August 22, 2011
Raw: MOTY in the City of Champs?
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling
Raw is in Edmonton tonight, with an eye towards Night of Champions build. Let's see what went down tonight.
We kick off Raw tonight with Alberto Del Rio, ending Triple H’s streak. ADR’s assault on Rey mysterio’s attack on Rey is recapped and we find out Mysterio will be out for months as a result (really, it’s a leg injury but still).
ADR gets on the mic and can’t even get his opening line out before Cena comes out, says he will take the WWE title and “hurt” Del Rio. He then implies ADR isn’t as rich as he claims to be and further claims he will beat ADR since he’s not CM Punk. This leads to Punk coming out and the 18-plus male audience cheering for the first night.
Punk claims Cena has no right to the title shot, since Punk beat him two times straight. Punk instead claims he should get the shot. Punk then tells Cena to smarten up since it could have been hi that Nash was to take the hit on. Cena and Punk argue over who cashes in their return title match clause, while Del Rio says he will instead celebrate.
Shortly thereafter, Trips does come out and says Del Rio’s match tonight is next. Then, announces that ADR will defend his title at Night of Champions against the winner of tonight’s main event, Punk vs. Cena.
Match 1 – Alberto Del Rio vs. John Morrison
Some would say this is WWE’s hint at pushing Morrison back up the ladder, but we’ll see if that is the case.
The two put together a decent match that goes through a commercial break, with action hitting both inside and outside the ring. At one point, Del Rio takes a nasty spill to the outside which is replayed a couple times for effect. Morrison seems to have the match won at one point but ADR turns it around soon after and locks in the Cross Arm Breaker for the tapout win.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
Post match, Del Rio attempts to take out Morrison like he did with Rey, but he’s pulled off John before any real damage can be done.
Match 2 – Eve Torres vs. Brie Bella
I’m waiting for Eve to turn on Kelly. The payoff for this ridiculous seconding by Eve has to come soon… right?
We get a cut-in from the Divas of Doom at one point but it’s fairly inconsequential. Eve gets a strong amount of offence in, being able to showcase her abilities before finishing the match with… wait for it… the Three-handled, Moss-covered Credenza.
Post-match, Kelly has to push herself into the spotlight for 0 reason and put the Fame Asser on Nikki, and, despite Eve winning the bout, Kelly’s music plays. Please explain that one guys. The DoD’s then come out for their sarcastic applause moment. Please, please let Eve join them and leave Kelly laying next week.
After the break, Vickie Guerrero introduces her next potential client, Jack Swagger.
Match 3 – Jack Swagger vs. Alex Riley
I don’t know what it’s like in the arena, but Edmonton has been pretty dead all night. Maybe they’re just not used to having anything to cheer about in the Rexall Centre…
Midway through the match, Dolph Ziggler comes out and argues with Vickie about bringing Swagger on board. At some point off camera, Vickie falls, which causes Swagger to come out to help her. This eventually leads to A-Ri getting the victory.
Winner: Alex Riley
Trips then comes out again and calls out Kevin Nash, who gets a warm reception from the Edmonton faithful. Huh. No Bizarro World comments yet from the announce crew…
Nash and Trips discuss the mystery text then moves on to Punk. Trips clarifies that Nash doesn’t work there and can’t go after Punk. Trips suggests the two rumble at Tim Hortons, and then asks Nash to leave. This, of course, brings Punk out.
Punk then asks who the text was, and accuses, more than anyone, Stephanie McMahon of sending the text. Triple H gets in between the two before they can come to blows. Punk then rips into Trips, saying The Game had it out for Punk the whole time. Punk gets a couple more shots in before Nash blindsides him. As Trips escorts Nash out, Punk sits in the ring, smiling. Interesting.
Backstage, Nash and Triple H chat more. Nash says Trips has changed before walking off.
Match 4 – Kofi Kingston/ Evan Bourne vs. Michael McGillicuty/David Otunga
Otunga and McGillicuty continue to gel extremely well as a team, but their tandem work isn’t enough to keep the belts. Bourne earns his first title belt in WWE with the Shooting Star Press.
Winners (and new champs): Bourne/Kingston
Backstage after a break, Kingston and Bourne are interviewed by Mathews and then celebrated by Zack Ryder and, what looks like Titus O’Neil and Derek Bateman.
Elsewhere, Johnny Ace catches up with Hunter and says Nash has been in a car accident. Hmm… methinks we’ll be seeing him later tonight.
Match 5 – Santino Marella vs…
Santino’s intro is interrupted by Miz and R-Truth, who ambush the Canadian.
Winner: No contest
Truth and Miz then get on the mic. Truth talks about a conspiracy holding Truth and Miz back from the main event. The two work in some rips on Canadian and say they are sick of being under-utilized and are going to take any opportunities they want to. Truth then gets into a rap to his old music, accompanied by Miz. Okay, they’ve got my attention now. I think this will inevitably lead to Miz’s face turn.
Match 6 – John Cena vs. CM Punk (#1 Contender’s Match)
Ace and ADR are at ringside for the match.
Cena tosses his shirt into the crowd and, much like at One Night Stand, his shirt is tossed back to him. AWESOME! Edmonton, you just redeemed yourselves. To top it off, Punk throws his tee in the exact same spot and doesn’t get his shirt back.
Punk and Cena start off with a decent reversal sequence, which you know they did to combat the inevitable ‘you can’t wrestle’ jeers Cena would have faced. A ‘Let’s go Oilers’ chant then breaks out before Cena goes to his five moves of doom while jawing at the fans. This, of course, brings out the Bizarro comment from Lawler. Took him long enough.
Punk takes a hard spill on the outside, bumping off the top of the stairs before hitting the mats outside as we head to break.
After the break the continue to have a very strong match. I’ll say this – not since Umaga has Cena gelled so well with another superstar.
Later, in a very, very cryptic moment, Cena locks in the Crippler Crossface. I was actually shocked that a Benoit chant didn’t break out.
Soon after, Punk hits the GTS but Cena kicks out, which I think is a first in WWE. Punk then heads to the top to changes of “Macho Man” as he tries to hit the Macho Elbow (including using the classic pose) to no avail. Same effect when Cena goes for the Guillotine. Punk then escapes an AA attempt with the Dragon Elbows and busts out more fun stuff. I’m waiting for the Anaconda Vice now.
Soon after, Cena hits the AA to a two count, which is also a rarity in WWE. This is starting to get onyo my list for MOTY.
The two continue their back-and-forth action before Nash comes out on stage and calls out Punk. He starts to walk down to ringside. Yep, this was a ruse the whole time. Cena pulls out the AA on Punk quickly thereafter, seizing the moment (hmm…) to get the duke.
Winner: John Cena
Post-match, ADR goes after Cena and after a bit, Johnny Ace breaks it up but only momentarily as Del Rio continues to hit Cena as the show closes.
Well, this was certainly an eventful Raw, with a genuine TV MOTY candidate as our main event and all sorts of story development.
See you next week.