WWE Raw Report CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 8/22: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - Cena-Punk #1 contender re-match, new tag champions, lies & conspiracies
Aug 22, 2011 - 10:05:06 PM
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WWE Raw Results
August 22, 2011 - Episode #951
Live in Edmonton, Alb., Canada
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
This week's live WWE Raw started with a live shot inside the arena and Michael Cole introducing the show. Already in the ring was Justin Roberts and Ricardo Rodriguez, who introduced WWE champion Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio emerged off-stage in his Vehicle of the Week and was dressed to wrestle. Cole was quick to plug the social media aspect of the show before they replayed action from last week's Raw when Rey Mysterio was close to capturing the WWE Title, but Del Rio retained in his first defense. Cole referenced Del Rio's post-match attack on Rey and said because of the assault, Rey will be miss "a number of months of action." They didn't replay Cena's promo toward Del Rio.
In the ring, Del Rio admired his work in the replay before taking the mic with a giant "Alberta hates Alberto" sign facing the hard camera. Del Rio slowly approached the mic and said, "My name..." before he was immediately cut off by John Cena's music. Jim Ross interjected that business just picked up. Cena hit the ring to a loud mix of cheers and boos as Lawler and Cole talked about Cena's thoughts that Del Rio is not an honorable champion. In the ring, Cena took off his cap and soaked in the mixed crowd reaction with a smile.
Cena turned serious as he approached Del Rio for a face-to-face confrontation. Cena then spoke and said he's here to reintorudce himself as the guy who's taking the title off Del Rio's waist. Del Rio wagged his finger like Mutombo before Cena told him he's going to hurt him so he runs all the way back to his parent's home. Cena knocked Del Rio's act before saying he's a nice guy, but Del Rio's a target and caught a nice guy on the wrong day. Cena said he's tired of trying to make average seems awesome because there's only one person in WWE who can go toe-to-toe with him. Cena said when he faces Del Rio for the title, he's going to whip his ass.
Cue up Cult of Personality for an interruption. Out came C.M. Punk in his new t-shirt and basketball shorts and his wrestling boots. Punk played to the crowd on-stage before making his way to the ring. Punk, once in the ring, walked back and forth sizing up Cena and Del Rio. "C-M-Punk" chant from the vocal males. Punk tapped the mic to make sure it was on, then told John Boy to hold on a second. He asked if this is a re-run. Punk said Cena wants another title match. "Awesome," he said sarcastically. Punk said this is why they're not going to have this happen because he beat Cena twice in high-pressure situations. And, then, Alberto cashed in his MITB briefcase. He gets it, but if anyone is getting a title shot, it's going to be him. Punk called it ballsy for Cena to demand a title shot, and it's not going to happen.
Del Rio decided to interrupt. Cena called him Captain Third Wheel as Del Rio told them it's his time because he's WWE champion. Del Rio flashed his belt and Punk asked if he's done. Punk told Del Rio not to interrupt him while he's speaking to him. He hyped Del Rio's MITB cash-in, then got to the point wondering if Del Rio is part of Hunter, Nash, and perhaps Tunney trying to screw him. Awkward pause. Punk then brought up Nash's magic text before noting to Cena that if Cena won at Summerslam, he would have been taken out by Nash. Punk said someone really wants Del Rio to be champion. Del Rio said it's destiny. Awkward pause. Another awkward pause. The crowd was sitting there waiting for something. Punk said destiny is cashing in his title re-match. Cena claimed he has a re-match clause and he wants the title shot tonight. Punk said that's a fantasy. Del Rio said he's fine with ignoring both of them. He said he defended his title last week and he's going to sit back now. Plus, these Canadians don't deserve a title match.
[Q2] Finally, something interrupted to save this segment. It was Triple H's music and Ross said it's good Hunter came out, as the debate might have raged on forever. Hunter slowly entered the ring, looked up and down all three men standing in the ring, and waved the mic in front of his face. Hunter told Del Rio to take the smug look off his face because he's not protecting him. He said Del Rio doesn't have a match against Punk nor Cena tonight, but he has a match tonight, and it's next. (Del Rio was conveniently dressed to wrestle.) Hunter told Punk and Cena he calls the shots around here on title shots. He slipped in that he didn't send the text that people say he sent. Hunter said he'll leave it up to Punk and Cena to decide who faces Del Rio next for the title. He said the winner of Cena-Punk gets a title shot against Del Rio at Night of Champions in four weeks (it's actually three weeks). Hunter left it at that as all three men stared each other down. That took 17 minutes to get to.
Friday on Smackdown: Mark Henry and Sheamus in one more "seismic collision."
Back live: Del Rio was posing in the ring back from break. John Morrison's music hit to bring out Morrison as Del Rio's opponent. Exit Rey, enter Morrison on the depth chart. They replayed the Morrison vs. R-Truth match from last week's Raw when Morrison won to build momentum for tonight.
1 -- WWE champion ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. JOHN MORRISON -- non-title match
The bell sounded and the two men circled each other around the ring. Lawler with the early hyperbole trying to sell Cena-Punk later in the show by calling their match at Summerslam one of the greatest matches people have seen. Cole hyped Del Rio's week starting at Summerslam last Sunday as Del Rio worked over Morrison's arm and shoulder. Morrison came back with a quick pin attempt, but Del Rio kicked out. Morrison then slipped Del Rio to the outside and followed with a springboard moonsault attempt, but Del Rio avoided and shoved Morrison into the guardrail. Del Rio was in control as they cut to break.
[Q3] Back from break, Del Rio was working on Morrison in the ring. Del Rio tried to charge Morrison in the corner, but Morrison flipped him over the top rope to the outside. Ricardo tried to help out Del Rio, who made his way back into the ring to accept a series of clotheslines and a dropkick. Ross called Morrison's comeback as Morrison set up for Starship Pain, but Del Rio ran away. Del Rio then ducked a clothesline and executed a German Suplex with a bridge for a nearfall. They went to a replay of Del Rio falling on the outside and showed his head bouncing hard off the floor. That didn't look pretty.
Morrison scored a close nearfall with the referee pausing to let Del Rio kick out since Del Rio seemed a bit loopy. This match needs to be stopped if Del Rio is legitimately showing signs of a concussion. Morrison then snapped off a huracanrana for another close two count. Del Rio was taking deep breaths as he landed right hand strikes to comeback on Morrison, who nailed the Flying Chuck. Morrison then went to the corner for Starship Pain, but Del Rio moved and rammed Morrison into the ringpost. Del Rio caught his breath, then went right into the cross arm-breaker center ring. Morrison had nowhere to go and he tapped out after a few moments.
Post-match: The referee talked to Del Rio, who went to the outside to inflict a post-match attack on Morrison with another cross arm-breaker. Ross and Lawler said this is the mark of a dishonorable champion. Cole said it's frustration. Del Rio let go of the hold after a few moments when his music played.
WINNER: Del Rio via submission at 12:27. A bit of a start-stop match, but some good nearfalls for Morrison to keep him at the same level taking the loss. (I would argue they need to be doing more to elevate Morrison in light of Rey's absence.) For Del Rio, this is what was missing from The Miz's title run: some credible victories over credible opponents to build him up as a credible champion. (**)
Still to come: Cena vs. Punk with the winner getting a WWE Title match at Night of Champions. Ross plugged the match leading to break. But, before that, it's Divas time, which Lawler announced. They went to a backstage shot of the Divas locker room to show Eve and Kelly talking. Lawler said Eve will take on Brie Bella with Divas champion Kelly Kelly in her corner.
In-ring: Back from break, the Bellas were already in the ring. Justin Roberts announced Nikki Bella, which confused Lawler. One was in ring gear and the other in street clothes, so they couldn't pull a switcheroo. Eve then came out with Kelly Kelly and they cut to an inset promo from Beth Phoenix and Natalya vowing more destruction on the babyface Divas.
2 -- EVE (w/Divas champion Kelly Kelly) vs. BELLA #1 (w/Bella #2)
Basic start with Nikki taking control and Eve making a comeback. Eve went for her moonsault finisher, but Nikki crotched her. Eve then hit a spike DDT for the pin and the win. Post-match: Beth and Natalya came out on-stage to give the polite golf clap applause to the babyfaces. Kelly held up her Divas Title belt for them to get another look at.
WINNER: Eve at 2:35. Just a match to fill time and set up the post-match, as a win over the Bella Twins is meaningless since they haven't won a TV match in three months.
[Q4] Backstage: Kevin Nash was shown walking down the hallway. He was sporting a button-down t-shirt that made it look like he was on vacation. He's talking next.
Next Tuesday: Live Smackdown special event. Superstars of Smackdown and Superstars of Raw collide on a Super Smackdown. Buzz words like monumental, unpredictable, etc. were included in the plug. No matches were announced, but Triple H was advertised through his inclusion in the video package.
In-ring: Back from break, it wasn't Nash, but Vickie Guerrero on-stage. Vickie introduced her potential new client, Jack Swagger. Already in the ring was Alex Riley, who wanted a re-match after losing to Swagger last week. Riley is getting the "already in the ring" entrance treatment? That's not a good sign, even if they're running short on time.
3 -- JACK SWAGGER (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. ALEX RILEY
A match-up of two "rising stars" like this should mean a lot more than a filler match in the dead fourth quarter-hour. Instead of this route, they could have taken a few weeks of build-up with Swagger picking up a decisive win, then Riley picking up a decisive win, and then having the match. Some basic action between Swagger and Riley brought a random man in a suit down the ramp 70 seconds in. Thee man in the suit was Dolph Ziggler, who wanted to talk to Vickie about her business with Swagger. In the background, Swagger was fumbling with Riley on the gutwrench suplex again. Vickie ended up being knocked down on the floor, which brought over Swagger to argue with Ziggler. Swagger then returned to the ring and was rolled up by Riley, who scored a quick three count. The focus then shifted to Ziggler and Vickie arguing up the entrance ramp.
WINNER: Riley at 2:02. More bizarre booking of the Raw mid-card. Riley's stock continues to slide, despite the win, since his victory and involvement was fourth or fifth-most important based on the presentation.
Backstage: Triple H was on the phone talking to someone. Hunter, with a camera on him, conveniently started walking down the hallway for his discussion with Nash. Next.
Smackdown plug: Is Mark Henry too much for World Hvt. champion Randy Orton to withstand on Smackdown? Find out Friday night.
In-ring: A few minutes before the top of the hour, Triple H walked out to the ring for the second time on the show. Hunter said he's spoken to Nash and straightened this thing out about the mystery text, but in wanting to be completely transparent, they want to explain it to the audience. Nash walked out without any music and shook hands with Hunter in the ring. Hunter brought Nash to center-ring and talked about the controversy at Summerslam.
[Q5 -- second hour] The broke down the basics: Nash received a text on his phone, which Hunter said did not come from him. Hunter said there's no conspiracy and they want to make it clear to everyone. Nash said he thought he got a text from Hunter, and thought he was doing him a favor. Nash then said he was going to apologize to C.M. Punk tonight, but after what Punk said to him last week, it's too much for him to handle. Hunter told Nash he doesn't even work here, so he can't be calling out guys on his show. He told Nash to take Punk outside to the bar and beat him up, but not here. Hunter asked Nash if he could just leave.
Cue up Cult of Personality to interrupt. Hunter hung his head, selling that he didn't want another interruption for his talk with Nash. Punk said he's here to get to the bottom of this: who sent the text message? Was it Big Lazy? (How could Nash send himself a text?) Or, was it Triple H backstage? Punk said his money's on Stephanie McMahon. He said he doesn't believe a word either of them is saying right now. Punk said Nash should have just apologized to him. He said that he's a habitual line-stepper, so he's going to cross the line right here. Punk said Nash got off easy last week, so he's kicking his ass this week.
Punk jumped into the ring to get Nash, but Hunter stepped in-between them. Punk told Hunter to get his hands off him. He said Hunter tried to screw him at Summerslam, so what does he have against him? (Hunter screwed Cena with the bad call, not Punk. Or, is the implication Hunter sent the text to Nash and Punk doesn't believe Hunter didn't send it?) Hunter told Punk that he might be COO now, but he's still the same Triple H he's always been, so don't cross the line. Punk told Hunter he wouldn't want him to take the suit off, fold it up, and put it in Stephanie's purse, where he keeps his phone and balls. Nash then blindsided Punk with a right hand. Hunter pulled back Nash and told him he can't be doing that. Hunter and Nash left, leaving Punk to check his jaw in the ring. The camera stayed with Punk for a few moments as he teased another promo, but the Raw theme played.
Segment Analysis: This whole storyline is all over the place and the verbal hasn't been good so far on this show. This one seemed forced and the timing has been off in both main talking segments. The tone of Hunter and Nash's exchange was like they were in the middle of a private conversation that the audience wasn't let it on or caught up to speed on. Hunter and Nash just never looked comfortable.
Up next: An unhyped Tag Title match. Otunga and McGillicutty defend against Kofi Kingsotn and Evan Bourne.
Backstage: Hunter was still talking to Nash about not being able to put his hands on Superstars. Nash asked Hunter if he's gone soft in the suit. Hunter told him to just go. Nash told him he's changed. Nash left and Hunter hung his head, then sold frustration.
In-ring: Kofi Kingston, then Evan Bourne came out to challenge for the Tag Titles. Cole said this whole thing with Hunter and Nash has gone out of control. The tag champs came out next as Cole tried to hype the team holding the titles for three months. In actuality, they've defended the Tag Titles once in three months on TV. Lawler referenced the Bushwackers and said they showed more personality than Otunga and Mike. Ross got them away from the "evaluating the show" commentary by bringing it back to the prestigious Tag Titles speak for themselves.
4 -- WWE tag champions MICHAEL MCGILLICUTTY & DAVID OTUNGA vs. KOFI KINGSTON & EVAN BOURNE -- Tag Title match
Kofi started off in control of the action before the heels cut off Kofi on the floor. The announcers continued to focus on "textgate," which no one is calling, as the heels worked over Kofi. Cole said his problem is Hunter needs to get a grip on what's going on around here and he needs to get control over the Nash-Punk issue. Lawler finally got around to pointing out to Cole that the tag champs haven't defended the Tag Titles in a while. Cole said it's not their fault. Ross said they need to be more proactive defending the titles.
Bourne hot-tagged into the match at 4:15 and the action broke down. Kofi took Mike over the top rope to the floor, then smashed Otunga with Trouble in Paradise from the ring apron. Bourne followed right up with Air Bourne and made the cover. Bourne with the pin and it was good for the win. Kofi and Bourne get a prize. Lawler said everyone in the crowd is on their feet and "these kids" will set the tag division on fire. Ross wondered aloud if this will lead to a resurgence for the tag division. They stayed in the moment to make it seem like a re-start for the tag division.
WINNERS: Kingston & Bourne at 5:05 to capture the Tag Titles. The "restart" comes with the caveat that it seems like WWE had no ideas for Kofi and Bourne, so they were given the Tag Titles to have something to do. (*)
Still to come tonight: Cena vs. Punk. Cue up WWE's scripted hyperbole for Ross to call Cena vs. Punk the biggest Raw main event in "years and years." Ross had the restraint not to call it "biggest ever," like Lawler would.
DVD plug: "OMG! Top 50 incidents in WWE history" DVD release.
Smackdown plug: Henry and Sheamus lock up again this Friday on Smackdown.
Edmonton exterior shot: A look at Wayne Gretzky's statue outside Rexall Place.
Moments Ago: Evan Bourne's Air Bourne on Otunga to capture the Tag Titles in the previous segment.
Backstage: Josh Mathews brought in the new tag champions. Kofi said it feels great and they've been talking about teaming together for a while, and now their dreams have come true. Zack Ryder then led a champagne celebration along with Titus O'Neil and a babyface Derrick Bateman, plus two other people. WWE abruptly cut away from Ryder's cameo.
Elsewhere backstage: John Laurinaitis, selling he was out of breath, ran up to Triple H and told him Nash was in a car crash. Laurinaitis gave Hunter the info to check on Nash at a local facility, so Hunter left the building... As Raw Turns, Laurinaitis is now seemingly in control of the show with Hunter leaving Raw early. Did Laurinaitis make up the car crash story to get control of the show?
In-ring: Santino's music hit as Cole called tonight a night of "breaking news." Suddenly, The Miz came storming down the entrance ramp and jumped Santino from behind. R-Truth joined in the beat down, which went into the ring. Truth gave Santino paydirt before Miz delivered the Skullcrushing Finale. A ref checked on Santino as Truth and Miz paced around the ring trying to look intimidating. Miz then took a mic.
"Shut up!" Truth shouted into the mic. Truth said that's going to happen to Little Jimmy every time. The crowd responded with "What?" chants, so Truth shouted "What?" back at them. He said there's a conspiracy right here in WWE. "Ya'll going to make me lose my mind!" Truth shouted at he "What'ing" crowd. Truth said there's Hunter, Nash, Stephanie, Cena, and Punk all in this together. He said they all sit around the conspiracy table looking to take control of WWE. Truth said they used to be in PPV main events, but it's not the case anymore. He said it's no longer about Miz, either.
Miz paused and said Truth is right. He said there is a conspiracy in WWE. Miz told the fans they sound like a bunch of ducks doing "What, What, What." He said that months ago, he was in the main event of WrestleMania. "I beat John Cena 1-2-3 at WrestleMania 27," he said. That must make him about average (referring to Cena's promo earlier). Then, Hunter takes control of Raw and he has to pick a fight with Jared from Subway just to do something around here. "You suck, you suck" chant from the crowd. Truth answered with an anti-Canadian promo, then Miz did the "I'll speak very slowly" routine. "Is...everyone...ready?" he asked. Another "you suck" chant, which made Miz pause more. Truth called them a bunch of animals.
Miz told the crowd to listen up. He said he's sick of seeing Santino get time when he is the most must-see champion in WWE history. Miz said they're not going to wait around for another opportunity, and just take it. If any spiders cross their paths, they're going to squash them, Truth interjected. He said they're pushing back on the conspiracies. "Sooner or later, some people are going to get got," he said. Truth said that's the whole truth and nothing but the truth. "And it's awesome!" Miz declared. Cole referenced Miz's tweet earlier in the day saying he's done playing the game. Truth's music played and made up a new rap to his music telling the crowd they suck. Truth interjected new lyrics. Instead of "What's up!" they chanted "You suck" at the crowd. They continued to yell at the crowd as WWE went to a split-screen of Cena and Punk walking backstage for the main event.
Segment Reax: Great mic work from Miz and Truth, who looked more comfortable on the mic than anyone else on the show thus far. There's still that "worked shoot" aspect of "being held down," which has no context in a wrestling show when it's about winning and losing matches, but this was the best of the promos thus far.
Ringside: Back from break, Del Rio's music was played and he was ringside for the main event. Laurinaitis was also ringside looking like a statue. Cole wanted to get everyone caught up on events: Nash has been involved in a car accident and Hunter has left to check on his best friend. Ross set the stage that Del Rio is here to scout his PPV opponent and Laurinaitis is in control.
[Q8] In-ring: More air time for Cult of Personality to bring out Punk for the #1 contender main event. After a pause, Cena's music hit to bring out the former champion to face Punk. Cole set the stage as the camera picked up on pro-Cena fans reacting and Del Rio leaning forward in his chair selling disgust with both men. Cena did his traditional pre-match t-shirt toss twice, but the recipients tossed it back to him twice, which drew laughs from the vocal males. Cena then went to the other side of the ring to toss it to a more appreciative recipient. Cue up the bell.
5 -- JOHN CENA vs. C.M. PUNK -- #1 contender match to WWE Title
The announcers played up Punk beating Cena in the past two title matches, but Lawler said he's not buying Punk since the first victory came via McMahon's interference and the second victory came via Hunter's officiating error. The crowd was hot early with a "Let's Go Oilers!" chant. (Where are Bum Phillips, Warren Moon, and Ray Childress when you need them?) Cena and Punk grabbed a headlock to take control of the match before Punk teased the Five Knuckle Shuffle, Cena teased his own FKS, and the action spilled to the outside. Both men were selling the effects as they cut to break.
Next Tuesday: Super Smackdown with Raw and Smackdown stars. Back from break, Cena had Punk in a headlock center-ring. They cut to a ringside shot to show Laurinaitis nearly asleep watching the match in the ring. Back in the ring, Cena and Punk teased their finishers. Punk then landed a springboard clothesline for a two count as cameras picked up a sign in the background reading: "I Texted Nash." Punk teased the G2S again, but Cena rolled through. More counters for each man. Crossface for Cena, but Punk reached the bottom rope for a break. Cole said he's glad this official is sharper than Hunter was. Punk then came back with the G2S out of nowhere, but Cena kicked out in time. Del Rio was shown leaning forward in his chair selling the close nearfall.
Punk re-positioned Cena in the corner, then slowly climbed up top, selling the effects of the match. Punk wanted a Macho Man elbow drop (which drew a big reaction), but Cena moved out of the way after Punk took too much time. Cena then rolled to the ring apron, gathered himself, and climbed up top for a guillotine leg drop that he connected with. Cena made the cover, but Punk kicked out. The crowd created the sound as the two men reset. Punk landed multiple elbow strikes to the neck, then a running knee that only led to a two count.
[Q9 -- over-run] At the top of the hour, Cena suddenly nailed the Attitude Adjustment, but Punk kicked out. Cole reset the match as Cena collected himself in his corner and Punk sold the effects. Punk then landed headbutts and wanted a cross-body splash, but Cena rolled through and tried an AA, but Punk countered with a sunset flip for a two count. Punk then nailed a big kick strike that put both men on the mat. Punk made the time-to-sleep hand signal, but Nash's voice was suddenly heard. Nash walked out on-stage with mic in-hand telling Punk this isn't over yet. Lawler asked Laurinaitis for an explanation.
Nash slowly made his way to ringside, then Punk ran toward Cena, who hoisted Punk in the air for the AA. Nash left, then Cena made the cover and it was good for the win. Post-match: Del Rio immediately stormed the ring to attack Cena and lay him out on the mat. Laurinaitis then slipped into the ring to pull Del Rio off Cena. The heat wasn't there since the vocal males were disappointed with the finish (i.e. they were upset with WWE's booking, not upset with Nash for interfering against Punk). Del Rio eventually broke free to attack Cena. Del Rio dragged Cena to the outside and ran him into the guardrail as Laurinaitis tried to calm him down. They went off the air four minutes past the hour with Del Rio seething and Cena selling. Strong emphasis on Del Rio to close the show.
WINNER: Cena at 14:29 to become #1 contender to the WWE Title. Strong five minutes of action after the break, but the kick-outs of finishing moves continues to be a concern. As for trying to figure this Nash thing out, it's apparent Laurinaitis is working against Hunter (lying about Nash's car crash to get Hunter away from Raw), likely on-behalf of Vince and/or Stephanie. Meanwhile, WWE is continuing to plant seeds for a Punk-Nash match, which is probably why Laurinaitis talked to Nash "off-camera" last week to get him signed to a contract (which Hunter presumably doesn't know about) so he could legally face Punk with the goal to take out Punk, who is the anti-establishment figure, on behalf of Vince and/or Stephanie. If it's not that, this is one giant mess. At the end of the day, WWE is making their casual audience think too hard about this with so many different players in the mix. (**1/2)
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