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WWE Raw Report
XANDER'S WWE RAW REPORT 5/30: Alt. perspective review of Monday's Raw, Segment & Overall Show Reax

May 31, 2011 - 10:43:35 AM
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WWE Raw alt. perspective report
May 30, 2011
Live from Omaha, Nebraska
Aired on USA Network
Report by Xander Assaad, PWTorch contributor


[Q1]

-- WWE Open.

-- A Memorial Day dedication video aired. It was tastefully done and displayed a great deal of respect to the Veterans of our country. Following the video, the screen went black and the audio died. The show cut to R-Truth standing at a vendor’s booth, tossing WWE merchandise to the audience. A brief “technical difficulties” image appeared on screen. The show returned, but the audio was still cut out. R-Truth continued to walk around the merchandise area, destroying WWE merchandise. As R-Truth walked towards the ring, the audio finally kicked in, but it was muffled horribly. At the announce table, Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole discussed Truth’s actions.

At the second level of the arena, Truth appeared. He pointed out the many, many John Cena t-shirts in the audience as he made his way to the ringside area. Truth got in the face of a child and screamed at him. The audio cut out once again. It was replaced with chatter from throughout the arena. The audio finally returned, but it was delayed by about five seconds in comparison to what appeared on the screen. Truth walked up to an African-American family and asked the child where his father was. Truth called the kid “Jimmy,” and mocked the father for wearing a John Cena shirt. The father just stared awkwardly at Truth. Truth put the mic in his face and told him to say something. He called the father “Big Jimmy.” The father said, “What’s up?” Truth took the microphone back and said that it wasn’t about “what’s up” anymore, and it wasn’t about the WWE Universe. He finally entered the ring and started prattling on about the conspiracy against him. He kept addressing all of the “Little Jimmy’s” in the audience. Is it wrong that I’d prefer to be called that instead of a “member of the WWE Universe?” Suddenly, John Cena’s music hit.

The WWE Champion made his way to the ring with a stern look on his face. Cena asked for a microphone. To note, the show continued to experience technical difficulties. Cena waited out a chant, then gave a brief overview of the conspiracy that Truth believed he was embroiled in. He asked Truth if he had gone insane. Truth became irate and said that there was nothing wrong with him -- his problem was with the fans and with Cena. He said that everyone had conspired to keep him down. Because he had quit rapping and dancing, everyone turned on him. A “Cena” chant broke out. Truth screamed for everyone to shut up because he and Cena were talking. Brilliant. The “Cena” chant grew louder. Cena pointed at the audience and said that they were the greatest fans in the world. He stated that Truth should be in a straight jacket, then told Truth that he would happily grant him a one-on-one match. Truth became excited and said that all the little “Jimmy’s” would get to watch him beat Cena.

The Raw G.M. chimed in. Michael Cole stepped up to the podium as John Cena mocked him. Once again, the audio started to cut out. The Raw G.M. decided that tonight’s main event would be John Cena vs. R-Truth. The G.M. stated that there would be “no little Jimmy’s at ringside.” Truth didn’t like the G.M.’s attempt at humor. He threw his microphone down and stormed out of the ring.

-- Michael Cole recapped Kharma’s breakdown from last week, then hyped that she would be interviewed tonight. Also, Kofi Kingston would face Dolph Ziggler next.

REAX: It’s become almost cliché to heap praise on R-Truth’s performances, so I’ll try and avoid doing that. WWE has done a great job of positioning him as the “anti-Cena,” and that became very apparent tonight. It was unfortunate that so much of the segment was lost to technical difficulties, but what could be heard and seen was good. The feud between Cena and Truth is moving along nicely, but I really hop WWE doesn’t end up giving away a one-on-one match between them this early in the storyline.

[Commercial Break]

[Q2]

-- Back live, Lawler narrated a photo collection of people celebrating Memorial Day. Kofi Kingston’s music hit. The United States Champion made his way out for the first match of the night. Dolph Ziggler was out next with Vickie Guerrero and...his hair dyed blonde again? Can anyone say, “Mulligan?”

1 -- United States Champion KOFI KINGSTON vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero) -- Non-Title Match

As the match started, Michael Cole recapped the feud that Ziggler and Kingston were a part of last year on Smackdown. Ziggler took the early advantage with a waist lock. Kingston slid out of the hold and returned with some mat-wrestling of his own. Ziggler took control and hammered away at Kingston’s upper back. The mat-wrestling continued as both men traded offensive control. At ringside, Vickie Guerrero cheered Ziggler on loudly. The audience responded to her enthusiasm with boos. Ziggler firmly established his control of the match and kicked away at Kingston’s stomach in the far corner. Suddenly, Kingston burst to life. He leapt onto the top rope. Ziggler shoved him off the turnbuckle and to the ringside floor.

[Commercial Break]

Back live, Ziggler was still in control of the match. He had Kingston floored with an armbar. Kingston tried to wiggle his way out of the lock, but Ziggler slammed him back down to the canvas. Ziggler showed great intensity as he locked a sleeper hold on Kingston. Kofi once again escaped, though, and the two men traded right hands. Ziggler missed a splash in the near corner. Kingston tried to catch his breath, then nailed Ziggler with multiple chops to the chest. The two men countered each other’s finishing moves. Kingston landed the “Boom Boom Drop,” then set up for the Trouble in Paradise. Ziggler ducked and tried to lock in a sleeper hold. Kingston escaped, then kicked Ziggler in the face. He went up top and tried to nail a plancha, but Ziggler ducked out of the way. Ziggler caught him with a Fameasser and got a near fall for his efforts.

[Q3] The match reset with both men slowly rising to their feet. Ziggler tried to hoist Kingston up for a slam, but Kingston reversed into a craddle for a nearfall. Kingston went for the S.O.S., but Ziggler held onto the top rope. Kingston was stunned. Ziggler caught him from behind with the Zig-Zag. That was good for the win.

WINNER: Dolph Ziggler in about 11:00.

Post-match, Ziggler and Guerrero celebrated. Michael Cole talked about Alex Riley’s turn last week and vowed to find out why he betrayed The Miz. Lawler hyped up the main event between R-Truth and John Cena.

REAX: I’m amazed the match was given that much television time. The match itself was perfectly fine, although it never seemed to shift into second gear. The focus was definitely on Ziggler being a step ahead of Kingston as a result of scouting him out over the last few weeks. Kingston seemed slightly off for most of the match, and if he ever wants to move past the mid-card, he will have to work on his timing. Overall, this match was about rebuilding Ziggler into a credible heel, though, so mission accomplished in that regard.

[Commercial Break]

-- Back live, Ricardo Rodriguez introduced Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio came out in an Audi. Apparently his WrestleMania payday wasn’t that great; the car looked a notch or two below the vehicles he normally drives. Also, if he has a personal ring announcer, why doesn’t he have a personal chauffeur? Del Rio entered the ring. He was grinning from ear to ear. He waited out a light chorus of boos, then officially introduced himself to the audience. A video package aired of the events that led up to Del Rio “accidentally” running over Show.

Back in the ring, Del Rio shrugged. He reiterated that it was all an accident. He asked Rodriguez to vouch for him. Rodriguez gave his version of the story (in Spanish, of course). Del Rio turned his attention to Big Show and said that he brought all of this on himself. He said that bad things happen to bad people. Del Rio said that he was a nice guy, but what happened with Big Show was all about business. He told Big Show to get well soon, then exited the ring.

-- Still to come: Rey Mysterio faces C.M. Punk.

-- Backstage, Eve Torres and Kelly Kelly stretched as they prepared for a match.

REAX: I still don’t care for Del Rio. He just tries so hard to be unlikable, and it comes across as completely forced. A feud between Del Rio and Big Show (or Kane) doesn’t appeal to me in the least, but we’ll see.

[Commercial Break]

[Q4]

-- Back live, The Bella Twins were already out for a Divas tag team match. Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres were out next. Cole talked about Kelly being a part of Maxim’s Hot 100 list.

2 -- WWE Divas champion BRIE BELLA & NIKKI BELLA vs. KELLY KELLY & EVE TORRES

Eve and Brie started things off. Eve locked Brie in a submission move quickly. The referee was distracted, and Nikki snuck in and took Brie’s place. The Bellas double-teamed Eve and went for an early pinfall attempt. The twins continued to tag in and out as they isolated Eve. Nikki locked Eve in a standing sleeper hold, but Eve escape with a hip-toss. Kelly Kelly tagged in and took Nikki down with a Lou Thesz Press. She gave Nikki a Stink-Face and followed that with a bulldog. Her uniform started to break apart and Lawler giggled like a school girl. Kelly took Nikki down with a Fameasser (the second of the night), and that was good for the win.

WINNERS: Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres in 3:30.

Post-match, Lawler and Cole down played the match and immediately started talking about Kharma’s breakdown.

Up next: Michael Cole interviews Alex Riley.

[Commercial Break]

-- Back live, Michael Cole stood in the ring and asked for the audience’s attention. He talked about Alex Riley’s firing and subsequent attack on The Miz. Cole announced that the Raw G.M. had re-signed Riley to Raw. A video aired of the events that led to Riley snapping on The Miz. I never put it together before, but Riley really is the Caucasian Virgil. Riley’s personal entrance music hit (it was actually pretty cool), and Riley walked to the ring. Cole waited solemnly for him. Riley put his hands in his pockets and smirked at Cole. Cole called Riley’s betrayal the worse case of treachery in WWE history. He said that The Miz was a father figure to Riley.

[Q5 -- Top of the Second Hour]

After all the ways Miz had nurtured him, Riley took Miz’s good will and turned on him. Cole asked Riley if he was even concerned with how his actions affected The Miz. Cole claimed that Miz was emotionally scarred by Riley’s betrayal. He thought of Riley as a brother and a best friend. Cole said that he only had one question for Riley: How could he rationalize turning on The Miz?

Riley said that he had never felt better in his life. Cole told Riley that he should go back to Miz and beg for his job back. Riley finally had enough and told Cole to shut up. He compared Cole to The Miz and said that both men were equally annoying. Cole became defensive and tried to insult Riley. He called Riley a bastard. Riley grabbed Cole by the collar of his shirt and slammed him to the canvas. He screamed at Cole and wrapped his hands around the announcer’s throat.

Suddenly, The Miz stormed the ring and speared Riley. He stomped away at Riley’s chest, then smashed his head against the canvas. Riley fired back with a spear of his own and lit into Miz with right hands. Miz tried to escape up the entrance ramp, but Riley charged at him and slammed him to the ground. He dragged Miz back to the ringside area and tossed him into the timekeeper’s area. Riley leapt over the barricade and crashed into Miz. Finally, Miz escaped Riley’s grasp and high tailed it out of the arena. Riley stepped back into the ring and soaked up the audience’s loud cheers. He took deep breathes and continued to stare in the direction The Miz ran.

-- Up next: Rey Mysterio versus C.M. Punk.

REAX: Awesome, awesome segment. Who would have ever thought that Alex Riley would make a decent face...and the audience would actually enjoy him in that role? The intensity between Riley and Miz is fantastic. The fight seemed like a confrontation between men who legitimately hate each other, and less about the typical “showmanship” or “performance values” that are usually part of WWE storylines. Simple booking at its best.

[Commercial Break]

-- WWE Rewind: Rey Mysterio (with an assist or three from Bret Hart) defeating C.M. Punk last week.

-- Back live, C.M. Punk’s music hit. He came out with Mason Ryan at his side.

[Q6]

Rey Mysterio was out next. Punk sat cross-legged in the ring as he waited for his opponent. Cole recapped the long history between Punk and Mysterio.

3 -- C.M. PUNK (w/Mason Ryan) vs. REY MYSTERIO

The match started with both men jawing off at each other. Punk shoved Mysterio into the near corner and kicked away at his midsection. Mysterio hit a hurricanrana, then mounted Punk in the far corner. Punk shoved Mysterio off and tossed him out of the ring. Mysterio hopped onto the ring apron. The two men exchanged right hands until the referee pulled Punk away. Mason Ryan snuck up behind Mysterio yanked him off the apron. The show went to commercial with the odds firmly stacked against Mysterio.

[Commercial Break]

-- Back live, Punk had Mysterio locked in a very unique hold. On cue, Mysterio escaped the hold. He tried to gain some momentum, but Punk nailed him with a back breaker. Punk wrapped his legs around Mysterio’s upper body and neck, then smashed his elbow into Mysterio’s face. Punk had a leisurely look to him as he maintained the hold and sat back and smiled. Mysterio finally escaped, but Punk cut him off with a kick to the midsection. Mysterio landed a springboard kick to Punk’s chest. Punk slid out of the ring. Mysterio dove through the middle rope and sent Punk crashing into the announce table.

Mysterio tossed Punk back into the ring. He climbed the top rope and landed a seated senton. He followed that up with a cross-body block and got a near fall. Punk put Mysterio on his shoulders for an Electric Chair. Mysterio rolled out and cradled Punk for another near fall. Punk gained the advantage once again. He hoisted Mysterio up for the Go To Sleep. Mysterio reversed into a hurricanrana and launched Punk into the ropes. Mysterio went for the 619, but Mason Ryan distracted him. The men exchanged reversals one more time. Punk nailed Mysterio with a fierce kick to the face, and that was enough for the win.

WINNER: C.M. Punk in 9:00.

Post-Match: Punk and Ryan celebrated. Michael Cole talked about the season finale of Tough Enough, then threw it to a video package of Steve Austen on The Jimmy Fallon Show.

Still to come: John Cena faces R-Truth.

Up Next: Kharma explains her breakdown. It will also be the first time she has ever spoken on WWE television. Does anyone know if she ever spoke on Impact?

REAX: Interesting match up between Mysterio and Punk. The confrontation may not have been on par with any of their past run-ins, but it was still a perfectly fine match between two professionals who know each other very well. I’m surprised that Punk gained the clean win, but I guess Mysterio’s stance will be that he had to fend off Mason Ryan during the entire match. Ultimately, the match didn’t feel like the start of a new feud between the two men -- it came across as throwaway filler. Enjoyable filler, but still...

[Commercial Break]

WWE Slam of the Week: Highlights of Kharma’s attacks on the WWE Divas over the last few weeks, followed by her breakdown.

-- Back live, Kharma was already standing in the ring. She did her best to look pensive and emotional. She started talking about her dream of becoming a WWE Superstar. People told her that it was impossible, including Jim Ross. She said that J.R. claimed that she was too fat to be a WWE Diva. As a result, she went to Japan, where she trained. She talked about going to every wrestling promotion in the United States (yes, she actually used the word wrestling). Finally, all of her efforts paid off and WWE offered her a job. Kharma explained that her second dream was to become a mother. She said that she is pregnant right now and that the pregnancy is high-risk. She can’t put the child at risk and will not be able to compete for the foreseeable future.

The Bella Twins made their way out. The twins said that they didn’t know Kharma was pregnant -- they just thought she was really fat. They were amazed that any man would ever have had sex with her. The fat jokes continued as The Bellas entered the ring. They asked Kharma if it bothered her that she couldn’t fight back. They started making fat jokes about Kharma’s baby. Kharma charged at the twins, and the Bellas ducked out of the way. Kharma said that when she returned next year, she hoped the Bellas were still a part of WWE. With that, Kharma exited the ring.

-- Cole and Lawler hyped up “Capitol Punishment.” They showed the promotional poster for the event -- it featured Rey Mysterio and John Cena with caricature of President Obama as a referee. Lawler threw it to a dream sequence of President Obama supposedly being interviewed about the upcoming PPV. Ah, geez. Does anyone remember when WWE used to have a fake President Clinton at their events? This was like that, but exponentially worse.

-- Back live, the dream sequence ended. Lawler and Cole continued to discuss the PPV and claimed that the guest list for the event included members of the Senate and the House. I have never been more excited for a commercial break.

REAX: Absolutely surreal segment with Karma. I respect that WWE allowed Kharma to break character and explain why she is going to be absent. I also feel as if humanizing her so much may have hurt Kharma’s appeal. Regardless, those are discussion points for another time. I’m glad WWE allowed Kharma to explain her upcoming hiatus, and to be honest about it. A storyline write-off would have been the easier road, and WWE didn’t fall into it’s normal modus operandi. The segment could have all done without the fat jokes, but would anyone have expected WWE to handle the entire segment with maturity and respect? ... As far as the President Obama dream sequence goes - I guess viewers can just be happy that this brand of humor no longer permeates the entire telecast.

[Commercial Break]

[Q8]

-- Back live, Jack Swagger’s music hit. As he made his way out, Cole narrated highlights of Swagger’s win over Evan Bourne last week. After the match, Bourne ruined Swagger’s victory lap. Evan Bourne came out next for the rematch.

4 -- JACK SWAGGER vs. EVAN BOURNE

Both men were tentative to start things off. Swagger dropped Bourne with multiple boots to the face. He tried to hit a German Suplex, but Bourne used his legs to block the move. Swagger hoisted Bourne into the air, but Bourne shifted his weight. Both men became tangled in the ring ropes and ended up crashing to the outside. Swagger rammed Bourne into the ring post, then threw him back into the ring. Swagger focused on Bourne’s back, then took a break to do push-ups on Bourne’s body. He hammered away at Bourne’s back and locked in sleeper hold. Suddenly, Bourne mounted a comeback and hit several sharp kicks to the face. Swagger blocked a hurricanrana attempt and slammed Bourne back to the canvas. He hoisted Bourne up for another German Suplex. Bourne blocked the move and quickly rolled Swagger up for a three count.

WINNER: Evan Bourne in about 3:30.

Post-Match: Swagger was furious. Bourne high-tailed it out of the ring and taunted Swagger from the top of the entrance stage.

Backstage: R-Truth was talking to himself yet again.

Backstage: John Cena crossed paths with Zack Ryder.

[Commercial Break]

-- Back live, R-Truth’s made his way out for the main event. He continued to mutter to himself as he stared at the ring. A replay aired (this time with sound) of R-Truth tearing apart the merchandise stand at the start of the show. The replay cut to Truth interviewing “Little Jimmy” and his father.

[Over-run]

Back in the ring, Truth screamed at the audience. Cena’s music hit and the WWE Champion did his full entrance routine. Truth slid out of the ring. Cena exited the ring and hugged a soldier who was sitting in the crowd.

5 -- WWE Champion JOHN CENA vs. R-TRUTH -- Non-Title Match

The two men locked up. Truth put Cena in a side headlock and shouted, “I got him now!” Cena tossed Truth across the ring, and Truth exited the ring to try and gain his composure. Truth was hesitant as he re-entered, then landed a kick to Cena’s midsection. He backed Cena into the far corner and continued to kick away at him. Cena reversed and Irish Whip and nailed Truth with a bulldog. Once again, Truth rolled out of the ring. He lost his focus as people in the audience yelled at him. He pranced around like he was getting ready to attack the fans.

Truth entered the ring one more time. Cena blocked another kick and clotheslined Truth. He landed the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Truth rolled out of the ring again. He went back to screaming at the audience, then climbed back into the ring. He charged at Cena, but Cena grabbed Truth and hoisted him up for the Attitude Adjustment. Truth grabbed a hold of the top rope and jumped out of the ring. He stepped over the ringside barricade and approached “Little Jimmy” and his father. Cena followed after Truth and attacked him in the audience. He dragged Truth back to the ringside area. Truth punched Cena in the face and left him in the front row seats. The referee had already been counting both men out, and the count was at nine. Truth made it back to the ring in time, but Cena was counted out.

WINNER: R-Truth via countout in about 4:00. I figured WWE wouldn’t give away much of match between Truth and Cena. Truth is the hottest heal in the company right now, and a match between him and the WWE Champion needs to be saved for the PPV. Given that, the match itself was just an angle to further the storyline between both men. Truth’s hesitance to stay in the ring and have an actual match was well done. It played into his character and created yet another reason for the audience to want to see him get what’s coming. At this stage in the feud, the “match” accomplished what it needed to: it put even more heat on Truth.

Post-Match: Truth once again approached “Little Jimmy” and his father. Truth took a swig of the father’s soda, then threw it in his face. Cena came to the family’s defense, but Truth ran away and disappeared into the backstage area. Cena apologized to the father and tried to console the son.

[End Show]

SHOW REAX: From start to finish, I thought this was one of the better Raws I have watched in a while. With the exception of the Divas match, the actual wrestling content was strong. Most of the matches were given a decent amount of time. There wasn’t a great deal of storyline development, but for a holding pattern episode, nothing ever seemed dull.

The highlights of the show were certainly the book-end moments between R-Truth and Cena, along with the Miz-Alex Riley confrontation. Truth was once again rock solid in his position, but that’s almost become a given at this point. As I said before, I had no problem with the non-match between Truth and Cena -- it furthered their feud and made for a compelling viewing experience. The Miz and Alex Riley were once again stellar. The intensity of their feud is tangible, and they legitimately seem like they want to rip each other’s heads off. I like the fact that their storyline is more like a bar fight and less about trying to one-up one another on the microphone.


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