What is up wrestling fans, I am the WrestlingNerd bringing you another written review. Today, we take a look at WWE Raw on 7/18/11. After the epicness that was MITB and with CM Punk walking out as the champ, how would tonight play out? Well, let's find out and start the review.
We open up the show with Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis. They also show the entire roster watching this in the back on like a 27 inch tv screen. Seriously, can't they get something bigger? Anyway, the crowd starts off by chanting Punk's name, but Vince says this company will never mention that name on screen again. He also stated that Punk was the one who turned on the fans and calls hims a turd. He says they will crown a new WWE Champion tonight by putting together a tournament. There will be eight competitors in this tourney and the winner will be the new champion. Vince also says he will deal with John Cena later in the evening and mentions there will be consequences. Overall, an interesting turn of events. To keep up with the established kayfabe of Punk not being with the company, it makes senses for him to not show up immediately and they should wait. It would also be a good way of finding out how other audiences respond to Punk not being around and their continuing demand to see Punk. I think the audience gave a decent amount of cheers towards Punk. Funny thing was Punk was actually at a Chicago Cubs game earlier in the day since he is "unemployed". If Punk was really fired and wanted to do everything to hush this up, why are they still selling his merch and fans are allowed to bring in Punk signs? I pretty much think Punk has signed a new contract, but is taking a bit of a break for the time being. A series of events would definitely be on the way at the end of the show. If you saw the show, then you know that things just keep getting interesting. Again, I will have to wait til the end to discuss that.
Match #1: Alex Riley vs Miz in a WWE Championship Tournament Match
The Miz was selling the knee injury, but I almost wonder how much "selling" he was doing considering that it looks like a real injury. Seriously, did you see that fall the Miz took at MITB? That had to hurt. The match was ok for what it was worth and it ended when Miz shoved Riley towards the ref. With the slight hesitation, Miz hits SCF on Riley and moves on in the tourney. The booking made sense since Riley is still too early to be chasing the world title and he really should be going after a midcard title. Hmm....Riley vs Dolph Ziggler for the US Championship? I would like to see that match.
Winner via pinfall and advancing in the tournament: Miz
Match #2: R-Truth vs Jack Swagger in a WWE Championship Tournament Match
Pretty short match, but it was ok. The match ends when a quick roll up. I think it was a good thing to keep this match short considering this was heel vs heel and the audience has no idea who to side with. Still, Truth seems to be getting a lot of love these days. I guess as long as he isn't in Milwaukee, he will be fine.
Winner via pinfall and advancing in the tournament: R-Truth
Match #3: Alberto Del Rio vs Kofi Kingston in a WWE Championship Tournament Match
Del Rio cut a promo saying "that "guy (referring to Punk) is a chicken because he ran away and says Cena should be fired because he is way more talented than him. Ricardo Rodriguez showed up and said his usually Spanish announcing towards Del Rio. I thought Big Show killed him? Anyway, it appears he is back. Now, I didn't mention this during the Truth match, but King and Michael Cole were talking about Cena the entire time. Well, they did it again during this match as well. I know this is common in pro wrestling, but you would think they would be showing a lot of passion for crowning a "new champion" later tonight and pay attention to this match as opposed to all the Cena talk. I understand Cena is a big deal, but what about the tournament? Anyway, this matchup wasn't too bad. Most of the matches tonight were watchable....for the most part. The finish comes when Kofi sneaks a rollup and wins the match. I thought that was an interesting choice, but considering the winner to this match would face the Miz, it made the most sense. Plus, Del Rio can use the MITB briefcase at any moment. I almost thought of the possibility of Del Rio cashing in the briefcase against the winner of this tournament only for it to be revealed that Punk is back with the belt. I think it would be funny because Del Rio would have basically used the briefcase on a fake champion. Hey, I am just trying to add a new spin on Del Rio so he can bring something to the table as opposed to being slightly better than generic?
Winner via pinfall and advancing in the tournament: Kofi Kingston
Match #4: Rey Mysterio vs Dolph Ziggler in a WWE Championship Tournament Match
This was a pretty entertaining match for what it was worth. The finish comes when Rey hit the 619/Top Rope Splash for the clean win. I didn't have a problem in the booking because the winner was facing Truth and there is now way they are doing another heel vs heel match. Anyone else find it odd that all of the Raw MITB competitors got into this tournament except for Evan Bourne? Pretty much proves that WWE just uses Bourne for the "Ohhs" and "Awws".
Winner via pinfal and advancing in the tournament: Rey Mysterio
Match #5: Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim, Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Eve, Kaitlyn, and AJ vs Bella Twins, Melina, Alicia Fox, Tamina, Rosa Mendes, and Maryse
Pretty much a garbage time match. This match went just about as well as you would have expected. A brawl happens and a finisher later, it's already over. You know, if they are going to waste about 30 seconds on a match, I have to wonder why even put on the damn match? Oh well, I guess there had to be on diva match on the card....sadly. Phoenix hits the Glam Slam on Mendes to win for her time. What I found odd was Phoenix was wearing bright colored red lipstick. She never does that and it really stood out. Kinda sad when the lipstick is more exciting than the actual match.
Winner via pinfall: face divas
Match #6: Kofi Kingston vs Miz in a WWE Championship Tournament Match
They did a Kofi interview after his matchup in the back. Kofi mainly said the generic stuff in how this was going to be his time. Well, it was his time....for about five seconds. Another decent match and it ended when Miz hit SCF on Kofi and moves into the finals. It would have been interesting to see Kofi get into the finals, but what are you going to do? I think its pretty clear who is going to win the Rey/Truth match now. Oh well, let's get to it. There was a montage about Tough Enough winner Andy's life story and such. When is he going to get called up and start being used? In fact, let's place bets in who makes their in ring debut first, Johnny Curtis or Andy? I think its a toss up at the moment.
Winner via pinfall and in the finals of the tournament: Miz
Match #7: Rey Mysterio vs R-Truth in a WWE Championship Tournament
Just as you would expect, Rey ended up winning this match. Come on, it was evident since they already had the heel in Miz and of course they need a face to make it even. This match was actually the longest one of the night. It was also probably the best match of the night as well. None of the matches were bad (well....except for the diva orgy. What a minute? A diva orgy would have been better than that match) but nothing amazing. Keep in mind that outside of Ziggler, these guys were all banged up and I think delivered the best possible match with the lingering injuries. Rey wins the match with the 619/Top Rope Splash combo. I guess Truth is still going into this whirlwind of conspiracy theories since he is still not champ. Speaking of which, why does it seem that Cole's only joke he can make towards Truth is by saying he is a few fries short of a Happy Meal? He did this last night and tonight as well. In fact, I am sure I have heard him say this like 2 or 3 times as well. Talk about raping a joke to death.
Winner via pinfall and in the finals of the tournament: Rey Mysterio
After a commercial, Rey is waiting for the Miz to show up to begin the championship match. Instead, Vince shows up and tells Rey the championship match will have to wait until next week because he has more important things to discuss (So, Cena>WWE Championship? You know, I think we all thought that, but never really wanted to believe that. Well, the boss just said it, so there you go). Rey is very upset with this news and decides to leave the ring in disgust. Once he leaves, Vince beings to talk. He talks about how he can create another Cena and says nobody is larger than the WWE (well, not according to Hulk Hogan). There are several Punk chants going on at this time and he finally calls out Cena. He arrives to a very mixed reaction and he immediately grabs the mic. Cena says he did NOT want to be put in the same situation as Shawn Michaels was all of those years ago during the Montreal Screwjob. He says he didn't want to screw over Punk because he wanted him to have a fair shot. He also thanks Punk for the amazing match last night (you really have to see that match to experience how well done it was). He mentions that he loves the WWE and doesn't want to leave, but if Vince fires him, he will jump to another promotion "Brotha". This line was hilarious because THAT is about as close as TNA is going to get to an actual plug from another wrestling company. Again, NJPW and ROH got a plug a few weeks back, but TNA can't even buy a plug. See, even Cena knows that place will be a series of disappointing events. He also says he won't kiss Vince's ass and he will walk out. Vince says he will not let Cena have the satisfaction of stealing his catchphrase. Just as he is about to say it, Triple H's music comes on and Trips arrives in a suit and tie. Trips informs Vince that there was an emergency meeting with the Board of Directors after the events of Chicago. He mentions how the BOD were talking about dealing with the situation and says he would rather discuss this matter in the back. Vince says otherwise and Trips continues. You can tell that Triple H seemed like he didn't want to do this, but he did. Then again, based on what would happen, it was the best choice for his character and the storyline to do so. He informs Vince that the BOD have filed an injunction against Vince and that the family agrees (well, minus Shane McMahon since he no longer with the company) . He also informs Vince that the BOD voted in Trips to be taking over Vince's job. Trips says he won't be firing Cena and he keeps his job and Trips is having a hard time saying the next thing. Vince at this point is starting to realize everything that is going on and Trips says thank you for everything pops but you have been relieved of your duties. As Trips is walking away as a sad man, Vince is in the ring and he is crying. The show ends with Vince standing in the middle of the ring and while the audience was saying the "Goodbye" song, they are now saying "Thank you, Vince" to close out the show. Split personality audience for the win?
Ok, where do I start? I can definitely call this interesting tv and it just seems that the worked shoots keep coming. I actually enjoyed this segment because it almost seems like we are seeing the evolution of how one storyline can grow and effect other storylines or parts of the show. Who would have thought that Punk's shoot promo a few weeks back would have amounted to this? From a storyline perspective, it actually makes sense because Vince has made some very questionable calls the last few weeks. The first was suspending Punk and then he reinstated him and let him have his title match. Not only that, but he wasn't able to get Punk under contract and now he has left the company with his major prize and we currently have "no" WWE Champion and was about to fire the face of the company because Punk was the man at Chicago. Now, I know what a lot of people are going to say....mainly the TNA fans. They are probably asking me why I can enjoy this segment while TNA tried something like this between Dixie Carter and Hogan and I trashed it. A couple of reasons. One, it was explained much better in the WWE than it was on TNA. Again, that is like the Achilles' heel of TNA; not explaining s***. Two, WWE made this announcement in the ring while TNA was all over the place by showing crappy backstage stages and parts of it in the ring as well. Seriously, those backstage segments are hard to watch in TNA because I hate this whole spy camera/realistic camera because it doesn't come off well on tv. It almost feels like TNA didn't hire professional cameraman and hired a bunch of peeping toms with the way they are hiding behind windows, doors, and ect. Third, the acting was way.....WAY better in the WWE than it was in TNA. Dixie can't pull off a freaking emotion to save her life, while Vince was actually crying in the middle of the ring. He gave an emotion that felt real. It wasn't over the top crying nor was it a slight tear, it was done as well as you can make it look. Remember, this show is live so that was something to pull off. Think about this from a storyline standpoint. This man has been running this empire for over 30 years and he just lost his job and didn't even get a chance to fight back. If it was real life and you were in this situation, you would have felt the same way. Trips also did a good job acting here as well because he felt really bad about delivering the news. So, to those TNA fans that are set to complain, I will put it simply. WWE put more time, energy, and actually showed they gave a s*** while TNA half assed it and it comes off really bad on their end while WWE looks better. That is why worked shoots in WWE are working so well because the characters are so into the parts while it just feels too phoony in TNA land when they do this type of work. Of course after tonight, we are left with even more questions than answers and it really seems the WWE is getting interesting and good at the same time. What will Triple H do now that he is the "chairman" of the company? Will he make more on screen appearances? Will Vince fight back? Will Triple H try and hire back Punk or will he get in the ring to challenge him? Was this also the final goodbye of Vince's character? I would still like to think Vince is still in charge of this company and Triple H doesn't take over until Vince is no longer apart of this world, but what if Vince is really retiring and just giving the company over to the Game right now? I am pretty sure that isn't the case, but that would certainly be something. Still, I think Vince is still in charge of the company but maybe he won't be making on screen appearances with his Mr. McMahon character anymore....or maybe he will. I am loving what the WWE is doing because they are doing a lot of things that just feel real and it makes for very interesting television and I find myself interested in what happens next. Think about it? Punk is "no longer" with the company and he is now goofing off at baseball games while Vince has just lost his job and Triple H is now taking over. Not only that, but WWE has actually been able to make a storyline interesting without the WWE Title since we are lead to belive that Punk left with that thing back at MITB. This almost proves how one little worked shoot promo by Punk can literally turn things upside down. This again was an unpredictable outcome, and as I have said in the past. Pro wrestling is at its best when its unpredictable, has compelling storylines, and amazing wrestling matches. It almost feels like the WWE is going full steam ahead, but the engine has to eventually cool off. Then again, I hope that engine has a few more miles in it because its nice to sit back and enjoy the ride. Definitely a very intriguing storyline that may have just branched off into other storylines.
I thought this was an entertaining edition of Raw. The matches this week were better than the ones on Raw last week. Again, what sold this weeks show was the final scene of the Punk storyline possible branching off and unfolding another series of events now that Vince has been "fired". There is still a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks. What will Triple H do now that he is in charge? Will in bring in an actual GM and finally just fire the Laptop GM or will the Laptop GM be revealed? Hey, how about Kevin Nash? Nash isn't a bad promo cutter and he could play an interesting GM if they wanted to go down that route. I think this was a worthy show to follow up MITB and the curiosity level is still there with the show. Damn, the week isn't even over yet because we still need to know what is going on in SD land with all the new things that developed at MITB. Yeah, so WWE has all these things clicking while TNA has.....clowns. I think that pretty much sums it up. 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 or tonight's show. You can also find me on blogspot/blogger. I will see you guys and girls on the next WrestlingNerd show, see you next time.