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KELLER'S TAKE

KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT 7/20: Results, star ratings, thoughts, observations, nitpicks, quotebook

Jul 20, 2009 - 10:11:40 PM


By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT
JULY 20, 2009
NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK


WHAT HAPPENED

HOUR ONE

-After Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler introduced the show and hyped that ZZ Top are guest hosts this week, John Cena ran to the ring to his entrance music. Cole said ZZ Top booked Cena & Triple H vs. Ted DiBiase & Cody Rhodes.

Cena paced in the ring and absorbed the cheers of the fans. He said everyone in the ring is excited and then he said everyone at home got excited when they heard ZZ Top were hosts and they're less than a week away from Night of Champions. He said Cena vs. Orton vs. Triple H will be one of the greatest matches ever. He said, to put the match in perspective, that match was the main event at WrestleMania two years ago. Orton came out and reminded Cena he pinned him at that WrestleMania. He predicted history would repeat itself. Cena said the crowd was so awesome, he didn't even pay attention to what he was saying. He said he's really caught up in the guest host situation. He said he that Orton's music said he hears music in his head, which is a little weird, but he hears 10,000 voices tonight in the arena cheering him. He said it sounds like they want him to get an early start on Sunday and pound his face into mush.

Orton was joined by DiBiase and Rhodes. They had Cena surrounded, but then Triple H came out to "even the odds" (two babyfaces equals three heels). Orton backed off. Triple H said, "Randy, you and the girls weren't about to start a fight without me, were you?" He said he's at a point now that he never thought would be possible to get to, but he's at a point where he really doesn't care if he wins the WWE Title this Sunday. He said he doesn't care if Cena does, either. They began joking about Seth Green's size. Cena suggested Hornswoggle. Triple H said Hornswoggle weighs more. Cena said a hobbit, perhaps. Triple H played dumb on what a hobbit is. Cena explained. Triple H told Orton that they were punched out by a man the size of a hobbit last week. Orton asked to be added to the night's main event. Cena said, "Well played, Randy Orton. Well played, indeed." Cena said if Orton is added to the match, his and Triple H's ego can't coexist because they'll be so obsessed with getting at Orton. Cena said if they accepted his challenge, they'd self-destruct, but despite all that, "We accept," said Cena and Triple H together.

-They showed ZZ Top backstage, set up with their guitars and amps and "ZZ Top" lit up on a monitor backstage. They talked about being big fans of WWE for years. Santino walked in and said they are his favorite band in the galaxy. He pronounced them, "Zzeeeetop." They corrected him. He got their names wrong. They gave him a beard to wear and a guitar so he could be an honorary member. They handed him sunglasses as the final accessory. "Cheap Sunglasses" played in the background as ZZ Top just kinda stood there and then Santino played air guitar. [c]

(1) Primo & Kofi Kingston & MVP defeated Jack Swagger & Big Show & Carlito when Primo pinned Carlito in 10:00. Primo has lost his last name. MVP went on a rally against Swagger, so Swagger bailed out to ringside. Big Show chewed him out as they cut to a break. [c] Back to the ring, Swagger had control of Kofi with a head crank. They showed that during the break Big Show dropped Kofi across the ringside barrier. Kofi hot-tagged Primo who aggressively went after Carlito. Cole said he's never seen Primo that aggressive. He knocked Big Show off the apron with a dropkick to the knees, then he legdropped Carlito off the second rope. Swagger broke up the three count. MVP knocked Swagger out of the ring, then slingshot himself onto Swagger at ringside drawing a signature shriek from Lawler. Primo sold the Swagger axe handle to his back like Big Show had leaped off the top of a cage onto him. Show went to spear Primo, but Primo moved and Show took Carlito down hard. Kingston then dove off the top rope with a head scissors to Big Show, twisting him over the top rope to the floor. Primo then gave Carlito a diving headbutt and got the pin. Very good final two minutes, and solid throughout otherwise. (**1/2)

Afterward, Big Show speared Primo, then chokeslammed MVP, and when Swagger walked up to MVP, Show chokeslammed him. He then reached over the top rope and with one hand yanked Kofi into the ring. He then KO'd Kingston with a fist to the head.

They threw back to ZZ Top again. Are they actually at the arena? Santino asked if they saw Big Show's exciting beatdowns. ZZ Top talked about touring with Aerosmith this summer. Chris Jericho walked into the room. He talked about how two icons in entertainment were standing the same room. He said he's a big fan of their band and he's sure they're big fans of his band Fozzy. ZZ Top hadn't heard of them. Jericho told them not to hide their true feelings. Jericho asked if they wanted to jam later on the show. ZZ Top said they had something different planned for him. They booked Jericho vs. Mark Henry later. Jericho asked how he was supposed to wrestle Henry. That was a set-up line as ZZ Top broke into, "How, how, how, how," the opening "words" of "Sharp Dressed Man." Santino played air guitar with them. [c]

Brian Kendrick was yelling at Jerry Lawler after the match. He told Lawler that he held the WWE Tag Team Titles for over a year, which is one more WWE title that he ever held. He called Lilian Garcia, "Toots," and told her to bring out his opponent. Who does Kendrick think he is, Rhino? Lawler interrupted Lilian as she was about to introduce Kendrick's opponent. He said he wanted to introduce his opponent. He said Kendrick's opponent hails from Memphis, Tenn. and is a Hall of Famer, Jerry "The King" Lawler.

(2) Jerry Lawler pinned Brian Kendrick in 2:00. Kendrick mocked Lawler's finger that usually has a Hall of Fame ring on it. He then attacked him aggressively for a half minute and applied a cobra clutch sleeper. Lawler fought out of it with elbows and then knocked Kendrick down with a few punches and a dropkick. Cole declared, "He's still got it!" Kendrick returned fire with a kick to the face and a Sliced Bread attempt. Lawler blocked it and hit a fistdrop for the pin. Not sure what that was all about - not because it was necessarily good or bad, just unexpected and out of nowhere. (1/2*)

Cole plugged the scheduled main event tag team match. [c]

Josh Matthews interviewed Mickie James on the entrance stage with the crowd in the background. That's a throwback to circa late-1980s WWF Superstars and WWF Challenge syndicated shows. He said Maryse had never defeated her until last week, and now she may have a psychological advantage. Mickie sarcastically congratulated her for beating her in a Swimsuit Spectacular match. The Miz interrupted her and said Maryse walks, talks, and acts like a champion while she in ten years will be working as a waitress at Waffle House. They exchanged insults. Maryse then walked up and sprayed Mickie in the face with something, Mickie down covering her face in pain.

They showed Mark Henry smiling backstage, heading toward the entrance tunnel. [c]

HOUR TWO

(3) Mark Henry defeated Chris Jericho via DQ in 5:00. Interesting match to have in progress at the start of the second hour. When Jericho got in offense at 2:00 and had Henry down on the mat, he flexed. That's not something he typically does. He took Henry down again with a dropkick to his left leg. When he went for the cover, Henry powered out at two. Jericho went for a sleeper, but Henry quickly backed him hard into the corner. Jericho tripped Henry as he charged at himHenry caught Jericho in mid-air and swung him around by the legs, rushing blood to Jericho's head. Jericho's eyeballs may or may not have popped out of his head briefly. Jericho managed a quick comeback and went for a Walls of Jericho. He had trouble turning Henry, who kicked him so hard Jericho flew through the ropes to the floor. Lawler said, "I hope you have a Plan B there, Chris." Jericho then hit Henry with a chair, drawing the DQ from the ref. Afterward, Henry grabbed the chair and shoved Jericho into the announce table. Cole took a bump out of his chair. Henry threw Jericho into the ring. Jericho went for a Code Breaker seconds later, but Henry caught Jericho and powerslammed him. That was not a bad match but what does it do for Jericho? (*1/4)

Santino continued to talk to ZZ Top backstage. He asked if they have a special kind of conditioner for their beard so it's silky for women to run their hands through. Chavo Guerrero walked into the room. He said he's disgusted with how he's been treated lately. He said a Guerrero he should be treated with dignity and respect. ZZ Top said he does deserve something along those lines, so they prepared something for him - a match with Hornswoggle. ZZ Top informed him it's a Sharp Dressed Man match. Chavo seemed flattered. [c]

(4) Hornswoggle beat Chavo Guerrero in 3:00 of a Sharp Dressed Man tuxedo match. Chavo's legs were sewn together. That meant Cole had to force that uncomfortable chuckle for a while. Chavo told the referee that he can't wrestle like this. Cole said, "It's the March of the Penguins." Then he chortled some more. Hornswoggle ripped off Chavo's tuxedo jacket. Chavo made a comeback. As he methodically undressed Hornswoggle, throwing his shoes at him, the crowd grew restless and began those "please get this over with quickly" types of boos and catcalls. Horswoggle managed to strip Chavo of his pants. He struggle for a long time, but finally revealed colorful boxers with chili peppers all over them. Chavo covered up his crotch area, as if boxers somehow revealed more than typical wrestling tights.

They cut backstage to Cena asking Triple H if he was serious when he said he didn't care about the WWE Title, just getting his hands on Orton. Triple H said Cena knows him well enough to know he didn't mean that. He said the fans are going to get a chance to see them finally shut Orton and Legacy up. Triple H said they can count on each other tonight, but Sunday it's a different story. Cena said he wouldn't have it any other way. [c]

Back to ZZ Top and Santino. Santino hyped the main event was still to come. ZZ Top said it'll be amazing, but something's missing so far with the show. Kelly Kelly walked into the room. Santino offered her his chair. He said it's time for the music to start playing. Then "Legs" played and a parade of WWE Divas paraded into the room. Santino ripped off his pants and showed off his legs. He was wearing bikini briefs. ZZ Top said they had enough and left the room. Santino then danced.

Lawler and Cole stood in the ring. Lawler said Santino has legs, but he shouldn't have used them. Lawler and Cole hyped the Night of Champions line-up.

They showed Jericho backstage limping as he wheeled his suitcage out of the arena. Rhodes and DiBiase walked up to him. Rhodes said they could jump him right now, but if they did that, they couldn't find out who his partner is going to be on Sunday. They laughed at him and DiBiase said he probably doesn't have a partner because who would want to associate with this "self-righteous, condescending loser." Rhodes said maybe that's harsh since Jericho is second generation, but Jericho's dad was a bench-warming pro hockey player. Jericho said he's not a loser, he's one half of the Unified Tag Team Champions. He said half of the roster is bashing down his door to be his partner. DiBiase said after they beat him, maybe Randy will come out and kick him in the head so he can kick him in the head and send him to the hospital room with is partner. Jericho then threw DiBiase and Rhodes for a loop when he said maybe Randy will be his partner. [c]

Cole and Lawler announced that Shaq will be guest host of Raw next week. That's a big coup for WWE.

(5) Rosa Mendez & Alicia Fox beat Gail Kim & Kelly Kelly when Fox pinned Kelly in 4:00 in a ZZ Top Legs match. Pretty clunky looking most of the time, like a training school match that wasn't ready for prime time. Gail Kim is very good and Kelly is often acceptable, but the chemistry with the heel duo wasn't there at all. (1/2*) [c]

Lilian interviewed ZZ Top. Hey, they are there. Good for them. Had all the segments been backstage, it would have hurt the concept of the Raw Guest Host gimmick and seemed like WWE was trying to put one over on the fans. It would also lead to questions of whether Shaq would be present next week or just in pre-taped segment. They rode out in a red car and stepped out just as ring intros for Legacy began.

(6) Triple H & John Cena defeated Randy Orton & Ted DiBiase & Cody Rhodes in 14:00. Cena opened up against Rhodes. The match began with eight minutes left in the second hour, so they had time to get in a 10-15 minute match. Triple H gave Rhodes a British Bulldog style delayed-drop vertical suplex. He then tossed DiBiase out of the ring when tried to interfere and clotheslined Rhodes on top of him. Cena and Orton fended off all three heels seconds later. As they celebrated, they cut to a break at 2:00. [c]

Back from the break, Triple H fended off both Rhodes and DiBiase after a tag, but they eventually knocked him to the floor. As the ref was distracted by DiBiase, Orton went after Triple H at ringside, ramming him into the ringside steps. The heels isolated Hunter for several minutes. Cena led the crowd in a chant of "Triple H, Triple H." Lawler said with each week that goes by, Rhodes and DiBiase become more clone-like replicas of Orton. Triple H continued to tease hot tags. When Orton went for an RKO at 11:00, Triple H escaped and then hit a spinebuster. Triple H lay flat on his back for a half minute as Cena cheered him on. Orton began rolling to his corner as Hunter shifted himself toward Cena. Cena shook with anticipation and they built the crowd tension. Orton tagged Rhodes, but Hunter a second later tagged Cena. Cena rallied against Rhodes and took a shot at DiBiase on the ring apron. He then went right into the You Can't See Me routine. When he set up the Attitude Adjustment, DiBiase ran in. Cena fended him off, then put Rhodes in the STF. DiBiase broke that up just as Rhodes seemed tempted to tapout. Triple H went after DiBiase and threw him into the ringside barrier. Orton got back up and tagged in. He went for a running punt kick, but Cena moved and then schoolboyed Orton for the pin. Formula tag match, but well executed with the right finish, with the fan favorite scoring the non-title tag match win over the champ he's facing on Sunday. Cole pushed that, saying if Cena does the same thing to Orton on Sunday, he'll walk out as champion. (**1/2)

THOUGHTS, OBSERVATIONS, NITPICKS

CENA-ORTON PROMO: Cena started to stray into that corny territory where he falls flat sometimes as he talked about how excited everyone at home was when they found out ZZ Top was guest hosting. Just his delivery and impersonation of the fan at home seemed patronizing... When Cena tried to hype the Night of Champions match by noting it main evented WrestleMania two years ago, he may have not realized that he just accentuated how stale the top group of wrestlers are and how little has changed in two years. Hey, everyone, buy a rerun for $40 or just pop in your DVD of an old WrestleMania... When Triple H said he doesn't care if he wins the WWE Title on Sunday, that indicated to me that he's not winning on Sunday and wants all of his fans to know that's not his main goal because if it was, he would have won, of course...

OTHER THOUGHTS: Cole told Lawler that Kofi has only a one-in-six chance to keep his U.S. Title on Sunday. This is slightly flawed logic because that stat is reliant on each wrestler in the match being exactly equal in skill, but that's not the case obviously. I wouldn't have a one-in-six chance of winning a fight against George St. Pierre, Brock Lesnar, B.J. Penn, Lyoto Machida, and Anderson Silva just because I was one of six people in the match... Why is Swagger wearing Owen Hart's singlet?... I was shocked when WWE acknowledged the outcome of a women's match a week later, when Matthews acknowledged that Maryse beat Mickie last week...

During Jericho vs. Henry, Lawler said he knew a friend who tore his Achilles tendon and he wore a cast for a year and never walked the same. I doubt he had the Most Famous Sports Doctor in the Universe and his injury could have been more severe or different than Edge's, but it's relevant in that it plays into the storyline that if Edge returns, it's a babyface comeback story against the odds, which is what WWE is playing up right now... Jericho and Henry put together a solid TV match, but with Edge out, WWE needs Jericho to be seen as a strong heel. This made perennial mid-carder Henry seem to be on his level. If fans aren't buying Henry as a top babyface, then this makes Jericho seem like a weak lead heel... It was also strange to have Jericho in that segment with Rhodes & DiBiase where he seemed like the babyface compared to them. The tag match on Sunday is an awkward heel vs. heel situation where WWE doesn't want to steer fans in the direction of cheering either team at this point, I wouldn't think. They can't ignore the match, but it's tough to promote it... Not an especially memorable show, and the tuxedo match was the PG-version of WWE on display, and the Santino-ZZ Top stuff was tolerable but not hilarious enough to justify the TV time. In the end, they pushed the main event of the PPV well, so it did it's job in that respect. But I can also see a lot of WWE fans in a certain key advertising demo finding this a little juvenile for their tastes and rebelling against it...

QUOTEBOOK

John Cena to Randy Orton: "Underneath that anger management problem is a true evil genius."

Mickie James: " Sunday is Night of Champions, Josh, not Trampions."

Miz: "Maryse was so ridiculously sexier than you last week. It was like watching Charlize Theron wrestle Rachel Ray."

Mickie: "That's cute. Did you get that off the Internet like all of your material."

Jerry Lawler: "I think Hornswoggle used to be a model. I saw him on a trophy."

Jerry Lawler to Michael Cole: "The only way for you to be the best dressed man around is if you joined a nudist colony."


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RAW RETRO - Bret Hart captures U.S. Title 5 yrs. ago on Raw, plus Batista tries to force Cena to say I Quit, astronaut guest-stars, more
ECW FLASHBACK: Final Hardcore Heaven 15 yrs. ago today - Credible vs. Storm for ECW Title, Rhino vs. Sandman, RVD vs. Lynn, more
PWG FLASHBACK - Styles vs. Daniels goes 60 minutes for the PWG Title & TNA X Division Title 10 yrs. ago today, plus Steen, Generico, Guerrilla Warfare, more
RADICAN'S ROH "A Lethal Dose" review - Lethal discusses interaction with Savage & Flair, return to ROH, heel turn with Martini, more
ROH FLASHBACK - Christian makes ROH debut 9 yrs. ago today, faces Daniel Bryan in main event tag match
WCW FLASHBACK: Steve Austin Career Cross-Roads 20 yrs. ago this week - Newswire Timeline of Austin's final year in WCW, including Austin nearly the Fourth Horseman?
REFERENCE
TITLES & CHAMPS: Ongoing list of 2015 Titleholders
WWE NEWS: Smackdown TV ratings are in for Thursday's show
LUCHA NEWS: Updated Lucha Underground TV viewership, plus median age, how Lucha compares to Impact, more
WWE NEWS: Raw TV ratings are in - Raw rebounds to highest rating since post-WM31
TNA NEWS: Impact TV viewership - Impact ends recent downturn
WWE NEWS: Smackdown TV ratings are in - how the last two weeks have fared
OBIT: California writer/producer Joe Franciosi dies suddenly
WWE NEWS: Raw TV ratings are in - Raw up from last week's 2.55 rating, but still in year-low territory
TNA NEWS: Impact TV viewership - semi-live episode hits two-month low
WWE NEWS: Raw TV ratings are in - Raw falls from last week's year-low
WWE NEWS: Smackdown TV ratings - Thursday's show falls hard post-Extreme Rules
TNA NEWS: Impact TV viewership for Friday's episode
PWTorch Free Podcast
LIVECAST AUDIO: Friday PWTorch Livecast (5/22) available on-demand - Bruce Mitchell & Travis Bryant
LIVECAST AUDIO: Jim Ross talks live w/Wade Keller on Thursday's Livecast - now available on-demand
LIVECAST AUDIO: Wednesday PWTorch Livecast (5/20) available on-demand - McNeill's All-Star Panel w/FAIRPLAY & Scott Fishman
LIVECAST AUDIO: Tuesday PWTorch Livecast (5/19) available on-demand - Wade Keller & Jason Powell of Prowrestling.net
LIVECAST AUDIO: Monday PWTorch Livecast (5/18) available on-demand - Raw post-game show w/James Caldwell & live callers
LIVECAST AUDIO: Special PWTorch Livecast (5/17) Payback post-game show now available on-demand - James Caldwell & Greg Parks
LIVECAST AUDIO: Friday PWTorch Livecast (5/15) available on-demand - Bruce Mitchell & Travis Bryant take live calls
LIVECAST AUDIO: Thursday PWTorch Livecast (5/14) available on-demand - Wade Keller interviews former WWE writer John Piermarini
LIVECAST AUDIO: Wednesday PWTorch Livecast (5/13) available on-demand - Pat McNeill's All-Star Panel w/Bill Behrens
LIVECAST AUDIO: Tuesday PWTorch Livecast (5/12) available on-demand - Wade Keller & Jason Powell of Prowrestling.net
LIVECAST AUDIO: Monday PWTorch Livecast (5/11) available on-demand - James Caldwell's Raw Post-Game Show w/live callers
LIVECAST AUDIO: Friday PWTorch Livecast (5/8) available on-demand - Bruce Mitchell & Brad Stutts of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
VIP Exclusive Features
VIP - PWTorch Newsletter #1405 (PDF & TEXT): Keller’s WWE Payback, Raw, and Smackdown reports, Torch Staff PPV Roundtable Reviews, Keller’s End Notes on Triple H’s NXT Conference Call, ROH iPPV reports, Parks column (24 pages)
VIP - 05/22 PWTorch Livecast & VIP Aftershow: Mitchell & Bryant discuss Kevin Owens’s bright future, TNA’s future on Destination America, the improvement in Cena’s promos, Finn Balor’s ring entrance, NXT Takeover, more (82 min.)
VIP - 05/22 - Wade Keller Hotline - Ask the Editor: Is John Cena really actually putting new guys over lately? Would TNA going out of business really be bad for industry? What is missing from Kidd & Cesaro’s act? (35 min.)
VIP - 05/22 Audio Flashback - Bruce Mitchell Audio Show (05-20-2005): WWE Draft Lottery, Matt Hardy's potential in TNA, Styles re-signing with TNA, Mcmahon's speech to Randy Orton and the real message it was sending, ECW (90 min.)
VIP - 05/21 - Wade Keller Hotline - The News: Two hot topics in-depth including Samoa Joe in WWE and clarifying exactly what has been reported about TNA's future on Destination America and how TNA has responded so far (26 min.)
VIP - 05/21 AD-FREE PWTorch Livecast “Interview Thursday” w/Jim Ross: Reaction to Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens appearing on NXT and Raw this week, brand split history, TNA-DestAmerica, his schedule, Lawler, Divas (94 min.)
VIP - 05/21 Audio Flashback - Guttman Audio Show (5-18-2005): How Orton-McMahon segment could have worked better, future of Rey-Eddie feud, Edge-Lita situation on Raw, A.J. Styles title win, Moment of Insanity (35 min.)
VIP - 05/20 - Wade Keller Hotline - Ask the Editor: Joe! Joe! Joe!, WWE spoiling their own big angles/finishes with app notifications, should Reigns fear Owens could take his top spot, all-Divas Network special, EC3 opinion (29 min.)
VIP - 05/20 Bruce Mitchell Audio Show w/Wade Keller: NXT Takeover Live Special review including Samoa Joe’s surprise debut after main event, Kevin Owens-John Cena analysis, TNA marked for cancellation news (70 min.)
VIP - 05/20 East Coast Cast (ep. #242): Dre is back for discussion of big NXT topics, Cena vs. Owens feud, live NXT Takeover commentary, more!, plus VIP Aftershow (200 min.)
VIP - 05/20 The Fix with Todd Martin & Wade Keller (pt. 2 of 2): Evaluating Elimination Chamber bonus PPV strategy by WWE, in-depth Kamala autobiography review with classic 1980s stories, TNA overview, UFC 187 Preview, more (54 min.)
VIP - 05/20 The Fix with Todd Martin & Wade Keller (pt. 1 of 2): Owens shows up on Raw, Lana-Rusev split, Ambrose-Reigns dynamic and the elevation of Ambrose lately, the NXT-WWE, ROH-NJPW Global Wars booking strategy (55 min.)