Remember way back when NWO stood for New World Order? That’s what awaits the WWE after tonight as someone was indeed fired. Four championships were also up for grabs and there were three clean finishes, so that’s a pretty good ratio. Also, a tag team finds themselves with a new manager, Triple H suggests a legal loophole for Brock Lesnar, and we learn more about Santino’s socks and Ricardo Rodriguez’s underwear than we ever asked for.
The main event puts John Cena and Big Show in a steel cage. John Laurinaitis and Vince McMahon both make individual entrances but are clearly there supporting their favourites.
Seconds in, Cena has to slip away from a chokeslam, and tries two early escapes before he gets chopped, avalanched, and thrown a few times into the cage. Big Show goes for broke and lands a Vader Bomb. He then climbs to the top rope, pulling Cena up with him by the throat, bangs Cena’s head off the cage, and then misses an elbow drop. Just for the record, yes, Big Show missed an elbow drop off the top rope.
Cena has life and looks to escape via the door when Laurinaitis pulls the ref away and shuts the door. McMahon goes to open the door but Laurinaitis runs him into the cage, slamming the door shut in Cena’s face. Big Show chokeslams Cena for a two-count, knocks out the ref accidentally with a WMD and then Cena intentionally.
As Big Show readies his escape, in comes the cavalry. Brodus Clay waits outside the door with a chair, then Alex Riley and Santino, then Zack Ryder, then Kofi Kingston, and they all work to keep the giant in the cage. Cena gets back to his feet and delivers an Attitude Adjustment to Big Show, and a door-to-wall race starts. Clay leaves his post at the door to keep Laurinaitis out of the picture and Cena still wins the race handily.
Laurinaitis takes a swing at Cena with his crutch, and gets an AA onto the Spanish announcer’s table instead — but in between, he’s fired by Mr. McMahon to really make a waste of the entire Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny story… unless there’s a technicality coming tomorrow night on Raw.
The next WWE PPV is Money in the Bank, On July 15th from Phoenix, AZ
Match #1 – Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero) vs. Sheamus (champion) – for the World Heavyweight Championship
Two pet peeves for the price of one: the show opens with a world championship match, and the champion enters first. Ziggler (who is getting more cheers from the New Jersey crowd than Sheamus, by the way) courts danger by asking for a kiss from Guerrero at the opening bell, and almost turns right into a Brogue Kick just like Daniel Bryan. Sheamus appropriately pushes Ziggler around in the opening minutes, halting the challenger’s attempts to gain an edge with power reversals.
Ziggler finds an opening by yanking Sheamus shoulder-first into the ringpost, and soon afterwards he drops him with what Lawler accurately describes as a leaping super-DDT. The challenger switches his focus to wearing Sheamus down with chinlocks and leg-scissors, and eventually his sleeper hold, but the champ has the frame of mind to shoulder-toss his opponent over the ropes.
A botched cross-body by Ziggler turns into a botched White Noise by Sheamus, then a Zig-Zag for a two-count. Ziggler ups the ante by catching Sheamus on the top rope and bringing him down to the mat in a sit-out DDT for another near-fall. Ziggler tries another sleeper, but Sheamus turns it into a backbreaker, then White Noise, and a Brogue Kick for a clean win.
Winner via pinfall and STILL World Heavyweight Champion – Sheamus
Who should be power-walking backstage but the concussed Vince McMahon. John Laurinaitis, in his incredible red, white, and blue suit, chases him down. McMahon doesn’t want to talk to him and escapes into his office. Similarly, Laurinaitis doesn’t want to talk to Josh Matthews and walks off on him.
Match #2 – Santino Marella vs. Ricardo Rodriguez – Tuxedo Match
Rodriguez draws first blood, tearing the pocket off of Santino’s baby-blue suit, but Santino manages to get Rodriguez’s shirt off while the crowd chants “boring”. Next comes Santino’s pants, revealing a Cobra sock which he uses to strike Rodriguez’s face and strip him down right to his Alberto Del Rio underoos.
Winner via forced undressing: Santino Marella
Matt Striker is backstage looking for CM Punk’s comment on his relationship with AJ. Punk laughs and says there is no relationship, and tonight is all about the belt. All the same, AJ shows up and gives him a good luck peck.
Match #3 – Cody Rhodes vs. Christian (champion) – for the Intercontinental Championship
Christian’s early offence would have really upset Rhodes a few months ago as he slaps, rams, and punches away at the challenger’s face. Rhodes’ responds with a more technical assault, focusing on Christian’s left arm and shoulder. As Christian perches on the top rope, Rhodes unceremoniously shoves the champ over the ropes, bouncing him off the apron and down to the floor.
Christian fights back with a diving DDT that actually over-rotates Rhodes and lands him on his back. They battle back and forth back into the ring where they swing punches toe-to-toe, and soon afterwards go toe-to-toe with finishers. A Kill-Switch gets a two-count, a frog splash is blocked, two dodged Beautiful Disaster kicks, an escaped Kill Switch … and finally a spear on Rhodes for the win.
Winner via pinfall and STILL Intercontinental Champion – Christian
Match #4 –Primo & Epico (w/ Rosa Mendes & A.W.) vs. Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel vs. The Primetime Players (Titus O’Neil & Darren Young) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) – Fatal Four-Way for the WWE Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Spot
The Usos and the Primetime Players start off before Gabriel finds himself squaring off with Jimmy. Jimmy tags his brother then lifts Gabriel into the air for Jey to bring him down again with a Samoan Drop. Epico tags himself in, and he works with Primo to take over the match for a long sequence of keeping Gabriel grounded.
Gabriel finally tags Kidd who brings Primo down with a neckbreaker off the top rope, only to have Primo counter with a Backstabber which might have counted for a pinfall but for O’Neil breaking up the cover. The Usos enter the ring and super-kick O’Neil out of the ring, then everyone ends up crowded on the floor as Kidd takes Primo on top of the whole group with a hurricanrana off the top rope.
Out of that whole mess, A.W. tosses Primo into the ring to be finished by Young by a leaping gutbuster, while preventing Epico from entering the ring to help.
Winners via pinfall and #1 Contenders for the WWE Tag team Championship: The Primetime Players
A.W. enters the ring with his new clients to celebrate; Primo, Epico, and Rosa are understandably upset and take A.W. out, only to be taken out themselves from behind by O’Neil and Young.
Next up is Triple H in the ring to suggest an old fashioned resolution to his legal issues with Brock Lesnar: he wants a fight at Summerslam. Backstage, Daniel Bryan is warming up when he gets a visit from AJ and another good luck kiss.
Match #5 – Beth Phoenix vs. Layla (champion) – for the Divas Championship
Layla takes Phoenix’s tiara, mocking the Glamazon and actually forcing her to cower from the champ. Phoenix knocks Layla off the apron and starts tossing her around, then stretching her back in a variety of ways. Layla scrambles out of the Glam Slam, though, getting a two-count with a DDT before planting Pheonix with the Lay-Out for a squeaky-clean win.
AJ is backstage on her next quest, and she finds Kane in the red hues of the basement. She is a little lost for words, so just gives him the peck — but Kane pulls her back in for a Big Red Kiss, leaving AJ a little flustered.
Match #6 – Hunico (w/ Camacho) vs. Sin Cara
Back when Hunico was Twin Cara, these two had a rather underwhelming encounter. This time, Hunico really has Cara’s number, dodging his patented aerial attacks and keeping him planted on the mat with a succession of chin-locks. A powerbomb on Cara only seems to charge him up, and he battles back quickly with La Mistica.
Winner via pinfall: Sin Cara
Match #7 – Daniel Bryan vs. Kane vs. CM Punk – for the WWE Championship
Bryan and Punk form a temporary team with a set of vicious kicks to Kane, bringing him down before starting a “Yes” vs. “No” kick-off against one-another. But Kane quickly recuperates and takes his time working both competitors, being especially nasty to Punk and running him into, and wrapping him around, the ringpost.
Bryan comes back with a vengeance, nearly kicking Kane’s mask right off, then leaps off the top with a dropkick on both opponents. He readies Punk for a superplex, but Kane lifts him off and onto his shoulders while Punk takes advantage by nailing Bryan with a Doomsday Device. He drops an elbow on Bryan and lifts him up for a GTS, but Kane levels the champ with a boot to the face.
Punk reverses his fortune and tries an elbow drop on Kane, but the monster rolls away and Punk splats instead. Bryan climbs the ropes and lands a headbutt on Punk, then clamps on the Yes Lock. Punk rolls out and gets a GTS on Bryan, but Kane intercedes and chokeslams the champ for a very close two-count. Kane thinks Tombstone, but Punk shoves him into the ropes where he hits AJ who had climbed up on the apron. Punk gets the distracted Kane with the GTS.
Winner via pinfall and STILL WWE Champion: CM Punk
As Punk celebrates in the ring, Kane lifts AJ off the ground and carries her to the back, where the camera catches AJ smiling back at the champ.
Match #8 – Ryback vs. Dan Delaney & Rob Grymes
There had better be something different about this match than Ryback’s string of TV squashes.
Winner via pinfall: Ryback
Match #9 – John Cena (w/ Vince McMahon) vs. Big Show (w/ John Laurinaitis) – Steel Cage Match
Winner via escape: John Cena
Dave Hillhouse is a teacher and screenwriter, and, should he ever unfortunately be the object of a lawsuit, will repeat Triple H’s “Let’s fight” speech and see how that goes.