KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (11/14)
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The following report was originally published on PWTorch.com ten years ago this week…
KELLER’S RAW REPORT
JUNE 15, 2009
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
-The show opened cold with Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler at ringside. Cole said Mr. Vince McMahon was present and is expected to name a new G.M. in the wake of Vickie Guerrero’s resignation. Lawler chimed in and said he’s heard rumors McMahon has more to say than just that.
-They went to clips of Batista taking the beating from Evolution last week, then Triple H making the save.
-The Raw opening aired, followed by wide shot of the crowd including a fan sign that said, “The real viper is in my pants.” Nice. Cole gave a high energy intro to the big show. He and Lawler hyped the Fatal Four-way main event for the WE Championship tonight. They cut to Josh Matthews and Matt Striker (speaking of vipers) who hyped the ECW Title match. Todd Grisham and Jim Ros hyped the Triple Threat match for the World Hvt. Title. If only ever PPV had this stacked of a line-up and this much energy at the start!
1 — CHRIS JERICHO vs. REY MYSTERIO – IC Title match
Before the match, he said Raw has gone in the toilet since he was drafted to Smackdown. He insulted the fans, then said his mask will be his downfall and only Jericho can be his savior and set him free. Rey knocked Jericho out of the ring early, but when he dove at him, Jericho caught him and dropped him across the announce table. They cut to a commercial break at 2:00.
Ross stressed the heritage of Rey’s mask throughout the early minutes of the match. Jericho got in sustained offense after the break. Rey came back at 6:00 and dove onto Jericho on the floor. A crawler hyped that Vince McMahon would appoint a new G.M. later on the show. They put a countdown clock on for the start of the World Title match, which is annoying since they shouldn’t have any idea, at least not overly within the context of the show, when this match was going to end. Rey gave Jericho a top rope sunset flip for a near fall at 7:00. Then he set up a 619, but Jericho moved. Jericho then charged at Rey, but Rey hit a springboard moonsault press for a two count. Rey then hit the 619 with success. As Rey went for a West Coast Pop, Jericho grabbed at Rey’s mask. Rey protected the mask, giving Jericho a chance to hit the Code Breaker out of nowhere for the win.
WINNER: Jericho in 8:00 to retain the IC Title.
STAR RATING: **1/2 — Very good eight minute match. Nice finish, with Rey proving Jericho right in that his mask was his downfall. Ross pointed that out, too.
-Cole and Lawler plugged the WWE Title match.
-They showed Vince McMahon having tie adjusted backstage as he readied to make his big announcement.
-Josh Matthews interviewed Orton backstage. Orton bragged about taking out Batista, Triple H, and Ric Flair. He said Triple H resorted to the sledgehammer because he knows he can’t get to him on his own. Orton said he’ll take back the WWE Championshp, at which point Triple H will be irrelevant. John Cena walked in and stood next to Orton and said fans wonder why a Superstar with so much talent continues to act the way he does. Orton stood by as Cena cracked jokes. Cena turned to Orton and said that oil he puts on his skin might be starting to rot his brain if he’s discounting the involvement of Big Show and himself. Orton just walked away.
-Back to Cole and Lawler, they talked about Vickie Guerrero’s resignation, then aired a clip. Cole then interviewed McMahon who spoke from backstage. He announced that after much deliberation and consideration of the candidates, he’s not going to announce it. Cole asked if not him, who’s going to make the decision. McMahon said when someone gives you an offer that you can’t refuse, no matter what, don’t refuse it. He said therefore, with mixed emotions, his announcement is that he selling Monday Night Raw. Lawler demanded to know to whom. McMahon said he will announce that as soon as they clear up the WWE Championship situation. He said if someone would have told him he’d be announcing this person as the new owner of Raw, he would have told you no chance in hell, but it was an offer he couldn’t refuse.
-Lawler and Cole reacted with shock to McMahon’s announcement. Lawler said in all of his years in WWE, he’s never heard such shocking news.
2 — TOMMY DREAMER vs. CHRISTIAN – ECW Title match
Josh Matthews asked Striker if he had any idea who bought Raw. Striker brought his right-wing political perspective into things by saying maybe it was President Obama because “he seems to own everything else.” They showed a countdown clock saying the World Title mach would begin in ten minutes. Again, “how would they know? since Striker said at the start of this match that it was “one fall to a finish.” Will they stop this match mid-stream and re-start it later if one of them doesn’t win first? Nice pace to the action. Christian went for a sunset flip at 3:00 for a near fall. Dreamer reversed leverage and scored a two count. Christian climbed to the top rope, but Dreamer moved. Christian sold an ankle injury. Dreamer then caught him with a small package as Christian clutched his ankle while standing on one leg and got a clean three count.
WINNER: Dreamer in 4:00.
STAR RATING: *1/2 — Good short match. I like a finish where a relatively fluke ankle injury can lead to a finish out of nowhere. It’s better that than someone of Christian’s stature losing out of the blue while otherwise fresh. Not much crowd heat here, but that’s no surprise given who was involved and that it was two babyfaces.
-Lawler and Cole hyped the Fatal Four-way match was up next.
-A “Please DO NOT Try This At Home” WWE PSA aired.
-The Bella twins and Kelly Kelly wondered who bought Raw and whether it’d affect their job status.
-Footage aired of Batista’s beating last week, and then graphic footage of Batista’s torn left biep muscle being repaired. Cole said the bicep was torn completely from the bone. They gave about 1.5 seconds of warning that the footage was gruesome. Cole said he’ll be out of action for several months.
3 — TRIPLE H vs. RANDY ORTON vs. JOHN CENA vs. THE BIG SHOW – Fatal Four-way for the WWE Championship
As Orton walked to the ring, Cole said the WWE Magazine comes out tomorrow. He said Orton is on the cover. They showed the cover. Cole then said if Orton doesn’t hold the WWE Title after tonight, “they may have to re-shoot the cover.” So Cole is suggesting they haven’t already been printed, but the magazine is going to be newsstands tomorrow? Or that they’d all be reprinted before tomorrow? Big Show came out next, then John Cena, then Triple H. So Triple H gets the “biggest star” slot of being the final entrant. Triple H went after Orton at the start, while Show went after Cena. Triple H and Orton battled at ringside as Show and Cena stayed in the ring. Well, until Show tossed Cena across the ring and to the floor. They cut to a very early break less than a minute into the match. They wanted to guarantee that they’d be back before the top of the hour at the usual start time. It’d be a ratings killer to be at commercial break at the start of the hour.
The wrestlers were still paired off after the break. Cole and Lawler reset the show near the top of the hour, letting new viewers know they started an hour early. They hyped the Raw sale announcement. At 6:00 Cena and Triple H knocked Orton and Show out of the ring, so they fought each other for a minute. Big Show entered and knocked both men down. Orton joined back in and they went back to the same pairings.
When Cena lifted Show, but then fell backwards, Orton broke up Show’s pin attempt. Show glared at Orton, who bailed out to ringside afterward. Show blocked an Orton punt kick attempt, then beat on him in the corner. Lawler hyped that “the Raw franchise has been sold!” Show worked over Cena with a swing splash in the corner. Orton broke up that pin attempt again. Show stood and grabbed Orton and easily threw him out of the ring. Show then speared Triple H for a two count. Triple H avoided a subsequent swing-elbow attempt. Orton then entered and went for an RKO on Show. Show blocked it. Triple H gave Show a Pedigree. Cena then gave Triple H an Attitude Adjustment. Cena made the cover, but Show kicked out, having had time to recover from the Pedigree. He then gave Show an Attitude Adjustment. Orton broke up the pin and then threw Cena shoulder-first into the ringpost. Orton then gave Show an RKO and got the pin.
WINNER: Orton in 11:00 to become the WWE Champion.
STAR RATING: **1/2 — Nice pace to everything. Orton was the opportunistic heel who broke up pins and then seized on an opening in the end. Show was made to look strong throughout the match, a deliberate effort to protect him from being damaged too much by doing the job. It’s still pretty ludicrous that Orton was put in this match given that he’d the one who went outside of all rules of conduct in forcing Batista to vacate the WWE Title. But unfortunately WWE doesn’t want us to think too hard about that type of thing.
-They showed Vince McMahon walking toward the entrance tunel backstage.
-An ad aired for ECW hyping Evan Bourne vs. Mark Henry.
-Vince McMahon walked to the ring. He toned down his oddball walk slightly. Cole and Lawler wondered who could now own Raw. This is the type of announcement, that if made a week or two early, could have led to even bigger ratings. McMahon said he comes to the fans with a heavy heart. He said he’s done soul searching and consulted with friends and family. He said at this stage of his career, he’s convinced he’s doing the right thing by selling Raw. He said it’ll be independently owned and operated with someone he has had dealings with. He said it’s a good deal, so he can’t allow personal feelings to get in the way. He said, “I’ve been compensated in overwhelming fashion, which for a man of my standards is saying something.” He then introduced the new owner via satellite – Donald J. Trump. Trump said Vince has never listened to the fans. He said he’s going to do things that have never been before. He said it’s time for fans to get what they’re owed. Like three world title matches in one show, perhaps! Trump said a little appreciation for fan loyalty is in order. He said his first act will be something that he was too selfish and cheap to make happen. He said Raw will be presented live next week on USA Network commercial-free. McMahon said he can’t be serious. Trump repeated himself. He said he’ll be at Raw next week to do things the way they should be done. He warned McMahon not to get in his way. He reminded Vince he had so much fun shaving his head.
Not much of a pop for Trump. The whole McMahon-Trump exchange was awkward, as Trump appeared to be pre-recorded. This is quite a stunt, and who knows where it will lead or whether it’ll make a bit of difference? I don’t even know if this is the type of “fake story” that the mainstream media will latch onto.
McMahon said Orton’s challenger at the Bash will be determined in a ten-man battle royal later. He said he hopes to be able to say farewell next week on Raw. He then threw to a commercial.
-They recapped the Trump announcement.
4 — MICKIE JAMES vs. ROSA MENDEZ
Maryse came to ringside at the start of the match to watch from ringside. Cole asked Lawler if the rumor is true that Maryse is dodging Mickey James. Lawler said that’s the word going around because Mickie has proven she can beat Maryse. Cole went back to speculating about the “ownership change” of Raw. Mickie won with a DDT clean. Maryse and Mickie jawed back and forth afterward. Maryse got on the ring apron. Mickie charged at her and Maryse leaped to the floor and left with her belt.
WINNER: Mickie James in 3:00. Not a lot to it, but fine for what it was.
-Goldust and Hornswoggle were in the ring shooting t-shirts to the crowd with an air gun. Miz came out and did some mic work before the match, bragging about leaving Cena unconscious last week. He said tonight he’ll throw him over the top rope and win the battle royal to earn a championship match at the Bash. He said he won’t stop there, because he wants it all – the magazine covers, movies, endorsement. Miz told Goldust and Hornswoggle to get out of the ring. Goldust walked up and said his mindgames are lame compared to the ones he used to play on his opponents. Miz said Goldust isn’t one to give career advice after his ups and downs the last ten years. He said he’d beat him up, but nobody would care. He then said he wanted to impress Trump, so he attacked Goldust and then blasted Hornswoggle with the air gun. Lawler pointed out it wasn’t a real gun. I like the extra TV time given to Goldust and the acknowledgment of his character’s history. If Dustin Rhodes has his life together, he’s talented enough they should work on moving him into a more significant position on the card. They don’t have enough talent depth to afford to have him in a fourth tier slot like they do. Miz continues to be very strong on the mic.
-A commercial break for Superstars announced Carlito & Primo Colon & Christian vs. Jack Swagger & Tyson Kidd & David Hart Smith.
-Matthews interviewed C.M. Punk backstage. He asked him if he had any regrets cashing in the MITB on Jeff Hardy. Punk said everybody loved what he did when Edge was the victim. He said everybody loved him so much, they gave him a Slammy Award for it. He said since he cashed in on Jeff, everyone thinks he’s supposed to have a morality crisis. Matt Hardy walked in and said he shouldn’t feel any regret over what he did because if he was in the same situation, he would have done the same thing. Punk said that’d be tough since he never won MITB and has never held a World Title. Punk said not to pretend that they’re friends. He said he lives on jealousy and spite, whereas he has earned everything he’s gotten in his life. Punk walked away and Hardy sneered. Good promo from Punk, hitting the points he needs to hit if he’s to remain a babyface, or do a slow-burn heel turn. The interaction with Hardy cements that WWE is trying to continue to portray him as a babyface, which they need to because they have no babyfaces on Smackdown to take Punk’s place, but two top heels in Edge and Jericho.
-Ring intros took place for Edge and Jeff Hardy.
5 — C.M. PUNK vs. EDGE vs. JEFF HARDY — WWE Title match
Hardy’s music was still playing after the break. The crowd got to hear that start to finish at least twice. Punk’s ring intro then took place. After individual ring intros, Ross noted that Punk got a mixed reaction. The Hardy fans are resenting him and booing him, despite Punk slamming Jeff’s heel brother and rival Matt Hardy minutes earlier.
The bell rang to start the match at the start of the third hour. Great timing of the show. Punk dove onto Edge at ringside. Hardy then dove onto both Punk and Edge. Punk took control in the ring. Grisham asked Ross for his take on Trump buying Raw. Ross said he doesn’t know what to think, but Trump has a tremendous track record with successful businesses. He said he’s interested to see what changes are made starting next week. It’s good they’re talking about that because it should continue to be one of the main focuses of this show, along with the wrestling and title developments.
After ten minutes of back and forth action, Punk set up a Go To Sleep on Hardy. Edge chopped his legs out from under Punk and then applied a sharpshooter. Hardy came up behind Edge and applied a sleeper. That forced Edge to let go of the sleeper. A minute later Hardy climbed to the top rope. Edge shoved him off and Hardy straddled the top rope. Edge then waited for Punk to rise and charged, but Punk turned it into a powerslam for a believable near fall. Hardy clutched his crotch, which Grisham called “the most delicate of areas.” Hardy got up and went for a Twist of Fate, but Edge speared him instead. Edge was slow to capitalize. All three were groggy and down on the mat.
Punk charged at Edge in the corner, but Edge shoved him over the top rope. Punk landed awkwardly on the steel steps. A trainer checked on him on the floor as he clutched his left knee. Meanwhile, Edge and Hardy collided with simultaneous bodyblocks mid-ring. Two trainers, meanwhile, checked on Punk’s leg. Ross said, “With Punk at ringside, odds are we’re going to crown a new World Heavyweight Champion tonight.” Hardy hit a Whisper in the Wind on Edge for a near fall, broken up by Punk. Hardy went after Punk, aggressively kicking at his injured leg. Edge surprised Hardy with a small package for a near fall. Ross called it an inside cradle, since “small package” seems to be an out of vogue name for that move within WWE officially. Hardy climbed to the top rope and hit the Swanton Bomb on Edge. Punk broke up the pin attempt by yanking Hardy to the floor. He rammed Hardy back-first into the ringside steps. Punk rolled into the ring and leverage pinned Edge for the win.
WINNER: Punk in 15:00.
STAR RATING: ***1/2 — Really good match, pretty much PPV worthy in pacing, intensity, and storyline advancement. They did a good job building the “pick your side” feud between Punk and Hardy. Ross did seem to begin sided against Punk a little, saying his ramming Hardy into the ringside steps may have been uncalled for, which was strange considering Hardy just attacked Punk’s injured leg seconds earlier, and Punk did nothing illegal by breaking up pins.
-As Punk celebrated, Smackdown G.M. Teddy Long walked out onto the stage. He congratulated Punk and then announced that he’d face Hardy one-on-one against Hardy at the Bash. Punk didn’t react like a heel, just contemplating the challenge, not resisting it.
-Cole and Lawler recapped the Trump announcement and hyped the battle royal, including a picture of the ten participants.
-WWE Fact: More males watched Raw last Monday than every show on cable and every show on ABC, CW, Fox, and NBC. (But not CBS, apparently.)
6 — CARLITO & PRIMO COLON vs. THE HART DYNASTY (David Hart Smith & Tyson Kidd w/Natalya)
Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase joined Cole and Lawler at ringside. DiBiase said Cole should be honored to be on TV with them. Cody told Cole and Lawler to quiet down and let them talk. He was a little clumsy with his wording, too. They seemed nervous and green on the mic. DiBiase said it’d be an honor to win the battle royal, but they’re in it to be sure certain others don’t win. When Carlito hit Smith with the Back Cracker, Rhodes and DiBiase jumped him to cause a DQ. They threw the Colons out of the ring.
WINNERS: Carlito & Primo via DQ in 3:00.
-They showed Triple H heading toward the entrance tunnel. He’s walking really weirdly.
-A video package aired on WWE’s tour in Europe including their first-ever visit to Prague, Czech Republic, plus France and Finland. Lilian raved about visiting an arena in France built in 70 A.D. Cool footage aired. If that was an NBA arena, they’d have torn it down in 80 A.D. to create a new arena with more luxury suites.
-Another recap aired of Vince McMahon’s announcement about Trump.
-Santino Marella sat on a couch backstage with Vince. Vince demanded to know what he wanted. Santino said he wanted to know if he still had a job. McMahon said Trump may find his sister attractive, but said there’s no guarantee since Trump will do whatever he wants. McMahon’s cell phone rang with the “No Chance in Hell” song as his ring tone. Trump apparently told McMahon he had a big announcement to make at the end of the show. McMahon asked him to tell him now. Trump said he wanted to make a big impact himself. McMahon hung up and said he can’t stand a billionaire with a massive ego.”
-Lilian Garcia began ring intros for the battle royal, beginning with Rhodes and DiBiase, who were already in the ring. Then MVP made his full ring intro. Then Matt Hardy, William Regal, Kofi Kingston, The Miz, and Big Show. As they cut to a break, Cole assured viewers that Triple H and Cena would be in the match, too.
7 — TEN-MAN BATTLE ROYAL FOR BASH TITLE SHOT
Randy Orton walked out in the opening minute to watch. Hardy almost eliminated Miz at 2:00. Big Show stood center ring and took shots at nearly everyone. When Show looked at Hardy, Hardy ran under the top rope. In a hilarious and clever spot, Show yanked Hardy back into the ring over the top rope to re-legalize him, then tossed him right back over the top rope to officially eliminate him. He eliminated MVP next. There goes the one legit chance at a fresh PPV main event to just shake things up a little, as noen of the remaining babyfaces are likely to get that boost other than perhaps Kofi. Everyone teamed together, in their collective best interest, to eliminate Big Show. They cut to a break.
-A commercial said next week “The Donald Trump Era Begins!”
Back live in the ring, it was down to Cena, Triple H, Rhodes, DiBiase, Kingston, and Regal as Orton continued to look on. At 12:00 Triple H and Cena faced off. Triple H threw the first punch. They exchanged punches. Triple H tried to lift and toss Cena. Rhodes tried to help. Cena dropped down and lifted Triple H. Triple H fought free. They both went down after a collision. Kofi caught a charging Rhodes with a kick, and then DiBiase got the same treatment. Kofi mounted DiBiase in the corner and punched him, then flipped down and went after Rhodes. DiBiase surprised Kingston with a Snake Eyes. DiBiase and Rhodes surprised Kofi with an elimination. As they high-fived one another, Regal went after them. They fended him off and tossed him over the top rope. Cole hyped the major Trump announcement after this match. Rhodes and DiBiase double-teamed Triple H, and then split off to beat on Cena, too. Cena backdropped a charging DiBiase to eliominate him. He tossed Rhodes next, but Rhodes held onto the top rope and skinned the cat back in. Triple H charged and eliminated Rhodes with a clothesline. That left Cena vs. Triple H. Triple H gave Cena a Pedigree. Rhodes and DiBiase jumped back in and attacked Triple H illegally. Two referees tried to separate them. The Miz popped up from under the ring. Lawler and Cole said he had never officially been eliminated. He slinked back into the ring and waited for Cena and Triple H to rise. He charged them, but they ducked and Miz flew over the top rope. Triple H then tossed Cena over the top rope to win, assuring a Stale Rerun #1 (Orton-Hunter) instead of Stale Rerun A (Orton-Cena).
WINNER: Triple H in 20:00.
STAR RATING: **1/2 — Better than average battle royal.
-Donald Trump came on the big screen and announced that the Triple H challenge of Orton next week won’t be at the Bash, but rather live on Raw next week, and it’ll be a Last Man Standing match. Orton huffed and puffed on the stage, then hung his head. Triple H trash talked his direction and then posed as the show ended.
Chris Jericho on Raw fans: “All of you hypocrites are still the same ignorant, insipid, baldous madities (??) you’ve always been.”
John Cena on Randy Orton: “Why does a WWE Superstar with so much talent continue to be such a gutless, spineless, disrespectful grand wizard of the Baby Oil Boy’s Club?”
Matt Striker speculating on who Vince McMahon sold Raw to: “Maybe it’s Barack Obama. He seems to own everything else.”
Jerry Lawler: “Most people don’t like rich people, yet they’re the first in line to buy lottery tickets.”
The Miz: “I have a message for Donald Trump… If you’re really looking to take this show to the next level, then the new face of Monday Night Raw is The Miz. John Cena is the face of the past and this is the money-maker of the present and the future.”
The Miz on his fame after becoming champion: “This face will be on everything and anything, and you people will eat it up and want more.”
Goldust diminishing Miz’s mindgames with Cena: “I once gave Ahmed Johnson mouth-to-mouth to get in his head, and what to do you do? You just run yours.”
Goldust: “You should change your name to The Wiz because when you start talking, that’s what everybody stands up to take. The real reality check is that you’re a loo-loo-loo-loser.”
The Miz to Goldust: “You are in no position to talk to me about how to succeed in this business.What, is this your fourth of fifth go-around in WWE. Every time you come back, you’re hoping to recapture whatever little magic you had in the beginning. Goldust in 1999 was cool, he was funny, but Goldust 2009, you’re irrelevent, a t-shirt shooting joke, and I’d beat you down right now, but to be honest I don’t think anyone would really care, so you’re a waste of my time.”
C.M. Punk: “Unfortunately, I cashed in on Jeff so I’m supposed to have some sort of morality crisis. I put my body on the line at WrestleMania so I could win a championship, not a popularity contest. Fortunately for me, I think most of the WWE Universe agrees with me. There is the very vocal minority that maybe doesn’t see it that way.”
Ted DiBiase to Michael Cole: “It must be an honor for you to be seen on national TV with us. Look at you. You make us look more better than we already look.”
Jerry Lawler in response: “Did you say ‘more better’?” DiBiase: “Absolutely not.”
Santino to Vince McMahon: “I just wanted it be clear, although there’s a new owner of Raw, we still have our jobs, right? Let’s jus say there was a Superstar who had, I don’t know, let’s just say, a twin sister and everybody thought they were the same person because said sister had no cleavage, a five o’clock shadow, and what appeared to be a set of testicles?”
McMahon in response: “Knowing Donald, he might be attracted to your sister, but there’s no guarantee. Donald Trump will do whatever Donald Trump wants to do.”
Vince McMahon: “If there’s one thing I hate, it’s a billionaire with a huge ego.”
Santino in response: “You must hate yourself then… But next to Donald Trump, you’re not even that rich… I mean, no, no, you’re rich, and trust me, you have a humongous ego. You are a success. You’re just getting older and should spend some time with the grandkids. You’re almost 70, right? Ahh, 60. Not a day over 50. You’re younger than me. I’ve got to go!”