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TV REPORTS
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 7/27: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Shaq hosting Raw

Jul 27, 2009 - 10:15:09 PM
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By James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor

WWE Raw Live Report
July 27, 2009
Live from Washington, D.C.


Pre-Raw five-minute lead in: Shaq hosting tonight. Jerry Lawler promised that Shaq would dunk someone tonight. If they want to go that route, you'd have to think Shaq vs. Big Show, Shaq vs. Orton, or Shaq teaming with Hornswoggle tonight against Chavo & TBK. A few random thoughts after stuffing my face with birthday cake. On to the live show...

In-ring: Jerry Lawler was introduced to start the show. He stood center-ring and started the set-up for Shaquille O'Neal to come out. Crowd mixed with their cheers. Washington Wizards fans not feeling Shaq. Lawler said Shaq is the most dominant NBA player of all-time. Don't know about that one. Shaq then came out sporting an all-black outfit. Michael Cole said Shaq has unlimited power tonight. Shaq stood center ring and towered over Lawler. He said LeBron James wanted to say hello. Big boos. Shaq smiled and said he's playing. He said Vince McMahon has put him in charge and they're going to have a great time tonight.

Lawler said he understands Shaq has some news for us tonight concerning WWE champ Randy Orton. He said we're going to find out Orton's opponent for Summerslam. Beat the Clock challenge with five men. Winner of the Place Your Bets challenge gets Orton. First up, Triple H. Second, MVP. Third, Jack Swagger. Fourth, Mark Henry. Fifth, John Cena. Big reaction for the Cena name-drop. Shaq liked what he saw. Lawler said one of those five will face Orton for the title. Shaq then fired up the crowd, but Chris Jericho's music interrupted.

Jericho stomped into the ring sporting a suit and came right up to Shaq. Well, more like face to nipples. Jericho so great. He said that when he heard the most-dominant NBA player in NBA history was hosting Raw tonight, he automatically assumed it was... Kobe Bryant. Oh snap. Jericho said the most powerful duo in sports is not Shaq & LeBron, but Jericho and ... Shaq cut him off and asked Chris...tina what he's doing out here. Jericho was speechless. "It's Chris, not Christina," Jericho said. Shaq played with Jericho's polished hair, then Jericho said he's been disrespected by yet another guest host. He said if Shaq continues to mock and insult him, there's going to be some problems. Shaq poked fun at Jericho's height, then asked what kind of problem he's talking about. Jericho paused and said there's going to be some Big Problems. Shaq wanted to know what kind of problems. He wants to introduce him to his new tag partner, the Big Show.

Big Show came out in a sharp suit. Lawler said on commentary that if he was the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, he'd be a little nervous. Show then came right up to Shaq. Shaq had about a quarter-inch height advantage, but it was quite the spectacle of two giant men up against each other. Show said Shaq has about as much chance of making two free throws as he does intimidating him. Shaq addressed "Fat Boy" that he has a new show called "Shaq Vs." and he wants a match right here, right now. Shaq shoved Show in the chest and Show shot back he's about to pick his teeth with a seven foot toothpick.

Show said if he fights Shaq, he cripples him and destroys him. Then, David Stern and the entire NBA comes down on his neck. Shaq said he'll have to go after LeBron and crush him too. He doesn't want the NBA on him for crushing NBA players. Show said he's not going to wrestle Shaq. Big boos against Show. Jericho then snuck in between the two giants and said, "Yeah, I'm not going to fight you either." Shaq said he knew these two girls wouldn't fight him, so he picked two others that would. Cue up Cryme Tyme's music. JTG and Shad came out to the ring and stood next to Shaq. Shad looked pretty tall in there with the two giants. Show smiled and backed away with Jericho. Shaq: "That's what I thought." Shaq, Shad, and JTG stood tall in the ring. Shaq then introduced a special outside enforcer for tonight's match: me. He waved good bye to Fat Boy and Chris...tina. Show and Jericho just casually walked away as Shaq got the crowd into the Jericho chant. Cole said it'll be the Unified tag champs against Cryme Tyme tonight. No word on whether it's for the tag titles. PYB talk time (3): 13:05 That was a hot opening segment. Shaq was great in his role, I must say. Show vs. Shaq was a memorable in-ring confrontation to change up the standard "Orton talks before getting a whooping" opening segment.

[Commercial Break: First commercial was for Jeremy Piven's new movie, The Goods. No surprise there.]

[Q2]

In-ring: Mark Henry came out first for the first Beat the Clock challenge match. Carlito was out as the opposition. Of note, the non-announced wrestler can't enter the BTC challenge if he wins. So, Carlito couldn't get the win and be entered in the #1 contender running.

1 -- MARK HENRY vs. CARLITO -- Beat the Clock challenge match

Carlito bailed to the outside a few times early on to stretch Henry's time out. Henry finally chased down Carlito and overhead pressed him back into the ring for a two count. Carlito then fired off attempted right hands, but Henry shook him off and delivered a hard clothesline for a two count. Henry slowly ran into Carlito for a big corner splash at 3:15, then wanted a cover, but Carlito's arm was under the bottom rope. Henry then wanted a big butt bomb splash, but Carlito moved to buy more time. Carlito then sat on Henry's back with a rear naked choke, but Henry powered out to his feet. Match really dragged on here before Henry caught Carlito mid-air, only to have Carlito escape. He wanted a backstabber, but Henry easily blocked. Henry then walked into a jawbreaker, but he caught Carlito running off the ropes for the World's Strongest Slam. Henry made the pin for the win.

WINNER: Henry at 6:49. Gosh, that dragged so that Henry could set a near-seven minute pace. At least it made Carlito look half-way credible with him putting up a good fight in the match. (*)

Backstage: They showed new Divas champion Mickie James leading a three-diva trio for a six-divas match up next.

[Commercial Break]

[Q3]

Ringside: They showed various members of the Washington Redskins NFL team beating each other up. Save it for training camp, boys, Pat McNeill says.

In-ring: Mickie James led Gail Kim and Kelly Kelly to the ring for a six divas tag match. Former champ Maryse is out with an injury, so she won't be part of this. Already in the ring were Rosa Mendes, Alicia Fox, and...Beth Phoenix. She's finally back.

2 -- Divas champion MICKIE JAMES & KELLY KELLY & GAIL KIM vs. BETH PHOENIX & ROSA MENDES & ROSA MENDES

Beth's heel trio worked over Gail Kim before Mickie took a hot tag. Mickie cleaned house, then tried a DDT on Alicia Fox, but Alicia blocked. Gail then tagged herself into the match and hit a missile dropkick on Alicia. Kelly cleared out the heels as Gail made the cover for the pin and the win. Everyone feel good. Babyface trio celebrated mid-ring to end the segment.

WINNERS: Team Mickie at 3:55. Fine divas match. Didn't really set up anything going forward or follow-up anything from last night, but perhaps they're going to go with Mickie vs. Gail in a title match program. We'll see. (*)

Backstage: Shaq was with Hornswoggle in front of a mini basketball goal. Michael Cole then walked into the shot. Shaq teased a fight with Hornswoggle before asking him to dunk a basketball. Hornswoggle ran around the office and tried a dunk, but bricked and fell down. Shaq giggled. Cole giggled. Cole: "Oh my. ... That was... Shaqalicious." Shaq just smirked and pointed to the camera. Oh, lame Cole.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: MVP came out for his Beat the Clock challenge match. Lawler then made fun of Cole's attempt at humor with Shaq. Cole played along with his "butt of the joke" role, then some familiar music hit. Chris Masters came out unadvertised and did his usual pose routine on stage. Masters with a fuller head of hair and the ripped body look, but not quite as freakishly muscular.

3 -- MVP vs. CHRIS MASTERS -- Beat the Clock challenge match

Masters was on the offensive early on, but MVP nailed a clothesline to cut off Masters's momentum. MVP landed right hand blows in the corner before missing with a running boot. Masters teased the Masterlock a second time, but MVP blocked for a two count.

[Q4]

MVP exploded off the ropes with a big clothesline, then he checked the clock and made a cover. The action spilled to the floor where Masters slapped the Masterlock on MVP. MVP couldn't break free and the ref reached a ten count, making it a double count-out. MVP didn't Beat the Clock, so Henry still has the time to beat. MVP wasn't pleased post-match, while Masters walked off content with himself.

WINNER: Double Count-out at 3:39. Masters looked good in his return, but it's been a few years, so the WWE fans didn't exactly gravitate toward the surprise return of a mid-carder. WWE fans also don't have a very long memory. Meanwhile, MVP stuck going nowhere on Raw. (*)

Next BTC match: Triple H vs. Cody Rhodes. Up later: non-title match with Big Show & Jericho vs. Cryme Tyme.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: The Brian Kendrick was in the ring trash-talking Jerry Lawler after their match last week. U.S. champion Kofi Kingston then came to the ring to face Kendrick, but Kendrick took the mic and picked up his trash-talk to Lawler. TBK said, "Nobody embarrasses The Brian Kendrick!" He shouted that he's going to come down there and beat up Lawler after he beats Kofi.

4 -- U.S. champion KOFI KINGSTON vs. THE BRIAN KENDRICK -- non-title match

Ref had enough of TBK and just called for the bell with TBK mid-sentence. Kofi then blasted TBK in the head with the Trouble in Paradise buzzsaw kick. Kofi with the pin and the win. Lawler with a good laugh at the expense of TBK's trouble.

WINNER: Kingston at 0:09. There's your probable Place Your Bets (2) victory this week. TBK the current mid-card heel with zero credibility getting paid to get beat up. Always need one of those on Raw. (n/a)

Backstage: Birthday boy Triple H was shown walking down the hallway for his BTC match, but Ted DiBiase, Jr. blasted him in the left knee with a lead pipe out of nowhere. Hunter collapsed to the ground, then DiBiase walked off. Hunter sold an injury as they cut to break.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Legacy's music hit and out came Cody Rhodes feeling a little better about himself after DiBiase's work pre-commercial. Cody and Lawler then talked about the finish of last night's WWE Title three-way. Lawler couldn't even figure out the finish 23 hours later. They sold confusion about whether the ref should call Triple H or John Cena the winner with Orton tapping out. After a pause, Triple H's music hit. Hunter slowly walked out on stage not selling much of an injury. Way to go Ted. Way to get the job done. Hunter then hopped on the ring apron to spit his water and he sold a little bit of tenderness on the knee.

[Q5 -- second hour]

5 -- TRIPLE H vs. CODY RHODES -- Beat the Clock challenge match

Bell sounded and Cody danced around Hunter to make Hunter walk a little bit on the knee. Nice feeling out process to start this off. Hunter then settled into a series of headlocks to ground Cody and "buy some time" for his knee to heal up. Cody escaped, then rammed Hunter into the ringpost and wrapped his knee around the post. Hunter tried to fight back while hobbling on one knee. Crowd behind Hunter, who then walked into a drop toe hold. Cody back on the offensive. Cody with a spinning toe hold, then Hunter booted him in the face to escape. Cody cut Hunter off, though, with a dropkick to the knee before going back on the attack. Cody impressive here.

Down to 1:45 on the clock and Cody slapped on the figure four leglock. "Whoos" from the crowd as Hunter teased a tap out. He made record time reversing the pressure, but dropped the hold and Cody went back to the knee. Hunter kicked him away into the ringpost, though. Hunter then ran into a big clothesline from Cody. Hunter tried to make a wobbly-knee comeback at 0:45, then he dropped Cody with a spinebuster. Suddenly, Ted DiBiase showed up on the ring apron and dared Hunter to hit him. Take a blow, Hunter! Get yourself DQ'ed! Hunter thought it over for a while, checked the clock, then shoved Cody into Ted to bump him off the apron. Hunter then grappled Cody for the Pedigree and connected. Time expired, though. Hunter was exasperated. Lilian announced ominously that Hunter failed to beat the time. Cody and Ted then celebrated on the floor while WWE stayed with the shot of Hunter frustrated in the ring.

WINNER: Time expired at 6:49. I thought Cody really benefited from this and was elevated, even if he had help from DiBiase pre-match. Cody worked a smart match and WWE booked him to "hold his own" against SuperHunter. Good drama at the end to take advantage of the gimmick. (**)

Backstage: Shaq was playing Scrabble with Santino Marella. Shaq spelled "Shaqzilla" and Santino questioned him on how he got so many "q's" on the playing board. Santino questioned Shaq on his random words. Cryme Tyme then walked in and bro-hugged it up with Shaq. Shaq told them to do their thing. Shad said it's all about those championships and that money money, yeah yeah. Shaq joined in, then Santino walked into the shot with a sideways baseball cap. He did a rap. They let him make a fool of himself, then Shaq and CT told him to get lost. More bro-hugging, then Shaq went back to the Scrabble board. "Even Vince McMahon can't beat me at this game," he said.

[Commercial Break]

[Q6]

In-ring: Hornswoggle came to the ring for a random match. What a shock, Chavo Guerrero came out as the opposition. Have three big matches left on the show and they're doing another Horny vs. Chavo brain-cell-killer? Lilian announced that Shaq ordered this a Blindfold match for Chavo. Chavo not too happy. Ref gave Chavo the hood and I'm having flashbacks to the Chris Harris vs. James Storm disaster.

6 -- HORNSWOGGLE vs. CHAVO -- Blindfold match for Chavo

Bell sounded and Chavo slowly walked around the ring before Hornswoggle kicked him in the back of the leg. He then knocked Chavo to the floor. Chavo crawled back into the ring and tried to charge Horny, but Chavo ate the turnbuckle. As usual, Chavo finally got Horny in jeopardy, then Chavo accidentally speared the ref. Chavo felt him around, then Horny tried a small package, but Chavo kicked out. Horny followed with a bulldog for a two count. Chavo then cheated by sneaking a peek to land a dropkick on Horny. Chavo felt up Horny trying to find him for a pin, then Horny sold he was dead. Chavo slowly - and this took forever - went up top for a frogsplash while Hornswoggle stood on the apron laughing. Chavo then came off the top and airballed a frogsplash. Horny laughed, then went up top and hit the tadpole splash for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Hornswoggle at 3:36. Just a fill-in-the-gap gimmick match to continue the running gag against the Guerrero family. They stretched Santino(a) forever. Now, it's the Horny-Chavo program. Match was at least half-way fun and entertaining even if it was a waste of time. (n/a)

Backstage: WWE champion Randy Orton was shown getting warmed up for something. Jack Swagger then came in and said he's got good news and bad news. Good news: Triple H didn't beat the clock. Bad news: He will. Orton asked if he's supposed to be scared. Swagger said he's bigger, stronger, and younger. No lisp in the brief promo. Swagger left, then Mark Henry walked in and smiled at Orton before turning serious. Orton walked away this time.

[Commercial Break]

Ringside: They showed distinct members of the National Guard ringside. They waved to the camera while Cole and Lawler talked about their service to the country.

In-ring: Jack Swagger came out for Beat the Clock match #4. Out as his opponent was Evan Bourne. Sweet. ECW coming to Raw.

[Q7]

7 -- JACK SWAGGER vs. EVAN BOURNE -- Beat the Clock challenge match

Swagger tried to run at Bourne early on, but Bourne ran away, using his speed. Swagger finally got hold of Bourne and lifted him in the air, but Bourne nailed him with a dropkick. Bourne then landed a running head scissors, but Swagger pounded him to the mat with clubbing forearms to the back. Swagger followed with a wheelbarrow into a German suplex for a two count. Swagger followe with a vertical suplex for another two count. Bourne then hit a spinning kick to the gut and teased the Shooting Star Press, but Swagger press slammed him across the ring. Swagger followed with a nice running Vader Bomb for a two count. Swagger wanted the Gutwrench Powerbomb, but Bourne countered and shocked him with an inside cradle to score a three count for the win. Bourne celebrated on the floor to escape Swagger, who sold frustration and anger.

WINNER: Bourne at 3:40. Swagger still in a position to be lost in the shuffle after losing the match, but Bourne benefited from the win. Not sure if it will lead to anything of merit leading to Summerslam, but we'll see. Crowd still warming up to the younger stars who haven't been on Raw for a while. (*1/2)

Final BTC match: John Cena vs. The Miz tonight. Cena has 6:49 to advance to Summerslam. Miz playing spoiler.

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Cole announced that Jeremy Piven will be the guest host next week from Mohegan Sun. Lawler pretended like he loves Entourage. Back to important matters. Cole said Legacy cost Triple H a shot at the WWE Title last night and again tonight. They talked about Hunter having a disappointing couple of nights.

Backstage: Hunter was shown with an ice pack on his left knee. Josh Mathews brought in Hunter to talk about Legacy hurting his WWE Title chances. Hunter said he's mad at himself for looking past Cody and Ted by going after Orton. He said without Cody and Ted, Orton is just the same punk he's always been. Hunter said what he learned is that when you cut the tail of the dog, the dog dies. He said he's done playing games. Next week, he wants the two of them against him. Did he run that past Piven? Hunter said it's funny how in life you come across a guy you just shouldn't screw with. "I'm that guy," Hunter said with ominous eyes.

In-ring: The Miz came out for the final BTC challenge match. Shouldn't he be hanging out with Shaq since he's from Cleveland? Miz took the mic and said he's thrilled to have Shaq coming to his team. He said he has a great plan for Shaq to be healthy and well-rested: have him sit out when playing the Wizards because the Wizards suck. Miz then cut a promo on the Redskins, saying the opposing team will dominate the entire game. All the way down to that soul-crushing conclusion. Miz said that's exactly what he's going to do to John Cena. Tried to transfer local heel heat into babyface heat for Cena, but crowd still booed the Cena name-drop. Miz said he doesn't need to beat Cena; he just needs to last 6:39. Can he do it? Miz then quoted "someone" who the people in D.C. elected to office and is failing miserably: "Yes, I can." After the Obama shot, Miz said he's The Miz and He's Awesome. Cut to break.

[Q8]

[Commercial Break]

Smackdown plug: Jeff Hardy defends the World Hvt. Title against John Morrison. Nice. Nice. Nice.

In-ring: WWE champion Randy Orton was on his way to the ring coming out of the break. He wants a closer look at the action. John Cena's music then hit and the shrill screams from the Cena Fans lit up the arena. Cena hit the ring and paused to stare at Miz, who stood cockily in his corner. Really pushing time tonight with the big tag match also scheduled tonight.

8 -- JOHN CENA vs. THE MIZ -- Beat the Clock challenge match

Bell sounded and Miz ran out of the ring to make Cena sweat. Ref started a ten count and Miz checked the clock a few times. Cena was content with Miz just chilling on the outside so he could win, then Miz hit the ring and Cena started beating him up. Cena tried a small package, but Miz kicked out. Miz stalled on the floor again, but Cena caught him with a clothesline. They cut to a shot of Mark Henry watching on a backstage monitor. Miz then scored a nearfall and went to work on Cena as they showed Orton watching intently. Match moved to the floor where Miz chucked Cena into the ring steps.

Cena sold that he was KO'ed and the ref stared a ten count. Cena still KO'ed and lifeless at seven. Cena up at nine, then he jumped into the ring. Good thrill for the crowd. Back to action where Miz tied up Cena in the ropes and did "You Can't See Me." Miz taunted Cena, then Cena busted out of the ropes and stormed at Miz for a drop toe hold into the STF. Miz fought it for about five seconds, then he tapped out, giving Cena the win.

Post-match: Randy Orton slithered into the ring and stared down Cena, who pointed to himself and said he's the man for Summerslam. Orton then held up his WWE Title belt and Cena smiled before his music hit and he celebrated.

WINNER: Cena at 4:30 to become #1 contender to the WWE Title. Again, Miz loses clean to Cena. This one didn't seem as bad as the previous two with Miz having a few legit nearfalls on Cena, but it was typical SuperCena overcoming Miz at the end of the day. So, once again, we have Orton vs. Cena in a WWE Title match. Rinse. Repeat. (*1/2)

Backstage: They showed Shaq walking down the hallway in a ref t-shirt.

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Cole and Lawler plugged Aerosmith providing the official theme for Summerslam. Another plug for Jeremy Piven hosting Raw. They officially announced Hunter vs. Cody & Ted next week.

[Q9 -- over-run]

In-ring: Shaq came out first as special ringside enforcer for the tag team main event. Chris Jericho, then Big Show came out for the TV main event. Show still sporting the blue-and-black singlet. Cryme Tyme came out as the opposition for the main event. Brand split officially done, I believe. Lawler with the save! He said Shaq must have worked a deal with Smackdown GM Teddy Long to get Cryme Tyme on Raw tonight. Yeah, that's it.

9 -- Unified tag champions CHRIS JERICHO & BIG SHOW vs. CRYME TYME (SHAD GASPAR & JTG) -- non-title match

Big Show and Jericho worked over JTG early on while Shaq and Shad tried to shout encouragement. Show then tossed JTG aside and pointed a finger toward Shaq, who grimaced toward him from the outside. Show then blasted JTG with a spear mid-ring and JTG rolled to the outside to sell pain. Show then palmed JTG by the head back into the ring before landing a clubbing chop across the chest. Jericho came in and JTG teased a tag, but Jericho cut him off. Shaq then helped Shad take a hot tag to attack Jericho. Shad press-slammed Jericho then did a "Money Money Yeah Yeah" elbow drop. Jericho suddenly wanted the Walls of Jericho, but Shad flung him away. Shaq teased involvement, which Jericho took exception too. JTG blind-tagged into the match and Cryme Tyme hit a double team move, but Big Show broke up a pin. Action broke down and the ref called for the bell, DQ'ing Jericho and Big Show.

WINNERS: Cryme Tyme via DQ at 6:41. Okay gimmick tag match without a PPV to hype right now. Post-match was the story, though, with Shaq vs. Show. ... (*)

Post-match: Show wanted a double chokeslam on Cryme Tyme and he stared down Shaq. He then threw CT down instead of delivering the chokeslam and told Shaq to get in the ring. Shaq ripped off his ref t-shirt and stepped in the ring to confront Show face-to-face. Show with a light shove. Shaq with a heavy shove. Show rubbed his nose and smiled. Shaq smiled. Show teased a chokeslam, but Shaq grabbed him by the throat. Double chokeslam tease. Test of Strength. This is going on ESPN for sure. JTG and Shad then kicked Show with a cheap shot and Shaq clotheslined Show into the ropes to the outside. Shaq needed an assist from CT? Not very tough or babyfaceish. They have Shaq vs. Show ready to order for Summerslam if they want it. Shaq stood tall center-ring. Cole: "What a Shaqtacular night." Lawler: "Oh, please." Thanks, Jerry. Shaq and CT then stood tall center ring and Shaq talked trash to Show, who recovered on the outside with Jericho. One last plug for Jeremy Piven hosting Raw next week. Shaq then ran out of the ring and ran up the ramp to chase away Show and Jericho to close the show about 13 minutes past the top of the hour.

We welcome your 0-10 score and comments on this show for a "Raw Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on Raw, email to pwtorch@gmail.com using our Feedback form.


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