The following report was originally published five years ago this week on PWTorch.com…
KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
JULY 7, 2008
LIVE FROM NEW ORLEANS, LA.
WHAT HAPPENED: 1ST HOUR
-The show opened with Stephanie McMahon addressing the audience. She was labelled “Executive Vice President of WWE.” She said her brother Shane last week asked for everyone to pull together last week, but instead it was a show of chaos. She implored everyone to “please work as one.” The crowd again booed.
-Michael Cole introduced the show without any pyro and with a darkened arena as a backdrop. Vickie Guerrero interrupted from center ring with “Excuse me, excuse me! Did you hear me? I said excuse me!” She said she had something to say. She milked the crowd heat, then said she was there to protest the title win by C.M. Punk last week. She said she wouldn’t leave the ring until he relinquished the title. She also demanded an apology. Punk’s music interrupted. He danced onto the stage. Vickie rolled her eyes. He continued to look at the newly won title belt like a father does a newborn child. He then shoved it in Vickie’s face and gloated about his win. She told Punk he stole the title. Punk said, “I didn’t do anything to Edge that he didn’t do to others.” Vickie didn’t deny it, but she did say the difference was Edge’s opponents at the time weren’t getting married. Punk asked her to take it down a notch. “You have ruined my life,” said Vickie. Punk said there are plenty of other fish in the sea. She said there are others who would pretend to fall in love with her just to be in that position of power just like Edge did. He said the Smackdown landscape is full of young, good looking guys like Great Khali. He suggested they honeymoon in New Delhi. She stood up and slapped him. Punk said she just bought herself a one-way ticket back to Smackdown. He rolled her into the corner. Not sure where he was going to go from there, but JBL’s music interrupted.
JBL said if it wasn’t for interference last week, he (JBL) would be standing there with the title instead of Punk. He walked up to Punk and challenged him to a fair rematch. He said if Mr. McMahon were there, he’d agree. Punk said McMahon is not here, and last week he lost. JBL said he didn’t lose anything last week. John Cena interrupted. He said JBL came down with a severe case of the “if it wasn’t for’s.” He said if it wasn’t for the chili he ate, he wouldn’t have spent three hours in the restroom. One of those multiple-groan-worthy opening minutes of a Cena promo. His humor is just sophomoric. Cena congratulated Punk, then he said technically nobody is in charge of Raw right now. He told JBL to take off his diaper and stop pooping himself. Another groaner of a line. Cena said Punk needs a challenger. Then he said, “There are two of us here.” He said it really slowly to talk down to JBL, again in a groan-inducing way. He’s somehow turning into a bigger dork every week. He challenged JBL to a match later where the winner goes to the Bash to face Punk.
Batista’s music interrupted. He told Punk that people can say what they want about how he won the title, but he went through hell to win Money in the Bank so he earned that title. He congratulated him and shook his hand. It’s really good they’re establishing that Punk (a) won the title no differently than some of Edge’s wins; and (b) he earned a chance at a “cheap win” by winning MITB. Batista turned to Vickie at ringside and said he was heartbroken over her personal life being a mess, then said he was kidding, he couldn’t stand her, and wanted her to get her ass off of Raw and never come back. Batista turned to Punk and said he was able to cash in his briefcase because of what he did to Punk earlier. JBL interrupted. Batista said if he interrupted him again, the only thing he’ll see is his fist in his face. Cena interrupted and proposed a three-way no. 1 contender’s match. Cena told JBL he’s either in or out, no negotiating. Kane then came out and said he wants in, too. Punk said it appears they have a Fatal Fourway set-up. JBL stood there with his jaw dropped over his sinking odds. Jerry Lawler said it kept getting better and better. Cena looked around cartoonishly.
-Cole plugged Rey Mysterio vs. Santino Marella up next.
1 — SANTINO MARELLA vs. REY MYSTERIO
Santino flexed his arms, then shoved Rey into the ropes. Rey came right back with a flurry of offense. Cole said Rey trained in Mexico in the lucha libre style and has Americanized it since. Santino got in a little more offense, but Rey put him away quickly thereafter with a frog splash.
WINNER: Mysterio in 3:00. All of that interaction last week between Rey and Santino all for a three minute match? You’d think Santino was about to be suspended or something, because he’s worth more than being squashed in three minutes for no reason.
-Did you know Raw on USA is watched by more people on cable than basketball, hockey, and baseball. This is sort of true, but there are some highly rated basketball games that outdraw Raw. Combined, all three sports probably have far more individual people in total in a given year watch at least one game than individual people in total who watch Raw at least once in a given year.
-Lawler and Cole plugged the Fatal Fourway match.
-Todd Grisham interviewed Punk backstage. He asked him who he wanted to see win the Fatal Fourway. A lighting stand fell as he began to speak. As Punk began to say there is one person in particular he’d want to face, Snitsky interrupted. He said Punk winning the title on his first week on Raw angers him. Punk said he’d prove to him later why he deserves to be World Champion. Then they cut away before Grisham could get Punk to identify which wrestler he’d prefer to face.
-Cena flirted with Mickie James backstage. Mickie said she had a blast on Bourbon Street last night. She said she’s sure he has a lot of great stories from there. Cena said, “As a matter of fact, I do.” This attempt to Cena over as a ladies’ man who parties is heavy-handed and desperate and not a great fit for his persona overall. Kelly Kelly walked up and said it’s time for their tag match. Cena asked Kelly how she got on Raw. He asked if Teddy Long let her out of her contract. Kelly dumbly asked, “We have contracts?” Cena made another stupid cartoon face and said, “God bless America.” Seriously, is he getting worse than ever or am I just looking at him differently? He’s coming across as such a lame dork this week.
2 — MICKIE JAMES & KELLY KELLY vs. JILLIAN HALL & LEYLA
Jillian sang before the match. They showed fans plugging their ears. Mickie and Jillian opened the match. Kelly tagged, but got shoved to the ground by Layla a minute later. Cole said Layla is extremely jealous of Kelly. Back in the ring Kelly used a victory roll to pin Jillian.
WINNERS: Kelly & Mickie in 4:00.
-As Mickie and Kelly celebrated, JBL’s music played and his limo entered the arena bowl.
-They showed JBL show up trying to get into his own limo. Apparently he wasn’t in it when it drove out before the break. He looked upset, almost distraught. He peeked in the windows. Cena then stepped out with a crow bar. JBL told him to get out of his car. Cena said he brought it out there to protect him because the state of Louisiana has tough limo laws. He said it wouldn’t pass inspection. He said he knows two people who can find him some good parts quickly. Out of the other side of the limo came Cryme Tyme. They forced JBL up onto the stage with bats in hand. Cena told JBL he was there to help him. Cena said limos are required to have a passenger side mirror. Cena asked JTG if he saw one. JTG broke it off with his bat. Cena said the state of Louisiana requires a ventilated windshield. Shad smashed the windshield. Their logic is backwards. First they broke off what was required to make it out of code, then they broke his windshield to bring it into code. They smashed more windows. This dragged and seemed just criminal and not really funny. The crowd was not popping for it. Cena said the problems with the car are now fixed. Cena said next was a custom paint job. Out came the spray paint. JBL had to do something really low to set this up, and he didn’t. It’s just lame booking with a boring execution. Oh my god. Cena just spray painted “Poopy” on the limo. I didn’t think it was possible for Cena to make a bigger dork out of himself, but he just hit a new low there. Cena wished JBL luck in the Fatal-Fourway. That was among the lamest skits in years on Raw for many reasons. And a really lame first hour follow-up to last week’s hot edition of the show.
WHAT HAPPENED: 2ND HOUR
-Cole and Lawler plugged the Fatal-Fourway main event. Then they threw to a video package of Punk’s title win last week. Punk then made his ring entrance.
-An ECW commercial plugged Mark Henry vs. Tommy Dreamer tomorrow night.
3 — C.M. PUNK vs. SNITSKY
Snitsky applied a headlock early. Lawler said, “Sometimes you can see what Snitsky had for breakfast just by looking at his teeth.” Punk came back with kicks, dropping Snitsky to his knees. He followed with a leaping clothesline off the top rope. He followed with a running knee in the corner and a running bulldog. Punk waited for Snitsky to stand, then gave him a GTS – although he struggled to lift him. He gave him the knee to the face and won. It almost seemed as if Snitsky sandbagged him there, although I wouldn’t sandbag someone who’s next authorized motion is to drive his knee toward your jaw. They’re really not doing the right follow-up to Punk. They need to explain what makes him special and worthy of being more than a fluke rookie transition champion. Cole has not risen to the occasion at all in terms of getting Punk over by accentuating what makes him special because Cole doesn’t have a clue where to go with that and isn’t being given leadership. Jim Ross would have known how to do that without thinking.
WINNER: Punk in 3:00.
-A video package aired on Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels.
-Shawn Michaels came out and said in response to Jericho’s challenge to a match at the Bash, he had two words for him: “I accept.” Michaels dropped the mic and was about to leave the ring after one of the shortest in-ring promos ever, but Jericho’s music played and he walked out with Lance Cade. Jericho said he knew Michaels would accept his challenge because his ego and desire to please the fans would get in the way of common sense of letting his eye heal. He asked him if something happens to him and he ends up in the hospital, will the fans visit him, pay for his mortgage (Shawn has a mortgage that he can’t afford to pay off?), pay for kids’ educations? He said no, the fans are worthless and oblivious. Jericho said like all martyrs, he’ll eventually be swept under the carpet and forgotten about. Michaels smiled and said all this time he thought Jericho despised him because he thought he was a phony and a liar, but he knows now that Jericho realizes that he’s an open book and he’s let everyone see who he is with all of his flaws. He said if he left the business today he’d be remembered forever. He said he’s been blackballed and ostracized, but despite that, the fans accept him. Jericho interrupted and said the fans give him a free pass. “What can I say, Chris? I’m HBK.” Jericho said it’s not fair. Michaels said it’s not. He said Jericho has held every major title he’s gone after and made a lot of money and sold out arenas. He said he’s accomplished all he set out to, but he’s not content and has no peace. He said no matter what he ever achieves, “you will never be me.” They cut away mid-staredown. Interesting segment. Well executed, but I’m not sure of the main hook coming out of it. It might be a little too nuanced. Jericho is jealous of Michaels, but for what? Michaels acknowledged his success? So Jericho is a bad guy because he feels unfulfilled despite his success? I guess he’s a bad guy because it irritates him that Michaels is at peace?
-Did you know that WWE is consistently in the Top Ten in Yahoo searches?
4 — CHARLIE HAAS vs. KOFI KINGSTON
Cole said Kofi said he didn’t feel comfortable or welcome on the Raw roster walking around with the IC Title. Lawler said he can’t help but have some self-doubt given how young he is. Cole seems somewhat listless and forced this week.
WINNER: Kingston in 3:00.
-After the match, Paul Burchill attacked Kofi from behind with a neckbreaker. He followed with a Curb Stomp.
-They showed Batista warming up backstage. A random guy jumped in front of him and began imitating Batista. It was supposed to be a “fan from the stands” type of moment. Security chased him away. Batista laughed.
-A local ad plugged a televised live Raw coming to Minneapolis, Minn. at Target Center on Sept. 29. It’s the first time in about three years. Should be interesting to compare the gate for that and UFC. Wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t announce that to put a dent in UFC’s ticket sales.
5 — BATISTA vs. JBL vs. JOHN CENA vs. KANE — No. 1 Contender’s Fatal Fourway
They opened with a four-way brawl, then cut to a sudden break.
Cena punched JBL after the break, then gavehim a back suplex and went into the hand wave bit. Kane cut him off with an awkward clothesline to his arm/shoulder area. Batista punched away at Kane as Cena recovered on the ring apron. Cena returned to the ring and locked an STFU on JBL. Kane grabbed Cena by the throat. Cena made cartoon faces. JBL and Cena gave Kane a double shoulder tackle, then exchanged punches. At 6:00 JBL nailed Cena with the ringside steps. Kane then knocked JBL over the security barrier and into the crowd. Kane dove off the top rope, but Batista ducked, then speared him and pinned him.
WINNER: Batista in 13:00.
STAR RATING: * — You get the sense Batista could end up squashing Punk at the PPV to win the title, or else Edge is going to cost Batista the match, although that sets up a cross-brand feud which doesn’t really help sell the draft ramifications.
-After the match, Kane went nuts. After Batista’s celebration music ended, Kane was still in the ring. He rolled to ringside and tossed around the ringside steps. He then yelled, “Is he alive or dead?” He kicked a stagehand at ringside in the face, then smiled and looked at Lillian Garcia. He leaned in and demanded that Cole tell him if he’s alive or dead. Kane dragged Cole into the ring. Cole begged off and said he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He set Cole up for a chokeslam. Lawler made the save by clipping Kane from behind. Kane got up and put Lawler in a cobra clutch and then slammed him to the mat and hit him with a barrage of punches. He followed with a kick to the head and then left the ring. Kane needed to turn heel, but “Is he alive or is he dead?” seems like an odd motivation for a turn.
Final Thoughts: I didn’t like this show. It was an odd and listless follow-up to last week in most respects. Something just seemed a little off.
NOW CHECK OUT THIS PREVIOUS FLASHBACK: 10 YRS AGO – Keller’s WWE Raw Report (6-30-08): Very newsworthy show including Vince’s condition updated by Shane, Cena vs. JBL, Punk vs. Edge, plus Cody, Jericho, Ross