With the fallout of No Way Out starting to settle, it was definitely one of the less interesting Monday Night Raw’s I’ve seen in a while. Being one of the last of the 2-hour episodes though, I’m sure everyone was trying to take it easy after one of the better WWE PPVs in quite some time and I’m sure some folks mailed it in.
Main Plot Overview: John Laurinaitis is finally gone. Embarrassingly fired the night before, Interim General Manager for the week, Mick Foley (RAW was in Uniondale, NY, very close to where Mick lives and he received a great hand) allowed Big Johnny one last goodbye to the WWE Universe. Instead, Laurinaitis belittled the raucous Long Island crowd and revealed he had set up a 3-on-1 handicap match between Otunga, Big Show, and himself versus John Cena before the steel cage match the night before. Mick said there was nothing he could do about that, but he personally set up a tag match between Daniel Bryan and Kane versus CM Punk and Sheamus that would get the night started.
Later in the evening, both Otunga and Big Show would walk out on Big Johnny since neither has to work for him anymore and in a crowd rallying beat down, John Cena performed three AA’s before making him submit. A final farewell indeed to Mr. Laurinaitis. We still don’t know who will become the permanent GM though of RAW and Smackdown, although Teddy Long remains the hands down favorite, especially after watching Laurinaitis’s final beat down ringside.
Match of the Night: The feud between Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger had been simmering for some time now. Last night, Ziggler took that simmering pan and beat Swagger over the head with it. Although one of the shorter matches of the night, it was also one of the few that actually had a conclusive finish with no real outside interference. In a match that looks to be the end of the tag team, Swagger and Ziggler put on an impressive show as both wrestlers show how technically sound they are in the ring. Swagger took the early advantage, looking to have damaged Ziggler’s knee, but a surprise Zig Zag saw the Show Off emerge victorious. We then saw another surprise as Ziggler locked lips with Vickie Guerrero to celebrate his victory as Swagger was left stunned and managerless in the ring.
Promo of the Night: Although Mick Foley’s classic humor was evident throughout the show’s open, the promo of the night was clearly when ECW founder, and current legal representation for Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman came to the ring to tell HHH that Lesnar does not want to face him at Summerslam.
HHH then came out though sand said Lesnar would because his ego wouldn’t have it any other way. Heyman then began to goad HHH in a way that only great heels can and finally forced HHH to knock Heyman out with a surprise right hand that sent Heyman flying.
Heyman, whether his more natural heel persona or a face, always can’t help but draw eyeballs to him when he’s in a ring. He may not have the physique of a wrestler, but his charisma pulls people to him like flies to cow dung and going against a pro’s pro with the mic in HHH was a great moment.
Shocker of the Night: The previously mentioned tag match between CM Punk and Sheamus vs Kane and Daniel Bryan had a guest visit from none other than AJ. It’s not so much that her continued presence in that twisted love-quadrangle that was a shock, but that she came skipping to the ring in a rejected Harley Quinn set of tights and a Kane mask.
Just like the previous two times, the Big Red Machine left ring side in confusion, lust, and whatever else is supposed to go on behind that mask and left Bryan all alone to be decimated by Punk and Sheamus. The most shocking part of all this though may be how much the WWE is dragging this out before Kane snaps and this storyline comes to an end. But, much like CM Punk, I dig crazy chicks and so the more AJ stays around, the happier I actually am.
Cheap Pop of the Night: After a more than 20-year absence from the ring, Cyndi Lauper came out with WWE Hall of Famer Wendi Richter and current Divas Champion Layla for a brief ceremony. The ceremony was cut short by Heath Slater unfortunately who wished to show off his singing ability. Saving the day though was good ol’ Rowdy Roddy Piper who was also on hand to present Cyndi Lauper with a special gold record. When Heath wouldn’t shut up, Cyndi smashed him over the head with the glass frame, actually cutting Slater if you looked closely.
The cheap pop though, aside from Roddy’s very presence, was the mentioning of Captain Lou Albano several times. Anyone who is a fan of wrestling was a fan of Lou and so when Roddy mentioned several times in his speech, the crowd erupted. It was a sign of respect, love, and admiration for one of the great wrestlers of the last generation, but it was also a little cheap.