WWE Monday Night Raw comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (June 4, 2012) from the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville, South Carolina, and features, according to my cable guide, "John Cena returning to confront Big Show."
And with all the panic over the down rating for last week's show, Cena could be heavily featured. I'm talking like three segments, folks. And that's with entrances.
But there's more to look forward to. CM Punk will now defend his WWE championship against both Daniel Bryan and Kane at No Way Out on June 17 and for those who didn't watch Smackdown, expect a big angle to bring you up to speed. Or a video package. Probably the latter.
There's also the question of who will be picking up the extra slack now that both Chris Jericho and Randy Orton are off TV. Will Dolph Ziggler get more time to make himself a star? Or will it be Santino Marella and Ricardo Rodriguez? Which would you prefer?
All that and more.
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 JUNE 4
Broadcast is live.
A video package opens the show. Big Show explaining last week why he turned heel. Cole in the ring to start the show and he introduces Cena to a huge ovation from fans in South Carolina.
Cole starts cutting a promo on Cena and says this entire thing could have been avoided if Cena had done the right thing and actually been there for his friend. Instead, it was more important for him to be a comedian and mock John Laurinaitis instead of being there for his friend Show.
Cena says he is proud of himself. That's because Laurinaitis is a power hungry bully. He humiliated and embarrassed Big Show and then Show turned. Cole says Cena is so self centered and so wrapped up in his own ego that he forgot all about this. Contrary to popular belief, Cena isn't everything.
This is great.
Cole goes on to say Show took the better route by taking care of himself with an ironclad contract. And he can't be beaten.
Cena jumps in and says Show just wants a wallet the size of his waist line. That and he chose the easy way out. But Cena doesn't judge anyone, though. Cena says Show turned his back on him and the fans.
Cole's rebuttal is that Cena is jealous of Big Show. Maybe because Show actually won his match at WrestleMania. Or that Show wasn't a punching bag for Brock Lesnar for 20 minutes at Extreme Rules. But whatever, Cole says he's been an advocate of Cena's since day one but he's seeing things different lately. "I don't think you're interested anymore. In fact, I think you're overrated. And with that being said, I hope that Big Show inside that cage at No Way Out finally puts us out of our collective misery."
Cole is awesome here.
He closes his promo by saying Cena can't strike an announcer because it is strictly prohibited.
Laurinaitis' music hits and he comes rolling out on the People Power scooter.
"Ace" says last week he let Show pick his opponent last week so in fairness, Cena should get to do the same tonight. Show's not here, though. Cena says he wants Laurinaitis then. Laurinaitis goes on to say he has "officially retired from one-on-one singles competition."
Cena says Laurinaitis is "too scared." Laurinaitis replies, "I'm retired."
This leads to Cena saying he will face an opponent he has been watching for years and he has scouted his opponent heavily. He's uninteresting, overrated, and has been shoved down our throats for a long time.
It's Michael Cole.
Cole gets on the mic and says Cena can't do that. He pleads with Laurinaitis, who says sorry and rolls away. Cena makes fun of his voice and faces no repercussion for it.
CM Punk will take on Kane tonight and this time there MUST BE A WINNER.
Sheamus is shown walking through the back and it looks like Dolph Ziggler will get a rematch against him next.
Cole runs up to Laurinaitis backstage and pleads with him to call off the match. He says he's been "Ace's" cheerleader. Laurinaitis says there's a rumor going around that everyone's job is going to be evaluated and now it's really all about People Power.
"The people do not want to see me get beat up by John Cena," says Cole.
The crowd goes nuts.
"Yes, they do," responds Laurinaitis.
Cole continues trying to plead with him and Laurinaitis tells him to stop calling him Johnny before riding off on his scooter.
Replay of last week's episode of Smackdown showing Sheamus drilling David Otunga with a Brogue Kick.
Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler -- Ziggler gets overwhelmed early but comes back with an elbow in the corner. He's quickly caught and dumped down again. Sheamus hits the rolling senton before getting sent to the outside. He drags Ziggler out with him. Dolph tries to send Sheamus into the ring post but Sheamus grabs it and looks back at Ziggler like he's a small child before drilling him with an elbow.
Oh, fuck you, Sheamus.
Ziggler escapes around the other side after a failed attempt at sending him into the steel steps and Vickie Guerrero distracts Sheamus enough to let Dolph take control with a dropkick as Sheamus goes to get back in the ring.
He's still barely selling and looking mildly annoyed.
We come back just in time to see Sheamus making his comeback. Or teasing one. Ziggler gets him with a knee off the ropes and goes back into a crossface. He quickly adjusts out into a lame sleeper/armbar combination that looked like he was just hugging him and now Sheamus is up and at 'em.
Clubbing blows send Ziggler flying all over the ring. Big slam gets a two count. Ziggler comes back and regains control. He goes up top but Sheamus meets him there. He looks for a superplex but Dolph makes it hard on him. Oh, shit, he hits the Zig Zag from the top rope but Sheamus kicks out.
If you hit a huge version of your finisher and your opponent still kicks out, even if it's the world heavyweight champion, you need a new finisher. Sheamus gets up and hits White Noise before delivering the Brogue Kick to get the pin.
Ziggler continues being that guy who gives great matches to the guys who are on top and need someone to give them great matches.
Sheamus celebrates at the top of the ramp but Alberto Del Rio comes running out and attacks him. Despite this, Sheamus battles back and Ricardo Rodriguez has to make the save so Del Rio can actually complete his ambush successfully.
They execute a good spot with Del Rio locking in the Cross Armbreaker while Sheamus hangs off the stage. He actually bothers to sell this like he's legitimately injured. The gang of referees come to check on him. That was well done.
Laurinaitis is asking some random guy where his coffee is and Otunga rolls up. "Ace" says he's busy. Otunga says next week, Vince McMahon is returning to Raw. Laurinaitis says that's a good thing. Otunga reveals McMahon is back to give "Ace" a job performance evaluation.
Cole says it all makes sense now. This is why Laurinaitis booked him against John Cena. They pump the match-up with a graphic and this is so ridiculous.
Sin Cara vs. Hunico -- The kids sure do love Sin Cara. He's no longer doing the trampoline spot during his entrance, probably to protect his knee. The lighting stays, though.
Sin Cara starts in with the high flying offense, hitting Hunico with a hurricanrana over the top rope on the outside. Hunico hits a backbreaker to take control and gets a two count on it.
Big kick through the ropes from Sin Cara and a hurricanrana on the way back in. Dropkick and a slick armdrag off the ropes. Another elbow bouncing off the ropes and Camacho eats a clothesline off the apron. He hits the spinning flying head scissors face plant slam and that gets the pin.
Only counted one botch and it was really a botch so much as a bad landing. Then again, Hunico knows how to work his style.
Oh, look at this. Ryback is debuting on Raw next.
Stan Stansky and Arthur Rosenberg are the names of the two jobbers Ryback will squash. They cut a promo by rhyming with each other on the same microphone.
Ryback vs. Stan Stansky and Arthur Rosenberg -- As usual, Ryback starts tossing them around with the same set of moves he's always used. All power based and easy to execute against these two who, combined, probably don't weigh as much as Ryback does.
He puts both guys on his shoulders and hits his fall back slam to get the pin.
"FEED ME MORE," he shouts with roid rage.
CM Punk vs. Kane -- Punk out first so he's the first thing everyone sees when they tune in for the 10 p.m. hour. Cole gets on the phone while he's on commentary and continues pleading with Laurinaitis to save him from his match against Cena later. While he does so, Daniel Bryan makes his entrance. He grabs a microphone and stands on the announce table.
"Before this match starts, I think we need a little question and answer time with Daniel Bryan."
Oh, hell yes.
"Has AJ gone completely delusional since I dumped her?"
"Will Kane destroy CM Punk tonight?"
"At No Way Out, in the triple threat match, will I become the new WWE champion?"
YES! YES! YES!
Kane finally interrupts with his pyro and music.
The match starts and Punk quickly sends Kane to the outside, which leads to the suicide dive. Bryan isn't doing commentary for the match but is sitting ringside. That doesn't make sense to me but whatever.
Punk rolls Kane into the ring and goes up top for a cross body. He hits it and gets a quick two count.
Back to the feet they go and Kane takes control with a knee off the ropes. Then a dropkick. Bryan is shown looking on and taking pleasure in Punk's pain. Kane works Punk over in the corner. Scoop slam and Kane with a leg drop that gets two.
Hulk Hogan doesn't understand how Punk just kicked out. Blasphemy.
Kane works a submission hold, which doesn't look like much of anything, and Punk battles out via elbows to the thigh. Punk hitting forearms back standing. He comes off the ropes and continues the kick, punch assault. Kane sends him flying out of the ring and Bryan laughs at him.
Kane in control on the comeback and he's working another choke hold. Kane goes to climb up to the top rope but before he can stand up, Punk hits the running knee. That looked much better than it usually does. Great stuff.
He hits another for good measure and follows it up with the bulldog. He only gets a two count but rolls out of the ring quick and hits a clothesline off the top rope. That gets two as well. He sits up and calls for the GTS. He manages to get Kane up but the big man gets out and hits a big boot off the ropes.
He looks at his hand now and calls for the choke slam. Punk ducks under it and hits the neckbreaker. Two count.
Holy shit, what a match. Crowd hot for it.
Punk goes up to the top for the flying elbow but Kane meets him there and goes up with him. Punk manages to knock him off before he can get the superplex. The Savage elbow hits but again, only gets a two count.
Kane rolls out of the ring and Punk drop kicks him there. They brawl on the outside, right next to Bryan. Kane sends Punk into the barricade and heads back for the ring. Punk slowly tries to make his way there but Bryan kicks him a few times on his way while Kane has the referee distracted.
Back in the ring finally and Kane looks for the choke slam. Punk kicks his way out. Oh shit, here's AJ. She climbs up on the apron and tells the ref what Bryan did. Bryan runs over to her and yells at her, distracting him enough that Punk hits a suicide dive on him.
Once he gets back in the ring, Kane hits the choke slam and that gets the pin.
AJ gets in the ring to check on Punk. Kane notices her before he leaves and teases attacking her. Bryan comes in and hits him from behind but Kane fights him off to the outside. AJ flashes smiles at him and he simply walks away. AJ looks confused by this before checking on Punk.
Jerry Lawler says he's confused and Bryan is shown on the outside looking in, also confused. Punk, for his part, is completely laid out.
What an unbelievably awesome match and closing segment.
A promo runs for Vince McMahon's return next Monday night for a three hour show.
AJ is shown walking through the back and Josh Matthews stops her and asks her to explain the look she gave Kane. She says, "what look?" He says she was petrified in fear and then she smiled.
"I like when men look at me, Josh." She then starts playing with his tie. Says he seems uncomfortable and asks if he's okay. "Do you not like aggressive women? Because I do." She continues acting all erratic and says Matthews just might be her type.
Video replay of Cena booking himself against Cole.
Cole makes his next plea to the camera and asks fans at home to get on social media and ask Laurinaitis to take him out of his match tonight.
They show a pre-taped video interview with Big Show. The same message being brought across. He actually curses this time, though, with WWE bleeping out the word f*ck. Man, Show is awesome right now.
Non-title tag match up next.
R-Truth and Kofi Kingston vs. Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins -- Because of pre-tapes and video replays of shit that already happened, we don't even get to see the entrances of Reks and Hawkins, nor the beginning of the match.
Once we get in, the babyfaces are in complete control. They're both wearing tape to sell the injuries they got at the hands of Show last week. They're not actively selling them with their mannerisms and movements but whatever.
Reks gets control on Truth and tags in Hawkins for some tag team action before tagging back. This leads to the heels working over the babyfaces some more until the hot tag with Kofi coming in and going nuts. His ribs are apparently completely okay.
Reks throws Truth to the outside but he grabs Reks on his way out. Hawkins is left in the ring and he gets hit with Trouble in Paradise and that's it. The tag champs win.
Cena shown walking through the back. They're saying his match against Cole is next but they've got another half hour or so to fill. This could be terrible.
Cena comes out and Cole is shown all but crying ringside. Cena tells the camera, "this is going to be fun." Yeah, bullies usually get off on picking on guy's about a third their size.
Laurinaitis' music hits and he comes rolling out on the scooter, mic in hand. He says he's been thinking about it and it's clear that everyone wants to see Cena vs. Cole. But it's also clear that in the spirit of People Power, Big Johnny always over delivers. And that's why this match will be a no disqualification match.
Cole goes nuts over this new development.
Then Laurinaitis says that stipulation is contingent on Cena being victorious against this man.
Tensai's music hits and he comes walking out with a head of steam, pushing over his partner on the way out and ordering him around once they get to the ring.
Cena locks up with Tensai and gets sent to the mat. Tensai starts hitting forearms in the corner. This is your typical monster vs babyface hero who gets worked until the end when he overcomes type match. Tensai working him over as the dueling Cena chants start in.
Cole is back to being insufferable on commentary as he roots for Tensai to take Cena out. Cena makes his comeback, though, and knocks Tensai to the outside. When he goes out to fetch him, he gets caught with kicks by Tensai's sidekick.
Cena teases a comeback off the break but Tensai squashes that with a splash in the corner. He's screaming at Cena in between moves while Cena lays down and sells. This time he gets caught with a boot in the opposite corner and a bulldog just after. Tensai still manages to snuff out this comeback attempt.
Tensai works Cena on the outside and Cole actually gets ballsy and slaps him in the face. Lawler gets pissed and tells him to sit his ass down.
Meanwhile, Tensai's assault continues. Now the referee is yelling at Cole while he overacts at the commentary desk. He's terrible in this role. The referee is counting him out but going slow as hell and Cena makes it in the ring. All just to get hit with a suplex that only gets a two count.
Tensai goes for the bonsai drop but misses. Shoulder block hits and Cena knocks Sakamoto off the apron. Five knuckle shuffle hits and then the Attitude Adjustment to give Cena the pin and the victory.
So now we get Cena vs. Cole in a no disqualification match. This after Cole slapped him.
The referee calls for Cole to get in the ring. He sits there and says he didn't mean any of it. The bell rings to signal the start of the match but the referee doesn't start counting him out. Hmmm.
Cole tries to run out through the crowd and Cena grabs him and gives him noogies.
Back in the ring and Cole has a mic. He asks for Cena to wait so he can say something.
Cole goes back to begging for mercy. He takes his jacket off. "You think this is funny. You all think this is funny. Okay. You want some of me? Keep laughing. You thought it was embarrassing when John Laurinaitis beat you? How embarrassed are you going to be when Michael Cole beats you on Raw."
Cole keeps yakking and gets in Cena's face and starts putting his finger in his chest while saying his name is Michael Cole and don't forget that.
"We're going to remember you as the guy tonight who got his ass kicked," Cena replies as he rips Cole's shirt off and slaps him in the chest. Then he rips Cole's pants off and kicks him in the nuts.
The crowd cries out in pain. Cause that shit is not cool, John. Don't care if it's Cole.
He sets him up in the corner, asks for the crowd to be quiet and slaps Cole across the chest again.
He puts him in a sleeper and gets on the mic. Says Cole needs to apologize to Jerry Lawler. So Cole does. Cena says one more man needs an apology and that's Jim Ross. "I know he's watching, I want you to give him a heartfelt apology."
So Cole does.
He then tells Cole to say how much he loves Jim Ross's barbecue sauce. So Cole does. Cena says he wishes they had some of that barbecue sauce here tonight and Lawler comes up with some from the announce table. Cause he just always keeps it around.
Into the ring he goes and he pours it all over Cole, who is lying naked in the ring with only boxers on. Now Cena gets the fire extinguisher out from under the ring and a YES chant breaks out. Cena sprays the shit out of Cole.
Cena picks Cole up for an AA and Tensai shows up to hit Cena. Cole tries to pin him but Cena kicks out at two. Cole now grabs the fire extinguisher and tries to hit Cena with it but gets picked up and hit with the AA, which gets the pin.
Before Raw goes off the air, Cena makes sure to run over to Cole and spray him with the fire extinguisher one last time.
God, I'm glad they pay me for this.
Fade to black.