By Jason Powell
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Knoxville, Tenn.
[Q1] The show opened with Alberto Del Rio climbing out of his car as Ricardo Rodriguez introduced him. Michael Cole introduced the show along with Josh Mathews and Jerry Lawler on commentary. Cole, who was inside The Cole Mine, said Lawler isn't a real king, but Del Rio is real royalty.
Del Rio questioned why they spent so much time celebrating The Rock's birthday rather than his own arrival on Raw. Del Rio made his pitch for being the No. 1 contender. Rey Mysterio made his entrance while Del Rio seethed inside the ring. Rey said Del Rio's future is as Ricardo's ring announcer.
The Miz came out with Alex Riley to stake his claim at being named No. 1 contender. Del Rio said he had his chance last week and goes to the back of the line. Miz blamed the referee for reversing his decision. "The Truth has set me free," R-Truth said before he walked to the ring.
Truth said he hates hospital food. He asked the fans if they knew who was eating hospital food right now. He said John Morrison and pointed to the big screen, where the live crowd watched a recap of Truth's attack on Morrison. Lawler said Truth was telling the truth, as Morrison is hospitalized.
R-Truth said Morrison was beaten so bad that he needed surgery. He said the fans could go to the WWE website if they didn't believe him. Truth delivered a message to Morrison that hospital food causes constipation. Truth said he has no problem making sure they other wrestlers in the ring meet a similar fate.
Truth walked down the line and took jabs at each of the wrestlers lined up in the ring. Rather than just beat the hell out of him, they all just stood there and took it. Truth said he's not going to wait in line like he did for ten years. "You kick my dog, and I'll kick your cat."
The Anonymous General Manager email chime sounded. Cole stood up and said he received a message from the G.M. on his iPad. The general manager ruled that only three of the competitors deserved a title shot, so they would compete in a Triple Threat match. The G.M. booked The Miz and Del Rio, but then Cole paused to wait for the email chime before announcing that Mysterio was the third man in the match.
[Q2] R-Truth, who previously referred to himself as an angry black man, was pissed. "Again?" Truth asked. Truth said he's better than all of them, especially Mysterio. Rey said he agrees with the general manager in that Truth shouldn't be involved in the match.
After Truth left the ring, Miz ripped into Del Rio and Mysterio. Del Rio ended up clearing Miz from the ring, but then Mysterio dove onto Del Rio. Mysterio headed back to the ring to celebrate while the announcers hyped the No. 1 contenders match... [C]
Powell's POV: There's an element of danger that's missing from Truth's act. He put Morrison out of action according to the storyline (Morrison underwent legit neck surgery today and will be out up to six weeks), but that's not enough. He's the guy that fans are chanting "What" at. They're not hanging on his every word because I don't think they see him as more than a mid-card cartoonish heel. It's cool to see him get a push, but he needs more of an edge than he has right now. Perhaps his exclusion from the main event will push him in that direction.
Highlights aired of Kharma attacking Maryse last week...
1. Eve Torres and Kelly Kelly defeated The Bella Twins in 1:25. Eve had a last name this week, according to Justin Roberts's ring introduction, but the on-air graphic did not include her last name. Kelly made Maxim's Hot 100. Kelly ended up pinning one of the Bellas.
Kharma's music played and she headed to the ring. The Bellas hid at ringside while Eve and Kelly stood in the ring. Once Kharma stood on the ring apron, The Bellas ran backstage. Kelly took a seat in the corner, and slid to ringside. Eve tried to hit Kharma from behind only to take a clothesline.
Kharma left the ring, which led to Kelly running backstage. Kharma headed back to the ring to continue her attack on Eve, which consisted of the Implant Buster (it still doesn't have a WWE name yet)...
A backstage shot aired of Kane and Big Show walking. The announcers hyped that Kane would face Mason Ryan after the break...
Powell's POV: More of the same from Kharma. That's not a complaint. I guess the only difference is that she went after a babyface this time. I guess Kane gets to keep showing up on Raw because he has one of the tag belts.
[Q3] [C] 2. Kane (w/Big Show) beat Mason Ryan (w/C.M. Punk) by an apparent DQ in 2:15. The announcers narrated highlights of Ryan getting the better of the tag champs last week. Cole said it's attributable to Ryan buying into what Punk has been telling him. Ryan overpowered Kane early and scored a near fall. Kane came back with an uppercut that missed and ended up getting a near fall of his own.
Punk interfered at one point by kicking Kane in the leg, but Show ran over and punched him out. David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty ran out for the save, but Show and Kane cleared them from the ring. Kane and Show teamed up to chokeslam Ryan...
Powell's POV: Ryan's facial expressions are so over the top that they distract me from the match and make it hard to take him seriously. Nexus continue to look so weak that they should just invade WWE Superstars and get it over with. I hate when matches end without an official announcement regarding the finish. By not saying anything, they are essentially telling viewers that the match outcomes don't matter.
The announcers hyped that John Cena would appear on the show... [C]
3. Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero) beat Santino Marella in 1:40. One of the announcers plugged Kmart as a sponsor. King said he was in Kmart checking out Santino action figures. Yes, Jerry, that's what you were doing in a section frequented by youngsters. Santino got a hope spot, but Dolph put him away with his finisher...
Powell's POV: I can't believe how much the new hairstyle has hurt Dolph. I haven't seen a makeover backfire like this since Tara Reid had her breasts, um, enhanced.
[Q4] The announcers hyped the Triple Threat match... [C] The Smackdown Rebound recapped Randy Orton defeating Christian to capture the World Hvt. Championship...
Powell's POV: At least they're acknowledging it on Raw. I still think major Smackdown news should be treated as such by being treated as a big talking point early on Raw. Since a few emailers have asked, I rewound to the first match and it looks like they are right in saying that James "Little Guido" Maritato was the referee of the Divas match.
Backstage, Scott Stanford interviewed R-Truth, who complained about getting letters from parents who want him to sing and dance for "Little Ronnie" at home. Truth made Stanford say the "What's Up" line... [C] An ad for WWE Smackdown hyped Randy Orton beginning his reign as the new World Hvt. Champion...
The announcers recapped John Cena vs. The Miz from last week. Mathews said Miz brilliantly hid the WWE Championship belt while he was covering Cena, which led to the restart...
Powell's POV: Um, wouldn't it have been more "brilliant" to throw the belt to ringside? I guess they have to sell it somehow.
[Q5] Alex Riley was apologetic to an upset Miz backstage. He said he didn't mean to raise the hand that Miz was holding the WWE Championship match. Miz called him an ameba, and questioned why he allows Riley in his presence. Riley vowed to make it up to Miz. "Watch this," Riley said before leaving the room.
Riley walked through the backstage area with a smirk on his face and eventually made his way into the arena. Riley made his entrance without music and got a decent round of boos from the live crowd. Once in the ring, Riley challenged John Cena to a match. When Cena didn't come out, Riley threw the mic toward the entrance ramp. Cena eventually made his entrance...
4. John Cena beat Alex Riley in a non-title match in 3:10. Cole stressed that Cena has a major decision to make later tonight. He said Cena will determine the stipulation for the Over The Limit main event, and questioned whether Riley was catching him on a night when he's distracted.
It was a pro-Cena crowd. Cena jumped out on offense quickly, but Riley came back and got a couple of two counts that the fans didn't really believe. Cena came back and hoisted up Riley. He stopped and noticed Miz walking out, then performed the Attitude Adjustment. Cena smiled at Miz and then performed the move again on Riley. Cena applied the STF, and Riley quickly tapped out... [C]
Powell's POV: Cole tried to create some doubt in the minds of the fans, but I don't think he was successful. The women and kids cheered Cena, but the crowd wasn't red hot for this match by any means.
The announcers thanked Rise Again for the official Over The Limit theme song...
Michael Cole stood in the ring and asked for the attention of the fans. "I have a very important announcement to make tonight," Cole said. He noted that he beat Jerry Lawler at WrestleMania and again at Extreme Rules. Cole said he can't get any higher. Cole announced that he is retiring from in-ring competition. The fans cheered.
[Q6] Cole said he's retiring as the only undefeated superstar in WWE history. He said that when he enters the WWE Hall of Fame, he wants to go in as a broadcaster and in-ring competitor. Lawler told Cole to hold on. Cole quickly reminded Lawler that if he lays a hand on him, he would be fired per the general manager's previous ruling.
Lawler entered the ring and had the production truck play footage of The Rock hitting Cole with The Rock Bottom. They actually played the "Go Heat, bitch," line uncensored, unlike when Rock actually delivered the line. Back live, Lawler said the footage was very entertaining.
Lawler said that if the day ever comes that Cole is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, life as we know it would cease to exist. Lawler said that he would personally induct Cole into the WWE Hall of Fame and give him his ring if he beat him in another match. Cole thought about it and said, "I don't think so." Cole headed back to the Cole Mine at ringside.
Cole stood on the table and mocked Lawler for stealing the spotlight as he attempted to retire. Cole questioned what's wrong with the people of Tennessee that makes them all poor losers. Cole said Al Gore lost to the greatest president in the history of the United States and is still complaining about it all these years later. He said there are Tennessee fans who refuse to believe that Elvis died on a toilet.
Cole said he made up his mind on Mother's Day. He said he flew his mother to Texas and they had a great day. He said he and his mother watched the footage of him beating Lawler at WrestleMania. Cole said there's nothing better in the world than spending the day with your mother. Cole asked Lawler what he did for Mother's Day.
"Oh, I'm so sorry," Cole said in a phony tone. "How insensitive of me. It must have slipped my mind. I forgot. Your mother passed away in February." Lawler left the ring and tried to get over the Cole Mine glass. Jack Swagger attacked Lawler from behind. Cole and Swagger shook hands as Lawler sold Swagger's attack... [C]
Powell's POV: I'm becoming increasingly bored by tonight's show. I feel like we're in rerun mode with this feud, and the rest of the show hasn't been all that hot. It's worth noting that they never mentioned Jim Ross during that segment even though he was in the tag match at the last pay-per-view.
A bunch of nerdy stars like Jason Biggs and David Arquette who were probably bullied as children told kids not to bully other kids in the latest Be a Star video...
5. Kofi Kingston beat Jack Swagger to retain the United States Championship in 8:25. Cole and Mathews were on commentary since King made his exit. Cole put over Swagger's accomplishments and said he was about to be the new U.S. Champion. Swagger was in control when the show cut to commercial two minutes into the match.
Powell's POV: It's a good thing they didn't advertise this match in advance. You wouldn't want people to actually think a U.S. Title match is a big deal and then watch the show to see it.
[Q7] [C] They rejoined the match at the 5:15 point and said Swagger dominated during the break. Kofi came back with a high cross body block for a near fall that the crowd was up for. Swagger regained control of the offense and worked over Kofi's knee. Swagger was in control when Lawler walked onto the stage. Kofi took advantage of the distraction and hit the Trouble in Paradise kick for the win.
Afterward, Lawler disposed of Swagger and went after Cole. He threw a chair over the Cole Mine toward Cole. Lawler reached through one of the holes in the glass and pulled Cole by the tie repeatedly so that his face bounced off the glass. The camera caught a shot of Cole making a really silly face. Swagger eventually entered the Cole Mine and helped Cole to his feet.
Swagger took the mic and said Lawler is fired because he touched Cole. Lawler took the mic and said that he never touched Cole, he touched his tie. The fans cheered. Swagger said Lawler just made Cole a first ballot Hall of Famer. Swagger accepted the match Lawler mentioned earlier on Cole's behalf. Cole didn't want the match. Lawler played to the fans by standing on the desk...
Powell's POV: The Tennessee crowd was into the angle. It would have been a lot of fun if I didn't feel like we've seen it so many times before. Here's hoping this really is the final match between the two because the feud just isn't as fun as when it started.
A video plugged "That's What I Am" and had comments from Ed Harris and Randy Orton. The DVD is out next week... The announcers hyped the Triple Threat main event... [C]
[Q8] 6. The Miz defeated Rey Mysterio, and Alberto Del Rio in a Triple Threat match in 13:45 to earn a shot at the WWE Championship at Over The Limit. The usual Triple Threat approach with one wrestler selling while the other two did their thing in the ring. With Mysterio at ringside, Del Rio and Miz clotheslined one another and the show cut to break around 3:50. [C]
After the break, Mysterio and Del Rio worked together while Miz was selling. Del Rio got the better of the exchange and then headed to ringside, where he rammed Miz's head into the ring post. Miz recovered, but kept putting his hand up to his head to sell the ring post shot.
Del Rio pulled Miz to ringside and clotheslined him, and then Mysterio dove onto Del Rio on the floor. Rey hit some of his signature offense on Del Rio and scored a good near fall that the fans reacted to. Miz went to the top rope, but Mysterio threw Del Rio into that corner, causing Miz to crotch himself on the ropes.
Mysterio hit a top rope huracanrana, only to have Del Rio come right back and lock him in the cross arm breaker. Miz ran in and tried to kick Del Rio, who avoided it and rolled him up for a near fall. Miz came back with a DDT for another good near fall.
[Overrun] Alex Riley limped to ringside and tended to Miz on the floor. Mysterio sent Del Rio into Riley, knocking the latter off the ring apron. Mysterio ended up hitting a top rope splash on Del Rio, but Riley pulled him off when he went for the cover. Miz rolled up Mysterio and scored the pin...
John Cena walked onto the stage and said there will be no excuses because there are no disqualifications, countouts, or pinfalls. He said that if The Miz wants the WWE Championship again, he has to make him say two words. He said Miz will face him in an "I Quit" match.
After Cena, and then Miz and Riley headed backstage, R-Truth attacked Mysterio from behind. "Now that's what's up," Truth said to end the show...
Powell's POV: A very good television main event. The outcome of the match was spoiled by the Key Arena website, which listed John Cena vs. The Miz for the WWE Championship match in an "I Quit" match over the weekend. Before you send them hate mail, know that WWE is responsible for sending them the ads.
I don't like the idea of an "I Quit" match between Cena and Miz because it's not going to sell unless something dramatic happens between now and the pay-per-view. The fans have been taught that Cena won't quit, so they don't believe their hero is at risk to lose the WWE Championship, and thus have less incentive than usual to order the pay-per-view. That doesn't mean WWE can't do something creative and surprise us with a title change, but it's going to be a hard sell as far as the pay-per-view goes. I'll have more to say about this show on Tuesday morning in Raw audio, and in the WWE Raw Hitlist.
5/9 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: John Cena's challenger for the Over The Limit pay-per-view, Cena to pick the match stipulation
May 9, 2011 - 10:00 PM
May 9, 2011 - 10:00 PM
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