Tag Archive: Daniel Bryan


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When I got my hands on WWE 2K16 for the first time a few weeks ago, the small amount of gameplay I saw had me worried. After playing a more complete build of the game this past week, however, that first demo seems to have been an earlier build that wasn’t quite ready for prime time. Now, I’m more confident the franchise is taking the necessary steps forward to get it back to where fans of “sports entertainment” want it to be.

The most obvious difference between my demos was found in the gameplay. I experienced a lot less glitches in and around the ring, and now grapples and reversals both felt much tighter. I also saw the return of the collar-and-elbow tie up from last year’s game at the beginning of matches that prompts a rock-paper-scissors mini-game, showing the franchise’s commitment to providing more realistic, properly-paced matches.

The ability to “run-in” or “break-out” during entrances was also an interesting feature that I began to take more advantage of during my second time playing the game. While getting a cheap shot in on my opponents may not have been the most sporting thing to do, it was a lot of fun, and authentic to what you might see on RAW every week when you have two opponents who particularly hate each other.

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Where I spent most of my time, however, was with the returning career mode. Once again, you get to create your own wrestler from scratch, see them toil in NXT, and then hopefully make the main-roster—with your primary goal being to see their 15-year career culminate in a WWE Hall of Fame induction.

Due to the limited amount of time I had with the game, I didn’t have much of a chance to dig deep into the specific options of wrestler creation. To save time, I just slapped some brightly colored trunks and boots onto my guy before sending him out to be lambasted by WWE’s new head trainer Matt Bloom (better known as Albert, or Lord Tensai, to longtime fans of the product). Here, career mode took its time teaching me the ins and outs of what it means to put on a good match, focusing on the importance of move variety and how the new Five-Star system works.

What’s really nice about this new career mode is that you now get a lot more dynamic feedback in the ring. Each move you perform can add or detract to your match’s five-star rating, and utilizing every move in your repertoire to keep the fans entertained is critical. Every time you step into the squared circle, it’ll be those fans—not wins or losses—that’ll be most on your mind.

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There are other ways to get fans to react than what you do in-ring, however. After any big match, you’ll be interviewed backstage by WWE’s Renee Young, during which she’ll pose to you a multiple choice question. How you respond over the course of the interview can change you from a face to a heel (good guy or bad guy for those not up on the lingo) or vice versa, as well as help flesh out your personality. Do you want to be aggressive or cocky? Charming or funny? How you answer these questions will determine how the fans react every week when you make your entrance.

Your fellow NXT and WWE superstars are also paying close attention to these interviews, as what you say or who you call out can lead to different rivalries. Because tag-team wrestling has also been given a heavier focus in this year’s game, who you have a greater affinity with personality-wise will also help determine who is willing to wrestle alongside you when the time comes to find a tag-team partner.

Once you start working on your character, you’ll then be able to pick your own set of goals as you start working towards having a Hall of Fame career. You can focus on climbing the ladder, working your way from NXT to the main roster to obtain the US Championship, Intercontinental Championship, and finally WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Maybe you want to focus on being part of a tag-team, and go for double-digit tag team championship reigns like the Dudley Boyz. Or maybe you’re okay being a mid-carder, setting your sights on breaking Chris Jericho’s nine-time reign record with the IC belt. There are multiple paths to the Hall of Fame—but how you get there is your choice.

It’s this new depth to career mode and the pacing of in-ring matches that has me really excited again for WWE 2K16. While I think it’ll be fun to relive the glory days of Stone Cold Steve Austin, the real meat and potatoes of the WWE 2K experience needs to start coming from other places. In that, career mode looks primed to start pulling its weight as a top-of-the-line attraction in this annual sports entertainment simulator.

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Best for business

Back in August, when I got to go hands-on for the first time with WWE 2K15, 2K revealed that the series would fall more in line with NBA 2K and feature a career mode for the first time. This past week, I was able to go hands-on with MyCareer mode for WWE 2K15 for about 45 minutes and take a look at life in the squared circle at three separate stages.

First, however, I must say that I was a bit disappointed I wasn’t allowed to play at all with the customization features for which the series is known. Of course, you’ll be able to do this in the final game, but “my” wrestler was pre-made. Although the couple of created characters we played with gave a nice overview of different hair colors, body types, and luchador masks, it wasn’t really the same as actually being able to dig through the creative options.

Beyond this, though, WWE 2K15’s MyCareer mode impressed me in a lot of ways. I began my journey as a wet-behind-the-ears rookie with a 55 overall rating. Without any pomp and circumstance, I was thrown into one of the seven rings available at a digital re-creation of the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, the company’s new home for training up-and-coming superstars.

And who was there, immediately barking orders and telling me how awful I was? WWE head trainer Bill DeMott. Now, Mr. DeMott is a very nice person, and I was fortunate enough to actually meet him at the Performance Center last week. But when you’re one of his students and you step into one of his rings, things change, and my created wrestler had Bill’s ire fall upon his head several times—and it was awesome.

As I worked matches in the ring, I received a one-to-five-star rating based on how I did in the and the show I put on for the crowd (if there’d been an audience besides good ol’ Bill). A match’s ebb and flow is also taken into consideration, so dominating against a jobber might not be best for business when you’re trying to tell a story in the ring. This made the new stamina bar (which I’ve now confirmed cannot be turned off) make a lot more sense, since it allowed my opponent a chance to get in a few strikes and provide at least a little bit of offense as I tried to catch my breath to perform my finisher. After the match, I got points to spend on my wrestler and level up his in-ring abilities, such as arm strength, speed, and stamina.

Once I was done messing around with my rookie, I flashed forward in my career and made it to the main RAW roster. At this point, I’d only been on the show a few weeks. It was immediately evident that no matter whether I won or lost, MyCareer mode would carry on and adjust accordingly. If I was in the midst of a rivalry, matches against other wrestlers weren’t as important, but they helped set up the story—a rival might interfere with our match or try to get in a cheap shot when I wasn’t looking. And even if I lost the match against my rival, I could still elevate my status in WWE and try to become a main-eventer.

Since the WWE had clearly invested a lot in me, though, in order to help elevate my brand, they wanted me to start a feud with an established star—and, in my case, I drew Daniel Bryan. I had the choice of shaking his hand to start a friendly rivalry or giving him a low blow. I gave him the low blow, which promptly started a “No!” chant led by my character.

I then flashed forward one more time to almost seven years into my career. By this point, I’d won a few titles, including the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and main-evented some pay-per-views. I was still wrestling at a high clip, but then Brock Lesnar decided to show up and demonstrate what he thought of me by F5’ing me in the middle of the ring. This prompted a Twitter feud between Brock’s advocate, Paul Heyman, and me, where I could choose to respond to Heyman via a couple of options—much like I had the choice on how to kick off my feud with Bryan. Meanwhile, in the ring, over the course of several weeks, Brock and I continued getting in each other’s faces—until finally, Heyman said the two of us would meet in a no-disqualification match at the next PPV.

Though I only saw a brief glimpse of MyCareer mode, it definitely feels like something that I could play again and again just to see how my superstar’s career could change each time based on decisions I made. Also, storylines you might see in real life started to unfold organically, which made it feel like I was watching actual WWE programming and not just playing a game. If MyCareer can give me this feeling for hours on end, WWE 2K15 now has a mode to elevate the franchise to the next level—and I can’t wait to really dig into it on the new generation of consoles.

CM Punk continues his unending quest for respect and not even Mr. McMahon would get in his way! All the details inside this week’s Sleeper Hold!

Main Plot Overview:

Monday Night RAW this week was one of the most adrenaline fueled, emotion driven episodes we had seen in quite some time, but that’s what happens when the Chairman of the Board is back in town. Yes, Mr. McMahon was present in Sacramento, CA, for his annual state of the WWE address. However, CM Punk would not let him finish since he felt that Vince McMahon, for the longest time, had been the most disrespectful one of all to Punk.

With a slap that no one would soon forget, Punk walked out of the ring laughing as Mr. McMahon writhed on the ground. But no one pushes Mr. McMahon around and gets away with it and with more venom and anger than we had seen probably in his entire feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin now more than a decade ago, McMahon said if Punk didn’t face him that night, he’d simply fire him. With an insane gleam in his eye, Punk gladly accepted.

And surprisingly, it was an interesting match. Heck, Vince put on a better match with Punk than John Cena has in half of the matches he’s had with Punk. At first, the WWE champ dominated the much older McMahon, but Vince doesn’t back down from a fight and when Punk thought his point had been made and turned his back, he made a vital error. The match then took on a somewhat old-school ECW vibe as Kendo sticks and announce tables soon became the theme of the match as the men battled and beat each other down. Finally though, Punk, with a pair of Kendo Sticks, wailed on Mr. McMahon’s back and it looked like he would be down for a while.

Then came Ryback.

Punk ran out of the ring though ‘like a scalded dog’ as JR so eloquently put it in his Oklahoma drawl, but there the injured, one armed John Cena came down to the ring and blindsided Punk, threw him into the ring, and Ryback got his last meal of the night. When he went to hit his finisher though, Punk wriggled out of his grasp and this time ran through the crowd. McMahon then drabbed the mic, his eye bloodied from the confrontation, and laid out an ultimatum for Punk. At Hell in a Cell he had two choices. Face John Cena for the WWE Championship. Or face Ryback for the WWE Championship.

Honestly, it’s clear that Cena is nowhere near 100% and that these Ryback interventions have been to try to build him up to Championship status in a short time. This ‘ultimatum’ is just another move by WWE to see how Cena heals after another week of rest and rehab. At this point though, I think Ryback versus Punk would make for a very interesting PPV match because Ryback is clearly a beast and the crowd loves him flaunting his power. Ryback would never come out victorious though because the ‘Punk is scared of Cena’ storylines are ripe for the picking once John is healthy again enough to continue his feud with CM Punk should Punk ‘choose’ Ryback.

Match of the Night:

There were some solid matches during this RAW. From Antonio Cesaro again dominating to Ryback being fed Epico and Primo and doing his maneuver on both men (yes, he put almost 500 lbs on his shoulders and walked around the ring carrying them). Of course, my favorite part of Epico and Primo is Rosa Mendes who seems to wear less and less now whenever she comes to the ring.

But no, these would not be our Match of the Night. In fact, hell no! As in Team Hell No versus Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio in a tag match was the winner. Kane and Daniel Bryan continued their winning ways after their odd mix of teamwork resulted in Kane choke slamming Dolph Ziggler (and Ziggler selling it very well as always) and getting the 1, 2, 3.

The best part of this match though was how it had a very old school tag team match feel with the heels dominating and isolating Daniel Bryan for a large chunk of the match before Kane got the hot tag and went crazy. And then we still saw glimpses of Team Hell No’s disfunction as the two would then tag each other in and out for the end of the match until finally Kane’s choke slam would prove to be the deciding factor. It was one of the better wrestled matches I’ve seen in a while and that’s a credit to all four combatants and it ended with a clean victory fitting of the faces that Kane and Daniel Bryan are becoming.

Promo of the Night:

I wanted to give this to possibly to Daniel Bryan and Kane arguing more backstage with special guest Larry King for when Daniel Bryan said that Kane looked like someone slapped him in the face with a Fruit Roll-Up, but one great line does not a promo make, no matter how funny it was.

No, and not really that surprisingly, it has to go to when CM Punk interrupted Vince during the State of the WWE address. It felt like they had wanted it to be more a Vince/Stone Cold promo of old, but Punk and McMahon went much darker and deeper than that and it felt more like the pipe bomb that Punk dropped a year ago as he started talking about how Vince held him back and didn’t know what to do with him. And then the slap was a great exclamation point as Punk then chastised those who cheered him because they were doing it only to be ironic. WWE has to be careful though because if they push Punk too hard with this heel arc, although he plays a great one, he’s getting dangerously close to ‘crazy Austin’ territory and all the work he’s done over the year could begin to unravel.

Shocker of the Night:

There really wasn’t much that was shocking on this episode of RAW beyond CM Punk, but in order to keep this from being dominated by Punk, I’m going to choose the Divas Championship match between Kaitlyn and Eve because it was actually well wrestled even if it was only a 5-minute match. Kaitlyn, still nursing her ‘injured’ ankle would finally cash in her Championship match as number one contender and dominated Eve for much of the match hitting some great maneuvers and even showing off some strength herself until said injured ankle gave way on an atomic drop.

Eve, ever the opportunist, would lock Kaitlyn into a painful looking submission maneuver that focused on the ankle (it looked like a cross between a figure four and an ankle lock) and Kaitlyn would have to tap out. But this was a rare women’s match that I enjoyed watching for the actual wrestling and not just the hot ladies in skimpy clothing. Definitely a shock to me.

Cheap Pop of the Night:

For some reason Larry King was on the show, promoting his new Hulu series I believe, and so a promo between him, Kofi Kingston and the Miz (looks like they’re finally going to give Kofi another singles push with a focus on the IC belt) erupted when the Miz demanded everyone sing him happy birthday.

Besides this though, there were two cheap pops in this segment. Larry King started it off by exclaiming his love for Sacramento and the Kofi did the same thing when he took the stage and the microphone. A good segment all around for Miz and Kofi as Kofi did some high-flying acrobatics off the stage and onto the Miz, but the pair of pops (which even the Miz pointed out) to get a rise out of the crowd for the pointlessness of Larry King was easily the Cheap Pop of the Night.

A little late this week due to the Labor Day hangover, but it wasn’t the best episode of RAW this week either as, although we all love CM Punk as much as the next guy, as you’ll see, it was a bit too Punk-centric for my tastes. So here is this week’s Sleeper Hold!

Main Plot Overview: Things kicked off big time on RAW as Punk ambushed Jerry Lawler and kicked him in the back of the head again. Lawler was so hurt, he would not take part in this episode of RAW as Punk continues his rampage looking for respect.

Punk could do no wrong in his hometown of Chicago though until he decided to skimp out on the Champion vs Champion match he had lined up against Sheamus by GM AJ Lee. Punk, claiming to take a personal day (after all, it was Labor Day).

Punk would not completely leave the arena since his Night of Champions opponent John Cena was still to be in action though and when Cena’s Falls Count Anywhere match with Alberto Del Rio went to the back room, Punk intervened and hit a GTS on Cena on the hood of a parked car. This gave Del Rio the win and we also then saw our Shocker of the Night shortly afterward.

Match of the Night:  There wasn’t much going on this night in wrestling aside from CM Punk stealing the whole show, but one other rivalry that’s brewing is Dolph Ziggler vs Randy Orton and talk about putting on a show. These two guys are both some of the most technically sound wrestlers on the RAW roster and with each one hitting great spots, this match was a joy to watch. Although it ended on a classic heel move when Ziggler grabbed Orton’s tights, everything up to that point was terrifically tight and a shoe in for Match of the Night.

Promo of the Night: Just in order to break up the CM Punk love, we’re giving the Promo of the Night to the Kane/Daniel Bryan anger management sketches. They’ve been hysterical watching Bryan and Kane work out not only their personal issues with each other, but in general. Kane, of course, is angry because he’s the Devil’s Favorite Demon, his real dad being Paul Bearer, etc. And Daniel Bryan is just being angry at the WWE Universe. They also set up the hysterical ‘Hug It Out’ option, which the WWE voted for, but devolved into Kane wreaking havoc as always.

Shocker of the Night: Although it came in the final 15 seconds of the show, this was easily the most exciting moment of the night. After knocking out John Cena and helping Alberto Del Rio pick up a win, CM Punk got into a car and started driving away. But before pulling all the way away, the driver rolled down his window, and Paul Heyman stuck his head out. What this means for the WWE Champion and John Cena’s match at Night of Champions, we will have to wait and see until next Monday, but at least we have something to look forward to now.

Cheap Pop of the Night: Easily the Cheap Pop of the Night came during everytime CM Punk opened his mouth as he related everything to his Second City home of Chicago. Even when he stormed out of the arena, he expected his hometown crowd to understand as he related it to them taking the day off for Labor Day. So all night long, CM Punk’s lovefest with Chicago takes the Cheap Pop of the Night.

CM Punk’s quest for respect continued along with much more as RAW rolled into Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this week!

Main Plot Overview: After being kicked in the head by Punk the previous week on RAW, Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler was the one searching for an apology. But instead, CM Punk only apologized for Lawler being what he considered a low standard for the WWE Hall of Fame. A man who never won the WWE Championship and never had a Wrestlemania moment. A man who Punk considers to act far too juvenile for his position in the WWE Universe and for that, Punk apologized. Seeing how furious that made Lawler, Punk challenged The King to a match that would Main Event the evening and with the WWE Universe voting on the stipulation of it being a cage match (tables and No DQ were also options).

To no one’s surprise, Punk demolished Lawler. But Punk was not done after making him tap to the Anaconda Vice. No, Punk locked himself and Lawler inside the cage and continued to pummel the Hall of Famer, demanding he call him the best in the world. As Lawler refused, Punk continued to drop elbows and knees into Lawler’s cranium until finally John Cena, the now official number one contender after AJ Lee decided for CM Punk before his Main Event match, came running down and yelled at the crew to lift the cage. When it did, Cena rolled in, chased Punk out, and RAW faded to black.

Match of the Night:  Although John Cena wasn’t part of the Main Event match of the evening, he was in our best match of the night against The Miz in a non-title match. Just because the two needed some work I guess.

The lack of storyline aside, if you were looking for some solid in-ring action last night, this was the match to watch as the two wrestlers showed that they had worked in the ring several times before. Each hit very solid spots including reversing each other’s finishers into DDTs and other high impact maneuvers. It would finally be Cena though (of course), who would channel the power of his jorts and go SuperCena on Miz, hit his Five Knuckle Shuffle, and hoist Miz over his head and hit an Attitude Adjustment to end the match by getting the 1, 2, 3.

Promo of the Night:  It was very tempting to put Punk’s belittling of Jerry Lawler as the top promo once again, but instead, as scripted as it may have been, I think there was a few heartfelt moments there, and so HHH’s seeming goodbye to the WWE Universe, was my Promo of the Night.

With lines like ‘Thank you for letting me play the game’ and how hard a pill it is for any wrestler to finally decide to call it quits, I think HHH’s speech gave some interesting insight actually to the inside of a wrestler’s mind before he hears his music, steps through a curtain, and runs down that steel ramp all with the idea of entertaining people in mind. It was a nice moment, and for that, we thank you again HHH.

Shocker of the Night:  This was a difficult call as there really wasn’t anything shocking about last night’s RAW, so this week we’re looking at something that was just a bit more out of character.

A very solid tag match between the team of Randy Orton and Sheamus vs Alberto del Rio and Dolph Ziggler would be won by Orton and Sheamus as for once Orton worked as a solid teammate and helped Sheamus in his time of need.

As chaos ensued outside the ring between the ref and Alberto Del Rio, Ziggler, looking to take advantage of the distraction grabbed his Money in the Bank briefcase and looked to strike Sheamus down with it. In an unusual twist of character though, Orton jumped into the ring and wrestled the briefcase from Ziggler and then performed a signature backbreaker on the Show-Off. This set Sheamus up to hit a brilliant Brogue Kick and the two faces walked away victorious. Not the most shocking of moments, but definitely out of character for the typically loner-type that is Randy Orton.

Cheap Pop of the Night:  Last year, when R-Truth made his way to Wisconsin, he was definitely not in his right mind (well, even less so than he currently is) and even the likes of Michael Cole immediately got on his case when he confused Milwaukee and Green Bay. This led to a chorus of boos the likes of which has rarely been seen for even the most despised of heels.

But, looking to turn a positive into a negative, this time around R-Truth blamed the mishap on Little Jimmy pranking him last year. So when he grabbed the microphone and announced to Little Jimmy that he wouldn’t be fooled again and was well aware that he was in Milwaukee, there could have been no other moment that we picked as our Cheap Pop of the Night. Especially as the ensuing ‘Yes’ chant led to a count out win for Truth after Daniel Bryan went berserk and started arguing with the crowd again.

The 25th anniversary of Summerslam is right around the corner and with the card only half-booked, it would be interesting to see how storylines continued to develop before heading into one of the most anticipated PPVs of the year.

Note: Due to EGM’s presence at Gamescom next week, there will be no Sleeper Hold until the week following Summerslam.

Main Plot Overview: CM Punk is tired of being disrespected and confronts AJ at the top of RAW to demand that the main event at Summerslam no longer be a triple-threat match as he can lose the belt without even being pinned or submitting. AJ does not care though, looking fantastic in an all-white power suit (have I mentioned before on this how much I love her?) and continues to supposedly disrespect Punk by making the main event of RAW John Cena vs Daniel Bryan in a warm up match for the two before Summerslam (the Big Show and Randy Orton were also in action). Punk demanded a match though and so AJ said it wasn’t up to her, but the WWE Universe as they got to vote to see if Punk would face Kane, Rey Mysterio, or The Miz (the two not picked faced off later that night, in this case being Kane and Miz).

Later in the evening, after the brilliant main event match (more on that in a bit) Punk would continue his gradual heel turn as after Big Show again stormed the ring and John Cena went for an AA, Punk pushed the two of them again. Punk then talked about how he felt he was being walked all over and that part of the reason is his fault, as Cena pointed out in an earlier promo, and so it was no more Mr. Nice Guy from CM Punk. The show then ended with Punk looking to do more damage to the two men in the ring, but Big Show popped up and knocked out both Cena and Punk with a pair of WMD punches, which basically is just to instill doubt in people’s minds that Punk may not walk out of LA the champ.

Match of the Night: I was pleasantly surprised that the best match of the night was actually the main event. Nothing else was particularly special, although the CM Punk vs Rey Mysterio and Christian vs Alberto Del Rio matches had some very good moments.

Yes, amazingly, the John Cena vs Daniel Bryan match was the match most worth watching last night as Bryan carried Cena with a match that saw several finishers countered into submission maneuvers, submission maneuvers countered into finishers, high flying moves off the ring apron, and Daniel Bryan’s continued descent into madness as he tore up ‘YES!’ signs in the crowd and even got into shouting matches with some of the more vocal members of the WWE Universe.

No surprise that Cena was put over in this match with Summerslam less than two weeks away and him in the WWE title match, but Daniel Bryan continued to impress with his in-ring skills, including a flying headbutt clear across the entirety of the ring, Sure, Cena hit his few patented maneuvers, but see Daniel Bryan work with him though the match was a thing of beauty and it actually made so you couldn’t look away as you didn’t know what was going to happen next.

Promo of the Night: Although it was the shortest promo of the night, when CM Punk knocked over Cena and Big Show and grabbed the microphone after Cena’s main event match, the venom he spewed for the next minute solid was spectacular. With shades of the anger he exhibited when he dropped his infamous pipe bomb last year, Punk’s monologue called out everyone around him, including Jerry Lawler, and talked about how important the WWE Championship really is and that the WWE Universe did not truly understand what went with carrying that belt around.

The promo was also critical as it took another step towards Punk’s heel turn, even though much of the crowd still agrees with Punk and so he is in the murky ‘anti-heel’ phase now where he may be mad all the time and he might take some cheap shots (although he legitimately beat Mysterio earlier in the evening), he makes good points and is still one of the best wrestlers in the WWE, making a strong portion of the fan base able to forgive some of the things he says and does. And for that single minute there, backed up by the pure rage that Punk holds at bay, many of us hoped Punk wouldn’t stop talking and RAW would end on another of his rants.

Shocker of the Night: This was a difficult one in that there wasn’t really much to be shocked by over the course of the night. But if we had to choose something, it would probably be a couple of things in the CM Punk vs Rey Mysterio match. The big shocker here was that Rey Mysterio hit his patented 619, but since the WWE didn’t want the champ to look weak against a random opponent, and so Punk could keep yelling ‘Best in the World!’, Mysterio supposedly got greedy and Punk countered Mysterio’s high-flying maneuver follow-up to the 619 and was able to capitalize for the win.

Also just as shocking was that Mysterio looked like he was dressed up as The Riddler from Batman Forever as he was wearing all white with a big green question mark in the middle of his chest. And I thought I was a big comic book fan.

Cheap Pop of the Night: Alberto Del Rio made the mistake earlier in the evening of calling AJ ‘crazy’ and in doing so prompted her fury, putting Del Rio in a match against Christian, that also could have been a Match of the Night contender had it not ended cheaply with a distraction by Ricardo Rodriguez. After the match was over though, with Del Rio victorious, he was shocked to see Sheamus on the Titantron, with Del Rio’s keys to his custom Ferrari. Sheamus then proceeded to talk about how he was going to see how San Antonio (the location of last night’s RAW) treated him and in doing so got thunderous applause from the crowd.

It was humorous to see Sheamus TOUTing his escapades the entire evening throughout San Antonio, continuing the cheap pops, but the best part of the night was when he brought back a filthy Ferrari that Ricardo then had to clean up. But for this blatant imagery and constant mentioning of San Antonio, Sheamus gets our Cheap Pop of the Night.

With Money in the Bank now behind us and Dolph Ziggler and John Cena the holders of the most coveted contracts there are in the WWE, things began to actually settle down a little as we move forward to next week’s monumental 1000th episode of Monday Night RAW. Several plot lines were tied up as several new ones started. And others took interesting twists in the hopes of making next week’s RAW the most historic episode ever. But before next week gets under way, we needed to get through this week first!

Main Plot Overview: After CM Punk’s successful title defense at Money in the Bank, he came out to tell the folks in Vegas that it was a year ago at that venue when he dropped his infamous pipe bomb and has reigned as WWE Champ for over eight months now. Interrupted by the Big Show though, Punk was reminded that John Cena can cash in his Money in the Bank at any time and if Show were to knock Punk out that evening in their main event match, that would be an awesome time to do it.

Flash forward to the end of the night and many thought that is just what John would do after Big Show DQ’d himself by hitting the referee and continued to swing away on Punk. Mind you, if this match had carried to a natural conclusion instead of a build up to next week, it was a strong contender for Match of the Night. Anyway, those of us who knew better that John would not cash in the briefcase because he is so honorable and righteous and…

Sorry, I couldn’t finish that last sentence without throwing up in my mouth a little. I’m good. I’m good. Back on track. But yeah, Cena instead gave Punk a week’s notice that at the 1000th episode of RAW the main event would be him and Punk for the WWE Championship, setting himself up as possibly the first man to lose his title match after winning his Money in the Bank contract match.

Match of the Night: This was very tough as few of the matches that went on were actually worth our time. The mixed tag match between AJ/D-Bryan vs Eve/The Miz was solid, but it was predictable for the most part and had only a couple of nice spots. The match that really impressed me, but wasn’t technically a match since the bell never officially rang, was Ryback vs. Jack Swagger.

First, thank you WWE for finally starting to push Ryback against real competition as I’m tired of watching him powerbomb some 130lb weaklings in a ‘handicap’ match. At Money in the Bank he had a handicap match against real wrestlers in Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins and then tonight he had some really good spots with Swagger.

Swagger started things off quickly by hitting Ryback as soon as he got into the ring. After tossing him around for a while and even hitting the Swagger-bomb for the first time in nearly forever, he tried to perform the ankle-lock. Twice. But Ryback countered each time and continued to show off his impressive power as he performed a TRIPLE powerbomb on Swagger before starting his chant ‘FEED ME MORE’ once again. Most impressive.

Promo of the Night: Another night of solid promos from several folks, but again Dolph Ziggler stole the show when he decided to ‘show-off’ his microphone skills talking about he’ll be the greatest undisputed world heavyweight champion of all-time. Better than The Rock, Stone Cold, and Bret Hart. Then Chris Jericho showed up.

But for the first time I can ever remember, Jericho didn’t say a word as Ziggler belittled him, saying no one even remembers the last time he won a big match as he’s been on the losing streak of a lifetime. And basically, he’s lost it. After several long minutes of being verbally broken down by Ziggler, it was like Jericho’s eyes started to glaze over…and then he hit a Codebreaker and walked out of the ring. I don’t know if it’ll actually lead to anything, but it was a great job by both men as Ziggler continued to cement himself as a great mic man and Jericho’s presence only helped intensify the entire promo.

Shocker of the Night: For once, AJ and the drama that follows her is no longer the shocker of the night although her and Daniel Bryan getting married next week was a close second. No, the shocker of the night was the long awaited return of the master of the 619, Rey Mysterio.

After Zack Ryder served as a jobber to let Alberto Del Rio take his frustration out on after blowing another title match against Sheamus at Money in the Bank, Rey Mysterio came back after almost a year ‘hiatus’ caused by Del Rio supposedly injuring Mysterio’s arm. To a huge ovation, Mysterio and Del Rio went back and forth for a short while before Del Rio set him up for and hit the 619 to start a new rivalry between the wrestlers. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here as both are very strong in the ring as well as to see how crisp the now 37-year old Mysterio is after such a long break.

Cheap Pop of the Night: What will likely be the last time this happens, Heath Slater took on another WWE Legend. Of course, the legitimacy of him as a legend as much as his bloodline being legendary is questionable, but the return of Rikishi was a nice moment for sure.

As has been the motif the past several weeks, Rikishi dominated and hit all his signature moves including the Stink Face as Slater did a nice job of putting an older wrestler over. The nicest thing about this moment though was when the lights went down and The Usos, who happen to be Rikishi’s twin sons, popped out and danced with their poppa. Definitely that moment alone made this worthy of the cheap pop of the week.