WWE Raw Review – August 1, 2011

-We are LIVE! from Indianapolis, IN (home a basketball team no one cares about)

-For people who’ve been asking, I’m totally digging “Cult of Personality” because I’ve been a big Living Colour guy for a long time. I’m not sure how that’s different from being a Paul Heyman guy though.

-Of course, CM Punk kicks us off to a big pop. It’s pretty easy to understand why people are cheering for him now: Fans love winners. Punk ran his mouth about leaving WWE with the world title, verbally slapped the entire promotion during his “shoot” promo and then went out and did it. Plus, the smart fans desperately wanted someone to cheer for and once Punk cut that promo, they had their savior.

Punk has a seat in the ring and explains that he loves the WWE but hates those in charge. He says his promo produced change (Vince being fired) and the audience deserves better than they’ve gotten. The reason he resigned was he realized he can’t change wrestling by sitting on his couch, so he resigned with WWE.

He puts over his title but HHH decides to pull a Cena and steal the spotlight. He does the “good for business” line but quickly reveals he personally hates Punk. Oh good, a whole week before HHH inserted himself in the main event once again. In response, Punk lists guys like Batista, Mick Foley, Y2J, etc. who all left WWE. They go back and forth for a bit until HHH promises to fix the title situation later.

BUT WAIT! Punk goes off again, promising not to be PG or go to “promo school” then he calls Triple H a bully who held people down because he’s married to Stephanie. Hold on a second Hunter, what exactly is a “skinny, fat ass”? That’s a new one. Punk actually gets the last word in on HHH and walks off. Really great promo from Punk there but that’s nothing new.

-Backstage, John Morrison shows he can flip in the air…wow, how impressive.

Divas Battle Royal
Oh yes, the booking creative turns to when they can’t think of a legitimate storyline: A number one contender’s battle royal. Melina gets tossed immediately, followed by Rosa and Kaitlyn, and say see ya to Tamina as well. AJ is eliminated (who the hell is AJ?) and the Bellas dump Natalya by almost breaking her ribs with a double dropkick. In an absolute insult to the live audience, WWE actually has the balls to take a commercial break during the match, forcing them to sit through it during the break. May God have mercy on their souls.

We return with five girls left and Alicia Fox fixing her boot while “selling”, what a performance. Eve gets rid of her shortly thereafter, leaving Eve and Beth against the Bellas. Nikki (or whoever) gets rid of Eve but Beth impressively puts both Bellas on her shoulders and dumps them to the floor to win.
Winner: Beth Phoenix

-As expected, this one really sucked, 1/4* for the finish. Kelly Kelly stupidly goes into the ring to hug Beth and gets destroyed. Are all babyfaces now officially the dumbest people on Earth?

-By the way, if you’re not watching the Best of 30 Years of MTV on VH1 Classic, then I don’t know what to tell you. Between that and 90s Nickelodeon shows on Teen Nick after midnight, I feel like I’m 10 years old all over again.

-Meanwhile, John Cena promises to hog as many spotlights as possible tonight.

R-Truth & The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio & John Morrison
Do people even remember that Morrison and Miz were tag partners? So much for that monumental breakup. The aforementioned tag partners start and Miz takes a flapjack but hits a clothesline after Morrison gets preoccupied with Truth. A suplex gets two but Morrison legsweeps Miz and brings in Mysterio for a seated senton for two. A flying headscissors sends Miz to the floor and Truth shortly follows so the faces take out both with dives from the ring as we take another commercial break. This show feels very slow tonight.

We return with Truth in control of Rey and he goes back to 1975 to hook an abdominal stretch. I’ll bet Mysterio loved to go from being world champion to a mid-card tag match in under a week. Miz comes in with a boot to the face and we hit a chinlock. Mysterio fights out and hits an enzuigiri but a short DDT from the Miz gets two. Truth checks in and REALLY amps up the workrate with…another chinlock. A corkscrew elbow stops another babyface comeback and Rey Rey does his best Ricky Morton impression. Miz gets his clothesline in the corner but eats a dropkick when he comes off the top and it’s finally hot tag Morrison.

Morrison cleans house as usual and looks for Starship Pain but Miz yanks Truth out of the way at the last second. Miz also manages to stop a 619 and dump Rey in the front row, forcing Morrison to turn his attention to Miz. Truth takes advantage of the situation and hits a reverse STO for the win.
Winners: R-Truth & The Miz

-Good formulaic tag match with good crowd heat ***. Truth hits Morrison in the face with a bottle of water because he’s EVIL!

-Meanwhile, HHH no-sells Punk’s lines and again tries to get over his “strictly business” catchphrase.

-YOUR SummerSlam recall of the week: The Ultimate Warrior squashes the Honky Tonk Man like a bug in 1988. For you future wrestlers out there, saying “gimme someone out here to wrestle, I don’t care who it is” is a REALLY bad idea. Honestly though, this was an awesome moment as someone finally shut up the HTM.

-Dolph Ziggler and Vickie hit the ring to brag about how great Dolph is but Alex Riley interrupts. The fact that I don’t even remember Dolph Ziggler being world champion should tell you how much that title means. Wait, let me look it up……oh, it lasted 11 minutes, what an epic title reign.

Anyways, Riley tells Dolph to be a real man and dump Vickie but the heels walk off.

-Oh God, have they SERIOUSLY teamed up Zack Ryder and Santino? Good Lord.

Michael McGillicutty & David Otunga vs. Santino & Zack Ryder
Nexus has new music since Punk ditched them for bigger and better things. McG (my new nickname for Mike because “McGillicutty” is a pain in the as to type) handles Santino easily and brings in Otunga for some pain. The crowd chants “we want Ryder” as Otunga drops a knee for two.

Santino breaks a chinlock with a jawbreaker and gets the hot tag to Ryder, who cleans house on the champions. The Woo Woo Woo running knee gets two and Santino reveals a ridiculous looking Cobra sock and quickly gets dumped. Ryder misses the Rough Ryder and Nexus hits a double team backbreaker-knee drop combo for the win.
Winner: Nexus

-So they basically threw Ryder out there to shut up the IWC and squash him…makes sense *1/2. And please, throw that stupid Cobra thing in the trash and burn it.

-Backstage, CM Punk proclaims himself world champion since, you know, he won the match.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Evan Bourne
Bourne runs into a boot and eats a dropkick for two then Del Rio goes to work on the arm. Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets two and an armbar slam does the same as Del Rio maintains his usually great psychology in the ring. Bourne knees his way out of a suplex and hits a high knee then immediately tries for Air Bourne, which obviously doesn’t work and Del Rio hits an enzuigiri then apples the cross armbreaker for the win.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio

-Total squash match 3/4*. What’s the point of Evan Bourne even being on the roster at this point? Kofi Kingston saves Bourne from further squashing by running in during a post-match attack.

-Breaking news here: HHH can walk down a hallway.

-This show has been like the geography of the United States: Lots of stuff on the two ends and absolutely nothing interesting in the middle.

Main Event Interview
Triple H hits the ring and says this is the first time there are two WWE champions in history. Umm…what about the fact that there is a world title on both Raw and Smackdown? We’re not counting that?

Anyways, John Laurinaitis interrupts Trips and instructs him to strip Cena of the title, earning a face pop from the crowd. So we’re just going to all pretend that Punk didn’t beat Cena in a legitimate match and then they just created a new title the next night? How does Cena have a “legitimate claim” to being world champion? These are all questions that should have been asked during the creative meeting to book these shows, which they weren’t.

Cena hits the ring and actually does a pretty good Laurinaitis impression before bringing up the Dynamic Dudes, a gimmick that 99% of the audience doesn’t remember. So Raw has sunken so low that we’re left with John Cena “shooting” on JOHNNY ACE??? What the hell? Cena chases Laurinaitis from the ring and gives the worst reason for being world champion in history: “Does that mean since I beat you at WrestleMania, I can strip you of the COO title?” That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard, kayfabe or not.

Triple H states he will not strip Cena of the title and that draws out CM Punk. HHH books them at SummerFest in a booking decision that anyone who’s ever watched wrestling knew was coming. Both guys hold their titles up (with theme song changes, of course) to earn the cheers of their sections of crowd, depending on if they’ve hit puberty or not.

Final Word
Holy crap, the middle of this show was absolutely terrible. Squash matches, divas battle royals, boring segments…all bad. In all seriousness, you could have watched the first and last ten minutes and not missed a thing. I should have watched the Best of MTV instead.