WWE Raw rolled into Chicago on September 3, 2012. The road to Night of Champions got bumpy for John Cena as CM Punk sent a message with the assistance of Paul Heyman. Daniel Bryan and Kane hugged it out while AJ Lee had a mental breakdown after some prodding from Vicki Guerrero.
- The show opened with Michael Cole at the announcer’s desk by himself. CM Punk, in his native Chicago, was shown on video taking Jerry Lawler out backstage. Lawler attempted to get his hands on Punk after the two were separated, only to eat a boot, putting him out of commission for the evening.
- Sheamus came out to the ring to talk about Alberto Del Rio, only to be interrupted by CM Punk. Punk spoke about Sheamus, by virtue of being the World Heavyweight Champion, being the second best in the world and a notch below him on the food chain. AJ Lee came out to book Sheamus vs. Punk and John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio for later on in the show. One good thing that has come about with the new three-hour format is matches that people can really sink their teeth into.
- Dolph Ziggler defeated Randy Orton with a rollup coupled with a handful of tights. These two are among the best in the company and really have good chemistry when in the ring together. Ziggler is really getting to the point where he may be better off without Vicki Guerrero.
- The Miz joined Michael Cole on commentary, immediately piquing my interest. We tend to forget that The Miz comes from an area where he’s able to adapt on the fly. He’s suited perfectly for color commentary.
- Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara defeated Cody Rhodes and Tensai. For Lucha Libre fans, this is a dream pairing and possibly one of the few times we’ll get to see it happen as Mysterio gets on in age. Tensai is now at the point where he really means next to nothing. A repackaging of the big man might be for the best.
- Sheamus and CM Punk never got to fight as Punk made his way out, spoke about his hometown and a bunch of people having the day off for Labor Day. He announced he was taking the day off too and left. He was met in the parking lot by AJ Lee, whom advised him he couldn’t leave. Punk pointed out his contract gave him personal days and today was one of them. He got into a car and left as AJ looked on, despondent. A great way to get the Chicago faithful to turn on their guy.
- Sheamus defeated Jack Swagger with the Cloverleaf. Swagger was sent out as a replacement and was taken out in under 3 minutes. Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez attacked Sheamus after the match, only for both to get taken out. Rodriguez in particular ate a painful looking Brogue Kick and came up glassy eyed afterward.
- Eve defeated Kaitlyn. While the Divas have shown a lack of experience for quite some time, there are talented people in the division. Eve is one of them. Kaitlyn is not. Seeing Eve transition into a program with Layla is much better than the damage Kaitlyn could do. This match featured Kaitlyn botching a hip toss and taking a mystery bump out of nowhere.
- Ryback defeated Jinder Mahal. For all the flak the gimmick was given, Ryback is getting over by the WWE being consistent with his push. Fans have moved away from the “Goldberg” chants and seem to be really getting into the former Nexus member.
- Daniel Bryan and Kane, after being featured in more hilarious anger management videos all night, met in the ring for the RAW Active portion of the evening. 55 percent of the fans voted that the two men “hug it out”. This led to a long session of delay before the two men seemingly buried the hatchet with a hug. Both then kept piling on with friendly pushes until a full fledged brawl broke out, ending with Bryan smashing Kane with a chair and high tailing it to the back. The past two weeks these two have been the highlight of the show.
- Antonio Cesaro defeated Santino Marella. The crowd, and probably most fans at home, are not buying that Santino’s Cobra has a mind of its own. Cesaro should shift into a new feud. Wouldn’t it be nice to see a newcomer jump Cesaro to kick-start a feud? What about Cesaro’s old Ring of Honor tag team partner, Kassius Ohno? That’s something people would like to see.
- Zack Ryder defeated Heath Slater. Ryder is floundering and Slater isn’t doing much of note. Why not put these two into a dysfunctional tag team? Additionally, this is where the new 3-hour format starts to hurt as the show feels as though it is laboring to the finish.
- Vicki Guerrero took to the ring in protest of being assaulted by AJ Lee last week on Raw. Vicki stated she wanted an apology, which brought out AJ. AJ advised the crowd that the WWE Board of Directors told her she wasn’t to lay a hand on any WWE employee again and she had to apologize, which she did begrudgingly. Vicki demanded a personal apology, which she got. She then slapped AJ twice, trying to goad her into a fight before leaving the ring. AJ took a chair and slammed it in the ring, having a mental breakdown.
- Alberto Del Rio defeated John Cena in a Falls Count Anywhere match. These two had a great matchup, with a ton of around the ring brawling that led to a Del Rio back-suplex on Cena through the announce table. They made their way backstage where Cena hit an Attitude Adjustment, only to be blindsided by a kick from none other than CM Punk. With Cena down, Del Rio stole the victory.
- After Del Rio scampered away, Punk lifted Cena up and hit the Go To Sleep on the hood of a car. Punk knelt down and said “Respect” before hoisting the WWE Championship up from the side of the car. As the car pulled away, WWE gave fans a huge surprise as the driver of the car stopped to look at Cena. The driver was none other than Paul Heyman, last seen with Brock Lesnar. As many might remember, Punk advised last year in his big promo that he was “a Paul Heyman guy.” Interesting times seem to be ahead for Cena and the WWE.
What did you think of the show? Were you surprised to see Heyman with Punk? Excited for next week? Sound off in the comments below!
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