Monday, 18 July 2011 20:06
WWE Raw Report
By: Todd Martin
Date: 07/18/11 from Green Bay, WI.
The Big News: Big dominos continue to fall in WWE, with HHH announcing that Vince McMahon has been relieved of his duties and HHH appointed the new head of WWE’s day-to-day operations.
Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis came out to start the show. All the wrestlers were watching backstage on a monitor. There were loud CM Punk chants. Vince said he will never say that name again. He called Punk the biggest ingrate in WWE history, who turned his back on the fans and the locker room. He labeled Punk an egotistical, selfish turd. Vince said no one man is bigger than the WWE.
Vince announced that there would be a tournament on Raw to crown a new WWE champion. He went through the brackets, which did not include John Cena. Vince said Cena let him down. He warned Cena that there would be severe consequences. Vince said this would be a night people would always remember. The announcers said Cena on Twitter claimed to have already been fired.
Miz beat Alex Riley in a first round tournament match. Miz was selling an injured leg and Riley went after it immediately. He worked over the leg for much of the match. Riley hit clotheslines and a spine buster and went for his implant DDT. Miz reversed that and went for the skull crushing finale but Riley got out of it. Miz dove off the ropes and was caught in the Texas cloverleaf. Miz escaped and hit the skull crushing finale for the win. This was a strangely booked match with the face going right after a heel’s injured leg only to be caught with the heel’s finisher for a relatively clean pin.
R. Truth beat Jack Swagger in a first round tournament match. Prior to the match, they aired a video package for the soon-to-return John Morrison. Swagger got the best of the action early. He hit Irish whips, a Vader bomb and chop block. He went for the ankle lock but Truth reversed that into a cradle for the win.
Kofi Kingston beat Alberto Del Rio in a first round tournament match. Del Rio before the match said he hopes John Cena is fired and Del Rio will be the new leader of the company. Ricardo Rodriguez finally made his return and put over Del Rio on the ramp. Kingston hit a tope but Del Rio gave him an enzuigiri as he came back into the ring. Del Rio used a tilt-a-whirl back breaker and went for the armbar. That led to a sloppy pair of rollups with Kingston getting Del Rio down for the three. Del Rio’s shoulder wasn’t down the entire time and the announcers pointed it out but I’m not sure if that was intended or just an accident. Backstage after the match, Kingston said he just took his first step towards becoming the new WWE champion.
Rey Mysterio beat Dolph Ziggler. Mysterio hit a senton off the top. Ziggler responded with a neck breaker. Mysterio missed the 619 and Ziggler hit an inverted powerslam. Mysterio then finished Ziggler with the 619 and a top rope splash.
Kelly Kelly, Beth Phoenix, Eve Torres, Gail Kim, AJ, Natalya and Kaitlyn beat Melina, Alicia Fox, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Maryse, Rosa Mendes and Tamina. They had 14 wrestlers in the match, but again only 2 were ever in. Beth gave Rosa a slingshot suplex. A big brawl broke out. Beth then hit the glam slam on Rosa for the win. The match went 45 seconds or so.
Miz beat Kofi Kingston in the first tournament semifinal. Kingston, like Riley, went right after Miz’s bad leg. He set up for trouble in paradise but Miz crawled out of the ring. Kingston went after him but Miz snapped Kingston’s neck on the ropes. Miz dropped Kingston on the top turnbuckle and hit the skull crushing finale for the win. Miz was bleeding pretty badly from the mouth at the end. Backstage, Truth said the conspiracy wouldn’t keep him from beating Rey. He said the title would get got. They also aired a video package on Andy Leavine growing up poor.
Rey Mysterio beat R. Truth in the second tournament semifinal. Truth hit a head over heels clothesline and worked over Mysterio. Mysterio used an arm drag to throw Truth out of the ring and hit a tope to the outside. Truth worked over Mysterio for a while and hit another big clothesline when Mysterio went for the 619. Truth hit a cool looking suplex into a stunner. Mysterio then closed the show with a 619 and top rope splash for the finish.
Vince McMahon came out and said they were running low on time and would postpone the WWE title tournament final until next week. Mysterio seemed angry but left. I liked this, both in the sense they can hopefully build ratings a little bit for that match but also because it sort of acknowledges time constraints and I would like WWE to do little touches of that here and there to create a more realistic feel.
Vince McMahon said that he can create a new John Cena. The crowd loudly chanted for Punk. Vince thanked Cena for his contributions to WWE. He said he does what’s right for business. The crowd again loudly chanted for Punk. Cena came out and said he didn’t want to go through what Shawn Michaels did. No matter what Michaels did, he had to carry the burden of screwing Bret. Cena said he didn’t want to be the guy who screwed Punk and wouldn’t be Vince’s patsy. Cena said Vince can go ahead and find a new opponent for Rock at WrestleMania. He added that he feels he belongs in WWE but if Vince lets him go he will walk on someone else’s TV show and keep doing this, “brother.” That was an obvious Impact Wrestling reference.
Vince was about to announce his decision and apparently fire Cena when HHH came out in a suit. Vince introduced HHH as his son-in-law. HHH said there was a board of directors meeting earlier in the day. He asked Vince to come talk about it in the back. Vince wanted to do it in the ring so HHH told him the board was concerned about Vince’s questionable decisions and gave him a vote of no confidence. Vince added that the family agrees. HHH said he has been appointed to take over day-to-day operations of WWE. HHH said Vince wouldn’t fire Cena.
HHH finally announced that it’s just business, but that Vince has been relieved of his duties. Vince did a great job selling this and began crying immediately. The crowd began singing goodbye. HHH said he didn’t want to do this but was just trying to do what’s right for business. “I love you, pop,” HHH concluded and dropped the microphone. The crowd applauded a teary-eyed Vince and chanted “thank you” at the close of the show.
This was another entertaining and interesting show. It continues to feel like WWE is headed in a very positive direction and it would seem there are plenty of twists and turns ahead. A reprise of the Shawn Michaels/Razor Ramon Intercontinental title program with CM Punk seems likely, as does HHH taking the role of a heavy down the line. Both should work well. John Cena in the top face role doesn’t fit very well into the rest of what’s going on, but they’ve done their best the past few weeks to make him more likeable to the people not already on his side.
One final point of interest is where they are going with the WWE title. You would figure they are putting the title on a heel to set up an eventual conflict with Punk, but Miz was booked on this show more like a face. WWE is clicking right now, so I’ve got confidence everything will come together well.