WWE Raw Report CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 8/1: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - Triple H resolves WWE Title situation, battle royal, Ace speaks
Aug 1, 2011 - 10:06:03 PM
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WWE Raw Results
August 1, 2011 - Episode #948
Live in Indianapolis, Ind.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
This week's live WWE Raw started with a video package starting with the Money in the Bank PPV and Vince McMahon's ominous words toward John Cena if Punk left MITB as WWE champion. After a slow-mo replay of Punk capturing the title from Cena, they continued to focus on McMahon's sad look as Punk left Chicago with the title. Fast-forward past the July 18 Raw to last week's July 25 Raw with Cena beating Rey to become new WWE champion. The video package cut to Cult of Personality to show Punk returning and confronting Cena.
Live in the arena: Full pyro shot off three minutes past the top of the hour and the Raw theme played before Michael Cole introduced the show. Cole said it's a "night of remarkable importance." He said for the first time in WWE history, they have two legitimate WWE champions. After Cole paused, Cult of Personality played to bring out C.M. Punk on-stage. Big reaction from the vocal males. Punk held up his version of the WWE Title belt for the fans around the staging area before slowly making his way to the ring.
Ringside, Cole, Lawler, and "special guest" Jim Ross were shown. Lawler took exception to Cole calling Ross their special guest and said Ross is back permanently. Cole plugged WWE's Twitter to talk about Raw as Punk continued to play to the fans. Lawler said he, along with many other WWE fans, never expected to see Punk back in a WWE ring. CoP continued to play before the music stopped and a loud mixed reaction came up from the arena. Loud "C-M-Punk" chant broke out before Punk proclaimed, "The champ is here." Lawler acknowledged a loud mixed reaction before the vocal males started another Punk chant.
Punk sat down center-ring and said everyone wants to know why he returned to WWE. Punk said he knew as far back as one year ago he had a big decision to make on July 17, 2011. Punk said he loves his job, but hates the people he works for. Punk said he had a choice to take the status quo or speak his mind and create a stir. He said he did speak his mind and he caused a little bit of change. The domino effect led to McMahon relieved of his duties. "There it is - there's change," he said. Punk said he also believes the audience deserves some of the credit.
Punk said the audience has been fed scraps for far too long. He said he's here to make this fun again. (More of the appearance of change theme.) Punk said people get scared when he's on the mic and he would have it no other way. Punk said he was sitting at home with the WWE Title and decided the Voice of the Voiceless needed to be heard. "I think he's a little arrogant," Cole quickly said. Punk said he can't do it through social media, Comic-Con, or on Jimmy Kimmel because he needs to be in front of the audience.
Punk said he picked up the phone and made a call. He said in his one-week absence, they've already reverted to status quo with Cena as WWE champion. Mixed reaction for the Cena reference. Punk said Cena is as much WWE champion as the kid sitting on the front row with a replica "belt," whereas he has a "championship title." Punk held his title high before the vocal males started a Punk chant. He said no matter what the outcome was of the bogus title tournament, one fact remains. He holds in his hands the most important title in the world. Punk said this represents the best professional wrestler in the world. He said he is the one and only WWE champion.
As expected after that line, Triple H's music hit. Punk kept talking over the music before Hunter stomped out in a suit while still puffing out his chest. Cole referenced Cena's Tweet earlier in the day about this being the most important Raw of Hunter's life. Hunter eventually made his way to the ring and surveyed the crowd before approaching Punk. Hunter looked Punk up and down as another segment of the crowd chanted, "Triple H." Punk told the crowd to cheer him up - "H-H-H is the COO."
Hunter thanked him for that, but said he wanted to explain why he re-signed Punk. He said it comes down to one thing: business. He said it was good for business, which is the same reason why he brought back Jim Ross. It's the same reason he brought back John Morrison (females popped). Hunter said the fans wanted it and it's his job to give them what they want. He said the fans spoke and they wanted Punk, so he put his personal feelings aside to give them Punk. "Personal feelings?" Punk said under his breath. Hunter said it was meant to be a complement. Punk told Hunter not to hide behind the suit and tell him his personal feelings.
[Q2] Hunter said his personal feelings are irrelevant, but if Punk insists, he thinks he's a smug, over-rated, attention-seeking (pause for crowd pop), guy that puts a little too much stock in his own hype. Punk smirked and said since they want to be honest here, it's kind of like looking in the mirror. Punk said he sure is smug and a jerk. He said it's not up to him to determine if he's over-rated. Punk paused and said he wishes Hunter just told him he hates his guts. He said they live in an era McMahon built with yes-men. Punk said everyone screw up the talent roster. He said Batista (crowd pop), Mick Foley (louder crowd pop), Chris Jericho (louder crowd pop) are all gone. And, Brock Lesnar (vocal males pop). Punk said Hunter didn't want to see him go anywhere else, but Hunter couldn't afford to see him go anywhere else.
Hunter said it's fair he's a commodity. But, while they're telling the truth, Punk should tell the truth about why he re-signed. Punk repeated he wants to facilitate change. Hunter responded he thinks Punk did it for himself. He wanted to hear his own voice - the pipe bomb. He asked Punk what happens if a pipe bomb goes off and no one is there to hear it? Hunter said without WWE and this platform, Punk and his pipe bomb really mean nothing. He said Punk did that for his own ego.
Punk said that's a big maybe and 50/50 at best. He said he likes 100 percent fact, though. He's WWE champion. Hunter corrected him that he is WWE champion and John Cena is also WWE champion. He said that like he says before, he will fix that situation later tonight. Hunter's music hit and Punk told them to cut his music. Punk said he likes Motorhead, but come on back in the ring. Punk shot Hunter a look and said this pipe is about to go off in the forest and he wants Hunter to be around to hear it. Punk said he's not going to shut up just because he signed the company line. He's not going to promo class or media training because he's here to stay and do things his way.
Speaking of egos, Punk did Hunter's old Hunter Hearst Helmsley pose. He said Hunter hogged the spotlight so many times over people who deserved a spotlight. He said that even when Hunter was carrying Shawn Michaels's bags, he was telling people what to do. Punk asked Hunter how many times he said, "Well you know, I don't think he has what it takes," while lying in bed with his wife. Punk told Hunter that no matter how he's dressed up, he's who always has been: a bully who pushes people around. Punk added that Hunter should be careful who he pushes because he likes to push back. Hunter smirked and said this comes down to ego and he has a massive ego. He said his ego is telling him to slap every tattoo off Punk's fat ass. (Crowd pop)
Hunter told Punk he's not going to do that because this is bigger than that. Hunter said he took the COO job for them (the fans). He said that comes with certain responsibilities and rules. Maybe he doesn't like them any more than anyone else, but he respects them. Hunter said he's not going to break those rules as a result. He strongly, strongly suggested that Punk not break the rules either. Hunter and Punk were nose-to-nose at this point. "Or what?" Punk asked. "You going to beat me up? You going to fight me? You going to punch me in the face?" The crowd cheered. Punk asked, "Do you have to go ask permission first?" while playing with Hunter's tie. Punk then picked up his title belt and dropped the mic center-ring. "Pipe bomb," he said. Punk stood on the ring apron and jawed with Hunter before leaving the ring. Hunter stared Punk down as Punk raised his arms in the air. PYB talk time: 18:05.
Backstage: Rey Mysterio was shown preparing for tag action when John Morrison did some parkour action flying into the camera shot. But, up next: #1 contender's Divas Battle Royal. They cut to break after a 25-minute opening segment.
1 -- #1 CONTENDER DIVAS BATTLE ROYAL
Divas champion Kelly Kelly was on commentary, creating a four-person booth to fight over airtime during the first two minutes. The bell sounded and participants from the Raw and Smackdown women's rosters started flying out of the ring. With it down to a near-Final Four, they cut to break at 1:55.
[Commercial Break. Miz in a new 7-Eleven commercial promoting the Slurpee & Big Gulp collector's cup aired.]
The Bellas, Eve, and Beth were still in the match back from break. The Bellas eliminated Eve, then celebrated as if they won, but Beth eliminated them to win the match. Afterward, Beth celebrated the win and Kelly joined her in the ring, but Beth turned heel with an attack on Kelly. Beth then grabbed the mic and told Kelly her title run is over.
WINNER: Phoenix at 7:12 to become #1 contender - Kelly vs. Beth at Summerslam. Exit Kharma and (finally) Enter Beth.
Backstage: Miz was taping up his wrists for the big tag match, then R-Truth walked in. Truth and Miz talked about Truth's issues before Truth asked Miz if he really said Triple H being in charge is a huge mistake. Miz said neither of the current champions should be champion and, as far as he's concerned, it's a...Miz didn't want to say it, but Truth said, "Conspiracy!" Miz told Truth not to start with that and he doesn't want to share the same warped view points. Miz started talking to himself. Truth then brought up a point: if "Mr. H" was planning on bringing Punk back all along, then why were they competing in a title tournament? Truth told Miz to be very careful, otherwise he might be next to "get got." Truth left and Miz contemplated life and world issues as they cut to break.
Announcers: Cole reset the show and noted The Rock first used the line "It doesn't matter what you think" in Indianapolis.
Backstage: Josh Mathews, with a big smile on his face, brought in John Cena. They cut to an arena shot of the fans applauding Cena. Mathews asked Cena about his promo earlier. Cena said Punk can live by the sword or die by the sword. Punk referenced Triple H, saying Hunter will have to make an important decision about the WWE Title tonight. He said he'll be there when Hunter makes the call.
[Q4] In-ring: R-Truth came out first for tag action. The Miz was out next and they played clips of Miz on George Lopez's show last week. Is Miz a heel or a face? Or neither? More of that "everyone is a star" theme that tells viewers it's all a show, which hurts a wrestler's ability to draw real heat. As Miz and Truth posed in the ring, they cut to another break.
In-ring: Back live, Cole plugged Miz appearing at Nick's Teen Choice Awards this week. Cole, attempting to make WWE sound "plugged in," said Miz will be hanging out with Bieber, the Kardashians, etc. It's more of that next objective to use Raw as a platform to stress WWE's self-perceived role in pop culture. Rey Mysterio, then John Morrison came out as the babyface opposition.
2 -- THE MIZ & R-TRUTH vs. JOHN MORRISON & REY MYSTERIO
The bell sounded and Cole picked up the social media plugs again, telling viewers to vote on who should be real WWE champion, which could influence Hunter's decision later in the show. Continuing the "appearance of change" theme, Cole is handling most of the commentary, with Lawler adding color, and Ross adding a few comments here and there. As the match progressed, it shifted to Ross handling the wrestling play-by-play and Cole handling the social media/announcement aspect by continuing to plug Miz's presence in pop culture last week. The match went to break at 2:10 after the faces cleared the heels to the floor with some high-flying offense.
Back from break, the heels were working over Rey after taking control during the match. Ross tried to stress the value of the WWE Title by discussing Rey's rollercoaster night last week when he won and lost the WWE Title. Prior to that, WWE completely missed that "human interest" story after Rey's promo wanting to take the title back home to his family last week. Cole continued to plug Twitter items from WWE as they reached the top of the hour with Rey still in trouble.
[Q5 -- second hour] Mysterio continued to take a beating from Miz and Truth as they reached 10:00. Miz then tried a top rope move, but Rey intercepted Miz with a mid-air dropkick. Morrison then hot-tagged as Truth tagged in. Morrison got some of Truth before clearing Miz to the floor. Morrison scored a nearfall following a standing Flux Capacitor before positioning Truth in the corner.
Morrison wanted Starship Pain, but Miz pulled Truth out of the way. Rey then splashed Miz on the floor to take him out. Back in the ring, Morrison with an A.J. Styles-style Pele Kick on Truth. It positioned Truth for the 619, but Miz yanked Rey to the floor and tossed him over the guardrail. The crowd was hot before Morrison KO'ed his former partner with a step-up enziguiri. Truth then surprised Morrison with his finisher and it was good for the win. Cole framed it as Miz sacrificing himself for the good of the team.
Post-match: Miz, holding his jaw to sell the kick from Morrison, then grappled Morrison from behind and delivered the Skullcrushing Finale. Ross called it uncalled for. Cole said it's 2011 and that doesn't matter. More of that third theme that Raw doesn't have True North on the compass to set up heels to get heat and faces to overcome injustices. Ross added to the show helps, but Cole taking over commentary washes out Ross's voice. Truth then brought in his Steel Water Bottle to smash Morrison in the face to add insult to injury. Miz and Truth celebrated to conclude the segment.
WINNERS: Miz & Truth at 11:04. One of those Raw matches with a good dose of athleticism to excite the crowd, not amounting to much more than a self-contained segment, and giving the announcers a chance to talk up pop culture. (**)
Backstage: Mathews brought in Triple H to discuss the promo with Punk earlier. Hunter sneered down at Mathews and asked if he shaved today. Hunter said he's been in the business for 20 years and he's heard the "bomb" about his wife for ten years. He told Punk to get some new material. Mathews asked Hunter about Cena's comments earlier. Hunter told Cena, Punk, or anyone else to come hear what he has to say. Hunter said his advice for Cena is to keep this strictly business. He let those words linger in the air before Mathews thanked him for his time.
Mark Henry video package: Destruction. No one wants a piece of Henry. Pause. "I'll fight him!" Sheamus said in a voice-over. They showed clips of Sheamus and Henry interacting before the voice-over man asked if Henry has finally met his match. Find out this Friday on Smackdown.
Summerslam Recall: Summerslam 1988 in New York City with Honky Tonk Man throwing out an open challenge for the IC Title. Cue up Ultimate Warrior to end the longest-running IC Title streak in WWE history.
In-ring: From Warrior to Dolph Ziggler, who came out with Vickie Guerrero. Both were dressed in black for a night at a fine restaurant. Ziggler flashed his U.S. Title belt before escorting Vickie into the ring. Vickie started off calmly trying to excuse herself onto the show before working herself up. She said that while everyone is talking about the WWE Title controversy, Ziggler has proved himself to be far more superior than Cena and Punk. The crowd booed Vickie as she tried to hype her "client," Ziggler. Ziggler noted his victory last week and his post-match declaration, "Follow that." He said that was directed toward every wrestler under contract. What that means is no one will ever have his skill, technique, talent, and no one will ever have this charisma. He said he's more of a man than anyone in this arena and more of a man than anyone in the locker room.
[Q6] Cue up Alex Riley's theme music with the interruption. Riley, also in a suit, stepped on-stage as Cole told him to go away. Riley asked Dolph why he always hides behind a woman if he's such a man. Vickie took exception, excused herself, and said thanks to her, Dolph is a former World Hvt. champion, former IC champion, and current U.S. champion. Riley smirked, entered the ring, and stepped up to Vickie. Riley excused himself to laughs before asking Ziggler when was the last time he accomplished anything on his own. Riley, like a guy moving on to his next girlfriend while still thinking about his past girlfriend, said he knows someone else who hid behind him: The Miz. Riley told Ziggler to drop Vickie or he'll be known as a bleach-blonde, arrogant fraud. Dolph paused, then moved Vickie away to the corner and took off his jacket and title belt. Dolph acted like he was going to step toward Riley, but bailed from the ring. "I don't even know who you are," Dolph said toward Riley before Riley's music played. Lawler said Riley had a chance to earn respect, but he chickened out.
Still to come tonight: Triple H Settles WWE Title Controversy. Ross handled that aspect, then Cole plugged the social media aspect of WWE encouraging viewers to vote on who should be champ.
Next: WWE tag champs Otunga & McGillicutty vs. Santino and Ryder. They were shown on a split-screen walking to the ring. The match is next.
In-ring: Back live, New Nexus's new theme music hit to bring out Otunga and McGillicutty. They were without the over-done Nexus gear that made them look like independent wrestlers. Santino's music hit next to bring out Santino. He pointed to the back that he has a suitable partner. Zack Ryder's music hit next and Cole called him a joke. The camera focused on a big Ryder sign in the crowd before Ryder and Santino hit the ring. Lawler reminded Cole of being a joke last week on Raw when Ryder took care of him in 25 seconds. Back live, Cole pouted as Lawler rubbed it in.
3 -- WWE tag champions DAVID OTUNGA & MICHAEL MCGILLICUTTY vs. ZACK RYDER & SANTINO -- non-title match
The heel tag champs worked on Santino early on, prompting a "We want Ryder" chant from the vocal males. Cole said Ryder is the self-proclaimed Internet champion and he spent $1,500 on his own title belt. He said it's as goofy as Lawler buying his own crown. Lawler asked Cole about speaking into a microphone and calling himself a broadcaster. Ryder hot-tagged into the match, which drew a reaction, then Ryder delivered a Broski Boot as Cole continued to heel on Ryder. Santino tried to get involved with his Socko-like Cobra, but was cleared to the floor. Mike then blocked a Rough Ryder as Ross strategically referred to Mike's background, noting he has good DNA. Moments later, Otunga scored a pin on Ryder to douse more water on Ryder.
WINNERS: Otunga & Mike at 2:25. More of that "appearance of change" getting Ryder in a match on Raw, but not doing anything with him.
NBC plug: WWE aired a WrestleMania 27 video package promoting the music video special on Saturday, August 13. Included will be "never-before-seen film," behind-the-scenes footage, and sit-down commentary from stars involved in WM27. The focus will be on Rock-Cena, plus Triple H challenging Undertaker for The Streak.
[Q7] [Commercial Break. Third installment of Miz's 7-Eleven commercial.]
Announcers: Cole plugged "Haven" on Syfy this Friday after Smackdown guest-starring Edge. Ross then recapped the Hunter-Punk promo at the start of the show that "got personal."
Earlier Tonight: They replayed Hunter's comment about taking the COO job for the fans. He said that comes with certain responsibilities and rules. Hunter suggested to Punk he not break the rules either. They showed Punk responding with a challenge to Hunter to fight him and the final insult of whether he has to ask his wife first.
Backstage: Mathews brought in Punk to ask him about his "altercation" with Hunter earlier tonight. Punk said he's waiting around for Hunter's decision on the title, just like everyone else. Punk said he was testing Hunter earlier and he passed with flying colors. Punk then said he and Cena had one of the greatest matches in WWE history at MITB, and the result was he won and Cena lost. He left on that note.
In-ring: And for the afterthought heel act of the show, Ricardo Rodriguez introduced Raw's MITB holder Alberto Del Rio, who came out dressed to wrestle. As Del Rio made his way to the ring, Lawler plugged 7-Eleven as the sponsor of Summerslam. Cole said Del Rio will be in action next.
[Commercial Break. Miz at 7-Eleven installment #4.]
In-ring: Del Rio was still in the ring back from break. They replayed action from last week when Del Rio finished off Kofi Kingston via cross arm-breaker to secure a win. Ross stressed Del Rio holding the golden ticket MITB briefcase, then Evan Bourne came out to face Del Rio. Cole brought up Ross calling Cole a tool on Twitter and Ross said that's what he believes.
4 -- EVAN BOURNE vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO
Bourne scored with an early head scissors as Cole continued to heel on Ross for being "special guest" for a few weeks before Summerslam. Lawler shot back he's permanent. Cole then talked up Del Rio's resume, including he's a former mixed martial artist. Heel Cole continued to engage Dated Lawler before Ross tried to bring the focus back to the match. And back to Cole vs. Lawler. Meanwhile, Bourne tried to fire back on Del Rio with kick strikes before quickly going up top. Bourne was then intercepted by Del Rio, who dropped Bourne with an enziguiri. Del Rio then followed right up with the cross arm-breaker center-ring. Bourne had no choice but to tap out after fighting for five seconds.
[Q8] Post-match, Del Rio celebrated the win before pointing down to Bourne to gloat. Del Rio wasn't done, though, and reapplied the arm-breaker on Bourne. Ross asked if Del Rio is trying to prove a point. Kofi Kingston, in street clothes, then stormed the ring and chased Del Rio, who quickly left the ring. Kingston called out to Del Rio to come get some before checking on Bourne.
WINNER: Del Rio via submission at 3:39. Basic storytelling to reinforce Del Rio as a viable threat to the WWE champion, whoever that turns out to be.
Backstage: Triple H was shown walking down the hallway. He'll address the title situation up next.
Smackdown plug: Mark Henry is destroying folks. Sheamus wants to stand up to the big, bad bully. No official match was announced for Smackdown, but the tease was there. The match needs to be saved for Summerslam.
WWE Poll Results: Cole plugged the poll results on who should be WWE champion from their website - 54 percent for Cena and 46 percent for Punk. Cole said it's closer than he thought.
In-ring: Triple H's music hit to bring out the COO to determine who the WWE champion is heading into Summerslam. Lawler said he believes Hunter has already made his decision. Once Hunter entered the ring, he took the mic and said he's thought about this for a long time. For the first time in WWE history, there are two champs: Cena and Punk. He said both have legit reasons to be considered WWE champion, so what he's going to do is basically.
Suddenly, a voice interrupted. Out walked VP of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis. Cole told Ross he knows who this gentleman is. Ace, with a scratchy voice, introduced himself and said he's executive VP of Talent Relations. He said it's a job he took over from (slow look down at Ross) Jim Ross. Hunter interrupted and asked Ace what he wants. Ace told Hunter he's been part of the WWE structure for a very short time. He said he's worked corporately with Hunter's father-in-law, Mr. McMahon, for over ten years. He said he knows how he thinks and he's pretty sure he knows how he'd want Hunter to handle this situation. "Strip the WWE Championship from John Cena," Ace told him. The vocal males applauded.
Suddenly, Cena's music hit to bring out the new WWE champion for the first time on the show. Cena acted like Larry Bird doing a jump shot on the stage. Cena then stormed the ring to the applause of the pro-Cena fanbase. Hunter and Ace walked around the ring before Cena noted it's an interesting group here tonight. Cena's fans came alive as he said they all know this is a big decision. Cena looked to Ace and said thinking is something he's never done before. He said it's because Ace is that yes-man Punk was referring to. He said that's all Ace has done. Cena did Ace's voice complementing McMahon. He said Ace doesn't think and he thinks Ace wants him stripped of the title because he knocked Ace's teeth out at MITB.
Cena turned to Hunter and said he's been through a lot in WWE. He said if Cena's title is legit and he the time comes for him to lose it, that's fine, but he will not be stripped because some goon who used to carry a skateboard wants him stripped of the title. Ace stepped to Cena and told him he's out of line. Cena shot him a look. Ace said he didn't make the call based on Cena's unprofessional behavior, but because Punk beat him. Cena said Ace brings up MITB all the time, and his favorite moment was punching Ace in the face. Cena said perhaps he should do it again. He vowed to punch Ace in the face. (Cena is missing the story of McMahon and Ace interfering in the match, which cost Cena the match.) Ace then backed out of the ring after Hunter said he doesn't have a problem with Cena punching him.
[Q9 -- over-run] Cena and Hunter then met center-ring. Hunter said he's not going to strip Cena of anything and his claim to the title is legitimate. He said he didn't speak to Punk about a contract until Punk showed up on Raw last week in the middle of the Cena-Rey title match. Hunter said Punk walked up to him with a signed contract and, after Cena beat Rey for the title, Punk told him to hit his music. So, Cena will not be stripped because his title is legit.
Punk's music then interrupted on cue. Punk said he sees the writing on the wall. He said that since Hunter isn't stripping Cena of his paper title and he's back full-time, officially, is he going to strip him of his rightful title and everything will go back to status-quo? Hunter said he wasn't done talking. Cena tried to interrupt, then Hunter told them to both stop talking. He told Cena it's not "Hunter" because he's his boss. Hunter said they're settling this his way: Cena vs. Punk at Summerslam to determine one, undisputed WWE champion. Hunter dropped the mic and promptly left the ring as his music played.
Hunter's music stopped and the camera re-focused on Cena and Punk in the ring. Cena dropped his mic and held up his WWE Title belt as Cult of Personality played. Cena then dropped his mic and held up his title belt. His music then played. Punk smirked and stared at Cena, who turned back to stare at him. Punk then stood on a top turnbuckle and held up his title belt as CoP played again. Cena went to another turnbuckle and held up his title belt as his music played again. Lawler said the champion won't be determined by fan popularity, but in the ring. They went back and forth with the music switching accordingly. There was some strange whistle noise in the background as the music went back-and-forth. Cole, with zero credibility, tried to sell Summerslam as the most important Summerslam in WWE history. They faded out six minutes past the top of the hour with the two men continuing to pose. (3) PYB talk time: 13:20.
FINAL THOUGHTS: An anticlimactic end to the show. They built it up as a bigger deal than it turned out to be since it was clear last week they would get to Cena vs. Punk at Summerslam. It's like they spent an entire show trying to fill in the missing chapters in the story trying to explain why chapters 3, 5, and 9 were missing as they rushed to this point of trying to set up the MITB re-match on a four-week turnaround.
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