Live from Hampton, VA
MATCH 1: REY MYSTERIO VS. THE MIZ (WWE CHAMPIONSHIP)
Seems like more fans cared about CM Punk at an indy show, since the idea of “new WWE Champion crowned Monday!” wasn’t exactly beaten around over the weekend on the ‘net. And they say belts aren’t important. Cole even guarantees a new champion, which, given the bait-and-switchery of this company, is risky. As a match, I may not have opened with it, but it was an exciting way to begin the show, and, actually, it could set up story opportunities as the show goes along. Miz, especially, looked far better than his critics would dare give him credit for, adapting well to a fluid main event style. I especially liked the slingshot powerbomb he added to his repertoire. Down the stretch, the excitement was drawn out perfectly, with Rey hobbling Miz en route to the 619 and top rope dive to become WWE Champion. After lots of mixed reactions in recent times for Mysterio, it was good to see him get a respectable pop upon winning. I’d like to see Rey/Miz again sometime, especially for the title.
WINNER: Rey Mysterio via 619/top rope dive (New “WWE” Champion)
RATING: 7/10. Good opener, and the kind of exciting back and forth match you’d expect from both.
Afterward, The Miz made a quick attack, allowing Alberto Del Rio to come charging down for his Money in the Bank cash in, but Mysterio showed resistance with a dive, and ADR chose to fight another day. So we’ve got our first main event angle of the “new era”.
[adinserter block=”2″]MATCH 2: DOLPH ZIGGLER VS. EVAN BOURNE (NON TITLE MATCH)
Cool, Ziggler now using the Downstait version of his music. Bourne is getting closer to ripping off AJ Styles’ tights schemes altogether. Anywho, the match is short and spirited, and Bourne hit an impressive snap rana while Dolph was still up top. In the end, Ziggler avoided the Air Bourne, and followed up with the Zig Zag and sleeperhold to get the knockout win. Afterward, Ziggler gave a rather ear-piercing, over-the-top spiel to the crowd, which reminds me of the old Saturday afternoon jobber shows. Anytime you do that, you make me happy. We’ll ignore Lawler and Cole’s inane mailbox/Obama tirade that threatened to detract from the match.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler via sleeperhold
RATING: 5/10. It was short, but it was fun. I don’t set my personal bar very high.
MATCH 3: KELLY KELLY/EVE TORRES VS. MELINA/MARYSE
You know Melina’s hit rock bottom when she doesn’t even get her theme song. Eh well, at least she’s not calling my colleagues mean words when he offers criticism. The Maryse stinkface pleases me. K2 finishes after the standard botchery.
WINNERS: Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres via K2
RATING: 2/10. In other words, Madison Rayne could learn from this match.
IN-RING SEGMENT: TRIPLE H STATE OF WWE ADDRESS
So The Game thanks Vince for all his done, yada, yada, on with the future. ACT ONE: Mysterio’s defending the belt tonight against John Cena, which is actually interesting in that it’s a match that I don’t believe has happened before. ACT TWO: re-signing someone, which is teased as CM Punk, but turns out to be Jim Ross, much to the consternation of Cole. Cole protests, cutting a good heel-manager style promo, and Triple H informs him that he can still quit, and he has a match coming up next, with his “gear” waiting for him backstage. As Cole leaves, R-Truth is out next to state his case for a push with Triple H, who only mocks him by speaking to Truth’s “invisible Jimmies”, and ends up offending him. But that’s okay, because Triple H brought John Morrison back just for Truth! Morrison commences a beatdown, which gives us another potentially good Summerslam program. Starship Pain and faux Jimi Hendrix music punctuate the segment.
RATING: 8/10. Segment kinda dragged near the end, but JR’s return, Cole’s promo, and HHH’s mocking of Truth made it worthwhile.
MATCH 4: MICHAEL “TRIPLE” COLE VS. ZACK RYDER
Michael Cole’s imitating of Triple H’s intro is the stuff of legend, as is the long-awaited push of Ryder, who fist-pumps and Rough Rydes his way to victory.
WINNER: Zack Ryder via Rough Ryder
RATING: 4/10. Just because I was entertained.
MATCH 5: ALBERTO DEL RIO VS. KOFI KINGSTON
Every time I hear “Mexican Aristocrat”, I think Alberto and Ricardo should take turns telling a long, dirty joke. The match is typical fare, with Kofi having the early advantage, ADR regroups, commercial, and then the see-saw battle headed toward a big finish. ADR broke a pinfall attempt from a front cradle by grabbing the bottom rope, and the crowd flipped out in a nice moment. The armwork that Alberto did during the match paid off as ADR won with his Cross Armbreaker, which really needs a catchier name. Or maybe a second finisher with said catchy name.
WINNER: Alberto Del Rio via Cross Armbreaker
RATING: 6/10. Short, but effective match to re-establish Alberto as one of Raw’s top heels.
MAIN EVENT: REY MYSTERIO (c) VS. JOHN CENA (WWE CHAMPIONSHIP)
Kinda wish they’d saved this match for a pay per view. Rey and Cena exchange some nifty offense, including Cena flipping Mysterio inside out with a clothesline on the floor, and Rey ending Cena’s clichéd shoulder block barrage with a flat dropkick. The best may have been Cena’s countering the wheelbarrow bulldog into the spinout powerbomb, and even the Cena haters were getting into the drama as the match wore on. Late in the contest, Rey countered Cena’s STF attempt into an STF of his own. Cena’s counter into an AA attempt led to his knee buckling, and Rey followed that with a 619. Cena got the knees up on the dive, however. Cena caught Rey on a 619 attempt at the end to hit the deciding AA and win the title.
WINNER: John Cena via Attitude Adjustment
RATING: 9/10. Tremendous TV match (***3/4 on the smark scale), and while Cena being champion again is…..
….er, lemme end that sentence.
PUNK is here, complete with “Cult of Personality” as his theme. The show ends with a mere staredown between the two men as they hold their respective title belts.
[adinserter block=”1″]OVERALL: Another great Raw in a series of them, and while I’m not big on hot-shotting titles, it was still a damn exciting show. Great main event, good Rey-Miz match, JR’s back, fun segment mid show, Ryder gets airtime, we have storylines and…..PUNK!!!!
Did I mention Punk?
Full WWE RAW July 25, 2011 results…
John Cena defeated Rey Mysterio to win the WWE championship
Rey Mysterio defeated The Miz to win the WWE championship
Zack Ryder defeated Michael Cole
Alberto Del Rio defeated Kofi Kingston
Kelly Kelly and Eve Torres defeated Maryse and Melina
Dolph Ziggler defeated Evan Bourne
Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for WrestlingNewsSource.com and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.
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