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CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 7/16: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw #998 - MITB PPV fall-out, Cena's announcement

Jul 16, 2012 - 10:07:09 PM

WWE Raw Supershow Results
July 16, 2012 - Episode #998
Season 20, Episode 29
Live in Las Vegas, Nev.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

The final two-hour WWE Raw episode opened with the standard Raw intro video before going live to Mandalay Bay for full pyro and explosions. Michael Cole plugged the show and noted they acknowledge 1,000 episodes next week. Jerry Lawler then narrated clips of John Cena winning the Raw Money in the Bank ladder match last night. Cole then plugged WWE champion C.M. Punk vs. Big Show in the main event tonight.

Cue up Cult of Personality to bring out Punk, who was dressed to wrestle. Lawler said Punk went through one of the most grueling matches he's ever seen last night against Daniel Bryan to retain the WWE Title. On-camera, Cole and Lawler noted A.J.'s role in the match and said she seemed confused throughout. Lawler said it was surprising and confusing to him and the audience that she wasn't the factor everyone thought she would be, and was actually impartial.

Once in the ring, Punk waited out a chant before saying this might sound a little strange coming from someone who is straight-edge, but he loves Las Vegas. Punk then went back to his promo in Las Vegas one year ago when he "dropped a pipe bomb." He said he spoke his mind and claimed he started a revolution. Punk said he has proven to be the best in the world and has beaten everyone placed in front of him. He said that included beating Bryan last night when the match included a very, very, very, very confused special referee, A.J.

Punk then transitioned to WWE recognizing 1,000 episodes next week. He went back to the very first episode and said a guy who looks, acts, and talks like him never would have been on that first show. Punk noted he's in the midst of his eighth month as WWE champion, and he plans on holding the WWE Title proudly on that show. Suddenly, Big Show's music interrupted. Show sarcastically applauded on the way to the ring as Cole noted Show was "within a whisker" of winning the MITB match last night.

Once Show entered the ring, the crowd showered him with boos. Show paused, then called Punk's story really touching. He mocked Punk for returning to the scene of the crime. "Whatever," he muttered. Show said he was inches away from winning the MITB contract. Pause for "Big Show sucks" chant. Show then noted he has a point he's trying to make. The point is the briefcase was in his grasp, but as usual, John Cena was in the right place at the right time when the handle broke off the case. He said if he had the briefcase, he would cash it in right now. Show noted Punk wouldn't be walking out as champion, much less walking out. Punk interrupted and told Show he "almost" win, but that doesn't count in WWE. Punk said Show did what he always does: beats people up and causes destruction, but loses. Punk said that's why a guy like him with half of Show's size has the fan's respect and WWE Title, while Show has his big, fat contract and no one's respect.

Show laughed and said the people don't even respect themselves. He told Punk to think about it. If he left WWE tomorrow, he would give the fans about a week to move on to the next new thing. "Trust me, I know," he said. Show said he knows the people don't respect him and he doesn't care. He said this company revolves around one man, and Punk is just another cog in the machine. Show told Punk to wake up, but Punk replied that he's WWE champion and Show isn't. Punk called Show a bitter, underachieving, well-paid shell of a former man who just happens to be a giant. Show smirked and told Punk that that is his opinion, but as it relates to his WWE Title, John Cena is Mr. Money in the Bank now. Show told Punk that tonight in their match, after he knocks out Punk, don't be surprised if he loses the title to Cena. Show dropped the mic and left the ring as his music played. There's the hook for the second hour of the show, which the announcers stressed. Lawler also noted Cena has a big announcement tonight.

On-camera: Cole and Lawler talked up next week's Raw recognizing 1,000 episodes. Lawler then plugged the very first Raw episode available on YouTube right now. Cole then plugged The Rock on Raw next week for the three-hour Raw.

Backstage: WWE tag champs Kofi Kingston & R-Truth were shown walking down the hallway. Lawler said the titles are on the line next. As expected, WWE backwards-booked the tag division using the PPV to build to a title match on the free show rather than using the free show to build to a meaningful Tag Title match on the PPV.

[Commercial Break]

[Q2] Las Vegas: Cole voiced-over an exterior shot of the arena before plugging a RawActive item for next week. The poll is which title should be defended on Raw next week - Santino defending the U.S. Title, Christian defending the IC Title, or Layla defending the Divas Title.

In-ring: Tag champs Kofi & R-Truth made their way out to the ring for a Tag Title defense. Cole then plugged tonight as the final two-hour Raw before Raw moves to three hours starting next week. Cole also announced the DX reunion is kicking off next week's Raw. AW then brought out the Prime Time Players to challenge Kofi & Truth for the Tag Titles after they lost to Primo & Epico last night at the PPV, which Cole noted.


PTP'ers took control in the opening minute, but Kofi regained control and the tag champs cleared the Players to the floor. AW sold concern and tried to talk up his team as WWE cut to break two minutes in.

[Commercial Break. WWE aired a quick spot promoting a Smackdown taping in Houston in August, complete with John Cena talking in an old-school localized promo that he's coming to Houston to get Big Show and John Laurinaitis.]

Back live, Darren was working on Kofi as AW chanted for his client to keep it up. Titus then tagged in to keep Kofi away from Truth, who was desperate for a tag. D-Young returned to the ring and AW combed D-Young's afro, which caused the Players to lose focus, allowing Truth to tag in for Kofi. The action broke down, then AW hopped on the ring apron to yell at the ref. The distraction inadvertently cost his team, as Kofi smashed Titus behind the ref's back with Trouble in Paradise before Truth hit Little Jimmy for the pin and the win. Post-match: AW screamed in the ref's face before ripping off his jacket. He demanded another title shot from Kofi and Truth, who were celebrating on the way out of the ring.

WINNERS: Kofi & Truth at 8:01 to retain the Tag Titles. Apparently AW's gimmick is that he's a terrible manager and costs his clients matches and wins. Odd way to introduce a manager.

Backstage: A.J. was on the phone when Daniel Bryan walked up. A.J. cut him off before he could talk, saying she called things right down the middle in the WWE Title match last night, so he can't be mad at her. Bryan said he understands and now he sees the light after being caught up in the WWE Title and C.M. Punk. Bryan was set to offer his claimed true feelings before Eve barged in. She noted Bryan cost her the tag match last week, so now the Board of Directors has granted her a re-match of sorts. Eve said she gets to pick her tag partner against Bryan and his "pipsqueak of a partner," A.J. Eve said payback is...exactly what A.J. is. Eve stomped off, then Bryan told A.J. he'll reveal his true feelings after they win their match. Bryan leaned in for a kiss on the cheek after A.J. hesitated, unsure whether to trust him.

Raw 1,000 promo: Rock, Brock Lesnar, and DX Reunion starts the show.

[Q3] [Commercial Break]

Tout hype video: "A new way to connect with WWE Superstars," Sheamus said. Dolph Ziggler noted WWE might air fan's "touts" during Raw each week.

Announcers: Cole and Lawler were shown on-camera to discuss their new social media initiative centered on Tout. Cole then plugged Cena's first-ever tout last week as a "call to arms" for fans to sign up and interact. Back live, Cole offered a tagline to "tout it out," apparently as a play-on words from "shout it out." And, the Social Media Obsession 2.0 begins, this time in a product WWE has invested money in.

In-ring: Zack Ryder's music played to bring out Ryder, followed by a very upset Alberto Del Rio looking to hurt someone after losing the World Title match to Sheamus last night. No car entrance for Del Rio, who stomped out to the ring after Ricardo Rodriguez introduced him.


Del Rio quckly targeted Ryder's arm to soften him up for his finisher. Meanwhile, Cole plugged Sheamus in action this Friday night on Smackdown. On the floor, Ryder teased a comeback before Del Rio smashed him into the ringpost. Back in the ring, Del Rio slapped on the cross arm-breaker for a quick tap-out win.

WINNER: Del Rio via submission at 1:32. And, Ryder gets a match on Raw, but not exactly what he had in mind. In any event, fine enhancement match for Del Rio, who is apparently in re-building mode again.

Post-match: Del Rio kept the move locked in a few moments longer to add insult to injury. Del Rio went for the finisher once again, but Rey Mysterio's music suddenly interrupted. Rey, returning to TV for the first time this year, appeared on-stage and played to the crowd, which was red-hot for Rey. Mysterio, who has clearly added some weight to his mid-section, hit the ring as Del Rio freaked out. Del Rio got in offense to cut off Rey, who then came back with a head scissors into the 619 position. Rey connected with the 619, which sent Del Rio flying to the outside. Del Rio retreated, still freaking out after seeing Rey back in WWE. Rey posed in the ring with a big smile on his face underneath his mask as Cole described Rey as one of the "all-time greats" and a WWE Legend.

Raw 1,000 Video: Heath Slater said the number one moment in Raw history is when he brought the One Man Rockband to Raw. Slater recapped his "moments" with the likes of Vader, Cyndi Lauper, Psycho Sid, Diamond Dallas Page, Bob Backlund, and Doink. Slater framed all of the moments as the Legends helping him out and paying homage to him.

Backstage: WWE zoomed in on the Raw 1,000 logo on a locker room door. Lawler excitedly wondered who's going to face Slater next.

[Commercial Break]

[Q4] In-ring: Heath Slater waited for a Legend to come out and face him, which brought out Rikishi. Cole and Lawler hyped Rikishi's career, noted he's a cousin of The Rock and Yokozuna, nephew of the Wild Samoans, and his sons, The Usos, are currently in WWE.


Lawler noted Rikishi's legs have gotten better; Cole cracked a joke that he's been eating well since leaving WWE. Rikishi delivered a standing sidekick, then quickly went for the Stinkface, driving his rear end into Slater's face in the corner. Rikishi then followed with a Banzai Bomb in the corner for a quick pin and the win. Cue up a post-match celebration. Suddenly, the lights went out. The lights came back on and the Usos were in the ring, which led to a dancing celebration with their dad.

WINNER: Rikishi at 1:11. Most quality TV time the Usos have had in months.

Up next: Bryan and A.J. vs. Eve and a mystery partner. Cole said the suspense of who Eve's partner is and what Bryan wants to tell A.J. is killing him.

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Cole and Lawler plugged Raw's place in history compared to other long-running TV shows. Cole then re-announced DX kicks off next week's three-hour Raw recognizing 1,000 episodes.

In-ring: Eve came out first for a mixed tag match slotted in the top of the second hour. As Eve came to the ring, Cole recapped Bryan walking out on Eve in a mixed tag match last week to convince A.J. of his love for her. In the ring, Eve waited out a "Hoeski" chant before saying her tag partner for the evening is... pause ... The Miz's music played to bring out Miz, who returned to WWE TV last night at Money in the Bank. Miz slowly entered the ring, walked up to Eve, and put his arm around her. Daniel Bryan then came out to loud "Yes!" chants. Bryan entered the ring doing loud "Yes!" chants, then waited for A.J., who skipped out to the ring to join Bryan.

4 -- DANIEL BRYAN & A.J. vs. THE MIZ & EVE -- mixed tag match

The announcers played up A.J. calling the WWE Title match right down the middle last night, and Cole added in for the second time tonight that A.J. was "courageous" returning to the match after being knocked out early on. Bryan started the action with Yes! kicks to Miz, which the crowd was hot for. A.J. then tagged herself in, which meant Eve had to enter.

[Q5 -- second hour] Eve dominated A.J., using a size advantage over the diminutive A.J. Eve did too much taunting, though, leading to A.J. slapping Eve and landing a D-Bryan kick. A.J. made a cover, but Miz distracted the ref. So, A.J. ran over to the heel corner and dropkicked Miz off the ring apron to the floor. Miz stood up on the floor and locked eyes with A.J., leading to the two exchanging glances. Back to center-ring, Eve tried to roll up A.J., but Bryan reversed the momentum behind the ref's back. A.J. then scored the pin for the win. Lawler said Eve got out-smarted by Bryan and A.J.

WINNERS: Bryan & A.J. at 2:54. Not exactly a spotlight return to Raw TV for Miz, unless his "glances" with A.J. before the finish leads to something after the big development in the post-match...

Post-match: Bryan took the mic and addressed A.J. He said A.J. used to say something to him, but he was too stupid and scared to say it back to her. Bryan said his career, state of mind, and entire life won't be right until he says this to himself. "A.J., I love you," he said, sincerely. A.J.'s eyes shifted back and forth nervously as she tried to process this. Bryan then grabbed an item from out of the ring and returned to face A.J. Bryan said last week, he admits he asked her a question because he wanted to become WWE champion. But, this week, he doesn't want anything except for this.

Bryan got down on one knee to boos mixed with "Yes!" chants. Bryan pulled out a ring. "Will you marry me?" he asked. A.J. sold breathlessness as Bryan pulled out the ring. Bryan proceeded to place the ring on A.J.'s finger as A.J. sold emotional confusion. Bryan held up the mic to A.J., who started crying. A.J. then smiled and said, "Yes." Bryan smiled, then planted a big kiss on A.J., who returned the kiss. Lawler said this is shocking. They continued to make out in the ring before A.J. giggled and cried some more. Bryan then turned to the hard camera and shouted, "Yes!" before A.J. joined in for a round of "Yes!" chants. WWE cut to crowd shots of fans in the arena also chanting along.

Cole sold not being sure what to make of the Bryan/A.J. events before plugging John Cena addressing his Money in the Bank victory tonight. Also still to come tonight: Punk vs. Show in the main event.

[Commercial Break]

Raw 1,000 Flashback: April 1999 when The Rock stole Stone Cold Steve Austin's custom-made Smoking Skulls title belt. Rock and Austin were shown fighting on a bridge. Back live, Cole called it "vintage Rock." Cole re-plugged the DX Reunion kicking things off next week, then Cole noted Bryan and A.J. are engaged now. Cole then read a tweet from Bryan that they are having a wedding ceremony next week on the Raw 1,000 episode. Cole noted that's a quick turn-around from tonight's events.

[Q6] In-ring: Jack Swagger came out for a singles match as the announcers noted Swagger is having trouble winning as of late. Not making things any easier, Ryback's music played to bring out the man from "Sin City," which got a reaction live. Swagger jumped Ryback before the bell, and, since this is not TNA, the ref did not call for the bell with an unfair start. Swagger inflicted more punishment, including a Gutwrench Bomb, but Ryback came back with a spear, then three consecutive lift-up powerbombs. Ryback kicked Swagger out of the ring, then his music played. "Feed me more!" Ryback shouted to end the segment after no match occurred.

Still to come tonight: Punk vs. Big Show. Cole wondered aloud if Cena will cash in his MITB briefcase tonight.

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Back live, Cole and Lawler recapped events thus far tonight. Lawler plugged Cena's "tout" from earlier today noting he has a "huge announcement" on tonight's Raw related to his MITB briefcase. Suddenly, Vickie Guerrero's voice interrupted as Cole and Lawler were discussing Cena's announcement. Vickie introduced the other MITB winner last night, Dolph Ziggler, who came out on-stage dressed in a suit with possession of the World Title contract. Ziggler strutted to the ring with Vickie, then took a mic in the ring. Ziggler noted that every MITB contract has been successfully cashed in. He said what that means is the audience is looking at the next World champ. He said it's only a matter of time before he cashes in on Sheamus, and when he does, he'll be better than Bret Hart, Stone Cold, and The Rock. Vickie echoed Ziggler's words like a parrot, then Chris Jericho's music suddenly interrupted.

Cole described Jericho as a rock-star as Jericho walked out on-stage dressed in a black and gray jacket, gray blue jeans, and black shoes. Jericho smugly walked up to Ziggler in the ring and stared him down to light "Y2J" chants. Ziggler cut off Jericho and told him that for once it's not about him. He said Jericho isn't leeching on his spotlight tonight. "I won my Money in the Bank match last night. You didn't win yours," Ziggler told him. In fact, Jericho has never won MITB. As a matter of fact, when was the last time Jericho won anything? Jericho didn't answer, so Ziggler asked him if he can't remember, either. Jericho continued to stare a hole in Ziggler's face before Ziggler noted Jericho has been full of empty promises since he returned to WWE.

Ziggler told Jericho that all he does is lose. "No one - and I mean no one - has been given more opportunities, more main event matches, more chances than you," he said. Ziggler accused Jericho of coasting for so long that he has everyone fooled. "You're all hype," he said. Ziggler then asked Jericho when was the last time he actually won an important match. Ziggler shook his head and said no one can remember. "Is it possible that you're losing your touch?" Ziggler asked him. Ziggler said the Great Chris Jericho is losing it. Ziggler then made the mistake of turning toward Vickie to ask if he's losing his touch, which gave Jericho an opening to drop Ziggler with a Codebreaker. Jericho sneered down at Ziggler as the vocal males chanted, "Y2J," then his music played and he confidently left the ring. WWE replayed Jericho dropping Ziggler with the Codebreaker, then cut back live to show Ziggler smiling as he rubbed his jaw in pain.

Segment Reax: Very interesting set up for a potential Jericho-Ziggler feud. Ziggler really shined showing vocal range being able to talk quietly and confidently to carry the segment rather than depending on yelling and screaming. Whether this leads to a resurgence for Jericho actually winning matches on a streak remains to be seen.

Still to come: Punk vs. Show.

[Q7] [Commercial Break]

Announcers: Cole recapped Cena's "touts," then introduced video clips of wrestling fans "re-touting" to Cena their favorite Raw moments. Four separate responses were included in the 60-second video.

On-camera: Cole and Lawler plugged Raw 1,000 next week before making an official announcement of A.J. and D-Bryan's wedding next week. Plus, DX kicks off Raw. And, Brock Lesnar will be live on Raw to give Triple H an official answer for a Summerslam match. And, The Rock will be live to discuss his WWE Title quest.

In-ring: Brodus Clay's music played to bring out Brodus Clay and his dancers for an unannounced match. Clay and Co. danced in the ring as Lawler compared their dancing to Rikishi and the Usos. Cole then noted the RawActive poll on who should defend his or her title next week. The poll results showed Christian with 36 percent, Layla with 34 percent, and Santino with 30 percent. So, Christian will defend the IC Title next week. Cole sent the show to break before Clay's match next.

[Commercial Break]

Back live, WWE showed an invitation to D-Bryan and A.J.'s wedding next week on Raw. WWE then plugged the "happy couple" on Christian's Peep Show segment this Friday on Smackdown.

In-ring: Brodus Clay was shown waiting for his opponent, then JTG's music then played to bring out JTG, who Cole noted he last saw JTG on NXT getting a make-over.


As Brodus dismantled JTG in front of a sleepy crowd that's sat through filler for several segments, the announcers plugged C.M. Punk in the main event next. JTG made a comeback on Brodus, targeting Clay's injured knee. JTG couldn't retain control, though, as Clay came back with an overhead slam into a big headbutt, followed by the Big Splash for the pin and the win. Cue up a post-match celebration with kids from the crowd.

WINNER: Clay at 2:31. Pointless for Clay to sell for someone who rarely appears on WWE TV unless they have zero plans to feature Clay right now. More odd booking.

[Q8] Up next: Punk vs. Show, plus Cena has an announcement to make.

Raw 1,000 Flashback: Jonathan Coachman was shown in a video clip. Donald Trump then talked in a sit-down interview about Vince McMahon appearing on WWE TV the night after he was shaved bald following WrestleMania 23. In a video replay, McMahon was shown claiming he won't ever be embarrassed again before Bobby Lashley yanked off his hat to reveal McMahon's bald head. Trump discussed how much he enjoyed seeing McMahon squirm.

[Commercial Break]

Next Monday: Cole re-re-re-reminded viewers that DX kicks off Raw when it goes to three hours next week.

In-ring: Cult of Personality played for the second time tonight to bring out WWE champion C.M. Punk for the main event. Punk made his way to the ring with a bandaged right elbow as Cole noted a very sore Punk has to avoid Big Show's KO Punch tonight. Lawler said if Punk gets knocked out, you can't blame for Cena for trying to cash in his MITB briefcase tonight. As Punk talked to someone on the front row from inside the ring, Big Show's music played to bring out Show talking trash on the way to the ring. Cole described the main event as quite the way to end Raw's two-hour era.

6 -- WWE champion C.M. PUNK vs. BIG SHOW -- non-title match

Punk tried to bob and weave early on, looking for an opening to land a kick or a punch. Show then smashed Punk in the chest before slapping him hard across the chest in the corner. Punk tried to come back with jabs to the gut, but Show blasted him with a shoulder block off the ropes. On the outside, Show landed a giant chop across the chest as one audible fan on the front row taunted Punk and encouraged Show. Show told him to shut up, then Punk surprised Show with a blow into the ringpost.

Back in the ring, Punk capitalized with multiple kick strikes to the body, but Show nailed him with a headbutt to restore order. Show followed with a punch to the gut before driving his giant boot into Punk's throat. Show then blocked a second-rope move and bodyslammed Punk to the mat. Punk sold immense pain as he rested on the mat while Show taunted the fans some more. Show went back to the ribs and mid-section with a thrust punch as Cole talked up Bryan's title match attack on Punk last night that Show is exploiting tonight.

Show's taunting caught up with him, as Punk surprised Show with a sleeperhold center-ring. Show fought the hold momentarily before turning Punk into position to deliver a sidewalk slam. Show opted not to make a cover, thought, and climbed to the second rope for a Vader Bomb attempt, but Punk rolled out of the way just in time. Punk then followed with big kicks and blows, but Show refused to leave his feet. Punk tried to build momentum off the ropes, but Show back-dropped Punk to the mat.

[Q9 -- over-run] At the top of the hour, Show clinched his fist to deliver the big KO Punch, but Punk ducked and nailed Show in the head with a desperation kick. Punk followed with a second, then third kick to the head. Punk nailed Show with a "vintage" high knee in the corner, then a second high knee. A third high knee rocked Show in the corner. Show finally fell over after missing a desperation corner attack, then Punk climbed up top as the crowd roared. Punk wanted a Macho Man elbow drop and he connected center-ring. Punk covered, but Show body-pressed him out of a pin attempt. Punk went to the well once too often and flew into a chokeslam from Show. Show made a cover, but Punk put his foot on the bottom rope to avoid a three count.

At 9:00, Show tried to choke out Punk in the corner, drawing the ref's ire. Show went back to the corner to deliver even more body shots, then shoved down the ref. The ref then called for the bell, calling for a DQ with Punk winning.

WINNER: Punk via DQ at 9:19. One of the better Big Show matches in a long time. Strong work from both men. (**)

Post-match: Show continued the attack on Punk before John Cena's music played. Cena, with possession of the MITB contract, stormed the ring to force Big Show to back down as the announcers over-excitedly said Cena is going to cash in right now. Show eventually left the ring as Cena asked for a mic. Cena nervously surveyed the scene as Punk recovered in the corner. Cena then noted he has a huge announcement tonight. He said that his announcement is - suddenly, Big Show interrupted. Show said they all know what his announcement is. He said Cena is going to announce when he's cashing in the briefcase, and that's right now. Show taunted Cena, noting it's been a long time since he's been WWE champion. He added that he even designed that title belt. Show said Cena would be a fool not to cash in right now. He then taunted the fans that Cena is weak right now. Show told Cena to do this right now.

Cena shouted over Show, "No!" Cena then told Punk that he gets one week to prepare for the biggest match of his life. Cena said that with both of them fresh on Raw 1,000 next week, they will find out who the best in the world really is. Cena said at 1,000, he will cash in his MITB contract against Punk for the WWE Title. Show ignored the announcement and said didn't want to wait until next week to see Cena cash in. Cena then re-addressed his "huge announcement" tonight. And, that is smashing Show in the head with the briefcase, which knocked Show off the apron. Cena then hoisted the briefcase in the air as his music played. Punk proceeded to grab his title belt and he held it up in the air to match Cena, who held up his briefcase. It's a 2011 title vs. title flashback. Cole plugged everything happening next week, plus Cena vs. Punk for the WWE Title as Raw signed off seven minutes past the top of the hour.

And, there's an answer to one big question for next week: there was no mention of Charlie Sheen during Raw, so he's off for the Social Media Ambassador deal.

FINAL THOUGHTS: More of an infomercial for Raw 1,000 than an episode of wrestling TV, but it had its moments, especially the main event and Ziggler-Jericho segment. The social media aspect of Raw is going to start driving people crazy again, though, especially with WWE investing in Tout and having a stake in its success.


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