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WWE Raw Report
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 11/29: Complete "virtual time" coverage of live three-hour Raw - King of the Ring tournament, Miz's first night as WWE champion

Nov 29, 2010 - 10:10:54 PM
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WWE Raw Results
November 29, 2010 - Episode #913
Live in Philadelphia, Pa.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


-- The tournament bracket for the King of the Ring includes first round matches of: John Morrison vs. Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan vs. Alberto Del Rio, Ezekiel Jackson vs. Drew McIntyre, and Sheamus vs. Kofi Kingston.

Tonight's WWE Raw #913 episode started with a three-minute video package on the final events from last week's Raw when Randy Orton retained the WWE Title over Wade Barrett before The Miz cashed in Money in the Bank briefcase to become new WWE champion.

Live in the arena, full pyro shot off before Michael Cole plugged the King of the Ring tournament tonight. Cole excitedly said the "Era of Awesome" begins tonight as well. Jerry Lawler told him to calm down.

On-stage: Some royal music hit as they focused on the throne and King of the Ring get-up for the winner of the tournament. Alex Riley interrupted, dressed in a professional suit. C.M. Punk: "It looks like he's dressed for court," referring to Riley's DUI two weeks ago. Riley said everyone will remember where they were last week when The Miz became new WWE champion. He said the only thing left to do is party. Punk said this guy doesn't need any more partying. Riley said if you've been paying attention to the Internet or Punk's "awful commentary," you would know he doesn't need an excuse to party. Really? Turning a DUI into an attempt to get heat on Riley? That's pathetic. I only wonder what would have happened if he killed someone while driving under the influence.

Riley disappeared and Alberto Del Rio's personal ring announcer (complete with black eye from Big Show on Smackdown) introduced Del Rio for the first tournament match. They cut to the announcers to show Punk in a jacket with the tags still on the sleeves while sporting a Colt Cabana t-shirt. Lawler mocked the suit before Cole recapped the bracket for tonight's tournament. U.S. champion Daniel Bryan then came out to the ring to face Del Rio in an opener.

1 -- U.S. champion DANIEL BRYAN vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO -- King of the Ring tournament first round match

Del Rio took early control as the crowd chanted Bryan's name. Cole recapped the origins of the tournament as Del Rio continued to work on Bryan. Moments later, Bryan busted out the LeBell Lock out of nowhere, but Del Rio fought to the ropes to force a break. Del Rio rolled to the outside and caught his breath as they cut to break.

[Commercial Break]

[Q2] Back from break, Del Rio was in control after landing an enziguiri kick. Del Rio continued to stomp and kick on Bryan while Cole plugged Out-think The Fink. Bryan made a comeback and scored a two count on a roll-up before scoring another nearfall via a crucifix pin. Bryan followed with an uppercut before flipping over Del Rio and landing a German Suplex for a two count. Bryan then fired up, got the crowd behind him, and landed a big flying dropkick in the corner for another nearfall. Del Rio then ducked a clothesline and came back with a German Suplex of his own for a two count.

Del Rio missed with an attack near the ropes, then Bryan came flying through the ropes with a suicide dive that sent both men crashing into the guardrail. Bryan sold the shoulder injury from last week, which was key for the finish. Back in the ring, Bryan climbed up top and missed with a missile dropkick. Del Rio got that look in his eyes and instantly capitalized with the cross-arm breaker submission. Bryan immediately tapped, giving Del Rio the win. He will face Morrison or Rhodes.

WINNER: Del Rio at 9:40 to advance to the second round. Good, solid TV match. (**)

Announcers: Cole fed to a video package on past King of the Ring winners. Edge in 2001, Austin in 1996, Triple H in 1997, Bret Hart in 1991 & 93, and Brock Lesnar in 2002. Interesting. Lawler said they all know what he's gone on to do. Doubly interesting. Cole recapped the list and they went to break. I can't believe Billy Gunn didn't make this list. Notables not mentioned: Kurt Angle and Owen Hart.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: R-Truth, not in the tournament, rapped his way to the ring for the next events on the show. Truth asked Philadelphia what's up. Punk noted Eve is conspicuous by her absence. Truth then mentioned John Cena being forced to quit WWE last week. Boos. He said Cena is still his friend and he went out like a champ. Truth said when all of this started, he tried to get Cena to quit this on his own terms, but he wasn't having any of that. It cost Cena his job and the entire audience. Truth said Nexus may have won the battle, but the war hasn't even started yet. Truth challenged any member of Nexus to go one-on-one with him.

They cut backstage where Josh Mathews tried to barge into the Nexus locker room. Joe Hennig walked out and received a pat on the chest from Wade Barrett to go get 'em. Hennig, in a new yellow and black Nexus t-shirt, walked down the hallway. Suddenly, he was cut off by a man who also knocked down the cameraman. The camera was then conveniently tilted on the ground to only show a man appearing to be John Cena based on the trademark jean shorts and shoes. Off-camera, the man appearing to be Cena gave Hennig the Attitude Adjustment. He then did a You Can't See Me hand wave as the crowd popped in the arena. They cut to break.

[Q3]

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Back from break, Cole excitedly reset the show and said The Miz is the WWE champion tonight. Cole, with no conviction in his voice, recapped a mystery man attacking Hennig backstage before the break. C.M. Punk said it's only obvious who attacked him.

In-ring: Justin Roberts introduced the next King of the Ring qualifying match. Cody Rhodes was out first as Cole said Rhodes had an extra long facial today to prepare for the tournament. John Morrison was out next as Cole and Lawler discussed Morrison's recent upset over Sheamus at Survivor Series.

2 -- CODY RHODES vs. JOHN MORRISON -- King of the Ring tournament first round match

Punk tried to introduce some "over the audience's head" commentary on winning a make-believe King of the Ring tournament in Rio De Janeiro, like Pat Patterson winning the first IC Title. Punk followed with a Ted Turner reference and a loose Vince McMahon reference on his haircut. Rhodes took control of the match as the announcers discussed Miz as new WWE champion. Morrison made a comeback and landed a leg whip for a two count. Both men went for a springboard Chuck Kick, but Morrison landed his. Morrison then hit a flying knee to the face for the pin for the win. Morrison gets Del Rio in the second round.

WINNER: Morrison at 3:38. Not much chemistry in the ring and the chemistry on commentary was far worse. It was awful listening to that banter. (*)

Guest host plug: Cole noted Miss USA Rima Fakih will be on the show to crown the KOTR winner.

[Commercial Break]

[Q4]

In-ring: Justin Roberts introduced the next King of the Ring qualifying match. Out first was Drew McIntyre, which prompted a canned line from Cole about whether the "chosen one" has been "chosen" to become King of the Ring. Ezekiel Jackson was out next to face McIntyre. Zeke took a peek at the throne on the stage before walking to the ring.

3 -- EZEKIEL JACKSON vs. DREW MCINTYRE -- King of the Ring tournament first round match

McIntyre acted cocky early on, which drew a big clothesline from Jackson in the corner. Jackson followed with a forearm to the back of the head while McIntyre was trying to loosen the turnbuckle pad. Mac then rammed Jackson into the exposed steel, which Punk pointed out he called while the announcers doubted him. Punk said that's why he's the wrestler and Cole is the whatever-he-is. Cole corrected him that he's a Superstar, not a wrestler. The announcers tossed around one-liners about sports entertainment while McIntyre worked over Jackson.

The action moved to the floor and the camera focused on the referee making a ten count, which meant a count-out was coming into play. Zeke and McIntyre battled each other on the entranceway and tried to climb over each back into the ring, but they were both counted out. They're both out of the tournament and the winner of Sheamus vs. Kingston will advance to the finals. After the match, they brawled some more until McInytre lived to fight another day.

WINNER: Double count-out at 2:42. In the back of your mind, you had to expect a double count-out somewhere in this tournament. Okay, but not memorable with the announcing continuing to drag down the in-ring content. (*)

Backstage: Daniel Bryan was getting his shoulder iced backstage when Nikki Bella walked in to console him. Bryan said he's fine, but what was up with her coming to ringside last week. Brie Bella then barged in to check on Bryan. Alex Riley then barged in talking on his Bluetooth and talked up The Miz's imminent celebration. Daniel and the Bellas just looked on with raised eyebrows.

This Friday on Smackdown: World Hvt. champion Kane vs. Edge to determine the stipulation for their title match at the TLC PPV.

[Commercial Break]

Philadelphia: They showed the Liberty Bell and Rocky before Cole fed to a video package on how Miz became WWE champion last Monday on Raw. It was the same video that opened the bonus first hour of Raw.

[Q5 -- second hour / regular first hour]

Announcers: Cole excitedly clapped it up for Miz. Lawler said Randy Orton will not be here tonight on Raw after suffering a knee injury last week.

In-ring: Justin Roberts formally introduced The Miz, who came out sporting a brand new pinstripe, wool suit with the WWE Title belt hanging over his shoulder. Alex Riley brought up the rear while Cole jumped up and down excitedly greeting Miz. Miz said he planned to hold a huge celebration, but he found something that captures the entire moment more than balloons and a giant cake. They showed the little girl from last week selling shock, then the girl selling anger with the evil eyes. Miz said those two looks captured his struggle and journey to be accepted. He named JBL, Triple H, and John Cena as three who doubted him. To them, he said, "The Miz is WWE champion!"

What about Randy Orton? Miz said Orton isn't here tonight due to an injury. He said the only thing injured is his pride. He said he personally embarrassed him last week and now Orton is ashamed to show his face. Miz said his goal is to demoralize a long list of people. He vowed to be the longest-reigning WWE champion in history. Miz told the crowd that if anyone tells them they can't live a dream...believe them, because they can't. "It takes an exceptional person to prove everyone wrong and you aren't me," he said. Miz said he's one in a billion because he's actually achieved his dreams.

Miz addressed Roddy Piper's speech two weeks ago. He said Piper's generation made things happen. Miz claimed Piper never made anything happen. Riley held up the WWE Title book and Miz noted Piper isn't in the book because he never won the WWE Title. Steamboat isn't in it. The list goes on and on, he said. Jerry Lawler interrupted from the announce table and walked past C.M. Punk. Lawler said as a person who is on that list, congratulations are in order, but let's face it, Miz beat someone who was attacked by seven other people before he won the title. Lawler said that may make Miz clever, but that doesn't make him awesome. "Really?" Miz said. He said that sounds like the bitter ramblings of an old man.

Cole then interrupted and told Lawler to stop. Punk put his hands in the air. Cole said it's bad enough Lawler has been downplaying Miz's victory, so just sit back down and let Miz have his moment. Lawler agreed to sit down before telling Miz to call someone out to the ring and give a title shot that person. Cole told Lawler to stop talking or else he'll be made an example. Lawler smirked at Cole before telling Miz that some of the people on the list never even had an opportunity. He said he's been here since 1993 and he's never once had a title shot. Lawler asked Miz to give him a title shot tonight. Miz smirked and said he's not interested in defending his title tonight. Back to Lawler, who said Miz verified that he's a coward. Miz told Lawler he's been in the business for 40 years and he's never done anything.

Suddenly, the Raw GM buzzed. Cole walked up to the podium and got his typical heel heat before reading the email from the GM. He read that Miz was impressive last week, but this is tonight. The GM is interested in Miz defending the title tonight. Therefore, it's Miz vs. Jerry Lawler for the WWE Title tonight. Lawler smiled while Punk said, "Wow" a few times. The crowd cheered loudly for Lawler. So ironic for a crowd in Philadelphia to be hot for Lawler. Cole then plugged the TLC PPV and read that the GM wants a...tables, ladders, and chairs match for the WWE Title tonight. Lawler excitedly rubbed his hands as Miz stared down Miz from inside the ring. Punk noted it's Lawler's birthday tonight, no less. PYB (3) talk time: 11:05. Good, heated segment playing off some real emotions there.

[Commercial Break]

Immediately following this segment, a TV commercial aired in Houston plugging WWE champion Randy Orton vs. The Miz for the WWE Title at the TLC PPV in Houston.

[Q6]

Announcers: Cole and Punk were alone at the announce table to plug The Miz vs. Jerry Lawler for the WWE Title tonight. Lawler was sent to the back to prepare for Miz.

In-ring: Sheamus came out for the final first round KOTR tournament match. Cole plugged the 2010 Slammys Awards in two weeks as Kofi Kingston came out to face Sheamus. Cole said the show will be held in Austin, Tex. Actually, it's New Orleans. Austin is the week after.

4 -- SHEAMUS vs. KOFI KINGSTON -- King of the Ring tournament first round match

They teased a double count-out early on before returning to the ring where Kingston landed a standing dropkick. Sheamus and Kingston then teased finishers before Kingston landed Trouble in Paradise. Sheamus avoided a pin by rolling under the ring apron. Kingston then walked into a knee to the head, but came back with a pendulum kick. Kofi wanted a top rope move, but Sheamus nailed him with the Brogue Kick in mid-air. Sheamus scored the pin to advance to the KOTR finals.

WINNER: Sheamus at 4:05. As expected, Sheamus moves to the finals. They didn't give this match enough time to stand out, but it was good for the time allotted. (*1/2)

Updated Bracket:

Del Rio
Morrison

Bye
Sheamus

Tomorrow night: Season 3 finale of NXT between Naomi and Kaitlyn.

[Commercial Break]

[Q7]

In-ring: Mark Henry and Yoshi Tatsu were randomly in the ring together. Cole, with no conviction, said a win here by this "unique team" would put them in the tag title hunt. Randomly out next were Nexus's Gabriel and Slater, the tag champs.

5 -- WWE tag champions NEXUS (JUSTIN GABRIEL & HEATH SLATER) vs. MARK HENRY & YOSHI TATSU -- non-title match

Less than one minute into the match, the crowd roared as John Cena emerged through the crowd with tickets in hand. Cena shook hands with fans ringside before sitting down on the front row. Punk noted Cena is a camera hog buying a ticket on the camera side. Cena shouted encouragement from the front row as the action broke down in the ring. Slater then came off the top, but Henry caught him in mid-air for the World's Strongest Slam. Henry made the pin for the win.

WINNERS: Henry & Yoshi at 2:30. The decline of the tag division continues. (n/a)

Post-match: Immediately after the match, John Cena hopped the guardrail, dragged Slater out of the ring, and gave him the Attitude Adjustment through the announce table. Punk said they have the worst security in WWE. Cena then scampered through the crowd to the production area to taunt Nexus as they came out to drag Slater away.

Announcers: Cole plugged Miz vs. Lawler for the WWE Title still to come. Punk plugged John Morrison vs. "Albert" in a KOTR semi-final match.

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Cole said "fired" John Cena has a plan of action tonight. They recapped Cena appearing to jump Hennig backstage earlier in the show before hopping the guardrail to attack Heath Slater.

Locker room: Otunga, Gabriel, and Husky Harris talked about this being a mess. Otunga said they're sitting ducks. Wade Barrett walked in and said Cena's fired. His logic is they have no restrictions on what they can do to Cena. Barrett said they're ending this tonight because he's calling him out.

Locker room 2: Lawler was lacing up his boots, then Arn Anderson walked in. Anderson said it's long overdue, but...those TLC matches are dangerous. He said if Lawler wants to pass this by, no one will think any less of him. Lawler said he's never been in a TLC match nor a WWE Title match, so he can't pass this up. Arn told him to beat Miz.

Announcers: Back live, Cole and Punk sat behind a broken announce table. Cole said there is no way Lawler is walking out of here WWE champion. Punk spun around in his chair and said there is a great chance for Lawler tonight if Miz falls off the ladder to the floor and the title is there for the taking. Cole then went over the KOTR bracket leading to the only semi-final match tonight.

In-ring: Ricardo formally re-introduced Del Rio, who rolled up in his vehicle again. Del Rio did his elaborate ring entrance while pointing to the KOTR set. They cut to break ahead of the semi-final match.

[Commercial Break]

[Q8]

In-ring: John Morrison came to the ring as Cole slipped and called Punk "Jerry." Punk said he knows his in-ring career is over. Interesting.

6 -- ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. JOHN MORRISON -- King of the Ring tournament semi-final match

Punk and Cole ran down the list of former KOTR winners before Punk paused to reflect on William Regal being the last winner. Punk said he spoke with Regal, who is on a "sabbatical" finding his next path. They continued to list random past winners. Cole said it was an "interesting time" in 1995 when Mabel won. Still no references to Owen Hart or Angle. Morrison and Del Rio went back and forth before Del Rio went to work on Morrison's left arm to set up for his submission finisher. Del Rio landed a step-up enzuigiri on Morrison.

Suddenly, a vehicle began honking. JBL cameo? It was Rey Mysterio in Del Rio's vehicle. Mysterio popped up through roof and stared into the ring, which drew Del Rio's attention. The distraction gave Morrison an opening to pop Del Rio with the Flying Chuck for the pin and the win. Morrison goes to the finals. Afterward, Morrison smiled toward Rey, who posed on the roof of Del Rio's vehicle.

WINNER: Morrison at 3:22 to advance to the finals. As expected when the bracket was released, it's Sheamus vs. Morrison in the finals. (*)

Announcers: Cole plugged the KOTR finals before they aired a video package on Miss USA Rima Fakih to promote her appearance later in the show.

Backstage: Wade Barrett was shown walking down the hallway. He's calling out John Cena next.

[Commercial Break]

[Q9 -- third hour / regular second hour]

In-ring: Wade Barrett came out to the ring as Punk said he believes Barrett should be WWE champion right now if it were not for Cena. Barrett took the mic and said Cena must think he was born yesterday because he can see through his transparent plan. Barrett said he has received word from the Raw GM that he is the only person on the planet who can give Cena his job back. Barrett said he will make sure Cena never works in WWE ever again. Suddenly, Cena interrupted from somewhere in the arena on the Titantron. Cena said it's about keeping his word. He said his other promise was to take out every member of Nexus one by one. Barrett told security to track him down. Cena said Barrett can't be serious because WWE security isn't so happy to help Barrett after what they did to them their first night on Raw.

Husky, Otunga, and Gabriel then approached Cena in the parking garage. Cena told them to calm down because he isn't the only enemy they have around here. Babyface members of the Raw locker room proceeded to jump Nexus. Gabriel took the brunt of their attack, including an AA onto the gimmicked roof of a car. Cena screamed toward Barrett through the cameraman that he'll see him next week to continue his mission. For the record, Darren Young was there. And one-week Nexus member Daniel Bryan. In addition to Cena, they were joined by Jackson, Kozlov, Henry, Yoshi, and D.H. Smith.

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Cole plugged Jerry Lawler getting his first WWE Title shot against The Miz tonight.

Parking garage: They went backstage to show the car busted up after Justin Gabriel was beaten up by Cena and Co. A replay aired of Cena leading the attack on Nexus. Punk, annoyed, said it's assault and battery because Cena doesn't work here.

In-ring: Maryse led out Alicia Fox and, seemingly randomly, Tamina, for a six-Divas tag match. They cut to footage from Raw last Monday when Tamina planted a kiss on Santino, who was down in the dumps. New Divas champion Natalya then led Gail Kim and Melina to the ring for the face trio.

7 -- MARYSE & ALICIA FOX & TAMINA vs. Unified Divas champion NATALYA & MELINA & GAIL KIM -- six-Divas tag match

Melina and Maryse resumed their long-standing feud with an aggressive start to the match. The heels isolated Melina for a while. Suddenly, Santino emerged and started to serenade Tamina with a musical number on the guitar. Tamina lovingly put him in a headlock and dragged him to the back. After that interlude, they resumed the in-ring action with Natalya tagging into the match to square off against Fox. She slapped on the Sharpshooter and Fox tapped out moments later. To the surprise of no one, Gail Kim did not enter the match.

WINNERS: Team Natalya at 3:36. Another week of Natalya dominating and Santino continuing the light comedy with Tamina. Natalya continues to look strong in her role.

Announcers: Cole and Lawler plugged Jerry Lawler's title shot tonight before feeding a video package on Lawler's historic career, including plenty of footage from Memphis. They included clips of Andy Kaufman heeling on Lawler before Lawler slapped him on the Tonight Show.

Locker room: They showed Lawler preparing for the title match by stretching and mentally focusing. If only they did this hype for 99.9 percent of their other title matches. The titles and the product might actually be over.

[Q10]

[Commercial Break]

Backstage: Ted DiBiase was holding one of WWE's new toy title belts. He was playing Triple H's theme song. DiBiase looked like he hadn't shaved in weeks. Maryse then walked in and asked DiBiase what kind of a man he is when he can't win a real title and he tapped out to a guy smaller than her. Maryse walked off, but returned and was greeted by a loud "Shut up!" in her face. DiBiase knocked over a suitcase, then walked away.

Parking garage: Husky and Otunga were slowly lurking around talking strategy. Otunga said he came up with a plan to end all of this.

Backstage: Mathews brought in John Morrison and Sheamus for a face-to-face confrontation prior to the KOTR finals. Mathews said history is on Morrison's side considering the result at Survivor Series. Sheamus said it was probably Morrison's greatest career victory, but he made a mistake and he won't let it happen again. Morrison said the stacked deck against him won't matter when the bell rings. He stopped short of predicting victory before they had a stare down. Back live, Cole dramatically built to the finals of the tournament up next.

[Commercial Break]

Slammys plug: Three-hour Raw in two weeks with the Slammy Awards recognizing the Match of the Year, Shocking Moment of the Year, Diva of the Year, and Superstar of the Year.

In-ring: Justin Roberts introduced Miss USA Rima Fakih, who was escorted out on stage by Santino. Fakih took the mic in the ring and introduced the finals of the King of the Ring tournament. Sheamus's music hit before she could complete her introduction. She handled his ring introduction pretty well. John Morrison came out for the third time tonight as the announcers noted Morrison's arm was dinged up by Del Rio in the semi-finals.

8 -- SHEAMUS vs. JOHN MORRISON -- King of the Ring tournament finals

The bell sounded and Morrison began rubbing his shoulder to sell the injury. Sheamus immediately targeted Morrison's injury before knocking him hard off the ring apron to the floor below. Sheamus posed and the crowd booed him as they cut to break.

[Q11]

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, Sheamus drove an elbow into Morrison's throat as he made a cover for a nearfall. Sheamus followed with a single arm DDT before landing clubbing forearms to the chest to continue grounding Morrison. Sheamus proudly stood over Morrison's fallen body before settling into a seated hammerlock. Morrison tried to fight back from his feet with right hand blows before landing a knock-down clothesline. Morrison scored with a heel kick, but Sheamus kicked out of a pin attempt.

Sheamus regained control moments later before setting up for the High Cross. Morrison slipped out, though, and tried a backslide, but Sheamus blocked. Morrison then spun around Sheamus and landed a DDT for a two count when Sheamus grabbed the bottom rope for a break. Morrison tried to follow with a running knee, but Sheamus kicked Morrison in the thigh. Morrison sold an injury, then was caught up top. Sheamus yanked Morrison down to the mat on the injured shoulder and made a cover, but Morrison kicked out.

Sheamus immediately slapped on an armbar, but Morrison moved to his feet, only to have Sheamus flip him back onto his stomach. Morrison teased submitting to the armbar again, but he escaped with a kick to the head. Morrison tried to follow with Starship Pain, but Sheamus got his feet up to block. Sheamus followed right up with the Brogue Kick as the crowd was eating this all up. Sheamus wanted the High Cross again and he connected this time. Sheamus made the cover and that was good for the pin and the win. Sheamus is the 2010 King of the Ring.

WINNER: Sheamus at 12:05. Awesome singles match. The house show reports were right from the European Tour that these two have great chemistry in the ring. We saw a glimpse of it at Survivor Series, but this was a stronger showcase match. A rubber match, perhaps at TLC, could be a very strong PPV match if given 15 minutes. (***1/2)

Post-match: Sheamus slowly walked to the platform as Cole rattled off the names of past Kings of the Ring, including Triple H. Miss USA handed Sheamus his giant scepter before he was given the royal robe. Sheamus sat down on his throne and was given the royal crown. Sheamus caught his breath before taking the mic. Sheamus said the royal lineage of the high kings of Ireland has finally been fulfilled. "Long live the king!" he declared. Sheamus's music hit and he sat down on his throne again. The set up for Triple H's return continues.

Backstage: They showed Jerry Lawler and The Miz on a split-screen ahead of the main event WWE Title match.

Smackdown: They re-plugged Edge vs. Kane on Smackdown with the winner setting the stipulation for their World Title match at TLC.

[Q12]

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Back from break, tables, ladders, and chairs were surrounding the ring and the WWE Title belt was hanging above the ring. First out was new WWE champion The Miz, seconded by Alex Riley. For some reason, Riley was still holding the MITB briefcase. Isn't the point to physically cash it in? After a pause, Jerry Lawler came to the ring as the challenger. Cole said Lawler has held over 140 titles, including the AWA Title, but never the WWE Title. Lawler entered the ring and took a peek at the belt hanging above the ring as Cole said he can guarantee Lawler will not be leaving as WWE champion. Punk defended Lawler before the bell sounded.

9 -- WWE champion THE MIZ (w/Alex Riley) vs. JERRY LAWLER -- WWE Title match -- TLC match

Methodical start to the match before Miz flung Lawler to the outside. Miz then brought a chair across Lawler's back. And a second blow. Back in the ring, Miz set up two chairs. He teased a suplex onto the chairs, but Lawler blocked. Miz then recovered and dropped Lawler with the Reality Check onto a chair. The crowd chanted, "Mis is awful," as Miz slowly worked over Lawler. Miz then called for a ladder from Riley, who took forever, allowing Lawler to pop Miz across the back with repeated chair shots. Lawler retrieved a ladder, decked Riley, and then set up a table ringside. Lawler entered the ring with the ladder and tried to ram it into Miz, but Miz moved.

[Q13 -- over-run] At the top of the hour, Miz took a back drop onto a ladder propped up in the corner, which drew a pop. Lawler was then run over by Riley, who surprised Lawler with a left-arm lariat from the ring apron. Riley tried to follow with a right hand blow, but Lawler blocked and punched Riley off the apron through a table on the floor below. Back in the ring, Lawler set up a ladder looking for the WWE Title, but Miz cut off Lawler and landed a weak-looking boot to the head. Punk called Miz stupid for not climbing the ladder right now. Instead, Miz re-focused on attacking Lawler, who was selling on the mat. Miz then delivered a chair shot to the back and told the crowd about it. He delivered another chair shot.

Miz decided to go up top, but Lawler crotched him. Lawler tried to climb up top for a superplex, but Miz headbutted him. Lawler then landed a big palm thrust and Miz went flying off the top through a table below. Miz was out cold and the crowd went nuts seeing Lawler with an opportunity to climb the ladder.

Suddenly, Cole dropped his headset and checked on Miz. Lawler began climbing the ladder inch by inch as Punk called Cole's actions out of line. They had the shaky hard camera as Lawler reached the belt, only to have Cole grab Lawler by the foot. Lawler asked Cole what he's doing. Cole begged off and said he's sorry. They circled around the ladder before Lawler decked Cole with a right hand to a big pop. Lawler mounted Cole and landed right hands.

In the background, though, Miz climbed up the ladder. Lawler turned around and knocked him down and got a hand on the belt. Miz and Lawler traded blows as Miz hung onto the belt. Lawler landed another right hand and another. Miz then swung the belt into Lawler's face and Lawler fell off the ladder like a tree in the woods. Miz reached up and grabbed the title belt, giving him the win.

Post-match: Punk was alone on commentary recapping Miz still WWE champion thanks to Michael Cole. Punk said he has tremendous respect for both Lawler and Miz. They went to a replay of Cole grabbing Lawler's foot, setting up Lawler decking Cole and Miz eventually retrieving the WWE Title. Punk said Miz is the WWE champion...and he is awesome. The show went off the air with Miz smiling as he clutched the title belt and gasped for air.

WINNER: Miz at 11:52 to retain the WWE Title. That was an example of telling a great story with a basic formula. Of course, the next step is how they reconcile Cole and Lawler on commentary going forward, which should make for interesting TV, but doesn't necessarily do anything for business. That is, unless Cole is taken off Raw. (**3/4)

FINAL THOUGHTS: As with most of these three-hour shows, they did not need a third hour and there were some moments that really dragged, but there two pretty strong matches in the final half-hour of the show to make this a thumbs up show. Nexus is back to that danger zone of nearly being irrelevant, Cena's storyline has so many logic holes that WWE hopes their PG audience will simply go along for the ride, Triple H's return seems more and more imminent, and Randy Orton not being part of the show leaves two weeks to rebuild his character prior to challenging Miz for the WWE Title at TLC.

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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ABOUT US

THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE

PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.

He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


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