WWE Raw Review – July 18, 2011

-So John Cena claims he’s been fired, Sin Cara has been suspended for a Wellness Policy violation and CM Punk is the world champion…BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN!?!?

-LIVE! from Green Bay, Wisconsin (home of lucky football teams and ugly people)

-We are joined at the start of the show by Vince McMahon, sporting an AWESOME purple suit, and John Laurinaitis (who will be referred to as “Johnny Ace” because it’s easier to type and I love reminding people about the Dynamic Dudes). Vince announces that there will be a one-night tournament to crown a new WWE champion and John Cena is most definitely, 100% fired.

-The Miz vs. Alex Riley will click us off, after commercial of course…

1st Round Tournament Match
The Miz vs. Alex Riley
Feeling out period leads to Riley kicking Miz’s injured leg and going to work on it by wrapping it around the ring post…isn’t Riley supposed to be the face? Half-crab is applied poorly and Miz kicks Riley to the outside but a kick to the face gets two for Alex. Riley gets a little overzealous and hits post on a charge, allowing Miz to get two and take control. I guess the creative team is sticking with “I hate the Miz” as Alex Riley’s character…I’m sure that will win him tons of world titles.

Riley comes back by slamming Miz’s head onto his knee and mounts the babyface comeback with a sloppy spinebuster for two. Miz heads up top for a dropkick attempt but gets caught and Riley applies a Texas Cloverleaf (called a Sharpshooter by the always interesting Michael Cole). Riley slugs away but Miz uses the referee as a shield and hits the Skull Crushing Finale for the win.
Winner: The Miz

-Wow, that finish sucked. Also, Miz wrestled like the babyface by selling the knee injury the entire time and Riley was too heel-like for my liking. Still, the match was fine **.

-John Morrison hype video…where were the clips of Melina cheating on him with Batista?

1st Round Tournament Match
Jack Swagger vs. R-Truth
Stalemate to start as Cole puts over the Big Show injury and Truth rolls Swagger up for two. Jack hits a bad belly to belly suplex for two as the crowd tries to entertain itself. Swagger is just death for anyone who actually has heat in the ring. Back suplex gets two and a pump splash does the same. The crowd actually chants for R-Truth because Swagger is so terrible and he hits a leg lariat for two. Scissors kick misses though and Swagger tries for an ankle lock but gets rolled up to give Truth the win.
Winner: R-Truth

-How can these moron announcers call this result an “upset” if Swagger hasn’t beaten anyone in about 6 years? Swagger couldn’t headline an event at a Moose Lodge and I’m supposed to think Truth climbed a mountain by beating him? Please. * for boring stuff.

-Hollywood is apparently trying to destroy everything I loved about my childhood because there is now a Smurfs movie…just shoot me.

1st Round Tournament Match
Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston
Everyone breathes a sigh of relief as Ricardo Rodriguez returns from injury and rightfully introduces Alberto to the world. Del Rio hits an early dropkick to the back of Kofi’s head for two but Kingston comes back with one of his own for a near fall. Kofi shows off his leaping ability and hits an elbow for two while the announcers totally ignore the match and talk about John Cena’s Twitter. People wonder why I miss Joey Styles?

Del Rio misses a charge against the ropes and hits the floor so Kofi follows with a dive through the ropes to wake up the crowd a little bit. Del Rio catches Kofi coming in with an enzuigiri for two and Alberto goes to work on the back of the head. We hit a chinlock until Kofi fights out and Del Rio misses a blind charge to the corner. Kofi, a house of fire in there, makes the comeback but Del Rio catches him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Alberto looks to finish with the cross-armbreaker but Kofi surprises him with a quick rollup and gets the upset win.
Winner: Kofi Kingston

-See, now THAT’S an actual upset. It makes sense too because Del Rio already has the briefcase, so why not do a surprise finish? The match was the best one of the night so far **1/4.

-Your Summerslam moment of the week: Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog in London at the 1992 edition. The match was absolutely spectacular and proved that Bret could bring it on a big stage and he put the hometown Bulldog over clean as a sheet in the middle of the ring. A truly great moment in wrestling history.

-Meanwhile, Kofi actually gets mic time and never looks at the camera once…odd.

1st Round Tournament Match
Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler
Oh boy, I can’t wait for more Lawler fat jokes about the 125 lbs. Vickie Guerrero…they are so side-splitting. Why wasn’t Dolph in the ladder match last night? Mysterio fires off a flipping armdrag but gets tossed outside and Ziggler hits a flapjack on the floor…ouch. Cole reveals that all of these matches are under “championship rules”, meaning pinfall or submission only.

Back in, Dolph gets two and goes to a stump puller, taking me back to the summer of 1964. They exchange pinfall attempts and Ziggler alley-oops Rey on a hurricanrana for two. Elbow misses however but and Rey hits a seated senton from the top. Dolph manages to dodge a kick though and hits the Curt Hennig necksnap for two. Dolph tries for the sleeper but eats turnbuckle and falls victim to flying headscissors. Rey tries for the 619 but Ziggler quickly dodges and hits a reverse powerslam for two. Rey seemingly recovers out of nowhere and hits a 619 with a splash off the top for the win.
Winner: Rey Mysterio

-Good match but the finish came out of absolutely nowhere. However, Ziggler is getting better and better with each match he haves, so I’m glad he’s getting the chance to work with quality guys like Mysterio **1/4.

7 vs. 7 Tag Match
Face Divas vs. Heel Divas
Do you really care who is on each team? The combined plastic surgery bills here have to be astronomical. Beth beats on Rosa and screws up the very first move of the match but hits a slingshot suplex for two, triggering a brawl. Wow, yippie. Beth hits the Glam Slam and that’s it.
Winners: Face Divas

-Why even make all these girls get dressed for something like this? DUD DUD DUD.

-You’re telling me they couldn’t have given Del Rio-Kofi 3 more minutes instead of that garbage?

-Just for the record, the City of Champions has a much better ring to it than Titletown. Plus, isn’t 6 greater than 4? Yep, thought so.

Semifinal Tournament Match
Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz
Quick rollup by Kofi gets two and a cross body does the same before Kingston adds a dropkick. Double stomp gets another two but Miz crotches him and hammers away. Kofi smartly goes to the bad leg and hits a slingshot elbow before following with a dropkick to the head for two. High cross body by Kofi but Miz rolls through for two and for some reason live crowds always react to that spot. Kofi stuns the leg so Miz rolls to the apron and necksnaps our Jamaican…whoops, African hero. He drops Kofi on the top and hits the SCF to advance to the finals.
Winner: The Miz

-The Miz has a bloody mouth meaning that Kofi must have RVDed him. Lucky is wasn’t HHH or else Kofi would be headlining the next ROH event in September. Match was decent enough for the time given **.

-Meanwhile, R-Truth is still crazy.

-Meanwhile, Tough Enough winner Andy apparently comes from a rough neighborhood

Semifinal Tournament Match
Rey Mysterio vs. R-Truth
Truth slugs away and gets two off a corner whip then adds a suplex. He catches Mysterio with a clothesline as King proclaims the match over but it, surprisingly, only gets two. What does Lawler think this is, Survivor Series? Truth bores the crowd by staying in control but Mysterio dumps him with an armdrag and follows with a dive between the ropes to send us to commercial break.

We return with Rey Rey fighting out of a chinlock and rolling up Truth for two. That rallying is quickly stopped by a leg lariat for two as we are rapidly approaching 10:45PM and still have a “world title match” to get to. Truth hits his corkscrew elbow for two and catches Rey with a forearm on a 619 attempt to halt another comeback. Falcon arrow gets another two for Truth but he hits buckle on a corner charge and Mysterio comes back with a high cross body for two. Dropkick to the face for a near fall but Truth shakes the cobwebs and hits Truth or Consequences but Rey is in the ropes. Mysterio gets desperate and necksnaps Truth before hitting the 619 and the splash gets the win to send himself to the finals.
Winner: Rey Mysterio

-A really good TV match with good spots and a good story told. Truth can definitely hang with guys like Mysterio but struggles when placed under a spotlight with muscleheads like Cena ***.

-BUT WAIT, just before the world title match, Vince McMahon heads to the ring looking a little stressed out. He postpones the finals of the tournament until next week (that will win him some friends in Green Bay) and says what he needs to do is bigger than Rey. Isn’t EVERYTHING bigger than Rey?

The crowd chants for CM Punk (probably not what Vinnie Mac wants to hear) and McMahon calls out Cena to face the music for last night. Cena brings up Shawn Michaels and claims he didn’t want to carry the burden of screwing CM Punk, which is why he punched out Johnny Ace last night. Cena kisses ass to try to save his job and indirectly says he will go to TNA if fired…brother. Vince finally has had enough and readies his catchphrase but…

It’s time to play the game.

Triple H makes his return to Raw and informs Vince a Board of Directors meeting has resulted in Vince being essentially removed as CEO of the company. Of course, a replacement has been named and that person is Hunter Hearst Helmsley. HHH fires McMahon with a good acting job from both guys and announces Cena will stick around. The “I love you” was a little over the top but you take the good with the bad I suppose. Vinnie Mac gets a standing O on his way out.

Final Word
Well, CM Punk said he wasn’t going to be there so you can’t really complain about that. The title match didn’t go off as announced but we got another angle to push Raw along and I’m sure people will welcome HHH’s presence as a welcome change of pace. The wrestling was actually pretty good tonight and there was a huge angle so it’s hard to argue with this one.