We have one more week to go in order to get to SummerSlam. Cena, Big Show, and CM Punk are on a collison course for the WWE Championship. Brock Lesnar and Triple H are set for a contract signing for their match also.
We waste no time tonight. After the opening montage and new introduction, Justin Roberts gives us the introduction for tonight's opening match.
Match #1 - Big Show vs. CM Punk (c); Non-Title Match
Show controls this one from the start. The announcers keep hyping up the fact that Punk could lose the title Sunday without being pinned or submitted. The announcers also talk about the China trip this past weekend and Show being a part of that.
Show stays in control, hitting a spear. Daniel Bryan's music hits, and he comes to ringside. He gets in the announce position's face and says that he deserves to be in the title match this Sunday. Punk gets a brief flurry of offense in. He gets a cover but Show throws him off. Bryan has seen enough and charges the ring, throwing the match out.
Afterward, Bryan locks Punk in the No Lock, and Show drops an elbow. John Cena hits the ring for a save of sorts, clearing Bryan and Show. Punk wasn't happy about that and stares a hole through Cena.
AJ's music hits and she skips to the ring. She says Daniel Bryan is dealing with anger management issues still. She says that he will make things up to the fans later. She sets up a match with Big Show and Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk and John Cena. Cena and Punk bicker as AJ skips away.
Odd pairing for a heel vs. heel match. The set-up of a Punk/Cena pairing could be interesting for later on tonight.
The announcers hype up the contract signing between Triple H and Brock Lesnar later on.
JTG is talking to Kaitlyn. He reiterates his complaints about not being able to be seen on Raw and calls it crazy. AJ enters and tells him to get to the ring, since he will have a match next.
After JTG walks away, she asks Kaitlyn if she's unstable. Kaitlyn says there are many words to describe AJ but crazy isn't one.
Match #2 - JTG vs. Ryback
Cole talks about JTG's controversial remarks on Twitter. You can clearly hear Goldberg chants during the beginning of the match. Feed Me More chants get going as Ryback hits his finisher to put JTG away.
Interesting. Did they turn JTG's comments into a storyline?
King and Cole sell a poll to set up who will be in Piper's Pit - either Jericho, The Miz, or Dolph Ziggler. They give the various Twitter hash tags to vote.
Cole announces the SummerSlam preview match, which will be Santino Marella defending the US Championship against Antonio Cesaro.
Roddy Piper rambles on about how everyone is picking and he doesn't know who his Pit guest will be. Piper turns his attention to Shawn Michaels off camera, who is distracted. Michaels gets a call, presumably from Triple H. He makes fun for "Mr. Big Wig" flying commercial and he needs to be there now as it's not his fight.
If they're going with the "Lesnar attacks Michaels" angle, they have their setup there as Shawn is by himself at the arena.
Match #3 - R-Truth (1/2 of the Tag Champions) vs. Heath Slater
Slater is in the ring and cuts a promo saying how things are going to change for the One Man Band. Truth makes his entrance and Cole notes Kofi Kingston is still on the overseas tour.
Truth puts Slater away fairly quickly and cleanly. After the match, the Prime Time Players hit the ring and attack Truth, leaving him laying.
No mention of AW. They make the tag team title match announcement official for SummerSlam.
Mark Henry and The Olympics:
The announcers set up Mark Henry's visit to London for the Olympics. They show a series of Touts Henry aired. The announcers thank and congratulate the athletes.
They swing to talking about Pauly D and share tweets he has sent during the show in support of Cena getting his against Big Show and AJ's work as GM.
King and Cole set up a recap of what happened on Smackdown that got the World Heavyweight Championship match pulled from SummerSlam. Alberto Del Rio orchestrated an attack on Sheamus for the "joyride" Sheamus went on during Raw last week. They went live back to Booker T after Smackdown asking if there's going to repercussions, and he says that the title match is off. They show a Tout where Del Rio threatens a conversation on Friday. Cole sells fan Touts on the matter.
Match #4 - Sin Cara vs. Tensai (w/Sakemoto)
They break after Sin Cara's entrance, then come back with Cody Rhodes' promo against Sin Cara on Smackdown. They briefly recap the match, with Sin Cara picking up the win on Rhodes.
Tensai takes charge early, but misses a Vader Bomb when Cara mvoes. Sin Cara uses his speed to get Tensai rolling, and hits a tornado DDT to pick up the win.
After the match, we get to see a beatdown on Sakemoto.
They show Shawn Michaels talking to a stagehand backstage. He tells the crew member to let him know if he sees "him" but he isn't looking for him. They then go to a sell of the three choices for Piper's Pit.
Piper's Pit Segment:
Piper is making his entrance as we come out of break. King introduces him and they talk about the various choices for his Piper's Pit guest. The fans voted for Jericho, and he makes his entrance. Piper questions the fans cheering Jericho as Cole gives us a show reset as we open hour number two.
Jericho is all smiles and Piper says the last time he saw Jericho, Mickey Rourke punched his lights out. Jericho reminds Piper that Jericho puched his lights out and he has a hard head. Piper says he doesn't recall that.
Jericho says he's excited to be in the Pit and thanks the fans for making it happen. Piper says that he and Jericho have something in common even though he doesn't like to admit it. He says one day he was fighting Mr. T and suddenly the fans cheered him. Now the fans are cheering Jericho. Cole is heard saying this Pit stinks.
Piper talks about Jericho's dad and knows he won the big one. Jericho says he doesn't care what Miz or Ziggler say, what matters is "that little boy" (as he points a kid in the front rows out) says and he's cheering for Jericho. Vickie Guererro comes out with her "excuse me" bit and introduces Ziggler.
Ziggler asks how long Piper has been doing the same routine for. He calls it not ground breaking, nostalgic, or fun, but instead just sad. Piper mocks Ziggler's pink shirt, only to be told "it's not about you" by Ziggler. He tells Jericho to pay close attention to "this deranged individual" because that's where he's headed.
Jericho says he didn't hear what Ziggler said because he's staring at the bowl of spaghetti on his head. Vickie interjects, only to be told to "shut the hell up" by Jericho. He hasn't forgotten she slapped him on Smackdown and can't get the stench of her perfume out of his pores. He says that he will prove Dolph wrong and win at Summerslam. "That is a guarantee you will never...eeeevvveeerrrr...go back on."
Miz makes his way to the ring next. "Really?" he asks. He says he doesn't have much in common with Dolph but they can win the big one. He mentions winning at Wrestlemania 27 and winning the Intercontinental Championship three weeks ago. He says he's taking over, Ziggler will be his guest, and Jericho and Piper can get out of his ring.
Jericho has had enough and attacks Miz and Ziggler. He gives Miz a toss to the outside, but Ziggler tries to attack with the briefcase. Ziggler misses, and Jericho hits him with a few shots and throws him out. Piper and Jericho stand tall as Miz and Ziggler nurse their wounds at ringside.
Ouch! That segment was a trainwreck. Piper was really out of touch.
Match #5 - The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guererro) vs. Chris Jericho; Triple Threat Rules
AJ Lee set this match up via Twitter after the Piper's Pit segment.
The heels work together to start this one, but they end up arguing. Jericho throws both of them out of the ring, then dives out onto them. Jericho plays the crowd from the announce position. Jericho throws Ziggler back in and kicks Miz in the mush. Ziggler catches Jericho with an elbow and knocks him off the apron. They go to break.
After the commercial, Jericho hits the Lionsault and has Miz pinned, but Ziggler breaks the pin attempt up. Jericho fights off Ziggler and tries to get Miz with a superplex. Ziggler gets himself back in the fray. Ziggler hits a powerbomb at the same time Jericho hits his superplex. Nice spot.
Several pin attempts follow by Ziggler and Jericho on each other. Dolph hits the Zig-Zag but only got a near fall on Jericho. Miz gets back int he match and tries to get his old finisher, but Jericho is able to avoid the second half.
Dolph gets back in the match and takes out Miz. He walks into the Codebreaker from Jericho. Jericho gets a cover but Vickie sticks her nose in and puts Ziggler's foot on the ropes. Cole is quick to point out it's a no-DQ situation.
Miz gets a good near fall on Jericho next. Jericho avoids the Skull Crushing Finale and locks on the Walls. Miz taps, but Vickie has the official distracted. Dolph hits the ZigZag on Jericho and gets the win. The announcers again begin the "can Jericho win the big one" debate.
Really good TV match. I won't lie that I'd like to see more of that on this expanded Raw. They made a good sell for Jericho vs. Ziggler on pay per view with that one. Miz is looking pretty weak though lately.
Punk is stretching out when Eve approaches to congratulate him for the "new CM Punk." Punk says there is no new CM Punk. He's the same guy he's always been and there's no black hat or twirling moustache. He puts himself over as the undefeated WWE Champion. Eve says that Punk should probably take that up with John Cena, and Punk says he will go tell him himself.
The announcers hype up Brock Lesnar and Triple H signing their contract later.
Shawn Michaels is walking around timidly and gets scared by John Cena approaching from behind. Cena welcomes him home and asks if he's OK. Michaels says he's okay but just distracted and walks away. Cena turns around to see CM Punk. Cena asks if he's to follow his lead or expect to be stabbed in the back.
Punk recalls Cena referring to him as "that guy" and assumes that means he stabs people in the back and takes shortcuts. Punk tells Cena he isn't that guy and he's not a phony. He tells Cena hedidn't want to face Cena and Show in a triple threat match. He will do everything in his power to make sure neither of them leaves as WWE Champion but he won't stab anyone in the back. "at the end of the night, come hell or high water, I will make sure it's all about me." Punk says.
They air another new Wade Barrage vignette. He talks about coming from a world of "fight or die" but he was lured away to a life of lies and illusions. He says he can't live the lie because life is pain. His barrage has begun.
Good video package, but that Barrage line is just bad.
Match #6 - Beth Phoenix and Eve vs. Layla and Kaitlyn
Layla slams her butt into Eve's face after some dancing.
Eve and Beth take control of Kaitlyn after she tags in. She fights her way out, hits Eve with a forearm and runs Beth into Eve to knock Eve to the floor. Kaitlyn rolls up Beth for the win.
Cole called it an upset, but those days are over. The women just feel so meaningless right now.
They air a video that summarizes all that's gone on in the Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar saga. They show a shot in the parking area, and King says Triple H has yet to arrive but is in route.
Lesnar's threat to Michaels should come to fruition at some point, unless Trips makes the save at the last possible minute.
Match #7 - CM Punk (c) and John Cena vs. Big Show and Daniel Bryan
Entrances take place, with the heels coming out first then the "faces". They tout fantasy matches that never happened, including CM Punk vs. Macho Man Randy Savage.
Punk seemed disinterested according to Lawler. Punk tags himself in though. Show demands Bryan tag him in a bit later, leading to a yes-no exchange between them. Loud dueling chants for Cena and Punk throughout the early going as Show controls the offense going to commercial.
After the break, Cena fights away from Bryan and rolls to the corner. Punk tags himself in and Cena rolls his way out to the floor. Punk goes for a tag but Cena isn't there. Show teases the WMD but Bryan tags himself in. Show isn't amused and goes to the floor to watch.
Punk fights with Bryan, and Cena has made his way back to the corner for the tag. Punk looks at him and asks "oh, so you want the tag?" Punk gets the better of Bryan and unleashes Cena's "Five Moves of Doom", including the "You Can't See Me" hand wave. He backs up for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Cena tags himself in.
Cena hits Punk's trademark high knee and a bulldog. Punk grabs his title belt and heads to the ramp. Bryan tries a roll-up but Cena kicks out. Cena comes right back with the AA and picks up the win while both tag partners look on from the floor.
Show gets in the ring afterward with intents to attack a celebrating Cena. Punk hits him with the title belt to cut him off. Punk and Cena stare at each other, and Punk offers his hand. Cena refuses to shake hands. Punk leaves the ring.
Josh Matthews catches up with CM Punk and asks what happened. Punk says Cena went into business for himself and that means Cena cares only about himself, not whether or not their team won. Punk showed the ultimate sign of disrespect by not shaking hands, so he will teach Cena a lesson on Sunday.
Good tag match. Bryan's antics were hilarious to watch. Punk and Cena's mocking was good and the fans being split helped play it up too.
They show us still shots of the Smackdown overseas tour in Asia. We see a shot of Lesnar and Paul Heyman talking backstage.
Match #8 - Damien Sandow vs. Christian
As Damien makes his way to the ring, they show highlights of Sandow attacking Brodus Clay.
Sandow gets rough with Christian, slamming his head into the ring steps. Lawler asks if the official is going to let this go on.
Brodus Clay's music hits, and Sandow is momentarily distracted. Christian tries to roll Sandow up for and gets a good near fall. Sandow gets his neckbreaker finisher for the clean win while Clay looks on.
Shawn Michaels is still paranoid, looking around corners and trunks backstage. He turns around into Brock Lesnar. Shawn walks away, but Brock watches him and smiles. The announcers hype up that the signing is next, but Triple H still isn't there.
Contract Signing Segment:
Heyman and Lesnar come out to the ring first. Heyman goes on to cut a promo, saying he and Brock believe the "flight delay" story that Triple H has put forth. He says that Triple H wants and needs teh match and it's the most personal fight of Hunter's life.
Heyman says the honor of WWE is in Trips' hand and his personal dignity is on the line. His standing as a man in his own family is even on the line when he faces Lesnar. Heyman thanks the fans for their most irrelevant opinion.
Heyman says he wants an indemnification agreement for Lesnar. He says fans looking for a nice wrestling match with two men competing with the better man emerging victorious won't be happy. He says this will be an uncomfortable beating and Hunter will suffer mercilessly at the hands of Lesnar.
Heyman says not everyone agrees, including Shawn Michaels. Heyman asks Lesnar if HBK is in the building. "Yes he is." says Lesnar. Heyman asks if HBK thinks Trips can beat Lesnar or withstand the beating, he is welcome to come to the ring and say it. "Don't worry, he's not coming out." says Heyman.
Heyman says that he doesn't blame Shawn for not coming out as there's no shame of being afraid of Lesnar or realizing that none of your prayers can be answered when you're in the ring with the "beast incarnate". Heyman says it's well known that everyone from Texas has a yellow streak running up and down their spine.
HBK's music hits and here comes Shawn. He goes straight to the ring as King and Cole debate if he should be out there. Heyman says he'll accept Shawn's signature in Triple H's place if he's so inclined. Shawn hasn't said anything just yet. Triple H's music hits, and here comes The Game, suit and tie and all. Hunter pulls the tie and coat off at the stage.
A staredown ensues between Lesnar and Hunter. Trips eyes up Lesnar and signs the contract first. Lesnar signs, then throws the clipboard back at Trips. He scoots out of the ring and smiles. He and Heyman leave the ringside area. The fans boo because they want to see a fight but Lesnar and Heyman exit as Trips eyes them down from the ring.
Even with the flaws in this build, they did a good job of capping the run up to this match without a lot of physicality in this segment. We needed a bit more Heyman over Stephanie and Trips getting the better of Heyman, but none the less well done.
They air several Tout videos about the Booker T decision to cancel the World Heavyweight Championship on Sunday. Fans mostly in favor of Booker's decision.
Triple H and Shawn Michaels are chatting about the match. He says he's been in the ring with Undertaker and Triple H, but Lesnar is a very different animal. Shawn says he will be in Hunter's corner but it's up to Trips to get the job done. Trips laughs and says he has this. Shawn says "you know where my heart is on this..." and walks away.
The announcers switch gears and go back to Big Show trying to attack Cena earlier, only to eat the title belt from CM Punk. Stryker catches up to Show and asks how that shot affects him at SummerSlam. Show says there won't be an effect. Horns are heard blaring, and Stryker runs off to see what the deal is. There's a shot of Heyman and Michaels, who had a minor car accident. Heyman apologizes.
Out of nowhere, Brock Lesnar attacks HBK and pulls him out of the car, saying "I told you I would get you." The screen goes black and all you can hear is the sounds of commotion and beating going on.
After commercial, they briefly recap the blank screen beatdown, then show several wrestlers along with AJ standing at Shawn's car. The car is pretty mangled up from the attack. An official is asking where Shawn is and AJ says she doesn't know.
Trips shows up and asks where Shawn is, and what happened. No one can answer, until AJ speaks up and says Lesnar took Shawn away. H hits the car and heads off, presumably toward the arena.
In the arena, Brock is carrying Shawn to the ring, with Heyman laughing in tow. Lesnar hits the F5 on a beaten up Shawn, then locks on the Kimura Lock. Hunter hits the stage and goes to charge the ring, but Heyman yells on the mic for him to stop.
Heyman tells Hunter if he goes any further, Brock will break Shawn's arm. H teases attacking the ring, but looking conflicted. Heyman continues to taunt that Lesnar will break his arm as Hunter yells at Lesnar. Lesnar eventually does break Shawn's arm. Heyman is shocked as if that wasn't to happen.
Hunter charges the ring and goes for the attack, but Lesnar is able to get away without incident. Medics come to tend to Shawn, who is writhing in pain. Heyman continues to sell disbelief that Lesnar went ahead and broke Shawn's arm anyhow even though he wasn't supposed to. Trips yells at Lesnar from the ring as the show closes.
Some dramatic final moments involving Shawn Michaels, who is to be in Hunter's corner on Sunday. This is what we expected to see in some form - making the match even more personal by Lesnar getting to Shawn.
What do I say about this show tonight? Well, it's with it's moments. I thought the verbal segment of the contract signing was well done. I thought we got good advancement of the WWE Championship match. But Piper's Pit was a disaster as we got the "incoeherent" Piper tonight. The rest felt like filler beyond that.
I will have more to say on tonight's show in tomorrow night's Raw Afterthoughts piece. Be sure to join us on Sunday for ongoing SummerSlam coverage, and again next Monday for another Raw Recap right here on Ring-Rap.com.