CM Punk opened the show last night and did what he does best – ooze awesomeness. He cut a great promo in which he declared himself both the #1 contender to the WWE Title and the best “wrestler” in the world. I always appreciate hearing the forbidden W-word find its way onto WWE programming. In the moments that followed, Punk spoofed Michael Buffer, mocked Michael Cole, and made snow angels in the ring. I could watch this all night. The anonymous Raw General Manager made a triple threat match for the #1 contendership for later in the show that would pit Punk against Alberto Del Rio and Rey Mysterio, a match that would wind up being pretty incredible. As for the rest of Raw, there were some horrible choices given to the fans (20-minute time limit match? Really?), an awesome promo between three of the company’s top heels, and even a title change. Read all about it after the jump.
- Kelly Kelly defeated Eve & Beth Phoenix in the first “Power to the People” vote, earning herself a shot at Brie Bella and the Divas Title. Making the most of her opportunity, Kelly was able to defeat the Bella twin and capture the
GoldSilver & Purple. I don’t need to tell you that the match was nothing special. I was a little disappointed in the outcome, not because I care who the Divas Champion is, but because I feel like it was just so incredibly predictable. All of these fan voting shows follow the same script – have a title change or other “major event” open the program to drive home the point that your vote has the power to change the WWE Universe. Gimmie a break. Afterwards, the Bellas were visibly upset with both each other and the situation.
- Evan Bourne’s opponent was left up to the fans to decide, the choices being Jack Swagger, Mason Ryan, or Sin Cara. And the winner was…Mason Ryan?! We kidding?! It’s disgraceful that before we were half an hour into last night’s Raw, WWE made it perfectly clear that the fans’ vote meant nothing. There is no way you can convince me that Sin Cara didn’t win the voting, or that Mason Ryan didn’t come in last for that matter. What a joke. As for the actual match, Ryan made short work of Bourne, beating him with a modified Rock Bottom type maneuver. I don’t know why they’d job Bourne a night after putting him over Jack Swagger, but alas, it seems like I understand fewer and fewer of the WWE’s decision every day. The crowd was chanting “Batista” at Ryan pretty loudly during this one, and I can’t imagine anybody within the company is happy about that.
- The fishy vote totals continued when an arm wrestling contest won out over a body slam match and over the top rope challenge in determining under what circumstances Mark Henry would meet Kane. Since Mark Henry is a heel, he naturally punched Kane before a winner could be declared, then proceeded to take him apart in a fashion very similar to what he did to The Big Show the night before. The World’s Strongest Man slammed Kane through the announce table and bad mouthed the crowd as he left. Despite Mark Henry recently being drafted to Smackdown and Big Show to Raw, it looks like the two of them are going to engage in a feud that ignores the rules of the brand extension. I give kudos to Henry for coming off as credible the past two nights (it’s not something he does very often), but at the same time, I couldn’t really care less where this angle goes.
- R-Truth, Christian, & The Miz cut a hilarious promo together, all complaining about their respective losses the night before. Teddy Long eventually interrupted and scheduled the show’s main event, a six-man tag match pitting the three aforementioned heels against the team of John Cena, Randy Orton, & Alex Riley. Really funny stuff from the trio of conspiracy victims here. They all showed why they’re among today’s top players.
- Dolph Ziggler successfully retained the United States Title against Kofi Kingston in a 2-out-of-3 falls match. After splitting the first two falls, Ziggler hit Kingston with a microphone, thus getting himself disqualified. The match was what we’ve come to expect from these two. It was good, but as always, not quite as good as it looks on paper. I expect the rivalry between Ziggler & Kingston to continue, but at this point, it’s hard to get excited over a United States Title program without a top-notch feud fueling it. The title itself means nothing, and there really hasn’t been much story to make it feel heated between these guys.
- CM Punk defeated Alberto Del Rio & Rey Mysterio in a triple threat match to become the new #1 contender to the WWE Championship. The match climaxed after Rey hit his stupid little frog splash on Del Rio, which led to Punk interrupting the count and picking up the pieces, pinning Del Rio himself for the win. The match was pretty great and included a few spots rarely seen in the WWE anymore, including a powerbomb from the apron to the floor by Punk and a bridging German suplex by Del Rio. After winning the match, CM Punk called for a microphone and shot a great promo about his role at Money in the Bank. Punk confessed that July 17th, the day of the pay-per-view, was also the last day of his contract. As such, he promised to win the title from John Cena and leave the company, taking the title with him. As good as some other emerging stars have been recently, there is no one who can handle a microphone quite like CM Punk. I know there’s practically no chance of him being victorious over Cena, but I’m full of enthusiasm to see how this feud plays out. The Chicago crowd is going to eat Cena alive at Money in the Bank.
- Daniel Bryan notched a pinfall win over Cody Rhodes in a no countout match, a stipulation that didn’t even come into play. The match was too short to get off the ground, and it’s a shame they didn’t give these guys some time to convert some exclusive Raw viewers into Smackdown fans. Afterwards, Rhodes tried to attack Bryan but got slapped in the Labell Lock for his troubles. It didn’t take long for Ted DiBiase to come to his rescue, and the former Legacy partners put the boots to Bryan, ultimately sliding a paper bag over his head. Like I said, it’s tragic this match wasn’t given more time. These guys are perpetually the highlight of Friday nights, and they weren’t even given three minutes on the Raw “supershow.” Kind of surprised that Sin Cara didn’t make the save on Bryan’s behalf.
- Michael Cole beat Vickie Guerrero in a danceoff, and I’m reminded of why I’m reluctant to admit to being a wrestling fan in most social situations.
- The main event pitting Miz, Truth, & Christian against Riley, Cena, & Orton was “voted” to be an elimination match, the first believable outcome of fan voting all night. Riley was (mercifully) the first one eliminated, being pinned by Christian after The Miz hit him with the Skull Crushing Finale. The Miz was the next man eliminated, done in by an Attitude Adjustment, which should surprise no one after he was jobbed to A-Ry last night. The next three eliminations flew by – R-Truth was pinned after an RKO, immediately after which Christian speared and eliminated Randy Orton, and seconds following that the already eliminated Orton hit an RKO on Christian, who was promptly locked in the STF and forced to submit, leaving John Cena as the match’s sole survivor. Seeing Orton & Cena proudly hold their Championships up after the match was depressing – what a boring pair of champions.
Despite the two awesome promos and fantastic match that CM Punk brought to the table, overall Raw was pretty lackluster. Actually, it was straightup bad. Three hours of television, and the only thing worth watching that didn’t involve Punk was the exchange Truth, Christian, and Miz had on the microphone. Zack Ryder didn’t even show up. Next week, Raw Roulette returns and will be hosted by Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels. Thankfully, that show will only be two hours long.