WWE Raw Report
By: Todd Martin
Date: 08/08/11 from San Jose, CA.
The Big News: HHH announced he will be the special guest referee for the CM Punk vs. John Cena title match at SummerSlam.
HHH came out to start the show. He suggested that Sunday night the WWE will change forever. He noted there has been a lot of change lately. He then announced that he would be the special referee for the John Cena vs. CM Punk match. HHH said he’s the only guy he can trust. That announcement got a negative reaction from some of the crowd. HHH announced a contract signing for later in the evening. When John Cena came out for his match, he had brief words in the ring with HHH about the special referee announcement.
John Cena beat Jack Swagger. Cena hit a snap suplex and applied a headlock and armbar. Swagger took over with punches, a Vader bomb and Irish whip. Swagger went after Cena’s leg and went for the ankle lock, but Cena countered out. Cena then hit the shoulder blocks, Cena slam, five knuckle and FU for the win.
Alberto Del Rio backstage said CM Punk isn’t the voice of the voiceless but the voice of the gutless (I think anyway, it sounded more like voice of the godless). Del Rio said Punk ran like a coward at Money in the Bank and vowed to show later on Raw what would have happened in Chicago. Elsewhere, R. Truth did a lame “comedy” promo about spiders. On the plus side, it’s better they waste this garbage on Truth than Cena.
Rey Mysterio was supposed to wrestle Miz, but Miz attacked Mysterio from behind as Mysterio was coming out. Miz threw Mysterio into the metal WWE logo repeatedly and went to the ring. Miz said he doesn’t know who he is facing at SummerSlam and there has been too much emphasis on the title match rather than him. Miz wanted to be declared the winner of the match by forfeit but HHH instead ordered a new bout.
Miz beat Kofi Kingston. Kingston was in control early but missed a pescado and was given a clothesline on the floor. Miz worked over Kingston. Miz went for his neck breaker/back breaker combination but Kingston avoided it and hit a springboard frog crossbody. Miz hit a DDT. Kingston missed trouble in paradise but then avoided the skull crushing finale. However, Miz then dropped Kingston on the top rope and hit the skull crushing finale for the win.
Backstage, Punk criticized HHH for being egotistical and said HHH should have stayed out of the Punk-Cena match. Punk said HHH needs the spotlight but the best thing for business would be to stay out. He added that his beating Cena would be good for business. That got some boos.
CM Punk beat Alberto Del Rio. This result wasn’t surprising but it was surprising to see Del Rio treated like not much of a threat. They went back and forth. Punk went for the GTS but Del Rio escaped and threw Punk into the post. Del Rio went for the armbar but Punk kicked him in the head and hit the GTS for the win.
Beth Phoenix beat Eve Torres. They botched some spots horribly and the crowd turned on the match. Like usual, it was death for Eve Torres’ ambition. Beth won with the glam slam. Beth after the match said she’s sick of women like Eve and Kelly making a mockery of the women’s division. That actually got some cheers after the way the match went. Beth said there would be no more booty popping, splits or stinkfaces. Beth said she had a question for Eve but then Kelly attacked Beth from behind. Kelly actually got some negative reaction too.
Alex Riley beat Dolph Ziggler via DQ. Riley got into it with Vickie Guerrero before the match. Ziggler applied a sleeper but Riley escaped. Riley hit the spine buster at which point Vickie came in the ring and slapped Riley for the DQ. Ziggler got angry at Vickie. There was supposed to be a spot where Riley punched Ziggler into Vickie but Vickie and Ziggler barely touched. Vickie left yelling and they teased a breakup with her and Ziggler.
R. Truth beat John Morrison. They brawled early. Morrison hit a standing one man Spanish fly and twisting plancha. On the outside, Truth dropped Morrison’s neck on the barricade. Truth went for the leaping downward spiral in the ring but Morrison held onto the ropes. Moments later Truth tried it again and hit it for the clean pin. This was an interesting finish given Morrison is just returning but Truth is the one of the two with more potential for sure.
Christian did a brief video promo. He basically plugged Smackdown and said he will make a big announcement Friday. I like the idea of doing this sort of thing regularly to try to encourage more Raw viewers to watch Smackdown.
The show concluded with the contract signing. Punk noted how contract signings are just for show and always end in physical calamity. He briefly had words with HHH, making fun of Chaperone going straight to DVD. Punk then showed a portion of Rock’s Facebook promo on Cena from the other week. Punk agreed with Rock that Cena is a phony but added Rock is just as big of a phony. That got some boos.
Cena said that with all of the success Rock has had, there is no reason for Rock to be so mad. Cena said he will never win over Rock’s fans or the hardcore fans. “I could increase my workrate, add to the five moves of doom or maybe let my heel persona shine through,” Cena said. He said that Punk was right comparing him to the Yankees, because they are both loved and hated.
Cena said that he only cares about his fans and won’t give up on them and there’s nothing phony about that. Cena added that Punk is the phony coming back as the “voice of the voiceless” after asking for a private jet. HHH noted that at the end of the day Punk was just a guy who held out for more money and a couple perks. He also said Punk didn’t have the guts to negotiate face-to-face.
Punk responded that if you want to talk about gutless, it’s John Laurinaitis who does the firing for WWE. He asked if Laurinaitis fired Vladimir Kozlov, Chris Masters and Harry Smith face-to-face on Friday. He said Masters worked his ass off to get better in the last year. He said Laurinaitis does the dirty work for the front office. The crowd chanted for Punk.
Punk then turned his attention to Cena. Punk said it is easy for Cena to act noble when he has been given so many opportunities. He said Cena looks down on people. He said that when he won the ECW title, Cena congratulated him and said “I almost gave up on you.” Punk asked Cena who the hell he thinks he is. Punk claimed Cena moved to California to become a bodybuilder and then became a wrestler because he couldn’t hack it. Punk said he did hold out for perks and wanted the ice cream bar because he’s a hyena and Cena’s a lion. Punk has to fight for the things Cena is handed. Punk said Sunday he will walk out with the title.
Cena retorted that there is tons of pressure on Punk Sunday. Cena said Punk won one match in Chicago and that if Punk loses at SummerSlam, Cena will still be wrestling Rock at WrestleMania. Punk needs the match. If Punk loses, he’s a loudmouth one hit wonder like Buster Douglas or Milli Vanilli. Punk said he’d rather be a one hit wonder than a phony.
Punk and Cena exchanged threats and started to square off. John Laurinaitis got between them. Punk kicked him in the head. HHH then got between Cena and Punk. Cena went for a punch and caught HHH. HHH and Cena had words. Punk on the ramp asked if the fix was in.
This was another good show. The highlight was again CM Punk’s promo. I also appreciated the preponderance of clean finishes, something I’ve long felt WWE would benefit from more of.
One negative is that it is apparent a few days from SummerSlam that the title vs. title stipulation means absolutely nothing. There wasn’t enough time to get over the issue and the title has bounced around too much. I think the product would really benefit from unifying the Raw and Smackdown titles and making title changes more infrequent. Punk is really hot, but it’s harder to get over a new top program when titles are viewed as trinkets. WWE seems more open to rethinking big picture issues these days, and that’s something they really ought to consider.