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Raw: Mick Foley returns to the ring, but Johnny Ace reaches his boiling point
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


Ah, Anaheim. Arguably the center of G-rated entertainment thanks to a little place called Disneyland, it's going to host the king of PG-rated excitement as Raw comes to town. Expect more on the condition of Zack Ryder's body and Chris Jericho's mind as we go live to the Honda Center.

Going for the early cheap pop, it's Mick Foley out in the ring to start the show. Mrs. Foley's baby boy says he has been fortunate enough to live out most of his wrestling dreams, including a chance to perform in front of his wife and kids. Yet Mick has two children who have never seen him in action, so he announces his intent to enter this year's Royal Rumble match. Excuse me! Vickie Guerrero invites a chorus of boos by interrupting while leading Dolph Ziggler down the ramp. Ziggler is incredulous that Foley wants to claim one of the 30 precious slots just to show off for his snotty brats. He mocks Foley by suggesting that he'd be immediately thrown out, but Mick says you can't ever predict what will happen at the Rumble. Foley adds that he'd be in the Rumble to win it, something that just irritates Ziggler further because he feels he works hard all year for the same opportunity. Dolph puts it in no uncertain terms that he wishes Mick would just go away. The sounds of Living Colour prevent a response, meaning that WWE Champion CM Punk is on his way to join the fun. Punk uses the opportunity to give props to Mick, take his latest shot at John Laurinaitis and mention how cool it would be to defend his belt against Foley at WrestleMania if Mick wins the Rumble. You just know that Laurinaitis is throwing his two cents in as well, and he comes out on the stage to state that he is going to call the Punk-Ziggler match in two weeks right down the middle. He's also taken Foley's request to enter the Rumble under consideration, and his decision is pretty blunt: No. Vickie cackles in Mick's face and somehow avoids any physical retribution.

Match 1 Epico and Primo (champions) vs. Air Boom (challengers) WWE Tag Team Championship Match

Yes, there are still tag team titles. And yes, they recently changed hands at a house show. #thatsso80s If you thought the straps might quickly go back to Air Boom, think again. After the faces get in some early offense, Evan Bourne falls victim to the Backstabber, and the champs retain.

David Otunga tells Laurinaitis that he has a visitor. It's the silent man himself, Chris Jericho. Johnny Ace tells him he'll be in the six-man main event tonight, something that simply makes him smile. Of course.

To the back we go, as Josh Mathews attempts to find out whether or not Zack Ryder has been medically cleared to compete tonight. It turns out he hasn't, but he still wants to give it a go, and Eve says she'll be by his side. In case you don't know why he's hurt, a video package takes us through the beating Ryder received last Monday.

Match 2 Jack Swagger (challenger) vs. Zack Ryder (champion) United States Championship Match

Michael Cole insists on showing the replay of Swagger's match last week, where it appeared he was robbed by an incorrect call on a three count. I love when they turn this kind of stuff into an angle, complete with an online explanation from Laurinaitis (really!). Ryder has his ribs taped up in classic wrestling fashion, and he mostly takes a beating in the early going. Two gutwrench power bombs force the broski to kick out. There's a third one, and he's not getting up from that. Swagger takes the win and the title.

Laurinaitis rubs salt in Ryder's wound by opening the medical report, revealing that he was not cleared to compete. Eve is upset, but the interim GM tells her to have some respect for authority. Out in the ring, Perez Hilton gets some boos as he introduces the Divas in the next match. Guess the fans in Anaheim don't read Hilton's blog. Or maybe they do and that's why they are booing.

Match 3 Alicia Fox and Kelly Kelly vs. The Bella Twins

Hilton interferes in the match, preventing the twins from interfering in the match. Kelly pins whichever of the twins was left in the ring. Then the Bellas confront Hilton before getting chased off by the faces. This whole thing was kind of embarrassing.

R-Truth has something to say, but he doesn't get much time to get into it before Wade Barrett decides to take the time away from him. Barrett tries discussing the Royal Rumble. Truth interrupts with his Disneyland slide show. Everyone likes those, but The Miz and Sheamus decide to intervene with their fists and boots. The good guys clear the ring, and Teddy Long (wait... what?) books an over-the-top-rope challenge between the four men to give the fans a Rumble preview.

Match 4 R-Truth vs. Wade Barrett vs. The Miz vs. Sheamus Over-the-Top-Rope Challenge

Despite Cole's insistence that Barrett and Miz will cooperate, it's actually Wade who gets thrown out first. Truth and Sheamus battle, proving there's no cooperative spirit between the faces either. Eventually, one of those classic battle royal situations arises where both Sheamus and Miz are in a vulnerable situation while fighting each other, and Truth dumps them both out to win the match. A frustrated Sheamus levels Miz with a Brogue Kick on the floor and exchanges words with Truth as he walks up the ramp.

Somebody's angry! John Cena bursts in on Laurinaitis to confront him about his treatment of Ryder. Showing his (fake) merciful side, Laurinaitis books a match between Cena and Swagger so John can get some revenge for his injured buddy. And it's on next.

Match 5 Jack Swagger vs. John Cena

As you might expect, Cole is livid that Swagger has to compete for a second time. Cena goes right at Swagger like a man possessed, beating him out by the announce table and hurling him into the steps. Cena considers crushing Swagger between the two segments of the stairs, halting only because Kane's music hits. Kane congratulates him on understanding what it's like to embrace the hate. Touche Big Red Machine. Touche.

Match 6 Brodus Clay vs. JTG

Thought the Funkasaurus gimmick was a one-week wonder? Perish the thought! He squashes JTG in a matter of a minute or two. Time for some more dancing...

In case you missed it (and I did), we get a highlight package from last Friday's SmackDown that shows how Daniel Bryan is continuing his mind games with the Big Show, this time putting his own girlfriend in harm's way to do it. Bryan gets some boos as he comes out to give everyone an update... actually, he uses the mic time to berate Big Show for his actions and ridicule him for crying. He also dedicates his upcoming title match with Mark Henry to the injured AJ.

Main Event Daniel Bryan, Chris Jericho and CM Punk vs. Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler and David Otunga

The fans start a Y2J chant as his partners do the early work. Ziggler has Bryan in some trouble, but the World Heavyweight Champ makes it to the ropes, then leaps back to his corner to tag in Punk. He also gets worn down a bit before rallying to drop the big elbow on Otunga. Jericho finally tags in, but all he does is play to the crowd for a bit before tagging in Bryan and walking out on the match. After a commercial break, Bryan and Henry battle to the back. Punk looks like he's going to be all alone, but Foley comes out and tells the ref he's now in the match to even out the sides. That doesn't mean Punk is out of the woods, though, because Ziggler has him kicking out repeatedly. Foley gets the hot tag and unloads on Otunga. A DDT softens Otunga up for the Mandible Claw, capably aided by Mr. Socko. The good guys win by submission, but Laurinaitis is not amused. He reverses the decision because he never gave Mick permission to join the match. Punk rips the microphone away from Johnny Ace and lays into him, mocking his wrestling career and basically daring him to do something biased as the guest referee for Punk's match at the Royal Rumble. Punk vows that if Laurinaitis screws him in two weeks, people will be talking about how the interim GM looks like he just got put through a meat grinder. Foley is loving it, giving Laurinaitis the sarcastic thumbs up from a few feet away. Mick demands to know if Johnny is going to screw CM Punk, and he explodes and says he will, because he's sick and tired of being bullied and disrespected. Laurinaitis takes out Foley with a microphone shot to the head, then stomps off as the show comes to a close. Don't mess with Johnny Ace! See you in seven.

Nick Tylwalk thinks that Cartman has nothing on John Laurinaitis. Respect his authoritah! Follow Nick on Twitter, on Google+ or shoot him an email.