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TV REPORTS
KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT 9/1: Final hype for Unforgiven, Jericho-Michaels contract signing

Sep 1, 2008 - 11:15:32 PM
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By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT
SEPTEMBER 1, 2008
TAPED SUNDAY IN ST. LOUIS, MO.


-The show opened with an on-screen acknowledgment of the death of Killer Kowalski. USA Network then went to a local commercial break out of nowhere. When they went back to Raw, Randy Orton's ring intro was in process as Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler introduced the show. Cole noted that this is Orton's hometown. Boy Orton is aging. Does just a few weeks as a father do that to someone?

Orton said Raw is an absolute joke now because a brand is only as strong as its champions. "Take the Women's Champion, for example." He said Beth Phoenix is running around like a lovesick teenager and she's embarrassing herself. "This isn't 90210," he said, plugging tomorrow night's debut on Smackdown's soon-to-be-former network home, The CW. He then called Santino Marella the weakest Intercontinental Champion ever. He said he could beat Santino with a broken clavicle. He then ripped on Cody Rhodes & "Teddy" DiBiase for being champions without belts. He said if someone took his belts as champion, he'd hunt them down and beat them to a pulp and take back what was his. "But that is not the real problem here on Raw," he said. "The real problem is we have a guy going around disgracing the World Heavyweight Championship, and his name is C.M. Punk." He said four years ago when he won his first World Title, "C.M. Punk was wrestling in no-name towns under a no-name organization; in short, C.M. Punk was a no-body until he climbed a ladder, grabbed a briefcase, had a lucky title win, and found himself able to stand in this ring and call himself a World Champion. I take offense to that. It insults everything I stand for." He said he'd love to challenge Punk right there tonight and take back what is his, but he can't because he's not medically cleared.

Punk's music played and out walked Punk. Cole said Punk manages to win and survive each and every week. Punk got right in Orton's face and they exchanged some private words. Punk said he got a headache from watching him talk back there. He said, "Not everybody has grand daddy and daddy behind them to usher them into WWE. There are some people who have to work very, very hard to get there." He said it doesn't matter how he won it; the fact is, he is the World Champion. He said he doesn't drink and he doesn't smoke, "and I don't take joy rides on my motorcycle at 3 a.m. and try to pop wheelies and get reinjured and delay my return for another three months." He said he went from the Age of Orton to a complete afterthought. He said he doesn't blame him for running down all of Raw's champions because if he was in his shoes, he'd be jealous, too. Orton said he's the most pathetic champion ever. Punk said he is jealous. Orton sneered. Punk said he'd love for that to go down here and now, but this conversation would end now because he has more immediate business to tend to including the Scramble on Sunday. He said there's only person in the ring who is pathetic, "and it's not me." Orton said the conversation will have to continue another time. Punk told him he's going to do everything in his power to hold onto the title so when he does come back, he will experience first-hand what he's all about. Great mic performance from Punk. He carried himself like he belonged in that ring with Orton. He's really conveying a sense that he believes in himself more every week. As Orton left, JBL's music played and JBL headed to the ring. Cole said on Sunday there is an 80 percent chance Punk loses the title on Sunday. Yeah, if everyone were equals. But if you put Cole in that match, he wouldn't have a 20 percent chance of winning, so it's kind of a lame statement.

JBL told Punk he doesn't get it and fairy tales aren't real. He said in six days it will strike midnight and the fluke he calls a championship run will be over. JBL reiterated the "80 percent chance of losing the title" line, but then said his odds are better because of his Clothesline from Hell. He said one move and a new person walks out as champion. JBL said it could be Punk who gets KO'd with it, but not necessarily. It could be Rey.

Kane then came out. Cole called him conflicted. Kane got right in JBL's face. He laughed about the Clothesline from Hell. "I've been to hell and I haven't seen your clothesline anywhere," Kane said. He said Rey Mysterio is there. "Mike Adamle can make all the announcements he wants, but little Rey Rey is not going to be there this Sunday and he is not going to be there tonight - I made sure of it!" He said that means there is one less person in the Scramble match, which means he is one step closer. He was interrupted by Batista's music. Batista walked to the ring, yanked the mic out of Kane's hand, and then speared Kane. JBL hit Punk from behind. Batista speared JBL. Punk stood up. Batista paused, then gave Punk a spear, too. Cole said Batista is sending a message to the rest of the Scramble field.

[Q2]

-Cole plugged a Raw battle royal featuring all five members of the Scramble. Cole wondered if Rey would be there. He said Kane says Rey won't be.

[Commercial Break]

-Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler were shown on camera hyping the battle royal later. Cole said there has been an agreement made between Raw and ECW and a number of ECW wrestlers would be featured on Raw tonight, therefore there'd be an ECW Scramble battle royal.

-John Cena's music played. Cole said he just had successful surgery last week. A very excited Charlie Haas came out dressed up like Cena. He threw his hat into the crowd and then his Cena jersey into the crowd. They showed a clip of Haas imitating Carlito last week as Charlito. Haas held the mic and said Cena may be out of action, but don't worry "because the Haas is here and you can't see me!" Lawler wondered if he has an identity crisis.

1 -- CHARLIE HAAS vs. KOFI KINGSTON

Kofi opened up with aggressive offense. Haas made a comeback by punching Kofi in the face. Kofi interrupted Haas mocking the "You Can't See Me" hand wave with a kick to the face. Haas went for an FU 30 seconds later, but Kofi avoided it and after a sloppy roll-up and roll through, Kofi finished Haas seconds later with a Trouble in Paradise.

WINNER: Kofi in 2:00.

-Cole plugged the Shawn Michaels-Chris Jericho contract signing later.

[Commercial Break]

[Q3]

-Rhodes and DiBiase confronted Orton over his comments earlier. Rhodes in particular took exception. Orton asked Cody if he remembers when they first met. "Do you remember how I slapped your father directly in the face?" asked Orton. As Cody said yes, Orton slapped him. DiBiase held Cody back. Orton said they're two of the most talented in the locker room, but they need to "take some action and grow a set" because until they stand up for themselves and get those belts back, he stands up for everything he said.

-Teddy Long and Tiffany from ECW were with Mike Adamle backstage. Adamle thanked Tiffany for stopping by. He said she's beautiful, but Long is more dapper. Adamle thought maybe the combined Raw-ECW roster could be a new Labor Day Telethon. He said, "It's like the Jerry Lewis Telethon, but without the sick kids." Long said, "What did you just say?" Then Kane barged into the room and got in Adamle's face. He said he wants to talk to him about Rey coming back. "Rey is never coming back. Why would you announce that, Mike? Why would you lie like that, Mike?" He said he wasn't lying. He said Rey is needed by Raw and he was hoping he's accept the invitation and show up at Unforgiven and maybe at Raw tonight as well. Kane said Rey's soul is extinguished, but "keep hoping." Glad to see them acknowledge that dangling unresolved storyline this week after ignoring it last week.

-The ring intros took place for Matt Hardy and Fit Finlay for the ECW Scramble

-An ad aired for ECW on Tuesday night plugging that Hardy, Finlay, and Mark Henry would meet on "Thre Dirt Sheet" on Tuesday night.

[Commercial Break]

2 -- ECW SCRAMBLE BATTLE ROYAL: Matt Hardy, Mark Henry, Fit Finlay, The Miz, Chavo Guerrero

Miz's and Henry's respective ring intros aired after the break. Miz and Hardy looked like tag partners as they eac had equally ridiculous looking ring pants on. At least Miz is trying to look ridiculous, but Hardy's pants are something he's going to look back on in 20 years doing a DVD interview and just shake his head at. Miz almost eliminated Finlay early. Hardy almost eliminated Miz a few seconds later. Neither man's feet touched the floor. As Chavo tried to eliminate Miz, Henry showed them both over the top rope. Then he splashed Finlay and kicked Hardy in the face. Finlay and Hardy tried to eliminate Henry, but Henry fought back and tossed out Finlay easily at 2:00. Hardy took some shots at Henry including an elbow off the second rope. When he went for a Twist of Fate, Henry lifted him and tossed him over the top rope to win.

WINNER: Henry in 3:00.

-A video package aired on the Jericho-Michaels feud.

[Q4]

[Commercial Break]

-They showed Jericho, Lance Cade, and an attorney (presumably) reviewing the contract he'll be signing later.

3 -- JAMIE NOBLE vs. WILLIAM REGAL

Noble said he asked "my lovely Layla" to come out there one more time to see first hand what he's capable of. A skeptical looking Layla sat at ringside and watched. Regal took early control and Layla laughed at Noble impotence. As the beating continued, she almost seemed to be feeling bad for him. Noble, though, surprised Regal with a small package for the win. Layla nodded and acted impressed with Noble. She also didn't seem to know how to handle his ringside celebration. She walked to the back.

WINNER: Noble in 2:00.

-Mickie James and Kelly Kelly chatted backstage. They, of course, flirtatiously giggled as they said nice things about one another, with a suggestive touch here and there to go along with, you know, like all women talk with one another.

[Commercial Break]

4 -- JILLIAN HALL & BETH PHOENIX & KATIE LEA BURCHILL vs. MICKIE JAMES & KELLY KELLY & CANDICE MICHELLE

Jillian Hall sang (poorly) a song for St. Louis. They showed fans booing and plugging their ears. So Phoenix is now a babyface by virtue of dating Santino, who's a heel? Strange logic. Cole said Phoenix says in the latest WWE Magazine that it's cool to have pet names for your boyfriend. He wondered what her pet name might be for Santino. Lawler fake laughed at Cole's awkward question. Phoenix replied to Orton's nasty comments earlier. She said nobody can match her power. Candice Michelle then walked out. They did the ring intros in a totally random way, so Phoenix actually is teaming with the heels, the other two of whom came out before Mickie and Kelly. That's a first. The announcers didn't say anything about Candice replacing anyone who was scheduled. Did the heels sign to face Mickie, Kelly, and a mystery partner? The whole thing was handled in an odd, sloppy fashion. The fact that Candice was on TV recently with Josh Matthews at the Democratic Convention took a little luster off of the surprise.

[Q5]

The heels controlled early. Mickie made a comeback at 3:00 and hot-tagged Candice. She went to work on Phoenix with a barrage of punches. Candice climbed to the top rope, fended off the heels getting involved, and hit Phoenix with a crossbody block. Phoenix, tough, caught her. Candice slipped out and small packaged Phoenix for the win. Candice welled up with tears afterward, as her road back to the ring has been a long steep climb.

WINNER: Candice in 5:00.

STAR RATING: 1/2* -- Small package finishes in two matches in a row is too much. Good to see Candice back. Good make-over, too. The new look works better for her.

-Cole and Lawler threw to another video package on the Jericho-Michaels feud.

[Commercial Break]

-Santino walked out and said he hopes Randy Orton is happy, "you somovagun." He declared himself the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time. He called for the Honk-a-Meter to be put on the screen. A graphic aired on the screen of Honky Tonk Man and Santino. He said HTM held the belt for 64 total weeks. He said he's held the belt for two weeks. He said that means he only has to retain the title for 62 more weeks and "that's nothing for me."

[Q6]

5 -- SANTINO MARELLA vs. D-LO BROWN

Cole said a win here for D-Lo would put him back in the IC Title hunt. D-Lo fended off an early Santino attack and hit a kick to Santino's face that Cole called a Shining Wizard. He said D-Lo told him Great Muta taught him the move. D-Lo went for a frog splash, but Santino moved and then covered D-Lo for the quick three count.

WINNER: Santino in 2:00.

-A clip aired of Shawn Michaels and his attorney reviewing the contract backstage. Actually, Michaels was just staring off into space as his attorney flipped through the pages. Cole said it's the first time Michaels and Jericho will be in the same ring at the same time since SummerSlam.

[Commercial Break]

-A "24/7" clip aired of Steve Austin giving Sgt. Slaughter and Jerry Lawler each Stunners in a rage when he was told he wasn't medically cleared to wrestle due to a neck injury, leading to Austin giving Vince McMahon a Stunner before being handcuffed and escorted out of the arena. Cole said that really changed the course of WWE and sports entertainment forever. He said that was the first salvo from Raw in the Monday Night War.

6 -- MIZ & JOHN MORRISON vs. CRYME TYME

Miz & Morrison's ring intro was joined late. That's a big part of their act, so for a special Raw appearance, they should have gotten the full intro. Miz and Morrison met Cryme Tyme on the floor. They had a pre-match brawl. Rhodes and DiBiase joined in, attacking Cryme Tyme and taking back their belts. Cody DDT'd J.T. G. onto one of the belts in center-ring. The crowd chanted "You suck! You suck!"

WINNERS: No contest.

[Commercial Break]

-Orton crossed paths with Rhodes and DiBiase backstage. They patted the belts and Orton seemed to give them a look of approval.

-They showed several St. Louis Rams players sitting in the front row pretending to fight.

[Q7]

-Cole threw to a video package on WWE's presence at the Republican National Convention "in Minneapolis." He got the city wrong. It's in St. Paul. Two separate cities. St. Paul is not a Minneapolis suburb. They have their own separate downtowns in which there are totally separate, and competing, convention centers. They are separated by a river and a rivalry longer than a century old. The on-screen graphic also said "Minneapolis, MN." Why is it so hard for people to get that these are two separate, but equal towns that make up the Twin Cities, and St. Paul is not the same or interchangeable with Minneapolis? There is a different convention center in Minneapolis and it's not hosting the Republican Convention. Rant over. I grew up in the Twin Cities, live in a St. Paul suburb now, went to college in St. Paul, and it's just irritating that people treat these two cities as if they're both Minneapolis. It's not far off from saying something in Pittsburgh is in Philadelphia or something in San Jose is in San Francisco or something in Ft. Worth is in Dallas. Josh Matthews introduced himself as being in "Minneapolis-St. Paul," which is possible if you have one foot on one side of the border and the other the other side, but he wasn't. He was at a convention that Minneapolis would have loved to have, but St. Paul got. Anyway... they showed a clip of Mickie with Mickie James and Mr. Kennedy. Clips aired of Wolf Blitzer, Laura Bush, and other dignitaries and media members. Mickie said the environment and health care are important issues to her. Kennedy said voting is a privilege everyone should take advantage of. Josh plugged Smackdown Your Vote.

-Todd Grisham, again doing dual duty as a Raw interviewer and ECW announcer, interviewed Batista about his gameplan tonight. Batista said, "My gameplan? Destroy everyone."

-Cole and Lawler plugged the Unforgiven line-up.

-Ring intros took place for Batista and JBL. During Batista's ring intro. Cole said in a WWE Magazine article, Batista says his ring intro routine is a tribute to sumo wrestling. Cole asked as they went to a break if Rey would be there.

[Commercial Break]

-Raw on USA Fact: Raw has been seen three billion times in the U.S. alone, making it the most watched series in cable TV history.

7 -- C.M. PUNK vs. JBL vs. BATISTA vs. KANE vs. REY MYSTERIO?

Randy Orton came to ringside to his music and took a seat to watch. Punk's ring intro came next. Then Kane. Cole said many people he talks to say Kane is the odds-on favorite on Sunday. As all four squared off, there was no sign of Rey, but also no bell. After a dramatic pause, the bell rang to start the match. Lawler said: "This is a shock. This means what Rey said is true." Which means it's not. Batista took early control. Lawler said the reality must be setting in with Batista that what Kane said about Rey is true. These are such classic Vince McMahon "shove the storyline down your throat" lines being fed to Lawler. Kane kicked Batista in the face as he set up a Batista Bomb on Punk. Punk then clotheslined Batista over the top rope. That left Punk, Kane, and JBL. JBL kicked Punk and Kane in the face. He went for a Clothesline from Hell, but Punk ducked and backdropped him over the top rope to the floor. Kane and Punk battled one-on-one for a few minutes. Punk went for a GTS, but Kane elbowed out of it. Kane then tossed Punk over the top rope, but Punk held on and then dove back into the ring. Punk leaped back at Kane, but Kane caught him and threw him easily over the top rope to win.

WINNER: Kane in 5:00.

STAR RATING: *

-Afterward, Orton mock applauded Punk. Punk threw water in his face. Then Rey Mysterio's ring entrance aired. He leaped onto the stage and then ran to the ring. He went after Kane, battering his legs and dropkicking his head. He mounted and pounded Kane. Kane tossed Rey aside, but Rey dropkicked him into position for the 619. How convenient! Kane slipped to ringside first, before Rey could hit the move. Rey, though, set up a huracanrana at ringside, but Kane escaped. Rey shoved Kane into the ringpost face-first. He followed with a 619 around the ringpost. Kane made a Tommy Dreamer comeback and grabbed Rey by the throat and lifted him. Rey kicked out of it and head scissored Kane over the security railing into the crowd. Then he stood on the second rope and yelled down at Kane, who yelled back at Rey. So Kane just made up the story about Rey? If so, why? Why aren't Cole and Lawler asking those obvious dangling questions.

-Lawler plugged the Jericho-Michaels contract signing.

[Commercial Break]

-Chris Jericho came out to his ring intro. Lawler stood in the ring and said he's been asked to host the signing. He explained what it means for a match to be unsanctioned. Then Shawn Michaels came out to his full ring intro. Michaels took off his cowboy hat and sat down. Jericho looked off to the side, failing to make eye contact as Michaels stared him down. Lawler said their lawyers have each looked over the document. He said Adamle said if either of them have any physical contact tonight, their match is off. They each signed it. Lawler said that was easy enough, and then thanked them. Jericho interrupted him. He said he had a question for Michaels. He asked why he insisted on security. He asked if he was so reckless as to believe he would attack him and ruin his chance to end his career once and for all on Sunday. Michaels said if he had his way, it'd just be him and Jericho out there. Jericho asked, "Then why the security?" Michaels said there's no reason for the men to remain there. Jericho said, "Security, you're dismissed." Jericho asked Lawler to leave, too.

Jericho said at SummerSlam, "before I inadvertently punched your wife in the mouth," he asked Michaels if he remembered him telling him to tell his family he'll never be like Michaels. Jericho said he did tell his wife and kids he'll never be an egomaniac like Michaels. He said he wants to be clear about something: "If you think I'm going to go easy on you because of what happened to your precious little wife, you're wrong, Shawn, because I'm not." He looked at Michaels for the first time. He said he's going to end his career once and for all and show what happens to someone who lives his life like he does. He reminded Michaels how he told Ric Flair that he was putting him out of his misery. He said he'll do the same for him at Unforgiven. He said he's not ashamed of anything he did to him or his family and at Unforgiven, he'll finish him off once and for all. He asked Michaels if he understands him.

[Q9]

"I want you to remember you asked for this match," said Jericho. He said he wants him to remember that when he's a broken man in his house with a disappointed wife and children who thinks he's a failure and nothing but a forgotten memory to his all of his fans, he has no one to blame but himself. Michaels stood up, leaned in, and told Jericho that he takes comfort in the fact that neither of their families will be watching. "But some day I'm going to tell them about all of this," said Michaels. "I'm going to tell them about the day their father was this close to walking away, and although it's considered a strength to turn the other cheek, sometimes you have to look evil right in the face and spit in its eye." He said all of the pain and suffering he's put him through will rain down on him at Unforgiven with no remorse. "I will never apologize for the man that I am or the life that I've lived," he said. "And I'm going to have no regrets about what happens to you." He said Unforgiven is an appropriate name because he will never forgive him for what he's done to him. He said his only hope is that some day God can forgive him for what he does to him. The staredown intensified. They both stood up.

Michaels noticed Cade behind him. He dove onto Cade and pounced away at him. Then he slipped to the floor as he reached out to Jericho and awkwardly fell to the floor. Jericho side-stepped him. Jericho backed off. Michaels popped up and kicked Cade in the face. The audio went dead for a few seconds. Michaels punched Cade with both of his arms, then looked at a retreating Jericho and huffed and puffed. As the show ended, Cole said at Unforgiven it will be an eye for an eye.


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