Raw opens with John Laurinaitis and Vince McMahon. Sheamus comes out and tells Vince he wants JL fired. JL tells Sheamus that he’ll be sorry for the things he said about him. Vince tells JL that he better be impressed by the show or he’ll be firing him at the end of the night. Vince pushes JL’s people power scooter off the stage.
^Vince is back for the ratings. I do believe that people would tune in just to see Vince, and I guess that makes me wonder just how bad things have become in terms of show quality when people are excited for a guy that they used to complain about seeing too much. Sheamus is great for telling people off, and so the opening segment meshed together perfectly for the start of JL’s job evaluation.
JL introduces Sheamus’ opponent. It’s Tensai. Sheamus defeats Tensai with the brogue kick in a short match.
^Sheamus dominates as World Champion against all competition; it’s probably the smartest booking WWE has used in the last six months. It’s interesting to note that Tensai was unbeaten since his return until the last two weeks where he lost first to Cena and now to Sheamus.
Vince and JL are shown backstage after the match. Vince asks JL who will take Del Rio’s place at No Way Out to face Sheamus for the World Title. Vickie Guerrero suggests Swagger and Ziggler for a triple threat match. Teddy Long suggests Swagger and Ziggler join Khali and Christian in a fatal four way elimination match tonight with the winner becoming number one contender. Vince tells JL he has small hands when he goes for a fist bump.
^We are getting closer and closer to Teddy Long’s return to power. Anybody else actually miss Teddy booking tag matches on Smackdown left and right?
Tensai, still in the ring, beats up Sakamoto after the match.
^Tensai is apparently getting the slight repackage that we’ve been hearing rumors about. I don’t think it will make much difference in the long run when it comes to his job status.
^For those who don’t know, R-Truth has a broken foot. WWE just wrote him off TV for a short time with this attack from Show.
Beth Phoenix and Ricardo Rodriguez defeat Layla and Santino Marella when Beth hits the glam-slam on Layla and gets the three count victory. Santino pulls off Ricardo’s shirt after the match to reveal a women’s Justin Beiber shirt.
^Ricardo is definitely more entertaining than ADR. I’m expecting Beth’s pinfall over Layla to lead to a match this Sunday at No Way Out.
Otunga sucks up to Vince McMahon and puts himself over as someone to potentially replace JL. Vince goes on a rant about not liking people who pucker up and compares lawyers to parasites. Kofi Kingston comes into JL’s office and demands a match with Big Show tonight. JL books the match inside a steel cage.
^I’m surprised Otunga is expressing any support for JL after the matches he’s been forced into against the super faces. It’s interesting for Vince to make those sorts of storyline comments about lawyers when in fact he has hidden behind a team of them for years and years.
In ring segment with Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Kane, and AJ. JL comes out and books Bryan and Kane against Punk and AJ in the main event later tonight.
^Awesome segment. This should’ve opened the show and Vince should’ve been saved for the middle of the program. That, however, wouldn’t have fit the script and basing the entire show around a sixty-seven year old man.
Dolph Ziggler wins the fatal four way elimination match to become the number one contender for the World Title at No Way Out. Khali is eliminated first by all three men, and Swagger is eliminated by Christian. Ziggler pins Christian with help from Vickie Guerrero’s distractions. Ziggler and Sheamus stare each other down at the top of the ramp after the match.
^Solid fatal four way match. It’s about time Ziggler gets back in the main event matches on pay per views. I’m actually looking forward to NWO this Sunday far more now that Ziggler has replaced ADR. The match could be the best on the card.
Vince is shown backstage with Natalya. He blows her off, but dances with Cameron and Naomi after denying their request to bring Brodus Clay back to Raw. Zack Ryder comes up with his jaw dropped and Vince does the WWWYKI chant.
^Alright, this was funny. It was gross and obnoxious in 1998 when he danced with Dude Love and his groupies on stage, but somehow in 2012 it was funny. Zack Ryder’s face was the funniest part of this whole scene.
Ryback squashes Willard Fillmore and Rutheford Hayes in a handicap match.
^Knocking off the guys with the mock presidential names? This was almost impressive if we hadn’t already seen five of these. Give the guy something legit or these three hour Raws are going to flop.
Vince mocks JR while backstage with Hornswoggle. Otunga tries to talk Vince out of hating lawyers. Vince says no one likes an ass kisser, and the camera goes over to William Regal sitting on the couch. Vince tells Regal no offense.
^Bringing up the nostalgia of the kiss my ass club and it’s first member? Good times. I was hoping somebody would get inducted into that club again, but this pg rating garbage has been a close to that chapter in WWE.
Big Show destroys Kofi Kingston in a cage match.
^So much for booking Kofi to be taken seriously as a threat in singles competition. Show looked like a monster again this week; it worked for the purpose of his match with Cena on Sunday. Cena is booked to be better than Kofi, when in fact Kofi is the superior athlete by a mile.
^Sin Cara looked great in this match. Hawkins looked like a training object. That faceplant finisher was intense to end the match.
Daniel Bryan and Vince McMahone exchange words. Bryan talks about proving Vince wrong and becoming a World Champion. Vince brings up eighteen seconds and walks off.
^Does anybody else think that Vince honestly thinks the big guys are better than the smaller, more talented technical wrestlers? Daniel Bryan should be his second wake up call since last year to the fact that smaller guys can be marketable.
Vader returns as a surprise Raw main eventer from the past and squashes Heath Slater.
^Vader moved around surprisingly well for his age. I was actually very impressed with how he looked in this matchup. It was an okay blast from the past as long as this isn’t an every week thing where somebody from the past works a match with a jobber.
CM Punk and AJ defeat Kane and Daniel Bryan. Punk defeats Bryan with an elbow drop after AJ leaps into Kane’s arms and makes out with him. Kane walks away from the ring and leaves Bryan to finish the match on his own.
^I like the clever finish for this one. Everybody is probably theorizing as to how this match is going to end at NWO, and I’m saving my theory for the predictions column later this week. Not much of a matchup, but this was definitely a good storyline enhancer for the matchup on Sunday.
Vince comes out to fire JL. JL pleads his case. Big Show comes out and threatens Vince because of his iron-clad contract and guaranteed money. John Cena comes out and talks about what will happen to Big Show when he loses this Sunday. Vince tells JL that he will be fired on Sunday if Big Show loses. Cena and Show brawl, but Show ends up hitting Vince with the WMD.
^I like the fact that we end Raw on a strong note and the feeling that JL might finally be removed from power as of this Sunday. I hated all the extra commercial breaks with the extra hour on the show, but this was definitely better than a typical three hour Raw in terms of content variety. I’d give the show a slightly above average rating. I’ll be back with an Impact analysis later this week and Smackdown will be moved into the rundown column in its place. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck!