September 20, 2011
Cleveland loves Cena, Ryder at Raw
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling
CLEVELAND -- One day following WWE's successful Night of Champions pay-per-view, the company packed up shop and headed to Quicken Loans Arena for a rocking edition of Monday Night Raw.
Unlike the Sept. 6 Smackdown taping 90 minutes down the road in Toledo which was not well attended, the fans here filled much of the building, sans a portion of the upper bowl which was tarped off. The fans in Cleveland were hot the entire team. Before the show even started, dueling chants of "Let's Go Cena" and "Cena Sucks" broke out.
The Cena chants went throughout the night, including during a match taped for Superstars between Drew McIntyre and Mason Ryan. McIntyre looked baffled when the chants started during his match.
They continued right before Raw went on the air and throughout many of the show's commercial breaks.
The crowd was all about two men for much of the evening: Cena and Zack Ryder.
When Raw guest host Hugh Jackman was looking for an opponent for United States Champion Dolph Ziggler, the crowd fired up in a loud "We Want Ryder" chant. Jackman complied, pulling a "Ryder > Wolverine" sign from a member of the crowd, an ode to the charter he played in several X-Men movies.
When Ryder faced Ziggler and got the win with the help of Jackman, the entire crowd exploded and jumped to their feet like the WWE Championship was just won. It was a great moment, especially for Ryder, who has been working hard to get noticed.
Hometown boy The Miz also was very popular, with signs and shirts literally almost everywhere for him. That was until he told the crowd they sucked and drew the most heat of the night for telling the city he left them just like LeBron James did.
After Triple H fired both Miz and R-Truth, CM Punk led the crowd in a singing of The Goodbye Song. The lights dimmed and came back up when the live show went off the air and Alberto Del Rio walked out for an impromptu triple threat match for the WWE Champion with Cena defending against Punk and Del Rio.
The match opened with some comedy, as both Punk and Cena took turns using some classic moves on Del Rio. Punk used the Bionic Elbow and John Tenta's famous Earthquake Splash and Cena pulled out, of all things, the Stink Face.
It was too long after that Cena retained the title, pinning Del Rio with an Attitude Adjustment.
The show opened with a tag team dark match that saw Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks battle Titus O'Neil and Percy Watson. After a competitive match, Watson low-bridged a charging Reks and occupied him on the outside while O'Neil loaded up Hawkins for the Clash of the Titus for the pin.
Along with the match between Ryan (who nobody cared about) and McIntyre on Superstars, a bout between Alex Riley (who was beloved by the crowd and came out wearing a Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn Indians jersey) and Primo also was taped for the WWE.com show.
All in all, this was a much better showing for the state of Ohio than the Smackdown taping earlier in the month. The crowd was hot throughout the show and it made for a very fun atmosphere inside the building.