WWE Raw Report XANDER'S RAW REPORT 6/27: Alt. perspective review of Monday's Raw & final Punk promo
Jun 28, 2011 - 4:18:40 PM
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WWE Raw Review
June 27, 2011
Live from Las Vegas, Nev.
Review by Xander Assaad, PWTorch contributor
-- WWE Open.
-- WWE Raw Open.
A graphic promoting Las Vegas opened the show and Michael Cole introduced the theme for tonight. Backstage, Booker T. stood next to the roulette wheel and gave it a little spin.
ARENA: Shawn Michaels's music hit. The crowd went crazy as HBK burst onto the stage. Justin Roberts officially introduced Michaels's to the audience. Cole and Jerry Lawler talked about the different projects Michaels is currently working on, then Cole talked about all the different accolades Michaels received during his wrestling career.
IN RING: Michaels took a microphone and said that he really, really did try to stay away from Monday Night Raw. He talked about how hard it has been to step away from performing in the WWE Universe. Michaels thanked all of the fans for being responsible for his career, then showed off his Hall of Fame ring. After that, Michaels stated that he was not actually the guest host for tonight’s show – he wasn’t out her to plug anything or sell merchandise, then immediately segued into discussing his new reality show.
C.M. Punk’s music hit. He made his way to the ring with David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty. They entered the ring, and Punk smirked in Michaels's direction. Punk asked Michaels if he had an addictive personality, because that would be the only reason Michaels couldn’t stay away from the spotlight. He reiterated the fact that he would be leaving on July 17, then said that he couldn’t wait for that day. Punk continued to promise that he would leave with the WWE Championship. Michaels stated that the only problem with that was that John Cena would be standing in his way. Punk shrugged that off and explained that the WWE Universe were partially responsible for his wanting to leave. They cheer more for a retired Shawn Michaels than they do for him, and that’s not right. Michaels threw it back in Punk’s face and said that people cheer him because they know that he’s better than Punk. Punk didn’t disagree with that statement – he agreed that, at one time, Michaels was better. Now that he was retired, though, Michaels wasn’t better than anyone. Punk felt like Michaels was issuing him a challenge, then tried to compare himself to HBK. Michaels said that he and Punk do share similarities – neither of them drink or smoke. Punk cut him off and said, “Not anymore.” Michaels smiled awkwardly at that statement. All of a sudden, he stepped back, wound up, and dropped Otunga with Sweet Chin Music. As Punk and MMCG got ready to attack Michaels, the Raw G.M. suddenly chimed in.
At the podium, Cole read the G.M.’s email. The G.M. stated that he/she wanted to make the most of Punk’s last three Raws. As a result, Punk would be competing in the first match of the night. Cole said that it was time to “spin the wheel and make a deal.” Backstage, Booker T. pointed out the different match options on the roulette wheel. He gave it a spin and the wheel stopped on a question mark. It meant that Punk would be facing a mystery opponent. And that opponent would be Kane. Back in the ring, Shawn Michaels popped back into frame and took out MMCG with Sweet Chin Music.
Kane’s music and pyro went off. The Big Red Machine approached the ring and Punk quickly got out of his way.
1 – C.M. PUNK vs. KANE
Punk charged at Kane, who knocked him down with a haymaker. The Big Red Machine rolled Punk out of the ring and dropped him across the guardrail. The action quickly returned to the ring, and Kane continued to dominate the Straight Edge Superstar. After a receiving a sidewalk slam, Punk rolled onto the ring apron and dropped Kane throat first across the top rope. He quickly jumped onto the top rope and tried to hit a flying clothesline, but Kane caught him in mid-air and tried to nail a chokeslam. Punk blocked the move and smashed Kane with a kick to the back of the head. With Kane’s momentum slowed, Punk started trying to work over his opponent’s back. Kane went to the top rope and Punk met him up there. The two men battled for a moment, then Kane knocked Punk back down to the canvas. He signaled for his flying clothesline, but Punk simply rolled out of the ring and started to walk up the entrance ramp. The referee began counting him out. The ref reached a ten count and declared an angry Kane the winner.
WINNER: Kane via count-out in 4:00.
STILL TO COME: Big Show and Alberto Del Rio face off in a Roulette Match. John Cena and R-Truth will also be in competition. I guess tonight’s secondary theme is “Capitol Punishment Redux.”
BACK LIVE: Sin Cara made his way out for the match-up viewers actually voted on last week. Evan Bourne was out next, and Michael Cole talked about the technical difficulties that plagued the voting last week. Bourne and Sin Cara wanted to jump right into things, but the referee said that they had to discover the stipulation first. Backstage, Booker T. and Eve Torres spun the wheel. The stipulation would be… no count-outs!
2 – SIN CARA vs. EVAN BOURNE
The match started off with some mat-wrestling and arm-drag takedowns. The men reversed each other multiple times until Sin Cara leapt off the top rope and hit a spinning arm-drag takedown. The action rolled to the outside of the ring and both men had a brief staredown. Back in the ring, the staredown continued, then the wrestlers started exchanging stiff kicks. Finally, Sin Cara tossed Bourne out of the ring with a huracanrana, then hit a massive suicide dive through the ring ropes. It was incredible – Bourne had to have been over six feet away from the ring. Sin Cara dove through the ropes and seemed to push himself to fly the entire way. The multiple reversals continued on the outside, then Bourne rolled Sin Cara into the ring and went for a pinfall attempt. As with the reversals, both men exchanged several pinfall attempts. Suddenly, Sin Cara jumped off the middle rope, did a spinning corkscrew, and crashed into Bourne. Bourne followed that up with a standing moonsault, then went up top for Air Bourne. Sin Cara rolled out of the way and Bourne landed on his feet. Sin Cara jumped up and hit his huracanrana into an armbar finisher, and that was good for the win.
WINNER: Sin Cara in 5:00.
POST MATCH: Lawler recapped all of the match’s big spots.
BACKSTAGE: Kofi Kingston stared pensively into the camera as Booker T. explained that Kingston got to help pick the stipulation for his match against Dolph Ziggler. Vickie Guerrero interrupted and gave the wheel a spin instead. It stopped on a “Player’s Choice” stipulation, which meant that Kofi could pick his match type. Kingston said that he was going to pick the stipulation he personally voted on last week – himself against Dolph Ziggler, with Vickie Guerrero banned from ringside.
BACK LIVE: The announcers hyped up the Money in the Bank PPV. Cole recapped the history of each Money in the Bank possessor successfully capturing a World Championship. He also announced all eight competitors in the Raw MITB match.
ARENA: Kofi Kingston came out for his match. Suddenly, Vickie Guerrero stepped onto the stage and did her usual spiel. Referees tried to get Guerrero to leave as she attempted to introduce Dolph Ziggler. The refs cut her off and dragged her to the back. A frustrated Dolph Ziggler then came out.
3 – KOFI KINGSTON vs. U.S. Champion DOLPH ZIGGLER – non-title match, Vickie Guerrero banned from ringside
Ziggler immediately exited the ring and tried to head towards the back. Kofi caught him on the entrance ramp and threw him back into the ring. Ziggler nailed Kingston with right hands, then Kingston bounced off the ropes with a flying forearm.
The action returned to the outside, and Kingston dropped Ziggler with a hard bodyslam. The referee started counting both men out, then Ziggler smashed Kingston into the ringpost. With both men winded and the referee continuing to count them out, the show went to commercial.
BACK LIVE: Ziggler locked Kingston into a sleeper hold. Kingston tried to escape the hold, then whipped his opponent into the turnbuckle. Kingston missed a big splash and Ziggler took him back down with a leg drop to the back of the head. Suddenly, as Kingston laid on his back, he pushed himself off the canvas and kicked Ziggler across the head. He made it to his feet, but Ziggler caught him with an inverted neck breaker. Kingston tried once more to mount a comeback. He went crazy, with his arms and feet flailing all over the place. Ziggler stopped his momentum with a big boot to the face, but Kingston suddenly popped back with the Trouble in Paradise. That was good for the sudden and decisive victory.
WINNER: Kofi Kingston in 8:00.
STILL TO COME: John Cena faces R-Truth.
BACKSTAGE: Booker T. was with Maryse. He talked about how unexpected the night has been thus far, then proceeded to recap every match that has aired. Alberto Del Rio interrupted and asked why he had to face Big Show again. Booker said that he wasn’t the one who booked matched, he was just the one who spins. Del Rio asked Maryse to spin the wheel for him. The two of them started to flirt as the wheel came to a stop. Del Rio looked up and realized that the stipulation it landed on was Steel Cage. Del Rio started to huff and puff as Booker laughed in his face. That match is coming up next.
[Q5 – Top of the Second Hour]
SLAM OF THE WEEK: Big Show’s attack on Mark Henry two weeks ago, followed by Mark Henry slamming him through a table at Capitol Punishment.
BACK LIVE: The steel cage was already in place for the next match-up. I’m guessing, based on the slam of the week, Mark Henry is going to be a factor in this match. Alberto Del Rio made his way out in a Lamborghini. As he made his way to the ring, he tried to act a little more unsure of himself than the usual bravado he emanates. Big Show was out next, and he was all-smiles. The announcers tried to build up the storyline of Big Show not being one hundred percent due to the numerous attacks he’s been under lately.
4 – ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. THE BIG SHOW – Steel Cage Match
As the match started, Del Rio immediately tried to climb out of the cage. Big Show yanked him away from the cage, then chopped him hard across the back. He launched Del Rio face first into the cage, then ground his face against the mesh wire. Del Rio sidestepped a spear attempt, then kicked Show in the head multiple times. With Big Show down, Del Rio started to focus on his opponent’s injured knee. Suddenly, Mark Henry approached the ring. He walked over to the announce table and screamed at Jerry Lawler.
Back in the ring, Del Rio grapevined Show’s leg. Show dropped his massive quad across Del Rio’s throat to break the hold, then dropped Del Rio with a clothesline from his knees. He went for a chokeslam, but Del Rio kicked out Show’s injured knee. Del Rio tried to climb out of the ring again, but Show met him on the top rope and set up for a superplex. He nailed the move and both men crashed into the center of the ring.
Outside the cage, Mark Henry stepped up to the cage door and ripped it off. Henry dragged the door into the ring, then took Show down with a boot to the skull. Del Rio slid through the entrance to the cage and fell to the floor.
WINNER: Alberto Del Rio in 5:00.
POST MATCH: Henry picked up the cage door and rammed into Big Show. Show crashed through the wall of the cage and spilled onto the ringside floor. Henry stood on the ring apron, glared down at Show’s corpse, and screamed, “Do you think I’m playing?!” I don’t know if it was just the camera angle, but Show seemed to be bleeding from the back of his head. Referees surrounded Show and tried to beg Henry off. The World’s Strongest Man kicked the announce table and destroyed it.
BACK LIVE: The announcers recapped Henry’s attack on Big Show. During the commercial, Big Show made it to his feet and screamed like an angry, angry bear.
ANNOUNCE TABLE: Cole tried to explain that these attacks on Big Show have become commonplace over the last few months.
ARENA: Kelly Kelly’s music hit. The new Divas Champion made her way out. Cole recapped Kelly’s championship victory last week. Cole heeled on Kelly’s tears during her promo at the end of the match. Nikki and Brie Bella made their way out next. Backstage, Booker T. rolled the roulette wheel. The match stipulation would be a submission match. Anyone want to place bets on which women gets injured?
5 – WWE Divas Champion KELLY KELLY vs. NIKKI BELLA (w/Brie) – non-title Submission Match
Nikki started the match off by trying to injure Kelly’s left arm. She locked in an arm-bar early on. Wait a minute. The Divas use better psychology in a Submission Match than the male Superstars normally do?! Anyways. Kelly made it to her feet and locked Nikki in a Boston Crab. Nikki tapped out almost instantly.
WINNER: Kelly Kelly in a minute.
POST MATCH: Brie jumped into the ring. She and her sister double-teamed Kelly until Eve Torres ran into the ring. Eve cleared the Bellas from the ring, then helped Kelly to her feet.
STILL TO COME: R-Truth battles John Cena with a stipulation to be determined. I hope there’s a Little Jimmy’s Lumberjack Match option. Or, how about “Little Jimmies on a Pole?” Not that I want to see it, but it would make senses from a storyline standpoint.
BACK LIVE: Michael Cole threw it to a video package focusing on Andy Leavine winning Tough Enough last month. The package included interviews with Andy and his trainers at FCW, and focused on defining him as someone with heart.
BACKSTAGE: Rey Mysterio rolled the roulette wheel as Booker T. reiterated how great the night has been. The wheel landed on Tornado Match, then Booker T. explained that in Mysterio’s upcoming tag match, all four men would be in the ring at the same time. Suddenly, Booker T. looked to the side and feigned surprise. Diamond Dallas Page stepped into the frame and hyped up the Best of Monday Nitro DVD. Drew McIntyre appeared and ripped on old-timers like them taking up his television time. He said that if they didn’t leave the arena in ten minutes, he would take them out. Suddenly, a boot nailed him in the face. Shawn Michaels stepped forward, looked down at McIntyre, then asked DDP for the DVD. Michaels said that he had never seen any of the footage before – he was working that night. Michaels left and Booker and DDP sold confusion.
UP NEXT: Alex Riley and Rey Mysterio face Jack Swagger and The Miz in a Tornado Rules tag match.
BACK LIVE: The Miz’s music hit and the former WWE Champion made his way out for the tag-team match. Swagger was next, and Michael Cole stated that he and Swagger were on talking terms again. Alex Riley was out next, and he received an interesting reaction from the live crowd. There was a very vocal majority of cheers, but it certainly wasn’t the entire audience. Rey Mysterio rounded out the herd, and the crowd absolutely came alive for his entrance.
6 – THE MIZ & JACK SWAGGER vs. ALEX RILEY & REY MYSTERIO – Tornado Tag Team Match
The heels charged at the faces, and the action segmented off into the Riley/Miz and Swagger/Mysterio. A clothesline fest ignited, with Swagger being the last man standing. Miz and Riley quickly spilled to the outside as Swagger tore Mysterio apart inside the ring. Swagger whipped Mysterio hard into the turnbuckle, then started to focus on Mysterio’s lower regions. He nailed his running Vader Bomb and went for an early pinfall attempt, but Mysterio quickly kicked out. Swagger hoisted Mysterio onto his shoulders, and Miz climbed up to the top rope. Mysterio slid out of the hold and shoved Swagger into the Miz. Swagger crashed to the outside and Mysterio nailed him with a plancha. Miz was still straddling the top rope. Riley leapt up there to join him and nailed Miz with a monstrous hip-toss off the top.
BACK LIVE: Miz and Swagger stood over their fallen opponents. Riley tried to fight back, but the number’s game quickly overwhelmed him. He tried to fight back again, and that gave Mysterio the chance to sneak onto the top rope. He dove at Swagger, but Swagger who caught him in mid-air, pressed him over his head, and slammed Mysterio stomach first across Miz’s knee. The heel offensive continued as Swagger and Alex Riley crashed to the outside of the ring. Miz placed Mysterio on the top rope and tried to hit a superplex.
Mysterio blocked and knocked Miz back to the canvas, then nailed him with a seated Senton. He caught Miz with a sharp kick to the skull and went for a pin attempt, but Miz kicked out. Their exchange continued until Mysterio went for a 619 and Swagger interfered. Swagger and Riley re-entered the ring, but Riley quickly took him out with a Spinebuster. Miz broke a pinfall attempt and dropped Riley with a reverse DDT. Suddenly, Miz and Riley eliminated themselves from the ring. Swagger caught a charging Mysterio with a boot to the face, but Mysterio refused to go down for the count. He set up for a gut-wrench powerbomb, but Mysterio reversed it into a huracanrana. Mysterio went for the 619, but Swagger dodged the move and placed him in an Ankle Lock. Mysterio clutched the ring ropes and tried to break free, but Miz joined in and choked him across the ropes. Riley snuck up behind Miz and yanked him away from Mysterio. Near the announce table, Riley hot-shotted Miz across the guardrail and rushed back into the ring. Mysterio finally hit Swagger with the 619, and Riley followed that up with his jumping DDT. A quick pin attempt later and the match was over.
WINNERS: Alex Riley and Rey Mysterio.
VIDEO PACKAGE: Shawn Michaels's new reality television show, The MacMillan River Adventures.
BACKSTAGE: R-Truth stood in front of the roulette wheel and attempted to make sense of the conspiracy against him. Booker T. stepped up and asked Truth to spin the wheel. Truth did and said this would prove his point about a conspiracy. The wheel spun around and landed on Tables Match. Truth told all the little Jimmies that Cena was going to get got. Booker T. asked Truth to stop talking to himself, then left.
BACK LIVE: Justin Roberts introduced the main event for the night. R-Truth was out first. He came out to the ring wearing either a straightjacket or bullet proof vest. John Cena’s music hit. The crowd came alive as the WWE Champion made his first appearance of the night. You know, it just occurred to me that there has been almost no focus on Cena’s next PPV opponent, C.M. Punk.
7 – WWE Champion JOHN CENA vs. R-TRUTH – non-title Tables Match
Truth started off aggressively. He kicked away at Cena’s midsection, then nailed him with right arms. The crowd broke out in dual Cena chants. After a whip to the turnbuckle, Cena caught Truth with a Fishermen’s Suplex. Cena jumped out of the ring and tried to pick up a table, but Truth cut him off and threw him back into the ring.
Truth grabbed Cena’s arms and tried to wrench his back. Cena quickly broke the hold and fired back with a dropkick, then lifted Truth up for an Attitude Adjustment. Truth countered into a his suplex/neck-breaker combination, then exited the ring and picked up a table. He propped the table up against the camera side ring post and tried to suplex Cena threw it. Cena countered with a suplex of his own. He tried to pull himself together. Truth charged at Cena. Cena ducked and Truth crashed to the outside. Cena followed him to the floor and launched his opponent into the ring steps. He grabbed another table, threw it into the ring, and set it up next to the first table.
Cena rolled Truth back into the ring and waited for him to get to his feet. He hoisted Truth up for an Attitude Adjustment, but Punk ran out to the ring and moved the table out of the way. Cena hit the AA, but as soon as he realized the table was gone, he jumped out of the ring to confront Punk. They exchanged right hands, then Punk ran into the ring. Cena lifted him up for an AA, but Truth burst out of the corner and speared Cena threw the table.
WINNER: R-Truth in 5:00.
POST MATCH: Truth quickly exited the ring. Cena lay in the rubble of the table, clutching his ribs. Outside the ring, Punk paced around and attempted to catch his breath. He grabbed a microphone and walked towards the top of the entrance stage. Punk told Cena that he had a lot of things to do and say over the next three weeks. Punk explained that he actually liked John Cena. What he hated was the belief that Cena was the best. Punk stated that he was the best in the world. The only thing Cena was better at was kissing Vince McMahon’s ass. Punk addressed all the other great ass-kissers in WWE history, i.e. Hulk Hogan and Dwayne Johnson. Punk looked at the camera, waved, and said, “Oops, I’m breaking the fourth wall.” Freaking awesome. Punk looked down at his feet and said, “I am the best wrestler in the world.” He said that this was true when he started in WWE, and he was hated by everyone for it. Punk talked about how Paul Heyman saw something in him, and that meant the rest of WWE had a problem with him. He brought up Brock Lesnar being a “Heyman guy.” The difference between him and Lesnar (other than WrestleMania main events)? Punk was going to leave with the WWE Championship. He said that he has grabbed all of Vince’s “imaginary brass rings,” then said that he has been the best in WWE on the microphone, in the ring, on commentary, etc. In spite of that, WWE never got behind him. They never merchandised him or licensed his appearance. They never granted him talk show appearances. Punk finally parceled the diatribe down to this: he was angry that The Rock would in the main event of WrestleMania next year and not him. How was that fair? A majority of the crowd started to cheer for Punk, and he instantly turned on them. Punk blamed the vocal contingent that was cheering as another reason he was leaving. He called them hypocrites for liking what he had to say, then still buying WWE merchandise and collector’s items. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Punk once again said that he was leaving WWE with the Championship. He said that he might defend it in New Japan. He might even take it back to Ring Of Honor. Punk looked over at the camera, waved again, and said, “Hi, Colt Cabana. How you doing?” He turned his attention back to the fans and said that his leaving wouldn’t affect the company’s profits. Punk stated that McMahon was a millionaire who should be a billionaire. He claimed that the reason Vince wasn’t was because he was surrounded by yes men, like John Laurinaitis, and by idiots like his daughter Stephanie and his son-in-law. Punk didn’t want to admit it, but he felt like WWE might be better once Vince McMahon was dead. Punk started to tell a story about Vince McMahon and the bullying campaign. Suddenly, his microphone cut out. A majority of the crowd booed as Punk continued trying to talk. He stood up and screamed the rest of his promo out and said that he was the best there is. The show suddenly went to black and ended without the WWE logo even appearing on screen.
SHOW REAX: Everyone’s going to be talking about Punk’s promo. I have a few things to say about it, as well, but I feel that I should focus on the overall show first. This was another good episode of Raw. Over the last two weeks, there has been a greater emphasis on the wrestling product, and the change is strikingly apparent. Say what you will about the action contained in each of the matches, but the simple fact of the matter is that at least we received a decent amount of in-ring action. As a result, the show flowed at a stronger pace. It doesn’t seem like such a comedy variety show, but as if WWE finally regards itself as wrestling promotion again. Tonight’s episode didn’t spend two hours bogged down by inane promos and pedantic comedy; it tried to entertain by presenting engaging confrontations in the ring. That’s the reason most people, regardless of their age, watch a wrestling program. It is a simple formula, and it seems like WWE has finally realized that truth.
From a storyline standpoint, there wasn’t a great deal of momentum given to the current feuds. The storylines that were around last month (Big Show-Alberto Del Rio; Cena-R-Truth) were transitioned into new feuds. Storylines like Miz-Alex Riley were put on the back-burner and given only a modicum of time to stretch their legs. The Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston rivalry didn’t gain much from a story standpoint, but their match actually showed that their feud is progressing in a new way. They changed the format of their match slightly, and their building tension towards one another became all the more apparent. It was simple booking – use a match to further a storyline – but it worked. Now, onto the meat and potatoes of the show…
I don’t care whether Punk’s interview was a worked shoot, which it was. The simple fact of the matter is I believe his promo will go down as one of the greatest of the PG era. There is a reason that the term “worked shoot” has been such a big part of recent professional wrestling history. I believe the greatest storylines are the ones that take reality, tweak it slightly, and transform it into an actual storyline. Punk’s promo was geared to viewers who grew up on WWE programming and who now feel alienated by its PG-friendly approach. It gave life and vocalization to so many of the things said on forums, in editorials, in conversation with other fans. And that was the beauty of his promo. Who cares whether it was scripted or not? His words were rooted in a level of frustration many fans share towards the current WWE product, and that is why Punk’s promo was great. WWE did everything in their power to make the segment seem real and unscripted. Whether it was or was not should not be the point. Punk was allowed to say things that have never been heard on WWE programming before, and those are the talking points from the end of Raw.
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