WWE Raw Review 7/5/12 - Brock Lesnar Quits & Paul Heyman Returns

Legitimacy has come to a grinding halt with John Laurinatis now the main focus of programming.

The Big News: Paul Heyman returned as Brock Lesnar's legal representative and announced that Lesnar had quit the company. Daniel Bryan tortured CM Punk in the Yes Lock following a handicap victory over his rival with the assistance of Lord Tensai and the aftermath of a tag match featuring Sheamus/Orton vs Del Rio/Jericho led to John Laurinaitis booking a fatal four way title clash between the competitors at the Over the Limit PPV. In a Nutshell: Legitimacy has come to a grinding halt with John Laurinatis now the main focus of programming. John Laurinaitis opened the show by claiming that he was an authority figure who refused to be disrespected by John Cena which served as the explanation for why he had lost his temper the previous week. He then said that he would finish what Brock had started at WWE Over the Limit in a match where he would be able to showcase how skillful and dangerous he truly was. Following this, he announced that John Cena would appear later via satellite and apologise for mocking his voice and that anybody who made fun of his voice from this point forward would be punished. Laurinaitis then talked about his All Japan wrestling career where he assessed his strengths as being like "Hogan, Austin and Rock all rolled into one" and that his match vs Cena was a bigger deal than either Cena vs Rock or Cena vs Brock. This brought out CM Punk who proceeded to cut his version of the John Cena promo where he made fun of Laurinaitis' wrestling CV and reiterated that the GM had absolutely no idea what the people wanted although he was pretty certain that they didn't want John Laurinaitis. He then quite unnecessarily labelled his foe as being ugly, stupid and having no friends which is quite an astonishing putdown from a top face on a programme that airs footage from its anti-bullying campaign on an almost weekly basis. Laurinaitis responded by informing Punk that he would face Lord Tensai later in the show. Unlike Cena, Punk at least reacted to this news seriously and put over Tensai as a talented big man and a challenge he was looking forward to. Punk moaning about bad booking is always an odd scene because he is basically telling everyone in attendance and everyone watching at home that the show isn't worth watching. Although it's designed to promote Punk as a anti establishment rebel, it actually accomplishes little but to remind people of how little creativity the company they're investing time in has. His famous shoot promo was different because there was an anger and frustration that emanated from him and it built towards a significant storyline that felt for a while as if it was going to inspire some change. Backstage John Laurinaitis wasn't looking where he was going as he was texting and ended up walking into the back of Big Show. Laurinaitis got mad at Show and demanded that he stay out of his way and Show retaliated by making fun of the GM'S voice. Eve Torres happened to hear everything and didn't look best pleased. 1.) Big Show defeated Cody Rhodes via countout Show dominated for a while, Cody fought back with a beautiful disaster kick but was flipped over following an enziguri attempt and so got pissed off, took his belt and left to be counted out. DUD Post-match Eve Torres came down to the ring to inform Show that he must apologise to Laurinaitis for making fun of his voice. Show defended himself by saying that he was just playing around but Eve wiped the smile off his face when she told Show that she was sure that the industry wasn't really crying out for a 7ft, 440 pound, forty year old freak. (Take it she doesn't watch much reality television....) Show then reluctantly apologised and left the ring looking all upset. If the idea is just to humiliate the guy then why not have Rhodes beat him clean so that at least something productive can come from it. 2.) Dolph Ziggler defeated Kofi Kingston via pinfall Backstage Epico,Primo and Rosa Mendes were shown watching on the monitor with Abraham Washington and were joined later on by Mason Ryan. Dolph got a couple of near falls to start following on from a roll up and a dropkick before wearing Kofi down with a frontfacelock. Kofi fired back with a dropkick of his own and then hit Ziggler with the Boom Drop. Swagger came in before Ziggler could meet up with any trouble in paradise at which point Ziggler attempted a zig zag that was countered into a SOS for a near fall. Kofi then tried an aerial move but Vickie got up on the apron for another distraction allowing Ziggler to connect with the zig zag for the win. * 1/2 John Cena engaged in a satellite interview with Michael Cole. His arm was in a sling but he said that he was medically cleared to wrestle John Laurinaitis despite the doctors strong reccomendations that he take a couple of months off. He said that the Board of Directors had contacted him concerning Laurinatis position but he had convinced them not to take action until he deals with him at Over the Limit. Why the Board of Directors were contacting a superstar and then taking demands from said superstar was never explained as Michael Cole asked Cena if he was scared of Laurinaitis. Cena responded by saying that his only fear was that Laurinaitis might injure himself before they lock horns and that he would do what everyone wanted to see by kicking John Laurinaitis' ass. Does everyone really want to see that? Is anyone really that bothered? How many people can even remember Punk getting his revenge on Laurinatis with a GTS a few months back? Anyway Cena cut a good, consistently serious promo here in spite of the baffling material. 3.) Layla and Kelly Kelly defeated Maxine and Natalya via pinfall Beth Phoenix was on commentary to talk about challenging Layla for the Divas championship at Over the Limit. Layla hit a spinning back kick on Maxine for a near fall. Natalya then tried to enter the ropes but Kelly walked over to knock her face first down to the apron. Maxine then executed a snap mare on Layla and bounced off the ropes only for Layla to counter into a pinning combination and then win the match with a neckbreaker. DUD 4.) Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio defeated Rand y Orton and Sheamus via pinfall Early part of the bout saw Orton getting the better of Del Rio and Sheamus battering Jericho. Jericho then found his way back into the match after ducking a clothesline and proceeded to work the Irishman's shoulder in the corner and lock his opponent in a hammerlock after Sheamus tried to make it to his feet. Sheamus backed Jericho up into the corner however enabling both men to make double tags as Orton came in wild on Del Rio planting him with a clothesline, powerslam and the draping DDT. Orton then found himself caught up in the numbers game by the wily heels allowing Jericho to take the advantage and ground his opponent whilst delivering a fantastic heel beatdown that included turning his best in the world pose into a fist drop. Jericho and Del Rio proceeded to keep the viper off his feet until Orton reversed Del Rio's arm breaker attempt into a back breaker leading towards a chaotic finale that saw Sheamus hit Jericho with the Irish Curse Backbreaker, Orton RKO Del Rio and Sheamus accidentally Brogue Kick Orton in a very contrived spot that led to Jericho then executing the codebreaker on Sheamus for the victory. Some of the timing here was pretty bad but the personalities of the four men involved helped to make it an entertaining scrap nonetheless. ** 1/2 Post-match a frustrated Orton RKO'd Sheamus for his incompetence. Backstage John Laurinaitis told Eve that he didn't think Big Show's apology was sincere. This was then followed by a pretty cool confrontation as Jericho barged into the office and demanded that he be granted a world heavyweight title match after having just pinned the champion. Del Rio then came into to argue his own case followed by Orton who then attacked Del Rio as Sheamus arrived to attack Jericho. Sheamus then confronted Orton about flooring him with an RKO and the two men traded verbal blows before being separated by officials. Laurinaitis then announced that all four men would compete against one another in a fatal four way match at the Over the Limit PPV. This was a bunch of angry guys all mad at one another and all desperate for the gold and in certainly beat the usual set up for multi-man championship matches where one man comes to the ring followed in turn by another and then another as each stakes his claim to being the number one contender. 5.) Brodus Clay defeated The Miz via pinfall The Miz's current gimmick is that he cuts a promo on how embarrassed he is to be facing a certain superstar only to then lose to the guy who he thinks is beneath him. It was the same deal here as Clay outpowered Miz to start before Miz was granted a prolonged beatdown of Clay which was quite a refreshing change despite the fact that he looked like a little boy beating up a giant. Clay then fought back to win following a headbutt and a big splash. * It was announced that Triple H would need surgery but could perform his COO duties with a brace. We then saw a picture of him in an office with a terminator style sling on his arm looking as charming and coherent as usual as he led a meeting. This was followed up by the announcement that Lesnar had turned down an invitation to Raw and decided to send a representative in his place. Brock Lesnar's music played but it was Paul Heyman who emerged to speak on his behalf as his legal advisor. Heyman said that Lesnar had been mistreated by both the WWE audience and the corporate executives backstage and that he felt betrayed after having his contract demands rebuffed. Heyman passionately labelled Lesnar as an honest man who hurt people just like he said he would and then read a letter written by Lesnar which detailed his resentment at trying to bring legitimacy back to the profession and instead finding himself caught up in the same corporate BS. He said that he had broken Hunter's arm for breaking an agreement and that he was quitting because of his frustrations with the people and the suits. After finishing reading out the letter Heyman then strode off. It was great to see Heyman back doing what he does best though would have been far more effective if Lesnar had departed following a dominant victory over Cena and the consequent beatdown of Triple H. As it stands the guy has come back and lost the only match he's competed in thus making him a far less intimidating presence and as a consequence the storyline doesn't really have the edge it should have. Backstage Show was laughing at Laurinaitis impressions from two cast members of the show Common Law. Eve then appeared again and looked mad and in response Show looked anxious. Prior to Punk's scheduled bout with Lord Tensai , Laurinaitis emerged to inform Punk that he would now be facing Tensai and Daniel Bryan in a handicap match instead. 6.) Lord Tensai and Daniel Bryan defeated CM Punk in a handicap match Punk started in the ring with Tensai and got in a few chops before being physically manhandled by his big opponent. Tensai then tagged in an ecstatic Bryan who stormed in to hit Punk with some hard kicks and then attempted a supplex which Punk transitioned into a roll up. Both men then hit each with a double clothesline though Bryan was able to make the tag to Tensai who continued his assault of Punk from earlier before tagging in Bryan who immediately missed a flying headbutt. Bryan then tried to make a panicked tag following the screw up but Punk grabbed hold of his legs and slingshotted his opponent into the corner. Punk then capitalised with the running knee and a bulldog but as he was hoisting Bryan up in the air for the GTS Tensai made the blind tag and once again beat up Punk until Punk was able to counter with a truly awesome kick to the head. Sensing that he might have found a way to win the match, Punk then climbed to the top rope where he was disturbed by an interfering Daniel Bryan. Despite kicking Bryan away, the distraction was enough for Tensai to grab hold of Punk, mess up the Baldo bomb and win the match with the green mist / iron claw combo. ** Post-match Bryan trapped Punk in the Yes lock and manically shouted about how he was better than him. Verdict: The positive of this show is that it set up another mouthwatering bout for the Over Limit PPV with the fatal four way pitting together Jericho, Orton, Sheamus and Del Rio likely to offer Punk/Bryan some stiff competition for Match of the Night. The negative of this show is that without the likes of Lesnar / Triple H / Undertaker / Rock / Shawn Michaels around nothing really felt dramatically urgent, a fault which is almost entirely to blame on the writing as opposed to the roster and a stagnant aura not helped by the fact that the company is currently revolving its storylines around a General Manager who is simply not a compelling presence.
Contributor

"Growing up, Laurent was such an ardent fan of wrestling superstar Stone Cold Steve Austin that he actually attempted to send the Texas Rattlesnake a letter demanding that he defeat arch-nemesis The Rock at Wrestlemania 15. Oh hell yeah, it was all still very real to him back then dammit. As an aspiring writer of multiple genres and platforms, he has also recently co-authored a non-fiction movie e-book entitled 'Egos, Cliches, Flops and Lost Films: Examining the powerful madness of the movies' which is written in a similarly light hearted and informative style to his wrestling articles and which can be browsed and purchased by following the link below - http://www.amazon.com/Egos-Cliches-Flops-Films-ebook/dp/B0088YNTBC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339093928&sr=8-1"

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