Monday Night Raw
June 17, 2013
Grand Rapids, Michigan
We open with a video montage of last night’s Payback PPV results. Michael Cole welcomes us to Raw, and immediately we have Ricardo Rodriguez at the top of the ramp, and he’s getting vociferously booed by the Grand Rapids crowd. However when the new World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio came out he got a moderate response. He’s actually in his old suit and scarf combo, ala his old heel days. He’s flashing the belt around and acting babyface. Lawler already treating him like a heel. They actually do the introduction again as Del Rio mentions the “Man of Steel” movie. Del Rio says “Many feel last night’s match was controversial. So was Dolph Ziggler’s win the night after WrestleMania”. Del Rio is upset that Ziggler was cheered that night at the IZOD Center. The crowd starts chanting “We Want Ziggler”, and Del Rio wants respect. Del Rio says “I vanquished Jack Swagger, who insulted the Mexican people and all he heard was USA….USA…” Del Rio is upset that the crowd is cheering for pigs and cowards. He’s now officially turning heel. Del Rio says “For the last five months I fought for all of you, but last night I fought for myself.” He’s willing to give the fans a second change, but instead we are interrupted by THE MAN! No not Ric Flair, but my new #1 guy, CM PUNK! Punk and Paul Heyman come down the ramp to a raucous ovation. Love the Wolverine look by the way. Punk says hi to Ricardo, and reminds him that the last time they met in a ring was Survivor Series 2011 when Punk won the WWE Title and held it for 434 days. Punk wasn’t going to come out here, but he says “I heard you say something about being the best..” Punk says “There’s only one Best in the World, and you’re looking at him..” Heyman interrupts and starts rambling about his clients don’t work for free. Punk cuts him off and says “While this guy stole the title from Dolph Ziggler, I stole the show..” Punk wants a match with Del Rio tonight. Del Rio says “You don’t want to do this..” Punk does want it. They keep yapping until “Brickie” comes out and Vickie tells Del Rio “You don’t make decisions on matches.” She wants to keep the momentum going, so it will be Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk tonight. Excellent opening promo which seems fresh and a reboot.
Back from break, and Paul Heyman is pleading with Punk about the match with Del Rio. Punk says “I will always be a Paul Heyman guy, but unlike Curtis Axel and Brock Lesnar I don’t need your help to win matches, so don’t come to ringside anymore.” Punk walks off, and Heyman is stunned.
INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP: Curtis Axel © vs. Wade Barrett
Before anything starts Vickie Guerrero comes out and says Barrett’s rematch will have to wait. She has another opponent for him and it’s a big surprise.
MATCH: Wade Barrett vs. Christian
Wow, it’s good to see Captain Charisma back, as he’s been out with an injury for over a year. He’s already jumping all over the place and attacks Barrett outside. Barrett took control but Christian comes back and hits the Killswitch for his first win back in quite a while. JBL isn’t happy but everyone else is.
The WWE Universe can vote on the app for the stipulation for tonight’s match between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton will be. The choices are no DQ, no count out, or two out of three falls.
To keep the awesome night going, we get a Wyatt Family vignette.
HANDICAP MATCH: Team Rhodes Scholars vs. Sheamus
So we get a great half hour of Raw and it’s immediately killed by seeing the Irish Superman dismantle a great tag team in one fell swoop. This is fucking ridiculous. Why not wrestle the whole roster at once? JBL says one good man can’t defeat two good men at once. Well JBL obviously hasn’t been paying attention the past 4 months. Sheamus beats up one, then the other. This is embarrassing. Cody gets hit with White Noise. Beating up two jobbers at once is one thing, but this? Wow, as Sheamus was about to Brogue Kick Cody, Sandow snuck up behind him and rolled him up for the victory. This has to be Sheamus’ first TV loss in months. He Brogue Kicks Cody anyway. Sore loser. Oh and Sandow didn’t pull the tights on the pin. Cole says Sheamus gave an effort. He was squashing them you dope! I don’t know why I get so irrational about this. Sheamus used to be one of my favorites. He’s so damn annoying now.
We get the awesome vignette from last night’s PPV announcing that Mr Monday Night, Rob Van Dam is returning to WWE. It will be July 14 at Money in the Bank in Philadelphia. If Punk coming out in Chicago was insane, wait until that night in ECW country.
Back from break and “Brickie” is talking with Triple H. He approves, however he wonders what the main event would have been if Punk didn’t come out last night. And Christian has been medically cleared for a month and a half, why come back tonight? Vickie also takes credit for RVD coming back, but Triple H says he was with RVD on the phone during negotiations, and neither Brad nor Vickie was there. Hunter wants Vickie to make sure The Shield doesn’t get involved in anything tonight.
Backstage with Daniel Bryan who’s warming up when Kane walks in. Bryan doesn’t want to talk to him or hear “I Told You So’. Bryan says he’s tired of being on teams, and the only team he wants to be on is “Team DB” Kane says “Makes sense since you are being a DB.” Bryan says “I need to win the WWE Championship”. Kane says good luck and Bryan (as usual) takes it wrong.
NO DISQUALIFICATION MATCH: Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
54% picked no DQ, which is not a surprise. Who would pick just no count-out? Bryan dominated early with grapple/submission moves. Orton said on the WWE App that Bryan is the weak link and tonight he’ll prove it. Orton turned the tables outside and then dominates the action for a bit. Bryan tries to make a comeback but when he goes for his patented dive through the ropes Orton ducks out and Bryan hits the barricade. Orton finds a kendo stick. In the climax, Bryan blocks the draping DDT. Orton fights off the No Lock and catapults Bryan out of the ring. Bryan hangs on to the ropes and pulls himself up but Orton kicks him to the floor with a low blow. A trainer comes over to check on Bryan. Bryan rushes back in the ring and brawls with Orton. It appeared that the doctor didn’t want Bryan to continue. Orton brings Bryan back outside of the ring and backdrops him over the top of the barrier. The doctor checks on Bryan again and tells the referee to call the match. Interesting decision here, but it must lead to something later in the show.
Orton and Bryan hug after the match, which I also found odd unless it keeps Orton’s face heat?
Back from break with new Divas Champion AJ Lee, who’s pretty much hamming it up at Kaitlyn’s expense. She wants Kaitlyn to come out, but instead out comes Stephanie McMahon. Her name on the screen says VP, Creative. I thought she was just a mommy now. Stephanie says she’s not original. AJ thought what she did to Kaitlyn was genius. Stephanie says “The McMahons invented crazy” and “If you want to stay Divas Champ, act like Divas Champ.” AJ says “I am you, only younger.” Stephanie threatens to take it all away, and then Kaitlyn’s music hits. She comes out with a bevy of babyface divas. Kaitlyn says “Congratulations AJ, you did it.” Stephanie tells the divas never to interrupt her again. Kaitlyn continues as the crowd chants “You tapped out”. Kaitlyn says you broke me, and now it’s my turn”. She gets in the ring and starts beating on the champ. Big E Langston comes out to grab AJ and carry her to the back. I love Kaitlyn, but it seems like I’m the only one.
UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP: Dean Ambrose © vs. Kane
We have a rematch from last night’s Payback PPV, where Ambrose won by countout when he DDT’d Kane on the floor. The match goes about two minutes when Reigns and Rollins come in for the DQ. We have a three on one beatdown complete with power bomb. Vickie Guerrero was warned by Triple H about this.
Mark Henry is shaking hands with people in a suit. Is he retiring?
Backstage The Shield are celebrating. Vickie gets in their face for interfering. Ambrose tries to intimidate her when Vince McMahon comes over and complements the Shield for their aggression. He insults Kane and is happy he was jumped. Then he walks away. Ah, a power struggle storyline.
Our second awesome Wyatt Family vignette tonight.
Back from break and out comes Zeb Colter. With Alberto Del Rio a heel, does it make sense to even have him around anymore? He goes on his usual immigration rant. He says “A war like this creates strange alliances” and out comes Antonio Cesaro. At least he has something to do.
MATCH: Antonio Cesaro vs. William Regal
Cesaro is wearing all white. I haven’t seen Regal since WWE’s trip to England a couple months ago. Cole is making no sense. He bitches that Colter isn’t sticking to his guns, when in reality he is. JBL keeps telling him that and all Cole does is laugh and move on. That’s not debating, that’s running away Cole. Cesaro wins easily.
Cesaro pulls out the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag and drapes it over Regal’s body. Cole is flipping out.
Another reminder that RVD is back at Money in the Bank. Did I mention it’s in Philly?
Back from break and the WWE Champion John Cena joins us. He’s fresh off his lukewarm average title match last night at Payback where he buried the Ryback character forever. Cena still has that dopey “Why are they booing me” look? I already want to fast forward this promo. Go ahead John, bore us with stupid quips. He says “Honestly I love being booed. Look around and listen!” Oh god, SHUT UP! I can’t listen to this shit. Cena says “My favorite superstar is…the WWE Universe! I admire your honesty.” I’m honest. You’re a douche bag. He says “I’m going to speak to just the group that loves me.” So does that mean I can fast forward? Cena says “I had a bad 2012, and I ask you to just hang in there.” I zone out for the next few minutes. He says “Whoever wins Money in the Bank, there will not be an opportune time.” And, that’s it. Well his music plays, and then out comes Mark Henry wearing a nice suit, and holding his wrestling boots. He leaves them on the stage and walks down the ramp. Mark says “You can put your guard down.” He shakes Cena’s hand. Cena’s about to leave when Henry asks him to stay. He wants to talk to everyone. He says “He respects everybody who loves this business, because it’s difficult.” He’s crying. He complements Cena and the crowd chants “THANK YOU HENRY”. I think the crowd starts chanting “SEXUAL CHOCOLATE.” He tells Cena that he could be the greatest WWE Champion of all time. He says “I’ve done pretty good for myself, but my one regret is that he wasn’t the WWE Champion.” He is out here to officially retire from the business. The crowd chants “ONE MORE MATCH”. Cena hands him the WWE Title and he holds it up. This is a great moment from a guy who never had it easy. He’s traveled the world a few times over, and he’s a proud man. He says hi to his family. He and Cena have a moment, then when Cena goes to hug him, Henry grabs Cena and gives him the WSS. He screams in his ear that “ I STILL GOT A LOT LEFT IN THE TANK!” He walks off with Cena in a crumpled pile. That was friggin awesome. My favorite Mark Henry moment of all time.
After the break, Mark Henry walks around pretty cocky. Renee walked up to him for comments. Henry says everybody was his puppet. He officially challenges Cena to a WWE Title match.
MATCH: Chris Jericho vs. Heath Slater
I thought Jericho was hurt. Why have him wrestle tonight? Michael Cole is such a schlub. He says “It is disgusting that Mark Henry used his family to fool us”. What a putz. JBL is really getting neutered as a heel analyst. He could have really laid into Cole for being such a goof, and he’s not. Even the heels are half babyfaces. So sad. Jericho wins easily. He cleans out the rest of 3MB too.
Backstage Paul Heyman is talking to Curtis Axel when Matt Striker comes over and asks about CM Punk. Heyman insults Striker and says even best friends need space. The Miz is at ringside with the guys.
MATCH: Curtis Axel vs. Sin Cara
How Axel won the title on Sunday night was pure genius. Miz says “Everyone thinks it was cheating and deviousness.” No, Axel was just smarter. Sin Cara is a glorified jobber now, do we need that stupid light over the ring during his matches? Axel wins in a squash.
Miz, you’re never winning the IC Title again. Go away.
Friday night, Daniel Bryan will face Dean Ambrose. That will be awesome.
Backstage Vince is talking with “Brickie” and is complementary of their work. He complements Mark Henry on his work. Vickie says it will be Mark Henry vs. John Cena at Money in the Bank. Stephanie barges in and says the show is out of control and then Triple H comes in to yell at her for not controlling The Shield. Vince says she’s fine. Stephanie says just listen to her. I actually feel bad for her. Ugh, too many McMahons.
MATCH: Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk
I want that Gracie Jiujitsu hoodie. It’s pretty cool. This is Punk’s first Raw match since before Wrestlemania. Both guys go at each other early, then Del Rio takes over with kicks. Punk takes control, even with what appears to be an injured left arm. The match went back and forth, until Punk hits the GTS. However Del Rio’s momentum carried him out of the ring. Del Rio gets up and he and Ricardo bail up the ramp and get themselves counted out. As they back up Dolph Ziggler comes running out and starts beating Del Rio down. They run off into the crowd. Punk wins by countout.
Then, all of a sudden another “Heyman client” comes out and its Brock Lesnar. He’s smirking up the ramp. He stalks the ring and then gets into the ring. He asks for a mike, but doesn’t say anything. He smirks, then drops Punk with an F-5. Lesnar cackles and with that we’re out.
SCOTT’S TAKE: This was the most entertaining Raw since that Bizarro episode at IZOD. We have fresh faces/heels, some new feuds are brewing and oh yeah, PUNK IS BACK.
Scott’s Raw Top 5:
1) John Cena
2) Mark Henry
3) CM Punk
5) Curtis Axel