7/18 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Vince McMahon addresses the WWE Championship situation, C.M. Punk, and the John Cena firing
By Jason Powell
Dot Net Members will be listening to Jason Powell and Chris Shore's exclusive audio review of WWE Raw later tonight. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by visiting the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Green Bay, Wisconsin
[Q1] Vince McMahon's entrance theme played and he walked to the ring along with John Laurinaitis. The crowd chanted for C.M. Punk. Vince said the fans will never hear him say that man's name again. He said "that man" is the biggest ingrate in the history of WWE. He said that man walked out on the fans and everyone backstage.
Vince said no one is bigger than WWE, not Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Rock, etc. Vince said WWE is a promotional juggernaut that can't be stopped. Vince announced that they would crown a new WWE Champion on Raw. There were more boos than cheers. Vince said there will be an eight-man tournament to crown the new champion.
The first-round tournament matches were Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger vs. R-Truth, Kofi Kingston vs. Alberto Del Rio, and Alex Riley vs. The Miz. The crowd cheered for the announcement of Riley vs. Miz.
Vince said John Cena was conspicuous by his absence. He recalled warning Cena that he would be severe consequences if he didn't beat his opponent at Money in the Bank. Vince said there would be severe consequences as promised. Vince vowed that this would be a night that fans would always remember.
Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler spoke at ringside. Cole mentioned Cena's Twitter comments about being "future endeavored." He read part of the statement and said they'd have more on it later in the show. Lawler than ran through the tournament brackets and hyped that one of those eight wrestlers would be the new WWE Champion.
The Miz made his entrance... [C]
Powell's POV: I hate the idea of a new WWE Champion, but I'm just rolling with it for now. A lot can change over the next two hours. Meanwhile, Cole said something along the lines of Cena thought he'd already been fired when he made those comments on Twitter. There's been no official announcement on Raw regarding Cena's story line status yet.
1. The Miz defeated Alex Riley in a first-round tournament match in 5:00. The announcers narrated still shot photos of the Raw MITB match, and discussed Miz's knee injury spot. Riley targeted the knee early.
[Q2] Miz missed a move off the second rope and Riley applied a move similar to the Sharpshooter, according to Cole (it was a Texas Cloverleaf). Miz reached the ropes to break it at 4:20. In the end, Miz put referee Scott Armstrong between him and Riley. When Riley tried to move Armstrong out of the way, Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale and scored the clean pin. Miz limped to the back, Riley sold the loss by showing frustration while lying on the ground at ringside...
A shot aired of R-Truth walking backstage. He was talking to himself or someone who wasn't there...
Powell's POV: The finish was a little clunky. It looked like Miz didn't shove Armstrong or Armstrong simply didn't sell it like he was supposed to. Maybe I missed something, but it's strange to hear the announcers gleefully going along with the tournament rather than questioning it or at least showing some sign that they feel as though they have to go along with the company line regarding the WWE Championship. The show isn't off to the hot start I was hoping for, but there's a lot of show left to go.
A shot aired of the Vince Lombardi statue that stands outside the awesome Lambeau Field... The announcers set up a video package for John Morrison and noted that he's working his way back from injury...
Powell's POV: Cool video package with some wild spots and energetic music. They made his return feel like a big deal. They didn't say when he's returning, but they did point out that R-Truth is the man who put him out of action. Heel vs. heel match coming up. Double DQ or some type of non-finish to give someone a free pass to the finals?
2. R-Truth beat Jack Swagger in a first-round tournament match in 4:20. Cole addressed the Big Show injury story and said he could be out up to two months. He said there would be more details on Smackdown. Swagger controlled the action. He was going for the ankle lock submission when Truth rolled through and pinned him...
[Q3] The tournament brackets showed that Miz will face the winner of Kingston vs. Del Rio, and Truth will face the winner of Mysterio vs. Ziggler... The announcers hyped Kingston vs. Del Rio for after the break... [C]
An ad for Smackdown teased Randy Orton vs. Kane in a street fight for Friday's television show...
Powell's POV: The Green Bay crowd has nothing on the Chicago crowd from Sunday night. Obviously, it's different circumstances, but the excitement from Chicago didn't carry over to Green Bay. Granted, this was a heel vs. heel match, but it's not like they were hot beforehand.
Alberto Del Rio drove a car out for his entrance. Del Rio went to the ring and cut a promo. He boasted about winning the Money in the Bank match. He said he wanted to cash in, but implied that C.M. Punk ran like a chicken. Del Rio said it was all because John Cena couldn't do the job.
Del Rio said he hopes Cena gets fired because WWE needs a leader that people can respect. Del Rio's music played again. Ricardo Rodriguez walked out onto the stage!!! Ricardo introduced Del Rio a couple of times in Spanish... [C]
Powell's POV: Raw has sucked so far, but I will sleep better knowing that the legendary Ricardo Rodriguez is back on television where he belongs. I love that man. When this is all over I think Ricardo and I should get an apartment together. Have I gone too far?
The WWE anti-bullying ad aired...
3. Kofi Kingston defeated Alberto Del Rio in a first-round tournament match in 5:10. Cole mentioned that Daniel Bryan won the Smackdown Money in the Bank match. He said he thought it was a fluke win.
[Q4] Cole also brought up Cena's apology to The Rock on Twitter. Lawler said he didn't think Cena had anything to apologize to him for. Cole said Rock responded by begging Vince McMahon via Twitter not to fire Cena, and Rock added that he thought Cena's apology was phony. Meanwhile, Kofi hit a suicide dive on the floor at 1:50.
When they headed back inside the ring, Del Rio caught Kofi with a kick to the back of the head and scored a good near fall. Late in the match, Del Rio was setting up for the cross arm breaker when Kofi countered and scored an eventual pin with a roll up to advance in the tournament...
Powell's POV: Keep in mind that Del Rio could still cash in his MITB contract to beat the eventual winner of the tournament. And then if this tournament is eventually declared worthless, would Del Rio get his MITB contract back? This tournament just doesn't feel important. By the way, WWE is removing all mentions of "you know who" according to Joey Styles's Twitter page. Kurt Angle may look like Lord Voldemort, but C.M. Punk is the Lord Voldemort of WWE.
A SummerSlam flashback focussed on Davey Boy Smith beating Bret Hart to win the Intercontinental Title at SummerSlam 92...
Back live, Cole said he thought Del Rio was robbed. Lawler narrated the replay and pointed out that Del Rio's shoulders were down. Cole then agreed with him after watching the replay...
Backstage, Josh Mathews interviewed Kofi Kingston, who said he's a step closer to becoming the WWE Champion. "One down and two to go, boom!" Kingston said...
Powell's POV: It's bad enough that the announcers don't seem to have a problem with the tournament to crown a new WWE Champion when there already is a WWE Champion, but now one of the babyfaces in the tournament doesn't seem to mind a bit. The whole thing just has a weird vibe to it.
Introductions for the next match took place...
[Q5] 4. Rey Mysterio beat Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero) in a first-round tournament match in 4:50. Rey wore a mask, so it's not like he was permanently unmasked at the pay-per-view. Rey missed a 619 and took a cool slam from Ziggler. However, Mysterio came back with a 619 and followed up with a top rope splash for the 1-2-3...
Powell's POV: The boos that Mysterio heard in Chicago didn't follow him to Green Bay. The live crowd loved him and popped big for the finish. A good television match.
The announcers showed the graphics. Mysterio will face R-Truth, and Kingston faces Miz in the semifinals...
Backstage, Vince McMahon spoke with John Laurinaitis while the tournament brackets were shown on a television inside their office... [C]
5. Kelly Kelly, Eve, Gail Kim, Natalya, A.J., Kaitlyn, and Beth Phoenix beat The Bellas, Melina, Maryse, Alicia Fox, Tamina, and Rosa Mendes in 1:25. Kelly wore a Ryan Mathews jersey. There was a horrible spot early where Melina appeared to be trying to grab Phoenix with some type of hold, but they just awkwardly fell to the mat.
Beth hit the Glam Slam on Rosa for the win. A few of the face Divas eyed up Kelly's Divas Championship as she held it up afterward. The announcers spoke openly about how happy they were that the match ended quickly...
Powell's POV: That was awful. I have no idea why they trot out all those Divas just to have an 85-second match. I did enjoy the Rey Mysterio DVD ad that aired afterward when Mysterio had a line about the mask being his story. Odd timing. The show has been a major letdown thus far.
[Q6] [C] A disgusting look inside the Green Bay Packers locker room was shown (fine, so I'm a bitter Vikings fan)... The announcers spoke at ringside and made predictions for the tournament matches. Lawler predicted Mysterio vs. Kingston for the finals...
6. The Miz defeated Kofi Kingston in a semifinal tournament match in 3:55. Miz limped to ringside to sell the knee injury. Late in the match, Miz pushed Kingston into the air and he came down face first on the top turnbuckle. Miz, who was bleeding from the mouth, hit the Skull Crushing Finale and scored the pin...
Powell's POV: Miz continues to sell the knee, has a bloody mouth, and a big scrape on his chest. An entertaining match. I'd be a lot more into Miz's run through the tournament if it felt like the tournament mattered. Cole is in all out Miz fanboy mode again tonight with his cheering. I assume they're going Mysterio vs. Miz in the finals. The very long shot is that Miz is selling the knee and is going to turn face, but I'm not feeling confident about that one.
Backstage, Scott Stanford interviewed R-Truth, who said conspiracy kept him away from the briefcase at MITB. He said all the Little Jimmys should close their eyes because the title "is going to get got"... [C]
[Q7] A video showcased Tough Enough winner Andy Leavine. They showed his childhood house and he said that's where "Silent Rage" was created. He wore a "Silent Rage" t-shirt while talking about how there was a meth lab across the street. His high school wrestling buddy told a story about him showing rage once while beating an opponent...
Powell's POV: This just felt like a cookie cutter version of an ESPN feature you'd see on any athlete who comes from a troubled background, only it needed a hook so that it didn't feel like such a cliched piece. They're sticking with the Leavine hype. I hope there's something to the guy that I missed during Tough Enough.
7. Rey Mysterio beat R-Truth in a semi-final tournament match in 12:45. Mysterio hit a suicide dive and the show cut to break while both men were on the ground at ringside. [C] Truth was on the offensive after the break.
[Q8] Both men traded near falls as the action picked up and the crowd got into it. In the end, Mysterio hit a 619 and a top rope splash for the win. The finals will feature Mysterio vs. The Miz... A SummerSlam ad was shown... [C]
Powell's POV: They better do something big soon. This show has been such a letdown thus far. The tournament just doesn't feel important. Del Rio cashing in won't be enough. Are they setting up Del Rio as the heel Vince McMahon Champion for a showdown match with the real WWE Champion C.M. Punk at SummerSlam?
The Smackdown ad aired that hyped Randy Orton vs. Kane in a street fight for Friday's television show...
Vince McMahon came to the ring and said he wasn't going to deny Rey Mysterio his chance to win the WWE Championship. He said he was postponing the tournament finals until next week. "Don't be selfish, Rey," McMahon said. "This is bigger than you." Mysterio wasn't happy, but he left the ring.
Vince said no one is bigger than WWE. He said that includes Rey Mysterio and John Cena. "I can make a new John Cena," McMahon said. The live crowd chanted for C.M. Punk. Vince said there was no denying Cena's popularity around the world. He thanked him for his contributions to WWE.
McMahon said you have to make an example at times when doing business. He said this wasn't about his ego or his need to always win. He said he the fans may not always understand his decisions, but in time they will thank you. "As much as I would not like to do this, let's get it over with," Vince said. John Cena's music played and he headed to the ring.
[Overrun] Cena said there was no need for a seven second delay. He said he wasn't going to talk bad about Vince's family or show his genitalia. He said he knew what Vince was going to do and he was okay with it. He said he wouldn't go through what Shawn MIchaels had to go through.
Cena praised Michaels and said people kept saying that he screwed Bret Hart. He said Shawn had to carry that with him for his entire career. Cena said he thought about that a lot last week and determined that he did not want to be the guy who screwed C.M. Punk.
Cena said Vince thought he would play ball and he would be the patsy. "No way," Cena said. He mentioned C.M. Punk's name and said he wasn't supposed to. Cena looked into the camera and said, "That was a hell of a match last night, son, thank you very much."
Cena said Vince's plan at MITB would have made the belt meaningless. He said Vince has eight months to find another opponent for The Rock at WrestleMania 28. Cena said Vince will do some hokus pokus and find someone and WrestleMania will go without a hitch. Meanwhile, Cena said he will leave with his pride and dignity.
John Cena said he would let Vince do his big walk because that's what fans know. Cena said he belongs in WWE. "This is what I do," Cena said. "And if you make me walk tonight, then I will walk on someone else's television show and keep doing this, brother." Vince got upset. Cena said it was no threat, it was a promise. Vince said he does a lot of things, but one thing he will not do is kiss Vince's ass. Cena put the mic down and was about to leave.
Vince stopped Cena and said he would not deny him the satisfaction. Vince said that as much as it hurts him personally and business wise... Triple H's music played. Hunter walked to the ring wearing a suit. The Doofus is back! Triple H spoke with Vince, who smiled and grabbed a mic. Vince introduced him as one of the all-time greats and his son-in-law.
Hunter said he got to the building as quickly as he could. He said there had been a board of directors meeting on Monday morning. Hunter said he went to MITB and then flew back to the office for the meeting.
"The board asked me to come here to talk to you," Hunter said. "They're concerned about the current situation. Can we just go talk about this in the back, please?" Vince didn't go for it. Hunter said he tried to get there before Vince came to the ring. He said the board is concerned about Vince.
"They completely understand that you've built a global empire," Hunter said. He praised Vince's vision and said it's all because of Vince. Hunter said the board is concerned about Vince's "extremely questionable decisions as of late." Hunter once again attempted to talk Vince into heading backstage with him, but Vince declined.
"Vince, the board has asked me to come here to tell you that they have filed an injunction against you with a vote of no confidence," Hunter said. Vince laughed. "And, Vince, the family agrees." Vince's face got a lot more serious.
"On top of that, Vince, the board has appointed someone to take over the day-to-day operations of WWE," said Hunter. "And, um, I can't even believe I'm going to say this, but, Vince, it's me." The crowd cheered. Hunter looked down while Vince spoke to him off-mic. Hunter said Vince was not going to fire Cena, who was shown celebrating at ringside.
"You're not going to be doing anything else," Hunter said. He said Vince taught him from day one that no one is bigger than the business. "Nobody," Hunter stressed. Triple H said it was with all due respect, "I'm here to inform you that, Vince, you are relieved of your duties."
Vince cried and Hunter looked down at the ground. Off-mic, Vince told Hunter not to do this to him. Hunter remained apologetic and continued to look down at the mat. The fans sang the "goodbye" song to Vince. Hunter said he didn't want to do this and he was only trying to do what was right for the business.
Hunter told Vince to look at him. "I love you, pop," Hunter said. Vince cried harder. "And I'm sorry," Hunter concluded. Triple H left the ring while Vince remained sobbing inside the ring. Hunter looked at the ground as he headed to the top of the stage. He looked back at Vince briefly and then headed backstage.
Vince stood in the ring with tears on his cheek. "Thank you," Vince mouthed to the fans, most of whom were mocking him. The crowd then chanted, "Thank you, Vince." Vince remained in the ring with tears in his eyes to close the show...
Powell's POV: Vince did a hell of a job. Who knew the guy could cry on command? I couldn't tell if Hunter was trying to lay it on thick because he's going to be a heel or if this just wasn't up his acting alley. It was an interesting angle that helped explain why Cena won't lose his job (shocking), and leaves the door open for C.M. Punk to return at some point.
I actually hope they don't even hold the tournament finals next week because the whole thing felt meaningless. In fact, this entire show was a major letdown coming off the pay-per-view. I thought we'd at least get some shots of Punk with the WWE Championship at Wrigley Field or something. It sets up Hunter's return as a television character and, thus, hopefully the end of the tired anonymous general manager gimmick. It was an unexpected twist in the story line, yet they failed to maintain the momentum they had coming out of the pay-per-view.
Chris Shore and I will have a lot more to say about the show in Dot Net Members' audio later tonight (Monday). 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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