TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 7/20: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of ZZ Top hosting Raw
Jul 20, 2009 - 10:10:45 PM
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By James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor
WWE Raw Live Report
July 20, 2009
Live from Raleigh, N.C.
The show opened cold in the arena without pyro. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler promoted ZZ Top hosting Raw tonight. After a pause, John Cena's music hit. Goodness, what a pop for John Cena. Cena hit the ring and the announcers plugged Top's main event tonight. What a shock, Cena & Triple H vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase. Haven't seen that before. Cena said the word of the day is excitement. He went directly into a camera and addressed "the man sitting at home" that he must be excited hearing ZZ Top hosting the show and they're one week away from Night of Champions.
Cena transitioned into wrestling talk to talk about one of the "greatest matches of all-time." He plugged the three-way title match at the PPV. Cena put it in perspective: WWE is recycling the WrestleMania main event from two years ago. Before Cena could further hype the three-way, WWE champion Randy Orton came out on stage to interrupt. Cena started his promo by reminding Cena what happened two years ago: he punted Hunter in the skull and pinned Cena. Crowd tried to get under Orton's skin, so he simply held up the title belt in the air.
Cena interrupted Orton's usual promo by saying he really wasn't paying attention to Orton whining like he usually does. Cena said he was thinking music since ZZ Top is hosting. He referenced the line in Orton's theme music that he hears voices in his head. Cena said it's a little weird. He added that he hears 10,000 voices in the arena saying they want him to get a head-start on Sunday to pound his face into mush. Orton backed off and readied to go after Cena, but he heeled on him by slipping to the ring apron to avoid a fight. Orton slowly picked up his mic and told Cena to re-think that.
DiBiase and Rhodes suddenly appeared like two do-nothing henchmen and hopped on the apron. Cena just took his shirt off and told them to come bring it. Triple H's music interrupted, though, and Hunter hit the ring to send Legacy cowering on the outside. The Big Bad Triple H Wolf scared the little piggies away and Orton slowly took his WWE Title belt away from the ring. Legacy stood on the floor as Hunter asked if the girls weren't about to start a fight without him.
Hunter said he's gotten to a point he never thought possible that he really doesn't care if he wins the WWE Title on Sunday. He doesn't care if Cena wins the title. He just doesn't want Orton to win. Well, thanks Hunter, for saving the audience $40. Hunter referenced Seth Green. He's the size of ... Cena: Hornswoggle. Hunter disagreed. "Like a hobbit," Cena said. "What the hell is a hobbit?" Hunter asked. Hunter finally agreed to go with the "hobbit" label for Seth Green. Hunter said a little, tiny man punked Orton out last week.
Orton simply said history will repeat itself on Sunday before booking himself in the tag match main event. He wanted a handicap match. Cena said underneath that IED problem is a true evil genius. He sarcastically played up Orton's plan, saying there's no way he and Hunter could possibly work together. Cena said them accepting this would defy any logic. He paused to let the sarcasm sink in. But, alas, despite all that, "We accept," Cena and Hunter said in unison. Legacy smirked and walked off. Unfortunately, Orton forgot to look down on the stage to pick up his testicles after they were cut off in this segment. PYB (3) talk time: 11:10.
Announcers: Cole and Lawler were shown on camera. Cole was so over-the-top hyped to lead-in to ZZ Top. Ugh. They cut backstage for Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill preparing to play guitars. They said they're running the show. Santino Marella then walked in to say they are his favorite band in the galaxy. Santino botched the band name and individual names. Gibbons suggested a song for Santino. Santino emerged with a faux moustache and super-long beard. They gave him cheap sunglasses leading to a song playing in the background. Fade to commercial.
In-ring: U.S. champion Kofi Kingston came out first for a six-man tag match. They did a big promo for Dave & Busters and Cole tried to relate Kofi to D&B. They announced Kofi's U.S. Title match at the PPV: Kofi vs. Miz vs. Swagger vs. Show vs. MVP vs. Carlito. Primo (with new music) and MVP then came out as Kofi's partners for the tag. Out next was Jack Swagger with a haircut. Carlito came out as the second heel partner. Out last was Big Show. Of note, they had a D&B logo instead of the Raw logo on the graphic during each man's ring intro.
1 -- U.S. champion KOFI KINGSTON & MVP & PRIMO COLON vs. JACK SWAGGER & CARLITO & BIG SHOW
Ring intros were abbreviated and the match started very quickly. Rushed match on our hands. After 1:20 of action, they cut to break with MVP in control.
Back from break, Cole reminded us this six-man tag is sponsored by Dave & Busters. In the ring, Swagger was working on Kofi. Big Show beat up wrestlers during the break, which prompted Cole to say Show was "feeding his fun" like D&B. Show entered the ring to work over Kofi, who took a knee drop to the chest followed by a frying pan-like chop to the chest.
Carlito then tagged in and was distracted by Primo, allowing Kofi to break free and tag in Primo. Brother vs. Brother went in favor of Primo, who fired off a flurry of rights on Carlito before smashing him with a left-arm lariat. Primo was hot cleaning house, including Big Show. Primo then hit a second rope elbow smash, but Swagger broke up a pin. All heck broke loose leading to an MVP vs. Swagger brawl to the floor. Back in the ring, Carlito wanted the backstabber on Primo, but Primo ducked and Show accidentally speared Carlito. Kofi then gave Show a big spot head scissors over the top rope to the floor. Primo followed with a nice springboard leg drop on Carlito to score the pin for the win.
Post-match: Primo was just starting his celebration when Big Show appeared out of nowhere to spear the crap out of him. Show then dropped MVP like a bad habit. Swagger wanted a piece of MVP, but Show chokeslammed Swagger. Show then one-hand palmed Kofi back into the ring to punch him right in the face. Bodies everywhere. Big heat on Show, who stood tall in the ring. He's not winning on Sunday, but he looked strong concluding the TV build to the U.S. Title match.
WINNERS: Team Primo at 9:15. That was a hot, hot match. Great conclusion with heavy focus on Primo, who had himself a nice moment in the sun. Big Show was used effectively to end the "feel good" moment to transfer the positive energy into major heat on him for the PPV build-up. Great match segment other than the younger stars looking weak at the end. Swagger is already getting lost in the shuffle and that sucks. (**1/2)
Backstageish: Santino talked to ZZ Top about the destruction from Big Show. Santino then plugged ZZ Top's current summer tour with Aerosmith. Suddenly, Chris Jericho interrupted. The big rock fan smiled at the thought of himself and ZZ Top standing together for the first time. Jericho said he's sure they're big fans of his band, Fozzy. Gibbons was like, "Who? What?" Jericho suggested they have a jam later on. Gibbons said they had a little something different planned. Hill suggested a match for later on: Jericho vs. Mark Henry. Jericho went from happy to sad. Jericho asked, "How ... How ... How am I supposed to have a match against Mark Henry?" Cue up ZZ Top performing a classic song. More like they pretended to play guitars while a song played in the background.
Allied Powers DVD: A lengthy video aired on the Allied Powers DVD. Included DVD comments from Christian, Jeff Hardy, and Edge. Clips of all the major tag teams and name-drops for old-school FCW, WCCW, and WCW.
Announcers: Cole and Lawler were plugging the ZZ Top Summer tour when The Brian Kendrick interrupted. He whispered that he should be Chris Jericho's tag partner at Night of Champions. Lawler told him to get lost. Kendrick told Lawler he was one-half of the WWE tag champs for over one year. He said that's also one more title than Lawler ever held. Kendrick told "toots" to introduce his match. Kendrick went into the ring, then Lawler asked to introduce Kendrick's opponent tonight. "Brian Kendrick's opponent tonight hails from Memphis, Tennessee. He is a WWE Hall of Famer. He is Jerry 'the King' Lawler."
2 -- THE BRIAN KENDRICK vs. JERRY LAWLER
Bell sounded and Kendrick faked a hip injury to show Lawler is an old man. Kendrick mocked Lawler's Hall of Fame ring, prompting Lawler to punch him in the face. Apparently Kendrick missed Billy Graham's eBay auction. Kendrick then sat on Lawler's back and rode him into the corner before landing a flying fist smash. Lawler then made his trademark comeback with jabs before landing a dropkick. Lawler telegraphed a back body drop, though, and Kendrick kicked him in the chest before landing a flying dropkick. "You got nothing, King," Kendrick shouted. TBK wanted the Sliced Bread, but Lawler blocked and dropped a fist from the second rope. Cole added: "Vintage," of course. Lawler with the pin for the win.
WINNER: Lawler at 2:19. Interesting development with Lawler in the ring tonight in the middle of his Memphis mayor candidacy. Follow-up could be worth paying attention to. Match was fine as a "special attraction" filler to give TBK some TV focus tonight, even if he lost. (*)
On-stage: They did the old-school WWE TV set with Josh Mathews interviewing Mickie James from an elevated platform on-stage with the fans in the background. Mickie was interviewed on her match against Maryse on Sunday. She said Sunday is Night of Champions, not Night of Trampions. Mickie added that Maryse is due a reality check. On cue, Miz's music hit. He slowly walked on stage and said fact: Maryse looks, walks, and talks like a champ. Meanwhile, Mickie in ten years will be a waitress at a Waffle House. Ouch. Mickie asked Miz if he got his jokes off the Internet like all of his material. Mickie been reading Chris Jericho's Twitter? Mickie added she scored a pin on Maryse, whereas Miz can't score at all. Maryse then came on the stage and sprayed the Beautiful People gimmick into Maryse's eyes. She stood tall to set up their Divas Title match at the PPV.
Backstage: They showed Mark Henry walking down the hallway looking very happy with himself.
SD plug: They changed the main event for Friday's Smackdown to C.M. Punk vs. Rey Mysterio. MyNetworkTV sent out a notice over the weekend that it would be Punk vs. Jeff Hardy in the TV main event before the PPV.
In-ring: Chris Jericho's music hit a few minutes before the top of the hour. Jericho came out to the ring looking more upset than usual. If possible. Cole and Lawler plugged Jericho's mystery tag partner for the PPV tag title match on Sunday. Mark Henry came out looking very happy about his match tonight, leading to a video recap from last week when Jericho got himself counted out against Henry.
[Q5 -- second hour]
3 -- MARK HENRY vs. CHRIS JERICHO
Bell sounded and Jericho bailed to the outside to take a breather. He was trying to frustrate Henry, who just paced around the ring waiting for Jericho to lock up. Henry eventually got Jericho on the mat and wanted a Vader Bomb, but Jericho took his knee out to begin working on the big man. Lawler revealed that Henry is working with a hurt ankle that Jericho was targeting. Henry then pulled out Claudio Castagnoli's Big Swing move after blocking the codebreaker. Henry played to the crowd, then Jericho dropped him to the mat. He wanted the Walls of Jericho, but Henry shoved him through the ropes to the outside. Henry followed out and Jericho jabbed a chair into his gut to cause a DQ.
Post-match: Jericho landed a follow-up chair shot to the back, then Henry shook it off and shoved Jericho into the announce table. Michael Cole took the brunt of the blow and Lawler told Cole to pick himself back up. Back in the ring, Jericho wanted the codebreaker, but Henry blocked and gave Jericho the World's Strongest Slam. Big men standing tall tonight. Henry did the "pose to each side of the arena" spot while Cole suggested Jericho needs to regroup to find his tag partner for Sunday.
WINNER: Henry via DQ at 5:20. I don't understand booking Jericho to look weak right now. WWE needs to be enhancing its top stars right now, not feeding them to big men who aren't going to be positioned as top main eventers. Match was fine with Jericho creating movement to make the match watchable. (*)
ZZ Top set: Santino said he knows a thing or two about manscaping. Chavo Guerrero then interrupted the set and said he deserves to be treated with respect and dignity because he's a Guerrero. He's tired of being embarrassed wrestling Hornswoggle. Gibbons said he definitely deserves to be treated with respect, so they booked him a match against Hornswoggle. Chavo was pumped up for it. Wait, Chavo just complained about having to wrestle Hornswoggle. In any event, they booked a Tuxedo match, but called it a "Sharp Dressed Man" match. Cue up the appropriate song.
In-ring: Lilian Garcia was shown on camera. She tried to introduce the tuxedo match, but she lost track of time, space, and the silliness of WWE's gimmick. After a pause where Lilian tried to collect herself, she simply left it for the announcers to detail the stips. Hornswoggle came out first in a mini-tuxedo, then Chavo Guerrero came out playing the stumbling bumbling heel with his tuxedo pants tied together. Hornswoggle laughed as Chavo slowly made his way into the ring after Hornswoggle mocked him for walking like a penguin. Cole just had a good ol' time laughing like his job was on the line.
4 -- CHAVO GUERRERO vs. HORNSWOGGLE -- Sharp Dressed Man match
Chavo fell all over himself as Cole and Lawler did every penguin joke in the book. Hornswoggle took the jacket off, then mounted Chavo to take off the bowtie. Lawler suggested Hornswoggle used to be a model. Yeah, he saw him on a trophy once. Oh dear. Hornswoggle ripped off Chavo's shirt, but Chavo cut him off and whipped Hornswoggle with Horny's tuxedo jacket. Chavo then got tied up in the ropes and Hornswoggle slowly took off Chavo's tuxedo pants, revealing Chavo's boxer shorts. "Joe Boxer" received some promotional love. Horny then shoved Chavo through the ropes and Chavo covered up his crotch in embarrassment. Yet, wrestlers come to the ring in far less clothing completely confident with themselves. Oh well. Continue the Guerrero Family Embarrassment.
WINNER: Hornswoggle at 2:33. Just another silly match to continue taking out frustration with Vickie Guerrero by ridiculing Chavo. Kids surely loved it to justify continuing the program. (n/a)
Backstage: Triple H was taping up his wrists. John Cena walked in and asked Hunter about the line that Hunter doesn't care about the WWE Title on Sunday. Hunter smirked and said they both know he was lying through his teeth and he didn't mean that. Cena said that's fair enough, but they just need to make sure they're on the same page tonight in the tag match. But, then there's Sunday at Night of Champions.
ZZ Top set: Back to Santino with ZZ Top. Santino said the folks aren't going to forget this one anytime soon with Triplley Acha and John Sheena teaming together. Gibbons and Hill said there's been something missing on tonight's show. Kelly Kelly, then Alicia Fox, then Gail Kim, then Rosa came out to dance on a chair. Santino ended it by ripping off his pants to reveal a Speedo. He danced after ZZ Top left the set in disgust.
In-ring: Cole and Lawler were center-ring to plug the Night of Champions PPV with the sales pitch that every WWE title will be defended.
Backstage: Cole's sales pitch was interrupted when Chris Jericho was shown limping backstage looking disheveled. Cody and Ted approached him to suggest Jericho doesn't even have a partner for Sunday. Jericho had a great look on his face of no amusement. Ted suggested Jericho is a self-absorbed, condescending loser. Cody said Jericho is a second-generation guy like them ... except Jericho's dad was a benchwarming hockey player. Jericho told Cody to shut his mouth because he's held more titles than him and his old man combined. He said he's condescending, but he's not a loser. Jericho said he has half the WWE locker room knocking on his door trying to get next to him because they knew what kind of prestige comes with being next to him. DiBiase said he gets that, but Jericho needs to look out for Randy Orton, who might come to the ring and Punt him right in the head to put Jericho right next to his pal, Edge. Jericho smirked and said that's fun. But, what happens if Orton is his partner? Jericho smirked at having the last word, then left the boys puzzled. Nice, tense exchange between three heels. Well done.
ECW tomorrow night: The Abraham Washington Show with ECW champ Tommy Dreamer and Christian.
Announcers: Cole and Lawler were so excited to talk about next week's guest host: Shaquille O'Neal. They played the old NBA on NBC theme music.
In-ring: Lilian announced a "ZZ Top legs match." Out first were Gail Kim and Kelly Kelly. Rosa and Alicia then came out as the opposition. Paging Beth Phoenix. We need an APB on her whereabouts.
5 -- KELLY KELLY & GAIL KIM vs. ALICIA FOX & ROSA MENDES
Gail tried a top rope missile dropkick on Alicia early on, but Alicia kicked her in the knee and Gail sold massive pain. She kicked out of a pin attempt, then Rosa tagged in to work on Gail. Kelly took a hot tag and landed an attempted Great Muta springboard elbow smash in the corner. Action broke down with Gail taking out Rosa on the floor with a plancha. In the ring, Alicia rolled up Kelly with a small package. Kelly was all over the ropes and the ref just kept on counting for a three count.
WINNERS: Alicia & Rosa at 3:40. Rough match with some flashes of looking half-way credible. Kelly stood out compared to the "developmental divas," while Gail continues to be an after-thought. (1/2*)
In-ring: There was a pause before Lilian announced tonight's guest hosts, ZZ Top. They then came out in an old school red car. After emerging from the car, they stood below the stage just kind of moving around as Cole and Lawler plugged their music. Randy Orton's music interrupted and he slowly walked out with Cody and Teddy. Triple H's music hit first for the babyface tandem. Lawler then plugged Hunter on the cover of this month's Muscle & Fitness issue. John Cena then came out to a second major reaction of the night. Lawler asked us to imagine Cena and Hunter as partners tonight. Wow! Oh wait, they were partners last week. And they wrestled the exact same team last week. Wow!
6 -- WWE champion RANDY ORTON & CODY RHODES & TED DIBIASE, JR. vs. TRIPLE H & JOHN CENA
Cena and Cody started things off with Cena exploding on Cody with a barrage of offense. Hunter quickly took a tag and entered to work on Cody. They set up the deal where the babyfaces cleared the heels out of the ring, Legacy regrouped on the floor, and they cut to break with Cena and Hunter in control.
Cena was in dire straights coming out of the break, according to Cole. Oh, how is he going to escape Legacy? Oh, he's in trouble! Oh, he made a hot tag to Hunter, who cleaned house. WWE presents Cole with no credibility on commentary. Cody then stomped Hunter and sent him to the outside where Orton sent Hunter head-first into the ring steps. Legacy began stomping and kicking and slapping and punching Hunter back in the ring while Cena tried to shout encouragement to Hunter.
[Q9 -- over-run]
Legacy continued to corner Hunter. They kept teasing the hot tag to Cena to build up the crowd heat before bringing it back down. Cody executed a snap DDT at 10:45 that brought in Orton to work over Hunter. Orton tried an RKO, but Hunter easily countered and hit the Spinebuster. Cena stared running up and down the ring apron begging for a hot tag and firing up the crowd. Hunter began his slow crawl across the desert to Cena, who took the tag at 12:12 after they milked the heck out of that. Cena exploded on Cody, who was the legal man, and set up the Five Knuckle Shuffle combo. Cena wanted the FU on Cody, but DiBiase came in to block. Cena threw him away, then slapped on the STFU in center ring on Cody. Cody held on and DiBiase broke it up. Hunter then took DiBiase to the outside and beat him up. Action everywhere. Orton took a tag and wanted The Punt on Cena, but Cena moved and rolled up Orton with a small package for the pin and the win.
Cole pointed out that Cena pinned the champion and could be champion on Sunday as "quick as that." Hunter and Cena got their hands raised in the ring and Orton seethed on the outside after taking the loss. Legacy joined Orton on the floor to share in their frustrations. Hunter scowled from inside the ring as the announcers recapped the finish of the match. Cena and Hunter shook hands center-ring as Cole talked about three of WWE's biggest stars clashing for the WWE Title on Sunday. End show.
WINNERS: Cena & Hunter at 13:33. Hot finish after the slow build-up to Cena's hot tag. High energy from Cena, who knows how to perform for a crowd. Nice finish to set up the PPV three-way title match, even if it's another repeat match following another repeat TV main event. WWE did its best to make viewers buy into the triple threat, even though Orton has zero credibility right now and there's no heat on the heel champion. We'll see what the PPV buys look like in a few months. (**1/2)
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