Before last night’s WWE Raw started, I had a feeling that there would be no explanation for how Mr. McMahon can be “the boss” and evaluate John Laurinaitis when the WWE Board of Directors fired him last July, so I was determined to enjoy the show anyway. It would have been simple enough to take 30 seconds to explain that he had been reinstated, perhaps because of Triple H’s situation with Brock Lesnar, but the WWE decided to insult our intelligence and move forward without doing so. However, despite this oversight, last night’s episode was lots of fun to watch with one exception – Vince McMahon.
Vince McMahon made a name for himself as a ruthless, corporate tyrant. So coming back to make fun of Jim Ross, dance with Brodus Clay’s dancers and drive John Laurinaitis’ scooter off the ramp do not do anything for me. Thankfully, Mr. McMahon did not dominate the show last night which made about two and a half of the three hours quite enjoyable. This, of course, bodes well as WWE Raw moves to permanently expand to three hours next month.
Here are my thoughts on the show:
The show kicked off with Laurinaitis coming to the ring but before he could get a word out Vince McMahon made his return. Mr. McMahon says that he is there to fire Laurinaitis but Laurinaitis tries to defend himself and point out all of the good things he has done. Sheamus comes out to support the decision to fire Laurinaitis and Laurinaitis says that he is going to go backstage and find an opponent to teach Sheamus some respect. Mr. McMahon tells Laurinaitis that it had better be a good opponent, and that the entire episode had better be entertaining, or he would be fired at the end of the night.
Sheamus ended up facing Tensai and the two of them actually had a decent match despite their size and lack of true athletic ability. Sheamus ended up winning with the Brogue Kick and after the match Tensai attacked the guy who follows him to the ring. I’m not sure what Tensai attacking the guy was supposed to accomplish because frankly I couldn’t even remember his name, let alone care that he was getting beat up.
An interesting thing to note is that during the exchange between Mr. McMahon and Laurinaitis, Mr. McMahon said that Big Show was a waste and had never amounted to anything in the ring. Good job Vince, way to bury one half of the main event for your next pay-per-view.
Earlier in the day it was announced that Alberto Del Rio had suffered a concussion last week and would be unable to compete for the World Heayweight Championship. Laurinaitis gave Teddy Long a chance to come up with a solution and he suggested putting all of the former world champions there that night – Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, Christian and The Great Khali – in a fourway elimination match to determine the new #1 contender. That match took place later in the night and, once Khali was eliminated, it was by far the best match of the night. Frankly, I would have left Khali out of the match and just pretended he wasn’t in the building and I am getting quite sick of him being put in the ring at all. If the WWE is determined to have an Indian wrestler on the roster, push Jindar Mahal. Anyway, as I said, the match was fantastic once Khali was eliminated and saw Ziggler steal a pin on Swagger away from Christian and then defeat Christian cleanly to earn a shot at the World Title on Sunday. I’m sure Ziggler is going to lose, but at least having him win the match and earn a world title shot is a step in the right direction for him. And who knows, maybe he pulls the upset of the year and actually wins?
In a continuation of the decimation of the WWE roster due to suspensions and injuries, R-Truth was taken off television due to an ankle injury last week by being knocked out by Big Show backstage. As a result, Kofi Kingston demanded a match against Big Show and Laurinaitis granted him the match but made it inside a steel cage (good thing there just happened to be one above the ring that night). The match was the worst of the night as Big Show spent nearly 15 minutes just completely destroying Kingston before finally walking out for the win. I’ll be curious to see what this does to the tag titles because the tag team division had been on a roll as of late and it would be a shame to see that momentum stall just because one half of the champions is legitimately injured. If I were in charge, I would activate the rule that says that titles have to be defended every 30 days, note that R-Truth and Kingston will be out for longer than that and vacate the tiles, putting them on the line in either a tag team tournament that lasts most of the summer or a four-team elimination match on Sunday.
After being off all WWE television programming for two weeks, the good news is that the WWE Divas made a return last night. The bad news is that Divas Champion Layla and Beth Phoenix were placed in a mixed tag match with Santino Marella (teaming with Layla) and Ricardo Rodriguez (teaming with Beth). Thankfully, neither Marella or Rodriguez had a hand in the finish, which surprisingly say Beth pin Layla. This most likely sets up a title match between the two, hopefully on Sunday and hopefully one where Beth regains her title. As for Marella and Rodriguez, there is a place for comedy matches and characters in the WWE, but not when one of them holds the title. Move the United States Championship off Marella and onto anyone else (Jack Swagger?) and then let him continue to be a comedy act.
There was a great in-ring segment between Daniel Bryan, Kane, WWE Champion CM Punk and AJ. It started with Bryan saying that he is better than Punk and Kane because he is not weakened by the presence of AJ at all their matches and backstage, but he understands why she still hangs around him because, “Once you go Bryan, there’s no point in trying.” Punk comes out and says that AJ is actually a pretty cool person and that not only is she out of Bryan’s league, but Bryan is out of his league in terms of wrestling ability. Bryan calls Punk a sellout for being nothing like the Superstar who dropped pipe bombs last year and Punk says that he is the same guy, it’s just the fans who never believed in him who have accepted him more. Kane then comes out and says that the difference between him and them is that he is a monster who set Jim Ross on fire and electrocuted Shane McMahon in the past. Finally, AJ comes out to address all three before Laurinaitis appears on the TitanTron and makes a match that will see Kane and Bryan teaming up to face Punk and AJ.
That match is the final match of the night and was actually a pretty decent match, both in terms of the match itself and the story it told. Punk obviously did everything he could to keep AJ out of the match but Kane threw Punk into that corner and inadvertently tagged AJ into the match. AJ came in against Kane but instead of running away she went right up to him and smiled at him, then skipped around him and then jumped into his arms and passionately kissed him. When AJ got down, Kane just look confused, tagged in Bryan and left the match. Bryan went to attack AJ but Punk stopped him with an elbow, got himself tagged back in and pinned Bryan for the win after hitting the flying elbow drop. After the match, AJ sat in the middle of the ring and smiled at Punk as Kane watched from the top of the ramp.
The final segment of the show saw Vince McMahon ready to fire John Laurinaitis when Big Show came out and cut a great promo about how it was Mr. McMahon’s fault for making him be a comedy act and face celebrities instead of allowing him to be a giant. John Cena then came out and said that Big Show had no one to blame but himself. Big Show and Cena went back and forth before finally coming to blows, only to be pulled apart by security. The show ended when Mr. McMahon tried to get in the middle of them, Big Show swung at Cena, Cena ducked and Mr. McMahon got punched in the head and knocked out. Before this occurred, it was announced that Mr. McMahon would be a ringside at No Way Out and that if Big Show lost to Cena, Laurinaitis would be fired.
In other matches, Sin Cara defeated Curt Hawkins, Ryback defeated two jobbers and Heath Slater lost to WWE legend Vader, who was back as part of the promotion to hype the 1,000th episode of WWE Raw.