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WWE Raw Report
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 7/4: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of Independence Day Raw - Punk promo fall-out, #1 contender match, McMahon returns

Jul 4, 2011 - 10:06:58 PM
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WWE Raw Results
July 4, 2011 - Episode #944
Taped 6/27 in Las Vegas, Nev.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


This week's WWE Raw started with the Raw Rebound that aired on WWE programming last week. The focus was on events from last week's Raw with clips of C.M. Punk's show-closing promo, with heavy emphasis on his anti-McMahon "worked shoot" comments. The video "cut out" leading into this week's new Raw episode taped last week.

Arena: Michael Cole introduced the show and noted C.M. Punk has been "suspended" and they will find a new #1 contender between Del Rio, Mysterio, and R-Truth tonight. Also tonight, Alex Riley vs. The Miz in a singles match previewing the Money in the Bank PPV.

In-ring: John Cena's music hit to start the action this week. Cena sternly came out to the ring and took a mic. Cena said there's "major unrest" in WWE after Punk said some things that didn't quite mesh well with WWE management. He said that because of Punk's recent outburst, WWE has suspended him indefinitely. They cut to some canned crowd shots a la TNA Impact. Cena said Punk has been stripped of the right to face him at MITB for the WWE Title. Cena said the remedy tonight is a three-way to find the new #1 contender.

As for Punk (pause for a light C-M-Punk chant), Cena said they are just supposed to sweep him under the rug and pretend he never existed. Cena said he's never seen eye-to-eye with Punk and says he believes the decision by WWE sucks. He said they don't agree with everything, including loyalty to "this brand." He said Punk has been suspended for speaking his mind and how he feels. Cena said he knows this is a PG show and he didn't agree with what Punk said, but he didn't see anything wrong with it.

Cena wondered where this stops. He referenced WWE firing Daniel Bryan for "being too aggressive" last year, signs have been confiscated, and Punk has been suspended indefinitely for "speaking his mind." Cena said the audience is chanting "Freedom of Speech," and where does it go with WWE? Cena said if WWE tells him how to look and act, where does it stop? He said the problem is bigger than the Raw GM and they cut to a shot of Cole looking intently toward Cena. Cena said he wants answers tonight from Vince McMahon. He said he went over the GM's head and he called McMahon for a private meeting right here tonight. Cena said the audience will hear first-hand from him that he wants to face Punk one-on-one tonight. Cena then dropped the mic and sternly left the ring. It's the back-end of a double TV taping, but the crowd was flat for most of this.

Backstage: Divas champ Kelly Kelly and Eve were shown walking down the hallway. They have tag action against the Bellas next.

[Commercial Break]

[Q2] In-ring: Back from break, the announcers focused on a MITB briefcase hanging above the ring. The Bellas then came out for tag action. Divas champ Kelly Kelly and Eve were out next as Cole noted last week's announcement that Kelly will defend the Divas Title against Brie at the PPV.

1 -- THE BELLAS (BRIE & NIKKI BELLA) vs. Divas champion KELLY KELLY & EVE

The heels isolated Eve before Kelly hot-tagged into the match and taunted Bella #1 setting up her offensive attack. The action broke down, Eve cleared out Bella #2, and Kelly dropped Bella #1 with the Rocker Dropper for the win.

WINNERS: Kelly & Eve at 3:08.

Video package: "Silent Rage" Andy. They focused on Steve Austin trying to get under Andy's skin on Tough Enough this past season. This transitioned into a video package on his "Silent Rage" character. Not marketable. They included clips of Andy working out at FCW and receiving training from Steamboat and Dusty Rhodes.

Backstage: R-Truth was on the phone with "Flo." (The lady from the auto insurance commercials.) Truth said he was told he's an at-risk driver because he's unstable. Scott Stanford interrupted the phone call and asked Truth about the #1 contender's match. Truth said he should be awarded another title shot because he beat Cena last week. He said the conspiracy theory is he's being kept away from the title. But, the good news is he just saved 15 percent on auto insurance by switching to Geico. He said the bad news is for the other contenders - he's becoming #1 contender tonight. Truth turned around and spotted Del Rio in his face. Truth looked up and down "Senor Jimmy" before Del Rio talked about destiny. He smiled in Truth's face and laughed that he's becoming #1 contender tonight.

[Commercial Break]

Smackdown plug: Who is the #1 contender to Randy Orton's World Title between Sheamus and Christian? Find out this Friday on Smackdown.

In-ring: Santino and Kozlov hit the ring for the next match as Cole plugged McMahon en route to Raw tonight to give Cena answers. Punk's music hit to bring out WWE tag champs David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty. Cole said he thinks it's interesting they're coming out to Punk's music since he's suspended.

[Q3]

2 -- WWE tag champions MICHAEL MCGILLICUTTY & DAVID OTUNGA vs. SANTINO & KOZLOV -- non-title match

As the match began, Cole recapped Nexus's issues of late - Otunga and Mike taking superkicks from Shawn Michaels and Mason Ryan being injured at recent "live events." Cole recapped Otunga's background and noted he worked in the legal field in Chicago before becoming a "sports entertainer." Cole continued to rattle off canned plugs before Nexus isolated Kozlov in their corner. Kozlov then executed a double-suplex and tagged in Santino, who landed offense on Mike and David before warming up the Cobra. He looked for a victim and struck Otunga, who fell out of the ring. However, Mike was legal and he dropped Santino with a neckbreaker for the pin and the win.

Post-match: Suddenly, Zack Ryder's music hit and he stepped out on-stage to offer his signature catchphrase. Cole had a good laugh as Ryder's music played again. Ryder stared down the tag champs, who sold they were perplexed by this development.

WINNERS: Nexus at 4:15.

Still to come: Riley vs. Miz. Cole talked up Miz as the greatest thing ever before they cut to break.

[Commercial Break]

Still to come tonight: John Cena confronts McMahon. Lawler said Cena wants Punk to reverse his decision suspending Punk last week.

Backstage: Miz was shown randomly staring into space with a blank look on his face. Stanford asked Miz about his strategy against Riley tonight. Miz, with his blank look, said he wasn't picked for the #1 contender match tonight with Punk suspended...and all because of Alex Riley. Miz said Riley's opportunities in WWE end tonight. He said he brought him to Raw and he will send him out. Miz claimed it will all end tonight.

Backstage: Evan Bourne talked to Sgt. Slaughter about him being part of Raw on the Fourth of July. Suddenly, Jack Swagger stepped in and offered some old jokes to Slaughter. Swagger noted Slaughter sided with Iraq during the Gulf War, then said he wants his country back. Slaughter said everyone makes mistakes, especially Swagger's parents went they didn't use birth control. Swagger challenged Slaughter to a match tonight and Slaughter accepted.

Earlier Tonight: McMahon's private jet - complete with WWE logo visible on the tail - was shown landing in Las Vegas.

Still to come: Del Rio vs. Mysterio vs. Truth.

[Commercial Break]

[Q4] WM26 video package from 2010: They went back to the Money in the Bank ladder match from last year's WrestleMania to show clips from the match that concluded with Jack Swagger winning. He went on to become World Hvt. champion shortly thereafter, which was included in the video package.

In-ring: Segue to Swagger coming out to the ring for the next match. Cole noted he's on good terms with Swagger now after their issues two months ago. Slaughter then came out to a strong reaction as Cole heeled on Slaughter.

3 -- SGT. SLAUGHTER vs. JACK SWAGGER

As he should, Swagger quickly dominated as Lawler warned Cole about his comments on Slaughter. Slaughter caught Swagger with a back-elbow smash, then went for the Cobra Clutch, but Swagger rammed Slaughter into the corner to escape. Swagger followed with a leaping Vader Bomb and it was good for the win.

Post-match: Slaughter sold injured ribs and the victory wasn't good enough for Swagger, who followed with an anklelock. As Slaughter tapped, Evan Bourne stormed the ring to fend off Swagger. Bourne knocked Swagger to the floor, then gave a mic to Slaughter, who was still selling injured ribs. After catching his breath, Slaughter led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.

WINNER: Swagger at 1:09.

Up next: #1 contender's match leading up the top of the second hour.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Alberto Del Rio was already in the ring back from break after they replayed Mark Henry helping Del Rio beat Big Show in a cage match last week. Cole then recapped Henry turning his rage against an audio technician last week on Smackdown, with more information this week on Smackdown. Next out was R-Truth, who was sporting his vest that Cole called a straightjacket. Truth was serenaded with boos as Cole recapped Truth beating Cena last week. Next out was Rey Mysterio, who earned the #1 contender opportunity with a pinfall in a tag match last week. Cole said all three men already have spots in the MITB ladder match, the winner will advance to face Cena (in place of Punk), and the winner's spot will be opened up in the MITB match.

4 -- REY MYSTERIO vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. R-TRUTH -- three-way #1 contender's match to the WWE Title

Mysterio knocked Del Rio to the outside early on, then wanted a dive on the floor, but Truth cut him off with a spinning fist smash for a two count. Truth went to work on Rey in the ring as the show reached the top of the hour.

[Q5 -- second hour] The action moved to the floor, where Truth blasted Rey into one guardrail, then flung Del Rio into another guardrail. Back in the ring, Truth covered Rey for a two count. Meanwhile, Cole talked up Truth's "conspiracy theory" program and said it's no secret the "WWE machine" has been behind Cena. Well, yes, in the storyline context, if he wins the most matches and wins championships, why wouldn't WWE "get behind him?" It's WWE tripping all over themselves trying to discuss the "brand" and "the machine" determine success or failure, which is out-of-place on a show that presents worked matches as legitimate contests determining a winner and a loser. The show cut to break with Rey splashing the heels off the top rope and in control of the match.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, Del Rio was in control of the action grinding Rey's face into the ropes. Rey cam back with a kick strike, but ran into a backbreaker from Del Rio, who scored a two count. Truth became re-involved in the match and the heels began fighting over who should pin Rey. Del Rio then flew to the outside after missing a corner attack, Rey hit the 619 on Truth, and then hit a top-rope splash. Rey had the pin on Truth, but Del Rio jumped back into the ring and slapped on the cross arm-breaker. Rey quickly tapped out, giving Del Rio the win. Del Rio is the new #1 contender. Cole unconvincingly said Del Rio heads to MITB to face Cena and now they have to find out who replaces Del Rio in the MITB ladder match.

WINNER: Del Rio via submission on Rey at 13:09. Standard three-way match spots and a standard house show finish with the heel sneaking in the back door to opportunistically score the win. Good effort from all three wrestlers three hours into last week's TV taping. (**)

[Commercial Break]

[Q6] MITB Flashback: WrestleMania 21 in 2005 for the very first MITB ladder match. The clip included footage of Edge taking some career-shortening bumps before winning the MITB match. The flashback transitioned to Joey Styles and Jonathan Coachman's voices as they called Edge's first major title victory cashing in on Cena eight months later.

In-ring: Various USA-themed party items were positioned on a table in the ring. Dolph Ziggler's music then hit to bring out U.S. champ Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero. In the ring, Vickie tried the "excuse me!" routine to start things off. Vickie noted Dolph is "your United States champion" and she would like to celebrate Dolph along with the USA. Vickie asked everyone to stand up. Cole obliged, while Lawler was indignant. Vickie did the Marilyn Monroe "Happy Birthday" to Ziggler as the camera picked up on various fans booing Vickie. Vickie asked Dolph if he'd like to make a wish before he blows out his candles.

Dolph said he doesn't have a wish; rather, some things to say. Dolph said the fans don't realize how privileged they are to see one of WWE's best "sports entertainers" in his prime. Dolph said there will be a dozen more Cena and Ortons, while he is his own star. He told the crowd to forget about Punk, Cena, and the WWE Title because his U.S. Title is the only title that matters in WWE.

Kofi Kingston's music interrupted and Kofi bounced out to the ring in street clothes. Kofi said it's messed up Dolph didn't invite him to the party. Kofi said the fact of the matter is Dolph cannot beat him unless Vickie is in his corner. Vickie was indignant, but Dolph told her he's got this. Dolph said they used to be on an even level, but now Kofi is still at the same level while he's way up here (raised his hand skyward).

Kofi then shoved Dolph, who backed into Vickie, who fell into the cake on the table. Kofi and Dolph scrapped for a bit before Kofi chased Dolph up the ramp to the back. With the two men gone, the attention returned to Vickie, who tried to calmly collect herself and leave the ring with whatever shred of dignity she had left. They went to a replay of the light shove from Kofi that sent Vickie into the table. Back to real-time, Vickie was shown slowly leaving up the stage to the back.

Up Next: Miz vs. Riley.

[Commercial Break]

MITB Flashback: Last year's Raw MITB ladder match won by The Miz. There's Edge again in another career-shortening match. The video package transitioned to a clip of Miz as WWE champion upon cashing in.

In-ring: The Miz slowly walked out as Cole predicted victory for Miz again this year. Cole said this is one of Miz's most important career matches because Riley has his number. Lawler said Miz firing Riley has turned out to be one of the worst decisions of Miz's life. Cue up Riley's theme music to bring out A-Ry, who had to be restrained by referee Charles Robinson.

[Q7] Video package: With the action between Miz and Riley about to explode, WWE suddenly went to a video package on Riley growing up wanting to be a WWE wrestler. The video documented the storyline of Riley finally having enough of Miz blaming him for losses, setting up their current feud. Riley voiced-over that he wants to prove he deserves respect.

5 -- THE MIZ vs. ALEX RILEY

Back to real-time, the bell sounded and the match began with aggressive lock-ups center-ring. Cole heeled on Riley, saying he has had everything handed to him in life and he's a spoiled rich kid who blew an opportunity with Miz. Lawler said Cole has everything backward because the only person abused was Riley under Miz's watch. Miz took control early on as Cole announced McMahon is "on his way to Raw." Miz continued to maintain control, with the match looking like Capitol Punishment with Miz taunting Riley and telling him he made him. Miz scored a nearfall and they cut to break.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, Riley tried fighting back against Miz, then they collided mid-ring. Miz was first to his feet, but Riley tackled him hard to the mat and followed with an emphatic spinebuster for a two count. Miz quickly regained control and slowly went for the Reality Check, but Riley countered part two with a backslide. Riley secured Miz's shoulders to the mat and scored a surprise three count for the win.

WINNER: Riley at 9:12.

Post-match: Miz sold disbelief as his eyes bulged out of his head. Cole was speechless. Riley celebrated in the ring as Miz dejectedly left the ring. Miz then changed emotion and stormed the ring to attack Riley from behind. Miz knocked Riley to the floor, then knocked him over the guardrail to the floor seats. Cole said it's months of frustration boiling over. Miz then tossed Riley back over the guardrail and blasted him into the ring steps. Miz shouted down at Riley, "I made you! I made you! You're nothing!"

Miz releases Riley from his grasp, huffed & puffed, and then rammed Riley face-first into the announce table. Miz backed away to gather his thoughts again, then measured Riley for a big boot to the side of the head that flipped Riley over the table. That was an exclamation point for Miz, who collected himself and slowly walked away from ringside as Riley tried to catch his breath on the other side of the announce table.

[Q8] Garage: A black limo was shown pulling up outside. Vince McMahon stepped out of the limo, fixed his jacket, and began walking inside the building. He addresses Cena up next.

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: They cut to a close-up shot of the announcers ringside. Cole said Punk has been indefinitely suspended and they're trying to make sense of it. Lawler said he was leaving in two weeks anyways, so he doesn't understand Punk's motivations. Cole then fed to the Raw Rebound video packaged that aired on TV last week after Raw and aired at the top of the show tonight.

Arena: Back to real-time, McMahon's music hit to bring out McMahon on-stage. McMahon briefly posed before doing a light strut to the ring. Cole smiled and waved at McMahon, who completely ignored him. McMahon took the mic in the ring and said Punk deserved to be suspended. Some boos were piped-in. McMahon said when Punk said the things he would say, the people in the audience would do the same thing he would do. He said he doesn't have a thin skin and it's not about Punk talking about his family, but Punk placing demands on him. McMahon said Punk isn't worthy of being on DVDs and merchandise. (Choppy editing throughout this.) McMahon said Punk deserved to be suspended and Punk is just that - "a punk." McMahon tried to sign off (five minutes before the top of the hour), but John Cena's music interrupted.

Cena quickly hit the ring and asked McMahon if that's it. He said McMahon is just going to call him a punk and kick him the curb? Cena said Punk spoke his mind and McMahon is all about Freedom of Speech. He said McMahon will do and say anything he wants, which is why Cena's mic is still working, McMahon shot back. Cena sarcastically thanked McMahon. He said he remembers a time when McMahon used to be a fighter. Cena tried McMahon's strut, which didn't draw much of a reaction. Cena talked up McMahon as a "fighter" and said McMahon took back Turner because he was a fighter, not a coward. Cena asked if McMahon has finally gone soft. He said if McMahon doesn't want to fight anymore, he still wants to fight, and he still wants to fight C.M. Punk. Cena told McMahon if he doesn't feel like fighting, perhaps he should hang it up.

[Q9 -- over-run] McMahon shot a look toward Cena while keeping one hand in his pocket. McMahon slowly walked toward Cena and said why he really suspended him. He said he doesn't want to take a chance on Punk defeating Cena. McMahon said he takes calculated risks, therefore, if Punk defeats Cena, he walks out of here and goes to another wrestling organization. He said he doesn't want to be embarrassed and neither does the audience. Cena mocked McMahon and said it's all about McMahon being embarrassed now. He said God forbid they embarrass McMahon.

Cena said as a member of the WWE Universe, MITB is the biggest PPV of the year. He said the big story to find out is whether Punk is all-talk or can back up his words. Cena labeled Punk "some kid" who got under McMahon's skin. Cena asked McMahon what he would do if he said something McMahon doesn't like. McMahon told Cena to slow his roll and tell him not to piss him off. "Don't be Hogan," McMahon told him. "Don't be all those guys who came before you." McMahon said he gave a logical explanation, he doesn't think Cena can beat him, and it's no big deal. Cena said McMahon should give the people what they want. Or, let his ego get in the way. McMahon told him he's embarrassing him now. McMahon said he doesn't give a damn what the people want because he's not going to jeopardize his company, not John's company. McMahon said there was Austin, Michaels, and the whole list before Cena. He said it's his company and he does what's right for the company and each of the fans. He said his decisions are good ones.

Cena, with his cap in his hand now, held the title belt out toward McMahon. Cena said if that's how McMahon wants to run his company, it's not what he wants. Cena said he gets it that Hogan, Michaels, and Austin came before him and they were expendable, but he wears himself down to the bone for McMahon and "this brand." Cena said Punk earned the title shot and if the match doesn't happen, he doesn't want part of this. Cena shoved the belt toward McMahon and bailed from the ring.

McMahon shouted at Cena that he's an ingrate and that the rest of them walked out on him, too. Cena stopped at the top of the ramp and McMahon told Cena to stop right there. McMahon slowly made his way out of the ring, grabbed the title belt, and walked up the ramp. McMahon said he hates this has come between them, but Punk is reinstated and Cena has the match.

Cena smiled, then McMahon shouted at him to wipe the smile off his face. McMahon said it's not all fun & games for Cena because if Punk walks out of Chicago as WWE champion, he'll walk right down the ramp, look him right in the face, and say, "You're fiiiiiiired." McMahon shoved the belt back into Cena's hands and disappeared to the back. They signed off six minutes past the top of the hour with Cena staring straight ahead, selling disbelief.

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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