UPDATE: The show airing tonight is pre-taped. We will treat the airing on USA as if it is live, which means NO SPOILERS. That extends to the comments section. Please do not post spoilers, as they will be deleted and repeat offenders will be dealt with swiftly. Thanks.
WWE Monday Night Raw comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (April 16, 2012) from the O2 Arena in London, England, and features yet another WWE championship match between CM Punk and Mark Henry.
And that's just fine with me.
This time, though, John Laurinaitis has stipulated that if Punk gets disqualified, he will lose the title. Which basically means he'll go over clean after a tease that he won't involving Chris Jericho and some more alcohol.
Because liquor and beer for two straight weeks just won't do.
Word around the water cooler is that Brock Lesnar is also set to appear, though that was previously in dispute. I suppose we'll find out tonight, though it seems unlikely he would travel all the way to London just for a Raw show.
Raw starts at 9 p.m. ET time on USA, so be sure to make your way back here to chat with all your favorite Cagesiders during the show. It's always a fun time. Raw live blog after the jump.
WWE RAW RESULTS AND LIVE BLOG APRIL 16:
Geno Sergio here! We're live taped from England!
Oh, snaps! We're starting off with the WWE Championship!
CM Punk (c) vs. Mark Henry
Only way to win is by pinfall or submission. Remember when Michael Cole said seeing the WWE Championship defended on Raw was something you wouldn't seen often? And then we had three title matches in three weeks? Yeah, me neither.
The Londoners give a rowdy "CM Punk" chant. Oh, wow, proper ring introductions.
Punk goes for some kicks but Henry dodges. The champ finally lands a couple to the legs before they lock up and Henry tosses his opponent in the corner. Headbutt and then a forearm club to the bank has Punk hurt. Some more kicks from Punk and he bounces off the ropes only to get slammed down.
Punk rolls out and Henry follows but the champ is quick to roll back in. He nails the challenger with a suicide dive but Henry recovers quickly and whips Punk against the steel ringpost. "The World's Strongest Man" pressing Punk's head agains the post and then backs up. He charges but Punk gets a boot up. Henry charges again and eats another boot.
Punk hops up on the railing and runs along it, leaping off and nails Henry with a bulldog on the ringside mats. Punk struggling to get Henry back to his feet so he can roll him in the ring. He finally does but Henry smacks the champion's back against the apron. Punk recovers and starts landing some kicks. He hops up on the apron and jumps onto Henry but the big man catches him and straight throws him into the railing! WOW!
We're back and Henry is trying to twist Punk's head off. The champ tries to mount a comeback but Henry kills it with a huge body avalanche. Henry now placing all his body weight on Punk as he steps on his chest. Punk rolls out to the apron and drops Henry throat-first along the top rope. He grabs a chair and nails his opponent in the gut and then goes up top. Punk gets a two count.
They're back to their feet. Punk charges with the chair but Henry boots the champ in the guy. Now Henry has the chair! Uh oh, Punky Brewster. Huge chair shot across the back of the "Straight Edge Superstar." Henry lodges the chair in the corner between the top and middle rope. He tries to slam Punk into but the champ fights back. Punches in the corner and Punk backs up and charges in. Henry responds with a clothesline.
Bearhug from the challenger. Elbows from Punk to the head break the hold and then he chop blocks the big guy, getting Henry to his knees. DDT gets a two count for Punk. He climbs to the top rope and attempts a cross body splash but is caught! Henry goes for the World's Strongest Slam but Punk floats over and boots Henry in the skull.
Henry in the corner and eats a knee to the face. Punk sets up the bulldog but is tossed off! Punk in the opposite corner and Henry charges in. The champ moves and Henry slams into the chair! Henry is down, Punk climbs to the top rope with the chair and hits a top rope elbow drop with the chair!!! THREE COUNT!
Winner and STILL champion: CM Punk via pinfall
Chris Jericho shows up on the TitanTron. He's chilling out in a bar and says it reeks of beer. Or maybe it's Punk. He reveals he's got a WWE Championship match at Extreme Rules... in a CHICAGO STREET FIGHT.
Punk gets the microphone and says he doesn't know how Jericho will survive the match. He points out what he just did to Henry. He says it's not about being the best in the world, it's about kicking Jericho's ass and now he can do it in front of his friends and family.
Jericho asks Punk to show up sober to the match. He shows a cell phone video of Punk entering a pub, looking all discreet and then leaving some time later. He asks what Punk was doing in a pub. The champ challenges Jericho to come down and smell his breath. Punk says just because he doesn't drink, it doesn't mean his friends don't. "I can't enjoy some fish and chips with a friend?!"
Jericho isn't buying it and is laying it on thick. He says Punk has lost everything and at Extreme Rules, he'll lose the title. Before the champ can respond, Jericho is off the 'Tron.
GENO TAKIN' OVA AGAIN. Sergio got the big boot for even daring to cross out my name.
Backstage and R-Truth is doing a Sherlock Holmes gimmick with his assistant, "Jimmy" Watson. Teddy Long shows up and Truth says, "It's our job to find you a job." He then puts a magnifying glass in Long's face and bails out.
Santino comes out and he's wearing a million shirts, all soccer squads the crowd hates. I know nothing of soccer. It was a solid gimmick with Santino taking shirts off and getting booed until he showed a shirt the London crowd cheered for.
Santino Marella vs. David Otunga -- There's something so ridiculously awesome about Otunga's Titantron entrance video showing highlights that include a picture of his diploma.
Otunga takes the edge early but Marella rebounds. They tease Otunga winning but show that Santino had his leg on the ropes. Otunga was lobbying so hard for his win that it allowed Marella to hit the Cobra and to retain the U.S. title.
Big pop from the crowd after the pin.
Backstage for an interview with Lord Tensai.
He says we fear the unknown. Then he talks some Japanese and says, "I know what you should fear."
Up next is an interview with Brock Lesnar, a pre-tape. They show a little bit of it and it sounds awesome.
They come back and make sure to mention that WrestleMania 28 broke damn near every record for a major event.
Time for the Lesnar interview.
Lesnar immediately says, "I'm not a superstar. I'm an asskicker. I am Brock Lesnar. That's it."
Couldn't be more perfect.
He puts over his credentials. Dominant in high school, in college, in WWE, in the UFC. They're showing pictures of Dana White putting the belt on him and everything.
He says he didn't come back for the fans because he doesn't care about anybody but Brock Lesnar. It's all business. "We need a guy to legitimize WWE. We're tired of John Cena's bullcrap. The only reason John is in the spot that he's in is because I left. If I was still around for the last eight years, John Cena's the guy who would be carrying my bags."
So very good.
"What's running through John Cena's mind? I don't give a crap. What's more important is what's running down his leg. Piss. He's scared shitless."
Seriously. So good.
"I'm just here to bring utter chaos."
Okay, this is the best interview they've ever done.
Zack Ryder vs. Kane -- Replay of Kane smashing Randy Orton and his dad before spitting a silly pun and taking off. I still think that should be his new gimmick.
Right after Kane's pyro stops he drills Ryder with a big boot and that sends him off into the announce table. He proceeds to basically murder Ryder and the bell never even rings. At least Ryder didn't get pinned again, huh?
Uh-oh, promo time. PLEASE deliver another bad pun.
He doesn't. He just takes a few verbal jabs at Orton for not putting up much of a fight against him on Smackdown. Lame.
Backstage and Kofi Kingston is gabbing with AJ. Daniel Bryan shows up and gets pissed about Kingston hitting on his lady, even though he doesn't even want her. He then proceeds to rename the LeBell Lock the "YES Lock." Because when he locks it in, the referee will ask if Kofi wants to tap and he will scream, "YES! YES! YES!"
This goes on for an uncomfortably long amount of time but the crowd goes right along with him.
Kofi just backs away while telling Bryan he's nuts. He is and we love it.
Here comes John Cena and he gets a big reaction. I hear a ton of boos.
They show a replay of Raw last Monday with Lesnar destroying Cena with a nut shot and an F-5. Cause that's just what he does, y'all, he destroys fakes like Cena.
Cena jumps on the mic and says he finds it interesting that John Laurinaitis has been around for everything. Now he knows that WrestleMania 28 could very well have been the end of an era and that era could be his. And that's because Laurinaitis became the most powerful man in WWE that night and when you ask him how he feels about Cena, he would do like most fans and say, "Cena sucks."
Nice "Ace" impression, John.
Now it's time for Cena to put over Lesnar. This is the part of Cena's character that needs working on. He kills feuds by doing this stuff. He's literally using all the same talking points Brock did. It's terrible.
Cena's promo at this point is garbage. He says he's afraid but he will fight the most vicious man in the most brutal match. Even if he's walking into Chicago just to take an ass whooping, he doesn't care.
"I. WILL. FIGHT."
Uh-uh. New catchphrase.
Cue Laurinaitis' music and he comes out and says Cena was right. There was an end of an era and the beginning of a new one.
I still don't understand what that even means.
Anyway, "Ace" says he's glad Cena wants to fight because he's booking him for a match tonight, an Extreme Rules match. Oh and next week's three hour Raw will feature a contract signing between Lesnar and Cena.
New era, huh?
He says he won't tell Cena who his opponent is because it's innovative to keep it a secret. That's obviously a load of bullshit but Laurinaitis makes it work.
Replay of the WWE championship match from earlier. Punk winning with the flying elbow off the top rope with chair in hand was great.
MAH BOY D-BRY up next.
Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan -- D-Bry is basically a babyface here in London. The crowd is nuts for him and doing the YES chants every time they get the opportunity. Spoilers have been telling us the YES chants have been much bigger than we've heard on the broadcast so far, which could mean WWE edited some of them out.
The match starts and now Bryan is incorporating YES into his matches as a taunt. He works Kingston over with knees and kicks to the midsection. Kingston finally battles back but nearly breaks Bryan's neck on a bad counter.
Bryan misses the running knee off the apron and Kofi does a backflip off the ropes and nearly misses Bryan altogether. He connects enough so that Bryan can sell it going to break.
Bryan is in control as they fade back in and AJ is shown watching the match on a monitor backstage. Ha. Bryan hitting kicks on Kofi's midsection in the corner and screaming YES each time.
This thing could get out of hand in a hurry.
Kofi gets control and hits the boot drop. He calls for Trouble in Paradise but Bryan counters. Kingston hits the S.O.S. but it only gets two. Superplex spot set up but Kofi gets out. Tries the crossbody but misses and Bryan locks in the YES Lock. The crowd chants YES and Kofi taps.
Great stuff. Well done, London.
Because they're trained the way they are, the crowd turns around and boos him when he throws Kofi back in the YES Lock after winning the match. They also cheer Sheamus when he rushes out to make the save.
SOMEBODY CALL MY MOMMA!
Brodus Clay vs. Dolph Ziggler -- In hindsight, it's genius to give Clay his first feud in a tag team with Santino against a guy like Dolph Ziggler. They plug Ziggler as the host of the WWE Download YouTube exclusive show. That might be a first.
The bell rings and Dolph opens with a drop kick. It hurts Clay but he rebounds quick and tosses Dolph to the side. Swagger interferes once Clay goes for the splash. It's already over, disqualification win. Vickie Guerrero climbs up on the apron and she knocks over one of the funkettes. The other one climbs in the ring and she gets chased out.
They dance again and that's it.
Wow. Thoroughly disappointed by this entire thing.
Backstage and Laurinaitis is talking with Otunga. "Ace" is giving him advice about focusing more on his career as a wrestler. Eve shows up and says she wanted to remind him they were supposed to have a one on one today. So they go into his office with Otunga and I wonder what they're going to do?
Cole and Lawler ringside get their serious voices on and that's because they're getting ready to play a tribute video to the late Chief Jay Strongbow. Rest in peace, sir.
Great Khali and Big Show vs Epico and Primo -- Good reactions for the babyface team. No clue whey they've been paired together other than the fact that hey, they're tall.
It's pretty sad when the tag team champions are put into a match on a simple Raw show and you're almost positive before the opening bell that they have no chance of winning.
Michael Cole brings up the fact that Epico and Rosa were on Twitter complaining about getting TV time. Well, now they're here and look who they get to go up against.
Primo starts with Khali, who quickly hits a big chop. Abraham Washington comes out to watch the match and apparently do some scouting.
Dear god, Khali hits a big boot and falls over in the process. WWE tried to get the cameras off him but the dude is so damn big, they caught it anyway.
The champs try to run off and Show grabs them and sends them back in. Khali chops them both and the big men send them up with a chokeslam and Punjabi Plunge. Instead of covering just one guy, the two big men cover both of the tag champs.
Clean loss in a non-title match. And dear god, the big boys are dancing in the ring.
The main event is next. Cena vs. a mystery opponent. Oh who could it be?
The second Cena entrance of the night gets a reaction damn near as big as the first.
Who will the mystery opponent be? Laurinaitis comes out himself to introduce the mystery man.
It's Lord Tensai.
John Cena vs. Lord Tensai -- Once again, Lawler puts over Tensai's history with WWE. This is interesting booking. Tensai squashes two jobbers and now he's in the main event against Cena. And John looks scared, as though he actually cares enough about playing this thing up.
Tensai dominates early before Cena counters with a straight suplex. Tensai no sells it and goes right back to kicking Cena's ass. They go to the outside and still, it's all Tensai. That is until Cena reverses a piledriver attempt into a back body drop.
That looked like it hurt.
Now Cena picks up the steel steps and drills Tensai with them. Suddenly, Tensai's partner blasts Cena and Otunga shows up to throw Cena in the ring. Suplex from Tensai gets a two count.
Dueling chants finally hit during a rest spot with Tensai working a shoulder hold.
Cena attempts to battle back but gets snuffed out again. Time for "Albert" chants from the London faithful. Finally, Cena recovers and goes into the Five Moves of Doom. When he gets to the Five Knuckle Shuffle, though, Tensai pops up and knife edge chops the shit out of him.
Shortly after, Tensai hits the fat drop but that only gets two. He works a modified armbar now. Cena rolls out and locks in the STF. So Otunga jumps in the ring and Cena picks him up for the Attitude Ajustment. He points to Laurinaitis before he delivers it.
When he turns around, Tensai sprays the green mist in his face and hits the Baldo Bomb for the pinfall.
Cena crawls over to the corner and calls out for water saying he can't see. The show plays out with Cena squirting water in his eyes and Tensai celebrating in the ring.
Fade to black.