WWE Raw Report CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 7/18: Ongoing "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - Money in the Bank PPV fall-out, McMahon opens Raw
Jul 18, 2011 - 10:15:44 PM
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WWE Raw Results
July 18, 2011 - Episode #946
Live in Green Bay, Wis.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
This week's live WWE Raw the night after Money in the Bank started with a live shot inside the arena. Vince McMahon's "No Chance" music then hit and out came McMahon, flanked by VP John Laurinaitis. Michael Cole evenly noted they are in Titletown (Green Bay), but there is no title in WWE right now. They cut to a backstage shot of the entire locker room watching. In the middle was Del Rio clutching his MITB briefcase.
Once in the ring, McMahon peered down at the mat while a "C-M-Punk" chant started up. McMahon said the audience will never again hear him say that man's name. He said the people don't get it because they're chanting the name of the biggest ingrate in WWE history. McMahon said that man walked out on each and every fan, every person in the locker room, and anyone who has ever been in this ring. He called him an egotistical turd. McMahon said no one is bigger than WWE - not Hogan, Hart, Rock, or Stone Cold. He said this is a promotional juggernaut that cannot be stopped. He said that, as a result, they will crown a new WWE champion here in the ring tonight. McMahon said eight of Raw's best will compete in an eight-man tournament.
Rey Mysterio vs. U.S. champ Dolph Ziggler is one match. Jack Swagger vs. R-Truth is another first round tournament match. Kofi Kingston vs. Alberto Del Rio is the third match. And, finally, Alex Riley vs. The Miz again. No John Cena in the tournament.
Back live, McMahon said that is all taking place tonight. He said one man absent is John Cena. Big boos for Cena, which McMahon acknowledged. He said he would boo him to because Cena let him down. McMahon said he told Cena that if Punk somehow left MITB with the title, there would be...severe consequences. McMahon said that after consulting with Laurinaitis, there will indeed be severe consequences. McMahon said tonight will be a night that people will always remember. He told them to enjoy the show. Cue up McMahon's theme music.
To the announcers, Lawler repeated the "severe consequences" line. Cole brought up John Cena's Twitter quote before Raw on believing he's already been terminated and Cena's apology to The Rock. Cole then excitedly talked up the tournament tonight. The bracket: Rey-Ziggler and Swagger-Truth on one side; Kingston-Del Rio and Riley-Miz on the other side of the bracket.
In-ring: The Miz's music played to bring out Miz for the first tournament match. Cole acknowledged Miz limping to the ring after his knee injury angle during the Raw MITB ladder match last night. Cole repeated McMahon's line on tonight being a night to remember. It all begins next.
In-ring: Back live, Cole recapped the tournament and said it should be an historic evening tonight. They went to a stillshot of Miz "injuring" his knee during the MITB match last night, prompting Cole to talk up his buddy. Alex Riley then came out as Lawler noted tonight is as big as it gets on Raw, with a new champion to be determined. Cole noted Cena will not be part of the tournament and Cena already believes he's been terminated.
1 -- THE MIZ vs. ALEX RILEY -- First Round WWE Title tournament match
Riley slowly tried to get to Miz's knee as Miz tried to avoid him. Riley eventually got to the knee and began working it over. Riley then applied a half-Boston crab, but Miz flung him to the floor. Miz took control of the match and nearly got himself DQ'ed landing too many punches without breaking. Meanwhile, Cole announced every match will end via pinfall or submission only. Riley made his comeback at 3:30 and both men teased finishers before Riley caught Miz in a Texas Cloverleaf. Riley couldn't maintain the hold, though, and Miz reached the ropes for a break. They had a clunky spot involving the referee getting in the way, then Miz surprised Riley with the Skullcrushing Finale. It was good for the win.
WINNER: Miz at 5:00 to advance to the semi-finals. Okay match. They were a bit off at times, especially during the finish, and the crowd wasn't all the way invested. Concerning Riley, WWE needs to be patient building him up and allowing him to naturally connect with the broad audience. (*1/4)
Backstage: R-Truth was shown walking down the hallway. Cole noted he was given a title opportunity in this tournament, quieting his conspiracies.
[Commercial Break. A local spot for TNA's upcoming house show tour aired.]
Exterior: A statue of Vince Lombardi was shown in Green Bay before Cole transitioned into a highlight video package on John Morrison, who Cole said is battling his way back from injury. Back live, Cole said Morrison is on his way back from injury after being injured by R-Truth on two separate occasions.
In-ring: On cue, Truth walked out for the next tournament match. Jack Swagger then came out to face Truth as Truth paced in the ring muttering to himself. They went to a still-shot of Swagger locking Kofi Kingston in the anklelock during the Raw MITB ladder match last night. Lawler presented to the audience that Swagger had a "good showing" during the match.
2 -- R-TRUTH vs. JACK SWAGGER -- First Round WWE Title tournament match
Cole reset the show on the purpose of the tournament, Cena's status, and noted Mark Henry taking out Big Show, who Cole said could be out up to two months. Cole plugged an update this Friday on Smackdown. Now, was that so hard promoting Smackdown events in a short, simple update? As Swagger and Truth went back and forth, Cole noted holding the WWE Title is about power before discussing Cena's situation tonight. Lawler said he doesn't think McMahon will do anything to jeopardize his business by simply firing Cena. Cole interjected the deal about Cena Fans lobbying for WWE to keep Cena's job intact. Lawler then treaded carefully discussing the title match, saying he thinks McMahon contributed to Punk taking the title and Cena losing.
Cole actually acknowledged they were ignoring the match in the ring discussing Cena-McMahon issues, before they resumed talking about what happened last night, including the atmosphere. Lawler said he couldn't even describe it in words other than it was like the Chicago Bears were in the Super Bowl and the Super Bowl was in Chicago. Lawler claimed there was a "huge amount of respect" for Cena in the crowd, but they were ultimately pro-Punk. (The whole design of that match, from a Cena perspective, was to try to get some respect back for Cena.) Suddenly, Truth countered an anklelock from Swagger into a jackknife pin and it was good for a quick win. Truth advances to the semi-finals. He gets the Rey-Ziggler winner.
WINNER: R-Truth at 4:19 to advance to the semi-finals. There was a match? The commentary took over the match, which wasn't very inspiring, especially featuring two heels against each other. Swagger just seems to be going through the motion right now, and who can blame him when WWE has lost sight of how to promote him. Meanwhile, a theme is developing where the wrestler who gets the pre-match focus is winning. (3/4*)
[Q3] Up next: Kofi vs. Del Rio.
Smackdown plug: A slow-motion video captured the World Title change to Christian, followed by Randy Orton going "completely insane." The voice-over man plugged Orton vs. Kane in a Street Fight this Friday. Volatile Orton vs. Vengeful Kane.
MITB plug: Lawler focused on Alberto Del Rio's Raw MITB victory last night and WWE's website for photos. On cue, Del Rio's music hit to bring the #1 contender & MITB holder Del Rio. As Del Rio came to the ring, Cole noted Del Rio's "smart" strategy ripping off Rey's mask to prevent Rey from winning the ladder match. Lawler said it was a cheap, low way to win a match.
Before Del Rio's opponent came out, Del Rio took the mic and announced himself as Mr. Money in the Bank. Del Rio said he can have a title shot anytime, anyplace. Of course, he tried to cash it in last night, but Punk (without saying his name) ran away like a chicken. Del Rio then turned his focus to Cena, saying he couldn't get the job done. He directly stated he hopes Cena gets fired. Del Rio claimed to be a better & stronger leader for WWE, unlike Cena. He said it's his destiny to be WWE champion. Cue up Del Rio's theme music again. Suddenly, Ricardo Rodriguez re-emerged on-stage. Ricardo formally introduced Del Rio, then his music played again. They went to break with Ricardo repeating Del Rio's name over and over again.
In-ring: Back live, Del Rio and Ricardo were shown standing together clutching the briefcase. Kofi Kingston then came out as Del Rio's opponent in the tournament. They showed a still-shot of Kingston during the MITB PPV to highlight his contribution.
3 -- ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. KOFI KINGSTON -- First Round WWE Title tournament match
The bell sounded and Cole offered another Smackdown plug for Daniel Bryan's MITB victory at the PPV. Cole called it a fluke and noted they will discuss it in more detail on Smackdown this Friday. Cole brought up Cena's Twitter posts before Raw again and noted Rock just replied, saying he pleaded with McMahon not to fire Cena and called his apology "phony." Del Rio and Kingston went back-and-forth as Cole continued to hype tonight's Raw as being "historic." Cole went back to discussing Cena-Rock and Lawler said he believes Cena is hopeful he will not be fired despite what he posted.
Meanwhile, Kingston built some momentum after Del Rio missed with a corner attack. Del Rio then teased the cross arm-breaker, but Kingston countered with a sudden roll-up. Del Rio tried to escape, but Kingston held down Del Rio for the win. Cole said he thought Del Rio's shoulder was up during the count and they went to a replay showing Del Rio's shoulder pinned to the mat. Cole said perhaps the other angle showed a shoulder up.
WINNER: Kingston at 5:08 to advance to the semi-finals. And they broke the pattern of pre-match focus = victory. It made sense with Del Rio having the MITB briefcase, which will now linger over the tournament/title situation. (*1/2)
Still to come: Rey vs. Ziggler in the final first round match. They cut backstage to show Mysterio walking down the hallway for his match.
Summerslam Flashback: 1992 edition at Wembley Stadium featuring British Bulldog defeating Bret Hart with Vince McMahon on the call.
Moments Ago: Del Rio lost to Kofi Kingston. They went to a replay of Kingston pinning Del Rio clean, despite Cole's claims. Cole then acknowledged it was the right call before throwing backstage.
Backstage: Josh Mathews brought in Kingston for his thoughts on the match victory. Kingston talked up the MITB ladder match last night, said he came up short last night, and declared he's on the path to becoming new WWE champion. Kingston said it's one down, two to go. Mathews told him good luck.
In-ring: Rey Mysterio came out first for the fourth and final first round tournament match. Dolph Ziggler was out next, along with Vickie Guerrero, as Cole referenced Ziggler's Twitter post earlier tonight claiming to be the only champion left on Raw. Hey, what about Kelly? Cole said Ziggler could still be the only champ on Raw if he wins the tournament.
[Q5 -- second hour]
4 -- U.S. champion DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. REY MYSTERIO -- First Round WWE Title tournament match
Ziggler quickly took control of the match after splattering Rey on the floor. Back in the ring, they traded close nearfalls while seated on the mat. Lawler interjected an item about McMahon officially stripping "the champion" (Punk) of the WWE Title, which was alluded to but not officially acknowledged at the start of the show. Rey made his comeback at 3:00, but Ziggler cut him off and scored a two count. Rey then countered a powerbomb into a huracanrana, but missed with a follow-up 619 when Ziggler ducked at the last second. Ziggler followed right up with a powerslam, but only scored a two count. "619, 619" chant as Ziggler stomped and Vickie screamed. Rey then hit the 619 on his second try before going up top for a flying splash. Rey connected and it was good for the win.
WINNER: Rey Mysterio at 4:56. Best of the four first round matches after an inspired effort by both men. Outside of the tournament, WWE had a chance to elevate Ziggler tonight being the only male singles champion left on the Raw brand, but that wasn't the case here. (*3/4)
Announcers: Cole and Lawler talked on-camera about McMahon wanting to eliminate C.M. - Cole cut him off and Lawler said he can't say his name.
Backstage: McMahon and Laurinaitis were shown talking as the tournament graphic was on their TV monitor. No discenerible words were heard as Cole talked over the backstage shot.
WM28 video: They ran a video package on WM28 travel packages, focused completely on The Rock, which was a nice attention to detail since Cena-Rock is technically "off" right now due to Cena's storyline "firing."
In-ring: Kelly Kelly's music played to bring out seven Raw and Smackdown babyface Divas. Kelly was wearing a Green Bay Packers jersey to plug the Super Bowl champs. The Bellas's music then played to bring out seven heel Divas. Meanwhile, Cole heeled on Joey Styles for a Twitter post encouraging people to save Cena so they don't have to sit through Cole in another Mania match.
5 -- Divas champion KELLY KELLY & EVE & GAIL KIM & BETH PHOENIX & A.J. & KAITLYN & NATALYA vs. BRIE BELLA & NIKKI BELLA & MARYSE & ALICIA FOX & ROSA MENDES & TAMINA & MELINA
The action broke down 30 seconds in. In the ring, Phoenix hit the Glam Slam on Rosa for a quick pin and the win. Afterward, the babyface Divas stood tall in the ring.
WINNERS: Team Kelly at 1:02. Not much here other than a brief look at a possible Kelly vs. Beth title situation following the Kelly-Bellas feud.
[Q6] DVD plug: Rey Mysterio and his mask.
[Commercial Break. C.M. Punk item - Punk tweeted a picture from the Cubs game of a woman appearing to be asleep in her seat. The caption: "Watching RAW or drunk at cubs game?!? YOU make the call!"]
Announcers: As footage of the Packers locker room was shown, Cole noted they will determine their own champion tonight. Cole said WWE's Facebook fans are picking Rey to win the tournament and Lawler booked out his predicted tournament finals: Rey vs. Kofi.
In-ring: Kofi Kingston was the first man out for the first semi-final match. Interesting they're starting the semi-finals with the second-half of the bracket rather than going back to the top. The Miz then limped down to the ring as Kofi waited to face him.
6 -- THE MIZ vs. KOFI KINGSTON -- Semi-final WWE Title tournament match
Kingston scored an early one count trying to small-package a gimpy Miz. Kingston followed with an elevated dropkick for a two count. Miz then took control and tried to slow things down to work through his injury. Kingston went back to the knee, though, and followed with a slingshot splash for a two count. Miz continued to show resiliency as Lawler did the ol' routine of Miz having a built-in excuse when he loses, which meant Miz was winning.
Kingston took out Miz's again and teased the Trouble in Paradise, but Miz bailed to the ring apron. Kofi scored a close two count moments later, but Miz came right back with the Skullcrushing Finale. It was good for the win after Miz slowly rolled Kingston over for a pin. "One more to get!" Cole shouted over and over. Post-match: Miz, with a bloody lip, smiled for the hard camera and hobbled across the ring. After a replay, Miz gingerly made his way out of the ring as they reviewed the finals. Rey-Truth winner advances to face Miz in the finals.
WINNER: Miz at 3:52 to advance to the finals. Good nearfalls throughout. The whole thing seems off, though, with the heel "overcoming the odds" against babyfaces incapable of putting away a one-legged man. WWE's defense would be they're trying to elevate Miz as a "tough guy" who is also a capable competitor in the ring and not just all-talk. They didn't put in the groundwork ahead of time, though, to pull it off credibly without the faces looking weak. (*1/2)
Backstage: R-Truth was muttering to himself as Scott Stanford tried to set him up for an interview. Truth cut him off and said he deserves to be WWE champion more than anyone else in the tournament. He said the conspiracy kept him away from the MITB briefcase, but it won't keep him away from Rey Rey. He told all the Little Jimmys to close their eyes because the title is going to get got tonight. The act feels so last month after Punk was a dynamic #1 heel the past three weeks.
Announcers: Cole plugged the tournament before sending it to a video package on a potential future champion...Cue up a video on Andy Leavine, focusing on where "Silent Rage" was born in the rough streets of a meth lab neighborhood. They included some amateur wrestling footage of Andy snapping on an opponent to show the origins of Silent Rage. Andy said he comes back to his old neighborhood from time-to-time to remind himself of where he's been and where he's going.
In-ring: Back live, Rey's music hit to set up the second semi-final match. After a recap of Rey's victory over Ziggler, R-Truth came out to face Rey. The announcers recapped Truth's victory over "former World champion" Jack Swagger before returning to the ring.
7 -- REY MYSTERIO vs. R-TRUTH -- Semi-final WWE Title tournament match
As the bell sounded, Cole plugged the tournament finals still to come and McMahon's decision on John Cena. R-Truth quickly grounded Rey, trying to prevent Rey from delivering his high-flying offense. Truth momentarily lost control and Rey sent Truth flying to the floor. Rey followed with a big suicide dive. Instead of staying with the action, which WWE has done the entire tournament, they cut to break.
Back live, Truth had Rey on the mat with a headlock. During the break, Rey scored a close nearfall, per an inset replay. Cole reset the show and noted the reason for the tournament as Truth became frustrated with his inability to put away Rey. Truth scored with the Lie Detector, but Rey kicked out in time. Cole suggested Truth was a bit hungrier than Rey tonight, but Lawler countered that Rey has more heart kicking out. Cole said Rey has heart, but sometimes the heart gives out. That was quite the inadvertently loaded comment considering early wrestler deaths in the industry. Meanwhile, Truth continued to be frustrated. He scored with a flapjack suplex, but Rey kicked out in time. Cole said that every time Rey kicks out, it drives Truth even more nuts.
[Q8] Truth missed with a corner attack, then Rey came back with a turnaround splash off the ropes for a two count. Rey, selling exhaustion, then walked into a flip-over jawbreaker. Truth made a cover, but Rey grabbed the bottom rope to escape just in time. Truth started looking around the arena, hearing voices in the arena. Rey took advantage with a head scissors into the 619. Rey followed up with a top-rope splash and it was good for the win. After a replay, Cole said Rey won't be leaving the ring, as he faces Miz in the finals next.
WINNER: Rey at 12:49 to advance to the finals. Decent action throughout and an acceptable finish that drew in the crowd. The drawback was the technical aspect of Truth having to co-operate too much on the final few moves to set up the finish. (**)
Smackdown plug: Christian is the new World Hvt. champion. Orton has gone nuts. Now, what's next for Orton? First, Orton vs. Kane in a Street Fight.
Back live: Rey's music was playing as Justin Roberts announced the next match for the WWE Title. As Rey was being formally introduced, McMahon's music interrupted. McMahon strutted down to ringside, then entered the ring. Rey said he wants the title. McMahon took the mic first, though. He told Rey he's not going to deny him the opportunity to become WWE champion, nor The Miz. McMahon said they're running out of time and he has something "equally as important" to deal with. He asked Rey to postpone the match until next week. The crowd booed as Rey said he wants the title. McMahon told Rey this is bigger than him and not to be selfish. Rey spit down on the mat and looked back toward McMahon before yanking on the ring apron on the way out.
8 -- THE MIZ vs. REY MYSTERIO -- Finals of WWE Title tournament did not occur
McMahon began his promo, saying no one is bigger than WWE. He said he can make a new John Cena. "C-M-Punk chant" interrupted. McMahon talked up Cena's contributions to WWE and thanked him for his service, but said sometimes you have to set an example in business. He said it's not about his ego or having to win all the time; it's about business. McMahon said he does what he does for the benefit of the audience from a business perspective. He said he makes decisions from a long-term perspective and sometimes people don't see what he's doing, but in time, they'll thank him. McMahon said as much as he would like not to do this...pause for another Punk chant...let's get this over with.
[Q9 -- over-run] One minute before the top of the hour, John Cena's music played to a strong reaction. Mainly cheers, but some audible boos. Cena hit the ring and stood in one corner trying to hold back a smile. Cena eventually walked past McMahon and yanked the mic away from him. Cena told "Kevin" (Dunn) he's not going to go on a tirade or show his junk to the crowd. He said he's not going to go through what McMahon made Shawn Michaels do. Cena referenced Michaels carrying the burden of the Montreal Screwjob for a long time. He said he wouldn't want to be the same guy who screwed C.M. Punk. Cena said he knew what was at stake. He said it was more than just the title or his career. Cena said it was about McMahon wanting to keep his bubble intact. He said he was not going to be McMahon's patsy. "No way," he said to applause.
Cena said he's not supposed to say this guy's name, but he told Punk it was a hell of a match last night. "Thank you so much," he said. Cena told McMahon he wanted to throw out the match last night, but he wasn't going to play that way because McMahon would have made the title meaningless. "That's not true," McMahon mouthed. Cena told McMahon to go ahead and make one, five, even ten of him. He said McMahon has eight months to find a new opponent for The Rock. He said McMahon can do some hocus-pocus and find an opponent and the show will go on. Cena said he will leave with his dignity, though. Cena said he loves WWE and he truly believes he belongs here. He said if McMahon is telling him he has no other option, then he will walk onto someone else's television show and keep doing this "brother." Cena said it's not a threat; it's a promise. Cena said a lot of people say a lot of things, but one thing he won't do is kiss McMahon's ass.
Cena threw the mic toward McMahon, who called Cena back to center-ring. McMahon said that as much as it hurts him personally and business-wise, he has to say this. "John..." Suddenly, Triple H's music hit. Everyone recoiled as the crowd popped big.
Triple H, in a suit, came marching to the ring with his head. McMahon took a deep breath as Cena backed out of the spotlight. Hunter walked up to McMahon and talked in his ear about something. McMahon smiled and walked across the ring to grab a mic for Hunter. McMahon hyped Hunter to the crowd as Hunter deflected it by staring down at the mat. Hunter walked toward McMahon and said there was a Board of Directors meeting this morning. He paused. He said that last night, they flew from Chicago to here. He said he flew to the office after that. Pause. Hunter said the Board asked him to come here to talk to McMahon. He said they're concerned about the situation. Hunter wanted to talk about it in the back. The crowd wanted to hear it now. Hunter said he tried to get out here before McMahon made it to the ring. He said the Board is concerned about him. The Board gets McMahon has built a global empire. It's a given.
But, at the same point in time, the Board is concerned about your extremely questionable decisions as of late. McMahon told Hunter to stop beating around the bush and say it. Hunter said the Board has filed an injunction against McMahon with a vote of no confidence. And, Vince, the family agrees. McMahon sold taking that one personally. On top of that, the Board has appointed someone to take over the day-to-day operations of WWE. Vince sold with sadness in his eyes. Hunter took a deep breath into the mic. He said he can't even believe he's even going to say this. "Vince, it's me," he said. McMahon couldn't believe it. Hunter continued to stare down at the mat as McMahon sold tears. "Cena, Cena" chant as Hunter looked back toward McMahon. Hunter told McMahon he's not going to fire John Cena. Cena was ringside slapping hands at this point. Hunter told McMahon he's not doing anything anymore. He said McMahon taught him from Day One that no one is bigger than this business. Both men were selling tears at this point.
Hunter said he can't believe he's doing this. He said he's here to inform McMahon that he is relieved of his duties. McMahon had the big tears as Hunter continued to look down at the mat. Both men stared down at the mat. "You can't do this to me," McMahon mouthed. The crowd chanted, "Na na na goodbye," as McMahon looked toward the ceiling. Hunter said he didn't want to do this, but he did what's right for business. Hunter told McMahon to look at him. "How about a hug?" someone cat-called. Hunter told McMahon he loves him, which finally broke the dam for McMahon. Hunter threw down the mic and bailed from the ring. Alone in the ring was the star of the show. "Trip-le-H" chant as he turned to look back into the ring from the stage. Hunter then turned to leave before the camera went back to McMahon. McMahon mouthed, "Thank you, thank you," as the crowd began to applaud now. McMahon quietly wiped away tears, then told someone to cut out. The trademark came on as the crowd chanted, "Thank you, Vince." They stayed with a close-up shot of McMahon selling tears for about five or six seconds before fading out. PYB talk time: 17:20.
FINAL THOUGHTS: There had to be a bigger angle in-play to follow up on the Money in the Bank PPV (especially looking ahead to Summerslam), and there had to be more than just a basic, letdown tournament to essentially "move on" from Punk holding the cherished WWE Title hostage. WWE is certainly drawing from reality - whispers about McMahon's sanity and whether he's fit to run the business - to create this next chapter in a bigger angle. Now the main questions are where do they go from here and is the audience interested or turned off? Is McMahon off TV for good (however long "for good" is) or does he now take the Jericho-esque role of a fired outsider-looking-in trying to find his way back into the company? Will McMahon remain the central figure of the story or does he disappear, only to have everyone talking about him? And, with McMahon now a sympathetic figure, how does it affect Cena and Punk? And, looking ahead seven months, Rock? Is the WWE Title tournament null and void? Or, will WWE complete a tournament set up by the invalid authority figure next week to determine the fake WWE champion? Even more questions to be answered coming out of this.
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