WWE Raw Live Report
July 23 in Sacramento, Calif.
This show started with The Coach standing in his office telling us that Great American Bash was a huge success last night. He said they are five weeks away from Summerslam, which means they need a new #1 Contender. Coach said by the end of the night, we would know who’s facing Cena at Summerslam. Coach then booked a Champions Only match, as opposed to TNA’s Match of Champions, for tonight’s main event with IC champion Umaga & tag champions Cade & Murdoch vs. WWE champion John Cena & Women’s champion Candice Michelle.
Live in the arena, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show and Ross announced Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes II.
In the ring, there was a Tea Time set for King Booker, who walked out with Queen Sharmell. They recapped Booker and Lawler’s segment on Raw last week. Booker took a sip from his royal goblet, then sat down in his throne. He addressed "Jerome" Lawler and said they got off to the wrong foot last week. Booker invited Lawler to join him at the table so that each side could explain his case for who’s the better king. Booker almost broke into laughter as he continued to speak King-talk to Lawler. He gave Lawler first opportunity to state his case, but his mic cut out. Booker went ahead and stated his case while Lawler received a new mic. He then brought up the Sacramento Kings and wondered how they could call themselves Kings when they have won nothing. He said the one game they did won was probably due to a crooked referee. Booker said he would petition for the team to be renamed the Sacramento Peasants. 99 percent of the wrestling/sports audience popped for that outside of Sacramento, which is why the local heel promo is hit or miss. Booker then introduced Triple H’s name to a big pop. He said he shouldn’t be king, though. He said the only true king should be King Bookah. Lawler tried to speak, but Sharmell cut him off and did the All Hail for Booker. A round of "you suck" chants drowned out Booker and Sharmell. Lawler spoke and said the people don’t think Booker as much of a king. He said they all think of Booker as a pompous, idiotic, self-delusional, royal pain in the arse. Booker called for silence, but he was not granted his request. He said he would not stand for such insubordination, then both men came to their feet and went face-to-face. Lawler said he has a better idea than discussing the issue and he landed a right hand blow that cleared Booker from the ring. Sharmell retreated with Booker, then Lawler threw the plate of food down on Booker. Lawler held up his crown in the ring while Sharmell held Booker back.
They showed Melina and Beth Phoenix walking backstage.
2 — MELINA & BETH PHOENIX vs. MICKIE JAMES & MARIA (w/Santino Marella)
Santino walked out with Maria and gave her a kiss for good luck. Borat…er…Santino sat down at the announce table to commentate on the divas match. They went with a low-level angle from the hard camera side to tighten up the action and give it a "big stadium" feel. Interesting. Santino said he’s been working with Maria on their grappling technique. Melina worked on Maria in the heel corner before exchanging tags with Phoenix. Mickie took a tag at 4:00 and took Melina down with a swinging head scissors. Maria then took a tag and went up top for a cross body splash on Melina. She had the pin, but Phoenix broke up the pin. Santino was upset about the constant cheating, so he left the announce table and tripped up the heels behind the ref’s back. Maria then dropped Melina with a running bulldog for the pin and the win.
WINNERS: Mickie & Melina in 6:00. Interesting match with the different camera angle. Santino was entertaining on commentary in a funny, ha-ha kind of way to give the match a little color. (*1/4)
They aired a video package on the Cena vs. Lashley match from last night’s PPV.
Jerry Brisco gave Cody Rhodes some advice backstage, then Randy Orton spun him around and said his dad obviously didn’t teach him common sense. Cody said Orton is afraid, then Orton said Cody should be afraid because he’s going to put him through his paces in the ring. Cody said they would find out.
Snitsky’s music hit, then they cut a backdrop where Snitsky stared off camera and asked if it makes him a bad person if he feels no remorse when he injures people. He said he can’t explain why their pain is his pleasure. Just wrong.
Backstage, Todd Grisham interviewed John Cena. Grisham congratulated him on beating Lashley last night, then asked about the three-on-two handicap match tonight. Cena asked Grisham to close his eyes, then he painted a picture of a beautiful woman, Candice Michelle, approaching him. Cena got right up to Candice going in for the kiss, then Cena said that scene is interrupted by the cast of Brokeback Mountain and a giant Samoan. Grisham asked Cena why he would ruin the scene like that. OK, that didn’t work. They switched gears to his impending WWE Title match at Summerslam. Cena listed his recent title opponents, then sent a message that if anyone wants some, come get some.
2 — THE SANDMAN & HACKSAW JIM DUGGAN vs. WILLIAM REGAL & CARLITO
The Phallic Symbol team challenged Regal and Carlito to a house show re-match from Saturday. They showed Coach watching intently backstage on a monitor. The heels worked on Sandman in the early going, with Sandman sporting some carpenter blue jeans. Duggan took a tag at 2:00 and dropped Carlito with a back body drop. Duggan lined up a charging shoulder tackle, but Carlito moved and hit the back cracker for the win.
WINNERS: Carlito & Regal in 3:00. Short match to advance the mini-feud. (3/4*)
They plugged Cody Rhodes vs. Randy Orton again. Ross added Jeff Hardy vs. Mr. Kennedy to the show line-up.
Tomorrow night on ECW, the fall-out from Morrison vs. Punk at the Bash.
Randy Orton walked out to face Cody Rhodes. Ross talked about Orton revealing his intentions last night at the Bash to kill another legend. Cody Rhodes followed out and stared down Orton.
3 — RANDY ORTON vs. CODY RHODES
Orton slapped Rhodes after a mid-ring exchange, so Cody came back with a hard shove. Orton quickly recovered and went on the offensive. After Orton worked on Cody for a few minutes, Cody avoided a charging kick to the head. He went to the corner for a top rope dropkick, but Orton ducked Cody ate the mat. Orton prepped for the RKO as the fans popped, then he dropped Coy with the RKO for the win.
After the match, Orton measured Cody for a kick to the head, but Dusty Rhodes hit the ring and made the save. He cleared Orton from the ring, then checked on Cody, who held his head while seated against the ropes. Orton managed to slide right back into the ring, though, and he waited for Dusty to turn his head ever so slightly before punting him square in the head. Cody tried to reach out and check on his dad, but Orton measured him. Referees managed to intervene before Orton could KO Cody. Medics then spilled out to ringside and checked on Dusty while refs held Orton back.
WINNER: Orton in 5:00. Post-match took precedence, and further established Orton as the cerebral assassin, dating back to the RVD and HBK angles. Sets up the possibility of Hunter getting the big revenge on Orton on behalf of Dusty. (*)
They recapped the previous segment, then showed footage from during the break of Dusty being strapped to a gurney as Cody looked on with concern.
Mr. Kennedy walked out to the ring and cut a promo about being the next #1 Contender to the WWE Title. He announced himself, then Jeff Hardy came out to the superstar pop. Hardy sold a back injury from his match with Umaga last night. At least he’s selling an injury and not pretending like nothing happened last night.
4 — JEFF HARDY vs. MR. KENNEDY
Ross and Lawler maintained a serious tone about Dusty Rhodes and said they would do their job in calling the current match. Ross said Hardy made him proud last night against Umaga and only made one mistake that cost him the match. Kennedy went for roundhouse kicks early on, but Hardy easily avoided the moves and worked on Kennedy’s back. Ross explained that Hardy being in the ring 24 hours after taking a beating from Umaga is because he loves competition. Suddenly, Hardy knocked Kennedy to the outside, then he followed with a flip dive to the floor. Both men crashed to the mat, then they cut to a break.
Back from break, Kennedy dropped Hardy with the Alabama Slam after catching Hardy in the corner. He only scored a nearfall, though. Kennedy pounded Hardy into the mat with a front facelock, then he settled into a side arm stretch. Hardy suddenly came back with an attempted Whisper in the Wind, but Hardy slipped on the top rope and he crashed down on the back of his neck. Kennedy paused, then made a cover, but the ref said Hardy’s foot was under the rope. Kennedy hooked the leg, then scored a nearfall only to a big pop. Hardy came back with the Whisper in the Wind again and connected this time. He then made his full comeback and hit a leaping facebuster. He set up for the Swanton Bomb, but Kennedy smartly – in the short-term – rolled to the outside. Hardy followed out and ran the guardrail before splashing Kennedy. They started to fight ringside and Hardy threw Kennedy into the Raw stage. He then sprinted back into the ring and made it back at a nine count. The ref then counted to ten, counting out Kennedy, who scrambled half-way down the entrance ramp. The fans applauded for Hardy’s win, then Hardy mockingly called for the house mic. Kennedy pointed at Hardy that he thought he had him.
WINNER: Hardy via countout in 13:00. Hardy is unbelievably over, to the Cena level. Cena vs. Hardy is one dream match I don’t recall them ever teasing or hinting at, but it could work for a Summerslam main event. Entertaining match, but almost a disaster when Hardy slipped off the top rope. (**1/2)
Back ringside, Ross and Lawler talked solemnly about Dusty’s condition. They showed footage from "moments ago" when Dusty was hauled into an ambulance with Cody. It must be reassuring having Jim Duggan lend the moral support. Ross said Cody must be thinking it’s his fault.
They aired a video package on rebuilding a better Triple H. Can they fix his heel mic skills? He returns at Summerslam.
5 — PAUL LONDON & BRIAN KENDRICK vs. CHARLIE HAAS & SHELTON BENJAMIN
The heels isolated Kendrick early on after Haas caught Kendrick with a baseball slide kick on the floor. Kendrick then took a hot tag and wildly attacked Haas. The new Rockers cleared Shelton to the outside, but Kendrick completely ate the floor when he went for a plancha on Shelton. I mean completely ate the floor. Back in the ring, Shelton hit a slingshot splash on Kendrick’s back, then Haas dropped Kendrick with a German Suplex for the win.
WINNERS: Haas & Benjamin in 4:00. The new Rockers need to get their moves under control, like Jeff Hardy and Rey Mysterio. It’s like watching a train wreck, but fans aren’t interested in stopping to watch. Nice finishing sequence from Shelton and Haas. (3/4*)
ECW champion John Morrison vs. the World on TV tomorrow night.
They recapped the Dusty Rhodes injury angle again. Ross and Lawler talked solemnly about Dusty being taken a hospital. Lawler said Cody will want to blame himself, but Orton did the deed.
King Booker and Sharmell came out again. Booker stared towards the announce table with disdain written on his face. Sharmell said that because Lawler did not acknowledge Booker’s generosity earlier tonight, he will pay a heavy price. Booker challenged Lawler to a match next week on Raw in his ring. He said Lawler’s reign of blasphemy is over. Lawler talked into the headset that he would be glad to show Booker why he’s been called The King for 30 years.
Backstage, Grisham approached The Coach and asked if he has made his decision on who will face Cena at Summerslam. He said he has made his decision, so he will go inform the challenger before telling the public. Candice Michelle cut off Coach and said she didn’t want to be in the match with Umaga or Cade & Murdoch. Coach told her that tonight, he’s not looking at her as a diva, but as a champion. He told Candice to be proud of herself and she would be fine. Candice wasn’t convinced. The new, serious Coach works much better than the doofus authority figure.
They cut to the other side of backstage where Umaga led the tag champions down the hallway. Umaga grunted, Murdoch did his great, goofy facial expression, and Cade was just Cade.
Umaga came out first for the heel team. Lawler stacked the deck by saying he likes Cena and Candice’s chances even less now that it’s a No DQ match. Cade & Murdoch followed out. Candice Michelle then walked out without any energy as Umaga seemed to be salivating. She waited on the top of the stage, then Cena’s music hit and he paused next to Candice. Cena then stormed the ring while Candice slowly made her way to ringside.
6 — Intercontinental champion UMAGA & World Tag champions CADE & MURDOCH vs. WWE champion JOHN CENA & Women’s champion CANDICE MICHELLE — No DQ match
Cena tried to fight off the heels after running right into the fire, but they quickly pounded him into the mat. Umaga worked on Cena, then he fought back against Murdoch, but Murdoch cut him off with a Russian legsweep for a nearfall. Cena suddenly came back with a Blockbuster on Murdoch, then a sit-out slam on Cade. He went for a cross body splash on Umaga, but Umaga tattooed him with a swinging Black Hole Slam. The heels suddenly surrounded Candice, who had nowhere to go. Cade and Murdoch held her down in the corner and Umaga got the train ready for the rear splash, but Jeff Hardy ran into the ring and saved the day to a huge pop. Candice slipped out of the ring and ran to the back. Hardy then smashed Umaga with consecutive chair shots, knocking Umaga out of the ring. He continued to bash Umaga with chair shots all the way to the back as the crowd went nuts. Back in the ring, Cena quickly fended off a two-on-one attack and dropped Murdoch with the FU to win the match.
After the match, Cena had his hand raised, but he didn’t see Randy Orton sneak into the ring from behind. Cena then turned around and walked right into an RKO. The fans screamed, then Orton stood over Cena’s body. Coach walked out on stage and announced Cena vs. Orton at Summerslam. Orton half-smiled, then slithered out of the ring while Cena tried to recover.
WINNERS: Cena & Candice Michelle in 5:00. Very exciting conclusion to the show. Boy, you’re hoping for Cena vs. Hardy, but now they have two money matches with Cena vs. Orton and Umaga vs. Hardy in some sort of gimmick match. The cards are in place for a replica of 2004 when Orton won the belt at Summerslam vs. Chris Benoit, then turned right around and dropped the belt to Hunter. (*3/4)