8/13 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: SummerSlam go-home show, Brock Lesnar, Shawn Michaels, and Triple H appearances, C.M. Punk vs. Big Show opens the show
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Dallas, Texas at American Airlines Center
[Q1] The new opening theme and opening montage played... Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler introduced the show and hyped SummerSlam. Ring announcer Justin Roberts went right into the opening match introductions...
1. C.M. Punk vs. Big Show in a non-title match. Show controlled the offense as the announcers repeatedly stressed that Punk could lose on Sunday without being pinned or submitting. The announcers also noted that Show competed in China over the weekend.
Show remained in control of the offense and took Punk down with a spear around 5:00. Daniel Bryan's music played and he headed to ringside. Bryan complained that he belongs in the WWE Title match. Punk had a momentary comeback and went for a cover, but Show kicked him off. Bryan charged the ring and attacked Punk for the DQ.
C.M. Punk and Big Show fought to an apparent no-contest in 6:00.
After the match, Bryan put Punk in the No! Lock. Show dropped an elbow on Punk. John Cena ran out and cleared Show and Bryan from the ring. Punk was not pleased by this development and stared a hole through Cena while selling his arm following the No! Lock.
A.J.'s music played and she skipped to the ring. She said Bryan is clearly still dealing with his anger management issues. She said he was going to make this up to everyone later tonight when he teams with Big Show in a match against the team of Punk and Cena. A.J. skipped to the back, leaving Punk and Cena to bicker off-mic...
The announcers hyped the Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H contract signing for later in the show...
Powell's POV: An odd choice for an opening match given that the newly turned (sort of) Punk was in there with a heel. They didn't want the live crowd to cheer him, as Dot Net correspondent Chris Blanton noted that there was a pre-show backstage segment with Matt Striker, who said Punk had refused to be interviewed. I like the set up of Punk and Cena teaming together later in the night. By the way, I hope they have Cena explain why he saved Punk given his recent actions. The easy explanation is that he wants him at full strength on Sunday so he doesn't have excuses.
[Q2] [C] A graphic noted that of the 25,000 people who have attended SummerSlam Axxess over the the last three years, they have collected roughly 10,000 autographs...
Backstage, JTG bitched to Kaitlyn that the show is three hours long and he still can't get a match on Raw. "This is crazy," he said. She took offense at the idea that she didn't think he was doing a good job as the general manager. She said she would find him an opponent. JTG left the picture. A.J. acknowledged that she and Kaitlyn have had their differences. Kaitlyn said she can think of a lot of words to describe A.J., but stable isn't one of them...
2. Ryback vs. JTG. Cole mentioned JTG's "controversial Twitter" remarks. JTG wasn't pleased to see Ryback introduced as his opponent. There was a loud chorus of "Goldberg" chants. There was an even louder "Feed Me More" chant that was led by Ryback, who beat JTG with his finisher...
Ryback defeated JTG in 1:55.
Powell's POV: They're acknowledging JTG's Twitter remarks. The fact that they occurred during Raw last week was interesting in that it may be a case of it being storyline driven. I suppose we can't rule out the possibility that they turned legit comments into a storyline.
The announcers introduced a poll that asked viewers to vote for whether Chris Jericho, The Miz, or Dolph Ziggler should be the guest on Piper's Pit... [C]
Powell's POV: This is actually an interesting vote. The babyface usually wins and thus Jericho probably will, but there may be some casual fans who vote for a heel with with the hope of seeing Piper put that person in his place.
Cole announced that the SummerSlam free preview match will be Santino Marella vs. Antonio Cesaro for the U.S. Title...
Backstage, Roddy Piper was shown rambling about how everyone is picking and he doesn't know who his guest will be. Piper turned his attention to Shawn Michaels, who was distracted. Michaels got a phone call from Triple H. He said it's not his fight and Hunter needs to be there now...
Powell's POV: There's the setup for Shawn being left alone at the building and easy pickings for Brock Lesnar.
[Q3] 3. R-Truth vs. Heath Slater. He's a One Man Band, baby! The match was one sided and Truth put him away clean. The announcers noted that Kofi Kingston was not in the building.
R-Truth beat Heath Slater in 1:35.
After the match, the Primetime Players hit the ring. The announcers reminded viewers that Kingston was not there. The Players outnumbered Truth and left him lying... [C]
Powell's POV: The Players still did their usual dance, but there was no mention of A.W., who was fired on Friday. They officially added the Kingston and Truth vs. Players match to the SummerSlam lineup.
The announcers set up footage of Mark Henry in London for the Olympics. He also Touted from London... Back at the desk, the announcers kissed some NBC Universal ass by talking about what a great job they did of covering the Olympics...
As if that wasn't stomach turning enough, Cole mentioned that "big time D.J." Pauly D was the social media ambassador...
The announcers set up a video package that showed the Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus angle from Smackdown, and Booker T stating after the fact that he was taking away Del Rio's title match. They played a new Tout message from Del Rio, who said he will have a conversation with him on Smackdown because "no manager is bigger than Alberto Del Rio"...
[Q4] Sin Cara made his entrance for a match... [C]
4. Tensai (w/Sakamoto) vs. Sin Cara. Tensai roughed up Sin Cara early, but Sin Cara came back and put him away with his finisher. Afterward, Sin Cara beat the piss out of Sakamoto...
Sin Cara defeated Tensai in 2:20.
Backstage, Shawn Michaels told a crew member to let him know if he sees "him" but not to tell him that he's looking for him... Roddy Piper was shown walking backstage and the announcers plugged the poll again... [C]
Powell's POV: If I was grading on the star system, Raw would automatically get an extra star simply because Sakamoto got his ass kicked. By the way, it's a close call in the "who looks like a bigger wuss" race between Sakamoto and Shawn Michaels right now.
A graphic noted that more people watched Raw than a bunch of shows on a bunch of other networks. They left out the Olympics for a reason...
Jerry Lawler introduced Roddy Piper, who said he needed to catch up to speed. He said Ziggler said Jericho can't win the big one, The Miz is doing a movie, and Raw is interactive so the fans get to answer his questions. Lawler set up the results of the poll. Jericho won with 55 percent, 24 percent voted for Ziggler, and 21 percent voted for The Miz. Not so interesting after all.
Chris Jericho made his entrance. Jericho was all smiles. Piper said the last time he saw Jericho, Mickie Rourke punched his lights out. Jericho said the last time he saw Piper, he punched his lights out right before that when he beat Piper and other legends at WrestleMania. Piper said he doesn't remember any of that.
[Q5] Jericho said he's excited to be on Piper's Pit for the first time ever and he thanked the fans for making it happen. Piper said they have one thing in common even though he hates to admit it. He said one day he was fighting Mr. T and suddenly the fans were cheering him, and now the fans are cheering Jericho. Cole said this Piper's Pit is starting to stink.
Piper said he knows Jericho's dad and he won the big one. Jericho said he doesn't care what Miz or Ziggler say, what really matters is what "that little boy" (a kid in the crowd) says and he's cheering Jericho. Vickie Guerrero came out and ended the pain and introduced Ziggler.
Ziggler had a mic and asked Piper how long he's been doing the same tired routine for. Ziggler entered the ring and said it's not fun, groundbreaking, or nostalgic, he said it's just sad. Piper mocked Ziggler's pink shirt. "Roddy, it's not about you," Ziggler said. He told Jericho to pay close attention to "this deranged individual because this is where you are headed." Moron fans who don't know a good putdown when they hear one chanted "What?" at Ziggler.
Jericho said he didn't hear what Ziggler said because he was busy staring at the bowl of spaghetti on his head. Vickie interjected. Jericho gave her a "would you shut the hell up" line. Jericho said he hasn't forgotten that Vickie slapped him on Smackdown. Jericho said that he's going to prove Dolph wrong and beat him at SummerSlam. "That is a guarantee you will never, ever go back on," Jericho said. Piper apparently tried to start a Y2J chant.
The Miz's music played. "Really?" Miz asked. He said he doesn't have a lot in common with Ziggler, but they can both still win the big one. He said he was taking over the show and said Ziggler would be his guest, while Piper and Jericho get the hell out of his ring now. Jericho punched Miz, and then attacked Ziggler. Jericho cleared both heels from the ring while Piper cheered him on... [C]
Powell's POV: Wow, what a f'n train wreck. That was an example of bad, out of touch Roddy Piper. He's been pretty good in most of his recent appearances, but you never really know which Piper you're going to get. I assume we'll get Ziggler and Miz vs. Jericho and Mysterio tonight, but that's just a guess.
5. Chris Jericho vs. The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero) in a non-title match. Lawler relayed an A.J. tweet that set up the match. So much for the tag match idea.
[Q6] The heels worked together early on. They ended up bickering, which led to Jericho tossing them both to ringside. He dove onto both of them and then stood on the announcers' table and played to the crowd. Jericho threw Ziggler back in the ring and then kicked Miz in the face, but Ziggler caught Jericho with an elbow that knocked him off the ring apron heading into the break. [C]
After the break, Jericho hit a nice Lionsault on Miz and had him pinned, but Ziggler broke it up. Jericho fought off Ziggler and set up Miz for a superplex. Ziggler recovered and powerbombed Jericho, who superplexed Miz in the same spot. There were good pin attempts by Ziggler and Jericho on one another, then Dolph hit his finisher and only got a near fall on Jericho.
Miz reentered the match and went for his old finisher on Jericho, who avoided the second part of it. Dolph returned to the ring and took out Miz with a shot, yet walked into the Codebreaker. Jericho made the cover, but Vickie put Dolph's foot on the bottom rope. Cole pointed out that it was no DQ in a Triple Threat.
Miz entered and got a good near fall on Jericho. Jericho avoided Miz's finisher and locked him in the Walls of Jericho. The Miz tapped out, but Vickie Guerero had the referee distracted. Dolph entered and hit Jericho with Paydirt and scored the pin...
Dolph Ziggler defeated Chris Jericho and The Miz in a non-title Triple Threat match in 14:00.
Powell's POV: That was a hell of a television match. Actually, that would have been a hell of a Triple Threat pay-per-view match. That's the type of in-ring action that we were hoping for when Raw expanded to three hours, and I don't feel like they gave something away that would have been a major pay-per-view hook. Rather, it set up Jericho vs. Ziggler nicely. The only negative is that it's like they're going out of their way to have Miz either lose non-title matches or in this case show that he would have lost had it not been for Vickie distracting the referee.
Backstage, C.M. Punk was stretching out when Eve entered the picture and congratulated him on "the new C.M. Punk." He said there is no new C.M. Punk. He said he's not wearing a black hat or twirling his mustache. He said he's the same guy he's always been. She said she doesn't think anyone believes that, especially John Cena. Punk said he would go tell him himself...
The announcers hyped the Brock Lesnar and Triple H contract signing...
[Q7] [C] The announcers hyped that Pauly D will be the D.J. for the SummerSlam party... The announcers set up video footage of A.J. announcing the Punk and Cena vs. Bryan and Show main event...
Backstage, a leery Shawn Michaels was scared by John Cena, who approached him from behind to welcome him home. Cena asked if Michaels was okay. Michaels said he was and walked away. Cena turned around and saw C.M. Punk standing behind him. Cena questioned whether he should follow Punk's lead or expect to be stabbed in the back.
Punk recalled Cena referring to him as "that guy." He assumed that meant he stabs people in the back and takes shortcuts. Punk said he's not that guy. Punks said he's not a phony so he won't say that he wanted to face Cena and Show in a Triple Threat. He said he'll do everything in his power to make sure they won't leave as WWE Champion, but he's not going to stab anyone in the back. "At the end of the night, come hell or high water, I'm going to make sure that it's all about me," Punk said... [C]
The new Wade Barrett vignette aired. He spoke about coming from the world of "fight or die." He said it was like breathing in that if you stop, you die. He said he was lured away to a world of lies and illusions. He said it was a world where life was easy and civilized. He said he couldn't live the lie because he couldn't sustain the truth, life is pain. He said his barrage has just begun...
Powell's POV: Another solid video with the exception of the awful barrage line. Let it go, WWE.
6. Beth Phoenix and Eve vs. Layla and Kaitlyn. Layla danced and then slammed her butt into Eve's face. Um, okay.
[Q8] Eve and Beth worked over Kaitlyn once she tagged into the match. Kaitlyn fought out of their corner, knocked Eve off the apron with a forearm, and rolled up Beth for the win. Cole called it an upset with all the enthusiasm of Taz calling Austin Aries's Last Chancery submission hold at Hardcore Justice (that means with no enthusiasm whatsoever for those of you who don't watch TNA)...
Layla and Kaitlyn defeated Eve and Beth Phoenix in 4:15.
Powell's POV: The days of saying Beth losing to anyone is an upset should be over. She loses more than she wins on WWE television. Kaitlyn is being built up for one match on Smackdown when she'll face Eve for the right to be Booker T's assistant. Is there a reason Booker can't just fire Eve if she wins? Is Layla watching Iceman King Parsons videos? Has the Divas division ever felt more meaningless?
A video package recapped the Triple H and Brock Lesnar saga... A shot aired of the parking garage. Lawler said Hunter had yet to arrive, but he would be there for the contract signing... [C]
Powell's POV: Lesnar threatened Michaels last week. Shawn still shows up this week on Hunter's behalf, yet Hunter can't be bothered to show up nearly two hours into the show? If the go-home show has taught us anything it's that Shawn Michaels is acting like a coward and Triple H is the worst friend ever.
A graphic hyped that WWE has 75 of the top 100 selling sports DVDs in the United States. It didn't mention how they are doing in entertainment DVD sales...
Ring entrances for the "main event" tag match took place. Um, they remember they have another hour to fill, right? Anyway, the heels were out first. Punk was out first. Cena came out and told us what time it is. A graphic teased fantasy matches that never happened and a graphic showed Punk and Randy "Macho Man" Savage.
[Q9] John Cena was out next. He stopped on the stage and said it was time to go to work...
7. C.M. Punk and John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan and Big Show. Lawler said Punk had a look on his face that made it seem like he'd rather be anywhere else. Punk tagged himself into the match about three seconds later. A short time later, Show told Bryan to tag him into the match, which led to a "yes" and "no" exchange between the two. There were loud dueling chants for Cena and Punk. Show was getting the better of Cena heading into the break. [C]
After the break, Cena fought off Bryan and rolled to his corner. Punk reached down and tagged himself in. Cena rolled to the floor to sell an earlier Big Show bear hug. Punk tried to make a quick tag, but Cena was on the floor. Show set up for the WMD, but Bryan tagged himself into the match at 11:15. Show wasn't happy.
Punk fought off Bryan as Cena stood in the corner anxious for the tag. Punk looked over at Cena and asked, "Oh, now you want a tag?" Punk stayed in the ring and got the better of Bryan. Punk did the "You Can't See Me" routine on Bryan. He backed up toward his corner and Cena tagged himself in to the match.
Cena performed a high knee and a bulldog. Punk grabbed his title belt and headed to ringside. Bryan tried to roll up a distracted Cena, who kicked out. Cena came right back with the Attitude Adjustment on Bryan and scored the pin while both Punk and Show watched on from the floor near their respective corners.
John Cena and C.M. Punk defeated Daniel Bryan and Big Show in 13:20.
[Q10] After the match, Big Show entered the ring and was about to go after a celebrating Cena, but Punk ran in and cut him off with a belt shot to the head. Punk and Cena stared at one another. Punk approached Cena and offered him his hand. Cena thought about it. Punk got upset and said, "Come on." He said something else, but the camera cut away. Punk dropped his hand and left the ring, leaving Cena with a bewildered look on his face...
Backstage, Josh "The Stalker" Mathews emerged from his hiding spot to interview C.M. Punk, who said Cena went into business for himself. He said that means that Cena cared about himself and not whether they won or lost. Punk said Cena showed him the ultimate disrespect by not shaking his hand, so he intends to show teach him and everyone a lesson in respect on Sunday... [C]
Powell's POV: A fun tag match. Bryan wasn't the focus of the match, but his antics were hilarious. I don't think his over the top routine is main event money material, but he's not in the main event this month so I'm just enjoying it for what it is. Punk and Cena mocking one another by performing their signature spots was really good and they had a good, split crowd to play to. Unfortunately, the WWE Championship match feels more about a personality conflict than it does about the title right now, but they did a good job of playing it up from that angle.
Still shots aired of the WWE Smackdown crew's overseas tour... A shot aired of Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman talking backstage...
8. Damien Sandow vs. Christian. Highlights aired of Sandow attacking Brodus Clay last week. Sandow got vicious by slamming Christian's head into the ring steps 90 seconds into the match. Lawler questioned whether the referee would let him get away with anything.
Brodus Clay's music played and he walked onto the stage. Christian rolled up Sandow for a good near fall. Sandow recovered and performed his finisher on Christian for the clean pin while Clay watched on from ringside. Sandow performed his post-match cartwheel...
Damien Sandow defeated Christian in 2:10.
Powell's POV: Wow, a nice win for Sandow. For those keeping score at home, Antonio Cesaro beat Santino Marella in two non-title matches, Christian beat Cesaro on Smackdown last week, and now Sandow beat Christian. I don't even know what there is to take from that, but now you know what type of useless knowledge is floating around my brain.
The paranoid Shawn Michaels looked around a corner backstage. When he turned around, Brock Lesnar was standing there. Shawn walked away and Lesnar smiled... The announcers hyped the contract signing is supposed to be next, but Triple H still hadn't arrived...
Powell's POV: Hunter's still not at the building? Damn, how big is Stephanie's Honey Do List?
[Q11] [C] A recap of Brock Lesnar telling Shawn Michaels he would see him before SummerSlam was shown...
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman made their entrance for the contract signing. Heyman said his client Brock Lesnar believes the story that Triple H's flight was delayed because he knows that Triple H wants and needs that match. Heyman said it's the most personal fight of Triple H's life.
Heyman said the honor of WWE is in Triple H's hands, his personal dignity is on the line, and his standing as a man in his own family is on the line when he faces Brock Lesnar. There were some boos. Heyman thanked the fans for their "most irrelevant opinion."
Heyman said he wanted an indemnification agreement for Lesnar. He said fans who are looking for a nice wrestling match or two man competing and the better man emerging victorious won't be happy. He said it's going to be an uncomfortable beating. He said Hunter will suffer mercilessly at the hands of Lesnar.
Heyman said not everyone agrees with him, including Shawn Michaels. Heyman asked Lesnar if HBK is in the building. "Yes, he is," Lesnar said with a smile on his face. Heyman said that if HBK thinks Triple H can beat Lesnar or withstanding his beating, he is welcome to come to the ring to say it right now. "Don't worry, he's not coming out," Heyman said.
Heyman said he doesn't blame Michaels for not coming out because there's no shame of being afraid of Lesnar or realizing that none of your prayers can be answered when you're in the ring with the beast incarnate. Heyman said that it's well known that everyone from Texas has a yellow streak running down their spines.
HBK's music hit. Shawn entered the ring and stood on the opposite side of the contract signing table away from Lesnar and Heyman and glared at them. Michaels teased picking up the mic. "Go for it," Heyman told him. "You can sign it (contract). I'll accept it."
Eventually, Triple H's music played and he headed to the ring. Hunter and Brock stared at one another from across the table. Triple H took the pen and signed the contract while keeping a close eye on Lesnar. Brock smiled when Hunter finished signing. "It's just a contract signing," Heyman yelled in fear of what Lesnar might do. Lesnar signed his name and threw the contract down.
Lesnar and Heyman left the ring. Lesnar did his warmup dance and continued to smile at Triple H and Micahels as they continued to stare down at him. Lesnar backed his way up the ramp and smiled at Lesnar and Michaels. "I hope these two men realize what they signed on for," one of the announcers said. "It's official. It's on"... [C]
Powell's POV: Heyman was great in establishing that this is going to be more than just a wrestling match. I wish we had been given more of Heyman and less of Stephanie getting her revenge on Raw 1000, and Hunter knocking out Heyman in the past. Shawn's silence was a nice touch and brought a serious tone to the segment. Lesnar's cocky smirk at both men was great. Hunter was in Undertaker at WrestleMania silent mode, which is different than HBK's silent mode here. Nicely done. They found their peak for the program on the go-home show. Unfortunately, that wasn't hard to accomplish because the rest of the build has felt flawed. Still, they sold some pay-per-views with that segment.
An ad for Friday's Smackdown questioned who will be the new No. 1 contender for the World Hvt. Championship at SummerSlam...
After the break, footage aired from Smackdown of Del Rio and his goons attacking Sheamus. The announcers aired Tout videos of fans discussing Booker's decision to take away Del Rio's title match. Thanks to WWE for airing those, as it gave me just enough time to speed ahead to catch up...
Shawn told Triple H that he's been in the ring with him and Undertaker, but Lesnar is different. Shawn said he will be in Hunter's corner, but it's up to Hunter to get the job done. "You know where my heart is on this," Michaels said before walking away...
At ringside, the announcers questioned whether Triple H can beat Brock Lesnar...
The announcers narrated footage of Punk hitting Big Show with the title belt... Backstage, Matt Striker ran after Big Show, who said this doesn't affect his match at SummerSlam. Striker ran off when he heard horns honking. The cameras showed that HBK and Heyman had a car accident. Heyman yelled that he was sorry.
Brock Lesnar showed up and pulled HBK out of the car. "I told you I was going to get you," Lesnar said. "Tell Triple H this," Lesnar said. There was plenty of commotion, but the screen was black, leaving viewers to paint the picture in their own mind or to bitch about how lame it was that the screen went black. I go with the latter... [C]
A recap of the HBK and Lesnar segment aired. In fairness, they did show Brock back into the camera. A.J. was on the scene along with referees and the heroes of WWE Superstars. Triple H showed up and asked what happened and where they went. She said Brock dragged Shawn away...
At ringside, the announcers spoke about the segment. Suddenly, Brock walked into the arena with HBK over his shoulders and Heyman walking behind him. Lesnar walked to ringside and threw Michaels inside the ring. Brock picked up Michaels and dropped him with the F5. The fans chanted for Triple H as Lesnar stared down at a writhing Michaels.
Michaels struggled to get to his feet. Lesnar applied the Kimura. Triple H ran out, but Heyman stopped him in his tracks by telling him that if he takes one more step, Lesnar would break Shawn's arm. An anguished Triple H complied. Lesnar wrenched on the arm and Triple H ran to the ring. Lesnar ran to ringside and then fled to the stage.
"Oh my God, you broke his arm," Heyman said as Lesnar looked to the ring and smiled. Hunter headed to the ring and tended to Shawn, who sold a broken arm. Trainers entered the ring and Michaels continued to sell it by telling them not to touch it. Triple H said he was sorry. Triple H looked at a smiling Lesnar and ripped off his own shirt. "Come on," Hunter said. "We don't have to wait. Let's do it now"...
Powell's POV: The garage scene was pretty cheesy, but it got a lot better once they entered the arena again. Lesnar looks sadistic and now Hunter has a reason to go for revenge on Sunday. Heyman acting shocked by Lesnar's actions makes Brock look even more out of control, as it shows that even he's not able to control him. I mentioned earlier that they sold pay-per-views with the first part of the angle, and I believe they sold even more here.
Overall, this was a strong go-home show. They introduced new SummerSlam matches, gave good hype to the WWE Championship match, and finally made Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar feel like an event. I'll have more to say in an All Access audio review later tonight. Plus, stop back on Tuesday for Will Pruett's "Pause" review of Raw, Ryan Kester's WWE Raw Rundown, and my WWE Raw Hitlist. Thanks for watching along with me tonight.
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