CM Punk is brilliant. I could really end this article right here, because that’s all you really need to know. He’s the best wrestler in the world, and there’s no disputing it. For more on our idol, along with coverage of John Cena’s developing accent, The Bellas being ridiculous, and the death of Drew McIntyre, just meander to the other side of this jump.
- Raw opened with CM Punk approaching the ring with a megaphone in hand, prepared should the WWE cut his mic again. Punk accurately noted that in the past two weeks, he’s made the WWE relevant in the world outside of wrestling, citing the coverage of his infamous promo by outlets like ESPN. He acknowledges the irony of how badly Vince McMahon now wants him to remain a part of the WWE, and he offers to negotiate with Vince in regards to a new contract…publicly, in the ring. Cena crashes the promo, interjecting a healthy dose of lameness into the situation. While the two exchanged words, Punk noted that “firings,” like the one Cena has been threatened with at Money at the Bank, never seem to stick, especially not with a guy like Cena. Man, everything Punk says is both entertaining and true. In the end, the Raw GM chimes in and books Cena in a handicap match to kick off Raw. Punk’s night, far from over, was off to a fantastic start.
- John Cena defeated the Tag Team Champions, Nexus members David Otunga & Michael McGillicutty, in a pretty standard handicap match. Nothing stood out or is worth noting, although I do have to say that it pains me to see title holders treated as such chumps so regularly. Wearing the tag belts is an indicator that a team is the best duo that you have, and I don’t especially care for them being jobbed to a team of one.
- Vickie Guerrero, Dolph Ziggler, and Drew McIntyre all trash talked Vince McMahon backstage. Predictably, the Chairman walked over as the trio was talking about him, overheard their jabs, and laid some vengeance upon them. Vince made a handicap match for later in the show (second one of the night, sheesh) pitting Dolph & Drew against The Big Show. I guess Vinnie Mac’s perception of McIntyre as the future of the company has shifted some over the past few years.
- Kelly Kelly defeated Melina in a match that mercifully ran for under two minutes. The Bellas did commentary, then helped themselves to a house mic after the contest ended. The insulted Kelly Kelly for being too thin and wearing too much makeup. Really. They ended up putting the boots to her until Eve made the save. I really hate the diva’s division. Kelly Kelly matches are the worst part of Raw on a weekly basis, and there isn’t a woman in the company that has even remotely tolerable mic skills. Make fun of your opponent for being too fat. Make fun of her for being too skinny. Blah blah blah. The worst.
- The go home show for Money in the Bank featured the standard “ton of ladders in the ringside area” interview. The Miz came out and climbed a ladder set up in the middle of the ring and cut a promo from atop it. Naturally, the rest of the competitors for the Raw Money in the Bank match eventually found their way to the ring. Painstakingly, they all did so with their full entrance, making this segment twice as long as it should have been. Surprisingly, Rey Mysterio was nowhere to be found. The anonymous Raw GM chimed in and announced a 6-man tag team match, one that would see The Miz, R-Truth, & Jack Swagger take on Evan Bourne, Alex Riley, & Kofi Kingston.
- The faces won the 6-man tag when Riley scored the pin on Swagger. Post-match, Alberto Del Rio hit the ring and destroyed his opponents for this Sunday with a ladder. After absolutely wrecking everybody, Del Rio soaked in the moment while his music blared. I like how strong Del Rio came off looking here, but I gotta say, I miss Ricardo Rodriguez.
- The handicap match in which Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre teamed up to take on the Big Show lasted only moments, as Show was angry and looking to hurt someone. When he beat on McIntyre all the way up the ramp, all parties were counted out, resulting in a no-contest. At the top of the ramp, The Big Show’s assault on McIntyre continued. Just as it looked like the World’s Largest Athlete was going to chokeslam the Chosen One off of the stage, Mark Henry blitzed in from out of nowhere and blindsided him. Henry and Show crashed down onto a pad next to the stage, where they remained for a few minutes selling the fall. McIntyre, meanwhile, missed the pad completely and presumably fell to unprotected floor. A referee threw the ominous X sign up, indicating an injury, and while they do this often to sell angles, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised of Drew was a little banged up after this.
- The contract negotiations between CM Punk and Vince McMahon closed the show. Vince acknowledged a Zack Ryder sing at ringside on his way to the ring, and that was pretty amusing. As was the case two weeks ago, it’s tough for me to write about this because Punk is just too good to encapsulate in a paragraph of recap. Please, if you missed the show, make it a priority to see the closing segment. Reading about it is no substitute. The opening moments saw Vince call Punk by his given name, Phil, and Punk take on a hilarious voice when telling Vince that his lawyers wrote up a new contract. As for the provisions in Punk’s new contract, he wants a jet. He also wants his face on everything, including but not limited it to souvenir cups, the turnbuckle pads, and forks. He even wants the old ice cream bars back, and his face is to be all over those as well. This led to chants of “we want ice cream” from the Boston crowd, naturally. Punk also wants a movie, which we can call The Chaperone 2, only this one will be funny and successful. Doesn’t get much better than this, folks. The Straightedge Superstar called the Boss a hypocrite and a bully, then demands an apology, not just for himself, but for wrestlers who are no longer in the company. Colt Cabana and Luke Gallows had their names dropped, and there was even a Cabana chant later on during the promo. In demanding an apology, Punk reallllly flirted with becoming a full-blown face. He coaxed an apology out of McMahon, and just as it looked like his new contract was going to be signed, out came John Cena. Cena tried his best to ruin a good thing, talking in a not-so-subtle, really douchey, put-on Boston accent and making a 2-minute poop joke. I wish I could believe that he’d be fired if he lost this Sunday. After Cena junked up an otherwise good promo, Punk made the save, delivering a strong ending and preventing the segment from spiraling too far. He compared Cena to the Red Sox and the rest of Boston’s sports teams, noting that they all prefer to falsely portray themselves as the underdog. Punk then landed the knockout blow, telling Cena that he had become the thing he hated. He’s the New York Yankees. That was enough to provoke Cena into punching Punk, and as the world’s greatest wrestler retreated up the ramp, he anointed Cena as Derek Jeter and Vince as George Steinbrenner. Awesome. The show ended with Punk ripping up his new, not-yet-official contract, stating once more that he’d be winning this Sunday and then leaving Chicago and the WWE as Champion. CM Punk is currently the hottest commodity that the WWE has had in over a decade, and I can’t imagine them letting him walk right now. Meanwhile, Cena’s portion of the promo was downright bad. The call here is clear if you’re the WWE creative team: Punk needs to win on Sunday. Of course, that doesn’t mean I have faith that it will happen.
The bulk of Raw wasn’t very good. That being said, CM Punk was as glorious as ever. Having Punk bookend the two-hour show left me feeling satisfied, as Raw was able to open and close on high notes. The rest of the show seemed to be a lot of filler, although it’s probable that anything would seem like filler to me while waiting for the next Punk segment. The WWE has caught lightning in a bottle, and the closer we get to Money in the Bank, the harder time I have believing that they’re going to allow Punk to walk. He’s on the verge of an Austin 3:16 kind of breakout.