Coming off the incredibly great Money in the Bank PPV, Monday Night RAW tries to build off the shocking conclusion that saw CM Punk walk away with the title, John Cena fired, and a very angry Vince.
Bryan Danielson won the Money in the Bank, guaranteeing him a shot at the World Heavyweight title, and that was not even close to the biggest surprise of the night. That says all you need to know about how amazing the PPV last night was. Christian won the title by spitting in Orton's face and getting kicked in the balls. Alberto Del Rio won the other MitB match (OK, that wasn't surprising) after ripping off Rey's mask (which was kind of surprising). Oh and CM Punk pinned John Cena in the middle of the ring and then when Del Rio tried to cash in, he kicked him in the face and took off through the crowd to leave with the title as his contract expired. So, without any further buildup, let's get to the show.
Vince comes out as soona s the show starts, the announcers mention we have no WWE Title, and CM Punk's name is being chanted by the entire crowd. He's getting so many cheers right now, that there's no way he will come back as anything but the biggest face this company has seen in a long time. Vince, however, is not amused and goes on a rant about how he's the worst traitor in the history of the company and no one is bigger than the WWE. He also says he'll never speak his name again. I'm pretty sure CM Punk will be the next Stone Cold at this point, as when he comes back and fights the establishment that Vince represents, the crowd is going to be eating out of his hand and hanging on his every word. Vince then announces a WWE title tournament to crown a new champ (though judging by the graphic, we are keeping the shitty spinner belt) tonight. We'll see Rey vs Dolph, Swagger vs Truth, Kofi vs Mr Money In The Bank Alberto Del Rio, and Alex Riley vs Miz for the opening round. Not a bad group of guys, IMO, and should be some great matches. Vince mentions Cena, who gets his usual mixed reaction, and Vince says he'd be booing him too. Stops short of saying Cena is fired, and instead promises severe consequences. Thank you, and enjoy the show. I hope they fire Cena for a bit, as he needs some time off and it would be good for all involved. Cena apparently posted a message on Twitter saying he apologizes to the Rock for not being able to face him at Wrestlemania next year if he is indeed fired. I have no idea where they will go with this.
Miz and Riley kick things off. Miz who either "hurt" his knee or really hurt his knee last night, is limping around, but moving fairly well so far. If I had to bet, i'd say he actually hurt it, but not as badly as they first thought. I think he could probably use time off, but with the loss of so many top stars lately to injury or retirement or whatever, I think he's going to try and just keep going even if it's not what's best for his health. Riley put on an awful Sharpshooter looking thing that he couldn't hold on at one point. Miz wins with the Skull Crushing Finale in the middle of the ring after the ref gets in Riley's way for a moment. He will be facing the winner of the Kofi vs Del Rio match later on. An OK match, and the least exciting of the four opening matches announced, so I wasn't expecting more than that.
Next up we see a video for John Morrison, letting us know he'll be back soon, though they didn't specify when, I hope he gets to continue the push he had before his injury, and I think him and Truth could have a great feud when he first comes back. The next match is Truth vs Swagger, which should be a good match as I think they will have good chemistry. As the match is going on, they mention briefly that Show could be out up to 2 months, which is a good thing, IMO. Makes Henry look like a monster, and honestly Show works best in small doses where they focus on him, rather than having him stuck around with nothing to do and in joke segments and whatnot while killing time before his next big thing. Swagger has been dominating the early part of this match. I think the match would be better if it was more even throughout instead of having Swagger dominate and then Truth just getting the surprise win with a roll up on the ankle lock, but it was still a decent match. Truth will be fighting the Rey/Dolph winner, hopefully they'll let Truth actually get some offense in the next match.
Del Rio is now in the ring. "My name is ..................... Mr Money in the Bank, Alberto Del Rioooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!", And now Del Rio is calling Punk a chicken for running off without facing him and ripping on Cena for losing in the first place, saying he hopes Cena is indeed fired. And now Ricardo is back!!!!!!! Awesome! Now it's time to face Kofi. A much more even match so far than the first two, and a pretty fast pace as well. Both guys are really going all out here, which has been very fun to watch. Kofi has been in control slightly more so far, but it's mostly been a very back and forth match with neither guy getting too much of a sustained lead before getting stopped. Kofi wins with a rollup after reversing the arm breaker, which is a lot like how the Swagger match ended, but in this case it wasn't out of nowhere. Still, two straight matches with guys getting their submission moves reversed into a rollup for the loss is not great booking. Kofi will now face Miz in what should be a good second round match. After the break Kofi is backstage with a solid promo about how he will be the new champ. I figured he'd get laid out by Del Rio or something, but instead it was just a nice promo.
The last first round match is Dolph vs Rey, which is the feud that really put Dolph on the map. Their IC title feud was phenomenal and made Dolph into a guy to watch out for, even if he never got the title off of Rey (despite more than deserving to win it with the way he raised his game). These two work really really really well together, and are two of the best guys in the company right now. Rey was coasting for a bit, but once guys like Evan and Kofi and Dolph started getting involved in matches with him, he became completely reinvigorated and has been amazing for the last few years, meanwhile Dolph seems like a future world champ who has no weaknesses in or out of the ring and has a great manager in Vickie (who was brutal when she first got on TV, but has evolved into a very good manager) even if he doesn't really need her and could probably be a great face if left on his own. Rey wins after what was easily the best of the opening round matches, which was to be expected as these two work so well together. Plus, it wasn't a roll up. It's also not surprising, considering Dolph already has the US title. Hopefully once he drops that, he'll get an actual WWE title run.
And now all the Divas are in the ring for a 10 person tag team match. It's time to skip forward and ignore this crap. Beth won before I could reach the button, so I guess that's OK. It got all the women on the show, even if it just showed what a joke they all are and Kelly holding the belt is ridiculous. Time to move on.
Miz vs Kofi starts off the semi-final matchups. Kofi is spending the whole match attacking Miz's injured leg, meanwhile Miz is doing all he can to fight back despite really selling the injury. Miz consistently reverses moves and does other things to try to make up for the lack of mobility. This is smart wrestling and smart storytelling. Miz catches Kofi in the corner, drops him on the turnbuckle, and then hits the Skull Crushing Finale in the middle of the ring for a very impressive win. Made to look even better because something during the match has caused Miz to bleed from his mouth, so he had a bloody smile as he celebrated. Really good stuff that was logical and told a great story.
Truth is backstage ranting about how he should be named champ and he deserves it more than anyone else in the tournament, and it was a conspiracy that caused him to lose on Sunday. Good stuff, but Kofi was the last guy to cut a promo and Del Rio was the one before that, and both of them have lost so far, so this could be a bad sign.
The Tough Enough winner, Andy (as I've been improperly naming as Luke) gets a nice video package. Well done and it keeps him in the public eye while he trains instead of just tossing him out there right off the bat before he's ready.
Time for Rey vs Truth, and right off the bat Truth is getting more offense than he did in the Swagger match. A much better match than Truth's first match, mostly because it's not as one sided, though Rey has been dominated most of the match. Truth getting more and more frustrated with every kickout by Rey has been really entertaining. Again, this match is telling a great story about how paranoid and insane Truth is, and now much of a fighter Rey is. Good stuff again. Rey gets the win after hitting the 619 and his top rope splash, Truth is pissed off and the curse of the promo strikes again. Really entertaining match. And now the final is set with Rey vs Miz.
Vince makes his way to the ring and announces the final match will be held next week as they are running out of time on the show and he needs to make his announcement about Cena. Rey isn't exactly happy about this, but he eventually makes his way reluctantly to the back. Vince says no man is bigger than the WWE, and he could make a new Cena if he wanted to. The crowd responds by chanting for Punk again. It's all about business and not personal, and the crowd still just wants Punk. No one is chanting for Cena, no one cares about anything else, though Cena did get a decent pop once his music hit. Cena grabs the mic from Vince and says he's not going to go on a rant. And he says he's OK with being fired, because he didn't want to win last night with the screwjob and didn't want to be the guy that screwed CM Punk (first guy to use that name since the start of the show, other than the crowd). He even thanks Punk for putting on a great match, saying his name for a second time. Tells Vince that he has 8 months to find a new opponent for the Rock, and that he's going to walk out with his pride and his dignity. He announces that if he's fired tonight, he will "walk onto someone else's television show and keep doing this job, brother!" in direct reference to Hogan and TNA. Pretty good promo by Cena. Vince then announces that ............................................ Time To Play The Game, Vince is interrupted, HHH is here and he interrupts Vince and walks out in a suit and tie. Vince mentions that HHH is his son-in-law (one of the few direct non-winking references to that on screen since that happened). HHH is late because of a board of director's meeting for the WWE and the board asked him to come here and talk to Vince. He asks if they can go talk int he back, and Vince isn't having it. The board, it seems, is concerned about Vince and his recent actions and decisions. They've filed an injunction, the family is backing their decision, and appointed a new person to take over the day to day operations of the company, HHH! Vince is relieved of his duties, as no man is bigger than the WWE. Vince is crying, HHH seems to be reluctantly taking the role and upset about it as well. This has been a pretty awesome segment. "I love you pop, and I'm sorry", HHH drops the mic and leaves a crying Vince alone in the ring. The crowd is actually applauding for Vince and giving him a nice sendoff. The show goes off the air with Vince in the ring hearing a chant of "Thank You Vince!":. I have no idea where they go from here or what comes next.
Really good show that was almost non-stop wrestling until the last segment, and raised more questions while setting up many interesting story possibilities. I think they capitalized on the PPV very well. Not a perfect show, I'm not a fan of Cena sticking around after losing with a stipulation that if he lost he's fired for the second time in the last year (though he won't be champ, and I have no idea what they'll do with him now), but overall it was a very strong show and I'm still very interested in what comes next.
Written or Contributed by: rdrsfn82