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WWE Raw Report
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 5/23: Complete "virtual time" coverage of live Raw - Over the Limit PPV fall-out, Bret Hart, Savage tribute

May 23, 2011 - 10:06:36 PM
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WWE Raw Results
May 23, 2011 - Episode #938
Live in Portland, Ore.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


This week's live WWE Raw started with an In Memory for "Macho Man" Randy Savage, just like at the PPV last night. After the standard WWE TV intro video, the Raw theme played to start the show.

Live inside the building, full pyro shot off before Josh Mathews introduced the show. Mathews wondered what will be the fall-out from Over the Limit last night. Cue up Jerry Lawler's theme music to start the action. Lawler walked out to the ring as Mathews recapped Lawler's solid night at the PPV last night.

In the ring, Lawler said he doesn't want to take too long, but the National Nightmare is over because Cole has been beaten. He pointed to the empty spot where the Cole Mine previously was before the crowd chanted his name. Lawler said he knew Cole would have some sort of plan last night, but he had a Hart up his sleeve. Lawler then introduced Bret Hart, who came out on-stage to a strong reaction for the second night in a row.

In the ring, Hart gave a shout-out to Portland and said it makes him happy to be back on Raw. He said that over the years, Lawler and he have had their differences, but every time they fought, he had respect for him. Hart said that like everyone else on the planet, he has zero respect for Michael Cole. Hart said it was his pleasure last night to make sure Cole suffered the agony of de-feet.

Suddenly, R-Truth's voice-over intro interrupted. Truth walked out on-stage to no theme music, like at the PPV last night. Truth told the crowd not to boo him. "It's Hitman Hart!" Truth declared. Truth hit the ring and said this is an honor. The crowd told him he sucks and told Hart not to listen to him. He did his shtick about having zero championship matches in WWE. Maybe it's because he didn't care about the Little Jimmys like Hart did. He grabbed Hart's shades and said he's going to try something here.

Truth went to the outside looking for a Little Jimmy in the crowd. Truth spotted a kid on the front row and put the shades on the kid, who had a good laugh. Truth said this means he should be next in line for a title match, right? Great indirect mockery of Randy Orton getting a title shot on Smackdown because he was more popular than Khali and Henry. Truth said he used to think wins and losses didn't matter, as long as you gave the fans what they want. Except, that means nothing. Truth said he took out Morrison and beat Rey last night. Now, maybe he should beat up a Hall of Famer to get the respect he wants.

Hart told Truth to take his best shot, but the reason he got title shots was because he's the best there is, was, and ever will be. Great passion from Hart here. He told Truth the reason he's not getting title shots is because he's lunatic. "I'm a lunatic?" Truth asked. He said he's not going to stand here and be disrespected.

Suddenly, John Cena's music hit to bring out the WWE champion with the title belt dangling around his waist. Cena strolled out to ringside and took a mic. At least Cena had a slight limp to sell the effects from last night with The Miz. Cena told Truth to come on back to the ring. "Cena, Cena" chant. Cena told Truth it's about time they have a little chat. Cena told him to pause before saying he's excited to see Hart back in a WWE ring. Now, back to the lunatic. Cena told Truth he had his hands full with Miz and he can't figure out where on the timeline Truth went crazy. Cena said they used to be cool. "Cool?!" Truth shot back. Truth tried to cut a promo in Cena's face, which drew laughs from Cena.

Truth said this whole conspiracy thing is about...Cena. Truth said these people made sure it's all about John Cena. Cena corrected Truth that it's all about these people. Truth told them to shut up. He mocked Cena's merchandise, then randomly said he wants his son back. Truth got in Cena's face and said he never liked him. He told Cena and Hart they're the same. "Just a propaganda tool to make all these people feel good," he said. Truth told Cena said he doesn't care about these people, nor how they feel. He said it's all about him now. And he's not going to feel right until he gets his title match. Cena said he's a little broken up from last night, but he thinks it's time to knock some sense into Truth.

Suddenly, the Raw GM interrupted. Mathews stepped to the podium and said Truth has been impressive, but he needs to show something more. Therefore, he'll be paying close action to tonight's tag main event: Truth and C.M. Punk vs. Rey Mysterio and John Cena. The crowd popped for the announcement. There's more. And the special guest referee will be...Bret Hart. Truth snapped and complained before rapidly leaving the ring. Cena and Hart posed in the ring as Hart's music played. Truth left up the stage as Cena and Hart did a victory lap. PYB (3) talk time: 13:05.

Segment Reax: Truth is just great. Just great. And they tip-toed to a new storyline reveal that Truth is upset because his son apparently likes Cena more than him. Also, they were close to getting the focus on wins & losses leading to title shots, but didn't quite get there.

Revised Reax: It's been noted Truth's "I want my son back" line was more of a reference to the trailer for "Legendary" where the line from Cena's character's mom was repeated over and over again. Apparently WWE spoofed their own trailers here.

[Q2] Backstage: Big Show and Kane were shown talking while leaning against Alberto Del Rio's car. Ricardo Rodriguez stepped up to them to complain in Spanish. Show shoved him down. Hey, what happened to bullying? Del Rio then stepped in to cut a promo on them in Spanish, too. Kane was perplexed. Del Rio told them to get lost. "Kane!" Mathews shouted in the background. Del Rio then picked up Ricardo and kept talking in Spanish. Apparently Mathews was going to plug a match involving Kane coming up or something. They cut to break.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Justin Roberts announced a Tag Title match up next. Cue up Big Show and Kane's mixed theme music. Mathews noted Del Rio's promo on Kane & Show prior to the break as the tag champs did their ring intro. Cue up C.M. Punk's theme music to bring out Punk in some new casual-wear gear clapping it up for Mike and Otunga. Also joining them was Mason Ryan. So, the scrubs get the title shot after Punk and Ryan failed last night.

1 -- WWE tag champions KANE & BIG SHOW vs. MICHAEL MCGILLICUTTY & DAVID OTUNGA (w/C.M. Punk and Mason Ryan) -- WWE Tag Title match

Punk and Mathews reminisced about when Punk was on-commentary on Raw earlier this year. Mathews tried to quiz Punk on losing the Tag Title match last night, but Punk heeled on him to stop asking questions. Lawler re-asked the question and Punk claimed a 120 degree fever. Nexus couldn't get much momentum going on Show and Kane early on. Show then got to Mike with big open-handed slaps to the chest. Show dumped Mike to the outside and they cut to break with Nexus trying to regroup ringside.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, Nexus was working over Kane in their corner. Mathews noted Ryan was standing over Punk's shoulder, prompting Punk to tell Mathews he's terrible. Punk also noted he's in the main event tonight, which is exactly where he should be. The action continued to progress at a snail's pace with the Nexus scrubs working over Kane.

[Q3] Kane eventually smashed Otunga with a big boot and crawled over to Show for a tag as Mike also tagged in. Punk said he's not worried and has faith. Show devoured Mike, then Mason Ryan tried to get involved. The ref was distracted during this. Punk then hit a kick on Show from the ring apron. Mike and Otunga followed with a double DDT on Show and made the cover for the win. New tag champs. Punk quickly gathered up the troops to head for higher ground as Show woke up and threw a fit in the ring.

WINNERS: Nexus at 8:59 to capture the Tag Titles. Blah match with the belts now on a blah, inexperienced team. At least it puts Punk in the spotlight leading a team with gold, but WWE has to rebuild the tag division for this to mean something. (*)

Still to come tonight: Cena & Rey vs. Punk & Truth with Hart as special referee.

[Commercial Break. Final Three: Andy, Jeremiah, and Luke battle it out next Monday. All of their sacrifices could be for nothing.]

Back live: Mathews plugged the main event as they showed an exterior shot of Portland. Lawler then plugged the artwork for the Capitol Punishment PPV focused on President Obama as special referee. Mathews was completely flummoxed and lost before trying to force a laugh on the art gimmick.

Video package: Randy Orton was shown at a St. Louis Walmart doing a promotional deal for "That's What I Am." The Humanization of Randy Orton continues. They got a few soundbytes from parents promoting the anti-bullying campaign.

Announcers: Mathews and Lawler talked about what happened Moments Ago when "Bully" Punk helped Nexus capture the Tag Titles from Show and Kane. Mathews said Punk always has a plan and agenda.

Backstage: Scott Stanford brought in Show and Kane. Show punched a hole in a side prop, then cut a promo on Stanford for asking a dumb question. Suddenly, Del Rio walked into the shot and slapped Show across the face. Show "knocked over the cameraman" giving chase and the video feed was produced to cut in and out as if the feed were temporarily lost. In the chaos, Show was run over by Ricardo driving Del Rio's car. Show was shown trapped under the car, then Kane called for some help. Medics checked on Show, who grunted and cried out like a wounded animal. Medics checked on his right knee as Kane tried to console him. They cut to break. It looks like a storyline write-off for Show with him dropping the tag titles and a post-match injury angle.

[Commercial Break]

[Q4] Backstage: They returned with medics still checking on Big Show. Other people had gathered around by now to sell concern. Show's big right knee was wrapped up, then he tried to get up and put weight on it, but he fell down. "Give me some damn room!" he shouted. Show tried to standing up again, but couldn't stand without help. Show refused to have the WWE doctor look at him. More agonizing selling. They eventually cut away from backstage.

In-ring: Jack Swagger's music hit back live in the arena. The audience had no idea how to receive him after playing face and heel roles last week. Out next was Evan Bourne to face Swagger in a match unfortunately presented as filler prior to the top of the hour. Lawler said he was still concerned about Show, saying he could be out for a while if there's torn ligaments.

2 -- EVAN BOURNE vs. JACK SWAGGER

The bell sounded and Swagger went to work on Bourne, trying to ground him. Reinforcing this as filler, Mathews plugged the Kmart Live Event Tour and Lawler talked about a shopping trip to Kmart. Swagger continued to work over Bourne before missing with a Vader Bomb. Bourne then fired back with kick strikes, then tried a roll-up for a close two count. Bourne tried to follow with a big huracanrana, but Swagger countered into a big gutwrench powerbomb that bounced Bourne's neck off the mat. Swagger with the pin for the win.

Post-match: Swagger did his victory lap dancing around Bourne for a while. It looked like another lost week for Bourne, who suddenly popped to his feet and smashed Swagger with a surprise kick to the face. Bourne then scrammed out of the ring, drawing Swagger's ire. Swagger told Bourne to come back and get some more.

WINNER: Swagger at 2:08. For Swagger, this came across like the Samoa Joe booking on Impact: one step forward with the squash win, then one step backward in the post-match. At least Bourne was able to save face, but the whole segment was a wash, especially being presented as filler. (*)

Backstage: Cole was shown walking down the hallway looking halfway-normal and selling dejection. Cole walked past some staff members who laughed at him, then he approached the Divas. He extended a hand to Eve, who responded with a foot. Lawler had a good laugh, then Cole hung his head dejectedly and kept on walking. He's out next.

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Back live, Lawler cracked some jokes about Cole and the Kiss My Foot match last night. Mathews then plugged The Rock's box office success via "Fast Five," noting the movie has drawn $506 million worldwide.

In-ring: Roberts introduced "the voice of WWE," Michael Cole. Big boos as Cole slowly walked out to the ring to no music. More foot jokes from Lawler. Cole, with hands in his pockets, slowly walked to the ringside area. He accepted a mic as the crowd chanted, "You suck toe." Cole stood in front of Lawler and started his, "Can I have your attention, please?" line before cutting himself off. He said this isn't about him anymore and it never should have been about him. Cole said he came out here to put this all behind them. He said he wants to apologize to Lawler, Mathews, Roberts, the timekeeper Yeaton, everyone here in Portland, and everyone at home. Cole said he just wants to come back home and do what he was hired to do: sit in the chair and do commentary every night on Raw. No more Cole Mines. No more matches between them. He begged everyone to accept his apology. Cole said he really, really means it.

[Q5 -- second hour] Lawler stepped up and said actually, that all sounds really good to him. He thanked him for coming out here and apologizing. He also wants to thank him for giving him a picture that's going to be on his Christmas card this year. Cue up a stillshot of Cole, covered in BBQ sauce, eating Lawler's foot last night. Back live, Lawler gave Cole some Altoids. Cole said he deserves it. He asked if he could come back to the announce table, then The Miz's music hit.

Miz and Alex Riley walked out on-stage dressed in suits. Miz, upset, hit the ring as Mathews noted Miz's plan backfired last night. Lawler said he's The Miz...and he quit. Lawler asked Cole for comments and Cole quietly said Miz was valiant last night. In the ring, Miz surveyed the audience and said there's only one reason why he didn't win the title last night. Miz said that reason is...he turned to face Riley.

Miz said this isn't a one-time thing, as it's a recurring theme with Riley. Miz recapped the events where Riley has screwed up during his title matches, then turned to the podium and asked the Raw GM to give him another title shot. Miz said he wants Cena one-on-one...with Riley banned from ringside. Miz waited for the GM to buzz in, but no interruption yet. Miz said Cena wasn't in a handicap match last night...he was, because Riley was no help to him. No interruption. Miz said he won't be disrespected like this. He said he should be WWE champion right now. He vowed to stay in the ring until the GM chimed in. Nothing. After a pause, the GM chimed in.

Josh Mathews stepped to the podium and read the email from the GM. Miz's request has been heard, but it...has been denied. Mathews read that Miz lost last night and he is done with John Cena. Miz slowly turned his head to stare at the podium, selling disbelief. Lawler said Miz is done with the WWE Title now. Miz then slowly turned back to Riley to redirect his anger. "This...is...all...your...fault," Miz told Riley. He called him a worthless waste of space and demanded an explanation.

Riley noted it wasn't like he was the one who said, "I Quit." Big pop for that comeback. Miz remained stunned, then the crowd chanted, "You quit." Miz quietly asked Riley what he said before slapping him. Miz told Riley to shut his mouth. He said he gave him a personal services contract and without him, he wouldn't even be in WWE. Miz screamed at Riley he's nothing without him. He said he's given him chance after chance and he's been one big disappointment. Miz was fired up here. Miz said he's done with him. "You are fired!" Miz told Riley, who huffed and puffed a bit.

Miz slapped him, then Riley fired back with a big right hand that drew a pop. Riley landed more blows, then threw Miz to the outside and erupted on him with huge blows. Riley smashed Miz into the guardrail before tackling him to the ground. Riley ripped Miz's shirt off him before throwing Miz into the announce table. The crowd was hot for Riley, who grabbed Miz and rammed him intot he announce table again. Riley threw Miz abck into the ring and pounded away some more. Big "Riley, Riley" chant. Riley screamed in Miz's face, threw him across the ring, and looked into the hard camera as the crowd roared. Riley leaned down over Miz, said something, then landed a boot to the head. Riley slipped out of the ring to a big reaction, then headed up the ramp to the back. Riley disappeared backstage as Miz sold in the ring. They faded to commercial. PYB (3) talk time: 14:45.

Segment Reax: Heck of an intense segment. Miz was great on the mic, then Riley suddenly became a new babyface star...at least for one night. Follow-up is so, so key to this. WWE will have to sustain this with something of substance for Riley, otherwise the moment where Riley finally blew up on Miz will be lost.

[Commercial Break. Impact Wrestling plug. A.J. Styles said they're far from entertainment. Roode said they're not about entertaining. Great, now everyone can save two hours of their time on Thursday nights since Impact isn't entertaining.]

[Q6] In-ring: Back from break, the Bella Twins's music hit. Mathews noted it's been quite an intense night. Lawler said Riley just beat the bejesus out of Miz. The Bellas were joined by Maryse and Melina for an eight-Divas tag match. The four babyface Divas who brushed by Cole in the hallway then came out as the opposition.

3 -- KELLY KELLY & EVE & GAIL KIM & BETH PHOENIX vs. Divas champion BRIE BELLA & NIKKI BELLA & MELINA & MARYSE -- eight-Divas tag match

Is Kharma going to wipe out the entire Divas division in one match? What brand is Phoenix even on? Kelly started things off and, 25 seconds into the match, Kharma's music played. Beth stepped to the front of the line for a shot at Kharma, who slowly entered the ring. Kharma eventually walked to the middle of the ring and the eight Divas circled around the ring. Kharma surveyed the scene, then dropped to her knees and started sobbing. The other Divas weren't sure how to react. WWE stayed with Kharma crying for a while, then eventually faded to commercial.

WINNERS: No Decision at 4:13, 0:25 of match action. Um... Is this is part of the anti-bullying deal? Or, Kharma just has enochlophobia?

[Commercial Break]

Moments Ago: Mathews solemnly noted Kharma had some sort of emotional break down prior to the break... They faded out to a WWE Slam of the Week video recap of Kingston vs. Sheamus for the U.S. Tile three weeks ago at Extreme Rules.

In-ring: U.S. champion Kofi Kingston came to the ring as Cole said it's just like old teams being together on commentary. Drew McIntyre came out to face Kingston in an upgrade from being on Superstars.

4 -- U.S. champion KOFI KINGSTON vs. DREW MCINTYRE -- non-title match

Mathews randomly inserted a line about Kofi being like WWE's version of Derrick Rose. Lawler and Cole were stunned by this comment. Cole said Rose was the MVP of the NBA, as if Kingston isn't even close. Lawler complained about Rose costing Memphis their college basketball accolades. Suddenly, Kofi's knee crashed down on McIntyre's head and Mac followed up by working over the knee. Kofi, hobbling around, made a comeback and told the crowd to rally behind him.

[Q7] Kofi limped into the Boom Drop, then called for the end. Kingston couldn't spin on his bad knee to deliver Trouble in Paradise, so Mac kicked him in the head for a two count only. Mac then almost dropped Kofi on his head before executing a running powerbomb for a cover and a nearfall. The crowd was quiet, seemingly taken out of the action by an apparent injury and Mac's awkward offense. Kofi suddenly ducked a clothesline and executed his SOS drop for the pin and the win. Kofi went back to selling the knee. They suddenly cut to a shot of Vickie Guerrero and Dolph watching the match on a backstage monitor. Kofi celebrated with the title belt to conclude the match.

WINNER: Kingston at 4:24. This is where WWE needs enhancement matches to build credibility for their potential rising stars. No one takes McIntyre (or Ziggler) seriously, then Mac losing to a one-legged man reinforced why no one should take him seriously. The match itself was just off. (3/4*)

Announcers: Mathews, Lawler, and Cole plugged Capitol Punishment coming up as their next PPV. Lawler did the same bit Booker did last night introducing the fake press conference. Cole no-sold this and they replayed the not-clever fake press conference with Obama. Back live, the announcers tried to force amusement. Mathews said WWE has invited everyone in D.C. Cole was silent through this. After the Miz-Riley segment, this show has come off the rails.

Backstage: Mike and Otunga were shown celebrating their Tag Title victory an hour later. Punk and Ryan walked into the shot, then Punk told them all to watch what he does in the main event next.

[Commercial Break. Smackdown plug: Did Christian regain the World Title at Over the Limit? Find out on Smackdown.]

Earlier Tonight: Mathews noted it's been a newsworthy night with new tag champions. Also, Big Show's knee was smashed. They replayed Big Show being run over earlier in the night.

Backstage: Stanford brought in Del Rio, who requested some time. Del Rio acted distraught, then said it's all Show's fault...or Ricardo's fault. He said it's all because of him because he's an idiot. Del Rio gritted his teeth, then walked off.

Announcers: Cole solemnly said it was an accident and Show has been taken to a medical facility. Mathews said they await their main event up next. Mathews tossed to Lawler, who paused. Lawler then talked solemnly about Randy Savage. Cole looked down at the desk dejectedly. Lawler said Savage will always be a Hall of Famer, no matter what. He said he's one of the greatest Superstars of all-time.

Savage video: The WWE Hall of Fame voice-over man narrated still-shots on Savage's career in WWE. They went to a video package on Savage's career, noted his WrestleMania III match with Ricky Steamboat, talked about his influence on pop culture, focused on Savage's promos and Liz, and incorporated slow-motion video clips of Savage's career highlights. The video faded out to the "In Memory" graphic. Back live, the fans were shown applauding as the graphic remained on the screen. "Macho Man" chant as they faded to break.

[Q8] [Commercial Break]

In-ring: Back from break, Bret Hart's music played. Lawler noted Hart being back in WWE is Cole's fault after Cole played the Kiss My Foot video last week, prompting him to make the call to Hart. Cole sat dejectedly and said he'll never get that taste out of his mouth. Truth was out first for the heels to boos. Truth heard the boos, then started muttering toward the crowd. In the ring, Truth played to the crowd as Mathews noted Truth picked up a win last night at the PPV. C.M. Punk, in pink trunks and yellow boots to tribute Savage, was out next for the heels. Rey Mysterio came out first for the faces and Mathews talked up his "deep connection" with the audience as a video game character come to life. John Cena's music then hit to bring out the WWE champion.

5 -- WWE champion JOHN CENA & REY MYSTERIO vs. R-TRUTH & C.M. PUNK -- Bret Hart special referee

Cena and Truth started things off and Cena quickly dumped Truth to the floor. Truth and Punk regrouped ringside as Hart applied a ten count. They cut to break 45 seconds in with Hart at four.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, PunkSavage was landing elbow smashes on Cena in the corner. Cena then came back with a bulldog and fisherman suplex. Punk then hid behind Hart to slow down Cena, who was caught in a double heel trap. Truth tagged in to wear down Cena before hip-thrusting to the crowd. The crowd started a dueling chant for Cena leading to the top of the hour.

[Q9 -- over-run] Cole reset the show and claimed it's been a huge night on Raw. The heels continued to make covers and Hart started slowing down his count. Punk was greet heeling on Hart, who made another slow count after Punk landed an elbow drop. Cena teased a tag to Rey, but Punk pulled Cena back to the heel corner to continue isolating him. Cena called a spot in the corner, then teased another comeback, but Punk cut him off. Punk smiled at Hart and teased the Sharpshooter, but Cena blocked, then hit a DDT moments later.

Cena made the hot tag to Rey, who went after Punk with trademark offense. Cole noted their history, then Rey blasted Punk in the head with a kick strike. The action completely broke down and Truth hit Paydirt on Cena. Suddenly, Rey smashed Truth to the ropes for the 619, but Punk intercepted Rey, only to have Rey counter with the 619. Hart then punched Punk and stepped into the Sharpshooter. Cole re-entered Heel Cole mode at this point. Punk, locked in the Sharpshooter, took the springboard leg drop from Rey and it was good for the win.

Post-match: Cole noted Bret Hart has just ruined the last 24 hours of his life. Cena, Hart, and Rey did a curtain call before they went to a replay of Rey and Hart doubling up on Punk to get the win. They went to a slow-mo replay of Cena leaping in the air to celebrate. Mathews said it was a feel-good moment for everyone. Mathews signed off, with no hook for next week's Raw. Cena and Rey continued posing and they stayed with it for a bit before ending the show six minutes past the top of the hour.

WINNERS: Cena & Rey at 9:44. Exactly what Mathews said it was supposed to be: feel-good moment for the audience to conclude the show. They curiously didn't provide a hook for next week or re-focus on the heels after the match. And, with Punk reportedly being next in-line to feud with Cena, WWE protected Truth over Punk, who took the fall in the match. Cena vs. Truth could be a really, really strong & refreshing title feud if WWE goes that away after Truth owned Cena on the mic in the opening segment. (**)

FINAL THOUGHTS: Up and down show. Some of the mic work was really strong (Truth, Miz, and Hart) and the Miz-Riley blow-up could lead to big things for both if handled correctly. However, the match action was weak or inconsequential and the mid-card continues to be lost in the shuffle. There's no sense of upward mobility for anyone below Truth right now. Then, there's the booking of Kharma, which was completely bizarre in a head-scratching way.

We welcome your 0-10 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, email to pwtorch@gmail.com using our Feedback form.


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-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars.


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