The June 18th edition of Monday Night Raw kicked off with a bang, literally. After a short recap of Laurinaitis’ termination, Mick Foley makes his way to the ring dressed in unusual attire (for Foley that is). Foley mentions the 1000th episode of Monday Night Raw before explaining the reason for his presence tonight. Foley states that he’ll be the general manager of Raw and SD for a week as the board of directors is currently in search of permanent GM’s for both shows. Apparently, Foley is just the first of many former General Managers that’ll rule over Raw/SD in the weeks to come.
Foley sets up a tag match that’ll see Sheamus and CM Punk take on Kane and Daniel Bryan.
Foley then brings out John Laurinaitis for his farewell address. It still amazes me how over as a heel John Laurinaitis is. It’s also kind of sad since no heel on the current roster could draw any heat that could rival it. Nonetheless, the crowd taunts and boos Laurinaitis to a point to where he pleads with Foley to calm the crowd down. Big Johnny insults the crowd for their behavior before announcing the main event for Raw. Before he was terminated, Laurinaitis made a handicap match that’ll see Johnny, Otunga, and Big Show take on Cena.
At least they’re trying to avoid those plot holes.
Thoughts: This was a decent segment but I’m starting to question whether or not the “fired” stipulation should be utilized again.
Sheamus and CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan and Kane:
After Sheamus and CM Punk both administer their “farewell” taunts to John Laurinaitis, Cole plugs CM Punk’s appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Sheamus takes control early on before almost falling to the outside but regains control after a battering ram. Sheamus tags in Punk who wears down Bryan with a few knees to the body. Bryan counters and strikes Punk with a few of his signature body kicks before tagging in Kane. Kane brutalizes Punk who in turn tries to mount some offense before being quickly thwarted. Punk gains the upper hand but decides to take out Bryan with a suicide dive. He attempts a springboard clothesline on Kane before receiving an upper cut for his efforts. We cut to the commercials.
Back from the break, Kane attempts a chokeslam before being kicked in the head by Punk. Punk tags in Sheamus who uses his power to wear down Kane. Sheamus drops Kane with his signature, Irish curse backbreaker before turning his attention to a meddling Bryan. Sheamus brutalizes Bryan with the Irish hand grenades and sidesteps a charging Kane who takes out his partner. Kane sends Sheamus flying over the top rope as Bryan kicks the Celtic warrior in the face. Sheamus tries fighting off Kane but he tags in Bryan who brutalizes Kane with his educated feet. Any attempt at mounting any offense is thwarted by Bryan who tags in Kane.
Kane hammers Sheamus before dropping the Great White with the sidewalk slam. Kane follows it up with a clothesline from the top rope but Sheamus kicks out at two. Kane tags in Bryan who continues to work over Sheamus with his signature kicks. A misstep by Bryan proves costly as Sheamus tags in Punk. Punk comes in utilizing his signature moves before being thwarted by Bryan when attempting his diving elbow drop. Bryan suplexes Punk off the top rope as AJ Lee’s theme song interrupts the in ring action. AJ skips down to the ring in a Kane mask and Harley Quinn inspired attire much to the shock of Kane, Sheamus, and the commentators. AJ prances around the ring before leaving as fast as she came. Kane’s too distracted to realize that he’s left his partner alone. Bryan yells at Kane to no avail but receives a GTS and Brogue kick for his efforts. Sheamus covers Daniel Bryan for the win.
Thoughts: This was a pretty good match that furthered along this AJ storyline. The AJ was surprising and a little creepy but entertaining nonetheless. I don’t know if they’ll have one big blowoff match at MITB but something tells me AJ will eventually end up with her “first love”. The crowd was also VERY much behind Daniel Bryan the entire match.
We learn that Brock will respond to Triple H’s challenge for a Summerslam match later in the evening.
We’re back from the break and Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler are backstage arguing. Billy and Chuck 2.0 continue to argue over title reigns, size, and recent mediocrity before Vickie steps in. Vickie informs both men that they’ll face off in a match for Vickie’s admiration, respect, and affection.
Big Johnny and Otunga are backstage poking fun at Mick Foley. The Big Show interrupts the fun while Laurinaitis almost immediately kisses up to Show. Laurinaitis wants Big Show to knock Cena out so he can cover him for the win. Big Johnny wants to leave a lasting impression on the fans. Big Show doesn’t share Johnny’s enthusiasm.
Out comes Ziggler for his match as we cut to the break.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Jack Swagger:
Swagger takes control with a slam and taunts Ziggler with pushups. Ziggler battles back with a single leg takedown before strutting like Ric Flair much to the dismay of Swagger. They get into a brief shoving contest that ends with Swagger locked in a side headlock. Swagger is able to break the hold while Ziggler apparently tweaked his knee on the landing. Swagger targets the knee with a chop block before following it up with stomps, twists, and leg locks. Ziggler is able to roll Swagger up for an inside cradle for two. Swagger applies his anklelock but was sent flying into the ring post shoulder post. Dolph follows it up with a Zig Zag for the win.
Thoughts: Decent match for the time it was given. You’d think that they’d split up Ziggler and Vickie now as he doesn’t need her. The shared kiss at the end kills any plans for that any time soon. I’m not sure if this means Guerrero is done with Swagger as they didn’t make it completely clear. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
They recapped Triple H’s promo from NWO.
A limousine pulls up but no one steps out.
They aired a Memorable Raw moment’s segment that featured the infamous hospital scene with Vince McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
We’re back from break as Paul Heyman makes his way to the ring to address Triple H and his proposal for a match at Summerslam. Heyman claims that while Triple H may have WWE corporate kissing his ass; he’s going to say something that Triple H isn’t used to hearing. Heyman says no the dropping the lawsuit and no to a match between Brock and Triple H at Summerslam. As Heyman leaves, Triple H makes his way to the ring. Triple H claims Heyman is a habitual liar and that he wants to hear from Lesnar, not Heyman. They show a graphic of Brock’s face on the promo poster and Triple H stated it would be Brock’s if he agrees to the match. He says that if they don’t agree, Brock would go down as the guy that is afraid of Triple H.
Heyman claims that Triple H is becoming more and more like Vince McMahon every day. Heyman berates Triple H and claims that he knows how to push Triple H’s buttons. Heyman goads Triple H into hitting him to no avail. Heyman mentions Stephanie and is immediately grabbed by his tie and choked. Heyman continues to taunt Triple H and is knocked out for his efforts.
Triple H tells Heyman that he’ll see him at Summerslam, unless he’s afraid that the same will happen to him.
Thoughts: Honestly, I think this was a highlight of an uneventful night. This was a great segment between both men that’ll eventually lead to bigger things. I can’t wait until Brock becomes involved down the line.
They recap the tuxedo match from NWO and announce a match between Alberto and Santino next.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show:
Alberto takes control early on with some stiff kicks, a snapmare, and a baseball slide dropkick. Santino mounts a little offense and goes for the cobra. However, Alberto thwarts the attempt with an enzuigiri. Del Rio applies the cross armbreaker to Santino who almost immediately taps out.
Thoughts: This was a simple squash match. The crowd wasn’t into it and it seems like they’re trying to further along this feud between Ricardo and Santino.
They air clips of Cyndi Lauper from 1985 as she’s making an appearance next.
WWE Divas champion, Layla, introduces Wendy Richter and Lauper. The two were apparently happy to be there after decades but were met with “We Want Ryder” chants. Before they could finish, Heath Slater interrupts and begins insulting them. Slater brags about being a “one man band” before singing his theme. Roddy Piper interrupted Slater’s “performance” and asked him to leave the ring. Slater claims that Piper never liked Cyndi while Lauper claimed Piper saw the error in his ways. Piper presents Lauper with a gold record to replace the one his smashed over Lou Albano’s head in 1985. Slater interrupts and begins singing his theme again before Piper claimed he sounded like a vulture.
Piper poked Slater in the eye and Lauper smashed the gold record over Slater’s head. Cole and Lawler promote Lauper’s new album and talked about the main event handicap match.
Back from the break, AW is introducing his new team, the Primetime Players, for a match with Primo and Epico.
Primetime Players vs. Primo and Epico:
Titus and Epico start the match as Titus used his power to dominate Epico. Titus tagged into Darren and double teamed Epico for a pin attempt. Young applies a headlock but Epico fights out of it and is able to tag in Primo. Primo works over Young and is a moment away from a win before Titus interferes. Primo drops Titus to the outside and counters a gutbuster attempt by Young into a backstabber. Titus pulls Young out of the ring before Primo could cover him.
AW convinced them to leave ringside and they were counted out.
Thoughts: Another short match that didn’t accomplish anything noteworthy. I’ll commend the WWE for actually putting a little build behind this match with through AW’s betrayal. On the other hand, Primo and Epico are still showing they’re worth as ring workers but it seems like they’re ignored by management. The PTP are still a fresh tag team and I wouldn’t be surprised if they beat Kofi and Truth for the titles down the line.
They show Laurinaitis, Otunga, and a visibly frustrated, Big Show, talking backstage.
They announced that Chris Jericho will return next week as we cut to a break.
John Laurinaitis is in the ring and is complaining about the events that transpired at NWO. He calls Cena and cheater and talks about being fired and given an AA through a announce table. He calls the fans losers since they are now without “people power”. He says they won’t see him again until his induction into the WWE Hall of fame. Laurinaitis states that we’re about the witness the biggest beating of Cena’s life.
Big Show has the mic and also complains about his loss to Cena. He thanks Laurinaitis for his contract, bonus, and letting him be him. Show states that he’s not beholden to anyone and that includes Johnny. He claims he can beat Cena one on one and that Otunga and Laurinaitis are on their own.
John Cena vs. David Otunga and John Laurinaitis:
Cena hit all of his signatures moves on Laurinaitis and went for the pin until fans asked for one more AA. Cena complied and delivered two more AA’s to Laurinaitis before submitting Big Johnny to the STF.
I honestly don’t know I could tolerate three hours of shows like this. It had a few bright spots here and there but the show was pretty bad overall. If I were to give it a letter grade, I’d say it was a D. It’s also strange how the next pay per view, Money in the bank, didn’t get one mention tonight.
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