TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 8/4: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live USA Network broadcast
Aug 4, 2008 - 10:10:00 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch columnist
WWE Raw Live Report
August 4, 2008
The show opened with a chorus of boos, as Mike Adamle was on stage sporting some reading glasses. He slowly introduced himself as the new GM, which drew more boos. He tried to introduce the show, but the fans chanted "you suck" at him. Adamle then told us a tale. He said this man wasn't taken seriously, worked in a circus-like environment, and wasn't very good at his job. Adamle said this man was Ronald Reagan. He said Reagan went from a B-level movie actor, then became one of the great U.S. presidents. Adamle said Reagan acted with a monkey, and he accidentally called Jeff Hardy by Jeff Harvey. He said everyone makes mistakes, but the important thing is to grow from those mistakes. Adamle said he wasn't the greatest ECW announcer, but people won't let it go. He said there's even a petition on WWE's message board asking for his resignation. Big cheer for that.
Adamle said that's their right, but it's not an America he wants to be part of. He wants to be part of the land of opportunity where a man like him can play seven years in the NFL and be a star. He believes in an America where anything can happen, which is why he made the Lawler & Cole tag match last week. Adamle apologized for it not working out, but he just wanted to add some excitement to the show. Adamle asked the crowd if they want to see one or two championship matches tonight. He said there will be three championship matches tonight - DiBiase & Cody Rhodes vs. Batista & Cena for the World Tag Titles...
Before Adamle could rattle off the other two, JBL interrupted. He congratulated Adamle on being the new GM of Raw, and he agrees 100 percent that first impressions can often-times be wrong. JBL said he went from a beer-drinking fighter to a self-made millionaire, even with his own story in Fortune magazine. He said he knows Adamle is a born winner, just like him. JBL said that Cena vs. Batista for Summerslam was quite the call. He told Adamle to go 2-for-2 and make the call right now for JBL challenging C.M. Punk for the World Title at Summerslam.
Before Adamle could say anything, Chris Jericho interrupted and said he needs to say something. JBL told Jericho this doesn't concern him. Jericho said he ended the career of Shawn Michaels, so this does concern him for the World Title picture. JBL and Jericho then had a verbal battle like two spoiled kids fighting over a scoop of ice cream. Adamle said he has an idea for something that's never happened before. He booked Jericho & JBL vs. Punk in a handicap match, and if Jericho or JBL scores the fall, then he gets the title shot. Adamle started to walk off, then he added that if Punk wins, then neither one of them gets the title shot.
In-ring: Lillian Garcia announced an IC Title match up next, then Kofi Kingston came out first to defend the strap. Paul Burchill then came out with Katie Lea to challenge for the belt. Cole and Lawler then talked about Raw being the most-watched TV show amongst males on TV last week.
1 -- IC champion KOFI KINGSTON vs. PAUL BURCHILL (w/Katie Lea) -- Intercontinental Title match
Burchill worked over Kingston early, but Kingston came back with the boom-boom leg drop and the fluid buzzsaw kick to the head for the clean win. It seemed quite unusual for Kingston to simply hit his combo without much resistance from Burchill, as if the viewer was expecting a counter. Instead, Kingston with the clean combo win. Afterward, Katie tried to get in Kingston's face to run distraction, but Kingston avoided Burchill, who flew to the outside. Kingston then chased Burchill to the back, leaving Katie in the ring. Mickie James's music hit, and Mickie charged the ring to defend her title against Katie in the next match.
WINNER: Kingston in 4:00. Short, clean win for Kingston. Burchill doesn't have much credibility at this point, but it was a good win for Kingston. (*)
2 -- Women's champion MICKIE JAMES vs. KATIE LEA -- Women's Title match
They returned with the action in progress. Announcers talked about Katie attacking Mickie in front of her father last week to set up Mickie's quest for revenge tonight. Mickie dominated out of the break, but Katie caught her with a slingshot smash across the middle rope for a nearfall. Katie then slapped on a bow and arrow, but Mickie slipped out into a pin attempt for a nearfall of her own. Mickie landed a head scissors out of the corner, then built some momentum with forearm smashes before landing a neckbreaker for a two count. Katie tried to come back with a stalker kick, but Mickie blocked and landed her spike DDT for the pin and the win.
Afterward, Beth Phoenix jumped Mickie from behind and tossed her through the ropes to the outside. Beth then rammed Mickie hard into the ring apron before rolling her back into the ring. Dude ringside shouted, "Give her a kiss!" Beth took Mickie back into the ring to inflict more punishment, where she landed an implant-buster wheelbarrow slam. Santino then walked out on stage giving Beth a round of applause for her dominating work. Beth then walked up the stage and smiled at Santino before grabbing a handful of butt cheek. Beth turned away to celebrate, then Santino grabbed a little cheek in return. Beth smiled and slowly walked away.
WINNER: Mickie in 5:00. Great, great segment. Very good women's match that the audience really bought into. Good to see WWE paying attention to what TNA has been doing with the knockouts to give their divas a credible TV push. And now we get the best of both worlds with Beth, as she's back to being an ass-kicker to go with the entertainment with Santino. (*1/2)
Backstage: They showed Cena and Cryme Tyme talking strategy. Well, presumably. Maybe they were discussing their 401(k) plans.
WWE 24/7 Classics: Sept. 8, 1997 with the Monday Night Wars between Raw and Nitro. They showed a clip of Vince McMahon interviewing Sgt. Slaughter until Steve Austin confronted him and gave him a Stunner. No idea why that aired other than to remind us of a simpler time when stars were stars and men were men.
Backstage: Mike Adamle was on the phone with Stephanie McMahon thanking her and Shane for the GM opportunity. He congratulated her on the baby while Beth Phoenix and Santino suddenly were standing there. Santino said his very good friend, Beth Phoenix, and himself were talking about title matches at Summerslam. He suggested Beth with a Women's Title match and himself with an IC Title match. Adamle said there's only room for one more title match at Summerslam, so they need to decide here. Santino was so great here picturing the headline of him as the Women's champion. Adamle then settled their dispute by booking a winner-take-all tag match of Kofi & Mickie vs. Beth & Santino. Santino thanked him for the decision. Beth's body language and positioning next to Santino was so great. This was the best awkward segment ever.
Video package: They focused on the "master of the ground-and-pound". No, not Brock Lesnar, but John Cena for Summerslam against Batista. ... Backstage: They showed Batista watching the video on a monitor. Todd Grisham, your ECW announcer, then stepped in to ask Batista for his thoughts. Batista said that if Adamle wants to make some sort of splash for Summerslam, that's fine, so he'll use that as a stepping stone to the World Title. He issued an ultimatum for Cena tonight: Stay out of my way.
Announcers: They plugged Shawn Michaels's first interview since the eye injury at the Great American Bash.
In-ring: Layla was dancing in the ring out of the break. No particular reason why she was dancing, but they rolled footage from earlier in the day when Jamie Noble talked to Layla about making reservations at the Waffle House for a little dinner. Layla cut him off and said this thing just isn't working. She said Noble just keeps running his mouth into butt-kickings. She said she just doesn't associate herself with losers. Layla stormed off, then back to the ring where Layla kept dancing.
William Regal then interrupted and slowly walked down stage to the ring. He said he feels the need to remind everyone who he is. He said he's the King by virtue of his King of the Ring victory. Jamie Noble's music interrupted, then Noble hopped right into the ring and tried to tackle Regal. A brawl broke out until referees spilled into the ring to separate Regal and Noble. Layla simply shrugged her shoulders with a puzzled look. Order was finally restored.
Backstage: They showed C.M. Punk slowly walking in anticipation of the handicap match. He looked quite sleepy.
ECW promo: Miz & Morrison bring the Dirt Sheet to the ECW broadcast. It's about dang time.
In-ring: JBL came to the ring, prompting Cole and Lawler to challenge JBL's manhood because of how powerful his wife is. Chris Jericho then came out as JBL's tag partner for the handicap match. Oh my gosh, Jericho in classic wrestling trunks. I don't think he looks all that comfortable without the long spandex pants. Cole said that Lance Cade isn't here tonight, as he has a broken nose. C.M. Punk then came out as the opposition for this Adamle Original match.
3 -- World Hvt. champion C.M. PUNK vs. JBL & CHRIS JERICHO -- handicap match
Before the match started, Adamle threw out one more stipulation: it's a 10-minute time limit. If there is no winner, then it's a triple threat at Summerslam. Nice. JBL and Jericho spent the first 15 seconds arguing over the new rules until Punk tried to attack them. The heels quickly regrouped, though, and started beating on Punk. Jericho went to the second rope and kissed his fist Lawler-style before delivering a punch to the skull. "That looked familiar," Lawler interjected with a whisper. Jericho has certainly been more of a mat technician in this match with the new trunks and new attitude.
[Q5 -- second hour]
At 5:00, Punk hip-tossed out of an ab stretch, but JBL was quick to jump Punk from behind. JBL and Jericho started arguing about who was going to pin Punk, leading to them brawling in the ring. Punk took a breather in the corner, but Jericho hit the Lionsault on Punk and had a pin that JBL broke up. More brawling between Jericho and JBL led to Punk smashing the heels into the corner. Crowd rallied behind Punk, who smashed Jericho with a flying smash. He dropped JBL with a bulldog, then Jericho and JBL collided. Punk went for the G2S on JBL and he nailed it. Punk made the cover, but Jericho broke it up just in time. Whew.
Jericho tried to fire off on Punk, but Punk nailed a powerslam for a nearfall with two minutes left. Punk then catapulted Jericho into JBL and had a roll-up on Jericho, but Jericho kicked out just in time. He wanted the G2S on Jericho, but Jericho slipped out and put the Walls of Jericho on. Punk fought the hold with 50 seconds remaining. He shook his head at 45. He reached out at 40. Jericho dragged him back in at 35. JBL re-entered at 30 and kicked Jericho in the head. JBL shoved Jericho to the floor, and with 10 seconds left, JBL came to. Jericho then slingshot JBL across the top rope and JBL fell backward on top of Punk. He scored the pin with just one second left to earn the World Title shot against Punk.
WINNER: JBL at 9:59 to become #1 Contender. That was a heck of a TV match. Excellent final five minutes with the crowd hanging on every second of the action. Punk had a very strong showing working within the stack-the-deck formula. (***)
San Antonio: They showed Shawn Michaels being mic'ed up from his home in San Antonio. His eye looked quite messed up as he prepared for the interview.
Video package: They returned with a video on the Jericho vs. Michaels feud.
Announcers: Cole and Lawler brought in Shawn Michaels via satellite from San Antonio to see how's feeling. Michaels said there's been severe damage done to his eye and his doctors are monitoring his eye fairly regularly. He said that before Jericho starts patting himself on the back for ending Michaels's career, he needs to make it clear that he's been wrestling with a variety of injuries for the past four months. Michaels said he's had broken ribs, torn-up knees, and a bad back that he'll feel for the rest of his life. Michaels paused, then said he has a re-evaluation the Friday before Summerslam, and then he'll announce his future at Summerslam. He said he's going to listen to the doctors for once. Michaels said if the doctors say he can compete, than he will. He said if the doctors recommend he doesn't compete, then he's prepared to walk away. Fans booed. Michaels said he's thoroughly enjoyed in front of the WWE universe throughout his career, but one thing he loves more is his family. Michaels said Jericho might be right that he needs to spend more quality time with his family. Fans lightly applauded, then Lawler quietly told Michaels to do what's best for Shawn Michaels.
In-ring: Matt Striker held his first Classroom session on Raw. Striker thanked Michael Adamle for finally - finally! - allowing him to compete as a member of the Raw roster. He said it's fitting that he competes at an esteemed university. Striker said he knows Adamle will pick the right opponent for him to display his wrestling acumen. You knew what was coming. Boom. Pyro. Fire. Kane's music hit.
4 -- KANE vs. MATT STRIKER
Kane quickly clotheslined Striker hard to the mat before landing a hard uppercut and a big boot to the mush. Kane picked up Striker and landed a clothesline/sidewalk slam combo before going up top. Kane landed a leaping clothesline before calling for the end. Striker then slipped into a chokeslam and Kane made the quick pin for the win to end the school-related clichés from Cole and Lawler.
WINNER: Kane in 2:00. Quick and relatively painless. (n/a)
Post-match: Kane picked up the bag and walked over to the announcers. He started chasing away stagehands before grabbing the house mic. Kane said he's been in a bad place lately, but he's better now. He looked at the bag and said, "He's not alive; he's dead." Kane kept staring at the back while the announcers breathed a sigh of relief.
Video package: They focused on Batista's path of destruction. ... Backstage: John Cena was brought in for an interview about Batista. He said the talk forever was about one day - Batista vs. Cena. He said that one day has finally happened for Summerslam. Cena said Adamle won't let them just prepare for the epic battle, instead, they'll have to team up as a tag team tonight. He said either they win the belts or they tear each other to pieces. Cena said he hopes they win, but he'll be ready for anything. Cena walked off to cheers.
Backstage: Mike Adamle was sitting on the couch looking concerned about something. Kelly Kelly, in a sharp black outfit, then stepped in to complement Adamle on the work he's done tonight. Adamle teased that next week, we'll find out what's inside Kane's bag one way or another. Kelly liked that, then Adamle invited her to sit down on the couch and watch the main event with him.
In-ring: DiBiase & Rhodes came to the ring for the main event. A graphic for "This is an EAS Test" flashed on the screen a few times. I'm assuming that's just local since we're about to get smashed by a hurricane. John Cena then came out to a huge pop since they've saved him until the main event. After a brief pause, Batista came out to another monster pop.
5 -- World tag team champions CODY RHODES & TED DIBIASE, JR. vs. JOHN CENA & BATISTA -- World Tag Title match
Crowd was buzzing for this early on. Batista dominated Cody, even threw in a leap frog, and smashed Cody with a clothesline. Cena just smiled from the ring apron as Batista was turning this into a two-on-one match. Batista then missed with a shoulder tackle in the corner and sold a shoulder injury. Batista in jeopardy as they cut to break.
They returned with the champs working over Batista while Cena tried to reach out for a tag. Batista finally broke free and tagged in Cena, who exploded out of the corner as the crowd came to life. Cena dropped Cody in center ring and nailed the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He wanted the FU, but DiBiase made a blind tag from behind. Cody then DDT'ed Cena before rolling out of the ring to let DiBiase work over Cena. Fans chanted, "Let's go Cena" as the champs took turns working over Cena with nearfalls-a-plenty. Cody acted tough and slapped Cena, then blocked a punch, and nailed a Russian legsweep. The improvement from Cody is unmistakable.
[Q9 -- over-run]
Cena finally had an opportunity to make the hot tag to Batista, but Batista quietly walked around the ringpost to the other side of the ring apron, allowing DiBiase to regain his attack on Cena. The heels cornered him again, then Cena finally escaped with a sidewalk slam. He walked over to his corner to tag Batista, but Cena slapped Batista in the face instead. Cena and Batista had a confrontation, then Batista exploded out of the corner with an attack on DiBiase and Cody. Batista caught DiBiase with a spinebuster, then he turned to stare down Cena. Batista then dropped DiBiase with a spear and called for the Batistabomb while looking at Cena. Cena did his part by taking out Rhodes while Batista finished off DiBiase with a Batistabomb to win the match and the tag titles.
Post-match: Batista grabbed both title belts before shoving one belt into Cena's chest. They stared each other down before Cena raised his tag belt high in the air. Batista then held his title belt high in the air, each man measuring the crowd response. Pretty even. They backed away slightly, then Cena held his belt up real high for the audience to get a good look. Batista then walked across the ring for the other side to get a good look. Cena to the other side. Batista to the corner turnbuckle. Cena to the other corner for a huge kids-and-women pop. Batista had enough and walked over to Cena in center ring. They stared down each other as Cena's music hit to close the show.
WINNERS: Batista & Cena in 14:00 to capture the World Tag Titles. Very good main event match. I don't agree with Rhodes & DiBiase losing the belts on the principle that they were really starting to click as a tag team unit that could have a lengthy title run, but it's obvious why WWE pulled the trigger on the switch. Rhodes & DiBiase really rose to the occasion in this match with their tag team work on the established stars. Good story, good action, hot crowd, nice conclusion to the show. (***1/4)
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