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CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 6/30: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live USA Network broadcast

Jun 30, 2008 - 10:05:18 PM

By James Caldwell, PWTorch columnist

WWE Raw Live Report
June 30, 2008
Oklahoma City, Okla.

The show started with a video package on the end of last week's Raw when Vince McMahon was "injured" by the fallen TV monitor.

WWE studios: Shane McMahon was at WWE HQ to deliver a message that they won't have an update on Vince McMahon's health due to privacy issues. He issued a message to everyone in the truck, in the locker room, and in the arena that they should all try to move on and do the best they can. Some fans live laughed in the background. Rather appropriate, as the deal was totally laughable.

Announcers: Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler introduced the show, announcing Kofi vs. Chris Jericho in an IC Title re-match as one of the top matches on the show.

In-ring: Jim Ross's OU fight song entrance music hit and Ross came out to the ring to a strong pop. Lawler talked about the strong emotions he's feeling right now watching his ex-broadcasting partner came out. Ross soaked up the cheers from the appreciative audience before starting his farewell speech about it feeling good to be home. Boos for Friday Night Smackdown. Ross said that he hopes fans will join him on his journey on Friday nights. He said they're raising hell on Friday nights and taking the show places it's never been before. Ross said he's glad to be working with Mick Foley, but he wants to thank his "older brother," Jerry Lawler, for traveling the roads together. Ross put over Michael Cole, which drew some boos initially. He asked the fans to give Cole the respect he deserves.

Ross said the first time he ever saw wrestling in-person was here in Oklahoma City to see Danny Hodge. Ross said some of his other favorite moments involve Vince McMahon. He said he doesn't want to throw salt on the wound...pause...Vince must be a Longhorn fan. Boos from the audience. Ross closed with his thanks to the audience for being here. He asked for them to eat a little more BBQ, but Edge's music interrupted. Edge walked out with his twin goofs, Hawkins and Ryder, while Cole talked about Batista being screwed out of the World Hvt. Title in a "travesty."

Edge and his twins entered the ring and said that when he heard Ross had a farewell address tonight, he just had to make an appearance. He said Ross's arrogance never ceases to amaze him. Edge asked why anyone would care about Ross, OU, or his relationship with Lawler. Edge threw up a Hook 'Em Horns sign, which makes him a babyface in my book. He ripped on Ross's blog, then told Ross to get used to calling his Hall of Fame career. Edge said it won't be "Stone Cold, Stone Cold!" anymore, but "Edge wins, Edge wins!" He told Ross to try that one out.

Ross surveyed the crowd before simply dropping the mic in the ring. Edge said Ross is actually speechless. He told Hawkins and Ryder to escort Ross out of the building. Ross left the ring while Edge called after him that his farewell speech is officially over. Once Ross slowly left the ring with Hawkins and Ryder escorting him, Edge said he really did have an ulterior motive for showing up on Raw tonight.


Edge pointed out that Raw is missing a GM, which led to him putting over Vickie Guerrero as the top General Manager in WWE. Huge heat for Vickie. Edge said Raw is also missing The Undertaker, which happened after he banished Taker from the entire WWE. He said there's one other thing missing: a World champion. Edge said he wanted to let all the Raw stars know they will never have a shot at his World Heavyweight championship. He said that unless it's a Draft show, fans and wrestlers will never see him on Monday nights again. Loud cheers. Edge dropped the mic and threw up his title belt in the air to brag about his position.

Edge started to leave, but Batista's music hit. Batista slowly emerged from the backstage area and chased Edge down the entrance ramp to ringside. Batista put him into the ringpost, then Edge tried to leave ringside, but Batista dragged him back to the announce position thing. Edge took a pounding into the announce table before Batista press-slammed him across the top. After sending Edge into the ring steps, Batista took Edge into the ring. Edge begged off, but Batista finished him off with the Batistabomb in center ring. Batista's music hit to a strong reaction.

Good gracious, that was a very long, exhausting 22-minute opening segment. But, wait, it's not over...

C.M. Punk's music hit and he stormed the ring with a referee by his side. Oh my! Punk walked right by Batista on his way to the ring. He officially cashed in his MITB briefcase and Lillian Garcia very...very...slowly announced a World Heavyweight Title match.

1 -- World Hvt. champion EDGE vs. C.M. PUNK -- World Hvt. Title match

The bell sounded to officially start the match, then Punk picked up Edge and delivered the Go 2 Sleep in center ring. Punk then covered Edge for the one...two...three to capture the World Title. They stayed with the moment for a good minute as Punk clutched the belt and the fans went wild.

WINNER: Punk in 0:10 to capture the World Title. One of the more memorable 25-minute opening segments to start Raw in history. And one night after it seemed Punk would cash in following Hunter's win, he cashes in on Edge's title. Crazy. (n/a)

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Cole and Lawler narrated the replay of the title change.

In-ring: Mickie James came to the ring to face Jillian Hall, who did a live playing of her entrance music. She told us not to be a playa-hater because everyone wants her. Mickie eventually shoved her in the back to put an end to it.

2 -- Women's champion MICKIE JAMES vs. JILLIAN HALL -- non-title match

Jillian tried to focus her attack on Mickie's injured arm from the PPV, but Mickie blocked a corner splash with a kick to the back. Mickie then finished her off with the Mick Kick for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Mickie in 2:00. Nothing special, but the crowd was into the action, so that helped. (1/2*)

Backstage: They showed Rey Mysterio walking and taking deep breaths. He makes his first official Raw appearance next.

[Commercial Break. A local promo aired for the TNA Victory Road PPV in Houston next month.]

Announcers: Cole and Lawler talked about the new World Champion situation and Batista's role in this. Subtle seed-planting... They showed clips of Rey Mysterio being drafted to Raw at the very beginning of the Draft last week.

In-ring: Rey Mysterio came out on stage to a strong reaction. After saluting all four corners, Rey took the mic and first congratulated C.M. Punk on beating Edge and bringing back the World Title to Raw. He said that was strange (hyping Raw). Rey said his entire WWE life was about Smackdown up until last week, but he likes it on Raw. Suddenly, Santino's music interrupted. Yes!

Santino came to ring soaking up the admiration only his ears hear. Santino said that we need to pull together and act as one, like Shane said. He said he's come out to officially welcome Rey to Raw. Santino said he doesn't get the mask, though. A person behind the mask is either ugly, stupid, or the Batman. Santino pointed out that Rey is not the Batman, leaving only two options. He said he doesn't get the popularity. Santino then introduced the cover of the new WWE Magazine featuring Rey. He cut a promo on Rey's height, then said he submitted an excellent photo to WWE Magazine, but they didn't use his photo.

Santino then introduced the photo of Santino posing in his boxers with a flower in his hand. Oh dear. Everyone in the arena laughed. Santino said every woman in the building would buy that as a poster and put it on the ceiling. Hm. Santino said there's a reason why Rey has never been on Raw before because it's a place for big stars. He told Rey to mind his business or it could be very bad for him. Santino told Rey to answer him in a language they can all understand. Rey answered with a mic shot to the face, then Rey delivered a 619 to the mush. Rey tossed his t-shirt into the crowd, then left Santino out cold in the ring.


Announcers: Ross and Lawler said they would hear from new World champion Punk up next.

DVD promo: They plugged the Ric Flair definitive collection DVD out next week, including behind-the-scenes and post-Raw footage from Ric Flair's farewell address the night after WrestleMania.

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Cole and Lawler recapped the opening 25-minute segment where WWE shook up the top with Punk as the new World Champ on Raw. So, top two singles champions on Raw are Punk and Kofi. Could create some really good TV with the top stars chasing the youngsters.

Backstage: Grisham brought in a very jubilant C.M. Punk for his first interview as World champion. Grisham shook his hand, then Punk said he doesn't know if he has the words right now. He first gave Batista thanks for the assist. On cue...JBL interrupted to put a damper on the mood. JBL simply stared at Punk, then asked if he's joking. He said Punk must feel real good defeating a lifeless man. JBL said Punk can go to bed tonight knowing he's a paper champion or he can step up and find out what it's like to be in the ring with greatness. He told Punk to silence the "asterisk" by his name and put the belt on the line tonight. Punk said his answer is yes. JBL nodded, then walked off. Punk smiled. Exactly - veterans chasing the youngsters.

[Commercial Break]

Smackdown promo: They plugged a special 4th of July edition of Smackdown this Friday featuring all of the new stars.

[Q5 -- second hour]

A few seconds before the top of the hour, John Cena's music hit unannounced. Cena came out on stage to a strong reaction while Lawler said Cena isn't the champ tonight. Cole made it official that it will be Punk vs. JBL tonight. Cena soaked up the cheers once his music stopped, with the boos effectively being drowned out. Then, he started talking. Cena said the match between himself and Hunter last night would be a classic moment. He said he didn't win the WWE Title last night, he was defeated by Triple H, but it was a loss he takes with pride because the match proved one thing: they are the two very best in the business. Cena said everyone has been part of history tonight. He said years from now, everyone will be able to say they were there when C.M. Punk cashed in the briefcase and became the new World Heavyweight champion.

Cena said the only thing he's not savvy about is JBL trying to bully his way into become champion. He said he likes Punk because he used his brains to get the title and he'll use his guts to keep it. Cena said he figures Punk would have said yes to anyone for the title shot - Kwang, MOM, Whippleman, Kim Chee, Kenny Dykstra, Lenny Dykstra, or... himself. Cena said that since Vince isn't here and Raw doesn't have a GM, then Punk should choose, by default. Cena addressed Punk through the camera and told him to listen to the loudest crowd they have ever assembled in OKC. He asked the crowd if JBL should get the title shot. (Loud boos.) Or...should it be Punk vs. Cena tonight? (Very loud cheers.) Cena said Punk that it's very simple tonight. He told JBL to take his limo, his longhorns, and mamajuana and drive it back to New York...

JBL's music interrupted and JBL walked out on stage with a simple stare out toward Cena. JBL waited out the "You suck" chants and said Cena won't be facing Punk for the title tonight. He declared martial law on the show tonight, then said that he can't have Cena in the building tonight to interfere with his destiny. JBL brought out security, who JBL said is his personal security. He said people with money rule things, not by crowd response. JBL said he's running things around here now.

Security slowly entered the ring to subdue Cena, who fought off security until they held him down. JBL took his time landing right hand blows to the face until security dragged him out of the ring. Cena fought one of them off to generate a few screams, then he fought off a bunch to tease an escape. They subdued him, though, and took him through the side curtain out of the arena area. A camera caught up to the action in the backstage area where JBL screamed for them to get Cena out of here. Cena was booted out the back door, then JBL closed the door and looked back to the arena.

[Commercial Break]


In-ring: the Priceless theme music hit and out walked the new tag champions. Already in the ring to face DiBiase & Cody were Darrin Way (sp?) and Steve Anthony.

3 -- World tag team champions CODY RHODES & TED DIBIASE, JR. vs. DARRIN WAY & STEVE ANTHONY -- World tag title match

So nice to see completely unknown jobbers getting the first tag title shot against the new champions. Cody finished off the dude with the old Sparkplug Bob Holly tights with a spike DDT for the easy win.

WINNERS: Rhodes & DiBiase in 2:00. Basic squash. (n/a)

Post-match: Cody said the fans want to know why he did what he did to Bob Holly last night. Cody, who has like eighteen different inflections in his voice, said he heard all the time about doing things the right way. He said he tried that out, but it got him nowhere except carrying that old baby boomer Bob Holly. Cody said he sought out Ted DiBiase to find a guy who's just like him: young, good-looking, and dynamic. Cody said when you're this talented, you don't pay dues. DiBiase took the mic and said the people of their generation don't have the spine to do what they did. He said their generation thinks they're rebellious because they upload a video on youtube or shop at Hot Topic. DiBiase said that unlike the other under-30 year-olds, they're simply... priceless. DiBiase > Rhodes on the mic. Fine debut promo for the new tag champs.

[Commercial Break]

Backstage: Paul Burchill and Katie Lea compared notes on Katie losing the Women's Title match last night. Burchill said Katie did great last night, but he needs to check on something. Burchill took off for a second, then Jamie Noble stopped in and serenaded Katie. Noble said he was a big deal over on Smackdown. He said he's here on Raw to get respect... prison-rule style. Noble said he's drawing the line in the sand against the biggest, baddest man in the locker room. From behind, Kane loomed large. Katie told Noble to go for it. Noble talked to Kane's right nipple about there not being any rules on Raw tonight. He stuttered about there being some trouble between them if Kane takes his Larry the Cable guy tapes. Kane had enough and tried to chokeslam Noble, but Noble kicked him in the gut and ran away. Kane paused, then slowly chased after him.

Ringside: The action continued in the arena, as Noble scampered to the ringside area. He tried to hide next to Cole and Lawler, but they sent him away. Noble tried hiding under the ring, but Kane's music and pyro hit. Kane strolled out to the ring and Noble caught him with a suicide dive on the floor. Noble stomped on him, but Kane sat up and slapped him in the mouth. In the ring, Noble kept putting up a fight, but Kane knocked him to the outside. He chokeslammed Noble onto the announce table, but the table didn't give way. Noble simply rolled off the table and Kane laughed at his plight.

Backstage: They showed Chris Jericho walking in anticipation of the match vs. Kofi.

[Commercial Break]


In-ring: Chris Jericho's music hit and Jericho came to the ring to challenge Kofi. Interesting to see the "Save_Us" message on the Titantron entrance video changed to "Save_Me". Jericho entered the ring with a scowl as they replayed the ending of Jericho vs. Kofi last night, with Kofi winning the IC Title with help from Shawn Michaels. Jericho took the mic while Lance Cade randomly loomed ringside sporting a flashy jacket. He said fans took great pleasure in his loss last night. Jericho said he's been told that Michaels isn't here tonight, which he doesn't believe. Fans chanted H-B-K, then said the fans aren't worth entertaining. He said that since he's an honest man, he's challenging Shawn Michaels to a one-on-one match at the Great American Bash. Jericho said Michaels took something very important away from him, so he's going to take something very important away from Michaels. Jericho said that he's taking back his IC Title tonight. Kofi Kingston's music then hit and he came out to defend the IC Title.

[Commercial Break]

4 -- IC champion KOFI KINGSTON vs. CHRIS JERICHO (w/Lance Cade) -- Intercontinental Title match

They returned from break with the action already in progress with Jericho working over Kofi on the mat. Kofi made a comeback with a flying forearm smash before landing the boom-boom leg drop. Jericho slowly came to his feet and caught Kofi with a roll-up for a nearfall. Jericho followed with the Lionsault, but Kofi kicked out in time.


Kofi countered a sunset flip into a roll-up with a slight hook of the tights, so Jericho rolled through and had a hook of the tights right in front of the referee. The ref then called for the bell, DQ'ing Jericho. Post-match: Jericho took out his frustrations by raking Kofi in the eyes and leaving him writhing in pain. Jericho frowned, then left the ring.

WINNER: Kofi via DQ in 4:00 of TV. A bit underwhelming for Kofi's first IC Title defense, but we'll see where they take him in the weeks that follow. Apparently the side-effect of the youngsters winning all this gold is that the story is deceive-and-escape-to-win, as if they're not credible enough to actually win a match straight-up. (*)

Up next: Punk vs. JBL.

[Commercial Break]

Video package: They recapped Punk's victory in the opening segment... Backstage, Edge was shown berating Hawkins and Ryder for not being there in his moment of need. Edge smacked them around and told one of them to hurry up and drive so he could get out of there. The car slowly pulled away through the parking lot.

In-ring: JBL was shown pulling up in the white limo. He emerged from the limo and smelled the air. Cole said it's the first time the World Title has been defended twice on the same episode of Raw.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: JBL was in the ring when Lillian Garcia made the formal ring intro for JBL. C.M. Punk's music hit, then the new champ came out on stage to defend the belt. Punk came to the ring with confidence and faced off against JBL before the bell sounded.

5 -- World Hvt. champion C.M. PUNK vs. JBL -- World Heavyweight Title match

A few seconds after the bell sounded, JBL's security force came to the ring to stand ringside. Lawler talked about the deck being stacked against Punk tonight. Fans chanted for Cena. With a short amount of time to presumably work with, they cut out the babyface advantage early on and went right to JBL on the offensive.

[Q9 -- over-run]

JBL spilled to the outside, but he caught Punk with a clubbing clothesline on the floor right in front of the announce table. Back in the ring, JBL worked over Punk. Punk came back with a knee smash in the corner and a bulldog for a nearfall, but JBL caught him in mid-air for an overhead fallaway slam. Punk came back with a roundhouse kick to the ear before landing a springboard clothesline. Suddenly, Cena and Cryme Tyme walked out on stage. They stormed the ringside area to brawl with security, which distracted JBL from the match at hand. JBL then backed up and walked into the Go 2 Sleep. Punk made the cover and scored the pin to retain the title. Crowd went nuts again.

Post-match: Punk with a springboard plancha onto all of the security peeps. Cryme Tyme continued to beat down security while Cena and Punk threw in some haymakers to close the show.

WINNER: Punk in 5:00 to retain the World Hvt. Title. Fit the theme of the youngsters needing deception to retain and/or win gold, but a fine ending to a very exciting show. Cena vs. JBL III seems like the inevitable top tier non-title-involved feud on Raw leading to the Bash. A lot of possibilities going forward here. (*)

We welcome your 1-10 score and comments on this show for a "Raw Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of To contribute your thoughts on Raw, click here.

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.

He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


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