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CALDWELL'S WWE NO WAY OUT PPV REPORT 6/17: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live PPV - Cena vs. Show, potential "firings," who will A.J. choose?

Jun 17, 2012 - 9:50:03 PM
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WWE No Way Out PPV Results
June 17, 2012
Live from E. Rutherford, N.J.
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
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PPV Pre-Show

On the PPV pre-show, it's Scott Stanford in-studio running down the line-up. On the YouTube pre-show, it's Scott Stanford and Matt Striker inside the arena previewing the PPV.

After Stanford and Striker ran down the PPV line-up, they cut backstage to show Primo, Epico, and Rosa Mendes yelling at Abraham Washington. Primo & Epico complained that AW lost their Tag Title re-match because their 30-day re-match clause expired after waiting too long. Epico then complained that they have to compete in a four-way match to earn another title shot.

Ringside, Striker announced Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel vs. Prime Time Players vs. Usos vs. Primo & Epico in a four-way #1 contender match. Meanwhile, on the PPV pre-show, WWE aired a clip of Striker catching up with A.J. outside of C.M. Punk's locker room at the building.

A -- BRODUS CLAY vs. DAVID OTUNGA

Clay was out first selling his knee injury, and Stanford said he's shocked that Clay was cleared to compete tonight. Tony Chimel botched Otunga's ring introduction, saying he's from "Larvard Haw School." It's a toin coss. After a feeling-out process, Otunga went after the knee and began wearing down Clay. Brodus teased a comeback, then Otunga slipped out of the ring, then just walked around the ring before he was counted out. Otunga no-sold the loss as Clay stared him down from inside the ring. Otunga slowly backed away from ringside, then Clay entered his celebratory dance routine.

WINNER: Clay via count-out at 5:43. That was anti-climatic for a PPV pre-show match trying to actually get people to order the PPV.

On the YouTube pre-show, Striker and Stanford ran down the PPV line-up. On the PPV pre-show, Striker brought in IC champion Christian for a backstage interview on his title defense against Cody Rhodes tonight.

Suddenly, there was a moment of clarity when both PPV pre-shows aired video packages on Big Show attempting to justify his heel turn. The PPV pre-show then cut to a shot of John Cena's locker room and the YouTube pre-show focused on Vince McMahon KO'ed at the end of Monday's Raw.

Live PPV Results

The video package started with a recap of the Over the Limit PPV main event when Big Show turned heel on John Cena to align with John Laurinaitis so that he can finally do what he wants - be a giant. The video focused on the Cena vs. Show steel cage main event tonight with two potential "firings" in-play. Interestingly, the voice-over man introduced the show as "World Wrestling Entertainment presents No Way Out" despite WWE changing their company name to "WWE" only.

Inside the Izod Arena, Michael Cole introduced the show and said there will - sadly - be no way out for John Cena or John Laurinaitis tonight, very plainly saying one of the two men will be fired tonight. Before all that, they're starting with the World Title match. World Hvt. champion Sheamus came out first sporting red gear tonight. Moments later, Cole back-tracked on the "firing" claims, saying if Cena loses tonight, then Laurinaitis will "in all likelihood, fire Cena tomorrow night on Raw." WWE is already all over the place with the "firings" tonight. Dolph Ziggler then came out with Vickie Guerrero to challenge for the World Title. In the ring, Lilian Garcia handled formal ring intros, with the vocal males mixed for Ziggler. Sheamus was cheered with some boos.

1 -- World Hvt. champion SHEAMUS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero) -- World Title match

After the bell sounded, Ziggler and Vickie met on the ring apron to discuss this being Ziggler's night tonight. Ziggler then took a victory kiss from Vickie, slowly turned around and dodged Sheamus's Brogue Kick, avoiding the WM28 finish from Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan. Ziggler walked around the outside to show Sheamus that he didn't get him, then re-entered the ring to begin the match. Meanwhile, Cole noted Sheamus has the weight advantage 267 vs. 213 lbs.

Sheamus and Ziggler went back and forth exchanging offense without either man really gaining a sustained advantage. The crowd came to life periodically, with mainly the vocal males chanting for Ziggler. Ziggler then applied a headlock and did a mid-hold headstand, which drew Jerry Lawler's ire pulling that stunt during a World Title match. Ziggler then executed a second DDT of the match, but it only resulted in a two count.

Ziggler went back to a reverse chinlock, then went for a roll-up, but the ref stopped his count when he saw Ziggler grab the ropes for extra leverage. After Ziggler applied another reverse chinlock, they tried to set up a counter sequence, but kind of got locked up and stuck in the middle of the ring before Ziggler eventually hit a Fameasser for a close two count. The action moved up top, where Ziggler nailed a super facebuster from the top turnbuckle. Ziggler made the cover, but Sheamus kicked out in time, drawing a reaction for the close nearfall.

Both men sold on the mat - Ziggler selling his left knee and Sheamus selling the effects of the facebuster. They reset with Sheamus avoiding another sleeper attempt into the Irish Curse backbreaker. Sheamus followed with ten forearm strikes to the chest, drawing concerns from Vickie. Ziggler came back moments later with a sleeper attempt, but Sheamus countered into White Noise. Sheamus got That Look in his eyes, fired himself up, went to the corner, and started calling for the Brogue Kick. Ziggler stood up, turned around, and took the BK. Sheamus with the pin for the win.

Post-match: Vickie just rested on the ring apron, selling exasperation over the loss for her client. Sheamus celebrated the title retention, then left the ring before WWE replayed high points from the match. Back live, Sheamus celebrated with the fans as Ziggler sold frustration ringside.

WINNER: Sheamus at 15:10 to retain the World Title. Good at some points, off at other points, and the crowd was up-and-down with the action before investing all the way in the final few minutes. There was never a sense that Sheamus was in jeopardy of losing the title, there were some convincing nearfalls for Ziggler. (**1/2)

Backstage: Vince McMahon was shown walking down the hallway, then John Laurinaitis - in a bright red suit - chased down McMahon. He suggested McMahon not attend the main event tonight because of his concussion-like symptoms. Laurinaitis claimed to be concerned about McMahon's health, then McMahon grunted, walked into his office, and told Laurinaitis to stay outside. Out of nowhere, Josh Mathews walked into the shot to get an interview with Laurinaitis, who claimed he steers this ship to success on a daily basis. He looked down at Mathews and said he's not an ex-wannabe wrestler who's not even qualified to ask him a question.

2 -- U.S. champion SANTINO vs. RICARDO RODRIGUEZ -- non-title tuxedo match

Santino was out first in a powder-blue, Dumb & Dumber-inspired tuxedo. Ricardo came out in his usual black tuxedo. They had a posedown to see who could get the best crowd reaction for his tuxedo, which Santino of course won. Ricardo, upset, tore off some of Santino's tuxedo, then Santino tore off some of Ricardo's out of retaliation. Santino then did a matador routine leading to Ricardo flying through the ropes to the outside. Ricardo re-entered the ring, where Santino began removing some of Ricardo's clothing. The vocal males chanted, "Boring, Boring," as Cole recalled his favorite tuxedo matches.

Ricardo lost his upper clothing, but the bowtie remained. Santino then pulled out the Cobra, but Ricardo cut him off and began stripping down Santino. Santino revealed a Cobra sock, then kipped up and kicked Ricardo in the face before stripping Ricardo down to his Alberto Del Rio underwear for the win. Santino sold disgust over the underwear as the announcers cackled and laughed as if this was the greatest thing they've ever seen.

WINNER: Santino at 4:25.

Backstage: Matt Striker brought in WWE champion C.M. Punk to get his thoughts on his relationship with A.J. Punk noted A.J. is crazy, but this match isn't about A.J. Instead, it's about the WWE Title. Punk said he has to be focused on facing a fantastic, technical wrestler in Daniel Bryan and a monster like Kane. Suddenly, A.J. entered the interview set to wish Punk good luck. She offered a good luck kiss on the cheek, which Punk no-sold before noting luck is for losers. A.J. stared longingly after Punk, then shot Striker her annoyed look when he tried to get some comments.

3 -- IC champion CHRISTIAN vs. CODY RHODES -- Intercontinental Title match

Rhodes was out first as Cole plugged Rhodes's Facebook page. Christian then came out sporting a new Periodic Table of Elements-inspired t-shirt. After the bell sounded, the announcers discussed Christian and Edge as a tag team and Christian wanting to be remembered like Edge. Early on, Rhodes shoved Christian hard in the chest, so Christian slapped him across the face and landed successive offense that sent Rhodes to the outside. On the floor, Rhodes avoided high-flying attempts, then cut off Christian and went to work on Christian's left shoulder back in the ring.

After a few minutes of working the shoulder, Rhodes shoved Christian off the ropes down to the floor, drawing oohs from the crowd. Rhodes tried to follow-up, but Christian ran Rhodes into the ring steps before delivering a desperation swinging DDT using the ring steps for a base. Both men beat a ten count back into the ring, then Christian scored a nearfall before calling for the Killswitch. Rhodes avoided, then Christian went to the top rope for a flying cross-body, but Rhodes rolled through into a pin for a two count.

Both men sold the effects of the match before Rhodes hopped to the second rope, posed to the crowd, and lost momentum when Christian sprung on him with a snap head scissors for a two count. Rhodes came back with more work on Christian's left shoulder, then a kick to the stomach into the Alabama Slam for a nearfall. Christian came back with a fallaway reverse DDT, though, then called for the Spear. Rhodes saw it coming, though, and bailed to the outside. Back in the ring, Christian caught Rhodes with the Killswitch and the crowd popped for the apparent finish, but Rhodes kicked out in time.

Next, Christian went to the top rope, where Rhodes met him. Christian shoved Rhodes to the mat, though, and went for a Frogsplash, but Rhodes got his knees up to block. Rhodes followed with a Disaster Kick attempt, but Christian avoided. And, a second time. Christian then nailed the Spear for the pin and the win. Cole said it's only appropriate Christian use Edge's finisher since he wants to follow in his footsteps.

WINNER: Christian at 11:30 to retain the IC Title. Excellent final two minutes. Just a great sequence of counters/reversals before Christian showed off his third finisher in the repertoire. The crowd was not all the way invested during the first-half after the tuxedo match, but Christian and Rhodes got them by the end. (**1/2)

Exterior: WWE showed the Izod Center and the nearby MetLife Stadium, where WWE returns to the market for WrestleMania 29 next year.

In-ring: Primo and Epico, along wit Rosa Mendes and promoter AW, came out next for the #1 contender fatal four-way tag match. After a replay of their backstage segment during the YouTube pre-show, generic rock music played to bring out Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd as the second team. The Prime Time Players were out next, followed by The Usos, who were given TV time for their full Samoan war dance intro.

4 -- PRIMO & EPICO (w/Rosa Mendes and AW) vs. PRIME TIME PLAYERS (TITUS O'NEIL & DARREN YOUNG) vs. THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY USO) vs. JUSTIN GABRIEL & TYSON KIDD -- #1 contender match to Tag Titles -- fatal four-way match

The Usos and PTP'ers started the match, then Epico slap-tagged Darren Young, making Primo & Epico legal for the match. Justin Gabriel then tagged himself in on Epico, leading to an acrobatic display by Gabriel and Jimmy leading to a stalemate. The Usos cleared the ring before Titus blind-tagged into the match to go after Gabriel. Primo and Epico then tagged in and went to work on Gabriel as AW watched closely and Rosa trash-talked. As the match slowed, Lawler noted Rosa dominated one his dreams the other night.

Gabriel eventually made a tag to Kidd, who went after Primo with high-impact offense. The action broke down moments later before Kidd missed with a springboard elbow smash on Primo. Primo then hit the Backstabber on Kidd, but PTP'ers broke up the pin. The Usos followed with a double superkick, then flew at the PTP'ers ringside. Back in the ring, Primo tried to pin Kidd, but Kidd kicked out. Darren Young then slap-tagged into the match before bodies went flying again. Even more bodies went flying when Kidd landed a top-rope huracanrana sending Primo into everyone else ringside.

Following the big spot of the match, AW rolled Primo back into the ring, presumably to help him score the pin, but it led to Darren Young nailing Primo with his gutbuster finisher. Epico tried to break up the pin, but AW held him back, allowing Young to score the win. Post-match: AW entered the ring to join Titus and D-Young in the celebration. Rosa, Primo, and Epico then argued with AW before Primo & Epico shoved him down to the mat. Titus & D-Young made the save, clearing Primo & Epico from the ring. On the floor, Rosa checked on her men as AW, Titus, and O'Neil celebrated in the ring.

WINNERS: Young & O'Neil at 9:30 to become new #1 contenders to Tag Titles. Very slow at times before a noteworthy finish with AW associating with a new team. It remains to be seen if this actually leads to a tag feud involving Primo & Epico, or if they disappear. (*1/2)

MITB PPV preview: Alberto Del Rio has everything money can buy, he eats nachos, and he has a personal ring announcer (Ricardo Rodriguez) who does a lot more than announce.

Raw Flashback: Triple H's legal battles with Brock Lesnar, then Paul Heyman.

In-ring: After a pause, Triple H's music played to bring out Hunter in his COO suit and with a self-satisfied smile on his face. Hunter looked around the arena to play to a somewhat-tepid crowd at this point in the PPV. Hunter said he's spent over half of his life in this ring, mainly because it's the only thing he ever wanted to, and also because he never wanted to get a real job. Ironically, here he is all these years later with a real job - a corporate job, on top of that. Hunter said that for the last five weeks since Paul Heyman put two lawsuits against him and WWE, he's had to deal with a lot of crap, depositions, lawyers, and legal mumbo-jumbo. He said he hates it because he's a fighter and ass-kicker.

Hunter said he came up with a good idea, but it only matters if it's a good idea to one guy. He said Heyman said Brock Lesnar said he's a fighter and an ass-kicker, too. Hunter noted the last time he saw Brock in this ring, Brock jumped him from behind and broke his arm. Hunter flexed his arm and said it's feeling a lot better. And, by his estimation, it should be 100 percent in a couple of weeks, and then a few weeks after that, he should be in fighting shape. And, that brings him to the smack-dab of summer. Hunter said they should get rid of the lawsuits, lawyers, legal junk, and the "fat, balding manager." He said this is about them and doing what they do. "We're fighters, Brock," he said. "And, I want to fight you." Hunter proposed a one-on-one match at Summerslam. He entered Hunter Mode shouting that they should fight. "Brock Lesnar, let's fight," he said.

Hunter returned to COO mode and said, on the other hand, Brock could be happy with just being a quitter, but, he wants to fight. Hunter's music played, then Cole wondered aloud if Brock will accept the challenge.

Backstage: Daniel Bryan was shown warming up, then A.J. tentatively walked up to Bryan to recap what they've been through during their relationship. A.J. said she hasn't gotten over Bryan, but she doesn't expect him to do anything about it. She wished him good luck with a kiss on the cheek.

5 -- Divas champion LAYLA vs. BETH PHOENIX -- Divas Title match

Beth was out first for a Divas Title re-match from Over the Limit. After the Spanish announcers talked on-camera, Layla came out to defend the title. The match started with some back-and-forth before Layla grabbed Beth's tiara and mocked her mannerisms. This was the theme early on before Beth caught up to Layla and began an attack. The turning point was Layla countering a feat of strength military press into a DDT, then Layla hit the Lay-Out for a clean pin and win.

WINNER: Layla at 6:57 to retain the Divas Title. One of those months where WWE wanted Beth to look like a comedy figure, rendering her ineffective as a challenger to the title.

Bckstage: A.J. was shown wandering around in a dark corner of the arena. She then found Kane hiding out and slowly approached him to try to express her feelings toward him. She found the words wanting to wish him good luck, then brought him in for a kiss. Kane wanted something more and leaned down for another make-out session. Kane left, then A.J. acted over-whelmed.

In-ring: Hunico, along with Camacho, was introduced for an unannounced match. Sin Cara was out next as the announcers talked up Cara as a big box office draw in Mexico.

6 -- HUNICO (w/Camacho) vs. SIN CARA

Cue up the mood lighting. Sin Cara knocked Hunico to the outside early on, but Hunico blocked a high-flying move with a knee to the face. Back in the ring, Hunico went to work on Cara as the crowd sat quietly. Hunico showed off some surprising strength with a side powerbomb out of a mathold. The crowd tried to wake up with a "We Want Ryder" chant as Hunico continued the attack. Cara then mounted a comeback with a top-rope huracanrana followed by kicks. Cara followed with his spinning single-arm head scissors takedown for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Sin Cara at 5:48. Hunico had a surprising amount of offense to retain credibility in defeat. Cara is a one-note act at this point and WWE is struggling to re-connect him to the audience following his return to TV from injury.

Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and Booker T talked about Lawler hanging out at Times Square in New York City until 2:00 a.m. last night before they hyped the WWE Title three-way match also involving a fourth person, A.J. This led to a video package on the build-up to the title match.

In-ring: Kane's pyro shot off first to bring out one of the challengers for the title match. Cole said there's just too much to cover on Kane, but noted everyone wants to talk about what's happening between A.J. and Kane. Daniel Bryan's music played next to a loud reaction from the vocal males. "Yes!" chants filled the arena before Bryan hit the ring and played to the appreciative crowd. After a pause, Cult of Personality played to bring out WWE champion C.M. Punk to a strong reaction and "C-M Punk" chants. As Punk made his entrance, Cole listed the opponents and type of matches Punk has survived to retain his WWE Title since Survivor Series in November. Justin Roberts then handled formal ring intros before the bell sounded.

7 -- WWE champion C.M. PUNK vs. DANIEL BRYAN vs. KANE -- three-way match for the WWE Title

After an initial flurry from all three men, Punk and Bryan played a game of one-upsmanship alternating Yes! kicks on Kane. They bounced off the ropes, then double-dropkicked Kane. Punk and Bryan then came face-to-face to begin exchanging chops and punches - the crowd was "Yes!" for Bryan and "No!" for Punk. Punk then back-dropped Bryan over the top rope to the floor before running into a big clothesline from Kane. Punk recovered, then splashed Kane and Bryan on the outside before posing with the fans. Kane had enough of horsing around and took both opponents apart with high-impact offense on the floor and back in the ring.

Bryan eventually recovered and cleared Kane from the ring before engaging Punk in another mid-ring exchange. Punk wanted a top-rope superplex, but Kane re-entered and cleared Punk. Punk then pulled down Kane, but Kane pulled down Punk, then Punk pulled down Kane. They couldn't decide on who should superplex Bryan, so Bryan perched himself on the top rope for a double dropkick on both men, which Lawler called a great move. Bryan then fired off rapid-fire kicks to both men before missing on Punk, who rolled him up for a close two count. Punk and Bryan then went up top, and Kane joined the party. They set up a Doomsday spot - which Cole acknowledged - where Punk nailed a springboard clothesline on Bryan off Kane's shoulders. Punk could only score a two count, though.

Punk reset, scoopslammed Bryan, and went up top for the Macho Man elbow drop, which he connected with for a two count only. Punk wanted the GTS, but Kane kicked Bryan off Punk's shoulders to the floor and covered Punk for a two count. Punk then kicked Kane in the head and went for a Savage elbow drop, but Kane moved. Bryan then scampered back into the ring to nail a top-rope diving headbutt on Punk for a nearfall. Bryan cleared Kane to the floor, then turned his attention to Punk as Booker mistakenly said Bryan lost the WWE Title, when he actually lost the World Title. Moments later, Bryan slapped on the Yes! Lock, but Punk reversed into a two count. Punk came back with the GTS moments later, but Kane yanked Bryan out of the ring. Kane then went up top for a flying clothesline on Punk. Kane called for a chokeslam, but Punk countered with a DDT for a two count.

At 16:00, Punk climbed up top for a Macho Man elbow to Kane for another two count. Booker then said the World Title will make people do strange things, again missing that this is for the WWE Title. Punk called for the GTS to Kane, but Kane came back with a chokeslam for a very close nearfall when Punk was barely able to roll the shoulder. Kane screamed at the ref as Lawler talked about how close Kane was to winning the match. Kane gathered himself, then wanted a Tombstone, but Punk fought out. Suddenly, A.J. appeared on the ring apron and was bumped during a Kane-Punk exchange. Punk recovered, then kind of hit the GTS on Kane. Punk made the cover for the win.

Post-match: Punk celebrated his title victory as A.J. was sprawled out on the floor. Kane stood over A.J. before they replayed Punk shoving Kane into the ropes, which bumped A.J. to the floor. They showed Punk hitting the GTS moments later to retain the title. Back live, A.J. remained sprawled out selling injuries before Kane scooped her up and carried her to the back. The camera showed A.J. peering over Kane's shoulder showing no ill effects as she looked into the ring to smile toward Punk. WWE went back to a replay of the finish with Kane showing concern for A.J., causing him to become distracted. Back live, Punk indicated he realized what happened before celebrating again. They stayed with this for a while, as the announcers continued to try to explain the story of Crazy A.J. helping Punk win.

WINNER: Punk at 18:17 to retain the WWE Title. The three-way match formula is tired, but they had some really good sequences throughout the match with two smaller wrestlers and one larger wrestler working well together. A.J. backing Punk stuck to the match build-up, but there wasn't that big "moment" after weeks of TV hype. (***1/2)

Raw Plug: Raw moves to three hours starting July 23. The Rock, The Undertaker, and Bret Hart were focused on in a highlight video along with the announcement that DX will re-unite.

In-ring: Dan Delaney and Rob Grymes were in the ring to set up Ryback's squash match. They sang the old WrestleMania theme song before Ryback's music interrupted. Cole said the jobbers may need MetLife insurance rather than a ticket to MetLife Stadium for WrestleMania after tonight.

8 -- RYBACK vs. DAN DELANEY & ROB GRYMES -- handicap match

Ryback did his usual pick-apart routine as the crowd chanted, "Goldberg." Ryback then landed a double running Samoan Drop for a double pin and the win as Cole made some weird noises. "Feed...me...more!" Ryback shouted toward the camera after the victory.

WINNER: Ryback at 1:38.

Summerslam Video plug: Triple H was focused on in a highlight video showcasing WWE stars expected to be involved. Kelly Kelly was included. Apparently the theme music tagline is "Be a star." Back live, Cole said Triple H wants to fight Brock Lesnar at Summerslam, and they hope Brock accepts the challenge.

In-ring: Cue up the ominous music as the steel cage was lowered for the PPV main event. The announcers then fed to a video package on the Cena vs. Big Show feud and Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis's involvement leading to tonight's main event.

Back live, John Laurinaitis's music played. Lawler said this could be the last time they have to hear his "goofy" music. Cole wondered aloud if Laurinaitis will still be in-charge when WWE returns to PPV next month for Money in the Bank. The announcers debated Laurinaitis's bright red suit, which Cole claimed symbolizes People Power. Big Show then marched out with a purpose before entering the cage. Vince McMahon came out third to sit ringside next to Laurinaitis. Big Johnny wanted a handshake, but McMahon pulled away and smoothed his hair. McMahon then sat down next to Johnny before the vocal males booed in anticipation of Cena's music playing. Cena stomped out on-stage and said somebody is getting fired tonight. Cena, with taped fists, jogged down to the cage, surveyed it, felt the exterior, removed his pre-match gear, and slowly entered the steel cage to pose for the crowd.

9 -- JOHN CENA vs. BIG SHOW -- steel cage match -- if Show loses, Laurinaitis is "fired" -- if Cena loses, Cena is "fired" on Raw

Once the bell sounded, Show quickly slammed Cena into the steel cage as the fans made all sorts of noise chanting over each other. Cole then heeled on the crowd, saying Laurinaitis has two kids at home, so it would be a travesty if he were fired on Father's Day. Booker replied that it would give him more time at home. Show continued to toy with Cena before teasing the WMD, but Cena ducked and Show's fist ate the cage wall. Cena tried to escape, but Show yanked him down to the mat. Cole continued to hype Laurinaitis as Show took his time dismantling Cena. Cena then tried to scamper through the cage door, but Show pulled him back inside the cage. Cena tried to fight back, but Show ran him over with a big clothesline. WWE then cut to a shot of Johnny smiling and McMahon expressionless. Show followed up by looking down at Johnny and McMahon with a big smile. Show then trash-talked the fans while taking his time working on Cena.

Cena finally made a comeback by blocking a corner splash and landing a bulldog for a nearfall. Cena then tried to climb over the cage to wake up the crowd, but Show yanked him down back inside the cage. They fought against the cage wall before Cena crotched Show across the top rope. Show recovered moments later and delivered a big Vader Bomb out of the corner for a close two count. For his next trick, Show grabbed Cena around the neck, climbed to the top turnbuckle, and pulled Cena up to the top rope. After throwing Cena to the mat, Show walked the top rope using the cage wall as support before missing with a flying elbow drop when Cena moved. Cena recovered in the corner, then Show tried crawling away through the door, but Cena made the save and pulled Show back inside the cage.

At 13:00, Cena and Show avoided each other's offense before Cena nailed a shoulder block. Laurinaitis was shown on the edge of his seat, then Laurinaitis got out of his seat and took out the ringside ref before closing the cage door. McMahon grabbed Johnny, but then Laurinaitis shoved McMahon into the cage, slamming it on Cena's head. Show followed with a big chokeslam on Cena, who kicked out of a pin attempt. After a pause, Show measured Cena for the KO Punch, but Cena ducked and ref Armstrong took the KO Punch. After the ref bump, Show KO Punched Cena. Show was left alone in the cage as McMahon was tended to ringside.

Suddenly, Brodus Clay appeared ringside with chair in-hand. Clay begged Big Show to come through the door and get himself some. Show teased climbing over the wall, but Brodus didn't buy it. Lawler said there's no way out for Big Show. Clay then waved for more folks, and out came Alex Riley and Santino, who Show bumped off the cage wall. Show remained trapped inside the cage, then Zack Ryder hit the cage wall and Show KO Punched Ryder to the floor. Show decided to try to climb, but Kofi Kingston came flying down to ringside. Kofi climbed the cage wall, then kicked Show off the cage wall down to the mat inside the cage.

After the chaos, Cena began to stir as Laurinaitis surveyed the scene from outside the cage. Cena tried to climb through the cage door, but Show pulled him back. Cena then dropped Show with the Attitude Adjustment center ring. "Cena did it!" Lawler exclaimed. Cena paused to sell, then draped an arm across Show, but the ref remained out cold. Cena then decided to try to climb over the cage as Show tried to climb through the cage door. Brodus Clay then left his post guarding the cage door to hold back Laurinaitis. Cena suddenly flew off the cage to the floor moments before Show crawled through the cage door. Cena's music played, declaring Cena the winner despite all of the refs KO'ed.

WINNER: Cena at 19:24. Very slow early on before they went to the chaotic finish that engaged the crowd and delivered a satisfying pay-off for Cena Fans. Where they go from here on Raw tomorrow night will be interesting. (**)

Post-match: Brodus released Laurinaitis, who tried to smack him with his crutch before Cena ducked and hoisted Laurinaitis onto his shoulders. McMahon then re-appeared and shouted in Laurinaitis's face, "John Laurinaitis, you're fired!" Cena followed with an AA through the Spanish announce table for the exclamation point. Booker and Lawler warned Cole that he may be next. McMahon then marched to the back with a frown on his face as Cena celebrated the win ringside. They replayed Laurinaitis's reaction to Cena winning before showing McMahon fire Laurinaitis. Cole suddenly turned on Laurinaitis, saying he did a terrible job running both shows. "I never supported him!" Cole claimed. He then wanted to know who will run Raw on Monday and Smackdown on Friday. Cena was shown celebrating inside the cage before Cole signed off ten minutes before the top of the hour.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Thumbs in the Middle leaning towards Thumbs Down show with a few PPV-worthy matches, but a lot of filler exposing WWE's lack of depth and the crowd's lack of connection to many stars below the top two or three lines.

***

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ABOUT US

THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE

PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.

He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


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James Caldwell, assistant editor
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