After an eventful Summerslam PPV, the WWE found itself in Fresno, CA, the site of RAW episode number 1004, to witness the fallout of the biggest event of the summer.
Main Plot Overview: CM Punk continued his quest for respect last night and in the process earned the right from GM AJ Lee to name his number one contender for Night of Champions and to the delight of the WWE Universe, Punk wanted to name John Cena, but one condition. And that was that John had to admit CM Punk was the best wrestler in the world.
When John refused though, after a long tirade about how important it is to always believe in yourself and that no matter how many times you fall down you need to get back up, and a bunch of other trivial self-help garbage, the title picture remained muddied. CM Punk, still looking for that respect, then demanded Jerry Lawler, the man who said Punk turned his back on the WWE Universe, offer him an apology and say the same thing. Although Lawler did apologize, he refused as well to say that Punk was best in the world, and thus got what he deserved. A kick upside the head by Punk.
It’ll be interesting to see how this long, drawn out story goes and why the WWE feels the need to insert Lawler into this shenanigans (now dubbed Minister or Propaganda by Punk), but as long as CM Punk remains champion, as he has now for nine months and counting, things will definitely remain interesting.
Match of the Night: Quite honestly, as is typical of RAW as it shakes off the post-PPV hangover, many of the matches were very one-sided, not clear-cut, or just plain not interesting. There were a couple of contenders for the Match of the Night though.
The Divas #1 Contendership Battle Royale just because of all the ladies being in the ring at once. Randy Orton vs Alberto Del Rio was actually very enjoyable for the most part until the ending. But the match that stood out above all others was the Dolph Ziggler vs Chris Jericho rematch of Summerslam, with the stipulation that if Ziggler lost, he’d lost his MITB briefcase, and if Jericho lost, he’d lose his job.
This match had the great pacing and top-notch technical acumen that we saw the night before during the PPV, but this time there was actually something of worth on the line (even though if you follow Jericho at all, you knew he was going to lose because he’s about to start touring with Fozzy, his band, once again). The match started off with Ziggler coming out of the gates on fire, not wanting at all to relinquish his briefcase, but Jericho started hitting a few great spots including both an axe handle smash and missile drop kick off the top rope. When he would go for his patented lionsault though, things would go awry as Ziggler countered with a pair of knees to the gut, followed by his Zig Zag to end it. Great pacing and tight wrestling all around made this an easy pick for Match of the Night.
Promo of the Night: This was an easy one as RAW kicked off with none other that Mr. Paul Heyman and his client Brock Lesnar. The pair were coming down to the ring to obviously gloat after their huge win over HHH at Summerslam where Brock ‘broke’ HHH’s arm and made one the WWE’s most resilient fighters tapout.
But not only did they gloat, but Heyman, in classic feel fashion, deemed Brock the new ‘King of Kings’ and therefore the entire WWE Universe must bow down now to Brock Lesnar. The pure intensity on Heyman’s face, while Brock danced around in one spot like he always does like he’s about to hit someone, as he made this proclamation was absolutely a joy to watch and I recommend you check out the video of it over at wwe.com if you can find it.
The best part of the whole promo though may have been when they called Scott Armstrong down to the ring and Heyman told the referee to hurry up because it was live TV (of course, he may have been taking his time because they wanted to make sure they could fill three hours again), and then Lesnar got right in the referee’s face, who was told by HHH to let the two fight, and Lesnar said ‘Good job’. Armstrong then ran away before he wet himself. Absolutely brilliant way to kick the show off.
Shocker of the Night: The Shocker of the Night didn’t come in a promo or a match announcement, it came in an actual match when AJ decided it best for Kane to tag with Zack Ryder against Daniel Bryan and The Miz. This comes just a few months after Zack Ryder’s big push and feud against Kane where Kane literally push Ryder off the stage in a wheelchair and tried to do…things…with his girlfriend of the time, Eve.
Just as shockingly though was the two seemed to be working well together until Daniel Bryan, the latest target of Kane’s wrath, entered the ring against the Big Red Monster and Kane was ready to get revenge for his upset loss at Summerslam. Daniel Bryan would have no part of it though and ran straight out of the ring, through the crowd, and out of the arena, resulting in a countout win for Kane and Ryder.
Luckily, things resumed some sort of normalcy when in his rage at having lost Daniel Bryan a second time, Kane took his rage out on Ryder, delivering a Tombstone Piledriver that was originally intended for Daniel Bryan the night before.
Cheap Pop of the Night: During the Cena tirade about how important it is for someone to believe in him/herself, he kept dropping little facts about Fresno, CA, from their location to their football team and had the crowd eating out of his hand. Considering how polarizing John is typically amongst WWE fans, this was a rare moment where it seemed he had 100% of the folks in attendance behind him, even if he had to kiss their butts to do so. Therefore, it was with ease to name John Cena’s little self-help speech about Fresno the Cheap Pop of the Night.