WWE Raw Report
The Big News: CM Punk will wrestle Triple H at Night of Champions.
HHH came out to start the show. He said that he’s there to make WWE the best it can be so for the foreseeable future Raw and Smackdown wrestlers will all be on Raw. They’re billing these as Raw supershows. That got a mild cheer from the crowd. HHH said Kevin Nash has been lying and told Nash to come out and tell him why he has been lying.
CM Punk came out instead. He wanted HHH to admit that HHH and Nash were in it together from the beginning. Kevin Nash then came out to the old NWO music. Nash admitted he lied, but only in that he had his driver call John Laurinaitis and tell him he was in a wreck. Nash explained he did it because HHH wouldn’t let him take care of things with Punk. Nash said Punk has been trying to make a fool out of Nash, HHH and Stephanie. Nash asked HHH what kind of man HHH is.
HHH responded that he is the kind of man who doesn’t expect to be lied to by his best friend. He added that he can’t trust Nash any more. He told Nash to leave and not come back. Nash said he lied about the accident but not about the text. He then said that while HHH was out last week, Laurinaitis signed Nash to a lucrative contract. Nash said that if HHH fires him he will sit at home and get paid. HHH said he wouldn’t fire Nash but that the lying would stop immediately.
Punk interrupted by pretending to throw up. He said he was acting just like they are and nobody believes what they are saying. Punk accused Nash of doing HHH’s dirty work. He said the clique is back, just like the click of remote controls changing the channel when Nash is on TV and the click of Nash’s knees when he walks. Nash suggested Nash vs. Punk. Punk was fine with this but said HHH would have to ask Stephanie first. He added that HHH doesn’t wear the pants in the family but does wear Stephanie’s panties. Punk was quite heelish and annoying in this segment. I’m not sure if that was intentional. HHH made Nash vs. Punk for Night of Champions.
Randy Orton beat Dolph Ziggler. Orton went for the draping DDT but Vickie Guerrero distracted Orton and Ziggler back dropped Orton to the floor. Ziggler then hit the zig zag on the floor and worked Orton over. Orton came back with a superplex. Ziggler took back over with a famouser. Orton responded with a slingshot and neck breaker. Orton went for the punt but was caught with a superkick for two. Orton hit the draping DDT but Ziggler countered an RKO attempt into a sleeper. Orton spun out, pressed Ziggler up and down to the canvas then hit the RKO for the win. This was a very good match.
John Cena came out and said that Alberto Del Rio’s actions speak louder than his words. Cena said Del Rio claimed he would be a champion with honor and dignity but instead has acted like a coward and douchebag. Cena threatened to kick Del Rio’s teeth so far down his throat that Del Rio’s mouth will become his anus. I’m not sure that’s physically possible.
Cena called Del Rio out but Mark Henry came out instead. Henry said he has destroyed a bunch of people, will destroy Cena too, and will take the title at Night of Champions. Christian then came out and said Cena makes him sick because he can’t stand someone whining and complaining until they get what they want. The idea, obviously, is Christian is projecting on Cena.
Cena responded with his annoying, obnoxious humor and then said Christian and Henry could come get some. Christian tried to set up a two on one but then Sheamus ran out to even the odds. I don’t know about this “Great White” moniker they are starting to use for Sheamus. Christian left with the odds even. Henry then thought things over and left as well. Backstage, Laurinaitis was going to make Cena and Sheamus vs. Henry and Christian but HHH said he already made that match and reminded Laurinaitis that HHH is the boss.
CM Punk beat Miz via DQ. Prior to the match, Miz said he has been fearlessly speaking his mind long before Punk and vowed to make an example of Punk. Miz worked over Punk with a knee lift, neck breaker/back breaker combination and threw Punk into the post. Lawler is really degenerating as an announcer. He was terrible on this show, earlier running down Punk again and talking about how Lou Albano wouldn’t get involved in matches when Vickie Guerrero did. And here, after Miz beat down Punk an unusually long time for a Raw midcard match, Lawler became incredulous when Michael Cole pointed out Miz was dominating. It was like Lawler wasn’t even watching the match.
Punk came back with the Savage elbow and set up for go 2 sleep when R. Truth ran in for the DQ. Punk fought them off and gave Truth the go 2 sleep. Kevin Nash then came out lumbering to the ring (Cole actually used that term, too, right as I was typing it). Punk was ready for him but Miz jumped Punk from behind. Nash then gave Punk the jackknife.
Sin Cara (Jorge Arias) beat Jack Swagger. Cara hit an Asai moonsault early. Vickie Guerrero came to ringside as Swagger took over, but Ziggler then came out to argue with Guerrero. Ziggler distracted Swagger and Cara hit a springboard DDT, springboard somersault senton and springboard moonsault for the win. Cara kind of botched a few moves early but the finish looked great.
Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston beat David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty. They are now billing Bourne and Kingston Air Boom. Lawler went back to burying Otunga and McGillicutty during this match, calling them boring. This was close to a squash. Kingston hit a springboard crossbody, Bourne hit a springboard crossbody to the outside and Kingston used trouble in paradise on McGillicutty for the pin. After the match, McGillicutty and Otunga confronted Lawler. Otunga took off Lawler’s headset and threw in at Lawler. It’s hard to take Lawler’s side in this given how disrespectful he is towards them.
Brie Bella beat Kelly Kelly. Backstage, Natalya and Beth Phoenix were shown running down both women. Kelly hit a whirlybird. Brie went for a baseball slide but caught Eve Torres. As Kelly checked on Eve, the Bellas did the switch and Nikki got the pin on Kelly. They then aired a video package on Alex Riley.
Sheamus and John Cena beat Mark Henry and Christian. The heels worked over Sheamus. Cena got the tag and came in with shoulder blocks, the Cena slam and the five knuckle on Christian. He went for the FU but Christian escaped. Christian went for a tornado DDT but Cena got out. Cena hit a powerslam and knocked Henry off the apron. Christian went for a springboard crossbody but was caught and Cena went for the FU again. Christian grabbed the ropes so Cena countered into the STF. Henry broke that up.
Henry clotheslined Sheamus and went for the old Big Bossman move jumping on Sheamus hanging on the ropes. Sheamus moved out of the way and Henry flew through the ropes to the outside, which looked crazy. Sheamus hit a shoulder block off the apron onto Henry. Christian hit a spear on Cena in the ring for two. Christian went for the kill switch but Sheamus gave him the Brogue kick and Cena hit the FU for the win. It doesn’t matter since it’s just a TV match, but it was weird to see a title challenger get pinned the night before a title cage match blowoff.
Speaking of weird, they cut backstage. HHH proceeded to inform CM Punk that his match with Kevin Nash had been cancelled by the board of directors and that instead Punk would be wrestling one-on-one with HHH. Huh? Did they change their minds in the middle of the show?
This was a solid, entertaining show. With twice the wrestlers available, there is a temptation to cram too much stuff in, but they wisely elected to give matches and promos time to breathe and it paid off. The Punk/Nash/HHH thing is weird but I guess we’ll see what they have planned. I tend to think they did it for some specific reason but it’s certainly not something you see very often.
The biggest news item was the decision to make Raw shows (and maybe Smackdown shows) dual brand. I think it’s a bad, shortsighted decision. One of their biggest problems is lack of depth and this is going to lead to more focus on the same guys and less depth. Plus, the show already feels too much like the same guys and this is likely to give more TV time to the Cenas and Ortons of the world.
With that said, they’ve done dual brand Raws more often than not the past few years, so it’s not like it’s a big change. They’re more just codifying the status quo, although they had kept the brands pretty separate the past few months. A potential big positive that could come out of this is that they have too many titles and hopefully this will encourage them to reduce the number of them. I think merging the WWE and world titles in particular could be a huge positive. If all the guys are on each show, there’s really no reason left for two main titles except for house shows and I don’t think that makes a difference at all on house shows anyway.