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The following report was originally published on PWTorch.com ten years ago this week…
KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
AUGUST 4, 2008
LIVE ON USA NETWORK
FROM UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE
-They opened cold with Mike Adamle standing on the stage, announcing he is the new G.M. of Raw. He said there are a couple of things he wants to say before the show begins, but he doesn’t want to take up a lot of their time. He stumbled as he said there once was a man who wasn’t taken very seriously and performed in a circus-like atmosphere. “He wasn’t very good at his job,” he said. “Ronald Reagan is the man I am talking about. He went from a B-rated movie actor to one of the greatest presidents the United States has ever seen.” An image of Reagan appeared on the big screen. He said the point he’s making is first impressions could be conceiving. He said: “Ronald Reagan acted with a monkey. I accidentally called Jeff Hardy, Jeff Harvey.” He added, “You see, everyone in this world makes mistakes, but the important thing is we all grow from those mistakes.” He said he wasn’t the greatest announcer in ECW history. “A lot of you people won’t let that go,” he said.
He acknowledged that there’s even a petition on the WWE website message board asking for his resignation. He said that’s their right as Americans, but it’s not an America he wants to be part of. He said he wants to be part of the Land of Opportunity, “where a man like me who only stands five-foot, nine-inches tall can play seven years in the National Football League and be a star.” He said he believes in an America where anything can happen, which is why he made the match of Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler teaming together. He said he’s sorry it didn’t work out well, but he’s not sorry for trying to inject some enthusiasm into the championship match. They showed Cole rolling his eyes at ringside.
He then asked the fans how many championship matches they want to see tonight. One? Cheers. Two? Cheers. He then said they’ve got three championship matches. He announced Ted DiBiase & Cody Rhodes would face John Cena & Batista. At that point, JBL interrupted. He brought a magazine with him. He congratulated Adamle. Adamle said he appreciates that. JBL said it’s true that first impressions can be deceiving. He said for years people thought he was a fun-loving, beer-drinking, bar-fighting Texan and now they realize he’s a self-made millionaire who owns his own company that he is CEO of and he’s New York City’s favorite sun and just this week the cover of Fortune magazine features a story on him and his wife (his wife is pictured, not him). JBL said as fellow former football players, they’re of the same cloth – they’re winners. He said what he announced last week was a winning announcement – Cena vs. Batista. He said that’s a blockbuster. He then urged him to announce another Summerslam blockbuster – JBL vs. C.M. Punk for the World Hvt. Title.
Chris Jericho stepped out and made his case for being Punk’s opponent. “It’s only fair, Mike,” said Jericho, citing what he did to Shawn Michaels. JBL said he defeated Cena in one of the most brutal matches ever, whereas Jericho beat someone with only one good eye. “There’s no comparison,” he said. “He’s not in my league.” Jericho reminded Adamle that he saw up close what he did at Summerslam. He said he’s not in JBL’s league, he’s in a far high league of his own. JBL and Jericho began arguing. Adamle told them to knock it off. He said it’d be easy for him to book one or the other, but that’s the easy way. He said he has an idea – something “that has never ever been done before” – a two-on-one match with JBL & Jericho vs. Punk. He said if either of them pin Punk, they’ll get a World Title match at Summerslam. He asked them how that sounded. They smiled. Adamle turned to leave, but then turned back and said if Punk wins, then neither of them get a World Title match at Summerslam. He wished them luck.
-Michael Cole reiterated the match that was just announced with stips. Jerry Lawler chimed in, too, plugging that Shawn Michaels would show up later.
1 — KOFI KINGSTON vs. PAUL BURCHILL (w/Katie Lea)
Lawler said he has his doubts about Adamle, but so far so good with three title matches scheduled. Cole thanked viewers for making Raw the no. 1 program in all of television among the key male demographics. Cole said he hopes to continue that trend of success. Burchill dominated most of the early action. At 3:00 Kofi turned momentum around with (guess…) kicks and a cool swinging chop to the chest. He finished him with his 360 degree roundhouse kick to the face – “Trouble in Paradise.”
WINNER: Kingston in 4:00.
STAR RATING: 3/4* — Short, but good. Kofi’s style really stands out. While flashy, it doesn’t seem soft or showy for the sake of being showy. It seems his flying and acrobatic style adds to the impact of his moves.
-Afterward, Katie got in Kofi’s face. Burchill yanked Kofi out of the ring, but Kofi kicked him, so he fled, leaving Katie alone in the ring. Mickie James’s music then played and out she walked. Cole announced Mickie vs. Katie was up next.
2 — MICKIE JAMES vs. KATIE LEA BURCHILL — WWE Women’s Title
The match was in progress after the break. Katie gave Mickie a nasty neck snap backwards over the middle rope and dominated for a minute. Mickie made a comeback, then after some back and forth action, out of nowhere Mickie hit her leaping DDT for the win.
WINNER: Mickie in 5:00 to retain the Women’s Title.
-Afterward, “Glamazon” Beth Phoenix attacked Mickie. Mickie tried a comeback, but Phoenix stopped that quickly and slammed her hard to the mat with her finisher. She stood over her as her music played. Santino Marella walked out onto the stage applauding. Phoenix approached Santino on the stage. He patted her on the ass. She turned and smiled. They were still shy about acknowledging each other.
-Cole plugged the DiBiase & Cody vs. Batista & Cena tag match. They better not squash the young up and coming heels because there “merely a tag team” (belts or not, as was the case with many tag champs in recent years against main event single stars).
-They showed Cena and Cryme Tyme chatting backstage. Hey, whatever happened to the Mickie James-John Cena budding romance? Did he dump her to hang out with them instead?
-A WWE 24/7 plug aired of Steve Austin giving Sgt. Slaughter a Stunner and Vince McMahon escaping without being touched.
-They showed Adamle on his cell phone, thanking Stephanie and Shane for the opportunity. He said it’s great to work for a company that thinks outside the box. He added, “Congratulations on the baby.” Santino and Phoenix walked up to Adamle. Santino congratulated him on becoming G.M., then pitched that they get title matches at SummerSlam. Adamle said there’s only room for one more title match at SummerSlam – the Intercontinental Title or Women’s Title. Santino said, “I want what the Glamorous Amazon wants – to see me Intercontinental Champion.” She said she wants the Women’s Title to be on the line instead. Santino laughed and said, “I don’t want to become Women’s Champion, although I easily could.” Santino fantasized about being Women’s Champion. Adamle said he had an Adamle Original: Kofi & Mickie vs. Santino & Beth with both titles on the line in a winner take all match. Santino shook Adamle’s hand and said it’s great to have a fellow Italian in charge.
-Cole and Lawler plugged Cena vs. Batista at Summerslam. Cole said Batista is the master of the “pound and ground.” Does he still not know that the phrase is “ground and pound,” and saying “pound and ground” doesn’t sound “original” (assuming he’s even aware of his word interchange), it sounds like he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. A video feature aired on Cena. It was like a YouTube video presenting “The Worst of John Cena’s Ridiculous Facial Expressions.”
-Todd Grisham interviewed Batista. He said he’s cool with getting a shot at the tag titles, but he’s not crazy about teaming with his opponent at SummerSlam. He said if Adamle wants to make a splash by having him wrestle Cena for the first time ever at SummerSlam, that’s fine, but he’d rather be fighting for the World Title. He then told Cena to stay out of his way this week. That is Batista at his best, when he’s pithy and direct without yelling or being wordy. It’s the promo style Samoa Joe should be doing 95 percent of the time.
-Cole again plugged that Michaels would be speaking out later on Raw.
-A clip aired from Jamie Noble approaching Layla (originally a WWE.com exclusive) backstage. He said he’s been trying to get ahold of her to ask her on a date to his favorite waffle house. She said this thing with them isn’t happening. She said he gets his butt kicked all the time and she doesn’t associate herself with losers. Noble yelled as she walked away that she can’t complain when someone else is scarfing down her pecan waffle.
-Layla danced in the ring. William Regal walked to the ring. He said he has something to say. He wanted to remind everyone of who he is. “My name is William Regal, and I am your king,” he said. He explained he won the King of the Ring tournament. As he began to explain something about his duty to inform the fans of something, Noble walked out there. He jumped Regal. The two brawled. Noble held his own until referees stepped in and pulled them apart.
-A commercial aired for ECW hyping that “The Dirt Sheet” with Miz and Morrison would be on TV for the first time, and their guests would be Mark Henry and Matt Hardy. Who do they think they are, Karen Angle?
3 — JBL & CHRIS JERICHO vs. C.M. PUNK — No. 1 Contender’s Match
Cole said the article in Fortune magazine featuring JBL’s wife on the cover is mostly about JBL’s wife, not JBL, despite what JBL claimed earlier. There is a picture of the two together, though, and Merideth watching Raw. JBL came out first, then Jericho, and then Punk. Cole explained the stips. He noted that Punk has been called a paper champion and transitional champion. Adamle appeared on the big screen that he failed to mention earlier that the match has a ten minute time-limit, and if it goes the full ten, it becomes a Triple Threat at SummerSlam. Jericho and JBL argued as the bell range. Punk lost patience and jumped both of them. The heels soon gained control and took turns beating on Punk. Punk backdropped Jericho over the top rope, then dove at JBL, who caught him and gave him a fallaway suplex. By 2:30 Jericho took over on Punk after knocking JBL out of the picture at ringside.
Even when Jericho settled into a chinlock, there was a greater sense of urgency. Even the chants of “C.M. Punk, C.M. Punk” were faster-paced than usual. At 5:30 JBL returned to the ring and got into it with Jericho. Cole noted that it gave Punk a chance to take a breather. JBL threw Punk into the announce table, then threw him into the ring where Jericho hit a Lionsault. JBL yanked Jericho out of the ring by his foot and brawled with him at ringside at 6:30. The crowd got really into chanting for Punk by 7:30. He gave JBL a high knee and a running bulldog, then did the same to Jericho. When he gave the GTS to JBL, Jericho broke it up. We knew he would since Cole declared that Punk was about to score a major upset as if it was a foregone conclusion. The near falls continued with break-ups by the third man. Punk catapulted Jericho into JBL, knocking him to the floor leading to a near fall. The fans booed. Cole acknowledged the fans thought it was a three count. Punk lifted Jericho for a GTS. Jericho raked his eyes to escape. Then Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho with a minute left in the time limit. Before Punk could tap, JBL broke it up with just 30 seconds left. JBL was slow to get up after giving Jericho a running boot. Punk was still flat out on the mat. He was nice enough to roll himself over into perfect position for the next spot, which was Jericho snapping JBL’s head over the top rope where he snapped and fell backward onto Punk and scored a pin with one second to spare. Lawler said it’s better to be lucky than good.
WINNER: JBL at 9:59 to earn the SummerSlam title shot.
STAR RATING: *** — Very good three-person ten minute TV match. Just really well executed and paced. The only flaw was that in the end, it was in Punk’s interest to lose rather than stick it out the full ten minutes once it was clear he wouldn’t win, but that’s a small technicality in the end that few people would have thought much about.
-They showed Shawn Michaels being mic’d up in San Antonio for a satellite interview. He looked almost like a zombie, just exhausted and emotionally bankrupt.
-A video package aired on the Michaels-Jericho feud.
-Cole and Lawler at ringside interviewed Michaels remotely from his home. Cole asked Michaels for an update. Michaels said there’s been severe damage done to his eye. He said before Jericho starts patting himself on the back for ending his career, what he’s going through now is the result of a culmination of injuries he’s had throughout his career. He said he’s wrestled lately with broken ribs, plus he’s had countless rib injuries. He said he had what he thought was a career-ending back injury years ago, too. He said the bumps and bruises really add up. He said he’ll have a reevaluation on the Friday before SummerSlam. He said he’ll publicly announce at the PPV what his future holds. He said for the first time in his life he’s going to listen to what the doctor’s say and heed their advice. He said if they tell him he can compete even on a limited basis, that’s what he will do, but if he’s told he shouldn’t or there’s risk to his sight, he’s prepared to walk away. He said he loves his career, but he loves his family more. He said Jericho may be right about one thing, that he should be with his family more. Lawler said he should do what’s right for him.
-Cole plugged the main event tag match again.
-Did You Know? Over 1 million more people watched Raw last week than any major league baseball game. (Did you know more people will read this report than attended any live WWE event last week?)
-Cole said Raw is about to get it’s first look at Matt Striker. Lawler talked briefly about his history as a teacher. In the ring, Striker reintroduced himself in center-ring with a big chalkboard that said “Striker.” He thanked Mr. Adamle for allowing him to wrestle on Raw. He said it’s appropriate it should take place in an esteemed university setting. He said he used that term loosely. Kane then walked out as his opponent.
4 — KANE vs. MATT STRIKER
As he took a beating, Lawler asked Cole if he thought Striker could teach his way out of this. Cole said no. Kane dominated from the start. He finished him with a chokeslam.
WINNER: Kane in 1:00.
-Kane grabbed his bag afterward, grabbed a mic, and entered the ring. He said he’s been in a bad place lately. He said he’s in a better place now. “He’s not alive. He’s dead,” said Kane with a smile and a chuckle. He then held his bag in the air. Cole said, “I have no earthly idea what he’s talking about.” He said if he says he’s in a better place, that good enough.
-Lawler again plugged the tag team main event.
-The Smackdown Rebound aired focused on the excellent Edge-Mick Foley segment.
-Cole and Lawler plugged the entire SummerSlam line-up. Then they went to a video package on Batista.
-Grisham interviewed Cena. He said that video reminds him of how much he must respect what Batista is capable of inside a wrestling ring. He then reacted to Adamle becoming G.M. He said he can Jack Tunney or an idiot off the street – any idiot would know Cena vs. Batista is a dream match at SummerSlam. He said on draft day when Batista was drafted to Raw, it meant two superstars on the same roster who’d eventually face off. He said he now has to walk into battle with his SummerSlam opponent. He said they’re either going to win together or lose and tear each other to pieces. He said he hopes to win, but he’ll be ready for anything. This version of Cena is so much better than where his character had gone with that low point of the “Poopy” week. He’s not trying to be cute; he’s trying to portray himself as the leader of the company and the top marquee attraction. It’s enough for him at this point, and certainly better than the promos that were being scripted for him. The weekly forced attempts to prove his heterosexuality is gone, too, which is also good which also seemed oddly desperate and out of place.
-Kelly Kelly congratulated Adamle for the job he’s doing as G.M. She said Kane is very scary. He said people are wondering what’s in Kane’s bag. He said he’s going to offer up another Adamle Original and find a way to find out what’s in that bag. He offered her to sit down and watch the main event with him. She did.
5 — CODY RHODES & TED DIBIASE vs. JOHN CENA & BATISTA
Lilian Garcia introduced the main event competitors, beginning with heel duo. Then Cena. Then Batista. That took about four minutes. Cena opened against DiBiase. At 3:00 DiBiase broke up a Batista Bomb attempt on Cody. When Batista charged at Cody in the corner seconds later, Cody moved and Batista went shoulder-first into it as they cut to a break.
After the break Cody was working over Batista’s arm mid-ring. Cena got a hot-tag and went to work on Cody, including hitting a Five Knuckle. DiBiase bliknd-tagged in and then stomped Cena right out of the ring. Cody took a cheap shot at Cena on the floor, then DiBiase took over, whipping Cena into the ringside steps. Back in the ring the heels beat on Cena as a concerned Batista looked on from the apron.
At 11:00 Cody leaped onto Cena’s back and applied a sleeper. Cole imagined what it would mean to Cody’s career if he put Cena to sleep mid-ring in this match. Cena reached for a tag. Batista didn’t work hard to reach out. He waved Cena toward him casually, then stepped off the ring apron and moved to the other side, ostensibly to get closer but in reality to just draw out the situation long enough for Cody to yank Cena back to mid-ring. Batista’s body language was great. He’s so good in that tweener on the verge of going heel role, dating back to his breaking from Evolution. Cena broke free and applied his own sleeper briefly. The heels quickly too over again. Cena finally staggered over to his corner and tagged in Batista by slapping him across the face. They had a staredown as the ref counted and ordered Cena out of the ring. Batista knocked Cody out of the ring, then spinebustered DiBiase mid-ring. Cole said that was a direct message to Cena. Batista gave DiBiase a snake eyes and a spear. He set up a Batista Bomb. Cena cut off Cody interference. Batista then hit a Batista Bomb and pinned DiBiase to win the match and the tag titles. Cena mustered a smile, but Batista didn’t. He held both belts and stared down Cena while he held both belts in the air. The he shoved the belt into Cena’s chest. Cena looked down at the belt, then held it in the air. Batista then held his belt in the air. They repeated this several times and compared crowd reactions. It seemed pretty close. This may have been improvised or at least played up more and longer than planned as the crowd was eating it up. They stopped short of the next logical comparison, or at least not before they went off the air. The show went off the air. Cena’s music played as the show ended. It’s not clear why his music played and not Batista’s. It seemed arbitrary either way. Hey, Cena finally won a match. Well, he watched his partner win a match.
WINNERS: Cena & Batista to capture the World Tag Team Titles in 14:00.
STAR RATING: **1/2 — Solid tag match. Served it’s purpose well. It protected DiBiase & Cody by making them competitive with the top two stars of the brand even when losing, plus build up tension with Cena & Batista and added intrigue with the old standby of leery babyface partners co-holding tag belts.
Overall Thoughts: Good show. Adamle was good in his role, but there’s potential for them to eventually play up his ego getting out of hand given that he’s referring to his ideas as Adamle Originals.
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