Six nights before No Way Out, the 994th edition of WWE Monday Night RAW was a three-hour special and it came to you, live, from the XL Center in Hartford, CT. Since becoming the permanent General Manager of both RAW and SmackDown at WrestleMania 28, John Laurinaitis has been on an unstoppable power trip, making the lives of WWE Champion CM Punk, World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus, Big Show, and John Cena a living hell, even humiliating Cena by defeating him at Over The Limit with a major assist by Big Show, but Laurinaitis’ death grip on the WWE may come to an abrupt end as WWE Chairman & CEO Mr. McMahon returns to RAW, making his first appearance since naming “Big Johnny” the Interim RAW GM back in October, as the Chairman will perform the job evaluation for John Laurinaitis to kick off the show! Three weeks after being knocked out by Big Show twice in a twenty-four hour period, John Cena and Big Show would be in the same arena at the same time just six nights before they go to war in a Steel Cage Match at No Way Out.
- Non-Title: Sheamus def. Tensai by pin following the Brogue Kick.
- Mixed Tag Match: Ricardo Rodriguez & Beth Phoenix def. Santino Marella & Layla by Beth Phoenix pinning Layla following the Glam Slam.
- #1 Contender’s Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match: Dolph Ziggler (with Vickie Guerrero) def. The Great Khali, Jack Swagger, & Christian to become the new #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Title at No Way Out.
- Steel Cage Match: Big Show def. Kofi Kingston by escaping the cage.
- Sin Cara def. Curt Hawkins by pin following the tilt-a-whirl armbar takedown.
- Vader def. Heath Slater by pin following the Vader Bomb.
- CM Punk & A.J. def. Kane & Daniel Bryan by CM Punk pinning Daniel Bryan following the elbow drop.
With his job evaluation by WWE Chairman & CEO Mr. McMahon looming, the show kicks off with the General Manager of RAW & SmackDown John Laurinaitis as the GM rides his scooter to the ring, using a crutch to make his way to the ring. Laurinaitis begins to introduce himself, but he is quickly interrupted by the man himself, WWE Chairman & CEO Mr. McMahon! In his first television appearance since October, the Chairman says he is not there to be friends with Laurinaitis, he is there to conduct Laurinaitis’ job performance review. McMahon then tells Laurinaitis to give him one good reason why he should not fire his “pencil-necked butt” right now. The GM says that he can do that in two words, “People Power”, saying that he “empowers” the fans and they love him for it. Laurinaitis then says that McMahon is a “legend” who they all respect and, as the crowd chants “fire Johnny”, Laurinaitis says that he and the Chairman are both “astute businessman”. The Chairman asks if Laurinaitis is the same “astute businessman” who re-hired Brock Lesnar, a rehiring that ended up having two lawsuits brought against them. McMahon then says that Laurinaitis actually hired the “wrong one-legged wrestler”. The GM blames Triple H for what happened with Brock Lesnar before the Chairman asks why Laurinaitis signed Big Show back to the WWE, giving Show a “no cut” contract with a huge bonus, adding that Show has not “performed effectively since 1999”! Laurinaitis accuses McMahon of being “biased” given his history with Big Show, touting that Show is a changed man. Laurinaitis continues, saying that all the RAW and SmackDown Superstars look up to him and see him as a “leader”!
The job evaluation is then interrupted by the World Heavyweight Champion, Sheamus, who comments on how great Mr. McMahon looks. Sheamus then says that John Laurinaitis is a “friend”, the type of friend who fines a guy $500,000 just because he can and who holds a grudge for being accidentally bumped into. The World Heavyweight Champion then says that Laurinaitis is the “worst General Manager in WWE history” before begging McMahon to fire Laurinaitis. The GM then says that he is going to go to the back and find an opponent that will make Sheamus “sorry”. The Chairman interrupts, saying that every match on the three-hour show better be good or Laurinaitis will hear the two words he does not want to hear, “you’re fired”! After Laurinaitis storms to the backstage area, Mr. McMahon commandeers Laurinaitis’ “People Power” scooter, driving it up to the staging area before sending the scooter sailing off of the stage!
As reported on WWE.com, the #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Title, Alberto Del Rio, suffered a severe concussion last week and Del Rio will not be cleared to compete for the World Heavyweight Title at No Way Out!
With Mr. McMahon watching his every move, John Laurinaitis put World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus in action six nights before Sheamus defends the World Heavyweight Title against a to-be-named opponent at No Way Out as the GM selects Sheamus’ opponent as the World Heavyweight Champion went one-on-one with Tensai, a week after Tensai’s undefeated streak was ended by John Cena. At the end of a punishing match, it was Sheamus coming out of nowhere with the Brogue Kick on Tensai en route to picking up a big win.
Backstage, Mr. McMahon tells John Laurinaitis that the GM’s idea did not pan out, so he calling that “strike one”. The Chairman then asks how the GM will determine Sheamus’ opponent at No Way Out with Vickie Guerrero interjecting, suggesting that Laurinaitis put her two clients, Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger, in a Triple Threat Match for the World Heavyweight Title against Sheamus. McMahon then asks if Laurinaitis has a better idea, but the GM surprisingly asks Theodore Long what he would do with Long coming up with the idea of having Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, The Great Khali, and Intercontinental Champion Christian square off in a Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match with the winner challenging Sheamus at No Way Out. The Chairman credits it as a “good idea”, which immediately prompts Laurinaitis to try and take credit for it. Laurinaitis then orders Long to get him some coffee before Laurinaitis tries to fist bump McMahon, but McMahon refuses, saying the GM has “small hands”.
Moments after his loss to World Heavyweight Sheamus, Tensai takes his frustrations out on his worshipper, Sakamoto, drilling Sakamoto with right hands and hurling him over the top rope to the outside. Tensai then continues to victimize Sakamoto, driving his skull into the announce table and the steel ring post before hurling Sakamoto into the ringside barricade! Referees then rush out to keep the assault from continuing.
Backstage, WWE Tag Team Champion R-Truth is doing an interview with Matt Striker, saying that Big Show is “gonna get got” by John Cena this Sunday at No Way Out, but the interview comes to an abrupt end when Big Show knocks Truth out with the W.M.D.!
RAW featured a rare Mixed Tag Match as United States Champion Santino Marella teams with the returning Divas Champion, Layla, to face Alberto Del Rio’s personal ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, and “The Glamazon” Beth Phoenix. In the end, it was Beth Phoenix hitting the Glam Slam on Layla en route to pinning the Divas Champion to pick up the win for herself and Ricardo Rodriguez.
Backstage, WWE Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston storms into John Laurinaitis’ office, demanding a match against Big Show for what Show did to R-Truth. The GM grants Kofi’s request, but says that Kofi will face Big Show in a Steel Cage Match!
Before he and Kane challenge CM Punk in a Triple Threat Match for the WWE Title at No Way Out, Daniel Bryan appears on RAW, saying that he is nothing like CM Punk or Kane. Bryan continues that both Punk and Kane both have a “weakness” in the form of A.J., saying that Punk is “jealous” of Bryan making him tap out, so the WWE Champion is trying to make Bryan jealous. Bryan then says that Kane thinks that second base is when a woman looks him in the eye and doesn’t vomit. Bryan continues that A.J. is still in love with him and, for a short time, she had the opportunity to have something as good as him. Bryan then declares that “once you go Bryan, there’s no point in trying”. Bryan then declares that he will win the WWE Title at No Way Out before Bryan is interrupted by WWE Champion CM Punk. Punk says that he and A.J. have one thing in common in Daniel Bryan, saying that, outside of the ring, A.J. is way out of Bryan’s league and, in the ring, he is out of Bryan’s league. Punk continues, saying he “digs crazy chicks”, but not as much as he “digs” having the WWE Title. Punk then states that, regardless of who he beats, he will walk out of No Way Out as the WWE Champion. Bryan says that he used to “respect” Punk, but the WWE Champion has “changed”, saying that the fans are “voiceless” because they have nothing interesting to say. Bryan then calls Punk the biggest sellout in the WWE. Punk reminds Bryan that, about a year ago, he sat on the stage and spoke his mind and he hasn’t changed one bit and he achieved the highest level of success on his own. Punk then calls Bryan a “goat-faced moron” and, whether Bryan likes it or not, No Way Out will be a “wakeup call” when he puts Bryan to sleep.
“The Big Red Monster” Kane then interrupts, making his way to the ring, reminding both CM Punk and Daniel Bryan that, over the years, he has set Jim Ross on fire, electrocuted Shane McMahon’s testicles, and tombstoned a priest and his “pipe bombs” are actual pipe bombs and he will leave No Way Out as the WWE Champion. A.J. then interrupts, saying that, when she looked into Kane’s eyes, she saw that Kane actually had a “heart”. A.J. continues that she has never truly gotten over Daniel Bryan before saying that Punk is the “coolest guy”. A.J. then concludes that, this Sunday at No Way Out, she knows that the best man will win. John Laurinaitis then appears on the TitanTron to announce a first as the General Manager announces that the team of Kane and Daniel Bryan will face CM Punk and his tag team partner, A.J.!
With Alberto Del Rio out of action with a severe concussion, it was time to name a new #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Title as “The Show-Off” Dolph Ziggler, “The All-American American” Jack Swagger, Intercontinental Champion Christian, and “The Punjabi Giant” The Great Khali square off in a Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match with the winner challenging Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Title at No Way Out. During the match, Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger work together to take The Great Khali off of his feet and Christian takes advantage, hitting the frog splash on the big man before all three men pile on top of Khali, eliminating the biggest man in the match first! Later on in the match, Christian hits the Killswitch on Jack Swagger, but Dolph Ziggler slides in, stealing the pin to eliminate Swagger. In the end, it was a distraction by Vickie Guerrero that allowed Dolph Ziggler to hit the Zig Zag en route to becoming the new #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Title at No Way Out! After the match, Dolph Ziggler comes face-to-face with World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus.
“The Undefeated Juggernaut” was in action on RAW as Ryback faces two unknowns, Willard Fillmore & Rutherford “P.S.” Hayes, in a 2-on-1 Tornado Handicap Match. As has become the norm for Ryback, the unstoppable Superstar slams both Willard Fillmore & Rutherford Hayes down with the Double Machine Buster before piling both jobbers up, pinning Fillmore for the win.
After Big Show laid out his tag team partner, R-Truth, with the W.M.D. earlier in the night, WWE Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston would be looking for revenge as Kofi went one-on-one with “The World’s Largest Athlete” Big Show in a Steel Cage Match, which can be won by pinfall, submission, or escaping the cage with both feet touching the floor. During the match, Kofi Kingston would make a miraculous comeback, hitting Trouble in Paradise on Big Show, but Kofi’s comeback was snuffed out with the W.M.D. by Big Show, leaving Kofi unconscious and allowing Big Show to take his time in exiting the cage for the win.
“The International Sensation” was in action on RAW as Sin Cara went one-on-one with Curt Hawkins. In the end, it was Sin Cara hitting the tilt-a-whirl armbar takedown en route to picking up the win.
In honor of the upcoming 1,000th episode of Monday Night RAW on July 23, John Laurinaitis brought in a former main eventer from RAW’s past to compete as none other than the legendary “Rocky Mountain Monster” Vader returned to RAW, going one-on-one with Heath Slater! Vader did not look to miss a beat as Vader dominated Heath Slater just like the old days before Vader hits the legendary Vader Bomb on Slater en route to picking up the win. With a different ex-Superstar appearing every week leading up to RAW’s 1,000th episode, who will show up next week?
Then it was time for the unusual main event as, per the orders of John Laurinaitis, Daniel Bryan teamed with “The Big Red Monster” Kane to face WWE Champion CM Punk and Punk’s tag team partner, A.J.! During the match, Kane would knock CM Punk into the corner, but Punk inadvertently makes contact with A.J., constituting a legal tag into the match! The unbalanced A.J. would then smile at Kane before skipping around Kane. A.J. then hops in the arms of Kane, laying a big kiss on “The Big Red Monster”! Kane then tags Daniel Bryan in before abandoning the match and, after A.J. tags Punk back in. Punk then hits the elbow drop on Daniel Bryan en route to picking up the win for himself and A.J.
Then it was time for John Laurinaitis’ fate to be decided as WWE Chairman & CEO Mr. McMahon marches to the ring with a team of security guards. McMahon states that he has a certain fondness for the state of Connecticut, as he lives in the state and even his daughter, Stephanie, was born in Hartford. The Chairman continues that it seems appropriate that, while one life began in Hartford, the professional life of another will end! Mr. McMahon then calls John Laurinaitis to the ring as Laurinaitis tells the Chairman that he does not appreciate what McMahon did to his scooter. The GM then tells McMahon that the boss does not need security out there because, regardless of McMahon’s decision, he would never dream of laying a hand on the Chairman. McMahon calls Laurinaitis a “comedian”, saying that the security is not out there to protect him, security is out there to protect a “certain someone” as they escort that person out of the building and out of the WWE! Laurinaitis states that McMahon needs him and the fans need him, asking the Chairman to “do the right thing” and keep him in charge. The Chairman says that “People Power” has become synonymous with John Laurinaitis, but he has two words that have become synonymous with him. Just as Mr. McMahon prepares to fire Laurinaitis, Big Show interrupts as the giant tells the Chairman that Laurinaitis has made some mistakes, but the biggest thing that “Big Johnny” has done right was sign him to an iron-clad contract, meaning he can do whatever he wants. Show continues that McMahon could fire him, but that would result in McMahon having to pay him “millions of dollars a year” for many years to come for doing “absolutely nothing”! Big Show then says that McMahon does not pay for something without getting something in return, telling the Chairman to not get mad at Laurinaitis because they all know whose fault it is and that is McMahon’s. Show continues that McMahon made him wear costumes and embarrass himself, but with his iron-clad contract, he finally gets to be what he wants to be, a giant. Big Show tells the Chairman should be concerned about John Cena, McMahon’s “golden goose”, saying that, at No Way Out, Cena is going to get his “feathers plucked”.
Big Show is then interrupted by the arrival of his No Way Out opponent, John Cena, who says that he is going to get to the bottom of things, saying that Big Show is blaming everyone but the man he should be blaming, John Laurinaitis. Cena then tells Big Show that Show has always been a giant, but what’s different now is that Big Show has gotten everything he wanted. Cena continues that, if Big Show does not destroy him as Show has promised, then there will be no one else to blame and Big Show will no longer be seen as “The World’s Largest Athlete”, he will be seen as “the world’s largest disappointment”! Cena then says that, now that Big Show has an iron-clad contract, the big man will have to show up each and every week and he will have to listen to the crowds call him a “sellout”. Cena then asks Big Show what Show is going to do if he does not deliver on his promise to defeat Cena, but Mr. McMahon interjects with the answer as the Chairman announces that he will be seated at ringside right next to John Laurinaitis at No Way Out for the Steel Cage Match between Big Show and John Cena and, if Big Show loses, then Laurinaitis will be fired! Before McMahon can continue, Big Show grabs John Cena by the throat, prompting security to jump in and try to separate the two of them. The security team is briefly able to hold the fight off, but Big Show starts tossing security guards around before Cena breaks away, taking the fight to Big Show, but when Mr. McMahon and John Laurinaitis try to break things up, McMahon shoves Laurinaitis down. Meanwhile, Big Show swings at John Cena, but Show misses his mark, instead blasting the Chairman with the W.M.D.! As Cena, Big Show, and Laurinaitis are in shock about what just transpired, Laurinaitis and Big Show make a quick exit while the ringside doctor checks on the unconscious Mr. McMahon.
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