The Big News: Brock Lesnar continued to wreak havoc by breaking Triple H's arm, Daniel Bryan won a beat the clock challenge to challenge CM Punk for the WWE title at Over the Limit and John Laurinatis confirmed that he would face Cena at the same PPV after having beaten his hurt rival senseless with the assistance of Lord Tensai and Sakomoto. In a Nutshell: A very disappointing follow up to an outstanding Extreme Rules PPV. WWE Raw was advertised with a graphic and introduced as starring Brock Lesnar. John Laurinaitis came out to start the show bragging about how he had revolutionised the WWE and then introduced Brock Lesnar as the force who had beaten Cena so badly that the poster boy may never be the same again. Brock talked about how he had brought the pain before being interrupted by COO Triple H. Hunter said that Lesnar was no country bumpkin but actually a shrewd businessman who had bullied a timid John Laurinaitis into getting his own way with contract demands. He said though that under his watch none of those agreements were going to stand and that Lesnar would remain under the original demands of his contract without the jet, limousine, pay raise and special treatment that the General Manager had promised him. Or, he argued he could take his ball and go home after a loss to John Cena. Hunter said that he didn't want that though and he was sure that Lesnar didn't either, listing a bunch of star names who he wanted to see Brock wrestle. Hunter then ripped up the new contract and argued back and forth with a grovelling Laurinaitis which was cue for Brock to blindside Hunter with an attack which led to him breaking Hunter's arm with a Kimura hold. Of all the wrestlers they decided to choose to come down and rescue Trips, one of them was the world heavyweight champion Sheamus who helped the COO to his feet as if he was just any other background midcarder. This was however a strong angle as it alerted the crowd with the unusual and striking image of a superstar being able to manhandle Triple H and maintained Lesnar's image as an ass kicking force who doesn't bow down to anybody. Once again, Brock's physical mannerisms in this segment were superb and Hunter sold the attack very well. Eve Torres came out and announced that the next wwe title contender would be determined by a beat the clock challenge. She bumbled through the few words she had to speak and was pulling off some kind of weird voice that sounded like she was trying to parody something or other. 1.) Beat the Clock challenge: The Miz defeated Santino via pinfall in 4 minutes, 19 seconds Fast paced match with numerous near falls. Miz dominated the action but Santino built up momentum near the end after escaping a pinfall attempt and hitting a supplex followed by the splits, headbutt and hiptoss signature moves that led to the unveiling of the cobra. Miz ducked the attempt however and rolled up Santino which was countered by Santino into a roll up of his own before Miz managed to escape and planted Santino with the Skull crushing finale for the win. ** By starting off with such a short time to beat, they immediately exposed this challenge as a lazy and arbitrary gimmick which gives numerous superstars tv time without any of them actually being given chance to demonstrate their ability to take down a long standing champion in CM Punk. 2.) Divas Championship Triple Threat Match: Layla defeated Nikki and Brie Bella via pinfall The Bellas argued at the start of the match and Layla simply threw them into one another before rolling up one of the twins for the win. DUD The slight interest I had in the Divas division with Beth Phoenix as champion has now evaporated. 3.) Beat the clock challenge: Chris Jericho and The Big Show resulted in a no contest Show slapped the hell out of Jericho to start before Jericho managed to chop the Giant down to size with a low dropkick followed by another directly to the face. It only earnt Jericho a one count however and he then found himself victim to some more thick palm swats after trying to launch himself at Show from the top rope. Jericho then attempted the walls but Show reversed into a small package which was quite the hillarious spectacle. Show got a near fall from a spear as we were shown Miz watching anxiously backstage. Finish saw Jericho duck the knockout punch and attempt a codebreaker only to be thrown over the apron. Show then charged at Jericho towards the barricade but Jericho dodged and crawled back to the ring with the time running out before Show could be counted out of the match. * ½ Jericho has done a good job of solidifying Punk as wwe champion and it will be interesting to see what new storyline they have planned for him. He certainly didn't need another reign as champ and I'm glad both him and the company saw it that way too. 4.) Brodus Clay defeated JTG via pinfall JTG teased some offence but Clay won easy with a headbutt, avalanche and splash. ½ * Post-match some kids got to do come in and do the funkosaurus which was pretty great. Backstage Eve Torres tried to calm down John Laurinaitis who was busy threating over Brock's attack on Hunter. She told him that he was a leader who had to set an example and a rejuvenated Laurinaitis said that he knew Cena wasn't going to like his next opponent. 5.) Beat the Clock challenge: Randy Orton defeated Jack Swagger via pinfall in 4 minutes, 16 seconds (NEW TIME TO BEAT) Back and forth contest with both men sneaking in advantages and scouting the others moves before Swagger raised the stakes with a swagger bomb only for Orton to throw up his knees into his opponents gut and enter the zone with clotheslines, the snap powerslam and a draping DDT. With thirty seconds remaining Orton then called for the RKO but Swagger countered with an Ankle lock which Orton just managed to roll free from and plant his opponent with his finisher with two seconds on the clock remaining. This was a very well timed finish. ** ½ 6.) Tag Team championship: Kofi Kingston and R-Truth defeated Epico and Primo via pinfall to become the new tag team champions Primo and Truth started the match with Truth getting the better off his opponent by doing his usual routine and sending Primo flying over the top rope. Back from the break, Truth took the beatdown from the champs who pummelled the face in the corner with their awesome jump and switch tags. Truth then fought his way back into the match by bouncing off the ropes with a high heel kick and tagging in Kofi as Epico tagged in Primo. Kofi ran wild and hit the boom drop and the trouble in paradise on his opponent forcing Rosa to distract the referee on the apron as Epico tried to take advantage with a backcracker. Kofi pushed him off though and Truth hung Epico in the ropes leaving Kofi free to hit the trouble in paradise for the win and title change. ** Given that Epico and Primo were on a losing streak with the titles, this defeat had no impact at all. Backstage they were greeted again by Abraham Washington and this time seemed far more interested in his services. 7.) Beat the clock challenge: Kane vs Khali resulted in a no contest Dream match right here. They traded sloppy offence to start before Kane took Khali to the mat with a DDT and then kept him grounded with a chinlock. Kane maintained the offence with a top rope clothesline and a dropkick but his attempt to lift Khali backfired and earnt him a boot to the face for his stupidity. Khali then limped wild with a hard clothesline and a hard chop to Kane's head which led to Kane rolling out of the ring. Kane then attacked Khali on the outside but Khali rolled him back in as both men held one another in a chokeslam pose with neither man being able to fight free to execute the move. The time then expired as both men were locked in this pose. ½ * Post-match an upset Kane chokeslammed Khali whilst Orton celebrated mildly backstage. 8.) Daniel Bryan defeated Jerry Lawler via submission to win the beat the clock challenge Just to dilute the challenge even more, we had a full time commentator fighting for the chance to earn a shot at the wwe title. Bryan was all over Lawler to start executing a running dropkick and a snapmare for some early pinfall attempts but King fought back with some rights and lefts before landing a dropkick for a near fall of his own. Lawler then dropped a fist from the turnbuckle and tried to set up Bryan for the piledriver but Bryan lifted his opponent over his head with a backbodydrop and then made Lawler tap to the yes lock with almost two minutes on the clock remaining. * Post-match CM Punk came out to applaud the number one contender before raising his title in the air. This wasn't the ideal way to set up their match but the bout itself should be awesome. A graphic showed Cena vs Mystery Opponent being advertised for the Over the Limit PPV. John Cena came out to address the crowd dressed in a sling. It goes without saying of course that he giddily shouted into the camera before entering the ring. Cena then got on the mic and talked about how earlier in the night Triple H had felt his arm break and that he swore he had felt the same thing at Extreme Rules and had expected at this hour to be in ER. Instead however despite every muscle from shoulder to arm feeling strained he said that he was still here. John Laurinatis came out and following on from one of the most brutal matches in company history Cena and the General Manager actually went back and forth with some comedy. Laurinatis tried to convince Cena that he was just attempting to motivate him by bringing in Lesnar but Cena of course saw through this and made fun of Laurinatis with various high pitched squeals, impressions and horrible jokes. Amazingly though, the crowd appeared to have so much respect for Cena's phenomenal performance against Lesnar that they cheered for him throughout all this and Laurinatis actually got some decent heat. After being insulted, Laurinaitis told Cena to be careful about what he says because he has the power to make his life very easy or very difficult. He then said that in the name of people power he was willing to forget the past and focus on the future at Over the Limit. He got set to introduce Cena's mystery opponent but was interrupted by the appearance of Lord Tensai with Sakomoto. Cena prepared to battle as his foes climbed inside the ring only for Laurinaitis to smash Cena on the head with a microphone and make the surprise announcement that he was the mystery opponent. With assistance from Tensai and Sakomoto, Laurinaitis then dealt Cena a beating which built towards the dramatic moment where he smashed a chair against Cena's outstretched arm along the steel steps. I don't why Vince thinks Laurinaitis is an effective heel but this superstar vs authority storyline didn't work with Punk and I can't see it working well with Cena either.
Verdict:When John Cena cut his post-match promo after the match at Extreme Rules I initially thought it was an unnecessary, industry exposing speech that made a mockery of the fact that his opponent was barely able to crawl his way up the titantron despite having taken a far less severe beating. When it appeared that he was genuinely saying goodbye to the fans though I let it slide because after such a performance and after giving so much to the industry for so long I thought it was okay for him to have his moment to endear himself to the crowd. Now one night after that beating not only is Cena the same old guy making the same old jokes but he has immediately been placed in a cartoonish rivalry with John Laurinatis making it certainly appear as if the Brock Lesnar match was really just a set-up for this feud all along. Whilst the Lesnar match might have been a success in the sense that it earnt Cena a new parade of fans for his blood soaked efforts, this success will only be short term so long as Cena continues to be the same character cutting the same promos embarking upon the same repetitive feuds. For a while it seemed as if change was afoot for Cena after the programmes with Rock and Lesnar but now I'm not so confident. I was also not a fan of the Beat the Clock challenge. Again last night at Extreme Rules Bryan, Sheamus, Punk and Jericho worked incredibly hard to make the two world championships seem prestigious and worth fighting like hell for and it made them all look like good either in victory or defeat. The next night on Raw however, not only were all the challenge matches under five minutes long thus making for average quality bouts but guys like Miz, Santino, Jerry Lawler, Khali and Jack Swagger who have all been treated like jokes or as joke characters are suddenly handed the opportunity to become a number one contender. Instead three matches of ten minutes in length with six superstars who audiences could actually buy as world championship contenders would have promoted the skills and toughness of the men challenging for the honour to face Punk and put over the wwe title in the process. The big positive of this show was that Lesnar maintained his monster image by breaking the arm of one of the WWE's most popular figures in Triple H, an incident which now sets up a ready made feud whenever they want to run with it. Although we're are a long way off yet, I think that Lesnar's beatdowns are so authentic and powerful that if he was to go on an absolute rampage from now until January then a streak match at next year's Wrestlemania with The Undertaker would effectively create an environment where many would fear for the Deadman's chances and general wellbeing. Thankfully, Lesnar still has an aura around him for the moment and it's down to the company to make sure they book the guy properly so that aura remains over the course of the next eleven months.
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