The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal for 07/25/11 (Cena/Mysterio)

The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal for 07/25/11 (Cena/Mysterio)
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter at @johnreport

Live from Hampton, Virginia this is the Raw Deal…

They start the night off with the WWE Title match featuring Rey Mysterio and The Miz. I love that. Finally a Raw starts with a match instead of the same kind of promo that starts the show every week. It’s very refreshing. I was disappointed that they are using the same old spinner belt though. Even Cena’s come out to say he doesn’t like it anymore. Why does Vince and company enjoy it so much? It would have been cool to see the old WWE Title or even the one from the Hogan/Savage era. Why not? That could be fun.

Rey Mysterio d. The Miz to win the vacant WWE Title (***)
They got just over 13 minutes here with a commercial thrown in. It was disappointing to see that the Miz wasn’t selling the knee injury that gave him so many problems a week earlier. By the end of the match he ended up selling it because of the spot where he banged his knee into the turnbuckle. That led to the finish with Rey hitting the headscissors, the 619 and then his top rope splash to a huge pop. The crowd was hot for the match and the finish was really well done. They had great chemistry. I’d love to see a long term feud with these two because Mysterio might be one of the best possible opponents for Miz. I was genuinely happy for Mysterio although I didn’t think he’d end the night as WWE Champion.

Post match, Miz attacked Mysterio in the corner. That led to Alberto Del Rio’s entrance with the Money in the Bank briefcase. This was expected. Del Rio took forever to announce his challenge, which allowed Rey to recover and he hit a splash onto Del Rio on the floor. That led to ADR taking off, so his challenge wasn’t official. I have to give credit to Cole (pains me to say that) for mentioning how a year ago Mysterio lost the title to a MITB winner (Kane), so he learned his lesson this time. I enjoy it when they actually reference the past.

The announcers mentioned that Triple H was the new Chief Operating Officers (COO) of WWE and that he would do a “State of the WWE Address” later in the show.

Back from break, they had a locker room celebration for Rey Mysterio. The babyface wrestlers surrounded him as well as the hardly used ones and the NXT guys. Cena showed up, congratulated him and then left. He’s too cool to stand there with the jobbers of the world. I’m sure some people marked out because Zack Ryder was in the background while Josh “fell asleep in the tanning bed” Mathews interviewed Mysterio. Rey did a babyface promo talking about how all the sacrifices were worth this moment and that he was going to take home the WWE Title to his wife & kids. That was a dead giveaway that it wasn’t happening.

They aired a video package showing the end of the McMahon era and the beginning of the Triple H era. Well done video as always. Anybody still crying from the “I love you, pop” line? No. Let’s move on.

Dolph Ziggler d. Evan Bourne (*1/2)
It only got about four minutes. Twelve would have been nice, but it was a packed show. They worked at a good pace for the most part. Bourne made the comeback, went for Air Bourne, missed it and hit the Zig Zag. He followed that up with the Sleeper Hold for the submission win. That gives Ziggler some momentum. Holy shit a champion won a non-title match! That’s crazy. By doing that it might actually make the champion look good instead of coming off like an idiot who can’t wrestle because he loses non-title matches. Nobody gets over that way.

Coming up later is Del Rio vs. Kingston. A rematch of last week.

They plugged the Greatest Superstars of the 21st Century DVD. It looks alright although I’m not in the DVD buying market these days. Thank a budget.

Backstage earlier in the show, we had some bad acting from Eve and the Bellas that also involved Keith Stone, the Keystone Light guy. Eve complained about the Bellas so Keith grabbed Nikki, the camera panned away and then suddenly Nikki had a tattoo on her arm. The Bellas walked away angry as Eve flirted with Stone because Keystone Light is a sponsor. This segment was so awful that it made me miss the Chavoswoggle feud. Yes. That bad.

Kelly Kelly & Eve vs. Melina & Maryse (DUD)
Same match they do every week except the Bellas are replaced by two women who I barely remember are even employed by WWE. Eve got worked over, Kelly got the hot tag, she went into Yelly Yelly mode, busted out the “COME ON!” to no reaction and got the pin with the K2 Rocker Dropper. Marty Jannetty would be so proud. I miss Kharma.

Backstage, Hunter was talking to R-Truth in a hallway. We couldn’t hear what they were saying because it was far away. Those camera guys are scared of Paul Hunter McMahon Hearst Levesque Helmsley aren’t they? I added some names there. Let’s just go with Triple H.

They plugged Smackdown, focusing on Mark Henry destroying Big Show and Kane of late. Those two are both on a nice summer vacation. Good for them. Maybe they can go parasailing together. That’s a reality show I would watch. If you’re missing my Smackdown takes (as well as Impact), I’m writing a weekend column called Canton’s Corner now. They will be posted on Saturdays and the first one can be read right here fella. I also included a video of a great Brian Pillman promo that I love. Give it a look.

At Summerslam Cee Lo Green will be performing. At least I know who he is, so that’s good. I enjoyed the “Fuck You” song, or “Forget You” as it was on the radio. If I’m ever drunk enough to get married it’s a contender for my wedding song along with Asshole by Denis Leary and She Drives Me Crazy by the Fine Young Cannibals. My announcer at the wedding? Howard Finkel. I’m off topic aren’t I?

Hunter’s State of the WWE Address
As he walked out, Cole mentioned that he was in charge of everything in WWE and that he’d be on Smackdown to address Teddy Long’s love of making tag matches. Okay so maybe they didn’t say that Long thing, but I’d like an answer. Hunter started off the promo by saying that we wouldn’t have all this in WWE without the vision of one man, a genius: Vince McMahon. “Thank you Vince.” A genius? Come on man, remember the Katie Vick angle? Anyway, that was nice of him to say and it’s proof that sucking up gets you far in this world. Just look at Triple H! I’m kidding. I like and respect Hunter a lot. I’m having fun. Relax haters. I know you’re out there. I love you, pop. Moving on to business, Hunter said that they would have a second WWE Title match on the show because Cena deserved his rematch. It would be Mysterio vs. Cena for the WWE Title in the main event. He said both guys agreed to it.

From there Hunter spoke about re-signing somebody. A lot of fans chanted CM Punk. Nope. It was Jim Ross. I called this on Twitter earlier in the day, so that was cool. I’m a big Jim Ross fan. They really need him because the announcing is as bad as ever thanks to heel Cole and Lawler being a shell of his former awesome self. At least now with Ross calling the play by play they can keep Cole as a heel. This led to Cole bitching about it because he hates JR. Triple H said he can’t fire him because his severance package is too good, so he’ll give Cole the rest of the night off, but he has a match coming up next. Cole bitched about that too. Hunter said to go backstage because he had his gear waiting for him. I thought the Hunter/Cole thing dragged on way too long. The point was that they wanted to establish Hunter as a babyface COO, so it accomplished that goal because everybody hates Cole. They basically said that it would be a three man announce team going forward. After what felt like seven or eight minutes of banter, Cole left.

As Cole left to go backstage, R-Truth showed up. He bitched about Triple H while also talking to imaginary friends that were on his left and right side. When he went into the ring, Triple H also talked to imaginary friends. It was a funny, yet silly exchange. Basically R-Truth is crazy and they really tried to put that over as Truth told Hunter that HE was talking to people that don’t exist. My head hurts. Anyway, Triple H told Truth that he has re-signed somebody that wants to get their hands on Truth. Re-signed? It was John Morrison, who was simply out with an injury. I guess they could say his contract was up, but why not say he was back from injury? Maybe Hunter messed up his line. Anyway, Morrison came out to a good pop, put a beating on Truth and ended it hitting Starship Pain. That was a good return for Morrison.

That was the end of Hunter’s State of WWE Address. It took about twenty minutes to do all that. It wasn’t that great, to be honest. They need to do more like addressing the Anonymous GM and maybe do some cosmetic changes too. It was mostly for Triple H to do his comedy bits with over the top heels like Cole & Truth. I thought the time could have been used better and to address other things. There’s still time, but it’s not like this covered a lot.

Major thumbs up to Jim Ross being back. Like I mentioned, he tweeted that it will be a three man booth. It’s fine because it fixes the problem of Cole as the heel play by play guy. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts because I’m sure they’ll change their opinion on JR like they always do. Personally I’d go with just Ross and William Regal, who I enjoy on NXT when I watch it. McMahon loves Cole & Lawler, though, so we’ll have to deal with them at the table.

Back from break, Triple H’s “King of Kings” song played and out came Michael Cole dressed like Triple H. He looked to be in better shape from Mania. He awkwardly walked down the ramp, did a bad imitation of the water spit and got into the ring. His opponent? Zack Ryder.

Zack Ryder d. Michael Cole (DUD)
No internet championship belt? For shame. The match went about 30 seconds with Ryder scoring the pinfall with his Ruff Ryder leg lariat to the face. Cole didn’t sell the move very well as he awkwardly crumpled to the mat. Ryder’s pop was decent. Not great or anything. Internet fans are only a small percentage. It will take time. I like that they are using him as a babyface and hope that they allow him to develop his personality on camera. He has very good potential.

Back from break, Ricardo Rodriguez introduced Alberto Del Rio for the next match. Lawler got to read off the details of the car rental.

Alberto Del Rio d. Kofi Kingston (*1/2)
Good match for eight minutes although they’ve had better ones. The whole point of this was Del Rio getting his win back after losing to Kingston in an upset last week. They went to commercial early, they came back with ADR in control, he worked over Kingston’s arm a bit and then they exchanged nearfalls. Ultimately, Del Rio ended up wining clean with the Cross Armbreaker right in the middle.

I’m officially ending my “Del Rio is going to cash in the briefcase” idea for now. I predicted it at Money in the Bank, at Raw last week and at this show. Didn’t happen obviously. I’ll stop predicting and wait for the surprising moment when it happens at…uh…no! Not predicting anymore!

They plugged Triple H being on Smackdown this week.

Backstage, extremely well tanned Josh Mathews (he looks more orange than normal) interviewed The Miz. He bitched about the new regime with Triple H, talking about how things were going to be good since McMahon was about to fire Cena. Then he complained about Mysterio saying that a man in a mask can’t be the face of the company. He wrapped it up by plugging an appearance on the George Lopez show. Basically this was a one minute promo to plug a talk show appearance. Mission accomplished.

Mysterio came out for the main event. They went to break as he was waiting for Cena in the ring. Good timing for a break.

Next week they’re having a #1 Contenders Divas Battle Royal match. The winner gets to face Yelly Yelly at Summerslam for the title. The divas are: Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, AJ, Gail Kim (that would be nice), Beth Phoenix (please turn heel), Natalya (my personal favorite), Rosa, Alicia Fox, Kaitlyn, Eve, Tamina, Melina and Maryse. My pick to win? Alicia Fox based on the interaction on Smackdown the last few weeks.

John Cena d. Rey Mysterio to win the WWE Title (**3/4)
Much like the opener, it got about 13 minutes. Mysterio did a hell of a job here because he’s the one that carried the match. Cena tried his best to work at Rey’s pace, but there were moments where he simply couldn’t keep up and it led to sloppy moments. There was a spot where Cena tried to overpower Mysterio, he must have misjudged something and he ended up dropping Mysterio hard on his head. Cena doesn’t usually screw up like that, so it looked really bad. Mysterio fought on. I liked the spot near the end where Mysterio was able to put Cena into the STF. The fans didn’t buy it as a finish, but it did elicit a pop from the crowd. Good sequence with Mysterio hitting the 619, then he went up for the splash and he met Cena’s knees as a counter to the move. Well played, JC. From there the crowd got hot for the finish. Cena won with the Attitude Adjustment after they each got some good nearfalls. The last three minutes were fantastic. Mysterio was on fire in this match. Cena did okay early, but he picked it up late. How good was Jim Ross here? He made the match feel special. Nobody else in the business can do that. His voice makes the product better. I hope it lasts for a while although knowing how McMahon thinks you never know when they will make a change again.

Post match, Cena’s celebrating with the WWE Title as “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour starts up. Hmm, I thought. I remember that song. From where? CM Punk’s theme song in Ring of Honor. Suddenly I paid more attention and there he was, CM Punk with the WWE Title around his waist. He walked in the ring, stood face to face with Cena. Cena raised his belt, Punk raised his belt and that ended the show as the announcers went silent, which was the right way because they let the images do the talking.

In reading tweets and facebook posts, I see a bit of a disagreement amongst fans in terms of how they are reacting to this. Some like it because it means Punk/Cena again. Others think Punk’s return was rushed. My opinion? It’s the right time. I don’t know if his contract extension was signed a month ago when he cut that epic promo or if it happened a week before Money in the Bank, at Money in the Bank or in the last week. I really don’t know. Maybe we’ll find out. Maybe we won’t. Obviously he’s signed long term now and they’ve got their Summerslam main event now. I really had no idea that he’d be back this soon. I’m glad I didn’t know. It made the surprise more fun.

Did CM Punk return too soon? No. Like I said they have their Summerslam main event now. This was the only match they could do in order to draw up interest in the show. Nothing else would be as big of a draw unless Rock showed up, but he’s not going to be doing that until Survivor Series. Cena vs. Punk is where the money is at. I hope Punk got a raise. I hope PPV buys for Money in the Bank were great and I hope they are even better for Summerslam.

Three Stars of the Show
1. Rey Mysterio – The forgotten man who had two great matches just like last week. A workhorse.
2. Jim Ross – It’s great to know that he’ll be back.
3. CM Punk – Welcome back, champ.

Honorary mention to John Cena & Miz, who had great matches and also to Zack Ryder who got his first win on Raw in 2011. About freakin’ time.

7.5 out of 10
Last week: 6
2011 High Score: 9.1 (March 28)
2011 Low Score: 4 (Jan. 10/May 9)
2011 Average: 5.87
Last 5 Weeks: 7.5, 6, 6, 5, 7

A very good edition of Raw, I thought. The two Mysterio matches were very good TV matches. I see nothing wrong with the Ziggler/Bourne or Del Rio/Kingston matches. They were strong wins for heels that deserve it. The Jim Ross return was a highlight. John Morrison being back is great. The CM Punk return was terrific. I’m happy he’s back because he makes things interesting. The Triple H segment might have ran a bit long for my tastes, but I understand where they were going with it too. I didn’t hate it.

If there’s a negative from this show it’s that they have bastardized the WWE Title a bit. In the past 15 days we have seen CM Punk beat John Cena for the title, then we saw Rey Mysterio beat The Miz for the title, then we saw John Cena beat Mysterio for the title less than two hours after he had won it. Then we saw a faceoff between two guys holding the same title. It will lead to a great match at Summerslam, but how important is the title if it’s so easy for people to win it?

That is John Cena’s 11th WWE/World Title. He’s won the WWE Title nine times and the World Title twice. By the end of his career he’ll have the most ever. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say that. The unofficial numbers are 13 for Triple H (World and WWE) and 16 for Ric Flair that includes titles from a number of different promotions. It doesn’t matter how many when it’s a predetermined “sport,” but it’s a big selling point for WWE if at one point they can say Cena’s won the WWE Title/World Title more than anybody else in the history of the business.

Does this mean Rey Mysterio gets his title rematch next week? Fair is fair.

The CM Punk shirt is already on WWE.com. It’s not exactly the same as the one he wore at Money in the Bank, but it’s almost the same as that. If you want to order it off there use this link and a percentage of your order will go to The John Report too. Get yourself a shirt and help me out too! Yes I’m shameless.

Here’s the clip of CM Punk announcing “I’m Back” after Raw went off the air. I wish the crowd reacted better to this, but they weren’t that hot all night. Oh well. I’m just glad his absence was so short because he’s the best performer in the business right now.

I’ll be back on the weekend for the second edition of Canton’s Corner Week in Review. If you missed the first edition, click HERE for that. Next week’s Raw Deal will likely be live. Check out thejohnreport.net on Monday and I’ll let you know.

Last thing I want to say is I’m very happy the NFL season will start on schedule. I’m a diehard St. Louis Rams fan from the time I was a 6 year old in 1986 and I’m looking forward to this season. I hope my team makes a climb up the standings. Most importantly I’m just glad the games will be back.

Thanks for reading.

John Canton – john@thejohnreport.net
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