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Chair Shots: More of the same on WWE Raw

John Cena's still beating up guys who have no business being in the ring with him. Triple H still needs to convince Brock Lesnar to fight him at SummerSlam. And AJ is still crazy and confusing the heck out of Kane and the rest of the WWE Universe. This is what we know after Raw last night. Sadly, this is pretty much what we knew after No Way Out Sunday, and most of it what some smarter fans realized a few weeks ago.

With the big 1000th episode of Raw looming, WWE's crack creative and writing team seems to be focused on what's going to be happening down the road rather than trying to come up with interesting and creative storylines for now. Like No Way Out, last night's episode of Raw was a very skip-able one. In fact, if the disappointing No Way Out didn't make me upset I spent $55 on it, then watching Raw last night -- repeating the big payoff of Cena beating up John Laurinaitis -- certainly made me regret it.

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Despite being fired Sunday night, Laurinaitis was all over Monday's show. He cut a promo at the beginning in which he announced he set up a handicap match pitting Cena against himself, David Otunga and Big Show for the main event, then cut another promo right before that match. He did a backstage segment or two. It was like he never left. I hope that is the end of it, though. There's no reason to keep this whole schtick going at this point. Laurinaitis was fine as the GM, but I don't want to see him fighting for his job back.

Instead, it looks like we'll be getting an announcement of a new GM in the coming weeks, my guess is on that 1000th episode of Raw. And it better be a good one. My early pick is Eve Torres. She hasn't been seen on TV the past few weeks, but mentioned on Twitter she was doing "very important work." I hope that means she's been distancing herself from Laurinaitis and positioning herself with the board of directions to take his place. (There's a hoeski joke in there, but I'll let you make it.)

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In the meantime, authority figures of WWE's past will be returning to host episodes of Raw and Smackdown over the next few weeks. That kicked off with Mick Foley last night. The show was in Long Island and he's from there, so that made a lot of sense. He's also supposed to be in charge of the Smackdown tapings in Baltimore tonight, although it's not clear if he'll be in attendance or if they just taped some stuff backstage with him to air on Smackdown.

Check out my sidebar on potential GMs for the next five weeks until Raw 1000 by

.

Here's my rundown of the June 18, 2012 episode of Raw:

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The opening match pitting the two world champions, CM Punk and Sheamus, against Kane and Daniel Bryan felt like a re-run, but the action was good. I liked the finish with Bryan taking the GTS and Brogue Kick for the loss. That keeps him looking strong, as he'll likely be challenging Punk again for the WWE Championship at Money in the Bank. AJ came out, dressed in black and red (which could've been for any of the four combatants, since they were all wearing those colors) and wearing a Kane mask, skipping around the ring. The Big Red Monster got confused, exiting the ring and leaving Bryan for dead. Long tag team match, which WWE must have felt satisfied the good, competitive wrestling quotient for the evening. ...

Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger were shown in the back arguing, only for Vickie Guerrero to interrupt by saying "excuse me" incrementally louder to get their attention in a scene oddly out of my scenario for turning Swagger face a few weeks ago. Hmmm. Anyway, she talked to Foley and he booked them against each other to settle their differences tonight.

The match itself was OK, but the crowd just wasn't into it. A few pockets were chanting for Ziggler, but they didn't last very long. Ziggler sold a leg injury after landing awkwardly escaping a back suplex attempt and Swagger went to work, eventually putting him in the ankle lock. Ziggler refused to tap though, escaped by sending Swagger into the ring post and hitting a Zig Zag for win. Swagger ankle lock into the ring post is way overdone, in my opinion. Afterward, Vickie celebrated with Dolph and kissed him, keeping him heel. Honestly, I think staying with Vickie is the only way Ziggler can remain a heel, which is why they are doing it. I can't stress this enough -- he would make a horrible babyface.

Assuming Swagger is no longer with either of them, they need to implement the rest of my plan to turn him face and keep him relevant as soon as possible.

...

Paul Heyman hit the ring to address Triple H's challenge to Brock Lesnar and basically turned it down. Of note, they showed a wide shot of the audience from the upper deck and when Lesnar's music hit -- you never know, it could've been him instead of Heyman -- most of the fans looked like they were just sitting on their hands. That's not a good thing. After Heyman was ready to walk out, Trip's music hit and he came to the ring to run his mouth some more. These two were trying hard to make it sound like they were shooting. They weren't, although I don't think Trips and Heyman like each other very much, so some of the digs could've been legit.

It came to a crescendo when Heyman said he knew how to push Triple H's buttons and mentioned Stephanie. Trips was about to deck him, but Heyman talked him down, then talked more smack, and got punched in the face anyway. He sold it like a champ. I'm pretty sure he was mouthing "mamma" while he laying on the mat being tended to by official and medical staff.

The segment was good enough, but this is one of those deals where it stinks to be a smart fan. You know the match is going to happen, they are just trying to drag it out. ...

Raw went downhill from there, starting with another squash of United States Champion Santino Marella by Alberto Del Rio, who apparently is cleared to wrestle now. Del Rio headbutted Santino during the match, which seems stupid for someone who was held out because of a concussion. I assume Del Rio resumes his feud with Sheamus on Smackdown, but who knows. If not, they should just put the U.S. title on him. Ricardo Rodriguez gave Santino a little what-for after the match, and deservedly so. ...

Next up was a painful segment involving Layla, Cyndi Lauper, Wendi Richter, Roddy Piper and Heath Slater. They were all absolutely awful. I think Piper might be the most overrated Legend ever. He and Lauper talked about something that happened nearly 30 years ago. Maybe it would've been better if they showed an old clip of when Captain Lou getting hit by Piper, because few people watching had any context what he was talking about. Seriously, they show us dozens of recaps of what happened on Raw last week, or Raw 10 minutes ago, but they can't show a recap of something that happened 30 years ago?

In fairness, I was a late bloomer to pro wrestling, and missed Piper's heyday and he never interested me enough to go back and find his "classic" stuff. But his promos now are not good. Slater was equally awful, but that was the point. He's the heel, he's not supposed to be a good singer. He gets props from me for taking the shot over the head with the gold record and the glass cutting him open. I was worried about his eye there, as it looked like a shard of glass was pointed right at it. ...

Someone thought it was a good idea to have another heel vs. heel match, so they had the Prime Time Players take on Primo and Epico, to continue the angle that started at the PPV when AW turned on E&P and aligned himself with the PTPers. That's a lot of initials. Anyway, the crowd -- who obviously didn't order No Way Out -- didn't know how to react. I didn't either. They need to give fans a reason to cheer for Epico and Primo, other than Rosa and simply getting screwed over.

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I did like the finish, however, with AW instructing his clients to take a count-out loss because they are already No. 1 contenders and don't need to worry about winning matches until they face the tag team champions. That makes a lot of sense actually. Logic in pro wrestling? As Booker T might say, "What da Hayell?" ...

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Speaking of making sense, Big Show did as good a job as possible getting his heat back by noting it took five other men interfering for Cena to beat him, which is what I wrote he would say yesterday. For a second, I thought they might turn him babyface again and KO Laurinaitis, but instead, he told Ace and Otunga he had nothing to prove to Cena and had bigger fish to fry, walking out on the match. I loved it. He stayed a heel by looking out for himself and himself only. Bigger and better things? Despite the WWE and World titles not being higher on the card than Cena, technically, those could be the only things he's talking about.

The match itself was nothing pretty, but it accomplished what they set out to -- embarrass Laurinaitis on this way out the door. Otunga walked out on Laurinaitis and "Big Johnny" got his from Cena. Of course, he got his the night before with an Attitude Adjustment through a table, but it was satisfying to see him tap out. The only thing missing was Cena giving a round of Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye.

It's worth noting that both Sheamus and Punk, when coming to the ring for their match following Laurinaitis' opening promo, gave him the business. As a long-term thing, I think they made a mistake by having Cena be the one to rid WWE of Laurinaitis and not CM Punk. It was Punk that really had the feud going with "Clown Shoes" but they ran out of things for Cena to do while Punk was still WWE Champion. I think Punk needed the rub of putting Laurinaitis out. But what do I know? ...

I'll be attending the Smackdown tapings tonight in Baltimore. I'll post updates on my Twitter account, @CCTChairShots for those who want to follow along. I hope to get some photos too, and will post those tomorrow on the blog.

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