11/28 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Piper's Pit with John Cena, C.M. Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio for the WWE Championship, John Morrison's last advertised appearance
By Jason Powell
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Columbia, S.C.
[Q1] The opening montage kicked off the show... Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler introduced themselves and hyped the WWE Championship match as a clip aired of the C.M. Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio match from Survivor Series...
Ring announcer Justin Roberts introduced Roddy Piper, who came to the ring, which was decked out for Piper's Pit. Meanwhile, Cole plugged Twitter three minutes into the show. "We have had some times together," Piper said. He questioned how a guy who never held the WWE Championship and wasn't the biggest guy went on to become one of the biggest icons of the industry.
Piper said it was because of the fans. He said that when the fans cheered him it made him feel good so he did good things. Piper said that when the fans booed him, it made him feel bad so he did some really rotten things. Piper said it was all about the energy from the fans, and he said his guest is someone who doesn't know if the energy is important.
John Cena was introduced by Piper. He came out to the usual mix of cheers and boos. "Holy smokes, listen to this place," Cena said. He played up appearing on Piper's Pit and referred to Piper as legendary. He said just when he thinks he has the answers, Piper changes the questions. Cena said he didn't know what Piper meant when he said energy isn't important to him.
Piper said he was going to play word association with the fans and encouraged them to react however they want to. Piper mentioned Steve Austin and the fans cheered. He mentioned Bret Hart and the fans cheered (along with a few boos). He mentioned The Rock and there was a loud pop followed by some boos. Finally, he mentioned Cena, who got the mixed reaction.
â€¨Cena laughed it off. A "Cena" chant started. "Pretty good," Cena told Piper. "I see what you're trying to do." Piper said he was trying to help Cena. "I can see it on your face," Cena said. He paused to let the crowd do their thing. Piper said that when all the people were calling for Rock to perform the Rock Bottom on Cena, the fans came unglued. "I know, I was there," Cena replied.
Cena said this isn't the first time something like this has happened. He said he was going to tell Piper what the fans already know. He said there are people who know who he is and what he stands for. "I am extremely loyal to those people," Cena said. He added that there are people who go to shows and buy tickets and want to tell him to go to hell.
Cena said that's the energy that makes the WWE shows so special. "They can do what they want," Cena said. Piper said he was going to tell Cena what's happening and he's not going to like it. Piper said Cena is the face of WWE. "And the booing is getting loude and louder and louder," Piper said. "You're losing it."
Piper said this isn't Mick Foley's "have a nice day stuff." He said that if Cena doesn't start telling the people what he thinks, he will be the loser of the biggest WrestleMania in history. Cena said Piper was going a little overboard. He recalled WrestleMania 22 in Chicago when he faced Triple H. "Oh, they loved me that night," Cena said.
Cena said he could't even repeat what the fans chanted at him during the WWE Hall of Famer ceremony that year. He recalled working Edge in Toronto, and C.M. Punk in Chicago. Piper tried to cut him off, but Cena refused. Cena said The Rock had a great night at MSG. He pointed out two young Cena fans in the front row and said they are having the time of their lives.
Cena said he granted three Make-A-Wish wishes today. He said there were members of the armed services that were in the crowd and they were having the times of their lives. Cena pointed to the "Rise Above Hate" t-shirt and told Piper to read it. He said it's why he will never get rattled. He said the fans can hate him at WrestleMania and it doesn't matter. He said he knows he can beat The Rock.
[Q2] Piper said he came a long way to have Cena on The Pit. Piper said he's watched Cena's entire career and he's proud of him. He said his generation passed the torch to Cena. He sang Cena's praises. "How much energy can you tap into?" Piper asked.
Piper removed his WWE Hall of Fame ring and placed it in Cena's hand. "From a Hall of Famer to a future Hall of Famer, if you don't get this off your chest and get it right with these folks, you will be in denial and it will kill your chances." Cena tried to respectfully blow off Piper's advice.
Piper slapped Cena across the face. "Do you feel the energy," Piper asked. Cena removed his hat and put Piper's ring back in his hand, closed it into a fist, shook his head no, and headed backstage...
At ringside, Cole and Lawler played up the question of whether the boos are finally getting to Cena. Lawler said he thinks Cena is okay and Piper went over the line. Cole transitioned to hyping The Miz vs. John Morrison. They aired a video of the Awesome Truth breakup... [C] A Smackdown ad featured Mick Foley hyping Tuesday's live special...
Powell's POV: Damn good segment to start the show. Piper brought his A Game, and I love the way they are finally acknowledging the boos in a way that will encourage bigger reactions from the crowd. The usual bit of Cena smirking off all the boos was getting really tired, and this breathes some new life into things. Is it the real beginning of a Cena heel turn or the beginning of an effort to rally his fans behind him?
John Morrison started to make his entrance only to have The Miz attack him on the stage. Miz slammed a steel pipe (Scott Steiner gimmick infringement) over Morrison's leg repeatedly. Referees and trainers ran out to pull Miz off. Miz headed to the ring and the trainers wanted to take Morrison backstage, but he insisted upon going to the ring for the match...
1. The Miz defeated John Morrison in a Falls Count Anywhere via ref stoppage in 3:30. Morrison went after Miz, got him on the ground, and hit him with repeated punches. Miz took a shot at Morrison's injured leg. He wrapped it around the ring post and then slammed the leg into it. Cole said R-Truth is going to be out for a number of weeks because of his injury.
Miz pulled a kendo stick out from underneath the ring. Cole pointed out that it's legal given the rules of the match. Morrison got the stick and blasted Miz with it in and around the ring. He scored a two count on the floor at ringside. Miz crawled up the ramp to get away from Morrison.
On top of the stage, Miz avoided a kendo stick shot and ran Morrison into the WWE logo stand. Miz picked up Morrison and hit the Skull Crushing Finale. Miz went for a cover, but the referee stopped the match because Morrison was unable to continue. Cole said Miz is eliminating people who got in his way and held him back.
Powell's POV: Morrison got more offense than I expected him to get in a farewell match. I hope they are trying to give Miz more of an edge. This was a good start overall, but crawling up the ramp to get away from a wounded wrestler isn't going to make viewers feel as though much has changed.
[Q3] After the match, the trainers and referees put Morrison on a board. Miz walked back out and looked at the fans. Morrison was placed on the stretcher as Miz walked to the ring. John Laurinaitis was out briefly with the crew that helped Morrison. Miz stood in the ring and said last week it was R-Truth, this week it's John Morrison, and next week "we'll see."
The Miz said only one superstar can make this type of impact, and that person is him. He calmly stated that he can do it because he's awesome. Lawler said The Miz is like an iceman. "Ice cold," Lawler said regarding Miz...
Powell's POV: A different approach from The Miz. It's not going to work overnight, but I think they are heading down a necessary path with Miz. As entertaining as he is, the character hasn't evolved much. WWE desperately needs more heels that the fans see as threats to the heels, so hopefully this is a step in that direction.
2. Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox beat The Bella Twins in 1:35. Beth Phoenix and Natalya jogged to and around the ringside area, and then back up the ramp and went backstage. Alicia performed a sommersault into a legdrop on one of the twins and got the pin...
The announcers hyped the WWE 12 video game, and footage from the game showed a Punk vs. Del Rio match... The announcers hyped Punk vs. Del Rio for later in the show... [C]
Powell's POV: Eve is out and Alica is in as Kelly's BFF. Meanwhile, I had a flashback to The Bodydonnas when Beth and Natalya jogged around the ring in their workout gear.
[Q4] A Sheamus vignette aired...
Backstage, John Laurinaitis told Brodus Clay by phone that he'll see him next week. Otunga questioned when he's finally going to let Clay compete. Laurinaitis said Brodus is a killer and the longer he waits the more dangerous he'll be. "I'm actually doing Brodus a favor," Laurinaitis said.
Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez entered the picture. Del Rio said that what happened at Survivor Series is just a temporary setback. He said he'll walk out tonight as the WWE Champion. C.M. Punk entered the room and said 156,000 results came up when he entered Laurinaitis and spineless.
Punk said nine times the results came up when he entered Alberto Del Rio and boring. He said Jennifer Hudson stuff came up when he entered David Otunga's name. Punk said the title isn't going anywhere and left the room. Otunga said that sounded like a threat. Laurinaitis said that if Punk gets himself intentionally disqualified, he will lose the WWE Championship...
Split screen shots aired of Randy Orton and "The Showoff" Dolph Ziggler... [C]
Powell's POV: The latest mystery video is up with the student at the desk. You can view it at Youtube.com/second2012. Thanks to Dot Net reader Zack Zimmerman for sharing.
3. Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero) beat Randy Orton in a non-title match in 11:50. Wade Barrett was on commentary for the match. A pop-up box promo featured Dolph admitted he's a showoff. He said he's going to do what he does best - show off. Orton got the better of the early exchange.
[Q5] Ziggler nailed another dropkick on Orton, who was knocked off the ring apron. Ziggler followed to the floor and slammed Orton's head off the ring steps. Orton regained control of the match and the show cut to commercial. [C] Another ad aired for the live Smackdown special.
Orton was starting to hit his signature offense when Ziggler left the ring and said, "Let's go." Barrett left the broadcast table. Orton knocked him off the ring apron with a dropkick, only to take Ziggler's finisher. Ziggler scored the upset win and then did a handstand on the floor...
Powell's POV: As much as I enjoy watching Dolph climb the ladder, I don't care for the way his character has become a showoff so quickly. It feels like a gimmick they are trying to get over rather than something that developed organically. Obviously, winning the match sure beats losing for Ziggler, but it was not designed to be a breakout moment. It's something Ziggler can gloat over, but it was more about Orton and Barrett, and giving Dolph a chance to play his showoff character than it was about giving Ziggler a meaningful win.
The announcers hyped the WWE Championship match as footage aired of Punk celebrating with the fans after winning the strap at MSG... [C]
[Q6] Michael Cole stood in the ring and introduced Daniel Bryan as the biggest hypocrite in the history of WWE. Cole said Bryan has been given the opportunity to battle Mark Henry in a cage match. Bryan said he hasn't been given anything. He said he earned a championship match by winning a four-way match.
Bryan said he hoped he would have earned some respect given his recent accomplishments. Cole got fired up and said he can't respect Bryan for trying to cash in on an injured champion. He said he's a liar and a hypocrite for saying he would wait until WrestleMania to cash in.
Cole set up footage of Bryan cashing in only to have Teddy Long call off the title change because Henry wasn't medically cleared. Cole laughed about Bryan's dreams being shattered. Cole said he hopes Henry decimates Bryan in the cage. Bryan said he is a hypocrite, but he said plans change.
Bryan said his plans changed when Henry tried to end his career. He said that showed him that the MITB contract doesn't guarantee him anything. He said he had an opportunity and he took it. He said becoming World Hvt. Champion his more important to him than headlining WrestleMania.
Mark Henry walked onto the stage and scoffed at the notion of Bryan beating him. He said Bryan should be ashamed for going after a defenseless match. He also said Teddy Long should be ashamed for booking him even though he's injured. Henry said it doesn't matter if he's on one leg, Bryan can't beat him.
Bryan left the ring and headed up to the stage, where he took a shot at Henry's injured leg. Henry limped and Bryan said we'll find out whether he can win tomorrow night... Lawler told Cole to just shut up. They hyped the WWE Championship match... [C]
Powell's POV: I love that they're actually dedicating time to hyping Smackdown on Raw, but the segment didn't do much for me. Cole was over the top to the point that he wasn't effective, and Bryan's comments left me more concerned than ever that he won't be getting the title match at WrestleMania 28. Meanwhile, they are doing a good job of hyping the WWE Championship match consistently throughout the show.
[Q7] 4. Zack Ryder pinned Jack Swagger (w/Vickie Guerrero) in 3:20. Cole heeled on Ryder on commentary throughout the match. Later, Swagger went for the Vader Bomb, but Ryder's hand was in the way so he didn't follow through with the move. Once he did go for it, Ryder got his feet up and followed up with his own finisher for the win...
The announcers hyped the main event... [C] A video for Kane's return was shown. It was a new video, not the one that played last week, but it concluded with the same shot of the burning bask. "Kane Resurrected" read a caption at the end...
Powell's POV: More of the same from Ryder and Swagger. Meanwhile, WWE is acknowledging that it's Kane. The resurrection line will fuel even more hope that they are bringing back the masked version of the character.
A Piper's Pit recap aired... Mick Foley was introduced. He walked out dressed in a Santa Claus costume and rhymed about tomorrow night's live special...
Backstage, Josh Mathews interviewed C.M. Punk, who said it's obvious that John Laurinaitis is dealing from the bottom of the deck. He said Laurinaitis can kiss his bottom. He said he meant that he can kiss his ass. He looked into the camera and repeated the line... [C]
[Q8] Another Smackdown ad aired... Ring introductions for the main event took place...
5. C.M. Punk defeated Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) for the WWE Championship in 15:20. Punk loses the title if he gets himself intentionally disqualified. Ricardo handled the introduction of Del Rio. Charles Robinson was the referee for the match. Punk was in control when the match went to break less than three minutes in. [C]
Highlights aired from during the break of Del Rio taking control of the offense. They traded offense. Del Rio regained control and scored a near fall. A "Where's Our Ice Cream" chant broke out with a small, yet vocal group of fans.
[Overrun] Del Rio caught Punk with a nice kick to the head and got another near fall. A "Del Rio" chant broke out. It was followed by "sucks" chants from some fans. It sounded like the fans who were chanting for ice cream were mostly the same group chanting for Del Rio seconds later.
Lawler said not everyone likes Punk because he's anti-establishment and his his own "ideal-ology." Oops. Punk came back with a heel kick and a neck breaker for a near fall of his own at 12:00. Del Rio came back with an armbreaker for another near fall. Del Rio caught Punk with a good suplex into a pin for another near fall.
Del Rio removed the pad from one of the turnbuckles. As the ref tied it up, Del Rio grabbed a chair. He tossed it to Punk, who tossed it back at Del Rio. Punk went into Eddie Guerrero mode by lying on the mat. As the referee argued with Del Rio, Punk rolled him up for a good near fall. Del Rio came back with the Backstabber for a near fall of his own.
The referee argued with Rodriguez. Meanwhile, Del Rio grabbed Punk and tried to slam him into the exposed turnbuckle. However, Punk hoisted him up in GTS position and dropped Del Rio's head on the exposed turnbuckle. Punk covered Del Rio and the referee turned around and counted to three.
Ricardo threw a fit and tried to inform the referee of what happened. Punk picked up Ricardo and gave him the GTS. Punk celebrated on the ropes to close the show... A final plug for Smackdown was shown...
Powell's POV: A strong television main event. The crowd seemed a little slow to get into the match, but they really bought into some of the near falls down the stretch. Overall, this was a strong edition of Raw compared to some of the disjointed shows we've been getting. The storytelling was better and it was good to see the guys like Dolph Ziggler and The Miz put new spins on their characters.
I really enjoyed the opening segment with John Cena and Roddy Piper, and it's nice to feel interested in seeing where things go with Cena for the first time in a while. It's worth noting that there was no hype for TLC. Rather, WWE focussed on promoting the live Smackdown special. It will be interesting to see whether the hype for TLC kicks in tomorrow night. I'll have more to say in Dot Net Audio on Tuesday. Thanks for watching along with me tonight.
Dot Net Members are listening to the two-hour audio interview that I conducted with former WWE star Shawn Daivari. Topics include his runs with WWE, TNA, and Ring of Honor, as well as his current projects, including a Morgan Spurlock documentary, All Wheels Wrestling, and the Wrestling Retribution Project. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up now via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
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