WWE Raw Report
By: Todd Martin
Date: 09/19/11 from Cleveland, OH.
The Big News: Miz and R. Truth were “fired.”
CM Punk came out to start the show limping badly. He noted that Cleveland has never been kind to him, as he once had to forfeit his title and once Hardcore Holly hit him so hard he still has a dead spot in his eye. He said that he’s beaten up, at which point Jerry Lawler started mocking him. Punk started to say that he might have been wrong about conspiracy when HHH came out to interrupt. Jim Ross had said that HHH was limping backstage but of course he walked out just fine. At least HHH said he was beat up.
HHH opened by announcing John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Punk in a Hell in a Cell triple threat title match for the next PPV in two weeks. He reiterated that he has nothing to do with any conspiracy and offered to fight Punk right there. Punk responded by saying that someone is playing both of them. He said the conspiracy doesn’t involve HHH but someone higher on the ladder. John Laurinaitis came out and told HHH not to believe anything Punk says.
Punk asserted that Laurinaitis wants to be COO and if HHH lost, Laurinaitis would have swooped in. Punk accused Laurinaitis of being behind the Miz, R. Truth and Kevin Nash run-ins. Laurinaitis said that HHH has lost control of the show but he wasn’t involved in any of that. Laurinaitis said Punk works for him. HHH said Laurinaitis works for him. HHH said he’d get to the bottom of this. Laurinaitis fired Punk. HHH said Punk wasn’t fired, but by the end of the night someone would be fired.
Justin Gabriel, Sheamus, Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne beat David Otunga, Christian, Wade Barrett and Michael McGillicutty. Nobody in the match got an entrance. Jim Ross at one point said WWF accidentally and it was censored. The heels worked over Bourne. Sheamus got the tag and hit a back breaker on Otunga. Kingston used a frog crossbody to take out Barrett. Christian set up for the spear but was caught with a boot to the head by Sheamus. Sheamus then gave Otunga a Brogue kick and razor’s edge for the win.
Backstage, HHH told a referee that he wanted to see Miz and R. Truth. Alberto Del Rio came in and criticized HHH for his title rematch coming in a cell and with Punk also in the match. HHH offered to give Del Rio his rematch on Raw but Del Rio said he needed the rest. Del Rio said he prays Vince McMahon comes back to run things, so they’re already teasing that.
Alberto Del Rio beat John Morrison with an armbar submission in a minute or so. Del Rio just worked over the arm quickly and applied the armbar for the tap. It seemed like this was partially intended as a burial of Morrison, but it’s also possible they just really wanted to put Del Rio over strong following his title loss.
Hugh Jackman came out. He ran the ropes, and yes, he was better than Kelly Kelly. He seemed in a great mood and was enthusiastic. He plugged his new movie. Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler interrupted. Vickie came on to Jackman. Jackman offered to shake hands with Ziggler but Ziggler refused and instead ran down Jackman and put himself over. They told the story that Jackman would find an underdog to beat Ziggler, with the underdog theme tying into his movie. There were “we want Ryder” chants. Jackman immediately recognized that and brought a Ryder sign into the ring. Jackman was great here.
Sin Cara was supposed to wrestle Cody Rhodes, but that never happened. The original Sin Cara came out first, but then Sin Cara Dos came out. They fought and blew a couple spots. The original Sin Cara cleared the ring of the second Sin Cara. They need to go ahead and clearly differentiate these two soon, because with them looking the same the crowd just isn’t reacting to Cara like they were before they started this angle.
Backstage, Miz and Truth apologized to John Laurinaitis. Then they apologized to HHH and were acting all humble and basically groveling. This was so stupid as they came across as enhancement talent cowering before the boss rather than heel main eventers. HHH accepted their apologies but said they would each be fined $250,000. I get that you want the idea they are making a lot of money, but they went overboard with that figure.
Jim Ross announced Randy Orton would wrestle Mark Henry in a title Hell in a Cell match at the next pay-per-view. He then brought Mark Henry down for an interview. Henry said he has never been in a Hell in a Cell match but he gave Orton hell the night before and he will do it again. He read his title belt, saying, “This says ‘World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry.’” In fact, it read “World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion Mark Henry.” Evidently we’re supposed to pretend not to see that word. Henry said he will never forgive the people for not supporting him and wanted Jim Ross to apologize.
Henry said that Jim Ross wanted Vince McMahon to fire Mark Henry at one point because he thought Henry was injury prone and an underachiever. Henry demanded an apology and Ross apology. Henry then said he hates ass kissers. He grabbed Ross by the tie and choked him. Jerry Lawler went into the ring and asked Henry to stop. Henry let Ross go but then said Lawler would take his place. Lawler punched Henry in self-defense but Henry gave him a head butt and world’s strongest slam. He then gave Lawler another world’s strongest slam through the announce table. Josh Mathews and Michael Cole commentated the rest of the show. Henry was again really good here.
Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres beat Beth Phoenix and Natalya. The heels worked over Eve a bit and then she just rolled up Natalya for the win. This was a waste of time.
Zack Ryder beat Dolph Ziggler. Jackman recruited Ryder backstage before the match despite openly recognizing Ryder’s kind of a goof. There were let’s go Ryder chants. Ziggler hit a superkick and dropkick. They knocked each other down with a double clothesline. Vickie slapped Ryder so the referee ejected Vickie. Jackman then snuck up and punched Ziggler (which looked quite good) and Ryder hit the rough rider for the win. Jackman was again really good here and this was a fun segment.
They aired a Jack Swagger video package. Then, Swagger and Vickie Guerrero agreed that he would officially join her stable. Punk and Cena spoke backstage. Cena said that they are a lot alike. They each speculated the other might be fired by HHH.
John Cena and CM Punk beat Miz and R. Truth. The heels worked over Cena. Cena tagged Punk. Punk hit the high knee, bulldog and GTS on Miz for the win. After the match, HHH fired Miz and Truth. Truth and Miz attacked HHH backstage but most of the roster was sitting together watching a monitor and they grabbed Miz and Truth and threw them out of the building.
For entertainment value, this was one of the better recent Raws even if the big picture problems with creative remain glaring. In particular, Hugh Jackman was tremendous. He looked like he was having a great time, he was on point with everything he did, and he’s legitimately a big star for them to get on. Mark Henry was another highlight.