WWE RAW 5/9/11
May 9th, 2011
Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tennessee
May 9th, 2011
Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tennessee
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Josh Matthews
We open the show with Alberto Del Rio making his entrance to the ring with the full get-up this time, Rolls Royce and all. He calls out John Cena for a title shot, but instead Rey Mysterio comes out and challenges Del Rio to a number one contender's match tonight. Before Del Rio can muster much of a response The Miz's music plays and he and Alex Riley hit the ring. Miz is here to reclaim his title but Del Rio tells him he had his chance and he couldn't get the job done. Miz blames Riley for his loss, even though he used the belt himself. Miz wants a legitimate rematch with Cena, but suddenly R-Truth walks out and says he hates hospital food and segues into how John Morrison is eating alot of hospital food because of the attack from R-Truth last week. It's a shame that JoMo had to get his neck surgery now, he was getting ever-so-close to that main event push and the program he was working with Truth was was atleast interesting until he had to go under the knife. Truth threatens to send everyone in the ring to the hospital and then says, and this is a direct quote, "When an angry black man is talking, ya'll need to shut it up". For some reason that just cracks me up. Truth says he's going to be facing Cena for the title, but the Anonymous RAW GM sends an e-mail at that moment, which Michael Cole reads. The e-mail sets up a triple threat match between The Miz, Alberto Del Rio, and Rey Mysterio with the winner getting a title shot against Cena at the next PPV (Over the Limit) for our main event. This does not please Truth to say the least, so he gets up in Mysterio's face and Mysterio says he agrees with the GM's decision. The Miz tries to do his "Awesome" catch phrase but Ricardo Rodriguez steals the limelight and yells Alberto's name loudly. All of them wind up brawling and fighting to finish the segment. Decent opening segment to start the build for the next title match.
Brie Bella/Nikki Bella vs. Eve Torres/Kelly Kelly
I'm guessing this will just be an excuse to bring Kharma out. The Bellas, give them credit, atleast have attempted to change their mannerisms and work for their out-of-nowhere heel turn. They're still terrible for the most part in the ring though. Kelly hits a handspring back elbow on one of the Bellas and then rolls her up for the awkward pinfall at 1:24. And as soon as the babyfaces start celebrating, Kharma's music hits and out comes the former Awesome Kong. Yes, they actually refer to her as a "diva" here. Eve tries to attack Kharma from behind when she hits the ring but she gets squashed anyways. Kelly Kelly and the Bellas run for their lives while Kharma delivers the Implant Buster to Eve back in the ring. As a match, this was obviously nothing, but as a segment it's always entertaining to see Kharma destroy bitches. ¼*
Mason Ryan vs. Kane
CM Punk comes to the ring with Ryan while the Big Show comes out to be in Kane's corner. Kane gets shot into the corner and works his way out with punches, backing Ryan into the corner. Ryan counters with a clothesline and then slams Kane's head against the turnbuckle while delivering a running powerslam. Kane retreats to the ring apron and CM Punk kicks him in the shin while he's getting back into the ring. Show knocks out Punk while Kane sends Ryan to the floor, and then the Nexus run down to the ring for the beatdown and the DQ at 2:16. This continues the feud between the Nexus and the tag champs, but the problem is I'm not sure anyone wants to watch that feud. Match was decent while it lasted. ¾*
Dolph Ziggler vs. Santino Marella
Oh Dolph, from former "World champ" to wrestling Santino, my how you've fallen down the card. Ziggler is all over Santino to start, but Santino quickly responds with a hip-toss and sets up for the Cobra, but Ziggler just nails him right in his face with a nasty dropkick. Ziggler finishes with the Zig Zag at 1:42. Just a squash match for Dolph, but a useful one. Santino is always over with the fans so having Dolph destroy him in less than two minutes should give him some of that heat he desperately needs back. *
When we return from the commercial break we get...the Smackdown Rebound? I guess the WWE is really serious about making Smackdown the Randy Orton show, as they usually don't use up time on RAW with this but now that Orton is on Smackdown it suddenly gets a segment, revolving entirely around him of course. Afterwards Josh Matthews says he doesn't think it was fair for Christian to defend the title only five days after he won it while Lawler congratulates Orton.
Backstage R-Truth is listening to his headphones when Scott Stanford (who I will continue to pimp out as the next great play-by-play man in waiting for the WWE) walks up to him to get a word with him. Truth talks about parents writing letters to him to return to his old happy-go-lucky singing and dancing self. Truth then forces Stanford to say "What's Up" and runs off.
Elsewhere backstage Zack Ryder appears to be teaching John Cena the finer points fist-pumping. Somebody in creative find a use for Ryder, please, he's just sitting there.
After another commercial break we cut to The Miz and Alex Riley backstage. Riley tries to convince Miz that it wasn't his fault that he lost last week, but Miz isn't buying any of that. He can't decide whether Riley is an amoeba, troglodyte, or an orangutang. Riley promises to make it up to him and the camera follows him as he walks through the halls and then comes out to the ring, getting some serious heat while he's at it. I'm not sure if that's just the crowd being so impatient tonight and wanting to boo someone, or if Riley is really that hated. Riley grabs a mic and challenges John Cena, demanding he come out and eventually Cena does just that, and we have an impromptu match on our hands...
John Cena vs. Alex Riley
Not a bad use of Cena on the card, and the crowd is hugely behind him. Not many "Cena haters" in the house tonight it seems. Cena blocks a boot from Riley and hip-tosses him, but Riley avoids a running tackle and clotheslines him for a near fall. Riley hits a nice back suplex for another two count, and then he slaps on a sleeper. Cena fights it off though and goes to his standard stuff. Cena hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle while The Miz begins walking down to ringside and Cena delivers not one, but two Attitude Adjustment's to Riley before locking in the STF for the submission victory at 3:13 right in front of The Miz. Not much of a match obviously, just a squash. They've got to figure out what they're doing with Riley though because there's only so many times you can job him out before the fans stop giving a shit. *
Michael Cole hops in the ring when we return from commercial and he claims that there's nothing left for him to accomplish in the ring, so he's going to retire. He says he wants to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as both an in-ring competitor and commentator, but The King has had enough and he hops in the ring to remind Cole of the beatdown he took from The Rock last week. (Minor note: Rock's "Go Heat, bitch" quip isn't censored this time like it was last week). The King challenges Cole to another match and says this time if Cole beats him, he'll give him his Hall of Fame ring and induct Cole into the Hall of Fame himself, but Cole refuses and retreats back into his Cole Mine, talking trash about Tennessee all the way. Cole gets into the mother talk again just to remind us that the King's mother died last February. King flips out and tries to attack Cole in his booth, but Jack Swagger runs down and makes the save.
United States Title Match
Kofi Kingston © vs. Jack Swagger
When we return from the break we segue right into this match. Both men try to end it quickly by going to their finishers but neither man can connect with it. They trade head and waist locks while Cole won't stop yapping about Jerry Lawler on commentary, leaving us with no one actually calling the action in the ring (which is one of my pet peeves). Kingston hits Swagger with a clothesline that sends him to the floor and then he sets up for a slingshot splash, but Swagger moves and Kofi eats a boot on the apron, sending him crashing to the floor as we take a commercial break. When we return Kofi fights off a submission attempt but gets thrown into the corner. Kofi blocks the Swagger Bomb attempt, and the crowd doesn't seem to be particularly interested here which is unusual for a Kofi Kingston match. He misses the Trouble in Paradise again but hits a big cross-body block off the top rope that brings the crowd back to life. Swagger tries tossing Kofi over the top rope but Kofi skins the cat only for Swagger to just grab his ankle and apply the ankle lock while Kingston's in the ropes. Swagger works away on Kofi's ankle until Kingston counters with a tornado DDT attempt, but Swagger blocks it and Kingston lands on his feet, but he immediately crumbles to the mat under his ankle as if he just rolled it in a basketball game. Suddenly Jerry Lawler comes walking down the aisle and that distracts Swagger long enough for Kofi to nail him with the Trouble in Paradise (with the good ankle/leg mind you, not the one that had been worked over) to retain at 5:11 (shown). After the match the King grabs Cole's tie through one of the open slots in his Cole Mine and slams his head repeatedly into the booth in cartoonish fashion. The look on Cole's face as it's squashed up against the glass is priceless. Average match and I can appreciate the attempts at limb psychology, but it didn't really play into the finish so it was all for naught really. **¼
After everything settles down a bit Swagger grabs a mic and proclaims that Lawler is now fired because he touched Cole. Well, not really you see he only touc---HOLY SHIT IT'S LITTLE GUIDO! I had no idea James Maritato was working as a referee for the WWE now. You learn something new everyday, huh. Now please, finish up this Cole/Lawler feud at Over the Limit and be done with it, forevermore.
Number One Contendership to the WWE Title Match
The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto Del Rio
This had better be one hell of a main event after the sub-par show they've presented thus far. This is just your basic formula triple threat stuff here with two men going at it in the ring while the third man lays on the floor in pain. Rey almost hits a double 619 early, but it gets broken up and Rey gets sent out of the ring. Mysterio hops right back in though and gets a tilt-a-whirl sunset flip for a two count. Rey sets up Miz for the 619 but Del Rio trips him up from behind. Del Rio tosses Rey out and then he and Miz trade cradle near falls and then knock heads with each other as we take a commercial break. When we return Del Rio is working a lazy camel clutch on Mysterio. A tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets Del Rio a two count on Mysterio, so he rolls out of the ring and tosses The Miz into the turnbuckle. Del Rio and Rey go at it for a bit until The Miz low-bridges Del Rio and hops in the ring to take on Mysterio. Slingshot legdrop gets Mysterio a two count and the crowd wakes up again. Miz misses a clothesline on Rey in the corner so Del Rio drags him out to the floor and gives him a clothesline, only to turn around and take a seated senton from Mysterio. Mysterio hits another seated senton back in the ring and a springboard cross-body block gets him a close two. The Miz climbs to the top turnbuckle but gets crotched as Rey rolls up Del Rio for another near fall. Mysterio delivers the Frankensteiner to Miz but Del Rio is waiting for him a big cross armbreaker. Del Rio applies his armbar submission on Rey until Miz jumps back in the ring and Del Rio just rolls him up for a near fall as well. That was a nifty sequence. Miz goes for the Skull-Crushing Finale on Rey but he gets sent to the floor instead and Alex Riley decides to make an appearance, limping down the aisle to help The Miz get back into it. Mysterio counters a Del Rio powerbomb with a headscissors that knocks Alex Riley right off the apron which gives Rey enough time to deliver the 619 to Del Rio! Miz tries to get back on the apron but Rey dropkicks him off and splashes Alberto from the top rope, but Riley pulls Del Rio out of the ring at the count of two and Miz sneaks up from behind and rolls Rey up for the win and the title shot at 10:50 (shown). This started off rocky with no real flow at all between the "toss one out, fight the other" sequence, but it slowly picked up steam and escalated all the way up to the hot finish. Very good formula stuff. ***
After the match John Cena comes out and says that the Miz's title match with him at Over the Limit will be an I Quit Match. Should be a good match, but there's no way I see Cena losing that one. Meanwhile back in the ring R-Truth hops out from the crowd and attacks Rey Mysterio in the ring as we go off the air.
Bottom Line: I was just not feeling this show at all for the first hour. Way too short matches, heavy on the Cole/Lawler segments and just generally boring. Luckily the second hour was much better and concluded with a rather good main event for television these days. The main event is worth checking out, but aside from that, there really isn't anything must-see on this show, just the WWE laying the basic foundations for the build for the next PPV, Over the Limit. I hate to be so indecisive, but I'm going with Thumbs in the Middle here, leaning up, meaning it's a slight recommendation if you've got some time to kill, but otherwise don't bother.