OK, so this is the Raw go home show before Sunday’s Royal Rumble PPV, so let’s get to it:
–CM Punk comes out to kick things off with the usual Raw 15-minute promo open. Punk sits down and talks about Ziggler beating him three times in a row, but notes that Johnny Ace is why Dolph’s been getting the upper hand. Punk rips on John Laurinaitis and calls him a failure in every way, then shows Ace’s admission from last week that he wants to screw Punk out of the title on Sunday. Punk threatens to break Ace’s arms and calls him out to the ring so he can insult him to his face. After a DRAMATIC PAUSE OF DOOM, Cena’s music hits, which is kind of a surprise actually. Cena is all business and even looks a little, well, HATEFUL. Punk says he wanted Ace and not “Boy Scout” John. Cena brushes it off and wants Ace to give Ryder a rematch with Swagger for the U.S. title tonight and for Cena to face Kane tonight ahead of Sunday. Ace finally comes out to address Punk and Cena. Johnny gives Ryder a Falls Count Anywhere match with Kane, and if Cena interferes Ryder never gets another U.S. title shot again. Ace also sets up Cena and Punk in a tag match, next.
–Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler beat John Cena and CM Punk when Johnny Ace caused a distraction and Dolph rolled up Punk with a handful of tights for the win at the 11-minute mark. After the match Johnny Ace left ring-side in a rapid manner, and Punk said “You want to be famous? I’ll make you famous.” Punk then proposed he and Ace fight one-on-one tonight, and there’s the main event for tonight’s show.
–Up next: Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel returns tonight! And after a commercial, Jericho’s music hits with the Highlight Reel set back for the first time in a long time (my last memory of this set was when Y2J threw HBK’s head into the Jeritron 3000 screen). The lights go out, Jericho’s jacket lights up, and Y2J makes his way to the ring. Jericho grabs a mic to tease talking, but first he goes to the back to GRAB A T-SHIRT GUN! (Nice touch). Jericho points the T-Shirt at different sections of the crows to emit reactions, but then never fires the gun (what a heel move). He then grabs a video camera and points it out at the crowd, with still no words uttered. While this is going on, Y2J asks the crowd to quiet down, making “Shhh” motions.
Next, Jericho points to the Jeritron to show, well, an actual highlight reel of his WWE career: His WWE debut, his unified title win, the Save_Us campaign, his heel turn, feuding with Michaels and winning tag titles with Edge and Big Show are some of the highlights shown.
Finally, Jericho speaks: “This Sunday at the Royal Rumble” … PAUSE … “It will be the end of the world as you know it.” And thus, Jericho speaks to promote his cryptic involvement in the Royal Rumble festivities to get folks to buy in on Sunday.
After a commercial, my favorite PPV promo package of every year airs, showing the Royal Rumble by the numbers. I don’t understand why WWE doesn’t do more historical statistical analysis, because I think it’s awesome and if they actually kept / advertised more statistics it would only help the product. One interesting note from the package is that every WWE superstar is eligible for the first time in history, but I’m not exactly sure what that means. I did notice the complete lack of wrestling matches with Royal Rumble entries on the line this year, though.
–Backstage: Zack Ryder and Eve are interrupted by Mick Foley, who’s wearing the Cactus Jack shirt with a typical Foley red flannel. Foley says Ryder can beat Kane, but Eve disagrees and is scared for Ryder. John Cena then pops in and Ryder asks Cena to not interfere so he can get a rematch for the U.S. title.
–Zack Ryder vs. Kane, Falls Count Anywhere match ends with Kane choke slamming Ryder near the entrance ramp through the part of the stage they set up for Zack to fall through it. Eve is terrified again and Kane walks towards her, but then Cena emerges and Kane leaves through the crowd. Zack gets the stretcher treatment.
–Orton is officially hyped for his SmackDown return at the commercial break, and then we are back with Ryder getting loaded into an ambulance and Eve blaming Cena for everything that’s befallen Zack. “It’s all your fault,” she says.
–Sheamus vs. Jinder Mahal, with Wade Barrett on commentary. Sheamus wins with a Brogue Kick in three minutes, and then Barrett teased getting into the ring at Sheamus’ behest but decides against it for fear of being cheap-shotted by Sheamus.
–Backstage, The Miz is interviewed. talks trash about his ex-tag partners, and is then interrupted by R-Truth. Johnny Ace sets up a grudge match with the loser being the #1 entry in the Rumble (which is not such a bad thing considering the same number of #1 entrants have won the Rumble as #30. Maybe Johnny Ace should have done his research and made the loser #2 instead.)
–WILLIAM REGAL IS ON COMMENTARY! Brodus Clay comes out and the Funkasaurus is in full effect. Clay squashes Heath Slater in under a minute.
–The Miz vs. R-Truth ends with R-Truth getting the pin and Miz is now the #1 entry in the Royal Rumble. (Can Miz carry the first half of the Rumble match like others have in the past? He’s obviously not getting eliminated that quickly, so that’s interesting.)
–Johnny Ace and David Otunga talk backstage, and it turns out a Monday Night FAX OF DOOM has been sent to Mr. Laurinaitis. Otunga says it’s not good, Ace reads it and they go to commercial.
–Punk comes out, and after hesitation Ace walks down to the ring wearing a black “FUTURE ENDEAVORED” T-shirt with white lettering. The FAX OF DOOM says that the Board of Directors is questioning Ace’s ability to be the GM after admitting he wants to screw Punk, and he is now under official review. The evaluation will be conducted next Monday night on Raw … by Triple H.
Punk says Ace can’t screw him at the Rumble anymore, so he will now kick his teeth in with no repercussions tonight. Ace responds by saying this is his “wake up call” and now he’ll call everything down the middle.
CM Punk says that’s complete crap and that last week was not any kind of miscommunication, like with Ace did to Foley by denying him a spot in the Rumble. Laurinaitis responds by saying he was wrong and now Mick Foley is in the Rumble. (!)
Punk says he hopes Triple H inherited one thing from Vince, which is that he says “YOU’RE FIRED!” to Ace next week.
Ace makes Otunga attack Punk, Punk fights him off, and then Punk and Ace are face to face. Laurinaitis wants to shake Punk’s hand, of course, and Punk does extend his hand but only to lure Ace into a GO TO SLEEP that he nails on Ace as the big payoff after months of build-up.
That’s not how Raw ends, however, and Dolph Ziggler attacks Punk from behind and takes him out, and Raw fades to black with Ziggler standing tall over Punk and Ace knocked out.
CB’s Slant: Am I the only one that thinks they gave a whole lot away just now to close the show? There better be one hell of a payoff planned for the Rumble on Sunday, and even if there is with all of tonight’s developments and the promise HHH returning next Monday to review Johnny Ace’s job performance, how many folks will now just wait until Monday to see what happened?
Granted, the Royal Rumble is one of WWE’s few remaining must-see PPV events (in my opinion), but will the advertised singles matches, Foley’s now-guaranteed Rumble match appearance and Jericho’s promise be enough to sway YOU to buy it?
I guess we’ll see soon enough…
Tags: brodus clay, chris jericho, cm punk, Dolph Ziggler, Eve, Funkasaurus, jack swagger, john cena, kane, Mick Foley, Raw, royal rumble, WWE, zack ryder