Monday, May 23, 2011

WWE RAW 5/23/11 -- Raw is Savage (Kind Of)

WWE RAW 5/23/11
May 23rd, 2011
Rose Garden Arena, Portland, Oregon
Attendance: ???

We're less than 24 hours removed from the Over the Limit PPV as RAW continue's it's tour of the Northwest, stopping in Portland tonight. Tonight's show is expected to also be in part a tribute to the late Macho Man Randy Savage, so it should be an interesting evening in the WWE. We open the show with the same "Rest in Peace" graphic that they displayed before last night's PPV before cutting into the usual intro package.

Your hosts are Josh Matthews, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler

We open the show officially with Jerry Lawler making his way out to the ring. He grabs a mic and celebrates his defeat of Michael Cole at last night's PPV. King says he knew Cole would try to weasel out of the stipulation of the match, but he had an ace up his sleeve. Or rather, a "Hart". Chuckle chuckle. Bret Hart's music hits and the Hall of Famer comes down to the ring and joins Jerry. King joins Josh at the commentary table while Bret says it was his pleasure to make sure that Michael Cole suffered the agony of "de-feet". Suddenly R-Truth's "music" hits (which is still just a clip of him saying his catch phrase and no actual music) and he makes his way down to the ring with a mic in his hand to some big boos. Truth complains about never getting a title shot like Bret got and then takes his sunglasses and goes to ringside to give it to a fat kid at ringside. He snatches the glasses off his head moments later though and the look on the kid's face is priceless. Truth says maybe he needs to beat up a Hall of Famer to get noticed, and Bret just tells him to bring it on. Truth tries to walk off but John Cena's music hits and the WWE champion makes his way out to the ring, walking gingerly after the punishment he took the night before. Cena exchanges pleasantries with Bret and then turns his attention to Truth, asking him when exactly he went insane. Truth cracks on Cena's acting career, shouting the "I want my son back!" line from the Legendary trailer. Truth blames Cena and Bret for his troubles, calling them propaganda tools in the conspiracy against him. Suddenly the lights flicker and the RAW GM has sent an e-mail. Josh Matthews reads it and announces that tonight's main event will be R-Truth and CM Punk against John Cena and Rey Mysterio with Bret Hart as the special guest referee. Decent opening segment, Truth's heel turn continues to be one of the more interesting things in the company right now and it appears like he may be Cena's next title challenger.

Backstage Kane and Big Show are hanging out on Alberto Del Rio's car, which looks like one of those racecar beds kids have in comparison to how big they both are. Ricardo Rodriguez runs up to get them off but gets shoved down, so Del Rio walks up and says a whole lot of stuff in Spanish that apparently is enough to make them get up and leave. Okay then.

WWE Tag Team Title Match
Big Show/Kane
© vs. David Otunga/Michael McGillicutty

CM Punk joins the commentary team for this match much to my delight. As usual, he's better than both Josh and King at this point. Kane and Otunga start us off with Kane dominating. Big Show tags in and does the same to McGillicutty, making them both look like total jobbers (not that I'm complaining). Nexus looks to regroup outside the ring as we cut to commercial. When we return Otunga is choking Kane in his corner with the heel of his boot. Nexus isolates Kane in their corner for a bit, trading quick tags as he plays the role of your sadomasochistic babyface in peril. Kane hits a big boot and gets the hot tag to Big Show, who quickly cleans house on Nexus. Mason Ryan tries to get involved but gets clotheslined out which distracts the ref long enough for Punk to come up and kick Show in the back of the head, and Otunga and McGillicutty give him a sloppy double DDT, giving them the cheap win and the titles at 5:25 (shown). Oh joy, more of the Nexus jobbers hold tag team gold again. Is WWE creative really so out of ideas for Kane and Show that they resort to booking them in identical feuds one after the other against ex-Nexus members? We just saw this feud on Smackdown, and it sucked. As did this match. *

Backstage Scott Stanford asks Show if he's frustrated and Show flips the hell out on him before Alberto Del Rio walks up and slaps him in the face. Show chases after him and the camera conveniently takes a few moments to catch up as we see Show's leg underneath Del Rio's car when the camera man turns the corner. Oh, fun, another "hit by a car" angle. Gotta have one of those atleast once a year. After what seems like an eternity of Big Show writhing on the ground, groaning like a dying cow we finally cut to commercial. When we return the camera is STILL on Show as he struggles to get to his feet and eventually does despite clearly being injured.

Jack Swagger vs. Evan Bourne

Well would you look at the time, it's half past Evan Bourne jobbing time again. Atleast he gets an entrance this week. Hurricanrana from Bourne to start but Swagger responds with a boot to the face. Swagger works an armbar and Josh Matthews stupidly asks King how many matches he's had in his career, like that's even a question he could possibly answer correctly. Bourne tries a jumping kick but Swagger grabs his ankle and tries for the ankle lock. Bourne fights it off and tries another hurricanrana, but Swagger counters with a huge gut-wrench suplex and that's enough to put Evan away at 2:11. After the match Bourne gets a measure of revenge with a spinning heel kick on Swagger as he celebrates and then takes runs off. Not bad for a squash match, but if this was supposed to be the start of a Swagger/Bourne feud, having Swagger dispose of Bourne like he's a total jobber isn't the way to go about that. ½*

Backstage a dejected Michael Cole is walking around. He offers a handshake to Eve, and she offers her foot instead for him to kiss presumably as we cut to commercial. When we return Cole makes his way out to the ring to a chorus of boos. Cole says he doesn't deserve the fans attention and then he apologizes to Jerry, Josh, Justin Roberts, time-keeper Mark Yeaton, and the fans themselves. The fans aren't buying any of it though of course because Cole has been the most over-the-top uber heel for the last 6 months and a quick apology isn't going to make them forget that. It's clear they're trying to press the "reset" button on Cole, throw out his heel character and bring him back to the table as the play-by-play man. King says he's glad Cole is apologizing and then rubs in last night's loss by putting up a still of King's foot in Cole's mouth. King gives him a box of Altoids and Cole says he deserves that as King allows him to re-join the commentary table. I've never been a Cole fan, but him as the neutral play-by-play man is so much more tolerable than over the top heel Cole at the booth, burying the talent in the ring constantly.

The Miz's music hits and the former champion comes out to the ring next with Alex Riley at his side. Miz says the only reason he didn't win the title last night was because of Riley. He replays the mistakes that Riley has made over the last few weeks and then turns his attention to the anonymous Raw general manager, asking for a one on one title match against John Cena with Alex Riley banned from ringside. The GM responds with an e-mail denying Miz another title shot and Miz again blames it all on Riley. Riley says he wasn't the one who said "I Quit" last night and The Miz flips out and fires him. He shoves Riley and Riley attacks The Miz to a nice pop, ripping off his shirt and throwing him around the ringside area. A "Riley!" chant breaks out as he continues to attack Miz back inside the ring, screaming at him the entire time before storming off and leaving Miz laying in the ring. This worked well in getting Riley over as a potential face (surprisingly), but it also made The Miz generally look like shit. Losing to Cena is one thing, but getting totally punked out by a rookie like Alex Riley is another. Luckily Miz is over enough and talented enough that this shouldn't be much of a setback for him though.

Kelly Kelly/Beth Phoenix/Eve Torres/Gail Kim vs. Maryse/Melina/Brie Bella/Nikki Bella

Before the match starts Cole puts over the Divas like they're the greatest thing he's ever had the honor of calling in a wrestling ring to try and press the reset button on his constant burial of the division on commentary over the last few months. Before the match can really even get started though Kharma's music hits and she makes her way down to the ring. She gets into the center of the ring and falls on her knees and begins...crying? Huh? We cut to commercial with her crying and when we return the match is over apparently. Interesting development in the Kharma angle. No match rating obviously. [N/R]

Kofi Kingston vs. Drew McIntyre

Drew is back on RAW and has pyro again, so I guess they're going to try pushing him again. Probably helps that Bret Hart was talking him up on Twitter and is in the building tonight. Fast pace to start as Kofi does a nice leap-frog before apparently botching the second leapfrog, though that may have been planned as Drew goes right to work on Kofi's leg afterwards. He wrenches away on Kofi's leg until Kingston fights him off and hits a russian legsweep, favoring his leg in the process. Boom Drop from Kofi and he looks to set up for the Trouble in Paradise, but his leg gives out from under him as he tries to perform the move and Drew covers him for a two count. Running powerbomb from Drew but again Kofi kicks out. Kofi gives him his signature arm-trapped somersault STO and pins Drew clean at 4:25. Well that was an odd ending. They focused on the limb-work with Kofi to apparently set up a win for Drew in his official RAW return, but then just had him lose clean in minutes anyways. Decent enough while it lasted, questionable booking aside. *¾

Backstage Dolph Ziggler watches on. It's worth noting he's dyed his hair back bleach blonde again, thank God.

The King says he wonders what it would be like if the President were involved in the PPV next month, and they do the whole dream segment seque into the same corny over-edited video package of Obama at a press conference clipped in with actors asking WWE-related question.

The New Nexus celebrate backstage with CM Punk and their new tag team titles as Punk tells them to watch him wrestle next.

After the commercial break Alberto Del Rio fawns worry and panic about Big Show getting hit by a car earlier in the night with Scott Stanford. He blames it on Ricardo and storms off.

Back at ringside Josh, King, and Michael hype the main event and then finally mention the passing of Macho Man Randy Savage this past week. King puts him over and we cut into a nicely put together video package on Randy's life and career, set to Coldplay's "The Scientist", which happens to be one of my all time favorite songs. Touching video package. I highly recommend checking out the tribute video that Diamond Dallas Page posted to his YouTube channel as well while you're at it. After the video airs the crowd gives a huge standing ovation and a big several Macho Man chants break out as we cut to commercial. You know I was expecting more than just one video package, but atleast it was a well done video package. We're going to miss the hell out of you Randy, we truly are.

John Cena/Rey Mysterio vs. R-Truth/CM Punk

Bret Hart is YOUR special guest referee for the match. Cole agrees with Truth's attitude change and so does Josh, so maybe Cole isn't going to be fully turning face after all. Punk comes out in a pair of old-school Macho Man trunks in a sign of respect to the fallen legend, making me love him even more. The faces dominate in the opening minute of the match as the heels try to re-group on the outside while we cut to commercial. When we return Punk is laying in elbows on Cena in the corner. Cena responds with some right hands and Punk tries to hide behind Bret Hart in classic heel fashion. Truth tags in and rocks Cena with a big right hand as the dueling Cena chants start up in the crowd already. Punk beats down on Cena for a bit until John gets the hog tag to Rey, who explodes on Punk with a hurricanrana and a stiff kick for a two count. Rey tries for the 619 on Truth but Punk grabs him and tries for the GTS only for Rey to counter out and nail Punk with the 619 and Punk turns around to meet a right hand from Bret Hart, who then puts Punk into the Sharpshooter. Rey hits a springboard legdrop and that finishes Punk off at 6:51 (shown). After the match all the babyfaces celebrate together while Cole flips out about Hart's actions. That was a strange ending since Punk didn't attack Bret or anything, he just hid behind him. I guess that was enough reasoning for Bret to attack him though. Decent main event, but too short and the ending was a bit silly. **

Bottom Line: Pretty weak show after a lackluster PPV event the night before. The Macho Man tribute video was nice and worth checking out and there was some nice angle advancement through out the evening, but aside from that there's absolutely nothing of note here and nowhere near enough in-ring time for a two hour broadcast. Not an awful show or anything, but not really worth your time either. Thumbs Down.

Score: 4/10


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