The three-hour edition of Monday Night Raw had a lot of suspense coming in. World Wrestling Entertainment sent out a text message earlier in the day saying that Albert Del Rio was out of his title match at No Way Out because of a concussion and that his replacement would be announced on Raw. Add in the return of Mr. McMahon and the event was already shaping up to be the best one in weeks.
To open the show, Raw and Smackdown general manager, John Laurinaitis came to the ring. Before Laurinaitis could even speak, Mr. McMahon's music hit. McMahon told Laurinaitis why he shouldn't fire him right now. Laurinaitis said that the entire WWE locker room respects him and looks up to him as a friend, which prompted Sheamus to come to the ring.
Sheamus called Laurinaitis the worst GM in WWE history and asked McMahon to "kick Johnny out on his arse." Laurinaitis said that Sheamus was going to wrestle now for disrespecting him. McMahon said that every match on the show better be good, or else Laurinaitis would hear two famous words, "You're fired."
Sheamus vs. Tensai
This match lasted two segments and was worth it. Despite not being known as a great worker, Tensai performed well in the match and nearly got the pin on the world heavyweight champion. Instead, Sheamus connected with the Brogue Kick for the pin.
When the show returned from commercial, Tensai was beating down Sakamoto in the ring. He threw him to the floor and used the ring post and fan barrier as weapons.
Santino Marella and Layla vs. Beth Phoenix and Ricardo Rodriguez
This match saw Phoenix get the pin with the Glam Slam on Layla. It was the typical Divas match, just mixed in with the Marella and Rodriguez comedy skit.
Daniel Bryan In-Ring Segment
Bryan did the typical pre-match interview, badmouthing both CM Punk and Kane for their "interest" in AJ. Bryan said he was going to win the WWE championship at No Way Out, which prompted Punk's music to hit and the WWE champion to come to ringside. Punk said that it doesn't matter who he beats, but that he will be walking out as the champion. Eventually, Kane appeared and spoke about what he has done in the past. AJ then came out and said that she knows the best man will win at No Way Out.
Laurinaitis then appeared on the Titan Tron and announced a tag team match. It will be Bryan and Kane vs. Punk and AJ.
This was a great promo between two of the best pure workers in the wrestling business and it was one of Punk's better promos in a while. Kane's addition to the segment, much like with the match this Sunday, did little to nothing. AJ's appearance was also a waste of time.
Fatal-4-Way: Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. The Great Khali vs. Jack Swagger
I usually hate four-way matches and I usually hate to see Khali, so this match was off to a bad start for me. Khali was the first man eliminated in this match. Minutes later, Christian connected with his finisher on Swagger and Ziggler jumped in to steal the pin, bringing the match down to two men. I can't wait to see these two compete in one-on-one action, as they showed in the little time they had together that they had great chemistry. These two shared several near-falls, but it was Ziggler who got the win with the ZigZag after Vicki Guerrero distracted Christian.
Ryback vs. Two Jobbers
Typical Ryback match as he squashed two jobbers who again were allowed to use the microphone. I think Ryback can get over without beating jobbers each week, but that time will come.
Steel Cage: Big Show vs. Kofi Kingston
This match was an absolute squash in Show's favor. With R Truth rumored to be injured, any "injury" that may have come to Kingston could have been used to keep the tag team champions off television. The finish came when Show caught Kingston's leg as he went for Trouble in Paradise and connected with the Weapon of Mass Destruction, allowing him to simply walk out of the cage.
Sin Cara vs. Curt Hawkins
Cara got the win with ease, making it three straight squash matches on this show.
Heath Slater vs. Vader
Laurinaitis brought in a former WWE main eventer to face Slater, and it was Vader. Vader picked up the win after dominating Slater with the middle rope splash.
Kane and Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk and AJ
This was essentially a handicap match until AJ was inadvertently tagged in. She smiled at Kane and danced around him before jumping into his arms and kissing him. Kane didn't know what to do and tagged in Bryan before leaving ringside. Bryan went after AJ, but she tagged in Punk who caught Bryan with an elbow and kick before landing the top rope elbow for the pin.
Laurinaitis and McMahon In-Ring
This was the segment I expected to see. As McMahon was about to tell Laurinaitis that he was fired, he was interrupted by Show's music. Show said that one of the good things Laurinaitis did was give him an iron-clad contract which allowed him to do whatever he wants.
Show then blamed McMahon for all the "stupid" gimmicks and costumes he has been forced into during his career. He said that his new contract won't allow him to be treated like that anymore. He said that he shouldn't be worrying about Laurinaitis, but instead of the other John (Cena).
Cena came out and did what he does best, talk. He joked around about what Show has been complaining about for the past several weeks. Cena said that he knows what is different about Show now.
"For once, everything revolves around you."
After a brief exchange, McMahon said that he will be at ringside at No Way Out and if Cena wins, he will fire Laurinaitis. A melee ensued in the ring which eventually led to Show knocking out McMahon with the WMD.
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Hobson Lopes has been a fan of professional wrestling since watching SummerSlam 1992 with his father and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.
- Sports & Recreation
- John Laurinaitis
- Daniel Bryan