The Chicago Screwjob.
The 971st edition of WWE Monday Night RAW was the final RAW of 2011 and it was a RAW SuperShow and it came to you, live, from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL. In his hometown on the last RAW of the year, what will the 2011 Superstar of the Year and WWE Champion CM Punk have in store for his hometown fans after leading a new generation of champions, World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan and United States Champion Zack Ryder, to victory in a 6-Man Tag Match last week?
- Non-Title: Booker T def. Cody Rhodes by pin following the Scissors Kick.
- Mixed Tag Match: Zack Ryder & Eve def. Tyson Kidd & Natalya by Zack Ryder pinning Tyson Kidd following the Rough Ryder Leg Lariat.
- John Cena def. The Miz by count-out.
- Big Show (with one arm tied behind his back) def. David Otunga by DQ after Mark Henry enters the ring.
- Gauntlet Match #1: CM Punk def. Jack Swagger by pin following a kick to the head.
- Gauntlet Match #2: Dolph Ziggler (with John Laurinaitis, Jack Swagger, & Vickie Guerrero) def. CM Punk by pin following the Zig Zag to earn a WWE Title shot on next week’s RAW.
In his hometown of Chicago, the show looks like it is going to kick off with WWE Champion and 2011 Superstar of the Year CM Punk, but instead, it is Interim RAW General Manager John Laurinaitis, who comes out with a CM Punk shirt on over his suit, mocking the WWE Champion, saying that, thanks to him, you never know what to expect on RAW. Laurinaitis continues that he is responsible for a new “golden era” in the WWE and he is wearing a CM Punk t-shirt to “honor” the WWE Champion, adding that he is a “Punk believer”. The GM is then interrupted by the genuine article in the WWE Champion himself, Chicago’s own CM Punk. Punk asks if the GM is trying to antagonize him before asking what is stopping him from kicking Laurinaitis in the face. The GM refutes that he would fire Punk for doing so, but he is not out there to argue as he is out there to give a gift that Punk would never expect, the night off. The humorless GM then says he got Punk. Punk says that the fans know that Laurinaitis is not unpredictable.
The GM then says that he listens to the WWE fans and they want to see CM Punk compete in a Gauntlet Match where the WWE Champion will face three opponents hand-picked by the GM in three back-to-back matches and, if any of Punk’s opponents emerge victorious, then they will get a shot at the WWE Title on the first RAW of 2012 next week! Punk then asks the GM what will happen when he beats all three of his opponents, but Laurinaitis admits that he had not thought of that yet. The WWE Champion then states that he is full of great ideas before offering that, if he beats all three Superstars, then he gets to face Laurinaitis immediately after the Gauntlet Match! The GM tells Punk that Punk does not want any of Laurinaitis and that it would be “unfair” to make the WWE Champion compete against him after having three previous matches. Punk says that, since Laurinaitis supposedly listens to the WWE fans, then he will ask the fans. Punk does just that and the fans roar their approval for Punk to face the GM and Laurinaitis says that he has “no other choice” but to accept the challenge of the WWE Champion! Can CM Punk defeat three other Superstars in a Gauntlet Match to get his match against John Laurinaitis? Who will CM Punk face in the Gauntlet Match?
A force shall arrive to reclaim what is his. The powers that be will be shaken. A force shall arrive. Do you understand? The end begins. Next Monday.
In a non-title rematch from WWE TLC, the opening match of the night saw Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes going one-on-one with six-time World Champion Booker T. In the end, it was Booker T surviving the onslaught of the Intercontinental Champion, hitting the Scissor Kick on Cody Rhodes en route to picking up the win. Now that Booker T has finally defeated Cody Rhodes, will the legend get another shot at the Intercontinental Title?
Hall of Famer and RAW commentator Jerry “The King” Lawler then reveals the three opponents hand-picked by Interim RAW General Manager John Laurinaitis for the Gauntlet Match as WWE Champion CM Punk must face “The All-American American” Jack Swagger and, if Punk beats Swagger, then Punk will face Dolph Ziggler. If Punk makes it past Ziggler, then Punk will face “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry and, if the WWE Champion makes it past Henry, then Punk will get to face the GM himself, John Laurinaitis.
Backstage, Interim GM John Laurinaitis is on the phone with Brodus Clay as the GM assures Brodus that he will get to debut next week. “The World’s Largest Athlete” Big Show then joins Laurinaitis and Laurinaitis’ legal counsel, David Otunga, in the GM’s office over Big Show’s knockout right hand to Otunga on SmackDown. Otunga calls the W.M.D. a “sucker punch” and questions Show’s merits as a man before saying that Show should not take it out on others just because Show has the shortest reign as World Heavyweight Champion in history. Big Show tells the cocky Harvard Law graduate that he can beat Otunga any time with one arm tied behind his back. Laurinaitis then makes that happen as the GM informs the two of them that Big Show will go one-on-one with David Otunga on RAW, but Big Show will have one arm tied behind his back! Show then tells Otunga that a “giant with one arm is still better than a smug lawyer with no testicles”.
In Mixed Tag action, United States Champion Zack Ryder teams with Eve to face Tyson Kidd & Natalya. In the end, it was Zack Ryder hitting the Rough Ryder Leg Lariat on Tyson Kidd en route to picking up the win for himself and Eve.
After two weeks of being the victim of unexplained attacks by the resurrected “Big Red Monster” Kane, John Cena appears on RAW to call out Kane and try to get an explanation out of the demonic destroyer. After praising Chicago for hosting three WrestleMania events and holding some of the greatest moments in WWE history, Cena calls Kane to the ring, but Cena instead gets The Miz. Miz states that they have some unfinished business before saying that everyone knows that 2011 was the year of The Miz, adding that some people think that his victory over Cena at WrestleMania was “tainted” due to The Rock’s interference. Miz continues that the last image of 2011 will be Miz standing tall over Cena. Cena says that he does not need to be badgered by The Miz to accept a match.
Then, just like that, John Cena calls a referee to the ring and the match between John Cena and The Miz gets underway. Shortly after the match begins, The Miz exits the ring, telling the fans that they are chanting the wrong name. Miz then says that he already beat Cena at WrestleMania, so the match does not matter. As the referee reaches his ten-count, giving Cena the win via count-out, Miz continues that he is a “winner” and he is walking out of Chicago with his head held high, but before The Miz can continue, he is interrupted by his former friend and tag team partner as R-Truth returns to RAW. With his focus set on destroying The Miz, R-Truth pummels Miz on the outside, repeatedly hurling Miz over the announce table before tossing Miz into the steel steps. R-Truth mutters to himself, continuing to pummel Miz before saying that he wants every Monday night to be like Christmas. Truth then grabs a bottle of water before delivering one final shot to The Miz.
Per the orders of Interim RAW General Manager John Laurinaitis, “The World’s Largest Athlete” Big Show went one-on-one with Laurinaitis’ legal counsel, David Otunga, but with a catch as Big Show must have one arm tied behind his back. In the middle of the match, Mark Henry marches out to face Big Show as Show struggles to try and free himself, but Henry knocks Show down. Before more damage can be done, World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan rushes out, distracting Mark Henry long enough for Big Show to free himself. Show then grabs Henry by the throat, but Otunga jumps Show from behind and Show responds by planting the Harvard Law graduate with a chokeslam!
After WWE.com reported earlier in the day that former WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio will be out of action for four to six weeks with a severe groin injury, Del Rio’s personal ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, rolled Del Rio out in a wheelchair on RAW. Del Rio states that the man who had such a banner year in 2011 has suffered the “most painful injury” a man can suffer as he has completely torn his groin. Del Rio asks the fans what is wrong with them before saying that it does not matter, because he will be back. The Bella Twins then join Del Rio on the stage as Brie Bella tells the fans that they need to treat Del Rio with respect before Nikki Bella assures Del Rio that, after Del Rio is recovered, she will personally throw him a party. This sparks an argument between the twins with Del Rio breaking it up, telling The Bella Twins that he does not want to see them right now. After The Bella Twins exit, Del Rio states that, when he returns, he will be more “vicious” than ever and he will be the WWE Champion again.
Then it was time for the multiple parts main event as Chicago’s own WWE Champion CM Punk would compete in a Gauntlet Match against three Superstars hand-picked by Interim RAW General Manager John Laurinaitis and, if Punk beats all three, then he will get a match against John Laurinaitis himself, but if any one of the three Superstars beat Punk, then that individual gets a shot at the WWE Title on next week’s RAW.
In the first portion of the Gauntlet Match, WWE Champion CM Punk faced his first opponent, “The All-American American” Jack Swagger, with Vickie Guerrero in his corner. In the end, it was CM Punk landing a kick to the skull on Jack Swagger en route to surviving the first leg of the Gauntlet Match. As CM Punk awaits Dolph Ziggler’s entrance for the second part of the Gauntlet Match, Jack Swagger attacks Punk with a chop block before delivering several shots to the left knee of the WWE Champion before the match can begin.
CM Punk then insists that the referee starts the second part of the Gauntlet Match as Punk faces Dolph Ziggler, with Jack Swagger and Vickie Guerrero in his corner. During the match, Jack Swagger distracts the referee while Vickie Guerrero pulls on the leg of CM Punk, allowing Dolph Ziggler to take advantage, but Dolph was still unable to beat the champion. Interim RAW General Manager John Laurinaitis then comes out, saying that there has been an “injustice”. As CM Punk delivers a kick to the skull of Dolph Ziggler before covering Dolph in the ring, John Laurinaitis prevents the referee from making the count as Laurinaitis slowly explains that Vickie Guerrero interfered in the match behind the referee’s back. Laurinaitis then ejects Vickie and Swagger from ringside before the GM gets on the ring apron, distracting Punk with a “discussion” of Punk’s proposed match. This distraction allows Dolph Ziggler to hit the Zig Zag on Punk en route to picking up the win and earning a shot at the WWE Title on next week’s RAW! After the match, Dolph Ziggler grabs the WWE Title belt, parading around the ring with the gold as if he has already won it. On the first RAW of 2012 next week, can CM Punk retain the WWE Title against Dolph Ziggler? What other tricks will John Laurinaitis have in store for CM Punk?
After attacking John Cena two weeks in a row, the resurrected “Big Red Monster” Kane appeared on RAW to explain his actions. Kane states that, what is seen before them is his “essence”. Kane continues that, he may wear a mask, but it is the fans that are “living a lie”. Before Kane can continue, John Cena tries to come out, but a wall of fire erupts, preventing Cena from advancing. Kane then explains that Cena has led the fans “astray” because Cena asks them to “rise above hate”, but that is a fallacy, adding that the world is a “dark place”. Kane continues that humans are “hateful” by nature and, deep down, everyone hates before saying that people hate their bosses, neighbors, spouses, and their “miserable existence.” Kane then says that “hate” is the seed from which they are all born and it motivates them. Kane continues that, once you “embrace the hate”, you become honest with yourself and you become “free”, adding that, with Cena’s “denial”, he grows weaker. Kane then says that he is going to “help” John Cena and so are the fans as they will assist Cena on his “path to enlightenment” before saying that the last thing that Cena will hear in 2011 will be the words that eats Cena alive, the chant from the fans that “Cena sucks”. Kane then leads the chant as the Chicago crowd joins in and an emotionally torn Cena looks around. How will John Cena respond to what Kane had to say?
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