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Chair Shots: Be careful what you wish for on WWE Raw

Ugh. Since the firing of John Laurinaitis and the announcement that former general managers would each get their turn running Raw and Smackdown in the interim, I was hoping that WWE would bring back the anonymous Raw general manager for one night and finally give us a big reveal. You know, some long awaited closure on the angle that was dropped this time a year ago.

Well, I got what I wanted, and WWE couldn't have disappointed me anymore. Of course, the "man" behind the anonymous general manager was none other than WWE's horrible punchline to every failed angle: Hornswoggle. Of course, Hornswoggle was also the awful reveal to the failed Vince McMahon's illegitimate child storyline a few years ago.

The crowd in Denver didn't react to it at all, which I guess is better than popping for Hornswoggle, but I wish they would've booed him out of the building. Worse yet, they made us endure another Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole match leading to the big reveal. I have a hard time believing 75 percent of fans voted to see that. That tells me a lot about who is watching Raw, or at least who is bothering to vote on WWE.com.

Sadly, I would've been happier if the anonymous GM turned out to be John Laurinaitis all along, and he got another Attitude Adjustment from John Cena or even a Cobra from Santino for his troubles.

Hornswoggle was the exclamation point on a very, very dull episode of Raw that had few bright spots. That's a real shame considering it was the go-home show for this weekend's Money in the Bank pay-per-view.

On the bright side, Lawler-Cole was kept really short. Unfortunately, so was everything else on the show. I guess that's what we get when Hornswoggle is running things. *Rim shot*

Here are my thoughts on the rest of the show:

AJ opened and closed the show, the first time a female has probably done that since the Stephanie McMahon era. She has taken center stage in battle for the WWE Championship between CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, and I'll give the writers some credit here, we still have no idea who AJ might favor in this match -- if anyone. Except while last week on Smackdown, she was kissing both men, and at the beginning of the Raw, she was proposing to one (Punk) and getting proposed to by the other (Bryan), by the end she was slapping both men in the face, then skipping away.

Gotta say, she plays the crazy chick bit real well. I just hope that her involvement doesn't take away from the Punk-Bryan match too much on Sunday. I know the announcers won't be able to shut up about her and who she will favor, which was great for the build-up of the match, but hopefully it doesn't become a distraction from what will surely be very good in-ring work. I'll get into my actual prediction for the match later this week in my Money in the Bank preview. ...

Actually, girl power should've been the theme of the show. In addition to AJ, I thought the two most intriguing things that happened on Raw involved Eve Torres and Vickie Guerrero in separate segments. Eve, of course, was the foil for AJ in the mixed tag team main event that saw AJ and Punk team, and Bryan partner with Eve. The finish came when Bryan refused Eve's tag to earn the favor of AJ, who then rolled up the former executive assistant for the finish. But it was what Eve did before the match that was so interesting.

Perhaps trying to get into the head of CM Punk, Eve noted that Punk -- despite being WWE Champion -- has taken a back seat to guys like John Cena, the Rock, Brock Lesnar, Triple H and Big Show the past few months, and now was taking a backseat to AJ as well. It certainly seemed to be planting the seeds for something (and is a gripe many wrestling fans have had as of late). Color me intrigued. I don't know if this means further involvement from Eve in the Punk-Bryan-AJ storyline, or a separate storyline for her with Punk, or if she was just a conduit to bring this thought to the forefront. ...

Then there is Vickie Guerrero. She did commentary during a tag team match pitting World Championship Money in the Bank contestants Tensai and Dolph Ziggler against Christian and Tyson Kidd. Neither the match or Vickie's commentary was particularly enthralling, but after Tensai won, pinning Christian after distractions by Sakamoto and Ziggler, then proceeded to beat the tar out of Kidd in the post-match, Vickie looked on impressed. To the point Ziggler had to come back, grab her arm and pull her to the back.

Well, putting Tensai with Vickie would be one way to get heat on her. Could we see a double cross at Money in the Bank where Vickie costs Ziggler the briefcase in favor of Tensai? Or is this a nothing segment just to get fans speculating? ...

John Cena, not surprisingly, continues to be the focal point of the WWE Championship Money in the Bank ladder match. In a promo before the tag team match involving all four participants of Sunday's contest, Cena specifically stated that he'll stop Big Show from winning and he himself will win the Money in the Bank contract. Cena usually makes good on his promises, but I don't know about this one.

The match itself was above average at times but I hated the idea of Cena and Kane tagging together. Kane was torturing John Cena through most of the first quarter of the year, and while the announcers addressed that, Cena and Kane acted like old chums during the match, with Kane reaching out excited to get the hot tag at one point. Seriously? Besides, wouldn't Kane recognize Cena as a serious threat to his chances at winning Money in the Bank? Kane should've just chokeslammed Cena from the get-go and walked out on him, leaving him prey for Chris Jericho and Big Show.

Better still, put Kane and Show on one team and Jericho and Cena on the other (slightly more believable) and have Jericho and Cena interact backstage and Jericho convince him they need to work together to overcome the two monsters, then Jericho turn his back on him. That would've made leaps and bounds more sense.

But the biggest logic gap came during the finish of the match, when Jeri-Show was apparently disqualified when Big Show pulled Cena out of the ring, breaking up a pin. What? When the heck has that ever been a rule? Show then broke out some ladders and started beating people with them -- including his tag team partner -- which is when the DQ probably should've been called. What a hot mess.

Ultimately, Cena got the better of everyone with the ladders, sending Show scurrying out of the ring, and stood tall. Booking 101 dictates that the guy who looks like the favorite heading into a big match usually ends up losing, but this is John Cena, and WWE likes to always make him look good. If he wins Sunday, fans are going to crap all over it -- and I'll be one of them.

Look, I like Cena, but to book him to look this strong and follow through doesn't do anyone favors. Had he ended up on the business end of a couple of chokeslams onto ladders to end this segment, I'd buy him giving the heels their comeuppance on Sunday, but right now, it's just Super Cena facing no adversity. And that's not compelling television.

Sin Cara qualified as the eighth and final participant for the World Championship Money in the Bank ladder match by beating Heath Slater. I'm good with this. I think Sin Cara has the right type of offensive style for a ladder match. Remember last year he took that brutal power bomb from Sheamus through a ladder to write him off television (he was actually suspended). High-flyers willing to take big bumps are what make ladder matches great. He won't win it, but a good showing here will help him get over where squash matches have failed. ...

Slater, by the way, issued an open challenge to any former WWE Champion backstage after he lost, which prompted Bob Backlund's return as this week's Legend. I don't remember Backlund's first run with the championship, but I loved his crazed Mr. Backlund character in the mid-90s and some of the matches he had with Bret Hart. His Crossface Chicken Wing finisher is awesome, and something I'd love to see brought back. ...

Maybe Jack Swagger could add it to his offense? He needs something after getting jobbed out in less than a minute to World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus, who the announcers were trying to put over as still suffering the effects of Alberto Del Rio's attack on Tuesday's live Smackdown. What does that say about Swagger then? Oh well, WWE doesn't care about him right now. Alberto Del Rio cut a promo on Sheamus from backstage after the match, which lead to another Brogue Kick for Swagger to eat. ...

Brodus Clay squashed Drew McIntyre. He danced with some kids. So I guess we've reverted from his angles with Big Show and David Otunga back to this. Lame. Where was Otunga by the way? ...

Two semi-significant announcements were made on Raw. The first was that The Rock would be on the 1000th episode, which I think a lot of us already assumed. Still, it's good to have that confirmed. Not only that, but he apparently is going to address his announcement the night after WrestleMania that he's going after the WWE Championship. The possibilities are endless here. More on that later in the week. ...

The other announcement was that WWE Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston and R-Truth will face Hunico and Camacho in the Money in the Bank pre-show. Note, they'll face them, not defend the titles against them. That bit of misinformation seems to be making it's way around the interwebs. The Prime Time Players are still the No. 1 contenders, however, I'm envisioning some type of Fatal 4-Way pitting those three times, as well as Epico and Primo, for the tag team titles on the 1000th episode of Raw. Just a hunch. ...

WWE taped Smackdown right after Raw last night, so I'll post my spoiler and reactions blog a little later today, and look for Money in the Bank predictions later in the week.

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