4/16 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: John Cena faces a mystery opponent, C.M. Punk vs. Mark Henry in a no DQ, no countout match for the WWE Championship, Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston

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4/16 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: John Cena faces a mystery opponent, C.M. Punk vs. Mark Henry in a no DQ, no countout match for the WWE Championship, Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston
2012-04-16 22:00:59

By Jason Powell

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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Taped on Monday in London, England

[Q1] The opening video and theme song played and then Michael Cole (along with Jerry Lawler) introduced the show...

Justin Roberts introduced the WWE Championship match. Mark Henry was already in the ring. C.M. Punk made his entrance. Cole said it's been nearly a year since the WWE Championship has changed hands on Raw. He said it could happen tonight. Footage was shown of Chris Jericho slamming a bottle over Punk's head from two weeks ago...

1. C.M. Punk vs. Mark Henry in a no disqualification, no countout match. The crowd was hot for Punk. Henry controlled the early offense. Punk went for a DDT, but Henry slammed him down to avoid it. Punk hit a suicide dive on Henry at ringside at 1:40. Henry came right back by running him into the ring post.

They continued to brawl at ringside. Punk ran the guardrail, jumped off it, and bulldogged Henry on the way down. Cool spot. Punk jumped off the ring apron onto Henry, who caught him and flung Punk into the guardrail heading into the break. Another cool spot. [C]

After the break, Punk brought a chair inside the ring and slammed it into Henry's gut and chest. The announcers reminded viewers that there were no disqualifications.

[Q2] Later, Henry slowed Punk down with a clothesline. He locked in a bear hug. Punk fired back with elbows to break it and the crowd chanted "Yes!" after each elbow. Punk went to the top rope and dove at Henry, who caught him. Henry went for his finisher, but Punk avoided it and then hit a running high knee in the corner.

Punk went for a bulldog, but Henry pushed him off. Henry charged at Punk in the corner. Punk moved and Henry ran into a chair that was wedged between the ropes. In the end, Punk went up top with a chair and drove it into Henry with an elbow drop to get the clean pin.

C.M. Punk defeated Mark Henry to retain the WWE Championship in 13:10.

Powell's POV: A strong television match to start the show. I loved the back and forth battle with both wrestlers finding ways to avoid the signature moves of the others. The hot London crowd enjoyed the match and has created a great atmosphere for the show.

After the match, Chris Jericho appeared on the big screen. He was at a bar and announced that he's been granted a WWE Championship match. He said they will meet in a Chicago Street Fight at Extreme Rules. Punk grabbed a mic and said he doesn't see how Jericho will survive a street fight. He pointed out how he beat Henry and said his match against Jericho is about kicking his ass.

Punk reveled in the thought of beating Jericho in Chicago in front of his own father, sister, and mother. Jericho said he saw what Punk did prior to the show. Video footage aired of C.M. Punk entering a pub in London. The footage also showed Punk leaving the pub and covering his head with a hoodie.

Jericho questioned what Punk was doing in a bar just hours before the show. "We're you drinking?" Jericho asked. He questioned whether Punk was drunk now. Punk said he's Straight Edge, but that doesn't mean he can't go to a bar and enjoy some fish and chips with a friend. Jericho said he's making excuses just like his father.

Jericho gloated that Punk was going to lose the only thing he has left - the WWE Championship. Punk tried to return fire, but Jericho's image disappeared from the big screen. The crowd chanted Punk's name...

The announcers hyped Santino Marella vs. David Otunga, and Brock Lesnar's "exclusive interview" and "controversial words"... [C]

Powell's POV: Good use of Lesnar. As I said when word of his contractual details were reported, WWE could put him on shows he doesn't appear at in person by taping interviews and promos with him. It looks like they're doing just that. Meanwhile, Punk and Jericho had a good verbal exchange. Their feud feels hotter than it did last week. That's probably a combination of a good verbal battle and a hot live crowd reacting to everything they said.

A shot aired of scenic London. Lawler recalled Cole being knighted in a previous Raw segment... Backstage, R-Truth was acting like Sherlock Holmes. He said he was going to find Teddy Long a job. Long said that was the best news he's heard all month...

Ring entrances took place for the U.S. Title match. Santino came out wearing various soccer jerseys. He kept removing them to reveal different jerseys and the crowd booed. He finally got to the right team and the fans cheered. Cute...

[Q3] 2. Santino Marella vs. David Otunga for the U.S. Title. Otunga pinned Santino at one point, but Santino's foot was on the rope. Santino came back a short time later with the Cobra and got the clean pin...

Santino Marella defeated David Otunga to retain the U.S. Title in 2:10.

Backstage, Josh Mathews interviewed Lord Tensai and Sakamoto. Tensai cut off Sakamoto from speaking in Japanese by raising his hand. Tensai said people fear the unknown. He said he knows what you should fear...

Cole hyped the Lesnar interview. Lesnar asked what's going through Cena's mind. He said what's more important is what's running down his leg - piss"...

Powell's POV: WWE had all day (and presumably all week) to edit that clip and they conveniently bleeped late on the piss. Funny.

The announcers hyped the WrestleMania 28 buyrate record (based on preliminary numbers) and then set up the Brock Lesnar interview...

Footage of Lesnar in a sit-down setting with clips from his career were shown. Lesnar said he's not back because he missed the fans. "At the end of the day, I don't care about anybody but Brock Lesnar. To me, this is strictly business. We need a guy to legitimize this company and Brock Lesnar is that guy. We're tired of John Cena's bull crap.

"John Cena is not the real guy, and the only reason John is in the spot that he's in is because I left. If I was still around for the last eight years, John Cena is the guy that would be carrying my bags into the building. There's nothing about Brock Lesnar that is fake, and it was very evident last week when I took John Cena down and busted his mouth open. This is real...

"This isn't a wrestling match on April 29. This is an Extreme Rules match. I have one objective in mind, to bring the pain to John Cena... I'm not a Superstar. I'm an ass kicker. I am Brock Lesnar... What makes me happy? Beating people up. That makes me happy."

Cole announced that Lesnar vs. Cena will have an Extreme Rules match at the pay-per-view...

Powell's POV: That's more like it. WWE incorporated the style used by UFC's countdown specials via the sit-down interview and it clicked for me much more than his backstage promo last week.

Zack Ryder made his entrance. The announcers narrated shots of his past issues with Kane, who then made his entrance...

[Q4] [C] Highlights aired of Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry from Smackdown, and Kane interrupting with a promo on the big screen and showing that he'd attacked Orton's father. Cole said Bob Orton Jr. suffered bruising, abrasions, and a back injury...

3. Kane vs. Zack Ryder. Kane kicked Ryder off the ring apron before the bell could sound. Kane followed him to ringside and continued the assault. Kane rolled him inside the ring and the referee tried to get Kane to stop. Instead, Kane chokeslammed Ryder.

Kane vs. Zack Ryder never started.

Kane took the mic and talked about the "joyful family reunion" between Orton and his father on Smackdown. Kane said he expected Orton's old man to go down without a fight, but he never thought Randy would be so easy. The fans greeted Kane with some "What?" chants. He said it's true what they say, like father like son...

Powell's POV: Can't they find a mask that covers his chin and put an end to Kane talking? I can't even blame the crowd for giving him the "What?" treatment. Don't get me wrong, I respect what Kane has accomplished, but his character is really tired right now and these Freddy Kruger reject one-liners aren't helping matters.

Backstage, Daniel Bryan interrupted Kofi Kingston and A.J. having a casual conversation. He wasn't happy they were talking even though it was harmless. Bryan changed the name from the LeBell Lock to the Yes Lock. He said that when the ref asks Kingston if he wants to quit, he will be screaming, "yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes..."

Cole hyped that viewers would get an update on John Cena's state of mind after the break... [C]

Powell's POV: I dig the new submission hold name. If they're not going to turn Bryan face, they need to put him and A.J. back together again since there's a lot of potential in their act. The countless "yes" lines from Bryan were funny, but I felt bad that poor Kingston had to just stand there while he said "yes" repeatedly.

An ad aired for Smackdown that focussed on Sheamus and Daniel Bryan, yet hyped no matches for Friday's television show... Cole hyped that next week's Raw will be a three-hour show that starts an hour early...

John Cena made his entrance. He looked at his wrist and then looked into the camera on the stage and said, I guess it's time to get hostile." Highlights aired of the pull apart brawl from last week.

[Q5] Cena tied Lesnar and John Laurinaitis together by suggesting that the general manager wants to replace him. He said he realizes that his era may have ended at WrestleMania 28. He said he will stand face to face with the man who wants to replace him. Cena recalled Lesnar claimed that he was afraid. "He's right," Cena said. He said he will still fight.

Cena said that after a year of someone plugging movies, shaking hands, and talking about wanting to put on a good show, now he's facing someone set on destruction in Lesnar. Cena said fear can be overcome and even if he is walking in to take the biggest ass whopping of his life, he will still fight.

John Laurinaitis's music played and he walked onto the stage. Laurinaitis said Cena is right in that it is the end of an era. He said it's the era of People Power. He said he's happy that Cena wants to fight. He said he would face someone in the main event in an Extreme Rules match. He said he wouldn't tell Cena because it will make it more exciting...

At ringside, the announcers said there will be a contract signing for the Cena vs. Lesnar match on the three-hour Raw next week. Footage aired of Punk beating Henry earlier in the show, and of Punk leaving a London pub. Lawler said the footage doesn't prove anything...

The announcers hyped Punk vs. Jericho in a street fight for Extreme Rules, and then hyped Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston for later in the show... [C]

Powell's POV: Once again, that's more like it. This time that pertains to Cena, who wasn't all smiles, fun, and games. He was serious and put over Lesnar as a serious threat. He fired up at the end of the promo while talking about how he will fight. The happy go lucky Cena works at times, but it didn't feel right during the feud with Rock, and it certainly didn't feel right last week with Lesnar. WWE has done a really good job of righting some of the wrongs from last week.

Lawler hyped Shinedown's "Adrenaline" as the official theme song of Extreme Rules...

Backstage, R-Truth was still in Sherlock Holmes mode. Hornswoggle searched for the secret passage that Truth used to enter the room... Ring entrances for the Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston match took place... The announcers hyped Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan in a best of three falls for Extreme Rules...

Powell's POV: I'd like to think we could ignore these R-Truth segments and they would just go away. Unfortunately, it's a pre-taped show, so that's not going to happen. Sigh.

[Q6] 4. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston. Lawler said he normally likes to hear the word yes, especially if it comes from a pretty lady. He said Daniel Bryan is making him hate the word.

Powell's Example: Do you think I'm too old for you? Yes, Jerry, by about 40 years.

Bryan controlled the offense early. Kofi avoided a running knee off the ring apron, and then performed a cross body block off the second rope and onto Bryan on the floor. Kingston yelled, "Yes!" as the show went to break. [C]

An ad for the three-hour Raw hyped the Brock Lesnar and John Cena contract signing...

Both wrestlers were back inside the ring after the break. Kingston was in charge briefly, but Bryan came back and kicked the middle rope into Kingston's face. A shot aired of A.J. watching the match on a backstage monitor. Cole said she still thinks she has a chance with Bryan and said you have to admire her perseverance. Bryan kicked Kingston repeatedly and yelled "Yes!" with each kick.

Bryan came back with the SOS around 9:30. He tried to keep it going with a top rope move moments later, but Bryan cut him off. They fought on the ropes and Kofi knocked Bryan down, but Bryan avoided his top rope move attempt. Bryan applied the Yes! Lock and got the submission win.

A shot aired of A.J. smiling backstage as she watched Bryan win the match. Lawler said he used to think Canada was Bizarro Land until he saw all of the London fans doing the "Yes!" chant. Bryan reapplied the hold on Kingston. Sheamus ran out for the save and Bryan left the ring and glared at Sheamus as he backed up the ramp...

Daniel Bryan defeated Kofi Kingston by submission in 10:30.

Powell's POV: Another very good television match. It's great to see Bryan getting the spotlight and the "Yes!" chant is alive and well in London. If the fans chanted it as passionately as they did in Miami and now in London, WWE would have to turn Bryan. Meanwhile, Kofi was competitive, but there's still no sign of him getting a real push. He deserves better creatively.

[Q7] Highlights aired of the Brodus Clay and Santino Marella vs. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger match from last week...

5. Brodus Clay (w/dancers) vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero, Jack Swagger). Dolph dropkicked Brodus to start the match. Clay came back with a fallaway slam. Swagger reached up and prevented Brodus from pulling Dolph back inside the ring and the ref called for the bell. After the match, Vickie kicked one of the dancers down. Brodus did his shake and Vickie fled. Brodus danced with both of his dancers...

Brodus Clay defeated Dolph Ziggler by DQ in 0:25.

Backstage, John Laurinaitis told David Otunga that if he focussed as much on his career as he does on everything he does for him the sky is the limit. Eve approached Laurinaitis about a one-on-one. Laurinaitis called her and Otunga into his office...

At ringside, Cole and Lawler acknowledged the death of Chief Jay Strongbow. They noted that he was in the first class of the WWE Hall of Fame. They set up a video tribute to Strongbow. The live crowd responded with a polite round of applause and a Strongbow graphic appeared on the screen... [C]

Powell's POV: A classy move by WWE. I just wish the company would deliver this type of tribute to all of their former talent who pass away.

Backstage, R-Truth was in Sherlock Holmes mode. He told Teddy Long he found him a job as the general manager of Smackdown. Long noted that he was fired from that job. Truth said that makes him the perfect candidate. Long said there's something wrong with Truth...

Powell's POV: No, there's something wrong with Vince McMahon's sense of humor and the sycophant writer(s) who wrote that one to get a laugh out of the boss and no one else. Awful.

[Q8] 6. Epico and Primo (w/Rosa Mendes) vs. Big Show and The Great Khali in a non-title match. Cole told the story of Rosa complaining via Twitter that her team isn't on television more often. A.W. (Abraham Washington) walked onto the stage and scouted the match.

The tag champs tried to flea with the straps at Rosa's urging, but Show caught them and threw them both back inside the ring. Khali chopped them both. Khali and Show double chokeslammed the tag champs and pinned them simultaneously. Cole said Rosa should keep her comments to herself...

Big Show and The Great Khali beat Epico and Primo in a non-title match in 1:55.

Powell's POV: They had Rosa tweet that to garner attention and then paid it off by squashing the tag champs on Raw. That seemed completely pointless. The tag champs have a decent act. Rosa has the sex appeal and they have some in-ring talent. Why not try to give them a legit push?

A video touted the company's first show in Moscow... Jerry Lawler hyped the main event and which wrestler Laurinaitis will put in there against Cena... [C]

John Cena made his entrance for the main event. John Laurinaitis and David Otunga walked onto the stage. Laurinaitis wished Cena good luck and said he's going to need it based on what he's seen. Laurinaitis introduced Lord Tensai...

7. John Cena vs. Lord Tensai (w/Sakamoto) in an Extreme Rules match. Lawler said Tensai was a former WWE star who went to Japan and learned the true definition of discipline. Cole said Cena showed genuine concern when Tensai was introduced by Laurinaitis. Cole also questioned whether Cena could recover from losing to The Rock at WrestleMania. Lawler said he's worried about the way things have unfolded for Cena since then.

There were dueling chants for Cena early on that seemed pretty split. Tensai controlled the early action. Laurinaitis and Otunga were shown watching the match at ringside next to the announcers. Tensai took the match to ringside and continued to dominate Cena with his power until Cena backdropped him onto the floor.

Cena picked up the steel stairs and rammed them into Tensai. Cena rolled Tensai back inside the ring. Sakamoto delivered a kick to Cena for his first televised offense. Cole pointed out that it's completely legal. Otunga walked over and threw Cena back inside the ring. Tensai scored a near fall on Cena.

Tensai applied a nerve hold on Cena. It may have been the Vulcan Death Grip, but it was hard to tell. Yes, that's a joke. Cena fought out of it and went for an Attitude Adjustment, but he couldn't get Tensai up for the move. Tensai appeared to have a small cut inside his mouth.

[Overrun] Cena came back and started his signature spots. He did the "You Can't See Me" bit and received a lot of boos. However, Tensai didn't take the move and went back on the offensive. Tensai worked over Cena's arm, but Cena countered with the STF. Otunga ran in to help, but Cena gave him the Attitude Adjustment.

Cena went back to Tensai, who sprayed green mist into Cena's face, which Cole noted was legal in this match. Tensai hit his finishing move, and pinned Cena. The crowd was quiet and surprised by the finish. Cena called for water while acting like he was blinded.,.

Lord Tensai pinned John Cena in an Extreme Rules match in 10:00.

Powell's POV: Good booking. This made Tensai seem much more legitimate than those throwaway squash match wins. More importantly, I like that Cena has now lost to The Rock at WrestleMania and now to Tensai on Raw. One of my big complaints about his character was that there was rarely any mystery or intrigue regarding the outcomes of his matches because he would always win and his rare losses were always flukey.

Granted, Otunga interfered, but Cole pointed out that Tensai spraying the mist was legal. Cena now enters the Lesnar match with two recent losses. I like the story that his era may have ended at WrestleMania 28. Of course, I assume Cena comes back stronger than ever at some point, but this is the best thing that could have happened to his character. Plus, I really liked his serious promo. I really could have done without the bad R-Truth skits and the tag champs being squashed, but this was a strong show overall. I'll have more to say tomorrow morning in an All Access Podcast review of Raw.




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