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Raw: Final build to Champ vs. Champ
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


It's the last Raw before Summerslam, which means it's time, once again, for the hard sell before the PPV. Let's see what WWE has cooked up.

We kick off Raw tonight with Triple H in the ring, who begins talking about the WWE Championship vs. WWE Championship match at Summerslam, saying that the landscape will change and there will be one undisputed champ.

He goes on about this, leading to a guest referee announcement of himself. Okay, calling it now – CM Punk gets screwed and Cena officially turns heel.

Trips then announced that the official contract signing will happen tonight, after each is in a singles bout. Cena’s is up first

Match 1 – John Cena vs. Jack Swagger

Cena gets booed when the music starts but then gets the standard kiddie pop when he comes out. Cena and Trips mix it up a bit, with Trips audibly saying what will happen because he wants it to happen. Yep, Punk is getting screwed.

Swagger looks impressive in the ring, especially in his grapples and leads the match extremely well. It’s really a shame that WWE has all but given up on a serious push for Jack. At one point, Cena and Swagger trade submission reversals until Cena goes to his finishing sequence amidst a hardcore boo bird attack and finishing the match with the FU.

Winner: John Cena

Back from break, we get a Summerslam Recall featuring Mr. Perfect vs. Bret Hart, a match that isn’t talked about often enough as one of the greatest of all time.

Backstage, Scott Stamford attempts to interview Alberto Del Rio about his match with CM Punk before Ricardo Rodriguez takes over the mic-handling duties.

We then take a flashback to R-Truth’s heel turn, which was awesome. We then see the demented R-Truth that he is today being interviewed by Josh Mathews, which isn’t as awesome but still cool. He then goes into a promo about his acrophobia... I mean arachnophobia. We then learn that Truth and Morrison will square off tonight.

Match 2 – The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio

Before the match gets started, Miz attacks Rey, laying him out hardcore by bashing him into the WWE logo pyramid. I guess this is meant to put Rey “out of action” while he recovers from the reported tweaked knee suffered this weekend.

Winner: No contest

Miz then heads to the ring where Michael Cole joins him. Miz quickly grabs the mic away and points out that he doesn’t have a Summerslam match. Miz then asks for a ref to come down and declare him the winner by forfeit in the match. The ref refuses to, then asks for a new match to be started, with an opponent selected by Triple H, and so we get...

Match 3 – Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz

Miz takes control early but Kofi takes the advantage, hitting the Tope Canadiense heading into a commercial break.

Miz takes over out of the break as JR announces Rey has invoked his championship rematch clause for next Monday in San Diego.

Kingston turns this into a pretty good back-and-forth match. The two continue to battle with some great near falls before Miz hits the SCF for the victory. Very, very solid bout.

Winner: The Miz

Backstage, Punk is headed to the ring as Mathews catches up with him. Punk goes into a rant about Triple H and then focuses back on Del Rio as we move towards the bout.

Match 4 – Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk

Rodriguez tosses in a rip on the San Jose Sharks, which is cool with me.

Del Rio does a great job of in-ring psychology to start by attacking Punk’s arm, but Punk takes over, utilizing more of a babyface feel than we saw before MITB. Del Rio, however, turns things around and even busts out the Back Stabber (or Back Cracker as I prefer). Punk, however, ends up getting the W with the GTS.

Winner: CM Punk

Match 5 – Beth Phoenix vs. Eve Torres

Cole acknowledges Natalya’s similar change of heart on Smackdown to that of Beth’s. The bout starts to get a little sloppy as it looks like Eve got her bell rung a bit. Quickly thereafter, Phoenix hits the Glam Slam for the duke.

Winner: Beth Phoenix

Post-match, Phoenix cuts a promo about getting rid of some of the more cheeky elements of the Divas division which gets a pretty good pop (understandably so). Kelly, however, attacks from behind to silence Phoenix. Um... if WWE isn’t careful, Kelly will become the heel post haste.

Match 6 – Dolph Ziggler vs. Alex Riley

Before the match begins, A-Ry rips on Vickie. She proceeds to interfere and screech through the match, eventually slapping Riley and costing him the match.

Winner: Alex Riley

Post-match, Ziggler and Guerrero continue to bicker, which leads to Vickie seemingly leaving Dolph. Hmm…

We then go to a replay of the MITB bout between CM Punk and John Cena.

Match 7 – R-Truth vs. John Morrison

Morrison dominates early, even hitting a Tornado Tope Suicida early. Morrison continues the assault on the outside before Truth takes over and nearly gets a countout duke and after some back-and-forth in the ring, Truth gets the clean win in the ring.

Winner: R-Truth

Backstage, Johnny Ace and Trips go over the contract that Cena and Punk will sign as we head into break.

After a break, Christian does a promo from the site of Smackdown’s broadcast later this week, teasing an announcement that he will make on Friday’s broadcast.

Trips and Ace are then shown in the ring for the contract signing, and after both come out, Punk starts on the mic and is awesome as always, then cuts to The Rock’s famed Facebook video. The awesome just got awesomer. Cena can’t help but laugh.

Punk then waxes awesome and even cuts a rip or two on Rock (or Dwayne rather). Cena bounces back pretty well and compares himself to Hulk Hogan and even breaks a little kayfabe by talking about workrate and his “five moves of doom” as he tries to put Punk in the heel position. Trips then interjects and tries to heel up Punk a bit more. Punk then rips on Ace, and pulls out the names of Masters, Smith and Kozlov. Punk then brings up an incident involving Punk and Cena when the former won the ECW Championship (though I can’t remember if it actually happened or not). He also brings up Cena’s bodybuilding past. He also brings up the ice cream bar again. Please... please...

Punk continues his mic expertise to loud cheers and then signs the contract. Cena gets on the stick and really starts to go heel himself, saying if Punk doesn’t win Sunday he’s a one-hit wonder.

The two talk a little bit more then prepare for fisticuffs. Ace finally gets between the two and gets kicked. Trips then tries to break them up and eats a Cena shot. Eventually, it’s Cena and Hunter in the ring and Punk outside as we close on a very, very hot note.

Well, WWE did the exact right job in building up Summerslam tonight, even leaving intrigue as to whether we will see Miz at the PPV.

We’ll see you next Monday after Summerslam.