Tag Archive: Sleeper Hold

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.

Something new we’ve been mulling over for some time at EGMNOW.com is to look at professional wrestling. All of us here in the office are huge fans of the WWE brand and often we get into arguments over how plotlines are developing, who should and shouldn’t be getting put over, and just how much power John Cena gets from his trademark jorts. In that vein, we hope to give you a brief overview of our thoughts on what is transpiring each week and maybe even entertain some of you in the process.

Main Plot Overview: The big overarching plot of June 11th’s Monday Night RAW, which came to us live from Hartford, CT (gives Mick Foley thumbs up), was whether or not John “Big Johnny” Laurenitis would finally be fired, as Vince McMahon would step back into the squared circle for the first time in nearly nine months and re-take the reigns of his company. Giving Laurenitis one last chance, McMahon wanted Big Johnny to put on the card of a lifetime in a special 3-hour edition of RAW (really a test run for the expanded format starting July 23rd, which I’m all for because it will allow a lot of wrestlers and the lesser belts to be put back into the spotlight on a regular basis).

Laurenitis would seemingly fail at this task though, and at the end, when he was about to be fired in classic McMahon fashion, Big Show would storm the ring to side with Big Johnny, soon followed by John Cena who would side with McMahon. This would lead to a scrum (of course) and the stipulation that Cena vs Show at No Way Out, this coming Sunday’s PPV, would have Laurenitis’ job on the line (again).

Match of the Night: A decent subplot that emerged from last night came really from the fact that Alberto Del Rio was injured once again in his last match. This left the number one contendership for the World Heavyweight Championship wide open and so an impromptu Fatal 4-Way Elimination match was signed between Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, Christian, and the Great Khali.

Once Khali was quickly eliminated (his continued presence after all is only there for the obligatory Indian audience demographic bump), the match really did a great job of impressing. Swagger, Ziggler, and Christian are three of the better in-ring tacticians the WWE roster has right now and when it came down to Christian versus Ziggler, the crowd couldn’t get enough of it.

Ziggler was going to get the obvious bump when it was down to them though since Chrisitian is already the IC champ, and many more expected it would’ve been Ziggler vs Swagger in the end anyway since both are in such desperate need of a bump, but to see the Show-Off walk away as number one contender was the right move and may make the PPV Sunday actually watchable.

Promo of the Night: Vince’s return to the ring was a great moment and his banter with Laurenitis to open the show was comical and necessary, but this award goes to CM Punk and Daniel Bryan in preparation for Sunday’s Triple Threat WWE Championship match. And not just because these two know how to drop pipe bombs that always push the right buttons with the crowd, but because when the third participant in that match, Kane, came to the ring, it added a nuance to the “I’m better than you” angle that Punk and Bryan have going with each other right now.

What really put this over the top was AJ though. Aside from being insanely hot (she’s a pro wrestler and a fellow geek…yes, I am in love), her crazy chick motif got the biggest rise out of the crowd during this segment and the jokes that King and Cole were cracking about her was probably their best moment of the night as well. From her gushing over Punk, to saying how D-Bryan has her first love, and that like the tin man, Kane actually has a heart, this love quadrangle train wreck kept everyone talking long after it was over.

Shocker of the Night: Although some people are still shocked that John Cena has finally won the crowd completely back over to his side by pitting him against some great heels in Big Show and Laurenitis, the shocker came in the glorified handicap match that was D-Bryan and Kane vs CM Punk and AJ, which was a result of their aforementioned promo.

Mind you, it wasn’t the match itself, but how it was won. By AJ planting a 30-second kiss on Kane that took the Big Red Machine completely out of the match. And yes, it was literally a 30-second kiss, with just Kane standing there, looking completely dumbfounded, and AJ going to town while having her legs wrapped around his waist. The crowd started cheering…and the kiss was so long that the cheers turned to leers as we all just couldn’t help but watch this unfold in the ring. Did I mention that I love AJ?

Cheap Pop of the Night: It was revealed late in the show that Vince had brought with him a classic wrestler from RAW’s past to help ring in the event in a few weeks that will be the 1000th episode, that he was to be in action that night, and that his opponent was to be Heath Slater.

And when we all found out who it was, the crowd went absolutely nuts. Because it was time. It was time. IT WAS VADER TIME! That’s right, the Mastadon himself, looking much slimmer than during his prime, so much so that his mask didn’t even fit right, came storming down to the ring and everyone threw up the V’s with their fingers in a salute to this legend.

And to his credit, even in his late 50s now, Vader put on a solid show. Part of this I think was also Slater doing a solid job of taking bumps and selling everything, including the patented Vader bomb, but Vader got around the ring very well and showed he was still in decent wrestling shape. It wasn’t a long match by any means, but the crowd went absolutely bonkers for it and admittedly, as a long time Vader fan, it was great to see him in action one last time.