What is up wrestling fans, I am the WrestlingNerd bringing you another written review. Today, we take a look at WWE Raw on 8/1/11. With two WWE Champions walking around, what would Triple H do to resolve this problem? Well, let's find out and start the review.
We open up the show with "Cult of Personality" playing, meaning CM Punk is entering the arena. Yeah, so it seems this is going to be Punk's new entrance theme. Don't get me wrong, I like this song and it suits Punk very well, but I am going go to miss hearing Killswitch Engage's This Fire Burns. Punk came out to a very mixed response, but the crowd did seem to show appreciation to Punk. Anyway, Punk explains why he decided to come back. He said in order for the world of pro wrestling to really change, he needs to be in the ring and do his thing as opposed to sitting at home. He says the Voice of the Voiceless needs to be heard and thus he made the call towards Triple H to sign another contract with the company. He says he is the rightful WWE Champion because he beat John Cena at MITB and says Cena is holding a replica belt while he is a champion. Triple H interrupts Punk and heads to the ring. Trips says the reason he resigned Punk was because it was good for business and put his personal feelings aside. Punk was very interested in that line by Hunter and tells him what he means by that. After some competitive banter between the two, Trips says he honestly thinks Punk is overrated and a smug. Punk says that is ironic considering Triple H is that type of person in his own right and its like looking in a mirror. Punk finds Trips previous answer amusing and says while he didn't think Vince was such a bad guy, his "yes" men screwed this company over and let talented guys like Batista, Brock Lesnar, and Chris Jericho walk away. Punk also says Hunter signed him back because he couldn't afford to lose him to another company and he is the hottest talent right now. Just as you think these two haven't exchanged enough insults at each other, Trips tells Punk that his real reason for coming back to the company because his "pipe bomb" only works if he is present as opposed to just sitting at home and says Punk has an ego. Finally, Trips says he will address the WWE Championship at the end of the show so he can build up dramatic effect (well, he didn't say that, but its what we are all thinking). Just as he is about to leave, Punk tells him to wait a moment because he has more to say. Punk reminds Trips that he has a pretty big ego as well. He says Trips is the kind of guy who pissed all over talent he didn't think was good enough for the business while he was sitting at him as opposed to observing the talent. Punk says Trips is nothing more than a bully and say if Hunter pushes him, he WILL push back. At this point, you almost feel both guys are about to throw down, but Trips says this job is bigger than him and walks away. Overall, a very interesting segment. I mentioned in a prior review how it would be pretty cool to see a Punk/Triple H rivalry and I think we might have seen the first signs of this feud. I really enjoyed this segment and found my curiosity level to still be present. I did mention in last week's Raw review how Punk returning was a bit soon. At the same time, you have to admit that you want to see Punk in the ring doing his thing. Punk is right because he really is making pro wrestling fun and just knows what to say or do. Trips also delivered a pretty good promo as well and I just feel we are seeing foreshadowing for these two to lock it up at some point. Of course, there is more to address with this scene, but it wouldn't be the last time we see them so I will save that for later.
Match #1: Diva Battle Royal; winner is the new #1 Contender to the Divas Championship
Wow, kinda odd to go from a war of words between Punk and the Game to a Diva match. Kelly Kelly was on commentary for this match. It wasn't very inspiring. Thank God Alicia Fox didn't win that match. I guess WWE has realized that her Scissors Kick is going to give someone a concussion and thus shouldn't be putting her in this match. The finish comes when Beth Phoenix picks up both Bella Twins and eliminates both to win the match. After the match, Kelly stupidly walks into the ring with her new opponent and wants to shake hands. Phoenix instantly attacks Kelly and takes her out. She grabs the mic and says Kelly's days of being a bimbo champion are over. So, it appears Phoenix has made another heel turn. I think she is way more convincing as a heel character and I think it makes sense. Still, why do I feel what will end up happening is seeing her take a dive against Kelly because Kelly is still in the early stages of her title reign? Personally, I hope we see a title change because I am a bit skeptical in thinking Kelly has earned this opportunity. Plus, I think Phoenix can take over the major heel duties for a while considering Kharma is going to be out for a while. Still, I think what will happen for this matchup is Kelly getting lucky with a rollup and thus setting up a rematch down the road.
Winner and NEW #1 Contender for Divas Title: Beth Phoenix
Backstage scene between R-Truth and the Miz. Miz keeps talking about how the Game's new WWE is crap and how Punk and Cena aren't good enough for the title and almost thinks there is.......something in the air. Truth tells him its a conspiracy; saying how if Trips had resigned Punk, why would he go through with the tournament? Since it was already established (in kayfabe mind you) Punk had resigned as the Rey Mysterio/Cena match was going on, you have to almost call bs on Truth's part, but its wrestling. Yep, wrestling logic for the win. Anyway, Miz starts to think deeper about Truth's rant. Truth tells Miz to watch his back or he will get GOT. Well, this makes things interesting when you think about it. So, will Miz and Truth work together to find out more about this conspiracy? Again, this is a storyline that is in the early stages, but I kinda like the idea of Miz and Truth working together. Its like seeing Daffy Duck and Wario working together to get some justice. It's weird, but I kinda like it.
Match #2: R-Truth and Miz vs John Morrison and Rey Mysterio
This was not a bad match. In fact, I would say this was probably the best match of the night. Almost sad to see Rey go from a WWE Champion to now going back to a filler role. Plus, doesn't Rey get a rematch considering he lost to Cena last week? Wrestling logic if I ever saw one since Rey should be requesting a rematch or something. It's like Rey went "I need to get my title back and......hey I got a match" and thus completely forgets he won the title. Rey, you should work on that short attention span problem. The finish came when Miz takes out Rey, but Morrison hits a Flying Chuck on Miz, only to be greeted by Truth's Facebuster for the pinfall victory. After the match, Miz hits SCF on Morrison and time for the ultimate weapon in pro wrestling to show up. Truth uses a water bottle on Morrison and KOs him. Funny how Morrison sells this like a death blow while this happened to Randy Orton last week and all he did is go ape s***. Damn, water bottles should be banned in pro wrestling since they are more powerful than freakin steel chairs.
Winner via pinfall: R-Truth and Miz
Back in the ring where Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero have something to say. She talks about how Dolph is a higher priority than Punk or Cena and he is the real star of this company. What I found hilarious is how Dolph claimed he has the charisma like no other. If you think about it, he kinda does but not in the way he was suggesting. He gets interrupted by Alex Riley and Riley says Dolph claims to be a real man but always needs Vickie's help to win. He says if Dolph wants to prove he is for real, he should get rid of Vickie. This segment ends by Dolph and Vickie leaving in typical heelish fashion. Ok, first thing I want to say is I freakin called it. I said in a past review how there should be a rivalry between Riley and Ziggler and glad to see the early stages of it. Riley seems to be getting over nicely and in order for his stock to rise, he needs to eventually win some titles. It might be a little early for him to get the US Title, but maybe they can pad it out and he ends up getting down the road. I really think Riley is really one of the brightest stars for the future of this company. He has all the tools to go pretty far and has even improved on his in ring ability. I wish he would use a more creative finisher than a Delayed DDT, but he is on the right track. Even if your not a Miz fan, you have to at least give him credit for putting Riley over because I see this guy getting a bigger reaction everytime he makes an appearance. I don't really do this often, but I am gonna call a shot. I predict Riley will be US Champion before Survivor Series. In fact, wouldn't be shocked to see him get the title at SummerSlam.
Match #3: David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty vs Zack Ryder and Santino
Otunga and Michael came out to a new titantron and it appears Nexus is no more. I know some people will say for the sake of continuity that WWE should have at least addressed the ending of the Nexus, but do you honestly care? Nexus has been irrelevant for a while and it really did more for Punk than the other guys. It also makes sense they would not come out to "We Are One" since that was Nexus' theme and Nexus is no more. Still, I really don't like this new entrance theme since it sounds like something you would hear in a Justin Bieber rally. Santino was wearing a snake puppet on his hand because its the Cobra, get it? Anyway, the finish comes when Ryder is on his own and can't fight off both guys. Otunga and Michael take him with a finisher and win the match. Ryder got a lot of cheers when he got the tag. I think its pretty clear people want to see Ryder and it appears they are testing him. It made sense for him to lose this match consider he was going up against the tag champs. Thus, shouldn't the champs look credible in this case? The match was nothing special, but I think it told a bigger story for Ryder and the tag champs for down the road. I don't think Ryder should be chasing the tag titles, but it would be nice to show some proper build up to the tag team division since they are trying something with the Usos over on SD. Then again, maybe not considering WWE's track record with the tag team division in the last decade.
Winner via pinfall: David Otunga and Michael McGullicutty
Match #4: Alberto Del Rio vs Evan Bourne
The match wasn't anything too special. For the most part, tonight's show was lacking in the action department, but it had to be expected since Punk is back and we had things to talk about. This again was your typical Bourne match. He is doing everything possible to take down the guy that is bigger than him, but can't quite get over the hump and falls to the CAB. After the match, Del Rio continues the attack until Kofi Kingston comes out for the save. Ever feel Deja Vu? If you recall in February, Del Rio did a mini feud with Kofi to keep him strong leading into his title match. Fast forward to right now and it seems Kofi and Del Rio are doing the same thing. Almost feel bad for Kofi since he has fallen into this roll quite a bit this year. It would be something if Kofi won this feud, but it just doesn't seem likely considering Del Rio is the MITB holder. I feel Del Rio is going to be cashing in that briefcase really soon, but that is at least what I think.
Winner via submission: Alberto Del Rio
Trips is back in the ring to address the WWE Championship deal until John Laurinaitis shows up. I bet at this point, Triple H is thinking "What the f*** are you doing here? Shouldn't you be washing my car or something?". Anyway, John says he has been in this business longer than the Game and explains to him what Vince would do in this situation. He says Hunter should do the right thing and strip Cena of the title. Of course, that is Cena's cue to show up. He arrives and tells John (John talking to John? Just roll with it) he is a joke and is in no position to tell Triple H what to do considering he is nothing more than a "yes" man. Johnny tells Cena he is out of line and the reason for his input is because Cena was the one who lost to Punk and thus he is the real champ. Cena threatens him and he quickly runs away. Cena makes his plea to remain champ and Trips said he had no plans of stripping Cena of the title. Punk immediately comes out and tells him this is ridiculous since Hunter is trying to get the WWE back into the "happy go lucky" attitude and give the golden boy his bottle. Trips tells him he doesn't plan on stripping Punk of the title either. Instead, it will be Punk vs Cena and the winner is the "First" Undisputed WWE Champion. Somewhere out there, I can hear Jericho saying "did you forget about me, asshole?". Anyway, the Game leaves and the show ends with Punk and Cena posing with the titles as the music changes back and forth. In a way, it was almost like a metaphor of Punk and Cena saying "No, my dick is bigger than yours. Don't you agree audience?". Come on, I couldn't have been the only one who was thinking that while this scene was occurring?
Yeah, so anyone who has been watching wrestling a while saw this match coming from a mile away. In fact, Stevie Wonder saw that one coming. It was assumed it would be Punk vs Cena in a unification title match and I had a feeling they would go that direction. Honestly, it doesn't surprise me and I don't have a problem with it, but I do have some concerns with this. I just hope the WWE isn't trying to rush getting the championship around Cena since he is the face of the company and almost take away some of the momentum Punk has built in the last few months. While I understand Cena is their guy, Punk has done a hell of a job getting himself over and has more fans now than ever before. He really has earned his spot in the main event and really is deserving of a lengthy world title reign. It would really speak volumes of the company if Cena were to win the titles since it almost proves they don't want to do anything to make the golden boy look weak for a long period of time. It feels like at times the WWE protects Cena way too much and want him to win or get the title right away because he is the top guy and feel casual fans want Cena to win all the time. Again, I understand why he has to win, but you also shouldn't overprotect one guy because your making it at the expense at the other talent as well. Cena can afford to lose a match here and there and its Punk who needs this win the most. I am not saying Cena winning is a mistake, but I just feel with all the effort to put Punk over that it would be a bit disappointing to see his reign already cut short....unless bigger events were to follow, which I am all for occurring. Cena can afford to go a lengthy amount of time without the title and WWE almost treats it like Cena has this rare disease where he dies if he doesn't have the title for x amount of days. Joking aside, I know its early to be thinking about this but signs do point to Cena winning this match because....well, because he is Cena. Punk definitely has a good chance of winning, but it just seems everything is leaning towards Cena at the moment. I will admit that maybe I am becoming a little more biased with this considering I am a pretty big fan of Punk, but I really want to see Punk have a long title reign because I felt he has earned it. Still, I feel this won't be a clean match since I think someone is going to get involved an cost the title to either Punk or Cena. I can actually see Triple H get involved and take Punk out considering those two exchanged some interesting words tonight, thus starts a Punk/Triple H program. I can also see some of Punk's ROH buddies getting involved to help him. This would make Punk the villain again since he is basically a tweener at the moment. The other thing I can see happening is Del Rio cashing in the briefcase against either man and he ends up walking out with the title. Yeah, there is other ideas that could happen, but I need to wrap up this review. I am sure the match will be good, but it would be really tough to top the MITB match. It is very difficult to top the original in just about anything, but I am sure that won't stop Punk and Cena from trying. Still, this should be a watcher and it will be interesting to see where they end up going with all of this.
This was a pretty mixed show. I felt the promos/segments is what made the show interesting to watch. The action was really lacking with this one, but there was still some good things to witness. We might have seen the seeds planted for a Punk/Triple H rivalry and we saw new storylines in the works like Ziggler/Riley and a possible alliance between Truth and Miz. Just a lot of buildup for future events and the upcoming PPV, and there is nothing wrong with that considering its only two weeks away. Again, I know the IWC is already bitching about how Cena will be the champ and how Punk coming on tv was too soon, but I still find the major storyline interesting and we should wait and see where they are planning on taking this and not jump to conclusions because of one segment. Oh wait, the IWC does that all the time because IWC knows everything about wrestling, duh. Yeah, I know I should stop poking fun of the IWC, but you should hear what they have to say sometimes because it almost shows they don't like wrestling anymore and almost hate it. It's funny how IWC people say they are hardcore wrestling fans, but they do nothing but complain about 90% of the stuff going on in pro wrestling. A wrestling fan, huh? Oh well, I've always said I am just having some fun while I am making these reviews and I enjoy pro wrestling. Of course, there are some moments that make me wonder what they were thinking, but I still enjoy pro wrestling for what it's worth. I do have some slight hang ups on the Punk deal, but I think its still a very interesting turn of events and feel something of a plot twist can be happening at SS in the actual match. If your a fan of action, chances are your gonna hate this episode since only the Miz tag match was the one worth watching. Still, lots of storytelling for this show and I found it interesting. That's 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. I will see you guys and girls on the next WrestlingNerd show, see you next time.