The following report was originally published on PWTorch.com five years ago this week…
KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
JULY 8, 2013
LIVE FROM BALTIMORE, MD.
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
-They opened with a clip of the Wyatt Family vignettes, and then they went to the Raw opening theme.
-They opened, minus any pyro, with Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox standing in the ring in front of a ladder. Vickie said the ladder is a symbol of spectacle. She said great names such as Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon, and Triple H have been associated with the ladder.
(WK Reax: Ramon didn’t get much of a pop; I bet Scott Hall would have, though. That’s a rare WWE wrestler who got bigger after leaving WWE than when he was in WWE.)
Vickie then said she was going to climb the ladder, but if she fell, she’d hold everyone liable. She said WWE, General Electric, and IBM have had examples of women rising to the top. She said no one taught her to be as good at her job as she is. “I have done everything on my own. I navigated every minefield to bring you a show of the greatest matches and the best entertainment,” she said. “I know WWE Universe, we have not seen eye-to-eye, but from the top of this ladder to the bottom of my heart, every decision I made was because of you.”
Jerry Lawler stood up at ringside. He said, “Uh, Vickie, I’ve always wanted to say this to you… Excuse me!” He said he just received word that in preparation of her job evaluation, they’ll be considering all factors including the opinions of the WWE Universe. So starting right now, a poll is open on the WWE App where the WWE Universe can grade her job as managing supervisor. It was simply a “pass/fail” option. Vickie pretended to be pleased with that information. She buttered up the fans, saying she has always considered the WWE Universe part of her family, and just like any family, they have good days and bad days, but like any family, they have each other’s backs. Still on top of the ladder, she announced John Cena and Mark Henry would stand face-to-face later. She said Christian will have one more match against Kane, also. Plus Randy Orton would face C.M. Punk. And Sheamus would face Daniel Bryan. She screeched, “And that match is right now!” Bryan walked out and led the crowd in exclaiming “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
(WK Reax: With the all baby face MITB match, these are all babyface one-on-one preview matches.)
-Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler reacted to Vickie’s match-making skills.
-A clip aired from Apr. 2, 2006 of Shelton Benjamin and Matt Hardy taking a big bump off the ladder, leading to Rob Van Dam getting the Money in the Bank briefcase. Then the screen hyped his return on Sunday. [c]
-After the break, Bryan was leading the crowd in exclaiming “Yes! Yes! Yes!” How long was that going on?!
(1) DANIEL BRYAN vs. SHEAMUS
The announcers hyped the Vickie poll on the WWE App. Then they talked about what a roll Bryan has been on lately. Sheamus caught Bryan leaping at him and shoved him face-first into the ringside barricade. [c]
Sheamus was on offense after the break. A few minutes later after a move Cole called a “rolling senton,” Bryan made a comeback and the crowd chanted “Yes! Yes!” Bryan threw a barrage of round kicks to Sheamus’s chest, but Sheamus ducked the final one and rolled to the ring apron. Sheamus then popped Daniel and then pounded his chest with his forearms. He scored some near falls as he remained on offense for a while. The announcers touted what a great way this match was to start Raw. Bryan maneuvered himself into a leverage pin attempt and then a Yes Lock attempt. Sheamus countered with a clover leaf mid-ring. Bryan powered and twisted himself free, then small packaged Sheamus for the pin.
(WK Reax: Good match.)
WINNER: Bryan in 15:00.
Sheamus stared down Bryan after the match. Bryan’s celebration music stopped. They looked up high where the briefcase will be on Sunday, then shook hands. Sheamus left and Bryan went back to celebrating.
-They went to the announcers who hyped the debut of the Wyatt Family. JBL said he could not wait. Cole said WWE.com sent a reporter out to try to find the Wyatt compound.
-A clip aired of the roving reporter, on loan from TNA apparently, asked a couple locals who pointed him down the road. “You’ll know,” said the local guy ominously.
-A nervous A.J. Lee told Big E. Langston that if he hears thundering hooves, that’s Kaitlyn and let her know so she can stay healthy before Sunday’s PPV Diva’s Title defense. Dolph Ziggler showed up. A.J. hugged him and said she missed him. Ziggler asked E. to give them a second alone. Ziggler said she followed Kaitlyn around for some unknown reason and wasn’t there for him. She said her only priority is for him to walk out of Money in the Bank the World Champion and her Divas Champion and she’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen. She asked if he’d do the same. She flirted with him and wrapped her arms around him. They kissed.
(WK Reax: Remember when we thought there was a double turn with Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler?)
-Back to the announcers, Lawler was flustered from watching the kiss. They threw to a video package on Mark Henry. Then they showed a Tweet by Henry saying he’s got something to say to Cena tonight live on Raw.
-All three Shield members showed up in the bleachers. Dean Ambrose turned to leave as Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns walked to the ring. [c]
-A clip aired from May 27, 2002 of Rob Van Dam winning the Intercontinental Title in a ladder match against Eddie Guerrero.
(2) SETH ROLLINS & ROMAN REIGNS vs. TONS OF FUNK
They skipped the Tons of Funk ring entrance including the dancers. Their music trailed off seconds after returning from the break.
(Quotebook – Jerry Lawler: “I think Brodus’s dad was from whales, and his mom was from normal parents.”)
Reigns won with a spear out of nowhere on Sweet T as Sweet T was caught looking at Rollins flip diving onto Clay at ringside. Cole said the Shield is ready for Sunday.
WINNERS: The Shield in 7:00. [c]
-The roving reporter showed up at the Wyatt Family Compound. The camera zoomed in on someone in a sheep mask swinging a pick axe. A family member startled the reporter, then told him, “Follow me.”
-John Cena’s ring entrance took place. Cena began by telling the crowd they’re all riled up tonight. He said if he didn’t know better, he’d think Money in the Bank wasn’t Sunday night, it was tonight.
(WK Reax: Way to let the crowd know that they’re almost too enthusiastic for the event they attended, the lucky fans will be at MITB on Sunday. I mean, yes, given that it’s a PPV, it should be a given, but that comment deflated the crowd a bit.)
Mark Henry then made his ring entrance. Henry told Cena that he has the same look on his face as he did last week – the look of fear. Cena said he’s not afraid of him. Henry said, “Oh, you should be.”
Henry said for 17 years he’s starved and only one thing will satiate his hunger. Cena joked that he brought him out there to talk about a Snickers bar.
(WK Reax: Not funny. Vintage lame Cena humor. Stuff like that is why grown men boo Cena.)
Henry said the old Mark Henry might have laughed or done him some bodily harm, but instead he’s going to chill. He said he’s a new man. “I knew who you was before you knew who you was.” He said if he wins the WWE Title, without a shadow of a doubt he’ll be a first ballot Hall of Famer. He said he’d sell out his mamma to have a piece of that. He said he already sold out his family. Cena said he better win this Sunday, then. He said he has won and lost that title before, and he has done both with respect. He said Henry is a desperate man who has leveraged his family and lied to the people “all for this leather and gold.” He said if he wins, he deserves it, but if he doesn’t, he has lost the respect of everybody for nothing – “17 years gone!” Henry fired back, “You think I care what you think? You think I care what all these people think? I don’t.”
Henry said there are lines Cena won’t cross because of “your goodness.” Cena asked Henry how he could not care about the fans. Henry said, “If you interrupt me one more time, Money in the Bank is going to start tonight.” Cena took off his belt and t-shirt, then drew a line in the sand with his foot. He told Henry to cross that line and MITB starts tonight. Henry said, “You want me to cross the line for free? It’s Money in the Bank. I took a 50 percent pay cut before. I ain’t losin’ money. You’ll get me on Sunday.” Henry then indicated he changed his mind and said he’d give Cena a sample. He took off his shirt and then jerked toward Cena and Cena flinched. Henry then laughed. Henry pretended to leave the ring, but then charged at Cena from behind. Cena went for an Attitude Adjustment, but Henry was too heavy and Cena fell forward, with Henry landing on top of him. Henry stood over Cena, rolled him onto his back, and then picked him up. He walked around the ring, then hit the World’s Strongest Slam.
-They cut to Josh Mathews interviewing Orton backstage as Orton was watching what just happened in the ring on a monitor. He asked him about facing C.M. Punk later on Raw. Orton said he doesn’t believe Punk is the Best in the World, not now, not when he beat him at WrestleMania two years ago, and not Sunday at MITB. He said if he wins MITB, and if Cena is in a vulnerable spot like a few minutes ago, he won’t hesitate to cash in. [c]
-WWE Fact: Last week, WWE Studios’ “The Call,” starring Halle Berry, was the #1 movie rental in America.
-They showed a Stephanie McMahon Tweet saying she’s looking forward to the Vickie Guerrero job evaluation later.
-They went to the announcers who marveled at 170,000 votes cast in their Vickie poll so far. Miz joined them at ringside.
-After Chris Jericho’s ring entrance, Paul Heyman introduced Curtis Axel on the stage. He said he was basking in his perfection. Axel – who sounds unnervingly like Joel Gertner – made fun of Jericho’s jacket. He said neither Jericho nor Miz will “stand in the way of perfection.”
(WK Reax: Axel’s mic work is still not up to par. He just hasn’t found his voice yet.)
(3) CHRIS JERICHO vs. CURTIS AXEL (w/Paul Heyman)
They cut to a break at 1:00. [c]
After the break, they showed a clip of Axel catching Jericho with a dropkick as he was flying off the top rope toward him. Late in the match Axel got into an argument with Miz at ringside. Heyman implored Axel to get back into the ring. When he did to beat the count out, Jericho surprised him with a Code Breaker for the win. Cole made a big deal out of this being Axel’s first loss since being managed by Heyman.
WINNER: Jericho in 11:00.
-Cole reviewed some first hour happenings. Then Lawler hyped upcoming matches on Raw.
-A clip aired of RVD on Sept 29, 2003 winning the IC Title against Christian in a ladder match.
-They went to the announcers who hyped MITB.
-Mathews interviewed Team Rhodes Scholars. He asked if competing in the same MITB match could affect their friendship. Damien Sandow said if he can’t win, he hopes Cody Rhodes wins. When Cody was about to speak, Sandow stopped him from talking. Zeb Coulter, Jack Swagger, and Antonio Cesaro interrupted. Zeb said America’s money will be worthless if something doesn’t happen. He said Cody should know that because he was a son of an American Dream. In walked Wade Barrett who predicted victory. Zeb asked if he was speaking English. Fandango walked in and was about to say his name. Barrett warned him not to say it. When he said it, Barrett gave him the bullhorn. Sandow and Cody laughed, then got in a staredown with Swagger and Cesaro.
-Cole threw to the next clip of the roving reporter at the Wyatt Family Compound. The reporter walked into the house with a warning given to him: “Don’t stray.” After a creepy walk down a hallway, Bray Wyatt said, “I’ve been waiting for you.” [c]
(4) SIN CARA vs. ALBERTO DEL RIO
At 2:00 Cole announced great news that WWE’s Twitter account has just passed three million followers.
At 4:00 Ziggler interrupted the match in progress. He said Del Rio is a man who flaunts his massive wealth to cover for something less than massive. His continued taunting distracted Del Rio. Del Rio superkicked Sin Cara, but instead of going for the pin, he charged after Ziggler at ringside. Ziggler got the better of Del Rio briefly, but Del Rio made a comeback with a knee lift. Sin Cara dove off the top rope onto Del Rio at ringside. Ziggler smiled. No finish was announced.
WINNER: No finish announced after 5:00 because finishes don’t really matter, apparently.
(WK Reax: This performance from Ziggler was not good. He’s on a course to be a Lame Babyface along with Miz if he doesn’t improve. Most of it was it was a no-win situation with that awful material written for him and then being booked to have his ass handed to him by Del Rio at ringside, despite being the fresher of the two.) [c]
-WWE Fact: Smackdown was the most socially active show last Friday.
-A clip aired of the Henry-Cena angle earlier.
-They showed Vickie and Maddox in the ring awaiting her job evaluation. Then Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, and Triple H walked to the ring to Vince’s music. The Family sat at a table in the ring, with Hunter to Stephanie’s left, Vince to Stephanie’s right. Stephanie offered Vickie the floor to speak first. Before she got through her first sentence, Stephanie asked her sit down. Vickie sat on a stool and then continued. She kissed up to the fans and said she has a special love for each of them. She bragged that she exposed and replaced the mentally unstable A.J. Lee. When Vickie took credit for inspiring Undertaker to return at WrestleMania, Stephanie took exception. Steph said she should get blamed for re-signing Brock Lesnar, who took out both her father and her husband. She said Vickie has to take responsibility for her actions. She asked her if bringing Lesnar back was a good idea. Vickie said she had no idea he’d attack Vince and Hunter. She apologized and said she is so sorry.
Vince stood up and said Vickie has no reason to apologize because bringing Lesnar back was a stroke of genius. He said they all believe she is “highly entertaining.” The crowd booed. He said she’s made a few bone-head decisions, but they were in the spirit of attempting to create quality wholesome family entertainment. Hunter interrupted and said he’s the first to admit Vickie can occasionally be unintentionally entertaining, but she’s terrible at her job. He said the crowd boos Vickie and it’s not a good kind of booing, it’s a kind that’s bad for business. He made a lame joke about “Golden Girls” not being on TV anymore proving Vince shouldn’t have a say in what qualifies as entertaining. Hunter said the WWE Universe deserves better than Vickie. He said her top trait is possessing the most annoying voice in all of TV. Vince said Vickie has qualifications no one else does.
He said she’s broken through the glass ceiling of male dominated corporate structure. He said she should be promoted to General Manager. Hunter said he didn’t want to argue about this. He said it’s true that he’s is COO and McMahon is Chairman, which means he’ll do whatever he wants to do no matter what they say. He said his goal is to put a spineless puppet in charge who strokes his ego and kisses his ass and says whatever he wants. He said if that’s not actually true, then maybe he should let Stephanie decide Vickie’s fate since she called the meeting. Vince said he has no problem with Daddy’s Little Girl “making the right entertaining decision.” Hunter said he has no problem with his wife, mother of his children, and the person who has to go home and put up with him after this “making the right decision for business.”
Steph said this job evaluation has escalated further than any of them imagined and she won’t let anyone or anything drive a wedge between her and her family. She said therefore she’s going to let the WWE App vote decide. Vickie practically collapsed at that news. The results came in with 75 percent voting “fail.” Vickie began to cry. Lawler said it was a landslide. Hunter snickered. Vickie lost control and said she should know that the people cannot be trusted to make important decisions. Steph then told Vickie, “In the immortal words of my father, you’re fired!” She didn’t get really into it, though. Vickie did collapse. JBL: “Poor thing.” The crowd sang the “Na na na na, good bye” song. Vickie threw a fit and screamed in sorrow. Then she gathered herself just enough to crawl onto the table and yell, “You need me in charge!” Hunter and Steph walked away.
Vince asked the fans if they’re happy. They cheered. Vince said they broke Vickie’s heart. He accused the fans of failing. He said they threw away what could have been the most entertaining G.M. of Raw ever. He said they had no idea what the right decision would be. He said they need a new General Manager, and the fans deserve this. He then announced Brad Maddox was the new G.M. That did not make Vickie any happier. Maddox soaked up that news as Cole asked what his qualifications are. Lawler said he’s a deer staring into headlights. JBL said, “Welcome to the Titanic.” Cole said Maddox used to bag groceries at a Shop-Rite. Lawler said he was fired from that job for being inept.
(WK Reax: I wasn’t even angry about that segment, I was just bored most of the time. The McMahons are much too infatuated with themselves, Steph is utterly unlikable, Vince as the Face of WWE shouldn’t make fans resent contributing money to his company because he’s such a jerk, and Triple H’s humor needs some updating and humility.)
-They showed the inner harbor of Baltimore as the announcers reflected on the G.M. change.
-Backstage Vince consoled Vickie who sobbed, “I love my job.” Vince said he’d make it right. Maddox walked in and apologized to Vickie. He offered a handshake to Vince and said it’s a decision he won’t regret. He said everyone will miss Vickie, but he’s happy to be the new G.M. of Raw. He said he’ll pick up where Vickie left off. Vince asked Maddox how long he was going to hold his hand out there. Vince repeated that he gave the fans what they deserved, speaking to Maddox with disdain. Vickie then attacked Maddox and screeched for him to “get out!” Vince walked away to avoid Vickie getting tears on his jacket.
(WK Reax: This was more uncomfortable than entertaining. They should run an App Poll asking if the McMahon Family Drama on Raw in recent weeks has been a Pass or a Fail. I think I know the landslide result that would result from that.)
-Kane’s ring entrance took place, followed by Christian’s. During Christian’s entrance, Cole plugged a USA Network reality show. Yes, what America needed, another reality show.
(5) CHRISTIAN vs. KANE
The announcers talked about how it’s a virtual guarantee if someone wins MITB they will become champion. A few minutes in, Christian dove off the top rope onto Kane at ringside. They cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break Christian hit a tornado DDT for a near fall. Christian led the crowd in clapping like it’s 1983. Kane made a comeback and chokeslammed Christian for the win.
WINNER: Kane in 7:00.
-As Kane began to celebrate, the Wyatt Family showed up on the big screen. Bray rocked in a chair and said he doesn’t have followers, he only has brothers and sisters “all in the name of cause.” He said people are sheep and they can’t lead themselves, they need to be led. He said people buy and sell fear, worship and crave war, and he’s not afraid of any of it. He said it’s time for the masses to wake up and look at this hell we’re living in. He said the people stand there and whisper and wonder, but never do anything about it. He said above all else, this is not the beginning, it’s the end. He then laughed and lit a lantern and said, “We’re here.”
-Back in the arena, the lights were out and then the Wyatt Family’s music played. The crowd cheered in anticipation of their arrival. When the lights came on and the music stopped, two Wyatt Family members (Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, but unnamed on the show) attacked Kane. Bray watched from a rocking chair at ringside as his brothers threw Kane into the ringpost and then pummeled him at ringside. They bashed the top of the steps around his head as he leaned against the bottom of the steps. There was plenty of room where the steps didn’t make contact, but it made a big noise. Bray then kneeled down by Kane and extended his arms and looked up and laughed.
(WK Reax: So it’s Raven’s Flock meets “Deliverance.” The spectacle was very well done, and Bray seems like he has the overall personality and presence on the big stage to pull this off. I think the anticipation was bigger than anything WWE could deliver with this gimmick, but they came close with the overall spectacle and presentation here. WWE has to follow up on this and make sure there’s not a big letdown once the bell rings and the Wyatt act delivers without the special lights and pitch-perfect theme music.) [c]
They showed a video previewing Henry vs. Cena.
-Cole reacted in his serious quiet voice about the “horrifying debut” of the Wyatt Family. The announcers talked about this like it was the debut of the Nexus or something at that level.
-Vickie Guerrero was shown blankly gathering her things from her office as tears streamed down her face. She saw Ryback staring at her. He said, “You deserve better, Vickie. It’s going to be okay.”
(WK Reax: Will Vickie resurface as a manager of Ryback and seek revenge on the McMahons?)
-The Bella Twins joined the announcers at ringside for the next tag match.
(6) A.J. LEE (w/Big E. Langston) & ALICIA FOX vs. KAITLYN & LAYLA
The Bellas did commentary. A.J. stood at ringside to try to avoid Kaitlyn getting her hands on her. Kaitlyn speared her at ringside, though. Then the match was over for some reason.
WINNER: No decision announced at 2:00.
(WK Reax: What was that all about?)
-Mathews interviewed Punk backstage regarding facing Orton in the main event. Punk said Orton is entitled to his opinions, but not his own facts. He said holding the WWE Title longer than anyone in the modern era makes him the best in the world. He said he’ll win the briefcase on Sunday for an unprecedented third time, which also makes him the best in the world.
-Orton’s ring entrance took place. [c]
-A clip aired from June 11, 2006, ECW One Night Stand including RVD beating John Cena in the main event.
-Orton’s music was still playing. How many cycles of that song did the fans hear? Cole plugged that the MITB PPV Kickoff match would be The Shield vs. The Usos. Punk’s ring entrance then took place.
(7) RANDY ORTON vs. C.M. PUNK
The bell rang with nine minutes left in hour three. Lawler predicted it would be a great match. At 4:00 Punk dropkicked Orton to the floor, then did a running dive and knocked Orton backward into the security barrier. [c]
After the break, Orton had Punk in his obligatory mid-match chinlock.
At 11:00 Orton avoided a Go To Sleep, then DDT’d Punk. He was slow to make the cover. An “RKO” chant broke out. Orton played to the crowd. When he went for the RKO, Punk countered and went for a backslide. Orton countered with a snap powerslam for a near fall. Cole called it an incredible match. Orton stomped on Punk. Punk hit Orton with a high-knee in the corner, then lifted Orton with a GTS. Orton elbowed free, but Punk countered with a wheel kick to Orton’s face. Punk then gave Orton a GTS for the win.
WINNER: Punk in 14:00.
(WK Reax: This show needed a good, long main event match and this was it. Orton and Punk don’t even have any kind of magic chemistry since they’re both two versions of a similar personality and even in-ring style with no natural rivalry, yet they can still deliver a very good TV match.)
-After the match, as Punk’s music played, Bryan ran to the ring and attacked Punk. He threw rapid-fire kicks at Punk’s chest, then tossed him through the ropes into the ringpost. Bryan grabbed a ladder and rammed it wide-side first into Orton’s body. No fines for that. Then he set up the ladder and climbed it and pulled the brief off the hook. Bryan yelled “Yes! Yes!” along with the crowd as Cole asked if Bryan would conquer the All-Stars and if this would be the scene on Sunday.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS FLASHBACK: 5 YRS AGO – Keller’s WWE Raw Report (7-1-13): Cena vs. Del Rio in Champion vs. Champion match, plus Punk, Shield, Kane, Vince McMahon, Ryback, Cody, Orton, Vickie