Pro Wrestling

Precap to the June 17, 2013 Episode of Monday Night Raw

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The One After Payback

Courtesy of WWE FanNation

WWE Payback went down last night (June 16, 2013) from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.

And overall it was a darn good show.

John Cena retained his WWE Championship against Ryback in a Three Stages of Hell Match, putting the big man in an ambulance and sending him out of the arena. Now Cena will be looking for a new challenger to his title.

We also saw the return of CM Punk to WWE as he defeated Chris Jericho with a pair of Go To Sleeps. Is "The Straight Edge Savior" here to stay, and, if so, who is he going to do battle with?

Alberto Del Rio won back the World Heavyweight Championship from a rusty Dolph Ziggler. While Del Rio is supposed to be the face, he used an arsenal of cheap shots to pick up the win. Could Del Rio be slipping back into his heelish ways, and does that make Ziggler a good guy?

Curtis Axel won the Intercontinental Championship in the most opportunistic of fashions. Will Paul Heyman's newest client prove to be the real deal, or will his luck run out sooner than later?

Triple H was given a chance by Vince McMahon to challenge Axel one-on-one tonight, but he turned it down. Does he truly believe he is above the rookie, or is "The King of Kings" scared of his own mortality?

WWE is always asking us questions, and often its answers only cause more confusion. What will happen in the fallout show to Payback?

You have to read on to find out.

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Cena! Ryback! Wee Ooh Wee Ooh Wee! Who's Next!? WWE Championship!

Courtesy of WWE FanNation

John Cena and Ryback went the distance in their Three Stages of Hell Match with "The Big Hungry" picking up the first pinfall -- a bit shocking, I know -- in the Lumberjack Match, and "The Doctor of Thuganomics" picking up the fall in the Tables match. This would lead to the exciting boring as hell climax that saw Cena deliver an AA to Ryback through the top of the ambulance, giving him the two-to-one edge and allowing him to retain the WWE Championship.

Now the question is this: who is the next victim of Cena's Championship reign?

Ambulance Matches are the ultimate blowoff. Whether it was Kane going over Shane McMahon at Survivor Series 2003 or Cena sending Kane on his merry way at Royal Rumble 2012, feuds do not continue after the utter humiliation of being forced into the EMS vehicle.

Granted, this is an extremely limited sample size, but we can only work with what we have.

Let's assume Cena has moved on. Who is left on the roster to give him a run for the title? CM Punk is back in WWE, although I doubt he is going to be pushed right back into the championship picture after such a short break. Randy Orton is not doing anything, but I don't know if he can shake the stink of mid-card purgatory. Sheamus is always waiting in the wings. The guy is so established as a face, though, it would be insane to turn him.

I'm not saying it can't happen, just that it would be really dumb.

In all honesty, the rumored feud with Daniel Bryan is looking pretty good. I know Bryan won't take the title off of Cena, but I would still love to see those two battle it out.

Or we could get Cena vs. Mark Henry for no particular reason.

As for Ryback? I really hope he enjoyed his 15 minutes of the main event fame because he is not going to be sniffing at the championship picture for a long while, if ever again.

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Punk! Jericho! Heyman! Lesnar? Clients! Friends! What Now?

Curtesy of WWE FanNation

CM Punk returned to a hero's welcome to face Chris Jericho in what some are calling "the best match of Punk's career"

Pretty impressive from someone with two months of ring rust.

Now that the "Second City Savior" has come back to WWE, he's going to need a partner to tango with. The Jericho feud has been played out and has no real reason to continue. As I mentioned before, it's possible he could be inserted into the WWE Championship picture.

However, it is far too soon to restart the Punk vs. Cena feud.

So what is a Punk to do? has a video which shows Punk taking offense to being called Paul Heyman's "client". Fans have wanted Punk to face Brock Lesnar for a while now, and it seems like an easy story to book at this point.

Or we could get Punk vs. Curtis Axel. Because why the hell not?

Right now it's all up in the air. Hell, Punk could simply insert himself into the Money in the Bank ladder match as a way to climb back up the ladder so to speak. Whatever the future holds, I'm just glad he's back.

As for Jericho? He's just bouncing around without a care in the world, and I have no clue where he will end up.

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Del Rio! Ziggler! Faces! Heels! Double Turn? World Heavyweight Championship!

Courtesy of WWE FanNation

Dolph Ziggler came back from a serious concussion last night to defend the World Heavyweight Championship against Alberto Del Rio. Ziggler received cheers from the smarks, and we even got a "Let's go Ziggler/Ziggler sucks" chant. The entire face/heel dynamic was thrown out of whack. So what did the wrestlers do?

They threw a curve ball and flipped the whole script by having Del Rio act as the heel.

"The Mexican Aristocrat" took cheap shot after cheap shot to Ziggler's dome. Things were serious enough the ringside doctor had to check "The Showoff's" eyes with a flashlight to make sure he was all there.

This was then followed with a baseball slide by Del Rio to the back of Ziggler's head.

The clearest indication Del Rio was the bad guy last night was when John Bradshaw Layfield -- the heel announcer -- started to defend him. "Whatever it takes to win" is not something we associate with the heroes.

But it worked for Del Rio, who emerged as the new World Heavyweight Champion.

I don't know what exactly last night means moving forward. Maybe we saw the rare double turn. Perhaps AJ Lee will start hanging around with Del Rio while Ziggler tries to pick himself up.

Or it could have been a fluke with the characters simply playing to the smark crowd.

Whatever the case may be, I'm really interested to see how this plays out moving forward.

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Trips! Vince! Steph! Axel? Concussions!

Courtesy of WWE FanNation

On the May 20 episode of Monday Night Raw, Triple H suffered a concussion at the hands of Curtis Axel. This was the night after he "went to war" with Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules, leaving his swollen head vulnerable to further injury. The concussion was deemed to be so severe that Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon refused to allow him to compete against Axel the following week.

But Triple H is not a man who is willing to let a fight go.

So Trips booked himself to face Axel on June 10. However, Vince was one step ahead of his son-in-law, and gave Axel two victories via screwjob.

Sometimes it's just about being in the right place at the right time.

Triple H managed to complain about it so much, Vince finally relented and was going to allow the match to go forward. But a strange thing suddenly occurred.

"The Game" no longer wanted to fight.

Vince repeated the promise of the match last night, and again Triple H declined. Which sort of makes sense. Axel is so far below Trips that there is no reason for the match to go down.

But as someone whose job it is to fight, wouldn't the assumption be he would take on all comers?

This is an odd little side story and one that doesn't seem to have reached its conclusion. Axel is the Intercontinental Champion and really can't afford to be jobbed out. But it's not like Triple H is going to keep running away from this match.

It's rare that I'm actually interested in what Triple H is doing. This, however, has grabbed my attention.

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Everything Else!

Courtesy of WWE FanNation

Curtis Axel won the Intercontinental Championship -- the title his father Curt Hennig once carried -- in what was a shockingly great match. The finish, in my humble opinion, was particularly wonderful. While The Miz was applying the Figure Four Leg Lock on Wade Barrett, Axel snuck into the ring to grab the pinball on "The Bare Knuckle Brawler". The Miz was rightfully upset at the stolen victory and will most likely be looking for revenge soon. I'm perfectly okay with an Axel vs. Miz feud as long as it means I can see The Miz eat a few losses.

The Shield had a great night at Payback with Dean Ambrose defending the United States Championship against Kane and Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns retaining the Tag Team Championship against Daniel Bryan & Randy Orton. The NXT Trio has been booked about as strong as possible, and they show no sign of letting up.

AJ Lee defeated her former partner and friend Kaitlyn to win the Divas Championship in an entertaining Divas match. This feud is going to continue for the foreseeable future, and I am perfectly fine with that.

It was announced Rob Van Dam will be returning to WWE come Money in the Bank. This is the worst news I've heard all summer. RVD hasn't had a good match in about a decade. The dude is a fat burnout who should have quit years ago. This is going to be painful to watch, and anyone who is excited about this hasn't seen the guy wrestle since he left WWE.

C.J. Bradford is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @Li0nford, or “Like” him on Facebook