WWE Champion CM Punk confronted referee Brad Maddox, Paul Heyman proposed to Raw GM AJ Lee
ALBANY, NY – Raw kicked off not with a bang, but with a sit-in, as the cameras opened up on WWE Champion CM Punk and his associate, Paul Heyman, staging their own miniature protest and occupying the squared circle in an act of civil disobedience. “We will not be leaving until justice is served,” Heyman pontificated, referring to Punk’s dubious loss to John Cena the previous week, a defeat that occurred despite The Second City Saint having reached the ropes with his foot while the referee counted to three. With his evidence presented, Heyman demanded that the official, Brad Maddox, make his way to the ring, admit his error, and tender his resignation live on Raw.
After a brief pause, Maddox made his presence known, looking for all the world like a sheep on its way to the slaughter. The young referee faced Heyman’s fire admirably, offering up an apology for bungling his first main event. Maddox balked, however, at the mad scientist of Extreme’s demand that he tender his resignation. This brought The Second City Saint to his feet, venom spewing forth as CM Punk berated the referee for “embarrassing” both himself and the WWE Champion live on Raw. “Who are you?” Punk sneered, which brought forth the explanation: Maddox was a new referee, brought to Raw by General Manager AJ Lee after Raw expanded to three hours. Or, as Heyman put it, “you’re a scab!” before presenting Maddox with a gift: a sleep mask with the WWE logo over one eye and the NFL emblem covering the other.
Before the public shaming could continue, however, AJ skipped down to the ring and excused Maddox for the time being, and a brief back-and-forth with Heyman led to Punk re-entering the fray. With tensions mounting, Punk cued up his own piece of footage: AJ’s left-field marriage proposal to The Second City Saint from Raw two months earlier. “That’s the reason … you sent an incompetent referee out to screw me last week,” Punk continued, laughing in AJ’s face. “You forget last week’s match ever happened and I’ll forget the hundreds of text messages and voicemails you left me that I’m not fit to air on the USA Network.”
With AJ getting more than a little red in the face, Heyman stepped in again, offering to help navigate the choppy waters the WWE Champion suddenly found himself in. Heyman’s solution: marry him! (they didn’t call him the mad scientist for nothing). “Think about all the power couples we’re gonna trump!” Heyman shrieked from down on one knee. Heyman’s genius took a left-field turn when he insinuated that he would come up with all the ideas and AJ could take the credit. For the grand finale, Heyman lasciviously sneered that “I like ’em dumb, young and ambitious,” which brought forth a vicious slap across the face from Miss Lee.
Mick Foley called out WWE Champion CM Punk
Cue the car crash music and guitar riffs: Mick Foley is in the house.
The Hardcore Legend and three-time WWE Champion made an unannounced foray onto Monday Night Raw with one thing on his mind: enlightenment. Not in the philosophical sense, necessarily, but Foley arrived looking for an explanation as to where, exactly, WWE Champion CM Punk lost his way and turned from The Voice of the Voiceless into Paul Heyman’s acolyte. Punk, however, did not appreciate Mick’s “grandstanding” in the slightest, sulking to the ring and demanding that, if Foley had something to say, “say it to my face.”
Foley did something very curious then: He made Punk smile, regaled the WWE Champion with a story of their text message interaction on the night that Punk first won the WWE Title. The nostalgia (and the brief lowering of Punk’s shield) was short-lived after Foley warned him of the dangers of being a “Paul Heyman guy.” Repeating an old adage he’d heard that “Paul Heyman would rather climb a tree and tell a lie than stand on the ground and tell a truth,” Foley assured The Second City Saint that Heyman would, ultimately, only do what was best for him and not the champion.
When those efforts proved fruitless, the subject turned to a far more grisly subject: Hell in a Cell. Foley extolled the virtues of competing in the place where rivalries are settled once and for all, pitching it as the true and final test of Punk’s greatness. The Hardcore Legend’s challenge was simple: defeat Cena in the Cell and cement his legacy. Punk, however, was unmoved, smearing Foley’s historic absorptions of pain as cheap pandering to the WWE Universe while painting his own 309-day reign as undisputable proof of his dominance.
And then, the old Foley returned. “No one cares about dates,” Foley bellowed, shades of Cactus Jack shining through as The Second City Saint was stunned into silence. “They care about the moments that define us, and in my estimation … you need one more.” AJ Lee, Foley said, would allow Punk to pick his own opponent for WWE Hell in a Cell. The confrontation closed with a strange sight: Foley begged CM Punk to pick Cena, for AJ, Foley, Punk himself, but most importantly, “for them.”
“Have a nice day,” The Hardcore Legend concluded, and as he left the ring, the WWE Universe was left with the strangest of images: The Voice of the Voiceless, speechless in his own ring.
CM Punk interrupted John Cena’s address to the WWE Universe and attacked Mick Foley
Arm sling and all, John Cena kept his word and made his way to the Times Union Center for Monday Night Raw. The Cenation leader was as stoic as ever (if not quite as jovial) when he solenly apologized to Chad Patton and Brad Maddox for their treatment at the hands of WWE Champion CM Punk, who, Cena said, had devolved in record time into a “monkey frakkin’ son of a bee sting” who needed a (preferably physical) lesson from Cena. And while Cena could not guarantee a full recovery, he did issue one promise to the WWE Universe: he would walk into Hell in a Cell, and he would do so to fight.
Cena’s overture was interrupted, however, by the one-man cult of personality himself. Sauntering to the ring in his blue hoodie with Heyman holding the WWE Title aloft behind him, The Second City Saint cut right to the chase regarding Cena’s comments and Mick Foley’s earlier plea to name the Cenation leader his No. 1 contender at Hell in a Cell.
“You shouldn’t be a WWE Superstar, you should be a politician,” sneered Punk, labeling the Cenation leader’s comments as “character assassination.” “There’s one CM Punk, there always has been,” sneered The Second City Saint. “It’s the same one who beat you over a year ago.” Punk threw out the statistics of his title reign again, which he promised would not end “at the hand of a one-armed man.”
“Why don’t you shut up and face me at Hell in a Cell?” Cena responded simply.
It took Punk all of five seconds to decline the challenge. And it wasn’t because of Cena’s surgery, or because of previous losses to The Second City Saint, but because of the beating that Punk planned to lay on Cena. Punk, he explained, was going to turn his back for five seconds, and if Cena was still there when he turned around, “I’m gonna hurt you so bad it’s gonna make the last eight days look like a picnic at the beach.”
Punk did indeed turn around, but what he didn’t expect was the trick that Cena had in his back pocket: a lead pipe that he used to clobber the champion in the gut. “Real men wear pink,” boomed Cena, before adding a final quip: “Now that’s what I call a pipe bomb!”
The drama didn’t end there, though. As the wounded champion hobbled back to the locker room area, he stumbled upon the last person he surely wanted to see: Mick Foley. As The Hardcore Legend affixed Punk with a disappointed glare, Punk’s furstration got the better of him and he hit the three-time WWE Champion with a kick to the gut that sent Foley to his knees. Punk began to walk away but soon stopped in his tracks, seemingly ready to deliver one final quip to the fallen Foley.
“You know …” Punk began, before stopping dead in his tracks. A look of fear overcame The Second City Saint as the camera turned to reveal a Superstar had come to the aid of the downed legend: Ryback. And he looked hungry.