TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 4/18: Complete "virtual time" coverage of Monday's Raw - WrestleMania re-match, Extreme Rules changes, Ross on commentary
Apr 18, 2011 - 10:10:52 PM
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WWE Raw Results
April 18, 2011 - Episode #933
Taped in London, England
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
This week's taped WWE Raw from London earlier in the day started with full pyro before Michael Cole introduced the show from the O2 Arena in London. He said he was "unfortunately" joined by Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler this week.
In-ring: R-Truth came out to start the show. They cut to Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler at the announce table. Ross, who was in a slick gray coat this week, was cut off by Cole in the tool box. Truth eventually hit the ring as the camera caught a "Ryder = Ratings" sign. Truth asked London what's up. He said he needs to get something off his chest. He said he is very, very happy because he's been down a lot of roads - he has problems - but now his problem is he's in line to become the WWE champion. Truth said he's not perfect, but he is The Truth. He said he doesn't care if it's Miz or Cena because he's walking out as WWE champion. For the fans, he's going to fight everybody. And he'll be the most fighting champion in the history of champions. Anybody. Anywhere. Anyhow. "I just want to fight!" Truth said. He said that is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. A bit of a mixed reaction to that.
Suddenly, John Morrison's music interrupted. Morrison had a big smile on his face walking to the ring dressed to wrestle. Morrison greeted Truth with a big handshake and they talked over each other. Truth was fired up and Morrison acted like he was happy for Truth. Morrison said Truth was hanging out with Lady Luck last week. "Lady luck? I'm married," Truth said. Morrison called him lucky to get through the gauntlet last week. Truth said he's in great shape. Morrison told Truth to check out some footage from last week.
They cut to Raw last week with Truth needing a drink of water in the middle of the gauntlet match. Ross said Truth took advantage of a break in-between matches. Truth said he admits it that fighting three people, anyone would need some water. Morrison continued to rib Truth a bit, causing Truth to throw down his jacket. Morrison said Truth's in great shape for an athlete who smokes. Truth said he's been trying to quit smoking. Morrison kept needling Truth a bit before Truth unfoiled John's plot to challenge him for Truth's slot. Morrison noted the WWE Draft is next week and this could be their last time to wrestle against each other on Raw.
Truth said he's not prepared to fight. Morrison said they're going to celebrate with a great match here tonight. He's a fighting champ, right? Starting tonight, Truth can put his spot on the line. Truth said these people don't want to see them...pause for the crowd to cheer...okay. "Ya'll want to see a fight?!" Truth shouted. Truth said he needs two things first. A bottle of water. And a cigarette. Truth laughed at the second suggestion. Morrison told Truth he forgot the most important thing: luck. The crowd didn't catch Morrison's quick one-liner, then Morrison asked for a ref.
Segment Reax: Truth was entertaining being all over the place and showing some new personality in a big spot, while Morrison struggled with his timing and delivery.
1 -- JOHN MORRISON vs. R-TRUTH -- Match for Truth's WWE Title match slot at Extreme Rules
As the announcers discussed Truth falling for the oldest trick in the book, Morrison cleared Truth to the floor. Truth then walked around to the timekeeper to get a bottle of water. He doused himself in water, then shouted "What's up?" as they cut to break.
[Q2] Back from break, Cole recapped what's on the line before Ross cut off the overly-wordy Cole. Truth's chain rattled on his jeans as he bounced off the ropes before trading nearfalls with Morrison. Truth wore down Morrison as Cole heeled on the babyface announcers. Truth then wanted the Lie Detector, but Morrison avoided it. Morrison then smashed Truth with Starship Pain and it was good for a three count. Morrison gets Truth's spot at Extreme Rules.
WINNER: Morrison at 7:03. Okay match that was a complete afterthought behind the commentary. (*1/4)
Post-match: Morrison sold concern with Truth before extending a hand to help him up. Truth shook his head, then Morrison turned his back to Truth. Morrison went to an opposite corner to celebrate, then Truth yanked Morrison down from the top turnbuckle. Truth leaned on the top rope and muttered to himself about his bad luck. Truth followed with a hard running knee to Morrison's head that sent Morrison to the outside. Truth continued to sell frustration before slipping out of the ring. Truth then measured Morrison for another big running knee, sending Morrison crashing into the guardrail.
Truth cursed his bad luck again before selling concern with Morrison. Truth tentatively approached Morrison before grabbing him around the throat. "You did this to me, man," Truth told him. Truth helped Morrison to his feet before dropping him on the floor. Truth smirked and grabbed a bottle of water before smashing it over Morrison's face. "R-Truth sucks" chant from the ringside fans. Truth continued to stalk Morrison before picking him up, rubbing his hair, and dropping him with Paydirt on the floor.
Truth then snapped to his feet and shouted at the fans. Truth went looking for a cigarette and retrieved one from someone ringside. Truth dangled the cig from his mouth before lighting up. Truth sold relief after taking a drag before approaching Morrison to chants of "That's illegal." Truth then crouched down next to Morrison and blew smoke in Morrison's face. Truth continued to smoke before flicking his cig at Morrison. Truth eventually left the ringside area with a cocky smile on his face. They faded to commercial with the announcers still silent.
Segment Reax: That was a heck of a long post-match trying to get over a completely new side to Truth's character. It's hard to feel sympathy for Morrison, though, after his snide remarks toward Truth in the pre-match and subsequent trickery to get the match.
Legal Ramifications: Torch reader Ben Ryan in the U.K. noted: "WWE will likely not be charged a fine for R-Truth's smoking, as the 'non-smoking in a public place law' is exempt if the offense is part of a scripted performance. This clause isn't well known, even though it has been in effect since the law was passed in 2007."
Video package: It's back. The 2011 WWE Draft. Vince McMahon's voice was heard in the voice-over on things needing to be shaken up again.
Announcers: Cole narrated an exterior shot of London before noting lives just changed between Truth and Morrison. They went back to Moments Ago to show Truth's new side. Ross said he's never known Truth to have that personality. Lawler said he understands huge stakes, but that went too far.
[Q3] In-ring: Evan Bourne was in the ring back from break. Vickie Guerrero then interrupted to loud boos and introduced the "new and improved Dolph Ziggler." Out came Ziggler sporting a completely new haircut with short black hair. Oh no, now he looks generic. Vickie then stepped into the ring to talk trash to Bourne, looking to get in his head before the match. Vickie cackled in Bourne's face before leaving the ring.
2 -- EVAN BOURNE vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero)
Bourne went for a turnaround splash from the second rope early in the match, but Ziggler blocked with a mid-air dropkick for a nearfall. Ziggler then choked Bourne before applying a bow & arrow submission. Bourne escaped, then fired back with kick strikes for a two count. Vickie paced nervously before Bourne went up top. He wanted Air Boruen, but Ziggler moved and followed right up with Zig-Zag. Ziggler with the pin and the win.
WINNER: Ziggler at 2:12. Nice finishing sequence. The match was designed to re-focus on Ziggler, but I'm selling Ziggler's new look. Way too generic for someone who really stood out with his Curt Hennig/Billy Gunn look.
Still to come: Cole gets knighted by "the queen." It's Sir Michael Cole tonight. ... Before going to break, they aired the trailer for "That's What I Am" featuring Randy Orton in a one-second clip.
Announcers: Lawler and Ross hyped Sin Cara after a video package rolled on Sin Cara's highlights. Ross then talked about a very emotional week last week after Edge announced his retirement. Ross described Edge's "amazing career," leading to a video package on Edge announcing his retirement and career highlights set to the music of 3 Doors Down. Heck of a video package, as expected from WWE's video department. Back in the building, Lawler and Ross talked up Edge's career again. Ross then tried to plug Alberto hosting a Retirement Party for Edge this Friday on Smackdown before Cole cut him off. The graphic showed RSVP: Facebook.com/WWE.
[Q4] WWE champion The Miz's music hit to bring out Miz and Alex Riley. They were sporting new adult softball league t-shirts with "40" as the number on the back representing Miz being the 40th-ever WWE champion. Miz said he's been preparing mentally and physically to face Cena and Truth at Extreme Rules, but now he has to prepare for Morrison after Truth - not so shockingly - made a rash decision.
Miz said he's now learned the match will be inside steel cage. He said it's pinfall, submission, or escaping the cage. Miz said he could be climbing the cage while Morrison is pinning Cena. Or, he could pin Cena after Morrison escapes the cage. Miz said he doesn't have to be defeated to lose his WWE Title. Miz demanded the Raw GM make this right. He told Alex to get him a chair. Miz waited for said chair and proceeded to sit down waiting for the GM. They faded to commercial as Lawler chanted, "Boring, boring."
Back from break, Miz was mid-sentence still sitting in his chair. Ross and Lawler tried to bring viewers up to speed while Cole tried to tell them to be quiet. Miz said that at the end of the WWE Title match at Extreme Rules, he will still be WWE champion. Lawler told him that's nice; now get out of the ring. Miz tried to do his catchphrase, but Sin Cara's music interrupted to a good reaction. Sin Cara pointed toward the ring, removed his ring jacket, and did his trampoline jump into the ring. Miz and Riley stood off against Sin Cara as the crowd loudly chanted Sin Cara's name.
Suddenly, John Cena's music hit and Cena stormed the ring to chase off Miz and Riley. Miz flashed his title belt toward Cena, then the Raw GM buzzed. "Now it happens?!" Riley shouted. Cole noted he just received an email on his iPad. And he quotes. There will now be a tag team match. And that match starts now. Miz flipped out at the GM for acting too late and not for what he wanted.
3 -- WWE champion THE MIZ & ALEX RILEY vs. JOHN CENA & SIN CARA
Cena easily cleared Riley from the ring, then the heels regrouped on the floor as the crowd chanted, "Sin Cara." WWE cut to break 45 seconds in.
They returned from break one minute before the top of the hour as Ross set the stage for Cena and Sin Cara teaming together for the first time (on TV). Cena teased the Attitude Adjustment, but Miz countered with a side slam. Cole plugged The Draft next week and wondered aloud if Cena and Miz will still be on Raw this Monday. Cole reminded Ross of his history being drafted to Smackdown.
[Q5 -- second hour] The heels isolated Cena as Cole noted he doesn't have to worry about The Draft because he's on both shows anyways. The crowd engaged in dueling chants of "Let's go Cena" and "Cena sucks" as the heels continued to work over Cena in their corner. Miz taunted Sin Cara before connecting with a running clothesline on Cena. Cena then fired back with an overhead slam and dragged himself across the ring to tag in Sin Cara.
Sin Cara landed right hand palm thrusts on Miz before scoring with a handspring elbow smash. Cara followed with more strikes on Miz before executing a double head scissors that took a lot of time to set up. Sin Cara tried a springboard smash, but Riley yanked SC down across the ring apron. The heels regained control of the match and cut off Sin Cara's initial comeback as another dueling Cena chant started up. Miz measured Sin Cara for a corner attack, but Sin Cara moved and made his way to tag in Cena.
Riley also tagged in as Cena came in hot with offense for Riley. Cena brushed the dirt off his shoulder and delivered the Five Knuckle Shuffle to Riley. In the background, Miz retrieved his WWE Title belt and walked off. Meanwhile, Cena dropped Riley with the Attitude Adjustment. Cena then tagged in Sin Cara, who executed a springboard moonsault for the pin and the win. Cena and Sin Cara celebrated the victory, then posed in the ring.
WINNERS: Cena & Sin Cara at 10:27. Fine match setting up Cena vs. Miz (oh, and Morrison) at Extreme Rules, although it came across like the main event of a house show. There still doesn't seem to be a sense of urgency for Cena to get the title back, which isn't going to help sell the PPV. It doesn't help that Cena has 12 months to get the belt back before WrestleMania 28 against The Rock. Sin Cara needs time to get over his early WWE jitters and get his feet under him, as his offense isn't quite fluid working with new opponents in a completely new setting. (*1/2)
Still to come: WrestleMania re-match between Randy Orton and C.M. Punk.
Kong vignette: Awesome Kong was shown stroking a new doll, this time with black hair (as opposed to blonde hair last week). Kong ripped off the doll's head and cackled in the background. Back on Raw, Cole said that was disturbing.
In-ring: Eve's music hit to bring out Eve for a Divas match. The Bellas came out as the opposition, with Eve looking for revenge on Nikki this week after Brie took the Divas Title last week. Before the match, Brie taunted Eve that their return match may never, ever happen if Nikki handles her.
4 -- EVE vs. NIKKI BELLA (w/Divas champion Brie Bella)
Nikki took control early, then Eve came back with offense leading to a small package for the quick win. The Bellas recovered on the outside as Eve posed in the ring.
WINNER: Eve at 1:45. Basic match building Eve's quest to get the Divas Title back.
[Q6] Ringside: Michael Cole stood up and plugged the Royal Wedding in two weeks. He said he will be knighted Sir Michael Cole as a preview treat for everyone in the audience. The crowd booed as WWE cut to break.
In-ring: Back from break, Cole was in the ring, which was fitted with red carpet. There was also a ceremonious table behind Cole. Cole then brought out Jack Swagger after cutting a promo on Ross and Lawler ahead of their Extreme Rules match. Swagger came out as Ross cut a promo on Cole, saying he wants a piece of him at the PPV. Jack and Mike had a big hug before Cole stood upright. Swagger then placed a robe over Cole's shoulders. The crowd chanted Lawler's name before Swagger pulled out an official decree.
Swagger read the proclamation about Cole's greatness. Cole will no longer be known as Mr. WrestleMania, but Sir Michael Cole. Swagger then introduced Queen Elizabeth. Out came a fake queen flanked by two random men in suits. Ross was shown shaking his head as the "queen" slowly made her way into the ring. Cole faced the queen, who read a prepared statement about "the specimen" known as Michael Cole. That was hilarious. The queen asked Cole if he will uphold the knighthood. She then accepted the royal scepter and "knighted" Cole. Cole waved to the crowd, then planted a big kiss on the "queen." She smiled and waved to the crowd before Swagger escorted her out of the ring.
Cole dropped the outfit then asked for a big round of applause. Cole tried to get the crowd to chant "Sir Michael Cole," with the crowd adding in a "sucks" after Cole's name. Cole told the crowd to be silent because they're all his peasants now. Cole then addressed Ross and Lawler, telling them to show him respect by kissing his feet. Ross muttered under his breath that's interesting. The crowd chanted "Jerry, Jerry" as Cole removed his shoe to reveal a severely bruised toe region.
Swagger cut off Lawler and blasted him into the ringpost before dumping him over the guardrail to the floor. Cole and Ross remained in the ring. Ross removed his jacket, then Swagger grabbed Ross from behind. Swagger brought Ross down to his knees and Ross shouted, "Go to hell." Swagger then slapped on the anklelock and forced Ross to kiss Cole's foot. Cole told the crowd to let that be a lesson that he is Sir Michael Cole. Ross sold on the mat as Cole paraded around the ring, pleased with himself.
In-ring: Santino's music played as Cole said he feels so different...almost like royalty. Josh Mathews was heard on commentary as he wondered aloud about Cole's foot. Cole flashed his nasty-looking foot for the camera, noting he has athlete's foot because he's a real athlete. No sign of APPLE backing up Santino here. Sheamus then came out with mic in-hand. He reminded Santino of their Tea Party bit the last time they were in the U.K. Sheamus said he's getting revenge on Santino just in case it's his last opportunity with the Draft next week.
5 -- U.S. champion SHEAMUS vs. SANTINO -- non-title match
Cole relayed Sheamus's mindset of wanting to defeat and punish the men who he lost to over the past six months during his losing streak. Sheamus blasted Santino repeatedly before applying a submission hold center ring. Santino fought back to his feet before Sheamus threw him down to the mat. More offense from Sheamus. Cole wondered about Ross's health condition before mocking Ross. Mathews joined in mocking Ross for some reason. Santino finally showed some life at 3:00 and teased The Cobra, but he was too wobbly from Sheamus's offense and stumbled across the ring. Sheamus then smashed Santino with the Brogue Kick for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Sheamus at 3:36. Fine squash for Sheamus to keep him on track. The announcers teased he could be on his way to Smackdown, which would be a good move to give Smackdown a relevant player and give Sheamus some new opponents to work with.
Announcers: Mathews recapped the events on this week's Raw thus far. Cole then recapped Morrison taking Truth's #1 contender slot from R-Truth before Truth showed a new side of his character in the post-match.
Backstage: Randy Orton and C.M. Punk were shown walking down the hallway ahead of their main event match up next.
[Commercial Break. "That's What I Am" plug #2.]
[Q8] Announcers: Back from break, Cole talked over Mathews as he tried to plug the Royal Wedding in two weeks.
In-ring: C.M. Punk's music hit to bring out Punk for the main event. Mathews noted New Nexus has been banned from ringside for this bout. Cole recapped events on last week's Raw when Nexus members returned to TV and cost Orton the #1 contender gauntlet. After a pause, Orton's music hit to bring out Orton to a strong reaction. Mathews noted the release date of TWIA featuring Orton as he slowly made his way to the ring. Orton took his time posing in the ring and surveying the crowd as Punk remained on the floor waiting for Orton to get ready to fight.
6 -- RANDY ORTON vs. C.M. PUNK -- WrestleMania 27 re-match
The bell sounded ten minutes before the top of the hour as the announcers noted how similar the two wrestlers are as cold, calculating, emotionless combatants. There was a loud dueling chant of "Ran-dy Or-ton" vs. C-M-Punk" as Orton stomped on Punk in the corner. Punk responded with kicks, stomps, and knees that put Orton on his back. Cue up another dueling chant before Orton fired up with clotheslines and a snap powerslam. Orton did his deal before dropping to the mat to tease the RKO, but Punk blocked by throwing Orton across the ring. They cut to break with Orton selling a head injury and Punk taking a deep breath to sell he almost lost it right there.
[Commercial Break. This Friday on Smackdown: Del Rio plans to celebrate Edge's departure with a retirement party. Plus, Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes in a Mania re-match.]
Back from break, Punk slammed Orton and continued to work on Orton's head. Punk continued to work over Orton as the crowd started a new dueling chant of "RKO" vs. "G2S." Punk scored a nearfall eight minutes in, then went back to work wearing down Orton. Orton eventually slipped to the outside to get a breather, but Punk cut him off with a flying clothesline on the floor. Punk sarcastically asked if he could pin Orton on the floor here. Falls Count Anywhere tease for the ER PPV?
[Q9 -- over-run] Punk rolled Orton back into the ring and measured Orton for a suplex, only to have Orton counter with a quick roll-up for a two count. Punk then came right to his feet and clotheslined Orton to resume control of the match. Punk applied a submission hold using his legs to wrap around Orton's head. Orton sold fading out, but Orton bit his way out of the hold and pounded on Punk with right hands. Punk shook it off and landed a running knee in the corner, but Orton countered a bulldog with a high-angle side suplex for a two count. Angle wanted the Angle Slam, but Punk blocked and delivered a bulldog.
Punk sold a bit of frustration and shook his hand to sell Orton's bite work earlier. Punk followed with right kicks, then Orton ducked a clothesline and delivered a trademark backbreaker into the Angle Slam for a two count. Punk rolled to the apron to recover, which drew in Orton to eat the apron with a slingshot smash. Punk then went for a springboard clothesline and connected (no mid-air RKO counter) for a two count. Punk sold more frustration, unable to put away Orton. Punk went to the second turnbuckle for a move, but Orton cut him off and set up for a big superplex. Cole noted this is how much the rivalry means to Orton. Orton with a cover, but Punk with a kickout.
Just before 15:00, Punk rolled to the apron on the opposite side of the ring. Orton saw Punk in a vulnerable position and grappled him for the big spike DDT, but Punk countered with a G2S tease. Orton slipped out, but Punk blasted him in the face with a kick strike. It was only good for a two count, which drew even more frustration form Punk. The crowd was alive now and started up another dueling chant. Punk wanted the G2S again, but Orton slipped out, then rolled up Punk and trapped Punk's neck to the mat to secure a three count for the win.
WINNER: Orton at 15:39. Nice singles match just a notch below their WrestleMania encounter. The story was nicely told, playing up Punk's frustration with his inability to get one over Orton, who continued to sell resiliency. (**1/2)
Post-match: Orton celebrated as Punk talked to himself, selling frustration with not being able to beat this guy. Nexus's music hit and Mike, Ryan, and Otunga stormed the ring to attack a weary Orton. They pounded away on Orton as Punk shouted instructions from a kneeling position, still selling the effects of the match. Mason Ryan wanted a piece of Orton and gave him a big uranage center-ring. Punk mockingly asked Randall if he feels like a winner now. Mason then shoved David and Mike away, saying he wants Orton for himself.
Mason slowly backed away to hit the Punt, but Punk stopped him in the corner. Punk said this is his. Ryan demanded Orton for himself, but Punk told him to slow his roll. Punk pointed to his Nexus armband and reminded Mason he's the leader. Punk then did the big warm-up in the corner and went for the Punt, but Orton popped to his feet and dropped Punk with an RKO center ring. Orton then scampered out of the ring as Punk sold disgust with being foiled again. Orton made his way up the ramp as Punk flipped out in the ring, kicking and punching the ropes. They faded out ten minutes past the hour.
FINAL THOUGHTS: WWE's bi-annual taped Raws from the U.K. typically come across like filler, but this show had more of a sense of urgency. It doesn't necessarily mean it was a good show, though. At least for one week, WWE tried to build some new stars, most notably R-Truth. Like Truth suddenly being in the WWE Title picture last week, it seemed to come out of nowhere. If it's going to stick, it can't be like Evan Bourne in spring 2010 when WWE suddenly pushed Bourne as a future star before he disappeared off the radar. It's all about consistency trying to build new stars and WWE typically doesn't have the patience for it. The Extreme Rules PPV still doesn't have that punch to it and it's going to be even tougher next week on Raw up against The Draft, which likely won't help sell PPVs.
ALSO READ: Wade Keller's real-time blog thoughts on Raw at WadeKeller.com.
Livecast Alert: Torch editor Wade Keller and former WWE creative team writer John Piermarini will host Tuesday's PWTorch Livecast at 5:30 p.m. EST. Set a reminder to check out Tuesday's show at BlogTalkRadio.com.
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