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Raw: Cena and his mystery partner get got in Liverpool
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


It's been a while since I've done this on a regular basis, so it was nice of the WWE to let me warm up with one normal show before next week's three-hour deal that features an appearance by a certain Dwayne Johnson. Let's get to it then: It's Raw, not even close to live as it originates from England.

We're in Liverpool for the first time ever, but the fans here seem to know the exact kind of mixed reaction John Cena is supposed to receive. He says a lot has been going on in the WWE, including a record-breaking WrestleMania ticket sale. The Rock couldn't make it tonight, but he did accept an invitation to tag with Cena at Survivor Series. And next week, The Rock will finally return to Raw. Cena wants to talk about tonight instead, when The Miz and R-Truth will face him and a future WWE Hall of Famer. Really? Miz asks his usual rhetorical question before rehashing some of his in-ring history with Cena. He vows that John will never embarrass the two of them again after the events of last week's show. Truth gets on the mic and immediately gets upset about the crowd chanting “What?” at him. Cena tries to talk up his mystery partner, but Miz and Truth will have none of it. Zack Ryder comes to the rescue as the heels try to ambush Cena. Oh yeah, just in case you didn't see where this was all headed, Ryder will be Cena's partner.

Match 1 – Dolph Ziggler vs. John Morrison

Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler talk up Morrison's losing streak and how he hopes getting back to basics will help him tonight. He's doing alright until Ziggler hits him with a clothesline that's so explosive, it sends the show to a commercial. Morrison sells his neck injury after the break. Sadly he whiffs on both Starship Pain and the Wild Thing. Vickie Guerrero intervenes as she almost always does, but Morrison manages to reverse a pinning predicament long enough to get the three count.

The new John Cena movie is available on DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow, but only at Walmart. Darn, was hoping to use my Amazon Prime on that bad boy. #notreally

A video package tries to sell us on the “powerhouse from Wales,” Mason Ryan. But this show is in the U.K., so no sales job necessary, right?

Match 2 – Mason Ryan vs. JTG

Well, at least I don't have to write much about this. If there's a Wikipedia page for squash, this should be on it. Wait, there is a page! Someone please edit this in. In any case, Ryan wins.

Ticket sales for next year's WrestleMania are going very, very well. We get some video proof to bear that out. Back in the arena, Ryder tries to get some love from the Bella twins. It goes so-so.

Match 3 – Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston

Hey, if this keeps up, I won't have to type very much tonight. Del Rio makes surprisingly quick work of Kofi, then decides to try to administer more punishment after the bell. That brings more royalties for Living Colour as CM Punk comes out on stage. We'll see what he wants after the commercial.

Del Rio and Punk face off in the middle of the ring, and Alberto seems pretty displeased with CM's plotting to get a title shot. The WWE Champion calls his pursuer ugly and a joke just like the British fans (his words, not mine!). Punk issues a mock apology for not politely asking for a shot at the belt. But he says that being a whiny cheap shot artist works, so that's why he did it to Del Rio. CM also claims Alberto is one-dimensional and causes fans at home to fast-forward past his segments when they DVR the show. That's topical! Punk refuses to cancel his title shot request, so Del Rio lays into him. Ricardo Rodriguez jumps in to bail his boss out and gets a Go To Sleep for his trouble.

Match 4 – Jack Swagger vs. Santino Marella

Swagger is angrier than usual because he lost last week to a Muppet. And by the way, I would not object to the Muppets stopping by the show again. Take that as you will. The All-American American controls most of the action and gets Santino to tap to the ankle lock. No deus ex Muppet this week.

The King is in the ring to introduce Kelly Kelly, pushing her appearance on the cover of the upcoming issue of Maxim. Her speech to thank the WWE Universe is rudely interrupted by Beth Phoenix and Natalya, who draw some parallels between Kelly and Barbie. Sounds familiar. Did she win one of the Diva Talent Searches or something? The heels threaten to make Kelly cry, but Eve and Alicia Fox run them off so the unveiling can go on. It's, um, pretty nice.

Interim GM John Laurinaitis brings out Kevin Nash, now an “official” WWE employee, who comes out to the classic NWO music. Nash says he should have buried Triple H when he first arrived in the WWE, but Shawn Michaels saw something in him, and Trips eventually won him over. But Big Sexy feels betrayed now, and he wants to beat Triple H to prove he's still got it. After smashing HHH with his own trademark sledgehammer, Nash is convinced he's just shown everybody how to play The Game.

Brodus Clay. Ooh, scary! Laurinaitis doesn't want to waste Clay in front of the fans in Liverpool. Punk objects to David Otunga saying he looks like he works at a gas station, Del Rio jumps in, a defenseless table gets smashed, and everything kind of goes to hell for a few minutes.

Main Event – The Awesome Truth (The Miz and R-Truth) vs. Zack Ryder and John Cena

Cena works against both heels early, but the fans demand, and eventually get, Ryder. Zack flapjacks Truth and sends him out to the floor hard. Commercial break, naturally. Cena is battling out of trouble against Truth when we return. For. Quite. A. While. Ryder eventually gets tagged in, but he finds himself in trouble against both heels. Miz taunts Cena while hitting moves on Ryder, who has to kick out of several near falls. The hot tag is finally made to Cena, who lays out Miz and Truth and summons Ryder back in for a double Five Knuckle Shuffle. Miz escapes an Attitude Adjustment and hits a kick to Cena's face, and Truth holds his legs so he can't kick out. Yep, Cena just got got. But the real Awesome Truth is that I'll be back in seven days to recap the three-hour Raw return of The Rock. Excelsior!

Nick Tylwalk is SLAM! Wrestling's dean of TV recaps, for whatever that's worth. Follow his Twitter feed @Nick_Tylwalk or go old school with an email at ntylwalk7@yahoo.com.