Tag Archive: Monday Night RAW

All the fallout from Survivor Series, including both CM Punk and Big Show retaining their respective titles and Team Foley going down in a blaze of glory, came to the forefront on Monday Night RAW as it went on the air from Dayton, Ohio.

Main Plot Overview: The biggest result of Sunday’s Survivor Series PPV, traditionally one of the most controversy laden events of the year, saw CM Punk miraculously retain the WWE Championship after three NXTers interfered and put Ryback through the announce table during the triple threat match. This led to one of the most over-the-top celebrations in WWE history as CM Punk’s title reign officially reached one year, only the eighth time in history that has happened.

Ryback, none too happy about being screwed over again however, decided to crash the party. But just when Ryback looked to feed his hunger, the three NXT upstarts appeared again and performed a Survivor Series encore, again putting Ryback through a table.

It also seems that John Cena is starting a feud with Dolph Ziggler and therefore being slowly worked out of the main plot for the first time in a while. More on that though later!

Match of the Night: I have to say that aside from the stupid AJ/Cena drama and Punk’s weekly gloating, last night’s RAW saw the best all around wrestling card in quite a while, making this a difficult decision. With push coming to shove though, I had to pick a PPV main event caliber match that was almost buried in the very middle of the show.

Continuing the rivalry of Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio in a fight to see who is truly the WWE’s “Apex Predator”, Del Rio and Orton were placed in a Best 2 out of 3 Falls Match. In a surprising call, and to probably hasten the pace of what can be a marathon match inducing stipulation, Del Rio quickly disqualified himself when he refused to stop using the ring post to smash Randy Orton’s arm.

Of course, this was in the hopes of weakening it to more easily lock in his patented armbar submission, which is exactly what Del Rio did to score the second point of that match, his first. Tied up at 1 fall apiece, Orton was in trouble with his arm devastated. But you only need one arm to land an RKO.

After Del Rio missed his Enziguri finisher and Orton countered a second armbar attempt into a pinning situation, Del Rio’s frustration was clear. So much so that he attempted to use Orton’s own RKO against him, but Randy countered it into an Irish Whip followed up by his vintage middle rope suspended DDT. After this, Orton hit the RKO himself and won in what was a spectacular show from both men and has me interested in a non-title rivalry for the first time in quite a while.

Promo of the Night: After AJ and Vickie had their typical spot where Vickie was trying to prove that AJ and John Cena were an item, finally the dam broke and AJ and John locked lips right there in the ring. But it wasn’t this moment that made this situation the Promo of the Week.

As AJ and John made out, Dolph Ziggler made his way to the ring and ambushed John. When the tides turned, Ziggler made his way up the ramp to escape and John attempted to follow, but on the way out the ring, it looks like Cena twisted his ankle. At first, I thought he might have been legitimately hurt as replays show John did indeed twist his ankle and you can’t really fake that.

Officials later claimed it was more of a knee injury, but here is why I do not think it was serious. If it had been, John’s night would’ve been over and he’d likely have gone to this hospital. Instead, AJ busted into the Men’s Locker Room and confronted Dolph. This is when it got good.

Dolph then proceeded to belittle poor AJ, even calling her a piece of trash. AJ then freaked and started smacking Dolph. Cena then busted in to break it up, but Dolph then kicked the “injured” knee of John Cena as the two proceeded to have one of the best backroom brawls we’ve seen on RAW in a while, even smashing each other through a bathroom stall. This conflict combined with Dolph’s amazing heel speech is what made this series of events the Promo of the Night.

Shocker of the Night: We have a Great Khali sighting! I suppose the WWE’s ratings in India have dipped as the only reason why you see the Punjabi Playboy is to boost international appeal, as he is the worst wrestler on the roster by far. So this was an easy Shocker of the Week for me because I can’t remember the last time I saw Khali “wrestle”.

Of course, he still didn’t really wrestle as all he did was hit Primo and Epico, his handicap match opponents, with his big fist once or twice and the match was over. At the very least the match gave us an excuse to see the amazing Rosa Mendes come to ringside again though.

Cheap Pop of the Night: With Mick Foley not around that much anymore, it’s hard to call what was the Cheap Pop of the Night as I do not recall anyone blatantly pointing out the WWE’s presence in Dayton, Ohio. Because of this, the Cheap Pop of the Night actually goes to CM Punk for his new “I’m a Paul Heyman Guy” t-shirt (available now on WWEShop.com of course!) that cheaply plugs his legendary manager. This isn’t to say it’s not an awesome shirt as I think I know exactly what I’ll be buying on Cyber Monday next week now, but it just goes to shop a pop doesn’t always have to be for the hometown crowd.

A close second was when Paul Heyman called out the WWE Universe for chanting “ECW” in prior weeks, but not really understanding what that meant as the current WWE audience could never handle the glory days of ECW brand wrestling, or him spinning tales of how he used to hang out with the legendary Bruno Sammartino when he was a boy.

Mick Foley has to make some changes to his Survivor Series team, CM Punk finds himself between a rock and a hard place, and the King returns in this week’s Sleeper Hold!

Main Plot Overview:

Long time no talk recap folks. Sorry for the delay, but it’s been a crazy time here at EGM with the insane rush of games coming in for the holidays. Things are settling down a bit now though and so I was able to relax and watch a little Monday Night RAW.

And boy, did a lot happen on RAW last night. Ryback got his revenge on the rogue referee that cost him the title at Hell in a Cell and decimated the poor fool. AJ Lee confronted Vickie Guerrero once again about her supposed affair with John Cena. And leading up the triple-threat Survivor Series main event where John Cena, CM Punk, and Ryback will face off for the WWE Championship, last night’s main event put Cena and Punk against each other in a singles non-title match that saw both men give it their all. At least until Punk tried to run away and then met Ryback, who was still very hungry after his short match with the rogue ref, halfway up the ramp. As Punk began to backtrack away from Ryback, he attempted to escape into the crowd, However, Cena caught him and brought Punk back into the ring to get the win before Cena and Punk then both grabbed the WWE title in a moment dripping with tension and obvious symbolism.

I don’t know who is going to win the WWE Title on Sunday, but I’d love for it to be Punk one more time to cap off his full year as the champ and move into sole possession of the 8th longest title reign in history. I’d also like to see what Ryback would do as champ and maybe even set him up to take on some other unstoppable monsters like The Big Show or Kane down the line. Basically, as long as it’s not John Cena because he’s actually been developing well over the past few months into someone I can at least stand and I think giving him the title now would unravel this all again.

Match of the Night:

There has been a heavy focus in recent months on the tag team division. And to help show off this resurgence, the first 8-man tag match I can remember seeing in quite some time took place as the teams of Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara and Justin Gabriel/Tyson Kidd took on the Primetime Players and Primo/Epico, showing off all four teams’ interesting styles of offense in the match.

The match started off at a normal pace with the heels in control, but once a couple of hot tags were made by the faces, business picked up. With as many high fliers as there were in the ring, it was no surprise to see guys like Sin Cara leap off the top turnbuckle to the outside or for Tyson Kidd to hit a hurricanrana when they got their chance, but the moves all seemed to happen one right after another and so the match had the fastest pacing I’ve seen in some time, especially from Rey Mysterio who many thought might have lost a step, once everyone got into a rhythm. The big highlight of the match, however, was back-to-back finishers with Mysterio’s 619 and Gabriel’s 450 splash on Darren Young to end the bout. All things considered, the quick pace, tight maneuvers, and over-the-top finish made this an easy choice for Match of the Night.

Promo of the Night:

In an outpouring of emotion from everyone in ring and from the WWE Universe, it was great when Jerry “The King” Lawler came down the ramp in hour two to take his headset back from Good Ol’ JR (Although it was great hearing JR again for these past nine weeks. I really wish Michael Cole would go away).

To hear Jerry talk about how his experience was like It’s a Wonderful Life and how much he appreciated the outpouring of love from everyone in the locker room and the WWE Universe was a special moment and I for one am thrilled King pulled through. Of course, the whole moment would go sour when CM Punk would crash the party and Paul Heyman would fake his own heart attack right in the middle of the ring.

But this special promo wasn’t done for then Mick Foley came shambling down to the ring to belittle Punk about how special it was that Jerry was okay. How it was a damn miracle he was there and that for a short period of time he was dead. It was the most emotional I had ever seen Mick Foley and I think even Punk was a little stunned, but he kept his cool and turned it back on Mick as he always does. As a whole though, this was easily the best moment of the night on RAW.

Shocker of the Night:

With the main event at Survivor Series changed to a triple threat match between Punk, Cena, and Ryback, Mick Foley had a gap in his Survivor Series team that needed to be filled. Leaving it up the WWE Universe, Santino Marella, Zack Ryder, and late ballot entry The Miz, who defected from Team Ziggler, the Universe decided shockingly for The Miz by a landslide. Miz admitted that he didn’t like Mick and Mick admitted he didn’t like Miz, but they both hated Ziggler more.

It also led to an interesting storyline developing with the Miz being forced to partner with Kane later that night in a tag match against Rhodes Scholars and Daniel Bryan becoming jealous. Where that may lead, I don’t know, but the whole scheme stinks of turning the Miz into a face with him teaming up with other faces for Survivor Series.

Cheap Pop of the Night:

The emotional rant of Mick Foley about how it was a miracle Jerry Lawler was there in Columbus was not a moment that I felt was cheap in any way. But it needs to be said that it would be a Foley moment if he didn’t shout out the location of RAW at least once an evening and before Mick started preaching to Punk, he couldn’t help but mention last night’s venue in Columbus, Ohio. Mick is nothing if not consistent and we love him for it, but he also gets the Cheap Pop of the Night.

It was RAW’s 1000th episode, and unfortunately the WWE still can’t find a way to work some solid wrestling into the show even at three hours long now. Although I understand that it was a bit of a celebration, and hopefully things will pick up a bit next week, I can’t forgive the blatant extra advertising and time wasted pandering to the WWE Universe. As a whole, those of us who grew up in the ‘Attitude Era’ had a few extra laughs and it was nice to see legends like Bret Hart again. All in all though, this was a monumental waste of time and I fear for the future of Monday Night RAW’s ability to entertain us.

Main Plot Overview: The big shake-up in the main plot of the show was The Rock re-inserting himself into the WWE Championship picture, proclaiming he has been promised a title match at The Royal Rumble in January. Of course, with that still being six months away, the title can change hands several times potentially, with the first time being that night with John Cena cashing in his MITB contract.

Not surprisingly though, the match was interfered with by The Big Show and Cena became the first man to ever win his MITB contract title match, but not the title as a title cannot change hands via outside interference. The most infuriating thing about this match though was the sad attempt by WWE to possibly turn CM Punk heel, as he did what everyone else in the world would do and tried to capitalize on the opportunity afforded him by The Big Show. It’s not good for a face to win like a heel though, so this move likely means Punk is turning his back again on the people, especially after he clotheslined The Rock during his People’s Elbow on The Big Show.

Match of the Night: In three hours of programming, the WWE put on two good matches. The first was a 6-man tag match between Sheamus/Sin Cara/Rey Mysterio and Jericho/Dolph Ziggler/Alberto Del Rio. The match of the night though was the other good match in Christian vs The Miz for the IC belt.

Marking the 66th time the title was defended on MNR (average one defense every 15 weeks on the show), Christian came out with a flurry against the Miz, quickly taking to the air and hitting moves like missile dropkicks and crossbodies. But Miz would counter often and Christian would be unable to hit The Kill Switch. Instead, the Miz would finally get his chance and would take advantage, hitting the Skull-Crushing Finale and capturing the IC belt.

This was significant not only due to a major belt changing hands, but because this completes the career Triple Crown for the Miz who was a former WWE and US Champion. It also shows WWE’s commitment to insert the Miz right back into some decent storylines after some time away by giving him this storied mid-tier belt.

Promo of the Night: After the failed wedding of Daniel Bryan and AJ (more on that shortly), Daniel Bryan threw a tantrum of epic proportions. And CM Punk came down to the ring to gloat. Daniel Bryan didn’t take too kindly to this and proceeded to proclaim himself the greatest of all-time.

The Rock then had issue with this and came down to the ring to not only tell the people about The Royal Rumble, but to put Daniel Bryan in his place. After putting together a rhyme about how Daniel Bryan looks like something out of Lord of the Rings and is nothing but a glorified Oompa Loompa, the Rock gave Daniel Bryan a present. A Rock Bottom. Seeing the Rock rattle off an old-school promo like that was very enjoyable and so it is no surprise to see The Rock take home something he would have often back in his heyday, and that is The Promo of the Night. 

Shocker of the Night: Shortly before Daniel Bryan’s tantrum, he was the happiest guy in the world, as he was about to marry AJ (a lucky guy indeed). But like most weddings staged in a WWE ring, all was not well. And so the shocker came when we found out when AJ was saying ‘yes’ to someone else. Specifically, Mr. McMahon. But as Mr. McMahon explained to Daniel Bryan, it was a business proposition she was agreeing to. AJ was to be the new GM of MNR, to which I broke out with a ‘yes’ chant of my own! Our lovely geek goddess then proceeded to skip around the ring in her usual care-free demeanor as Daniel Bryan, with special guest reverend Slick, were left standing in shock in the middle of the ring. This is one of the few reasons I can’t wait for RAW episode 1001 now. 

Cheap Pop of the Night: The night started off with a bang as promised, as DX came out to the ring to kick things off. I was a bit disappointed though because it was only HHH and HBK and I remember when DX was actually a much larger stable than these two WWE mainstays. But I should learn not to doubt DX as they always have something up their degenerate sleeves and after some humorous banter between HBK and HHH, almost all the rest of the crew came out. X-Pac, Road Dogg, and Billy Gunn, in a military jeep, came rolling out to ringside and the gang was back together and for the first time in a while, I legitimately cheered at the TV while watching MNR. And it only got better as they hit all their catch phrases and even embarrassed Damien Sandow, who is definitely turning heads as a heel and passed his initiation as one after he was promptly disposed of by DX.

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.

This week’s Monday Night RAW saw the love triangle that has been AJ, Daniel Bryan, and CM Punk start to sink the champ and the number one contender. John Cena, Chris Jericho, Kane, and the Big Show are also starting to get into each other’s heads as MITB is right around the corner. Teddy Long was this week’s Interim GM and he put on the quite the show. Quick note folks: EGM will be down at San Diego ComicCon all next week and so The Sleeper Hold will be put on hold for a week. Thanks for understanding.

Main Plot Overview: With an opening promo that really set the two main storylines off and running, it’s hard not to start getting excited for MITB. Although John Cena continued to walk the company line and turn all negatives into positives, Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan saved the day with a hysterical catchphrase battle with Jericho obviously winning as he has a much fuller repertoire than D-Bryan.

CM Punk also came to the ring though and talked about the irony of AJ being the special guest referee for his and D-Bryan’s MITB WWE Championship match, but soon Kane and Big Show joined the fun before all hell broke loose.

Clearly, the WWE knows the WWE Championship has the best players involved right now so by putting over both Punk and Bryan’s blossoming rivalry along with re-inserting John Cena and his rivalry with Big Show and Jericho and Kane into the picture, this is the reason why we continue to watch wrestling. And the best part is how AJ finds a way to always steal the show!

Match of the Night: In terms of match quality, this was one of the weaker RAWs we’ve seen in a while. Most matches ended in only a few minutes or didn’t even get started due to classic heel maneuvers. It was good to build characters up for the MITB PPV again, but if you were looking for any kind of wrestling, this definitely wasn’t the night to watch.

But if I had to choose, I was pleasantly surprised actually by the Mixed Tag Team match between the odd team of Sheamus and AJ taking on Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler. Obviously, this was mostly a match between Sheamus and Dolph as the two put on a really good show hitting very solid spots. If they had put on this good a match at No Way Out, I would’ve walked away a much happier camper than I already was from that PPV. The end was also solid as after Sheamus Brogue Kick’d Dolph out of the ring (just after Dolph did the cowardly heel move of tagging in Vickie), AJ came in, pulled off a couple of nice moves including her Daniel Bryan-esque kick to the head finisher and got the pin.

Promo of the Night: As good as the opening promo was, especially with Jericho and Bryan trading catchphrases, and a later catty one between Eve and AJ that was surprisingly solid, the clear winner for this is Paul Heyman’s interview via satellite with Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler.

Heyman’s big announcement was that Brock Lesnar is waiting for the 1,000th episode of RAW to announce if he will participate in Summerslam (need to fill those three hours pretty badly now). But it wasn’t just this announcement, it was that he declared he had figured HHH out. That HHH wanted to be destroyed at Summerslam by Lesnar because then HHH could be a hero, the king carried off the battlefield on his shield and placed in the corporate suit he has desired for so long without losing any face with the WWE Universe or the wrestlers in the locker room. And he did with that classic Heyman venom that makes you appreciate how good a heel he truly is.

Shocker of the Night: Tyson Kidd’s quick upset of Tensai was in the running for this, but again this seemed to just be a way to build up hype and conflict between participants in MITB. But it was the frontrunner until the very end of the night.

At this point, AJ’s continued interference in matches isn’t something new or surprising. In fact, it’s getting close to the point of irritation now (I still love her though) and hopefully this storyline will start to wind down after the results at MITB. But how she decided to interfere in the CM Punk and John Cena vs. Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan tag-team main event of the night was absolutely brilliant.

After all four men entered the ring for the standard chaos that ensues in these kinds of tag matches, Cena and Jericho fought each other up the ramp and out of sight. Punk and Bryan, the legal men, then put on a great individual effort with quick pacing, a few great spots with counters and high flying maneuvers, and then AJ made her appearance. When ignored by the two terrific tacticians in the ring though, she resorted to desperate measure and pulled out a table. Maybe like the Dudley Boys of yesteryear, she’s got a thing for wood. Anyway, she climbed to the top turnbuckle and made it seem like she was going to put herself through the table. Finally, Punk and Bryan’s attention was got and they moved over to convince her it wasn’t worth it. When in the right place, AJ then pushed them both through the table, started laughing maniacally, and started a ‘Yes’ chant all her own. My jaw dropped as my fellow New Jersey AJ native pulled one over on the WWE Champ and number one contender. Wow.

Cheap Pop of the Night: Continuing the trend leading up to the 1,000th episode, Heath Slater has been taking on WWE Legends. And for a good while I thought this would be the week the streak of this being the ‘Cheap Pop of the Night’ would be broken as Doink the Clown returned to a WWE ring…unfortunately. Lucky for Heath though as he finally broke his losing streak and emerged victorious. The cheap pop came though when DDP, Diamond Dallas Page, walked down to the ring to congratulate Heath on the win. After a hearty handshake, not surprisingly, DDP then hit the Diamond Cutter and the crowd erupted.

Honestly, DDP looked in bad shape. He was deathly thin and I thought he was going to hurt himself doing the Diamond Cutter and looked the worst of all the Legends to come out for this segment so far. I also wonder what sorry sap had to come to ring dressed as Doink as I highly doubt it was the original.

With Money in the Bank fast approaching, several wrestlers were revealed to be in contention for the fabled contract that guarantees a title shot at any time within 365 days of the PPV.

Main Plot Overview: Vickie Guerrero kicked the night off by excusing herself and saying she was Interim GM for this week’s Raw and Smackdown. The biggest news that Vickie revealed though was the WWE Championship Money in the Bank match would only be full of former champions themselves. So when John Cena revealed he would be partaking in his first Money in the Bank, along with Kane, Jericho, and Big Show, the stakes were immediately raised. Meanwhile CM Punk, the current title holder, will defend the WWE Championship that night anyway against Daniel Bryan after he won a triple threat match with Punk and Kane to kick things off.

Honestly, the biggest positive that comes from this is seeing John Cena back in the title hunt after being absent from that picture for almost a full year after losing the belt at Money in the Bank and then losing the re-unification match to CM Punk at Summerslam last year. Cena is at his best when the belt is involved and after this recent feud with Big Johnny and the Big Show seems to have won over a good portion of the crowd back to Cena’s side, now is the perfect time to re-insert him back into the picture. If we see ‘Super Cena’ too early though, the positive energy John has been getting lately may be flushed back down the toilet. Best outcome for the WWE Championship MITB? Jericho winning hands down.

Match of the Night: In terms of actual wrestling, this was one of the worst MNRs in a while as most matches were gimmick matches, but the US Championship match between Santino and Jack Swagger actually had a couple of nice spots to barely beat out the women’s match (I was very tempted to make this the Divas Summertime Beach Battle Brawl match it was so bad a night), and the Alberto Del Rio/Dolph Ziggler #1 Contender’s match (the Del Rio Samoan Drop from the second turnbuckle was the spot of the night for sure) and only that there was a cop out outcome where there would just be a triple threat match Friday for Sheamus’ World Heavyweight Championship kept that from getting match of the night.

Swagger and Santino are both very strong in the ring although their styles are completely different. Santino’ speed versus Swagger’s strength were clearly played up throughout. Santino hit his classic arm drag after doing a split to duck a clothesline and Swagger showed off his power by countering several moves into solid suplexes and power slams. So technically this was a very solid match. But in the end the Cobra would be Swagger’s undoing as Santino continues a remarkable run as the US Champion.

Promo of the Night: It was very unusual that RAW didn’t really have a promo to kick the night off and instead got very quickly into the Punk/Kane/Bryan triple threat match. Instead, the biggest promo of the night was John Cena’s ‘historic’ announcment where he said he would take part in MITB for the WWE Championship.

The promo started with John doing a horrible Star Wars parallel to recent events in the WWE, but we were all saved by Chris Jericho (after a very long Fozzy promo) who called Cena out on his arrogance and how he doesn’t know what he’s getting into at MITB. The best line of the promo though was Jericho making fun of Cena’s Star Wars promo that seemed dedicated to 9-year olds and then Cena pointing out that is the majority of their audience. Cena was also quick to point out that although Jericho has been in more MITB than anyone on the current roster, he’s also never won it. It was a great promo that really helps set the stage for the weeks to come and possible a Cena/Jericho/Big Show rivalry or maybe the return of Jeri-Show!

Shocker of the Night: RAW opened up with AJ (I love her) practicing how she was going to break up with her recent love interests in front of a mirror, but the shock came when she was backstage with Kane and the Big Red Machine beat her to it. Calling AJ’s sanity into question in a bit of delicious irony, Kane appreciated her affection but was too much of a monster to become involved with Daniel Bryan’s former flame. This entertaining moment was definitely a shock as it seemed Kane broke character to let her down gently, although it reality it was all part of AJ’s plan…I think.

Cheap Pop of the Night: Sycho Sid was a dominate force in the WWE and WCW when he was in his prime before a career ending leg injury forced the 6’ 9” mountain of a man into limited action and then retirement. So to see him come out for a match against Heath Slater as we continue the build up RAW’s 1000th episode was a great moment indeed. Sid looked very stiff in the ring, no surprise considering most of his one leg is an iron bar, but Slater took the bumps well and seeing Sid toss the ‘One-Man Band’ down with authority when he hit his finishing release powerbomb was definitely worthy of the cheap pop of the night.

With the fallout of No Way Out starting to settle, it was definitely one of the less interesting Monday Night Raw’s I’ve seen in a while. Being one of the last of the 2-hour episodes though, I’m sure everyone was trying to take it easy after one of the better WWE PPVs in quite some time and I’m sure some folks mailed it in.

Main Plot Overview: John Laurinaitis is finally gone. Embarrassingly fired the night before, Interim General Manager for the week, Mick Foley (RAW was in Uniondale, NY, very close to where Mick lives and he received a great hand) allowed Big Johnny one last goodbye to the WWE Universe. Instead, Laurinaitis belittled the raucous Long Island crowd and revealed he had set up a 3-on-1 handicap match between Otunga, Big Show, and himself versus John Cena before the steel cage match the night before. Mick said there was nothing he could do about that, but he personally set up a tag match between Daniel Bryan and Kane versus CM Punk and Sheamus that would get the night started.

Later in the evening, both Otunga and Big Show would walk out on Big Johnny since neither has to work for him anymore and in a crowd rallying beat down, John Cena performed three AA’s before making him submit. A final farewell indeed to Mr. Laurinaitis. We still don’t know who will become the permanent GM though of RAW and Smackdown, although Teddy Long remains the hands down favorite, especially after watching Laurinaitis’s final beat down ringside.

Match of the Night: The feud between Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger had been simmering for some time now. Last night, Ziggler took that simmering pan and beat Swagger over the head with it. Although one of the shorter matches of the night, it was also one of the few that actually had a conclusive finish with no real outside interference. In a match that looks to be the end of the tag team, Swagger and Ziggler put on an impressive show as both wrestlers show how technically sound they are in the ring.  Swagger took the early advantage, looking to have damaged Ziggler’s knee, but a surprise Zig Zag saw the Show Off emerge victorious. We then saw another surprise as Ziggler locked lips with Vickie Guerrero to celebrate his victory as Swagger was left stunned and managerless in the ring.

Promo of the Night: Although Mick Foley’s classic humor was evident throughout the show’s open, the promo of the night was clearly when ECW founder, and current legal representation for Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman came to the ring to tell HHH that Lesnar does not want to face him at Summerslam.

HHH then came out though sand said Lesnar would because his ego wouldn’t have it any other way. Heyman then began to goad HHH in a way that only great heels can and finally forced HHH to knock Heyman out with a surprise right hand that sent Heyman flying.

Heyman, whether his more natural heel persona or a face, always can’t help but draw eyeballs to him when he’s in a ring. He may not have the physique of a wrestler, but his charisma pulls people to him like flies to cow dung and going against a pro’s pro with the mic in HHH was a great moment.

Shocker of the Night: The previously mentioned tag match between CM Punk and Sheamus vs Kane and Daniel Bryan had a guest visit from none other than AJ. It’s not so much that her continued presence in that twisted love-quadrangle that was a shock, but that she came skipping to the ring in a rejected Harley Quinn set of tights and a Kane mask.

Just like the previous two times, the Big Red Machine left ring side in confusion, lust, and whatever else is supposed to go on behind that mask and left Bryan all alone to be decimated by Punk and Sheamus. The most shocking part of all this though may be how much the WWE is dragging this out before Kane snaps and this storyline comes to an end. But, much like CM Punk, I dig crazy chicks and so the more AJ stays around, the happier I actually am.

Cheap Pop of the Night: After a more than 20-year absence from the ring, Cyndi Lauper came out with WWE Hall of Famer Wendi Richter and current Divas Champion Layla for a brief ceremony. The ceremony was cut short by Heath Slater unfortunately who wished to show off his singing ability. Saving the day though was good ol’ Rowdy Roddy Piper who was also on hand to present Cyndi Lauper with a special gold record. When Heath wouldn’t shut up, Cyndi smashed him over the head with the glass frame, actually cutting Slater if you looked closely.

The cheap pop though, aside from Roddy’s very presence, was the mentioning of Captain Lou Albano several times. Anyone who is a fan of wrestling was a fan of Lou and so when Roddy mentioned several times in his speech, the crowd erupted. It was a sign of respect, love, and admiration for one of the great wrestlers of the last generation, but it was also a little cheap.