KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT 7/27: Shaq, Results, thoughts, observations, nitpicks, and quotables
By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor
KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT
JULY 27, 2009
WASHINGTON D.C. AT THE VERIZON CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
-Jerry Lawler stood mid-ring and introduced Shaq, calling him "without question the most dominant NBA player of all-time." Shaq the came out and announced that he had booked a "Beat the Clock" challenge with five wrestlers, and the winner would face Orton at SummerSlam. He announced the candidates - Triple H (big pop), MVP (not as big), Jack Swagger (lots of boos), Mark Henry (mixed reaction), and John Cena (high-pitched screams and low-pitched boos). Crowd reactions went as you'd predict. Not a lot of suspense here as they're obviously not giving anyone but Triple H or Cena a shot at Orton on a PPV the caliber of SummerSlam.
Chris Jericho's entrance music played. He walked out and stepped up and stuck his face in Shaq's chest. Jericho said he thought it'd be Kobe when he heard the most dominant NBA player was hosting. Shaq called him Christina and then leaned in and kissed his forehead. Jericho fumed and said, "It's Chris, not Christina." He said he came out because he was again disrespected by the host of Raw. He said he's the best in the world at what he does, so "I demand to be consulted with and catered to and attended to by every member of this company including guest hosts." He said if he continues to mock and insult him, Shaq's going to have a problem with him. Shaq shoved Jericho and asked what kind of problem, looking not-at-all intimidated by a heel WWE depends greatly on to be taken seriously as a physically threatening World Champion level wrestler. Jericho said he's going to introduce him to his new tag team partner, the largest athlete in the world.
The Big Show walked out in a suit and entered the ring. Lawler said, "If I were an owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers right now, I'd be pretty nervous." Show stood pretty much nose to nose with Shaq, although Shaq appeared to have about an inch on him. Shaq blew Show a kiss. Sow said he can't intimidate him. "You've have a better chance of making two free throws in a row than intimidating me. He told him to do the smart thing and get out of his ring. Shaq replied: "Let me tell you something, fat boy." He plugged his new show where he takes on challenges from great athletes, and then challenged him to a match. Show called Shaq a seven foot toothpick. Show said if he fights him, he would cripple and destroy him. Then David Stern and the entire NBA could come down on his neck. He said then Labron James would try to get in the ring, too, and he'd crush him. He said he doesn't want to go down that road, dealing with legal fees and attorneys.
Jericho stepped in and said, "Yeah, and I'm not going to fight you, either." Shaq said, "D.C., I knew these girls wouldn't fight me, but since it's my show, I hired two people who will fight." Out came Cryme Tyme. Michael Cole said, "From Friday Night Smackdown, Cryme Tyme is in the house." They stepped into the ring and stood next to Shaq. Show stepped back and Shaq said, "That's what I thought." Shaq said tonight's match will have a special outside enforcer. Shaq revealed it was (drum roll): Shaq. Shaq then began a chant of "Christina! Christina!" [c]
WWE Fact: WWE programs are broadcast in 30 languages to over 145 countries and are available in 500 million televison households worldwide.
(1) Mark Henry pinned Carlito at 6:49 in a Beat the Clock Challenge. Lawler noted that Henry has to beat Carlito or else he's eliminated. A minute in Carlito tried to get away from the ring, but Henry chased him down and dragged him back in. It's never good if Henry can chase you from behind and catch you. At 2:45 Carlito went on a flurry of offense which Henry brushed off. Henry splashed Carlito in the corner at 3:15 and went for a pin, but Carlito's arm was under the bottom rope. Henry went for a sit splash, but Carlito moved and Henry splatted. Carlito kicked Henry in the face and legdropped the back of his neck for a two count. Carlito went on sustained offense, including a sleeper at 5:45. Carlito went for the Back Stabber, but Henry blocked it. Carlito bounced off the ropes at Henry, who caught him and powerslammed him for the win. The match itself was just fine. (*1/2)
They showed Mickie James carrying the Divas Title belt backstage alongside Gail Kim and Kelly Kelly. They were heading toward the entrance tunnel. [c]
They showed some Washington Redskins players in the crowd.
(2) Mickie James & Gail Kim & Kelly Kelly defeated Beth Phoenix & Rosa Mendez & Alicia Fox in 4:00. Lawler was alone for this match as Cole had been sent to the back on a special assignment to try to get an interview with Shaq. A fan held up a sign that said, "Don't leave, Lilian." At 2:00 Fox caught Kim in mid-air and hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Lawler, sticking with WWE's announcing rules, called it a "good move." Mickie, though, hit a Thesz press and ten tagged in Kim who finished her with a missle dropkick. Kelly stopped Rosa from interfering on the pin.
They went to Cole backstage asking Shaq what else they have in store for fans. Hornswoggle walked into the room. Shaq complained about him being in his office. But then he broke into a smile and they hugged. Shaq said, "We went to high school together." Shaq handed him a basketball and had him try to dunk it on a kiddie basket. Hornswoggle came up short and fell on to his back. Shaq told Cole, "He's always been like that." Cole tried to be cool and said, "Yeah, that was Shaq-o-licious." Shaq rolled his eyes. They don't need to script something to make Cole seem like the opposite of cool, but that was still kinda funny because it plays off of Cole often trying over the years to be more cool than he has any chance of ever being. [c]
They showed Cole and Lawler at ringside. Lawler gave Cole a hard time for saying Shaq-a-licious.
(2) MVP wrestled Chris Masters to a double countout in 3:00. Masters made his return. He looked to be in his usual great shape. Cole said, "He looks better than ever." Masters threw a clothesline in the opening minutes. What were the Vegas odds on that? There was something weird about Masters' hair. Masters put MVP in the Masterlock at ringside leading to a double countout.
(3) Kofi Kingston pinned The Brian Kendrick. Kendrick mouthed off to Lawler at ringside during Kofi's entire ring entrance. He said as soon as he's done beating up Kofi, he's going to slap Lawler until he cries. He said his problem with him is long from over. The ref started the match, Kofi hit his finishing kick, and three seconds later Kendrick was a loser.
As Triple H was shown heading toward the entrance tunnel, Ted DiBiase hit him from behind with a club. There was a time in pro wrestling where that would have led to a suspension or at least a big fine. This portended a Triple H failure to either Beat the Clock or at least set a great time for Cena later because, well, Triple H is the King of Kings and without cheating he would have easily dominated the Beat the Clock challenge. [c]
(4) Triple H vs. Cody Rhodes ended with time running out in the Beat the Clock challenge. Triple H favored his leg throughout the match. Cody concentrated on the legs. Triple H attempted a comeback with a minute left and he hit a spinebuster with 30 seconds left. DiBiase showed up on the ring apron to distract him. DiBiase dared Triple H to hit him. Lawler said if Triple H hit him, it'd cause a DQ. Since when? How does punching someone not legally in a match who jumped onto the ring apron cause you to get DQ'd? That's crazy. Triple H threw Cody into DiBiase. He then hit the Pedigree with three seconds left, but the horn sounded as he made the cover. Cole said the DiBiase distraction cost Triple H another title shot. Triple H complained to referee Charles Robinson about what happened. (*)
They went backstage to Shaq playing Santino in a game of Scrabble backstage. Santino didn't like how many Qs Shaq had. Shaq played Shaqilicious. Santino protested it's not a real word. Cryme Tyme entered the room. Shaq told them he was refereeing their match, so do things the right way. As they began singing "Money, Money, yeah, yeah." Santino stepped in front of them and rapped, stealing Jesse's gimmick from Smackdown. Shad pointed out the room and said, "Go that way." Shaq sat down, looked at the Scrabble board, and said, "Not even Vince McMahon can beat me at this game." [c]
Lawler plugged the Cryme Tyme vs. Jericho & Big Show match with Shaq as special ref.
(5) Hornswoggle pinned Chavo Guerrero. Shaq ruled that Chavo had to wrestle the match blindfolded. Chavo actually had to wear a hood. A new race barrier has been broken as a new WWE referee in the match made what I think is his debut and he's black. Chavo tackeled the ref by mistake when Hornswoggle crawled under the ref's legs. Cole laughed uproariously as the ref explained what happened. Chavo took off his hood briefly and realized what was up, but Hornswoggle rolled him up for a near fall. Hornswoggle continued to attack Chavo. The ref stopped him from punching Chavo when he was in the ropes. As the ref scolded Hornswoggle, Chavo lifted his hood briefly and then dropkicked him. That wasn't good enough for a win. Chavo dropped Hornswoggle and tried to measure how far he was away for a frog splash. Hornswoggle got up as Chavo climbed to the top rope. Chavo was going to peek out from the mask, but the ref wouldn't let him. Hornswoggle watched from the ring apron as Chavo missed with the splash. Hornswoggle then climbed the top rope himself and landed on Chavo and scored the pin. Chavo kicked out right at 3.01. Hornswoggle celebrated at ringside.
They went backstage to Jack Swagger walking up to Randy Orton. Swagger said he has good news and bad news. He said the good news is Triple H didn't beat the clock, but the bad news is, he will. Orton asked if he's supposed to be scared. Swagger said, "I'm bigger, I'm stronger, younger. Yeah, you should be." Swagger walked away and Henry walked up to Orton. He stared down Orton, a segment meant to give the impression that match might actually happen at SummerSlam. [c]
A plug aired for the encore offerings of Night of Champions focused on Jeff Hardy's WWE Title win.
(6) Evan Bourne pinned Jack Swagger in about 3:30 of a Beat the Clock challenge match. Swagger did some push-ups on his way to the ring. Bourne debuted his t-shirt, which says in bold red print sideways on the front: "Bourne to Fly." Lawler said Bourne reminds him sometimes of Rey. Cole added, "A young Rey." Swagger went for a gut-wrench powerbomb, but Bourne reversed it mid-lifted and scored an upset leverage pin. "What a shocker!" said Cole. Lawler added, "I've got some bad news and some bad news for Swagger. He just lost to Evan Bourne and he's got no shot of going to SummerSlam." Swagger had some great facial expressions after losing.
Cole announced Cena's opponent in his Beat the Clock match would be against The Miz. [c]
Lawler and Cole announced that Jeremy Piven would guest host Raw next week. Lawler said he loves "Entourage." They plugged his upcoming movie, "Goods." Then they talked about the Night of the Champions PPV, which has been given very little attention tonight. They replayed the end of Triple H vs. Cody Rhodes.
Josh Matthews interviewed Triple H backstage. He said DiBiase and Rhodes have made it their personal mission to prevent him from regaining the World Title. Hunter said he's mad at himself for focusing on Orton instead or realizing the tail is wagging the dog. He said when you cut the tail of the dog, the dog dies. (Kids, don't try that at home.) Hunter challenged Rhodes and DiBiase to a two-on-one match next week.
Miz ripped on the local sports teams in Washington, including the Redskins players in the front row. He said visiting teams get a lead and then let the clock tick down. He said he doesn't have to beat Cena, he just has to last six minutes and change. [c]
(7) John Cena beat The Miz in 4:30 to Beat the Clock and earn a shot against Orton at SummerSlam. Cena's ring entrance took place. Lawler quoted a crowd total of over 15,000. The arena looked really good tonight. Miz teased getting intentionally counted out, but Cena reminded him that'd give him the win. Miz returned to the ring and Cena stomped away at him. They cut to Henry watching a monitor in the back. Miz took control and whipped Cena into the ringside steps with 3:30 left. The ref began counting Cena down and Cole raised his volume, noting the potential of Henry going to SummerSlam. Miz tied Cena in the ropes. Miz laid on his back and challenged Cena to come get him. Cena broke free and slipped on an STF immediately. Miz fought it off, but then tapped with 2:21 left to win. Miz is an entertaining heel, but the type of entertaining that you want to boo. Orton stepped into the ring and had a staredown with Cena. (*1/2)
They showed Shaq in a referee shirt heading toward the entrance tunnel. [c]
(8) Cryme Tyme beat Chris Jericho & The Big Show via DQ in 6:00. Shaq came out first, followed by Jericho, Show, and Cryme Tyme. The match didn't begin until three minutes past the top of the hour. Lawler ran down Shaq's accolades. Jericho opened against J.T.G. Jericho tagged in Show at 2:00. Cole said J.T.G. was dealing with a major league bully. Show taunted Shaq at ringside. Jericho tagged back in J.T.G. tried for a tag to Shad, but Jericho prevented it and settled into a loose looking cobra sleeper. J.T.G. battled out of it and hot-tagged Shad with help from Shaq in rolling him over toward the tag. Shad splashed Jericho in the corner. Shaq applauded. Shad pressed Jericho over his head and dropped him. Shaq continued to applaud. Shaq took a cheap shot at Jericho, shoving him when he got near the end of the ring, as if this was Pride. Cryme Tyme then gave Jericho a double team move off the top rope. Show made the save just before three. The ref DQ'd Show for being in the ring illegally. Show set up Cryme Tyme for a double chokeslam, but when he looked out at Shaq, he dropped J.T.G. and Shad and called Shaq into the ring. Shaq entered the ring, took off his ref shirt, and got in Shaq's face. Show lightly shoved Shaq. Shaq shoved Show hard. Show grabbed Shaq by the throat. Shaq grabbed Show by his throat in return. They struggle to chokeslam one another. Cryme Tyme ran in and broke Show's grip. Shaq then gave Show a hockey check and Show tumbled to the floor. The match wasn't much, but it was just a vehicle to feature interaction with Show and Shaq at the end. They delivered on that adquately. (*1/2)
Cole and Lawler plugged Jeremy Piven again. The show ended with Shaq celebrating in the ring with Cryme Tyme, then pursuing Show and Jericho who stood on the stage peering at him.
THOUGHTS, OBSERVATIONS, NITPICKS
SHAQ: Shaq carried his end of the segment well. He's never had boisterous pro wrestling type of charisma, but he didn't seem apologetic or embarrassed to be there. I question making Jericho seem so small and intimidated by a basketball player when we're supposed to take him seriously as a physical threat. I know this isn't UFC, but you wouldn't see Matt Hughes or Michael Bisping or Chuck Liddell, despite a size difference, acting so scared of Shaq because they'd be confident they could take him easily... At the end of the show, when Shaq checked Show out of the ring, had he had a freak ankle sprain or knee twist, it would have been a huge sports story and Shaq would be in huge trouble with the NBA and the Cavaliers (and King James)... Cryme Tyme got a nice rub for this episode...
BEAT THE CLOCK: I like the Beat the Clock format. It gives a sense of urgency to the action and creates drama in what would otherwise be mismatches. It's a way to save giving away big star vs. big star matches. The Swagger loss was a nice touch in the mix, too. I just don't know how many people thought Henry had a serious chance to go to SummerSlam, although the thought of someone other than Triple H or Cena facing Orton in a title match was appealing even if it was Henry. It says something about Chris Masters that they didn't let MVP beat him in his return match.... Miz was a lot of fun playing off of Cena. Too bad he lost clean again, but Cena is the top guy so not a lot of harm. At some point, though, there has to be a heel elevated on the Raw roster who can hold his own against Cena or Hunter in a one-on-one situation...
OTHER THOUGHTS: Miz has the best heelish body gyration dance routine when he steps onto the stage for the start of his ring entrance... What is it with Triple H and two-on-one matches. At some point there has to be more than just two or three heels in WWE who are portrayed as having a chance against him in a one-on-one match in order to move on from the incessant era of Cena-Orton-Hunter in various combos.
Chris Jericho: "When I heard that the most dominant player in NBA history was guest hosting Raw, I automatically assumed it was Kobe Bryant."
Triple H: "Isn't it funny how in life every now and then you come across a guy you just shouldn't screw with. I'm that guy."
The Miz: "To quote someone who you people elected to office who has been failing miserably, yes I can because I'm The Miz and I'm awesome."
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