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Chair Shots: Things get uncomfortable on WWE Raw

The return of Jerry "The King" Lawler from his heart attack two months ago combined with final Survivor Series hype led to some cringe-worthy moments at the 9 o'clock hour of WWE Raw at the hands of uber-heel CM Punk, and that's probably a good thing.

Punk, who had been feuding with Lawler for the King's "disrespectful" comments that Punk turned his back on the WWE Universe dating to the 1000th episode of Raw, made his presence known during the final minutes of the of Lawler's heartfelt (pardon the pun) return promo. Punk and manager Paul Heyman pushed the lines of taste, with Punk saying it was good Lawler left the ring when he did (the match right before Lawler's heart attack saw King teaming with Randy Orton against Punk and Dolph Ziggler) or else he would've beaten him to death.

Punk said Lawler was disrespectful by thinking his 62-year-old self could hang in the ring with the "Best in the World." Then Heyman faked a heart attack to further mock Lawler.

If you're saying what a horrible thing to do, you're exactly right. Which is why it worked brilliantly to get Punk heel heat. I hope that Lawler OK'd everything, but considering some of the angles he's been involved in during his career, I'm sure he loved this. (Note that Lawler cracked wise about the ambulance the came into the arena before Brad Maddox's match with Ryback, stating, "My ride's here.")

Mick Foley interrupted to cut an impassioned promo, and try to make some sense of the angle these two started a few weeks ago, when the Survivor Series main event was supposed to be Team Foley vs. Team Punk. Punk addressed the obvious -- they no longer have business together because the match was changed -- but Foley did get to be the special enforcer to the main event last night, pitting Punk against Cena in a nontitle match, ultimately won by Cena. More on that in a bit.

I'm glad Foley was there to at least put a tidy little bow on his feud with Punk, although I think that can be revisited down the road. I was surprised, however, that Lawler didn't get involved in Punk's match. Perhaps the writers just want to leave their issues open-ended for now, so that if Lawler does decide to get back in the ring again (a bad idea in my opinion, but something he would probably want to do) they have the option of a match with Punk.

Here are my thoughts on the remainder of the show, which I admittedly fast-forwarded through a bunch of so I could watch the Steelers game on Monday Night Football and still get to bed at a reasonable hour.

Teddy Long coming out to make a tag team match after a singles match degenerates into a brawl is just a running gag at this point right? I mean, it's like a trope now, right? After Randy Orton beat Dolph Ziggler with a roll-up, despite a distraction from Alberto Del Rio, they brawled and Kofi Kingston made the save, prompting Long to show up, use the excuse that Raw's authority figure Vickie Guerrero was busy and then made a tag team match. Hilarious. Del Rio won this one with an enzuguri to Kingston's head. So, call it even for Team Foley vs. Team Ziggler at this point. ...

Ziggler wrestled two matches, then stuck around for the Vickie Guerrero accuses AJ and John Cena of having an affair segment. Boy, this storyline is slow developing. I have to assume that after Survivor Series, they'll go full-speed ahead with the Ziggler-Cena feud, right? At least AJ put on the table what Vickie's heel motivations are. I'm curious what to make of AJ asking Cena backstage, "what do you mean, would never happen?" I assume she's going to try to pursue a relationship with him now. ...

Big Show squashed William Regal, which was a good stiff match to serve as a tune-up for Sunday, and continue the bar fight angle from last week's Smackdown. Regal's chest was showing the signs of battle, which was pretty cool. Later, Sheamus squashed David Otunga, then Show was seen beating up Regal backstage against to send a message. Expect more build on Friday. ...

I skipped most of the Divas match, but saw Kaitlyn beat Eve to win a Divas title shot at Survivor Series. Ho hum. These really are the only three in the division right now, aren't they? ...

I also skipped the eight-man tag involving Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara and Tyson Kidd/Justin Gabriel against Primo/Epico and the Prime Time Players. That's a lot to type. Sounds like there will be a Fatal 4-Way match or something at Survivor Series between these teams to determine new No. 1 contenders to the tag team titles. Good to see Kidd and Gabriel getting a chance to team again. I'd really love to see a multi-team tag team TLC match at the December PPV, but the two teams feuding over the tag titles now -- Kane/Daniel Bryan and Cody Rhodes/Damien Sandow -- are the teams I'd least like to see in it. I think Kidd, Gabriel, Mysterio and Sin Cara, plus the Colon cousins, could do some awesome things in that setting. ...

R-Truth defeated Tensai in a relative squash, and it was revealed he'll be facing Antonio Cesaro for the United States Championship Sunday at Survivor Series. There hasn't been a ton of build-up to this one, but that's fine. It doesn't really need it as Cesaro is still getting his anti-American gimmick over and Truth is babyface that is generally liked by young and old fans alike. They should have a solid, but not spectacular match. ...

No surprise here, as Ryback destroyed Brad Maddox in the former referee's "Million Dollar Contract Challenge." It had a great level of physicality that was more impressive than any of Ryback's previous squashes. The triple powerbomb was sick and I laughed when Ryback shouted to Maddox "You're dead!" This seems like the blow-off to their feud, with Ryback getting his payback for last month's Hell in a Cell. But with Paul Heyman talking to Maddox backstage before his match, you have to wonder if this is the last we've seen of "Beef Mode." (Rewatch the match and look at Maddox's gear if you don't get it.) ...

Winning a Raw Active poll over Zack Ryder and Santino Marella for the fifth spot on Team Foley was none other than The Miz. He had a segment with Ziggler and Foley backstage where it was hinted he would be the fifth member, but they left it up to the fan vote. I don't know if they rig these polls or what, but I'm glad Miz was the choice. As part of the story, he worked with Team Foley member Kane against Team Ziggler's Rhodes Scholars, and Miz did so as a babyface. Even better, Raw was in his home state of Ohio, so the fans responded positively to him. I'm stoked to see Miz as a babyface, as I think it's been a long-time coming. He's worked almost every top face on the roster, so this should lead to some new feuds for him. ...

A humorous side story to the Kane-Miz team was Daniel Bryan playing the role of jealous girlfriend to his tag team partner Kane. I'm waiting for Bryan to say "Do you think he's prettier than me?" to Kane about the Miz, which will inevitably lead to more Goat Face jokes. Miz and Bryan have plenty of history, so this could be a fun feud if WWE decides to take the tag titles off Team Hell No and return them to singles action, even if only for a short while. The tag titles will be defended against Rhodes Scholars on Main Event this week.

Cena-Punk was a good TV main event, but not the epic clashes we've come to expect from these two. It was a faster-paced match for TV versus PPV. Both Heyman and Foley got involved, with Heyman getting into the ring to break up the STF and Foley pulling him out before he could attack Cena. (By the way, Foley can barely move these days, there is no chance he's wrestling again.) Punk tried to flee and Ryback came out, putting him between fighting Ryback or going back to the ring with Cena, where he was ultimately finished off with an Attitude Adjustment. The show went off the air with Cena and Ryback playing tug of war with the title belt, while Punk stood on the apron with a concerned look on his face saying, "Hey, that's mine!" Expect to see that shot about 2 million times between now and Survivor Series on Sunday.

All in all, it was a solid episode, though nothing to write home about. At this point, I think most fans are just waiting for the Rock to come back at the Royal Rumble and for WWE to get on with the Road to WrestleMania. I know I am. It feels pretty obvious that Punk is going to retain the title until then, and having him drop it beforehand, even if he regains it, will just ruin the narrative of the Rock being the conquering hero. That's fine, but it's hard to sell PPVs to fans who know better, which is why I'll probably skip Survivor Series and watch Steelers-Ravens instead.

I am curious how they will book the Triple Threat match to allow Punk to escape with the gold once again. The Triple Threat stipulation -- which also means no disqualifications -- offers a lot more possibilities than the restrictive Hell in a Cell from last month. I've hypothesized a few, and will post them later this week with my Survivor Series preview. Until then ...

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