Its Raw 1001 and we are on fire!!!

But seriously, to read all about the fire and plenty of live thoughts check out this write up from Solace Winter, who was in attendance.

And now off to the show!

Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler address that the fans are still coming into the building, because, you know, they all had to be evacuated due to the fire.

We go through everything that happened last week and finally the show starts with CM Punk coming out to explain what happened.  Finally lets get some show going on.  Fingers crossed that this becomes amazing and is the big summer angle.  Oh yeah, Punk is damn sure a heel now.  He comes down and gets right into the King’s face.  He sits on the announce table and all eyes are glued to him.  No one has ever done this.  The last time anyone straddled the desk to talk it was Melina, and that was done in a much much different way.

Punk makes excellent points.  The Rock comes in with an ego, comes and goes as he pleases, puts down the current wrestlers, has title shots handed to him… YEAH!  Why the hell wouldn’t a guy who has been busting his ass as champion feel that the Rock’s words are a huge insult.  Hell yes this makes a ton of sense.

Its an amazing promo too.  Punk just won most of the end of the year awards on this one.  To paraphrase: every Raw should end with the focus on the WWE Champion.  He didn’t say on himself.  He said on the champion, who just happens to also be him.  I’m excited for the show already.

Big Show comes out, blah blah, I should be champion.  Usual stuff.  John Cena runs down to attack Big Show and the giant bails out of the ring.  All this time CM Punk is being ignored, adding fuel to this fire.  Hey, lets light it up!  AJ comes out and makes tonight’s main event, which I’m sure you can guess.

Santino Marella (US Champion, not that anyone remembers or cares) vs. Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez)

The lights are off on the set, due to the fire, and it is a very strange look to the show.  You don’t realize how much these lights add to the experience until they’re not there.

There is one brief moment in the entire match during which Santino attempts a comeback.  It is the briefest of moments.  Pretty much the time it took him to leave one corner and get ran shoulder first into the opposite one.  I’m trying, I really am but fuckin A I just cant become a fan of Del Rio.

Del Rio brags about defeating the US champion.  This is nothing to brag about anymore.  Its almost as if he keeps the title by losing.  Its a reverse title.  Alberto is refusing to wrestle unless or until its for the World title.  Well that will give me less to complain about I guess.

Brodus Clay (with butt danceosauruses Naomi and Cameron) vs. well I guess Vickie Guerrero.  Vickie comes out and wants to prove that she is a better big butt dancer than the rest.  The Sabretooth Cougar does, well I don’t even know what she’s doing.  And I guess its all just a reason to get Damien Sandow to come out.  He’s going to play a clip but it jumps right into attacking Brodus Clay.  Damn.  I feel like I’m back in the glory days of WWF Superstars.  Back when stars were made by beating up jobbers then these two rookie stars would be put against each other to see who rises to the top.  This has potential to be a very fun feud.

Daniel Bryan finally enters AJ’s office.  Its mini Stephanie McMahon!  I was a little worried that this angle might kill the awesome AJ.  No such thing.  We have the wedding, AJ in charge, men in white coats from a mental institution, matches made that take the story all the way back to WrestleMania.

The fans will vote on the stipulation for the next match!

Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus (World champion) in a #StreetFight!

This is the moment when Elise comes in the room and watches a bit of Raw with me.  She hasn’t watched in at least a year.  Right away she got who Sheamus is, who Daniel Bryan is, the relationship with AJ and the overall story.  Her only complaint is that Yes Yes Yes seems like a stupid catchphrase.  It is, it totally is, but its fun as hell.

What a street fight!  I mean, no, not the greatest street fight match I’ve ever seen.  But for a Monday Night Raw while we’re still in the  PG era its a damn good match.  Neither man holds anything back.  I know lots of people complain about Sheamus being champion when he is, allegedly, good friends with Triple H.  I understand that and would agree if Sheamus took it easy in the ring.  No such thing in this match.  Sheamus is taking a horrible beating and comes right back every time.  Not only because he is a very popular face and champion right now, but also because that’s what one does while a wrestler.  Take a beating, tell a story, new town the next night.

Sheamus is bounced off of floors, ring ropes and barricades.  He is assaulted by chairs and kendo sticks.  Daniel Bryan is of course smaller but he is quicker and more cunning.  Sheamus needs to be faster if only for a moment or he needs to be smarter for the entirety.

Sheamus goes with speed.  Bryan escapes from the White Noise attempt.  Unfortunately Sheamus recovered faster than D-Bryan.  The champion bounces off the ropes and hits a huge Brogue Kick for the win.  Excellent match and both men looked great in it.

Back from break and Daniel is still in the ring.  He’s claiming he hurt his neck and needs a doctor.  Little strange how long this is going on for.  We go to a video package and come back and he is STILL in the ring complaining.  Where the hell is this going?

Kofi Kingston and R-Truth come out with the tag titles.  Truth is in a suit, so I guess that means he wont be wrestling this week.  When the hell was the last time the WWE tag team championships were defended?  Bryan kicks Little Jimmy out and Truth runs over to assist his imaginary friend.  Well that’s just fucking bizarre.

Men in white come down and walk right past a guy trying to help out an imaginary character.  Well, AJ comes out and straightens it all up.  She sends the orderlies after Daniel Bryan.  Bryan must have a psychiatric evaluation.  OH! I hope he runs into Ric Flair and Mick Foley while he’s there.  Maybe the whole office can be decorated with unsold WCW crap.

Kofi Kingston (with R-Truth, WWE tag team champions) vs. Titus O’Neil (with Darren Young and AW).

Titus is actually putting on a real good match here.  I never thought he was bad, but I was indifferent to his work.  He’s doing pretty well for himself.  Is Truth injured?  I cannot remember the last time I saw him wrestle.  AW gets some shit for his Kobe joke.  I don’t even get it nor do I care.  Kobe’s done some stupid shit in his public life, you have to accept some comments.  AW distracts Kofi by throwing a shoe, Kofi throws it back and Titus throws Kofi down for the three count.  Hopefully we see a tag team title change soon, it is needed.

CM Punk talks to John Cena about last week.  Its a great bit of promo work.  He doesn’t look like a face or heel.  He’s just a guy.  You might agree or disagree with him depending on the week but you cant argue with his logic.  Why would you want to stand in the way of Big Show?  Why would you want to help someone who wants your title?  It makes a heck of a lot of sense.

Heath Slater comes out and changes up his open challenge.  No more Legends.  But Slater will face any current WWE Superstar.  Awww shit here comes Randy Orton.  Trolls!  Trolls wake up your hero has returned!

Heath Slater vs Randy Orton.

Heath gets in a little bit of offense to start.  Enough to help build him back up.  Not a complete push over, just over zealous and easily makes mistakes.  That’s a guy that can be built back up even after losing to a bunch of lessons over the last few months.  Orton fights back, hits his signature moves, and ends it all with an RKO then celebrates.  Try not to fuck up again Randy!  This was your second suspension after all (well, second official one I guess as he’s supposed to be gone after a third).

So the guy that so many discounted as “boring” is now one of the focuses within the number one company.  Daniel Bryan meets with a mental health doctor and has to answer a few questions.  Oh look, they all are answered with a “Yes” and that just pisses Bryan off more.  Sure the whole Yes thing is kind of silly but its also entertaining as hell.

Chris Jericho and Christian vs. The Miz (Intercontinental champion) and Dolph Ziggler (Money in the Bank, with Vickie Guerrero).

So I guess Jericho is officially a face now.  Little strange.  Maybe it will help him do something in 2012 though.  Seriously, no big wins, no great angles, nothing came out of this return.

Speaking of returns, Miz looks like a different person now.  Hair color, a little change to the style, and he is reborn.  I don’t know if there is a better recent example of character growth.  The man who first arrived in WWE and had to host the Divas Search has nothing in common with the Intercontinental champion you see before your eyes.

Its a very strange match because it means nothing yet the level of talent in here means everything.  The men in the ring are of high caliber, every one of them a former World/WWE champion.  Its almost as if the Intercontinental title has become a third world championship within WWE.

Dolph with the most innovative headlock since wrestling was first put on television.  A headstand headlock with a tweak when he falls back.  That is one impressive move with a nasty finish.  Speaking of nasty, Ziggler misses a move but damn he has come so far he rolls with it and keeps going.  A lesser wrestler would be thrown off his game for the rest of the match.  Dolph improvises and gets right back to where he was supposed to be in the match.  Jericho gets a hot tag and I’m shocked.  This face turn came too suddenly and I keep waiting for him to swerve us all.  Although, Jericho does go where the gold is.  If he cant get the two big belts and the next one down is held by a heel, may as well switch sides.

Christian sticks a thumb in Miz’s eye, Jericho hits the Code Breaker for the pin and it looks like we’re all done here.  BAM!  Then Dolph hits Jericho with the MITB case.  Its tough to be the holder of Money in the Bank AND have a feud outside of it but Dolph is pulling it off quite well.

We’re back with Daniel Bryan and the doctor.  Bryan takes a Rorschach test and the pages form a larger image of a goat face.  Oh this is too funny.  Daniel says if he’s a GOAT it means he’s the Greatest of All Time.  I hope that one catches on.  Bryan asks if Charlie Sheen put the doctor up to this.  I hope that whole angle does not catch on.

Tensai vs. Tyson Kidd.

Tensai gets no music, no on camera introduction and Tyson gets one plus huge cheers from the crowd.  I’m thinking Albert needs to be repackaged and soon.  Kidd almost wins this match multiple times.  Damn good showing.  Tyson needs to be spotlighted more.  It may have been Tensai’s most interesting match to date.  Tensai comes back and beats up Kidd enough to get the pin.  He is still mad and attacks Kidd even more after the bout.  The referee jumps out of the ring and reverses his decision.  Oh he is just not getting a good push.  Was it even worth coming back from Japan, Tensai?  Tensai then beats the shit out of Sakamoto.

The doctor gives Daniel a clean bill of mental health and it looks like we’re all done here.  Wait why is everything red?  Kane comes in, “Hello Daniel, I’m your new anger management coach”.  Then he slams D-Bryan into a wall and leaves him laying.  Well that was an unexpected ending to this week’s story.  I’m actually interested in a Kane story!

Big Show vs John Cena for the #1 Contender Spot.  CM Punk is on for commentary.

Well this angle I’m excited for is being buried by Jerry Lawler.  Punk makes excellent points.  You might disagree with his methods, but his reasons cannot be debated.  The WWE champion, who just happens to be him, should close out every Raw.  Yes.  The champion should be in the spotlight.  Jerry counters with “why are you out here?”  He’s the champion and this match will decide his opponent in three weeks.  There is no reason he shouldn’t be out there.  He should have a place of honor out here to watch his fate be decided.

“I see you have a lot of notes here, its just like a Rock promo.”  Damn.  The pipe bomb is back.  King is awful and really needs someone so much better to expose that.  Michael Cole must have been told to cover over the tension because he starts getting excited for Show pushing Cena off of him.  What a match!  No, not what a match Cole.  There has been five minutes of a lackluster sleeper hold or a glorified head lock.  Take your pick.  That does not make for a good match.

Big Show with another rest hold!  Never has a bear hug been so exciting!  Thank God for CM Punk on the mic or else this would be one of the worst Raw main events of all time.  “Cena almost did the impossible.”  We’ve seen Big Show picked up many times before.  And by Cena.  John almost did the rare, I would have given you that one.

Punk puts over both men while still being confident in his own skills.  Its sad that this is so rare.  Or impossible as Cole would say.  He’s getting over himself, the title, both possible opponents, the entire story arc, and the upcoming PPV.  Most guys can barely get themselves over.

Why would you hit a move on Show and then walk away?!  That is one of Cena’s more stupid moves of his career.  Yay I hit Show now lets run around and celebrate and waste time.  He’s lucky to kick out after the choke slam.  Cena rolls out to heal up and Big Show follows, knocking him around a bit.  Then he knocks him into the table and right into CM Punk!  Punk is down, Cena is down and Show is in the ring trying to take the count out win.

John Cena dives in at the last moment.  Punk is still down and I bet he’ll have a response to what just happened.  Cena stuns Show for a moment and picks him up for the Attitude Adjustment.  Show is over his shoulders and Punk runs in the ring to attack Big Show!  Credit to the strength of John Cena to pull off all of that.  Punk gives Show a couple more kicks just to prove a point.  The champion grabs the belt and a microphone then declares that both men are losers.

Oh I’m loving the Pipe Bomb II angle.

Punk leaves and here comes our GM!  AJ announces a three way match for the WWE title at SummerSlam.  Punk comes back out and gets right up in her face.  AJ is just a bitch in her reactions.  I’m in charge, ha ha, na na na na boo boo.


The only negative I’ll give the show is that this is two weeks in a row of three hour episode and no Divas match.  That is disgusting.