WWE RAW 8/1/2011
WWE Monday Night Raw
August 1, 2011
Report by: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
“Yes, sir, we promised you a great main event…” The WWE video leads us into the show.
A video recaps the events surrounding the WWE Championship over the past two weeks. CM Punk defeated John Cena in a classic at Money in the Bank for the WWE Championship. Punk then left the company with the championship, leaving its status up in the air. Last Monday, Rey Mysterio won the vacant WWE Championship and lost it back to John Cena later in the night. CM Punk then made his shocking return to WWE with the WWE Championship. There are two guys who have a claim to the championship and it will be sorted out tonight.
The fireworks explode and we are brought into the arena. Michael Cole welcomes us to the show alongside WWE Hall of Famers Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler. Cole refers to JR as a “special guest” but Lawler points out that JR is back full time.
“Cult of Personality” hits and CM Punk makes his way to the right with his WWE Championship. His graphic indicates that he is the WWE Champion. Punk is getting a very mixed reaction from the crowd. All of a sudden a “CM Punk” chant breaks out loudly over the boos. I love this. Punk says, “The champ is here!” Punk sits down in the ring and says the $64,000 question is why did he come back. Punk says he’s a bit of a storyteller and he wants to tell one. He’s known for a very long time that his contract with WWE expired on July 17, 2011 so as far as a year back he was struggling with this life decision he had to make. On one hand he loves the place he works – he just hates the people in charge. He could have either re-signed and dealt with the soul crushing status quo or he could speak his mind and cause a little change in his wake. Obviously, and we know his decision, he spoke his mind, and lo and behold, he caused a little change.
The domino effect happened. The next night on Raw, Vince McMahon was relieved of his day-to-day duties. That is tangible change and he takes a little bit of credit for that happening. However most of the change is on the shoulders of the audience. For far too long the audience has been fed scraps and haven’t been given what we’re entitled to. Punk says he’s here to make this fun again. Sure, he’s a little unpredictable and unorthodox but he’d have it no other way.
As proud as he was of backing up everything he said, he was sitting at home with the WWE Championship and realized that the Voice of the Voiceless needed to be heard. His voice needs to be heard by the people who need it most – the audience. He can’t do that with a megaphone at Comic Con or Jimmy Kimmel. He can’t make this business the way it should be sitting on his couch in Chicago. He picked up the phone and made the call to come back.
His timing couldn’t have been better. In his short absence they’ve already reverted back to the soul crushing status quo as John Cena is parading around with the WWE Championship. John Cena is as much of a champion as some guy sitting front row with a replica belt. What that guy has is a belt and what he has is a championship title. Punk says, “So much for change”. Punk says no matter the outcome of the bogus WWE Championship tournament that took place while he was on vacation, no matter who thinks they’re entitled to rematches, one fact remains – he holds in his hands the most important title in the world. This title indicates to everybody, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he is the best professional wrestler that this world has to offer. He is the one and only WWE Champion.
Triple H’s music hits and WWE’s Chief Operating Officer makes his way to the ring. The crowd is electric as they stand in the ring together. Punk beefs up Triple H’s reception. Triple H says he’s out here to explain why he re-signed Punk. It comes down to one thing – it was good for business. That’s the same reason why he brought back JR and John Morrison – it was good for business. The WWE Universe wanted it and it’s his job as COO to give them what they want each week. They spoke and said they wanted CM Punk so he put his personal feelings aside and gave them CM Punk.
Punk gets offended by Triple H’s personal feelings and tells him not to hide behind the suit. Punk wants to know his feelings. Triple H says his personal feelings are irrelevant, but if he insists: he’s a smug, overrated, attention-seeking guy that puts a little too much stock in his own hype. Punk says he’s glad they could be honest and says it must be like looking in the mirror for Triple H. Punk says he’s definitely smug. Punk says it’s not for him to decide if he’s overrated.
Punk says he wishes Triple H would just come out and say that he hated his guts, but admit what a commodity he is. We live in an era that Vince McMahon built. He’s a great man but he surrounded himself with “yes men”. Punk says they screwed the pooch on the entire roster. Vince let main event talent go like Batista, Mick Foley, Chris Jericho, and Brock Lesnar. He could go on and on. Basically, not only did Triple H not want to see him go anywhere else, he couldn’t afford to see him go anywhere else. He’s hot and he’s a commodity. Triple H says he is a commodity.
Since they’re here telling the truth, Triple H asks Punk to admit why he re-signed. Punk says he wants to facilitate change but Triple H says he wanted to hear his own voice. Triple H says he needed this platform because without the WWE, Punk and his microphone mean nothing. That he did for his own ego. Punk says that’s 50/50 at best. Punk says he likes facts. The truth is he’s the WWE Champion. Triple H corrects him and says he’s the WWE Champion but so is John Cena. Triple H says that’s a situation he will fix later tonight.
Triple H goes to leave the ring but he shouts for him to stop. Punk says his pipe bomb is going to go off in the forest and he wants Triple H around to hear it. Punk doesn’t want him to think that just because he has a WWE contract that he’ll shut up. Punk says he’s not spitting out some PG doctrine. He’s not going to promo class. He’s doing things his way. If Triple H wants to talk egos then they’ll talk about egos. Punk mocks the old Hunter Hearst Helmsley bow from 1995. Punk talks about Triple H hogging the spotlight so many times over people who deserved a spotlight. Even while he was carrying Shawn Michaels’s bags, he was still pushing people around, telling them what to do. Punk asks how many times Triple H said, “Well, you know, I just don’t think he has what it takes” while he’s lying in bed with his wife. Punk says even though he’s in a suit, he’s still the same guy he’s always been – he’s a bully who likes to throw his weight around and push people. Punk says he’s not picking a fight, but is just telling him to be careful who he pushes because he likes to push back.
Triple H says he’ll be the first to admit that he has a massive ego. His massive ego is telling him to slap every one of those silly tattoos off Punk’s skinny fat ass. Triple H says he won’t do that because the title is bigger than that. He took the job as COO for the fans. That comes with certain responsibilities and certain rules. Maybe he doesn’t like the rules but he respects them. Triple H says he’d strongly suggest that CM Punk doesn’t break them either.
Punk asks, “Or what?” Punk asks if Triple H is going to beat him up. Punk messes with Triple H’s tie and asks if he has to ask his wife for permission first. Triple H smiles as Punk throws his microphone at him. Punk’s music hits and he leaves the ring as Triple H smiles smugly.
Rey Mysterio is backstage. He’ll be in a tag team match with John Morrison later tonight. Morrison does some flip to bring himself on camera. The #1 Contender’s Diva Battle Royal is next.
WWE Diva’s Champion Kelly Kelly is sitting at the announcer’s table.
#1 Contender’s Diva Battle Royal
Rosa Mendes vs. Tamina vs. Alicia Fox vs. The Bella Twins vs. Melina vs. AJ vs. Kaitlyn vs. Gail Kim vs. Eve Torres vs. Natalya vs. Beth Phoenix
Melina is immediately eliminated by Phoenix. They’re just duking it out around the ring. Rosa Mendes and Gail Kim are soon taken out. Tamina eliminates Kaitlyn. Natalya tries to eliminate Fox but is unsuccessful. Tamina is eliminated by Phoenix. Fox eliminates AJ. Eve hits Fox with a Thesz Press followed by some punches. One of the Bella Twins eliminates Natalya through the bottom rope. I guess it’s not over the top rope.
We come back from the break to see the Bella Twins trying to eliminate the Beth Phoenix but she gets out of it. Eve is working on Alicia Fox. Fox back body drops Eve to the apron but Eve is able to snap her off the top. Fox goes to dropkick her off the apron but she slides under the ropes, eliminating herself essentially. Eve nearly eliminates a Bella but the other sister saves her. Eve tries to eliminate her but gets hung up on the ropes. A Bella then eliminates her. Phoenix then picks them both up on her shoulder and eliminates them!
Winner: Beth Phoenix
Match Rating: *
Kelly Kelly gets in the ring to congratulate her but Phoenix instead grabs her by the hair. Phoenix throws her out of the ring and then tosses her into the barricade. Phoenix grabs a microphone and says Kelly’s days as the perky, cute, blonde little bimbo are officially over.
The Miz is seen backstage taping up his wrists. R-Truth then walks in, talking to himself. The Miz does his “really” shtick and asks who he’s talking to. R-Truth says they’re pretty much the same but Miz says that’s not true. R-Truth asks if Miz said Triple H being in charge is a huge mistake. Miz says he did because there’s two WWE Champions. R-Truth says it’s a conspiracy: C-O-N… SPIRACY! The Miz starts talking to himself and he flips out. R-Truth says if Mr. H’s was bringing CM Punk back all along with the WWE Title, then why were they competing in a Championship Tournament. R-Truth warns him to be careful or he’ll get got!
Josh Mathews interviews WWE Champion John Cena backstage. The crowd gives a really mixed reaction. Mathews asks what he thinks of CM Punk’s words. Cena says he’s not afraid to speak his mind and that’s admirable. However you live by the sword and you die by the sword. Cena says his main focus is Triple H. He has a very important decision to make because two people have a claim for the title. Triple H said he’d make a decision later tonight on the situation so he’ll be out there to hear what he has to say.
R-Truth and The Miz make their way to the ring. They show a clip of The Miz on George Lopez. That was a great appearance. They’ll face Rey Mysterio and John Morrison next.
R-Truth & The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio & John Morrison
John Morrison starts off against The Miz. They circle the ring and Morrison tries to punch R-Truth. Morrison punches The Miz, sends him to the ropes, and hits a flapjack. Morrison kips up and knocks R-Truth off. The Miz quickly takes Morrison down with a clothesline and stomps away at him. Miz hits a snap suplex and covers for a two count. Miz goes for a powerslam but Morrison slides off, putting him in the corner. Morrison hits an ugly sweeping kick and tags Mysterio in. Mysterio hits a seated senton off the top rope for a near fall. Miz reverses a whip but Mysterio comes back with a head-scissor takeover. Mysterio hits a baseball slide and dropkicks R-Truth off the apron for good measure. Miz gets up ducks Mysterio’s seated senton but he still takes out R-Truth. Miz then turns and Morrison hits him with a corkscrew plancha!
We come back from the break to see R-Truth applying a camel clutch (Sheik!) to Mysterio. Mysterio soon gets out of it. During the commercial, Miz counted a wheelbarrow bulldog with a face buster. R-Truth applies an abdominal stretch to Mysterio. Mysterio gets to the ropes and kicks R-Truth but Miz is tagged in. Miz hits a snapmare and a running kick to the face for a near fall. Miz elbows him in the shoulder and applies a chin lock. Mysterio soon fights up and elbows out. Mysterio takes R-Truth out and kicks Miz in the face. Mysterio hits an enzuigiri and they’re both down. Miz takes him down before he makes the tag and hits a low DDT for a near fall.
R-Truth is tagged in and he punches away at Mysterio. R-Truth applies a chin lock and punches him. Mysterio kicks away, ducks a clothesline, and eats a nasty Lie Detector for a near fall! R-Truth can’t believe it. R-Truth drags him to his corner and tags The Miz in. Miz taunts Mysterio a bit and Mysterio crawls through his legs. Mysterio almost makes the tag but Miz stops him. Miz stomps away at Mysterio and sends him to the corner. Miz hits his patented clothesline and goes to the top rope. Miz leaps and Mysterio dropkicks him out of mid-air!
Morrison and R-Truth are tagged in. Morrison clotheslines him a pair of times and hits a jumping calf kick. Morrison hits a drop-sault and a flipping sambo suplex for a near fall. Morrison sets R-Truth up in the corner for Starship Pain but Miz pulls R-Truth out. Morrison hits the canvas hard. Mysterio quickly takes Miz out with a plancha. R-Truth goes for a Scissor Kick on Morrison but Morrison avoids it. Morrison hits a Pelé kick and that puts R-Truth in position for the 619! Miz pulls him out of the ring and throws him over the barricade before he can hit it. Morrison takes Miz out with a knee and the Flying Chuck. Morrison then turns around into the What’s Up! R-Truth picks up the win.
Winners by Pinfall: R-Truth & The Miz
Match Rating: **
The Miz picks Morrison up and hits him with the Skull Crushing Finale. R-Truth grabs a water bottle as Miz holds Morrison up and hits him with it. I’m still not sure how that could possibly hurt. Maybe if it was frozen ice… but it’s not.
Josh Mathews has an interview with Triple H. Mathews mentions the uncomfortable exchange earlier tonight between CM Punk and himself. Triple H asks if Mathews has shaved and says he should. Triple H says he’s been in the business for twenty years and this isn’t his first bar-b-q. CM Punk thinks he dropped a bomb on him by mentioning his wife but that’s been out for ten years. Triple H tells him to get some new material. Punk doesn’t bother him one bit. Mathews asks about John Cena who has a vested interest in what he has to say tonight. Triple H says Cena and Punk can come out. Triple H recommends that Cena keep this strictly business the way this night is going.
WWE United States Champion Dolph Ziggler makes his way to the ring with Vickie Guerrero. Vickie excuses herself but the crowd won’t have it so she shouts it. While everyone talks about the controversy of having two WWE Champions, a man who has gone above and beyond to prove himself as far more superior to John Cena and CM Punk is here – her client, Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler says after his victory last week he told everyone, “Follow that”. That was directed to every WWE Superstar under contract. That means that no one will ever have his skills, techniques, talent, and charisma. He’s more of a man than anyone in the arena and in the locker room.
Alex Riley’s music hits and the crowd gives him a great reception. Riley stands on the stage. Riley says if he’s such a man then why does he hide behind a woman… or in his case, Vickie Guerrero. Vickie excuses herself and says thanks to her, Ziggler is a former World Heavyweight Champion, a former Intercontinental Champion, and the current United States Champion. Riley gets in the ring and excuses himself to her. Riley says she’s brought up a good point – Ziggler has had a great career so far but Riley wonders when he last accomplished something on his own. This reminds him of The Miz. The Miz hid behind him and Ziggler hides behind her. If Ziggler wants to be a real man then he should drop Vickie. Riley asks if he’s afraid he’ll be exposed without her – a bleached blonde, arrogant fraud.
They stand face to face and Ziggler backs up while holding Vickie’s hand. Ziggler then puts her in the corner and removes his jacket and title. Ziggler makes like he’s going to fight Riley but instead rolls out of the ring. Vickie follows and they walk up the ramp. Ziggler keeps saying that he doesn’t even know who Riley is.
Later tonight, we’ll see Triple H settle the WWE Championship controversy. They also are running a poll on who should be WWE Champion. Coming up next we’ll see The New Nexus take on Santino Marella and Zack Ryder. Lawler completely botches the name of Ryder’s web series, “Z! True Long Island Story”.
Michael McGillicutty & David Otunga vs. Santino Marella & Zack Ryder
It looks like they’ve totally dropped the Nexus gimmick with McGillicutty and Otunga. Santino locks up with McGillicutty and takes him down. McGillicutty just as quickly takes Santino down and stomps away at him. Otunga is tagged in and he hits a double clothesline in the corner with McGillicutty. Otunga knees away at him and body slams him down. Otunga drops an elbow on Santino as the crowd chants “We want Ryder”! Otunga applies a waist lock but Santino gets out of it with a jawbreaker.
Ryder is tagged in and the crowd goes nuts. McGillicutty is also tagged in and he hits a pair of elbows. Ryder knees him in the face and takes Otunga out. Ryder hits McGillicutty with a running boot to the face but Otunga breaks the pin up. Santino scares Otunga off with the Cobra. No, literally, his hand has a cobra glove on it. Otunga hits an ugly looking chop block on Santino and pulls him out of the ring. McGillicutty ducks the Rough Ryder and tags in Otunga. McGillicutty hits Ryder with a backbreaker and Otunga comes off the second rope with a flying forearm. They pick up the win in this non-title match.
Winners by Pinfall: Michael McGillicutty & David Otunga
Match Rating: 3/4 *
They talk about Triple H settling the WWE Title controversy later tonight.
They show a replay of the Triple H/CM Punk confrontation from earlier in the night.
Josh Mathews is backstage with CM Punk and he asks Punk what he thinks Triple H is going to decide. Punk says he’s waiting around like every one else. Punk says he was just testing Triple H and he passed with flying colors. As far as the decision he hopes he does the right thing. At Money in the Bank he and John Cena had one of the greatest matches in WWE history. He won and Cena lost.
Ricardo Rodriguez is in the ring and he does Alberto Del Rio’s introduction. Del Rio drives into the arena with a beautiful Rolls Royce. He’ll be in action next.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Evan “Air” Bourne
Bourne kicks Del Rio and hits a hurricanrana. Bourne charges him in the corner but Del Rio kicks him in the face. Del Rio hits a running kick to the head for a near fall. Del Rio stretches Bourne’s arm over the ropes and gets a two count. Del Rio hits a snapmare and applies an arm bar. Bourne fights up and kicks out but Del Rio hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a near fall. Del Rio kicks away at him and hits a hammerlock slam for a near fall. Del Rio applies another arm bar variation to Bourne. Bourne fights up and kicks out of it. Del Rio head-butts him down and smiles. Del Rio goes for a suplex but Bourne knees him in the head.
Bourne kicks away at Del Rio, ducks a clothesline, and hits a high knee to the face. Bourne goes to the top rope but Del Rio catches him with a step up enzuigiri. Del Rio then catches him with the Cross Arm Bar for the submission victory.
Winner by Submission: Alberto Del Rio
Match Rating: 1/2 *
Del Rio gloats around the ring before applying another Cross Arm Bar to Bourne. Kofi Kingston runs down to the ring and Del Rio quickly gets out. They shout at each other as Del Rio backs up the ramp.
Triple H is walking backstage. He’ll make his decision on the WWE Championship next.
54% of the WWE Universe thinks John Cena should be the WWE Champion. 46% feel CM Punk should be.
Triple H’s music hits and the COO makes his way to the ring. Triple H says he’s thought about this for a long time. For the first time in WWE history there are two WWE Champions: John Cena and CM Punk. Both have legitimate reasons for why they should be WWE Champion.
All of a sudden the WWE Vice President of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis. Laurinaitis says his name and mentions he took this job from Jim Ross. It’s his job to sign talent and manage their contracts. Triple H asks when this became career day. If he needs to sign a new talent then he’ll give him a call. Laurinaitis says Triple H has been part of corporate for a very short time. He, on the other hand, has worked with his father-in-law for over ten years corporately. He knows how he thinks and he knows how he’d want Triple H to handle this situation – strip the WWE Championship from John Cena.
John Cena’s music hits and the WWE Champion (?) makes his way to the ring. The crowd is really giving Cena a great mixed reaction. Cena says it’s an interesting group, meaning the crowd. They know it’s a huge decision tonight. Cena says “thinking” is one thing Laurinaitis has never done. He’s worked for Vince McMahon for ten years and the reason he’s been here for so long is because he’s the “yes man” that CM Punk was talking about. For ten years that’s all he has done. Cena then mocks him for getting Vince coffee and calling him a Greek God. Cena says Laurinaitis doesn’t think, but he does. That’s why at Money in the Bank he knocked Laurinaitis’s teeth down his throat when he tried to stop the match on Vince’s orders.
Cena says he’s been through a lot in the WWE. He’s won and lost championships. If this championship is legitimate and the time should come when he has to lose it then that is fine. However, he will not be stripped because some goon who wears a suit and used to carry a skateboard doesn’t like it. That’s a shot at the Johnny Ace character.
Laurinaitis says Cena is out of line. He did not make his decision based on Cena’s unprofessional behavior. He made the decision because CM Punk beat him. Cena says that was an awesome night but his favorite moment was him punching Laurinaitis in the face. Cena says it was so much fun that he should do it again. Cena says he’s going to punch him in the face right now. Triple H says he doesn’t have a problem with that. Laurinaitis backs out of the ring.
Cena asks if Triple H is really going to strip him of the title and listen to Laurinaitis. Cena asks if he’s going to strip him of the title just because CM Punk beat him one night. Cena says he beat Triple H at WrestleMania XXII in Chicago so should he strip Triple H of the COO title and run the joint?
Triple H tells him to relax because he’s not stripping him of anything. His claim to the WWE Championship is legitimate. The fact is when Vince left he didn’t speak to CM Punk until Comic Con. He sent him a new contract and he didn’t hear from him until Cena beat Rey Mysterio for the title. CM Punk walked up to him with a signed WWE Contract and told him to hit his music. That is why the title is legitimate and he won’t strip him of the championship.
“Cult of Personality” hits and the other WWE Champion CM Punk makes his way to the ring. Punk says he’s been here before and sees the writing on the wall. Now that he’s back full-time officially then he’ll be stripped of his title. Everything will go back to status quo. It’s going to be the nice, happy-go-lucky WWE where they put smiles on people’s faces, and he finds a urinal to throw up in. Triple H goes to speak but Cena interrupts. Triple H stops him and tells them to stop whining. Triple H then corrects Cena and says he’s his boss. Neither of them are going to be stripped of anything. WWE Champion John Cena vs. WWE Champion CM Punk. One match, one winner, one undisputed WWE Champion!
Triple H leaves the ring, leaving Cena and Punk staring at each other. Punk drops his microphone and raises his championship up in the air as his music plays. Cena then raises his championship up and his music hits. Punk gets on the turnbuckle and raises his title up. His music plays again. Cena then goes to the turnbuckle, raises the title, and his music plays again. Punk raises his title up and his music plays. They fight with each other over which song will play as the show ends.
Quick Match Results
Beth Phoenix won a #1 Contender’s Diva Battle Royal
R-Truth & The Miz def. Rey Mysterio & John Morrison
Michael McGillicutty & David Otunga def. Santino Marella & Zack Ryder (non-title)
Alberto Del Rio def. Evan Bourne via Submission
Bump of the Night: There were no big bumps of note tonight
Match of the Night: R-Truth & The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio & John Morrison **
That was a tremendously entertaining segment to open the show tonight. CM Punk came out first and gave a lights out promo pertaining to why he came back and what he plans to do. The crowd was unbelievable and really contributed to this awesome moment. Then Triple H came out and things really got interesting. Triple H started off with a cookie cutter, “love me fans” promo but it quickly changed tones after CM Punk goaded him a bit. CM Punk said to Triple H the things that people have been saying about him for years. That was another one of those cool, uncomfortable, “real” moments they’ve been doing lately. I love the direction that WWE is going with this. I feel like I’m hanging on every word, always excited to see what comes next. I haven’t felt that way about wrestling in so long.
The Diva’s Battle Royal happened. The only thing to really make comment of pertaining to that match was Beth Phoenix’s impressive display of power when she picked both Bella Twins up and threw them over the top rope. After that she made a much-needed heel turn by destroying Kelly Kelly. I really liked that. It’s high time a dominant diva got back in control with that division. It’s just so phony with these bony, inexperienced girls flying around. If Kharma is out for a year then Beth is a nice substitute.
R-Truth and The Miz beat Rey Mysterio and John Morrison in a really entertaining tag team match. This was the only good wrestling match of the night. They just went out there and entertained the fans. I liked the promo R-Truth had with The Miz before the match started. It looks like R-Truth is going to get The Miz in on his conspiracy theory. Maybe the two of them will become a thorn in Triple H’s side as the weeks go on.
It was nice to see Alex Riley get some mic time tonight. He’s really great on the stick. Unfortunately we also had to sit through Dolph Ziggler on the microphone. At least we got to hear the awesome “Vickie heat”. Where in the world does Dolph Ziggler get off saying he has charisma. He had the delivery of a funeral director tonight. Actually, that’s unfair to say. Paul Bearer was a funeral director and he had one of the best deliveries in the history of professional wrestling. But still – Dolph Ziggler and charisma? It looks like this is a Summerslam match in the making. Riley gets a tremendous response out of the crowd. If they’re careful with him then he could be something really special down the line.
The next two matches that followed were nothing to really write home about. The tag team of McGillicutty and Otunga continues to make me cringe and we’ve seen this Del Rio/Kingston feud before. Kingston is stuck in mid-card hell and he’s just a distraction for Del Rio until he wins the championship.
The closing segment was pretty well done, excluding the music thing. It was interesting to see John Laurinaitis come out to the ring. He kind of sounds like Marty Funkhouser from “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. I wonder if they’re going to make him a recurring character from now on. Cena and Punk came out and this all culminated with what we were expecting – Cena vs. Punk at Summerslam to determine the undisputed WWE Champion. The “play my music” fight afterwards was really lame to close the show if I do say so.
Once again, I’d like to thank Dave Stephens for letting me cover Raw again this week. He’s a great friend.
Final Rating: ***