Raw Fusion: Highlight Reel Rumble
The 23rd January 2012 episode of Monday Night Raw starts with CM Punk making his way to the ring and talking about his WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble against Dolph Ziggler with John Laurinaitis as the referee, as well as how Laurinaitis is the cause of the past three losses that Punk has suffered to Ziggler.
Punk talks about how Laurinaitis is a failure and how he said these things to his face, before he moves onto the subject of Laurinaitis telling the truth for once and rolling the footage from last week of Laurinaitis admitting that he will screw Punk in his match and then nailing Mick Foley with the microphone.
CM Punk calls John Laurinaitis out, telling him to be a man and at least admit it to his face. Laurinaitis doesn’t show, but John Cena’s music hits instead and he makes his way to the ring. Punk admits that he was talking about a “John”, but clarifies that he was not talking about Cena.
Cena says that Punk is out there to talk, but he says that he himself is out there for business. He says that Laurinaitis will show up in a few moments as he screwed over Zack Ryder last week and will give him a rematch for the United States Championship.
He also says that Laurinaitis will appear and give Cena a one-on-one match with Kane on this episode of Raw, in addition to the one already set to take place on Sunday at the Royal Rumble, but he says that most importantly Laurinaitis will resign as the Interim General Manager of Raw.
Punk says that it all sounds fine to him, but asks Cena what makes him think that John Laurinaitis will appear for him when he didn’t appear for Punk. It is at this point that Laurinaitis does indeed make his way out onto the stage.
First off, Laurinaitis introduces himself and his title, and he talks about how in life everybody has their bad days and are not themselves – he also comments that last week was not a bad day for him, and that he stands by everything he said.
He says that he already apologised to Zack Ryder for last week, but says that Ryder is now medically cleared to compete and that he will face Kane in a Falls Count Anywhere match later on in the show – but Cena must not get involved in the match, otherwise Ryder will never get a United States Championship rematch.
As for CM Punk and John Cena, as he says that they both appear to be on the same page, Laurinaitis announces a tag team match to take place right now between the team of Punk and Cena, and their opponents who are soon revealed to be the new United States Champion Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler (accompanied by Vickie Guerrero).
Laurinaitis sits at ringside for the match, which sees Ziggler get the victory for his team, when he takes advantage of the distraction provided by Laurinaitis and rolls up Punk with a handful of tights for the 3-count.
Afterwards, Punk says that this doesn’t change anything and offers him the chance to be made famous – he challenges him to be a WWE Superstar for the night and face him in a match later on, which Laurinaitis accepts.
Next, Chris Jericho presents the Highlight Reel, which sees him tease shooting a t-shirt into the crowd, show a video recapping his career in the WWE since his début in 1999, and finish by saying that Sunday will be the end of the world as we know it.
After a video hyping the statistics of the past Royal Rumble matches and hyping the 2012 Royal Rumble match, and an interaction between Mick Foley, Zack Ryder, and Eve Torres which sees Foley check if Ryder is okay, an interaction between Ryder, Eve, and John Cena sees Ryder tell Cena that he doesn’t want him to get involved.
Now, Zack Ryder is pitted against Kane in a Falls Count Anywhere match which sees Eve come out at one point to support Ryder, but which ends when Kane puts Ryder through a section of the stage with a chokeslam.
The referee checks on Ryder to ascertain his condition, and Eve quickly moves to do the same – until Kane’s attention turns to her, and she is forced to keep backing away while Kane advances upon her.
Upon reaching the ring, John Cena appears on the stage, causing Kane to exit through the crowd and Eve to run back up to check upon Zack Ryder as Cena does the same. Both have no other option but to watch as medical personnel and referees tend to Ryder and take him away on a stretcher.
When they reach the ambulance backstage, Eve Torres tells John Cena that it is all his fault, and although Cena tries to deny it, Eve says that he has done enough, and that she will be going with Ryder.
As the ambulance leaves, Josh Mathews appears and asks Cena about how he feels about what happened, only for Cena to knock the microphone out of his hand and look into the camera with his face starting to shake in apparent anger.
Back in the arena, Wade Barrett joins commentary as Sheamus goes against Jinder Mahal in a match which sees Sheamus get the victory, when he hits Mahal with the Brogue Kick for the 3-count.
Afterwards, Sheamus appears to challenge Barrett to enter the ring and take him on too, and though Barrett appears to accept the challenge and do so, he stops short of entering the ring and instead backs up the ramp.
Sheamus tells Barrett to take a good look at that image, as on Sunday he states that he will be the winner of the 2012 Royal Rumble match.
After Josh Mathews interviews The Miz, who hypes himself, R-Truth interrupts as “WWE Market Researcher, Eric Fleischer” by calling The Miz the “number one jackass”, Laurinaitis makes his presence known and says that he can’t even hear himself think with what he keeps hearing from them, so adds the stipulation that whichever one of them loses in their match later on will be the number one entrant in the 2012 Royal Rumble match.
After a video recapping the events of Friday Night SmackDown! involving William Regal and Brodus Clay (click here for our SmackDown! report), William Regal joins commentary as “Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay takes on Heath Slater in a match which sees Clay get the victory, when he hits Slater with the “What The Funk” (according to Michael Cole, so it has apparently undergone a name change from the the previous “Ah, Funk It!”) for the 3-count.
After a video hyping the 2012 Royal Rumble and recaps the 2007 Royal Rumble match which was won by The Undertaker, and a video recapping the events of two months ago involving The Miz and R-Truth, The Miz is pitted against R-Truth in a match which sees Truth get the victory (causing The Miz to be assigned the number one entry in the 2012 Royal Rumble match), when he hits jumping reverse STO for the 3-count.
After the announcers say that the result of the earlier events involving Zack Ryder is him being diagnosed with a broken back, and David Otunga hands John Laurinaitis a fax which he says can’t wait, CM Punk is set to go against John Laurinaitis.
John Laurinaitis is introduced multiple times before finally making his way out to the ring with David Otunga, but before the match can take place, Laurinaitis says that he has some unfortunate news that he needs to share with the fans and talent.
He says that he received a fax from the WWE Board Of Directors, which is then read out by Otunga. It states that they are concerned with his actions and especially with what he stated last week that he will screw CM Punk in his match at the Royal Rumble.
As a result, Laurinaitis’ position as Interim General Manager of Raw is under review, and a formal job evaluation will be conducted next week on Raw by WWE COO Triple H to decide whether he will continue as General Manager or be terminated.
John Laurinaitis starts to explain what this means to CM Punk, but Punk interrupts and says that this means is that if Laurinaitis screws him on Sunday, then he is out of a job. He says that what this also means is that there is really nothing stopping Punk from knocking Laurinaitis’ teeth out of his face before Triple H shows him the door.
Laurinaitis claims that Punk has it all wrong, that the Board Of Directors is right and that this is his wake-up call, and he apologises to the fans and Punk. Punk asks if this is supposed to be seen as a misunderstanding, just like when Mick Foley was denied a spot in the 2012 Royal Rumble match by Laurinaitis last week.
Laurinaitis says that he made a mistake and says that Foley is in the match, and additionally, he claims that he was always going to call the WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble down the middle, but that he only said what he did because CM Punk made fun of him.
CM Punk says that right now, John Laurinaitis is like the spoiled little girl who gets what she wants all year round, and then gets worried near Christmas that she will get coal from Santa. He says that what he does understand is that if Triple H has inherited any of his father-in-law’s traits, he hopes it is one particular thing that he says to Laurinaitis – “You’re Fired!”.
John Laurinaitis claims that this won’t happen as he has been part of the WWE for ten years, and that he took Talent Relations from the dark ages under Jim Ross and made it a corporate entity, so he says that he is not going anywhere.
Unfortunately however, he says that the match between them will not be going on under the circumstances, but he assures him that he has an adequate substitute in David Otunga.
Otunga immediately starts attacking Punk, but Punk ends up gaining the upper-hand and makes Otunga tap out to the Anaconda Vise in full view of Laurinaitis – though it doesn’t mean anything for the match as the referee didn’t ring the bell, so it never officially got under-way.
CM Punk then starts to advance upon John Laurinaitis, and after swatting away David Otunga with a couple of well-placed kicks when he notices him trying to sneak up on him again, Laurinaitis attempts to extend the hand of friendship by holding out his hand for Punk to shake.
Punk grabs the hand, but it isn’t to shake it, as he pulls him towards him and places him upon his shoulders, after which he hits him with the GTS. Unfortunately for Punk however, Dolph Ziggler slides into the ring behind him moments afterwards and hits him with the Zig-Zag.
Ziggler stands tall over the downed Punk, as Raw goes off the air.