WWE Monday Night Raw
Las Vegas, Nevada
July 4, 2011
Commentators: Jerry “The King” Lawler & Michael Cole
Reported by: David Stephens of Wrestleview.com
Are you ready for the fallout from CM Punk’s promo? Then stop questioning your heart and join me because it is time for Monday Night RAW!!!
Due to the fact that it is the 4th of July and I have family over for the festivities, you’ll have to excuse the brevity of the recap this week
Video recap of R-Truth v. John Cena last week, followed by CM Punk’s promo.
Cena’s music hits and his makes his way down to the ring. Cena says that the things Punk said did not sit well with the brass, leading to his suspension. Because of this suspension, he has been stripped of his right to fight his last match against Cena in his hometown of Chicago. We are supposed to ignore the fact that Punk ever existed. He says that because of CM Punk’s suspension, there will be a Triple Threat match to determine the new #1 Contender. Cena says that this decision sucks. While he and Punk are certainly not on the some ideological page, he does support Punk’s freedom of expression. Punk was suspended for speaking his mind. Cena knows that this is a PG show so there are things you can and cannot say. Despite the fact that Punk took shots at Cena, he is afraid that this is a slippery slope in the WWE. Other instances of the WWE going too far include Daniel Bryan being released last year, and the WWE taking away signs from audience members. The crowd begins to chant, “1st Amendment”. He agrees with the crowd. He directs his attention towards Cole and says that there will no interrupts tonight during his tirade from the RAW GM. Cena only wants answers from the man at the top, Vince McMahon. They are not going to talk in the back, they are going to have their confrontation in the ring tonight. Cena announces that he is going to confront Vince McMahon later tonight!
Eve Torres & Kelly Kelly def. The Bella Twins
Video Package: Tough Enough winner Andy aka “Silent Rage”
In the back R-Truth is on his phone. Scott Stanford enters the shot and asks him about the Triple Threat match tonight. R-Truth rambles about the conspiracy within the WWE. He says that he shouldn’t have to fight in a Triple Threat to earn another shot at the Title, because he beat Cena last week. Alberto Del Rio walks into the shot and Truth calls him Senor Jimmy. Del Rio claims it is his destiny to win this match.
Tag Team Championships
David Otunga & Michael McGillicutty def. Santino & Kozlov
Zack Ryder’s music hits and he comes on to the entrance ramp. He says, “Woo Woo Woo You Know It” and then leaves.
In the back, The Miz is furious about not being in the Triple Threat match. He is somehow convinced that this is also the fault of Alex Riley.
Evan Bourne is in the locker room with Sgt. Slaughter. Bourne says that it is great Slaughter is here for the 4th of July. Jack Swagger enters the shot and challenges Slaughter to a match tonight! Slaughter accepts.
Jack Swagger def. Sgt. Slaughter
After the match, Swagger refuses to let go of Slaughter’s ankle. Evan Bourne runs down to the ring for the save. An out of breath Slaughter grabs the mic, and leads the crowd in saying the “Pledge of Allegiance”. Sure, why not.
#1 Contenders Match
Alberto Del Rio def. R-Truth & Rey Mysterio
A 4th of July themed birthday party is thrown in the ring by Vickie Guerrero for Dolph Ziggler. Kofi’s music hits and he comes down to the ring. He mocks Ziggler for being attached to Vickie, and claims he can’t win without Vickie in his corner. A fight breaks out, which culminates with Vickie tumbling into a cake.
Alex Riley def. The Miz
After the match, Miz finds a burst of energy and attacks Riley. The brawl outside of the ring and Miz drops the steel steps onto Riley.
Vince McMahon’s music hits and he comes down to the ring. He talks about CM Punk’s suspension due to his comments on last week’s show. He says the real reason he was suspended is because Punk wanted too much money for his next contract.
Cena’s music hits. He comes down to the ring and says that he still wants to fight Punk at the PPV. McMahon scoffs at the notion. Cena tells McMahon that if he doesn’t want to fight, he should hang it up. McMahon responds by saying the “real” real reason he suspended Punk is because he doesn’t want him to leave the company as Champion. Cena begins to mock McMahon, to which Vince responds that Cena should behave and not act like Hulk Hogan. After more back and forth, Cena says that if McMahon won’t let him fight Punk, then he has made the belt meaningless. Cena hands Vince the Championship belt and walks out of the ring. A furious Vince grabs the belt and follows after Cena. He meets him on the ramp and agrees to Cena’s request and reinstates CM Punk. The match is back on for the Money in the Bank PPV. McMahon gives Cena the ultimatum that if he loses the Title, he will be fired!
Great promo by Cena to open the show. The funny thing about Cena is that he is either really on, or really off when it comes to his promos. Sometimes they come across corny and contrived, other times they swell with emotion. Tonight, he did his part to play up the Punk angle, and he should be commended for his role.
Something to keep in mind is that this RAW was taped last week right after Punk’s promo. That angle is incredibly fresh in the audience’s mind, which helped to make segments like the first and last just that much more impactful.
I’m a big fan of Kelly Kelly, but she wasn’t in top form tonight. There is just something so static about the way she hits her moves. For a lack of a better way to explain it, they just seem to be missing a seamless flow. Ah well, I suppose that’s not really the point of the Divas in the company’s eye. Fun match nevertheless.
I’m glad to see that R-Truth is still zany and crazy. This gimmick is actually refreshing because we haven’t seen someone quite this insane in awhile. We’ve seen Superstars act out with crazy antics, but no one who really came across as this “loco”.
Nothing too special about the tag team title match. David Otunga continues on his quest to one day be World Champion (sorry, I couldn’t resist) and Santino never fails to get the crowd into his character. I’m not one to fantasy book because that isn’t my role and more often than not the practice comes across as sophomoric, but I can’t put my finger on which team should be the next Tag Champs. For the foreseeable future the New Nexus will hang on to the belts, simply because there aren’t others who would benefit from the run at the moment. The Usos are reinventing their gimmick to an extent, so I won’t be surprised if they make a challenge come Summerslam.
Sgt Slaughter leading the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance was bizarre, but hey it’s the 4th of July so why not? I can only assume that was the thought process behind that segment. Bourne and Swagger can’t just keep facing each other 1 on 1 each week, so throwing Slaughter into the mix this week will help to keep the feud from becoming stale.
Alberto Del Rio won his match, but I guess that doesn’t matter. Will the WWE award him with a Title shot at Summerslam or will they just ignore that this match happened? It wouldn’t be the first time someone was a #1 Contender but never got the actual Title shot.
Parties in the ring never do it for me. I don’t know why, but they always seem really lame. I’m pretty sure people getting hit with pies and cake stopped being funny when vaudeville died.
The Alex Riley and Miz feud is starting to wear a bit thin on me. They have been together for so long, that this blow off feud seems like it has been going on much longer than it has been in reality. Where do they go from here? At some point they need to head in a different direction with these guys, but there doesn’t seem to be anything available for them.
Pretty powerful segment to close the show out with Cena and McMahon. They essentially went the Austin/McMahon lane with Cena which is not necessarily a bad thing. There are trying to get over in people’s minds that Cena is no longer the golden boy in McMahon’s eyes. No disrespect to Cena, but I just can’t envision him being an anti-hero in the same vein as Austin. I guess we’ll just have to see how this one plays out.
Alright, let’s talk about CM Punk. Last week I did my monthly kayfabe thoughts so I haven’t had a chance to really comment on that monumental promo. Props to Jared for providing his thoughts in the recap last week to appease those that aren’t the biggest fan of the kayfabe shtick. One of the things Jared mentioned that I’d like to expound upon is the idea that the Punk promo missed the mark with some members of the audience. I actually have to agree with him.
Look, here’s the thing – I thought Punk cut a hell of a promo. It got people talking and wanting to tune in to the next week’s show in a way that I haven’t seen in quite some time. I received plenty of texts from people asking me if it was “legit”. Obviously it was a work, but the fact that it made some people doubt that fact proves that it hit its target. But how much of the target?
As hard as it might be to comprehend given that we are all members of the Internet Wrestling Community, the fact is that the vast majority of viewers tuning in to the show have never heard of John Lauriniatus. They have no idea what a Ring of Honor is, or why some dude name “Colt Cabana” received a shout out. I did a little bit of research in a completely unscientific manner to see how true that was. I showed some casual fans the promo, with no set up or explanations about the references Punk would be making. They were confused at points, but they came out of the promo knowing that something special had just occurred. While the material went above their heads, the message seemed to strike.
In my mind there are 4 other monumental shoot promos in the past decade or so. Paul Heyman claims 2 of them with his rant before Survivor Series in 2001, and his shoot at the first ECW One Night Stand. 3. Joey Styles caused quite the stir when he walked away from the RAW commentary booth in 2005. 4. Love him or hate him, you have to give credit to Vince Russo for his shoot on Hulk Hogan at Bash at the Beach in 2000. Those four moments are the standard bearers when it comes to cutting a great worked shoot. After last week, I truly believe that Punk deserves to be in their ranks.
Having said all of that, there is a misnomer that needs to be addressed – that Punk’s promo was the “best ever”. CM Punk’s promo was not the best in recent memory. It wasn’t the best WWE promo of the year, let alone of the past decade. I know, that probably sounds like blasphemy but you have to think about the business as exactly that – a business. The Rock’s return promo earlier in the year meant far more to the company than Punk’s. At the end of the day it is all about the money. The Rock returned and past fans were coming out of the woodwork to ask me if the Rock was really back. His promo became an internet sensation, and the buyrate for Wrestlemania soared past 1 million. Bottom line, The Rock brought in more buys for a PPV.
Can Punk’s do the same? Sure, there are probably a fair handful of people that may buy the PPV to see if Punk can pull it off. BUT, and this is a big but, I fear that the majority of fans that Punk galvanized are the same ones that are just going to find a free stream online come July 17th. I’m not saying this to downplay what Punk pulled off, I’m saying this to challenge the IWC to prove me wrong. If you guys actually want this promo to matter in the history of the WWE, you need to buy this PPV. If you don’t, then the WWE will not have the incentive to take this kind of risk again, and we’ll all miss out on microphone gold of this kind down the line. The choice is yours.
For the next 2-3 weeks Smackdown Recapper, Mike Tedesco, will be covering RAW as my computer needs to go in to get fixed. I have a lot of respect for Mike, so I have no doubt his recaps will be of the utmost quality. I’ll be back with you guys at the end of the month.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.