August 21, 2012
Raw: The king is dead, long live the king
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling
With about a clean a win as you can get, Brock Lesnar fulfilled part one of his promise by beating Triple H last night; part two is that the WWE would be changed forever by that win ... so let’s see how that goes. Someone else’s job with the WWE is on the line tonight, too, and there’s a new championship contender out of left field.
As is tradition, one of the last men out of the ring in last night’s PPV is the first out on Raw the following evening. In this case, it’s Brock Lesnar, smugly satisfied and happy to let Pal Heyman do all the talking for him. Heyman runs down Triple H, specifically for tapping out. Apparently, Lesnar also has a beef with Scott Armstrong, and the ref timidly answers the call and comes to the ring.
Lesnar corners Armstrong and he has two words for him. It’s okay, Scott, those words are “Good job”. Lesnar was actually happy to have a relaxed set of rules in last night’s tilt, and Heyman anoints Lesnar as the new King of Kings, and the talk about the end of Triple H’s career picks up.
(Turns out, however, that Lesnar puts out a tout saying he’s leaving the WWE again, so who knows ...)
Match #1 – Kofi Kingston & R-Truth & Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes & The Primetime Players (Darren Young & Titus O’Neil)
The tag champs continue last night’s fairly effortless beating of Darren Young until Cody Rhodes enters on a tag and turns the tables, setting up a lengthy sequence of the heels taking turns putting the hurt on R-Truth. After Truth brings O’Neil down with a desperate spinning heel kick, Rhodes and Cara both get the tag. Rhodes almost gets Cara’s mask off, but gets rolled up for the loss instead.
Winners via pinfall: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth & Sin Cara
Matt Striker is backstage to hear from GM AJ, but instead David Otunga pops by to try and land a job as legal counsel. AJ tells him to get ready for a match later on instead. She also responds to CM Punk’s tout that he wants to choose his own number-one contender. She says he can, pending her approval ... which means he really can’t.
Match #2 – Ryback vs. ??? & ???
Sorry, guys, but the WWE didn’t deem you deserving of a graphic showing your names, so you remain anonymous victims. Just as Ryback prepares his double running-Samoan Drop, in comes Jinder Mahal from behind to bring Ryback down and lock in a camel clutch.
Winner via disqualification: Ryback
Ryback powers out of it and Mahal scrams, leaving Ryback to drop the two flunkies anyway. Backstage, Dolph Ziggler tries to goad Chris Jericho into a rematch, but Y2J ain’t biting. AJ skips in and makes the match for tonight with heavy stipulations: if Ziggler wins, Jericho is fired; if Jericho wins, he gets the Money in the Bank contract.
After the break, an angry Alberto Del Rio is introduced by Ricardo Rodriguez and he demands another match with Sheamus. AJ appears again and says she has no jurisdiction over the World Heavyweight Championship, but she can put Del Rio in a match:
Match #3 – Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez)
As the fists are about to start flying, Sheamus struts down the ramp to join the commentary team. Sheamus shrugs off the controversy from last night as Orton and Del Rio forego the fists and put the boots to one another. Rodriguez tries to interfere as Orton is thinking RKO, but Sheamus scares him off.
Orton actually jaws at Sheamus a bit, allowing Del Rio to land a backstabber and nearly get a pin –- except Sheamus alerts the ref to Orton’s leg being on the ropes. As Del Rio expresses anguish over the irony of it all, Orton gets his RKO and his victory.
Winner via pinfall: Randy Orton
Next up, we get footage from Antonio Cesaro’s victory from last night, though we don’t get the clip of him saying “Greatness” in multiple languages, including the non-existent Swiss. Seriously; there’s no Swiss language. You’d think Cesaro would know better.
Match #4 – Brodus Clay (w/ Naomi & Cameron) vs. Damien Sandow
Sandow can’t talk his way out of a drubbing by the Funkasaurus, suffering a splash and an avalanche among other atrocities. Nonetheless, it takes but three seconds to procure a victory, and Sandow accomplishes this by dodging another avalanche and rolling up his adversary.
Winner via pinfall: Damien Sandow
Next up is Shawn Michaels via satellite, as an expert on creating false drama around a false retirement. Michaels espouses his friend’s integrity and says he should have told him ahead of time that he couldn’t beat Lesnar, but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it (unlike earlier in the year, when he told him he couldn’t beat The Undertaker).
Match #5 – David Otunga vs. Big Show
Otunga looks like he wants to run and hide, but a WMD ends his night mercifully early.
Winner via pinfall: Big Show
Match #6 – Zack Ryder & Kane vs. The Miz & Daniel Bryan
The point of this match is that AJ thought it would help all four men work out their issues with one another. Kane works out his issues on The Miz off the top and then tags Ryder in for a less successful venture against Bryan. After Bryan ran his mouth against Kane every chance he got, he finds himself alone in the ring with the masked meanie. Bryan slaps him and runs, and Miz skidaddles as well.
Match result: No contest
It was probably a count-out win for Kane and Ryder, but no announcement was made. Kane proceeds to chokeslam and Tombstone Ryder and rough up the set as well. Backstage, Matt Striker is with CM Punk and he names his chosen opponent: John Cena. He will meet him in the ring later and name a stipulation and see if Cena will accept.
Match #7 – Battle Royal to be Number One Contender for the Divas Championship
Really, they’re going to wrestle? Not just gyrate to a musical guest? Champion Layla watches from ringside as Tamina, Eve, Kaitlyn, Alicia Fox, Rosa Mendes, Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Aksana, and Kelly Kelly all scuffle and strut around the ring until Kaitlyn (!) stops the insanity by tossing Eve.
Winner and Number One Contender: Kaitlyn
Backstage, Vickie Guerrero is putting the pressure on Dolph Ziggler to win, but he reassures her that he will win what he calls the biggest match of his career.
Match #8 – Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero) vs. Chris Jericho
Ziggler’s main interest is still the taped midsection of Chris Jericho, though the tape is gone after the commercial break. Jericho’s answer is a duck-and-dodge offence, building up to a bulldog and Lionsault – but Ziggler gets the knees up and follows with a Zig-Zag for the win.
Winner via pinfall: Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler grabs his precious briefcase to celebrate, while Jericho is forced to see this not as losing a wrestling career, but as gaining a new tour with Fozzy. Actually, he grabs the briefcase and beats Ziggler down with it, hitting a Codebreaker, and leaving to a mixed reaction from the crowd.
Last up sees CM Punk come to the ring to settle his own number one contender issue. First, he seeks an apology from Jerry Lawler for the whole “back turning” thing, but John Cena’s music cuts that moment short. So, Punk gets in the ring and starts another diatribe on respect.
However, getting down to brass tacks, Punk names his stipulation: Cena will get the title shot if he says that Punk is indeed the best in the world. Cena won’t bite because he won’t sacrifice his integrity, giving Punk a little lesson on the matter at the same time. Cena walks out, and Punk goes immediately back to Lawler.
The champ calls Lawler into the ring and, although Punk got the apology he sought, Lawler rebukes his demand to be called the best in the world as well, so Punk gives him a boot to the back of the head to close out the show.
Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and is awaiting the return of a Cyber Sunday type show as Twitter Tuesday or Facebook Friday. Slightly ahead of its time, that PPV.