WWE Raw Report CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 6/13: Complete "virtual time" coverage of live three-hour "All-Stars" Raw hosted by Stone Cold Steve Austin
Jun 13, 2011 - 10:06:52 PM
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WWE Raw Results
June 13, 2011 - Episode #941
Live in Uniondale, N.Y.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
This week's three-hour "All-Stars" edition of WWE Raw started with a full pyro display before Michael Cole introduced the show from ringside. Cole and Jerry Lawler set the stage for Steve Austin hosting the show, then some video-game style graphics were shown as Cole announced John Cena vs. C.M. Punk as the main event for tonight's show.
Out first to start the show was The Miz dressed in a suit. They replayed the end of Raw last week when Miz and R-Truth beat Cena and Alex Riley after the Raw GM reversed Steve Austin's referee decision. Back live in the ring, Miz noted he won in the main event of Raw, making him the all-time WWE All-Star. Pause for boos. Miz turned to Alex Riley and said he's going to expose him as a fraud more than a Tweet from Weiner. Miz said next he's going to show Riley how to be a true Superstar at Capitol Punishment. Miz paused to interact with the obligatory "What?" chants with Austin hosting. He said he's going to call out Austin tonight. He said he's tired of Attitude Era stars stealing his spotlight. Miz said he also wants an apology from Austin...
The glass broke and Steve Austin hit the ring as the guest GM for the night. Austin, in jeans, a t-shirt, and running shoes, saluted all four corners of the ring as Miz watched on with his boo-boo face. Austin waited out an "Austin, Austin" chant before noting he got tired of waiting out Miz's speech. He ran down Miz's stupid suit, stupid tie, stupid hair, and stupid handkerchief. "And you're calling me out?" Austin said. Miz tried to talk, but Austin told him to shut up. Austin went back to the night after WrestleMania when he let Miz run his mouth. He said he wanted to hear what Miz had to say. He said Miz can sure talk, but when it came to fighting, Miz turned and ran to the back. Miz tried to explain himself, but Austin cut him off again. Austin told Miz to keep his lips shut while his are moving.
Austin said he came here tonight to be GM, but he has an itchy finger and he'll for sure Stun Miz if he feels like it. Austin also noted Alex Riley tried stepping up to him after WrestleMania and he gives him credit for showing him something - he has guts. He said he's so impressed with Riley that he might be a bigger Superstar than Miz some day. Miz sarcastically asked if he could speak now. Austin shot him down, then polled the crowd on whether he should stun Miz. Austin then polled Miz on whether he's beating Riley or Riley's beating him this Sunday. Austin played gotcha and Miz mock laughed at Austin, who then grabbed Miz by the tie. He said he knows Miz and Riley need to talk things out, so they're going to do that right here in the ring tonight with the one and only Rowdy Roddy Piper. Austin told Miz he's done with him and if he knows what's good for him, he'll take his ass out of the ring right now. Miz, with a big scowl on his face, slowly backed away as Austin told him he better get to stepping. Miz quickly slipped out of the ring to avoid a Stunner, drawing boos. Austin told him that's the best decision he's ever made.
Austin said this is WWE All-Stars or "whatever the hell they want to call it." Austin said he's making the matches and making the laws tonight. Suddenly, Alberto Del Rio's music hit to interrupt Austin. Del Rio honked his horn over and over again as he arrived ringside dressed to wrestle. How does he know to be dressed to wrestle? One of those lazy convenient booking moments. Ricardo Rodriguez announced Del Rio, who stood on the ring entrance and introduced himself to Austin. Austin wasn't amused. Del Rio began walking to the ring and said he wants to make this official: the greatest Superstar of his time (Austin) passing the torch to the greatest Superstar of all-time (Del Rio).
[Q2] Del Rio slipped into the ring and stepped up to Austin. Del Rio talked about his destiny and Austin cut him off. Austin said he's not much of a fortune-teller and he doesn't have psychic abilities, but for some reason, he smells an ass-whooping as Del Rio's immediate destiny. Austin paced the ring and talked about Del Rio thinking he's big, bad, and tough since he injured Big Show. He then booked Del Rio in the first match of the night tonight. And his opponent is here...the pyro hit and Kane came out to the ring from Smackdown looking for revenge on Del Rio. Cole declared Del Rio has to face Kane as they cut to break. PYB (3) talk time: 13:30.
Segment Reax: Just like Rock, Austin is just too good handling the mic, handling a crowd, and acting completely natural rather than forcing out canned lines that it sends a message to viewers the current product just isn't as good as you remember it. As good as Rock and Austin are, they spotlight the issues that WWE needs to address with the current product to build a sustainable future.
1 -- ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. KANE
Back live, the bell sounded to begin the match-up. Cole begrudgingly reminded viewers that Stone Cold booked this match, which started with Kane on the offensive. Del Rio then grabbed Kane's left arm for a snap single-arm DDT to begin targeting the shoulder. Del Rio eventually applied the cross-arm breaker, but Kane reached the bottom rope for a break. Del Rio maintained the hold and was DQ'ed on a five count.
Post-match: Del Rio continued to maintain the hold before Big Show's music hit. Big Show came running to the ring in street clothes and tackled Del Rio to a reaction. Suddenly, Ricardo entered the ring and Show landed haymakers using a big yellow glove. Del Rio ran away in the process and Show continued to blast away on Ricardo, who took a beating as Del Rio's surrogate. Kane eventually had to put Show in a sleeper to get him to back off. Kane told Show he'll never get his hands on Del Rio if he kills Ricardo. Austin then walked out and said Del Rio is running to the parking lot and he better keep on running to D.C. because he's facing Big Show this Sunday at Capitol Punishment. Big Show celebrated while Cole declared that's not fair. Show and Kane eventually left the ring as Ricardo sold being unconscious in the ring.
WINNER: Kane via DQ at 2:49. Basic deal to set up a visibly healthy Show getting his revenge on Del Rio at the PPV. Meanwhile, the booking of Del Rio continues to be hit & miss. He's just not positioned as a future Raw main event heel.
Still to come tonight: Randy Orton returns for "one night only." He has a declaration to make, Cole said.
[Q3] Moments Ago: Cole and Show recapped Ricardo sacrificing himself for Del Rio. During the commercial, Ricardo was stretchered off by medics.
In-ring: Ezekiel Jackson's music was playing, bags were being handed out, and Smackdown heels were assembled ringside. A lot of things happening at once without an explanation from the announcers. Sin Cara's music then hit and Cole innocuously tossed to Lawler that, "Hey, you like this guy, right?" Already in the ring were Jackson and Daniel Bryan for the faces. For the heels, it was Bag Man Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, and Ted DiBiase. With three hours of TV time tonight, they couldn't set the stage for a featured Smackdown match involving six potential future stars? It just defines down Smackdown and the talent.
2 -- DANIEL BRYAN & SIN CARA & EZEKIEL JACKSON vs. IC champion WADE BARRETT & TED DIBIASE & CODY RHODES -- six-man tag match
The mood lighting remained to give Sin Cara a "homefield advantage." Cole noted Barrett is flying solo now and The Corre is done. Lawler backed up the heel, saying he thinks Barrett should have shown that wisdom a long time ago. Meanwhile, Barrett worked over Bryan and taunted his PPV opponent, Ezekiel Jackson. Bryan eventually broke free and tagged in Zeke, who cleaned house on Barrett. Jackson executed his succession of bodyslams on Barrett and tried firing up the crowd, but they remained quiet. The action broke down when Jackson teased the Torture Rack, then Jackson cleared the heels to the floor. Jackson proceeded to press-slam Bryan over the top rope to the floor onto Rhodes and DiBiase, who crashed to the floor. Back in the ring, Jackson ran over Barrett, then tagged in Sin Cara. Sin Cara nailed a springboard cross-body on Barrett and it was good for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Team Sin Cara at 3:46. Another inefficient use of TV time typical for Raw nowadays. Smackdown was defined down as a secondary brand, Barrett - a titleholder in WWE - continues to be defined down as a weak heel, Jackson is being pushed too hard well before he's ready, and the announcers continue to be distracted by everything going on around them, selling disinterest in the in-ring action, which sends a message to the home viewer that what's happening in the ring isn't important.
Still to come tonight: Miz and Riley in Piper's Pit.
In-ring: Suddenly, Hornswoggle was in the ring back from break. Cole acted like he didn't know he was back on the air. Horny shot t-shirts into the crowd, then R-Truth's voice-over intro interrupted Hornswoggle's fun. Truth said it's such a surprise seeing Hornswoggle shooting t-shirts to all the little Jimmys...and Jennys in the crowd. Truth said he really likes having funnnnnnn. Truth said that looks like funnnnnn. Truth told Hornswoggle he has nothing to be afraid of. "I'm a good R-Truth," he said with an innocent expression. Truth told Horny he might not know this but this Sunday, he's going to beat Cena and become new WWE champion. He told the crowd not to boo him, but to boo themselves.
[Q4] Truth said Cena is not going to stop him from getting what he wants on Sunday. Hornswoggle then turned his t-shirt shooter to Truth and shot him in the gut. Truth snapped and grabbed Hornswoggle by the shirt. He acted conflicted about whether to be good R-Truth or bad R-Truth. Truth then stood up and shook Horny's hand before popping him in the face with a boot. The crowd oohed and aahed as Truth did his crazy look down at Swoggle.
Austin then interrupted from the Titantron. He told Truth to pick on someone his own size. Someone like this...the camera panned left to show a returning John Morrison. Austin told Truth he has Morrison tonight before Cena on Sunday. "Oh my God," Cole said. Truth said he figures Morrison is going to have to get some of this. Truth then kicked Hornswoggle again. Truth left the ring and Lawler slipped into the ring to check on Hornswoggle and help him to his feet. Truth kept talking to himself on the way out of the ring.
Segment Reax: Since WWE believes Hornswoggle is a big star, the idea was to have Truth do something dastardly to seem like a threat to Cena's WWE Title on Sunday. It's fine use of Hornswoggle's character, but too little, too late to make anyone care about seeing Cena vs. Truth for the title on Sunday. Of course, they have another two hours to keep lobbing desperation passes toward the endzone.
Still to come tonight: Cole talked in low tones about the Cena vs. Punk match still to come as Lawler continued to check on Hornswoggle.
Moments Ago: Lawler narrated a replay of Hornswoggle being attacked by R-Truth. They showed Hornswoggle being carried off by referees during the break.
3 -- SHEAMUS vs. SANTINO
They suddenly cut to the ring and the bell sounded for a randomly-inserted match. Lawler noted to the audience that some people might not be familiar with these two men. Sheamus is a two-time WWE champion. Again, it defines down the prestige of the WWE Title and a future star like Sheamus if the announcers take the tone that a former WWE champion, Sheamus, isn't a big enough deal where viewers should already know who he is. There was a loud "We want Ryder" chant in the crowd as Sheamus worked over Santino in the ring. Santino then warmed up The Cobra, Sheamus ducked, Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick and missed, and Santino followed with The Cobra. Sheamus's career was nearly over, but Sheamus emphatically kicked out, smashed Santino with the Brogue Kick, and slapped on a Texas Cloverleaf. Santino quickly tapped out, giving Sheamus a needed win.
WINNER: Sheamus via submission at 2:45. More hit & miss almost getting there with the squash match formula trying to get over Sheamus as a barbaric heel.
Sneak Peek: Cole fed to a plug for the upcoming series premiere of "Suits" on USA Network.
Back live: Randy Orton was shown walking down the hallway with the World Title belt slung over his shoulder. He's up next at the top of the hour.
Two Weeks Ago: WWE returned from break with a slow-motion video package highlighting Christian's heel turn on Randy Orton. They emphasized Christian telling Orton, "I can beat you, Randy!"
Back live, Randy Orton's music hit one minute before the top of the hour. Orton slowly made his way into the ring as Cole revisited events from this past Friday on Smackdown when Christian struck Orton with the World Title belt to cost him a No DQ match vs. Sheamus.
[Q5 -- second hour / standard first hour]
In-ring: Orton was shown watching the footage as Cole set the stage for Orton vs. Christian this Sunday at the PPV. Orton paced around the ring and tried talking, but his mic didn't work. Orton flipped the mic into the air and said into a new mic that live TV is awesome. Orton introduced himself and said he hasn't been gone too long, but it feels good to be back on Raw. Orton said he has a chance to inflict a lot of punishment on Christian this Sunday, but he doesn't want to wait for Sunday. He said he knows Christian is in the building. He said he just wants to talk. He promised not to drop Christian with an RKO since all he wants to do is talk. Orton paced around the ring, but no sign of Christian. Okay okay. Orton said he was lying because the first chance he gets, he's going to punish Christian.
Christian then appeared on the Videotron sporting a new "Hit the Switch" t-shirt. Christian said he doesn't get why Orton is always angry. He said Orton was born with a WWE silver spoon in his mouth while he's had to scratch and claw for every thing he's had to earn in WWE. A mild babyface pop in the arena. He said it's hard work, which is something Orton and the idiots in the crowd wouldn't know about. Mild heel reaction. Christian polled the crowd on whether he should come out to the ring, then said he doesn't care what they think. Orton said it's too bad Edge isn't here to carry Christian to the ring since he carried him for 17 years. Christian smirked, then vowed to come meet Orton. Christian walked backstage before his music hit to a mild babyface reaction.
Christian slowly walked out on-stage, paused on the rampway, rubbed his mouth, Orton stewed, and Christian started back-tracking. Security then stepped in to stand in front of Orton, who tried charging Christian, and the Raw GM buzzed in. Wait, the Raw GM's on vacation. Cole read an email that while the GM has placed Austin in control of the show, he has to use a judgment call to get involved here. (In Smackdown business? Where's Long?) The GM emailed that Orton has a concussion and he will compete on Sunday, but he cannot let Orton wrestle tonight. If Orton were to be seriously injured, he would be held liable. Therefore, Orton should leave the arena right now and wait for Sunday to get his hands on Christian. Orton tried to get at Christian before Cole continued that if Orton doesn't comply, the Raw GM will strip Orton of the WWE Title. Orton paused and slowly began walking off as Christian backed away.
Suddenly, Austin popped a beer on the Titantron and said he's not letting Christian get off that easy tonight. He said Christian has a match up next against Rey Mysterio. Austin's music hit as Christian grimaced and sold frustration having to wrestle tonight.
In-ring: Booker T's music was playing back from break. Booker joined Cole and Lawler on-commentary as Christian continued to stew in the ring. Rey's music then hit to bring out Raw's #2 babyface to face Smackdown's #1 heel. As Rey made his way to the ring, the announcers announced Rey vs. C.M. Punk for the Capitol Punishment PPV. It's best two-of-three.
4 -- CHRISTIAN vs. REY MYSTERIO
Another example of Cole being a poor lead announcer since he's now defending Christian's side of the argument about being "screwed" out of the title since Christian is a heel after Cole spent weeks complaining about Christian crying about what happened. There's just no consistency or foundation to Cole's character, which means viewers can't trust Cole to sell them on the product. They cut to break 2:00 into the match when Christian knocked Rey to the outside.
Back live, Christian was working over Mysterio and aggressively focusing on Mysterio's neck. Suddenly, Christian reached a five-count working over Rey in the corner and the ref DQ'ed him. That was a very short two-segment match.
Post-match: Christian tried to inflict more damage on Rey, but Rey dropped him off the top rope. Punk then came running to ringside and Rey splashed him off the top rope. Nexus came to ringside to check on Punk as Rey avoided Christian, then fought off Nexus, then set up Christian for the 619. Mason Ryan grabbed Rey, though, and ragdolled him around the ringside area. Ryan then rolled Rey into the ring and Nexus walked off. Christian was left alone in the ring with Rey, who he dropped with a Killswitch. Christian did the belt-around-the-waist motion and left the ring as his music played.
WINNER: Rey via DQ at 5:30. WWE obviously needs heel depth on Smackdown for TV and house shows, but they had a refreshingly original (for WWE) story of Christian being a heel because he's frustrated with Orton and not being World Hvt. champion, and now he's a regular old heel based on that post-match attack on Rey, who he doesn't have an issue with.
Backstage: Austin was on the phone when Vickie Guerrero interrupted and excused herself. She talked to Austin about Dolph Ziggler getting a U.S. Title match this Sunday against Kofi Kingston. Austin confirmed the match and Ziggler straightened his tie. Austin said there's one catch: Ziggler needs to drop Vickie as his consultant/manager/whatever she is. Vickie freaked out and Ziggler acted conflicted. Vickie said this is his project. Austin asked Ziggler if he's really her project. Austin noted he knows a thing or two about moving up the ranks. He told Ziggler to do this on his own and stand on his own two feet. "All right, all right, I'll drop her!" Ziggler exclaimed. Vickie freaked out, then Austin laughed and said he was just having some fun since he already made the match earlier tonight. Vickie was a volcano ready to explode as Ziggler tried to talk himself out of a predicament with Vickie.
Still to come: Morrison vs. Truth.
In-ring: R-Truth slowly walked out to his empty theme music before they went to a replay of events last month when Truth "injured" John Morrison to temporarily write off Morrison. Back live, Morrison's theme music hit, but no sign of Morrison. Truth paced the ring muttering to himself and still no Morrison. Morrison's music then stopped and Truth began chuckling to himself. Truth then became concerned and looked around the arena. Suddenly, Morrison's music hit again. Still no Morrison. Cole said this is going to make Truth even more unstable with Morrison grandstanding. Truth took the mic and said Morrison was acting tough earlier, but now it's clear he's scared. Truth said he gets it because he's scared of himself. He demanded Morrison come out and fight, then said he would go to the back and find Morrison.
Truth left the ringside area to the back and they cut to the announcers wondering where Morrison is. Backstage, they picked up with Truth demanding Morrison come find him to fight. Suddenly, Truth acted shocked to find Morrison out cold on the ground off-camera. Truth then interrupted the refs checking on Morrison, who was selling a neck injury. Truth said the Little Johnnys will never get to see the match now. Truth said at least Morrison can say he "got got" by the future WWE champion. Truth then grabbed a travel trunk and "rammed it into Morrison," leading to a loud crashing noise when the trunk crashed into the wall above Morrison. Morrison sold some more and the WWE trainer demanded paramedic assistance. A few feet away, Truth leaned off to the side and smiled at Morrison before delivering a humorous line, "Take that, little Jimmy." Live in the arena, some fans could be heard laughing, entertained by Truth's delivery, which is not the reaction WWE should be aiming for trying to sell Truth as a threat to Cena. It's like TNA where the crowd isn't emotionally invested and just looking for a laugh.
Announcers: Back live, Cole plugged a new WWE list - the Top 25 Managers of all-time. This should be fascinating to see what criteria-less list WWE comes up with.
In-ring: Dolph Ziggler came out, flanked by Vickie Guerrero, for the next match. Cole then fed to a highlight video package on Ziggler to go tit-for-tat with Kingston, who had a highlight video last week on Raw. Jack Swagger then came out. Apparently he's in a tag match with Ziggler. Predictably, Evan Bourne, then Kofi Kingston came out as their opponents. Meanwhile, Booker declined to offer some comments on his TV return match against Swagger last week. Cole then plugged Kofi vs. Ziggler for the U.S. Title at the PPV on Sunday.
5 -- U.S. champion KOFI KINGSTON & EVAN BOURNE vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero) & JACK SWAGGER
Swagger and Dolph worked over Kofi early on, then Swagger went for a Vader Bomb, but Kofi got his feet up to block. Bourne hot-tagged into the match and cleaned house before scoring a close nearfall on Swagger. Swagger tried to come back with an anklelock, but Bourne escaped. The action broke down and Kofi dropped Swagger with Trouble in Paradise from the ring apron. Bourne followed up with Air Bourne from the top rope on Swagger for the pin and the win. Cole noted Bourne embarrassed Swagger again. Booker said TV does not do Air Bourne justice and viewers need to see it live. Cue up a slow-motion replay of Bourne's finisher as Booker said Bourne is back with a vengeance. Back in the ring, Kofi was fired up with the win as he celebrated with Bourne.
WINNERS: Bourne & Kingston at 2:56. Basic house show match getting to the only thing anyone cared about: Air Bourne. Overall, another too-short match that the audience sat on their hands for since it wasn't important enough to announce ahead of time - sending the message it's filler - and featuring two castrated heels. These characters just can't get out of the quicksand based on the booking - no heat on the heels and the babyfaces have nothing to overcome. They're all just stuck at the same level.
Rock plug: Cole read a note about The Rock being named the "Biggest Ass Kicker" at the Guys Choice Awards. They somehow managed to go an entire 20-second spot without mentioning Spike TV. They also excluded the Spike logo from a graphic noting Rock's award.
[Commercial Break. On the way back, they plugged Smackdown this Friday with the final hype for Orton vs. Christian.]
In-ring: Back live, Justin Roberts announced Roddy Piper, who slowly came out on-stage to survey the crowd. The announcers tossed out the word "controversy" over and over again to describe Piper's contribution to WWE. The thing is no one ever had to say "controversy," it just was. Piper said that before they begin, he wants to note something from 25 years ago: WrestleMania II right here in this very spot in the Nassau Coliseum dropping Mr. T.
Suddenly, The Miz's music interrupted, drawing a blank stare from Piper. Miz said if they want to talk about favorite moments in this building, he'll look ahead four years when they tear down the building and replace it with nothing. Miz said he gets annoyed when people call him a modern-day Roddy Piper. Piper cut him off and said there will never be another Roddy Piper. Piper said he believes the phrase Miz is looking for is a Piper wannabee. Miz then cut a promo knocking Piper's career, which caused Piper to slowly walk around. "Real World? I never saw it. I was busy living in the real world," Piper shot back.
[Q9 -- third hour/standard second hour] Piper turned to the future, as in Sunday. Piper said he wants to talk about Alex Riley, who has already destroyed Miz and will do it again on Sunday. Cue up Riley's theme music to bring out Riley for a confrontation with Miz. Piper shook hands with Riley, who has received storyline endorsements from Austin and Piper on this show. The crowd chanted "Alex Riley" before Piper asked Riley what made him realize he had enough. Riley said he didn't want it to happen this way, but he realized Miz was using him to remain WWE champion. Riley said it occurred to him that it didn't make sense for him to keep helping Miz when he could beat him. Miz had enough and mocked Piper before noting he fired Riley. Piper asked Miz if he thinks he can beat Riley. Piper went rapid-fire on Miz before doing his classic line about changing the questions.
Piper mocked Miz's catchphrase, then Miz proposed a bet to Piper. Riley had a big laugh and suggested Piper could beat Miz right here, right now. Piper waved off Riley, telling him to slow down. Miz then said he'll put $1,000 of his own money on the line against Piper right now. Miz said he would even wear the suit. Piper went from dejected to confident before rubbing his eyes. "Ah man," Piper said. He asked Riley if he's serious. Piper muttered to himself, acted dejected, then snapped, "How about $5,000?" Austin interrupted on the Titantron and said that sounds good to him. He said it's Hot Rid vs. The Miz with each man putting up $5,000...and the special referee for the match will be Alex Riley. Miz ranted & raved as they cut to commercial.
6 -- RODDY PIPER vs. THE MIZ -- Alex Riley special referee -- $5,000 match
Back live, Cole said this match could previously only be seen in the All-Stars video game. So, the impetus for booking this match was to promote a video game. After showing some video game clips, they cut to the ring where Riley called for the bell. Miz rolled up his sleeves and landed right hand blows, but Piper jabbed Miz in the eyes and slapped on a sleeper. Miz escaped and pounded on Piper in the corner, causing Riley to fling him across the ring. Suddenly, Miz popped Riley and Riley responded with a right hand blow. Piper then rolled up Miz from behind, Riley fast-counted, and Piper scored the pin for the win. Post-match: Miz freaked out, then Riley tossed Miz over the top rope to the floor. Miz continued to freak out ringside as Riley raised Piper's hand in victory. They did a final hard sell for Miz vs. Riley at the PPV on Sunday with back-and-forth camera shots.
WINNER: Piper at 1:07. Big, big endorsement for Riley on this show tonight.
Still to come tonight: Cena vs. Punk.
[Q10] It's worth noting WWE is scheduled for another three-hour show next Monday, which hasn't been mentioned at all thus far.
Back live, Cole plugged Kelly Kelly and the Bella Twins "putting their differences aside" for one night to appear on Price is Right. They rolled some footage of the Divas interacting with WWE Hall of Famer Drew Carey on-set. Kelly talked about it being a dream-come-true to present prizes on the show. Cole plugged the episode airs tomorrow on CBS.
In-ring: Time for a seven-on-seven Divas tag match. The Bellas led out the heels, who were all dressed in black. Kelly Kelly's music then hit to bring out seven babyface Divas dressed in bright colors.
7 -- DIVAS champion BRIE BELLA & NIKKI BELLA & MARYSE & MELINA & TAMINA & ROSA MENDES & ALICIA FOX vs. KELLY KELLY & A.J. & NATALYA & KAITLYN & EVE & GAIL KIM & BETH PHOENIX
By the time it was established which 14 Divas were in the match, the match broke down into a brawl before Kelly pinned Rosa for the win. Post-match: Eve took the mic and announced a Broadway number in honor of the Tony Awards last night. At the announce table, Cole was shown mock-gagging before leaning back in his chair selling death. Cole then fed to a video package on Tough Enough last week.
WINNERS: Team Kelly at 1:23.
Replay: Steve Austin announcing Andy as the winner of Tough Enough last week. They replayed McMahon slapping Andy before Austin dropped Andy with a Stunner.
Backstage: Austin was shown talking to Big Andy before they shared a beer. C.M. Punk walked in and sized up Andy before mockingly asking him if he really won Tough Enough. Austin told Andy to step aside, then Austin asked "straight-edge" Punk if he wants a beer. Punk mockingly did "What?" after each alcoholic drink offer. Punk asked if the "Whats" are really annoying and Austin confirmed they are. Punk noted Austin is operating without sobriety before thanking Austin for his match with Cena tonight. Austin said Nexus is banned from ringside and Punk sternly said he can take care of business by himself. Austin said that's good, then sternly told Punk he has an announcement up next. Austin walked off, leaving Punk to stare back at him.
[Q11] In-ring: Back live in the building, the glass broke and Austin came flying to ringside on his four-wheeler as Cole complained about it. Austin took the mic as a graphic plugging his Twitter account flashed on the screen. Austin paced around the ring and thanked the crowd for being hospitable tonight.
Suddenly, the Raw GM buzzed and Cole stood up to interrupt Austin. Cole sheepishly stepped to the podium and Austin said he's getting sick and tired of the GM interrupting the flow of his show. Cole stammered that the GM has an announcement to make. The GM said Austin did a "fair job" in his absence this week. And the GM will be back on Raw next week. Austin said he's still GM for the week, then he brought up next week also being another three-hour show. Austin unconvincingly announced next week will put the power in the hands of the people to make the matches. Not another three-hour Viewer's Choice Raw. The GM buzzed in again, then a second time. Austin told Cole if he pushes that button one more time, he has something for his ass.
Suddenly, the GM buzzed a third time and Cole took off running when Austin jumped out of the ring. The GM buzzed again, then again, then again, then again, then again, then again. Austin yanked the laptop down, then tipped over the podium. Austin asked for a beer as he clutched the laptop and threw it down at the base of the ring entrance. Austin doused the laptop with beers before running it over on his four-wheeler. That wasn't enough, as Austin backed up the vehicle and ran it over one more time. Then again. Austin went flying up the entrance ramp, then he hopped off his vehicle and ran back into the ring to call for more beers. The screen flashed black twice, which seemed like a technical difficulty more than the GM trying to find a new way to interrupt the show. Austin gave a final shout-out to Nassau before he saluted the crowd again. On the way out, Austin picked up the laptop scraps and tossed it aside.
Announcers: The screen flashed black again before they showed Lawler and Booker alone at the announce table with Cole nowhere to be seen. Lawler then talked about his dream and Booker and Lawler awkwardly fed to another President Obama press conference. This time, Christian played the role of fake reporter. This one started off relevant with Christian asking Obama if it would be fair to be asked to run again for president just five days after winning an election. Then, Cody Rhodes did a paper bag bit. They dated themselves with Sheamus asking a birth certificate question. Khali stood up and did his extended-arms pose. Hornswoggle then grunted and muttered. Obama's clip was saying they support that. Capitol Punishment this Sunday. Back live, Booker sold being asleep. "You kidding me, right?" Booker asked Lawler. Awkward pause. Lawler plugged Cena vs. Punk still to come tonight.
[Q12] In-ring: Back from break, C.M. Punk's music hit to bring out Punk sans Nexus, who have been banned from ringside. Cole was back on-commentary and repeated the fake item about WWE having 10 million viewers last week. If you count everyone twice and/or count double-watchers of the replays. Once Punk entered the ring, he sat down in the ring a la Brian Kendrick. Long pause. Not much heat. John Cena's music then hit and Cena made his first appearance of the night. Cena said something to the on-stage camera before charging the ring. The announcers promoted Cena vs. Truth at the PPV this Sunday as Cena completed his ring entrance.
8 -- WWE champion JOHN CENA vs. C.M. PUNK -- non-title match
The deep-throated males quickly started a combination "C-M-Punk" and "Cena sucks" chants, which was met with a "Let's go Cena" chant from the kids and families. Booker equated it to a hot soccer crowd. "Soccer?" Cole replied, with McMahon obviously feeding a line based on not believing that's a relevant reference. The dueling chants grew louder in the opening minutes as Cena and Punk teased their finishers before backing away to neutral corners. After everyone paused, the match and dueling chants resumed. Punk then knocked Cena to the outside and they cut to break 2:45 into the match.
Back live, Cena was trying to make a comeback against Punk, who cut him off with an abdominal stretch. Cena then escaped and hip-tossed Punk, who recovered and knocked Cena to the floor. Punk then landed a big plancha on the outside, which was surprising for Cena to take considering he's physically banged up. Punk returned to the ring and did a Macho Man extended-arms pose from the top rope before dropping a double axehandle on Cena. Punk rolled Cena back into the ring and slapped on a gut wrench submission center-ring. The crowd resumed the dueling chants before Cena escaped and desperately applied an STF. Punk grabbed the bottom rope for a break, though, and quickly kicked Cena in the head to cut him off.
Punk resumed his attack as Cole quickly threw out a reference to Punk-Rey this Sunday at the PPV. At 10:00, Cena ducked a clothesline and tried a trademark shoulder tackle, but Punk ducked and Cena went flying to the floor. Punk quickly grabbed the ref and told him to start counting. Punk watched as Cena tried to collect himself ringside, then rolled back into the ring at an eight count.
[Q13] Punk quickly attacked Cena with right foot stomps as Cole reset the show at the top of the hour. Punk went to the corner for a springboard move, but Cena ducked and Punk crashed to the mat. Punk tried to follow up with a clothesline, but Punk ducked and started his comeback routine. Suddenly, R-Truth's voice interrupted. Truth was shown walking through the crowd pointing out all of the little Jimmys in the crowd. Truth asked a kid in the crowd if he would trade him the hat for a sip of water. Cena saw what was going on and told the kid not to take the deal. In the background, Punk scooped up Cena and nailed the G2S center ring. Punk made the cover and the males exploded with cheers as Punk picked up the win.
WINNER: Punk at 13:58. An above-average Raw TV main event dominated by the crowd, which seemed to be waiting all night for something to invest in besides Stone Cold segments. Punk picking up the winning and Cole stressing Punk pinned the WWE champion could be foreshadowing for a post-Capitol Punishment program between Cena and Punk. The visual of Punk being his own man and not having irrelevant Nexus around him was a good development. (**1/2)
Post-match: Truth, sporting a red Cena cap he stole from "Little Jimmy," hit the ring and smashed Cena with a bottle of water. Truth then dropped Cena with his finisher before leaving the ring. Truth picked up the WWE Title belt as the crowd chanted, "Little Jimmy." Truth returned to the ring and stood over Cena to tell him he's beating him for the WWE Title on Sunday. "And that's the truth," he declared. Truth held the title belt over a fallen Cena before they replayed the end of the match with Punk taking advantage of the distraction to score a G2S on Cena. They went to a slow-motion replay of Truth nailing Cena with a water bottle, which Cole sold like a chair shot to the head. Unintentional comedy on that slow-motion water bottle shot and attached commentary. Booker said Truth might be the most dangerous man on Raw. Truth left the ring with possession of the title belt as Cena recovered in the ring to conclude the show six minutes past the top of the hour.
Next Monday: Before the show officially ended, a post-Raw video package announced "Power to the People" as the official theme of next week's viewer's choice three-hour Raw.
FINAL THOUGHTS: There are just so many issues with WWE's booking approach that a three-hour Raw actually exacerbates the problem rather than helps WWE create more opportunities for stars to stand out with an additional hour of TV time. The PPV sales pitch for Sunday came across last-second and ineffective without a credible, lead voice. It doesn't help being sandwiched in-between three-hour Raws that should be enough to convince regular WWE viewers to skip the PPV. It's a reminder TV is the master WWE serves right now. As for Austin, I thought his character was stretched too thin despite a great start and some good backstage segments. The conflict with the GM, who was supposed to be off this week, didn't accomplish anything, as the GM will be back with a new laptop next week. They need to end the GM storyline as soon as possible, as it's becoming more of a lazy crutch and contributing to WWE's ongoing booking issues and concerning approach to storytelling.
Keller Coverage: Follow PWTorch editor Wade Keller's live Raw blog on WadeKeller.com.
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