The following report was originally published ten years ago this week on PWTorch.com…
KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
JULY 21, 2008
MOHEGAN SUN CASINO
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
-They opened with Kane attacking Batista and C.M. Punk to prematurely end the World Title match at the Great American Bash PPV the night before. Then the showed Batista watching the replay in the production truck. He then left.
-The Raw opening aired, then Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler introduced the show. They hyped a rematch of JBL & Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase vs. John Cena & Cryme Tyme. GIve WWE credit – they’re taking four guys who would have been in meaningless two minute matches months ago and putting them in a main event not to necessarily pop a rating, but to give them rub and test their upward mobility – something they haven’t done on this level in years
-Batista walked out, looking as dapper as ever. His shirt looked like it was poured on him. He stood mid-ring and began with a resigned, “Well…” He paused, then said he planned to step out there as new heavyweight champion. He said because Kane interfered, that obviously is not the case. He said because Shane and Stephanie McMahon are not around, he’s putting himself in charge. (Who decided on the six-man match?) He said he’s making one match – C.M. Punk against himself. He said if Kane has a problem with him, he said he won’t let him wreck things again. JBL interrupted on the big screen. He asked him, “Who do you think you are? You are in charge of absolutely nothing.” He told him because he beat Cena last night, the next world title match is his. Batista laughed, the type of laugh he gives when his girlfriend says it’s his turn to take out the trash after he gets off a long road trip. Batista called him to the ring. JBL said he is in charge and nobody tells him what to do. He said his body doesn’t feel like a world title match tonight after last night, but he said Batista won’t get one either. He stumbled over words as he said he’s finishing off Cena in a six-man match. He told him to go find Kane instead.
C.M. Punk’s music played and he walked out onto the stage and then quickly to the ring. Cole said Punk is a survivor so far in his nearly one month title reign. He complimented his showing at the Bash. Punk said JBL is right about one thing – it’s the law of the jungle. He said since he is champion, that makes him king. He said last he checked the king doesn’t have to listen to a word he says, so stand by while he takes care of some business. Punk said Kane didn’t just mess with Batista’s goals, he ruined his goal of proving he could beat him. “So I say instead of sitting here talking about it, why don’t we do it until we get it right?” He agreed to a title match on the show. JBL exclaimed that he’s in charge. Mid-rant, his mic was turned off. Batista said to Punk: “We’re on!” He dropped the mic and left the ring. Cole said it’s a rare occurrence on Raw with the World Champ defending the title for the second time in 24 hours. Good segment. Punk got to show he’s a fighting champion out to prove something. Batista showed how important the title belt is to him. JBL got to be JBL.
-Jenny McCarthy announced that she’ll be working with WWE to fight autism at Saturday Night’s Main Event on Aug. 2 on NBC.
-Shawn Michaels’s music played, but after about ten seconds, it was replaced by music for Lance Cade. Cole said he figured it was too good to be true. The fans looked pissed. Cade called for Michaels to come out before, during, or after his match, he didn’t care, but he wanted to talk to him. He said if Michaels walks out, they’re going to have words they should have had a long time ago.
1 — LANCE CADE vs. PAUL LONDON
London ran to the ring and is wearing the same ring outfit he did way back when he was teaming with Brian Kendrick. This isn’t an ideal role for London, who’s talented enough to deserve a money position if possible, but there’s probably also nobody better suited to take bumps and job for bigger wrestlers getting pushes. As Cade bent London over his knee, he called out for Shawn to come to the ring. Cade threw London into the ringpost from inside the ring under the bottom turnbuckle. He kept calling for Shawn. Then he finished London with his split-legged powerbomb/slam that Cole and Lawler undersold when executed.
WINNER: Cade in 3:00.
-After the match, Cade introduced Chris Jericho. He began to walk to the ring in a suit as they cut to a break.
-Jericho said as much as Cade would like Michaels to be there tonight, it won’t happen. He said he’s about to introduce footage from the Bash that will show why he may never show up in WWE again. He warned everyone the footage was disturbing and graphic. They went to a series of slo-mo replays of Michaels bleeding. They went black and white for the blood close-ups after a brief shot of the red. Back live Jericho said everything that happened last night was the fault of all of the fans. He said he fought injured to please the fans, and now he is paying for their sins. He said fans will live to regret siding with a liar and a cheater. He said Michaels has a detached retina and can’t see straight. He said the fans didn’t accept him when he came back to WWE like they did Michaels. “You want the wild and crazy guy with the long hair who told the jokes; I am not that man anymore,” he said. “I have matured; I have grown up. Shawn Michaels never has and none of you ever have, either.” He said he’s proud of what he did, even though it may sound disturbing to hear him say that. He said he considers himself saved for eliminating the corrupt Michaels from WWE.
2 — KELLY KELLY vs. BETH PHOENIX
Kelly rolled out of a double under hook lift, but Phoenix rolled through herself. Then she lifted Kelly and faceplanted her for the win.
WINNER: Phoenix in 3:00.
-Cole hyped the two big TV main events.
-A commercial aired hyping the Bash replays.
-Hacksaw Duggan stood in the ring. He said he didn’t want to use too much time, but he wanted to announce he was considering retirement. He said after 30 years, he’s made a lot of friends and “with the grace of God, I’ve survived kidney cancer.” He said what Cody and Ted said last week may have been right; it might be a business for young men and the business might have passed him by. Lawler interrupted and told him to hang on a second. The underutilized Lawler entered the ring and told Duggan there is no age limit in WWE. He said he doesn’t care what Cody and Ted said last week, as long as he’s passionate about getting into the ring, he can do it as long as he wants to do it. He asked him if he realizes that he can do something that Barack Obama and John McCain “would kill for.” He said his mere presence causes millions to stand on their feet and chant “USA, USA.” Lawler asked if he wants to give that up. Duggan said he doesn’t, he just needed someone to tell him that. Ted and Cody walked out. Lawler and Duggan held their ground in mid-ring. DiBiase said, “Just because you like to date women younger than us doesn’t mean you relate to us in any way. You both need to hang it up in a big way.” Cody told Duggan when he won the first Royal Rumble, he was two years old. He told Lawler when he slapped Andy Kauffman on David Letterman, they weren’t even alive yet. Lawler said, “It went something like this.” Then he slapped Cody. DiBiase held him back from going after Lawler. DiBiase said they would continue it another day. He suggested the old men leave the ring and let the people with an actual future take center stage.
-JBL’s music played and he limped badly on his way to the ring. It’s great to see a wrestler actually sell the effects of a brutal gimmick match. It’s also amazing to see WWE practically pretend that last week’s attempted vehicular homicide didn’t happen. Did someone end up realizing how ridiculous it was and how there’s no way to really follow up on that?
3 — JBL & TED DIBIASE & CODY RHODES vs. JOHN CENA & CRYME TYME
JBL’s ring entrance finished after the break because he walked so slowly to the ring. Cryme Tyme’s ring entrance was next. Cena came out looking pretty spry. Cody took an early beating from Cena and Shad.
When JBL got a hot tag at 3:00, he went to work on JTG. Cody tagged in shortly thereafter. They heels isolated JTG for several minutes. He finally nailed a dropkick at 9:00 and slowly rolled and crawled toward his corner, but wasn’t quick enough as Cody cut him off first. A minute later JTG did hot-tag Cena. The crowd popped (well, the women and kids) as Cena went on a flurry of offense against the heels as they charged into the ring. JBL bailed out and retreated through the crowd. Cena then lifted both Ted and Cody and flipped Cody off first with a partial FU and then finished DiBiase with a full-fledged FU. Cena hugged his father at ringside after his win.
WINNERS: Cena & Cryme Tyme in 11:00.
STAR RATING: ** – Basic stuff, but well executed overall.
-Cole plugged Punk vs. Batista again. They’re hyping it enough that by WWE’s own pattern in the past, it should be a full-fledged match and not a quick copout as they usually don’t hype a match this much if it’s basically going to be an angle.
-Jericho and Cade walked backstage and bumped into Kane walking out of a doorway. They let him walk by, looking intimidated as he did so. Lawler wondered if Kane was looking for Batista.
-They showed scenes from inside the Mohegan Sun Casino. Then they went to a video package on Jenny McCarthy’s autism charity. Maria, Charlie Sheen, Tim Allen, Howie Mandel, and Jim Carrey were shown at the charity event.
4 — MICKIE JAMES & KOFI KINGSTON vs. KATIE LEA & PAUL BURCHILL
After some early action between Mickie and Lea, Burchill and Kofi fought. Burchill pulled the women apart as they fought at ringside. Kofi shoved Burchill into the ringpost, but when he went for a spin wheel kick, Burchill ducked and Kofi’s foot hit the ringpost. Burchill then gave Kofi a neckbreaker and scored the pin. Kofi grabbed at his foot afterward.
WINNERS: Burchill & Lea in 4:00.
-Backstage, Jamie Noble chatted up Layla. Batista threw Noble against a wall and told him if he sees Kane, tell him he’s looking for him.
-Todd Grisham interviewed Punk backstage. He asked him why he’s defending the title against Batista since he escaped with the title last night. Punk said he doesn’t want to be a champion who kept his title through technicalities. He said if he goes down, he’ll go down swinging. JBL walked up and pointed at the belt. He said at Summerslam he fully intends on wrestling the World Champion. He said he intends to become World Champion. He said he will forever be known as a footnote or transitional champion. Punk said, “We’ll see, JBL. You don’t know that for sure.” He said one thing is fact – his first successful title defense came against him.
-A commercial aired hyping a Fatal Four-way match for the ECW Title shot at Summerslam: Miz vs. Morrison vs. Finlay vs. Matt Hardy.
-Did You Know?… WWE offers all U.S. military personnel free tickets to its live events.
-Another shot aired from inside the Mohegan Sun Casino.
-They went to a video package of Jericho elbowing Michaels at the Bash and Michaels bleeding until the match was stopped.
-Santino Marella walked out. He looked upset. He said last week when he issued an open challenge, he was prepared to fight a man. “I don’t fight people with a fallopian tube. I fight people with a Adam apple.” He issued another open challenge, but to a man. Out came D-Lo Brown.
5 — D-LO BROWN vs. SANTINO MARELLA
Cole said D-Lo re-signed with WWE after a five year absence. He said he had a chance to talk to D-Lo after he resigned, he said D-Lo says he’s matured and is wiser and is ready to belong. Beth Phoenix walked to the ring during D-Lo’s ring entrance. She watched the match at ringside, which upset and distracted Santino. D-Lo snap legdropped Santino at 1:00, then hit a basement clothesline followed by his signature frog splash.
WINNER: D-Lo in 2:00.
-After the match, Phoenix entered the ring and looked down at Santino as D-Lo celebrated by playing to the crowd. It was a creative way to reintroduce D-Lo without relying on his mere presence to hold the viewers. Santino grabbed Phoenix from behind. She asked him to let go. He did. She then grabbed him from behind. He reversed and held her from behind. It was intentionally awkward as they stopped and stared at each other. Then he grabbed her head and moved in for a big kiss. She reciprocated. They kissed briefly, then pulled back and acted like something took control of them. Santino left. Lawler said they just witnessed “some sort of happening.” He said opposites attract, apparently.
-A Toby Keith soundbite aired with him promoting the Jenny McCarthy autism event at Saturday Night’s Main Event. Cole said he hopes that by SNME time, the chaos in WWE simmers down. Lawler said rumor has it Shane and Steph are looking for a new G.M. He wondered if they’d have the same top choice.
-Batista’s ring entrance took place. Then Kane’s ring entrance took place. Kane chokeslammed Batista. Lawler said this wasn’t the scheduled match. Punk ran to the ring without any music and jumped Kane. He clotheslined him out of the ring. Referees came out to talk Kane into returning to the back. He headed toward the back as a cameraman retreated. Punk looked over at Batista, who was slow to get up, and dropped to his knee seconds later. The ref asked if he could wrestle. Punk moved in and said, “Come on, Dave, you want this match or not?” Batista shoved him, then staggered against the ropes. He said he could go. They cut to a break.
6 — C.M. PUNK vs. BATISTA — World Heavyweight Championship match
Lilian Garcia made formal ring introductions after the break. Lawler noted that Batista was still showing the effects of the chokeslam by Kane. The match began 54 minutes into the second hour. Batista overpowered Punk early, but Punk came back with a neckbreaker off the ropes at 1:00. Cole said, “As the match drags along here, King, who does it favor?” Saying a match “drags along” is probably not the ideal language to use. Punk methodically beat on Batista, scoring several two counts and then settling into a leg scissors around Batista’s head. At 6:00 Batista powered out, but Punk fired back with a couple knees and then another two count. The crowd didn’t really have anyone to dislike or boo, so they were relatively quiet, but politely patient waiting for something to happen. Punk caught a charging Batista with a drop toe hold into a corner middle turnbuckle. Punk followed with a running knee in the corner followed by a bulldog for a believable near fall at 7:00. Punk went for a springboard dive at Batista, but Batista caught Punk and hit a spinebuster. Cole asked if that would be the opening Batista needed. Batista made a full comeback with some shoulder charges and a clothesline in the corner. Punk, though, caught Batista with a boot to the face. Batista ducked a bodyblock, then speared Punk. He shook the top rope and stomped the mat to signal that it was time for his finisher. JBL ran to ringside. Batista leaped to ringside to fight him. The ref called for the bell. JBL gave Batista a Clothesline from Hell, then gave another to Punk. Cena charged to the ring. He swung to hit JBL, but JBL ducked and Cena hit Batista. Cena looked regretful. Batista looked pissed. He kicked Cena in the gut. Cena went for an FU, then punched Batista. They had a pullapart brawl in the corner, with the refs separating them. Cena’s facial expressions were much better in this angle than usual for him. Much more realistic and human and less cartoonish. They went to black with a relatively sudden end to the show.
WINNER: No contest in 8:00.
STAR RATING: *3/4 — A bit slow early, picked up at the end. Another non-finish is piling on top of a few too many the night before on PPV. The intrigue of a start to a Cena-Batista feud is a consolation, but it doesn’t make up for it entirely. At some point, Punk needs a clean, decisive win. It looks like they’re marking JBL for that role, while protecting Batista, Kane, and Cena for bigger things against one another.
NOW CHECK OUT THIS PREVIOUS FLASHBACK: 10 YRS AGO – KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT (7-14-08): Cena & Cryme Tyme vs. JBL & Cody & DiBiase, plus Punk, Jericho, Cody, Kofi, Mickie, Kane