WWE Monday Night Raw comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (April 23, 2012) from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan, and features a contract signing for the Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena match set for Extreme Rules this coming Sunday night.
And it's a special three-hour show.
Rumors were swirling for months that this would be the annual WWE draft show but there has been absolutely zero advertisement for it, so it would come as a great surprise if they just busted out and started drafting people.
Plus, Alberto Del Rio was just magically traded to Smackdown recently, so it doesn't appear WWE cares much about these things at present time. And why would they? They've got that big lug Brock Lesnar to worry about.
And that ain't not bad, ladies and sirs.
Raw starts at a special time of 8 p.m. ET 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 LIVE BLOG APRIL 23
Broadcast is live.
Nickleback makes terrible music.
Teddy Long in the ring and he's the one presiding over the contract preceedings. Cena out first to a monster reaction in Detroit.
Long introduces Lesnar and calls him a UFC champion. Not a big reaction for Brock. Almost a complete non-reaction, actually.
Lesnar doesn't come out but instead John Laurinaitis. He chastises Long for announcing Lesnar when he knew damn well Brock isn't even in the building yet. They'll have a contract signing but they'll do it on Brock's terms.
"Ace" tells Long to tell Cena this could possibly be his last night on Raw and he should enjoy it. Then tells Long to tell Cena to leave Laurinaitis' ring. Long does as he's told, but reluctantly.
Laurinaitis then welcomes everyone to Raw and "People Power."
Suddenly, Edge's music hits and he comes running out.
What the hell is he doing here?
Cena is still in the ring, as are the contracts. Is he going to sign one? SWERVE!
Edge says he wasn't supposed to be here tonight and then says in a few days his contract with WWE is up. But he came to talk to Cena. Says he could have done it privately, but it will have much more effect in this setting. But he's not here to talk to the John Cena in front of him, because he doesn't recognize this man.
No, he came to talk to the John Cena who was Edge's greatest rival ever. He puts him over big with all the various things Cena did to Edge throughout his career. He's saying Cena isn't the same since his loss to The Rock.
Edge says Cena has to understand that he can't lose to Lesnar. He's gotta find the killer Cena. Because for all their differences, they've both always loved WWE and pro wrestling and all that jazz. Since they were kids, this was it.
Cena has his serious face on.
Edge goes on to bury Lesnar for not giving a damn about the business. He doesn't care about the fans. He only cares about lining his pockets. He bailed and Edge and Cena carried the load.
He says if Cena loses, it's a slap in the face to guys like Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, himself. He keeps telling Cena to wake up.
"I'm not asking you to beat Brock Lesnar. I'm telling you to," Edge comments as he walks off.
Cena, to his credit, took that seriously and didn't smile even once.
The lights go out as we come back and Chris Jericho is out wearing his new jacket. He'll be in action.
Chris Jericho vs. Kofi Kingston -- Chain wrestling to start, followed by Kingston hitting a drop kick or two. Sends Jericho outside the ring and fakes a suicide dive. Doesn't go through with it, though, because Jericho acted as though he was walking off.
He climbs back in the ring, however, and takes control of the match. It's not long before Kofi counters the attack, though, and they end up setting up a big spot before the commercial break, a flip from Kingston to the outside. He almost missed and fell ass to floor but Jericho broke his fall well enough.
We come back and Jericho is working a sleeper. They show him taking control during the break via split screen, a nice dropkick off the ropes to Kofi, who was on the apron.
Back in the ring and Kingston counters into a pinfall attempt that gets a two count. Jericho quickly takes control again and gets a two count of his own. Now he's just slapping Kofi around.
What a rulebreaker!
Jericho goes for the Lionsault but Kofi moves. He looks for another surprise pin but fails. He makes his big comeback but it gets snuffed out by a clothesline. Crossbody off the top gets two. SOS from Kofi gets two again.
Boot drop! He's setting up Trouble in Paradise but he misses and Jericho tries the Walls of Jericho. Kingston throws him off, though, and he tries to jump in off the ropes and got hit with the Codebreaker. This time, Jericho puts on the Liontamer, which Cole calls the Lionsault, and gets the submission win.
Immediate replays, of course.
Jericho hops on the mic and says that was proof he will become the new WWE champion this Sunday night at Extreme Rules. And Punk knows all about Extreme ... he's got an extremely alcoholic father, an extremely drug addicted sister, an extremely morally corrupt mother. Yadda yadda yadda.
Jericho says he'll bring a gift to help Punk cope with losing the belt.
He knocks a sign out of a fan's hand as he walks out. Nicely done, Y2J.
Time for a video pimping Brock Lesnar's earlier career, his debut match when he squashed Jeff Hardy back in 2002.
Contract signing still to come.
We're back and we get the same Brock Lesnar video from last week. Three hours, you know?
CM Punk is chilling out backstage and Josh Matthews shows up, asking the champion what Jericho's gift was. It's a gift basket full of liquor. Hell, Phil, I'll take that Jameson off your hand. That Jack too. And the Beam.
Oh, this is Sergio, by the way.
He gives it to Matthews instead but keeps one bottle to bust over Jericho's skull.
Commercial break? Yep.
R-Truth makes his way to the ring and he's followed by Lord Tensai.
R-Truth vs. Lord Tensai - Guess what's happening? If you said, "Tensai is destroying Truth" you were right. I'm not sure Truth got a single lick of offense in.
Logical progression here. Squash jobbers, get your name. Squash mid-carders, get legit. The next step is break into the main event or win a title but he already had a main event spot last week.
Kane is walking around backstage wearing both of his masks. That was the goofiest visual on WWE TV this year.
We'll start the second hour, which is normally the first hour, with Kane of all people. And I think it's even a Kane promo. This should be fun.
They give him the red lighting treatment, as usual. He's pumped for Extreme Rules, he says. It's his favorite night of the year. He's still using the weird promo voice.
Uh-oh. Kane says he found Randy Orton's one true weakness. Kane found it when he took out "Cowboy" Bob Orton. He saw Orton laid out next to him and learned that Orton isn't a man but a boy, just praying for the big red monster to go away.
Dear god, this is the worst promo ever.
Suddenly, Orton comes on the big screen and he says Kane is f*cked for messing with his family. Orton had to return the favor for Kane messing with Randy's dad. So they show Paul Bearer tied up to a chair.
Orton then sends him into a cooler and walks away.
I can't even count the number of charges right there.
Kane laughs and says he doesn't even give a shit. His real dad is the devil himself, so he can do whatever he wants to Paul Bearer. Then says he has no intention of saving "dad."
After the fiery ringposts pyro, Kane goes to leave and Orton just runs out and they start brawling. The crowd actually gets into this, which is kind of a testament to how over Orton is, right?
Orton beats up Kane until he runs away up the stairs through the crowd. Cole does well to say there will be no retreat on Sunday because it's a Falls Count Anywhere match.
Now we get a replay of Edge yelling at Cena and telling him to wake up. Maybe he should just bust out the spin top and we can see if shit's real or not.
Jericho is walking backstage and he's stopped by Alex Riley, who tells him he saw Punk drinking liquor out of the gift basket Jericho gave him. Jericho opens the door and Punk is shown on his phone, drinking out of a red solo cup with a bottle of Jack on the table.
Tag team action up next.
Alberto Del Rio is introduced with the Smackdown logo. Since, you know, he's a Smackdown guy now.
Alberto Del Rio and Cody Rhodes vs. Big Show and Great Khali -- Sure is nice to see the Intercontinental champion back in a tag match with is apparent new full time partner, Khali. This has disaster written all over it.
Show must be hurt. He's not starting the match.
Khali in first and he calls for Cody Rhodes to hop in the ring. So he does and off we go. Rhodes throws a kick that Khali catches. He then proceeds to chop Rhodes on his leg.
Out goes Rhodes and he regroups on the outside with Del Rio. But he doesn't get back in, just long enough to tag ADR into the match. He comes in and goes after Khali's leg but gets smashed. Off to the corner and Khali hits the shoot slap to the chest.
And now Del Rio bails out.
What the hell is this?
We're back just in time for the hot tag from Khali to Show. The big man comes in and he's cleaning up on Del Rio. He tries to go off the ropes on the heels side but Rhodes pulls the ropes down and Show hilariously tumbles out.
Rhodes attacks, along with Rodriguez, and he's selling a bad knee injury. He barely answers the count and the heels go to work on the knee now. They trade tags to work Show over and the crowd tries to give the babyface some energy with a chant.
Show finally battles back long enough to set up a choke slam attempt on Rhodes. Super awkward. Rhodes counters and hits the knee again. Then he locks on a figure four leglock. Show is selling by doing sit ups to his left and right side.
The crowd again gives him strength with a chant and he breaks the hold with a big right hand. Rhodes is right up, though, and looking for a pinfall. Show sends him flying. Del Rio comes in and gets taken out, so he just leaves the match altogether.
That leaves Rhodes in to take the big chop from Khali and the choke slam from Show. That's all she wrote.
I think the team of Show and Khali now has more wins on Raw than the tag champs have appearances since they won the belts. But whatever.
They announce a pre-show on YouTube before Extreme Rules that will feature Santino Marella vs. The Miz for the U.S. title. They're really starting to jock UFC now and it's the smart play.
Jericho in the back with Laurinaitis and he's telling "Ace" that Punk was drinking. And because of that, he needs to be stripped of the title. Laurinaitis says he can't do that. Eve says he can because there's a rule that says no WWE superstar can drink within 12 hours of an event.
Laurinaitis says he wants to avoid legal action from Punk, so he needs more proof. Jericho suggests a field sobriety test in the middle of the ring. Laurinaitis goes for it. Teddy Long doesn't like this and Laurinaitis tells him he's the one who's going to have to tell Punk about it.
Suddenly, Lesnar is shown walking up to the building with his gear bag. Josh Matthews tries to ask him a few questions and Lesnar violently throws him up against a truck. He goes to walk away and Matthews mutters, "I was just trying to do my job."
So Brock turns around and tosses poor Josh a few feet in the opposite direction before walking off again.
This man is VIOLENT, you guys.
They come back showing paramedics attending to Matthews. A stretcher job for an interviewer? That's how to get Lesnar over as a legit badass, I tell ya.
The Bella Twins are in the ring and Nikki is in action against Beth Phoenix.
Nikki Bella vs. Beth Phoenix -- We know how this ends. The Bellas are leaving the company soon, so Nikki is getting beat here. Probably in short order. Hell, that would happen even if they weren't leaving WWE.
Okay, hold it. Eve comes out with a mic before they can get started. She says it's now her responsibility to try to make the shows better now that she's Executive Administrator to John Laurinaitis. And because the Bellas always try to cheat and the other Divas aren't doing shit but sitting around, this match is now a Lumberjill match.
And the donk Divas come out smiling and strutting like they weren't just all insulted.
And we all shake our collective heads.
Uh-oh. Nikki goes to the outside and Beth jumps down after her. She lands a tad weird on her ankle and she plays up that it's hurt. But then she gets mugged by the Divas. The referee asks Beth if she can continue and she says yes. So Nikki comes up quick and ... gets the pin?
Nikki Bella is the new Divas champion.
They show Beth and she's really playing up the ankle injury, which could be legit.
They go backstage and Long is telling Punk he has to take a sobriety test. Punk is acting all drunk and throwing shit around.
Long in the ring with two police officers. He calls for Punk to come down to the ring. Instead, Jericho comes out and says he wants to make sure this thing is done right. Plus, he wants to be out here when Long strips Punk of the title. Because he would give it right to Jericho, apparently.
Long confirms that if Punk fails the sobriety test, than he will be stripped of the title and subject to further discipline.
Out comes Punk and he's stumbling and playing up that he's buzzed. He still gets on the ropes and shouts that he's the best in the world. Once his music shuts off, he drops the belt.
He starts talking and says this whole thing is ridiculous. Says the "WWF" universe thinks it's ridiculous. That got bleeped out.
Friggin' World Wildlife Fund.
The cop administers the first test. Recite the alphabet backwards. He tries and fails and says no one can recite that thing backwards, drunk or sober. "This is stupid," he says.
They've got a straight line in the middle of the ring and they tell Punk he needs to walk it. He comically asks, "what line?" even though the line is a bright red strip across the center of the ring.
He's good at playing drunk, I'll give him that.
Punk fails this test too.
Jericho says it's clear he's failed and they need to strip Punk of the belt. Long asks what the officers final opinion is and the cop says Punk is obviously intoxicated.
Jericho tells the crowd to "say goodbye to Detroit's finest" and the crowd boisterously boos.
Long tells Punk he has no control in the matter and he needs to hand over the WWE title. Jericho calls him CM Drunk and tells him to hand it over.
Punk looks at it longingly and then hands it over. Long almost drops it. Jericho calls him fumble fingers and asks for the belt. Long goes to give it to him.
Punk asks for just one more chance. Jericho asks the crowd if they want Punk to get another chance. He says no. Punk keeps saying he just needs one more chance.
So he goes back to the line. He then does the alphabet backwards. The crowd cheers each correct letter.
He passes this time and does the alphabet while walking the line. He even moonwalks backwards. Then does the Ric Flair walk. He gets to the letter "A" and pops Jericho with the mic. Cole says the whole thing was just an elaborate ruse but if that's true, how do they explain that he's already been stripped of the title?
That went too long.
Punk brawls with Jericho up the ramp before Jericho finally gets away and runs off. Long goes up the ramp and just gives him his belt back.
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry is up next but first, another Brock Lesnar highlight video from earlier in his career.
This time, they show Lesnar destroying Hulk Hogan. That was nice.
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry -- I guess we'll have a special guest referee. And it's Daniel Bryan!
YES! YES! YES!
He's even wearing the referee gear. Totally suits him, too. Remember, Sheamus has the stipulation hanging over his head that if he strikes another official, he'll be fired. That on top of the $500,000 fine he received.
Hefty price to pay, y'all.
Sheamus and Henry start working strong, as they usually do. Bryan starts goading Sheamus to hit him but the Celtic Warrior won't do it. Meanwhile, Henry recovers and goes for the pinfall. Bryan counts fast as hell and Henry wins.
Bryan throws his referee shirt at Sheamus, who bum rushes him. Into the ring again and Sheamus hits a Brogue Kick on Henry. Bryan capitalizes, though, and locks in the YES! Lock. The crowd chants along for a minute but it's Bryan screaming it out.
Sheamus walks backstage and Matt Striker shows up asking what his thoughts are. He says they're the same as they've always been. Bryan is a coward. He's a snake in the grass.
Oh, look the tag champs are here.
Primo and Epico vs. Zack Ryder and Santino Marella -- This is the second tag match of the night featuring a singles champion. Just dumb.
Ryder and Epico start us off. They're rolling around and Ryder's shorts have the name of you YouTube show on them. The same one he was shooting on WWE about on Twitter not long ago.
They quickly set up the Broski Boot in the corner. Rosa with a distraction and the heel champs take control. They get Ryder in their corner and Primo tags in. He works on Ryder for a while but misses a flip and Ryder gets the hot tag to Santino. He goes in to his usual moves. He's got his five just like everyone else.
Primo hits a drop kick on Marella that he no sells and he hits the Cobra to get the pin.
The tag champs just jobbed again in yet another non-title match.
Yet another replay of Lesnar's attack on Matthews earlier.
We see Kane walking through the back and he stops at the big cooler where Paul Bearer supposedly is still just chilling. He goes in and gets the old man out. Bearer is shaking and acting really cold. Kane takes the tape off his mouth and then turns around and puts him back in the cooler.
The tag champs are arguing in the back now. Abraham Washington shows up and sells himself before giving them his card. A.W.
Oh joy, another tag team contest.
Brodus Clay and Hornswoggle vs. Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger -- This was announced earlier on the broadcast as a sponsored match. Apparently, Lesnar could have an even bigger impact on the business than you'd think.
Hornswoggle is dressed just like the Funkasaurus. They do the dance routine.
They come back from break and they're still dancing.
This gets interrupted by Vickie Guerrero. She's wearing short shorts and her thunder thighs are on full display. Cole and Lawler make fun of her outfit, which admitted looks like a she's wearing a throw rug.
They cut to Lawler ringside and they pimp the fact that this match-up is presented by Doritos Tacos.
Clay kicks off the action with Ziggler. Or at least it looks like he will. Ziggler asks for Hornswoggle and the babyfaces oblige. Hornswoggle hits a kick to the face and Ziggler answers with one of his own.
Ziggler picks Hornswoggle up and the little guy hits a hurricanrana. That's how good Ziggler is, ladies and sirs.
Clay gets the tag and he's just running through Swagger and Ziggler. Right when he's about to hit the splash, Vickie gets in the ring and smacks him. She's quickly surrounded by Clay, Hornswoggle and the Funkettes. She apologizes and puts Clay's hat back on him. Then she does his dance and Hornswoggle just starts biting her ass.
She runs out screaming, Clay says, "My bad!", and they go back to dancing. I bet Taco Bell is really glad they sponsored this match.
Another Lesnar highlight video, this time his headlining match against Kurt Angle at WrestleMania 19.
Contract signing is up next.
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry is signed for Smackdown, they tell us.
Before the contract signing, they show another Lesnar video. Same promo from last week.
Laurinaitis is out first. So I guess he's presiding over this instead of Teddy, like originally said. "Ace" says he's looking forward to Extreme Rules for many reasons. It's the first pay-per-view since he took over as the boss of both shows. It's also the first show in the "People Power" Era. And, of course, it's Lesnar vs. Cena.
Brock out first after an intro from Laurinaitis. Again, very little audible reaction. HA. They show the plant from his first appearance. Dude is wearing the same shirt, too.
Cena's music hits but he doesn't come out. It goes off with still no sign of him. The crowd breaks into loud dueling chants. Lesnar and Laurinaitis try to figure out what the hell is going on.
Brock picks up a mic. He says, "Come on out, little Johnny."
Then he turns to "Ace" and complains that he was flown all the way to Detroit for a contract signing and Cena was too scared to show up. That's fine, though. Brock says he was tardy today because he's got a little business he needs to discuss.
"Because John doesn't have the balls to show up, why don't you have a seat," Lesnar tells Laurinaitis.
Brock says he has some changes he wants nay needs. He says he's not happy with how things have turned out since he's been back. He needs Laurinaitis to sign off on them. He brought a copy of the changes that he needs to go into effect before Sunday. Actually, right now before he signs the contract for the match on Sunday.
Lesnar says he's not the same naive little farmboy he was eight years ago. And if he's going to be the face of this company, he needs some changes.
First: Any thought that goes through Laurinaitis mind, he'll have to run it by Brock. He also requests that when he comes to Raw, he gets Vince McMahon's private jet, to and from the venue.
He says beating people up makes him happy. He got the chance to do that tonight. He says he doesn't like people. Especially stupid people.
Also, he'll show up on Raw when he wants and how he wants. "I'm not going to be your puppet on a string like these other guys in the back. That's not me. That's not going to happen."
Lesnar brings up Sheamus getting fined $500,000 and says that won't happen to him. In fact, Brock wants more money. If these demands aren't met, the match on Sunday won't be happening.
Brock's now leaning back in the chair and he's got his feet up on the desk. He says if he's the face of Monday night, a new name has to be made. It's no longer going to be just Monday Night Raw. It's now going to be "Monday Night Raw starring Brock Lesnar."
Laurinaitis says he agrees to it and shakes Brock's hand. Lesnar tells him to get on the mic and tell everyone that he agrees. "Ace" does so. Lesnar sits back down and signs the contract for the match at Extreme Rules.
Fittingly, Cena's music hits and he comes rolling out, fashionably late.
He's all serious. He's even wearing a chain around his neck like he's Rampage Jackson. Lesnar just sits in the chair chilling with his arms on the ropes.
Cena takes the chain off and wraps it around his fist. Lesnar just stares him down. He brings his fists in front of him and kisses them both.
Cena slowly looks over the contract before staring back and forth between Laurinaitis and Lesnar, who finally stands up.
This is dragging. Bad.
Cena doesn't sign it. Lesnar gets on the mic and tells him to sign the contract.
Brock says he feels a vibration coming from Cena. And he likes it a lot. Know why? Because it's real. It's a real feeling Cena is feeling because Lesnar can feel it. Cena is scared, Brock says. "The Big Bad Boogeyman Brock Lesnar's been running through your mind," he says.
Cena signs the contract and tosses it at Lesnar, who acts like he's going to jump over the table. Cena loads up his fist, the one with the chains on it. Lesnar pushes over the table. Tosses the mic towards Cena. Laughs and slowly walks off.
The crowd boos. Who can blame them. What a terrible go-home show.
Fade to black.