WWE Champion CM Punk came down the ramp to address the fans after a short recap of the 1,000th episode of RAW. Despite attacking one of the most popular stars in the WWE, The Rock, CM Punk was met with mixed applause as opposed to boos.
The Straight-Edge Superstar sat on the announce table as he said that The Rock had disrespected him, and that the People's Champion wasn't really a part of the WWE Universe. Punk went on to say that the spotlight has been taken away from the WWE Championship, which he believes should be the company's main attraction.
Traditionally, the WWE Championship is the main focus and final match at most WWE pay-per-view events. The title hasn't been either since December 2011, with John Cena grudge matches taking the top spot on the bill.
After Punk's speech and interruptions from John Cena and Big Show, the new RAW General Manager AJ Lee set a number one contenders match for the WWE Championship as RAW's main event. The contest resulted in a disqualification after Punk interfered, causing Lee to make the SummerSlam main event a triple-threat match for the WWE Championship, with CM Punk facing both Cena and Big Show.
Before the show started, the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati was evacuated when a fire started on the RAW set shortly after audiences began to enter the arena. WWE's website reports that the fire was caused during the show's rehearsal after an "incident" with the pyrotechnics.
"As a precaution, the limited number of people in the building during the incident were successfully evacuated," claims the WWE.com article. There were no injuries.
The card was packed on RAW to keep WWE fans entertained for an entire three hours.
The first match saw former WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio defeated the current United States Champion Santino Marella by submission with an armbreaker. After his victory, Del Rio announced that he won't compete in a match until he fights Sheamus at SummerSlam for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Daniel Bryan went one-on-one with the World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus in a street fight. The match stipulation was decided by fans that tweeted their vote, and after a brutal match with chairs and kendo sticks and a Brogue Kick, Sheamus pinned Brian.
After the match Brian had a mental breakdown, and backstage video of him having a psychiatric evaluation was shown throughout the show for comic relief. The segments heated the feud between Brian and Charlie Sheen, who are expected to have a confrenattion at SummerSlam, and ended with the former World Heavyweight Champion being attacked by Kane.
RAW commentator Michael Cole apologized for a offensive comment during a match between half of the WWE Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston and Titus O'Neil. AW, the on-screen manager of O'Neil made a remark referencing the alleged rape of a hotel employee by Kobe Bryant.
During the match, AW yelled ""Titus O'Neil is like Kobe Bryant at a hotel in Colorado hotel room. He's unstoppable." Cole's apology to the audience was made after the commercial break following O'Neils victory over Kingston.
The comment was in reference to allegations that Bryant had sexually assaulted a hotel employee in Colorado in 2003. AW sent out two tweets, one apologizing and another explaining that, "There was no malicious intent behind the joke."
— A W (@AWPromotions) July 31, 2012
There was no malicious intent behind the joke. It was either a Kobe or Lebron joke. Lebron jus won the Finals so there you have it..?Myself! — A W (@AWPromotions) July 31, 2012
Randy Orton returned after his two month suspension following a violation of the WWE wellness policy in a follow up to the popular legends segment. Heath Slater took to the ring and issued a challenge to any current superstars who wanted to face him, and The Viper accepted the challange, quickly defeating Slater.
Orton was suspended for 60 days after he tested positive for "elevated levels of testosterone," reported NoDQ.
A tag team match with Chris Jericho and Christian teaming up against Dolph Ziggler and The Miz revealed that WWE is positioning Jericho as the face (hero wrestler) in his feud with Ziggler. Ziggler taking on a heel (villain wrestler) persona isn't a new development, but it is surprising that WWE would put the crowd on Jericho's side with him possibly leaving the company soon.
The match had a long back-and-forth battle between the teams, but finished with Jericho hitting a Codebreaker on The Miz and pinning him. After the match, Ziggler attacked Jericho with his Money In the Bank briefcase, continuing to set the two superstars up for a grudge match at SummerSlam.
The superheavyweight Tensai fought cruiserweight Tyson Kidd fought weeks after the two last faced each other one-on-one. After Kidd beat Tensai in an upset victory last month, Tensai managed to win last night's match.
After he beat Kidd, Tensai continuously attacked him until the referee reversed the decision. Kidd was declared the winner by disqualification.
Between matches, the show also featured segments promoting AJ Lee as the new GM and Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H at SummerSlam, and an encounter with Damien Sandow attacking Brodus Clay. Vince McMahon also made an appearance, saying that he would announce a new SmackDown! General Manager this Friday.
The three-hour format was packed tightly, but one thing that was missing was John Laurinaitis who resigned from the WWE. The non-staged decision by Laurinaitis came abruptly, as he was locally advertised to be involved with last night's show, according to NoDQ.
"After eight years of service in talent relations, he's "burned out" and now hopes to concentrate on what he knows best: putting together matches and working with WWE talent as a producer," reported WWE.com. Laurinaitis had on and off-screen roles with the company, and was most recently working as Senior Vice President of Talent Operations.