7/30 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: C.M. Punk opens the show, Randy Orton expected to return, John Cena's reaction to Punk's actions in their match and Rock attack, the SummerSlam build continues
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Cincinnati, Ohio at U.S. Bank Arena
[Q1] The show opened with the "WWE "Then, Now, Forever" that debuted last week... Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler introduced the show from ringside and acknowledged that the Raw set caught fire. They aired footage of the fire being put out and noted that the fans were allowed entry into the building 30 minutes before they went on the air... A Raw 1000 video aired...
C.M. Punk's music played and he walked out to a mixed reaction. Punk raised his arms at his side and looked at the crowd while standing on the stage. Punk, who was wearing the WWE Championship around his waist, headed to the ring for a promo. Cole noted that Punk has been "radio silent" on Twitter all week.
Punk said everyone talks about and wants a WrestleMania Moment. Punk said he had a Raw Moment last week that was bigger than most WrestleMania Moments. He said he was uncomfortable with the way Raw 1000 went off the air. He said it was with Jerry Lawler saying that WWE had turned his back on the WWE Universe. There were boos from the crowd.
Punk walked over and faced Lawler. He then left the ring and approached Lawler. Punk put the title belt down on the desk and then sat down on the desk to address Lawler. Punk said he's used to bad and even horrible hyperbole on commentary, but he questioned why he would jump to such horrible conclusions.
Punk said the last time he checked, The Rock was not the WWE Universe. Punk said The Rock is one man. He said Rock is larger than life, extremely charismatic, and a delusional movie star. Punk said Rock showed him an incredible amount of disrespect by interrupting him as WWE Champion.
Punk complained about Rock ignoring him while talking with Daniel Bryan, and then complained about Rock acting like he would just take the WWE Championship from him. Punk said Rock is lucky he didn't drop him on the spot. Punk said "Dwayne" tried to make Raw 1000 all about him by running out at the end of the night.
Punk said he showed Rock what he'll be dealing with at Royal Rumble. He noted that no one has heard from The Rock in a week. He said no one could shut up Rock when he was battling John Cena before WrestleMania, but now he's found his silence. Punk said that Lawler can spin it however he likes, Punk is the best wrestler in the world.
Big Show's music played and he headed to the ring. Cole said Punk should thank Show for interfering because John Cena may have defeated him had Show not interjected. Lawler said he doesn't even know what to say. Cole labeled Lawler "Mr. Propaganda." Punk questioned whether Show was there to steal the spotlight. "That's not hard to do," Show said.
Show said the focus was on Punk "a little bit" at the end of Raw 1000. Show said it was actually all about him rather than Punk. He said he cost Cena the WWE Championship and made him the first man to cash in a Money in the Bank contract and lose. Show said that Punk is supposedly the best in the world, yet he still couldn't beat Cena even though he knocked him out for him. Show said Punk would have tapped out had it not been for his interference.
"As a matter of fact, the only reason you're still WWE Champion is because of me," Show said. Show vowed to become the next WWE Champion. Punk pointed out SHow's recent losses and said the only one who is winning anything in WWE is him.
[Q2] John Cena's music played. John Cena stormed the ring and went right after Big Show and cleared him from the ring while Punk leaned against the ropes. Ring announcer Justin Roberts introduced "A.J. Lee" as the new general manager of Raw.
A.J. walked out wearing a Stephanie McMahon-like outfit. A.J. booked Big Show vs. John Cena as the main event of Raw. She said the winner will go on to face Punk at SummerSlam for the WWE Championship...
The announcers hyped that they would revisit the Triple H and Brock Lesnar exchange from last week... [C]
Powell's POV: It looks like A.J. raided Stephanie's closet. A good opening segment with Punk definitely acting more cocky than usual, yet not going all out for boos from the crowd. I'm still guessing we'll see a Triple Threat at SummerSlam with Punk vs. Cena vs. Show. I assume Cena gets the shot if we have a winner tonight since I can't imagine they'd go with heel Show challenging Punk right now. I'm sad to hear Cole taking jabs at Lawler. It was refreshing to hear him play it straight last week, but it looks like he's back to being combative and heelish already this week.
A graphic touted that Raw 1000 was the most socially active show last week... Backstage, Daniel Bryan stood outside the general manager's office, but then he walked away...
1. Santino Marella vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) in a non-title match. Del Rio jumped out to the fast start. Santino came back and cleared Del Rio from the ring to set up the first commercial break. [C]
Powell's POV: Another month, another Santino vs. Del Rio match. Yes, Vince, we do remember when you keep giving us the same damn television matches month after month even if you've forgotten.
[Q3] After the break, Del Rio went back on the offensive, but Santino took him down with a suplex. Santino dodged a Del Rio move by doing the splits, but then Del Rio kicked Santino while he was still down. Lawler said it was obvious Del Rio had seen that move before. Yeah, no shit, Jerry.
Santino pulled out The Cobra. Del Rio cut him off and rammed him shoulder first through the ropes and into the post. Del Rio followed up with the Codebreake-like move onto Santino's arm and then applied the Cross Arm Breaker for the win...
Alberto Del Rio defeated Santino Marella in 7:30.
After the match, Del Rio and Ricardo stood in the ring over the fallen Marella. Del Rio said he destroyed the U.S. Champion like he was nothing. Del Rio said Santino, Sheamus, and all of the people are beneath him. Del Rio said that if it's not a World Title match, he will not compete. Del Rio said that he will not compete until SummerSlam...
Powell's POV: I wish he would have made that edict prior to his monthly win over the U.S. Champion. Honestly, the match was fine. It was longer than usual (see the three-hour format) and more competitive.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan stood in front of the general manager's door again. He teased knocking on the door, but he couldn't bring himself to do it... The announcers hyped Cena vs. Big Show for later in the night... [C]
Powell's POV: By the way, Dot Net reader Isaac Hernandez informed me that Ricardo Rodriguez introduced Del Rio in Spanish by saying that he is "the man who has so much fire that he's the reason the building caught on fire." Funny.
Brodus Clay, Cameron, and Naomi's dance number was joined in progress. They were interrupted by Vickie Guerrero, who was polite enough to say, "Excuse me!" She told told them to step aside while the "Queen Diva" shows them how to get a step on. Vickie danced while Brodus and company laughed in the corner.
Damien Sandow's music played and he walked onto the stage and talked as he walked to the ring. Sandow referred to himself as the intellectual savior to the masses and "your martyr." He set up footage of DX attacking him on Raw 1000 by saying it was a crime against humanity.
Back live, Sandow attacked Clay and hit him with repeated knees and punched to the head. Sandow cracked Clay's necklace over his knee, which drew some boos. Sandow's music played as Cole said that DX did something to Sandow that made him snap...
Powell's POV: DX has that effect on people (see Bret Hart). By the way, here's hoping that Clay's entrance being joined in progress is a sign that WWE officials realize it jumped the shark for most viewers a while back. I'm sure it's fun to see in person when WWE comes to town, but it gets a little tiresome when you see it on television every week.
Highlights aired from Smackdown of Chris Jericho roughing up Dolph Ziggler... The announcers hyped Jericho and Christian vs. Ziggler and The Miz for later in the show...
[Q4] [C] Backstage, Daniel Bryan finally worked up the balls to enter A.J.'s office. She offered him a handshake. He asked if she's crazy and pointed out her power suit. She said she's not his bride-to-be, she's his boss. She noted the man in white scrubs from Raw 1000 and suspected he was going to have her committed. She booked him in a match against Sheamus. He asked if it was for the title. She fired back with "No!" taunts...
Powell's POV: I'm happy they cleared up the guys in the white scrubs. I mentioned in my Raw 1000 live coverage last week that I suspected that he was going to have her committed. Insert line here about a broken clock being right twice a day. I'm still suspect her general manager gig and Punk's heel turn will mesh in some manner.
Highlights aired of the Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Paul Heyman, and Brock Lesnar segment from last week... The announcers gave fans a chance to vote for a no holds barred match, falls count anywhere match, or a street fight for the Sheamus vs. Bryan match...
Sheamus was walking backstage when Josh "The Stalker" Mathews popped up. Sheamus said he doesn't know what type of match he wants, but he's happy A.J. put it in the hands of the fans. He said Josh looked a bit nervous this week and told him to take it easy... [C]
Powell's POV: Shockingly, there wasn't a "(D) All these matches are basically the same so what's the f'n difference?" option for the fan voting. Casual fans seem to geek out for street fights, so that's my guess for how the voting will go.
An ad for Smackdown focussed on Alberto Del Rio and whether his destiny to become World Hvt. Champion will spell disaster for Sheamus...
Back live, the announcers recapped the fire that started on the stage prior to Raw went on the air... Daniel Bryan made his entrance and highlights aired of Vince McMahon naming A.J. as the new general manager...
Powell's POV: That's the end of hour one. For those of you who thought we'd get more matches on Raw, your prognosticating skills need some work if the first hour is any indication.
[Q5] Bryan stood in the ring and told the fans to stop saying Yes! He said he's the only person who can say it and they have no right. He went over the top while telling them to stop. "No, no, no, I said stop," Bryan yelled repeatedly. Sheamus made his entrance...
Jerry Lawler stood up and directed the fans to the big screen for the results of the poll. Street fight won with 73 percent of the vote and the set didn't start on fire, so that's a plus...
2. Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan in a non-title street fight. They fought their way to the stage early with Sheamus controlling the offense. Bryan kicked Sheamus's leg and knocked him off the stage. Bryan caught Sheamus with a running knee off the stage. [C] After the break, Bryan was working over Sheamus's arm in the ring.
Later, Bryan got the better of Sheamus by working him over with kendo stick shots. Bryan put a chair in between the ropes in one of the corners. Sheamus got the kendo stick and fired back, but Bryan ended up avoiding one shot and then dropkicked him into the chair.
[Q6] They battled to ringside where Sheamus took the ring steps apart. Bryan ended up throwing one of the steps inside the ring. He threw Sheamus into the barrier and then slid him back inside the ring. Bryan tried to pick up the kendo stick, but Sheamus grabbed it. Sheamus picked up Bryan and set up for White Noise on the steps. Bryan avoided it, but Sheamus dropped him with a Brogue Kick and pinned him...
Sheamus pinned Daniel Bryan in a Street Fight in 14:35.
A video recapped C.M. Punk's promo on the announcers' table from earlier in the show... The announcers hyped Cena vs. Big Show for later... [C]
Powell's POV: Now that's a match you probably wouldn't have seen on a two-hour edition of Raw. The match count is low, but both matches have been longer. Better yet, that was a hell of a brawl from Sheamus and Bryan. I mean it was no 18-second WrestleMania classic, but it was pretty damn good.
After the break, Bryan was still in the ring and referees were trying to get him to leave. He said he wasn't leaving. "I hurt my neck," Bryan yelled. "I am not leaving this ring until I get a doctor."
Cole said this would be a good time to recap the show. They focussed on Cena clearing Big Show from the ring, and A.J. announcing their main event.
Back live, Bryan was still refusing to leave the ring despite referees and a trainer urging him to do so. Kofi Kingston's music played. Kofi came out in ring gear while R-Truth, who was dressed in a suit, followed. Kingston and Truth told Bryan to do everyone a favor and leave.
Bryan stood up and laughed at Truth for mentioning Little Jimmy. Truth pointed to where Jimmy was located. Bryan eventually kicked the invisible boy. Truth flipped out and ran to ringside to tend to his invisible friend. Bryan said Truth is out of his mind and doesn't belong. The guys in the white scrubs showed up. Kingston said Truth is fine.
A.J. walked onto the stage and said Truth isn't the person who needs help. "It's that little guy in the ring, Daniel Bryan," she said. A.J. said Bryan seems to be a little mentally unstable. She said that in the interest of a safe working environment, Bryan needs to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. She asked the men in white to escort Bryan from the ring.
Bryan headed up the ramp as indy wrestlers dressed in white followed. He stared at A.J. and eventually headed to the back as she waved him off...
Powell's POV: Wait, is that invisible Mel Phillips with Little Jimmy?!? Yes, I already feel guilty for that joke.
[Q7] [C] A graphic and Michael Cole hyped that Vince McMahon will appear on Friday's Smackdown television show to introduce the brand's new general manager... Cole set up a series of WWE fan Touts...
3. Kofi Kingston (w/R-Truth) vs. Titus O'Neil (w/Darren Young, A.W.). A.W. had his headset on and told the crowd that Titus was like Kobe Bryant in a Colorado hotel - unstoppable. Young stood on the apron at 2:25 and was knocked down by Truth five seconds later. Kingston was distracted by A.W. throwing a mic at him. Kingston threw it at A.W. and then walked into O'Neil's finishing slam...
Titus O'Neil defeated Kofi Kingston in 2:50.
Powell's POV: It's hypocritical of me to point out a dated joke after using that Mel Phillips line earlier, but I'm doing it anyway.
Backstage, C.M. Punk told John Cena that he took advantage of Big Show's involvement. He said when the WWE Championship is on the line, he'd like to think Cena would do the same thing. He said people are getting on his nerves by saying he should have done more to help Cena when Show was attacking him.
Punk said he likes Cena and he knows that Cena appreciates his brutal honesty. Punk said he wasn't wishing Cena or Show luck. Punk said he knows Cena is upset because he was able to do to Rock in one night what Cena was unable to do in one year. Punk told Cena he would just have to let it go. Punk patted Cena on the shoulder and walked away, leaving Cena to look at the shoulder and then glare in Punk's direction...
Powell's POV: A good segment with Punk rationalizing his behavior and sneaking in some shots at Cena, who never said a word in response.
[Q8] [C] After the break, Cole apologized for the remarks made by A.W. They quickly transitioned to a brief recap of Punk and Cena's backstage segment...
Powell's POV: One can only assume that A.W. is either getting an earful right now.
Highlights aired of Heath Slater's Raw 1000 experience. In the ring, Slater challenged any current WWE Superstar to come out and lose to the One Man Band. Randy Orton's music hit...
4. Randy Orton vs. Heath Slater. Slater attacked Orton and beat him down in the corner. Slater played to the crowd with the "One Man Band" line. Orton came right back with punches and a power slam. Orton followed up with a DDT from the middle rope. In the end, Orton hit the RKO and got the pin...
Randy Orton defeated Heath Slater in 1:15.
Powell's POV: I like the way they found something for Slater this week even though the legends have moved on. Orton wasn't as ripped as he was the last time we saw him, but the fans didn't seem to care.
Backstage, Bryan vented to the doctor who was evaluating him. He answered all of the basic questions with "Yes" and then went into an all out "Yes!" barrage while the doctor took notes... The announcers hyped Jericho and Christian vs. Ziggler and Miz for after the break... [C]
[Q9] Cole hyped that Hell in a Cell tickets go on sale on Saturday for the October show in Atlanta...
5. Chris Jericho and Christian vs. The Miz and Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero). Jericho got the better of the heels early on and both Miz and Ziggler ended on the floor. Christian dove onto them and rejoined Jericho, who was playing to the crowd heading into the break. [C]
After the break, the heels took turns working over Christian. As Jericho was waiting for the hot tag, Miz knocked him off the apron. There was an odd spot at 9:25 with Dolph apparently overshooting the Fameasser or Christian not selling the move. The announcers joked about replaying the move.
[Q10] At 10:05, Jericho finally took the hot tag from Christian. Jericho hit some of his signature spots and gave the crowd a "Come on, baby." Jericho went for the Walls of Jericho on Miz, who twisted out of it and caught Jericho with a boot to the head. Miz went for his finisher, but they actually cut to a split screen shot. Jericho avoided the move and hit the Codebreaker on Miz for the win. After the match, Ziggler hit Jericho from behind with the Money in the Bank briefcase...
Chris Jericho and Christian defeated The Miz and Dolph Ziggler in 11:30.
Footage was shown of the fire that broke out prior to Raw...
Backstage, the psychiatrist held up a series of inkblots. When the doctor finished, he put the blots down and they formed a goatface design. Bryan threw a fit and questioned whether Charlie Sheen put the doctor up to it... [C]
Powell's POV: The show is really starting to drag. The tag match was entertaining, yet it also felt inconsequential. The Bryan skits are the type of thing that some viewers will hate and others will get a big kick out of.
Cole and Lawler set up a batch of fan Touts. Cole thanked the WWE Universe for "Touting it out"...
Powell's POV: I didn't think it was possible for anyone to make Tout it Out seem dorkier than it is, but I'll be damned if Cole didn't just pull it off.
6. Tensai (w/Sakamoto) vs. Tyson Kidd. Tensai was already in the ring, but Kidd's entrance was shown. Tensai went on the offensive early. Kidd suffered a small cut on his forehead. Kidd got a solid near fall, but Tensai came back with his slam and splash for the win.
[Q11] Tensai roughed up Kidd after the match as the announcers explained that he never got over to losing to Kidd previously. Tensai ignored the referee and performed a backbreaker on Kidd. The referee called for medical help and then reversed his decision. Tensai was still pissed, so he called Sakamoto over and beat him up...
Tyson Kidd beat Tensai via reversed decision in 2:10.
Powell's POV: Would anyone have guessed a few months ago that Tensai's entrance would be cut and Kidd's would be shown? It was nice to see the Sakamoto beating. I always enjoy a good Sakamoto bitch slapping.
The psychiatric evaluation continued. The doctor said that despite Bryan's temper and obsession with Charlie Sheen, he's 100 percent sane. After the doctor left the room, Bryan said he knew he was sane. The lights turned red. Kane entered the room and said, "Hello, Daniel, I'm your anger management therapist. Kane roughed up Bryan and left him lying...
Powell's POV: I hate when Kane turns into Freddy Krueger minus the cool blades. Honestly, I can't even remember why Kane would still be pissed at Daniel Bryan. I can't be the only longtime fan who was hoping that Scott Hall was going to make a cameo.
A graphic touted that WrestleMania remains the No. 1 selling sports and recreational DVD this year... The announcers hyped SummerSlam and the Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar match... Yet another recap of the Lesnar and Hunter angle from last week...
C.M. Punk made his entrance and joined the announcers on commentary... [C]
Powell's POV: I don't know if you guys know this, but Triple H is facing Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. I figured I'd let you know just in case you missed what feels like 18 video packages and commercials.
After the break, Punk told Lawler he hopes he's not upset with what he said earlier. He said he was there to lend his expertise so that neither one of them were slated in favor of Cena or Show. Lawler said it was no problem and he's not upset in the least...
[Q8] Show made his entrance for the main event. Show walked over and glared at Punk, who said he should focus on Cena. Cena came out and said the place is on fire tonight. Get it? Lawler asked if Punk had ever heard a reaction like Cena got. Punk said he heard one when he made his own entrance earlier...
7. John Cena vs. Big Show for a WWE Championship shot at SummerSlam. There were dueling Cena chants. Punk justified his attack on Rock by saying that he shows up and steals the spotlight from him and other WWE wrestlers.
Powell's POV: The closed captioning person must be caught up in A.W. Mania. When Cole was talking about the length of Punk's title reigns, the captioning read "rape" instead of "reign" twice. Oops. I swear this really happened.
Cena locked in an early sleeper hold on Show, who eventually sold the hold by dropping to both knees and then falling to the mat. Cena went for a quick cover, but Show kicked out strong. Cole went into overdrive by selling it. "What a match!" Cole exclaimed as the show went to break. [C]
After the break, Show was in control. Cena immediately hit Show with punches, but Show knocked him down again. Show locked Cena in a bear hug. Cena broke the hold and went for a bodyslam, but he couldn't handle Show's weight and was nearly pinned. We've seen that spot more than Santino vs. Del Rio lately.
Show set up for the chokeslam, but Cena slipped away and dropped Show with a DDT. Show went back on the offensive, but Cena made his big comeback and performed the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Show stood right up and chokeslammed Cena for a really good near fall.
[Overrun] Show went after Cena at ringside. Cena ran Show into the ringpost. He tried to follow up with a shoulder block, but Show moved and pushed Cena over the announcers' table and onto Punk. Cena barely beat the referee's ten count to keep the match going. Punk remained on the ground and held his left shoulder.
Show went for the WMD, but Cena ducked the move and went for the Attitude Adjustment. Punk hit the ring and hit Cena from behind before he could perform the move. The bell rang to end the match. Punk punched Show and then went back to holding his arm in pain.
Punk went to ringside, grabbed the microphone and his title belt, and entered the ring. "And the winner of this contest is... nobody," Punk said. "They're both losers." Punk dropped the mic and walked up the stage where he passed A.J.
"Actually, C.M. Punk is wrong," A.J. said. "They're not losers. They're both winners, which is why C.M. Punk will defend his WWE Championship at SummerSlam against Big Show and John Cena in a Triple Threat match." Punk walked back onto the stage and told A.J. she can't do this to him. "Show me some respect," Punk said multiple times to end the show...
John Cena fought Big Show to a no-contest in 16:30.
Powell's POV: The main event was very slow until the last minute or two and Punk's commentary wasn't strong enough to keep the slow parts interesting. The Triple Threat announcement was something I expected simply because I didn't know if they'd go back to Punk vs. Cena in a singles match yet, and I assumed they were keeping Big Show in the mix for a reason. It's certainly not as attractive as Punk vs. Cena would be, but perhaps their singles showdown will mean more if WWE saves it. Yes, I know they just had a singles match last week, but I'm talking about an actual showdown match with a decisive finish.
The three-hour show definitely dragged and I'm still not convinced that this is a good move for business regardless of the financial gain of USA Network paying them extra money. That said, they kept this show interesting even though it dragged. I really worry about the show when they hit those inevitable creative lulls that made two-hour shows feel like they were an hour too long. Thanks for watching along with me tonight and check back on Tuesday for my WWE Raw Hitlist, Will Pruett's WWE Raw Pause, and Ryan Kester's WWE Raw Rundown reviews.
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