8/6 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Shawn Michaels Appreciation Night, Brock Lesnar in the building, C.M. Punk and A.J. followup, the road to SummerSlam continues
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from San Antonio, Texas at AT&T Center
[Q1] The show opened with a video recap from last week... The new "Tonight's The Night" theme song opened the show...
Powell's POV: No more Nickelback opening theme? I know this debuted at Raw 1000, but I think the fact that they are playing this song tonight means it's here to stay. I'm indifferent about the new song itself, but I'd like to thank WWE for abandoning the Nickelback theme, which is the greatest late birthday present I've ever received.
A.J. headed to the ring wearing a white outfit and welcomed viewers to Raw. She announced that Randy Orton will face Big Show, and Daniel Bryan will go against John Cena for the first time ever on Raw. There were plenty of boos for the mention of Cena's name. A.J. was interrupted by C.M. Punk's entrance music.
C.M. Punk entered to a mixed reaction. Punk said he's a man who lives his life with no regrets. He said he's also man enough to know when he's made a mistake. He said he did something last week that he's not proud of and he wishes he could take back. Punk said he stepped out of line and lost his temper.
Punk said that someone in A.J.'s position of power doesn't deserve to be disrespected, just as someone with his power doesn't deserve it. Punk apologized and A.J. accepted his apology. Punk asked her to cancel the Triple Threat match at SummerSlam and assumed she booked it out of anger. He noted that the champion doesn't have to be pinned or submit to lose his title.
A.J. said she's new at the job and she will make her share of mistakes, but this was not one of them. She said the match stands. Punk accused her of booking the match because he rejected her. He said she should just cancel the match, yet noted that he was more than willing to face a different opponent in a singles match.
John Cena's music played and he headed to the ring. Cena said Punk has become "one of those guys." He said Punk is now one of those guys who comes out every week and demands respect. "You don't demand respect, you come out here and earn it, plain and simple," Cena said. Cena held up the mic as the fans delivered dueling chants for and against him.
Cena noted the crowd's reaction and said he has to fight every day to earn respect. Cena said he was looking good in his match against Big Show last week before Punk got involved, and that's why there's a Triple Threat match. Cena stopped to tell A.J. she smells great, and then he shook her hand.
Punk noted that he didn't stick his nose in the Show vs. Cena match. He accused Cena of putting his hands on him when he came barreling over the announcers' table and crashed into him. Punk proclaimed that he is WWE Champion and that he won't be disrespected by anyone. He added that Cena had Big Show up, but everyone knows he's not strong enough to give him the Attitude Adjustment. "You're welcome, John," Punk said regarding his interference.
Cena pointed out that the WWE Champion doesn't do well in Triple Threat matches and said Punk probably won't be champion coming out of Summerslam. They bickered until Big Show's music interrupted them. "Stop it, stop it, stop it," A.J. said. She said she wasn't going to let things get out of control on her show. She said Cena and Show should save their aggression for their matches.
[Q2] Punk said the top two contenders are in matches, but A.J. didn't include him in her infinite wisdom. She said she did in fact have him booked in a match. She said the fans would decide who his opponent will be via their vote. She said the options are The Miz, Kane, and Rey Mysterio. She said voting starts now because his match is next...
The announcers hyped the fan voting and showed footage of Brock Lesnar breaking Triple H's arm. They hyped Triple H and Lesnar appearances for later in the show... [C]
Powell's POV: If the live crowd's reaction is any indication (and it probably is), Mysterio will get the nod. WWE is giving away three pay-per-view caliber matches on the show this week involving Punk, Cena, and Show. It's great for Raw viewers, yet you have to wonder whether giving away big matches on television to help fill three hours will catch up with them in terms of not having fresh and marketable pay-per-view matches. Granted, it's not like we haven't seen Orton vs. Show or Punk vs. Mysterio (if he wins) before, but those are at least three potential television main events or pay-per-view matches they are giving away in one night, assuming they actually deliver those matches as advertised.
After the break, Jerry Lawler revealed the results of the fan voting. Mysterio received 47 percent of the vote, Kane received 31 percent, and 22 percent of the fans voted for Miz...
1. C.M. Punk vs. Rey Mysterio in a non-title match. Michael Cole touted Punk's title reign length. Punk caught Mysterio going for a head scissors move and countered with a backbreaker for a two count. Mysterio came back with a split-legged dive onto Punk at ringside heading into the commercial break. [C]
Powell's POV: Okay, when I write that someone touted something, it's not the same as when I write that they Touted something. Get it? Yes, it confuses me too, but I have a very limited number of words in my lexicon, and I'm not ready to give up tout just to avoid confusion.
[Q3] After the break, the announcers recapped footage of Punk cutting off Mysterio's 619 attempt with a clothesline. Back live, Mysterio went on an offense flurry and hit the 619. He went for a top rope splash, but Punk put his knees up. Punk followed up with GTS and scored the clean pin...
C.M. Punk defeated Rey Msyterio in a non-title match in 10:15.
Powell's POV: Punk reached inside his mouth and seemed to be checking to make sure all of his teeth were still in place. I'm not sure whether he was selling the 619 or if he took a shot to the chops, but all of his front teeth appeared to be be intact.
The announcers hyped the Show vs. Orton, and Cena vs. Bryan matches for later in the show... Backstage, Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez were shown backing a sports car into the building. Ricardo said something to Del Rio in Spanish. Del Rio shoved his shoulder and said, "Let's go"... [C]
Powell's POV: A little more aggression from Del Rio on Ricardo and Tensai and Sakamoto could sue for gimmick infringement.
After the break, a Wade Barrett vignette aired. It showed him in an underground fighting setting. He said that when the fire inside you burns out, you have to go back into the abyss to reignite it. "I am Wade Barrett and my barrage has just begun"...
Powell's POV: It's great to see that Barrett is on the verge of returning, but I could do without that horrible "Barrett barrage" slogan.
Backstage, Alberto Del Rio told A.J. that they both know he shouldn't have to compete on Raw until SummerSlam. She said she doesn't have him scheduled for anything tonight. "And you thought she was going to do something crazy," Del Rio told Ricardo. A.J. got hot at the "crazy" mention and booked him in the next match. Del Rio shoved Ricardo again out of frustration...
Cole and Lawler hyped that Shawn Michaels will appear live during the show in his hometown... [C]
[Q4] A graphic noted that WWE provides Raw, Smackdown, and pay-per-view events to the Armed Forces Network...
U.S. Army Recruiter's POV: Want to save money on WWE pay-per-view events and attend WWE shows for free? Join the Army!!!
2. Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Christian. Del Rio targeted Christian's arm early. Lawler noted on commentary that Booker T has been named the new Smackdown general manager. Christian came back with some offense and got a two count, but Del Rio worked over his shoulder again while Cole recalled Christian's shoulder injury.
Christian went for the spear, but Del Rio countered with a kick. Christian regained control of the offense, but Ricardo distracted him momentarily. As the ref was scolding Ricardo, Del Rio used his own boot as a weapon by slamming it over Christian's head. Del Rio applied the Cross Arm Breaker and got the win...
Alberto Del Rio defeated Christian by submission in 3:10.
After the match, Sheamus appeared on the big screen and was standing in front of Del Rio's car. Sheamus told him not to leave the keys in it, and then informed him that he was going to take it on a drive around San Antonio... [C]
Powell's POV: The new set design may prevent Del Rio from making his usual car entrance. However, there's nothing stopping Del Rio from calling the cops and having Sheamus arrested for grand theft auto. Yes, kids, it's more than just a video game.
An ad for Smackdown focused on Booker T as the new general manager...
Powell's POV: I like the idea of Booker as general manager. He's a lousy announcer, but he's a good, charismatic performer and fans generally like him. This feels like a much better role for him than commentary.
Randy Orton made his entrance and the cameras focussed on some attractive women cheering him on...
[Q5] Big Show made his entrance for his match against Orton. The attractive women threw their bras and panties at him. Okay, I made up that part. Lawler hyped the earlier start time for Raw...
Powell's POV: That's the most hype WWE has given the earlier start time since it started with Raw 1000. It's odd that they haven't tried to drive that home, but it was wise of them to do so at the top of the second hour.
3. Randy Orton vs. Big Show. Show got the better of Orton early and told him that he's in over his head. "Too easy," Show said while Orton was struggling to get back to his feet. Orton got Show down and then struck the Viper's Pose. Show got to his feet, grabbed Orton by the throat, and chokeslammed him. Show went for the pin, but Orton kicked out.
Show continued to rough up Orton and then teased the chokeslam. Orton kicked Show a couple times, but Show threw Orton to ringside. Show went after Orton and delivered a hard slap to his chest in front of the announcers' table. Show picked up Orton, who slipped out and rammed Show into the post.
Show came back moments later with a spear as the referee counted both men out. After the match, Show went for the WMK knockout punch, but Orton dodged it and dropped him with an RKO...
Randy Orton fought Big Show to a double countout in 5:40.
The announcers hyped that Triple H and Brock Lesnar were both in the building, and the Shawn Michaels appearance for later in the show... [C]
Powell's POV: The idea was to make Show look really strong during the match, yet use the countout and post-match RKO to protect Orton. Cole also noted that it was only Orton's second week back in action (following his 60-day suspension), which also provided an excuse for Orton giving up so much offense. I like the booking, though I don't think Orton even needed the RKO, as the announcers really could have played up Orton being rusty an avoided the final image of the segment being Orton standing over one of challengers for the WWE Championship match at SummerSlam.
[Q6] A SummerSlam commercial aired...
Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins were standing in the ring after the break. Ryback came out and the camera closed in on both of his eyes to show that one of them was red from an apparent injury. A pre-taped clip aired of Ryback saying that his hunger consumes him and is never satisfied. He said Reks and Hawkins are being served. He welcomed them to the food chain and concluded by saying, "Feed me more"...
4. Ryback vs. Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins in a handicap match. Reks and Hawkins got a little offense in early, but he eventually destroyed them both and pinned Hawkins after hitting him with his finisher. He led a modestly received "feed me more" chant afterwards...
Ryback defeated Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins in a handicap match in 2:50.
The announcers hyped John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan for later in the show... [C]
Powell's POV: Ryback looked half stoned. I'll be here all week, folks. Tip your bartenders.
5. The Primetime Players (w/A.W.) vs. Primo and Epico. A.W. provided a basic introduction of his team using his headset mic. Rosa was not at ringside with her team. The Players tried to leave ringside for another countout finish, but Kof Kingston and R-Truth came out. Primo and Epico attacked The Players at ringside. Back in the ring, Epico hit the Backstabber on Darren Young and got the pin...
Primo and Epico defeated The Primetime Players in 4:30.
Powell's POV: For those who missed it earlier today, Rosa was allegedly assaulted by her fiance, who wrested as Jackson Andrews. She was found crying in a San Antonio airport on Sunday night and the police were called. She told them that her fiance hit her several times while they were in Las Vegas. The story made TMZ today and appears WWE gave her the night off. The situation was not referenced by the announcers.
[Q7] Highlights aired of DX attacking Damien Sandow on Raw 1001, and of Sandow attacking Brodus Clay on Raw 1001... Backstage, Josh Mathews interviewed Sandow, who ridiculed his dancing and said tonight he will dispose of Clay for the betterment of everyone. "You're welcome," Sandow concluded... [C]
Powell's POV: There's a story on the main page regarding a WWE wrestler who is going off on a Twitter rant and complaining that his locker room brothers are being taken advantage of.
Brodus Clay and his dancers started to make their entrance, but Damien Sandow attacked Clay from behind. Clay fought back briefly, but Sandow recovered quickly and attacked Clay's injured left knee on the floor near the stage. Sandow worked over the knee while Clay screamed out in pain...
Powell's POV: Thank you, Damien, for stopping Clay's tired entrance. It really was for the betterment of all of us.
Backstage, A.J. told Daniel Bryan that he may have been ruled sane, but it doesn't change the fact that he has anger management issues. Bryan said it may have something to do with her leaving him at the alter. He said he's calm now and agrees with her decision to have him wrestle Cena. He said that after he wins, she will be forced to add him to the WWE Championship. She said he already has a match at SummerSlam against Kane. They went back and forth with "yes" and "no"... [C]
Powell's POV: No Charlie Sheen mention, but all of the "anger management" talk is worth noting given that it's the name of his FX television show.
The announcers recalled that Sheamus is driving Alberto Del Rio's car around San Antonio. Cole said he stole it, Lawler said it's just a joyride...
[Q8] 6. Kelly Kelly vs. Eve Torres. The announcers played up Kelly's return, but the live crowd wasn't overly excited based upon their ho-hum reaction to her entrance. The women fought to ringside and Kelly whipped Eve into the barricade. The announcers said Kelly returned with a chip on her shoulder.
Back inside the ring, Kelly hit a cross body block for a near fall. She went for a head scissors in the corner, but Eve slammed her down to the mat face first. Later, Kelly used the head scissors that she turned into a roll up with her legs to score the clean pin...
Kelly Kelly defeated Eve in 3:00.
The announcers recapped Sheamus stealing Del Rio's car...
Powell's POV: Kelly's return didn't feel like a happening. The live crowd gave her only a slightly better reception than the rest of the Divas usually get. By the way, there's a news story regarding the fate of TNA Impact Wrestling airing live on Spike TV.
Ring announcer Justin Roberts introduced WWE Hall of Famer and San Antonio's own Shawn Michaels. HBK made his entrance and got the usual pyro treatment. Michaels got a strong reaction from the live crowd, and Cole and Lawler were shown standing and applauding from ringside.
The fans chanted "HBK" once his music stopped playing. Michaels, who was wearing a "Mr. Hall of Fame" t-shirt, joked again that he's not in shape for his entrance routine. Michaels thanked the WWE Universe for allowing him to be part of history via the Raw 1000 show.
Michaels said he's usually content watching the world go by from his ranch, but there was no way he would miss Raw being in San Antonio. He said there are some familiar faces and some that he didn't recognize. He said they are all talking about the confrontation at SummerSlam between Triple H and Brock Lesnar. He said they were all asking him for his opinion. Brock Lesnar's music interrupted Michaels.
[Q9] Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman headed to the ring at the top of the show's third hour. Heyman said everyone should be asking HBK's opinion regarding Lesnar vs. Triple H because HBK is the single greatest entertainer in the history of WWE. Heyman said he and Lesnar would seek out his opinion as well, but not for this particular match.
Heyman said Lesnar is not going to SummerSlam to be an entertainer or a showstopper. He said Lesnar is going to Summerslam to fight Triple H and to prove once again that he's the baddest dude on the planet. Lesnar glared at Michaels throughout the promo, but then looked to the crowd once the "HBK" chants started again.
Michaels said he's not there to dispute the attributes of Lesnar. "Exactly, he said it..." Heyman said. Michaels told him not to put words in his mouth. HBK said any other time, Lesnar is the man. However, they went somewhere they shouldn't have gone with Triple H by making it personal by bringing up his wife and kids. Michaels said he doesn't even recognize Hunter anymore.
Michaels said that he would give his opinion even though they didn't ask for it. "On this day, I am going with Triple H," Michaels said. "And I believe it down to my core. In fact, I believe it so much that I want to be there to see it personally. In fact, I'm going to be in his corner at SummerSlam to watch Triple H defeat Brock Lesnar."
Heyman told Lesnar that's the big announcement. He said that's the moment they are going to play over and over again when they look back on Triple H's career. Heyman said Michaels left on his own terms, but Lesnar won't give Hunter that option. Lesnar took the mic and said the only reason Michaels thinks Triple H can beat him is that HBK has never been in the ring with him. "Until now," Lesnar said while walking toward Michaels.
Triple H's music played and he headed to the ring and stood by HBK's side. Lesnar laughed at Hunter and teased leaving the ring. He took a mic from Heyman. "I'll see you at SummerSlam," Lesnar told Hunter. "And you (HBK), yeah you, I'll see you before then." Lesnar and Heyman left the ring together...
Powell's POV: A good segment that gave the SummerSlam match more juice with the HBK tease, though it remains to be seen whether he'll actually be there given Lesnar's threat. Either way, the threat was a good hook to keep viewers watching the remainder of the show.
The announcers set up footage of Sheamus stealing Del Rio's car again. They aired a Tout that had Sheamus singing while sitting in Del Rio's car... [C]
Alex Riley was already in the ring after the break. The announcers were joined by Chris Jericho on commentary. Jericho was wearing Dolph's t-shirt. Vickie Guerrero came out and introduced Dolph Ziggler for his match...
[Q10] 7. Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. Alex Riley. Ziggler stopped wrestling to taunt Jericho, who said he was easily distracted. He noted that Riley was in Miz's corner in the main event of WrestleMania. Jericho put over Ziggler by talking about how he is the future, yet Jericho said we are here and now. Ziggler continued to taunt Jericho, who stood up to film a tout video. Dolph was even more distracted and was rolled up by Riley for the upset win...
Alex Riley defeated Dolph Ziggler in 4:15.
Powell's POV: A nice surprise finish that Jericho set up nicely on commentary. I even liked the way they worked in a Tout plug in a creative way. By the way, Jericho noted on commentary that he's been in the second most Raw matches. Jim Ross noted on Twitter that Triple H has been in the most matches for those keeping score at home.
Cole read an A.J. Tweet that noted that Kane and Miz, who lost in the Punk match voting, would compete against one another... [C]
At ringside, the announcers discussed Sheamus stealing Del Rio's car. Lawler said he only borrowed the car. They aired another Tout from Sheamus, who was spilling food in Del Rio's car...
[Q11] 8. The Miz vs. Kane in a non-title match. Miz went for his finisher at 3:15, but Kane avoided it. Kane came back with a chokeslam and scored the pin...
Kane defeated The Miz in a non-title match in 3:50.
The announcers hyped John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: The crowd was so flat until the finish that you would have thought two Divas were in the ring. Has there ever been a time when the secondary title holders have lost so frequently on television in non-title matches? It's bad enough when comedy figure Santino Marella loses constantly as U.S. Champion, but what's the point of rebuilding Miz by giving him the Intercontinental Title only to have him lose clean to Kane a couple weeks later?
Backstage, Sheamus returned in Del Rio's car, which was smoking and covered in debris. Sheamus apologized for the smell, but said Mexican food goes right through him...
Daniel Bryan made his entrance wearing his "No! No! No!" t-shirt and got "Yes!" chants from the crowd. Bryan played it up by freaking out as the fans chanted at him. Backstage, Del Rio and Ricardo found their car. Del Rio grabbed Ricardo by the collar and said it's all his fault and then ordered him to clean up the car... [C]
Powell's POV: I love Ricardo, but I enjoy the abuse that Sakamoto takes so much more. By the way, it seems like WWE believes that if Jerry Lawler repeatedly claims Sheamus was just joyriding that it fills the giant hole in the storyline, which is that Del Rio could have Sheamus arrested for grand theft auto and now destruction of property. Disagree? Go steal your neighbors car, trash it, send him video footage, and let us all know what happens.
[Q12] An ad for Friday's Smackdown hyped that Chris Jericho will host Dolph Ziggler on The Highlight Reel...
After the break, Bryan was in the ring muffing his ears as the fans chanted "Yes" at him. Lawler said hello to actor Tom Arnold, who was Tweeting about Raw. They plugged his forthcoming movie...
John Cena made his entrance. Cena said something into the camera, but I couldn't make it out and didn't care enough to rewind more than once to make it out. The announcers set up footage that recapped the closing segment from last week with A.J. setting up the Triple Threat match...
9. John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan. The women and kids chanted, "Let's Go Cena" and the men chanted "C.M. Punk." Daniel Bryan yelled that it's about him and "no, no, no." Cole noted that Bryan has changed his finishing hold to the No! Lock. Cena went on the offensive early. Bryan came back and hit a flying knee off the apron on Cena, who was at ringside. Bryan had a "Yes" and "No" exchange with one of several fans dressed in referee shirts. [C]
Powell's POV: Just For Men has proven that you actually can go wrong with babies in commercials if you put goatees on their faces.
After the break, Bryan remained in control and hit Cena with a nice dropkick in the corner. Cena made brief comebacks, but Bryan kept shutting him down and regaining control of the match.
[Overrun] Bryan hit a top rope headbutt as Cole reset the show at the top of the hour. Cena applied the STF. Bryan teased tapping only to counter with a No! Lock attempt. Cena avoided Bryan's submission hold attempt and hit him with the Attitude Adjustment and scored the clean pin. Cole raved about the match and thanked A.J. Lee for giving it to them.
John Cena defeated Daniel Bryan in 13:45.
After the match, C.M. Punk's music played and he came to the ring. Punk went face-to-face with Cena. Punk held up the title belt. Cena shoved Punk to the ground and then the camera showed that Big Show was entering the ring. Cena fought off Show and hoisted him up for the Attitude Adjustment, but Punk struck him from behind again.
Punk went to ringside and put on the extra headset. He said maybe it is his fault that he's in a Triple Threat match and that he's disrespected. He said he's been shaking everyone's hand, smiling, kissing babies, and letting people walk all over and disrespecting him.
Punk pointed at Cena and Show lying in the ring. He said that from here on out, he does what he does best. He said Raw ends the same way two weeks in a row with C.M. Punk standing tall with his WWE Title, which proves that he alone is the best wrestler in the world. He said anybody else who stands in his way will end up lying on the mat just like Show and Cena.
Punk headed back to the ring and tried to kick Big Show. However, Show caught Punk's leg and knocked him out with a WMD punch. Cena got to his feet and also took the WMD punch. Show held the WWE Championship belt above his head and then put it over his shoulder as he looked down at Punk and Cena...
Powell's POV: Okay, so there shouldn't be any doubt after this show regarding Punk's intentions. I didn't think there was after last week, but he was a clearcut heel this time around. I'd still like to hear him cut the "get off my side" promo in an attempt to reject the people who still cheer for him. It may lead to him getting more cheers from those folks, but I'd like to see Punk take on the challenge.
This was an entertaining three-hour show. They had to give away a few pay-per-view caliber matches and they simply can't afford to do that on a weekly basis. I'm surprised that we didn't get more from Lesnar and HBK during the show. I really thought Raw would conclude with Lesnar standing over HBK, but apparently they are saving that for next week. I'll have a lot more to say about Raw during the Dot Net Member Exclusive audio review later tonight. Thanks for watching along with me.
Stop back on Tuesday for my WWE Raw Hitlist, Ryan Kester's WWE Raw Rundown, and Will Pruett's WWE Raw Pause review.
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