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WWE Raw Report
XANDER'S WWE RAW REPORT 8/29: Alt. perspective review of Raw Supershow, why was it a "wildly uneven" show?

Aug 30, 2011 - 10:36:25 AM
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WWE Raw alt. perspective report
August 30, 2011
Live From Tulsa, Okla.
Report by Xander Assaad, PWTorch contributor

RawLogo2010_150_95.png

[Q1]

WWE OPEN

ARENA: The show opened without any pyro or music as Michael Cole welcomed everyone to Monday Night Raw. Triple H’s music hit, and the COO made his way down to the ring. In the ring, Hunter waited out a smattering of cheers and applaud from the audience. He took a microphone and said that, as COO, it was his job to give the WWE Universe the best possible product. As a result, Hunter announced that he was re-merging the rosters of Raw and Smackdown (at least on Monday nights) to create a Monday Night Raw Supershow.

Without giving that major announcement any second thought, Hunter turned his attention to the ongoing drama between himself and Kevin Nash. He brought up the string of lies that Nash had thrown about over the last two weeks and invited Nash to come to the ring. Instead, “Cult of Personality” hit to bring out C.M. Punk. Highlights of last week’s main event between Punk and John Cena aired, focusing on Nash distracting Punk. Back live, Punk mockingly clapped for Hunter. He applauded Hunter’s “performance,” calling it Oscar worthy. Hunter cut him off and asked Punk what he wanted. The answer was simple: Punk wanted Hunter to admit that he and Nash had been working together since Summerslam. Suddenly, the old N.W.O. theme music hit. Nash strutted out and made his way to the ring.

Hunter attempted to keep Punk at bay. Nash and Punk locked eyes, then Nash got in Hunter’s face. He admitted to lying about the car accident last week. Because Hunter wouldn’t let Nash fight Punk last week, he decided to take things into his own hands. Nash tried to rationalize his actions by saying that he was defending Hunter’s honor this entire time. He questioned Hunter’s manhood. Hunter acted like he had been shot in the chest, then puffed up and fired back at Nash. He said that he was the kind of man who didn’t lie to his friends. He said that he could no longer trust Nash and that he wanted him to leave WWE and never come back.

Nash reiterated the fact that he didn’t lie about who sent him the text message. He also said that last week, after Hunter left the building, John Laurinaitis signed him to a “very lucrative WWE contract.” He challenged Hunter to fire him, which would be a breach of contract. Hunter said that he wouldn’t fire Nash. From this point forward, he wanted Nash to at least be honest with him. Suddenly, Punk started coughing into his microphone. For over a minute, he rolled around the ring, acting like he was throwing up and choking to death.

Finally, he popped back up and compared his “acting” to what Hunter and Nash were doing right in front of him. In Punk’s mind, the two men were still in cahoots – and The Clique was back in control of WWE. In a great line, Punk said that the term “Clique” was ironic; that was the noise the audience’s remote controls made every time Nash appeared on television. He also said that it was the noise Nash’s knees made when he walked. Nash grew tired of the mockery and told Hunter to book a match between himself and Punk. Punk said that he wanted the match at Night of Champions. He took a cheap shot at Stephanie McMahon. Nash took offense to the comment and tried to attack Punk. Hunter once again cut him off.

[Q2] Punk continued to mock Stephanie, even going so far as to say, “You don’t wear the pants in the family, but you do wear her panties.” Finally, Hunter solemnly turned around and made the match official. He pointed at both Nash and Punk and said that he had two words for both of them, then let the audience finish the phrase.

Suddenly, Randy Orton’s music hit. The World Heavyweight Champion stepped on-stage and played to the live audience. Michael Cole announced that Orton would be facing Dolph Ziggler tonight.

SEGMENT REAX: Overall, I thought this was a much better segment between Nash, Hunter, and C.M. Punk than the previous encounters. First things first, though. WWE made a major mistake by quickly brushing through the announcement of the new Raw Supershow. That was a decision that needed more hype and a dedicated portion of television time. It played out exactly the way the decision came about – as a knee-jerk reaction to last week’s sub-3.0 Nielsen rating.

After two weeks of excruciating mic work on behalf of Kevin Nash, he finally seemed ready to talk in front of a live audience. The tension between the three men is palpable, and that’s something that is lacking in most WWE storylines. I thought Punk was the once again the star of the entire segment, as his mock coughing and throwing up was one of those random bits of improvisational acting that I believe Punk does better than anyone. Solid start to the show.


[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

BACK LIVE: U.S. Champion Dolph Ziggler made his way out for the upcoming match. A replay aired of the confrontation between Ziggler and Jack Swagger last week.

1 – World Heavyweight Champion RANDY ORTON vs. U.S. Champion DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero)

Great fire from both men to start things off as they traded sharp back and forth offense. While Orton attempted to hit his DDt off the middle rope, Vickie Guerrero jumped on the apron and distracted him. Ziggler back-body dropped Orton over the top rope, then followed him outside and hit the Zig-Zag on the floor. Ziggler remained in control of the match as the show cut to commercial.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

[Q3]

BACK LIVE: The action had returned to the outside of the ring. Ziggler bashed Orton’s head across the ringside steps. Backstage, Jack Swagger was shown paying close attention to the match at hand. Back in the ring, Ziggler put Orton into a sleeper hold. Orton tried to power out of the move, but Ziggler nailed him in the face with multiple elbow strikes. Ziggler went to the top rope looking for a high risk move. Orton cut him off. The men traded punches as Ziggler swayed back and forth on the top turnbuckle, Orton got the better of the exchange and joined him up top and hit a monstrous superplex. Orton mounted a full-on comeback. A belly-to-belly suplex got him a nearfall, then Ziggler nailed him with a leg drop to the back of the head.

The men traded several nearfalls, then Orton slingshotted Ziggler across the ring and into the turnbuckle. He followed that up with a hanging neckbreaker. As Ziggler struggled to get to his feet, Orton readied himself for The Punt. Ziggler burst to his feet and cut Orton off with a sidekick to the head. Ziggler attempted another Zig-Zag, but Orton reversed and hit his hanging DDT. Orton signaled for the RKO, but Ziggler leapt up and tried to lock in his patented Sleeper Hold. Orton pressed out of the move, bounced Ziggler off the ring ropes, and nailed him with a sloppy looking RKO for the win.

WINNER: Randy Orton in 13:00. That was a surprisingly good match. Orton is absolutely at the top of his game when it comes to in-ring work. He knows how to tell a story, but also how to keep the action compelling. Ziggler also stepped up his game, and it seemed as if he had something to prove in this match with the number two face in the company. Even though Ziggler lost, he gained exponentially more from this match than anything he has been a part of in months.

BACKSTAGE: Josh Matthews asked John Cena about his attack at the hands of Alberto Del Rio last week. Cena refused to comment and stepped out of the interview area.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

BACK LIVE: Cena made his way out to address the live audience. Interesting placement of Cena, as his promo segments are usually the book-ends of the episode. In the ring, Cena asked the audience how they were doing. He talked about the mixed reception from the fans. After waiting out a mix of boos and cheers, Cena turned his attention to Alberto Del Rio. He said that Del Rio, who wanted to be a champion of honesty and dignity, was a coward.

[Q4] Cena said that Del Rio’s actions were fine. At the same, every action had a repercussion. Cena’s response was to “kick Del Rio’s teeth so far down his mouth that his throat would become his anus.” Whatever that means.

Suddenly, Mark Henry stepped out and somberly approached the ring. Henry sized up Cena, then took a microphone. He said that he came out to get himself some. He brought up the path of destruction he had been on over the last several months. Cena would be the next person to join the “Hall of Pain.” Henry briefly plugged the Smackdown Supershow tomorrow night, then vowed to become the World Heavyweight Champion at Night of Champions.

Christian decided to enter the fray and made his way to the ring. He told Henry that the two of them would be facing each other at the PPV. Christian looked at Cena and said that Cena disgusted him. He hated people who whined and complained until they got what they wanted. He called Cena an embarrassment. Cena interrupted and started to make fun of both Christian and Henry. He said that if the two of them wanted some, come and get it. The three men faced-off. Suddenly, Sheamus charged the ring and took Cena’s side. All four men took their battle stances, then Christian jumped out of the ring. Cena and Sheamus continued to taunt Henry, and Henry seemed to weight his options. Finally, The World’s Strongest Man exited the ring.

BACKSTAGE: John Laurinaitis was talking to Charles Robinson. He tried to book a tag-team match between the four men in the previous segment. Hunter stepped in and said that he had already booked the match. He reminded John that he was the boss, not the other way around.

UP NEXT: C.M. Punk faces The Miz. There’s no way they are giving that away on free television, without any previous hype. Is there?

SEGMENT REAX: Interesting segment that was intended to continue shaking up the Raw roster. It doesn’t seem wise to have four top Superstars – men who have been separated for months, in some cases – facing off so early in this new era. I thought the segment itself was well-done, and all of the participants played their parts well, but it just feels like WWE is throwing everything they have at trying to spike a large rating tonight.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

BACK LIVE: C.M. Punk was already in the ring, waiting for The Miz. Miz stepped out with a microphone in hand. He said that he couldn’t believe the garbage that Punk had spouted out earlier in the night. He mocked Punk’s “sick act.” Miz said that he was speaking his mind well before Punk started “dropping pipe bombs.” He said that if people didn’t take him seriously after last week, they would after he got through with Punk.

2 – C.M. PUNK vs. THE MIZ

Punk drew first blood, then took a step back to taunt The Miz. The men grappled for control before Punk nailed Miz in the stomach with a sharp kick. After a snap suplex, Punk went to the top rope and tried to hit his “Randy Savage” elbow drop. Miz cut him off and crotched Punk on the turnbuckle. Miz settled into control of the match and methodically tried to take Punk apart. Punk managed to escape a sleeper hold, but walked right into the combo back-breaker/neck-breaker from Miz. Miz followed that up with an axe-handle off the top rope. Miz went up top again and leapt into a forearm to the gut. Punk once again tried to gain a bit of momentum, but Miz continued to be a step ahead. Finally, Punk made it to his feet. Both men exchanged right hands, then Miz ducked a punch and nailed Punk with a neck-breaker. Miz rammed Punk shoulder-first into the steel turnbuckle and Punk crashed to the outside of the ring.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

BACK LIVE: Miz was still firmly in control of the match. Punk hit a short belly-to-back suplex to escape a sleeper hold. Both men slowly rose to their feet, then Punk lit into Miz with kicks to the thighs. He followed that with a lifted knee in the corner and his running bulldog. Punk was in full comeback mode as he hit a springboard clothesline off the ropes. Both men attempted to hit their finishers, then Punk nailed Miz with a backbreaker. He went up top, but Miz charged at him with a forearm. Miz joined him on the turnbuckle and tried to hit a superplex, but Punk chopped him across the head. Miz flew back down to the canvas, and Punk finally nailed him with his Savage Elbow Drop.

Suddenly, R-Truth ran into the ring. The referee immediately threw out the match.

WINNER: C.M. Punk via disqualification in 14:00. The match fell very flat. Most of the contest was incredibly one-sided in favor of The Miz. While I get WWE needing to re-establish Miz as a credible threat to the main event picture, his offense just doesn’t sell that. The constant use of rest-holds and simple wear-down techniques killed any momentum the match could have had. Punk just seemed to be going along with it, as if he was told to give Miz the chance to shine. Everything this match accomplished (and more) could have been done in a squash match, not a potential PPV main-event.

POST MATCH: Punk rolled out of the ring and tried to fend off both men. Punk threw Truth back into the ring and hit him with the Go To Sleep. Suddenly, Kevin Nash made his way out and carefully entered the ring. From behind, Miz attacked Punk. As he continued to blast Punk, he never looked away from Nash. Finally, Miz and Truth stepped back and let Nash take the stage. Nash hoisted Punk up and slammed him to the mat with a Jackknife Powerbomb. Miz and Truth quickly high-tailed it out of the ring.

[Q6]

STILL TO COME: John Cena and Sheamus face Mark Henry and Christian.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

BACK LIVE: Sin Cara made his way out. Jack Swagger was out next.

3 – SIN CARA vs. JACK SWAGGER

Swagger tried to ground Sin Cara early, but to no avail. Sin Cara launched Swagger to the outside, then nailed him with a springboard moonsault. Back in the ring, Swagger blasted Sin Cara with a clothesline. Suddenly, Vickie Guerrero made her way out to the ring. Swagger dropped a legdrop across Sin Cara’s face, then turned his attention towards Vickie. He regained his composure and tried to focus on the match, but Sin Cara hit him with a sunset flip. Swagger hit him with a shoulder block.

On the entrance stage, Dolph Ziggler ran out and asked Vickie what she was doing. He ran to the ring and screamed at Swagger. Swagger charged at Ziggler, and that allowed Sin Cara to nail him with a spinning DDT. A Lionsault off the middle rope gave Sin Cara the win.

WINNER: Sin Cara in 3:00. Just a sloppy, sloppy affair. The in-ring action was inconsequential, which was disappointing. Sin Cara clearly has a following, so why water down a guest appearance on Raw by focusing on the soap opera drama between Swagger, Ziggler, and Guerrero?

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

[Q7]

WWE SLAM OF THE WEEK: Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne winning the WWE Tag Team Championships last week.

BACK LIVE: Justin Roberts gave formal introductions for the upcoming tag-team contest. It was a nice touch and a further indicator of WWE trying to elevate the tag division. Evan Bourne was out first, quickly followed by Kofi Kingston. Both men seemed legitimately excited to hold the belts. Michael Cole announced that both men had dubbed their team “Air Boom.” Out next were David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty.

4 – WWE Tag Team Champions AIR BOOM vs. DAVID OTUNGA & MICHAEL MCGILLICUTTY – WWE Tag Team Championship Match

Bourne and MMCG started things off for their respective teams. Bourne was quick on his feet, repeatedly tossing MMCG across the ring, until he missed a jumping knee strike in the near corner. MMCG quickly seized control of the match and tagged in Otunga. The former champions double-teamed Bourne, then Otunga went for an early pinfall attempt. MMCG re-entered the match. Suddenly, Bourne leapt over MMCG and tagged in Kingstong. Kingston entered the ring with a flurry and nailed MMCG with a high cross-body block. Otunga entered the ring to try and help his partner out. Bourne knocked Otunga out of the ring. Kingston helped throw Bourne over the top rope and onto Otunga. He nailed MMCG with Trouble in Paradise, and that was good for the win.

WINNERS: Air Boom in 3:00. Just a quick blow-off match that will hopefully mean “Air Boom” moves on to bigger and better things. The energy that Bourne and Kingston share is spectacular, and, given time, the pairing of the two could really become something special.

POST-MATCH: Otunga and MMCG took offense to Jerry Lawler’s constant criticism of their team and approached him at the announce table. They ripped his head set off and threw it at him. Otunga glared at Lawler as MMCG said that it was Lawler’s fault they lost their match.

BACKSTAGE: Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres were chatting.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

BACK LIVE: Kelly Kelly made her way out for a Divas Championship Match. Can it please be against someone other than a Bella twin? Nope, guess not. The Bellas were out next.

5 – WWE Divas Champion KELLY KELLY (w/Eve Torres) vs. BRIE BELLA (w/Nikki Bella)

Kelly slapped Brie to start things off. Brie fought back and slammed Kelly to the mat, then hoisted her up by the fingers and slammed her back down. Backstage, Beth Phoenix and Natalya discussed Kelly Kelly’s popularity. Back in the ring, Kelly nailed Brie with a Lou Thesz Press, then slapped Brie’s rear. She followed that with a Helicopter Spin. Both women became tangled in the ring ropes and Kelly crashed hard to the outside of the ring. Eve tried to check on Kelly, but Nikki shoved Eve to the floor. As Kelly checked on her friend, The Bellas switched out and Nikki took over. She planted Kelly with a Facebuster, and that was good for the win.

WINNER: Brie Bella in 2:30. What can be said about a match-up seen every week for six months straight? The Bellas still don’t look any better than they did a year ago.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

[Q8]

VIDEO PACKAGE: A highlight video focusing on Alex Riley’s quest to become a WWE Superstar.

BACK LIVE: The announcers ran down the line-up for Night of Champions. Afterwards, Michael Cole threw it to the world premiere of the trailer for “Inside Out.”

ARENA: Mark Henry was out first for the night’s main event.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

BACK LIVE: Christian was waiting in the ring with Henry. Sheamus was out next. His ribs were wrapped with bandage to sell the effects of Mark Henry’s attack on Smackdown. John Cena rounded out the herd.

6 – JOHN CENA & SHEAMUS vs. MARK HENRY & CHRISTIAN

Christian and Sheamus started things off. Sheamus nailed him with an Axe Handle. Christian rolled to the ropes and held on for dear life, but Sheamus yanked him away and slammed him to the mat with an overhead bodyslam. Christian quickly tagged in Henry. Sheamus and Henry went toe-to-toe for a moment. Sheamus got the better of the exchange and started to repeatedly bash Henry in the back of the head. Suddenly, Henry rammed Sheamus with a body-block that took the Celtic Warrior off of his feet. Henry assumed control of the match and tagged Christian back in. Christian tried to wear Sheamus down with a horizontal waist-lock, but Sheamus made it to his feet and threatened to tag in Cena. Christian dragged Sheamus back to his team’s corner and tagged Henry in. Henry continued to dismantle Sheamus.

After Christian tagged in once again, Sheamus caught him with a Tilt-a-Whirl Back-Breaker and made the hot-tag to Cena. Cena exploded into the ring and nailed Christian with all of his signature offense. He tried to hit the Attitude Adjustment, but Christian slipped out and hit him with a boot to the face. Cena retaliated with a scoop slam, then charged at Henry and knocked him off the apron. He turned his attention back to Christian and once again went for the AA. Christian escaped, but Cena caught him from behind and locked in the STF. Henry re-entered the ring and broke up the hold, then Sheamus charged and knocked Henry out of the ring. Sheamus launched himself off the ring apron with a shoulder block and crashed into Henry on the outside. Back in the ring, Christian tried to hit the Killswitch on Cena. Cena escaped and shoved Christian into the waiting boot of Sheamus. One Attitude Adjustment later, and the match was over.

WINNERS: John Cena and Sheamus in 6:00. About what you would expect from a main-event, inter-brand tag-team match. The ending sequence was strong. Everything leading up to the final minute-and-a-half just felt routine. And where was Alberto Del Rio?!

POST MATCH: Cena and Sheamus celebrated their victory.

BACKSTAGE: Hunter was watching the main-event on a monitor. C.M. Punk stepped into the office and said that Hunter wanted to see him. Hunter said he just got off the phone with the corporate offices. Punk asked Hunter if he was stepping down as COO or if he was finally divorcing Stephanie McMahon. Hunter announced that Punk’s match with Nash at Night of Champions was canceled. In its place, Punk would instead be facing Hunter!

IN RING: Sheamus and Cena celebrated, completely oblivious to the fact that the backstage segment took precedent over their post-match antics.

SHOW REAX: WWE gets credit for trying to shake things up. The end result, though? This ended up being a wildly uneven show. The emphasis on in-ring content was strong; the emphasis on forwarding any storyline other than the Hunter-C.M. Punk-Kevin Nash triangle was non-existent. Essentially ending the brand split should have had more of an overall effect; instead, each of the inter-brand matches felt like house show fare (with the exception of Randy Orton-Dolph Ziggler). This episode of Monday Night Raw wasn’t bad...it just seemed uninspired, as if WWE felt that simply shaking up the rosters would be more than enough to fix their slipping ratings.

[END SHOW]


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