The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal for 08/01/11 (WWE Title Announcement)
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter at @johnreport
I wrote it live this week. Live from Indianapolis, Indiana this is the Raw Deal…
They air a video package focusing on the Punk/Cena story going back to the Money in the Bank PPV where Punk won the WWE Title and left the company immediately after. Then they showed the events that followed such as McMahon’s removal, John Cena winning the WWE Title and CM Punk’s return at the end of the show last week.
It’s so great to know Jim Ross is back announcing on Raw although Michael Cole’s voice started the show. Cole said that this is the first time we’ve had two legitimate WWE Champions. Cult of Personality” starts up and CM Punk walks out to a positive ovation from the crowd. Cole calls JR a guest. Lawler mentions that he’s there permanently.
“The Champ is here,” proclaims CM Punk to a mixed reaction. He sits down in the ring to chants of “CM Punk” from the males in the crowd. “Why did I come back?” He says he spoke his mind and he caused a little bit of change in WWE. Then he said that Vince McMahon was relieved of his day to day duties. “That’s change.” He says he can feel it in the air and he wants to take credit. He says the audience deserves credit too. “I’m here to make this fun again for everybody.” He says he’s unpredictable and he’ll have it no other way. He says he can’t make this industry better by sitting on his couch in Chicago. He made the phone call to come back believe it or not. He says we’re back to the status quo as John Cena is parading around as WWE Champion. I should point out that Cole said Punk has a big ego, so obviously positioning Punk as a babyface. He points out a fan in the crowd with a belt and says what he has is a Championship Title.
Punk says one fact: “I hold, in my hands, the most important title in the world.” He says he’s the best professional wrestler this world has to offer. “I am the one, the only, WWE Champion.” Cue Triple H’s music. Here we go. “Apparently it’s time to play the game,” says Punk.
A very good ovation for Triple H. “H H H – he’s the COO,” says Punk. Hunter wants to explain why he re-signed Punk. “It was good for business,” says Triple H. Same reason why he brought back and brought back John Morrison. I guess we’re going to forget that Morrison had an injury. He wants to give the fans what they want. He says he put his personal feelings aside and gave the fans CM Punk. The Punker picked up on that and wanted to know what Hunter really thought. Says HHH: “I think you’re a smug, overrated, attention seeking guy that puts a little too much stock in his own hype…not that that’s a bad thing.” Punk says kind of like looking in a mirror, eh Hunter? Crowd booed HHH’s part. They are very mixed. Punk wishes that HHH said he hated his guts. Punk mentions talent leaving like Batista (okay pop), Mick Foley (big pop), Chris Jericho (huge pop), Brock Lesnar (okay pop) and he could go on and on.
Punk tells HHH that he couldn’t afford to see him go anywhere else. Hunter says why don’t you tell the truth about why you really re-signed. Punk says he already did, he wants to facilitate change. Hunter says “you did it for you.” He points out that Punk needs his platform because without the WWE his “pipe bomb” (the mic) and him really mean nothing. Punk says that’s 50/50 at best. Punk says he’s the WWE Champion. Hunter says Cena also is WWE Champion. That is a situation he will fix later in the show. His music plays. Punk tells them to stop the music.
Punk asks Hunter to come back into the ring. He doesn’t want Hunter to think that just because he signed doesn’t mean he will shut up. He won’t go to promo class or media training. He’s going to do things his way. He just did a classic Hunter Hearst Helmsley bow! Punk brings up Hunter hogging the spotlight over the years. We’re at 20 minutes now. How many times did you say “you know I don’t think he has what it takes while you’re lying in bed with your wife?” He says Hunter’s a bully. He tells him to be careful who he pushes because Punk pushes back. Hunter admits he has a massive ego. Hunter says that ego is telling him to slap the tattoos off his ass. He said Punk had a “skinny fat ass.” That’s weird. He’s not going to because this is bigger than that. He took the job as COO for them…the fans. That comes with responsibilities and certain rules. He says for them (the fans) he’s not going to break the rules and he suggests that Punk doesn’t break the rules either. Punk: “Or what? You gonna beat me up? You gonna fight me? You gonna punch me in the face? Or do you gotta go ask your wife’s permission first?” Punk leaves. That was great.
That’s 24 minutes into the show with no commercials. It was excellent. The tease of Hunter vs. Punk is great already. They can keep this feud for a long time. I’d expect a lot of segments to be rushed later on because this likely ran long. Well done by both guys. The line about HHH needing his wife’s permission was tremendous.
Mysterio & Morrison were backstage. They face Miz & Truth later.
Divas Battle Royal is next.
Divas Battle Royal
Kelly Kelly is on commentary. She calls Cole a nerd, so that’s good. Winner gets to face Kelly at Summerslam. I would assume that Alicia wins. Melina got eliminated in about a second. All you have to do is get tossed to the floor to be eliminated. My favorites Beth and Natalya are working together. There are just six of them left. The announcers aren’t even calling the girls that are getting thrown out. Bellas dropkick my favorite Natalya to the floor. That’s no good. Two minutes into the match and they go to break. Wow. I knew they would be rushing to commercials since that first segment went long. I think there were five women left.
Back from the three minute break, all five women are still left. It’s Eve, Alicia, Beth, Nikki & Brie. Alicia is eliminated on a baseball slide to the floor as she was trying to attack Eve. Nobody touched her. Kelly said she’d have a great match against Eve. Blatant lies. Eve gets eliminated by a Bella. Beth puts both Bellas on her shoulders and dumps them out at the same time. Good.
Winner: Beth Phoenix
Post match, Kelly goes to hug Beth. The Glamazon decks her and throws her out to the floor. She says that Kelly’s days as the perky bimbo are officially over.
Analysis: 1/2* Match wasn’t good. Beth’s heel turn is fantastic. I have been asking for this for weeks. Thank you for doing it, WWE. It’s about damn time. She’s too good to not be used. I will cheer her heel act again. She’s great at it. It will also help Kelly whether she wins or loses because Phoenix has way more talent and credibility than the Bella twins. It’s Beth vs. Kelly at Summerslam.
Backstage, Miz & Truth talk strategy. Miz questions why Truth talks to imaginary people. The conspiracy is brought up. Truth spells it as “C-O-N-spiracy.” He tells him to be careful or you’re gonna get got. This was a decent segment. Good for a few quick laughs. They team up versus Morrison & Mysterio later. Should be a good tag match.
Cole mentioned that this is the first city where Rock first said “it doesn’t matter what you think.”
Josh Mathews welcomed the WWE Champion John Cena. Mixed reaction. He says that when Triple H announces his decision later in the show he’ll probably be out there to hear what he has to say. In other words, the main event of the show will be Triple H announcing the main event of Summerslam.
R-Truth comes out next followed by The Miz. Tag action coming up. They showed a clip of Miz on George Lopez this past week. He was great on the show. Lots of charisma. He’s great on talk shows. As predicted here’s another commercial.
They plugged The Miz being at the Teen Choice Awards hanging out with Justin Bieber & Taylor Swift among others. Thank God I’m not a teen. That sounds awful. Of course Jerry Lawler probably loves it, right? Here’s Rey Mysterio’s introduction. When does he get his rematch? The announcers need to bring it up. Morrison comes out second.
R-Truth & The Miz vs. John Morrison & Rey Mysterio
It’s ten minutes before the top of the hour, so I’d expect this to get 10-15 minutes going into hour two. It will likely be a great match. Cole plugged all of The Miz’ public appearances of late. He does a lot of great work. His days off are spent doing work. Very admirable. Miz works over Morrison early, but Rey comes back and sends both heels to the floor. He hits a Thesz Press on Truth on the floor. Morrison hits a spinning corkscrew over the top. Three minutes into the match we go to commercial.
That first segment likely went long, so everything else that has followed has felt short due to the rushed commercials. It has hurt the flow of the show in the last thirty minutes.
Back from break, R-Truth is working on Mysterio. They showed a clip of the heels getting control during the break. Cole is talking too much. They need JR to call more of the action. Or maybe I’m just so sick of Cole’s voice? Mysterio makes the comeback with an enziguri to Miz, but Miz comes back with a DDT to prevent the tag. Truth gets a tag and he hits a corkscrew forearm to get a two count on Mysterio. They continue to work over Rey to build up to the hot tag moment as we reach the 10:00pmET hour.
Miz goes up top for something that doesn’t even come close to hitting. Mysterio dropkicks him. Hot tag to Morrison as Truth gets tagged in too. Morrison hits a lot of exciting offense. Then he drags Truth into the corner. He misses Startship Pain because Miz pulls Truth out of the ring. Axe kick by Truth misses. Morrison gets a kick to the head to set up the 619. Miz breaks it up and throws Mysterio into the crowd. Springboard kick by Morrison onto Miz. Morrison turns around, so Truth hits the Paydirt finisher for the pinfall on Morrison. Match went 12 minutes.
Winners: The Miz & R-Truth
Post match, Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale on Morrison. Truth gets a water bottle and smashes it over Morrison’s head. I guess plastic water bottles are devastating. The heels celebrate. Nice “You Gon Get Got” sign in the crowd. I love that.
Analysis: **1/2 A pretty good tag match that was hurt by the commercial in between. They followed the tag formula as they worked on Mysterio, Morrison got the hot tag, but the heels found a way to get the win. I assume these storylines continue leading to possibly a tag team rematch at Summerslam.
Backstage, Mathews talks to Triple H in his office. Hunter says Punk needs new material because people talking about his wife (Stephanie McMahon) has happened for ten years. He recommends that Cena should keep this strictly business. What does that mean? Hmm. I like Hunter in the COO role. He’s doing a good job. It feels fresh.
Nice video package highlighting Henry & Sheamus fighting on Smackdown. If you’re not watching it’s the start of Sheamus’ babyface turn. It will be interesting.
Plug time: On Wednesday August 3rd from 10pmET-12amET The John Report Radio will be live. Call in, Skype in, Chat & Listen. We’ll also have special guest TNA Knockouts Champion Mickie James. If you can’t listen live I’ll post the show on thejohnreport.net after it is over and you can also find it on iTunes as well. Details are here. This is the second edition of TJR Radio. The first one was great. It will be even better this time.
Summerslam Recall: Honky Tonk Man says give me anybody as a challenger to the IC Title. They mention that he’s had the title for two years. It’s the Ultimate Warrior. He wins in about 30 seconds. Great booking. I marked out huge for that.
Back from break, US Champion Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero come out. I forgot to mention Dolph’s new theme song last week. It’s an improvement over the old one although the words are the same. It has more of an edge to it. “Excuse Me” time with Vickie. She says that while people talk about the WWE Title, Dolph’s proven himself to be more superior than Punk & Cena.
Ziggler says that after his victory last week he said “Follow that.” He said it meant that noone will ever has his skills, technique, talent and his charisma. That can be argued. He says he’s more of a man than anybody in the arena or in the locker room. It’s “SAY IT TO MY FACE” time as Alex Riley comes out to a good pop. He asks him why does he always hide behind a woman “or in your case…Vickie Guerrero?” She mentions that Dolph’s a former World Champion (for about an hour), IC Champ and now US Champ.
Riley gets in the ring and says “excuse me” to Vickie. He asks Dolph when was the last time he’s accomplished something on his own. He says that Miz hid behind him and Ziggler hides behind Vickie. Riley says: “You want to be a real man? Then drop her.” He says Dolph’s afraid that without Vickie he might be exposed as bleach blonde, arrogant fraud. Dolph hands his jacket and title to Vickie. Then he rolls out to the floor. They leave.
I guess that’s your next US Title feud. I think Ziggler needs to be elevated. He’s not going to be elevated by somebody who has only recently been given a singles push. I guess there’s nobody else on the babyface side, though. It will be good for Riley to wrestle Ziggler because Dolph’s a good worker. I just don’t know if this is the right feud for Ziggler right now.
They plugged the Triple H announcement later.
They plugged something where they con the fans into voting who they think is the real champion between Cena & Punk.
Coming up next is Santino & Zack Ryder vs. tag champs McGillicutty & Otunga.
They had a commercial for Christian vs. Orton at Summerslam in a No Holds Barred match.
Regarding Summerslam, I’ll be posting the top 25 Summerslam Matches of All-Time column next week. It might be in two parts. It will likely be a Sunday-Monday thing. I’m not sure, though.
Non-title match. Tag champs come out first. They have a theme song now. That’s nice. Santino comes out to a big pop. Zack Ryder comes out next to a decent reaction. There’s a big “Woo woo woo you know it” sign in the crowd. They show a clip of Ryder pinning “The Game” Michael Cole last week.
Michael McGillicutty & David Otunga vs. Santino & Zack Ryder
The heels work over Santino. That’s a “We Want Ryder” chant. That’s a good thing. Less than two minutes in, Ryder gets the hot tag. Cole rips on him. Crowd cheers for his “woo woo woo” spot leading to the boot in the corner. Ryder misses his Ruff Ryder finisher on MM. He puts Zack over his knee and Otunga comes off the middle rope with an elbow. That’s similar to Demolition’s finisher. And that’s the end of the match? Wow. Ends after 3 minutes.
Winners: McGillicutty & Otunga
Analysis: * Odd booking choice because usually the champs lose non-title matches. It’s okay to have them win, but in this instance I’d have had the babyfaces go over because the crowd actually likes them. The heels are drawing no reaction. Good to see the support for Ryder. I hope the creative team is hearing that. Since he’s on Smackdown as Teddy Long’s announcer I guess you could say they are listening.
They plugged the WrestleMania 27 on NBC special.
Back from break, they plugged Edge being on the Syfy show Haven that immediately follows Smackdown.
They aired a replay of the Punk-HHH confrontation from the beginning of the show with Hunter talking about doing his job for the fans.
Backstage, Mathews asked Punk what he thinks Hunter’s decision will be. He says he was testing Hunter and he passed with flying colors. He says that he had a classic with Cena at Money in the Bank, but the champ is standing right here. He takes off.
Back to the ring, Justin Roberts introduces Ricardo Rodriguez. I guess you could say that Ricardo and Alberto Del Rio have their own announcers. Del Rio comes out in his ring gear along with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Cole does the EXPLANATION OF DEL RIO’S CAR~! (yeah it gets capitalization status now) that they do every week. It costs $100,000 or so. Del Rio’s in action after the break. We don’t know who his opponent is yet.
They return from break to show Del Rio’s victory over Kingston via the Cross Armbreaker. His opponent this week is Evan Bourne.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Evan Bourne
This could be a great match if they get a lot of time. Cole needs to stop talking as much as he does. ADR opens up by working on Bourne’s arm. Bourne tries a comeback, but ADR counters with a backbreaker. For some reason Cole bickers with Lawler about Persian rugs. I wish JR spoke more an Cole spoke less, but you know Vince is encouraging this behavior from Cole. Bourne counters a suplex and uses a flying knee to knock Del Rio down. He goes to the top, but Del Rio counters by walking up the ropes to hit an enziguri. The camera missed it. Del Rio with the Cross Armbreaker. Bourne taps. The match went about three minutes.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Post match, Del Rio puts the Cross Armbreaker on Bourne again. Kofi Kingston runs out. Del Rio bails. That could be a possible Summerslam match although that would be like all their matches. It always ends in Del Rio winning.
Analysis: * Basically a squash match as Bourne barely got any offense. That’s what they should be doing with Del Rio, though, because it’s likely that he’ll cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase soon.
They showed Triple H walking to the ring. It’s about ten minutes to 11pmET, so this is your main event promo coming up.
They plugged the Cee Lo Green song that is the theme of Summerslam.
The WWE.com poll on who you think should be WWE Champion? 54% say John Cena, 46% say CM Punk.
Triple H makes his WWE Title decision
Triple H comes out for the main event promo. He mentions that for the first time there are two WWE Champions: Cena & Punk. He says they both have legit reasons why they should be considered WWE Champions. He’s interrupted by WWE’s Executive Vice President of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis (Johnny Ace). He’s the brother of Road Warrior Animal. He introduces himself to the crowd. They boo. He says he took over the job from Jim Ross. He says it’s his job to sign talent and manage their contracts. Hunter asks him what he wants. He tells Hunter he hasn’t been a part of WWE Corporate for very long while he’s been in the spot for ten years. He says he knows how Vince thinks and he knows how he would want Hunter to handle the situation. Laurinaitis: “Strip the WWE Championship from John Cena.” Cue Cena’s music.
Cena comes out to a mixed reaction as Ross calls it. He said Punk got a mixed reaction too. He’s right. Cena says it’s an interesting group tonight, he says regarding the mixed reaction. Cena calls Laurinaitis the “yes man” that Punk was talking about. Then he did a Laurinaitis voice imitating how he sucks up to Vince. Cena mentions knocking out Laurinaitis at Money in the Bank, so that’s why he wants him to be stripped of the title. Cena tells Hunter if he loses that’s fine, but he doesn’t deserve to be stripped. Laurinaitis tells Cena he was out of line. Cena tells him that his favorite part of Money in the Bank was punching Laurinaitis in the face. He says maybe he should do it again. The crowd approves. Hunter says he doesn’t have a problem with that. Laurinaitis bails to the floor.
Cena talks to Hunter man to man. Hunter says he’s not going to strip Cena of the title because his claim as champion is legit. Hunter says that CM Punk signed his contract after Cena beat Rey for the title and he told them to hit his music. That is a good storyline explanation of the situation. Cue “Cult of Personality” as CM Punk comes out.
Punk says he sees the writing on the wall. There’s a CM Punk chant from the crowd. He wonders if Hunter is going to strip him of his title. Hunter tells them to stop whining. “It’s not Hunter, I’m your boss,” says Hunter to Cena.
Hunter announces it: “Summerslam: John Cena vs. Cm Punk. One match. One winner. One undisputed WWE Champion.” Hunter leaves.
In the ring, Punk & Cena meet face to face. Punk holds up his title. The crowd pops as his music plays. Cena holds his title up as his music plays. Punk goes to the turnbuckle to pose with his WWE Title as his music starts up again. Now Cena does it with his music. The whole point of this is to show that they’re both babyfaces. Every time a guy holds up a title their music plays. They got he music guy working tonight! The show ends with each guy posing with their title.
Basically they spent two hours to announce the most obvious thing: A title match between the two guys holding the WWE Title. No surprise. No twist. It was the right thing to do, but it’s not like it was shocking at all.
Three Stars of the Show
1. CM Punk – Great promo to start the show.
2. Triple H – Him too. He’s doing well in his role.
3. Beth Phoenix – I loved seeing her turn heel. Long overdue.
5 out of 10
Last week: 7.5
2011 High Score: 9.1 (March 28)
2011 Low Score: 4 (Jan. 10/May 9)
2011 Average: 5.84
Last 5 Weeks: 7.5, 6, 6, 5, 7
It was an average show. I’m giving it a 5 because aside from the open and the close it didn’t have much of a flow to it. The first hour was flooded with commercials. The second hour was okay, but it didn’t wow me. This was not a good show wrestling wise. It was all about the main angle. Frankly, they could have done that last segment to start the show, but they obviously wanted to build to it. Like I alluded to above, they spent about 40 minutes of the show to announce the obvious Title vs. Title match at Summerslam. I think even the 10 year olds in the crowd could have figured out they were doing that. There wasn’t the wow factor this week. It was fine, but it didn’t feel epic this week. At least the verbal exchanges between Punk & Hunter were very strong. That opening promo was by far the best part of the show.
The only worthwhile match was Miz/Truth vs. Mysterio/Morrison. I’m concerned about the midcard situation because they have a lot of guys without any real concrete feuds. You’ve got the likes of Miz, Del Rio, Truth and Ziggler on the heel side with babyfaces like Morrison, Mysterio, Riley and Kingston opposite them. They planted the seeds for Riley/Ziggler tonight. Morrison/Truth was furthered a bit. Mysterio was basically pushed aside after being WWE Champion a week ago. With Summerslam happening in 13 days, there are no matches announced featuring any of the midcard guys. That shouldn’t be happening. They need to create matches for them.
I enjoyed Beth Phoenix’s heel turn a lot. She’s better in that role. She’s been dong nothing for months and now she can be the bully of the Divas division. My hope is that long term it leads to a feud with my favorite diva Natalya because I think that’s the best Divas match they could put on.
We only know two Raw matches for Summerslam: Punk vs. Cena and Kelly vs. Phoenix. Nothing else. I assume that next week they’ll announce two or three more matches from the Raw side. That should have happened this week. They need to do a better job of building midcard matches.
The announcers were okay. There was still too much of Michael Cole, though. They need to have Jim Ross as the clear play by play guy. It felt like Cole was still in that role instead of being just a heel. It might take some getting used to, but hopefully they find a comfort zone with it.
Like I said earlier this Wednesday August 3rd from 10pmET-12amET The John Report Radio will be live. Call in, Skype in, Chat & Listen. We’ll also have a special guest: TNA Knockouts Champion Mickie James. If you can’t listen live I’ll post the show on thejohnreport.net after it is over and you can also find it on iTunes as well. Details, including the call-in number, are here. We can talk about anything you want. The phone lines are usually full, so be sure to get in early if you want to make it on the air.
Check out this past weekend’s edition of Canton’s Corner for more thoughts on Raw, plus my extended takes on Smackdown, Impact and the always interesting poll of the week. I’ll be back on Saturday with the next Canton’s Corner on and then the Top 25 Summerslam Matches of All-Time on Sunday & Monday.
Thanks for reading.
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