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TV REPORTS
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 7/28: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live USA Network broadcast

Jul 28, 2008 - 10:10:33 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch columnist

WWE Raw Live Report
July 28, 2008
Washington, D.C.


Today's roll call on July 27 birthdays: Triple H, Nick Nemeth, Shannon Moore, Doink the Clown, Alex Rodriguez, Nick Hogan, and your favorite ongoing virtual time Raw Report analyst. Quite the class of individuals.

The show started with a recap of last week when Kane, then JBL interrupted the Punk vs. Batista title match. Of course, all this led to the stand-off between Batista and Cena to close the show.

Announcers: Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show with 14,722 claimed in attendance. ... John Cena then started the show coming to the ring looking very focused in his new merchandise. Cena surveyed the pro-Batista crowd in Batista's hometown, then he said that he can tell by the mixed reaction tonight that some people have already sided with Batista. Cena said he made a mistake and he's going to face the consequences. He socked Batista in the mouth and he knows that has some consequences. Cena said he's standing out here right now as a man telling Batista to come out and settle these consequences right now.

After a brief pause, Batista's music hit to a big pop. Batista going for the local babyface heat with the old school Washington Bullets NBA jersey. Batista said no one knows more than him that things happen in the heat of the moment. He said he watched the tape and he knows Cena didn't meant to him. He said they're call. Cena, shocked, took the mic and made sure they're cool. Batista said he respects Cena and when he beats Punk for the World Title at Summerslam, Cena is the first guy he wants to defend against. Cena said that's very generous, but Batista has already had his two shots at the Title. He said Batista's been in a bit of a funk, which he's been in too, so he understands.

Batista smiled and laughed, then said he can't argue with Cena's logic on that one. He said the reason why he's not World Champ right now is because people keep interfering in his matches. Batista said he knows Punk can't beat him...and neither can Cena. Batista ripped off his shades and stared down Cena, who smiled and then reminded Batista that he might be feeling a little good tonight in his hometown. Cena said there is no law & order, and everyone knows they should be headlining WrestleMania, so what if WrestleMania happens tonight? He suggested they find out who the better man is tonight.

Batista said they are here in his hometown, and he has a whole arena full of friends and family who want to see him whoop Cena's ass all over this wrong. You want it... suddenly, Shane McMahon's music interrupted and Shane bounced out on stage to establish law and order. Shane said his sister and he will introduce a new GM later tonight, and in fact, the first thing the person has decided on is C.M. Punk in the ring tonight against one of the most technically-sound free agent in the business. Shane said Cena is already booked for tonight in a tag match against JBL & Kane. He then added that Batista will be his tag partner. Cue Shane Dance.

[Commercial Break]

[Q2]

Video recap: They recapped the most wonderful of wonderful moments on Raw last week when Santino planted a big kiss on Beth Phoenix following Santino's loss to D-Lo Brown. Oh, Beth.

In-ring: Kelly Kelly came to the ring for the opening match. Lillian told us it's an inter-gender tag match. D-Lo came out as Kelly's tag partner, then Beth and Santino came out separately as the opposition. Some footage from earlier showed Santino talking to Beth before they went to the ring. Beth made sure it was clear Santino kissed her and their relationship is strictly professional. Santino told Beth to keep her eyes up here because he's not ah piece of ah meat.

1 -- KELLY KELLY & D-LO BROWN vs. BETH PHOENIX & SANTINO MARELLA

Santino scored a sudden roll-up on Kelly and celebrated as if he won the Super Bowl, World Series, Olympic gold, etc., etc. Beth was ecstatic for a second, but she got tired of the ultra-celebration. Beth wanted to keep it professional while Santino pondered a little extra post-game celebration. They shared an awkward moment standing apart, then Santino puckered up behind Beth's back. Santino tried to leave, but Beth grabbed him by the hair and yanked him back in for a big ole kiss on the lips. Beth smiled, then left the ring, leaving Santino quite pleased with himself.

WINNERS: Beth & Santino & great TV in 2:00. Well, I have no idea where this is leading to, but it's certainly entertaining. And, most importantly, it's TV PG. (1/2*)

Promo: They plugged Chris Jericho's final Highlight Reel tonight. Interesting.

[Commercial Break]

[Q3]

Backstage: A camera zoomed in on a portrait of Vince McMahon. The camera zoomed back to reveal Shane McMahon staring at the portrait with JBL looking over his shoulder. JBL said he could use some help in the World Title picture. He said Batista doesn't deserve a third chance and Cena is a joke. Shane told JBL to take up his problem with the new GM. JBL wasn't convinced, then a phone call from the new GM interrupted. Shane loved the new ideas being pitched to him over the phone. JBL wanted his match changed tonight, but no dice.

In-ring: Lillian announced a tag title match up next. Duggan and Lawler came out as the opposition before they showed a video package on the Lawler/Duggan-Rhodes/DiBiase verbal confrontation last week. Suddenly, a second referee stormed into the ring to give Lillian a piece of paper with some notes. Lillian said this tag title match has been changed per the new GM. Duggan is out. Lawler's new partner is now Michael Cole. "You gotta be kidding me," Cole said. They cut to break with Cole looking dumbfounded. Commence Raw announcer angle.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: They returned to dead air with confusion in the ring. Let's get Duggan on the headsets one time. Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, Jr. then came to the ring to defend the belts. Cole, in a suit, held onto the tag rope while Lawler prepared to start off.

2 -- World tag champions CODY RHODES & TED DIBIASE, JR. vs. JERRY LAWLER & MICHAEL COLE -- World Tag Title match

Referee was heavily mic'ed to create some noise with no announcers. Lawler took a beating for the first few minutes while Cole looked on with concern. Lawler wanted the piledriver on Cody, but DiBiase broke it up. Lawler stumbled into his corner and Cole helped him up, which the ref deemed a tag. Cole, the legal man, was dragged into the ring where he took a few awkward punches at Cody. This had decent heat, amazingly. Cody then clotheslined Cole awkwardly to the mat before making the pin for the win. Afterward, Lawler and the ref checked on Cole while the tag champs gloated. Cole sold it as if he were knocked out.

WINNERS: Cody & DiBiase in 4:00. Considering the circumstances, that wasn't too bad. At this point, WWE is just using the undercard matches to create entertaining TV without much focus on the actual in-ring wrestling product. (1/2*)

[Q4]

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Oh great, Mike Adamle at the broadcast position. Adamle said he was called last week to show up in Washington for Raw to fill in, and now he knows why. Lawler then re-joined the broadcast position and shot Adamle a look of death. He said it's obvious the new GM of Raw likes to play games.

In-ring: Jamie Noble and Leyla were in the ring, with Noble trying to plead his case to the new Raw GM that he's the next big thing with his kinda girlfriend/associate by his side. He called out Kofi Kingston because he wants to be the next IC champion.

3 -- IC champion KOFI KINGSTON vs. JAMIE NOBLE (w/Leyla) -- Intercontinental Title match

Kofi came out like a house of fire working over Noble in the ring. He landed the boom-boom leg drop, then flew off the top rope with a cross body block that Noble nearly rolled through into a three count. Noble tried a fireman's carry move, but Kofi slipped out and nailed the Jamaican buzzsaw kick for the pin and the win. Leyla was impressed with Kofi post-match and certainly not with Noble.

WINNER: Kofi in 2:00 to retain the IC Title. Another short match heavy on stories aimed for kids with short-attention spans. TV PG. (3/4*)

Backstage: They showed C.M. Punk walking confidently in anticipation of the match against the hottest free agent in wrestling.

[Commercial Break]

ECW promo: Can Mark Henry prove that size matters tomorrow night? Don't ask.

Announcers: JBL was now at the broadcast position. He said Adamle belongs on the Home Shopping Network, so he needs to shut up and let the Hall of Famers call the match. ... C.M. Punk came to the ring to a strong reaction. He held up the World Title belt in front of JBL, who stood up ringside to get a close look. And the mystery opponent was... William Regal. Regal bounced out to the ring with his hair floating in the wind. Adamle recapped Regal being fired two months ago, but returning tonight.

[Q5 -- second hour]

4 -- World Hvt. champion C.M. PUNK vs. WILLIAM REGAL -- non-title match

Regal, who sported a tank top to apparently cover his gut, worked over Punk early on. Punk accepted a hard elbow smash and came up bleeding profusely from his nose. That can't be TV PG. Regal continued to smash Punk with a very physical attack as Lawler made the comment that Punk hasn't looked this bad before as champion. Punk fired back at 4:00 with hard right hand blows followed by a roundhouse kick for a two count. Regal suddenly came back with an overhead German suplex. Regal wanted a submission, but Punk suddenly lifted up Regal on his shoulders and nailed the Go 2 Sleep in center ring for the pin and the win.

Post-match: Punk snorted blood out of his nose, the smiled with the title belt in his hands. JBL then entered the ring to confront Punk, but Kane's music interrupted. Kane walked out with bag in hand and suddenly smashed JBL. Punk then hit Kane, but JBL kicked Punk. Kane and JBL then had a face-to-face confrontation while Punk recovered on the mat. Kane seemed to enjoy the confrontation while JBL backed away.

WINNER: Punk in 5:00. That was a heck of physical wake-me-up-from-the-slumber match with Punk showing good fire at the end after Regal pounded away on him. Of course, post-match was Punk being punk'ed to establish two more potential contenders to the title. (*1/2)

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Chris Jericho and Lance Cade came to the ring for the final Highlight Reel. Jericho was sporting a very evil-villain-esque charcoal suit with the heel beard. Such great attention to detail. Jericho said he came out to tell the truth last week, but he was booed yet again. He said he's trying to do what no one will do: grow up. Jericho explained that he made the mistake of trying to be Mr. Entertainment as the host of this segment rather than seeking true title gold. He said this is the final H.R. because he's done with pandering with the audience. Jericho said he has a tribute to the man he retired as part of the final send-off for The Reel. He said it's not Michaels he's talking about, but Y2J.

[Q6]

Video package: Jericho rolled footage of Jericho being Mr. Entertainment with clips as Doink the Clown, the Boobies Hit the Floor line on Stephanie McMahon, the return promo on Randy Orton, and more trash bag ho lines on Stephanie. Jericho asked the fans if they missed that guy. He said he doesn't miss that guy because he's embarrassed by that person and that entertainer. Jericho said one thing he learned from Michaels is that he could have danced like a puppet for the fans, but it would have got him nowhere. Jericho paused to let the audience boo him, then he focused on the dent in the Jeritron where he put Michaels head-first through the TV.

Cade then took the mic and said his career was going nowhere until Jericho saved him. He said he will be forever grateful for that. Jericho told him he appreciates him and he also appreciates Shawn Michaels sitting in a darkened room trying to watch this show. He said every time a beam of light hits him in the eye, he feels pain. Jericho told Michaels to listen for the first time in his life. He whispered over the boos: "Shawn, stay home. Move on with your life. Hold onto your wife. Raise your precious children. Enjoy your new life away from the wrestling business because you deserve it. Be thankful for what you have. Move on, Shawn, because I have."

Jericho said he's moved on because he hears Batista, JBL, Cena, and Kane jockeying for position, but he deserves that World Title shot against Punk more than everyone else. Fade to commercial. Oh, let us count the number of ways Jericho is the star of this show.

Aside: Let's connect some dots here on a few potentials. Five challengers. One champion. In the back of everyone's mind is Eric Bischoff as the new GM. Elimination Chamber at Summerslam, anyone? (Thanks to Torch reader SJones for playing connect the dots.)

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Jim Ross was shown walking to ringside. Ross said he got a call to show up, so he's here. Adamle played dumbfounded. ... Mickie James then came to the ring and hugged her dad ringside before Jillian Hall came to the ring to face Mickie.

5 -- Women's champion MICKIE JAMES vs. JILLIAN HALL -- non-title match

Jillian worked over Mickie to start things off while Ross and Lawler took turns throwing jabs at Adamle, who asked Ross if he was trying to take over the broadcast. Mickie then finished off Jillian with the elevated DDT for the win.

Post-match: Mickie hugged it out with her dad, then Katie Lea suddenly attacked her from behind and smashed her into the ringpost. Katie smiled at her work, then left while Mickie was KO'ed on the floor. Paul Burchill suddenly showed up and handed Katie the mic. Katie said that was for the new GM, whomever it is. She promised to be the next WWE Women's champion and said Burchill is the future IC champion.

WINNER: Mickie in 2:00. Good, quick win to set up Katie's attack on Mickie. Burchill was perfectly fine here not saying a word. He's better with fewer words. Katie's smirk is perfect for her character. (1/2*)

Smackdown Rebound: They focused on the fall-out from Edge and Vickie's turbulent relationship. And with this week focused on Vickie booking Edge again st the returning Undertaker in the Cell at Summerslam.

Backstage: Todd Grisham excitedly welcomed in Shane McMahon to the backstage area before asking for a scoop on who the new GM is on Raw. Shane said that person is already here and Grisham will know when everyone else does. Grisham hid his rejection with his super-smily front before Shane walked off.

[Commercial Break]

SNME promo: They showed clips of Jenny McCarthy and various celebrities plugging the SNME show on Saturday night.

Backstage: Cryme Tyme was shown talking to John Cena. They asked if he's really sure he doesn't need their back-up since he can't trust Batista. Batista slowly walked in, then Cena asked for a moment. Cena said they just need to get through tonight and move on. Batista said they can't trust each other and the best thing Cena can do is stay out of his way. Cena agreed, then they exchanged "after-yous" like two males on an elevator deferring to the other. (Speaking from experience every day at work here.)

[Q8]

[Commercial Break]

Next week: Shawn Michaels live on the broadcast. Complete with fresh bandages.

In-ring: JBL came out first for the main event DTA tag match. Adamle said he doesn't understand JBL's hate for him when he spent tons of money on the Mamajuana stuff. He added that it didn't work, though. Oh, Mike. Kane then came out with bag in hand before staring down JBL. Out first for the babyface team was John Cena, followed by Batista.

New aside: We have a second idea for Jim Ross as the new GM, with Ross playing coy about his presence on Raw. Or, a nice little red herring.

6 -- JOHN CENA & BATISTA vs. JBL & KANE

Cena and Batista cleaned house in the first two minutes, then they had a staredown before cutting to break.

[Commercial Break]

[Q9 -- over-run]

They returned with Kane working over Cena in the default heel corner while Batista looked on. Cena fired back at 7:00, then caught Kane with an elbow in the corner. He tried to charge Kane, but Kane caught him with a sidewalk slam for a nearfall. Batista then took a monster hot tag at 8:00 and cleaned house on JBL until JBL clotheslined him clean over the top rope to the floor. Back in the ring, Kane and JBL took turns working over Batista. Batista teased a comeback at 9:00 with ground-and-pound, but Kane smashed him back to the mat. JBL wanted the Clothesline from Hell, but Batista smashed him with a spear. JBL then accidentally nailed Kane with a punch when Batista ducked. That set off Kane, who entered the ring to chokeslam JBL, but Batista speared Kane. Cena then tagged in and nailed the FU on Kane for the pin and the win. Big pop for the victory after some initial boos.

WINNERS: Cena & Batista in 12:00. Nice, high-energy tag match. Wasn't the story by the end of the night, but a nice round of wrestling to cap the in-ring portion of the show. (**)

Post-match: Batista slowly entered the ring as Ross recapped Cena making a timely blind tag to win the match for their team. Shane McMahon then came out and said this is how they started this tonight. He announced the new GM...Mike Adamle. Oh no. Big boos for that. During the Shane entrance, Adamle snuck into the ring to stand between Cena and Batista. Adamle announced that for Summerslam, it's Cena vs. Batista. His announcement really killed the mood, as there was zero emotion behind that. They closed to dead air with Cena and Batista exchanging puzzled looks. So, we looking at Cole on ECW or Cole back to SD and Ross to...gulp...ECW?

We welcome your 1-10 score and comments on this show for a "Raw Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on Raw, click here.


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