Despite his doctor’s orders, John Cena claims he will be at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view event in October to fight. Cena’s announcement closed Monday’s “RAW” from Albany, N.Y., with Cena hitting Punk in the gut with a pipe and Punk attacking Mick Foley out of frustration backstage.
WWE Champion CM Punk and his business associate Paul Heyman opened the show demanding that Brad Maddox, the referee who made a bad call in Punk’s match on last week’s “RAW,” apologize and resign. After the two got an apology, they were interrupted by General Manager AJ Lee who defended the rookie ref.
After Maddox left the ring, the WWE Champion brought up his complicated past with the RAW GM, but AJ Lee stood her ground. The assertive authority figure even slapped Heyman across the face when he attempted to propose to her in a mocking fashion.
Mick Foley made a special appearance on last night’s “RAW” and called out Punk, saying that the Second City Saint needed to do more than just hold the WWE Title for one of the longest reigns in history. Foley said that he only had the belt for a collective 29 days over three reigns, but he is remembered because of his spectacular performances, like doing a spot where he was thrown from the top of a Hell in a Cell cage.
Criticism of Punk didn’t stop there, with Cena announcing that he would be at Hell in a Cell toward the end of the show. Punk shot the idea of Cena competing at the October pay-per-view down because of the 10-time WWE Champion’s recent surgery.
That’s when Punk gave Cena five seconds to get out of the ring before the current Champion would attack the wounded superstar. As Punk lunged at Cena, the Cenation Leader pulled out a lead pipe and struck Punk with it, sending him running to the back in agony.
That’s when the run in with Foley happened, but it didn’t end with the WWE Champion assaulting the Hardcore Legend. As Punk was leaving, he turned around to say something to Foley, but was cut off when he saw the stoic Ryback standing there, breathing heavily.
Ryback has been getting a major build up as a dominant powerhouse wrestler over the past several months. He has been beating jobbers in quick matches, and had his first bout with an established performer last night when he defeated former WWE Champion and current Intercontinental Champion The Miz.
Ryback appears to be getting a big push and now that he has been interjected into the CM Punk storyline, he may be the John Cena replacement for Hell in a Cell. Despite what the Cenation Leader claims about fighting at the pay-per-view, he won’t be in an official match because doctors won’t clear him to perform so soon after his surgery.
The odd thing is that Ryback will be making a big jump from wrestling lower mid-card wrestlers, to a one-time match with Miz, all the way to the very top of the WWE. John Cena and CM Punk are the two biggest Superstars WWE has to offer, and with Cena out, Punk is the clear number one guy.
Depending on the length of the match he had with Miz on “RAW,” it’s possible that Ryback hasn’t even had a televised fight go more than five minutes, if that. Putting someone that inexperienced in a main event match at a pay-per-view is a risk, but WWE might be willing to do so based on off-screen factors.
Another option for Punk at Hell in a Cell is the returning Big Show, who came back last night during a match between Tensai and Brodus Clay. Tensai won by disqualification when the Giant hit him with a knockout punch; after the match he hit Clay with the same strike.
Show has held the WWE Championship on multiple occasions in the past, and has also held the World Heavyweight Title as recently as last year, so he is a viable choice. The problem is the World’s Largest Athlete had a major heel turn in May, so billing him as a face four months later would be inconsistent.
The WWE Title picture is in question, though the storyline will progress well in Cena’s absence, being that Punk and Heyman are masters of the character developing craft. The more surprising angle right now is the Tag Team Champions Kane and Daniel Bryans.
Over the past few weeks, the two have put their differences aside in anger management with the help of Dr. Shelby, so much so that Kane and Daniel Bryan have captured the Tag Titles. Now, every week the WWE fans get an unexpected treat: anger management vignettes that are funnier than the WWE’s usual attempt at humor; much funnier.
In a RAW Active poll over twitter, fans decided the that name for Kane and Daniel Bryan’s team would be Team Hell No, referring to Kane’s monstrous character and Bryan’s constant exclamation of the word “No!” The two men were quickly interrupted after announced by their new name, by the newly formed Team Rhodes Scholars, consisting of Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes.
The long-running team of Darren Young and Titus O’Neil defeated the pairing of Santino Marella and Zack Ryder. The Prime Time Players’ victory is a good step for the team who lost several Tag Title opportunities to former champions Kofi Kingston and R-Truth.
Kingston was in singles action on last night’s “RAW” facing Mr. Money in the Bank Dolph Ziggler. Kingston’s tag partner R-Truth and Ziggler’s manager Vickie Guerrero were both kicked out of ringside before the match rally got going, in what could be a sign that both stars will be losing their respective colleagues.
Ziggler defeated Kingston in the first and most memorable match of the show. The two upper-mid card talents are some of the best WWE has to offer, and their styles work well together.
It was hard to tell exactly where the match was going, and that made every move and counter more exciting. There were even several false finishes, but things ultimately ended with Ziggler hitting his Zig Zag finishing move for the win, ending a main event caliber match.
Jerry “The King” Lawler made his first live “RAW” appearance since his heart attack two weeks ago. King had an interview via satellite with co-commentator Michael Cole, and aside from a raspy voice seemed to be recovering quickly.
Lawler told fans that he had little memory from the show he had a heart attack during, and that he thought he was still on vacation when he woke up in the hospital. The WWE Hall of Famer said he would return to the announce table as soon as doctors said he was physically able to.
There was a big name SmackDown six-man tag match with David Otunga, Ricardo Rodriguez and Alberto Del Rio facing the World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara. Del Rio’s personal ring announcer Rodriguez was better than some fans might have expected being that he isn’t usually an in ring performer, but he was still the man who was pinned, giving the victory to Shemaus, Cara and Mysterio.
Wade Barrett worked with more mid-card wrestlers in his match with Tyson Kidd as he rebrands himself as a brawler. The former Nexus leader doesn’t treat jobber matches the way Brodus Clay and Ryback have most recently, where they dominate their opponent the entire time.
Barrett allows some back and forth and ultimately makes his matches and character more interesting. He still won and looked powerful after he hit the high impact elbow attack he calls The Souvenir.
Layla and Alicia Fox teamed up to face Divas Champion Eve Torres and Beth Phoenix, with the title holder’s team winning the bout. After the match, Kaitlyn came to the entrance ramp to reveal that she had seen security camera footage from Night of Champion where she was attacked.
The former no. 1 contender for the Divas Championship wasn’t attacked by Eve as the story had implied. Though Kaitlyn couldn’t see the attackers face, she said that the assailant was blonde, prompting Eve to blame and attack Phoenix, even though there are several blonde Divas.