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Raw: Vince returns and gets hands on with his problem champion
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


CM Punk has Vince McMahon up on his shoulders. Photos by Devin Chen, www.chdevinphotos.com


So it's come to this: Vince McMahon makes his long overdue return to Raw tonight in Sacramento to deliver his State of the WWE address. One can only imagine that it will touch on the CM Punk-John Cena situation, but anything else is just conjecture. We're going live for three hours from the Power Balance Pavilion.

Injured arm and all, John Cena hits the ring in his pink ring gear to kick off the show. JBL has joined Michael Cole and Jim Ross to form a three-man booth. Cena says it took him a week off to figure out some of the things that have been going on in the WWE, including the weird relationship between the tag team champs and the fact that Antonio Cesaro has unusually large nipples. He also (jokingly?) asks AJ out on a date. But Cena says that no matter how loud it is in the arena, he and the fans have no voice thanks to CM Punk. John wonders what difference it makes if Punk holds the belt for 1000 days if no one wants to watch, and he suggests that if the two of them met at Hell in a Cell, it would be a moment to remember. Maybe the fans can convince Punk to change his stance? Cena wants Punk to be a man and face him at the PPV.

Match 1 – Ryback vs. Primo and Epico

The announcers reminisce about the way Punk backed down from Ryback last week. The tag team manages to keep Ryback off guard for a couple of minutes with double team tactics, but a slap to the face wakes Ryback up to strike back with some running clotheslines. He marches around with both men on his shoulders, and they both get Shell Shocked and pinned.

Brodus Clay looks like he's ready for a match, but R-Truth says Little Jimmy wants to dance first. He does, I guess, until Mr. McMahon appears on the big screen to ask Brodus to dance his way out of the ring. It's time for the State of the WWE address. After a commercial break, of course.

Vince is in the ring for his big address, which he kicks off by sounding like he is sarcastically approving things like invisible dancing kids and some of the more humorous gimmicks. But McMahon thinks the most important thing in the WWE is action, and that the fans want to see the best compete against the best. As if on cue, Punk (sporting a bright new official tee) and Paul Heyman come down the ramp. Vince thinks the new shirt is ugly, and he complains about the champ disrespecting him during the State of the WWE speech. CM thinks the opening remark was a shot against him for not facing Cena, but he reminds McMahon that he's already given Cena plenty of title shots. Of course, Punk is feeling disrespected by everyone, even the ironic fans who are chanting his name. Does Vince respect him? McMahon says he respects Punk's long title reign, but not the fact that he claims to be a Paul Heyman guy. And Vince isn't a CM Punk guy. The champ repeats his assertion that he's the best thing going in the company, and because of the rampant disrespect, he may just leave and not come back. McMahon responds that the success of the company isn't due to any one man, but because of the WWE Universe. He also says Punk is nowhere near the level of an Andre the Giant, a Bret Hart or a Stone Cold Steve Austin. Punk runs down the Rattlesnake, claiming he got his success by beating up an inept millionaire and calling him a senior citizen. Since Vince has been slapping CM in the face figuratively for years, Punk decides to literally slap the boss. McMahon wants to fire him, but he decides that showing Punk the meaning of respect by fighting him tonight would be a better idea. Even Heyman seems to think that's a bad idea, but the champ thinks everything is going to be fine.


Rey Mysterio flies onto Darren Young.
Match 2 – The Prime Time Players vs. Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara – Tag Team Number One Contenders Tournament Semifinal

Sin Cara flies out to the floor early but finds himself needing to hit a DDT out of desperation after the commercial break. Mysterio gets the tag and reclaims some of the momentum for his team. All four men end up in the ring, where Darren Young clobbers Sin Cara. But Mysterio is the legal man, and he hits Young with the 619 and drops the dime on him to get the win.

Heyman still seems uncertain about Punk taking on McMahon, not because he thinks his man won't win, but because he thinks Vince will spend all of his time and money making their lives miserable after he does. Punk tells his old friend to trust him.


Wade Barrett gets Sheamus back in the ring.
Match 3 – Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus

This match barely even gets started before Big Show decides to make an appearance. He just watches from a seat next to the announce table as Sheamus slowly works over Barrett. A suplex gets him a near fall, and he knocks Barrett down to the floor with a knee shot. Wade manages to avoid a Brogue Kick on the apron, yanking the champ down to the floor. Commercial time. They battle on the outside, where Barrett kicks the stairs into Sheamus. Wade gets a two count back in the ring and keeps up his assault. Sheamus is hung up on the ropes to receive a big kick to the face, but he manages to kick out again at two. Barrett tries to drop an elbow off the top rope and comes up empty. Sheamus rallies with a series of moves that includes a running knee lift before pummeling Barrett with a series of shots to the chest. Tensai runs in and starts stomping away on the champ, and the ref throws out the match. Sheamus hits Tensai with a Brogue Kick, but Big Show catches him by the foot and dumps him over the top rope to land hard on the floor. Show smirks as he makes his way back up the ramp.

Punk and AJ have an uncomfortable little discussion that ends with the champ telling the GM that whatever happens tonight is on her pretty little head. Meanwhile, J.R. has left the announce table to try to talk Vince out of fighting Punk. And we see highlights of Cena's appearance on “Live! with Kelly and Michael.”


The U.S. champion Antonio Cesaro.
Match 4 – Antonio Cesaro vs. Tyson Kidd

Apparently Cesaro doesn't like chili cheese fries. That's good to know. He stomps on Kidds' chest on the apron, then follows with a suplex. Kidd battles his way out of a neck crank only to get guillotined on the top rope and sent out to the floor. Kidd uses the ropes for a swinging kick and rolls up his foe for a two count. He misses with a springboard move, though, and a big uppercut leads to the Neutralizer to wrap things up for Cesaro.


Kane readies to grab Dolph Ziggler in a chokehold -- and he already has Alberto del Rio.
Match 5 – Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio vs. Team Hell No

Daniel Bryan and Kane do their bickering thing over who is the tag team champions. Or who are? This makes my head hurt. Kane has to tag himself in after Bryan refuses to give way, but Daniel returns the favor after Ziggler has been knocked to the outside. Time for a commercial, of course. Ziggler rallies after the break, and Bryan is scrambling to kick out of covers from both him and Del Rio. He takes a long beating from both of the heels until he's able to send Del Rio into the post shoulder first. Kane finally gets the hot tag to dish out some punishment, but Bryan tags himself back in. His missile dropkick almost puns Ziggler, but Del Rio makes the save. Ziggler is isolated and ends up getting a choke slam from Kane. Yep, that's the end for Dolph.

J.R. tries his best to dissuade McMahon from confronting Punk in the ring. Not only won't Vince be talked out of it, he wants to hear some classic Ross commentary lines right now. Ah, it's like a walk down memory lane. Still, J.R. thinks he's making a mistake... but it doesn't matter what he thinks! All catchphrases, all the time.


Larry King is in the house!
Larry King is in the house, and the first guest on his impromptu version of “Larry King Now” is The Miz. He's not a pleasant guest, though, so Larry decides to replace him with Kofi Kingston. Miz takes offense to Kingston going for the cheap pop, and we see some “great” acting from King's current wife. At least she stands up to The Miz, throwing a mug of water in his face. Kofi gets involved too, throwing Miz off the stage and delivering a leaping clothesline. King heads to the back with his wife, and that's that.

Match 6 – Zack Ryder and Santino Marella vs. Team Rhodes Scholars – Tag Team Number One Contenders Tournament Semifinal

Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes get off to a fast start, taking turns beating on Ryder. Santino tags in and looks for the Cobra, but Rhodes takes advantage of a distraction by Sandow to strike with the Disaster Kick. It's a quick pinfall to send the Rhodes Scholars to the final. After the bell, Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre run down and do more damage to Marella. Also, they have good air guitar skills.


Jinder Mahal, Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre can't believe they are on Raw and didn't have to lose a match!

Backstage, Heyman apologizes to McMahon, or at least he seems to. He begs Vince to let him patch things up with the WWE Champion without a fight. Vince, please don't let Punk do to you what Brock Lesnar did to Triple H. #reversepsychology

Match 7 – Kaitlyn (challenger) vs. Eve (champion) – Divas Championship Match


Divas champion Eve Torres struts her stuff.
Layla is helping out the announcers with some inside insight into the bout. Kaitlyn has her left foot heavily taped, still selling the recent attack on her ankle. She shows off her strength but the injury is too much for her, apparently. Eve sees an opening and uses an ankle lock to make Kaitlyn submit. Eve feigns some concern after the fact, but that only gets her a shove from Layla.

Josh Mathews attempts to get Del Rio to pay attention to something that Randy Orton tweeted. Specifically, it's about Orton coming to SmackDown this Friday. Nope, still looks like he doesn't care.

Bryan talks to Larry King and his wife about being called names like an owl or a goat. Kane stops by and is surprised to learn it was King: He thought it was Skeletor! Elsewhere, Heyman acts like he's still talking Punk out of doing battle with McMahon, but he's actually trying to psych him up enough to hurt Vince badly enough that there's no chance of retribution. Now that's the Heyman we know and love.

Main Event – Vince McMahon vs. CM Punk

Wasting no time, Punk attacks McMahon from behind on the ramp. Needless to say, that gives the champ the upper hand. He snatches a headset to call some of his own commentary as he thrashes Vince over by the announce table. Punk gets a little too cocky, though, as McMahon recovers enough to send him into the post. Promising to teach CM about respect, Vince lays into him by the table before pulling a kendo stick from beneath the ring. Punk bugs out and asks Heyman to bring him his belt. Paul tries, but Vince clocks him with the stick and seizes the belt. The champ tries getting his own kendo stick but comes out second best in the stick-swinging battle. He begs off for a second, then shows his true colors with a low blow. Punk has both sticks now and goes to town on Vince. He calls for the Go To Sleep, but Ryback comes to the rescue. Naturally, Punk tries to leave, only Cena is behind him to chuck him back into the ring. Ryback hoists him and he narrowly escapes into the crowd. Not so fast, though, as Vince declares that it's decision time: At Hell in a Cell, Punk has the choice of facing Ryback or Cena. And if he doesn't decide by next week, Vince will pick for him. It's not often that a heel champion is in a no-win situation, but it doesn't look great for Punk. See you in seven!

RELATED LINKS

  • Monday Night Raw in Sacramento Photo Gallery

    Nick Tylwalk has decided to stop fighting the rise of Ryback, a.k.a. Goldberg II, and just go with it. Let him know if this is a wise move by hitting him up on Twitter, on Google+ or by email.