WWE RAW 7/18/2011
WWE Monday Night Raw
Green Bay, Wisconsin
July 18, 2011
Commentators: Jerry “The King” Lawler & Michael Cole
Reported by: David Stephens of Wrestleview.com
Are you ready for a WWE with no Champion and no John Cena? Then stop questioning your heart and join me because it is time for Monday Night RAW!!!
Vince McMahon’s music hits and he makes his way down to the ring wearing a pastel pink suit jacket, and flanked by VP of Talent Relations, John Laurinaitis. The crowd chants loudly for “CM Punk”. Vince says that he will never again utter that man’s name. He refers to Punk as the biggest ingrate in the history of the company. Vince instead announces a tournament for RAW tonight to crown a NEW WWE Champion! Absent from that list is John Cena. Vince says that he warned Cena about the consequences if his opponent was to win last night.
Michael Cole fills in the audience that John Cena has already said on Twitter that he has been released from the company, and apologized to The Rock for not being able to have their match at Wrestlemania 28.
WWE Tournament 1st Round
Alex Riley v. The Miz
The two men square off and Riley is trying to grab the injured leg of Miz. Quick roll up attempt by Miz, but the ref doesn’t even get to one. Riley backs Miz into the corner, but Miz clobbers his way out. Riley gets to the knee and begins dropping elbows on the injured limb. Miz scurries to the corner for a respite. Riley rolls out of the ring and throws Miz’s knee into the steel post. Riley reenters the ring and locks on a half Boston Crab. Miz kicks him away and Riley tumbles out of the ring.
Riley slides into the ring and kicks Miz is in the face and goes for the cover. Miz kicks out. Miz attempts another roll up, but Riley kicks out. Miz mounts Riley and begins to unload with punches to the head. The referee breaks the attempts. Miz locks on a side headlock. The crowd is behind Riley as he hits a backbreaker across his knee. Riley hits a running shoulder block and follows up with a Spinebuster. Cover attempt, but Miz kicks out. Riley goes back to the Boston Crab and looks to transition into a modified Sharpshooter. The Miz makes it to the ropes for the break.
Riley hits a series of punches but gets pushed back into the ref. Miz takes advantage of the distraction and hits the Skull Crushing Finale. This match is over!
Winner via Skull Crushing Finale: The Miz
Video Package: John Morrison Highlight Reel
WWE Tournament 1st Round
R-Truth v. Jack Swagger
Swagger tackles Truth and goes for a cover. Truth kicks out. Truth is caught with a side headlock but gets to the ropes for the break. Truth is whipped into the ropes and kicks Swagger in the head. Cover attempt, but Swagger kicks out at two. They square off and Swagger backs Truth into the corner. Swagger drops him to the mat and goes for a cover. Truth kicks out. Swagger sets Truth’s neck against the second rope and applies pressure. He follows into a back slam and goes for the cover. Truth kicks out. Swagger knees Truth in the head. Swagger whips Truth hard into the corner and he crashes to the mat. Swagger sets up for his second rope inverted senton, and connects with the maneuver. Truth kicks out of the cover. Swagger locks on a half nelson Armenian style. Truth escapes and hits a spinning heel kick. Cover attempt, but Swagger kicks out. Truth looks for the Lie Detector but Swagger dodges and then sweeps out the legs of Truth. Swagger looks for the ankle lock, but Truth counters into a pin! This match is over.
Winner via Counter: R-Truth
WWE Tournament 1st Round
Alberto Del Rio v. Kofi Kingston
Before the match, Alberto Del Rio introduces himself as Mr. Money in the Bank, but we already knew that. Rio says that he tried to cash in last night, but Punk ran away. Del Rio tells John Cena that he hopes that he is fired. He goes on to once again explain how it is his destiny to become the WWE Champion. Del Rio’s music hits and we are in for another surprise – the return of Ricardo Rodriguez! He walks out onto the entrance ramp and performs Del Rio’s proper introduction.
Alberto Del Rio tries for a quick cover but Kofi kicks out. Kofi hits a high dropkick and tries for his own cover. Del Rio kicks out. Rio hits a shoulder block and then gets caught with a Kofi elbow. Kofi covers, but Del Rio kicks out. Kofi jumps on Rio in the corner and begins a ten punch. He relents and attempts a cover. Rio kicks out. Rio tries to jump on Kofi, but Kofi moves out of the way and Rio flies out of the ring. Kofi runs into the ropes and hits a suicide dive to the outside! Kofi rolls Del Rio back into the ring. While Kofi is on the apron, Del Rio kicks him in the back of the head. Cover, but Kofi kicks out.
Rio begins stomping on the back of Kofi’s head. Rio then connects with a rear headlock. Kofi attempts to escape with punches, but Rio throws him down to the mat for his effort. Cover, but Kofi kicks out. Rio hits a standing elbow drop and goes for another cover. Kofi kicks out. Rio lays on another rear headlock. Del Rio questionably begins to headbutt Kofi, but then Kofi dodges a splash attempt in the corner! Kofi hits a high dropkick followed by a flying arm lariat. Kofi sets up for the Boom Boom Drop, but Del Rio scurries to the ropes. Rio hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and goes for the cover. Kofi kicks out. Rio goes for the cross arm breaker, but Kofi rolls through and turns it into a cover of his own. This match is over!
Winner via Roll Up: Kofi Kingston
WWE Tournament 1st Round
Rey Mysterio v. Dolph Ziggler w/ Vickie Guerrero
They exchange blows and Ziggler throws Rey out of the ring. Ziggler follows after and plants Rey face first into the gym mat on the outside. Back in the ring, Dolph goes for a cover. Rey kicks out. Ziggler locks on an Egyptian Clutch! Rey rolls through, but Ziggler turns it into a cover of his own! Dolph kicks out. Rey tries for a hurricarana, but Ziggler converts it into a face plant. Cover attempt, but Rey kicks out. Rey kicks Ziggler in the back of the head and goes for the cover. Ziggler kicks out. Rey heads to the top rope and leaps for a seated senton. It connects, but Ziggler kicks out of the legs of Rey once he lands and tries for a cover. Rey kicks out.
Ziggler attempts a headlock, but Rey throws him into the turnbuckle. Rey hits a twisting hurricarana and sets up for the 619. Ziggler ducks and hits a side slam suplex variation into a scooped hold. Rey kicks out of the cover. Ziggler is pumped up, but Rey kicks him once again into the 619 position. This time Rey connects, and then scales to the top turnbuckle. Rey hits a frogsplash and goes for the cover! This match is over.
Winner via Frogsplash: Rey Mysterio
In his office, Vince McMahon is shown talking to John Laurinaitis, but no audio is played for the audience of their discussion.
AJ, Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim, Kaitlyn, Eve Torres, Beth Phoenix, Natalya v. The Bella Twins, Melina, Maryse, Rosa Mendes, Alicia Fox, Tamina
Beth and Rosa start things off, but the entire match quickly breaks down into a free for all on the outside. Back inside the ring, Rosa is hit with the Glam Slam and this match is over!
Winners: The 7 Face Divas
WWE Tournament Semi-Finals
Kofi Kingston v. The Miz
They square off and exchange blows back and forth. Kofi begins to target the knee, but instead goes back to his usual offense with a high dropkick. Cover, but Miz kicks out. Miz hits a nice tackle and goes for a cover of his own. Kofi kicks out. Miz has a side headlock, but Kofi kicks the knee of Miz to escape. Kofi slides at Miz’s knee, but ends up sliding to the outside of the ring. Kofi hits another dropkick to the leg of Miz and goes for a cover. Miz kicks out.
Kofi dodges a splash and Miz gets caught with a boot to the face. Kofi leaps for a crossbody, but Miz rolls it into a cover. Kofi kicks out. Kofi is setting up for Trouble in Paradise, but Miz rolls under the bottom rope. Kofi walks over, but Miz pulls his neck down against the top rope. Kofi tries for another cover, but Miz kicks out. Miz gets back to his feet and hits the Skull Crushing Finale. This match is over!
Winner via Skull Crushing Finale: The Miz
In the back, Scott Stanford is interviewing R-Truth. Truth says that the conspiracy kept him from winning his match last night, but tonight he will receive what is rightfully his – the Championship. He tells all the Little Jimmys to close their eyes because Little Rey Rey is about to get got.
Video Package: Tough Enough Winner “Silent Rage” Andy Leavine
WWE Tournament Semi-Final
R-Truth v. Rey Mysterio
Truth backs Rey into the corner, and the ref breaks them up. Cover attempt, but Rey kicks out. Truth hits a suplex and goes for a cover. Rey again kicks out. Rey is on his feet and punching his way towards Truth. Truth’s response is a vicious clothesline. Rey kicks out of the cover. Truth locks on a front headlock. Rey begins to escape, so Truth locks on a body scissors hold. Rey fights free, but Truth is the first to his feet and throws Rey towards the ropes. Rey holds on and kicks Truth in the head. Rey sends Truth through the second rope to the outside thanks to an arm drag. Rey leaps out with a suicide dive!
Back from the commercial, Truth is frustrated. Despite a couple of cover attempts, Rey continues to fight on. Truth chokes out Rey against the ropes, but the ref breaks him off. Rey kicks Truth in the gut and sets up for the 619. Truth charges at Rey and clobbers him with an arm lariat. Cover attempt, but Rey kicks out. Truth hits a facebuster, and goes for the cover. Rey kicks out. Rey hits a drop toe hold that sends Truth into the second turnbuckle. Truth whips him into the ropes, but Rey connects with a crossbody. Cover attempt, but Truth kicks out. Truth sets up for the Lie Detector, but Rey dodges and sets up for a roll up. Truth kicks out. Truth hits a neckwrench from the lifted position, but Rey grabs the bottom rope to break the cover. Rey is on the apron and pulls down on Truth’s neck. Rey hits him in the gut and then knocks Truth into the 619 position. Rey takes to the top rope and connects with the Frogsplash! This match is over.
Winner via Frogsplash: Rey Mysterio
WWE Tournament Final Match
Rey Mysterio v. The Miz
During the introductions for this match, McMahon’s music hits and he makes his way into the ring. The Miz has not yet entered. Vince apologizes to Rey and says that he won’t deny Rey or Miz the chance to fight for the Title, but due to time running out he is going to have to postpone that match until next week. Rey is reluctant to leave and the crowd is hot at this decision. Vince says that this is bigger than Rey, and tells him not to be selfish. Mysterio finally leaves the ring and Vince begins to speak. He says that no one man is bigger than the WWE, not Rey and not John Cena. Vince claims that he can make a new John Cena. Vince says that there is no denying the contributions that John has given to the WWE, but at the same time in business you have to set examples. This isn’t about his ego, it’s about business. Vince says that he does what is right for every member of the audience. Vince says that he has to make long term decisions that the audience doesn’t understand in their short sightedness. Vince says that as much as he would like not to have to do this… (The crowd begins a loud “CM Punk” chant). Vince continues on and says that as much as he would like not to have to do this, let’s get it over with.
John Cena’s music hits. He salutes the crowd, and makes his way down to the ring. Cena takes the mic from Vince and addresses the crowd. Cena says that he isn’t going to go through all of the things that Vince made Shawn Michaels go through. Despite how great Shawn was, for years all that people talked about was how he screwed Bret. Cena says he thought about that a lot last week. If he was in Shawn’s shoes would he want to be the guy that screwed Bret? Would Cena be the guy to screw CM Punk? The answer was no. Cena says that the match was more than just Cena v. Punk. It was about Vince wanting to keep his bubble and universe intact. Vince needed Cena to be his patsy, and Cena wouldn’t do it. Cena says that he isn’t supposed to say Punk’s name, but he gives him a shout out and says that it was a hell of a match. Cena says that he wasn’t going to play along with Vince’s crap, because it would have made the Title meaningless. John Cena tells Vince that if he can make another Cena, then go ahead, make 10. Cena says that he has eight months to find a new opponent for The Rock at Wrestlemania. Vince will make it happen, but in the meantime Cena will be able to walk out of the company with his dignity. Cena has one last thing to say, he truly loves the WWE and believes that he belongs here. Cena says that if Vince tells him that he is gone from the company – he still loves this business. So he will walk onto another person’s TV show and keep doing this, “brother”. Cena says that he refuses to kiss Vince’s ass.
Vince has the microphone back and says that as much as it pains him to say this –
TIME TO PLAY THE GAME!!
HHH’s music hits and he makes his way into the ring wearing a suit. Trips says that there was a Board of Directors meeting this morning. He says that the Board asked him to come here tonight and talk to Vince. They are concerned about the current situation. Trips asks if they can go talk in the back. Vince doesn’t seem to want to leave the ring. HHH says he tried to get to him before he entered the ring. HHH says that the Board respects everything that Vince has done, but they are worried about him. They are concerned about his extremely questionable decisions as of late. HHH again tries to get Vince to walk with him into the back. HHH says that the Board of Directors has filed a conjunction against Vince McMahon with a Vote of No Confidence! And… the family agrees! On top of that, the Board has assigned someone to take over the day to day operations of the WWE. That man… is HHH!
HHH tells Vince that he is not going to be firing John Cena, as a matter of fact he is not going to be doing anything else. HHH says that Vince taught him from day one that nobody is bigger than this business, and that includes Vince. There are actually tears in the eyes of Mr. McMahon. HHH tells Vince that he is here to inform him that he is relieved of his duties. With tears in his eyes as well, HHH says that he didn’t want to do this, but he is doing what is right for this business. HHH tells Vince to look at him, and says: “I love you, Pop. And I’m sorry”.
Vince is now alone in the middle of the ring, and mouths “thank you” to the crowd. They begin to cheer for him, and he walks out of the ring one last time.
After last night’s Money in the Bank PPV, CM Punk left the company with the WWE Championship and John Cena was fired – what a story!
With my computer out being fixed, I was dedicated to taking a real break from the world of professional wrestling. This lasted up until about Sunday afternoon when my phone was buzzing with texts about the forthcoming PPV. I decided I couldn’t resist checking it out, so I placed my order with Comcast and hoped for the best. Needless to say, I was blown away by one of the best PPVs I have ever seen, period. John Cena and CM Punk put on the kind of showing that exemplifies the difference between WWE’s brand of Sports Entertainment and every other company in the world. It was a gleeful adventure that made me fall in love with wrestling all over again. So, I borrowed a friend’s laptop to be able to recap RAW tonight, despite my “sabbatical”, and tuned in to watch what I hoped would be one of the most monumental RAWs in the history of the company.
RAW kicked off exactly as I had hoped it would, with Vince announcing a tournament to crown a new WWE Champion. If they are really going to make this real, then this was the logical step to take.
Miz/Riley was fast but appropriate. I suppose a case could be made that this made Riley look weak, but when dealing with tournament style matches I think such criticisms should be taken with a grain of salt. They started to really plant the seeds of Miz’s knee/leg injury in this match.
Truth/Swagger was straightforward. Truth’s facial expressions crack me up with this whole crazy persona.
Del Rio/Kingston was the strongest of the tournament bouts up until that point. The early elimination of Del Rio helped to plant the seed in the audience’s mind that perhaps Del Rio would cash in his case later in the night out of scorn for losing his match.
I popped a bit for the return of Ricardo Rodriguez, he just adds a nice dimension to Alberto Del Rio’s cockiness and character.
Rey Mysterio/Ziggler had a nice embedded story with Ziggler being fresh after not competing at last night’s PPV. Rey was battered, but I guess it didn’t matter because he still disposed of Ziggler without substantial effort.
As for that 14 Girl Diva debacle, what the hell was Alicia Fox doing on RAW? Not cool WWE, not cool.
Kofi/Miz was disappointing. I’m not one of those guys that normally hates on Kofi, because I actually think he is talented and charismatic towards a portion of the audience, but this match made no sense tonight. Kofi kept going back to his normal offense instead of focusing on the leg of Miz. Kofi should have adapted, it just didn’t make sense. Sure he got in a fair amount of shots towards the knee, but Trouble in Paradise should have been attempted towards the knee, instead of whiffing at the head. C’mon man.
Rey/Truth was a stellar match that got a lot of time. Is it possible for Rey Mysterio to have a bad match? If he does, it’s probably the fault of his opponent because Rey is one of the most consistent wrestlers on the company’s employ at present.
Rey/Miz was delayed due to time restraints, but with both of those competitors pretty banged up, they could use the rest. I’m looking forward to this match next week.
As for the closing of the show – wow. Just when I thought that the WWE was all out of surprises, they truly blew my mind. I can’t think of another period of 48 hours when I have more enjoyed being a fan and writer for this industry. They actually gave Punk the Title, and Vince McMahon was essentially fired on live TV. Are you kidding me?
It’s tough to dissect this because I’m looking at the clock and I know that I only have a couple of minutes to get this report posted. All I can really say is that this whole storyline is brilliant, and NO ONE could have seen this happening.
John Cena gave a nice speech, which was topped off with the TNA reference at the close. It was a nice little jab that just added a speck of realism to the angle without going overboard.
HHH’s music hitting and subsequent angle with Vince was one of those times, that as a viewer, I completely forgot about being a smarky douchebag. Hell of a story. Hell of a moment to watch. Hell of a time to be a fan.
Here’s the crazy thing – when I decided to get my computer fixed I was very happy for the reprieve. I’ve been doing this for awhile, recapping different shows over the years, and I was honestly starting to feel burnt out. Between radio shows and the occasional columns, I dedicate a lot of hours to this site each week and I was starting to wonder if it was worth it. I planned to come back after about three weeks and prayed that I would feel refreshed, or else I’m not quite sure how much longer I could have continued with this aspect of my writing. Thanks to the WWE, something I had not at all anticipated ended up happening. Rather than walking away for awhile to feel refreshed, I was sucked back in by an incredibly compelling storyline and was refreshed by falling in love with this business all over again. Thank you WWE, for reminding me why I bother to do this each week, and thank you, the readers, for making it possible.