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Everybody's Picking on Punk
September 25, 2012

by PyroFalkon
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Still recovering from whatever the hell has been keeping me down this weekend. I’m not feeling better, just different… the fever broke and I’m breathing a little easier, but now the congestion moved to my right ear. I can’t hear and it’s throwing off my balance, which is really, really weird. First time I can recall that this ever happened to me.

I also can’t recall ever guessing a show’s direction as accurately as I did Revolution last week. The main protagonist—and I sadly can’t even remember her name at this point—is like Katniss Lite, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. Maybe Act I of all fiction has to be drawn up the same basic way, but Revolution certainly didn’t wow me last week. I’ll still give it a shot, but I think my stupid excitement over the premise was misplaced.

Not much more to say in the precap, especially since I spent half the weekend asleep trying to recover from this mess, so let’s just get straight to the recap.

Segment 1: After the opening montage, we smash-cut to CM Punk, chilling out in a chair in the middle of the ring. Paul Heyman is beside him and puts him over, drawing all the boos in the world. See, Punk is having a sit-in protest over the results from last week’s false finish due to the rookie ref (we’re in kayfabe mode here, so I’m ignoring the fact he’s an FCW wrestler until/unless it becomes relevant). We get a recap of it, and while Michael Cole tries to commentate over it, Heyman decides to do Cole’s job for him too.

So anyway, Heyman calls down the ref, whose name is… oh, it’s Brad Maddox, same as his wrestling persona name, I guess? Heyman wants Maddox to get to the ring, apologize, then resign. Maddox does indeed hit the ring, and even gets a name plate. Maddox gets in the ring and does, indeed, apologize for blowing the call, and says that he was just nervous given it was his first main event. Heyman sorta accepts the apology, then tells him to resign.

The crowd starts up a “No! No!” chant for some reason. Maddox reiterates that he does apologize, but doesn’t feel that a resignation is warranted. Punk flips out at this point and gets in the ref’s face, asking how he even got the job in the first place, and how he can get up in the morning when he walks down “pretending to be a man.” Maddox replies that he came after getting a call from AJ Lee since she needed more officials after stretching RAW to three hours.

Then it’s Heyman’s turn to flip out, calling Maddox a “replacement.” And just in case the anvil isn’t large enough, Heyman suggests Maddox wear “this”: a blindfold with the WWE logo over one eye, and the NFL Shield over the other. Because fans are stupid, I guess. Good call last week, Rick.

Anyway, Punk tries a different tactic, saying that AJ is an idiot (verbatim), and that “if she had a brain, she’d fire you.” AJ hits the ring wearing those loose shorts again that seem to make mine tighten. [Ed. Note: short shorts on AJ is a good thing. But personally, I also like that she's finally wearing the Chucks again. Jesus Christ: AJ was a license to print money earlier this summer when she was an absolutely compelling and unique character. Then they make her GM and take away everything that made her interesting? Genius. At least she's now inching back towards "herself." If nothing else, in terms of wardrobe, she has morphed back into what *AJ* thinks is a good GM Outfit -- which is something nobody else would ever come up with --  instead of the generic look foisted upon her by the Writer Monkeys.] She gently dismisses Maddox, then stands up to Heyman and Punk, saying they will not hold WWE RAW hostage for any reason, so who the hell do they think they are?

Punk declares that he’s the WWE Champion, that’s who the hell he is! He’s the reason the show exists, the reason the fans are in their seats, the reason AJ collects a paycheck! And he kicks it to some footage of AJ making the marriage proposal several months ago, implies she sent him some racy text messages, and says that all that crap is why AJ is trying to get back at him. He finishes that he is the reason there’s a little “skip in your step” and that he’s totally the “best in the world.”

Heyman gently pulls Punk away as the crowd then starts up a “CM Punk!” chant, because I guess everyone wants to bang her. Heyman then says, based on everything he’s seen today… Heyman makes a marriage proposal! And their power will totally be the strongest one ever, even more than Triple H and Stephanie McMahon!

AJ looks offended at first, but as she (pretends to) think about it, she becomes all smiles. Then she slaps Heyman in the face, because no one keeps AJ down. AJ is so annoyed that she leaves the ring and storms up the ramp without her signature skipping.

Segment 2: After commercials, Maddox is talking to Other Black Ref Who Isn’t Awesome Ref Justin King. AJ appears, and Other Black Ref leaves. Maddox apologizes again to AJ and promises he’ll never make that mistake again. AJ says that’s fine, and she knows it’ll never happen again, because if it does… she’ll personally make sure that he’ll never work in professional wrestling again. She does Crazy Eyes as she says she doesn’t like cleaning up his mess or looking like an idiot.

Maddox tries apologizing again, but AJ is non-responsive, just still doing her Crazy Eyes. Maddox eventually just leaves, and AJ puts herself back to normal, though she has tear streaks.

Pre-Segment 3: Normally I don’t care, but they show a tweet exchange between Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler that mentions a Family Guy reference. Dolph at one point says that he and Quagmire “share many similarities.” Without further evidence, I’m forced to assume that that means Dolph has a hidden cabin with a guestbook for one night stands. Vickie must be pissed!

Also Pre-Segment 3: Dolph hits the ring with Vickie Guerrero, and Kofi hits the ring with R-Truth. This is just a singles match, Kofi vs. Dolph, but Truth is there with a bag of popcorn and a soda to watch at ringside. He takes a seat beside Little Jimmy, and Vickie immediately starts taunting his invisible friend. Vickie and R-Truth then start to argue, leading to Dolph getting between them, and Kofi getting involved as well.

Arguments ensue, and Vickie gets doused with Truth’s soda. More screaming and arguing, and Referee McDoucher had enough of that nonsense, so he ejects both Truth and Vickie from ringside before the match starts.

Segment 3 [Singles Match]: Dolph Ziggler defeats Kofi Kingston by pin. This shouldn’t have been the opener… it should have been the main event. Holy shit were both guys on their A-games! We saw a sign of things to come with Kofi’s spot to take us to the break. He tossed Dolph out of the ring, then hit the opposite ropes, and did a no-hands suicide plancha with a full flip to land clean on his feet. The crowd didn’t give a manure chant, but they really should have.

The match didn’t have any crazy high spots, but it was back-and-forth action from start to finish and full of more false finishes than I recall ever seeing. The fans were incredibly hot too, and they were falling for every false finish. That’s not an insult to anyone, it’s just that when the live fans don’t buy a false finish, it’s also tough for the viewers at home to fall for it. But they were buying everything, which meant the atmosphere was fantastic, and both Dolph and Kofi just simply brought it. Add in that it was a clean win, and no one was dicking around at ringside, and you have one pairing that absolutely clicks together. More, please!

The actual match finish came after I think the sixth legitimate near-fall. Kofi whiffed on a Trouble in Paradise, Dolph countered by flinging him shoulder-first into the post, then hit the Zig Zag and ended it. But seriously, YouTube this sucker… This match alone makes RAW worth watching, at least this part. Definite must-watch, seriously. [Ed. Note: Seconded. Holy crap, that was awesome.]

Segment 4: The commentators talk about John Cena’s elbow surgery, and that it was worse than they thought. But Cena is here tonight, and we’re going to find out how he’s doing and what his plans are, hopefully in time for the next pay-per-view.

Segment 5: Recap of Team Friendship on SmackDown.

Segment 6: Another off-site angle (a very poorly recorded one) where Dr. Shelby met with Daniel Bryan at a diner. Shelby has set up a role-playing exercise to show that DB and Kane can exist peacefully even outside the ring.

As DB asks what that means, Kane arrives wearing an apron and asks to take DB’s order. DB loves this for all the wrong reasons, but tries to give his order anyway… a steamed vegetable platter, and a tag team partner who’s not a psycho seven-foot freak. Kane diligently wrote down the first part, but got a little upset at the second.

Shelby corals the laughter: this isn’t “Kane,” but “Gerald the friendly waiter.” (I would have given All of the Money if he was “Glenn the friendly waiter.”) Kane at least tries to take this seriously: “I’m Gerald, and I’m a friendly waiter.” Of course, Kane also goes on to say they have a new cook, since the old cook was really annoying, so Kane took the cook by his “goat beard and dunked his head into the deep fryer.” Oh, and then he pulled the goat beard off and sprinkled the greasy whiskers all over the meals he’s served that day. Cut to a random old woman who starts the dry heaves as she tosses her fork on the table.

Shelby clarifies that he was so totally kidding. “You were kidding, right Kane?” Kane looks around and deadpans, “I don’t know what you’re talking about… My name’s Gerald!” Cheesy smirk, and he leaves. The camera cuts away before we get to see DB’s reaction.

It didn’t quite have the magic of the actual anger management segments, but it was still cute and more entertaining than Sheamus’s “disposition” angle of crap last week.

Oh, it seems we get to vote on the official team name for Daniel Bryan and Kane tonight. If Team Friendship doesn’t win, the fans deserve testicle mule kicks. Unless it’s not even offered at all, in which case the “Creative” Team deserves said kicks.

Cut Scene: Oh good, tonight’s social media ambassador is Criss Angel. Because that’ll get everyone a-Twittering!

Segment 7 [Tag Match]: Prime Time Players squash Santino Marella & Zack Ryder by pin. Very time-compressed, and Zack never got to be a legal man.

Segment 8: Mick Foley in the house! He hits the ring and absorbs the cheers, but he says that he’s not here as a hardcore legend, but a fan. And as a fan, he sees things on WWE that still move him, such as last year’s ascension of CM Punk.

That brings boos, and Mick plays off that: the reaction is telling. Punk is no longer inspiring change, he now bullies refs and puts guys like Paul Heyman in his pocket.

Mick can’t finish his train of thought, because here’s Punk to respond already. Punk doesn’t want to hear his crap in front of the fans; he’s way past his prime and needs to stay out of the spotlight. Why is Mick here anyway, just to sell another kids’ book?

Mick shakes his head and admits that he’s dealt with issues of his relevancy, of thinking whether he actually mattered to the fans anymore. But it was Punk himself who “cleared up that issue” over a year ago. See, after Punk cut his Promo Heard ‘Round the World, and Mick texted him congratulations not expecting a reply. But he got one: while Mick’s text read “How does it feel to be the biggest star in the business?,” within two minutes Punk replied “Thank you, Mick, that means a lot coming from you.” So unless Punk was just randomly thanking everyone who was sending him congratulatory text messages, it clearly meant that Mick’s text meant something special to him. So clearly Mick is still relevant… and speaking as one who still is relevant, he’s upset at Punk’s current activities and his alliance with Heyman.

Mick clearly wants an explanation, but Punk starts by deflecting the question as he attacks the fans: “[Respect] works both ways: if you have something to say to me, come down here and grab a microphone, and I’ll shove it down your throat.” It looked like he was screaming at one person in particular, since there’s plenty of evidence that Punk is really good at doing that, but I’m honestly not sure.

Punk returns to the subject at hand and says that Mick doesn’t know what he’s talking about, as usual. Mick defends himself and admits that he used to be a “Paul Heyman guy” himself, but he didn’t become a legend until he stopped listening to Heyman and made decisions on his own.

Punk sarcastically says that this the same line of crap he’s always heard, that Heyman is slime, and a liar. Mick says that’s not it; he never saw that side of Heyman, and Heyman never lied to him. But the fact is that Heyman will always do what’s best for Heyman first, and in this case, it means he doesn’t really care what’s best for Punk. Mick points out the obvious: Punk is one of the best talkers in the business ever, so why would he need a mouthpiece, a manager?

Punk doesn’t care about this line of questioning and just wants to move on with life. Mick is fine with letting the subject drop because the next pay-per-view is right up Mick’s specialty: Hell in a Cell. Mick says that the first HiaC made him as a legend, though it shortened his career, since that’s what it does. But after that night, he never had to ask anyone for respect; he earned it that night, and anyone who’s dealt with it knows how rough it can be. Anyone who’s been in one earns their respect for life: just ask Shawn Michaels, or Trips, or the Undertaker.

Punk wants to know what exactly Mick wants here… Mick replies that he wants to see Punk enter HiaC against John Cena. Punk replies that he’s a little confused then, because he’s heard the same speech before the last PPV. Cena said that if Punk walked into Night of Champions (in Cena’s hometown of Boston), and then left WWE Champion, he’d have the respect! But look at him now… and Punk disrespectfully tosses the belt to the canvas as he declares himself champion, also implying that he still doesn’t have the respect.

Punk also questions why Mick and Bret Hart (two weeks ago) seem to want to ride Punk’s coattails and imply they see themselves in him. Punk is not like them, and even though Bret embarrassed him by punching him in the face, Punk isn’t going to try the same attack on Mick tonight despite the disrespect… because Bret, and Mick, and all us fans are beneath him.

Punk doesn’t know what he has to do to appease other wrestlers, nor how many title shots Cena needs before he finally lets go, but Punk knows one thing: he does not need to impress the fans. Mick “needed” the attention so he jumped off the roof of his house, then proceeded to have insanely dangerous matches just to get the accolades. Instead, Punk is going to bring the fans to their knees through his mic; he’s not going to subject himself to the car crash-like matches. All Punk needs to do to shove his talent into the fans’ faces is hold up his title and say one number: 309. Tomorrow it’ll be 310, the next it’ll be 311.

Mick lays a number of his own on Punk: 29. That’s the total number of days he was world champion combined in all his runs. But guess what? No one cares about the number. Does Punk want to be a statistic, or a legend? We fans don’t care about numbers, but moments. And in Mick’s eyes, as someone who is still relevant, Punk needs another moment to get that respect.

Mick switches subjects to AJ, who is obviously still upset about the way the show started. So AJ is letting Mick make an offer. Cena hopes to be ready for HiaC, but he’s here tonight, so Punk is going to get to make the choice whether he takes on Cena at HiaC. The only thing is, Punk will have to make that decision face-to-face with Cena. Mick hopes that Punk thinks about it, and that Punk will make the decision based on what’s best for him, and for the fans. Have a nice day.

Mick leaves, Punk is reflective in the ring, and we just closed one fucking awesome promo. YouTube this one too. [Ed. Note: Seconded, again.]

Segment 9 [Singles Match]: Ryback extend-squashes The Miz by pin. This match was barely competitive. If Dolph Ziggler oversells everything, then Ryback is his polar opposite. All this does is hurt Miz, rather than help Ryback at all.

Segment 10: Part 2 of the diner. This time, DB and Kane are chilling there and having lunch. DB and Kane agree that they can never be friends. DB says that’s too bad though, since they were awesome together as they were beating the shit out of eight dudes on SmackDown. Kane is all smiles and starts hammering the table as he mimes the chair shots, and DB screams “Yes!” over and over, which is a not-too-subtle play on the only scene that mattered in When Harry Met Sally. And it’s Mae Young who gets to deliver the line, which was a nice surprise. [Ed. Note: I'll go out on a limb, and suggest youtubing all 3 of the Kane/Bryan/Shelby skits. Everything they touch is turning to gold, lately.]

Segment 11: AJ is in her office with four refs: Maddox, Chad Patton, Referee McDoucher, and Other Black Ref. McDoucher (his real name is John Cone, and yes, I still remember that from when I looked him up years ago) is apparently a spaz even outside the ring, as he’s twitchy and constantly nodding to everything AJ says. Though, honestly, I’d probably be the same way if I was in AJ’s presence if she was wearing those shorts.

[Fun fact: Cone really is kind of a spaz when he’s moving around, but that’s not exactly something I’d honestly give him shit for. The dude is probably the most athletic of the refs. When I went to see SmackDown in person, he moved as gracefully as some of the lightweights getting in and out of the ring, and was a beast when it was his turn to take apart the ring ropes. If I had half his athleticism, I… well, I probably would be in better shape and not having two massive congestions in my sinus passages.]

Anyway, AJ has called this meeting to remind them that WWE doesn’t have instant replays and never will (a completely incorrect statement if we care about continuity), and assures them that everyone makes mistakes sometimes. She pats Maddox’s back a little too stiffly, then tells them to have a great rest of their show!

The refs leave as Alberto Del Rio arrives, flanked by David Otunga and Ricardo Rodriguez. AJ says she’s sorry and all for the timing of Booker T’s decision that may have cost ADR in his title match at Night of Champions, and ADR thinks that means she’s going to authorize another title shot. Nope! But she knows all three guys have been victims of the Brogue Kick, so they all get a shot at redemption. We’re going to have a six-man tag: these three against Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara, and Sheamus. Ha! While ADR and Otunga think that’s a bad idea, Ricardo is amped for it.

Segment 12 [Singles Match]: Wade Barrett squashes Tyson Kidd by pin. Match finish was the stiff elbow, which apparently is called “The Souvenir.” O… kay.

Segment 13: Time to talk to Jerry Lawler. Michael Cole is in the ring and sets the scene, and we get some previously unseen still pictures of the moment when it happened. Cole finishes giving the recap, and he kicks it to the Titantron.

Jerry Lawler is sitting on a throne in his home in Memphis, and he’s looking pretty damn good. He’s shocked and thankful at the insane outpouring of fan support, but the first thing he does is apologize for his raspy voice, which seems pretty close to insane.

Cole asks what the last thing Lawler actually remembers from the show, and Lawler says he remembers the opening segment (the Punk/Bret promo), but nothing else, not even his tag match with Randy Orton. In the hospital upon waking up, his initial memory was that he was still in Aruba… must have been a personal vacation of some kind, as I didn’t think WWE had gone down there recently.

The questioning switches topics, and Lawler says he had no idea and no expectation that everyone in the universe has sent him their well wishes, not just the fans, but “it seems everyone I ever met.” He thanks them, and the fans applaud.

So, Cole wraps it up: When are you coming back? Lawler is all smiles, and says that this was inevitable: “Once we went to three hours, I defy anyone to sit next to you, Michael Cole, and not have a heart attack.” Wow… the guy is definitely in good spirits to be making a joke like that! Everyone is, of course, out of character here, so Cole and the fans are all laughing along at that. But Lawler says that he’s leaving the return up to the doctors, but the instant the doctors clear him, he’ll be there. Yay!

Cole gives him a warm closing, and they play his music, though they leave him up on the Titantron so the fans can give them their love and support. We even get a “Jerry! Jerry!” chant. Very cool.

Segment 14 [Six-Man Tag Match]: Sin Cara, Sheamus, & Rey Mysterio defeat Ricardo Rodriguez, Alberto Del Rio, & David Otunga by pin. Not really a competitive match, but that wasn’t the point. I mean, you’re pitting two main eventers and a midcarder versus one main eventer, one jobber, and a manager. Pretty foregone conclusion, but it was a fun match that didn’t overstay its welcome.

ADR had a scary-looking move to start the heel beatdown segment. Rey was on a roll and went up to the top rope, so ADR did his standard step up enziguri. No problem… except that ADR had a little extra bounce back and basically did a full backflip, then faceplanted the canvas. They cut away so I couldn’t see the whole landing, but I can’t imagine ADR meant to land like that.

Otherwise, it was a pretty decent match. RR was indeed amped and tried getting in offense when he could, despite his tux doubling as his ring attire. But once the faces got on a roll, RR was the victim and ate pretty much every finisher to take the pin and the loss.
Segment 15: It's the third (and final) segment of Kane and Daniel Bryan at the diner. This time, Dr. Shelby wants them to do an exercise where they each "walk a mile in the other's shoes." In this case, that means he wants them to switch lunches, and eat the other's food. Hokay. So Kane gets a salad, which he eyes suspiciously, as if he's never seen lettuce before. He finally takes a leaf, sniffs it, and eats it. Then belches. Because belches are funny. Now, it's Daniel's turn, and he's even MORE suspicious of a big platter of spaghetti and meatballs, due to his being a vegan. But he finally takes a bit of meatball at Dr. Shelby's insistence, chews for about 10 seconds, and then becomes nauseous. Utilizing the best kind of physical comedy (Broad), Bryan is just barely holding back the vomit, as he looks frantically for a place to throw up. He can't find one, so he bends over and vomits in Dr. Shelby's lap. Because blowing chunks is funny? [Ed. Note: OK, so you can just youtube the first 2, if you want.]
Segment 16: Michael Cole grabs a mic and gets into the ring. It's time for the fans to vote on the new team name for Kane and Daniel Bryan. He reveals the choices: Team Teamwork, Team Hell No, and Team Friendship. Then we go to a commercial.
Segment 16b: Back from ads, and apparently, 2 minutes is all you get to vote, because now Kane and Bryan are hitting the ring to get the results. Cole reveals they will now be known as "Team Hell No." GODDAMN YOU, IDIOT WWE FANS! The most obvious slam dunk since RAW started doing all these stupid polls, and you manage to screw it up. [Ed. Note: I blame the fact that the poll was only open for 2 fricking minutes, and pretty much disqualified anyone watching on a time shift, like me, and didn't allow any sort of genuine groundswell of support to build up. The majority of votes therefore came from the mental defectives who not only watch RAW in real time, but who also desperately cling to social mediaz as if anybody really gives a shit what they think on a nanosecond by nanosecond basis.]
Bryan starts acting like he's deeply offended by this choice (even though it's probably the only option that he and Kane SHOULD like, which makes me wonder if even WWE was caught off guard by the stupidity of the WWE Universe), and gets into a "NO!"/"YES!" war with the audience, as Kane chuckles. Then, from out of nowhere, it's Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes! They viciously assault the tag champs, getting revenge for Friday night. With Kane and Bryan down, they grab a mic... Cody says their team is a joke, and THIS (Cody and Sandow) is what a real team looks like. Pass off to Sandow who declares that this new partnership shall be called "The Rhodes Scholars." We're welcome.
Segment 17: Eve and Beth Phoenix beat Layla and Alicia Fox. Beth basically beat the crap out of Alicia for a few minutes, then Eve blind tagged herself into the ring to make the pinfall and steal the glory. I don't even remember if Layla ever tagged in.
Post-Segment 17: then the storyline kicked in, as Kaitlyn came out onto the stage (on crutches), and reminded us that she was gypped out of a women's title match due to a sneak attack. All fingers are being pointed at Eve, and Kaitlyn certainly does have an accusatory look on her face... but then she (Kaitlyn) drops a bombshell: she didn't get a look at her attacker's face, but she had blonde hair. Eve looks surprised (like she was expecting to be outed), but then quickly realizes that, hey, Beth has blonde hair. So Eve starts fingerpointing at Beth, as Beth protests. [Ed. Note: supposedly, Beth has given notice, and is leaving WWE in October. So even though she was on the winning team tonight, this could also be planting the seeds for her jobbing-to-Eve outro.]
Segment 18: Brodus Clay vs. Tensai went to a No Decision. First, Tensai lost his "Lordship." Now, he's lost his lackey; his path to jobberdom is complete. Match was 2 minutes of slobberknocker, then Big Show appeared out of nowhere, and hit both guys with the WMD. So, the fat men settled nothing, and now Big Show is back after 6 weeks off, but we don't really know what his agenda is, since he punched one face and one heel.
Segment 19: John Cena hits the ring to address the fans after last week's elbow surgery. He starts out by basking in the 50/50 cheers/boos, and letting the haters get it out of their system so that he can briefly mention how he's against breast cancer, and hopes we are, too.
Back to business, Cena talks about last week, where Punk kept his WWE Title by draw and then Cena got a pinfall over Punk by ref error. He's all "I know the refs have a tough job, so I'm not ripping on them" but he also doesn't think Punk proved one damn thing. He may have walked into Boston as WWE Champ, and then walked out as WWE Champ, but it wasn't because he WON. It's because he DIDN'T LOSE. And this makes John angry. So angry he breaks into his phoney shouty voice AND uses language so G-rated, it makes "Ruck Fules" look like graphic profanity. I believe the exact turn of phrase was "gosh darned monkeyfreakin' piece of shinsplints." Or something even lamer. Ugh.
That brings us to Hell in a Cell. Cena echoes what Foley said earlier, and says it's time for Punk to man up and EARN some respect. Cena points to his right arm (in a sling) and says he's not 100% now, and there's now guarantee what he'll be 100% by the PPV, but he's laying out the challenge right now: Cena will be inside a Cell on October 21, and he's gonna be there to fight. Not to be a ring announcer, a time keeper, or a guest commentator. To fight. So won't CM Punk join him?
As if on cue, here are Punk and Heyman, strolling out to the ring. Punk facetiously compliments Cena on his fine speech, but then goes on a rant about what a pandering jackass Cena is. And worse, the fans in "this dump" of Albany, are dumb enough to lap it up with a spoon. He insists that his character is impeccable, and that his reign as champion is unstoppable. He survived Boston, he can survive anything. 309 days and counting.
Cena pounces, and interrupts: "Well, if you're so damned sure, then just shut up and accept my challenge." But Punk's having none of it. He says Cena has had his chances. Multiple ones, because he's WWE's golden boy. There are other guys in the back far more deserving, so Punk -- acting all morally superior -- can't wait to face them, gracious champ that he is.
In fact, not only is Punk denying Cena a title match... now he wants Cena out of his ring. Punk has grown tired of Cena, so leave. Right now. Punk gives Cena to a count of 5, telling him "You don't stand a chance against me with one arm, so get out of here while you still have two legs." As Punk counts, Cena pulls something out of his shorts. (Insert your own penis joke. I don't have the energy.) When Punk turns around, apparently planning to blast Cena in the head with the WWE belt, he instead walks directly into a lead pipe to the ribs. Punk drops in a heap, and rolls out of the ring, gasping for air.
Then, as Punk and Heyman skeddaddle up the ramp, Cena grabs a mic, and says "Pipe bomb," which isn't as clever as John thinks it is. Then, he points to his shirt, and apropos of nothing says, "Real men wear pink." Maybe it's just me, but calling attention to a good cause is somewhat less inspiring when it's done immediately after you've sneak attacked a guy with a lead pipe. Sheamus is the biggest bully on the roster, and now Cena is guilty of felony assault. Mixed Messages, they name is WWE!
Post-Segment 19: the cameras catch up to Punk stumbling through the hallways backstage. He just so happens to cross paths with Mick Foley, who was standing off to one side, minding his own business. But when Punk sees him, he pauses and drops Mick with a kick to the head. Punk then continues on, before hearing a strange sound: a mighty huffing and puffing sound. Punk turns around, and there's Ryback standing there. WTF? Punk and Ryback have a staredown, with Punk being the one who backed down first so he could continue his escape. And we fade to black on Ryback snorting in victory.
Final Thoughts: I've said pretty much everything I have to say. Some of the best stuff WWE has served up on free TV in a while, although the ending got a bit... off. Cena didn't really seem like much of a good guy, and then Ryback is just completely out of left field and not something I can see going over well with fans. [Ed. Note: Cena can't wrestle for 4 weeks, and even then he may not be 100% at the PPV. SO I guess Ryback is his proxy till then? I can just barely buy him as challenging Miz, and am really confused and underwhelmed by the prospects of him being a headliner, but I'm assuming there's no chance in hell he'll actually get the better of Punk in a meaningful way. So whatevs. I'm much more intrigued with the possibilities opened up by Foley's participation... if Cena can't go at 100%, then you might needs as many extracurriculars as possible to flesh out a full blown Sports Entertainment Segment at the PPV. You've already got Heyman. You might have a Crooked Ref. And now, might you have Foley hanging around the Cell for one last hoedown? Could be...]
But on the whole, not a bad show at all.
Episode Grade: B+



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