August 1st, 2011
Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Attendance: Unknown at this time
Your hosts are Michael Cole, and "Special Guest" Jim Ross
We open the show with a video package detailing the events that have led us to tonight; Punk winning the title at Money in the Bank, the tournament set up to crown an interim champion in Punk's absence two weeks ago, the Cena/Mysterio title match last week and the showdown between Punk and Cena at the end of RAW last week.
We're live from Indianapolis, and the opening chords of 's "Cult of Personality" welcomes us to tonight's edition of RAW, to a great pop as usual for Punk. The WWE champion makes his way to the ring while the commentators hype Twitter. Punk grabs a microphone and sits down Indian style to cut a promo to a somewhat mixed reaction from the crowd. Punk proudly proclaims in his best faux Cena accent that "The champ is here!". Punk says the $ is why oh why did Punk come back to the WWE? Punk says he's a storyteller and winds back to tell us a new story right now. Punk says he loves the WWE, but hates the people in charge. His choices were to sign the contract and stay status quo, or change and speak his mind so that a domino effect might take place in the WWE hierarchy. Punk takes credit for McMahon's demotion and lets everyone know that he's here to make wrestling fun again for everyone. Punk says his voice needs to be heard by the fans, and that the only way he can do that is by getting involved with the WWE and not sitting back on his couch in Chicago. Punk talks about not being gone for even a week before the soul crushing status quo of John Cena as WWE champion again went into gear. Punk scoffs at the direction of the company saying "Same old, same old" while Punk chants ring out around him. Punk says that he holds in his hands the most important title in the world, and that it indicates that he's the best in the world. Punk sure is looking clean in his new white tee. Before we go any further though, the chords of Motorhead cut us off and here comes the new Chief Operating Officer of the WWE, Triple H.
Triple H makes his way to the ring (in a suit no less) but before he can say anything Punk goads the crowd on in their fervent "Triple H' chants (or as Punk calls it "H! H! H!"). Triple H thanks him and says he thought he'd come out here and explain to everyone why he resigned Punk.It comes down to one thing Triple H says, "Business". It's the same reason he brought back Jim Ross (big pop) and the same reason he brought back John Morrison (surprisingly nice pop). Triple H says he wants to give the what they want, and they said they wanted CM Punk so he got them CM Punk. Punk tells Hunter not to hide his true feelings behind his suit and let him know his true feelings about himself. Triple H says that Punk is a smug, overrated, attention-seeking guy that puts too much stock into his own hype. Punk turns it around on Triple H and tells him to look in a mirror. Punk says he wishes that Triple H had said he hated Punk's guts, but he knew he was a hot commodity. Punk goes into shpiel about all the Yes Man in the WWE over the years and how it led to main event talents leaving. He name drops Batista, , , and . Punk says Triple H couldn't afford to let him walk and that he should just let the truth out on it, but then Hunter turns it around on him by telling him to tell the people his true reason for re-signing with the company. Hunter says that Punk needed the WWE Universe because without them, his talk means nothing. Punk says the truth is he's the WWE champion, and Triple H corrects him by telling him that Cena is also the WWE champion. He says it's a situation he will fix later tonight and goes to leave the ring, but Punk doesn't want Triple H to leave just yet. He tells Hunter he's just getting warmed up, and that he's here to stay and do things his way. He does the old curtsey and then begins talking about Triple H hogging the spotlight. He asks Triple H how many times he's said "you know, I just don't think he has what it takes" in regard to talent in bed with his wife and that gets Hunter a bit pissed. Punk calls him a bully and tells him to be careful of who he pushes, because he knows Punk likes to push back. Triple H says his ego is telling him to slap every tattoo off of Punk's skinny fat ass (what?), but that he won't because he became the COO for the fans. He says he's not going to break the rules out of respect for the fans, and strongly suggests that Punk doesn't break them either. Punk slaps Triple H's tie in his face a bit and asks if he has to ask his wife's permission first before fighting. Punk drops the mic and takes off backstage to the sounds of "Cult of Personality" as we go backstage to see Rey Mysterio and John Morrison preparing for a tag team match coming up next as we cut to commercial.
Divas Battle Royal #1 Contender's Match
When we return most of the divas are already in the ring while Kelly Kelly joins us at commentary. Melina is eliminated immediately as the bell rings, and she's followed shortly by and Rosa Mendes. Kelly says she's checking out Eve (that makes two of us) for a title match. We get the required creepy flirtation between the King and Kelly as Tamina is eliminated. AJ Lee is the next out, followed by Natalya. The Bella Twins team up on Beth Phoenix as we cut to commercial. When we return Alicia Fox and Eve are going at it on the ring apron until Fox is the next eliminated. Eve is the next eliminated by the Bellas, but then Beth Phoenix just moseys on up behind the twins and tosses them both out like feathers to win the match at 3:43 (shown).
Winner: Beth Phoenix @ 3:43 (shown)
Rating: * - Just your average divas battle royal here that you've seen a million times before, but Beth picking up the win seemed like a good choice as the crowd popped big for it surprisingly. I guess they know about her and Punk.
After the match Phoenix tosses Kelly around at ringside and then grabs a mic. She says that Kelly's days as the perky cute blonde little bimbo are officially over. If this leads to some actual thought put into the woman's division, I'm all for it.
Backstage The Miz and R-Truth are talking. Truth says that he and the Miz are pretty much the same because they both agree that Triple H in charge is a huge mistake. It's a conspiracy! But don't ask Truth to spell it. Miz brushes him off but Truth tells him to watch his back or he "gone get got" as we cut to commercial.
When we return backstage Josh Matthews asks Cena his thoughts on what Punk had to say earlier, and he tells him that if you live by the sword you die by the sword(fish).
The Miz/R-Truth vs. Rey Mysterio/John Morrison
This should be an intriguing match-up. Morrison and Miz start us off and JoMo quickly pancakes Miz on the mat and knocks Truth off the apron. Miz responds with a snap suplex for a quick two count while Michael Cole goes into his usual Miz fellatio-fest on commentary. Rey tags in with a seated senton off the top rope for a two count. Miz is sent out of the ring by a headscissors from Rey, who follows up with a baseball slide before hitting another seated senton onto R-Truth while JoMo wipes out the Miz with a corkscrew plancha! After a quick commercial break we return to the image of Truth stretching out Mysterio with a camel clutch and an abdominal stretch. Miz tags in and slaps a chinlock onto Rey, but he fights out of it and nails Miz behind the ears with an enziguri. Miz responds with an implant DDT for a two count and then tags Truth back in. Rey plays a good little babyface in peril, but Truth hits him with that crazy corkscrew elbow of his for another near fall. They tease the hot tag a bit, but Miz just pours the offense on with a running lariat. He comes off the top rope but Rey meets him with a dropkick Morrison gets the hot tag and goes to town on Truth and Miz with dropkicks before giving Truth the old Spanish Fly (C4 suplex AKA Sin Cara's finisher off the top) for another near fall. Morrison goes for , but Miz rolls Truth out of the ring and JoMo crashes and burns. Mysterio flies out after Miz with a plancha to the floor and Truth makes his way back into the ring where he misses a scissors kick attempt before getting nailed by a kick from Morrison to set up the 619. Miz breaks the 619 up and tosses Rey over the barrier into the crowd, but Morrison meets him with a leaping kick off the top rope when he tries to get back ion the ring. This distracts Morrison long enough however for Truth to nail Morrison with the What's Up for the pin and the win at 8:13(shown).
Winners: The Miz/R-Truth @ 8:13 (shown)
Rating - *** This was just your basic formula babyface in peril tag with high spots thrown in, but the crowd was red hot and everything was being executed so crisp and cleanly that the whole thing came off like a great old school tag battle. Really solid stuff and worth looking into.
After the match Miz and Truth beat down Morrison and even get in the devastating water bottle spot of doom.
Backstage Josh Matthews is with Triple H. He says Punk's comments about his wife didn't get to him and that tonight John Cena needs to keep things strictly business between them. What, like that goofy mob entrance you guys did back at Wrestlemania 22?
After a commercial break we return with the United States champion Dolph Ziggler and making their way out to the ring. Vickie talks about how Ziggler is superior to CM Punk and John Cena and should be getting the proper respect, and she's getting nuclear heat as always. Ziggler grabs the mic and talks about the basic open challenge he laid out last week for anyone that thinks they're up to Ziggler's standards. Before we can get much further though, Alex Riley's music hits and he comes out with a mic of his own. He asks why Ziggler always hides behind Vickie. Riley makes his way into the ring and asks Ziggler when was the last time that he accomplished something on his own? Riley questions Ziggler's manhood and tells him to drop her. He accuses Ziggler of being a bleach blonde arrogant fraud, and Ziggler takes off his jacket and belt, loosens his tie, and it's clobberin' time! Or not. Ziggler ducks out of the ring and walks out on Riley.
David Otunga/Michael McGillicutty vs. Santino Marella/Zack Ryder
When we return from the break we're already seguing into our next match-up between the tag champs and the odd couple of Santino and Zack Ryder. Santino and McGillicutty start us off and it's not long before they go into your usual heel tag team double-team offense. They trade quick tags in their corner while a huge "We Want Ryder" chant starts up. Cole starts burying Ryder for his antics of late, which if his same treatment to is any indicator of, means he may actually just be getting that big push after all. Otunga works a bear hug on Santino, but the fiesty Italian fights out of it and tags in Ryder. Ryder hitrs a big elbow on McGillicutty, and then gives him a pair of shotgun knees and a facewash kick for a two count. Santino, whose arm apparently has morphed into an actual cobra, tries to apply the deadly manuever but Otunga grabs him and tosses him out of the ring. Ryder misses the leg lariat and Otunga hits a flying knee off the top rope on him to win at 2:25.
Winners: David Otunga/Michael McGillicutty @2:25
Rating: * - Not much of a match obviously, just a chance to see Ryder on Raw and gauge how the crowd responds to him while putting over the tag champs cleanly. The crowd was really into Ryder though, so he may just be catching on with the casual fans after all.
After a quick plug for Edge's appearance on a SyFy TV show we see a replay of some of Punk and Triple H's conversation from earlier in the evening. Afterwards we segue to Josh Matthews backstage with the Punker himself. He asks what Punk thinks Triple H's decision will be about the WWE title tonight and Punk mocks Haitch some more. He goes into strictly business mode and puts himself over as the real champion before walking away. Ricardo Rodriguez introduces in all of his glory as we take another commercial break.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Evan Bourne
Cole questions Ross about a "tweet" he made calling him a tool and they get into another hissy fit argument. Unscrunch your panties gentlemen. Bourne strikes first with a kick and a hurricanrana, but Del Rio responds with some legwork of his own for a quick nearfall. Del Rio starts to dominate from here, slamming Bourne to the mat with his arm behind his back for another two count. Del Rio works on Bourne's left arm while the hens bicker on commentary. Del Rio tries a suplex but Bourne counters out and lays in some lightning fast kicks into his chest. Bourne goes to the top rope but Del Rio takes him down with his step-up enziguri before applying his flying armbar finisher on Bourne, who has no choice but to tap out at 3:42.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio @ 3:42
Rating: * - Just a quick squash match here to put over Del Rio and remind everyone that he's still going to be a big player on RAW in the near future. Not bad for a jobber match though.
After the match Del Rio keeps applying the armbar until comes out to make the save.
When we return from our final commercial break Triple H makes his way out to the ring to answer the question that's on everyone's mind. Before he can into it though, comes down to the ring with a mic and explains his job evaluating the talent, which was the job Jim Ross had for years. Triple H wants to know what he wants, but John tells him that he's only just stepped into the corporate structure of the company and that he knows from 10 years of working with Vince how to handle this situation; strip John Cena of the WWE title. The crowd has a mixed reaction to that, and of course seconds later Cena's music hits and John comes out to the ring with a mic. He accuses John of being Vince's right-hand "Yes Man" for years, just like Punk talked about earlier. Cena does a decent impression of John's voice and then reminds him of how he knocked Laurinaitis' teeth out at the Money in the Bank PPV. Cena says he will not let a goon like Johnny Ace strip him of the title (he even makes a snarky comment about the old skateboard gimmick he worked with Shane Douglas in WCW). Laurinaitis tells Cena he's out of line, but Cena then tells him he's going to punch him in the face and Hunter has no problem with it so Johnny tucks his tail and leaves the ring. Triple H says he's not going to strip Cena of the title because he claims that the only contact he had with Punk in between Money in the Bank and now was last week when he walked up to him with a signed contract and told Haitch to hit his music. My god, are they actually explaining the plot-holes from the fallout of last week? How often do you see that?
Of course, before he can get much further Cult of Personality hits and out comes the Punker with his title to the ring. A huge CM Punk chant starts up again as he questions whether Hunter will strip him of his WWE title. Everyone wants to get a word in, but finally Hunter comes between them and tells Cena not to call him Hunter anymore. He also announces that at Summerslam John Cena will face CM Punk in a match to crown one undisputed WWE champion. He drops the mic and leaves Punk and Cena in the ring. We get dueling Punk and Cena chants from the crowd before Punk raises his title to a nice pop, but then Cena raises his own title and totally out-pops him by a mile. That's kind of bizarre considering the fans have been rather smarky all night, chanting and cheering for Punk. They do a little dueling posing to their own theme music as we go off the air with both men holding their respective titles above their heads.
Bottom Line: This was a solid show tonight. There was some good angle advancement obviously in setting up the Punk/Cena match at Summerslam, but in the process of doing that they spent a lot of time on lengthy promos, which is fine sometimes when you need to advance an angle and hype a show, and they did here. The Punk angle continues to sizzle, and although the wrestling was cut short for alot of tonight, we did get one good match out of the tag team match earlier in the show. All around this was a solid show to build momentum up for Summerslam, and the tag match is worth checking out if you missed it, so Raw gets the Thumbs Up from me tonight.