WWE RAW 4/11/11
April 11th, 2011
Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, Connecticut
Attendance: 9,000 +/-?
April 11th, 2011
Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, Connecticut
Attendance: 9,000 +/-?
We're one week removed from the colossal announcement that The Rock and John Cena will face off at Wrestlemania XXVIII as RAW stops into the Webster Bank Arena tonight. We're only a few weeks away from the Extreme Rules PPV, so tonight should primarily be focused around setting up matches for that event. How will John Cena occupy his time for one whole year? We'll have to wait and see tonight.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry "The King" Lawler, and Josh Matthews
We open the show with Michael Cole being introduced as an "award winning broadcast journalist" and the "only undefeated man in the WWE". This Cole shit continues to drag on weeks after it should have been blown off at Wrestlemania. King teases going after him on his way to his Cole Mine, but nothing comes of it.
John Cena's music hits and it's time for our opening promo is my guess. He pumps up the crowd a bit, hyping up his match next year with The Rock. The question of course though is, what the hell does he do until then? Cena's new red gear just looks weird on him, I'm too used to the purple and gold. Cena promises that the match next year with The Rock will be for the WWE title, so I guess that's how they plan on using Cena for the next 12 months, chasing the title again. Because we haven't seen THAT before you know. Cena issues a challenge to The Miz but as soon as he does Randy Orton's music hits instead and the Viper makes his way down to the ring. Orton says none of Cena's grandstanding changes the fact that he lost to The Miz at Wrestlemania, and he tells him to stand aside so he can get a title shot. Before Cena can respond though, John Morrison's music hits and he makes his way down to the ring! What the shit? Everyone was/is expecting Morrison to do absolutely nothing following his supposed incident with Trish at Wrestlemania, but here he is now on RAW in the ring with Cena and Orton. Morrison grabs the mic and says that "we've all seen this show before" in reference to Cena and Orton, and says he wants a shot at The Miz's title as well. Of course before this can be responded to, Vickie Guerrero's shrill voice rings out as she and Dolph Ziggler come down to the ring and demand a title shot of their own. Spoiling what until now was a pretty awesome foursome in the ring, out comes R-Truth, who I guess is still employed. Truth wants a title shot because he's never gotten a one-on-one title match before on any show, which is just amusing. The lights flicker and it's ANONYMOUS GM TIME BABY! Cole does his usual shtick and announces that the GM has ordered a five man gauntlet match tonight with the winner getting a title shot against The Miz at Extreme Rules. Good opening segment to kick off the show, set up a fun-sounding main event for later tonight, and get the wheels in motion for Extreme Rules. Simple and effective, just the way I like it.
We get a little vignette of a dreadlocked black woman knocking the head off of a barbie doll, which is obviously a promo for the soon to debut Awesome Kong. Creepy promo and fans of female wrestling the world round are marking out, myself included.
WWE Diva's Title Match
Eve © vs. Brie Bella
Before the match starts Eve pulls out a magic marker and demands that Brie has an X written on her hand so they can tell who's who and they don't pull the old twin switcheroo. That's actually smart, shocking. Brie hits a forearm to the back of Eve's head to start and stomps away at her in the corner. Brie applies an abdominal stretch briefly but Eve fights out of it and hits a bulldog. Dropkick from Eve and the standing moonsault gets two. Eve and the ref argue for a bit which gives the Bellas long enough to make the twin switch, but the ref catches her. This distracts Eve long enough for Brie to hit a big facebuster for the pin and the title at 2:14. Brie Bella, Diva's champion? Hopefully this is just a stopgap until Kong shows up and destroys all of these women. The usual 2 minute filler here, as always. ¼*
Backstage Gail Kim and Natalya try to comfort Eve for her title loss, but Eve tells them both that she knows what the diva's locker room is "really" like and storms off angrily. Tell me they aren't turning Eve heel, please.
Sin Cara vs. Primo
Here we go now, Mistico, excuse me, SIN CARA, making his televised in-ring debut against (who else?) Primo Colon. This should be good, Primo being one of the few people that can actually work the style of match Cara does without looking like a fool. Lock-up to start and they go into your basic wristlock-armdrag lucha sequence. Big "Sin Cara!" chant starts up, which is great to hear, they've really managed to get Cara over just on hype alone. Cara flips right off of Primo's chest and dropkicks him to the outside floor. He follows him out with an awesome slingshot hurricanrana to the floor and then tosses Primo back into the ring. He waits too long and eats a dropkick from Primo though. Both men trade chops for a bit until Cara hits a springboard hurricanrana and then a headscissors, but he waits too long and Primo gets a cheap shot on him. He tries a powerbomb but Cara counters into a sunset flip driver for a near fall. Primo and Cara go to the top rope and Cara slips/gets thrown to the floor in what I'm pretty sure was a botched spot. No worry though because Cara slides right back in and maintains his balance this time, delivering the one-man Spanish Fly to Primo off the top rope for the win at 4:30! This was perfectly booked here, having Cara debut against someone he has experience with and who can work his style in Primo Colon and show off some of his flashy moves before getting the clean pin. Just an extended squash, but a fun and well executed one. **
The Corre come out to the ring, looking like the jobbiest bunch of jobbers to ever job despite having the IC and tag team titles with them. How sad is that? These guys are three of your main champions, and I can't even remember the last time they won a match that meant something (that includes title matches). Before Barrett can get far in his spiel about how he's better than the other members of the group, Gabriel grabs the mic and says he's the most talented one there, bragging about being a 3 time WWE champion, which is so sad and indicative of what a joke that division has become. Big Zeke and Slater both claim they've held up their end as well. Before this goes on very long though Santino's music hits, and he comes out with Mark Henry, Evan Bourne, and Daniel Bryan and claims that if they're the Corre, then this group is "The Apple". I see what you did there Santino. How sad is this, The Corre go from feuding with The Rock and John Cena last week to feuding with Santino and his merry band of jobbers (and a totally out of place Daniel Bryan) this week. Apparently the "Apple" stands for "Allied People Powered by Loathing Everything (you stand for)", whatever the fuck that means. I can dig Santino's comedy, but he's just that---comedy. Keep REAL wrestlers you're trying to push (like Bryan and The Corre members) as far away from him as possible, he does nothing for anyone. I guess this sets up an eight man tag, right now.
Wade Barrett/Justin Gabriel/Heath Slater/Ezekiel Jackson vs. Santino Marella/Daniel Bryan/Evan Bourne/Mark Henry
We return from commercial and join this match already in progress. Bryan is being isolated in The Corre's corner, getting worked over behind the refs back and having Big Zeke overpower him for a bit. The isolation continues for a bit until Bryan fights off Heath Slater and gets the hot tag to Santino, who cleans house on Slater and knocks Gabriel off the apron. Hip-toss and diving headbutt from Santino gets two, and things break down from here as Zeke and Henry battle over who's the biggest black guy on the roster and Evan Bourne hits a flying knee off the top on Barrett. Bryan hits a tope suicida on Barrett back on the outside while Santino sets up for The Cobra, but Gabriel hits him from behind which gives Slater the chance to give him a reverse DDT for the win at 3:33 (shown). I am SHOCKED that The Corre actually got a damn win for once here. Hopefully this "APPLE" stable is just a one-time thing , because it's a total waste of Bryan (and to a lesser extent Bourne). Finish was hot though. *¼
Boomer Sooner blares out over the speakers and good ol' Jim Ross makes his way down to the ring while Michael Cole verbally berates him from inside his Cole Mine. Ross just walks right up to Cole's little cage and starts shaking the damn thing. Holy shit, when did Ross become a tough guy? Jack Swagger runs down to make the save and The King gets up from the announcer's table to fight him off while a referee holds JR and Cole apart. This whole thing had better end with Cole getting shitcanned and Ross being given the Play by Play spot back on RAW. Cole can be the heel commentator on Smackdown and Swagger's manager, just get him out of the booth as the play-by-play man, for the love of God.
Jerry Lawler vs. Jack Swagger
Apparently if Lawler wins here he gets a rematch with Cole at Extreme Rules and gets to pick the stipulation. PLEASE let that be the blow-off guys. JR is in King's corner, which is fun to see, but a waste of a great talent. Why exactly couldn't JR be at the booth right now instead of just having Josh Matthews sit there and not commentate this match? No, seriously, he doesn't say a word while Cole and JR shout advice from ringside. Swagger stomps away at King in the corner while Cole screams across the ring as Ross. Swagger applies the ankle lock but King gets the rope break while Cole shouts "MOMMY MOMMY!" for some reason. Swagger tries a wristlock (which almost looks like a chimora) while Cole and JR continue to argue outside the ring, as more focus seems to be on them the match in the ring. Not that I'm complaining. Cole distracts King so JR comes over and throws him off the apron, allowing King to roll up Swagger for the win at 5:15. After the match King challenges Cole to a tag match at Extreme Rules pitting King and JR against Cole and his "former friend" Swagger. O..kay? I swear if Swagger turns and Cole wins again, I'm going to flip. And putting Jim Ross in a MATCH? You take him off TV as an announcer because he's "too old", but he's not too old to get in the ring? Ugh. This got five minutes, which is about five minutes more than it needed. ¼*
Backstage John Cena and Edge shake hands as Edge makes his way out to the ring. All night they've been teasing that Edge might announce his retirement tonight, and apparently his big announcement is up next. After a commercial break we return as Edge makes his way out to the ring and Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler join Josh Matthews at ringside (hooray!). Edge says to bear with him as he might ramble here. He says that anyone who's ever gotten in the ring knows how easy it is to get hurt. He brings up his neck injury from eight years ago and all of the rehab he had to do for it. He says he's been in a lot of pain and has been losing feeling in his arms. He made it through Wrestlemania but the WWE made him take some more tests and apparently the MRIs show that Edge has to retire. If this is legit, this is awful, awful news. I doubt it's legit though. Crowd buys into it though and gives him a big standing ovation as Edge gets misty-eyed and a "Thank You Edge!" chant starts up. He says that he felt like he was letting the fans and the boys down by doing this, but that his best friend Christian reminded him of all he's accomplished. He tells the Wrestlemania 6 Sky Dome story, which is always nice to hear and says he couldn't dream of a better way to go out than as World champion after winning at Wrestlemania. He jokes about his past as a pseudo-vampire in the Brood (which gets a nice little mini-pop) and how his character and career changed over the years. He acknowledges JR at ringside who signed him initially and says if he had to go through it all again, he's do it in a heartbeat. Finally he thanks the fans and gets a standing ovation. I keep expecting Alberto Del Rio's music to play to interrupt him here to confirm it's all an angle, but it never comes. Whether this was legit or not, this was a GREAT promo from Edge and a touching moment. Let the "Is Edge really retiring?!" chaos begin.
Backstage Edge gets a standing ovation and hugs from all of the boys in the back, heels and faces alike. More touching stuff, and if this is all an angle, they've done a phenomenal job of putting it over as legit. If it really is legit, man, what a damn shame. I'll rant on it later. Just checked some of the wrestling news sites and apparently this IS legit, atleast according to mysterious backstage sources. Holy shit man, this came out of nowhere and is like a shot to the heart. Edge gave this business as much as he possibly could during his career and I've never seen someone with so much passion for his work as Edge has, or I guess had. I'm still in shock right now, so you'll have to excuse me here. I'll post something on Edge's career later when more information becomes available.
The Miz comes out with Alex Riley and joins JR, King, and Matthews at the commentary table for our main event match. Damn, it's only 10:30, are we really getting a 30 minute long main event? Bring it on!
Five Man Gauntlet WWE Title Number One Contender's Match
Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler
Orton and Ziggler start us off...hmmm, I wonder who's going to win here? Ziggler hits the Fame-Asser early on Orton and hammers away while Miz explains Alex Riley's role as his personal bitch, I mean assistant. Ziggler gets a bit of offense in until Orton goes into the Viper routine. Elevated DDT from the second rope, but the Nexus run out suddenly and distract Orton long enough for Ziggler to roll him up and get the upset pin at 2:47. Holy shit, did Orton just get pinned (semi) cleanly? What planet am I on right now? Nexus beats down Orton as we take a commercial break. ¼*
Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth
Very glad they got Orton out of there quickly, the last thing we need is another Orton title run. R-Truth is out next. Ziggler dominates to start, driving an elbow into Truth's heart for a two count early. Ziggler tries working a chinlock but Truth fights him off. Both men trade knees but the crowd seems really deflated since the big Edge announcement. Ziggler misses a splash into the corner and Truth gives him a gourdbuster for a two count. Neckbreaker gets Ziggler a near fall as well. Truth hits a reverse STO on Ziggler, and that's enough for the clean pin at 4:28. From "World champion" to jobbing clean to R-Truth within a few months, my how Ziggler has fallen. *
R-Truth vs. John Morrison
Morrison is out next. I don't hear a bell when we return from commercial so I guess we're joining this already in progress. Both men trade sunset flips for a series of near falls, which is kind of stupid considering the match JUST started and that's a sequence you should save for later on in a match, when you've actually been beat up enough to be down for several near-falls. Morrison pancakes Truth and hits a spinning leg drop for another near fall. Chinlock applied from JoMo and that's not going to get this crowd into it. Morrison clotheslines Truth out of the ring and both men end up giving each other clotheslines wiping both men out as the ref applies the count. Both men make it back in at 9 though and Morrison hits a big leg lariat. Ross has been on the mic for only about 20 minutes and he's already put over the talent better than Cole has in months. Truth hits his unique suplex-stunner move, but Morrison gets the shoulder up at two. Springboard kick from Morrison sets up the Starship Pain, but Truth moves out of the way at the last moment and hits the reverse STO on Morrison for the clean pin at 4:52 (shown). What the HELL is going on right now? R-Truth just pinned two upper midcarders clean in the span of ten minutes, did someone put acid in my spam again? Am I hallucinating? Not a bad mini-match either. *¾
R-Truth vs. John Cena
Cena hits a gut-wrench suplex for a quick near fall as huge dueling "Let's Go Cena!" "Cena sucks!" chants start up, which The Miz acknowledges. I'm still in utter shock that R-Truth has made it this far. Nice snap suplex from Cena gets another two count. Back suplex gets him another two. Cena looks fired up, he's going suplex-crazy. Powerslam gets Cena yet another near fall and it's been all Cena so far here as you can tell. Another snap suplex and another near fall for John. Cena hits his top-rope legdrop, but AGAIN Truth kicks out at two. If Cena were a heel, this crowd would be rabidly behind Truth at this point. As it is he's still getting some decent support from the fans. Finally Truth gets some offense in with a big right hand and both men collapse. Big hip-toss from Truth he (somewhat) hits that spinning forearm of his for a two count of his own. Crowd is hot now, unlike the previous matches in this gauntlet, and it's sure helping matters. Truth goes for the reverse STO that put away both Morrison and Ziggler, but Cena counters and hits a pair of running shoulderblocks followed by an atomic slam. Cena hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle and then goes for the Attitude Adjustment, but Miz and Riley hit the ring and attack both Cena and Truth, causing the ref to throw out the match as a double DQ at 5:37 (shown). This was shockingly good until the no-finish as the crowd was red hot for both men and for the first time ever people were buying R Truth as a legit threat to a main eventer like John Cena. They need to do something with R-Truth and capitalize on the momentum he just gained here, NOW. **
After the match Miz gets on the mic and gloats about how both men lost and neither man gets a title shot. The lights flicker though and the anonymous GM sends another e-mail, which reads that there are now TWO number one contender's for Miz's title, and that both John Cena and R-Truth will face The Miz at Extreme Rules for the WWE title. R-Truth, in a title match on a PPV? Am I dreaming? Where am I? Who's hand is that? Why are there so many bright lights...
Cena and R-Truth shake hands to end the show, but they get a bit over zealous with their pats on the back and have a stare-off.
Bottom Line: Well this was an interesting show. While there wasn't anything wrestling-wise here you need to go out of your way to watch, we did get plenty of in-ring time and the entire show built up to the Extreme Rules show very well, setting up the main event with a shocking R-Truth inclusion. The big news of course from this show though is Edge's big retirement announcement, which is a shocker to say the least. It's hard to say where the WWE goes from here, but suffice to say they've lost an incredibly valuable and important member of their roster, and another main eventer during a time when they're still desperately trying to build new ones. Very touching goodbye from Edge though, and you should obviously seek that out. Sin Cara also made his in-ring debut in a fun little squash match, so all-in-all tonight's show was an extremely entertaining one for the most part, despite a few wasted segments. Thumbs Up.