We start with a video package highlighting the Big Show/John Cena feud.
The announcers for the show are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and "that boy" Booker T.
World Title: Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler w/Vickie Guerrero
Sheamus entered first to a big pop with Ziggler coming out second. Sheamus used power moves to take him down early while Guerrero cheered on Ziggler. After each guy ran the ropes, Ziggler hit a perfect dropkick to the face of Sheamus. My opinion is that Ziggler has the best dropkick in the business. You can tell early that the crowd is cheering Ziggler, which isn't a surprise since the NY/NJ area always has smart fans at the show. The early story was how Ziggler kept using his speed, but Sheamus was ready for him and he nailed Ziggler with a sharp elbow to the throat. Ziggler was able to gain control by driving Sheamus' left arm into the turnbuckle. Ziggler hit a nice DDT for two. There was a nice "Let's Go Ziggler" chant as Dolph dropped him with a knee to the gut for two. Ziggler did a headstand while having Sheamus in a headlock. Now that's some showing off. Sheamus put Ziggler on his shoulders and Ziggler ended up countering a power move into a DDT. Ziggler hit him with another dropkick. He followed that up with a body scissors. Ziggler went for a rollup. He held the ropes for leverage, but the ref caught him at two. Sheamus countered him for a two count of his own, which Ziggler kicked out of and then he hit a nice neckbreaker for another nearfall. Sheamus hit Ziggler with his axehandle, but the running knee missed as Ziggler put him in a sleeper. They messed up a spot after Ziggler jumped off the top and that eventually led to Ziggler hitting the Fameasser for another excellent two count. The crowd popped big for that one because they were very supportive of Ziggler. With the crowd clearly chanting "Let's Go Ziggler" the incompetent Jerry Lawler said "listen to the WWE universe let's go Sheamus." WTF? Brutal. Great spot with Ziggler hitting a top rope facebuster for two. The crowd popped big for that one while Booker let out a "you gotta be kidding me" line. Ziggler went for the Zig Zag, but Sheamus countered with the Irish Curse backbreaker. Sheamus hit his ten clubbing blows to the chest of Ziggler. Ziggler tried to come back with a sleeper, but Sheamus powered out and dropped him with the White Noise. Now the crowd was cheering Sheamus. Brogue Kick finished off Ziggler at the 15 minute mark to get the win.
Post match, Sheamus celebrated his victory with the fans.
Analysis: ***1/2 I thought it was a very solid wrestling match that had an exciting finish with Sheamus winning over the crowd by the end of it. It wasn't a case of the crowd only liking Ziggler. They liked both guys a lot, so it led to an interesting atmosphere. There were a few parts in the match where the action was a little too slow for my liking due to Ziggler grabbing headlocks a little too much, but that's a minor gripe really. I think Ziggler proved again that he needs to be a permanent main eventer rather than somebody that only gets a title shot due to the injury of another performer. Hopefully Ziggler can free himself of Guerrero, who he doesn't need by his side.
Backstage, Vince McMahon was walking while John Laurinaitis walked up to him wearing a red jacket, blue tie and white shirt. He's the new Mr. America, brother. He's still selling the injuries from Over The Limit while McMahon shows no sign of injury despite getting KO'd by Big Show on Monday. Laurinaitis tried sucking up to him while bringing up that Vince had a concussion due to Big Show's punch on Raw. McMahon didn't say anything. He just walked into his office. Roving backstage reporter Josh Mathews talked to John Laurinaitis who said he didn't have a problem dealing with pressure. He was rude to Mathews and blew him off by telling him he had a show to run.
Tuxedo Match: Santino vs. Ricardo Rodriguez
Both guys are dressed in tuxedos. To win the match you have to strip the tuxedo off the other guy. I have a feeling I won't need to use in-depth play by play for this one. Santino hit an atomic drop followed by an inverted atomic drop. He took off Ricardo's jacket, which led to him using the jacket leading to him using it like a matador dealing with a bull. Santino took off Ricardo's shoes. There was a "boring" chant from the crowd. I don't disagree with that. Santino took off Ricardo's shirt and then he gave him a hip toss. Santino took out the Cobra, but Ricardo prevented that and threw the Cobra out. He ripped off the pants and shoes on Santino. The comedy continued as we saw that Santino had a Cobra sock on his right foot. He kicked Ricardo with the Cobra sock as Cole yelled about the Cobra striking. Santino ripped off Ricardo's pants for the win after four minutes.
Post match, we found out that Ricardo wears white underwear that has Alberto Del Rio's face on the back. The announcers laughed like it was the funniest thing they had ever seen.
Anaysis: No rating for a comedy match. It was fun at times, but also embarrassing at other points. I think this would have been better as a Raw or Smackdown match rather than something that deserved to be on PPV.
Backstage, CM Punk was interviewed by Matt Striker. The camera did a close-up of his brand new "I dig crazy chicks" t-shirt. Punk said he wasn't thinking about AJ because he was so focused on his opponents. AJ showed up. She wanted to wish Punk luck. She kissed him on the cheek. Punk told her thanks, but luck is for losers. Striker tried to get a comment from AJ. She said nothing.
Intercontinental Title: Christian vs. Cody Rhodes
The story where Christian turned face because he wants to be remembered the way Edge was is a little faulty because Edge got over as a heel way more than he did as a face. That’s WWE revisionist history, though. It's the same thing they do with Big Show where they act like he's never been a heel before. Anyway, they worked a fast pace early with Christian getting the advantage. Christian knocked him out of the ring and then hit a nice dropkick between the middle and bottom ropes. Rhodes was able to come back by dropping Christian face first on the ring apron. Christian got the advantage, but Cody came back by driving Christian's head right into the ring post. Rhodes worked on the left arm of Christian for the majority of the match by putting it in submission holds and attacking it with strikes. Christian was on the top rope, so Rhodes shoved him down, which sent Christian crashing into the apron and then onto the mat below. That looked painful. Christian threw Rhodes into the steps and then he hit a DDT by off of the steel steps. That was a very creative move. They made their way back into the ring where Christian was able to hit a dropkick off the middle rope. Christian also hit a cross body block off the top, which Rhodes rolled through to earn a two count. Rhodes ended up tripping up him up when Christian was on the middle rope. Rhodes went to the middle rope where he took too much time. Christian hit a hurricanrana for a good two count. Rhodes fought out of the Killswitch to hit an Alabama Slam for another count of two. Christian came back with a reverse DDT. The high quality of their counter wrestling is very impressive. Rhodes countered a sunset flip for another nearfall. Christian came back with the Killswitch for just two. I guess since that’s not his finisher anymore that it's okay to kick out of it. Christian went up top, Rhodes got knocked down again and Christian went up for a Frog Splash. Rhodes got his knees up. Rhodes went for the Disaster Kick, Christian moved and Christian hit him with the Spear for the win after 12 minutes.
Analysis: *** I wish the crowd was into it more early on, but the crowd became pretty loud by the end because they realized they were witnessing an exciting matchup. It was what I expected to be. They got about twelve minutes, they told a good story with Cody in control early and then Christian did an awesome job of making a comeback, which led to his win. Like I wrote in the preview of this event, I said that Cody would lose this match so he could move on to bigger things like winning the Money in the Bank match in July. He's my pick for that. He's graduated from the IC Title so to speak. It's time for him to move up the ladder. Christian's a very good IC Champ because he always has above average matches. That's what you want to see out of your IC Champ.
Fatal Four Way #1 Contenders Match: Primo & Epico w/Rosa & AW vs. Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel vs. Darren Young & Titus O'Neil (The Primetime Players) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey)
The winners of this match get a tag team title shot. It's nice to see WWE building up a tag team division again. The rules are two guys wrestle in the ring while the other six stand on the apron. The first pinfall or submission wins the match. It was a fast paced match from the get go. There were a lot of quick tags. The Usos hit a nice flapjack into a Samoan Drop on Gabriel. O'Neil tagged in for a pinfall attempt for two. O'Neil slammed down Gabriel and then suplexed his own partner DYoung onto Gabriel for two. Gabriel hit a heel kick, but he couldn't get a hot tag to his partner Tyson Kidd, who is my favorite person in the match. Nice dropkick by Epico on Gabriel followed by three back suplexes in a row. The crowd is dead silent for the match, which is what happens when you barely have tag team matches on your television shows. Primo missed a dive on Gabriel, who finally got the hot tag to Kidd. Kidd hit a nice missile dropkick on Primo followed by a legdrop to the back of the neck. Kidd hit a Blockbuster off the top. Epico broke up the pin, so Gabriel took him out with a dive. Primo countered an elbow drop by getting his knees up. Then Primo hit the Backstabber for a two count after it was broken up. All hell broke loose at this point. The Usos hit a double superkick on O'Neil. Then the Usos hit dives onto the five guys outside the ring. Young tagged the back of Kidd, so he was the legal man along with Primo. Primo went to the top, Kidd followed him up there and Kidd hit a hurricanrana off the top that sent Primo onto the six guys out on the floor. Wow. What a move that was! There was a "holy shit" chant for that one. Well deserved. Young and Primo went back into the ring although in Primo's case it was because AW rolled him in. Young hit his Gut Check finisher. Epico went for the save, but AW kept him out of the ring. Young covered for the win after 9 minutes of action.
Winners: Primetime Players Darren Yong & Titus O'Neil
After the match, AW celebrated with Young & O'Neil. Epico was yelling at AW about it. Epico decked AW with a punch. Young & O'Neil easily tossed them out of the ring. Rosa was angry at ringside. I think Epico & Primo will work well as a babyface team especially with Rosa at their side. She's easy on the eyes.
Analysis: *1/2 I thought the last three minutes were really well done. The first part of the match was your standard tag team action, but the crowd didn't care because they've barely seen any of these teams. Still, it's a good sign that a tag match made the PPV. Hopefully more attention is given to the tag division going forward because there's some potential for greatness here. As for AW's betrayal of his team, I like it. They already have a manager. Putting him with the PTPers is smart especially if they win the tag titles soon, which I expect. I would guess that they win the tag titles as soon as this week especially since R-Truth is out with a foot injury.
There was a commercial for Money in the Bank featuring Alberto Del Rio. The date of that event is July 15th. It's one of my favorite PPVs of the year.
They aired a recap of the Triple H/Brock Lesnar story.
Hunter Hearst Suit McMahon Helmsley walked out to the ring to a nice ovation. He talked about how he spent half his life in the ring because that's all he ever wanted to do. By the way, his left arm appears to be fine. He spoke about the lawsuits against him by Lesnar and Paul Heyman. He said he hates them because he's not really a corporate kind of guy. "I'm a fighter. I'm an ass kicker. It's what I do." Hunter said he had a good idea. Hunter brought up how Lesnar said he was a fighter and ass kicker. Hunter said his arm was feeling better and that in a few more weeks he'll be 100%. He proposed that they put all of the crap behind them. We get rid of the lawsuits. "Brock, this is not about them. This is about me and you and doing what we do. We're fighters, Brock. And I want to fight you. Brock Lesnar, I want to fight you bad. Brock Lesnar - Triple H one on one…Summerslam." The crowd was chanting "yes" while Hunter was saying that they should fight. "Brock Lesnar - let's fight. Or you can be happy being a quitter. Whatever works for you, Brock. I'll be waiting."
Analysis: It looks like the rumored Triple H/Lesnar match at Summerslam is a go. It's fine with me. I wonder who will go over. It should be Lesnar, but with this company you just never know.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan was warming up for his WWE Title match. AJ walked to him. She said there's still a part of her that hasn't gotten over Bryan. She was there to wish him luck. She kissed him on the cheek.
Divas Title: Layla vs. Beth Phoenix
Beth used power moves early. Layla came back with a dropkick to the knee. Layla took Beth's headgear and mocked her. Then they ran around the ring where Layla dropped her with a clothesline followed by a dropkick. Layla missed a springboard attempt as Beth tripped her up and that sent Layla crashing to the floor. Beth threw her into the security wall. Layla countered some power offense with a rollup. Beth gave her a backbreaker. Layla countered a submission with some knees to the head. Beth went for the Glam Slam, but Layla pushed herself off the top rope and ended up getting a nearfall for two. Layla hit a cross body off the middle ropes for two. Beth was able to catch her after that with a powerslam for two. The crowd is totally silent at this point. They're making no noise at all. It's not like they're a bad crowd. They just don't care. Phoenix pressed Layla over her heard, which led to Layla countering into a very nice DDT for two. That was the best spot of the match so far. Beth drove her into the corner. She missed a charge. Layla hit her with her neckbreaker known as the Lay Out (Cole just called it a neckbreaker) and that was enough for the pin at the 7 minute mark.
Analysis: * They got seven minutes, so that was good to see. The problem is they get such little TV time these days that the crowd had no emotional investment in the match. You can keep putting Layla over Beth, but unless you devote time to getting the Layla character over it's going to be difficult for her to gain much crowd support.
Backstage, AJ caught up to Kane. She wished him good luck. She kissed him on the cheek. He didn't let her leave. He leaned down and kissed her on the lips while the crowd chanted "yes" at that visual. That was a funny chant from the crowd. He left while she reacted to it with a surprised look on her face. No smile. She wished all three guys in the WWE Title match luck, so there's no sign of who she is leaning towards for the win.
Sin Cara vs. Hunico w/Camacho
This is not a new match at all. I was at the Smackdown in Toronto last September when the two Sin Cara's went face to face and obviously the second one was revealed to be Hunico. Since then, Sin Cara has beat him about 49 times. That may be overstating it, but we've seen it before. The mood lighting was present as it always is during Sin Cara matches. He went for a dive, but Hunico countered with his knees into the ribs. Hunico's offense continued with a rear chin lock. He hit a tilt a whirl backbreaker to counter the high flying offense from Sin Cara. Another headlock from Hunico. You don't see too many headlocks in Sin Cara matches, so they're working more of the traditional American wrestling style. Hunico got another slam for a two count. Sin Cara tried to get the momentum with a rollup, but Hunico came back with a hard kick to the face. Then he gabbed another headlock. Powerbomb for Hunico. Cara took him down with a headscissors followed by a kick to the head and a hurricanrana off the top. He hit a couple of nice dropkicks. Sin Cara hit his finisher where he gives his opponent a headscissors and then drives him face first into the mat. The match went about 6 minutes.
Winner: Sin Cara
Analysis: *1/4 Like I wrote in the beginning, we've seen this match a few times. They worked a different style than we're used to, though, so it wasn't the typical match we've seen from them. The crowd wasn't into the match that much. If they want to get the most out of Sin Cara they need to put him in a real feud with an opponent that gives him a test. These formulaic five minute matches aren't going to help him long term. He needs to be doing more for the crowd to become emotionally invested in his matches.
We got the long video package reminding us of everything involved in the WWE Title feud with the main focus being on AJ Lee's actions involving all three men.
Kane made his entrance first. Not a huge reaction to him either way, really. In Daniel Bryan's case, the crowd exploded for him. Lots of "yes" chants for him. He's even rocking a jacket that says "yes" on it. Cole called Punk the controversial WWE Champion. Is he even controversial anymore? Don't think so. That's a bit of an issue. Cole did a good job of putting over Punk beating a lot of big names during his reign of over 200 days at this point.
WWE Title: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane
Kane tried to overpower Bryan and Punk early, but they countered his power by kicking him repeatedly. Lots of "yes" chants for every kick delivered. This crowd is hot for this match right from the beginning. After a couple of dull matches before this you could tell they were ready to let loose here. Punk dumped Bryan out to the floor with a back drop and then Kane gave Punk a hard clothesline. Bryan knocked Kane out of the ring and he followed it up with his dive in between the middle and bottom rope. Punk hit a crossbody off the top rope onto both guys on the floor. Kane picked up Punk and drove him back first into the steel steps a couple of times. There are no disqualifications or countouts in triple threat matches although it's rare that anybody ever uses weapons in these kinds of matches. Kane gave Punk a hard whip into the corner turnbuckle. Back in the ring, Kane hit a low dropkick on Punk followed up by a leg scissors on the ribs of Punk. Bryan was knocked out to the floor earlier, so the action slowed down at this point. Punk fought out of it. Bryan hit a running dropkick on Punk, but his attack on Kane failed because Kane dropped Bryan with a side slam. Bryan used a drop toe hold that sent Kane into the middle turnbuckle followed by a kick to the face that sent Kane to the floor. Bryan focused on Punk, who he dropped with a knee.
They did a nice three way spot with Bryan perched on the top rope and Kane & Punk fighting to see which one of them would take him off the top rope. When Kane and Punk ended up fighting eachother, Bryan hit a double dropkick on each guy. Each guy sat up on their knees, so Bryan destroyed them with hard "Yes" kicks to the chest. He drilled Kane in the head with one of them. Punk ducked a kick and got a rollup for two. Punk hit his running knee into the corner on Bryan and then one on Kane. No bulldog by Punk on Kane, but he hit a neckbreaker on Kane for two. Punk hit a quick powerslam on Bryan. They did a nice spot where Bryan was on Kane's shoulders and Punk dropped Bryan with a clothesline. Nice to hear Cole mention Legion of Doom there. That earned Punk a two count. Punk hit the top rope Flying Elbow on Bryan. He was slow to cover, so Bryan kicked out at two. Punk wanted the GTS, but Kane kicked Punk in the head to break that up. Punk fought back against Kane, hit a roundhouse kick to the head and missed his Flying Elbow attempt on Kane. Bryan went to the top and he hit a Flying Headbutt to the chest of Punk. Bryan knocked Kane off the apron with a hard forearm to the face. Bryan kicked Punk hard in the face and put him in the Yes Lock. They were right in the center of the ring. Punk was able to fight him off. Punk put Bryan on his shoulders and he hit a GTS. They were near the ropes, though, so Kane pulled Bryan out of the ring. Kane hit his clothesline off the top onto Punk. I wonder how many of those he's hit in his 15 year run as the Kane character? Kane went for the Chokeslam, but Punk countered with a DDT for two. Punk hit a Flying Elbow on Kane for two. Kane fought out of a GTS to hit a boot to the face of Punk. Kane gave Punk a Chokeslam, but Punk kicked out at two as Booker let out a "what da hayell" in shock. That was the best nearfall of the match so far. Kane went for the Tombstone. All of a sudden AJ showed up. Punk shoved Kane into the ropes and that knocked AJ off the apron. Kane showed concern over AJ falling down, so Punk took advantage with a roundhouse kick and then a GTS to Kane. He covered for the victory after 19 minutes.
Winner: CM Punk
Analysis: **** There's the match of the night. That's not a shock considering Punk and Bryan always seem to have the match of the night. Kane worked very well with them too. That's why Kane has been able to hang around for as long as he has because when he's in there with the best workers his spots work very well. In my preview of the event, I had Bryan winning the match by pinning Kane. I'm not upset that Punk was able to retain because I'm a huge fan of his as well. I just thought this would have been a good time to take the belt off Punk without hurting his credibility too bad. The finish worked very well too. I thought it was smart to involve AJ in the finish because the story is obviously connecting very well with the fans and it's a story that should continue going forward. I'm hoping we get another Punk vs. Bryan singles match on PPV, but perhaps they’ve moved on from that. At least Bryan can say he wasn't pinned, so you never know if they'll use that as a way to do rematches.
Post match, Kane looked over the fallen AJ. They replayed the finish with her running out at the end of the match when Punk threw Kane into her. Kane picked her up and took her backstage. She smiled without him seeing it while the crowd cheered that. Meanwhile, Punk celebrated with his WWE Title. They showed the AJ replay again. The last time they did it they focused on how she was smiling back on CM Punk.
There was a commercial for the July 23rd Raw being the start of three hour editions of Raw. They hyped that some stars from the past will be there on July 23 including DX (Triple H & Shawn Michaels) and no other advertised names at this point. I wouldn't be shocked if we see Bret Hart, Steve Austin and Undertaker as well. That's just an educated guess on my part.
Ryback vs. Dan Delaney & Rob Grymes
Delaney & Grymes talked about how after they beat Ryback they would main event WrestleMania 29 in Jersey. Then the classic "WrestleMania" song started as they sang along to it. That was annoyingly funny. Ryback entered to a good pop. Loud "Goldberg" chants from the beginning of the match. He dropped Grymes with a huge back body drop while Delaney received a hard clothesline. He knocked down both guys with hard slams. Ryback hit a splash off the middle rope. That's an awkward move to have in his arsenal. Ryback picked up both guys and gave them the Muscle Buster (still needs a name) at the same time for the win after about two minutes.
Analysis: He continues to impress, but when will he face some bigger name opponents? The "Goldberg" chants aren't very encouraging. It's been a few months and nobody is chanting "Ryback" so that's likely disappointing to the creative team. It should be noted that he said "feed me three" before the finish so I guess he wants to beat three jobbers from now on.
A video hyped up Summerslam in August. The announcers wondered if Brock Lesnar will answer Triple H's Summerslam challenge.
The steel cage lowered, which led to the video package highlighting Monday's Raw when Vince McMahon gave John Laurinaitis a job evaluation without actually doing anything.
John Laurinaitis made his way to ringside for the main event. He was using a crutch to assist him and the injury to his left leg sustained at Over The Limit. Big Show was next to enter. He's so serious that he forgot his toque. Vince McMahon was next to enter. He got a really big pop, which isn't a surprise since he hasn't been on TV much of late and the NY/NJ crowd is always appreciative of him. He sat next to Laurinaitis with each man in black leather chairs. John Cena was the last to enter. He told the camera that somebody is getting fired.
Steel Cage Match: John Cena vs. Big Show
You can win via pinfall, submission or escape the cage over the top or through the door. I'd prefer it if you could only win by going over the top of the cage, but that's just me. Show dominated early. He threw Cena into the cage a few times. Show missed a KO punch after Cena moved, so Show hit the cage with his fist. The dueling Cena chants started up. Cena hit a dropkick, but his run didn't last long as Show gave him a headbutt to knock him down again. Show decked him with a clothesline. Show threw him off the cage. Basically the first five minutes is Show's really slow offense on Cena. He hit a running back splash on Cena in the turnbuckle. Cena tried to crawl out, but Show prevented that from happing by stepping on Cena's neck. That works. Cena came back with a bulldog off the middle rope for a count of two. Cena tried to climb out, Show stopped him and then Show ended up being crotched on the top rope. Cena tried to climb out, but Show prevented that by driving his back into the cage and then threw him back to the mat with a suplex that earned him a two count.
Show moved Cena to the corner and gave him a Vader Bomb off the middle rope. Thanks to Vader for inspiring that move from Monday night. Cena kicked out at two. Show grabbed Cena by the throat. He pulled Cena all the way to the top rope. Cena fought of a chokeslam, but Show knocked him down. Show was on the top rope, but he went to the middle part where he was pushing the ropes down so much that it was as if he was on the middle rope. Cena rolled out of the way of the big elbow drop. Show tried to crawl out. Cena was strong enough to pull him back into the ring. They went back into the center of the ring where Cena was able to knock Show down with a shoulderblock. Cena tried to escape the cage. Laurinaitis threw the ref down, so then McMahon threw Laurinaitis down. McMahon held the cage door open and that allowed Laurinaitis to shove McMahon, which caused the cage door to hit Cena in the head. Show hit a Chokeslam for two. That was a very good nearfall. Show loaded up the fist, Cena ducked and Show KNOCKED OUT~! ref Scott Armstrong, who took a nice bump into the mat. Best ref in the business right there. Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment. He couldn't lift Show. Show KNOCKED OUT~! John Cena. There was no ref in the ring to count the pinfall. Why doesn't he just walk out the door? Eventually he realizes he can do that, so Brodus Clay showed up with a steel chair in his hands. Is this storyline continuity? That's just crazy!
Lawler felt proud to say that there was "no way out" for Big Show. I'm sure Jerry thought that was clever. All of a sudden, Santino & Alex Riley ran out to go after Show. They clibed the cage and Show shoved them off like a couple of jobbers. Keep in mind that Santino is current US Champ. Zack Ryder came running out to a big pop. He climbed the cage. Show punched him while he was climbing, so he bumped to the floor like a jobber too. These are all the guys that Show beat up in the weeks leading up to this match. Tag champ Kofi Kingston ran out there too. He climbed the top of the cage. Show was on the top rope trying to climb out, but Kofi ended up kicking him enough times that Show got knocked down to the mat. Cena tried to climb out. Show was able to grab him by the foot. Super Cena recovered and gave Show an Attitude Adjustment in the center of the ring. Cena covered. There's no referee available to count the pinfall while Clay still stood by the door with a steel chair in hand. Cena decided to climb the cage. Laurinaitis was there with his crutch, so Clay walked over there to prevent the attack by holding his arms back. Cena dropped the floor. Show was close to getting out, but Cena definitely touched first while Show's upper body was close to getting out. The crowd popped big for the Cena win after 20 minutes of action.
Winner: John Cena
Analysis: *1/2 It was boring early, but it got better. The finish was a lot of fun with all of the people that were attacked by Show getting their revenge on him. It was a smart way to protect Show as a monster because Cena didn't win clean. It's rare to see a match where a Cena opponent was actually made to look stronger than Cena was. It's not like the win made Cena look bad by any means, but it felt different than the normal Cena match. You know how I like to say "it was more of a story than match" sometimes? That's the best way to describe this one.
After the match was over, Cena asked Clay to hand over Laurinaitis. Cena put him on his shoulders. Vince McMahon went on the microphone to deliver this message to John Laurinaitis: "You're Fired!" The crowd loved that. Cena gave Laurinaitis the Attitude Adjustment through the Spanish Announce Table.
They replayed the key moments from the match as well as the post match with Laurinaitis getting fired. The show ended with Cena celebrating with the crowd. The big cliffhanger is who will run Raw Monday night?
Five Stars of the Show
1. CM Punk
2. Daniel Bryan
3. Dolph Ziggler
I give this show a rating of 6 out of 10. If you're being a nitpicker, it's tied with the lowest rating I've given the six WWE PPVs this year although three of them have the same rating. That's not to say I hated it or anything like that. It's just that it felt like a very average PPV featuring three good matches and the rest of the show feeling like filler in a lot of ways.
The two major title matches were entertaining to me. I didn't think Ziggler had a shot to win, but he's such a good performer that I can just enjoy his work. Hopefully by the end of the year he does win one of the major titles because there's nobody in the company that deserves it more. I just think WWE is really behind Sheamus right now as a long term babyface top guy and to establish him in that role he's going to have a lengthy title reign.
The interesting thing about Punk's WWE Title reign is that he's successfully defended his WWE Title on six PPVs in a row this year. None of those matches were the main event, though. He did main event TLC in December where he retained his WWE Title, but that's because there was no John Cena match on that show. That's obviously never happened before. It's an odd stat.
I wasn't shocked by the Cena win. What they did made a lot of sense aside from the fact that Vince McMahon technically shouldn't be able to fire Laurinaitis since he was stripped of his CEO title last year. Other than that giant logic hole it was fine by me.
Lastly, the New Jersey crowd was very good. Like I always say whenever WWE is in the NY/NJ area the fans are going to respond well to the action in the ring. I don't blame them for being dead during the divas match or the Sin Cara match because they're formulaic matches without much of a story, but for everything else they responded quite well.
WWE PPV Rankings for 2012 (Rating out of 10)
No live Raw Deal this week. I'll post it by Tuesday at around 12pmET.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org
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