Guest Booker: Hustle & GLOW
Nov 1, 2012 - 5:20:28 PM
Writer's Note: You know what it's time for? Yet another fantasy booking column series with very lofty goals and high hopes. The difference between this and previous tries is that I'm not alone for this one. My main homie, GLOW, of Twitter and Lords Of Podcast Roundtable fame, is working with me here, and I'll be damned if he isn't more pumped up for this than I am.
What we're going to do is book a year's worth of WWE programming. A full year. A 12-month period. The basis of these columns will be that GLOW and I were hired by WWE as the head of their Creative Team on the day after WrestleMania 28. We start working with that night's episode of Raw, and we work through WrestleMania 29. In a perfect world, the final column in this series will be posted in the final days/weeks leading up to the actual WrestleMania 29. That gives us five months to post 12 months worth of columns. We'll be taking the actual results of WrestleMania 28.. from Primo & Epico successfully defending the Tag Team Titles against The Usos and Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd in a pre-show Triple Threat Match to The Rock beating John Cena in the show's main event.. and we'll go from there. All of the actual champions coming into April 2nd, 2012 will be our champions for the beginning of the series, whether we agree with them being the champions or not.
At the end of every column, we will be turning the floor over to all of you, and you can tell us what you liked and didn't like about what we did. I know some of you aren't big fans of the fantasy booking genre, but I'll say it again.. instead of just reading Columnist A say "this is a good idea" or "this is a bad idea", this allows me (and GLOW, of course) to share our own ideas. It's a lot easier to respect a columnist's opinions on things if you know what he or she would do instead if they don't like something, etc. It's far too easy to just sit back and say "this sucks" and not share your own thoughts of what should be happening. These are going to be some lengthy columns, so let's get on with it already. No sense making this any longer than it needs to be.
First things first, let's jog everyone's memory with the results of WrestleMania 28..
- Primo & Epico defeated The Usos and Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd (Remained Tag Team Champions)
- Sheamus defeated Daniel Bryan (New World Champion)
- Kane defeated Randy Orton
- Big Show defeated Cody Rhodes (New Intercontinental Champion)
- Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos defeated Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres
- The Undertaker defeated Triple H inside Hell In A Cell, with Shawn Michaels as Special Guest Referee
- Team Johnny (David Otunga, Mark Henry, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz & Drew McIntyre) defeated Team Teddy (Santino, R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder, The Great Khali & Booker T), making John Laurinaitis the General Manager of both Raw and Smackdown
- CM Punk defeated Chris Jericho (Remained WWE Champion)
- The Rock defeated John Cena
Now, the list of the champions coming into April 2nd, 2012..
- Divas Champion: Beth Phoenix
- Tag Team Champions: Primo & Epico
- United States Champion: Santino
- Intercontinental Champion: Big Show
- World Champion: Sheamus
- WWE Champion: CM Punk
Monday Night Raw - April 2nd, 2012
Opening Segment: The show would start off in the same way it did. Having The Rock come out to cut a promo in front of a lava-hot crowd, that just so happens to be his hometown crowd, is a great idea. The Miami fans wanted to hear from "their guy", who had just beaten John Cena, when most people were picking Cena to win. Cena was the full-time guy, while Rock was the part-timer that was coming in to "put Cena over". I like the direction his promo went in, so I wouldn't change it much at all. Rock has to be Rock.. cracking jokes, delivering one-liners, etc. It's what the people want, so it's what the people would get. The end of his promo is the main "hook". Rock says that WrestleMania wasn't his last match, and that not only will he be back, but that he'll be WWE Champion again. He doesn't say when he'll be WWE Champion again, just that he will be WWE Champion again. That gets people talking, and buzz is a great thing in the world of wrestling today.
Match #1: Santino VS Jack Swagger, Non-Title Match (Winner: Santino)
After the match, we get something similar to what we actually got.. Dolph Ziggler and Swagger attack Santino, who eventually escapes, but is chased down, only to be saved by Brodus Clay. This provides Brodus with his first real feud, and places him in a storyline with people that he can use to help get him even more over.
Match #2: R-Truth VS David Otunga (Winner: R-Truth)
In-ring promo: CM Punk comes out to discuss retaining the WWE Title at WrestleMania. He can talk about John Laurinaitis now being the General Manager of both Raw and Smackdown, and how that's going to run the company into the ground. Towards the end of the promo, Chris Jericho can run-in and attack him, continuing their promo. Jericho would get the upper hand, only for Punk to even things out, before Jericho gets a low blow and locks in the Walls Of Jericho for a while until things are broken up by referees and officials. No need for the "alcohol" stuff to come into play again.
Match #3: Alex Riley VS Daniel Bryan (Winner: Bryan)
A squash match, in an attempt to make sure Bryan looks strong after the way he lost at WrestleMania, and that he doesn't fall too far down the proverbial totem pole. After the match, Bryan cuts a very brief promo, stating that he wants his World Title back, and he tells Sheamus that this isn't over. Cameras can cut to Sheamus in the back after the promo, watching on the monitor, smirking as if to say "bring it on".
Match #4: Kofi Kingston VS Cody Rhodes (Winner: Kofi)
Match #5: Zack Ryder VS The Miz (Winner: Miz)
In-ring promo: John Cena comes out to sell extreme disappointment after losing to The Rock at WrestleMania. No jokes. No attempts at humor. After spending an entire year building his match with The Rock as the biggest and most important match of his career.. one that he needed to win.. he can't be in a good mood whatsoever after losing. In fact, he should be close to having a bit of a breakdown in this promo. It would match perfectly with the mood you'd think he would be in after everything he said in his promos leading up to WrestleMania. He can start doubting himself. He can start questioning if he still has "it" anymore. He can mention that he put his heart into the match.. his blood, his sweat, his tears, his years of hard work.. but it wasn't enough, and he still lost. He can even start to hint at leaving the company. Nothing direct, but hints can be dropped that he doesn't think he can cut it anymore, and that he doesn't want to continue letting his fans down. Just as it seems like he will be leaving, Brock Lesnar's music hits. Cena looks on, confused, as Brock makes his way to the ring. Without saying a word, Brock gets in the ring, hits a clothesline on Cena, then hits him with an F5, and we close out the show with the returning Lesnar standing tall in the middle of the ring as Michael Cole wonders just what Brock is doing back in WWE.
Friday Night Smackdown - April 6th, 2012
Opening Segment: We'll start Smackdown off with an in-ring promo by the brand new World Champion, Sheamus. I wouldn't have him respond verbally to the smattering of boos from the WWE Universe, but he can smile or chuckle to himself to acknowledge that he notices it. During the promo, Daniel Bryan comes out to interrupt, demanding a rematch. He can go over the usual.. he was distracted by AJ, etc.. and Sheamus, without officially turning the rematch down, can downplay it, saying that he won the match in 18 seconds, so he doesn't think he has much left to prove against Bryan anymore. Some back-and-forth on the mic before Bryan tries to attack Sheamus. Sheamus fights it off, then goes to hit the Brogue Kick on Bryan, but Bryan ducks it and escapes the ring to end the segment.
Match #1: Ryback VS Local Jobber (Winner: Ryback)
Match #2: Beth Phoenix VS Nikki Bella, Non-Title Match (Winner: Beth)
In-ring promo: A returning Alberto Del Rio cuts a brief, by-the-numbers promo, declaring that he is officially back, and that he wants the World Title. Nothing spectacular, but it gets him fresh in everyone's minds again.
Backstage segment: Daniel Bryan is in John Laurinaitis' office, demanding a rematch for the World Title. Laurinaitis says that he will grant Bryan's request.. but not tonight. He says that he will give Bryan a rematch at Extreme Rules. He then says that he has booked a tag team main event for tonight. He announces Sheamus & Randy Orton VS Daniel Bryan & Kane. If Sheamus' team wins, Sheamus gets to choose the stipulation for the World Title match at Extreme Rules. If Bryan's team wins, Bryan gets to choose the stipulation. Bryan reluctantly agrees, knowing he can't change anything.
Match #3: Kofi Kingston VS Cody Rhodes (Winner: Kofi, after Cody gets distracted by Big Show)
This can be one of the lengthier matches of the week, reaching the 12-15 minute mark.
Match #4: Tyson Kidd VS Heath Slater (Winner: Kidd)
Match #5: Sheamus & Randy Orton VS Daniel Bryan & Kane (Winners: Bryan & Kane)
Another lengthy match. Orton and Kane brawl into the crowd after the match is over, leaving Bryan and a fallen Sheamus in the ring. Bryan gets a mic and says that he will meet Sheamus at Extreme Rules in a 30-minute Ironman Match. He wants to prove to Sheamus, and to the world, that what happened at WrestleMania was a fluke, and if he has enough time to work with, he will show just that.
Monday Night Raw - April 9th, 2012
Opening segment: CM Punk comes out, looking upset, and cuts a promo in the ring about his attack at the hands of Chris Jericho last week. Punk can say that he defeated Jericho at WrestleMania, but apparently it just wasn't enough, and now Jericho wants some more. He calls Jericho out, but Jericho doesn't respond. As Punk begins to speak again, Jericho appears on the TitanTron. Jericho will admit to one thing.. he underestimated Punk. He says that he has made a career out of learning from his mistakes and never making them again, and that will continue as he defeats Punk to win the WWE Title. Punk says that he wants Jericho at Extreme Rules in his hometown of Chicago. He says that, after he beats Jericho, that will be it. No more title shots. That's it. Jericho accepts.
Match #1: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth VS Cody Rhodes & David Otunga (Winners: Kofi & Truth)
During the match, Big Show comes out, scaring Cody into the crowd, leaving Otunga behind to take the loss.
Match #2: Brodus Clay VS Jack Swagger (Winner: Brodus, by DQ)
Interference by Dolph Ziggler leads to the disqualification. Two-on-one attack for a bit, until Santino runs out for the save, clearing the ring. As he checks on Brodus, he gets attacked by Dolph and Swagger, who leave both men down in the middle of the ring.
Backstage segment: In John Laurinaitis' office, he is on the phone with a man that we would find out to be Brock Lesnar. He says it was his honor to allow Brock back, and he would like Brock to return to Raw next week to officially accept and sign a WWE contract. During the call, Laurinaitis also mentions tonight's two main events, in passing, telling Brock to watch as CM Punk takes on Mark Henry, and as Randy Orton faces Kane in a WrestleMania rematch.
Match #3: CM Punk VS Mark Henry, Non-Title Match (Winner: Punk)
Lengthy match, helping to make both men look strong.
Match #4: Zack Ryder VS Drew McIntyre (Winner: Ryder)
Match #5: Randy Orton VS Kane (Winner: Orton)
Orton needs his "heat" back after losing to Kane at WrestleMania.
In-ring promo: John Cena comes out to address the attack by Brock Lesnar last week. He can say that he was at one of his lowest moments last week. After years of main eventing shows all around the world, winning titles, starring in movies as a representative of the company, and achieving pretty much all there is to achieve, he finally reached the point where he began to question if he could still do it. He'd say that losing to The Rock at WrestleMania put him in a funk. He didn't answer his phone, and didn't respond to messages that people had been leaving him. Right when he was about to walk away, though, someone from his past decided to show up again and make his presence felt. Cena would say that he heard John Laurinaitis say earlier that Brock would be appearing on Raw next week, and would say that he'll be right in the middle of the ring to greet him. An actual uneventful closing segment, just used to help build the Cena/Lesnar confrontation for the following week.
Friday Night Smackdown - April 13th, 2012
Opening segment: Daniel Bryan comes out to cut a promo. He continues to put over his upcoming Ironman Match with Sheamus. Eventually, he's interrupted by Sheamus himself, who comes out and plays the comedic role to Bryan's more serious approach. Sheamus says he's actually happy that Bryan chose the Ironman stipulation, because it just means he gets to beat him up for 30 minutes now. As they argue, Randy Orton interrupts them and comes out, feeling left out of the title picture. Bryan is quick to point out that Orton took the loss in their tag match the previous week, which upsets Orton. Orton challenges Bryan to a match tonight, saying that he'll take him out and then come after Sheamus and the World Title.
Match #1: Primo & Epico VS Hunico & Camacho, Non-Title Match (Winners: Primo & Epico)
Match #2: Tyler Reks VS Alberto Del Rio (Winner: Del Rio)
Backstage segment: Big Show is interviewed, and he mentions that Cody Rhodes made his life hell leading up to WrestleMania, so he's only trying to return the favor. He says that taking the Intercontinental Title was only the beginning, then tells Cody to pay close attention after the break to see what he does to Kofi Kingston.
Match #3: Big Show VS Kofi Kingston, Non-Title Match (Winner: Show, by DQ)
Before the match, Cody Rhodes comes out to join the commentary team. Show hits Kofi with the WMD, but before he can make the pin, Cody runs in and hits him with a chair, drawing the DQ.
Match #4: Randy Orton VS Daniel Bryan (Winner: Orton)
Pay-per-view length here (in the 20-minute vicinity), allowing both men to do their thing. Towards the end of the match, Sheamus' music hits, distracting Bryan. Sheamus never comes out, though, and Bryan turns around to walk right into an RKO to take the loss. As Orton celebrates the win, Kane appears on the TitanTron, saying that he isn't done with Orton yet, and promises to finally destroy Orton once and for all.
Monday Night Raw - April 16th, 2012
Opening segment: John Laurinaitis is shown in his office, before the opening of the show, reminding the world that Brock Lesnar is in the building, and he tells John Cena that he will be fined and suspended if he puts his hands on Lesnar before the contract signing.
Match #1: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth VS The Miz & David Otunga (Winners: Kofi & Truth)
Backstage segment: Mark Henry is interviewed, setting up his rematch with CM Punk. Henry name drops Brock Lesnar, questioning why the wrestling world is discussing Brock when the sport's most dangerous man is standing right there. Henry promises to show the world what a real "monster" looks like tonight.
Match #2: Santino VS Jack Swagger (Winner: Santino)
Brodus Clay comes out in Santino's corner, while Dolph Ziggler comes out in Swagger's corner. Santino and Brodus dance with The Funkadactyls after the match.
Backstage segment: John Cena walks into Laurinaitis' office and says that he doesn't care about what was said earlier. He tells Laurinaitis that he's going to look for Brock Lesnar, and if he finds him before the contract signing, there might not be anyone to sign that contract. As Cena walks out of the office, Laurinaitis pulls his phone out and begins to text someone.
Match #3: CM Punk VS Mark Henry, Non-Title Match (Winner: Henry)
Another lengthy television match. Chris Jericho comes out to interfere at the end, giving Henry the win.
Match #4: Beth Phoenix VS Alicia Fox, Non-Title Match (Winner: Beth)
Backstage segment: John Cena continues to search for Brock Lesnar, but is unable to find him.
Match #5: Zack Ryder VS Drew McIntyre (Winner: Ryder)
In-ring promo: John Laurinaitis comes to the ring and gives an over-the-top introduction of Brock Lesnar, basically listing everything that Brock has accomplished since his days in high school. This brings Lesnar himself out to the ring. In another over-the-top moment, Laurinaitis presents Lesnar with an official WWE contract that he took out of a solid gold briefcase. Just as Lesnar is about to sign the contract, John Cena's music hits, and Cena charges to the ring, sending Lesnar scurrying. Laurinaitis reminds Cena that he will be fined and suspended if he touches Brock. Cena gets a mic and says that he just wants revenge for what happened last week. He tells Laurinaitis that he wants Lesnar in a match since he's going to be an official member of the WWE roster. Laurinaitis says that he will give Cena the match at Extreme Rules, but that he has to allow Brock to sign the contract for it to happen. Cena backs off, allowing Lesnar to get back into the ring. Brock signs the contract, and is immediately tackled by Cena. We go off the air with both men brawling in the ring, with neither man getting a clear advantage.
Friday Night Smackdown - April 20th, 2012
Match #1: Tyson Kidd VS The Miz (Winner: Kidd)
Nice opening match, with the "big upset" aspect being put over well by the announcers.
Backstage segment: Randy Orton is interviewed. Your basic Orton promo. He warns Kane to be careful of what he asks for, and says that he's not a difficult person to find if Kane decides that he wants a fight.
Match #2: Ryback VS Local Jobber (Winner: Ryback)
Match #3: Randy Orton VS Drew McIntyre (Winner: Orton)
We get multiple teases of an appearance by Kane, but Kane never does arrive, and Orton fights through the attempted distractions to get the win.
Backstage segment: Sheamus and Big Show are interviewed, and they hype the main event, where they will face Daniel Bryan and Cody Rhodes.
Match #4: Beth Phoenix VS Brie Bella, Non-Title Match (Winner: Beth)
Match #5: Sheamus & Big Show VS Daniel Bryan & Cody Rhodes (Winners: Sheamus & Show)
Lengthy match. Nice way to close out the show.
Monday Night Raw - April 23rd, 2012
Opening segment: John Cena comes out for a promo, saying that he changed his mind and that he doesn't want to wait until Extreme Rules to fight Brock Lesnar. He calls Lesnar out, but John Laurinaitis walks out instead. Laurinaitis notifies Cena that Lesnar isn't in the arena, but that he will be at Extreme Rules. He says that the match will be an Extreme Rules Match, causing Cena to smile. Daniel Bryan's music hits, bringing him out. Bryan says that there's too much talk about John Cena and Brock Lesnar, and not enough talk about him. Bryan says that he's the best wrestler in the world, and he will prove it by beating Sheamus at Extreme Rules. Cena, in a fighting mood, says that he needs to take his aggression out, and since Bryan is the only one there, maybe he should take it out on him. Laurinaitis books the match and makes Cena VS Bryan the main event.
Match #1: Zack Ryder VS Dolph Ziggler (Winner: Dolph)
Backstage segment: CM Punk is interviewed. Your basic Punk promo. He vows to finally get rid of Chris Jericho at Extreme Rules.
Match #2: CM Punk VS Jack Swagger, Non-Title Match (Winner: Punk)
Match #3: Primo & Epico VS The Usos, Non-Title Match (Winners: Primo & Epico)
Backstage segment: Chris Jericho is interviewed. During the interview, Mark Henry interrupts and tells Jericho that he never should have interfered in his match last week. He says he's going to make him pay for sticking his nose in business that didn't belong to him.
Match #4: Mark Henry VS Chris Jericho (Winner: Henry, by countout)
During the match, Jericho bails, saying that he doesn't need this, and that he has a title match to focus on.
Match #5: Ryback VS Local Jobber (Winner: Ryback)
Match #6: John Cena VS Daniel Bryan (Winner: Cena, by DQ)
Lengthy match. Lesnar runs out and attacks Cena, causing the DQ. We go off the air with another pull apart brawl between Cena and Lesnar.
Friday Night Smackdown - April 27th, 2012
Opening segment: Sheamus comes out for a promo. He says that he knows Daniel Bryan is confident going into their match at Extreme Rules, but he tells Bryan that he's confident, too. He says that he's going to "shock the world" by out-wrestling Bryan. Nothing too out of the ordinary in this promo. When he's done, Daniel Bryan's music hits, and Michael Cole says that Bryan will be joining us on commentary for our first match.
Match #1: Sheamus VS David Otunga, Non-Title Match (Winner: Sheamus)
Sheamus wrestles with a different style in this match, using much more of a mat-based amateur style, to further along his prediction that he will out-wrestle Bryan at Extreme Rules. Bryan, on commentary, would continue to play the heel, but put Sheamus over at the same time by pointing out that Sheamus is a better wrestler than he thought. After the match, Sheamus invites Bryan into the ring, but Bryan refuses and leaves.
Backstage segment: Big Show is shown, searching for Cody Rhodes, but is unable to find him.
Match #2: Tyson Kidd VS The Miz (Winner: Miz)
Good, back-and-forth match. Miz picks up the win by hooking the tights and high-tailing it out of the ring before Kidd can get his hands on him.
In-ring promo: Randy Orton comes out, saying that he's sick and tired of playing games. He calls Kane out, and waits for a response. After several seconds, a laughing Kane is shown on the TitanTron. Kane says that he calls the shots here, and that he's going to see Orton at Extreme Rules. As Kane laughs, his pyro shoots off in the ring, sending Orton scrambling for safety.
Backstage segment: Cody Rhodes barges into John Laurinaitis' office and says that he doesn't feel safe with Big Show stalking him every week. Laurinaitis unsuccessfully tries to calm Cody down, but Cody ends up insulting Laurinaitis' ability to lead the shows, drawing Big Johnny's ire. Laurinaitis books tonight's main event and says that the stipulation for Big Show VS Cody Rhodes at Extreme Rules is on the line, telling Cody to choose wisely if he wins so that he can try to rid himself of his "giant" problem once and for all.
Match #3: Ezekiel Jackson VS Alberto Del Rio (Winner: ADR)
Match #4: Big Show & Brodus Clay VS Cody Rhodes & Dolph Ziggler (Winners: Show & Brodus)
Decently long television main event. Show gets the win by pinning Dolph. After the match, Show grabs a table, sets it up, and chokeslams Ziggler through the table, all while Cody looks on from the stage. It isn't officially announced, but it's speculated on commentary that Show just chose a Tables Match for Extreme Rules, and we go off the air with Cody looking very worried.
Extreme Rules - April 29th, 2012
Match #1: (Pre-Show) Santino VS The Miz, United States Title (Winner: Santino)
Nice back-and-forth match. Santino looks strong in picking up the victory, building the United States Title in the process.
Match #2: Big Show VS Cody Rhodes, Tables Match for the Intercontinental Title (Winner: Cody)
Keep this somewhat similar to the real-life situation, but I'd have Show set up a move from the middle turnbuckle, only to slip and fall through the table. Try to have it as close to looking like a legit accident as possible, just to make sure people keep talking about it.
Match #3: Randy Orton VS Kane, Falls Count Anywhere Match (Winner: Kane)
Very closely contested match, and another opportunity to "swerve" the fans who would be absolutely positive that Orton would win the match, especially after losing at WrestleMania. Orton is at the point where losing doesn't really hurt him, especially when it's to established veterans near the top of the card like Kane.
Match #4: Beth Phoenix VS Nikki Bella, Divas Title Match (Winner: Beth)
Beth retains, looking dominant, as usual. After the match, as Beth celebrates, Layla's music hits, and she returns to the company after several months off due to injury. She just poses and stands at the top of the ramp, as Beth looks on, half-confused and half-upset.
Match #5: Sheamus VS Daniel Bryan, 30 Minute Ironman Match for the World Title (Winner: Sheamus)
Fantastic, Match Of The Year-quality effort here from both men. Sheamus gets the win by getting the first and only fall with only seconds to go in the match. Sheamus gets to use his more mat-based offense again, showing sides of his in-ring work that people didn't know he had. Bryan is Bryan, doing everything he can to look like a great performer, and to help Sheamus look fantastic.
Match #6: CM Punk VS Chris Jericho, Chicago Street Fight for the WWE Title (Winner: Punk)
Another very good match, as would be expected from the two. Punk gets the win after a grueling match, hitting Go To Sleep on Jericho three times before pinning him, putting the exclamation point on their feud.
Match #7: Ryback VS Curt Hawkins (Winner: Ryback)
Unannounced match to get the pay-per-view audience a chance to see Ryback squash someone.
Match #8: John Cena VS Brock Lesnar, Extreme Rules Match (Winner: Brock)
Brutal match. Stiff, stiff, stiff. Both men absolutely brutalize each other. At times, more of an MMA fight than a pro wrestling match. In another attempt to "swerve" the fans, the end of the match is set up simply.. Lesnar is on the offensive, but Cena begins to make his "Super Cena" comeback, only to get squashed like a bug and hit with two F5s, the final one being atop two set up folding chairs. Lesnar wins, and Cena looks vulnerable again.
Monday Night Raw - April 30th, 2012
Match #1: Primo & Epico VS Kofi Kingston & R-Truth, Non-Title (Winners: Kofi & Truth)
Backstage segment: John Cena is shown arriving at the arena, and Josh Mathews tries to get a word with him, only to be ignored. Cena will be selling the beating at Extreme Rules, limping badly and generally struggling to move properly.
Match #2: Brodus Clay VS Yoshi Tatsu (Winner: Brodus)
In-ring promo: John Laurinaitis comes out and praises Brock Lesnar for his performance at Extreme Rules. As a reward for his big victory, Laurinaitis says he has given Lesnar the night off. Laurinaitis then turns his attention to John Cena, saying that Cena has nobody to blame but himself for what happened. Laurinaitis points out that Cena wanted the match with Lesnar, and now he's paying the price. He rolls footage of a WWE.com exclusive interview with Cena after Extreme Rules went off the air, where Cena threatened to smack the taste out of Laurinaitis' mouth if he heard him talking trash about the loss. Back live, Laurinaitis says that he should probably suspend Cena for threatening authority, if not outright fire him, but because he's a supporter of People Power, he will give the people what they want to see tonight. Laurinaitis books Cena in a match tonight against Mark Henry, before smirking and thanking everyone to end the segment.
Match #3: Zack Ryder VS Heath Slater (Winner: Ryder)
Match #4: Layla VS Alicia Fox (Winner: Layla)
Backstage segment: CM Punk interview. Basic promo. Punk says he's finally moving away from Chris Jericho, and can now focus on trying to bring as much prestige back to the WWE Title as he possibly can.
Backstage segment: Mark Henry interview. Trash-talks Cena before their match. Says that he doesn't need any extra advantages, but this "crying in the corner, writing in his diary and tossing his hair back" Cena doesn't stand a chance. Henry vows to induct Cena into the Hall Of Pain, giving him something else to cry about.
Match #5: John Cena VS Mark Henry (Winner: No Contest)
Lengthy match. Good television main event. Cena makes his comeback, hits the Attitude Adjustment on Henry, but just as he goes for the pin, John Laurinaitis comes out and pulls the referee out of the ring before running away again. As Cena looks on, confused, Henry recovers and attacks him, eventually dropping him with the World's Strongest Slam. We go off the air with Cena looking vulnerable and beaten yet again.
Friday Night Smackdown - May 4th, 2012
Match #1: Randy Orton VS Jack Swagger (Winner: Orton)
Decently lengthy opener.
In-ring promo: Sheamus comes out to brag about defeating Daniel Bryan at Extreme Rules. Almost right away, he is interrupted by Alberto Del Rio, who comes out and says that he should be next in line for a World Title shot. As they're talking, they are interrupted by Randy Orton, who makes his way back out, saying that he still wants a shot, and that, as long as he's still breathing, there won't be a World Title picture without him in it. The three debate for a while, but they're interrupted by John Laurinaitis, who says that they can argue and bicker all they want, but he's the one in charge, and he will be the one to choose who gets the next shot at the World Title. For the time being, though, he's going to book both Del Rio and Sheamus in matches tonight, since they seem to be in a mood to fight tonight. He thanks them for their time, flashes a cheesy grin, and leaves.
Match #2: Ryback VS Local Jobber (Winner: Ryback)
Match #3: Zack Ryder VS Alberto Del Rio (Winner: ADR)
Backstage segment: Chris Jericho is shown walking into John Laurinaitis' office, then closes the door behind him.
Match #4: Layla & Kelly Kelly VS The Bella Twins (Winners: Layla & Kelly)
Backstage segment: Chris Jericho is shown walking out of John Laurinaitis' office with a smirk on his face. Matt Striker tries to get a word with him, but he just walks away.
Match #5: Sheamus VS Ezekiel Jackson, Non-Title (Winner: Sheamus)
After the match, Sheamus is attacked by Alberto Del Rio, which brings Randy Orton out to even the odds, until Chris Jericho runs out and attacks Orton with a chair. We go off the air with Jericho and ADR standing tall in the ring.
Monday Night Raw - May 7th, 2012
Opening segment: John Cena comes out for a promo. Gone is the happy-go-lucky Cena. He's all business yet again, as he immediately calls John Laurinaitis out. Laurinaitis doesn't show, so Cena launches into a tirade against him, quasi-shooting about how the boys in the back feel about Laurinaitis, both as a General Manager and as a "corporate stiff". Cena turns up the intensity, saying that Laurinaitis is interfering in his livelihood. Cena says that if Laurinaitis wants to get involved in matches, maybe it's time for him to really get involved in a match. He then challenges Laurinaitis to a match tonight. Laurinaitis finally comes out, and plays it straight, with the "I can't compete, because I'm the General Manager" card. He continues to downplay a return to the ring, but makes sure to casually name-drop the legends that he's been in the ring with, both in America and elsewhere in the world. Cena snaps and grabs Laurinaitis by the tie, backing him into the corner. Brock Lesnar's music hits, and Cena immediately lets go of Laurinaitis to get into a fighting stance, and Laurinaitis sneaks out of the ring. After a few seconds, it becomes clear that Lesnar's music hitting was just a ploy, and Laurinaitis chuckles to himself as he walks back up the ramp. Laurinaitis tells Cena that he has the night off, and orders him to leave the building.
Match #1: Primo & Epico VS Kofi Kingston & R-Truth, Tag Team Title Match (Winners: Kofi & Truth)
New Tag Team Champions.
Match #2: Layla & Kelly Kelly VS Beth Phoenix & Natalya (Winners: Layla & Kelly)
Layla gets the pin on Beth, planting seeds for the next Divas Title match.
Backstage segment: John Laurinaitis is on the phone in his office. He is heard saying "What do you mean? You can't find him?!? I know he didn't leave! Find him and get him out of the building!" before hanging the phone up angrily.
Match #3: Santino, Brodus Clay & The Great Khali VS Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger & Mason Ryan (Winners: Santino, Brodus & Khali)
Backstage segment: John Laurinaitis is at catering, grabbing himself a snack, when he hears John Cena's entrance music. He jumps, startled, dropping his plate on the floor, as he turns around and realizes it was just the cell phone ringtone of a WWE stagehand.
Match #4: CM Punk VS The Miz, Non-Title (Winner: Punk)
Backstage segment: John Laurinaitis walks back into his office, and as soon as he gets there, the door closes and locks behind him. Laurinaitis jumps, and sees John Cena standing there. Laurinaitis tries to start a conversation, but Cena attacks him and begins tossing him all over the office. Without saying a word, Cena just destroys Laurinaitis. We go off the air with a close up of Cena's face, as he looks mentally unstable in rage, standing over what appears to be an unconscious John Laurinaitis.
Friday Night Smackdown - May 11th, 2012
Opening segment: Teddy Long comes out and says the WWE Board Of Directors have appointed him the interim General Manager of Smackdown while John Laurinaitis recovers after the attack by John Cena on Raw. Long says that his first piece of business tonight is the World Title picture. By orders of John Laurinaitis before he was injured, tonight will see three men have matches tonight. If those men win their matches, they will go to Over The Limit and face Sheamus for the World Title, meaning we could see a Fatal Four Way. If none of the men win their matches, then Sheamus is free to choose his own opponent for the night. Long announces that the first of those three matches starts now.
Match #1: Randy Orton VS Mason Ryan (Winner: Orton)
Orton advances to Over The Limit to face Sheamus.
Match #2: Derrick Bateman VS Damien Sandow (Winner: Sandow)
Sandow's television debut.
Backstage segment: Big Show is interviewed. Matt Striker asks him about what happened at Extreme Rules. Show says that even the biggest and the baddest make the occasional mistake. He says he made a mistake at Extreme Rules. He vows to correct that mistake and win his Intercontinental Title back sooner than later. He tells Cody Rhodes that he has an even bigger problem on his hands now.
Match #3: Ezekiel Jackson VS Alberto Del Rio (Winner: ADR)
ADR advances to Over The Limit to face Sheamus.
Match #4: Beth Phoenix VS Tamina, Non-Title (Winner: Beth)
Layla is on commentary during the match, and she reveals that she has a Divas Title shot at Over The Limit. We get a post-match staredown between Layla and Beth.
Backstage segment: Daniel Bryan is shown on the phone. He's talking to AJ, and he tells her that her "restriction" isn't over yet. He says he's still upset with her for costing him the World Title at WrestleMania, and until he's ready to see her again, she will be staying home.
Match #5: Zack Ryder VS Chris Jericho (Winner: Jericho)
Jericho advances to Over The Limit to face Sheamus.
Closing segment: Teddy Long walks out on stage and officially announces Sheamus VS Randy Orton VS Alberto Del Rio VS Chris Jericho for the World Title at Over The Limit. Sheamus comes out to pose with the title, and we go off the air with Sheamus and Jericho having a staredown.
Monday Night Raw - May 14th, 2012
Backstage segment: A limo pulls up backstage, and out steps John Laurinaitis, completely selling the beating at the hands of John Cena last week, with a neck brace, two crutches and what appears to be a flak jacket on underneath his dress shirt. He heads into the backstage area, looking very upset.
Match #1: The Great Khali VS Dolph Ziggler (Winner: Dolph)
Jack Swagger, who is at ringside, contributes interference, allowing Dolph to pick up the win.
In-ring promo: John Laurinaitis comes out, struggling to make his way to the ring, as he continues to sell the beating. Once he gets in the ring, he says that he absolutely, positively should fire John Cena. He should, but he won't. He says he has other plans for Cena. Cena's music hits, bringing him out. Cena looks ready to fight yet again, and he once again challenges Laurinaitis to a match. Laurinaitis says that he has been thinking of getting his revenge all week, saying that he would love to beat Cena "within an inch of his life". Laurinaitis brings up People Power again, saying that he knows the people would love to see John Cena VS John Laurinaitis, so he's going to give them an opportunity. Calmly and confidently, Laurinaitis announces that he will be facing Cena, one-on-one, at Over The Limit. Cena celebrates, but Laurinaitis says there's one catch. Laurinaitis says that the match will happen.. if Cena can win tonight's main event. Cena says that he has no problem with it, saying he'll beat anyone to get to Laurinaitis. Laurinaitis says he's happy to hear that, because he has booked Cena in a three-on-one handicap match against David Otunga, The Miz and Daniel Bryan. The segment ends with both men looking very confident.
Match #2: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth VS The Usos, Non-Title (Winners: Kofi & Truth)
A much more competitive match than people would have expected.
Match #3: Beth Phoenix VS Kaitlyn, Non-Title (Winner: Beth)
In-ring promo: Kane comes out, upset about being overlooked for a shot at the World Title. He points out that he's beaten Randy Orton two months in a row, but Orton is going to Over The Limit to face Sheamus. He then points out that he has defeated both Alberto Del Rio and Chris Jericho, but they're also going to Over The Limit to face Sheamus. He goes on, complaining about being left out, but he's interrupted by CM Punk's music. Punk says that there are some little-known facts about him, but the one that most people would be shocked to learn is that he's exactly like Kane. Well, not exactly like Kane. He's never been.. intimate.. with a dead body. He's never locked a family member in a meat freezer. However, he and Kane do have one big similarity that they share at the moment.. neither one of them has a match at Over The Limit, so he figured he could solve that problem for both of them. Punk challenges Kane at Over The Limit, and to sweeten the deal, he says he'll put the WWE Title on the line. Kane congratulates Punk on a fine reign with the title, but says it comes to an end in six days.
Match #4: John Cena VS David Otunga, The Miz & Daniel Bryan (Winner: Cena)
Lengthy main event. Cena picks up the win by pinning Otunga after taking both Miz and Bryan out. As Cena celebrates in the ring, John Laurinaitis walks out onto the stage and congratulates Cena on booking his ticket to the biggest beating of his life. He guarantees that Cena's stretch of bad luck will continue at Over The Limit and says he'll see him there. Before we go off the air, Laurinaitis announces that the match will be No Disqualification, but if any WWE Superstar or Diva bothers to interfere in the match, they will be fired on the spot.
Friday Night Smackdown - May 18th, 2012
Match #1: Big Show VS Camacho (Winner: Show)
Backstage segment: Sheamus is in the locker room, but Randy Orton walks in. Orton says he has no problem with Sheamus, and that things aren't personal at all, but as the World Champion, Sheamus has something he wants. Sheamus laughs, and says he completely understands. He offers a handshake to Orton, who pauses for a few seconds before accepting it. Both men mention having to team together in tonight's main event. They agree to work as a team for this one night only.
In-ring promo: Damien Sandow comes out and officially introduces himself to the "unwashed masses". Short, simple promo to build heat for Sandow as he speaks down to the WWE Universe.
Match #2: Yoshi Tatsu VS Damien Sandow (Winner: Sandow)
Match #3: Tyson Kidd VS Jack Swagger (Winner: Kidd)
Backstage segment: Similar to the previous backstage segment, Alberto Del Rio walks in on Chris Jericho, who was warming up in the locker room. ADR says that he and Jericho have never really had reason to get along with each other, but they have a common enemy.. Sheamus. He recommends that they team up tonight and weaken both Sheamus and Orton before Over The Limit. Jericho offers a handshake and sarcastically says "may the best man win at Over The Limit", as ADR shakes his hand.
Match #4: Sheamus & Randy Orton VS Alberto Del Rio & Chris Jericho (Winners: ADR & Jericho)
Lengthy match. ADR gets the pin on Sheamus after Ricardo Rodriguez hits Sheamus with a chair when the referee is distracted by Orton and Jericho fighting. We go off the air with ADR and Ricardo walking back up the ramp, as ADR makes the "belt around the waist" hand motion to Sheamus, who seethes in the ring.
Over The Limit - May 20th, 2012
Match #1: (Pre-show) Zack Ryder VS Daniel Bryan (Winner: Bryan)
Nothing more than an extended squash match, with Bryan booked to look like an absolute machine.
In-ring promo: John Laurinaitis walks out on stage to announce a People Power Battle Royal. He says that 20 men will be involved in the match, and the winner will face his choice between the Intercontinental Champion and the United States Champion later in the show. The first 19 men come out for the match, and Laurinaitis personally introduces the 20th man.. a returning Christian.
Match #2: 20-man People Power Battle Royal (Winner: Christian)
Big Show destroys the competition, eliminating more than half the field before finally being dumped out by a combination of The Great Khali, Tyson Kidd, Christian and Brodus Clay. The final two people in the match were Christian and Kidd, who would basically go on to have a seven-minute singles match before Christian finally picked up the win. After the match, Christian reveals that he'll challenge Cody Rhodes for the Intercontinental Title.
Match #3: Sheamus VS Alberto Del Rio VS Randy Orton VS Chris Jericho, Fatal Four Way for the World Title (Winner: Sheamus)
Very lengthy match, with Sheamus getting the pin on Jericho.
Match #4: Kofi Kingston & R-Truth VS The Usos VS Primo & Epico, Triple Threat for the Tag Team Titles (Winners: Kofi & Truth)
Match #5: Cody Rhodes VS Christian, Intercontinental Title (Winner: No Contest)
Good back-and-forth match, before Big Show comes out and destroys both men, having the match thrown out.
Match #6: Beth Phoenix VS Layla, Divas Title (Winner: Layla)
Competitive match. New Divas Champion.
Match #7: CM Punk VS Kane, WWE Title (Winner: Punk)
Another good back-and-forth match.
Match #8: Ryback VS Two Local Jobbers (Winner: Ryback)
Match #9: John Cena VS John Laurinaitis, No Disqualification Match (Winner: Laurinaitis)
Although Cena dominates the match, you can tell his aches and pains from previous wars are still bothering him a bit. As Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment and is about to go for the STF, a returning Albert runs down to the ring and attacks him. After hitting two Baldo Bombs, Albert drags Laurinaitis' arm on top of Cena's fallen body for the pin. Cena's bad luck stretch continues on, and he looks vulnerable in the eyes of the fans again, after years of dominance.
We purposely went with a slower start for this installment of the series, just wanting to get the ball rolling, but we definitely had our hands in the mix, changing a bunch of things here and there. Next month, for the next installment, is when things really start to get shaken up, and we take things in a different direction than what we all saw during the summer. As the time to post the next installment draws nearer, I will keep everyone updated, either in my other columns or on Twitter, as to when they should be expecting it. For now, though..