SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The following report was originally published on PWTorch.com ten years ago this week…
KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
AUGUST 25, 2008
LIVE FROM WILKES BARRE, PA.
TELECAST ON SCI-FI
-After the opening montage, the show opened with pyro and an introduction from Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler.
1 — C.M. PUNK vs. JBL
Cole explained the rules to the Championship Scramble. Lawler, hilariously, said, “I’m a little confused after that explanation.” He said the rules are all on WWE.com. Punk rolled his wrists before the match as JBL took off his cowboy hat. Lawler clarified some of the Scramble rules. The crowd chanted “C.M. Punk” loudly as the match began. JBL took control initially with some forearms and a headlock, silencing the crowd. Punk threw some kicks to make a comeback. Cole hyped Batista vs. Kane. Lawler said his sources have told him of some sort of injury that John Cena has suffered and they’d have info on that later. Lawler said Punk has held the title longer than many predicted and he’s beginning to gain confidence. Cole said he’s made a believer out of many. Punk sent JBL to the floor, then dove through the ropes and tackled him against the announce table. He threw JBL back into the ring, then hit a crossbody block off the top rope for a two count. JBL came back by tossing Punk over the top rope. Punk skinned the cat back in, but JBL met him with a boot to the face.
JBL had Punk in a bearhug after the break. JBL applied an Octopus mid-ring (an abdominal stretch with the rear leg grasped for added leverage). He then dropped Punk and scored a two count. JBL lifted Punk into a torture rack.
Punk attempted a comeback, but JBL caught him mid-air and side slammed him for a near fall. Punk fought out of the corner at 11:00 and hit a DDT. He followed with a springboard clothesline for a near fall. He hit a running knee in the corner followed by a bulldog for another two count. Punk challenged JBL to stand up. When he went for a GTS, JBL slipped out. He then surprised Punk with a Clothesline from Hell. Punk kicked out after JBL was a bit slow to make the cover. JBL rolled to ringside and grabbed a chair. He brought it into the ring. The ref yanked it away. As JBL protested, Punk lifted JBL and gave him a Go To Sleep for the win.
WINNER: Punk in 14:00.
STAR RATING: **3/4 — Good match. A credible win for Punk with only minor help from the ref yanking a chair away from a desperate JBL.
-Lawler plugged Kane vs. Batista.
-Mike Adamle stepped onto the stage. He threw to clips of Batista vs. John Cena at SummerSlam. Back live, Adamle said that Cena suffered a severely herniated disk in his “necks” as a result of the Batista Bombs. He said Cena tried to fight through the injury. He said an MRI reveals it’s more serious than he thought and he will likely need surgery and will be out of action indefinitely. He said he’s out of the Championship Scramble at Unforgiven. He said he’ll announce a replacement before the end of the show.
-A concerned Lawler and Cole reacted. Lawler said they wish Cena the best.
-A Kane promo aired from backstage. He said what Batista did to Cena is nothing compared to what he’s done to Rey Mysterio. He said a body broken does nothing for the soul. He said it leaves you feeling empty, but a spirit broken makes him salivate. He said his chokeslam leaves the victim wondering, “Is he alive or is he dead?”
-Adamle approached Primo Colon and apologized for disrespecting him last week. Colon said it’s okay. Adamle said he’s all set with the cabana and the apples like his brother. Colon said he’s nothing like his brother. He said he’s a better man than Carlito. Adamle chuckled. Primo asked why. Adamle said he’d find out before his match. Shawn Michaels walked up to Adamle and asked where Chris Jericho was. Adamle told him Jericho hadn’t arrived yet, but he can take all the time he needs tonight to express himself. Adamle added, “By the way, how’s Rebecca?” Michaels turned back to Adamle, paused, and left the room.
2 — KELLY KELLY vs. “GLAMAZON” BETH PHOENIX (w/Santino Marella) – Non-Title
Phoenix suffered a bloody nose when she took a knee to the face as Kelly came off the ropes. The blood flowed. She applied a chinlock with her bloodied fingers. Santino helped Phoenix avoid a charge in the corner, but Kelly saw it from a distance and just stopped in her tracks and schoolgirled Phoenix for the win.
WINNER: Kelly in 3:00.
-Afterward, Santino apologized to Phoenix for his help backfiring. Phoenix huffed and puffed, then tackled Santino and punched away at his face and kicked him out of the ring. Santino ran to the back.
-An add hyped Matt Hardy as a star of ECW. Nothing specific, just hype for his quest to win the ECW Title.
-A new WWE 24/7 clip aired of Bret Hart wrestling Curt Hennig to a draw.
-Cole said, “I had forgotten about that, but that started it all.” Does he have any idea what he’s saying when he reads those lines. Cole continued to bounce in his chair in feigned excitement over 24/7. They shifted to what Cole called a “great, classic match” later between Kane and Batista. Lawler said it’s like King Kong vs. Godzilla.
3 — CHARLITO vs. PRIMO COLON
Charlie Haas walked to the ring dressed as Carlito with a wig and apple. A brief vignette aired of Haas doing a Carlito imitation. Charlito slapped Primo at the start. Primo fought right back with a flying head scissors off the ropes. Lawler said Haas found a good way to agitate and shake up Primo’s gameplan by imitating his brother. When Charlito took a bite out of an apple, Primo literally slapped it out of his mouth. He showed fire, threw a dropkick, a monkey flip, and a corner splash. Charlito, who lost his wig on the monkey flip, avoided the corner splash. Promo came right back with a top rope bodypress for the win. Lawler observed that when the wig fell off, Haas lost his momentum.
WINNER: Primo Colon in 3:00.
-A video recap aired of the Shawn Michaels-Chris Jericho saga with Rebecca getting hit.
-Michaels walked out stoically to his intro music. He stood mid-ring with the mic in hand. He took his time, looked to be fighting back tears, and then raised the mic. He said first of all, for everyone who has asked him about his wife, he wanted them to know she’s hurt. He said after being married to him for almost ten years, she’s tough and she’s going to be okay. He said last week he went home to take care of his wife and children and he really tried to look at this like a rationale human being. He said he tried to tell himself it was all an accident, that Jericho didn’t mean to hit his wife. He said when he watched Raw, he saw Jericho blame him and the fans and showed no remorse for what he had done. He said he didn’t send in a letter of resignation because he has earned the right to come out to the ring and tell the fans who have supported him for twenty years, “Thank you.” He said he didn’t realize that coming out here and saying goodbye for the last time would be so hard. He said that’s why he had his wife Rebecca with him, to lift him and support him. “And what did she get for that? She got punched right in the face.” He said as they watched Jericho last week blame her, he turned to her and looked into her eyes and he knew that he was not going anywhere. The crowd applauded and chanted his name. Jericho appeared on the big screen with scowl on his face like a kid refusing to eat his broccoli.
Jericho said Michaels is very lucky he’s not there tonight. He said people are afraid of what he’d do to him if he was invited to Raw. Jericho said the last time they faced each other, “I literally tore you apart.” He said he was still able to leave the ring on his own, but next time he won’t. He said he knows what he’s all about – a conniving, calculating, selfish person as he’s always been. Michaels interrupted him, whipped off his jacket, got on his knees, and said the reason he wants a match against him is that if he does to him what he wants to do to him, they will throw him in jail. He said in the ring, he can legally do whatever he wants. He said he’ll do whatever it takes. “I’ll sign anything, any waiver, any release, anything you want,” he said. “No rules, no constrictions, no liabilities. I don’t want anyone held responsible for what I’m going to do to you except me.” Jericho asked Michaels if he’s forgotten what he’s capable of. He pointed out his eye and his poor wife’s swollen face. He told him to read the orders from the doctor urging him not to return to the ring. He said if the wrestle again, his entire life will change. Michaels asked him if he’s going to accept the match or tell him what he already knows – that his wife is tougher than him. Jericho said, “Okay, I accept.” He warned Michaels not to let his wife and his precious children watch the match. Michaels said he has no idea of the meaning of the word Unforgiven. He said he will never forgive him for what he’s done to him and his family. He said he’s not looking to pin his shoulders to his mat. “And I could [not] care less about stealing the show,” he said. “I have one thing, and one thing only in mind – an eye for an eye.” Great line. Jericho held his scowl the whole time. The fans timidly chanted “HBK” as they faded to commercial. Great segment.
-An ECW commercial hyped Mark Henry would defend his ECW Title at Unforgiven against four other challengers and those challengers would be revealed tomorrow night.
4 — CODY RHODES & TED DIBIASE vs. JERRY LAWLER & HACKSAW DUGGAN
Cole reminded viewers of how this tag match was set up, with Lawler talking Duggan into delaying retirement. A clip then aired of their confrontation. Cody and Ted gained control early against Lawler. Lawler dropped down and jaw-jacked DiBiase, then hot-tagged Duggan. He gave a spinning body slam to DiBiase, then set up the three-point clothesline for a two count. Lawler clotheslined the interfering Cody out of the ring. DiBiase caught a distracted Duggan with a Russian leg sweep for the win. Cole said it was a big win for the “very gay” Lawler and Duggan. He tried to “game,” but the “m” was lost. Kinda funny in that you did a double-take after he said it and had to rewind it to realize what he meant.
WINNERS: DiBiase & Rhodes in 2:00.
-Afterward, Cody vowed to hunt down Cryme Tyme for stealing their tag titles. He said the last time he checked, in WWE you don’t steal championships, you win them. He said Cryme Tyme can never win them. Cryme Tyme’s music played, then they began speaking from elsewhere in the arena, a luxury box on the opposite side of the arena. They had the tag belts over their shoulders. CT challenged them to a match to try to get their belts back in a title match. He said they borrowed the belts to encourage them to give them what they want. DiBiase said, “Why can’t you act like normal people and just go through the proper channels?” DiBiase said they have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into. He said they’ve got their shot, but they’re going to take back far more than what they stole from them. DiBiase said, “It will be priceless.” J.T. said, “Funny, white boy. Don’t you know nothing comes without a price.” They said it’s not priceless, it’s about the “Money, Money, Yeah, Yeah.” Their music played as the chant continued and Ted & Cody threw fits in the ring.
-Cole plugged Santino vs. Kofi Kingston for the IC Title was up next.
-Cole hyped the Unforgiven Championship Scramble rules. Then they threw to Todd Grisham (on loan without explanation from ECW) who interviewed Batista. Batista said he wanted to say something about Cena. He said both he and Cena came out of SummerSlam banged up. He said Cena lives his life by three words: hustle, loyalty, and respect. He said he’s never seen Cena back down and has nothing but respect for him. He wished him luck with his surgery and hoped he comes back soon. He seemed emotional, as if he knows something about the injury being potentially career-ending or something. Batista vowed to take back his title at Unforgiven, but tonight isn’t about titles, his match against Kane is personal.
5 — SANTINO MARELLA vs. KOFI KINGSTON — Intercontinental Championship Match
Kofi scored a quick one count with a roll-up at the bell. He then quickly applied an armbar. Santino escaped and applied headlock. Santino applied an abdominal stretch. Kofi came back at 2:00 with a flurry of offense into a Russian leg sweep followed by his signature double legdrop. Beth Phoenix walked out to confront Santino. Santino seemed to be headed to the back when she sent him back to the ring. She tripped Kofi, who fell face-first onto Santino’s knee leading to a quick pin.
WINNER: Marella to retain the IC Title in 4:00.
STAR RATING: 3/4*
-Afterward, Phoenix stood in the ring with her arms crossed. The romantic tension returned. She cornered Santino, who cowered. She held his arms behind his back and then moved in for a kiss. Santino said, “You’re not mad?” Then he threw her into the corner and kissedher and smiled. “She doesn’t hate me!” he celebrated, holding his belt in the air. Phoenix had tape on her nose. She made Santino follow her to the back.
-Cole said the major announcement regarding Cena’s replacement was next.
-The Power of the WWE Universe: For the second straight week, Raw had more viewers than Monday Night Football.
-They went to the Democratic National Convention where Josh Matthews and Candice Michelle stood in the Pepsi Center in Denver. Col. They hyped the Rock the Vote registration. Candice talked to the viewers like they were three years old as she explained how viewers can decide who to vote for by going to a website to read their views. A clip aired of Shelton Benjamin posing for pictures with George Stephanopolis. Matthew said next week they’ll be Minneapolis-St. Paul for the Republican Convention. Actually, they’ll be in St. Paul. There is no “Minneapolis-St. Paul.”
-Back to the arena, Adamle announced Cena’s replacement would be Rey Mysterio. Isn’t he, like, tied up in Kane’s basement or something? Cole said, “That is one heck of a replacement.” Lawler said based on what they had heard from Kane, he thought we had seen the last of Rey. Cole wondered what Kane thinks of all of this. They went into a plug for the entire Unforgiven line-up including the Smackdown Scramble and Michaels vs. Jericho “unsanctioned.”
-They showed Batista heading to the entrance tunnel for the main event.
6 — BATISTA vs. KANE
The full ring intro for Batista took place first. They showed the cover of “Muscle & Fitness” magazine featuring Batista. It looked like they pasted Batista’s head onto Vince McMahon’s body – he was that imposing, impressive, massive, and cut! Then Kane’s ring intro took place. There’s 15 minutes left in the second hour as this match began. There’s no way they’ve going to ask these two to fill 15-plus minutes, are they? They bring out the worst in each other.
They actually mat wrestled early. It was a little awkward, maybe very awkward, but it was ambitious. They got to their feet at 2:00. Kane caught a cahrging Batista with an elbow. Batista caught Kane with a kick to his gut (he was aiming higher). He then clotheslined Kane over the top rope to the floor. Kane threw the top of the ringside steps to the floor and then knocked over a chair at ringside. Cole said Kane was out of control as they cut to a break
Kane had Batista in a chinlock after the break. They showed that during the break Kane took over with an uppercut. Batista came back with a kick to the face as Kane sat on the mat, then went for a spear. Kane caught Batista in the throat, then set up a chokeslam. Batista powered out, but Kane dropkicked Batista’s ankles at 7:00. They hyped the encore of Raw on USA Network beginning after this live telecast on Sci-Fi. Kane worked over Batista’s legs for a couple minutes. He rammed Batista’s leg into the ringside steps at 10:00. Kane rammed Batista’s knee into the mat. Batista clutched it in pain, then applied another leglock. Batista finally countered with a cross armbreaker. Kane writhed in pain and forced a break with his legs in the ropes. Kane then went right back to work on Batista’s leg. Batista showed life with an explosive forearm to Kane’s face, but collapsed and clutched his knee. Kane lifted Batista, but Batista slipped out and powerslammed Kane. He landed and clutched his knee again. Batista was doing a nice job selling the knee injury consistently throughout. Batista used a drop toe hold to send Kane face-first into the middle turnbuckle. He followed with a clothesline, but Kane countered with a throat-grab. Batista elbowed out before he was chokeslammed and hit a spinebuster. He shook the top rope and stomped the mat despite his battered leg. Kane countered by swiping at Batista’s leg to sweep him to the mat. Kane then dragged Batista’s to the corner and swung his leg into the post at 14:00. He hit Batista in the leg with a chair. The ref called for the bell.
WINNER: Batista via DQ in 15:00.
STAR RATING: *3/4 — Pretty clunky and unambitious athletically, but they stayed away from anything they couldn’t pull off. They sold consistently when called for and showed good intensity. It still was pretty long and dragged a bit.
-Batista managed to grab the chair and give Kane several chairshots to his legs in return. Batista grabbed his knee at ringside as Kane grabbed his in the ring. Cole said they beat the heck out of each other and wondered aloud how it’d affect them in the Championship Scramble in two weeks.