WWE Raw Report CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 7/25: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - "post-McMahon Era" begins, WWE Title tournament finals, Big Returns
Jul 25, 2011 - 10:15:43 PM
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WWE Raw Results
July 25, 2011 - Episode #947
Live in Hampton, Va.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
This week's live WWE Raw started with a live shot inside the arena (sans intro vieo) and Justin Roberts was the first voice heard. As the camera focused on a new WWE Title belt ringside, Roberts introduced the finals of the WWE Title tournament to begin the show. The new belt still has that spinner-belt look, but with a modern winged-eagles look on top of the belt.
In-ring: Rey Mysterio's music hit to a big reaction to begin the events. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler set the stage and noted Mr. McMahon set up a tournament last week as one of his last official pieces of business before being relieved of his duties. After Rey made his complete ring intro, The Miz came out to challenge Rey for the vacant "paper" WWE Title. Cole portrayed Miz as a valiant underdog fighting against tough odds and an injured leg. They went to a backstage shot of the locker room to show the wrestlers and Divas assembled for a closer look at the historic match. Of note, Primo's shoulder was covered in an ice wrap. Back in the ring, Roberts handled formal ring intros. Before the bell sounded, Cole said whatever happens in the ring is bigger than anything happening in the country (with President Obama booking a speech up against the first hour of Raw). Cole also guaranteed a new WWE champion tonight.
1 -- THE MIZ vs. REY MYSTERIO -- Finals of WWE Title tournament
Back-and-forth action early on as they were feeling each other out for a long-form match. Miz landed signature offense, then KO'ed Rey on the floor with a whip into the ring steps. They cut to a break at 4:30.
Back from break, Lawler said this isn't "some boring political rhetoric," but a WWE Title match between Miz and Mysterio. Miz was still working over Rey and scored a close nearfall. Cole stressed the importance of the match, saying Miz will "lead the charge" for WWE's future. Rey came back with a seated sentaun at 9:30, followed by a high cross-body for a close two count. Miz came back with a kick strike to the gut followed by a kneeling DDT for a two count of his own.
[Q2] Miz, frustrated, followed with two kick strikes to the face, but Rey kicked out again. Cole told Miz to calm down and take his time. Lawler said everyone around the world is waiting for this moment. Rey then came back with a 619 tease, but Miz avoided, then hit a sit-out powerbomb after bouncing Rey back-first off the top rope. Nice. It was good for a two count only. Miz collected himself, then stalked Rey for the Skullcrushing Finale, but Rey blocked. Miz then smashed his bad right knee into the turnbuckles, giving Rey an opening for a head scissors into the 619. The crowd roared as Rey climbed up top and delivered a flying splash. Rey with the cover and it was good for the win. Rey is the new WWE champion.
Backstage: They showed the babyface wrestlers and Divas applauding. R-Truth was annoyed. Back in the ring, Rey accepted the new WWE Title belt as the crowd continued to cheer wildly. Suddenly, Miz attacked Rey from behind on his "one good leg." The ref tried to get Miz out of the ring as Rey sold in the corner.
WINNER: Rey Mysterio at 13:18 to become new WWE champion. Good action and a hot start to the show. (**1/2)
Suddenly, as expected, Alberto Del Rio's music hit. Del Rio came down to ringside with the MITB briefcase in-hand and with a referee. Del Rio said he wanted to cash in right now, but Rey came flying over the top rope with a splash onto Del Rio. Del Rio then grabbed his briefcase and shouted he's not cashing in now. Cole noted Rey was victimized by the MITB cash-in (Kane) last year, and he's not falling for it again. Rey then re-celebrated in the ring as Del Rio recovered on the entrance ramp. After a replay of the Rey-Miz finish, Cole repeated it's not political rhetoric, but live action from WWE.
Announcers: Cole and Lawler were shown-camera. Cole announced Triple H is the new Chief Operating Officer and he will offer his State of WWE Address later tonight. A graphic showed Hunter will be giving his address later tonight. Lawler said more action is coming tonight.
Moments Ago: Rey became new WWE champion via victory over The Miz. After a replay of the finish, Cole re-announced they have a new WWE champion and his name is Rey Mysterio.
Backstage: Babyfaces, NXT Rookies, and Tyler Reks were shown clapping it up for Rey, who was then serenaded with a champagne bath. Rey then stopped at John Cena, who smiled and congratulated him before walking off. Josh Mathews then brought in Rey for a post-match interview. With Ryder, Riley, and Titus O'Neil in the background, Rey talked up his sacrifices to becoming WWE champion. He said all those lonely nights on the road away from his family were worth it, as he's coming home with the gold. More champagne celebration.
Back in the arena, Cole lamented it could have been The Miz. Cole then announced Rey as the first WWE champion of the new man in charge, Triple H. Lawler and Cole then fed to a video package on The Beginning and The End that ended last week's Raw. Sad piano music was the background music as they replayed Hunter relieving Vince McMahon of his duties and announcing he's taking over. "I love you, pop," (hard strike on the piano) "and I'm sorry." Back to Lawler, who said they are anxiously awaiting Hunter's SOWWE address tonight.
[Q3] [Commercial Break]
Replay: Sonic sponsored a replay of Dolph Ziggler capturing the U.S. Title at Capitol Punishment last month.
In-ring: On cue, U.S. champ Ziggler came to the ring flanked by Vickie Guerrero. They put a twist of Ziggler's theme music with a louder proclamation of "I Am Perfection" for Ziggler. Vickie tried to get the crowd involved as Ziggler paced the ring. Evan Bourne's music then hit to bring out Bourne for a non-title challenge.
2 -- U.S. champion DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. EVAN BOURNE -- non-title match
Cole said a victory for Bourne could put him in U.S. Title contention. Fast-paced action to start the match and Bourne cleared Ziggler to the floor with a leaping dropkick. Back in the ring, Bourne landed a kick strike, but missed with an enzuigiri and Ziggler responded with a rocker-dropper for a two count. As Ziggler worked over Bourne, Lawler talked up Bourne as a scrappy underdog who just oh so luckily finds a way to win matches. Lawler started off talking about Bourne as a wrestler worth getting behind, then found a way to define him down as a scrappy enhancement talent. Lawler added a political dig at Obama as Bourne scored a close nearfall. The two called a sequence after a bit of miscommunication, then set up the finish. Bourne went up top for Air Bourne, but Ziggler moved and nailed the Zig-Zag. Ziggler then scooped up Bourne and slapped on the sleeperhold. The ref called for the bell, giving Ziggler the submission win. Post-match: Ziggler called out to anyone in the locker room to follow that.
WINNER: Ziggler at 3:28. Good start, then an awkward ending. WWE isn't about to position the U.S. Title as anything more than a mid-card title, but they could be doing more with Ziggler. (*1/4)
Still to come tonight: Del Rio vs. Kingston after Kingston beat Mr. MITB in a tournament match last week.
DVD plug: Greatest Superstars of the 21st History starting with Jericho's memorable Y2J intro, then clips of Rock, Hunter, Undertaker, Austin, Cena, Michaels, Mysterio, Trish, Kane, Jericho again, Orton, and Big Show.
[Q4] Earlier Tonight: The Bellas and Eve were arguing backstage when Keith Stone (of Keystone Light) interrupted. Eve explained the Twin Magic gimmick and said she's tired of it. Stone intervened by drawing an entire tattoo on Nikki's arm (off-camera) in five seconds to tell them apart. That was a Hornswoggle-disappearing-through-a-black-hole-to-avoid-Carlito type moment.
In-ring: Melina and Maryse were already in the ring for the next match. Kelly Kelly's music then hit to bring out Kelly and Eve for tag action.
3 -- Divas champion KELLY KELLY & EVE vs. MELINA & MARYSE
The heels isolated Eve early on to set up Kelly's hot tag and comeback. The action broke down when Kelly mocked Maryse, then Kelly scored the decisive pinfall via rocker dropper on Melina.
WINNERS: Kelly & Eve at 2:36. WWE is continuing to build up Kelly's profile as champ, while lining up no challengers to the title.
Backstage: In a faraway hallway shot, R-Truth was shown talking to Triple H about his conspiracy theory. Interesting to abruptly show Hunter on-camera and give Truth some screen time with Hunter. Cole said in a voice-over that Hunter will be announcing a big return. He said he hopes it's the guy who walked out of Chicago with the WWE Title (C.M. Punk). Lawler feigned not being able to say his name as they cut to break.
Smackdown plug: Mark Henry has devastated everyone. Who's next?
Summerslam plug: Back live on Raw, Cole plugged Cee Lo Green will be performing live at Summerslam.
Arena: After a pause, Triple H's music hit and he walked out on-stage in a suit and tie. Hunter smiled at the reaction and sold soaking in the adoration as he walked to the ring. Cole said Hunter is now in charge of everything and he will be appearing on Smackdown this Friday to "talk to the troops" on the blue brand. Lawler re-stressed the talking points of Hunter's speech as he continued to play to the crowd in the ring, which was covered in a purpleish carpet.
Hunter started his promo wanting to acknowledge why they're all here tonight and why WWE is a global phenomenon and success: Vince McMahon. "Thank you, Vince," Hunter said into the ringside camera. Hunter held up the mic for the crowd to show their love before saying he's not here to talk about the past; rather, he's here to talk about the future. Hunter noted they crowned a new WWE champion tonight. He congratulated Rey Mysterio, but said the thing is that since he's in charge, he can do things a little bit differently. Hunter said that they are going to have a second WWE Title match here on Raw. He said both champ and challenger agree this match needs to take place: Rey Mysterio vs. the man who was screwed out of his title re-match, John Cena. Hunter paused for a while to let the crowd applaud.
[Q5 -- second hour] Hunter said one other thing has been bothering him. The vocal males started a "C-M Punk" chant as Hunter said he's taken it upon himself to contact "that man" and re-sign him. Hunter said he would like it if right now, the audience would welcome him back to Raw. Hunter pointed to the stage and...Jim Ross's music hit. Hunter applauded as Cole was shown holding his head in his hands. Ross entered the ring as the crowd applauded him. Hunter and Ross shook hands, then Ross dipped out of the ring to join the announce table. Cole just stood there with hands-on-hips as Lawler hugged it out with Ross. Ross offered a handshake, but Cole just looked into the ring toward Hunter. Cole turned his back to Ross and Lawler and looked around the arena before throwing down his headset.
Cole grabbed a mic and stood on the announce table to boos. Cole said it's no disrespect, but talking about the future of WWE, it's not Ross. Cole was interrupted by the "What?" chants and said he's done everything the company has asked him since WrestleMania. Cole said he even put Lawler's foot in his mouth. He said the one thing he won't do is sit down and work with "this fat hayseed." Hunter just had an "oh, so sad" look on his face. Cole continued to heel on Ross, who just stood next to Lawler. He asked Ross if he needs money because of his restaurant business. Cole said he gets it: Ross spent his whole career kissing McMahon's ass, so now he's going to kiss Hunter's ass. Cole said Ross's ego wouldn't let him sit at home and he will not work with this man. Everyone continued to watch Cole, then Hunter asked Cole if he's done.
Hunter told Cole he had a feeling he would be upset, and his first inclination was to fire Cole and bring back Ross. But, he looked into Cole's contract and it would cost him more to fire him. He said whoever signed off on Cole's severance package is an idiot. Hunter told Cole that if he leaves WWE, he'll be in breach of contract and surrender all earnings. He said he'll let Cole have the rest of the night off and then he'll have until Friday to decide. If he shows up on Smackdown, he can have his job, but otherwise, he'll wish him well in his future endeavors. Cole said he's not quitting and he'll just sit down and do his job the rest of the night.
Hunter told Cole that he can sit there, but he'll be late for his match. The crowd popped and Cole said he doesn't have any gear. Hunter said he gave Cole the night off from commentary, but he didn't give him the night off from in-ring. Hunter told Cole his gear is in the trainer's room and he better hurry up because his match is next. Hunter said that's unless Cole wants to quit. Cole dropped his headset, then walked to the back as R-Truth's theme played.
Out came R-Truth on-stage. Truth said it's clear who's been behind the conspiracy since Day One. He congratulated Hunter before talking to himself. Truth said, unlike Cole, he likes what he sees. A new day. A new regime. Etc. Etc. "What?" Truth paused to cock his head toward the crowd. He said what he really wants to know is what he's going to do for him. Truth said Little Jimmy cost him his match at Capitol Punishment. Spiders and heights cost him the MITB briefcase. So, now, he wants to know what Hunter is going to do to rectify the conspiracy.
Hunter took his hand out of his pocket and asked if Truth is talking to him or the voices in his head. They did a back-and-forth attempted comedy routine before Truth shot back if he thinks this is a joke. Hunter talked to his own voices in his head off to the side to mock Truth, who decided Hunter's crazy. Truth told Hunter he's talking to people who don't exist. Hunter said it's like he's insane. Truth said he's not playing and dropped the mic to leave. Hunter told all of them to stop right there. He said he re-signed another guy and that guy told him he wanted a piece of him.
John Morrison's music hit and Morrison walked out on-stage in jeans and sporting a mean look on his face. Truth actually came at Morrison first and Morrison responded with a right hand to the face. Morrison then came flying at Truth as they fought down to ringside, then into the ring. Morrison took a right hand from Truth, but Morrison tackled Truth and pounded on him with right hands. Morrison looked around the arena, then, in the middle of a fight, went for Starship Pain to the sternum. Morrison's music hit and Truth rolled out of the ring. Morrison then posed in the ring as Ross and Lawler plugged Cole against a question mark up next. Also tonight: Cena vs. Rey for the WWE Title. PYB talk time: 18:30.
Reax: Can you say desperate after that 3.2 rating last week? Tons of focus on non-wrestlers, re-visiting Heel Cole, and giving away a second WWE Title match on the same show. As for Hunter's address, there wasn't much about the "State of WWE." They built it up as bigger than it was, but "babyfacing the company" by bringing back Ross, then bringing back Morrison was their way of making up for it.
[Q6] [Commercial Break]
Arena: Back live, Hunter's music played again. Suddenly, Cole came out dressed as Hunter, complete with ring trunks. Cole did Hunter's hunched-up-shoulders pose and strutted to the ring with water bottle in-hand. Ross noted he forgot about Cole's ugly tattoos. Lawler called him an angry young man. Cole, looking like mini-Alex Riley, did the water spew gimmick as a spotlight shined down on him. Suddenly, Zack Ryder's music hit and out came Ryder to face Cole. More "babyfacing the company" with Ryder getting the nod from Hunter. Ross and Lawler talked about Ryder as an Internet sensation and noted Ryder's only been on Raw once this year.
4 -- MICHAEL COLE vs. ZACK RYDER
Ryder quickly decked Cole, who stumbled across the ring. Ryder followed with the Rough Ryder and it was over in less than 30 seconds. Ryder got a few seconds to shine in the post-match before the camera re-focused on Cole selling a frustrating night at the office.
WINNER: Ryder at 0:26. Not much shine for Ryder. It was more like WWE trying to "disarm" underground momentum behind Ryder by throwing his supporters a bone.
Still to come: Rey vs. Cena for the WWE Title. Plus, Del Rio gets another match against Kingston. Del Rio vs. Kofi is next.
In-ring: Justin Roberts introduced Alberto Del Rio's personal ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, who introduced Del Rio, complete with 1960 Rolls Royce entrance. Ross recapped Del Rio's strong 2011: won the Rumble and won Raw's MITB ladder match, but has not won a major title yet. Next out was Kingston to face Del Rio in a re-match from last week's tournament.
5 -- KOFI KINGSTON vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO
Del Rio aggressively went after Kofi to start the match. Kofi then tried to spin around Del Rio for a sunset flip bomb and they nearly tripped over themselves before Kofi scored a nearfall. Kofi knocked Del Rio to the floor moments later and Del Rio went running up the ramp when Kofi teased a suicide dive. They cut to break at 1:00 with Del Rio regrouping.
[Q7] [Commercial Break]
Del Rio was in control back from break. Del Rio then missed with a corner attack and Kingston sprung off the top rope with a cross-body splash for a two count. Kofi followed with the Boom Drop before setting up for Trouble in Paradise. Kingston sold a shoulder injury during the set up, though, and Del Rio ducked before delivering a single arm DDT for a two count. Suddenly, they traded close nearfalls near the ropes. The crowd thought Kofi scored a three count, but Del Rio grabbed the bottom rope just in time. Del Rio followed with a slingshot across the top rope before slapping on the cross arm-breaker. After the arm injury, Kofi had no choice but to tap out.
WINNER: Del Rio via submission at 7:17. Fine, competitive match giving Kofi a close nearfall to save face before Del Rio scored the decisive fall. It was your standard Del Rio match in terms of in-ring work. (*3/4)
Up Next: It's the second WWE Title match of the show: Rey vs. Cena.
This Friday on Smackdown: Triple H returns to Smackdown. What will The Game have in store for Friday nights?
Announcers: Ross and Lawler were shown on-camera and Lawler noted Hunter brought back Ross to Raw. Ross threw it to Mathews, who found The Miz changing into his street clothes. Mathews brought up Miz's loss, which drew Miz's ire. Miz said this whole night is screwed up. He said Cena is the one who got them into this mess when he lost the title to "the man they shall not name." He said things have gone from bad to worse with McMahon gone and Hunter in charge. Miz said McMahon was going to fire Cena, and now Hunter has saved Cena and brought back Ross. He said the face of the company is now a masked man - a man with no face. Sin Cara? Miz subtly plugged an appearance on George Lopez this Wednesday and said this new regime is a huge...mistake.
[Q8] In-ring: Rey Mysterio came out with the new WWE Title belt over his shoulder. Mysterio greeted his ringside fans for the second time before a replay documented Mysterio beating Miz to become WWE champion. Once in the ring, Mysterio displayed the title belt for the audience before they cut to another break.
Next week's Raw plug: There will be a #1 contender's battle royal to determine who faces Divas champion Kelly Kelly at Summerslam. (Oh yeah, Summerslam.) The graphic listed A.J., the Bellas, Gail Kim, Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Kaitlyn, Eve, Rosa, Alicia, Tamina, Melina, and Maryse as the participants.
In-ring: John Cena came out to a typical reaction as Lawler described him as the most controversial athlete in WWE history. The camera focused on various pro-Cena fans as he completed his ring intro. Ross, re-positioned as the lead babyface announcer, noted Cena's Hustle, Loyalty, Respect line isn't a slogan, but his way of life. Ross also mentioned the "man they cannot mention" who vacated the WWE Title after winning in Chicago two weeks ago.
6 -- WWE champion REY MYSTERIO vs. JOHN CENA -- WWE Title match
A feeling-out process started things off as Lawler speculated on whether Cena knew he would be receiving a WWE Title shot tonight when he congratulated Mysterio on his title victory at the top of the show. The crowd started a dueling "Let's go Cena" / "Cena sucks" chant as Cena spilled to the floor. Lawler said Cena is a controversial figure and Ross said the bottom line is every seat is filled. On the floor, Rey and Cena avoided each other's offense before Cena delivered a knockdown clothesline that splattered Rey on the floor. Cena made a cover back in the ring, but Rey kicked out. Cena then grappled Rey from behind with a waistlock, trying to wear down the champion. Rey eventually countered with a bulldog for a two count.
Suddenly, Cena teased the STF, but Rey easily grabbed the ropes for a break. Rey then followed with a double springboard moonsault for a two count. Rey tried to follow with a 619, but Cena caught Rey and flowed into a powerslam for a two count. Cena then started his trademark comeback routine, but Rey dropkicked Cena in the shoulder to block the flying shoulder tackle. They traded moves, then Cena delivered a sit-out slam and delivered the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena wanted the Attitude Adjustment, but Rey elbowed out. Rey then tried a springboard splash, but Cena caught him in mid-air. Rey quickly countered with an awkward-looking head scissors into a dropkick for a two count.
[Q9 -- over-run] Both men recovered on the mat at the top of the hour as the crowd came to life anticipating a finish. Rey executed a top-rope sentaun, but Cena kicked out and tried the STF, but Rey countered into an STF of his own. It didn't look too pretty with the smallish Rey draping his arms across Cena's body. Rey tried to maintain the hold, but Cena powered to his feet and countered into AA position, but Cena's knees buckled. Cena sold a knee injury and Rey followed with the 619 as Cena tried to collect himself on the ropes. Rey then went up top for a signature splash, but Cena got his knees up to block.
The action reset as Cena sold a left knee injury. The crowd was fully invested at this point. Both men hobbled to their feet, selling injuries. Rey tried a top-rope huracanrana, but Cena threw Rey across the ring and Rey nearly landed on his neck. Dangerous spot. Cena then climbed up top for a guillotine leg drop and kind of connected for a two count on Rey. The crowd popped for the nearfall, then Cena collected himself and looked for more offense. Cena was the first man up and wanted the AA, but Rey elbowed out again. Rey then set up for a 619 again, but Cena scooped him right up into the AA. Cena made a quick cover and it was good for the win. Cena is new WWE champion.
WINNER: Cena at 12:52 to capture the WWE Title. They got it back where they wanted with Cena on top. The match was strong in terms of drama and crowd involvement, but some of the spots were off and they struggled with in-ring chemistry at times. Overall, good TV main event thanks to the drama & crowd. (**3/4)
Post-match: Cena accepted the title belt, then went right over to Rey to congratulate him. Cena held up Rey's arm as both men sold injuries. Cena then posed in the ring with the title belt again as Rey rolled out of the ring.
Suddenly, a random theme played. It was Cult of Personality. They cut to the stage, but no sign of anyone. Cena looked around looking for someone, then C.M. Punk suddenly emerged on-stage sporting the old WWE Title belt around his waist. The vocal males popped big. Cena looked to the stage selling shock and some amusement. Punk, looking refreshed after a week off, then walked down to the ring and into the ring to face Cena. Cena held up his WWE Title belt in Punk's face, then Punk held up his title belt. Cena sold amusement, then paced around the ring as Punk stood tall in the ring. The show faded out with both men in the ring eight minutes past the top of the hour.
FINAL THOUGHTS: A simple text from Bruce Mitchell sums it up: "hot shot show." It looks like WWE panicked after the 3.2 rating last week and went for some big items, including C.M. Punk coming back after one week off TV. It looks like the Summerslam main event will be Cena vs. Punk II in a title unification match, which will likely get them right back where they were before the MITB PPV. It will be interesting to see how they handle the next two weeks of TV leading to the PPV, especially with Hunter now the on-air authority figure, as opposed to McMahon.
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