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Raw: Jericho returns, AJ keeps everyone guessing in Fort Wayne
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


Quick talking points for tonight's Raw: Chris Jericho returns from suspension, the strangest love quadrangle of all time continues to play out, and Divas hit the ring in bikinis. Without further ado, it's time for the show, live on USA from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

AJ has messages for Daniel Bryan, Kane and CM Punk. To summarize, she thinks it best of they all go their separate ways. That's what she's saying to the mirror, anyway. We'll see if she holds to that when she actually sees them in person.

Oh boy. Looks like Vickie Guerrero is the interim General Manager for the WWE shows this week, and she feels confident that she'll earn the full time gig. She screeches the introduction to the first bout of the night, a three-way elimination match. You don't think...?

Match 1 – Daniel Bryan vs. Kane vs. CM Punk – Elimination Match

All three men are in the ring at the same time for this one. After an early commercial break, Bryan and Punk (reluctantly?) work in tandem to try to neutralize Kane – at least for a moment. Punk low bridges Kane to the outside and sends Bryan flying out to greet him. The WWE Champion dives between the ropes to nail both of his opponents and ends up getting a near fall on Bryan during the next sequence. He calls for the Go To Sleep, but Kane puts a stop to that with a big boot, covering for a two count. Kane comes off the top rope before getting halted by AJ skipping her way around the ring. Punk nails Kane with the GTS and covers him to get the pin. Ever the opportunist, Bryan kicks Punk in the head and makes his own cover to wrap this one up.

Backstage, Alberto Del Rio attempts to kiss up to Vickie, but Dolph Ziggler quickly turns it into a squabble over who should be the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. Ricardo Rodriguez stops by with flowers only to see them smashed against the wall by an angry Dolph. Maybe he's just sour that he still has to push that pink t-shirt. In any case, Vickie decides to settle this particular difference of opinion with a Contract on a Pole Match for the right to face Sheamus later this week.

Match 2 – Brodus Clay vs. The Big Show

Clay's dancing ring intro might be the only frivolity he gets to engage in tonight. Show takes it to him from the opening bell, and even when Brodus tries to seize the momentum, his bad knee gives out, allowing Show to fall on top of him for the three count.

Cena has now granted 300 wishes for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Whatever you think of him, that's pretty admirable. #reallifeface

Random thought: seeing the preview for the Katy Perry movie makes me realize how epic it would have been if it was R instead of PG. Especially since it's in 3D...

Another memorable Monday night moment is shown, this time from the 2009 episode guest hosted by Bob Barker. He held his own verbally with Jericho and DX and physically with Chavo Guerrero. Also, Show apparently crushed Clay with a right hand to the jaw while he was being helped to the back during the break. So there's that. And we see a replay of last week's confrontation between Triple H and Paul Heyman. Apparently Brock Lesnar will answer The Game's challenge next week.

AJ and Kane have a heart to heart backstage, where the Big Red Machine drops the bombshell that he's not exactly boyfriend material. Okay, that's not really a shocker. Even he finds AJ mentally unstable, so Kane beats her to the “let's stay away from each other” line. She laughs, she cries... you know, business as usual.

Match 3 – Jack Swagger vs. Santino Marella – United States Championship Match

Swagger controls the early action, but Santino eventually has things going his way. He uses a DDT to get out of a tight spot, following with a Cobra strike to get the duke. Can things get any worse for Swagger? To paraphrase Phineas Flynn, yes, yes they can.

I do believe it's time for Cena to “make history.” He uses an extended Star Wars metaphor to discuss Show's turn to the dark side. Whatever point he was leading up to will have to wait, because Jericho is back. Y2J wants Cena to make his announcement and get the hell out of his ring. So he does: For the first time ever, Cena is going to enter the Money in the Bank Ladder Match to try to stop Show. It's something he needs to do, because the briefcase winner always manages to successfully cash it in. Jericho finds the whole idea arrogant, claiming he invented the Money in the Bank concept. When Cena points out that Jericho is 0-for-3 in those matches, it inspires Chris to put his name in the upcoming match as well. Vickie comes to the stage to announce that only former WWE Champions can compete in the Money in the Bank match for the WWE Championship contract. That means Kane, Jericho and Cena are all in. Confusingly, Guerrero says that since it's been almost two years, Cena and Jericho will go one-on-one for the first time ever tonight. Uh, okay.

Heath Slater hits the ring, probably to try stealing the spotlight away from another WWE star from the past. Maybe not such a good idea considering who he's going to be facing in just a moment...

Match 4 – Heath Slater vs. Sycho Sid

Sid is in a WWE ring for the first time since 1997. Slater gives it his all, but a release power bomb ends up destroying him in a matter of minutes. Like this one was going to end any other way!

Match 5 – Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler – Number One Contender Contract on a Pole Match

Despite some snickering over the gimmick for this match, it does lend itself to some cool spots. Exhibit A: Del Rio executing a Samoan drop off the top rope after Ziggler tries to climb over him. Dolph manages to get the contract off the pole, but he never has control of it. The contract ends up outside the ring after some interference by Ricardo Rodriguez. Sheamus puts a stop to this mess by telling the combatants that they can both have a shot at him on Smackdown in a Triple Threat Match.

Whether he likes it or not, AJ is going to dedicate her performance in the upcoming Divas battle royal to Punk. The WWE Champ tells her that after that, he'd like to have a serious talk about what's going on between them, and AJ responds that she's open to taking things to the next level. Somehow I don't think that's what Punk was getting at there.

We flash back to 1999 to see Mick Foley's “This is Your Life” party he threw for The Rock. Ah, the catchphrases were really flowing that night!

Match 6 – Summertime Beach Battle Royal

It's all the Divas in bikinis, joined by Vickie in a cougar-print one-piece suit. Mercifully, we quickly get down to AJ, Layla and Vickie. AJ eliminates Layla, and Vickie thinks she's done the same to AJ only to find out that she saved herself using the ropes. AJ tackles the interim GM and chucks her out to the floor to win the match, celebrating by using Bryan's “Yes! Yes! Yes!” chant. And so the plot thickens...

Main Event – Chris Jericho vs. John Cena

We get an early commercial break in this one, returning to find Jericho slowing things down. Cena ramps up and hits most of his offense, but Jericho is able to escape the Five Knuckle Shuffle, at least for a moment. Cena hits his signature move on he second try and hoists Jericho onto his shoulders, but he's distracted by Big Show's music and ringside arrival. Chris locks in the Walls of Jericho, but Show drops a leg on Cena and forces the ref to call for the bell. Jericho gladly evacuates the ring to allow Show to hit a massive choke slam on their mutual foe. Show puts Cena in the Colossal Clutch, cranking on the hold until the broadcast ends. Referee Charles Robinson can't stop him, and we're out of time. See you in seven!

Nick Tylwalk has never been in a love quadrangle, and thank goodness for that. Discuss this and other awkward situations with him on Twitter, on Google+ or by email.