages to corral his anger with a beatdown, ending with a Lie Detector for 2. Truth yeses up the crowd, and even makes a hidden reference to Milwaukee/Green Bay, after the misunderstanding last year. Bryan gets himself counted out while arguing with the fans.
WINNER: R-Truth via countout
Rating: 2/10. Sigh
The Triple H Decision
Verdict: He’s not sure, but he might retire. MAYBE. But thanks anyway if he does. And if he DOESN’T. Still, thanks. There, I spared you ten minutes of a quasi-Shawn speech.
Match 7: Sheamus/Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler/Alberto Del Rio
Ziggler steals Jericho’s intro, just to be a douche. Orton and Ziggler start, and Orton goes all retro with a slingshot suplex. Sheamus ups the excitement with a diving shoulder block off the apron to Del Rio, and Ziggler slides to the floor to avoid an RKO at the commercial. We come back to Del Rio mauling Orton at ringside, slamming him into the steps. Dolph gets the tag, and Ziggler lands the emphatic elbow for 2. Orton continues to play face in peril, as Cole points out that Ziggler could cash in Money in the Bank tonight. It’s kinda sad; I wasn’t even considering that possibility. I’m sure I’m not alone in that regard either. Del Rio misses a corner charge, and Orton gets a roll-up for 2. ADR then takes a tumble to the outside, and soon after, double tags are made, with Sheamus going berserk. Ziggler counters White Noise with a rollthrough, but can’t avoid the Irish Curse, which Del Rio breaks up. Orton O-Zones a briefcase-wielding Ziggler, and Sheamus Brogues him to win.
WINNERS: Sheamus/Randy Orton via Brogue Kick
Rating: 5/10. Decent, fast-paced tag team match. One of the few “highlights” so far tonight.
-Josh Mathews bails, as Kane’s here to do commentary. This would improve the show immensely if it were permanent.
Match 8: Zack Ryder vs. David Otunga
Sadly, Kane says nothing, and Cole’s attempt to communicate while standing seven feet away is pretty funny. Otunga whips some ass early, getting 2 off of a shoulderblock. Ryder comes back with a face plant, but Otunga drags him off the top rope as a counter. Ryder comes back with the Ruff Ryder to win his first match in 4 years.
WINNER: Zack Ryder via Ruff Ryder
Rating: 2/10. Just a match.
-Kane snatches Ryder afterward….but then tosses him aside, and chokeslams Otunga instead. I smell a blossoming friendship.
-AJ makes it clear that she will choose Punk’s opponent for Night of Champions: John Cena. COMPLETELY UNEXPECTED DEVELOPMENT.
Main Event: CM Punk vs. Jerry Lawler (Non Title/Cage Match)
[adinserter block=”1″]Punk tries to goad Lawler into striking first, so Lawler does. Punk comes back with kicks and forearm strikes, followed by a neckbreaker. Things turn methodical as Punk wears Lawler down, and the crowd’s pretty damn dead. Three hours shows, they reek of death. Basement dropkick from Punk finally wakes the crowd up, who applauds him. Lawler manages to turn the tide and almost escapes, but Punk drags him back. Punk beats Lawler down and sings the Andy Kaufman “King of Memphis” song, but Lawler mounts the comeback by shoving Punk into the cage, and firing right hands. Strapless fist lands, getting 2. Lawler goes for the door, but Punk comes back with the corner knee. Champ’s busted open, which will surely satiate the anti-PG crowd. Anaconda Vise applied, and Punk gets the submission.
WINNER: CM Punk via Anaconda Vise
Rating: 4/10. Slow main event with some nifty nostalgia moments. At least they didn’t do something stupid, like have Lawler win on a fluke or anything.
-Punk empties out a toolbox from under the ring, and brings in a chain, sealing the door shut. With the mic in hand, he makes the same demand of last week, but Lawler refuses, so Punk beats him down. Lawler still refuses. Cena hits the ring and demands the cage be raised, as Punk continues the sadistic assault with repeated knees to the head. The cage is finally raised and Punk escapes, after declaring himself to be the best in the world.
OVERALL: Incredibly dull show tonight, with nothing new said, outside of the self-indulgent Triple H tripe, and even that’s not what you’d call groundbreaking. The ending angle was nice, but the autopilot booking otherwise is a killer.
Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for Wrestlechat.net and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.
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