What is up wrestling fans, I am the WrestlingNerd bringing you another written review. Today, we take a look at WWE Raw on 7/4/11. After last week's promo by CM Punk which shook up the wrestling world and now being suspended, how would they follow it up this week? Well, let's take a look and start the review.
After a recap of Punk's actions from last week, we open the show with a serious John Cena. I should note that in the opening video, Punk was edited out of the credits to continue with the established kayfabe. Cena talks about how he has been told by the higher ups to pretend that Punk was never around and he will get the Chris Benoit treatment. He adds that he disagrees with Vince McMahon suspending Punk and says even though he doesn't agree with Punk's choice of words, he earned the right to the title match and says he has the right to Freedom of Speech. He finally concludes his promo by saying Vince will be here later tonight and he is going to confront Vince about this mattter. Overall, an opening that sets up or does some foreshadowing for later on in the evening. I have to be upfront and say that I generally look forward to both the conflicts and action every week I tune into a wrestling program (or how bad it can get at times), but I think this week was an exception because it was pretty clear what most wrestling fans were interested in seeing or hearing more about Punk's storyline. We wanted to learn more about Punk and how much further the storyline would go here and I think we could honestly care less about the other stuff going around. Still, I guess we can at least talk about the other things that happened tonight. Once again, I have to save the best for last, and I had a couple of theories that I wanted to toss around.....but later.....
Match #1: Kelly Kelly and Eve vs Bella Twins
This match was nothing but cheap dancing and women shaking their asses. Did Michael Bay direct this match? In fact, all that is missing is an explosion...
Anyway, Kelly wins with the Infamassour for the clean win. Does anyone honestly care about the current direction of the diva division? I think we should start a year long countdown for Kharma unless they plan to do something with Beth Phoenix or Natalya. Based on the fact that Kelly is champ, I don't think that is the case. By the way, epic fail moment where Kelly is trying to mock the Bellas by throwing the the "L" for loser. She had it backwords. Well, she is a blonde, right...
Winner via pinfall: Kelly Kelly and Eve
Backstage scene where R-Truth is on the phone. He was talking to some random guy to get him out of some trouble until he is forced into an interview. Dude, screw the interview, I want to be on the tail end of the phone conservation since it sounds a lot more interesting. Oh well, I guess we have to wait to find out about Truth's issues another day. Anyway, Truth says during the interview how it is a conspiracy since he beat Cena last week and thus should be the #1 Contender. Alberto Del Rio and talks about destiny and such. Del Rio, you have been talking about destiny since January. Can you think of something new?
Match #2: Santino and Kozlov vs David Otunga and Michael McGuillicutty
Nothing overly amazing about this match, but I suppose it was fair for what it was. The finish comes when Michael hits a Swinging Neckbreaker for the clean win. Sometimes, I really wish WWE would actually put some time and effort into the tag team division. In fact, I just wish wrestling would showcase this a little more. I know there will never be a big draw for tag team wrestling, but you can at least try. Oh, and Zack Ryder came out after the match and said "Woo, woo, woo...". I bet the IWC was jizzing in their pants since they have made Ryder the new internet favorite. He is ok, but I think the IWC is overhyping him to a degree.
Winner via pinfall: David Otunga and Michael McGuillicutty
Backstage interview with the Miz. He complains about Alex Riley and claims he should be in the #1 Contenders Match. Technically, isn't Miz already in a #1 Contenders Match being one of the MITB competators? Also, a backstage scene with Sgt. Slaughter and Evan Bourne. Bourne and Slaughter are talking about Independence Day (not that horrible movie, mind you) and singing the.....wait....did Bourne just talk? I think this has been the first time I have heard Bourne talk all of this year. It's so weird to hear him speak. Anyway, Jack Swagger interrupts and says he should sing the Pledge of Allegiance and challenges the HOFamer to a match. Yeah, so we have a match. Hmm....an under 30 year old vs an old man....I wonder who's going to win?
Match #3: Jack Swagger vs Sgt. Slaughter
Very short match without much to say. Swagger hit the Swagger Bomb and he wins the match cleanly. So far, I haven't been impressed with these matches and I just want to hear something about Punk and that storyline. Come on, I don't want to see this crap, I want to see the main storyline and Punk. Joking aside, WWE needs to pick up the action.
Winner via pinfall: Jack Swagger
After the match, Swagger continues to attack because he is evil and Bourne comes out for the save. Once he saves the HOFamer, he sings the Pledge of Allegiance.
Match #4: Alberto Del Rio vs R-Truth vs Rey Mysterio winner is the #1 Contender to the WWE Championship
FINALLY, a decent matchup. It took us a while to get there, but this was a pretty decent contest. Lots of back and forth action and it really seemed like all three guys went out there to deliver. The finish comes when Rey hits 619/Splash on Truth. He is about to win until Del Rio comes in to interrupt the count and locks the CAB on Mysterio. Rey taps out and Del Rio has won the match. I personally liked how Del Rio won the match, because it showed his cunning as a heel and showed off how he can win matches without so much shenangians going around. I have a little more I want to discuss about Del Rio later in this review, so I will save that for the end.
Winner and "NEW" #1 Contender: Alberto Del Rio
We are back in the ring where Vickie Guerrero is out to celebrate America and Dolph Ziggler's birthday and wants to sing Ziggler happy birthday. Hey King, your not allowed to make such terrible fat jokes at someone unless you are honestly thinner than them. Seriously, it's almost embarrassing how Vickie has lost so much weight and yet you can still see that beer belly on the King and HE has the nerve to make fat jokes. I get that faces are just poking fun of the heels, but either make the jokes funny or find another way of making fun of her. Anyway, after she sings, Ziggler talks about how the US Title is the major title and he is the best thing in the company (Yeah, if the personality of wrestlers was just sapped away by a tractor beam). Kofi Kingston comes out to crash the party by somehow getting Vickie to sit on the cake. Ziggler and Kofi brawl for a while and they somehow push Vickie head first into the cake. This pretty much ends the segment as Kofi chases Ziggler to the back and Vickie walks away slowly. I guess this means the Kofi/Ziggler feud continues....*sigh*....
Match #5: Miz vs Alex Riley
I thought this matchup was better than the one they had at CP, but I think the reason for that was because Riley got to show more offense as opposed to being on defense at the PPV. The finish comes when Riley sneaks a backslide pinfall for the win. I think Riley winning a match like this against the Miz is the best approach since Miz's stock has fallen since dropping the title and could end up becoming like Wade Barrett if he keeps losing with legit finishers. After the match, Miz totally dives into the crazy pills and he destroyes Riley. I guess this means the feud will continue. Ok, without further delay, the segment we have been waiting for all night long.
Winner via pinfall: Alex Riley
McMahon has arrived in the ring. He talks about how Punk deserved to be suspended and claimed how Punk made these insane offers during contract negotiations and how he thinks Punk will never be a big star. After claiming that Punk is nothing more than a punk, Cena interrupts. Cena calls Vince a hyprocrite since Vince has always been a very outspoken guy and how he is overreacting to Punk being outspoken against the company. He also reminded us how Vince used to have balls and would get involved with the talents and now claims that Vince has lost his will to fight by taking the easy route in suspending Punk. Vince finally says that the real reason he suspended Punk is because he didn't want to chance the possibility of Punk walking out of the WWE with HIS championship and how it will embarrass the WWE. Cena claims that is a bs excuse and demands for the match to happen. Vince warns Cena to NOT piss him off or else he end up like Hogan (Better listen to him John. Last I checked, Hogan is in TNA....AHHHHHH!!!!) and he doesn't care what the fans want because this is HIS company. Cena then thinks about it for a while and decides since Vince is being unfair and that this is HIS company, he doesn't want to be apart of it anymore and hands Vince the championship and walks away. Since there is no way Vince would let his face of the company walk out, he gets angry and says Cena has his match and Punk is back in.....BUT there is a stipulation. He says if Punk walks out of Chicago with the WWE Championship, Cena is fired from the WWE. The show ends with Cena thinking about the news.
Just a fair warning, I have a lot of things I want to talk about here, so you might want to grab a drink or a snake because this is going to be pretty long. So, I have had a week to think about Punk's promo and I asked myself a question "Why would the WWE let Punk cut a worked shoot promo?". I think most wrestling fans can agree that the promo was brilliantly done by Punk, but you also had to wonder what purpose did it serve? I think I have a couple of theories and I think some of you can agree. I think the reason for the Punk worked shoot was for the WWE to FINALLY let Punk have his own feud and to really find out how valuable he is with the company if he were to walk out the door. This PPV is centered around Punk and Cena and with Punk finally getting a chance to be the main center of attention, this can also make the WWE find out how valuable Punk is with the PPV sales. The last three PPV sales have been down since WM and it is pretty clear the WWE needed to try something to shake things up and get people interested. In other words, the higher the sales are for this upcoming PPV, the more it shows how valuable Punk is with the company. I like to think of Punk as a modern day Rowdy Roddy Piper. Just very controversial with this mouth and a brilliant promo cutter and an outstanding heel, and the WWE needs to keep Punk around. As of this moment, we still have no idea if Punk is really gone after the PPV or if Punk has resigned another long term deal to stay with the company. I know IWC likes to think otherwise, but IWC thinks they are no it alls because as you all know, if its on the internet, it is automatically true...quite ridiculous. I think the WWE had Punk cause such a stir to really find out where Punk is sitting with the casual fans and the WWE Universe, and thus they can figure out how much more Punk deserves in these contract negotiations and either pay him the money and just let Punk keep his name. I think after one week, even though the next taping of the show was taped the same day of the Punk promo, it caused up enough attention to get people invested in watching the WWE and to really check out and see what this Punk guy is all about. As far as the promo between Vince and Cena tonight, I thought it was pretty well done. I actually bought some of Cena's character in actually walking out of the company, and Vince is always convincing as an asshole and it was great to see that character talk in that angry voice. I personally find myself very interested in where all of this goes, and there are some routes they can take here that would be very interesting or can be a disappoinment. I can understand how fans can be angry over this segment since a lot of them could be saying how this rivalry is now centered around Cena more than it is Punk. I can see where that argument is coming from, but I would like to think this centers BOTH guys and not so much one more than the other. Still, in my opinion, this is more Punk's storyline than Cena's storyline. I can also understand people being upset with how this set up pretty much gives it away that Cena will walk out the winner if Punk is indeed legit with this being his final match at the moment. I personally don't buy that argument since this one can go eitherway and Punk has a good chance of winning this match as much as Cena does. I would think the majority of the complaints are coming from the IWC, and if they are already complaining in "WWE already screwed up.....", well, not much I can do about that. Still, it would prove what I have said about the IWC for a long time now: never satisfied with either of the current products and you will complain about anything. Even though I am a wrestling fan who posts on the internet, I have never considered myself a member of the IWC. Because I had some extra time to think about this whole thing, I came out with some possibilities that the WWE could do with an angle like this. One of the ones I think most people are quickly thinking of is Punk beating Cena at the PPV, and one of the MITB winners cashes in on Punk and steals the title. Punk would leave the company just as he said and Cena begins a feud with the MITB/new title holder. This is where I think someone like Del Rio can shine. Del Rio has been drawing very basic heat, but if he were to crash the feel good party of the hometown hero and steal the title from him, it would give him a lot more heat than normal and might finally put Del Rio back on track to be a bigger heel. Cena wouldn't get "fired" since the stip is if Punk walks out of Chicago the champ, Cena is fired. Sometimes, you gotta pay close attention to the lines since they worded it correctly and didn't say "If Cena loses, he is fired regardless". The other possibility would be for Cena to win the match and that be that. Another one is having Punk lose the title match, but the MITB holder cashes it in on Cena and steals the title. I have to say I would be very disappointed with the WWE if they did the last two possibilities since they kinda wasted Punk's promo and this being his moment in the spotlight. Now....HERE is an insane idea that I personally hope happens because it would really be something, but this one would have to have Punk remain with the company. Again, there is always a chance that Punk has resigned another contract and is just overworking the website reporters and IWC since they claim how they know more about wrestling than everyone else. I personally never make that claim. Don't get me wrong, I know a lot about pro wrestling since I have been watching it a long time, but I have been wrong from time to time and I am ok with that. Anyway, back to my ultimate theory. There have been reports of Cena being injured with some minor injuries. These reports can be true or complete bulls***, but I have been noticing Cena moving slower in the ring and he does seem to be performing at a lower level. They could use this storyline to "fire" Cena for a few months and then come back and restart his feud with Punk, who has been ruling over on Raw as the top heel. I know the odds of Cena sitting out SummerSlam is a bit far fetched, but I think if Vince thinks about it, he has to protect the bigger investment. The investment would of course be the Rock vs Cena matchup at WM 28. In other words, from a business standpoint, there is going to be a lot of money with that matchup and Vince would sacrifice Cena sitting out their second biggest PPV of the year to make sure the main event for his #1 PPV is still intact. Wow, I haven't even talked about my theory yet, but that's what happens since I can talk about wrestling for hours since I love this s***. Anyway, here is my theory. The match is getting near the wire and it appears the Cena is about to pull yet another miracle victory, but that is when Vince shows up and causes some sort of distraction or does something to help Punk win the match. Punk pins the guy and steals the title and now we have Vince and Punk working together. Think about it? This could have been a master plan thought up by both Punk and Vince in order to get rid of Cena by basically forcing Cena to stick up for Punk, but had to put his job on the line because that is the kind of guy Cena is. Punk would reveal that the whole notion of MITB being his last match was just a trick to lure Cena in. In other words, they would have basically tricked Cena this entire segment just to get him out of the picture. You can also have Punk pull a Stone Cold and reveal the master plan, but decide to take out Vince because....he's a punk and wants all the attention. For the next few months, we can have Punk rule with an iron fisk and establish himself as the main heel in the WWE. It would be shades of the Attitude Era and it would totally be something that is out of the PG element. I don't hate the PG era, but it would be great to see the WWE break this a lot more and try something that isn't predictable and out of the blue. This can also start something between Punk and Triple H since Punk has already been vocal on his thoughts with the Game. Yeah, I know it was a worked shoot, but the seeds are totally planted for it. Once Cena has recovered from his injuries and Triple H has failed to dethrone Punk, Vince would have to eat his ego and "hire" Cena back with the company. Ok.....that was a mouthfull. I realize that my little theory is a complete longshot and it probably will never happen since it really depends if Punk signed a new deal or not, but I would totally be invested if they did something like this and I can dream, can't I? Who says I am not allowed to think of my own creative ideas? Eithway, I can definitely say that after tonight's promo, I am still very invested in this entire storyline and I would like to see where it goes. There are a lot more possible endings to this kind of match, and I think that is what makes it so interesting. I can talk about this a little more, but I think I have made my point. Still, I just hope at the end of the day that the WWE doesn't waste an big opportunity like this and it ends up becoming a letdown. I know that TNA is guilty of dropping the ball more often than WWE these days, but the WWE has done their fairshare of dropping the ball as well. Still, too early to be thinking that and I want to see what Punk and Cena have to say towards each other next week. It would also be something if Punk and Vince can confront each other next week. Screw SS, MITB might be the true second best PPV based on the storyline here.
Nothing overly amazing about the segments that didn't involve the major storyline. In fact, you instantly forget about the other stuff that happened on the show because the talk last week was Punk and I don't think that has changed after a week. That is the power of Punk. He was the talk of the wrestling world for another week and he didn't even make an appearance on tv. In terms of this week's action, the only match that really stood out was the Triple Threat Match (Oh, that should be interesting how that gets addressed on next week's show since Del Rio has something to argue against). The action was lacking and some of the promos/segments where nothing spectacular.....except for everything geared towards the major storyline. I enjoyed Cena's opening and really like the Cena/Vince confrontation. It felt like it was genuine and didn't seemed forced. I felt Cena delivered one of his better promos as of late tonight, and when Vince is angry, people pay attention. I think the rest of the show is forgettable, but those 20-25 minutes is what people were interested in hearing about and I think it did its job because there is some interesting buildup with this whole Punk storyline. I say the rest of Raw is skippable, but the major storyline is worth checking out and you might want to see this showing for yourself. That is going to do it for the review and I hope you enjoyed it. As always, tell me what you thought of my review and tonight's show. You can also see me on blogspot/blogger if you search the WrestlingNerd Show. I will see you guys and girls on the next WrestlingNerd show, see you next time and we want Punk.