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WWE Raw: Thanks to John Cena, Vince McMahon reinstates CM Punk

To the surprise of no one – especially those who read the spoilers, since this show was taped last week – CM Punk's suspension was lifted on Monday night's episode of Raw and his WWE title match against champion John Cena at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view on July 17 is back on.

I thought the follow-up to Punk's much-talked about promo last week was well done. The show opened with Cena coming out to make it known that he believes Punk should have the right to speak his mind, and therefore he should be reinstated and their match at MITB should go on as originally scheduled. Cena said that he would state his case to McMahon face to face later in the show.

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The verbal confrontation between Cena and McMahon in the final segment was very good. WWE continued to break the fourth wall with this story line, as Cena cited other examples of censorship in WWE, specifically the firing of Daniel Bryan for "being too aggressive" (in reference to the infamous incident when Bryan choked ring announcer Justin Roberts with his own tie during the debut of The Nexus) and the company confiscating certain signs at live events.

Cena also remarked that Punk had come a long way since riding on the side of a car during Cena's elaborate ring entrance at WrestleMania 22. I'm guessing that one went over the heads of lots of fans (to see a clip of what Cena was talking about, click here, and keep an eye on the guy on the passenger side of the car).After being less than forthcoming in his initial explanation for why he suspended Punk, McMahon finally admitted that he wasn't going to risk Punk winning the title from Cena and then showing up in "another WRESTLING organization" with the belt. That, of course, was McMahon's line of reasoning for double-crossing Bret Hart at the 1997 Survivor Series.

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Cena said that McMahon was so worried about Punk making the belt meaningless that McMahon himself had, in fact, made the belt meaningless. Cena then surrendered the title. At that point, McMahon gave in and said that the Cena-Punk match would take place after all.

But there was one catch: McMahon said that if Punk walks out of MITB with the title, Cena will be fired. I think the key is in how McMahon phrased his threat, as I can certainly envision a scenario in which Punk beats Cena for the title but does not have the championship belt in his possession by the time the show is over.

Other thoughts on Monday's show:

Before McMahon reinstated Punk, a triple threat match to determine a new challenger for Cena at MITB took place, as Alberto Del Rio defeated Rey Mysterio and R-Truth in a good match. With the Cena-Punk match back on, my guess is that Del Rio will get the first shot at whoever has the belt coming out of MITB. ...

The Miz-Alex Riley match was OK, but I thought the post-match was really good. After losing to his protégé yet again, Miz snapped and brutally assaulted Riley. Miz showed great intensity during the beat-down. ...

I liked the video package on Riley. ...

Dolph Ziggler was pretty good on the mic and continues to show improvement in that area. ...

As soon as Vickie Guerrero was shown in the ring alongside a cake, is there anybody out there who didn't know that she was going to end up face-first in it? Well, she did say in her interview with me last month that Mondays are the days she cheats on her diet and eats something sweet. ...

Thank God Jack Swagger didn't job to 62-year-old Sgt. Slaughter – I thought for sure he was going to. ...

It was interesting that Swagger was scripted to bring up the fact that Slaughter sided with the Iraqis during the Gulf War. That seems like something WWE would want fans to forget about a legendary patriotic character. I thought it was funny that Slaughter's response was that everyone makes mistakes, which Jerry Lawler actually agreed with. Yeah, I mean, who hasn't committed treason at some point in their lives? ...

Zack Ryder actually got to make a brief appearance in front of the live crowd, which, by the way, didn't really pop for him. ...

R-Truth is always entertaining, but the "I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico" jokes jumped the shark years ago. ...

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The match in which WWE tag team champions Michael McGillicutty and David Otunga defeated Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov was fine for what it was. Marella's antics always put a smile on my face. The champions, on the other hand, aren't doing much for me. ...

I was going to say that the Divas tag team match that saw Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres defeat the Bellas wasn't anything special, but the truth is that any match Kelly Kelly's in is special for me.

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