Raw Fusion: Ideology & Identity
The 10th September 2012 episode of Monday Night Raw starts with WWE Hall of Famer Bret “The Hitman” Hart being introduced by Justin Roberts and making his way to the ring in front of the Montreal crowd for the first time in fifteen years.
Bret Hart says that it is a great moment for him to be back in Montreal and that he is a little speechless, so he isn’t sure what to say after fifteen years. He says that the last time he was there turned out to be one of the darkest days in his life, but also one of the proudest, as he thanks the crowd and says that they have been in his heart for fifteen years and that they got him through those dark days.
CM Punk’s music hits and he makes his way to the ring, where he says that he thinks that all that has happened in the past fifteen years has been in the book that Hart wrote himself. Punk says that he doesn’t have such an ego to write a book about himself, but he says that if he did, it would be a “What if…”, such as “What if CM Punk faced Bret Hart at Survivor Series ’97 instead of Shawn Michaels?”.
Hart says that he doesn’t think it matters, as he thinks it would have taken him less than a minute to wrap Punk up like a pretzel and make the back of Punk’s feet touch the back of his head. Punk doesn’t believe him and doesn’t think that Hart believes it either, and says that what would actually happen would be that the WWE as we know it would not exist.
He says that he is the Best In The World and wouldn’t need a Vince McMahon to screw anybody, instead he would be able to beat Hart with his own two hands, causing a chain-reaction that would probably result in everybody not being there today.
Punk says that everybody would not be there today because McMahon wouldn’t have screwed Hart, so the Attitude Era wouldn’t have been born, and Punk would have jumped the sinking ship for WCW, and the WWE would have been dead.
Hart says that as far as he is concerned, the “Best In The World” was excellently executed by The Best There Is, The Best There Was, and The Best There Ever Will Be. Punk isn’t happy that Hart still calls himself that, and says that he could call himself the King of England but that it doesn’t make it true.
He also says that he could call himself the King of Memphis, but that it doesn’t make it true either, as he then asks Jerry “The King” Lawler how he feels this week, suggesting that there shouldn’t be any hard feelings between them.
Bret Hart says that he and Lawler go way back, but that the thing that he can say for Lawler is that he always showed up. He says that the so-called “Best In The World” left Lawler lying backstage last week, and when it came time for him to show up for his match with Sheamus, he left the arena, as footage is then shown of the events at the end of last week’s episode of Monday Night Raw.
CM Punk says that he was in his home-town, a town that treats champions respectfully, and he was in a hurry to enjoy his day off. He says that he left and forgot some things in the locker room, so he returned to pick them up, but when he returned he saw John Cena right in front of him.
He asks where Cena is right now, whether he is watching and has Hart’s back right now, and whether Hart is waiting to be Hart’s White Knight right now. Hart says that he did talk to Cena and that he would like to come out and talk to the people first.
Hart continues, but is interrupted by Punk when he mentions the word “respect”, as Punk says that Hart doesn’t know the meaning of the word, as if he did then he wouldn’t talk to the WWE Champion in such a manner.
Punk says that he has been the WWE Champion for longer than Hart ever was, and on Sunday he will beat Cena again and cement his legacy as the best WWE Champion of all time. He asks if Hart heard the respect and ovation when he came out, and states that it is the ovation that Punk himself deserves.
He says that Hart is just like John Cena, that Hart is overstated, over-hyped, and overrated, and that at Night Of Champions, he is going to put Cena to sleep. This prompts Bret Hart to quip that it is just like Punk is putting the crowd to sleep right now.
CM Punk says that at Night Of Champions, he will turn Cena into a beaten, broken-down empty shell of a man just like Hart is, as he then leaves.
Next, R-Truth and Kofi Kingston take on The Miz and Antonio Cesaro in a Tag Team match which sees Kingston get the victory for his team, when he hits Cesaro with Trouble In Paradise for the 3-count.
After a video recapping the events involving Sheamus and Booker T regarding the Brogue Kick on SmackDown! (click here for our SmackDown! report), and a video of a deposition involving Sheamus, David Otunga, Alberto Del Rio, and Ricardo Rodriguez, a Six-Diva Tag Team match sees Kaitlyn, Layla, and Eve Torres being pitted against Alicia Fox, Natalya, and Beth Phoenix.
The match sees Eve get the victory for her team, when she tags herself in and hits Alicia with the snap swing-neckbreaker for the 3-count.
After an interaction backstage involving AJ and CM Punk, CM Punk goes against Randy Orton – chosen due to the results of a fan Twitter vote – in a match which sees Orton get the victory as a result of a disqualification, when Dolph Ziggler makes an appearance and attempts to attack Orton.
Orton keeps the upper-hand against both men, until he focuses too much on Punk and Ziggler attacks him, and the resulting two-on-one attack prompts Jerry “The King” Lawler to enter the ring and even up the odds.
An impromptu Tag Team match is made between the team of Jerry Lawler and Randy Orton and the team of CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler (accompanied by Vickie Guerrero), which sees Orton get the victory for his team when he hits Ziggler with an RKO for the 3-count, while Punk is oblivious at ringside as he is talking to Paul Heyman.
Afterwards, Punk simply leaves with Heyman, apparently not caring about the result of the match at all.
After an interaction backstage involving Daniel Bryan, Kane, Dr. Shelby, and AJ, Ryback takes on Heath Slater in a match which sees Ryback get the victory, when he hits Slater with the muscle-buster for the 3-count.
After an interaction backstage involving AJ, Titus O’Neil, and Darren Young, Darren Young and Titus O’Neil are pitted against Daniel Bryan and Kane in a Tag Team match to determine the number one contenders to the WWE Tag Team Championship, and which sees Bryan get the victory for his team, when Kane hits him with a chokeslam that makes Bryan land on Young for the 3-count.
However from one point during the match, it is obvious that the focus on many fans and others is not on the match itself, but rather in the direction of the announce table, where we found out later that Jerry “The King” Lawler had legitimately collapsed due to a very real heart attack.
Next up, Tyson Kidd goes against Alberto Del Rio in a match which sees Del Rio get the victory, when he forces Kidd to tap out to the cross-armbreaker.
Afterwards, Del Rio addresses Sheamus and says that he just destroyed the Canadian “peasant” and that it is nothing compared to what he is going to do to Sheamus at Night Of Champions. He says that Sheamus already lost the Brogue Kick, but that it is now time for him to lose the World Heavyweight Championship.
Michael Cole then tells us about Jerry “The King” Lawler collapsing earlier and that he is receiving medical attention and that CPR is being performed on him in the locker room area, and Cole stresses the fact that it is in no way part of the entertainment, but is instead very real.
Now, David Otunga takes on Sheamus in a match which sees Sheamus get the victory, when he forces Otunga to tap out to the Texas Cloverleaf.
Afterwards, Sheamus starts to leave but then apparently changes his mind and heads back to the ring, where he then hits Otunga with a Brogue Kick. AJ makes her way out and starts to talk about defying authority, but she is interrupted from what she is about to say by Booker T interrupting too.
Booker T says that he doesn’t know what AJ was going to say, but this is World Heavyweight Championship business. Addressing Sheamus, he says that he knows that he shouldn’t be using the Brogue Kick, especially considering his internal investigation, so if Sheamus uses it against anybody at any time before his investigation is completed, Sheamus will be stripped of his World Heavyweight Championship.
After a Tout from R-Truth and Kofi Kingston, and an interaction backstage involving Kane, Daniel Bryan, and Dr. Shelby, Michael Cole once again reiterates that it is not a part of the entertainment but instead very real, as he talks about Lawler’s earlier collapse and says that the latest update regarding that is that he has been taken to a nearby hospital, and that he is receiving oxygen but is breathing on his own, but that it is a very serious situation and his prayers are with Lawler.
Cole says that out of respect for Lawler, there will be no further commentary on this broadcast, but that it is hoped that a further update will be able to be provided before the show goes off the air.
Next, Cody Rhodes is pitted against Rey Mysterio in a match which sees Rhodes get the victory, when he takes advantage of Mysterio’s momentary distraction and hits him with Cross-Rhodes for the 3-count.
Afterwards, The Miz enters the ring and starts to taunt Mysterio before apparently getting ready to hit him with the Skull-Crushing Finale, only to be grabbed by Rhodes and hit with the Cross-Rhodes himself, as Rhodes then holds the Intercontinental Championship aloft before leaving.
Michael Cole talks about what happened to Jerry Lawler earlier, once again reiterating that it is not part of the entertainment but is instead very real, he says that the latest update is that Lawler is more responsive and that he is reacting to lights in his eyes.
After a video hyping the upcoming episode of SmackDown!, Bret Hart makes his way to the ring and introduces CM Punk’s opponent at Night Of Champions for the WWE Championship, John Cena.
Hart says that Cena’s rivalry with Punk reminds him of his own rivalry with Shawn Michaels, to which Cena is grateful even being mentioned, as he thinks that he has a lot to go before he compares, and he says that he couldn’t even lace up Hart’s boots.
Cena says that Michaels earned respect because he stood for something, and that there in Montreal, the people adore Hart because they know that he stands for something. He says that Punk is a delusional man who thinks that leather and gold equals respect.
Hart asks what Cena is going to do to shut the phony punk up, prompting Punk to make his way out onto the stage asking if he was calling him a phony. Cena says that he is calling Punk a phony too, but suggests that he come to the ring if he wants to do something about it, and that two things happen at this point – either Punk stays where he is, or makes his way down as there is forty feet of distance and three ropes between him and the worst decision of his life.
CM Punk says that if that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black, he doesn’t know what is, as he says that it is quite ironic that the biggest phony in WWE history points his finger and casts judgement on its champion.
He says that he doesn’t need Cena’s permission or judgement, and that he has decided to come out and defend his good name in the face of such rampant and ridiculous disrespect. Punk says that it almost breaks his heart to see Hart and Cena standing in the ring together, as they are so much alike – which he says is not a complement – and that they can both pat each other on the back and ignore that they were both surpassed by somebody far superior than themselves.
Punk says that he is obviously talking about Shawn Michaels in the case of Bret Hart, and himself in the case of John Cena, but that a comparison can’t be drawn between himself and Michaels as he is better than Michaels.
He says that he is also better than the “hillbilly” Stone Cold Steve Austin, as well as The Rock, which he says he proved when he took out The Rock in one night, doing what Cena couldn’t do in one calendar year. Punk says that he is the best wrestler, talker, technician, and brawler, and that he doesn’t say such things due to insecurity, but that he says it because he is it, and that makes him anything but a phony.
John Cena says that he is right, as that last statement makes him a liar, a hypocrite, and a deceited scumbag, which he says CM Punk can add to his résumé. He says that Montreal is an honest city and that WWE has referred the building as “Bizarro World”, but he says that the crowd are honest and will say what they think whether the wrestlers want to hear it or not.
He says that he is going to take a lesson from Montreal and hit Punk in the face with a dose of truth whether he wants to hear it or not, as he says that for three hundred days Punk has held onto the WWE Championship and that for three hundred days that championship has been irrelevant.
Cena says that month after month, Punk has watched Main Events pass him by and his excuse is that there is some weird political conspiracy against him, but that the fact is that there is no Punk. He says that Punk has been in the WWE for many years, but the time he made the most noise was ironically the time that his microphone was switched off.
He says that he remembers those days and the talk of change, and then one triumphant night in Chicago when Punk was the victor and the fans finally said “we get change”, but they were lied to and fooled into a false claim as change was night ice-cream bars, edgy television, or new talent, but was instead “make CM Punk a star” – but Punk doesn’t even know who Punk is.
Cena says that he remembers in the rants that Punk once said that Cena had become what he despised in reference to success, but he went from the underdog to odds-on-favourite, but he did it as himself.
He says that through all of this, the wins, championships, the loss at WrestleMania, he has had to stand on his own to feet and done it as himself. Cena says that Punk has changed his ideology numerous times, stabbed his friends in the back, borrowed colours from Hall Of Famers, and stolen the elbow drop of the late great, Randy Savage, all because he has yet to find himself.
John Cena says that CM Punk thinks that just because he has the WWE Championship, it automatically means he is justified respect. He says that the only reason that Punk still has that is that he has retained it by any means necessary, and that does not define a champion in his eyes.
He says that at Night Of Champions, Punk is going to have to search for a new identity, and that Punk has been loud over the past few weeks because he realises that he is in serious jeopardy of losing the title.
Cena says then speaks French for the Montreal crowd, and when he starts to explain the English translation of what he said, he is cut off by Punk saying that it means that Cena has lowered himself to speak the language of the locals.
He says that he doesn’t lower himself to them as they are the reason that they are there, so Punk is an ignorant son of a bitch and needs a little bit of respect. Cena says that in English, what he said was that Punk says that he is going to win at Night Of Champions, but Cena is just going to kick his ass.
CM Punk attempts to hit Cena, but he is caught and pushed back, so Punk tries the same with Bret Hart, only to be caught by Hart and knocked down with a right hand, causing Punk to roll of the ring and back off slowly up the ramp.
Switching to Michael Cole, he reiterates the very real collapse of Jerry “The King” Lawler earlier on, and informs us that Lawler’s condition has stabilised and that he is breathing on his own and that his heart is beating on its own, and that he is now being prepared for a CAT scan of his chest and head.
He suggests staying tuned to WWE.com and Social Media for updates on Lawler’s condition throughout the week, and John Cena shakes Bret Hart’s hand at ringside and raises his arm, as Raw goes off the air.
Since Monday, according to updates via WWE.com, Michael Cole, Jim Ross, and Jerry “The King” Lawler himself via Tout and Twitter, Lawler is thankfully recovering well and should only be days away from being released from the hospital.