WWE Raw Review – August 8, 2011

-So the aforementioned Triple H kicks us off and promises a night that will change wrestling forever this Sunday. I think that makes like five of those nights in the last six months or so. Some guy in the crowd holds up a “Champion vs. Champion” sign for the REALLY stupid people in audience. I still don’t get how CM Punk could beat Cena for the title and then Cena beats Rey Mysterio and suddenly he’s world champion again and we’re just supposed to accept that without question…really stupid.

Anyways, HHH announces he is going to be the special guest referee for the Punk-Cena match, ensuring that there is no way in hell we’re getting a clean finish on Sunday. Both guys have matches tonight before their scheduled brawl…I mean, contract signing, so let’s get to it.

John Cena vs. Jack Swagger
Swagger showboats and gets floored, taking a suplex for two. Hey, remember when being a former world champion actually meant something? Now they call Swagger and guys like Dolph Ziggler “former world champions” and it just makes the title sound like something they found in a Cracker Jack box.

Cena gets a splash in the corner and gets a dropkick for two while the announcers discuss the ego vs. ego verbal match between HHH and Cena before the match. Swagger comes back with a belly to belly for two and a weak corner bump sets up a running pump splash for two. Swagger fights out of a resthold but misses a blind charge and Swagger hits a shoulder block for two.

Jack goes low to try and set up the ankle lock but Cena counters and launches into the SOS (Same Old ****) comeback. Attitude Adjustment (complete with posing during the setup) hits and that’s all she wrote.
Winner: John Cena

-This was basically an extended squash with Swagger’s offense consisting of kicking and restholds. Basically, the crowd was sitting on their hands the whole match because everyone knew Swagger had no chance **.

-YOUR SummerSlam recall for this week is the classic Mr. Perfect-Bret Hart showdown at SummerSlam 1991. This match is a personal favorite of mine with Curt Hennig bumping around like a madman and Hart finally capturing singles glory. You are doing yourself a disservice if you’ve never seen this match. Make sure to watch for the instant submission once Hart hooks the Sharpshooter since Hennig’s back was beyond screwed.

-Meanwhile, Alberto Del Rio has some harsh words for CM Punk.

-Still meanwhile, R-Truth gives another rambling interview about spider stew…it’s about as thrilling as it sounds.

-So basically, this whole segment was just a complete waste of time since we got two promos and a video package. And WWE wonders why people change the channel?

Rey Mysterio vs. The Miz
Since he’s a heel and all, the Miz attacks and drives Rey Rey’s face into the metal base of the huge WWE logo on the stage. Perfect opportunity for some blood here but, oh wait, we’re catering to the junior high crowd now.

Michael Cole attempts to get an explanation from the Miz, who is pissed because he doesn’t have an opponent for SummerFest. He wants to be declared the winner of this match by forfeit but COO HHH has a better idea…

The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston
Both guys go into a chain wrestling sequence and Kofi catches Miz with a dropkick for two. Miz recovers and stomps away in the corner but gets caught with a Thesz Press and takes a trip to the floor. Kofi follows with a suicide dive and that takes us to commercial.

We return with Miz working a chinlock but Kofi fights out and dodges a big boot to roll him up for two. Miz quickly shakes it off and hits his clothesline in the corner before hitting a double axe handle off the top for two. We hit another chinlock briefly but Kofi fights out yet again and mounts his official comeback. They work some decent counters until Kingston comes flying off the top with a springboard high cross body for two. That man can jump.

Miz fires off a short DDT for two but only hits boot on a corner charge and both guys head up top where Kofi brings Miz down with a rolling powerbomb for two. Both guys miss their finishers so Miz drops him on the top rope and hits the Skull Crushing Finale for the win.
Winner: The Miz

-A good TV match with a clean finish is not something you can complain about **3/4.

Meanwhile, Punk is not a fan of HHH’s ego.

CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio
King immediately tries to pass off Punk’s face heat as simply GREAT heel heat for Alberto Del Rio…good Lord, why can’t they just admit people like the guy? Del Rio stomps away but Punk fires off some kicks before hitting post on a blind charge and injuring his shoulder. ADR hits Divorce Court for two and stays on the arm, something that he’s always been good at doing.

A sunset flip attempt by Punk is countered by Del Rio elbow dropping the arm but he misses a charge against the ropes and goes splat on the floor. Del Rio gets frustrated and runs into a neckbreaker, earning himself a high knee-bulldog combo. Punk looks to finish but Del Rio runs him into the post again and hits a Back Stabber for two. Punk manages to avoid the cross armbreaker and hits a kick to the face to setup the GTS for the win.
Winner: CM Punk

-Totally don’t understand the booking here: Why job Del Rio clean to Punk? Isn’t that a match that people might pay to see on PPV later on? Not anymore of course, since you just gave it to them for free on TV. Anyways, a good match from two guys who know what they are doing in there **3/4.

-We recap the thrilling Beth Phoenix heel turn last week that will no doubt sell out house shows all over the country just like Hogan-Orndorff. At this point, they’re just keeping the divas on staff to keep the boys well satisfied and no, that’s not a joke.

Beth Phoenix vs. Eve
You know you’re a serious woman wrestler when your entrance video includes clips of you riding a mechanical bull. Eve hits an awful dropkick to start so Beth dumps her to the floor and introduces Eve to the ringside barrier. Back in, Beth pulls some hair and Eve manages to throw an even worse dropkick than the first one. Sloppy sequence in the corner leads to Eve getting crotched on the top rope and Beth hits the Glam Slam to thankfully end this.
Winner: Beth Phoenix

Eve is so terrible that it’s not even funny at this point. Those two dropkicks looked like my grandmother threw them and the rest of it was worked so loose that it looked more like a dance than a match. Oh yeah, it’s also a DUD. Kelly Kelly attacks from behind, dressed like she’s ready to work the 7:00 pm shift at Scores.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Alex Riley
What exactly is the point of the “SAY IT TO MY FACE!” part of Riley’s entrance theme? Is he a teenage girl who has discovered his cheerleader friends are talking trash behind his back? Riley endears himself to me further by making a bad breath joke about Vickie. Ho ho, my sides, they ache from laughing….hee hee, ha ha.

Riley attacks with a clothesline for two but a Vickie distraction allows Dolph to hook the sleeper. Riley drives him to the corner to break and hits a spinebuster, which draws Vickie into the ring and a slap ends things rather quickly.
Winner by DQ: Alex Riley

-Dolph is less than happy about losing and Riley’s right hand takes down Dolph and Vickie. That match was a total angle of course DUD.

-The announcers do the hard sell for SummerSlam…not exactly a “can’t miss” card, that’s for sure.

R-Truth vs. John Morrison
I think it’s fairly safe to say that the R-Truth experiment is over considering the absolute lack of a reaction he gets upon entrance. Morrison hits a clothesline and takes control with his flipping STO for two. Truth takes a powder, allowing Morrison to jump over the corner with a corkscrew plancha. He introduces Truth to the ringside barrier but, when Morrison tries to climb the security wall, Truth takes his legs out and Morrison hits his back hard on the wall…ouch. Morrison barely beats the count and Truth works a chinlock. Falcon Arrow hits and they screw up a spot in the corner so Truth simply hits Shut Up for the win.
Winner: R-Truth

-The finish definitely came out of nowhere and I’m not quite sure what that was about but the security wall spot was pretty cool **.

-Smackdown’s Christian appears to say he has an announcement for Friday’s show.

Main Event Interview
Of course, it’s the cliché contract signing segment for the Punk-Cena rematch. Punk immediately proves why smart fans love him because he asks when was the last time one of these contract signings didn’t end with physical violence. After a verbal jab at HHH’s “movie career”, Punk introduces a clip of The Rock mocking John Cena as only he can.

Cena responds with his own little smarky comments, although he does not earn many points with the crowd by calling himself the “modern day Hulk Hogan.” Mr. Cena, I knew Hulk Hogan, Hulk Hogan was a friend of mine and you sir, are no Hulk Hogan.

Cena does manage to drop “forbidden” words like “workrate”, “heel persona” and “his five moves of doom” but we all know that only Bret Hart has the official FIVE MOVES OF DOOM. Just when he’s getting interesting, Cena goes back to the pandering babyface he is by sucking up to his fans and calls Punk a coward.

HHH jumps on the “CM Punk is a coward” bandwagon but that only sets Punk off as he asks John Laurinaitis if he was a “man” and told Vladimir Kozlov and Chris Masters they were fired to their faces….ouch. Punk continues bringing the awesome with the promo by saying he had to hold the WWE title captive in order to get the perks that Cena was just handed. Great stuff.

More verbal jousting leads to Cena demanding a fight but John Laurinaitis gets taken out by a Punk kick. HHH separates the two guys and Punk heads to the back, convinced the fix is in.


Final Word
Well, as usual with recent Raw episodes, the Punk stuff is absolutely awesome and the rest of it is the same old boring crap. It’s a shame Punk isn’t moving ratings at all because that means it’s only a matter of time before Vince gives up on it and we’re back to Cena beating three heels and conquering the odds blah blah blah.

Anyways, the purpose of the show was to sell SummerSlam and, while the Punk-Cena stuff is great, the Money in the Bank buyrate showed people aren’t willing to part with $50 for it. I’m not going to hold my breath for a great number and I’m really worried about the future of Punk with HHH looming.