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Chair Shots: WWE Raw a confusing follow-up to Extreme Rules

WWE loves swerving fans, and I think last night's Raw was a perfect example of doing just that. As Extreme Rules went off the air, it looked like John Cena was taking some time off and Brock Lesnar would be the defacto face of the company going forward. And it was intriguing as heck. Now, 24 hours later, it looks like Lesnar is the one going on a "vacation" and Cena's embroiled in a potentially groan-inducing feud with John Laurinaitis, the latest incarnation of the top babyface vs. heel boss storyline that wrestling promotions have tried to recreate time and time again because of the success of Austin vs. McMahon.

Last night was interesting to say the least, but after what seems to be the latest case of cold feet with a John Cena in a slump/written off TV storyline, we seem to be returning to the status quo.

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Meanwhile, I can't tell if Brock Lesnar's "future being in doubt" as a result of his show-opening attack on storyline COO Triple H is a creative way to get him off television so WWE doesn't use up all his limited apperances right away, or if it's fallout from an apparent swerve WWE allegedly pulled on Lesnar last night. Several wrestling websites have stories posted about Lesnar "going ballistic" backstage after Extreme Rules, citing PWInsider.com as the original source.

"Brock Lesnar's match with John Cena at Sunday's Extreme Rules pay-per-view got rave reviews from most fans who saw the show, but Lesnar went ballistic backstage after the match and was screaming at WWE officials and ripping apart the locker room.

According to PWinsider.com, the huge blow-up took place because of the promo John Cena cut after the match.

The original plan was for Cena to be so badly hurt by Lesnar that even though he won, he would be stretchered out, which would keep Lesnar looking strong.

Lesnar perceived Cena's speech as a double cross by WWE officials and totally lost it backstage.

The angle on RAW with Lesnar and Triple H and Lesnar's temporary departure from WWE television was the plan all along, but relations between Lesnar and WWE are not good at the moment."

Personally, I think the stretcher angle would've been good and made sense, although I think the same could've been accomplished despite Cena's promo. And while I do believe the plan was to have Triple H and Lesnar set-up on Raw all-along (Triple H's appearance was announced before the Lesnar-Cena main event began, plus you could see it coming when Lesnar made his outrageous demands last week), the smart money says that Triple H was returning to fill the void left by Cena. Once Lesnar "broke" Triple H's arm in the opening segment, you knew that match wasn't coming right away (although if Zack Ryder can recover from a broken back in three weeks ...).

Meanwhile, after PPV matches with the Rock and Brock, John Cena's Over the Limit match against Laurinaitis that was set-up in the final segment of the show is a bit of a let down. And that's the real reason Cena needed to take some time off. He's faced and/or beaten just about everyone on the roster. Barring the return of someone like Batista (who Cena beat convincingly in three straight PPV matches two years ago anyway) the Cena character has kind of reached its limit.

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On the other hand, after Laurinaitis -- with the help of Lord Tensai and Sakamoto -- savagely attacked Cena's injured arm as Raw went off the air, maybe he'll be taking time off anyway. He certainly won't be wrestling between now and Over the Limit while selling his injuries (at least he shouldn't). Perhaps the injury angle will be complete after Over the Limit, when Lesnar makes his return to finish the job and help Laurinaitis defeat Cena, getting his heat back in the process and probably just in time for a match with Triple H to be set-up for the next series of pay-per-views. ...

For many fans, the selling point of Over the Limit will be the IWC dream match with WWE Champion CM Punk defending against former World Champion Daniel Bryan.

Bryan defeated Jerry Lawler in less than 3 minutes to win a Beat the Clock challenge series of matches that took place over the course of the show to determine a new No. 1 contender. Punk and Bryan had a series of Champion vs. Champion matches on Raw and Smackdown immediately after the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view that never had a definitive finish. Given the appropriate amount of time on PPV, these two could have the match of the year, although I won't go ROH fanboy and say it will be the "Greatest Match of All Time."

However, I must say I'd love to see WWE play to the "Over the Limit" gimmick and make this a 60-minute Iron Man match and have them do something reminiscent of Bret Hart-Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII where they go an hour without a fall. If any two individuals can do it, these two can. Is WWE willing to bank on a PPV with that as the featured match? Considering how poorly Over the Limit has done buy-rate wise in recent years, it can't hurt to try something different and really cater to the IWC. In fact, that might be the best way to sell these B- and C-level pay-per-views. Or, it's a great way to encourage illegal streaming of them.

Hey, here's a thought: Make Punk-Bryan the YouTube preshow, since the smarks are gonna watch it on the Internet anyway. (I'm kidding/trolling ... sort of.) ...

None of the Beat the Clock challenges, because of the very nature of them being short matches, were very good, although I thought Randy Orton vs. Jack Swagger was decent. I mean, I'm the biggest Swagger mark ever and I didn't expect him to win, but the drama at the end made me at least wonder if it might go to a no contest. They packed a lot of good wrestling into the 4 minutes they got. ...

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On the other hand, if we never seen Kane vs. Khali again and it goes longer than 4 minutes it'll be too soon (and too long). ...

At least Miz kind of exacted some revenge for his preshow loss to Santino the night before. It's been officially announced that The Miz will star in the Marine 3, which I guess is a big deal for him. Miz has some decent acting chops, but he doesn't exactly look the part of a Marine. (Of course, neither does CM Punk, who was considered for the role after Orton was uncermoniously ousted because of his dishonorable discharge from the real Marines... but I digress.) I guess he'll be taking some time off this summer to shoot it. Not that it matters, no one seems to notice him right now anyway. ...

Boy, there was a bad referee botch at the end of the Chris Jericho vs. Big Show match. It seemed Jericho was supposed to win by countout and top the Miz's time by 1 second, but the referee was slow on the count, and the buzzer went off before he got to 10. It didn't matter anyway. I'm glad Jericho vs. Punk seems to be over, although if Jericho was to somehow weasel his way into the Punk-Bryan match to make it a Triple Threat, I'd be OK with it, although I prefer 1-on-1 matches. ...

So I understand why Lawler was made Bryan's opponent -- so he could squash him without really doing damage to anyone else on the roster -- but how is it that Lawler gets an opportunity to compete for a title shot (and for that matter, Swagger and Santino Marella) and guys like Dolph Ziggler, Mark Henry, Cody Rhodes, Zack Ryder (who could've done the quick job to Bryan too) and even Brodus Clay and Lord Tensai aren't involved? Just sayin' ...

Kofi Kingston and R-Truth weren't involved because they defeated Primo and Epico for the Tag Team Championship in a decent 7-minute match. Primo, Epico and Rosa apparently have decided to listen to Abraham Washington in a post-match backstage segment. I assume this means he'll help them win the tag titles back at Over the Limit or something.

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Kingston is now a three-time tag champion, having won the titles with CM Punk, Evan Bourne and R-Truth. One of his partners is straight edge, the other two have recent wellness violations. I don't know what that means, again, I'm just sayin' ...

Potential team names for the new tag champs? R-Boom? Air-Truth? Lil' Jimmy in Paradise? Trouble 'n' Truth? Two African-American Guys ThatCreative Didn't Have Anything Else For And Won't Push To The Main Event So They Teamed Them Up Because WWE Is Kinda Racist? Now that's the troublin' truth. ...

Layla defeated both Bellas in a Triple Threat Divas Championship match in about 3 seconds. Then, in a segment taped for WWE.com, Eve fired the Bellas. In reality, their contract was up. I'm not upset about this, as I'm assuming the Bellas wanted to leave. Vince apparently loves them, so chances are he'd want to resign them if they wanted to come back. As twins, they did offer something unique, although really, how many times can you pull Twin Magic before it gets old. The only regret is that it wasn't Kharma who gave the Bellas their comeuppance on their way out the door. That was the storyline set-up last spring when Kharma announced she was pregnant and left WWE. My guess is most casual fans don't remember that, but it would've been nice to have some closure.

I'm not sure why Kharma hasn't come back yet. My guess is when she does, they want her to be full-time, which is why her couple minutes in the Royal Rumble was OK, but they want her to really be ready to go when she's officially back. Or maybe they want her to be a heel upon her return, which wouldn't have worked with the Bellas. Either that, or it was a swerve for the sake of a swerve, which I hate. If she re-debuts in the next week or so, I'm going to be ticked. ...

Brodus Clay, after beating Ziggler in a decent TV match, was back to squashing jobbers Monday. This time it was JTG. And there was no Hornswoggle in sight. I'm not going to waste time writing anymore about the Funkasaurus until he gets an angle.

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