Raw Fusion: For Whom The Bell Tolls
The 30th January 2012 episode of Monday Night Raw starts with Vice President of Talent Relations and Raw Interim General Manager making his way to the ring, shaking hands with the fans and staff around the ring before entering it.
He admits that he has made mistakes, but he says that he never made them twice, and as a result is confident that he will be named the permanent General Manager of Raw. After recapping his performance at the Royal Rumble and calling it exemplary (click here for our Royal Rumble report), he turns his attention to the next event on the “Road To WrestleMania”, the Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View on the 19th February.
Laurinaitis announces that the participants of the Raw Elimination Chamber for the WWE Championship are comprised of current WWE Champion CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, R-Truth, and Chris Jericho.
Turning his attention to this episode of Raw, he announces that Beth Phoenix will defend her Divas Championship against Eve Torres, Kofi Kingston will face The Miz, Dolph Ziggler will be pitted against Randy Orton, and Daniel Bryan will go against CM Punk.
CM Punk’s music hits and he starts making his way to the ring singing “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye!”, with the crowd joining in enthusiastically, and Punk encouraging the staff at ringside to join in too.
Once he enters the ring, Laurinaitis tells Punk that he owes him an apology, as he didn’t screw him in the WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble like he claimed that he would. Punk rebuffs this by saying that he doesn’t owe him anything, and that as far as Laurinaitis being a man of his word is concerned, he isn’t – unless that word is “poorly-dressed patsy”, “ham sandwich”, or “dork”.
Punk says that he only came out to see John Laurinaitis’ face one last time, before he gets “eighty-sixed” by Triple H, but as it is the last time that they will be seeing each other, he lists the things that have brought him joy over the past few weeks, including the fact that Laurinaitis is unable to speak clearly into a microphone, and has somehow figured out how to “both suck and blow at the same time”.
John Laurinaitis says that he won’t take what CM Punk has to say personally, but that it is about business, and both he and the board know that Laurinaitis has taken Raw to a new level. On a personal note however, he would like to put their personal differences aside and holds out a hand for CM Punk to shake – Punk’s response is to tell him that the only way he would extend that hand to himself would be if Laurinaitis wants to “Go To Sleep”.
Daniel Bryan’s music hits and he makes his way to the ring, where he tells Punk and Laurinaitis that nobody cares about their petty personal problems, and that while they were conducting their little soap opera, he was busy winning a steel cage match against The Big Show and Mark Henry.
He says that he doesn’t think that anybody truly appreciates that magnitude of what he did, and though he appreciates Laurinaitis’ attempt at saving his job by putting on a match never before seen in the WWE, he claims that compared to what he went through at the Royal Rumble, he’s not much of a challenge – Punk’s response is to simply agree, and state that he’s only the best wrestler in the world.
Bryan says that is good for Punk, but says that he himself is more than just a wrestler, and he claims to be a role-model, before pointing out that he is a vegan and doesn’t even eat meat. While he has brought it up, Punk takes the opportunity to ask what he does actually eat, but Bryan sees it as Punk joking, despite Punk saying that he really wants to know.
He tells Punk that if he makes another wise-crack like that, then he will take his pipe bomb and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. CM Punk points out that they have known each other for a decade and that “clown shoes” (John Laurinaitis) is just trying to stir up trouble, so suggests that they give the crowd a show, the best wrestling match in the world.
Before Daniel Bryan can respond, Sheamus’ music hits and he makes his way to the ring too, where he points out that he won the 2012 Royal Rumble match, that Bryan and Punk will both be defending their championships at the Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View, and so that Laurinaitis doesn’t feel out, he reminds him that he could be fired by Triple H later on in the show.
He says that he has the right to be in the main event of WrestleMania, and that with any luck he will be the next WWE or World Heavyweight Champion, so he wishes both men luck before deciding to share what he claims is a great Irish saying with Laurinaitis – “may Triple H kick you in the arse so hard, you’ll be throwing up your lace-coloured undies!”, and then leaving.
After Josh Mathews interviews Wade Barrett on a balcony overlooking the ring, where Barrett says that on the upcoming episode of Friday Night SmackDown! he will do something to Randy Orton that is much worse than what he did last month (throwing Orton down the stairs), Randy Orton takes on Dolph Ziggler (accompanied by Vickie Guerrero) in a match which sees Orton get the victory, when he hits Ziggler with an RKO for the 3-count.
After a video package hyping the WrestleMania XXVIII (28) is sixty-two days away, and the announcers recap via photos the match between John Cena and Kane at the Royal Rumble, including the aftermath also involving Zack Ryder, “Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay (accompanied by Naomi and Cameron) is pitted against Tyler Reks in a match which sees Clay get the victory, when he hits Reks with the “What The Funk” for the 3-count.
After an interaction between Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, CM Punk goes against Daniel Bryan in a match which sees Bryan get the victory as a result of a disqualification, when Chris Jericho pulls Bryan out of the ring and throws him into the barricade in full view of the referee.
Afterwards, Jericho enters the ring and catches an unsuspecting Punk as soon as he turns around, by hitting him with a Codebreaker.
After a video announcing “Iron” Mike Tyson as a celebrity inductee into the 2012 Hall Of Fame, R-Truth joins commentary as The Miz takes on Kofi Kingston. Before the match gets under-way however, The Miz talks about how Kingston got an ovation for doing a handstand in the Royal Rumble match, but how he himself lasted longer than every other Superstar in the match.
He says that his road to main event WrestleMania has taken some detours, but that he will beat Kingston, defeat everyone else at the Elimination Chamber, and go on to headline WrestleMania – because he’s The Miz, and he’s awesome.
The match sees Kingston get the victory, when he hits The Miz with Trouble In Paradise for the 3-count.
After an interaction between John Laurinaitis and David Otunga, and a video hyping The Rock, Beth Phoenix is pitted against Eve Torres in a match for the Divas Championship which sees Beth get the victory and retain her title, when she hits Eve with the Glam Slam for the 3-count.
After Beth has exited the ring afterwards, Kane’s music and lighting hits as he appears on the titantron and asks how it feels that everything that happened to Zack Ryder could have been avoided because John Cena refused to embrace the hate.
He says that until Cena embraces the hate, he can’t beat Kane, and he can’t beat The Rock, so he’s going to inflict more pain upon Ryder until Cena finally gets the message. Kane says that for this episode, he is going to use Eve as a conduit to pass the message along, as his pyro and entrance hits.
Kane appears on the announcers’ side of the ring and enters it, much to Eve’s distress, but John Cena’s music hits as he approaches her, and Cena makes his way to the ring to attack Kane. The fight sees Cena hit Kane with the steel ring steps a number of times, before setting Kane up for an Attitude Adjustment through the announce table.
Kane manages to escape from his position atop Cena’s shoulders however, and high-tails it through he crowd. John Cena then celebrates his accomplishment in the ring.
Next, John Laurinaitis makes his way to the ring and talks about how he’s not nervous and doesn’t dread the situation, as he knows what he has done on Raw and that the fans appreciate it, which he says has been reflected in the ratings.
Laurinaitis decides to give himself a self-assessment performance review, rating himself five out of five for each of the points, until Triple H’s music hits and he makes his way to the ring.
Triple H says that John Laurinaitis should forget about the self-assessment and other things, as he has been watching him for a while. He says that he thought that Laurinaitis had the potential to do a good job, as unlike those in the role before him, Laurinaitis is pretty much spineless, gutless, and he didn’t think that he would see the obvious grab for power.
He says that Laurinaitis did see it, and ended up being worse than those before him, as he did something that he just can’t do, which is that he tried to use the role to make himself a star. Laurinaitis attempts to make excuses, but Triple H tells him not to lie and make it worse.
Triple H says that when Vince McMahon ran Raw, he let personal decisions cloud his judgement, which is why he had to be replaced. He cites the same happening to himself leading to his own replacement, and finally he points out that John Laurinaitis has also let personal decisions cloud his judgement.
John Laurinaitis pleads with Triple H not to do what he is about to do, and says that he will do anything to keep his job. Triple H thinks that this is a very broad statement to make, but suggests that an apology to the fans and their acceptance may help his decision.
Laurinaitis makes an apology, but the crowd fill it with boos, and Triple H quips that he didn’t hear a thing that he said because of it, but that he must have been lying as his lips were moving. Asking the crowd if they think the apology was good enough, he gets an emphatic “no”.
Triple H then suggests that he could put Laurinaitis in a gauntlet match, and let every WWE Superstar who has a gripe with Laurinaitis take a shot at him, but Laurinaitis claims that he’s not ready for that, so Triple H agrees that it wouldn’t be fair.
Thinking of his father-in-law Vince McMahon, Triple H points out that when McMahon was in charge and there was an employee that he needed to find out where their loyalty lay, they would become a member of a certain club (of course referencing the “Kiss My Ass Club”).
Laurinaitis gets on his knees and adds lip balm to his lips – until Triple H laughs at him and calls him a freak, asking him what the matter is with him. He says that he wouldn’t let his lips near him as he doesn’t even know where they have been, though he suggests he gets some help with that.
Triple H says that there is only one reason that he came out, and that it is to do what needs to be done. He says that the Board Of Directors see that he has put his personal problems behind him and have told him that when he wants to come back to run Raw, he can do so whenever he feels like it.
As a result, he starts to say that it truly warms his heart to wish Laurinaitis well in all of his future endeavours. His sentence is cut short at “all” however, as a bell tolls, and The Undertaker’s music hits as he then makes his way to the ring.
After circling Triple H, The Undertaker looks up at the WrestleMania XXVIII (28) sign, before looking at Triple H once again and dragging his thumb across his throat to apparently indicate that he wants to face Triple H at WrestleMania.
After another glance between the WrestleMania sign and Triple H by The Undertaker, Triple H’s response is to pat The Undertaker on the shoulder and leave – pausing on the stage for a moment, but then continuing to leave.
Throughout the whole confrontation, not a word is said, and The Undertaker is shown continuing to look at the WrestleMania sign, as Raw goes off the air.