Monday Night Raw
Qwest Center, Omaha, Nebraska | 30th May 2011
‘The Return of the Boss’
We start with footage of last week’s Draft show, including the big-name picks like Edge, Kane (complete with a brutal Michael Tarver beatdown), Jack Swagger and WWE Tag Team Champion Justin Gabriel. We focus mainly, however, on the final moments of the broadcast, in which CM Punk drops the drafted Randy Orton with the GTS and proceeds to air his grievances on live television. Punk speaks about the state of the WWE as we know it, even going as far to threaten Vince McMahon’s family… unless he gets a match at Capitol Punishment with The Rock. With the entire arena booing CM Punk’s hateful words, the Second City Saint walks out…
…and we head into the Raw opening VP. We end with The Miz’s face as usual, then sweep to the Qwest Center in Omaha, where pyro explodes over the stage! A cheer goes up around the arena, leading us to observe this excited crowd and their numerous signs before we head to ringside, where Jim Ross and… no-one else await us.
Er, boomer sooner, welcome to Monday Night Raw, I’m Jim Ross… as you can see, I’m a bit by my lonesome over here, my broadcast colleague Josh Matthews apparently unable to join me just at this moment…
He looks to the empty seat beside him, then to ringside, as if he’s expecting someone to explain the situation to him. Ever the professional, he puts it behind him.
Well, regardless, folks, we’ve got a big show ahead of us tonight, especially after what we heard last week – CM Punk said some things that shouldn’t be said in any context, let alone on live broadcast, and I’d like to apologise if anyone found his words offensive or – or insulting.
A brief pause to clear his throat.
I think we’re all interested to hear what repercussions he’ll face after that ultimatum at the end of our Draft show, but it’s even bigger than that tonight…
Again, he pauses as a graphic sweeps into view, with Vince McMahon’s face greeting us.
That’s right, the boss is back in town! The Chairman of the Board, Mr. McMahon, is scheduled to appear here in Omaha to address CM Punk’s actions last week, as well as performing a general tour of the grounds, if you will, for the first time in months. Always entertainin’ when the boss is in town, gotta look forward to what he has to say.
*THIS FIRE BURNS*
The crowd ERUPTS with heat, and rightly so, as CM Punk walks out on to the stage, almost inevitably twirling a mic in his hand. He soaks up the furious reaction from the crowd, a man who only seven days ago threatened an old man’s family and ripped on the entire system, but seems totally calm here. He’s got the smallest of frowns on his face, continuing to play with the mic as he starts a slow walk down the ramp. Justin Roberts doesn’t introduce him.
Well, I was speakin’ about ‘im a second ago, but here he is in the flesh… CM Punk promised ‘change’ last Monday night, not that I’m sure anyone else really wants whatever ‘change’ he’s givin’ us, but frankly, the man is delusional.
If only because he’s by himself, we get a quick shot of JR shaking his head.
He’s in the trade of convincin’ people that his way is THE way, folks, but all he’s done so far is delude himself
. If he doesn’t get what he wants, he’s out of the WWE, and I wouldn’t lose any sleep if he was, I tell ya.
Punk reaches ringside, and stares up the ring, possibly for the last time tonight. He stays there for a while, then brings the mic into the air to signify that he wants to speak; the monkeys in the back cut the music rather than face his wrath. This gives way to the inevitable loud heat and “YOU SUCK!” chants from the fans in Omaha, but Punk raises the mic and cuts through them all.
I… have to apologise.
He’s greeted immediately by loud boos. Punk looks at the ground, looking a bit sheepish… then cuts it out and puts on his serious face.
I’m apologising because you people came here tonight to be entertained… and let me promise, you will not be entertained by what I say, or what I do.
Anyone in attendance who was expecting an apology for last week, naïve though they may be, still boos Punk here. The Second City Saint heads up the ring steps and rests against the turnbuckle, pausing to raise the mic in the meantime.
And honestly, I could try, I could put on a forced smile like so many others and dance a little dance for you, but that’s not CM Punk. That’s not who I am, that’s not who I’ve ever been. So you don’t have to like what I say tonight, what I said last week, but it makes no difference to me. You are not the people I believe in.
Heat the natural response there. Punk steps inside the ring.
I believe in a simple concept called faith.
Some more boos as Punk flogs the dead horse on this one. He falls to his cross-legged position, centre of the ring, and looks around the arena.
Faith means throwing aside the morality that holds back other people. Weaker
people. I have faith
that if I had one shot to change this whole system, make a whole new WWE from scratch… if I had that one chance, I would do whatever
it took to get that. Anything at all. I could make you forget Vince McMahon and his twisted family with one moment of violence… violence so sick it would make your eyes hurt to watch it.
He shakes his head.
Violence so sick you’d go out of your way – to make sure your sons and daughters never saw it.
Some heat for this demented man.
It takes something special in a man to accept that. I have to believe that I could do that, if I had the one shot, to pull the trigger and change it all. Because if I can’t go further than anyone else… I am no best in the world.
Again, heat – the crowd begin to tell him “YOU SUCK!” like last week, but he ignores them. Standing, he begins to elaborate, pacing around the ring as he does.
Now, I know that I ruffled some feathers last week, so much so that tonight’s show has been labelled ‘Return of the Boss’ on every front, but… there’s more.
He actually smirks a tiny bit there, proud that he’s had an effect.
Makes no difference to me that I had some vocal minority on the internet agreein’ with what I said, ‘cause they’re just as bad – they give Vince McMahon his ego boost as much as anyone. And the talk show hosts who got in touch, who I sent away because where the hell were they when I beat Randy Orton to a pulp on Sunday, or when I won World Titles…
There’s a real bitterness to Punk’s tone now.
All of you contribute to Vince McMahon’s construct, in your own special way, and while he sits there on his ivory tower and ignores any and all criticism, you’re all here clapping and cheering and egging him on. Well, I’m here to change that, and it starts with a very simple ultimatum.
Boos as Punk loosens out his shoulders.
Quite simply, tonight could be my last night on Raw, but frankly, it doesn’t matter to me either way… because havoc will be wreaked, no matter what.
Inevitably, more heat from this hostile crowd.
Last week, I asked Vince McMahon to come here tonight – and he came, bade like a dog
, or so the promoters tell me… because in Vince McMahon’s world, only Vince McMahon truly sells tickets and he was more than happy to come pad his ego again.
Punk raises a disapproving eyebrow as the boos roll in.
So Vince, the question is, if you really are here… either you have the balls to hand over your prized pup to me – or you have the balls to let me walk out, and see how safe you and your kids feel after that.
Massive, massive heat for that comment. A mixture of “ROCKY!” and “YOU SUCK!” chants are hurled at the unfazed Second City Saint. He turns to the stage, but there’s no movement, nothing but silence. Punk scoffs and walks around the ring a bit more.
Okay, so the very idea of Vince McMahon actually facing his critics, in hindsight, may have been a –
*NO CHANCE IN HELL*
It’s a HUGE pop that interrupts Punk there, with the crowd rising to its feet as one… and Vince McMahon comes strutting out, swinging his arms as usual! Punk tilts his head back so he can look down his nose – the Chairman of the Board marches left and right on the stage, soaking up the reaction with a small smile. He doesn’t actually walk down the ramp, almost as if he’s wary of getting too close to the unpredictable Second City Saint, but Vince has a mic, and he points it at the crowd as his music continues to mix with Nebraskan cheers.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome… the Chairman of the Board, Mister – McMahon!
You’d hope that’d shut the man up, but I doubt it – there’s your Chairman of the Board, the boss himself in Mr. McMahon, and after what we’ve just heard… well, I realise I’m meant to be impartial, but excuse my French, I hope he sends Punk out on his ass.
McMahon’s marching comes to an end, as does his music. He stands for a moment, just looking out at the crowd in attendance; he’s pleased with the turnout, so he turns to face the ring instead. The corner of his mouth was curved upward with the crowd starting up sporadic chants of “Vince! Vince!” and so on, but it disappears when Punk enters his vision. The mere sight of the man who threatened his family makes his blood run cold.
He takes a decent pause, making sure the cameras catch the hatred, the disapproval in Punk’s expression as he waits.
After what you said last week, I was very tempted to come out here tonight, and well – I was gonna call your bluff.
Some cheers as Punk folds his arms.
I’ve done a helluva lotta things in my time as Chairman. Hell, I’ve done some things I’m not proud of, but there’s always been (holds up a finger) one rule
, that everyone knew.
McMahon raises a hand and gestures as he speaks, boisterous as he ever was.
Don’t – cross – THE BOSS!
Another pop as Punk shakes his head.
And why, huh? Because it all has to be your way –
The crowd cheers loudly as Punk scowls in silence.
Ya wanna know why I was gonna call your bluff, Punk? Because if you threaten my family… you’ll pay with two words I’ve used plenty of times in the past.
“YOOOOU’RE FIIIIRED!” drawls the crowd. VKM raises a finger, however.
But just before I was gonna tell you to get the hell outta my company… I got a phone call.
Punk is staring at McMahon with eyes on fire.
And the guy on the end of the line – well, he said ya could say whatever ya liked about who you think I am, all that propaganda that comes spillin’ outta that giant mouth of yours…
McMahon shakes his head.
But no matter what you think about me, Punk, you don’t threaten a man’s family. That’s just… that’s just basic. But we both know you were looking for a ripple effect, and you’ll get one now.
Punk’s now standing on the second rope, watching the Chairman with disgust.
You’ll get it, and you’ll see the consequences for it, too. Because the only man who could save you from being fired – well, that was the man on the end of the phone line.
From that turnbuckle, Punk narrows his eyes and awaits what’s coming. Vince turns to the stage and spreads his right arm out, beckoning something…
“IF YA SMEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLL…”
AND THIS CROWD GOES MENTAL!!! Punk seemed to always know this was coming, paying no attention to the roaring fans in their thousands around him. He shakes his head a little, eyes locked on the stage… WHERE THE ROCK STORMS OUT AND WATCHES THE FANS GO INTO RAPTURES! Sunglasses on indoors, wearing his ‘I BRING IT’ shirt and looking fired up tonight, Rocky turns briefly to McMahon, and for a moment, the two men are united against Punk and his outbursts in the ring. McMahon stares furiously at Punk for a moment, then points to The Great One as if to say ‘I hope he kills you’ and heads backstage.
The Great One! The Rock is here! By gawd, live on Monday Night Raw, The Rock has come to face the man who insulted the company he helped build! This man put the WWE on his shoulders, and he’s not gonna sit back while Punk drops conspiracy theories! What a way to kick off Raw!
The Rock takes a moment to look around the arena, then strides towards the ring as the lights flash, with Punk not stepping down from the buckles or breaking his gaze. The Second City Saint looks at him with an unbridled hatred, only finally hopping down when The Rock circles the ring and forces Punk to turn in the process. Finally, The Great One takes a mic from ringside, and heads up the steps before he joins Punk in the ring. His music dies down, to be inevitably and immediately replaced by “ROCKY! ROCKY!” chants in the thousands, though Punk ignores them all and stares ice cold through the Brahma Bull. Rocky whips off his shades to look right back at him, then raises his mic.
BIG cheer there.
The Rock – has come back… to OMA-HA!
Another cheer following the crowd’s chanting along.
And The Rock’ll tell ya why he’s back here – it’s so he can tell you (pointing)
exactly what you are.
Punk stares at that pointed finger like it’s crawling with disease.
You think you can march your roody-poo ass down this ramp, insult the GM, every guy in that locker room, say you’re comin’ for the boss man’s family… all so you can change it all, huh? So you can become (air quotes)
the ‘best in the world’?
Rocky doesn’t look impressed; neither does Punk.
Well, let The Rock explain something to ya, Punk. The reason you’re not best in the world, not champion, not even worth cleanin’ the dog turd off The Rock’s boots, isn’t ‘cause Vince is holdin’ ya back… it’s because you SUCK.
The crowd cheers. Punk just stares back at him.
And hell, even The Rock tried this one time or another. Even The Rock made fun of Vince McMahon, believed for a while that he was better than everyone else… but the difference between you and The Rock is that The Rock went out and proved it.
Another hearty cheer from the crowd, but Punk scoffs.
Over the years, The Rock came to learn a little humility. So The Rock’s standin’ here, knowing my place – but no-one seems to have come out here yet and told you to KNOW YOUR ROLE AND SHUT YOUR MOUTH.
Punk actually turns away now, shaking his head. He turns back sharply and considers saying something, but stops himself and waits.
See last week, The Rock’s sat back at home, sitting on The Rock’s couch, eatin’ The Rock’s popcorn, watchin’ Raw on The Rock’s big-ass TV. And he laughed – LAUGHED – at you hobblin’ your psycho monkey ass down that ramp and actin’ like a big shot. You challenged The Rock?
The Rock stops for a moment, hearing the “ROCKY!” chants building again and letting them ring around in Omaha. He continues.
You challenged The Rock? After everything you said, all that trash you talked about this company, the people who are just doin’ their jobs, putting food on their family’s tables… you still went and invited The Rock back into this ring? Are you crazy? Do you want a beating?
Punk doesn’t answer, but the crowd is eating this up.
And The Rock can’t lie, ever since you interrupted his Birthday Special and talked about your ‘faith’ mumbo-jumbo, The Rock was tempted. The Rock was tempted to do it all over again, step back into this ring for the first time in years, and show you a thing or two about respect, jabroni.
But you seem confident. You believe more than anythin’ that you’ll beat The Rock, turn this company on its head in the process… but The Rock wants you to think about that. You really think that if The Rock steps in this ring again and that bell rings… that you stand a chance? You think you can go one… on one… WITH THE GREAT ONE?
The crowd chants along with him there, then begins to cheer.
Tell me – tell The Rock, Punk… is that what you honestly think?
Punk stands and stares at him for a moment. The mic comes up.
IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU –
“-THINK!” finishes the eager crowd, but The Rock turns his head back to look at Punk. He frowns.
No, it’s not what I think, Dwayne. I don’t think I stand a chance… I think I stand more
than a chance. Hell, I’m one hundred percent certain that I can leave you laying, and prove just how much of a phony you really are.
Boos as Rocky takes his turn to listen, looking repulsed by Punk’s words.
I genuinely didn’t think you’d come here, but somehow I’m glad you did, because all you’ve done is prove my point. Y’see, it’s easy for you to come out here and spout your catchphrases, put on a brave face and support the man who made you filthy rich.
Another frown from The Rock, another round of heat from the crowd.
You’ve made a pretty good life for yourself out of it, but you epitomise this obsession McMahon has with ‘entertainment’. Sure, these people eat it up, but at the end of the day…
Punk cracks a rare smirk.
…you can’t wrestle in the same league
as I can.
The Rock raises the famous eyebrow. Boos from the crowd.
I’ve wrestled men ten times as good as you, names you’d never know because you’re blinkered. Because while you tried so hard to make yourself a Hollywood name, I was putting my knee between people’s eyes and telling myself that someday I would be in a position… like this.
We get a wider shot of the pair of them, standing face-to-face with the tension clear for everyone to see.
I knew I’d need that skill someday, so I worked at it, while you were busy making movies and kissing Vince’s ass to make sure you could come back whenever you wanted… but these people still eat out of the palm of your hand. And you’re exactly the man that I need to put down
… if I ever want to kill Vince’s perverted regime. That’s the truth of it.
Rock tilts his head up, the crowd booing again.
Call it what you want, I don’t care. I know the reason you came out here, I know the reason you called McMahon, and so do all of those people. You and me, in the capital, until you lie still on this mat.
Ooooh, that strikes a nerve. Rocky steps forward, but Punk doesn’t budge.
And when I’m done, Dwayne, all your fans and your entertainment value won’t mean a thing – exactly how it should be. They won’t save you, and Vince won’t save you.
Punk stares right back into The Rock’s eyes.
I’m the bullet that killed Franz Ferdinand. The architect for change. When Capitol Punishment rolls around, you’re gonna realise that choosing to dance for Vince McMahon… didn’t help you at all.
Heat from the crowd as Punk steps forward a little.
In Washington… you will be faith’s first casualty.
With the boos raining in, Punk heads for the ropes and leaves the ring. The Rock watches him go as Punk throws his mic to the ground on his way, but the Great One heads to the edge of the ring and raises his own mic.
Punk – you talk big, but ya don’t act big.
A pop, but Punk just keeps walking, smirking after he sent his message.
But you’re right. The Rock wants back in, because whippin’ jabronis like you is what he does best!
Again, the crowd cheers, but Punk won’t even look at the Great One.
So Capitol Punishment, you and The Rock – IT’S ON.
Rocky absorbs the cheers once more, now gripping the top rope as he shouts up the ramp after the walking CM Punk. “I can’t believe my ears,” says JR.
But if ya think for a second that all your threats are gonna scare The Rock, ya got another thing comin’, ‘cause The Rock doesn’t cave. No, you take your conspiracy theories, shine ‘em up real nice, turn ‘em sideways and shove ‘em STRAIGHT UP, YOUR CANDY ASS!
Another BIG cheer as Punk reaches the stage, but stops to listen.
In D.C., The Rock’s back in the saddle, and he’s gonna teach you what happens when you run your mouth to the Great One! IF YA SMEEEEEEEEEELLLLLL…
The crowd ROARS along with him, as Punk slowly turns on a dime to watch him…
…WHAT THE ROCK – IS – COOKING!
Another fierce cheer greets that, but Punk seems unfazed, just shaking his head… and then looking at his wrist, the imaginary watch, and looking knowingly at The Rock. The Brahma Bull himself is fired up, looking fairly pissed off by everything Punk has said and done, but slowly, the Second City Saint backs away, heading behind the curtain and leaving Rocky by himself. The crowd begins to chant his name, but it takes him a moment to acknowledge them, still trying to calm himself down after dealing with Punk’s insolence.
Nothing but tension, but disrespect between CM Punk and The Rock, and after that confrontation on Rocky’s Birthday Special, maybe we shoulda guessed that these two would collide again… I just didn’t think it was gonna be this soon! Rock’s gotta try and stop Punk’s insane ‘crusade’ before it can start, and it’s gonna go down in Washington, folks!
As The Rock salutes the fans on every side, thanking them for their support tonight if a little distracted, we spot JR looking around at ringside.
But would someone tell me where Josh Matthews is?
We go to a break.
As Raw returns, this arena is gold, and walking the ring is Goldust, getting a surprisingly decent amount of cheers as he takes a sharp intake of breath. He goes about the place making the facial expressions you’d expect of the Bizarre One, and the bell rings.
The following contest is set for one fall! In the ring, from Hollywood, California, weighing in at two hundred and forty-three pounds… GOOOOOLDUST!
Welcome back, folks, this is Monday Night Raw, we’ve got Vince McMahon in the building and unbelievably, The Rock and CM Punk are gonna let their frustrations at each other out at Capitol Punishment, we heard that much just before the break… but now we’ve got Goldust set for action, which apparently I’ll be callin’ myself…
Goldust turns to face the stage, his music dying out, and he breathes dramatically in and out as he waits for his opponent…
“CHECK, ONE TWO… OH YEAH!”
*GET ON YOUR KNEES*
Heat fills this arena, loud boos indeed, as the American flag waves on the Tron and here comes Jack Swagger, beating his chest slowly as he returns to singles action on Raw for the first time in a long while. Behind him struts out Michael Cole, wearing a red tie to mark his own return to Raw, though possibly after a shorter absence, and grinning his absolute face off. Swagger leads him down the ramp, stopping to fall into a series of push-ups that release his pyro on the stage.
And his opponent, accompanied by Michael Cole… from Perry, Oklahoma, weighing in at two hundred and sixty pounds… the Phenomenal Athlete, the ALL-AMERICAN AMERICAN… JACK – SWAGGER!
Jack Swagger drafted over to Raw last week, much to my personal chagrin, but you can’t deny what he’s capable of, and we saw that at Over The Limit when he put away the Big Show in dominating fashion.
Swagger heads up to the ring, swinging inside and taking only a glance at Goldust before he heads for the turnbuckles. Cole’s walking around ringside to watch.
Of course, the man known as the Phenomenal Athlete, could yet reclaim the success he had a year ago, now in a great vein of form and looking to make his mark here on… what – what are you doin’? Don’t sit down here, don’t come anywhere near me, ya little –
Cole spreads his arms wide upon reaching the announce desk, saying “Looking a little lonely there, JR?” but Ross raises his hands in protest. Cole starts walking closer, and JR frowns, but as Swagger jumps to the second rope and shouts “ON – YOUR – KNEES!” in time with the music, Cole slides into Josh Matthews’ empty seat and gets his paws on the headset…
Well, ain’t this convenient, huh JR? Almost like it was written in the stars, am I right? The band is back together!
There’s no band, we’re not friends. You’re nothin’ but, but a parasite –
Hey now, where’s all this hostility comin’ from? Aren’t you glad that Jack and I are back on Raw? Now I get to call the action with ya!
I must have done somethin’ pretty damn bad in a previous life…
In the ring, Rod Zapata looks between the two men, with Swagger stepping down and observing his opponent with a frown. Nevertheless, he begins to pace, forcing Goldust to circle, and Zapata gets our opening contest underway.
Match One – Singles Contest
Goldust vs. Jack Swagger w/ Michael Cole
Here we go then, with poor Jim Ross having to put up with Michael Cole’s grating voice at ringside, and Swagger immediately locks up with Goldust, forcing him into the corner and driving with some shoulder thrusts. He delivers each one to the gut with outstanding drive, huge force, then sends Goldust to the other side – and MAULS the Bizarre One with a Corner Avalanche! The crowd groans as Goldust does, falling to his knees, but Swagger just pulls him up, scooping him into the Oklahoma… but Goldust slips out before he unleash the Stampede, and SHOVES Swagger into the turnbuckle! A pop goes up as Swagger reels back, and suddenly Goldust ROLLS HIM UP… one… two – NO! Kickout by Swagger, so both men get up, Goldust ducking a clothesline – and then doing the classic pose, breathing in sharply to taunt the All-American American!
Swagger’s eyes narrow, launching forward, but Goldust sidesteps him again, then works in the right hands, shuffling like his father with the peppering shots… but Swagger ducks the last blow as Goldust winds back and misses. Swagger grabs him by the wrist now, sending him to the ropes and bending down… but Goldust drops down and UPPERCUTS him right in the jaw! Swagger reels back in shock, and Goldust gets a run-up for the clothesline – DUCKED! Goldust keeps running, stopping himself in the corner… and Swagger drives into him with a shoulder thrust, right to the lower spine! Goldust gasps in pain, so Swagger wraps his arms around his waist and tugs him back… BEFORE HE DUMPS HIM WITH A GERMAN SUPLEX!
The crowd cries “OH!” as Goldust goes sprawling, and Swagger gets up with a ROAR of frustration, not happy that his opponent got even the slightest of offence in. Cole’s blabbering on about Swagger’s unbeatable competitive spirit, how he hasn’t been pinned in months, while Goldust’s hands scrape the mat as he tries to get up. The fight’s been wrenched right out of him with that German, but there’s still a fire inside Swagger, who yanks Goldust back up and into that Oklahoma again… this
time he bashes Goldust into the turnbuckle, and completes the Oklahoma Stampede! That lays Goldust out emphatically, and now Swagger circles him, scowling before he pushes him towards the corner with the toe of his boot.
Goldust rolls where he’s bidden, fairly lifeless after Swagger’s chained big hits, and now the All-American American barrels into the corner… FOR THE SWAGGER BOMB ON THE MONEY! That takes the air out of Goldust for sure, so Swagger gets up, bringing the Bizarre One with him. He drives a hard knee into his gut, keeping him from fighting back, then wraps the arms around the abdomen… AND DRILLS HIM WITH THE GUTWRENCH POWERBOMB!
Down goes Goldust yet again, like Swagger’s knocking around a ragdoll, as Swagger falls beside him, doing some focused push-ups to observe the pain on Goldust’s face. This gets Swagger some strong heat, but as always, he’s not doing it to gloat, but to make a point… before he gets up, AND LOCKS IN THE ANKLE LOCK! Goldust suddenly comes to life, yelling in pain, and for all his unorthodox offence and mind games, the Bizarre One has no answer here… Michael Cole’s singing all kinds of praises at ringside, as Goldust raises a hand – AND TAPS!
Result: Jack Swagger bts. Goldust via submission at 2:16
*GET ON YOUR KNEES*
Here is your winner as the result of a submission… the Phenomenal Athlete, the All-American American… JACK – SWAGGER!
Swagger dumps the ankle to the ground at Rod Zapata’s behest, leaving Goldust to suffer on the canvas as he walks calmly to the turnbuckles and raises himself to the second rope. With the crowd booing, the All-American American spreads his arms wide, knowing that Raw re-debuts don’t get much better than that. Stepping down, he sees Zapata checking on Goldust, but tells the official that he doesn’t deserve to be in the same ring, and pulls the Bizarre One up to THROW him through the ropes to the outside!
Take a look at that guy, JR! What a man, totally unstoppable!
Jack Swagger indeed victorious in his first night back as a Raw superstar, but ya look at him showin’ no respect to a veteran in –
Ya know what, JR? I think the world needs to hear from Raw’s new biggest threat, I’ll catch ya later. Don’t miss me too much, alright?
No danger there.
Cole indeed drops his headset, rushing over to ringside to grab a mic from someone, as Swagger continues his celebrations in the ring. As JR shakes his head in the background, Cole goes rushing past and joins Swagger in the ring. The so-called ‘Voice of the WWE’ pats Swagger on the shoulder, though the All-American American doesn’t exactly grin at the sight of him. His music subsides, and the boos become all the more audible as Cole raises a hand.
May I have your attention please…
Inevitable boos there.
It’s a great honour for me to re-introduce you, Monday Night Raw, to a man who is going to take you by storm.
Heat as Swagger folds his arms behind Cole.
It doesn’t matter that the General Manager is still sour that he lost
to me at Wrestlemania, and therefore hates every step I take on this earth…
The boos mix with “YOU SUCK!” chants in an attempt to shut Cole up, but nothing doing.
And I’m sure Jerry Lawler would love to screw my associate Jack Swagger out of every match he participates in, but just because he can’t do his
job right, doesn’t mean we can’t do ours.
Wearing that little smirk again, Cole gestures to himself, then to the man behind him.
So Lawler, I hope you enjoyed watching Jack here destroy his opponent, because there’s plenty more where that came from, and as for you personally –
Yoink – Swagger wrenches the mic out of Cole’s hands.
This ain’t about the GM. I don’t give a damn who he is.
Some heat there.
Nah, this is about a man who as an athlete… well, he is just PHENOMENAL.
Boos again as Cole holds up his hands and backs away a little.
Last Sunday – I backed up everything I said, when I broke Big Show’s ankle and put him where he belongs… on the shelf.
More heat. Swagger smirks.
I warned him not to show up, but he tried to be brave – and I punished him for it.
Cole nods in the background.
Somethin’ you people are gonna learn about me is now I’m on Raw, things are gonna be even worse for my opponents. I can take down any man, of any size, of any skill, at any time. You just name ‘im, I will beat
Some applause from Cole as the crowd boos Swagger’s arrogance.
And before long, I’m-a prove that, because these ain’t just words, this is gospel. I am an athlete the likes of which y’all have never seen…
Swagger points to the camera.
So prepare yourselves for a whole lot more dominance.
*GET ON YOUR KNEES*
Swagger hands the mic to Cole, telling him to pass it to ringside. The All-American American himself takes a walk, making sure the crowd knows how good he is before he heads out of the ring, and up the ramp. Having given the mic back, Cole goes scurrying after him as Swagger paces up towards the stage, nodding his head.
Big words from the All-American American tonight, ladies and gentlemen. He thinks he’s got a bright future here on Raw, and like him or not I’d be inclined to agree after performances like that… but I’d rather be his next opponent than call another match with Michael Cole, I tell ya.
As Swagger and Cole head behind the curtain, we fade away…
…to see the Raw General Manager, Jerry “The King” Lawler in his office. The Hall of Famer gets a cheer from the crowd and a few “Jerry! Jerry!” chants, even more poignant after Michael Cole’s criticisms of him just now, but at the moment he’s indifferent to it, with a mobile phone pressed to his ear.
Josh, look, the show has been going for –
You were what?
Wait, wait. Sent home? By who?
Again, he waits for an answer, then tilts his head up and frowns. Turning around, he stares… right into Vince McMahon as the camera pans out. A small pop from the crowd.
Right. Bye, Josh.
He hangs up and pockets the phone.
Mister McMahon… it’s good to see you, but –
Jerry, I tell ya, it’s good to be back. It’s been a while since I’ve been here first-hand, so I can see how things are being run, deal with CM Punk… and see if myself and the Board made the right choice in appointing you General Manager.
Lawler was about to speak, but he hesitates. McMahon puts a hand on his shoulder and smiles.
Y’see Jerry, sometimes in management you just gotta make the tough choices. Like earlier tonight, I brought The Rock back to deal with CM Punk, because I knew it would be good for business. Or looking at your announce team – Josh Matthews works both Raw and SmackDown, right?
King doesn’t answer, possibly because it feels rhetorical. McMahon’s hand is still there; he leans in closer as if he’s telling a secret.
But King, you know as well as I do that the WWE… it’s about variety. So I sent Josh home… and found someone else for ya, starting tonight, to spice up proceedings just a little.
Mixed reaction from the crowd. Lawler considers speaking up, but again he hesitates and Vince jumps in.
And another thing, just a tip between… colleagues. It’s hard to do your job… when half your acting roster is unhappy.
Sir, I wouldn’t say –
The hand comes off the shoulder.
I’ve heard a lotta complaints, Jerry. And you know what complaints do? They take time to deal with. Time I don’t have a lot of.
Silence for a second to let that sink in.
You’ve had since Wrestlemania. And King, there’s been one too many attacks, one too many matches that the people don’t wanna see… one too many times when you let things get outta hand. That’s not what I expect – it’s not what the Board expects.
Mister McMahon, sometimes it’s just been out of –
So the Board and I, as Chairman, have had some time to think about it… and we’ve decided to put you on probation, pending a full performance review the weekend of Capitol Punishment.
The crowd groans in surprise, and Lawler goes a little pale.
That gives you the time to turn it around… but if you don’t…
A shrug from VKM. He goes to leave, but turns briefly.
And Jerry? Don’t make me have to manage your personnel again.
Vince walks out, leaving Lawler to stare after him; the GM is stunned, but for the moment there’s nothing he can do. After a few moments of staying with King, we hear a few “Jerry!” chants from the arena, and we fade to a break.
When Raw returns, we’re at ringside… and sitting with Jim Ross is Byron Saxton, grinning his face off and wearing a casual suit. A little caption comes up with their names to boot.
This is Raw folks, live from Omaha – and apparently my new broadcast partner for the evening is Byron Saxton –
Ya bet all the barbeque sauce in Oklahoma I am, JR! And it ain’t just this evenin’, either, I’m here for the long haul! I come with the Vincent Kennedy McMahon seal of approval!
No-one likes a braggart, Byron, but takin’ a look at what we saw before the break, that very man Mister McMahon has put Raw GM Jerry “The King” Lawler on probation ahead of a full performance review…
And damn right, too, JR! Lawler should have hired me when he first got his dirty hands on
I don’t wanna get this announce team off to a bad start, but you’re talkin’ about a Hall of Famer, a close personal friend of mine. You show me your Hall of Fame ring and then we’ll talk about if King can do his job right, he’s doin’ just fine.
Hey, ask the WWE Champ if he agrees with that, JR. Ask CM Punk, ask guys like Cena and Triple H who had to go out of their way to get the match they wanted, just ‘cause Lawler forced ‘em to team together. Ask Gail Kim how she feels that Lawler never punished Alex Riley. Want me to write ya a list?
I’m not gonna get into an argument with ya, Byron, if only ‘cause we’ve got a show to call and I’d take the devil himself for a colour commentator rather than Cole…
A strong pop goes up here, the crowd rising to its feet to applaud the United States Champion, Tyler Black as he makes his way out. Black’s looking as game as ever tonight, hair a ruffled mess across his determined face and the title in his right hand to loft it into the air. He throws that belt over his shoulder, then points out at the crowd and leaps on to the ramp, a two-footed stomp letting off a burst of pyro behind him. The bell rings, and now Black slaps the outstretched hands of the fans along the ramp.
The following contest is set for one fall! Introducing first, from Buffalo, Iowa, weighing in at two hundred and six pounds… he is the United States Champion… TYLER – BLACK!
Here’s a man with a lot to be happy about, folks. Tyler Black stuck to his code at Over The Limit, beating Sheamus to the United States Title, and last week he got that title reign off to a great start, victory over Drew McIntyre and lasting to the final four of the main event Battle Royal.
Ya gotta respect what Tyler Black did in Seattle, the man stuck to his guns and he came out with the title, great resilience for sure – but as for that code of his… well, ya know what they say about nice guys, JR.
Well Sheamus saw what a ‘nice guy’ like Tyler is capable of, Byron. He wouldn’t stay down, now he’s champion. Sheamus’ first loss in months mean anythin’ to you?
The guy used to dress up like an FBI agent, JR. Don’t tell me I have to take him seriously after that.
JR doesn’t really have an answer for that, so it’s eyes to the ring. Black’s there by now, having swung into the squared circle and hoisted himself to the second rope. He raises his arms, the title once again in one of them, enjoying the reaction he gets before he steps down and waits for his opponent. His music fades, so we’re left with just Black pacing the ring, the crowd chanting his name in the background.
*IN THE MIDDLE OF IT NOW*
There’s some heat as the rock tune strikes up, and Curt Hawkins is the man pacing out to accept the negative reaction. Cane in one hand, he spreads his arms wide and spins to show the ‘RULE-BREAKER’ emblazoned on the reverse of his jet-black jacket. He takes a few steps backwards down the ramp, then spins and punches the air, screaming “ENGAGE HAWK MODE!” from behind his shades. With Black measuring his opponent from the ring, Hawkins points briefly to the bald eagle’s head on the breast of his jacket, then heads for the squared circle.
And his opponent… from the BIIIIIRD’S NEST, weighing in at two hundred and twenty-three pounds… THE RUUULE
-BREAKER… CURT – HAWKINS!
a guy ya can get behind! The Rule-Breaker in the house!
It remains to be seen exactly how ground-breaking Curt Hawkins is as a competitor, Byron, but certainly he’s been impressive in recent weeks, several wins under his belt.
You kiddin’ me? He doesn’t have to break the rules in the ring
, he’s talented enough to win by himself – he’s redefinin’ standards, pushin’ the envelope! It’s about bein’ your own guy, which is more I can say for Tyler Black, huh? Anybody can call themselves a ‘good guy’ and go around kissin’ babies!
Hawkins trots up the ring steps and immediately clambers up to the top rope, spreading his arms wide and showing the world his wingspan. Black looks a little uncertain why Hawkins is doing this, but waits patiently until his opponent has swung himself down into the ring. Hawkins points across at him, saying “Get ready to face the eagle, I don’t play by your rules, dude” before he slips out of his jacket and hands it, plus his shades and cane, to ringside. The United States Champion hands the title out of the ring too, trying to gauge exactly what Hawkins’ deal is, and as the Rule-Breaker starts to shake out his arms, these two begin to circle. It’s Hawkins’ biggest challenge to date, and he makes sure to talk as much trash as possible here, trying to get into Black’s head as Scott Armstrong gets us underway.
Match Two – Singles Contest – Non-Title
United States Champion Tyler Black vs. Curt Hawkins
We join this one after roughly six minutes, with Hawkins having the slight upper hand, keeping Black down and laying in some cross-faced right hands. He steps away for a moment, leaving Black seated to hit the ropes… but the United States Champion slides to the deck, leaving Hawkins to run over him. Black’s up, leapfrogging Hawkins this time, and when they meet a third time, Black stuns him with an elbow and tries to go for the ropes himself – but Hawkins is on him, charging after him and sliding from the ring, taking Black’s ankles out from underneath him as he does!
Black’s head bounces against the mat awkwardly, and the crowd groans, but Hawkins has no sympathy, spreading his arms and saying “Redefinin’ standards, people!” before he heads over to ringside… and fist bumps Byron Saxton! These two know each other pretty well from their FCW days, and Saxton wears his million dollar smile proudly after the shout-out, while Hawkins now swings back up to the apron. Black’s hauling himself slowly up, wincing after his surprise fall, then turns to see Hawkins flying like the eagle on the springboard – NO! Whatever he was going for, it’s not there, Black ducking under Hawkins as he flies past, and now they turn to face each other… kick to the gut from Black, then shoving Hawkins’ head between his legs – TO SCOOP HIM UP, AND DRILL HIM INTO THE TURNBUCKLE WITH THE POWERBOMB! The crowd gasps as Hawkins goes tumbling to the deck, and now Black dives over him for the cover… one… two… no! Kickout by the Eagle despite the big hit!
Black runs a hand through that straggled hair and pushes himself up. He’s a bit surprised by Hawkins’ resilience, but he’s undeterred and welcomes the Rule-Breaker up with a couple of kicks to the side. Hawkins shrugs them off and answers back with a kick or two of his own, backing Black up to the ropes, then whips him to the other side… no, Black sends him instead, then throws a clothesline – ducked by Hawkins, who doesn’t turn but just LEAPS INTO THE PELE KICK
– GOT IT! That puts Black down in sensational style, so Hawkins covers… one… two… no! Black kicks out this time! Hawkins can’t believe his luck, now shoving himself up and beckoning Black to rise, limbering up that right arm to take Black’s head off with one of his signature huge clotheslines… Black’s up – but the clothesline MISSES, Black dodging the bullet before he leaps himself… AND NAILS HAWKINS WITH HIS OWN LEAPING ENZUIGIRI, ALMOST IDENTICAL TO THE PELE! Both men go down, the crowd’s cheering ringing in their ears… before Black hauls himself into the cover… one… two… but no! Kickout by Hawkins!
Only two fingers held up by referee Scott Armstrong, which Black winces at as the pair go crawling away from each other. They haul themselves up almost at the same time, both feeling those huge spiralling kicks to the head that they traded, and now they meet in the centre with right hands. The crowd cheers, the crowd boos, Black strikes, Hawkins strikes, and back-and-forth we go with the alternating cheers and jeers… until Black gets the upper hand, forcing the Rule-Breaker back to the ropes and whipping him across – ONLY FOR HAWKINS TO REBOUND AND MURDER THE CHAMPION WITH A GIGANTIC CLOTHESLINE!
What a hit from the Rule-Breaker! Hawkins goes rolling across the mat, even a little surprised himself that he put so much force into that, while Black’s body folds over on the canvas. The United States Champion was well and truly rattled by that, but he’s on his knees, while Hawkins staggers over to him and yanks him up. Black’s in no position to fight back just yet, so Hawkins scoops him up high – AND SCORES WITH THE UPSIDE DOWN MICHINOKU DRIVER! The crowd cries out in awe, Hawkins rolling backwards on impact, but now the Rule-Breaker dives into the cover, thinking surely he’s got the champ down and out… one… two… thr-NO! Black rolls a shoulder to the delight of the crowd!
Hawkins looks a little sour, but nevertheless he picks himself up and begins to stalk the champion. He’s back to trash talking again, something about eagles and rule-breaking and envelope-pushing, but Black’s too busy trying to shake out the cobwebs to pay attention. He struggles back up, putting a hand on the ropes to steady himself, then turns into the clutches of Hawkins… he’s got the front facelock, maybe thinking Laugh Riot – no! Black spins out of it, then hooks the Rule-Breaker up with the Belly-to-Back… THEN UP AND DOWN INTO THE REVERSE STO! A cheer goes up as Black turns on the style, with Hawkins’ mind getting jumbled there, and as he staggers blindly sideways, Black has time to collect himself… AND HE BRINGS HIM DOWN FOR GOOD WITH THE YAKUZA KICK! What a thumping hit from the champion, getting the crowd excited in the process, and now he covers, looking to put an end to it here… one… two… thr-but NO! Kickout by Hawkins yet again!
A sigh from the crowd – Tyler is stunned, staggering over to the corner and turning his head back to look at Hawkins in shock. That Yakuza Kick has a habit of leaving men broken on the deck, but Hawkins won’t stay down despite the United States Champion’s best efforts so far. Black, never one to dwell too long, heads out to the apron and clambers up to the top rope, knowing he has to amp it up as Hawkins gets up… but the Rule-Breaker dives on the ropes, shaking them so Black loses his footing! The crowd groans as Black near-on crotches himself, giving Hawkins the chance to join Black up high, throwing a couple of right hands and looking to send him flying with the Superplex – no good! Black fights back with right hands of his own!
Hawkins and Black are going at it now, looking fairly precarious up on that turnbuckle, as Hawkins hauls himself up so the two are parallel on the top tier… Black gets a right hand that sends the Rule-Breaker teetering towards the edge, maybe down to the outside mats – but no, Hawkins holds on! Black desperately wants to fight Hawkins away, throwing another right hand, but Hawkins finds a second wind, swinging back towards the ring and LASHING out with a kick, catching Black across the face and sending him careering back down to the mat! The crowd cries out as Black crashes, and now Hawkins has to recollect himself up top, measuring the champion up and screaming “FLY LIKE THE EAGLE!” before he stands, and LAUNCHES WITH THE HEAT-SEEKING ELBOOOOOOOWWWWW… NOOOOOO!!! BLACK PUTS A FOOT UP, AND HAWKINS REELS AWAY LIKE HIS HEAD’S BEEN TAKEN OFF!!!
Hawkins could be out cold! The Rule-Breaker’s body goes rolling sideways, and Black crawls away too, blinking repeatedly as he tries to prepare himself to continue – that was just instinct from the United States Champion! Hawkins is barely moving, his face wrecked with pain, as we spy Black hauling his body up in the background… and now he pumps his arms, bringing the crowd to life! He goes over to Hawkins, pulling the Eagle’s dead weight up and letting out a HUGE roar of adrenaline before he lines up the inverted facelock… AND SCORES WITH THE PAROXYSM!!! The crowd pops big, with Black wasting no time in covering a great competitor in Hawkins… one… two… three!
Result: United States Champion Tyler Black bts. Curt Hawkins via pinfall at 11:25
Here is your winner… the United States Champion… TYLER – BLACK!
Black gets to his feet, soaking in the cheers and pumping an exhausted arm. That arm is raised by Armstrong, with the delight clear on his face after yet another hard-fought victory. He yells out, heading for the turnbuckles to egg the crowd on, those fists firing again as the thousands applaud his efforts. Behind him, Hawkins stays down with a hand across his back, wincing heavily to sell Black’s offence.
Another steep challenge navigated by the new United States Champion, folks, but Curt Hawkins sure as hell pushed him to the limit.
Pushed him to the limit? Hell, the Eagle had him beat
, JR! He got lucky with that raised boot and he’s escapin’ with a dubya tonight!
Ya seem to be goin’ outta your way to land the champ in it, Byron, but if one thing’s for sure, it’ll take a helluva effort to keep ‘im down – always enjoy seein’ this bright young man in action, making sure he’s earning that title.
Back to the ring, where Hawkins is up, evidently smarting by that hand he has pressed to his spine. Black has stepped down, still a little fired up but calming as someone hands him his title and he throws it over his shoulder. He takes a step forward, closer to Hawkins now, and nods his head, impressed with the Rule-Breaker’s performance there. Hawkins looks at him through suspicious eyes, then narrows those eyes down… at the handshake Black offers him!
Don’t do it, Curt! Who knows where that hand’s been?
A mixed reaction goes up as Hawkins stares at the hand for a moment… then slaps it aside and walks out!
Oh what’s this guy’s problem?
Ha! He’s a smart man, JR, he doesn’t want Black’s pity!
Hawkins finds boos thrown at him by hundreds of people, but he doesn’t care in the slightest as he steps to the apron – “Screw you, I don’t play by your rules!” he shouts with a pointed finger at Black, then steps down and snatches his jacket and shades from ringside. Throwing the eagle-crested jacket back over himself, he slides the glasses on and heads for the ramp. Black, exhausted, rests two arms against the top rope and watches Hawkins leave with a shake of his head.
Well, I’d hardly call it ‘pity’, but whatever it is, Hawkins ain’t buyin’ – still, Tyler Black rolls on here in Omaha… we’re taking a short break but we’ll be right back, don’t go anywhere.
Y’know, I could get used to this job, JR…
Hawkins storms backstage, evidently frustrated by his narrow loss here, while Black stands with his hands on his hips in the ring… and we take that break.
A black screen. The clinking of metal in our ears. Footsteps.
The image fades into view – the clinking is handcuffs, around a man’s wrists. He is being escorted down a corridor by two guards, the sound distorted as the footsteps echo off the walls. A man is saying something that we can’t hear.
You have been found guilty of heinous crimes and for that you will...
It fades. The man in handcuffs is wearing orange prison overalls, his head tilted down.
I hereby sentence you…
The man does not struggle against his chains.
May God have mercy on your…
Finally, they come to a room at the end of the corridor. The man tilts his head up to face what lies inside; a smirk on his lips. He is not afraid. One of the guards turns to look at him, his grip tightening around the prisoner’s arm.
Strap in, boy. It’s gonna be electric.
The man, and the camera, turn back to the room… where the electric chair awaits. The prisoner tilts his head up to the skies as they lead him towards it…
…and when he’s uncuffed and made to sit, it’s CM Punk who closes his eyes and smiles.
WWE – Capitol Punishment.
WWE CAPITOL PUNISHMENT
19TH JUNE 2011 | VERIZON CENTER | WASHINGTON D.C.
When Raw returns, this arena is silent…
“YOU THINK YOU KNOW ME!”
…but not for long, because this arena goes NUTS, smoke rushing up from the stage to hail the arrival of EDGE, clad in his leather jacket and crouching to stare out at the arena! The Rated R Superstar looks dead serious tonight, a bit of a shift from how sunny his outlook was during his reunion with Christian on SmackDown – nevertheless, he throws up his arms and lets the pyro EXPLODE behind him in emphatic fashion. He slaps the fans’ outstretched hands on his way towards the ring.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome… the Rated R SUPERSTAR
A bit disheartened he may be, but Edge is here on Raw nonetheless, and maybe now he can begin to put that mess with Wade Barrett behind him.
Ya mean when Barrett beat him to a pulp with his bare knuckles like a champ
, JR. If Edge doesn’t wanna play with the boys on Monday nights, he can take a walk – I know sure as hell that I’m happy to be here!
I’m reservin’ my judgements on your personal involvement so far, Byron, but if there’s one thing I can agree on, it’s the danger factor behind Wade Barrett. That aside, that match meant a lot to the Rated R Superstar, so much riding on the retribution he deserved… it remains to be seen what kinda mindset the poor man is in.
Oh cry me a river, JR, he’s a big boy, multiple-time World Champ, how much trouble does this guy really have sleepin’ at night?
Reaching ringside, Edge takes a slow jog and slides under the bottom rope, taking a quick look around before he stands. He does the rock star pose again from the corner, though he looks a little distracted, and from there he takes a mic from the ringside staff as he steps down. Walking the ring, the Canadian twirls the mic in his hand and listens as the music dies out – the fans are chanting his name, so he sweeps his hair out of his face and waits. When the chants die down, he smiles weakly and brings up the mic.
I’m gonna do something I haven’t done much in my time here… and that’s be honest.
I’ve spent some time sneaking around, making a dishonest buck bein’ the guy who takes the easy way out… but I also hope I’ve given you some laughs, and been a good champion when you really needed me to be.
Some applause, though there’s a bit of buzz considering the way Edge is talking.
And it’d be easy for me to stand here and pretend that all these titles, all this success… well, that it defines
me. But I can’t do that, because titles and matches are just that. I want you all to know that if my career ended tomorrow, it’d be the memories I’d treasure the most. And the memories – are made by every one of you.
A good cheer goes up there, but again that buzz remains.
This isn’t me bein’ dramatic, it’s just a thought that hit me sometime last week when I was laying on the mat, beaten by Wade Barrett.
Boos immediately for that.
After I got drafted last week, all I could think about was how my dream was over. Me versus Christian, for the World Heavyweight Title… it couldn’t happen anymore, neither could the team, and – well, that was difficult for me, honest to God. And I thought…
He stops, putting a hand to his mouth – the “EDGE! EDGE!” chants build in the meantime.
I thought that because of that, I had nothing to work for. I thought all I could do was beat Wade Barrett, and somewhere in that show last Monday the fight went outta me and… Barrett took advantage.
So I was left all alone in that ring to think about it, while the Draft went on without me. I was thinkin’ about a guy like Christian, who deserves a World Title more than anything – more than ANYTHING – and how that dream match was dead in the water. I thought I’d let him down. I knew
I’d let him down.
Baring his teeth, Edge looks away for a moment, trying to calm himself down.
But Christian’s flying the flag for himself pretty well on SmackDown, and the Corre aren’t gonna have a moment’s rest until he’s done with ‘em. The man has a fire lit inside of him that just won’t go out, and dream match or no dream match, he will
be a World Champion someday.
Pop for that.
Once I’d stopped feelin’ sorry for myself this past week, I made the sensible decision… and went and saw my doctors. Because y’know, I’m not as spry as I used to be, and keepin’ up this pace can get to you sometimes…
He chuckles half-heartedly.
But like I said, I promised to be honest… and what the docs told me wasn’t good.
Immediate, loud boos as Edge’s face falls.
I’ve taken a lotta hits in my career, I’ve faced tables and ladder and chairs. I’ve faced future Hall of Famers and current ones, I’ve done it all. But that all comes at a cost, and for all my great memories… you don’t need a PhD to know that memories won’t keep your back in one piece.
Again, he looks to the ground… but looks up again to see a crowd rising to its feet, giving him a standing ovation. He can’t help but crack a smile, as the “THANK YOU EDGE!” chants build in one corner of the arena, seeing where he’s going with this, and he holds up a hand briefly.
I’m not done. Honest, honest, honest, I can’t be done.
A hand over the mouth again, but he soldiers on amongst the chants.
Not yet. But when the experts talk, you’d do well to listen… so for once, I’m going to listen – and that means taking a break. As long as necessary.
Some cheers at the lack of him saying ‘I retire’ in there. Boos for him taking a break.
And in that time, I’m gonna sit down with the people I care about, and together we’re gonna figure out – and at the end of the day I’m
gonna figure out – what’s best for the future. I don’t know what that is yet, I don’t know if there’s more… ah…
Again the chants have built to a huge level, with almost the entire crowd on their feet here. Edge winces and tries to stop himself smiling.
All I can say is, I pray I get to come back and do it all again, but until then, I –
OH. The crowd ERUPTS with heat and groans of awe, with an almost teary-eyed Edge turning to face the stage, that barbed wire jerking on the electronic curtain and ‘1.9’ on the Tron… AND HERE COMES MICHAEL TARVER, MARCHING FOR THE RING!
No! Just – just for God’s sakes, have some decency, man!
Edge’s face contorts into a frown, as Tarver makes quick time straight for him, that neckerchief around his mouth and nose to give us no indication of his emotions… other than those heartless eyes. He pounds two gloved fists together as he hits ringside, towel over his shoulders as always.
Tarver – the man has no conscience, interrupting a moment like this –
Get the hell out, JR! The man’s making sure no-one forgets his name!
Jim Ross: (furious)
And at what cost exactly?
Tarver up to the apron now, with heavy boos following him all the way… and the tension builds as ‘Mr. 1.9’ steps inside the ropes, staring right into Edge’s eyes. The Rated R Superstar takes a step back, throwing his mic to the side and raising a fist. Tarver walks from side-to-side, observing that fist – clearly Edge saw what he did to Kane last week, and won’t be caught off-guard. He stops and stares at the Canadian, measuring him.
Edge, his pride won’t let him leave… but Tarver, what this man did to Kane – w-wait –
...BUT EDGE JUMPS THE GUN WITH THE RIGHT HAND – DUCKED!
Tarver evades the blow, slamming into the ropes… THEN DRIVES EDGE OUT OF HIS BOOTS WITH A SHOULDER-FIRST GORE!!!
what a hit!
Saxton’s nearly on his feet at ringside, eyes wide in adulation as Tarver sends Edge sprawling with what many might call a more powerful Spear… Tarver’s up immediately, not caring how Edge reacts to his expanding the repertoire. The Rated R Superstar’s face is scrunched in pain, gasping before he tries to find his way up… but Tarver is stalking him again, emotionless behind that neckerchief… Edge struggles up, a hand across his abdomen – AND NOW TARVER KNOCKS HIM OUT COLD WITH THE KILL SHOT!!!
OH! Ya gotta be kiddin’ me, how is that possible?
Byron Saxton: (with glee)
He’s a bad, bad man, JR!
Tarver wrenches the neckerchief away from his face briefly… but just like last week, he’s stoic, observing the kill and weighing that gloved killer fist up high. Edge lies flat on the canvas, while Tarver hits the deck and rolls from the ring.
Somebody’s gotta help Edge, he never asked for this…
The heat rains down on Tarver as he hits ringside, those piercing eyes staring out at the arena momentarily before he heads to the corner… and once again, pulls the RING STEPS away from the steel post! He separates them, grabbing the top half and shoving them under the bottom rope, but he waits, turning to look at the booing crowd again. Even Saxton’s silent at this point, all eyes on this needlessly aggressive man, who turns and rolls back into the ring. Edge is down still, hair splayed on the canvas, and Tarver pulls that neckerchief back up over his nose… and begins to haul those steps into the air!
This maniac… Edge was on his way out, dammit!
One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, JR!
Tarver’s waiting for Edge to get up, but even though the Canadian’s eyes are flickering open, he seems too dazed after that massive strike. Tarver grows tired of waiting, and dumps the ring steps to the ground. He heads over to Edge, that huge paw reaching down to haul the Rated R Superstar up by the hair… and now he just throws him into the corner, making sure he’s kept upright by the top rope. Edge’s face shows signs of life, but otherwise he’s looking pretty weak, as Tarver returns to his steps, pulling them up again and putting Edge in his sights… the Rated R Superstar grits his teeth and staggers aimlessly out of the corner –
GOOD GAWD ALMIGHTY!
CLANG – AND GETS PUT DOWN BY THE STEEL STEPS TO THE FACE FROM TARVER!!!
This time, Edge won’t be getting back up. The crowd groans and boos and protests, but there is no shaking the will of Tarver, who let go of the ring steps and now they rest on the mat. He paces the ring, once again relishing being let loose on Monday nights, if only by the way he moves than by any kind of emotion. Turning, he grabs the steps again and drags it dead centre of the ring… before he goes to observe his handiwork on Edge again. The Rated R Superstar is just about unconscious, if not entirely so.
JR, we are witnessing the birth of something special.
There’s not a damn thing special about it. Evil is what it is.
Tarver’s head winds left and right, eyes burning holes through his motionless victim, then he reaches over and pulls him up again. Like Kane last week, Edge is all dead weight, but Tarver’s a big guy and he has no trouble bringing the Canadian horizontal. Powerslam hold in place, Tarver brings Edge over to those steps again, staring into the hard camera from behind that neckerchief and soaking in the huge heat… BEFORE HE DROPS EDGE ON TO THE STEPS WITH TARVER’S LIGHTNING!!!
The crowd groans in disgust, but needless to say, Tarver doesn’t care in the slightest. Standing, he shoves Edge’s carcass from the steps and leaves him lying on the canvas, standing on the steps himself for a moment to emphasise his superiority. Finally, he turns and exits the ring, sweeping down to the outside mats and once again ignoring the abuse from the crowd… before he turns to the nearest camera – but this week, he says nothing, just staring and staring through you, until finally he storms off towards the stage. EMTs and referees go rushing past him as he marches.
Michael Tarver’s been unleashed alright… but who else is gonna have to suffer so he can make his impact?
Before Byron Saxton can interject, we go to a break.
Raw returns backstage, to see Vince McMahon talking to an EMT. In the background there are the flashing lights of an ambulance, and McMahon shrugs, tilting his head sideways before he turns and walks away… but only briefly, because he nearly walks straight into TRIPLE H, who gets a great cheer from this crowd! In his ring gear with a t-shirt on, the Game looks none too impressed to see him, and goes to turn the other way, but Vince puts a hand on his shoulder.
Hunter – Hunter, hold on a sec.
The King of Kings turns fully back to face the Chairman.
Vince McMahon: (quietly)
Now, now I know you’ve been a little preoccupied, I know things haven’t been great around here… but you don’t even pick up your phone now? To your own father-in-law? The Chairman?
Hunter looks at him coldly.
Vincent Kennedy McMahon doesn’t stand for that kind of conduct.
Triple H scoffs a little.
Yeah, you’re a real saint, Vince. But you have my answer. We’re done with this.
Again, he tries to leave, but this time McMahon steps in front of him.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed before, Hunter, but I don’t take ‘no’ very well, so hows-about you reconsider…
He puts his hands together and looks at the Game blankly.
I’m not asking the world. All I want is for you to come back to Titan Towers, take a bigger role in the business side of things –
You… have… my… answer.
Silence; Vince is genuinely taken aback.
Tonight, I’m gonna prove to John Cena that I’m better. That I’ve always been better. And then in Washington, I’m gonna win your
Hunter puts a finger on Vince’s chest. The Chairman looks at it.
You can’t change that. I’m no businessman – I’m just the Game.
A pop goes up in the arena, as Triple H turns and leaves. Once alone, Vince’s expression hardens, a frown forming as he watches the Game’s exit.
Back to the arena now, with the bell chiming…
*ONE TWO THREE*
A decent pop goes up as the TitanTron lights up with the image of a sunny Florida coastline, and here come the South Beach Party Boys, Darren Young and Percy Watson. They turn to one another and exchange a big high five, then head for the ring. Young’s in his plaid shirt over some beach shorts, looking chilled out as ever, while Showtime Percy is a bit more in the zone, bouncing to the beat of his music but not smiling. He adjusts those lens-free shades and shakes out his arms as the pair of them hit ringside.
The following contest is set for one fall! Introducing first, accompanied by Darren Young… from South Beach, Florida, weighing in at two hundred and forty-five pounds… “SHOOOOWTIME”… PERCY – WATSON!
Percy Watson set to go here tonight, just a week after that demoralising first appearance on Raw last week in which –
- they got POUNDED into the dust by the Convoy, am I right?
Still not sure I want a relationship with you where ya finish my sentences for me, Byron, but yes, there was something impressive about the Convoy’s performance last week. Take nothin’ away from Watson and Young, terrific potential in those two.
Gotta respect my brothas from South Beach, JR, but last week they were outclassed, we’re talkin’ about Sheffield and Ryan who just look unstoppable right now.
Watson rolls into the ring and goes to the buckles, pointing out at the crowd, as Young takes up a position at ringside. Young tells his partner “You got this, bro” and Watson nods, removing his shades and limbering up fully as their music dies out.
Groans echo at first in the arena, followed by the heat as The Convoy, Skip Sheffield and Mason Ryan make their entrance, neither looking particularly pleased. Ryan heads immediately for the ring, while Sheffield paces behind him listening to the boos of the crowd. Watson continues his warm-up, not allowing himself to look intimidated, while Ryan licks his chops and heads up the ring steps. Sheffield stands and observes briefly from the ramp.
And his opponent, accompanied by Skip Sheffield… from Cardiff, Wales, weighing in at two hundred and ninety-five pounds… MAAAASON – RYAN!
And the Convoy, pair of guys who have just been runnin’ rampant since they turned up to help CM Punk, lookin’ to build on last week’s victory here.
Believe in the power of faith, JR. These guys have got it all, they’ve got the right mind for it, the aggression, the power, the speed – Mason Ryan’s about to steamroll Watson.
Now don’t be too quick to count out young Showtime, Byron. The Party Boys have a lot goin’ for them too, a lot of creative offence, both quick thinkers in the ring – it’ll be a task but this is the WWE, anything can happen.
And the weatherman says it’s snowing in hell, JR.
Ryan storms up the steps and enters the ring – it’s one quick glance at Percy as he marches across the ring, hopping to the second rope and flexing his arms with a rumble of “FAITH!” He stays there for a moment, glowering at the arena, and by the time he steps down, Skip Sheffield’s left the ramp to pace ringside. Watson’s told to stay back by referee John Cone, giving Ryan a moment to actually genuinely look at his opponent before this one – Ryan snorts, having dealt so emphatically with Showtime in tag action last week. Nevertheless, Percy seems game, those hands jiving left and right as if by instinct as he and Ryan square up… and we’re underway…
Match Three – Singles Contest
Percy Watson w/ Darren Young vs. Mason Ryan w/ Skip Sheffield
Ryan has the physical advantage, and even the mental advantage to a degree after what happened last week, but Watson fights on, layering some kicks into the big man’s side as we jump in. Ryan has had the better of the action thus far, but Watson is no slouch and keeps on his toes, trying to keep out of the Welshman’s reach, avoid more of those huge blows of his. Dancing away again, you can see the strain in Showtime’s eyes as he feels the weight of Ryan’s offence so far, but he trades a look with Young and carries on. Here comes Ryan again, fighting past the kicks to whip Watson to the ropes, but Percy comes steaming back and answers with a clothesline – no good, Ryan’s huge!
Watson stumbles back, but he goes again, throwing another clothesline to no avail. He turns and rebounds off the ropes, building some momentum to throw at the wobbling Ryan… AND BRINGS HIM DOWN WITH A SUPERB LEAPING CLOTHESLINE! The crowd pops big as Ryan rolls sideways, forcing himself almost immediately back up, but his face shows the frustration of seeing Watson come back at him. Percy seems surprised that Ryan wouldn’t stay down longer, but he gears up the engine and rocks Ryan with a right hand, and another… but Ryan shoves him back into the ropes – only for Watson to leapfrog over the Welshman! Ryan turns – RIGHT INTO THE DASH ELBOW TO THE JAW FROM WATSON! That keeps the Welshman down for good this time, the elbow knocking his lights out, and Watson leaps over him for the cover… one… two – NO! Ryan SHOVES Watson into the air before the three!
A sigh of disappointment goes up as Watson gets sent flying across the ring! That’s an emphatic kickout if you ever saw one, and as Ryan gets up he lets out a HUGE yell of anger, beating the ropes and stomping against the mat. Sheffield’s watching with a scowl from ringside, while Watson puts a hand to the ropes and pulls himself up. He shakes out the cobwebs, but he’s in the instant of turning around when Ryan drives into him, bludgeoning him with clubbing blows and forcing him into the corner! Ryan keeps hammering away until Watson’s on the floor… then begins laying the boots in to his stomach! Only John Cone’s count of four will make him step away, bristling once again…
…but Percy’s getting up, fists pumping to fight through the pain! He slumps against the buckles, so Ryan turns with bulging eyes… and nails him with a Running Knee Lift! Watson gets mashed into the corner, but Ryan isn’t done, rampaging around the ring before he hits the ropes, Percy stumbling towards him – BIG BOOT TO SHOWTIME’S FACE! Percy collapses in a heap, the crowd groaning as Ryan shakes out his arms and makes a cover… one… two… but no more! Watson rolls a shoulder! Ryan’s up again, growling and grumbling, shooting a glare at Darren Young as the Missing Link shouts some encouragement to his partner. Watson’s crawling towards the ropes, stopping and managing to find his feet anyway, looking fairly out of it. Ryan lines him up again, scooping him up as he turns and getting the Military Press! ‘Ooh’s and ‘aah’s are the crowd’s response, Ryan marching around the ring, then… SNAKE EYES!
Buckle meets face with a hard impact, and Showtime goes staggering away in pain, but Ryan keeps his eyes on the prize and hooks him up into the Vertical Suplex… holding him there, letting the blood rush to the head! Again, the crowd sits in awe of Ryan’s pure strength, as the Welshman leaves Watson hanging for a few moments… NO! He was going to complete the suplex, but Watson suddenly comes alive, wriggling his way and landing behind Ryan! Showtime hits the ropes, and Ryan spins on a dime – TO MAUL HIM WITH A CLOTHESLINE! Mason has nothing but anger for Watson, turning him inside out with that one, and now he hooks both legs… one… two… thr-NO! Watson’s still got fight in him!
Ryan clenches a fist and yells out again, thumping the mat before he stands. He begins to pace, unable to stay cool under pressure, while Skip Sheffield watches him with a conversely cool stare, though it’s obvious he’s not happy. That said, he rarely is, so back to the ring we go, where Ryan’s crouching, trying to gauge what makes Watson tick… Showtime begins to get up, but the Welshman hauls him up instead and straps an arm across his chest for the HOUSE OF PAIN, JUST LIKE LAST WEEK – NOOO!!! Watson escapes as Ryan lifts him, landing to the side – THEN GETTING AIRBORNE AND CRACKING HIM WITH AN ENZUIGIRI RIGHT OUT OF THE TOP FUCKING DRAWER!!! Mason Ryan goes down like a sack of potatoes! Watson rushes into the cover… one… two… BUT NO! Kickout by Ryan!
That won’t send Watson flying on this occasion, but it’ll deny him a big upset in his first night as a Raw superstar – he struggles up with a stunned look, but even more stunning is that Ryan is finding his feet AGAIN, the behemoth seemingly unstoppable at this venture! Snarling, Mason runs a fist along his temple and turns again, immediately taking a series of desperate right hands from Showtime… but Ryan headbutts him away! Watson nearly loses his footing, but comes rifling back with a beautiful Dropkick… but the Welshman doesn’t fall, just stumbling into the ropes and running back through him with another big clothesline!
The Welshman exhales loudly, moving over to the ropes and shaking the top one violently! He’s pissed, as he well might be after being taken to the limit far more than last week, and now he picks Watson up. He applies the Backbreaker grip, dropping Watson on to his knee twice before he moves into the corner… AND THROWS WATSON WITH THE FALLAWAY SLAM! Showtime’s body goes rolling and rolling across the ring, the crowd groaning and Sheffield nodding his head… and now Ryan throws Watson on to his back for the cover, he’s sure he has it… one… two… THREE – NOOOO!!! Watson’s out of it!
What the hell has Watson been eating? The Fallaway isn’t enough to put Showtime down for three, and we get a shot of Darren Young punching the air at ringside – Watson’s on his knees, the crowd cheers, but Mason Ryan is fuming! The Welshman doesn’t understand, not that JR or Saxton do, not that the crowd does or Sheffield or Young either… and now Watson’s up! He shakes his head, trying to clear his thoughts, but here comes Ryan again, digging some punches out to the ribs, then sending him away. The ropes fire Watson back at him, but the Big Boot misses when Showtime sweeps under it as if by instinct – THEN RIFLES A DROPKICK INTO THE UNDERSIDE OF RYAN’S CHIN! Both men go down, but it’s Watson up to the cheers of the Omaha faithful, Showtime pointing to Young and starting to clap those hands!
The crowd is up, clapping along as Watson begins to feel it, pacing around the floored Ryan and stopping to finish this, his body jerking left and right… “UH – UH – OH YEAH!”… SHOWTIME SPLASH – RIGHT INTO THE RAISED KNEES OF RYAN! Groans echo in Omaha as Watson rolls away in agony, clutching at his midsection, and Ryan forces himself up. Sheffield’s looking just as infuriated at ringside, yelling “FINISH HIM!” up at the Welshman, who swiftly shakes out his shoulders, grits his teeth and stalks Watson… Showtime’s up… INTO THE GRIP OF RYAN FOR THE HOUSE OF PAIN – NOOOO!!! Watson spins free again, kicking Ryan in the gut and going for THE FLOAT-OVER DDT – ONLY FOR RYAN TO SHOVE HIM AWAY TOO!
Watson staggers into the corner, hitting the buckles a little too roughly, giving Ryan the time to recollect himself… he CHARGES – BUT DRILLS HIMSELF FACE-FIRST INTO THE BUCKLE! The crowd pops as Ryan reels backwards… AND WATSON ROLLS HIM UP, CLINGING ON FOR DEAR LIFE… ONE… TWO… THREE!!! HE GOT HIM!!!
Result: Percy Watson bts. Mason Ryan via pinfall at 7:30
*ONE TWO THREE*
Here is your winner… “SHOOOOOWTIME” – PERCY – WAAATSON!
THE CROWD POPS HUGE! Ryan shoves him off a millisecond after the three, but the bell rings and Watson’s off, scrambling from the ring and into the embrace of the roaring Darren Young!
HE DID IT! By gawd he did it!
What the hell happened?
He pinned ‘im! SHOWTIME PINS RYAN!
No way! I mean, no way!
Mason Ryan turns with FURIOUS eyes at John Cone, who doesn’t know what to say – Skip Sheffield is struck dumb at ringside, no words from his stunned exterior either! Ryan grabs the referee by the shirt, shouting bloody murder… but the South Beach Party Boys are dancing up a storm on the ramp, getting the crowd celebrating with them!
What an upset! Ya didn’t give Showtime half a chance, Byron, but take a look at these scenes! Ryan can’t believe it!
Neither can I, JR! This was a lock – I mean, credit to Percy Watson, maybe I misjudged the guy’s chances here… what the hell did I just see?
Watson and Young are retreating up the ramp, arms raised with huge grins; Showtime looks exhausted from his efforts, but it’s all worth it here! Sheffield slowly enters the ring to pull Ryan away from Cone, asking him what happened but seeing the Welshman turn to the ramp with a snarl instead.
Make no mistake, we know that Percy Watson and Darren Young are nothin’ to be laughed at, but tonight, Percy turned some heads!
Turned some heads? He pinned Mason Ryan, JR! The Convoy don’t lose – maybe that wasn’t three, maybe he had a handful of tights… there’s gotta be somethin’!
Despite Saxton’s incredulous tone, apparently the result will stand, as Watson and Young bask in what might be the upset of the year so far…
…and Raw goes to a break.
When we return, it seems the arena has calmed down…
*I COME FROM MONEY*
…and now a respectful pop, if not much more, can be heard as the stage turns gold. After a few moments, we’re greeted by Ted DiBiase, walking out in jeans and a faded merch t-shirt from long ago. He raises a half-hearted hand to acknowledge the crowd, then walks tentatively down the ramp – he looks less than half the brash, arrogant man he used to be.
Well this is a surprise, folks, on a night of surprises – Ted DiBiase hasn’t been seen since CM Punk orchestrated a violent beatdown of the man they’ve dubbed the ‘Unfortunate Son’, after a long losing streak prompted his father to cut him off from his trust fund.
Hey now, don’t question the parenting of the Million Dollar Man, JR, he knows what’s best for his son. And I know the littler DiBiase from my days on NXT, so I can honestly tell you… he sucks, he deserved everything he had comin’ to him.
You’re tellin’ me he deserved to be beaten bloody by a group of psychopaths, Byron.
Well don’t put words in my mouth, JR.
DiBiase makes his way to the ring without any pageantry or playing to the crowd, just nodding where fans shout his name or stretch out a hand to greet him. On the whole, it’s a fairly muted response from the Unfortunate Son, who looks unwilling to waste time and heads into the ring, asking for a mic from ringside. On a night of big speeches, it looks like DiBiase’s next, taking the mic and staring at the floor until his music subsides. The crowd buzzes, but not much more, as DiBiase tilts his eyes up and raises the mic.
My name is Ted DiBiase Junior… and I haven’t won a singles match on Raw in 2011. I haven’t won at all… in maybe five months.
A mixed reaction, leaning towards boos. DiBiase stares at the ground again and clears his throat. He winces and awkwardly tries again, clearing it properly this time.
I say that out loud because… I’m – I’m still trying to get to grips with it.
Clenching a fist, he takes a few steps around the ring.
A couple years back, I came down to this ring and I said that I was the future. Well, I’m standing here in the future, and I don’t feel all that special.
Another mixed reaction as DiBiase shrugs.
When my dad came here and told me I was losing my trust fund, that hurt… but it didn’t hurt as much as realising that I wasn’t going to have the world handed to me on a plate. It hurt because I realised that I was spoilt. I was lazy. I was… a loser.
Full on ‘dying duck in a thunderstorm’ from Mini-Ted here. Some boos of disagreement.
I used to be the Fortunate Son, but it went downhill. I’m the Unfortunate Son, and that’s what I deserve, because I haven’t tried hard enough. I haven’t fought
like the guys who paved the way for us. Guys like my own dad – say what you like about him, but one thing money can’t buy is a Hall of Fame ring.
A small smile as he looks into the distance.
And the other thing it can’t buy you… is wins.
Minor pop from somewhere.
For a while, people, I thought that wins were all that mattered. I started to fixate on it, and it let me down. Trying to bite off more than I could chew got me beat within an inch of my life a few weeks ago.
Boos for that hideous beatdown from Punk and the Convoy.
What I’ve learned is that money doesn’t matter. But family matters, and if my father won’t speak to me again ‘til I win, maybe that’s for the best. Being able to look at yourself in the mirror, that
A smattering of applause, with DiBiase tilting his eyes up to take it in. The camera pans around to see the fans on the hard camera side, showing just how many people are here to listen to him.
And I don’t care if everywhere I go, people look at me funny. I don’t want pity. The only thing I want… is your support, because some day this will change.
A small pop there, and Ted nods.
So call me what you want, call me a loser, call me the Unfortunate Son, I know what I am. All I want you to know – is that I will not give less than a hundred percent. Not anymore.
He shakes his head.
I am unfortunate, and my father knows it. But someday…
DiBiase taps his temple.
…someday I’ll be able to tell him that cutting me off was the best parenting decision he ever made. And I’ll tell him with a title on my shoulder. I’ll tell him as a winner.
He raises the mic to the crowd, as if toasting them, and he gets another decent cheer from the fans here in Omaha. Nodding at the response, he heads for the ropes –
*AIN’T NO MAKE BELIEVE*
But now he stops in his tracks. Ted looks up to the stage, a hand on the top rope as he frowns… and John Morrison walks out to a decent set of cheers! Wearing that huge fur jacket and his typical shades, the Shaman of Sexy throws his hair back in slow-motion, as DiBiase continues to look confused in the ring.
An inspiring change of attitude from Ted DiBiase which may see him turn his streak of bad luck around, but that’s John Morrison – Byron, I’m not entirely sure where he fits into this.
You got me, JR, I’m stumped, but don’t get too teary about DiBiase, will ya? I don’t care how he labels himself, he’s still a loser to us!
Speak for yourself, Byron. It’s nice to see some passion from a man I thought was only interested in his next pay check.
Passion? Give me a break, man, DiBiase would sell his own grandmother to get a win at the moment. Pfft. Passion.
Morrison heads speedily for the ring, keeping his shades on for once rather than passing them to a young member of the crowd, but stops briefly on the apron. DiBiase’s taken a few steps back, retreating away from Morrison as the Prince of Parkour swings inside the ropes. He’s passed a mic, which he twirls as he walks around the ring – again, we’re shown DiBiase, who doesn’t know what to think. That funky music fades out, so it’s all eyes on Morrison as he brings the mic up.
Ted, sorry for interruptin’ ya, but rather than wallow in self-pity I thought maybe you’d like someone to help you brighten up a little.
“Wallow in – what, were you listening?” asks DiBiase off-mic.
Now, I know that when you lost to me, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back and all that, your pop cut you off… so I figured who better to lighten the mood?
Walking a little closer, Morrison points out to the crowd.
Whaddya say, who wants to hear some Shaman of Sexy comedy?
Most of the crowd cheer, though the smarks at the back can’t imagine anything worse; understandable, given the cheesiness that smiley Morrison has been known for in the past.
Back in the locker room, Ted, there’s a few jokes that just do the rounds, and understandably, you might find a couple of them pretty sweet if you hadn’t heard them already.
Ted’s frown deepens.
The decent ones goin’ at the moment are – ‘Ted DiBiase couldn’t win a match if’ jokes. For instance…
He cracks a million-dollar smile.
Ted DiBiase couldn’t win a match if his opponent was hogtied in the centre of the ring!
A chuckle from Morrison, but barely more than that from the crowd. Some boos actually for the insult.
Not a fan? Okay – Ted DiBiase couldn’t win a match if his opponent had gone twelve rounds with Apollo Creed!
Again, Morrison laughs, seeming to find that brilliant, but Ted looks back at him with a stony face.
No? Still, man? Alright, alright, my personal favourite. Ted DiBiase couldn’t win a match if his dad paid off the referee!
A few laughs at the back. No, not really. Morrison’s grin fades as DiBiase takes a step forward. The Shaman of Sexy raises a hand.
Whoa, whoa, okay. So you’re not into the comedy, that’s cool. Just thought I’d try to raise your spirits, man.
Well I don’t need your help, John. But thanks.
That icy response is Ted’s last contribution before he heads for the ropes… no, Morrison sweeps in front of him and marshals him back.
Now wait a sec, Ted. Don’t ya think that’s a little selfish? I mean, you’re not exactly in a position to be turnin’ down someone who’s out to help ya… are ya?
Some groans from the crowd, Ted tilting his head up and looking down his nose at Morrison. The Prince of Parkour taps his shades knowingly.
Just ‘cause you don’t dig my jokes, doesn’t mean I can’t at least drop you some hints. Seein’ as I beat ya and all.
A bit of heat, a couple of cheers, but mostly buzz as the arena waits for DiBiase’s response.
And hey, I’m not here to antagonise you, I’m just here to help, like I said. We’re all friends here. But I got told once that I didn’t have enough of an ‘edge’… so I went out and got one, and now look at me, huh?
Another flash of a smile from Morrison.
So why don’t you take a leaf outta my book, and stick up for yourself, huh? Show people you’re not just some spoilt –
I already said that –
Chill, chill. All I’m sayin’ is, right now you’re a loser, words from your mouth. And hell, we’re not gonna argue with ya…
He tails off to chuckle again, but the crowd’s in no hurry to laugh along. That smile fades away once more.
…but if ya wanna stop bein’ a loser, you need a change in mentality, man. You need to be more like –
Morrison shrugs, and removes his shades. He smiles nervously, almost wincing.
Well, John Morrison.
Actually some decent heat there for the babyface Morrison. DiBiase looks to the side – he can’t believe what he’s hearing. Morrison puts a hand up to calm the crowd.
No, I didn’t mean it like that, I just –
Morrison looks across at the Unfortunate Son, mic back up.
You might think you’re being helpful, but in all honesty, I don’t need this.
I already said, man. This isn’t about what other people think about me… this is about what I think about myself
. That’s what’s important.
Morrison laughs for half a second, but again he realises he’s misjudged DiBiase.
And sure, you beat me a couple weeks back… but you don’t think that makes you better
, do you?
Again, a grin from Morrison. He shrugs.
Maybe you do. But to be honest with you, anyone who has to come out here and make jokes about me – they probably don’t feel too good about themselves either.
Oh. That one doesn’t make Morrison smile. The crowd’s leaning one way only here.
I’ve looked in the mirror plenty of times, John. Maybe you should too.
Taking a step towards the Shaman of Sexy, Ted narrows his eyes.
Then you might see who the real
loser in this ring is.
“OHH!” cries the crowd, as Ted shrugs, and Morrison frowns properly for the first time. The crowd is beginning to chant the Unfortunate Son’s name, if only sporadically, and something’s getting on Morrison’s nerves about this whole situation. He turns to look at the arena, trying to understand why they’re supporting this ‘loser’… then turns back to Ted, and sees that DiBiase isn’t embarrassed in the slightest. Morrison came out here to make light of the situation – but is it a laughing matter?
The crowd’s chants build now, taking over much of this audience in the Qwest Center, and DiBiase almost manages a smile as he turns his head to look at them –
- AND MORRISON KICKS HIS TEETH DOWN HIS THROAT WITH THE SUPERKICK!
Whoa! That’s one way of doin’ things!
DiBiase goes down like a sack of potatoes, but the crowd absolutely SHITS on Morrison, and rightly so! Morrison looks down at Ted with a scowl, standing above his body and absorbing the abuse of the crowd. Slowly, he looks out at them and shakes his head. He can’t believe any of this.
I’d hardly say that was called for!
Me neither, JR, but it sure makes things interesting!
Morrison reaches down and grabs one of the fallen mics. He swings his shades back on.
I don’t know and I don’t care what you think of yourself, Ted. To me, and to all these people… you’ll always be – a loser.
He dumps the mic on Ted’s stomach and leaves the ring. The crowd’s boos follow him up the ramp, shaking his head as he walks, while Ted suffers on the mat. Irrational from Morrison maybe, but he certainly doesn’t seem to see it that way.
Well John Morrison apparently not agreein’ with Ted DiBiase’s new outlook on his career, that huge Superkick there – so what, he saw things differently and that means he’s gotta resort to somethin’ like that?
Morrison was just calling it like it is, JR, but hey, maybe a winner
woulda seen that kick comin’. I know I sure did.
Oh please, you were as clueless as the rest of us.
Ground-breaking guys were made on surprises, JR. Big moments you remember. CM Punk, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Malcolm X, Michael Tarver, Martin Luther King, the guy who made The Usual Suspects – John Morrison may not have meant it, but I reckon he’s just put the coffin nail in Ted DiBiase’s comeback before it could even start!
Morrison turns on the stage, frowning as he watches DiBiase grasp agonisingly at his jaw… undoubtedly, he doesn’t understand what drives the Unfortunate Son, but regardless he throws his jacket fully over his shoulders and makes his exit. Raw heads to a break.
We return backstage, to the sight of Skip Sheffield and Mason Ryan marching along, apparently in a heated argument. The two are growling at one another, but we can’t quite catch what they’re saying as we fade back to Raw –
– BUT YOU LOST.
The two stop and turn to the other. Both look as angry as the other.
We… don’t lose. EVER.
He smacks his hand against his bald head, Ryback-style. ‘Basics’.
Skip Sheffield: (snarling)
CM Punk’s initial blessing to the pairing ringing back here. Ryan nods begrudgingly, teeth bared.
He caught me off-guard… but I’ll make them pay for it.
No. I’LL make them pay for it.
Some whistles and groans in the crowd as Ryan bristles. The two beasts stand staring into one another’s eyes, their fighting habits clear in the very way they stand. Into the shot appears CM PUNK, however, before they can continue their argument, getting a huge amount of heat from the arena. He steps between them and puts a hand on the shoulder either side of him.
He pauses to let them calm down.
Only the enemy
is fractured. Men of faith think as one.
Sheffield and Ryan nod, as if he’s said this to them before. Punk takes a few steps away, turning back and looking at them; Ryan gets it and follows him out of shot. That just leaves us with Sheffield, who huffs and puffs for a moment, but looks slightly up and sees someone. Skip frowns, as the camera pans out… and standing there with his arms folded is BRODUS CLAY.
The new Raw man gets a smattering of boos from the crowd, but it’s Sheffield’s reaction that matters – he shrugs out his shoulders, looking like he’s tempted to square up to the Man of Mayhem. You could almost say he looks impressed, if Sheffield actually knew the expression, while Clay snorts in the silence…
…but “SHEFFIELD!” comes the shout down the corridor from Punk. Clay looks away from Skip for the first time… and the Convoy man backtracks away. We’re left with just Brodus in the meantime, no longer under Alberto Del Rio’s thumb, and he watches Sheffield leave to end this segment.
After that, we fade back to the arena…
*YOU CAN LOOK*
The bell rings, and we’re in the squared circle with the Bella Twins, Brie and Nikki, wearing matching red outfits. One of them stands a little further forward, though I’m not entirely sure which one, and I’m the one writing this.
The following contest is set for one fall! Introducing first, accompanied by Nikki Bella… from Scottsdale, Arizona – Brie Bella!
Welcome back, folks. It’s been a chaotic night so far, but we’ve got our No Holds Barred main event still to come, and Brie Bella set for action here as well.
Damn right it’s been one hell of an evenin’, JR. You talk about what you’ll remember, and I say put aside Punk versus Rock. Put aside Michael Tarver. Put aside everythin’ else for a moment and let’s remember what’s important – that I’m the new colour commentator.
We’re all privileged.
Brie does some last minute stretches, and it’s eyes to the stage…
A small pop goes up from the crowd, and in the ring, we see the Bellas looking fairly intimidated… because it’s the Raw return of Beth Phoenix, lofting her arms into the air for the usual pose and marching for the ring. She means business tonight.
And her opponent… from Buffalo, New York… the Glamazon – BETH – PHOENIX!
Now I mentioned that No Holds Barred Match, and no doubt that’ll be brutal, but talking of people who do their job well… well, look no further than the Glamazon.
Every Diva on Raw started shaking in their boots when she got drafted back to Monday nights last week, JR, she’s MEAN. Like, real mean. Even I’m afraid of her, and I don’t scare easy.
I’m sure, Byron. That said, Beth Phoenix has put herself firmly in the hunt for the Diva’s Title with a good winning streak over the past few months, and now she’s here on the same show as the current champion… if I was Melina, I’d be a little on edge.
If you were Melina, JR? I don’t think you could pull off the feathers.
Phoenix marches right on to the apron, climbing to the top rope and raising the pose again. Once she’s done, she flips down into the squared circle and measures up to Brie. She takes a look to the outside, pointing a warning finger at Nikki before she begins to circle the other twin, and Justin “The Pimp” King checks we’re good to go before he calls for the bell.
Match Four – Singles Contest
Brie Bella w/ Nikki Bella vs. Beth Phoenix
Into the fray we jump, with the Glamazon taking Brie to town in the corner. Phoenix dabbles in a little bit of everything offence-wise, just grabbing Brie and bashing her into the buckle a few times, then throwing right hands that seem a bit too stiff to be in a Diva’s match. Justin King intervenes with a count of four, putting a hand on Beth’s stomach to urge her away (or because any excuse, the absolute pimp), leaving Brie to unscramble her brains. The Bella finally stumbles out of the corner – but Phoenix WASTES her with a clothesline! At ringside, Nikki’s making all kinds of a racket trying to egg her sister on, reaching under the bottom rope but getting stepped
on by Phoenix as a result! Nikki shrieks and withdraws the arm, while Beth snaps “Don’t even think about it” and returns to business.
Poor Nikki begins to find her feet again, but Beth immediately lays into her with right hands again, sending her to the ropes and hoisting her into the Military Press! There’s a couple of awed groans from the crowd as Phoenix marches her conquest around the ring, barely even struggling with the weight… but suddenly, Brie Bella escapes out the back, and dives with a clumsy Chop Block to bring Phoenix down! As soon as the Glamazon tumbles to the floor, Brie goes crazy with a series of stomps, trying to keep the superhuman Phoenix down, and that’s probably the best tactic. Phoenix wavers to her knees, but Brie puts her down again with a Dropkick to the face! Cover, could it be another upset? One… two… never mind, Phoenix sends Brie flying with the kickout!
Both women up: Brie charges like a bull, but Phoenix keeps her head, showing strategy as well as power to sidestep… Brie crashes into the turnbuckles, and now Phoenix scoops her into the air, bouncing the Bella into the ropes and nailing
the Slingshot Suplex! Phoenix floats over into the cover… one… two… but Nikki Bella is up on the apron! Justin King sees the flailing other Bella and rushes to see what the issue is – or maybe to tell her to get down, the hell do I know – as Phoenix stands up and shakes her head. She finds this embarrassing, disbelieving that the Bellas think so little of their chances…
…but when Nikki finally gets down, King turns around to find Brie Bella writhing in pain! Phoenix now looks down at her with disgust, throwing her arms up and moving away as King gullibly falls beside Brie – who’s claiming she got raked in the eyes! It’s all BS, of course, but King can’t resist a pretty face… wait, Phoenix is actually intervening now, telling King that she’s making it all up. She reaches down to grab Brie and continue the match, but King backs her away, telling her she has to give Brie a moment! This often happens with severe injuries, not that King knows that Brie is telling tales… AND NOW NIKKI AND BRIE SWITCH PLACES FOR TWIN MAGIC!
The crowd boos, trying to inform King, but Phoenix sees ALL of that, as Nikki slides into the ring and starts feigning the same injury! It’s all a ploy, but Phoenix just laughs it off, saying “Oh, I warned you” and yanking Nikki up by the hair! Bella comes back with fresh energy with a stinging SLAP round the face, but Phoenix brushes it aside – AND SLAPS NIKKI SO HARD SHE’LL SEE STARS! The Qwest Center fills with groans as Nikki gets polarised, and on the outside, Brie watches in frozen horror… as Beth drags Nikki up again, and hooks it up – GLAM SLAM!!! That’s just brutal, with Nikki lying flat, and Phoenix pinning someone who wasn’t even in this match… one… two… three. Murder.
Result: Beth Phoenix bts. Various Bellas via pinfall at 3:43
Here is your winner… the Glamazon… BETH – PHOENIX!
Phoenix stands, having her arm raised by King, with the crowd cheering partly out of adulation and partly out of immense fear that they’ll be next. She hauls Nikki to her feet and throws her from the ring, nearly wiping Brie out in the process; as those two go clattering to the outside floor, Phoenix goes to the second rope and raises her pose once again.
Not even the Bellas combined could stop Beth Phoenix tonight – that’s how to make your mark on your first night back.
The Glamazon wastin’ no time alright, JR! But technically she pinned the wrong girl, so I’m just gonna go inform the referee –
Oh keep your seat, for God’s sakes. Phoenix wasn’t gonna be beaten tonight.
Well maybe not by the Bellas, but I know someone who could give her a run for –
After Beth steps down, she does one more lap of the ring, but the crowd is booing suddenly… BECAUSE THE DIVA’S CHAMPION, MELINA SPRINTS DOWN THE RAMP AND SLIDES INTO THE RING! Melina goes stalking the Glamazon, her face scrunched up with anger…
The champion! Wait a second!
This is who I meant, JR! Beth didn’t count on the Hollywood Diva!
Phoenix turns – SO MELINA SWINGS WITH THE BELT – DUCKED!
Melina swings into thin air! Phoenix feels the crowd cheer as the shot with the belt misses… THEN RUNS THROUGH THE CHAMPION WITH A CLOTHESLINE!
OH! You were sayin’, Byron!
That gets a BIG cheer as Melina goes tumbling, immediately rolling from the ring and clutching at her jaw… but she’s left her title behind, and now Phoenix picks it up! Melina goes backtracking up the ramp, and now Phoenix clambers to the second rope to raise the belt into the air!
Are we lookin’ at the future? We’ve seen Melina catch Divas from behind on countless occasions like that, but Phoenix is no slouch! Is that the face of the next champion?
Hey! Someone tell her to put down that title, that isn’t hers!
Not yet, Byron, but Phoenix is unbeaten in months, Melina’s been runnin’ the show on Raw… these two would tear the house down!
Melina’s screeching “GET OFF IT! GET OFF!”, but Beth is the picture of composure, watching the champion’s tentative retreat from her place on the turnbuckle. Melina almost wants to go back and wrench her title out of the Glamazon’s hands, but for the first time as champion, she seems genuinely intimidated by the woman in front of her. A rare sight, but the Hollywood Diva doesn’t seem confident – as always, only the back alley way will do.
It’s all heating up in the Diva’s division, but still to come, we’re decidin’ the WWE Title challenger at Capitol Punishment – it’s Cena and the Game, No Holds Barred, we must have a winner, that’s next!
As Phoenix throws the title to the outside and says “Soon,” Melina scrambles to clutch at her most prized possession… and Raw fades away from the champion’s new biggest threat.
SmackDown Rebound this week shows the Beat The Clock Challenge from Friday night, in which World Champion Alberto Del Rio beats Evan Bourne in a tough match… and then proclaims that Kofi can’t compete at the top level. Kingston, fighting to prove he’s not the choke artist that Del Rio has labelled him, goes up against William Regal in the main event – but comes up short when times expires, shortly after Regal rolls out of the ring following Trouble In Paradise. This gives stipulation-choosing duties to the World Heavyweight Champion, who declares that he’s now out to prove that while Kofi may be a good competitor, he’s not good enough. He wants to face Kofi in a world he just knows nothing about, to show how helpless he is against the Mexican… a Submission Match. As the commentators question whether Kofi can make Del Rio tap – or make ANYONE tap – the recap comes to a close.
Raw returns to the arena, where the bell rings…
The following contest is set for one fall… and is a NO – HOLDS – BAAAARRED – MATCH!
A good pop from the crowd for that.
Now, in this match, there are no count-outs, no disqualifications, and we must
have a winner. The winner of this bout will become the number one contender… to the W – W – E – CHAMPIONSHIP!
Another pop. We head to ringside…
Welcome back, folks, this is gonna be huge – it’s No Holds Barred, the winner goin’ on to Capitol Punishment to face the man to my right…
He looks along the line to see the WWE Champion, The Miz, sat beside Saxton. He looks even more smug than Byron does.
That man being the WWE Champ, The Miz – Miz, thanks for joinin’ us of course, who do you wanna win this match?
The Miz: (drawling)
Honestly JR, it means so very little to me… because if I can beat these men in the same ring at the same time, I can beat them just as easily one on one.
He’s got a point, JR.
*MY TIME IS NOW*
THE CROWD GOES WILD! The boos in the background are barely audible amongst the cheers of thousands, as the three famous rules appear on the electric curtain and JOHN CENA storms out! He takes a step back from the ramp, spreading his arms wide and turning to the camera to say “THEY’RE ON IT TONIGHT!” before he charges down to the ring!
Introducing first, from West Newbury, Massachusetts, weighing in at two hundred and forty pounds… JOOOOOOHN
And here a man who got very unlucky in Tag Team Attraction, putting in just as much work as Triple H did to get the victory – but by the rules of the match-up, he wouldn’t be rewarded, and to be honest, that didn’t sit well with either Cena OR the Game.
JR, it’s obvious that Jerry Lawler’s poor choice of match-up was always gonna create problems, and even though I’m gonna enjoy watching them tear each other’s throats out, even you
have to admit that it was a stupid idea.
Damn right, man! Triple H and John Cena wanted nothin’ more than to just fight it out and decide who was better for weeks and weeks, but they never got their chance… it’s only now that Jerry’s running scared for his job that he’ll let them go at it!
I’d argue this is a bigger issue than Lawler himself, but no doubt we’re in for a huge match here – the winner’s gonna earn it for sure.
Cena slides into the ring and goes about testing the ropes. He throws up the ‘Word Life’ symbol to the crowd in time with the music, then paces the ring – his music dies down, giving way to the usual “LET’S GO CENA!” “CENA SUCKS!” duels, and Cena cracks a small smile in response. Taking off his hat, he flings into the first few rows, then removes his shirt as we turn back to the stage.
“TIME TO PLAY THE GAME…”
AND THE FANS GO MAD AGAIN! This pop might be even bigger, the arena absolutely ROCKING under the flashing greens and reds… and they herald the arrival of TRIPLE H, cast in the white light of the Qwest Center stage and looking set to kill. He stares out at the arena for a moment, then SPITS water out, spraying it through the white air before he starts for the ring. We get a brief shot of Cena, walking the ring in anticipation, but never taking his eyes off the Game.
And his opponent… from Greenwich, Connecticut, weighing in at two hundred and fifty-eight pounds… THE GAAAME – TRIIIIPLE… ‘AAAAIIITCH!!!
What an ovation! Every man, woman and child in this arena is on their feet for the Game, and whether you’re a fan of him, or you’re a fan of Cena, you are gonna see a slobberknocker of a contest tonight, folks!
All for a shot at the biggest prize in the business, JR! These guys said they would do whatever it takes, and I think they’re about to live up to it, somebody’s gonna get HURT.
Don’t forget what they’re fighting for. They can go through Hell and back to get a shot at this title… but they’ll still fall when they walk into Washington. Makes this match redundant.
I tell ya, the man who can keep the other down for three seconds in this environment, he can stay at my house and drink my beer, Miz. If you can win this match, you deserve a shot at the title, and I daresay he can give ya a run for your money, that’s for sure.
Hunter heads around ringside, taking another swig from his water bottle before he chucks it into the crowd. He clambers up to the apron, that white spotlight profiling him again, then cannons himself back against the ropes and spraying water upwards with a ROOOOAAAR of adrenaline out to the crowd! The fans in Omaha are red-hot, feeding off Triple H’s energy as he does from them, and now the Game swings inside, glancing briefly at Cena before he steps up to the turnbuckle. From there it’s the regular pose, getting one last strong pop, and now he turns, his music dying down as he squares up to Cena. The official is head referee Mike Chioda, adding to his list of monumental matches he’s officiated in his time, and he checks both men are good to go… the chants are split between the two men, but this arena is buzzing as the bell chimes…
Main Event – No Holds Barred Match – No. 1 Contender to the WWE Title
John Cena vs. Triple H
As we join this bout, we’re about six minutes in, and it’s been mostly contained so far, almost cagey – the two have fought outside the ring, but not really brought anything usually illegal into play, and the crowd is on edge waiting for it. The support is still mostly split down the middle, and neither man has taken the advantage despite a few hard-hitting moves or shots. Hunter has the slight edge as we jump in, stomping on a grounded Cena then pulling him up to send him across the ring… Cena turns it around, though, sending the Game with the whip instead – he bends down, and gets NAILED with the Facebreaker Knee Smash! A pop goes up as Cena reels, staggering back to the ropes – and now Triple H sends them both careering to the outside with a big clothesline!
The pair go tumbling to the arena floor, much to the buzz of the crowd as things spill into a more unpredictable area – it’s Tripper who’s up first, wincing but still good to go, and he immediately gives the fans what they want by hoisting up the apron… and grabbing a STEEL CHAIR! The crowd cheers their approval, as Cena hauls himself up apparently unaware of the impending pain… he turns – THERE’S THE SHOT – MISSED! Cena ducks under the blow, so Triple H turns and raises the chair… BUT CENA BLASTS HIM WITH A CLOTHESLINE! Down they both go, that chair clattering sideways, but this time it’s Cena forcing himself over to the announce desk, using that to struggle up again. The ex-“Champ” blinks a few times, showing us just how close he knows he came, then turns and meets the Game with several right hands.
Triple H reels with every stiff shot, and now Cena drives him back to the barricade. He throws a couple of shoulder thrusts to the gut, then grabs that steel chair and just THUMPS it into the Cerebral Assassin’s gut! Gasping out, Hunter falls to his knees, and Cena clambers up on to the barricade
for some reason, dropping the chair and seeing a group of fans slapping him on the calves for his troubles. As Triple H gets up to a bent-over position, Cena goes to leap off with the LEG DROP BULLDOG TO THE OUTSIDE… NOOO!!! The Game stands, leaving Cena to crash and burn into the outside mats! Cena groans and lets his face collapse into the floor, while Triple H finds that chair again… RIGHT OFF CENA’S BACK IT GOES! That merits a yell of pain again from Cena… and now Triple H throws it into the middle distance at ringside, turning his attention to the announce desk and wrenching the cover off it!
That gets the crowd excited – we’ve been waiting for these two to get properly aggressive, especially given their history and what’s at stake here, so it comes as no surprise when Hunter yanks a TV monitor out of the desk and weighs it in his hand! Cena’s still on his knees, trying to recover from the hits he’s received so far, as we spy JR, Miz and Byron Saxton attempting to move away from their disintegrating desk. Cena’s up, staggering over to his opponent, but the Game catches him in the gut with a kick… THEN SENDS CENA SPRAWLING WITH THE MONITOR TO THE FACE! The crowd groans as Cena gets sent to the deck again, but this time he slumps onto the ring steps, eyes unfocused. Triple H leaves the monitor to hang, then shoves Cena under the bottom rope and joins him. The Game senses a huge moral victory, a huge victory by any label in fact, and here’s the cover… one… two… but no, Cena rolls the shoulder!
A mixed reaction there as Cena keeps his title hopes intact, and Triple H has seen enough kickouts in his career not to be too disheartened. He stands, then almost immediately rolls out of the ring to find something else to secure the shot at Capitol Punishment instead. He takes a menacing glance over at The Miz, then turns his attention to the ring steps, which played such a vital role in the Awesome One’s title defence at Extreme Rules. As if knowing this, The Miz’s eyes remain locked on them as Tripper hauls them away from the post and shoves them into the ring. Cena’s wavering up, his sneakers angled against the canvas as he wobbles briefly, but here comes Triple H again with a series of knees to the gut and now dragging him towards the steps.
Triple H goes to slam Cena by the neck into those steps, but the ex-“Champ” puts a foot on them and manages to hold him off. The Game wraps him up in a side headlock, trying to wear him down and attempt it again, but Cena uses his fighting strength to slowly, slowly work his way back out of it… and now he gets the arms free and unleashes the elbows in response! Several pointed shots to the gut will give Cena some space, so he immediately goes for the KILL, there’s the Attitude Adjustment attempt – no, Hunter clubs him in the back before he can even lift the Game into the Fireman’s! The two men separate, so Triple fires instinctively with a right hand, which Cena sweeps under… then hits the ropes and gets the Flying Shoulder Block!
The buzz in the arena, a mix of boos and cheers, begins as Cena kicks off the routine, taking Triple H down with a second Shoulder Block when it comes around. Both men are up again, Hunter throwing a clothesline and seeing Cena duck it – FOR THE SPIN-OUT POWERBOMB! Triple H stays down for good this time, allowing Cena to turn to the crowd, throwing up the hand! The CeNation leader has a fire in his eyes, knowing that this is his chance to swing the bout his way, but instead of bending down he turns to the announce desk… and waves “You can’t see me!” along with the crowd at The Miz! The WWE Champion, slowly returning to his chair, says absolutely nothing, just watching as Cena runs back to the ropes… brushes it off – FIVE KNUCKLE SHUFFLE!
A pop goes up from the Cena fans here, with Triple H rolling sideways and Cena toeing the steel steps to the side, making sure he’s got a clear run at it for when Triple H struggles up… FOR THE ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT – NO! The Game worms out, landing behind him and shoving him into the ropes… right back into the High Knee! Cena collapses, tumbling awkwardly and accidentally from the ring as he falls, and goes wandering around ringside to remove the cobwebs. Triple H follows him out, grabbing him by the neck and running him all the way to the steel post… BAM! Cena goes face-first off the steel, tumbling to the deck, and now Triple ROARS out, firing up! The crowd gives him back noise in equal measure, so now the Game storms around ringside, taking his own look at The Miz – this man already won his shot once, and now he wants to do it all again, this time in front of the champion.
Slapping the apron, Triple H turns back to Cena. His chest puffs out, showing how he’s fought through the fatigue thus far, and he does so again as he brushes his straggled hair out of his eyes and puts a hand on Cena’s head. He pulls the West Newbury native away from the apron skirt… BUT CENA LASHES OUT AND THE GAME GOES DOWN IN A HEAP! The crowd groans as Triple H collapses, and now Cena is struggling back up… HOLDING TRIPLE H’S SLEDGEHAMMER! There are groans and whistles in their thousands from the crowd, and Cena looks at the deadly hammer – he cracks a grin, not intending to use this particular weapon but apparently lucking out… and now Hunter is just ruined, lying motionless on the outside mats! Cena throws the sledgehammer to the side, using that famous strength to heave Triple H off the floor and force him back under the bottom rope. He rolls inside too, exhaling heavily on his way, then throws an arm over the Game and takes a step towards saving his 2011… one… two… thr-but no! Kickout by Hunter!
We’re not done just yet! The Game won’t stay down even after a huge blow like that, especially not to his own weapon, and he manages to find his way up to his knees. In the meantime, Cena takes a look at Mike Chioda, a man who just eight days ago was incapacitated as Daniel Bryan made The Miz tap out, but a man who can only raise two fingers to Cena tonight. Resigning himself to the task ahead, Cena grabs Triple H by the top of the head and pulls him up, but the Game comes right back with a fierce right hand! Cena stumbles back, only to be whipped into the corner and SLAMMED with a Corner Clothesline! Hunter paces the ring, soaking up the crowd’s cheers, then watches Cena out of the corner to kick him in the gut – PEDIGREE ON THE HORIZON… NOOO!!! Cena hurls the Game overhead and he lands RIGHT ON THE DAMN RING STEPS! The crowd cries out in awe, as Triple H’s body creases on the canvas, and Cena falls in exhaustion, slumping against the ring ropes. Triple H clutches at his back, and ends up rolling involuntarily from the ring… so JR asks the question of which man will be able to go the extra mile, and Raw takes a break.
Raw’s back with these two going at it again; Hunter has Cena pressed up into the corner once more, throwing those right hands, but Cena sweeps out of the position and forces the Game there instead. Cena begins to pepper him with his own shots, only for Tripper to come back with a knee to the gut, forcing Cena back in… it’s back and forth here, both men showing signs of exhaustion but unwilling to give an inch, as Triple H just PUMMELS his opponent here, until Cena falls to a seated position, and the Game catches the top buckle with a grasping blow, yanking the cover off! That hangs loose, getting some ‘ooh’s and ‘aah’s as Triple H pulls Cena out of the corner and whips him to the other side. The Corner Clothesline misses this time, with the crowd gasping as Tripper meets the buckle, and we catch Mike Chioda taking a longing look at that exposed turnbuckle, unable to go and fix it.
Cena meets the Game this time around, throwing a couple of jarring right hands, then hooks up a Fisherman’s Suplex with those steel steps lurking… but Hunter spins out of it, then HURLS Cena towards the exposed buckle as if by instinct – NO! Cena dives to the mat, sliding out of the ring! He looks back to the ring, where even Triple H is somewhat impressed by Cena’s ring awareness, but now the Game comes after him. Both men are feeling the strain here, with those ring steps still in the ring as well that exposed buckle, some chairs (and a sledgehammer) on the outside and the elephant in the room of The Miz sat at the stripped announce desk. Triple H gets kicked in the gut when he comes too close, then SLAMMED face-first off the apron, buying Cena some time to get creative. He paces ringside slowly, the fatigue clear in his face, then wraps his hands around the first thing he finds – a chair.
Triple H is back. His hair is a mess across his face, nearly obscuring his vision, but he fights on, stumbling about ringside to meet Cena, but the West Newbury native drives the butt of the chair into his stomach! The Game gasps and keels over, so Cena brings the chair up – AND CRASHES IT OFF HUNTER’S SPINE! A huge mixed reaction goes up as Cena topples his opponent, then brings the chair down again like an executioner, eliciting another CRACK
around the Qwest Center. He turns to the announce desk, tipping the chair in the direction of The Miz, who finally looks a little intimidated. Cena manages ‘I’ll do whatever I gotta’ through a series of hard, heaving breaths, then throws the chair into the ring and grabs Hunter for the next part.
John marshals Triple H back to the ring, and forces him inside. He rolls in too, making a cover – one… two… thr-NO, the Game fights on! Cena wanted it to end there, but it won’t, so he crouches and calls for the Attitude Adjustment! The Cena fans go wild, the Triple H fans boo, but no matter what the arena is alive, and so is the Game, hauling himself up to face the music. Cena goes for it, hoisting him up on to his shoulders… BUT NO! Tripper gets out of it, then drives Cena forward… RIGHT INTO THE EXPOSED TURNBUCKLE! There’s groans of sympathy in the crowd as Cena staggers backwards, his clock truly cleaned… AND TRIPLE H IS UP TO BAT, GRABBING THE CHAIR AND BLUDGEONING IT OFF CENA’S LEFT SHOULDER! “OHHH!” cries the crowd as Cena goes down, and now the Game takes a moment, getting his breath back. He dumps the chair to the deck, then kneels beside Cena to make the cover… one… two… THR-BUT NO! Cena still kicks out as the hand comes down a third time!
Back and forth we go! Cena won’t stay down, Triple H won’t stay down – what is it going to take for one of these men to go to Capitol Punishment? At ringside, Jim Ross finally concedes (at Byron Saxton’s obnoxious behest) that maybe this is what these two needed; Tag Team Attraction wasn’t enough, they just had to go at it, there’s no better way to decide who deserves the title shot! In that vein, The Miz is watching with eyes wide open here, observing every last movement as Triple H wipes the sweat from his brow and pulls Cena up. The wannabe “Champ” comes back with a right hand, so Triple H answers back just the same, and now we’re into a slogfest, the crowd split practically down the middle! The cheers and boos, punches and punches, are traded in equal measure, until finally it seems that Cena has the upper hand, sending the Game back to the ropes after a series of chained punches… before he takes them BOTH to the outside yet again, this time leaping off the ring steps to take them over the top rope with the clothesline!
These two have nothing left to give, and it’s about twenty seconds before either of them can haul themselves off the outside mats to try and continue. When they do, they do so almost simultaneously, but Triple H is closer to the nearest weapon, and that weapon couldn’t be more perfect… the Game has his old friend back. The crowd whistles as the Cerebral Assassin tiredly weighs the sledgehammer in hand, and Cena fights through exhausted breaths as he watches. John stares at the weapon that nearly ended his career at Extreme Rules, all for the pursuit of the WWE Title, and nods… before he darts sideways, to the announce desk, and grabs one of those monitors! It’s not much, but it’ll knock you clean out if you use it right, just like the hammer, and Cena is on guard here, the two men ready to duel.
Taking a deep breath, it’s Triple H who throws himself into the lion’s jaws, swinging the hammer – but missing, as Cena ducks, then SWINGS FOR THE FENCES… ONLY FOR THE GAME TO DUCK TOO, MEANING THAT MONITOR SMASHES OFF THE STEEL RING POST! Plastic meets steel with a groan from the Omaha crowd, that monitor spinning off sideways, and now Cena turns, defenceless… RIGHT INTO A SLEDGEHAMMER SHOT TO THE STOMACH! Cena’s yell of pain is only matched by the ‘ooooh’s of the fans here, and now he falls to his knees, clutching the midsection in agony. Just like Cena before him, it’s now Hunter who turns to ringside, toasting The Miz but with the hammer instead, before he lines it up like a tee shot… AND BRINGS THE POINT OF THE HAMMER INTO CENA’S STOMACH AGAIN!!! CHRIST ALMIGHTY!!!
“What the hell are these two doin’ to each other?” cries JR at ringside, “All for a shot at that damn title!” Even The Miz looks a little horrified by Triple H’s last shot, as Cena slumps to all fours and for once, he looks genuinely broken. The Game shakes his head, as if to say Cena made him go this far, and throws the sledgehammer aside. Hauling Cena’s almost-dead weight up, he forces him back under the ropes, and takes a second before his tired body will follow. Eventually, he falls on top of Cena for the cover… one… two… three-BUT NOOO!!! Cena gets a shoulder up right at the death! Incredible resilience!
Triple H turns his eyes to Chioda, then to Cena – he can’t believe it! He thought the title shot and the bragging rights were his, but somehow Cena fought out of it… did those extra seconds cost him? After a couple of moments trying to understand, he slaps the mat and heads to the outside, knowing that he can only end it one way… and that’s by putting his hands back on the sledgehammer. Once again, he hoists it into the air and inspects it, staring at the problem solver from so many occasions, but the crowd is buzzing… because Cena is hunting him down, face contorted in pain as he grabs the Game from behind! Tripper drops the hammer when he’s spun around, and now Cena grips him by the wrist… BEFORE HURLING HIM OVER THE ANNOUNCE TABLE AND NEARLY WIPING OUT THE MIZ!!!
The WWE Champion got out the way seconds before, seeing it coming, but Triple H takes out his chair for sure, and JR and Saxton just escape as well. In the meantime, it’s eyes back to Cena, fighting off the strain of a long bout to haul Triple H back across the table. The Game took a bad fall there and isn’t so quick to fight back, so Cena lays some clubbing blows in and leaves him to rot. The West Newbury native’s off back to the ring, despite the fact he can’t win by count-out… no, he’s looking for the ropes instead, climbing to the top! The crowd buzzes, rising to its feet almost simultaneously, as Cena balances his tired frame on the top rope, and Triple H begins to struggle up… SO CENA LAUNCHES OFF, SAILING DOWN – AND DRILLING TRIPLE H THROUGH THE TABLE WITH THE LEG DROP BULLDOG!!!
THE CROWD LOSES THEIR MINDS!
The table is caved in, and both these men lie in the wreckage… The Miz is standing against the crowd barricade, eyes wide in horror as he looks at the lengths Cena will go to. We get a half dozen replays of Cena sending himself off the top rope, and now both would-be title challengers are lying still… until finally, finally, it’s Cena
who begins to put a hand against the ground and force himself back towards the ring. His eyes turn back to The Miz, then to the Game, then to the apron that helps him back to his feet. Triple H has a hand against the panels of the collapsed desk, trying his hardest to ignore the crippling exhaustion and fight his way back into this…
…until finally Cena staggers over to him and pulls him up. The pair of them are hardly even able to stand, but Cena has that superhuman strength somewhere deep in him that allows him to keep fighting, starting with dragging Triple H back towards the ring. He works in a sluggish slam of Hunter’s head into the apron, then shoves him under that rope and hurls himself in too. He’s feeling the force of it all for sure, so much so that he falls to a knee and watches Triple H crawling about, stretching for the chair from earlier. Knowing that could be the difference, Cena drags him away by the leg… THEN GOES FOR THE STFU ALMOST IMMEDIATELY, BUT TRIPLE H TURNS AND KICKS HIM OFF! The Game once tapped to that on the Grandest Stage of Them All five years ago, but he wants no repeat tonight, shoving him away… both men scramble to meet each other – BUT TRIPLE H EXPLODES OUT OF NOWHERE WITH THE DOUBLE A SPINEBUSTER… AND DRIVES CENA SPINE-FIRST ON TO THE STEEL CHAIR ON THE CANVAS!!! The crowd goes CRAZY, with some “HOLY SHIT!” chants building in the upper tiers as they did for the table spot, and now it’s Triple H who crawls and crawls, throwing an arm over his long-time rival to take this home… one… two… THREE-BUT NOOOO!!! KICKOUT SOMEHOW BY CENA!!!
Triple H collapses beside Cena and stares at the ceiling. He’s thrown the kitchen sink at Cena, no more so than with that last move, and now both men are down, wondering how the hell they’re going to put the other away! Cena’s blinking, rolling on to his side to try to recover, but a hand goes to his back to sell the huge impact of the Spinebuster. He tries to put his hands on the chair… but Triple H puts his boot on it and shoves it out of the ring! The Game falls on to the ropes for support as he does it, but he takes away Cena’s advantage there and now he reaches down to pull him up. It takes him a moment, but finally he brings John to his feet, then drags him sluggishly into the middle of the ring and hooks the arms… the crowd comes alive with cheers and boos again… PEDIGREE – NO, CENA LIFTS HIM INTO THE FIREMAN’S… AND SCORES WITH THE ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT!!! GOT IT!!!
The crowd is split right down the middle yet again, but the noise is HUGE nonetheless, with the CeNation going wild as both competitors go down, begging for Cena to make the cover! John doesn’t have the energy, but Triple H is laid out – surely a cover would end this? Cena begins to edge his way back across the ring, inch by inch, until he can hook a leg… one… two… THREE – BUT NO, THE GAME KICKS OUT! NO GOOD! We’re still going, not that Cena can believe it, and now – now he turns to the ring steps. They’re the last weapon still really in play, and so he grabs them to drag them across the floor. He’s exhausted, but he finds the strength to bring them centre of the ring, and sits on them for a second to recover. He slaps a hand against the steel, knowing this is how he could take the title shot, then begins to force his body up again. Triple H remains down, still feeling the effects of the Attitude Adjustment, as Cena stands…
…but the crowd is screaming protest, roaring approval, all kinds of noise – BECAUSE SOMEONE’S IN THE RING – DOLPH ZIGGLER!!!
The Perfection Artiste slides under the bottom rope, just as Cena moves an inch away from the ring steps… AND ZIGGLER DRILLS HIM INTO THE STEEL PLATFORM WITH THE ZIG-ZAG!!!
The crowd roars a furious series of boos to overpower the few cheers from the Cena haters, and Cena gets absolutely wrecked by that! He goes down clutching his head, shortly after it bounced off hard steel, and now Ziggler stands on the steps, looking down at Cena… and he runs his hands through his hair to flick water on him! “Didn’t forget me, huh John? DID YA?” he belts, then slowly backs off the steps and out of the ring.
Ignoring the heat from the crowd, Ziggler flicks water one more time at the squared circle, and keeps a slow pace as backtracks up the ramp. In the ring, Cena lies flat now, seeing as the Zig-Zag on the steps nearly knocked him clean out, and it’s eyes back to Triple H. The Game is heaving his body across to Cena, and whether or not he saw Ziggler’s actions is unclear – but now he’s throwing an arm across Cena’s chest, and Mike Chioda has no choice but to count… one… two… THREE!!! The bell rings – Ziggler’s screwed Cena!
Result: Triple H bts. John Cena via pinfall at 22:55
Here is your winner… the GAME, TRIIIIPLE… ‘AAAAIIITCH!!!
The music plays, but all Triple H does is collapse off Cena’s body. On the ramp, Ziggler’s smirk is as big as China, shaking his head and running casual hands through his hair. “Absolute perfection,” he purrs, as Chioda checks on both men, and it’s Triple H who finds his way up to his knees first, hair draped across his eyes. Chioda tries to help him up and raise his arm, but the Game stumbles away and has to use the turnbuckle to keep himself upright.
Ya gotta be kiddin’ me! Dolph Ziggler just cost John Cena the title shot, and for what? Attention?
Great contest, JR, gotta love that, but we shoulda seen that coming – everyone knows Ziggler should have been up for this title shot!
You come up with a new agenda every two seconds, Byron, but after that chaotic ending let’s at least hear from The Miz –
But ‘clunk’ goes the headset on the arena floor, because The Miz has ditched the announce team and stands at ringside. He’s staring up at Triple H, who stares right back through his sweat-stained hair at the champion. Whether or not the Game knows how he won is still unclear, but for now, there are no words between champion and his future challenger.
Cena’s still down, but Ziggler finds that hilarious. He can’t stop grinning, standing on the stage now and enjoying every second of Cena’s suffering. The CeNation leader still holds his head, face wrecked in pain on the canvas, while Chioda kneels beside him to see if he needs medical attention.
Tense as it gets on Monday Night Raw, folks – Triple H is going to Capitol Punishment to face The Miz… but what has Dolph Ziggler done?
What a night, JR! Ziggler rights a couple wrongs, and Cena ain’t going near a guy who’s already beat him on the biggest stage! I reckon this is the best possible outcome!
I have dozens of questions that need answerin’, but all I know is that Triple H and Cena left it all in the ring tonight, and if Triple H can’t take down The Miz, I’m beginning to wonder who can… I’ve been Jim Ross, here with Byron Saxton, and – huh…
Suddenly, we’re away from The Miz’s icy stare, and we’re backstage.
The sight we cut to is Vince McMahon watching a backstage TV… and his face is ice-cold. He turns, muttering something at a WWE security guard behind him, and now he walks out, the camera following him. He has two guards with him, apparently, and he keeps walking, still muttering something under his breath, until he reaches the indoor parking lot. A black SUV is waiting with an open door for him…
…BUT HE GETS BLINDSIDED OUT OF THE SIDE OF THE SHOT!
The arena crowd immediately groans in awe as someone wipes out McMahon, and suddenly, the two security guards are beset by an attacker each as well… we can spot Skip Sheffield beating down one, and Mason Ryan on the other! The boos from the arena begin to rain in as the Convoy overpower the two men, driving them sideways and beating them to the ground… and now we can see CM PUNK laying the right hands into the Chairman of the Board!
Punk hangs back for a moment, letting Vince cough and splutter after taking those shots, and suddenly someone yells something nearby and the camera TIPS sideways, swerving down as someone wrenches it out of the cameraman’s grasp. The Convoy are out of shot, so one of them must have the camera, getting in close as Punk crouches beside the gasping Chairman.
Look me in… LOOK ME IN THE EYES!
Punk, breathing a touch heavily himself, grabs Vince by the jaw and forces him to look at him.
I promise you, I promise
… you can surround yourself with guards, you can find a thousand of ‘em, but I promise – if I want to hurt you, I will always find a way. ALWAYS.
Vince tears his head away, but Punk observes him with disgust.
You can’t look me in the eyes because you’re afraid. That’s natural, you should be. You’re not safe, no-one is.
A shake of the head from this madman.
I will change it all no matter who gets hurt. And if you thought that you could fire me tonight and get it all over with… just know how wrong you are. The last thing you want… is to take me off the radar.
A sly smirk as Punk gets in close to Vince’s ear.
And in the past, when things go wrong for Vince McMahon, he can call on his personal saviour and Dwayne will come and help. But if you use him to save you as your last resort, Vince… what happens when I bring him – to his knees?
Spine-chilling from the Second City Saint, who gets some heavy boos from the arena crowd. There’s shouting in the background, but Punk ignores it.
Vince, if you truly hate me… the way I hate you, just the way faith works, that… that ability to wake up in the morning and just KNOW about it… what happens next is out of our hands. What happens next is – look me in the eyes
, you COWARD.
Eyes bulging in anger, the red-faced Chairman turns back to him.
What happens next is beyond us all. So if you hate me that much, you’ll meet me in the ring next week, and your ivory tower will fall and fall… and fall… and fall… until it shatters
into so many pieces.
Punk is inches from Vince’s face now, the camera inches from them both. Vince’s eyes turn back to the floor, unable to speak.
Or are you really the coward I figured you for? Huh?
What happens… when a million-dollar businessman… can’t even look his grandchildren in the eyes… out of shame. Maybe someday I’ll ask them.
Vince tries to mutter something, but he’s a wreck.
CM Punk: (quietly)
I think we’ve all learned something about power tonight.
He puts a hand around McMahon’s throat, and tightens the grip for a moment… but before McMahon can even begin to gasp for air, Mason Ryan grunts something in the background, and Punk looks up. The shouting has got louder, and there are footsteps… so Punk leaves McMahon to rot in his misery, with the camera tilting out of (we assume) Sheffield’s grip and to the floor.
Good God in heaven.
The camera, on its side, shows a shaking, emotionally drained Vince McMahon. In the background, someone who looks a bit like The Rock is leading a group of EMTs down the corridor. Vince splutters and touches gingerly at his throat, as Punk and the Convoy’s footsteps disappear…
…and Raw fades out.
END OF SHOW
The Return; Grudge Match
CM Punk versus The Rock
World Heavyweight Championship; Submission Match
Alberto Del Rio (c) defends against Kofi Kingston
The Miz (c) defends against Triple H