8/11 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: John Cena and Brock Lesnar deliver final hype for their match, Hulk Hogan birthday celebration with surprise guests, final push for SummerSlam
By Jason Powell
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WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Portland, Oregon at Moda Center
[Q1] Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL checked in on commentary as a shot of red and yellow birthday packages was shown...
Brock Lesnar's music played and then he and Paul Heyman made their entrance. Lawler pointed out the change to Lesnar's "Eat Sleep Conquer" t-shirt, which now has John Cena's name covering "Defeat." Heyman introduced himself and said he will be the advocate for the conquer Lesnar.
Heyman said bad things have happened historically to people who get in the ring with Lesnar. He boasted about Lesnar beating Undertaker and how he told people beforehand that Lesnar was going to win. He recalled a rookie Lesnar getting his hands on Dwayne Johnson as well as Hulk Hogan.
Heyman told Cena fans not to miss SummerSlam because when he says "you can't see me" he's not lying, as Cena fans won't be seeing him after Lesnar gets his hands on him. Still shots of the Extreme Rules match were shown. Heyman said that while Cena won the match, even Cena will admit that he lost the fight.
Heyman called Cena's win at Extreme Rules a tainted victory. He said Lesnar wouldn't make excuses. However, Heyman said Lesnar was battling diverticulitis and was only 50 percent, whereas he will be 100 percent on Sunday. Heyman delivered a Cena-like rap that included him saying his client is the conquerer and he's his advocating Jew. Funny. The rap continued and concluded with the line that at the West Coast's biggest arena, his client will conquer John Cena.
Heyman put the mic down, but then he picked it up. He said he almost forgot, but his client wants people to know that "this is Brock's house now." He said Lesnar has conquered the WWE Universe, which makes the fans his servants. Heyman said he was taking "the man of the house" out to dinner, but once he was done he would be "coming back home"...
Powell's POV: Another gem from Heyman. I gave up a while ago trying to come up with new adjectives to describe how awesome his promos are. He's in a league of his own. No one else even comes close to matching his talking ability. Considering how many Cena haters are out there, it says a lot about Heyman's heel ability that the fans boo during his promos rather than cheer him on. If only he could talk to the crowd during the match at SummerSlam, as I suspect it will be a very pro-Lesnar crowd.
The broadcast team hyped the WWE Network and JBL had Cole hold up a $9.99 sign. JBL once again stated that subscribers will get every pay-per-view for the remainder of the year. Cole hyped Hogan's birthday, and questioned how John Cena would respond to Lesnar and Heyman... A video of Flo Rida wishing Hogan a happy 61st birthday was shown, then Weird Al Yankovic delivered a video birthday greeting of his own with an accordion... Roman Reigns was shown backstage and Lawler noted that he would face an opponent handpicked by The Authority after the break...
[Q2] [C] Cole noted that this is Raw episode number 1,107... Roman Reigns made his entrance through the crowd. Kane's music played and he walked out in his Corporate Kane gear. Ugh. Kane said it was his pleasure to once again serve as the Director of Operations for The Authority. Kane said that beating him last week was like beating two men, so The Authority want to see how he does against two men...
Powell's POV: I wonder if Corporate Kane is back because The Authority won't be around as much after SummerSlam. Either way, I can't say the return of Corporate Kane does anything for me.
1. Roman Reigns vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel in a handicap match. Yes, Rybaxel still have the bad matching hats. Reigns got the better of Axel, who tagged in Ryback. There was a reaction from the crowd, but it seemed to be more Goldberg taunts that excitement over Reigns and Ryback colliding. Reigns sold heading into the break. [C]
Reigns had recovered and was working over both opponents after the break. They went to ringside and Ryback caught Reigns with a shot from behind and then ran him into the ring post. The referee warned Rybaxel, but they ran Reigns into the post again for the DQ.
Roman Reigns beat Ryback and Curtis Axel by DQ in 9:10.
[Q3] After the match, Reigns got the better of both men. He clotheslined Ryback to the floor, then Axel took an awesome bump when Reigns kicked his legs out and Axel flipped over. Reigns brought Ryback back inside the ring. He blasted both men with Superman punches, then speared Axel...
Renee Young entered the ring and asked Reigns how he feels knowing he will face Randy Orton at SummerSlam. Reigns paused as the fans chanted his first name. "I don't know, Portland, does it look like I'm ready?" he asked with a smile. Reigns said Orton left him lying two weeks ago.
"But he claims I stole something from him," Reigns said. "I've never stolen anything from Randy Orton, but this Sunday at SummerSlam I am taking everything from him." Reigns said that a viper is just a worthless little worm when you knock its fangs down it's throat...
Powell's POV: The DQ finish seemed pointless considering Rybaxel lose so frequently, but the live crowd was really hot for the post match beating he gave both men. Axel was really good here. He bumped all over for Reigns and made him look really strong. Reigns showed more personality during the post match promo. He wasn't the speak softly type, as he was more playful with his wording. I could have done without the cornball he delivered the "believe that" line to close...
Backstage, Randy Orton told Kane that he will end Roman Reigns at SummerSlam. Kane told Orton that The Authority wants to make sure Orton his ready for Sunday, so they put him in a match against Sheamus. "It's what's best for business," Kane said. Orton laughed and said, "Okay, fine"...
Lawler hyped Stephanie McMahon's confession to Brie Bella, then Cole hyped Chris Jericho and Bray Wyatt in an interview. It was listed as "one-on-one" but Cole made it seem like he interviewed both men simultaneously... Rob Van Dam made his entrance for a match. Cole hyped that RVD would face Seth Rollins after the break... [C] Footage aired from last week of Heath Slater being a late replacement for RVD...
2. Seth Rollins vs. Rob Van Dam. RVD got off to a good start and had Rollins draped over the barricade. He went to the ring apron and pointed at himself, then went for a spinning leg drop. Rollins moved and RVD once again looked like a dope for pointing at himself and having it backfire.
[Q4] [C] RVD regained control and scored a couple of near falls. Rollins was able to hold on to the ropes when Van Dam went for a monkey flip out of the corner. Rollins followed up with the Curb Stomp and then pinned Van Dam...
Seth Rollins pinned Rob Van Dam in 7:55.
After the match, Rollins went to the stage and turned his attention to Hogan's birthday gifts. One of them was large and Rollins showed fear that someone (Dean Ambrose) was inside. Rollins laughed off the possibility only to have Ambrose break out of the package and attack him. Rollins ended up running away.
Ambrose grabbed a mic and entered the ring for a promo. "Run, Seth, run while you still can," Ambrose said. "Because there ain't no running in a lumberjack match in six days. Your ass belongs to me and for just $9.99 I am going to get more than my monies worth"...
Powell's POV: I love the idea of Ambrose busting out of the package, but I don't know why they felt the need to spoil their own surprise by having Rollins inspect that package. I wasn't even thinking about it until he did that. I don't think damage was done, but I would avoid having Ambrose deliver the $9.99 pitch. He comes off like a crazed lone wolf type. I wouldn't mess with that by having him pimp the network price when there are countless wrestlers who can do that instead.
The broadcast team pimped Slam City and then an ad aired for the animated show... [C]
[Q5] Stephanie McMahon made her entrance as footage from the contract signing was replayed. The graphic for the SummerSlam match lists Nikki Bella being in Brie's corner, while Triple H will be in Stephanie's corner. Stephanie introduced Bryan's physical therapist Megan Miller. A photo of Miller with her arm around Bryan at the rehab facility was shown.
Stephanie found Megan in the crowd and called her into the ring. Stephanie said Megan had something she wanted to confess. She said she's had dinner with Daniel and Brie, and she has tried hard to get him back in the ring. Megan said her boyfriend left her and she can't be Bryan's physical therapist anymore. "It just all happened so instantly," she said. The crowd booed.
"I've been having an affair with Daniel Bryan," Megan said. The crowd booed again. Stephanie hugged her. Brie Bella stormed to the ring and confronted Megan, asking her off-mic "how could you do this to me?" Stephanie said Bryan used her and threw her away like a piece of trash. Stephanie said Bryan called Brie a "dead fish."
Stephanie impersonated Megan letting out orgasmic "Yes!" calls. Stephanie slapped Megan, then took Stephanie down and put her in the Yes Lock. WWE producers Joey Mercury, Jamie Noble, and Fit Finlay pulled them apart. Stephanie held her shoulder as she said, "We're not going to finish this at SummerSlam, we're going to finish this here tonight." The fans chanted Yes!...
Footage of NFL players Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and A.J. Hawk wishing Hogan a happy birthday were shown... [C]
Powell's POV: Did Hulk Hogan sit in on the creative meeting today and tell them about the "great" Claire Lynch angle in TNA? Ugh. Claire Lynch was bad enough, but watching WWE deliver their own version of it was even worse. Here's hoping it's a one-off. My buddy Pooch is still disappointed that the Packers didn't draft James Laurinaitis, as they could have had their own version of Hawk and Animal.
[Q6] The Stephanie and Brie angle was replayed...
3. Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter) vs. Cesaro. Former TNA referee Rudy Charles worked as the referee for this match. Swagger had his ribs taped. Lawler delivered a network pitch and mentioned "next year's Royal Rumble" as part of the six-month subscription. Cesaro targeted Swagger's ribs by putting him in an abdominal stretch and then punching the ribs. Swagger sold heading into the break. [C]
Swagger went on the offensive after the break. He hit a Swagger Bomb and came up selling the ribs before covering Cesaro for a two count. Cesaro caught Swagger in a small package for two. Cesaro performed a back splash off the middle rope for a two count. Later, Cesaro threw Swagger in the air and instead of hitting the uppercut he raised a knee, then ran the ropes and hit an uppercut for another two count.
Swagger caught Cesaro by the ankle and went for his finisher, but Cesaro reached the ropes and then kicked Swagger. Cesaro went up top and Swagger ran up and performed a Kurt Angle-like suplex, then applied the Patriot Lock for the win...
Jack Swagger defeated Cesaro in 12:00.
[Q7] After the match, Zeb cut a promo about how everyone will remember Swagger waving the American flag at SummerSlam. Zeb was about to deliver his closing catchphrase when he was interrupted by Rusev's music. Rusev and Lana walked onto the stage and. Swagger and Rusev waved their flags... Cole hyped Stephanie vs. Brie for later in the show... [C]
Powell's POV: A good match with Swagger selling the ribs nicely and Cesaro doing a great job of adjusting his offense to focus on the ribs. The post match angle was flat. Zeb didn't have much to say, and the flag waving was about as basic as it gets. I hope the company has a real plan for Cesaro after SummerSlam. He's too good to be an enhancement wrestler, which has been his role since the split with Paul Heyman.
Footage aired of last week's Chris Jericho and Bray Wyatt angle... The broadcast team hyped WWE SummerSlam, WWE Network, and tomorrow's worldwide launch of the WWE Network...
The Wyatt and Jericho interview was shown. Both men sat in chairs facing one another. Wyatt dismissed Cole immediately. Wyatt asked Jericho if he remembered being a child. He asked if he can still see the disappointment in his father's eyes. He said Jericho sought out to be a savior and he can't even save himself. "See, I know lots about you, Chris, and you don't know anything about me."
Wyatt said when he tried to dream, he hears "their screams" in his recurring nightmare. He said he never claimed to be a savior because he's not. Wyatt said he lives to help people who can't help themselves. Wyatt said the key to the universe is that you have to hurt someone in a way in order to help them. "I have hurt a lot of people," Wyatt said. "And for this I am not the least bit sorry." Wyatt said he hates everything the world has ever created. "I am a monster, Chris." Wyatt said his smile will be the last thing the "savior" Jericho ever sees.
Jericho smiled and said he's not afraid of Wyatt. He said that he's become a survivor during his career. He said you never know what you're going to get from Jericho. He told Wyatt that he couldn't promise what Jericho that Wyatt was going to see at SummerSlam. Jericho said he's going to follow the buzzards, grab them, and shove them down Wyatt's throat. He said he will be the first man to leave Wyatt speechless...
Powell's POV: I really liked that. It was the first memorable mic exchange they've had since the program started, which is really surprising considering the mic skills that both men possess.
A.J. Lee made her entrance. JBL noted that the UK launch for WWE Network is October 1... [C]
[Q8] The awful Smackdown theme played and a graphic boasted that the show was No. 1 again on Friday night... Footage aired of Paige knocking A.J. Lee off the stage on a recent Smackdown...
4. WWE Divas Champion A.J. Lee vs. Eva Marie in a non-title match. Paige skipped around the ring. Lee was distracted and rolled up by Eva for the surprise win. After the match, Paige recited a poem about how Lee has a face she wants to punch and how she intends to skip out of SummerSlam with her title. Lee left the ring and attacked Eva on the floor and whipped her into the barricade...
Eva Marie pinned A.J. Lee in 1:00.
Powell's POV: Eva Marie pinning A.J. Lee is a crime against humanity. Anyway, the Paige promo did nothing to get me more excited about their SummerSlam match. Paige roughing up Eva at least made it seem like Lee is pissed off heading into the match with Paige.
Footage aired of the Lesnar and Heyman segment that opened the show... [C] Cole hyped The Uso Brothers issuing an open challenge for Tuesday's Main Event Live television show...
Powell's POV: Let me guess, Rybaxel?
John Cena made his entrance wearing a new red hat and t-shirt. "Ladies and gentlemen, my name is John Cena," Cena started in Heyman style. He said he is going to be maimed and conquered by Brrrock Lessnar. Cena said Lesnar will give him the beating of a lifetime. "This Sunday there is one thing that Brock Lesnar will not do - win."
Cena said Lesnar will not win because he would have to make him lose. "And I am not laying down for Brock Lesnar," Cena said. "And any of you can take that any way you want, but Brock I am not going to lay down for you because you don't deserve this." Cena said Lesnar's idiotic view of the business means he doesn't deserve the title.
[Q9] Cena said he's had a lot of great moments with the fans. He said he's heard the cheers (mostly boos in response). He said he's heard the boos. The fans booed. He said he's been told he can't wrestle. Fill in the obligatory chant. He set up "Let's Go Cena/Cena Sucks" chants.
"Every week I come out here with a smile on my face and there's a group of you who ask the question every week," Cena said. "When does John Cena turn? When does John Cena say enough is enough. When does John Cena finally stop being about the t-shirts and ballcaps. When does John Cena stop being about the wristbands and K-Mart shoes? When does John Cena unleash hell?"
Cena said he is fighting a beast and therefore has to become one. He said the fans will see a Cena they have never seen before to keep the championship out of the hands of Lesnar. Cena recalled Heyman saying "this is Lesnar's house." Cena said it belongs to the fans. "This is your house," Cena said.
Cena looked to the stage and said that if this is Lesnar's house, then there's a stranger standing in his living room. "Brock, there is a stranger standing in your house right now," Cena said. "Try to come down here and kick me out." Cena removed his shirt while challenging Lesnar again. Lesnar didn't come out. Cena said Lesnar may have come down with diverticulitis, hepatitis, or punk-bitch-itis.
Cena challenged Brock to come down. "I have way too many fingers," he said. "I'm giving you the middle one." A Cena chant started. Cena said he wasn't going to repeat history on Sunday because he's going to make it. "This Sunday, I'm the one who beats the one. This Sunday the champ is here"...
Footage aired of the wannabe Claire Lynch angle from earlier in the show. Brie Bella was shown walking backstage... [C]
Powell's POV: The strength of the promo was Cena's intensity. He was really on in that regard. It certainly felt like he was a guy heading into a huge showdown match. The negative for me was the silly attempt to make it seem like this is a shoot. I don't think anyone really craved that. I don't think the fans were having a hard time suspending their disbelief for the Cena vs. Lesnar match, and I think you have to be very young or extremely naive to believe that this has turned into a shoot and Cena is refusing to do the honors for Lesnar. Those elements of the promo felt totally unnecessary and it's a shame because his demeanor was spot on.
Larry King and then Florida Georgia Line delivered their video birthday wishes to Hulk Hogan... Ring entrances for the Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella match took place.
[Q10] Stephanie McMahon walked out wearing her clothes rather than her gear. They set up yet another goddamn replay of the wannabe Claire Lynch angle, but fortunately it was brief. Stephanie said Megan Miller decided to press charges against Brie for slapping her earlier. Two men came out and handcuffed Brie and read her her rights.
Brie cried as the men led her backstage. Stephanie said they should be careful with her because her husband has been cheating on her. Steph told the fans that it should be a lesson to them in that what goes around comes around. She said that she will see Brie at SummerSlam if she makes bail... [C]
Powell's POV: If they are dumb enough to think there are fans who are buying into Cena vs. Lesnar being a shoot, then they should also take the approach that there are fans who are dumb enough to believe that Brie might not make bail before SummerSlam. The only positives I can find is that Steph played her part well here, and they put more heat on her going into the show.
5. Dolph Ziggler vs. Heath Slater. The Miz stood in on commentary. No, that's not a typo, he stood on top of the announce table. Ziggler was distracted and Slater caught him in an inside cradle for a two count. At 3:55, Ziggler ended up grabbing Miz at ringside and roughing him up. Dolph tried to get back to the ring, but the referee counted him out before he could get there. After the match, Ziggler offered a handshake. Slater tried to kick him, but Dolph caught his leg and gave him a Zig Zag...
Heath Slater defeated Dolph Ziggler via count out in 4:15.
Powell's POV: Slater is on a winning streak! I like it. JBL mentioned his win on Raw last week and tonight. He left out his tag match win on Main Event. I must admit that I am looking forward to Miz vs. Ziggler more than I expected to be. Miz is doing a nice job with his Hollywood gimmick and you can always count on great effort from Ziggler.
[Q11] The broadcast team pimped WWE Network and once again noted it will be available in the UK on October 1... Sheamus and Randy Orton were shown in separate shots walking backstage... [C] The Miz interviewing Roman Reigns on Miz TV was advertised for Smackdown...
6. U.S. Champion Sheamus vs. Randy Orton in a non-title match. The match got off to a slow start that led to some boring chants before the break. [C] Orton dropped Sheamus on the announce table coming out of the commercial.
[Q12] Sheamus hit Orton with the ten forearm shots, then performed a rolling senton for a two count. Orton came back with the sidewinder backbreaker. Later, Orton ducked a Brogue Kick and then sent Sheamus into the turnbuckle. Sheamus came right back and went for a top rope move, but Orton caught him with the RKO on the way down and pinned him clean...
Randy Orton pinned Sheamus in a non-title match in 13:10.
The broadcast team hyped Hulk Hogan's birthday celebration for after the break... [C]
Powell's POV: I understand the need for Orton to get a meaningful win heading into the pay-per-view, so I won't gripe too much about the secondary champion losing a non-title match. However, I can't help but question what message was sent about the U.S. Title. It's not so much that Sheamus lost, it's the idea that The Authority booked the match and apparently didn't care enough about it to put Orton in position to win it.
Several wrestlers walked onto the stage for the Hogan birthday celebration. Summer Rae led Layla hand-in-hand, so apparently they're like a thing now or they're just doing that girl thing where they act gay to attract guys. Anyway, they aired a preview of the Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena prelude special that will air on WWE Network...
Gene Okerlund and Jimmy Hart stood in the ring. Okerlund introduced Hulk Hogan, who came out to "Real American." Okerlund set up a Hogan video package that featured Hogan highlights set to "Forever Young." Back live, the fans were chanting Hogan and the wrestlers on the stage were clapping. "We could be here all night," Okerlund said.
Hogan took the mic and said the video was amazing. Hogan said he thinks this is the first time he's ever been speechless. Hogan went into Hulk promo mode. He mentioned that even "that nasty old Vince McMahon" bought him a card. He pimped the WWE Network. He said the card contained $9.99, then he pimped SummerSlam.
[Overun] Hogan said that in all sincerity, it's the greatest birthday he has ever had. Hogan thanked everyone for touching his life. He said he loved them, the fans, and the WWE Universe.
Ric Flair's entrance music played and he made his entrance. Paul Orndorff came out to the campy "Mr. Wonderful" song. Orndroff wore his robe and stopped to get a kiss on the cheek from Rosa Mendes. "Looks like Orndorff has been crossed with Wyatt Earp," JBL said in reference to his mustache. Roddy Piper was out next and shot Hogan an intense stare from the stage.
The NWO music played. Scott Hall and Kevin Nash made their entrance wearing NWO shirts. Once the music stopped, the fans cheered. Hall delivered the "Hey, yo," line. He said The Outsiders were honored to be there to show him some love on his birthday. Hall said Hogan looked sweet in the red and yellow.
However, Hall said he wanted to take a survey. He asked the fans whether they wanted to see the red and yellow. Then he asked if fans liked him more when he was rocking the black and white. Hogan ripped off his red and yellow shirt and revealed the NWO shirt. Nash said he's done a lot of things in his career, but one thing he hasn't done "is this..." Nash started to sing Happy Birthday.
Brock Lesnar's music interrupted the birthday song. Lesnar and Heyman headed to the ring. Lesnar had a cold stare and Heyman had a sadistic smile. "Brock Lesnar didn't come down here to sing happy birthday, I can assure you that," JBL said. "We need to get some of these guys out of here."
Lesnar entered the ring and glared at various veterans. Flair smiled back at him as if Flair were Paul London and Lesnar was Vince McMahon. "So, whatcha gonna do, Hulkster," Heyman asked Hogan. Brock took the mic and said, "Party's over, grandpa."
John Cena sprinted to the ring and removed his t-shirt and squared off for a fight. Lesnar flashed Cena a cocky smile and then left the ring. Lesnar's music played again. Cole pimped the prelude bit for WWE Network. Cena yelled, "I'm in your house, make a move," at Lesnar. Cole hyped more of the Hogan birthday party on WWE Network...
Powell's POV: A strong close to the show. I was a little worried that it would be all about the birthday party and not enough about SummerSlam at the end of the night, but they tied it all together in a nice way. Overall, this was a good go-home show. They didn't sell me on every match, but they delivered strong main event hype and breathed some life into Wyatt vs. Jericho. Thanks for watching along with me tonight. Join us for Prowrestling.net Live coming up momentarily, and come back on Sunday for our WWE SummerSlam coverage.
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