The John Report: WWE Raw Deal for 05/30/11 (Cena/Truth)
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter at @johnreport
I wrote this live on thejohnreport.net this week. Live from Omaha, Nebraska this is the Raw Deal…
The opening video highlighted Memorial Day with WWE dedicating Raw to the men and women of the Armed Forces. They had a narrator talk about the debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. It was really well done as all WWE videos are. They showed clips and photos of soldiers throughout the minute long video.
The show started with R-Truth at a merchandise stand. He was yelling about something, but there technical difficulties. I could see him, but we couldn’t hear him. They went to the announce desk where Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler mentioned the technical difficulties. They are the only two at the announce desk. No more Josh Mathews.
They cut to R-Truth in the crowd. He walks down the stairs yelling at fans that have John Cena merchandise. He yells at the ones that have John Cena t-shirts. The audio is all messed up. Truth asked the kid if Little Jimmy was with a Big Jimmy, his dad. Truth asked the dad to talk. The dad said “What’s Up?” and everybody laughed. The audio is still messed. It seems like there’s a five second delay on everything. Truth was in the ring complaining about all the Little Jimmy’s as John Cena’s music started up. The WWE Champ is here.
There’s still a time delay by about a second or two. Cena says he’s off the deep end. He says, “what’s wrong with you?” Finally the audio issues are corrected.
SuperCena says the fans aren’t Little Jimmy’s, they are the best people in the world. Cena says if he wants a match he should just ask him. Truth says now all the Little Jimmy’s can see him beat John Cena down. Cue the email from the GM. Cole reads it. “And I quote” draws good heat. The GM says tonight’s main event will see R-Truth compete against John Cena. However, there will be no Little Jimmy’s at ringside. Truth ends it by saying: “Oh so it’s a joke. You gonna get got.” What’s up with the no Little Jimmy’s at ringside part? Weird. I assume it’s not a title match.
That was the first 13 minutes of the show. The first 10 minutes had audio issues, so it made it one of the most unique openings in WWE history.
They hyped up Kharma delivering a promo later. Next up is Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston.
For whatever reason, they show a bunch of dudes outside in a kiddie pool eating BBQ related foods on Memorial Day. That was weird. Cole says that the technical difficulties have been corrected. Cole and Lawler are back to what they were before their feud got hot.
Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler
There’s no title on the line here. Kofi comes out first. Dolph, back with the blonde hair, comes out with Vicky Guerrero. Lawler makes fun of Guerrero’s dress for being too tight I guess while Cole says she looks great. She has definitely lost weight over the past few months. I’m shocked that Cole actually acknowledged their rivalry on Smackdown over the IC title. They work a fast pace from the beginning with Kofi getting the advantage, but Dolph comes back by throwing Kofi off the top rope where he crashes into the barricade. Four minutes into the match we go to commercial.
They plugged the Tough Enough finale next week. Steve Austin has been great for that show from what I’ve seen. I have not seen all the episodes.
Back from break, Ziggler’s in control. I guess to show Cole being impartial again they had him talk about the backgrounds of each guy. Ziggler misses a splash in the corner as we hear “Controlled Frenzy” from Cole. Ziggler gets a good nearfall as we hit the ten minute mark of this match. Kingston gets a nearfall of his own. Kingston goes for S.O.S., Dolph counters and hits the Zig Zag for the pin at the 11 minute mark.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: **1/4 Very solid match for the time it was given although we missed three minutes of it due to commercial. It should be pointed out that this is Kofi’s second non-title loss in three weeks since he lost to Punk clean a few weeks ago. The midcard champions are booked so poorly in this company, but you already knew that. I assume they’ll do Ziggler vs. Kingston at the Capitol Punishment PPV although they didn’t announce it officially.
Later in the show Cole says he’s going to get Alex Riley to apologize.
Main event is Cena vs. R-Truth.
Back from break, Ricardo Rodriguez introduced us to Alberto Del Rio. He came out in his suit with a scarf. I’m shocked that Ricardo didn’t get arrested for vehicular assault. Cole mentioned the price of Del Rio’s car and even said he drove around Omaha in it with him. I bet Josh misses saying the price of the car. His name is Alberto Del Rio, but you already know that. Now we get a video package showing last week when Big Show & Kane lost the tag belts. We get to see the vehicular assault too. Kids, just at tip. If you commit vehicular assault try not to do it on videotape. Love, WWE.
Del Rio said it was an accident. He asks Ricardo explain and he speaks only in Spanish. Del Rio tells him that Big Show brought it upon himself and that bad things happen to bad people. “You know I’m a nice guy” says ADR and he does a cheesy smile. Del Rio says Big Show owes him money from damaging his car. “Big Show, one more thing. Get well soon.” Then he winks. He leaves. I’m surprised Kane didn’t come out. I guess they’re honoring the fact that Kane is a Smackdown wrestler. Shocking.
They mention Punk vs. Mysterio later. I assume that’s at the top of hour two.
Up next Kelly Kelly & Eve vs. The Bella Twins. The cameras closed in on Eve’s boobs as they were stretching. That’s not PG. I’m offended. Or not. You decide, dear reader. I hate when they give away Mania main events on free TV.
They plugged Smackdown showing how Christian lost the belt and his title opportunities. What’s next for him? Heel turn…please.
The Bellas vs. Eve & Kelly Kelly
The Bellas were in the ring, so I didn’t get to hear all of their entire theme song. I hate you WWE! They show a clip of Kelly at some Maxim Hot 100 party because she was on the list of the 100 hottest women. Oprah didn’t make the list. I am high on sarcasm tonight.
The Bellas double team on Eve and cheat as referee Little Guido tries to restore order. You can hear the Bellas yelling loudly because the crowd is so quiet during their matches. Two minutes into the match, Eve gets the hot tag to Kelly. Yes, two minutes for a hot tag. Kelly hits her four signature moves and Kelly hit the K2 for the win. The announcers didn’t know what the name was. It’s the Rocker Dropper/Fameasser in case you didn’t know. The match went about three minutes.
Winners: Kelly & Eve
Analysis: 1/2* We’ve seen this before. Kelly got the tag match win before the last PPV and then she lost. Now she gets to win again. There is no imaginative booking with the divas. Why not involve Beth Phoenix? She’s the best of the Raw girls.
Later on we hear from Kharma.
Up next Michael Cole gets the apology from Smackdown’s Alex Riley who gets to be on Raw again. I guess that’s our top of hour two segment.
On Saturday I wrote about Smackdown and also touched on what topics I’ll be writing about this summer. Included in that will be recaps of every Summerslam event in WWE history. It will be fun to take a stroll down memory lane just like I did for the Royal Rumble.
They show the BBQ cook off with the dudes on the cement and Lawler is selling it by coughing at the screen. Dear God that’s awful. He needs to retire or have better direction.
Cole’s in the ring talking about Alex Riley. He says the Raw GM has signed him to a contract. He was drafted to Smackdown a month ago, but we all know the brand extension doesn’t matter. Why would they even draft him to Smackdown if they never intended on moving him there? Lame. They show a video of his beatdown on Miz last week. It was well done. Both guys did a great job.
Alex Riley comes out to his own theme music. He gets a pretty good pop. Cole says: “how could you?” He says the Miz was like a father to him. Aren’t they around the same age? He wonders how Riley could do what he did. The crowd didn’t agree with Cole. We’re at the top of hour two right now. Cole says Miz was hurt by this and that Miz was emotionally scarred by this. “The Miz thought of you as a brother.” I thought he just said he was a father figure? He said Riley was his go to guy, his right hand man. The question is how can you justify your actions of last week?
Riley: “I’d like to say I’ve never felt better in my life.” Cole says Riley should beg Miz for forgiveness because he has no idea what type of pain and humiliation that the Miz can inflict on you. “Shut up Cole” earns a big pop. He says Cole’s loud, arrogant and annoying just like Miz. Now Cole is turning up his heel act for Miz after toning down in the first hour. It’s not a bad strategy because it will only help Riley’s babyface turn. Cole says Riley is a bastard. Riley throws him down. He grabs him by the collar. Miz comes out to save Cole. He tackles Riley. They brawl in their suits.
The Miz attacks Riley in the corner yelling “I made you” as he beats him down. Miz is rocking a pink shirt. I won two pink shirts. Don’t judge me. Riley comes back to attack Miz just like last week. Miz tries to run away, but Riley chases him up the aisle. They brawl around ringside. He throws Miz over the barricade. Riley charges in with a dive to tackle him. Crowd popped huge for that. Miz eventually ran away through the crowd. Riley went back into the ring as the crowd cheered for him. His music played while Cole and Lawler argued about the whole thing.
That’s the second straight week where they did a great job in establishing Riley as a babyface. The Miz and Cole have a lot of heat, so they’re using it to help Riley’s turn. It’s working very well. Riley barely spoke. He took a beating from Miz, he showed his toughness by coming back and he made Miz run away from him like a coward. The crowd reacted to it perfectly. That’s a really well done segment. It was an effective way of using ten minutes to further an angle. It’s not always about the matches. If the storytelling is good then it will help more than a match.
They showed a recap of last week’s Raw when referee Bret Hart put CM Punk in the Sharpshooter as Mysterio pinned Punk.
CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio
CM Punk comes out with Mason Ryan while Mysterio comes out send to some huge pops like usual. No Macho Man style trunks for CM Punk this week. He’s back to the black. The announcers mentioned that James Durbin dude on American Idol wearing a CM Punk shirt. I have no idea who he is, but I’ve been told he’s a wrestling fan. That’s nice. Rey gets sent to the floor one minute into the match and we get the commercial. There’s your vintage floor to commercial spot.
We’re back from the break with CM Punk still in control. I loved the feud they had a year ago that ended up with Punk shaving his head. It was one of the better feuds of 2010 for sure. Mysterio comes back with his usual offense. He hits a dive through the ropes that sends Punk over the announce table. That was a great spot. Back in the ring, Rey gets a two count. He gets a bridging cover for two. Punk gets a backbreaker for two. Punk goes for the GTS, Rey counters with a headscissors. He dropkicks Mason Ryan. Punk catches him while he tries to skin the cat. GTS is countered, so Punk boots him in the head to put him down. That ends it at the 9 minute mark.
Winner: CM Punk
Analysis: **1/2 Very solid match. I wish it was longer, but I’m not going to complain too much about a quality match like that. These two have awesome chemistry. It didn’t matter who wins because they’re both so over. It’s encouraging that Punk won, though. He really needs a feud.
They showed a clip of Steve Austin on the Jimmy Fallon show talking about Tough Enough.
Up next we hear from Kharma for the first time ever.
They showed a recap of last week’s divas segment where Kharma broke down into tears in the middle of the ring. How long has Just For Men been a sponsor for WWE?
Kharma’s alone in the ring. Her music plays and then she speaks. She says when she was a kid she had two dreams. The first was to be a WWE superstar. Everybody said her standing there was impossible. She even went out for season two of Tough Enough. Jim Ross told her she was “too fat to ever be a WWE diva.” She went to Japan where she scrubbed the floors of wrestling dojos to train to wrestle. She then moved on to every promotion in the world until this year when WWE signed her. The fans are cheering. Her other dream was a bit more personal: She has always wanted to be a mother. “And I will because I am currently with child.” Unfortunately for her this is a high risk pregnancy so she can’t compete while she has child. That makes sense. She says she’ll be back. She thanks us for letting her live her dream.
Cue the Bellas. They call her fat and says Jim Ross was right when he said she was too fat. “You’re as big as a blimp,” they tell her. They taunt her. “Does the baby have ears yet?” Kharma steps towards them and they scatter to the other side of the ring. Kharma says that when she comes back in one year that they will still be there because “now I have a new journey.”
There you go. Kharma’s going to go home to have her baby and be back in a year. That’s the rumor that most of us thought was true and it turns out it is. Lawler said what the Bellas said was mean while Cole said it was honest. As Kharma walked away she stared back at the Bellas in the middle of the ring.
They did another “dream sequence” with president Obama “talking” about Capitol Punishment. At least it’s a different video. It was funnier than the first one. Of course Cole and Lawler were laughing at it harder than anybody at home probably was.
A couple of years ago my buddy Chris Duncan set up a petition to get me hired by WWE as a writer. I never took it too serious because I know I’m not their type. They want Hollywood writers. That’s fine. Here’s a link to it if you wanna check it out. My audience has tripled in the last 18 months, so maybe we can get some more signatures. I’m not sure how “official” something like this can be, though.
Back from break, another clip of the BBQ party with the dudes playing volleyball on cement. So instead of beach volleyball it was cement volleyball. Dear God these segments are awful. Cole and Lawler think they’re hilarious. These announcers are produced so badly.
Jack Swagger is out. They recapped last week when Swagger beat Bourne, but Evan attacked him post match. Rematch time.
Jack Swagger vs. Evan Bourne
It’s 10:46pmET as they start this, so I don’t expect them to get more than five minutes. Swagger gets control early using his power. He dominates the match for three minutes. He goes for a German Suplex, but Bourne counters, rolls up Swagger and wins the match with the counter move.
Winner: Evan Bourne
Analysis: * Too short to be great, but fine for what it was. I miss when Swagger got a push. He should be at the main event level rather than putting people over. That’s not to say I have a problem with Bourne. It’s just that we’ve seen this kind of thing done before where the short guy upsets the big guy. Then the big guy’s going to dominate him to look strong, but the fact that he lost even once to him makes him look weak. Oh well. Here’s to hoping they get a ten minute match out of this although I doubt that.
Backstage, R-Truth readies for the main event by talking to himself. He’s crazy, folks.
John Cena bumps into Zack Ryder who is doing his “follow me on Twitter” promo with his Internet Champion belt as Scott Stanford, his Broski, films it. All the Zack fans are marking out.
Main event is next.
Live Tough Enough finale next Monday night. I’m pretty sure the winner gets announced during Raw.
R-Truth still has no theme music. It just says “The Truth shall set you free” at the beginning. They showed clips of R-Truth’s promos from earlier in the show when the show had technical difficulties. It involved him talking at the merchandise stand. Then he trash talked a father and son in the crowd that he called Little Jimmy and Big Jimmy because they both had Cena shirts. Obviously they were plants in the crowd because when Truth asked the dad to talk he said “What’s Up?” Crowd laughed. Now Cena comes out as the time is 10:58pmET. They got less than ten minutes to do this.
R-Truth vs. John Cena
Cena spots a soldier in the aisle way, so he gives him a hug before the match to honor the troops on Memorial Day. That’s classy of Cena. I won’t question him as a man. As a television character I don’t agree with how he’s booked all the time.
Much of the match is Truth walking around ringside talking to fans. They put over how much he likes to take a breather. He finally gets back in the ring, Cena hits a clothesline and his side slam followed by a five knuckle shuffle. Then Truth leaves the ring again. I give Truth credit for drawing massive heel heat. He goes back in, Cena tries for the AA, Truth grabs the ropes and leaves the ring again. Cena chases him into the crowd. Truth fights Cena off, decks him with a right hand. Truth gets back into the ring, ref Scott Armstrong continues the count and Cena doesn’t make it back in before the ten count. After six minutes, R-Truth wins the match via countout.
Winner: R-Truth via countout
Analysis: DUD As a match there’s not much to say. All it did was show the cowardess of R-Truth. I think it did a pretty good job of doing that. They’ll likely do Cena vs. Truth at Capitol Punishment although it’s not announced yet.
Post match, R-Truth goes up to the kid that he talked to earlier. He grabs the drink of the kid and he throws the soda into the face of the father. Like I said earlier they are definite plants. To end the show Cena talks to the father and son to make sure that everything is okay.
Three Stars of the Show
1. R-Truth – He’s made his way here again. I’m entertained by him. He’s being booked well.
2. Kharma – I liked the promo. She spoke from the heart. I’ll miss her. I wish her the best with the pregnancy.
3. Alex Riley – He makes it into the top three for what’s likely the first time. I liked his attack for the second straight week.
6 out of 10
Last week: 5
2011 High Score: 9.1 (March 28)
2011 Low Score: 4 (Jan. 10)
2011 Average: 5.89
Last 5 Weeks: 6, 5, 5, 4, 7
I’m going above the 5 that I’ve given the last two weeks. The stories advanced well this week although they still haven’t set up a whole lot for Capitol Punishment in three weeks. They only have two more weeks of Raw to build up to that PPV, which will likely not do too well.
The Cena-Truth feud will likely be the main event. Since this wasn’t really a match on Raw they will have some freshness to the match at the PPV. Next week Truth can talk about how he beat Cena while JC can talk about how he’s a coward that is scared to face him. It’s a simple story, but it works.
The Miz-Riley story continues to be good. It is very frustrating that Riley was drafted to Smackdown and now they say the GM signed him to Raw. Does that mean anybody can be signed at any time? I wish they did a better job of explaining things like this because you’re only making yourself look bad as a company by ignoring the facts you present to us. I’m not that surprised that Riley’s getting over as a face, but it will be interesting to see how he does when he’s not against Miz. I think Miz is so over that anybody would get cheered against him. They need to maintain the intensity of the feud and have a good match at Capitol Punishment where I assume they will have a match.
I enjoyed the Kharma promo. The crowd wanted to boo her at first, but she cut a babyface promo and earned their respect by talking about how hard she worked to get to WWE. Then she spoke about her personal dream of being a mom. I’m sure WWE isn’t thrilled that she got pregnant when they had a big angle planned for her, but what can you do? The Bellas promo probably wasn’t necessary although we all know WWE writers love the “fat” promos. That’s their thing. I would have had Beth Phoenix come out, beat the crap out of the Bellas and then shake hands with Kharma as a sign of respect. Then you’d have a fresh feud to go on.
There was some pretty good wrestling with the Ziggler/Kingston and Punk/Mysterio matches. The heels won their matches to give them some momentum. Both guys desperately need long term feuds, though.
Like I said it wasn’t a great show, but it was slightly better than what we’ve seen recently. I like where things are headed because we have some fresh feuds. The rise of guys like Truth and Riley are the biggest stories on Raw in my opinion. Who knew it would be them?
On a final note I’m going Heat in 6 and Canucks in 5. Just a hunch, fella. Keep checking out thejohnreport.net for multiple columns on a daily basis and I’ll be back for the Raw Deal once again next week.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
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