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WWE Raw Report
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 8/27: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - Triple H addresses retirement, Cena-Punk continues, cage main event

Aug 27, 2012 - 10:09:03 PM
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WWE Raw Supershow Results
August 27, 2012 - Episode #1,004
Live in Milwaukee, Wis.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
Staff12CaldwellJames_120_79.jpg


This week's three-hour WWE Raw started with a three-minute video package going back to Summerslam eight days ago and WWE Raw last week for a look at the C.M. Punk-John Cena issue now involving Raw announcer Jerry Lawler. It's all about respect.

Live in the arena, full pyro kicked off the show before Michael Cole introduced the show and noted they will find out details on Triple H's career tonight. Cole then introduced Jerry Lawler at ringside. Cole started to read a tweet from Lawler after Raw last week, then Lawler dramatically removed his headsets and walked into the ring.

In the ring, Lawler recapped his words from Raw 1,000 that Punk had turned his back on the audience. Lawler said he later admitted he "mis-spoke." He said that out of respect for the WWE Title, he apologized to Punk last week, after which he got kicked in the head from behind. Boos. So, last week, he apologized to Punk, and this week, he wants an apology from Punk. Lawler paused to look toward the entrance, but no sign of Punk. After a lengthy pause, Cult of Personality played to bring out the WWE champion on-stage. Punk, with a very short haircut, slowly made his way toward the ring with a big smirk. On commentary, Cole said he doesn't agree with Punk striking Lawler, but Lawler

In the ring, Punk tried to talk, but his mic wasn't on. Punk then repeated that Lawler wants him to apologize for doing his job? Punk said he justifiably beat the crap out of Rock, then Lawler after he showed him a lack of respect. Punk said he's not a bad guy and he didn't turn his back on anyone, but Lawler turned his back on the audience when he "slandered its beloved champion." Punk then gave his view of the kick last week that Lawler tried to walk by him, so he did the right thing.

Punk claimed Lawler is only in the Hall of Fame because he beat a bunch of nobodies from Memphis and got slapped by a comedian. He said he's sorry that Lawler's jealousy of him stems from never being WWE champion and he's sorry that when he finally got his WrestleMania moment, he lost to Michael Cole. Punk said he's sorry that Lawler has become WWE's circus seal repeating what's said in his ear. He said he's sorry for the man Lawler has become. Punk slowly backed away, then asked Lawler if that touched a nerve. He asked Lawler if he wants to fight him. After waiting out Punk's speech, Lawler said he came out here for an apology, not a fight.

Punk replied that he can hear what Lawler is saying, but Lawler's body language says he wants to fight. Punk told Lawler that by the end of the night, Lawler is going to leave embarrassed. Either he's going to beat Lawler within an inch of his life or Lawler will leave embarrassed because he wouldn't fight him. Punk told Lawler to think about it, then dropped the mic and left as ringside fans told him he sucks. "Respect!" Punk shouted as he left. Lawler said from the ring that he'll think about it. As Lawler returned to his commentary position, Cole quietly said he thinks Lawler just got punked out.

[Commercial Break]

[Q2] In-ring: Jack Swagger was in the ring back from break. Cole noted Swagger is currently in a downward spiral and Lawler said his luck has to change soon. "Then again, maybe not," Lawler said after Ryback was introduced as Swagger's opponent.

1 -- RYBACK vs. JACK SWAGGER

Some light "Goldberg" chants picked up as Swagger and Ryback had an early awkward exchange trying to sell a scrap. Ryback then clotheslined Swagger before face-planting him into the mat. Swagger made a comeback with a drop toehold into a bodyslam before missing with a Swagger Bomb. Ryback then lifted Swagger into the corner as "Goldberg" chants picked up for a few seconds. Ryback then called for the end by leading the crowd in a "Feed Me More" chant. Ryback ran over Swagger with a vicious clothesline, then lifted him up in the air for his marching backpack slam for the pin and the win. Lawler described the outcome as Ryback's most impressive victory yet.

WINNER: Ryback at 2:13. Another decisive victory trying to get over Ryback's offense and the "Feed Me More" chant.

Post-match: The camera showed Ryback leaving and Swagger shaking his head as he recovered ringside. "That's it!" Swagger shouted in frustration.

On-camera: Cole and Lawler shifted gears to Triple H discussion. "Game Over?" the graphic read as Cole wondered aloud if Hunter is going to retire tonight. ... Also still to come: John Cena vs. The Miz in a match just thrown out there one-and-a-half-years removed from main-eventing WrestleMania. Back on camera, Cole tried to get Lawler to agree to a match against Punk tonight. Lawler said he's thinking about it as the camera zoomed in close on Lawler's facial expression selling contemplation.

[Commercial Break]

2 -- Divas champion LAYLA vs. NATALYA -- non-title match

Back live, Natalya was already in the ring. Layla was then announced as her opponent playing up Natalya's recent anger over Kaitlyn getting the next Divas Title shot against Layla's friend, Kaitlyn. Suddenly, Vickie Guerrero excused herself into the proceedings, then the bell sounded. The announcers discussed Kaitlyn and Layla's upcoming title match as Vickie stood on the ring steps watching the match. After a back-and-forth, Layla finished off Natalya to continue her winning streak.

WINNER: Layla at 2:50.

[Q3] After Layla cleared out of the ring, Vickie took center-stage to knock A.J. Lee's match-making last week on Raw when A.J. booked Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler in a Contract vs. Contract match. Vickie had no problem with Jericho's contract on the line, but she had a problem with Ziggler's MITB contract on the line. She shrieked that A.J. abused her power before noting she is the only person on the roster with the guts to stand up to her. Vickie demanded the Board of Directors put the power back in the hands of an adult who is fair - like her - instead of in the hands of a mentally-deranged child. Vickie took a deep breath.

A.J.'s music then played to bring out a skipping and smiling Raw GM. A.J. skipped all the way around the ringside area in her powersuit as vocal males chanted, "Yes!" over and over. In the ring, A.J. flashed a big smile toward Vickie before reaching back and slapping her. A.J. then tackled Vickie and started a brawl in the ring. Cole told A.J. to get a hold of herself. Vickie finally freed herself from A.J., then ran away as A.J. collected herself in the ring and flashed a devilish smile. "Yes!" the crowd chanted in the background.

On-camera: Cole said they are going to review Triple H's career throughout the night in preparation for Triple H addressing his future. So, the next two hours-plus will be filled with Hunter video recaps. The first video focused on Hunter's role in DX. Chyna was included in flashback clips that were mixed with DX Reunions #2 and #3 from recent years.

Raw tonight: Triple H will address his career. "Is it Game Over?" Cole asked rhetorically leading to break.

[Commercial Break]

Arena: As WWE showed the crowd in the arena, Cole noted Daniel Bryan has been sent to anger management classes, per Raw GM A.J. Lee.

Video: Last week, Bryan visited Dr. Shelby in class. A man appearing to be Scorpio Sky (Mason Andrews in TNA) was one of Bryan's fellow classmates. Bryan interrupted the doctor to note he's perfectly calm. Suddenly, a little boy wearing a goat mask entered the room. Bryan cut a promo on the boy, then Doctor Shelby removed the boy's mask to note he's his son and he's playing a goat in his school play on Noah's Ark. Bryan huffed and puffed before the session resumed.

Ringside: Cole and Lawler continued the C.M. Punk discussion. Cole read a tweet from Punk and asked Lawler what his decision is. Lawler ignored Cole, then removed his headset and stood up on the announce table. Lawler said Punk came out here earlier and he beat up a bunch of nobodies in Memphis. Lawler noted he beat guys like Jesse Ventura, Harley Race, Jack Brisco, Superstar Billy Graham, Bill Dundee, Dutch Mantell, and more. He said Punk wouldn't have lasted down in Memphis.

Lawler then addressed Punk's claims and paused to talk up Andy Kaufman. He said you don't get in the WWE Hall of Fame unless you stand up when the time is right. He said you don't get to that point unless you stand up to someone younger than you. He said he's not the Best in the World and he doesn't think Punk is either. The crowd oohed. Lawler said he's never backed down from a challenge in his life and he's not starting tonight. "Damn right, I'll fight you tonight!" Lawler said to applause. Lawler then walked off to the back to get ready for the fight.

Before Raw went to break, an ad aired for the new Saturday Morning Slam show on CW.

[Q4] [Commercial Break]

Back live, John Cena's music played to bring out WWE's top star for the first time tonight. Cena stormed out on-stage, then stopped to survey the crowd before noting to the cameraman that it's time to go to work. Justin Roberts introduced Cena to the crowd as Cole recapped Punk reneging on a WWE Title shot offer to Cena for Night of Champions. IC champ The Miz then slowly walked out on-stage for the WrestleMania 27 main event re-match. WWE plugged Raw live in Punk's hometown of Chicago next week as Cole noted he's flying solo right now with Lawler returning to the locker room.

3 -- JOHN CENA vs. IC champion THE MIZ -- non-title match

Basic action as they felt each other out before Cole fed to commercial 1:30 into the match.

[Commercial Break]

Back live three minutes before the top of the hour, Cena was in control of the action. And, Josh Mathews joined Cole during the break. Miz cut off Cena with a kick to the face before stalking him in the corner and delivering a big corner clothesline. Miz followed with a double sledge off the top rope, but Cena kicked out of a pin. Miz followed with a reverse chinlock as Cole hyped Miz and his Marine 3 movie.

[Q5 -- second hour] Cena fought to his feet at the top of the hour before delivering a suplex to escape Miz. But, Miz came back with the Reality Check for a two count. Miz followed with a big kick to the face as the announcers debated Lawler's decision to fight C.M. Punk tonight. Cena then called for a spot, so Miz charged the ropes and Cena tripped him and slapped on the STF. Miz reached the ropes for a break, though. Cena then kind of stumbled away from the ropes and walked into a snap DDT from Miz for a nearfall. Miz tried to follow with the Skullcrushing Finale, but Cena overpowered him, only to have Miz come back with a lift-up slam/throw for a two count.

At 10:00, Miz stalked Cena for another high-impact move, but Cena avoided the corner clothesline and made his trademark comeback. Cena called for the Five Knuckle Shuffle and connected. Cena followed with an Attitude Adjustment tease, locked eyes with the hard camera as if to send a message to Punk, and delivered his finisher for the pin and the win. Mathews recapped that Miz didn't have enough to overcome Cena's power and strength.

WINNER: Cena at 10:36. WWE tried to give Miz enough offense to retain credibility, but the objective was to re-establish Cena with a clean singles victory before a likely title match against Punk at Night of Champions.

Announcers: As Cena celebrated in the ring, Cole said he has breaking news from A.J. Lee's office. She has decided that the crowd will decide the type of match Punk vs. Lawler will be tonight. The options are Tables Match, Steel Cage match, or No DQ match. Cole stacked the deck against Lawler, saying things look bleak for Lawler in any of the three potential matches.

Cole then transitioned to Triple H discussion, saying his career has been "nothing short of legendary." This led to another Hunter video package. This one focused on Hunter tearing his quad before returning to WWE. Jim Ross's voice was heard throughout this video. Back live, Cole said speculation continues to grow whether Hunter has wrestled his last match.

[Commercial Break]

Back live, Mathews plugged a big Smackdown tag match of Sheamus & Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler & Alberto Del Rio later tonight.

Video: Back to Daniel Bryan for Part 2 of his anger management classes. The man who appeared to be Scorpio Sky talked about being frustrated at work, which makes him angry. He said bad things happen when he gets angry. Dr. Shelby asked Daniel Bryan for thoughts on his story. Bryan said his boss is his former girlfriend who left him at the altar on live television. He recapped beating A.J.'s evil boy toy, Kane, before she sent him here. Bryan said he doesn't see how things could get worse. In walked Dr. Shelby's next patient, Kane in a welder's mask. As the other "patients" freaked out, Bryan noted this is what he deals with on a daily basis.

In-ring: Heath Slater came out for the next match as Cole recapped Slater being Sin Cara last week on Smackdown (thanks to help from Cody Rhodes, which Cole said under his breath). Former U.S. champ Santino then stomped out to face Slater.

[Q6]

4 -- SANTINO vs. HEATH SLATER

Santino did some comedy bits early on, so Slater tried to show him up by doing an air guitar dance. Santino tried his own air guitar dance, which drew a right hand to the face from Slater. Slater then took control of the match as some vocal fans chanted, "Boring." Slater then tried a top-rope move, but Santino rolled away. So, Slater tried it from the other side, but Santino rolled away again. Slater, upset, tried to attack Santino, but Santino rolled him up for a nearfall.

Santino made his full comeback, warmed up the Cobra, and suddenly Aksana's saxophone music played. Santino's Cobra "got a mind of its own" reaching out toward Aksana on-stage. Santino then turned around and used his "erect" Cobra to strike Slater for the pin and the win. Afterward, Aksana disappeared to the back before Santino chased after her, led by his puppet Cobra. Cole tried to own the ridiculousness of the bit by saying he can't believe he's calling this.

WINNER: Santino at 3:15.

Announcers: Cole and Lawler re-visited the Triple H retirement tease as some tweets flashed on the screen. Cole said Hunter will be live in the ring tonight to address his future.

[Commercial Break]

On-camera: Back live, Cole and Mathews plugged WWE's new App. Cole then plugged the RawActive poll on Punk vs. Lawler tonight - Tables, Steel Cage, or No DQ match.

In-ring: The disco ball was down above the ring, so it meant Funkasauras time. Cameron and Naomi led the way for Clay, who entered the ring as Cole noted he is upset by Clay's actions last week when he attacked Damien Sandow after Sandow beat him. Mathews added that Clay was retaliating for Sandow attacking him before a match a few weeks ago, causing injury. Sin Cara was then introduced as Clay's tag partner.

Damien Sandow was out first for the heels and he paused on-stage to deliver a word. Sandow said he is elated to announce he has experienced a miracle. He said he finally found someone who he is able to have an intelligent conversation with. "Ladies and gentlemen, my tag team partner this evening, Cody Rhodes." Amazing intro. Rhodes joined him on-stage and thanked Damien for the introduction. Rhodes said this match is perfect because Clay has the girth of most of these people in Milwaukee and Cara shares their hideous looks. Not much heat on Cody's local heel promo. He said at least Cara is considerate enough to wear a mask. Rhodes slammed down the mic and approached the ring as Cara welcomed the fight before Raw went to break.

[Q7] [Commercial Break]

5 -- BRODUS CLAY & SIN CARA vs. DASHING INTELLECTUALS (CODY RHODES & DAMIEN SANDOW)

The match was already in progress back from break. In the ring, Rhodes was working on Cara as Clay tried to rally the crowd. The heels exchanged tags before Sandow dropped The Elbow to Cara's chest for a two count. Cara finally broke free and tagged in Clay to battle Rhodes. Clay landed a big corner splash followed by a running powerslam for a two count when Sandow broke up the cover. Sandow then went after Clay's injured knee, but Cara cut off Sandow and splashed him on the outside. Back in the ring, Rhodes tried the Beautiful Disaster, but Clay nailed him with a mid-air headbutt. Clay followed with the Big Splash for the pin and the win. Cue up a post-match celebration with Clay, Cara, the dancers, and kids in the ring.

WINNERS: Clay & Sin Cara at 2:37 of what aired.

Video: Last Week at anger management, the doctor asked Kane if he was comfortable removing his mask. Kane removed the welder's mask to reveal his regular mask. Asked to describe himself to the group, Kane said that he is the devil's favorite demon. The doctor asked Kane to begin at his childhood, which Bryan said is a really bad idea. Kane recapped the entire Undertaker brother storyline, going for comedy that he's buried his brother alive twice, said he once had a girlfriend named Katie, recently trapped his father, Paul Bearer, in a meat locker, and has an unhealthy obsession with torturing Pete Rose. The doctor said perhaps they should call it a day. He then asked everyone to make an anger collage for next week's session. Bryan angrily asked if this is therapy or arts and crafts. He walked off with the rest of the group, then Kane was left alone with the apparent Scorpio Sky. Sky put his hand on Kane's knee and thanked him for sharing. Kane grabbed him around the throat, then walked off.

Backstage: Daniel Bryan was shown walking down the hallway doing some deep breathing exercises to sell that he's in control of his anger. Cole said he faces tag champ R-Truth up next. ... Still to come: A look at Triple H's "greatest hits."

[Commercial Break]

Back live, Cole said they are awaiting Triple H's arrival. Cole said if Hunter's last match was against Brock Lesnar at Summerslam, then Hunter will go down in history as one of WWE's fiercest warriors. This led to another Hunter career retrospective video package. Cole said Hunter is expected on Raw "in moments."

[Q8] In-ring: R-Truth was introduced for the next match. Truth came out with Kofi Kingston and his imaginary Little Jimmy friend, prompting Cole to wonder why Truth isn't being sent to classes. Bryan then walked out on-stage and tried to block out the "Yes!" chants being thrown at him. Cole said Bryan needs to suppress his anger and not let the fans get to him. Bryan very calmly approached the ring and very calmly looked into the crowd, trying to ignore their chants.

6 -- DANIEL BRYAN vs. WWE tag champion R-TRUTH (w/WWE tag champion Kofi Kingston)

Kofi Kingston was on commentary. After the bell sounded, Bryan extended his fist for a fist bump, which Truth accepted before applauding. After some back and forth, the crowd chanted, "Goatface," which conflicted Bryan. Bryan tried to reset things with another fistbump, but Truth told Bryan to fistbump Little Jimmy. So, Bryan did, then kicked Truth in the gut. Truth recovered, then hit a flying fist to the face for a two count. Truth proceeded to launch Bryan over the top rope to the floor in front of the announcers.

On the floor, Truth took the mic and said they are definitely in Milwaukee. Truth then led the crowd in "Yes!" chants. Bryan freaked out and started shouting, "No!" at everyone ringside. Bryan mixed it up with a ringside plant as the ref counted to ten in the background. Bryan didn't realize he lost, as he continued to shout "No!" at the ringside fan. Bryan suddenly realized what happened and Cole blamed Truth and the fans for causing Bryan to lose. Bryan then flipped out and kicked the ring steps before entering the ring to scream "No!" over and over.

WINNER: Truth via count-out at 3:06. That was a creative way to have Bryan lose without losing. You just wonder if WWE has an end game in mind or if they're taking it week-to-week with Bryan right now.

Eight days ago: Brock Lesnar broke Triple H's arm at Summerslam. Cole said Hunter is here at Raw and he will address his future next.

[Commercial Break]

Back live, Cole and Mathews plugged the Punk vs. Lawler fight tonight with the three poll options - Tables, Steel Cage, or No DQ match.

Arena: Four minutes before the top of the hour, Justin Roberts gave a formal ring introduction for the Cerebral Assassin, Triple H. Out came Hunter dressed in his COO clothes with his left arm hanging by his side, selling Lesnar's injury. Hunter stood on-stage and took a deep breath as he looked up toward to the top of the crowd. Hunter used his good arm to slap hands with the ringside fans before he paused on the ring steps to survey the crowd. In the ring, Hunter looked around the arena as Cole and Mathews were shown standing up at the announce table.

Hunter's music stopped two minutes before the top of the hour and he continued to look into the crowd, which picked up a light "Triple H" chant. Hunter tried to milk it with his eyes before looking down at the mat to get the sympathy applause. Hunter looked at his injured arm, shook it a bit, and went back to looking into the crowd for a response. Another "Triple H" chant started, then died down. Hunter finally spoke and said they should cut to the chase, with people wondering if he's going to retire. A light "No! No! No!" chant picked up. Hunter smiled and said one thing he learned about WWE is never say never.

[Q9 -- third hour] Hunter went back to the beginning of his WWE career. He said he wanted to create something memorable in the business and retire before all of this overcomes him. Hunter choked up as he said everyone comes to a cross-roads. He tried to repeat it, but stopped. Hunter said when you get to the cross-road, time will win every time. Pause for Hunter to collect himself again. Hunter said he never wanted to be The Guy Just Hanging Out. He said he didn't want to hang on too long and just waiting for the nostalgia pop. Hunter said he didn't want to be the guy getting in the ring because someone was willing to write him a check. He said he never wanted to get so beat up that he couldn't hold his children. Hunter said Brock Lesnar has made him ask the question of whether he's done. "No!" some of the crowd chanted. Hunter said the answer is he doesn't know. Hunter said he's tired, beat up, and broken again (he held up his arm).

Hunter said he wants to come into this ring and be Triple H, the Cerebral Assassin. He said he wants to tell everyone that he wants to rise up again and kick Brock's ass because that is what he does. After getting himself fired up, Hunter paused and quietly said that's what he wants to do, but he can't. Hunter said he truth is he doesn't know if he can do it. Hunter looked down at the mat and quietly said Brock has forced him to look inside himself and wonder if he's done. Hunter continued that if he can't come back and be better than before, then maybe he's answered his own question. Another look at the mat. "You can do it!" chant from the crowd. Hunter looked up and took a breath. Hunter said maybe they're right, but he doesn't know. He said what he can do is take a minute to say something, which is thanking the crowd.

Hunter went larger, saying every wrestler who steps through the ropes puts their bodies on the line, bleeds, sweats, and sacrifices for the fans's entertainment. Hunter said everyone stands backstage before their music hits and they question themselves whether when they walk through the curtain if anyone will care. Hunter said every time he's walked through the curtain, everyone has cared. He said that's gotten him through it all. He said all of the fans and their reactions got him through his pain, injuries, and weariness on the road. Hunter thanked the crowd from the bottom of his heart. "Thank you for letting me play The Game," Hunter said as he teared up. Hunter said the fans gave him the reaction every night, so he will never forget that.

Hunter said if he succeeded during his career, he has hopefully done something in this ring that the fans will cause fans to never forget him. Hunter held up his injured arm for a sympathy applause before fighting tears. Hunter looked around the arena and sold with more tears. Some of the crowd chanted, "Thank you, Hunter," then he sold mounting the courage, strength, and resolve deep down inside to do a one-arm Hunter pose. Hunter did another victory lap as he departed to the back. WWE faded to commercial to sell the drama. So, essentially, Hunter didn't say anything definitive and the storyline is he'll decide in a few minutes whether to return for revenge on Lesnar.

[Commercial Break]

[Q10] After a video replay of Dolph Ziggler ending Chris Jericho's WWE run last week on Raw, the lights went off in the arena for Jericho's standard intro. Instead of Jericho, though, Ziggler came out on-stage holding his MITB briefcase. Ziggler noted Y2J will not been at this time because he cost him his WWE contract. Ziggler said the audience will never, ever see Jericho again.

Ziggler marched to the ring, then Ricardo Rodriguez introduced Ziggler's tag partner, Alberto Del Rio. As Del Rio made his entrance, Cole recapped Del Rio beating Randy Orton on Smackdown to become #1 contender to the World Title. Randy Orton was out first for the faces, followed by World champ Sheamus, who quickly marched to the ring looking for a piece of Del Rio.

7 -- World Hvt. champion SHEAMUS & RANDY ORTON vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER & ALBERTO DEL RIO

The announcers hyped all of the World Title stories converging for this match as Orton felt things out with Ziggler. Del Rio tried to get involved, so Orton knocked him to the outside. Sheamus then ran over Del Rio with a flying shoulder tackle from the ring apron. Orton cleared Ziggler to the outside, then the heels recovered and the faces stood tall in the ring as Raw went to break 1:10 into the match.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, the heels were in control of the action. Orton blocked a corner attack by Del Rio and dumped him clear over the top rope to the floor, which allowed Orton to crawl across the ring toward Sheamus for a tag that he had to milk forever as Del Rio crawled back into the ring to tag in Ziggler. So, Sheamus and Ziggler battled. Sheamus wanted White Noise, but Ziggler slipped out, only to run into a swinging Irish Curse backbreaker. Del Rio got involved, then Ziggler suddenly had the MITB briefcase. But, Orton dropped Ziggler with a backbreaker from behind. Ziggler then walked into a Brogue Kick from Sheamus for the pin and the win.

Post-match: Sheamus and Orton stood tall in the ring as the heels recovered ringside. The announcers reviewed a replay of the finish before plugging Sheamus vs. Del Rio for the World Title at Night of Champions.

WINNERS: Sheamus & Orton at 8:29. Basic tag match to expose Smackdown's top program to the Raw audience. It also kept Sheamus's TV/PPV winning streak going to 16 straight matches. The bottom line for Ziggler is he's right back where he was before "winning the Big One" over Jericho, but WWE would defend this as Ziggler mixing it up with Smackdown's top stars. It just doesn't hold any weight when nothing feels different about Ziggler, especially after Jericho got the last word before leaving WWE.

[Q11] Backstage: Jerry Lawler was dressed to wrestle. Lawler told someone off-camera that he needs to face Punk tonight and beat him on his own. The camera pulled back to reveal John Cena. Lawler said if Cena interferes, then Punk will throw that in his face, too. Lawler said he's fighting Punk for himself tonight. Cena nodded and wished him good luck. Lawler then continued his preparation for the match against Punk tonight.

[Commercial Break]

Summerslam 8 days ago: Kane destroyed Josh Mathews after losing to Daniel Bryan. Back live, Kane's pyro shot off and Cole brought up Mathews's rough night at Summerslam. Mathews got up at the announce table to stand guard as Cole tried to act professionally. Mathews then dropped the headset and scampered away as Kane slowly approached the announce table. Mathews left through the production area as Kane sat down at the announce table to apparently do commentary on the next match. Out first was Zack Ryder, who bounced out to the ring as Cole noted Kane and Ryder's history. David Otunga then came out to face Ryder as Cole wondered if Dr. Shelby's anger management classes worked on Kane. Still no words from Kane.

8 -- ZACK RYDER vs. DAVID OTUNGA

The bell sounded as Cole remained standing while Kane remained quiet and seated. A light "Woo Woo Woo!" chant started as Cole recapped the educational differences between Otunga and Ryder. Otunga overpowered Ryder early on as Cole continued to stand next to the announce table, a safe distance away from Kane. Cole requested some expert analysis from Kane, who remained quiet. Cole tried to engage Kane in a conversation, but no dice. In the ring, Ryder made a comeback, but Otunga yanked him off the second rope. Ryder suddenly busted out the Rough Ryder and pinned Otunga for the win.

Post-match: Kane ripped off his headset and stormed the ring to grab Ryder around the throat. On commentary, Cole shouted that Kane needs to listen to what the doctor told him. Kane then let go of Ryder before grabbing Otunga for a chokeslam. Kane looked toward the entrance ramp, where Ryder was recovering and clutching his throat, perplexed by Kane sparing him a chokeslam tonight. Cole wondered aloud if this is progress that Kane got his fix, but only took out one man.

WINNER: Ryder at 2:28. Yes, Ryder won a match on Raw. No, it's not clear where any of this is going.

Backstage: Punk was shown doing kickboxing warm-up exercises, taking out his lack of respect anger on a punching bag. Cole plugged the Punk vs. Lawler main event still to come with the match type picked by the audience.

[Commercial Break]

[Q12] Back live, Cole announced Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler this Friday on Smackdown, per Smackdown GM Booker T.

In the ring, Josh Mathews was ready to unveil the result of tonight's Twitter poll for the main event. Mathews looked to the Titantron to reveal the winner - 48 percent for steel cage. 32 percent for No DQ and 20 percent for Tables rounded out the field.

A.J.'s music then played to bring out the Raw GM. A.J. announced that regardless of tonight's main event result, Punk will defend the WWE Title at Night of Champions against her choice...John Cena. That was an abrupt, anti-climatic announcement undercutting the entire Punk-Cena deal from last week. WWE made it seem like they had no idea how to get from last week's promo exchange to a title match, so they just had A.J. make an announcement. A.J. smiled to herself, then the ominous steel cage music played to set up the main event. Backstage, Jerry Lawler was shown walking down the hallway ahead of the main event.

[Commercial Break]

Back live, Mathews narrated a graphic officially recognizing Punk vs. Cena for the WWE Title at Night of Champions.

In-ring: Jerry Lawler came out first for the steel cage main event. After surveying the cage, Lawler slowly entered the ring as Cole said Lawler was provoked into this match-up by Punk at the start of the show. After a pause, Cult of Personality played to bring out the WWE champion. Punk cockily walked out on-stage before parading himself down the entrance ramp to the cage. As Punk entered the cage, Cole read a tweet from Punk claiming to be the new King of Memphis. In the cage, Punk held up his WWE Title belt in Lawler's face, which Lawler tried to ignore.

9 -- WWE champion C.M. PUNK vs. JERRY LAWLER -- non-title Steel Cage match

Once the bell sounded, Punk walked up to Lawler and said the first shot is his. Lawler wanted to fight, but Punk kept saying the first shot is his. Lawler eventually reached back and popped Lawler in the mouth, sending Punk reeling into the corner. Punk sold a mouth injury, regrouped, and cornered Lawler to land kicks and strikes. Punk grounded Lawler, then began toying with him a bit as the announcers debated whether Lawler is a has-been.

[Q13 -- over-run] Punk settled into a reverse chinlock at the top of the hour as the crowd sat quietly and Cole reset the show. The crowd woke up a bit as Punk climbed the cage, then Punk hopped down and charged Lawler for a big knee to the gut. Punk followed with a big kick to the face before taunting Lawler some more. Punk cockily went back to the top turnbuckle and Lawler crotched him. Lawler then tried to leave through the cage door, which seems like a cowardly move trying to escape a fight, and Punk yanked Lawler back inside the cage. Punk began singing about being the new King of Memphis - channeling Andy Kaufman - before Lawler shoved Punk into the side of the cage to regain control.

Lawler tried to fight back with right hands from his knees, then stood up and landed more right hands. Lawler ran Punk face-first into the cage wall before going to the second rope, dropping the strap, and landing a flying fist to the face. Lawler covered Punk, but the Champ kicked out in-time. Lawler had enough and tried to escape through the cage door again, but Punk smashed him from behind. Punk, with some blood on his forehead, called for the end as ref Charles Robinson put on surgical gloves. Punk then dropped Lawler with a slam and applied the Anaconda Vice. Lawler fought for a few moments, but was forced to tap out.

WINNER: Punk via submission at 7:39. There was no heat on this match, which is likely a combination of a worn-out crowd three hours into a show that dragged and Punk's character still in a weird transition where's not unlikeable to the entire audience and not likeable to the majority of the audience.

Post-match: Punk maintained his finisher for a few extra moments to inflict more punishment on Lawler. Punk then left the cage, took his title belt, and had his hand raised. Punk wasn't done, as he grabbed a mic before looking under the ring for a box of tools. Punk grabbed a chain from the toolbox before locking the cage door. He then entered the cage and demanded Lawler call him the best in the world. "Hell no," Lawler shouted before Punk blasted him with strikes and forearms. Punk gave Lawler another chance, then landed more elbows and forearms.

John Cena stormed ringside and tried to get inside the cage, but the door was locked. Cena then demanded the cage be raised while shouting at Punk that it's enough. Cena told Punk he's gone way over the line. Punk ignored him and landed knees to Lawler's face over and over. Cena could only watch. Punk said he is the best wrestler in the world before the cage was raised. Punk bailed, then Cena entered the ring to check on Lawler. Punk simply left with his back to the ring and his left arm in the air. They went back to a final shot of Cena and medics checking on Lawler as Raw signed off nine minutes past the top of the hour.

***

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