WWE Raw Report
By: Todd Martin
Date: 08/11/08 from Richmond, VA.
The Big News: SummerSlam is Sunday, and the Raw focus was on Batista vs. John Cena.
John Cena came out to start the show and said that while he may not have an issue with Batista he does have a match with Batista. He called Batista to the ring, and told Batista that they needed to work together on Raw. Cena said that at SummerSlam they will meet and it is six years in the making.
Cena said he has been watching Batista, and that Batista was groomed for success in a way that he wasn’t. He said that Sunday he will prove he is the better man. Batista responded that he has been watching Cena too. He noted that they have both won Rumbles, both won WrestleMania main events, and both won titles. Batista said he respects Cena, but wouldn’t do some of the things Cena does and he understands why people over the age of 15 would like to see him beat Cena senseless.
Batista asserted that Sunday he will prove he is better. They shook hands. This segment was okay, but it felt like there was something missing. The fact that the match feels tremendously rushed is a significant part of that.
Beth Phoenix beat Kelly Kelly in a brief but very sloppy match. Kelly slapped Beth, but Beth took over with kicks. Beth went for a press slam but Kelly reversed into a rollup. Beth caught her with the glam slam for the pin. Santino did commentary and put over the Beth and Santino couple as “Glamarella.” Beth went to attack Kelly after the match, but Mickie James and Kofi Kingston made the save. Santino challenged Mickie to a match, and Mickie accepted.
Santino Marella beat Mickie James. Mickie dominated the match with a drop toehold, spanking, arm drag and kicks. However, Santino got into it with Kofi, and that gave Beth an opportunity to jump in the ring and throw Mickie into the post. Santino grabbed the tights, scored the pin and celebrated triumphantly. This was fun.
Backstage, Kane met with Mike Adamle. Adamle told Kane that there wasn’t a spot on SummerSlam for him or Chris Jericho, so they would be wrestling on Raw in a SummerSlam match. This was a total TNA moment – non-sensical stipulation that doesn’t mean anything anyway. At least there were no poles involved.
Adamle told Kane that he would also have to show what’s in the bag. Adamle said that he doesn’t want kids going back to school carrying around bags mimicking Kane. Why this is undesirable or why children would do such a thing went unexplained. In any event, Kane told Adamle that he was making a big mistake.
Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase cut a promo backstage. Cody talked about how they are a team while Cena and Batista can’t stand each other. DiBiase asserted that their careers are further along than any Hall of Famers at their age. DiBiase said next year it could easily be him against DiBiase in the SummerSlam main event. DiBiase said that they would win back the tag titles. What ever happened to their feud with Hacksaw Jim Duggan, by the way?
Cryme Tyme beat the Highlanders in a quick match. Shad and JTG hit shoulder blocks. Rory pushed JTG over the ropes and threw him into the ring apron. Shad quickly got the hot tag and came in with clotheslines, a face first suplex and an STO for the pin.
JBL called out CM Punk for a competition. He berated Punk, but Punk cut him off and told him to shut up. Punk said that he’s the champ because he earned it. He added that retaining the title at SummerSlam will be the crowning achievement of his career and he will prove he is the man. JBL called him Cinderella and said fairy tales aren’t real. JBL noted that WrestleMania was a huge stage and Punk came up big there, but he doesn’t have much time left.
JBL asserted that he can beat Punk at anything, and challenged him to a whiskey drinking contest. JBL said he would concede victory if Punk took just one shot. Punk responded that he would not compromise his beliefs. JBL said that he would toast the end of Punk’s title run, at which point Punk had a change of heart. He toasted to JBL and then threw the whiskey in JBL’s face. He followed with a high knee.
This segment was good, but I don’t know about booking an angle where the face refuses to drink on moral grounds. The straight edge gimmick isn’t really a face gimmick. It worked the best by far when he was a heel feuding with Raven, so I wouldn’t really emphasize that aspect of the character until he eventually turns heel.
Chris Jericho beat Kane. Lance Cade distracted Kane and allowed Jericho to hit a springboard dropkick. Jericho went for the Walls but Kane fought out and hit a side slam. Kane used a clothesline off the top and went for the choke slam when Adamle came out with security. Kane was distracted and grabbed the bag, which allowed Jericho to hit the code breaker for the pin.
Adamle got in the ring and said he knew what was in the bag and what was meant by “is he alive or dead.” Adamle explained that Kane is “he” and said that Kane can exorcise his demons and live a normal life. He told Kane to hand over the bag. Kane said that there is indeed a mask in the bag, and the man who wore it has been scarred and tortured beyond all human recognition. However, it was not Kane’s mask. Kane opened the bag and it was Rey Mysterio’s mask. Kane chuckled and walked off.
This whole angle was kind of silly, but we’ll see where they go from here. Rey’s last appearance on Raw was the same week as Kane flipping out and asking “is he alive or dead,” so evidently Kane jumped Rey and did unspeakable things to him in the middle of that show.
William Regal beat Jamie Noble in a good, short match. Regal hit forearms and knees. Noble came back with a somersault senton into the corner and crossbody off the top. Regal retaliated with a powerslam and running knee to the head for the pin.
Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes beat Batista and John Cena. Cena and Batista disagreed about who would start, and the heels took the opportunity to jump Cena. Cena fought them off and did the “you can’t see me” to Batista before hitting the five knuckle shuffle on Rhodes. The heels briefly took over and Cena tagged back in Batista, which allowed Batista to give Cena the thumbs down and go for the Batista bomb on DiBiase. Cena stopped that, and Rhodes hit a chop block.
Batista hit a powerslam and tagged in Cena with a slap to the face. Cena got in Batista’s face. DiBiase rammed them together and rolled up Cena for the pin. After the match Cena and Batista fought off the tag champs. Batista called Cena back to the ring. Security came out and they had a pull apart brawl to close the show.
This show was fine. Of course, one would hope for more than fine in the final Raw before a major pay-per-view. This year WWE has usually had very good shows heading into pay-per-views which made this mid-level show kind of surprising. It was an entertaining enough show, but it didn’t get me excited about any matches on the pay-per-view. They really blew it by rushing to Cena vs. Batista. You only get one chance to do a first match. It’s not going to mean all that much at SummerSlam, and it could have been huge at a future WrestleMania with a proper build.