By: Todd Martin
Date: 05/23/11 from Portland, OR.
The Big News: WWE paid tribute to the late “Macho Man” Randy Savage, R. Truth continued to shine, and Kharma sobbed.
A Randy Savage graphic aired at the beginning of the show. Jerry Lawler came out and said finally the national nightmare is over and Michael Cole has been defeated. Cole wasn’t out on commentary. Lawler said he knew Cole would try to weasel out of the foot stipulation so he had an ace up his sleeve, Bret Hart.
Bret came out and said that he had his differences with Lawler but he respected Lawler as a competitor and has no respect for Cole. That brought out R. Truth. Truth’s entrance for now just has him saying “the truth shall set you free” and no music. Truth said that Bret held the title so many times while Truth never even got a shot. Truth said his rapping and dancing got him nowhere. He teased giving Bret’s glasses away to a kid but then took them away. Truth said he used to think wins and losses didn’t matter as long as fans got what they wanted. He then suggested that if he takes out Bret he will get a title shot.
Bret responded by telling Truth to take his best shot. Bret said he received title shots because he was the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be. That catchphrase doesn’t work so well when used in the past tense. Bret added that Truth doesn’t get title shots because he is a lunatic. Truth said he wouldn’t stand there and be disrespected.
That was John Cena’s cue to make his entrance. He was excited to see Bret. He then wanted to know what was going on with Truth, since they used to be cool. Truth said it is all about Cena. Cena replied that he makes sure it’s all about the people. Truth went on a rant about all the kids wanting Cena merchandise and Cena movies. In the middle, he said that he wants his son back. Then he paused like he hadn’t wanted that to come out and never brought it up again. I really liked that little touch. Truth said he won’t be happy until he gets his title shot. The GM said that Truth still needs to show more before he gets a title match. The GM added that he will be paying close attention to the main event of Cena and Rey Mysterio vs. Truth and CM Punk with Bret Hart as special guest referee. The Truth is really coming into his own as a heel. He just feels so unique as a heel. They have a strong collection of heels with Miz, Truth, Punk and Del Rio, although Cena is stale opposite them.
Backstage, Ricardo Rodriguez told Big Show and Kane that Alberto Del Rio wants his respect and if they don’t show him that respect, Del Rio will teach them a lesson. Show shoved Rodriguez down dismissively. A livid Del Rio came in yelling and screaming at them, vowing revenge.
David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty won the tag team titles from Kane and Big Show. Nexus got heat on Kane briefly. Show tagged in and cleaned house. Kane knocked Mason Ryan off the apron but in the process knocked the referee down. Show went for the double choke slam on McGillicutty and Otunga but Punk kicked Show in the back of the head. They gave Show a sloppy DDT and McGillicutty covered for the win.
Backstage, Big Show lashed out at an interviewer and said they were robbed. Alberto Del Rio came in, slapped Show, and ran off. They did gimmick static on the video camera and when the camera got back in position they acted like Rodriguez had run over Show’s leg with a car. Hopefully this is an injury angle and Show isn’t back next week after being hit with a car.
Jack Swagger beat Evan Bourne. This was just a complete squash. Swagger hit a uranage and gut wrench power bomb for the win. Then after the match, Swagger celebrated for a while until Bourne kicked him in the head and ran off. I’d love to know what they were thinking this segment accomplished. It feels like these guys have been running in place for years, and segments like this one are the reason why.
Backstage, Michael Cole offered a handshake to Eve Torres. Torres stuck her leg up in the air instead, so he could kiss her foot. At least, I’m sure that was the intent. The gesture seemed kind of lewd to me, honestly.
A humble Michael Cole came out to ringside. He said he wanted to apologize to everyone and return to commentary next to Jerry Lawler every week on Raw. He promised no more Cole mine and matches. Cole said he was sincere with his apology. Lawler thanked Cole for apologizing and offered him a breath mint. He welcomed Cole back to the announce table and Cole dialed down the heel act many notches for the remainder of the show.
Miz and Alex Riley made their way to the ring. Miz said Riley is the reason Miz didn’t win the title at Over the Limit. Miz accused Riley of constantly screwing up. He then asked the GM for another title shot. The GM denied him that shot and said he is done with Cena. Miz blamed Riley. Riley replied that he didn’t say “I quit.” Miz said Riley’s nothing without him. Miz said he gave Riley a million chances and Riley has been a constant disappointment. He tore Riley apart, fired Riley, and shoved Riley.
Riley finally responded by punching Miz. They launched into a big brawl in suits all around ringside. Riley tore apart Miz’s suit and got the best of it. The crowd cheered Riley as he left Miz lying. This was a very well executed angle. It makes sense for them to do a short term program between Miz and Riley with Miz winning at the end. And Riley ought to get the best of it at first so it means something when Miz triumphs at the conclusion.
Eve Torres, Gail Kim, Kelly Kelly and Beth Phoenix versus the Bella twins, Melina and Maryse ended in a no contest. The match had just started when Kharma came out. All the women stood together and surrounded Kharma when she came in the ring. So Kharma dropped to her knees, acted scared, and started crying. And that was the end of the segment.
This is like the perfect example of why wrestling ought to be booked by wrestling people. I can understand perfectly what they were thinking here. It’s “intriguing” and it adds dimension and emotional vulnerability to Kharma’s “character.” But, you know what, there’s this concept called a monster heel. It’s not riddled with subtleties, it’s exceedingly easy to book, and it has worked time and time again. And you just don’t have your monster heel curl into a ball and cry four weeks in. It completely undermines what is effective about that sort of character.
Kofi Kingston beat Drew McIntyre. McIntyre used the old Bret Hart figure four around the post and worked over Kingston’s leg. Kingston hit the side Ghanan leg sweep and boom drop. He went for trouble in paradise but his leg gave out. McIntyre hit a power bomb for two. Kingston then used his flipping leg trip cradle thing for the win. Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler were shown watching backstage. In an unrelated scene, Nexus celebrated their tag title win elsewhere.
Alberto Del Rio did a brief interview. He said that Big Show brought that upon himself by disrespecting Del Rio. Then he did an about face and blamed Rodriguez. That felt kind of redundant with Miz and Riley doing the same thing on the same show.
They cut to the announce table where Jerry Lawler put over Randy Savage big and introduced a video package on Savage. They ran a nice extended package and afterwards they showed the crowd reaction to it until people started chanting “Macho Man.” If there’s one positive to come out of this, it will at least offer an opportunity for newer fans to become more familiar with Savage, who has kind of been forgotten in today’s wrestling given what a phenomenal performer he was.
Rey Mysterio and John Cena beat CM Punk and R. Truth. Punk was wearing cool Randy Savage tribute attire. It had the same basic color scheme and stars as Savage’s outfit at WrestleMania III. The heels worked over Cena. Mysterio tagged in with a huracanrana and knee to the head on Punk. Punk went for GTS but Mysterio escaped and hit the 619. Bret Hart then punched Punk and put him in the sharpshooter. That felt kind of uncalled for to me. Mysterio hit a springboard leg drop and covered for the win. This was a fun match.
This felt like a more eventful show than a lot of recent weeks. There were a bunch of notable segments. I liked some a lot and disliked others a lot, but there wasn’t a feeling of malaise or anything and that’s a definite positive.