WWE RAW 4/18/11
April 18th, 2011
O2 Arena, London, England
Attendance: 18,000 +/-???
April 18th, 2011
O2 Arena, London, England
Attendance: 18,000 +/-???
Your hosts are JIM FUCKING ROSS, Jerry Lawler, and Michael Cole
We start the show off with R-Truth coming out to the ring and getting a great reaction from the crowd. He says he's very happy because he's been down a long road of trials, tribulations, and demons to get to this WWE title shot. He promises to win the title at Extreme Rules and become the most fightingist champion of champions who will take on anyone, anywhere, anytime. Nice babyface promo here and the crowd eats it up until John Morrison comes down to the ring and congratulates Truth on his "good luck" from all of the outside shenanigans during the gauntlet match last week.JoMo says he's not in shape, and then shows a clip from the gauntlet match showing R-Truth cooling down with a bottle of water while waiting for Cena to make his entrance. Am I missing something here? Morrison says Truth is in as good of shape as a smoker can be. Oh no, R-Truth smokes! Won't somebody please think of the children? Truth says he's trying to quit and then says he knows that Morrison is just trying to get in his head to set up a match for Truth's WWE title shot jokingly, but Morrison accepts. JoMo says the Draft is next week and this could be the last time these two wrestle. Truth tries to back off from the match but he realizes the crowd wants to see them wrestle, so he relents and here we go...
R-Truth vs. John Morrison
This looks like a good opener, how about that? Cole tries to claim that Morrison just pulled the oldest trick in the book. Where is this book and who wrote it? I say this every week, but it's great to hear JR on commentary. Feeling out process between both men to start with a nice exchange of holds. Truth goes and gets a drink of water while we cut to commercial. When we return things have become more heated both in the ring and on commentary between Cole and JR. Truth takes control with a side-headlock. Morrison fights out of it and it's literally agony to listen to Lawler and Cole insult each other and not talk for one second about the match in the ring. Truth blocks a suplex attempt and gives Morrison the suplex-stunner variation he's been using recently. Truth shouts "GOTCHA!" and goes for his reverse STO finisher but Morrison blocks it and hits the Starship Pain to pick up the win at 4:00 (shown). Not exactly the good match these two are capable of, this was mostly R-Truth working chinlocks until JoMo hit his finisher. More of an angle than a match. Blegh. *
After the match Truth is obviously devastated, but he really only has himself to blame. He booked the match himself after all. Truth YANKS Morrison off the top rope while he's celebrating though and gets a big chorus of boos for it. He hits a vicious running knee to Morrison in the ring and this crowd that was just cheering the hell out of Truth is now booing him thoroughly. Truth hits another running knee, this time outside the ring, and almost looks regretful about what he's done. He grabs a bottle of water off of the commentator's table (I sweat to God I hear a "Water!" chant) and slams it into JoMo's head as a big "R-Truth Sucks" chant starts up. He lets John know that this is his fault and gives him the reverse STO finisher on the outside floor. Morrison is selling all of this like he's just been shot multiple times, which only adds to the drama. Truth grabs a pack of cigarettes from some random fan (looks like Marlboro Lights) and lights it up, which I shit you not, gets him a bunch of heat. Probably because smoking indoors in a public place in England is illegal (and most other places these days). I am not even making this shit up, not one but TWO people in the crowd audibly shout "THINK OF THE CHILDREN TRUTH!". Have I traveled back in time or something? This was a really well done heel turn and the crowd went from popping for everything Truth did to booing him out of the building by the ending, which is impressive. I'm guessing this leads to an R-Truth vs. John Morrison feud over the summer.
Evan Bourne comes out for the next match but Vickie Guerrero interrupts for some nuclear heat. She introduces the "new and improved" Dolph Ziggler, which is just a new haircut and dye-job. I liked him as a blonde!
Dolph Ziggler vs. Evan Bourne
So I guess this is the new and improved Dolph Ziggler push. Bourne hits a big rana early and leaps off the second rope only to eat a big dropkick from Ziggler for a near fall. Ziggler works the old bow and arrow submission hold for a bit and then drops an elbow. Bourne tries fighting back with kicks and a high knee. Bourne rolls out of a pin attempt and hits a doublestomp before climbing to the top rope and going for the shooting star press, but Ziggler moves and Bourne lands on his feet only to eat the Zig-Zag from Dolph for the pin at 2:12. Why again did they put Bourne over Swagger in his return if they were just going to use him as a jobber? Short match, but holy shit, this was an AWESOME two minutes and twelve seconds. Give these guys 10 minutes and they could tear the house down. **¼
After the match Michael Cole claims he's going to be knighted by the Queen tonight in the ring. Suuure. And as if things couldn't get worse, we get a trailer for the latest WWE film "That's What I Am", which is quite possibly the most hackneyed, cliched, over-the-top and limp-wristed attempt at a coming-of-age film I've ever seen in my life. Oh and Randy Orton is in it. For five seconds. Oh and they got Ed Harris, somehow. Does Ed Harris owe Vince McMahon money from a poker game or something?
We get a nice little video package of all of the Edge retirement stuff over the last week. Nice little video.
Apparently Alberto Del Rio is going to be having a "retirement party" for Edge on this Friday's Smackdown.
The Miz's music hits and it's a huge mixed reaction, like some scary combination of half monster pop and half mega heel heat. Big reaction nevertheless. He grabs a mic and says that he's not happy about having to face Morrison and Cena now instead of Cena and Truth, and that he's definitely not happy about it being a steel cage match, which I guess is the announcement right here. Pinfall, submission, or escape rules apply. Sounds pretty decent to me. Miz thinks he's being screwed, so he has Riley set up a chair for him to sit on and wait for the RAW GM to intervene. We cut to commercial and when we return Miz is talking, apparently talking the entire commercial break. The WWE logo on the mic is upside down for the Miz, which is pretty awesome. Miz goes to do his "Awesome" catchphrase but suddenly Sin Cara's music hits and the former Mistico hits the ring. Cena's music hits though and he makes his way down to the ring to a very mixed reaction from this British crowd. The RAW GM finally sends an email that books Cena and Sin Cara against The Miz and Alex Riley in a tag team match, right now.
John Cena/Sin Cara vs. The Miz/Alex Riley
Cena and Riley start us off with Cena going to work on him. See, the idea here should be that the big babyface (Cena) teams up with the new underdog (Sin Cara) against the dastardly heels in an attempt to give a rub to Sin Cara. Only this crowd seems to strongly dislike Cena, probably because of The Rock feud, so that's not really going to work. Cena and The Miz square off now as Cena hits a fisherman's suplex and tries for the Attitude Adjustment, but Miz counters with a jumping sideslam. Miz and Riley trade quick tags, working over Cena in their corner and isolating him. Cena hits a running powerslam to make the comeback and gets the hot tag to Cara, who springboards in with quick kicks and forearms before taking The Miz out with a handspring back elbow and a flying headscissors. Cara tries another springboard but Riley grounds him and The Miz slams his back into the ring apron. Back inside Cara gets a victory roll for a near fall, but Miz gives him a big boot for one of his own. Now Cara plays the role of babyface in peril, being isolated in Riley and Miz's corner. Big dueling Cena chants until John gets the hot tag and cleans house on the heels. He hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle and the Attitude Adjustment on Riley and then tags Cara in, who hits a lionsault for the pin at 7:03. This was as formulaic as it gets, but that's never a problem when you've got talented people out there. Cara is still adjusting to the WWE style, but he and Cena played their parts perfectly here, even if the crowd wasn't keen on Cena. Quite the decent TV tag match. **½
Eve Torres vs. Nikki Bella
This division is dead to me until Kong debuts. Eve does a nifty cartwheel to escape one of Brie's dreaded hairpulls to start us off. No heat for these women at all, what a shocker. Brie stomps away and applies an inverted chinlock. Eve hits an elbow and a jump kick then rolls her up for the win at 1:47. This was...something. Just not something good. DUD
After the match Cole gets on the mic and declares he's going to be knighted in a few minutes. Jack Swagger comes out and puts a big King's cape around Cole and pulls out a scroll (yes, a scroll) that declares Michael Cole as Sir Michael Cole. They bring out the Queen apparently...only it's clearly not the Queen, at all. I wonder if this offends anyone in attendance? Probably not. Queen gets NUCLEAR HEAT. She Knights Cole and he gives her a big fat kiss on the lips. Cole decides that since he's royalty now, he wants JR and the King to get in the ring and kiss his feet. King hits the ring but Swagger disposes of him with ease. JR is about to totally bust Cole's ass, but Swagger grabs him and puts him back in the ankle lock while Cole stuffs his dirty nasty foot in JR's face. Sweet Jesus, you bring back Jim Ross for THIS? To kiss Michael Cole's feet? Just move Cole to Smackdown as a pure heel, make JR the regular play-by-play man, and end this feud at Extreme Rules. Please.
Sheamus vs. Santino Marella
Before the match starts Sheamus says he wants to embarrass Santino. I don't think Santino can be embarassed. Sheamus dominates to start, as expected. Sheamus hits a series of elbows for a near fall and gets some boos from the crowd. Sheamus locks in a chinlock and hammers away on Santino's chest. Marella seriously hasn't gotten a single offensive move in yet. So tries for The Cobra but eats the Brogue Kick instead for the win at 3:37. This was just a total and complete squash for Sheamus, but there's nothing wrong with a squash match every now and again. Just make them shorter. Sheamus could use the wins. ½*
CM Punk vs. Randy Orton
Crowd is pretty split here, it's probably 50/50 in terms of fan support. Nice to have a Wrestlemania rematch on free TV, I always look forward to those every year in April. Side headlock from Punk to start as the dueling chants start up instantly. Orton stomps away at Punk in the corner Josh Matthews reminds us that Nexus is banned from ringside. Are you sure they can't just be banned from television? Orton hits a series of clotheslines and a powerslam on Punk and then sets up for the RKO, but Punk evades it as we cut to commercial. We return with Punk body-slamming Orton and dropping a knee. Punk hits a snap suplex and floats over into the pin for a two count and then puts Randy in a chinlock. Orton rolls out of the ring for a breather and Punk flies off the apron with a running clothesline. Back inside the ring Punk gets a near fall and blows a kiss to the crowd while they have dueling chants for each man's finishing move. Punk locks his legs around Orton's neck in a vicegrip. Orton fights it off but Punk still delivers a running knee to the face. He tries for a bulldog but Orton counters with a back suplex for a two count of his own. Punk nails the bulldog now and tries a victory roll but again Orton kicks out. Punk lays in a series of kicks but Orton counters with a backbreaker and the Angle Slam (Kurt Angle tweets about this in 3, 2, 1...) for another close two count. Punk hits a springboard clothesline but that won't keep Randy down either. Orton hits a textbook superplex off the top. Punk counters out of the second rope DDT and tries for the GTS, but Randy counters and tries for the RKO, so Punk just says "fuck that" and kicks him square in the face for a close two count. Punk tries for the GTS but Orton counters out and rolls Punk up for the win at 12:00 (shown). This was an excellent television main event, and a better match than their encounter weeks ago Wrestlemania to be honest. Crisp execution, swank counters, false finishes, this match had it all. A perfect way to close out the show. ***½
After the match Nexus hits the ring and attacks Orton. Punk goes to hit the punt kick, but Orton jumps up and gives him the RKO. We close out the show with CM Punk flipping out in the ring, kicking the ring ropes.
Bottom Line: This was an excellent show with a lot of good stuff packed into a concise two hour broadcast. R-Truth turned heel, and it actually went over very well despite what you might have expected. His character has a whole new spark to it that could hopefully provide some energy to the midcard again. Cena and The Miz continue their feud and throw in Sin Cara and Alex Riley to even it out in a fun formula tag, and the whole thing is washed down with the cool, refreshing taste of a great CM Punk vs. Randy Orton main event with a clean finish. I was liking the show up until the main event, which solidified the recommendation here and the easy Thumbs Up.