WWE RAW 4/25/11
April 25th, 2011
RBC Center, Raleigh, North Carolina
April 25th, 2011
RBC Center, Raleigh, North Carolina
So we're only six days away from the Extreme Rules PPV but tonight is big in it's own right as it's the annual WWE Draft. It was originally supposed to take place sometime in June, but for reasons unknown they decided to bump it up all the way to now. This is usually always an interesting episode of RAW, so let's see what surprises they might Tehave in store for us here tonight.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Josh Matthews
We open the show by joining an inter-brand Battle Royal already in progress...
20 Man Battle Royal Raw vs. Smackdown Match
(Featuring Kane, Great Khali, Vladimir Kozlov, Ezekiel Jackson, Heath Slater, Wade Barrett, Chris Masters, Ted DiBiase, Mark Henry, Brodus Clay, Yoshi Tatsu, Sheamus, Drew McIntyre, Santino Marella, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, Big Show, Kofi Kingston, Mason Ryan, and Evan Bourne)
Pure chaos to start the show tonight with the usual Draft night battle royal. Winning team gets the first pick in the draft tonight. Kane is the first one eliminated. Khali is wearing huge red fleece pants which is absolutely bizarre looking. A bunch of Smackdown guys team up and eliminate Khali. Vladimir Kozlov is eliminated off-camera next. Battle Royals are great for the live crowd, but they always wind up being pretty boring for the viewers at home. Mark Henry eliminates big Ezekiel Jackson next. Heath Slater gets tossed out and is followed shortly by Chris Masters. Wade Barrett gets tossed while Cole yaps about how great he is on commentary. Ted DiBiase is tossed next before Mark Henry and Brodus Clay eliminate each other at the same time. Yoshi Tatsu is gone next. Sheamus blocks the Future Shock DDT from Drew McIntyre only to be eliminated by Drew moments later as we take a commercial break. When we return Daniel Bryan is getting squashed by the Big Show, literally. Drew is out next. Santino tries The Cobra on Big Show but is easily eliminated instead. Daniel Bryan goes after Show again, showing a lot of heart. Cody Rhodes is tossed out next by Mason Ryan, and is then followed shortly by Bryan. Final four is Big Show, Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne, and Mason Ryan. Bourne is nearly eliminated by a backdrop off the apron from Kofi but he hangs on showing great athleticism and balance. Big Show just tosses Bourne out next with ease. Big Show eliminates Mason Ryan and the winners are Kofi and Big Show, giving Smackdown the first pick in the draft at 10:15 (shown). Just your typical Battle Royal, but the stuff with Bourne and Kofi at the end was fun. *½
The Draft-o-matic 3000 fires up on the screen and Smackdown's first pick in the 2011 Draft is...John Cena! Smackdown celebrates backstage while the RAW superstars look crushed. This move definitely makes sense for John as he's done just about everything he can on RAW and needs some material to work with while he's waiting for the big Rock match next March. Cena's music hits and he makes his way out to the stage where he puts on a Smackdown t-shirt as we cut to commercial. When we return Todd Grisham gets a few words with Cena about how he feels about moving to Smackdown. The Miz walks up moments later and says so-long.
Recap of R-Truth's heel turn last week before he comes out to the stage, without his music. He acts like he's going to do the "What's Up" bit but instead tells the crowd to "Shut Up". He talks about how both John Morrison and the fans turned their backs on him last week and it's like it's 2001 all over again as the entire crowd shouts "WHAT?" after everything Truth says. He blames the fans for his loss last week and laments about spending his entire career trying to please the fans and how it's gotten him nowhere. He mocks the children in the crowd who would sing along to his theme music next. Truth says he's going to leave RAW tonight and says that for the first time in his life the "Truth" has set him free. Out of nowhere John Morrison jumps him from behind on the stage and gets a few shots in before WWE officials are able to separate both men.
Another Awesome Kong promo. This time we actually get to see her face and they debut her new name, Kharma.
Eve Torres vs. Layla
Another Raw vs. Smackdown match with the winner's brand getting the next pick. We recap Michelle attacking Layla during their "couples therapy" session on Smackdown last week, and yet here comes Michelle behind Layla, watching from ringside. Just break them up already guys. Layla is fired up to start with big punches, but it's not long before this thing turns ugly as Eve totally botches a reverse STO in ugly fashion. Suddenly Michael Cole gets on the mic and this distracts Layla long enough for Eve to roll her up for the win at 0:38. That's thirty eight seconds of my life I'll never be getting back. They attempted one wrestling move in this match, and completely botched it. Big, fat DUD
After the match Cole is still on the mic, talking about how he's a real athlete unlike the divas in the ring. He walks backstage to do an "extensive pre-match warm-up" before his match with Jim Ross later tonight. They bury their own Divas while still finding a way to humiliate JR on national TV, What exactly the point is here, no one knows. Layla attacks Michelle at ringside after the match as well. She tosses her into the commentary table while crying at the same time, making this the most awkward segment in quite some time. For the love of God, let's move on.
The Draft-o-Matic 3000 fires up again and RAW's first pick in the 2011 Draft is...Rey Mysterio! Rey comes out onto the stage and throws on a RAW t-shirt. Kind of strange to see Rey moved off of the brand he's been synonymous with since his debut, but hopefully it will give him some fresh faces to feud with. Backstage we see Jim Ross warming up for his match with Michael Cole later tonight.
Backstage Todd Grisham asks Cody Rhodes for his thoughts on Rey being drafted to RAW. Cody says he's going to give Rey a going-away present after their match at Extreme Rules...a new mask. I vote for Jason's hockey mask. The original one from Part 3, not the Zombie Jason mask.
Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus
I'm guessing this is another match for a draft pick. I think we're supposed to just assume every match tonight is. Sheamus is all over Kofi to start with hammer fists. Slingshot shoulder-block from Sheamus only gets him a one count. Kofi hits a cross-body block off the top for a near fall of his own. He fires away at Sheamus in the corner but eats a lariat. Sheamus tries for the Celtic Cross but Kofi slips out, so he tries for the Brogue Kick but Kofi avoids it again and then nails Sheamus with the Trouble in Paradise as he turns around. He doesn't get all of it though so he nails him with another one and that's enough for the clean pin on Sheamus at 2:22. Short and inoffensive, but having either guy job clean so quickly doesn't help either man's credibility. *
The Draft-o-Matic 3000 fires up once again as Smackdown gets it's second pick in the 2011 Draft, which is none other than...Randy Orton! Well that's rather shocking to see both of the WWE's biggest babyfaces drafted to Smackdown. Orton comes out on stage and throws on his new Smackdown t-shirt. It'll be nice to see Orton on a different show for once, and so far it seems like Smackdown for once is actually getting the better end of the draft this year, we'll have to wait and see the remaining picks.
Booker T comes out to join us on commentary for the next match.
Michael Cole vs. Jim Ross
They're still referring to Cole as "Sir" Michael Cole. I flat out do not understand what Vince has against Jim Ross sometimes, apparently he's too old to be a regular commentator but he's not too old to be wrestle on RAW every other week? Someone will have to explain the warped logic of that one to me. JR gets his usual nice pop and is rocking an Oklahoma Sooners jersey. King leaves the commentary table to be in his corner. Cole walks around for a bit mocking JR's weight. Cole's not one to talk as his gut seems to get bigger every time we see him in his amateur wrestling gear. Cole grabs JR's cowboy hat from ringside and puts it on. Wow, great use of television time here guys. Finally after about four minutes of walking around Ross grabs Cole and tosses him down. Cole tries to call time out and Swagger freshens him up in his corner like he's a pro boxer or something. The referee for some bizarre reason has no problem with any of this. Cole tries for a body slam on JR but he's too big and collapses under the Hall of Famer's weight. JR gets some nice shots in and Cole bails from the ring only for the King to toss him right back in. Swagger tosses the King into the steel post and barricade and then hops in the ring to attack JR for the DQ at 4:34. So glad we gave that five minutes for that finish. I'm skeptical of even calling this a "wrestling" match considering 99% of it was stalling. Awful and way too long for what they were trying to accomplish here. Another DUD
After the match Swagger takes of JR's belt and applies the ankle lock on him while Cole whips his back with his own belt. This goes on until the Anonymous RAW GM sends an e-mail making the JR/King vs. Cole/Swagger tag match at Extreme Rules a "Country Whipping Match", whatever the hell that is. I pray this feud mercifully comes to an end this Sunday.
Backstage Scott Stanford (who should be the number one Play-by-Play commentator in the company right now if we can't have JR) catches up with The Miz about his thoughts on the Draft and next week's RAW where The Rock will celebrate his birthday. He promises to defeat Cena and Morrison this Sunday at Extreme Rules to retain his title and says that if he gets drafted off of RAW, the show will wind up cancelled in a month.
Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler
Apparently the winner's brand here gets TWO Draft picks. Dolph doesn't even get his own entrance anymore. Coupled with his new ultra-generic look, it seems like they're doing everything to bury this guy after spending the last 4 months trying to make him a main eventer. That's WWE logic for you. Neckbreaker from Ziggler gets an early near fall. He applies a half-Chicken Wing submission as the crowd rallies behind Randy. Ziggler gets sent to the floor and he delivers a nice dropkick to Orton, sending him over the barricade into the front row as the referee applies his count. Orton gets back into the ring just before the ten count and starts his go-home sequence; clotheslines, snap powerslam, and an Angle Slam for a two count. Orton gets distracted briefly by Vickie Guerrero on the outside and gets rolled up for a two count, but he recovers quickly and nails Ziggler with the RKO for the pin at 3:25. Just like with Jack Swagger last year, the WWE seems to have done a complete 180 on their booking of Ziggler. From World title contender to jobber fodder in less than three months, sad to see. Pretty good stuff for a three minute match though. **
So with Orton's win Smackdown gets the next two picks in the Draft. The Draft-O-Matic 3000 fires up but before it can pick the next wrestler, CM Punk interrupts and walks out with a mic in hand. He says he has no doubt that this Sunday he and Orton will get "extreme" on each other, but there won't be many rules being applied. He says he's going to defeat Orton this Sunday and Orton basically says the same back to him as we cut to commercial.
When we return we see that the latest picks for Smackdown are none other than... Sin Cara and Mark Henry! Bringing Cara to Smackdown makes perfect sense since he's being pegged to fill Rey Mysterio's role in the future, but Mark Henry is a total waste of a draft pick. Nobody has cared about Henry in a very long time, and that pick could have actually been used on someone who needs a brand change, like Daniel Bryan. The 15 year love affair between the WWE and Mark Henry continues, much to everyone's utter apathy.
Rey Mysterio vs. Wade Barrett
This match is also for two draft picks apparently. Barrett delivers a big Bossman slam early on for a quick two count and then hammers away on Rey with closed fists and chokes him in the corner with the heel of his boot. Rey hits a springboard cross-body block for a near fall of his own but then gets rammed into the corner by Barrett. Wade tries for a superplex but gets knocked off and Rey hits a flying headscissors off the top that sets Wade up for the 619, which Rey hits. He finishes him off with a splash off the top at 2:31. Another criminally short match as I guess they're in a real hurry to fit in everything on the show tonight. Decent while it lasted. *½
Rey's win gives RAW the next two Draft picks. The Draft-O-Matic 3000 fires up and selects the next star drafted to RAW...the Big Show! Another guy who didn't need to be drafted, but atleast this should finally end his painful Smackdown babyface run. The Draft-O-Matic 3000 fires up again though and the next selection for RAW is none other than...Alberto Del Rio! We cut backstage to where Del Rio throws away his Smackdown shirt and talks to Ricardo Rodriguez in Spanish about something as we cut to commercial. Moving Del Rio was something everyone was expecting, and it's the right move for the guy. Hopefully this confirms my suspicions that they'll finally pull the trigger on Christian this Sunday and have him win the title, something that's been long overdue.
Michael Cole returns to his Cole Mine with a mouth full of cotton balls. And just when you thought he couldn't get any worse on commentary, now we have to listen to him with a mouth full of cotton. Wonderful. Teddy Long comes out next for some reason and says our main event tonight will be a six man tag team match, with the winning team getting the final Draft pick tonight.
Trailer for the latest WWE film "That's What I Am", which appears to be quite possibly the worst piece of trash the WWE has produced yet. I have no idea how they got Ed Harris to do that movie for them.
John Cena/Christian/Mark Henry vs. The Miz/CM Punk/Alberto Del Rio
One of these six is not like the others. We've got nearly 15 minutes before the top of the hour, but by the time all of the entrances are done it's almost 10:55. Christian and The Miz start us out with with a nice running-the-ropes sequence. Christian tags Cena in but The Miz bails immediately as we take a commercial break. When we return Cena hits a suplex on The Miz. Punk tags in and eats a dropkick from Cena, who then tags Mark Henry in. Henry beats down Punk for a bit and tags Christian in, who hits a sweet back elbow off the top on Punk. Punk nails him with a boot though and tags Del Rio in. Rio hammers away on Christian and tags The Miz back in as the heels work away on Christian in their corner. Christian tries to fight Miz off but Punk is tagged back in and the isolation continues. Miz clotheslines Christian and gets a near fall as this crowd is red-hot for this match and Christian is playing the babyface-in-peril perfectly. Del Rio tags back in and goes to work on Christian's arm, setting him up for his armbar finisher. Both men fight to the top rope and Christian knocks Alberto off, nailing him with a huge tornado DDT. Strange to listen to King cheer on Del Rio, a heel, as he's a member of the RAW team. Miz tags in as Christian gets the hot tag to Cena, who cleans house on Miz with ease. He goes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle...but Mark Henry nails him with a clothesline? Swerve! Henry tosses Christian into the steel steps as well and then walks off. That's exactly what this show needed, the 9000th Mark Henry heel turn. Miz hits Cena with the Skull Crushing Finale back in the ring and gets the win for RAW at 8:25 (shown). Pretty fun six man tag here to cap off the show, but another Mark Henry heel turn seems completely pointless at this stage in his career. If it didn't work the first twenty times, it's not going to work now. **½
The Draft-O-Matic 3000 fires up again and in the last pick of the Draft Raw gets...John Cena! Again, making his first selection a total waste of a draft pick and TV time. Sure, why not. We close out the show with Cena beating up on the heels.
Bottom Line: I really wanted to like this show, I did. The Draft is usually always a very entertaining show each year for the WWE, but that wasn't the case this year. We saw some big moves in the Draft and for once Smackdown got the better end of the deal. The main event was decent fun as well, but everything else here ranged from average to downright atrocious in the case of the Cole/Ross and Eve/Layla matches, both of which could be contenders for the worst WWE match of the year so far. Talented guys like Orton and Ziggler get two minutes, but Cole and Jim Ross get nearly five? Hard to understand the logic there. Throw in the 9000th Mark Henry heel turn and the whole show came off flat. Average stuff really, worth looking into if you're a fan of The Draft, but otherwise this simply wasn't a very good show. Thumbs Down.