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Monday Night RAW August 4, 2008
by Bigelow34

Richmond Coliseum
Richmond, VA
Announcers: Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler

- We open our show with a look back at the evolution of the Batista/Cena Summerslam match and then head inside the arena where John Cena joins us right off the bat. He talks about Mike Adamle wanting to make waves as GM and making this match without any rhyme or reason. Adamle is all about hype though, and he asked Cena for ways to hype the match, but Cena says it doesn’t need it. They could do a press conference, a weigh in and broken glass arm wrestling match or a number of other things, but the match sells itself. He says the only thing they need is for Batista to come out right now. He obliges and joins his partner in the ring. Cena says they went to battle last week and now they are the tag team champions. They have a rematch tonight and they need to coexist or both suffer defeat. For six years, Cena has watched Batista’s every move and watched as Ric Flair and Batista handpicked and groomed him. Cena never had that opportunity but now ever week he comes down and he has turned the critics into believers. He now stands in front of a nation that goes to battle with him each time out. Both men have answered a lot of questions, but never the big one: which of them is better? On Sunday, that question will be answered and the answer will be John Cena. Batista says that he has also always been watching Cena and that they are two sides of the same coin. Both men have won a Royal Rumble match, a Wrestlemania main event, the tag team titles and the World Championship. He has watched as Cena sometimes gets a standing ovation and sometimes gets booed out of the building. However, he knows Cena has never changed who he is and he respects that. He qualifies that by saying he would never be caught dead doing some of the things Cena does. He knows people over age 15 want to see Batista beat Cena senseless and he will do just that. Cena can ask who is better, but Sunday we will see the answer is Batista. Cena just extends his hand and Batista shakes it and then Cena heads to the back and that is that. Michael Cole lets us know that the WWE Mobile poll this week asks who the bigger star is: Batista or Cena. We will ponder that as we go to break.

- Back from break and we get a video package regarding the WWE’s CINE Golden Eagle awards won for Wrestlemania and Tribute to the Troops.

1) Beth Phoenix defeats Kelly with the double chicken wing slam
Kelly is out first and then we are joined by the new power couple of WWE, Santino and Beth. Santino joins us on commentary and immediately wins the night by calling Cole “Michael Hole”. Beth smacks around Kelly to start, but Kelly is able to yank her into the buckle with a headscissors. Santino talks about his recent victory over Kelly as Beth spikes her to the mat. Beth keeps the attack going and gets a two. Santino says the media is calling them “Glamarella”. Beth goes for a press slam, but Kelly wriggles loose and gets a sunset flip for two. Santino says that Beth likes his unibrow, which is why he keeps it. Kelly lands a boot on a charge, but Beth catches her and buries her with the double chicken wing slam for the win. Grade: 1

- Santino hops in the ring and wants to send a message to Mickie and Kofi and asks Beth to give Kelly the move he likes and it will be awesome. Speaking of Mickie and Kofi, they hit the ring and clear it out. Santino says they are saving it for Summerslam and they head off. Santino issues a challenge to a match right here. Kofi thinks he is asking him, but Santino says he is talking about Mickie. He wants practice for Sunday so he knows where or where not to put his hand. He knows it is Mickie’s hometown and her parents are here, but Kofi says no. Santino tells her not to be a girl, and Mickie accepts the challenge. Santino says she will lose and he will put her back in the kitchen where she belongs and we are off to break.

2) Santino Marella defeats Mickie James with a rollup
When we return from break, Mickie grabs a side headlock but Santino slips free. Apparently during the break, Santino ripped into Mickie’s parents and the footage will be on WWE.com. Santino hits a single leg trip and gets one but Mickie returns the favor. She takes Santino down with a drop toehold and then rides him around the ring like a horse. She hits an armdrag, but Santino gets to his feet and slams her down. He misses a double kneedrop and has seemingly hurt his legs. Mickie kicks his knee and sends him down and Santino is trying to buy time as he checks his knee. Kofi hops on the apron and the ref heads over to cut him off and that allows Beth to come in and toss Mickie shoulder first into the post. Santino sneaks in and gets a roll up for the win. Grade: .5

- Backstage and Adamle is talking to Todd Grisham. He says he likes to take the Reagan approach to Raw in letting his wrestlers do whatever they want and only intervene when necessary. Kane heads into the office and Adamle has come with another Adamle original: a Summerslam spectacular match here tonight between Kane and Chris Jericho. He is making the match for tonight as there is no room left at Summerslam. Adamle says that after match, he can hand over the burlap bag as well. Kane says no. Adamle says that a month from now, kids will be going back to school and we don’t need the kids mimicking Kane and carrying weird bags around as that would be bad business. They can do it later after the match or Kane can avoid controversy and do it now. Kane says he is making a huge mistake and heads off and we head to break.

- We are back from break and Michael Cole talks about our main event, with specific focus on the importance of the tag team titles. That segues to our WWE 24/7 classics moment which looks back to 10/22/79, when Tito Santana & Ivan Putski defeated the Valiant Brothers to win the belts. Backstage, DiBiase and Rhodes are with us and Rhodes is talking about how unlike others in their generation, they study and learn from history. Putski & Santana won the belts that night because they worked as a team. He says Cena and Batista won’t be able to act as a team tonight as their egos are too big. Putski and Santana were in their 50s when inducted to the HOF, but DiBiase and Rhodes are in their 20s and their careers are further along than any other HOF. This time next year, it could very well be Ted DiBiase vs. Cody Rhodes in the main event of Summerslam. Unlike Cena and Batista, they respect each other and they will earn everyone else’s respect when they win back their titles.

3) Cryme Tyme defeat the Highlanders when Shad pins Robbie with the Thugnificiant
We are back from break and being joined by Shad and JTG as they prep to take on…whoa, the Highlanders are back in the house. Rory goes right at Shad, but he gets killed with a shoulderblock. JTG tags in and gets a near fall off a slingshot senton but Rory is able to send him out to the floor to gain control. Rory beats him up a bit out there and shoots him back inside for a two count. Rory grabs a hammerlock but JTG breaks loose and tags in Shad. Robbie tags in too but he gets put down with a clothesline and a delayed vertical face first suplex. He kicks Rory down to the floor and then puts Robbie down with a leg sweep Urinage for the win. Lawler tells us the move is called Thugnificiant. Cryme Tyme celebrates to the back as we go to break. Grade: .5

- We are back from break and Michael Cole informs us that Randy Orton was reinjured in a bad motorcycle accident where he rolled 300 feet. There is a table covered in a sheet and two chairs set up in the ring and we are being joined by the number one contender, JBL. CM Punk now makes his way out and is ready to find out what JBL’s special challenge is. JBL wants to tell Punk how happy is that Punk’s pathetic title reign will end in six days. Punk cuts him off and tells him to shut up. He has been listening to same old tired argument since he won the title. For the last time, the World Championship is around his waist because he earned it. All those who think he doesn’t deserve it or doesn’t have the look of a champion; they need to realize he is the World champion walking into Summerslam, a show that he has seen every installment of. He will walk out as World Champion and, with all due respect to Cena and Batista, he will prove that he is the man. JBL says that he held the World championship on Smackdown longer than Cena or Batista. Punk has the audacity to walk into an arena that JBL built to explain his merits? JBL knows the story; Punk broke in with some independent promotion in Chicago and then went to ECW because they wanted one guy that didn’t grow up in a bingo hall. He got lucky and got drafted to Raw and then Cinderella found the glass slipper. He gives him credit for the MITB win and says he has talent, but he also has just six days left as Champion. JBL can beat him at anything he chooses to do, just like he did last week. Punk has six days until being beaten up. JBL removes the sheet to reveal a bottle of Jack Daniels. He rips on Punk’s straight edge lifestyle and tells him to sit down with the vilified old guard that built the business and have a drink. He pours Punk a shot and says that if he drinks just one drink, he will concede defeat. Punk grabs the shot and JBL says he wants Punk to prove he will do anything to win and that principals and morals don’t mean anything. JBL is willing to put those things aside Sunday to in the belt, but he wonders if Punk is. Punk says he takes the drink and what? He is just another JBL? JBL doesn’t get it, Punk is not like him, he is not JBL, he is CM Punk. He is willing to check his body at the door on Summerslam but he is not willing to compromise his beliefs because they have gotten him this far and made him successful. He won’t let some bully push him into some ideal or persona, so thanks, but no thanks. Punk puts the shot glass down and JBL says he didn’t know Punk brought his soapbox. He was expecting that answer, so JBL toasts to the end of the footnote that is Punk’s pathetic title run. Punk stops JBL and says he had a change of heart and mind. If anybody is doing a toast, it is the champ. He says that sometimes it is what you don’t do that makes you who you are and he takes the glass and tosses the Jack in JBL’s face. Punk hits the running knee in the corner and JBL is rubbing his eyes and rolling around. Punk heads off laughing and JBL is not happy as we go to break.

- As we return from break we get a video package that has Shawn Michaels’ comments from last week over video of his travails from the past month or so. This Sunday at Summerslam, Shawn Michaels will inform us what his future holds after meeting with his doctor on Friday.

4) Chris Jericho defeats Kane with the Codebreaker
The man responsible for Michaels’ injuries, Chris Jericho, is out first and is flanked by Lance Cade as always. Kane is out next and has his burlap sack in hand. The bell sounds and Jericho attacks with some right hands, backing him into the corner. Kane shoves Jericho out and then kicks him down. He lands a dropkick and then runs Jericho to the corner. He hammers away but misses an elbow drop. Jericho slugs away but Kane blocks a whip and tosses Jericho over the top and to the floor. Kane lands a right hand and tosses Jericho into the ring. Cade runs some interference as Kane was on the apron and Jericho springboard dropkicks Kane to the floor. Kane is tossed back in and Jericho punches away at his head. Jericho garbs a reverse chinlock but Kane elbows out. Kane catches Jericho on a charge and tosses him hard down to the mat. Kane drills Jericho with a clothesline in the corner, but Jericho hits a elbow. He heads to the middle rope but eats a fist on the way down. Kane misses a charge in the corner and Jericho rolls him over and goes for the Walls. Kane battles free and puts Jericho down with a sidewalk slam. He heads up top but Jericho meets him up there. Kane shoves him off and then hits a flying clothesline. We cut to the ramp to see Mike Adamle and a whole slew of security heading down the ramp. Kane garbs Jericho’s throat, but Chris breaks free. He charges, but Kane drills him and puts him down. Kane grabs the bag and holds it to his chest, but that allows Jericho to hit the Codebreaker for the win. Match was OK but the crowd wanted to no part of it. Grade: 1.5

- Kane is on the mat clutching the bag and he gets to his feet as Adamle gets in the ring. He says it is difficult for Kane, but they need to resolve this and he is here to help. He knows what is inside the bag and he knows who he is referring to when he asks if he is alive or dead. Adamle says that “he” is Kane, the monster inside of Kane. He has tried to be a normal person, but he just can’t do it. Deep down inside, Kane is struggling for an answer, but when he made the declaration that he is dead, he proved that he can exorcise the demons. He can lead a normal life by giving Adamle the bag. It is time to stop fooling around and it is time to get to the bottom of things right now. He promises Kane can have a normal life and he can do that by opening the bag. Ronald Reagan once told Mikhail Gorbachev “take down that wall” and he is telling Kane to “hand me that bag”. Kane says that there is a mask in the bag, and the man who once wore it is scarred, tortured and damaged beyond all human recognition. The problem is, it is not his mask. He opens the bag and pulls out Rey Mysterio’s mask. Adamle is shocked. Kane says that it is Rey Mysterio and then laughs before walking away. Everyone is sitting in shocked silence and we go to break.

5) William Regal defeats Jamie Noble with a running kneelift
We are back from break and Jamie Noble is in the ring for our next match. We take a look back at Noble’s showdown with William Regal from last week and then Regal heads to the ring. Regal wins the lockup off the bell and buries some knees in the corner. He tosses Noble down and drills him with an uppercut, sending him to the floor. He tosses Noble back first into the ropes and then tosses him back in for a two count. Noble regains control and hits a somersault splash into regal who was seated in the corner. Noble hits a cross body for two, but Regal recovers and plants Noble with a throw. He follows with a running kneelift and gets the win. Well, that was fun while it lasted and I wish these two would get more time one week. Grade: 2

- WWE Mobile presents the Smackdown Rewind which recaps La Familia’s rough night, which revolved around the Undertaker.

- We are back and Jerry Lawler is thanking Jet Black Stare for the Summerslam theme song. Cole and King then run down the whole PPV card for us. Also, the results of our text poll are in and John Cena wins it 73% to 27%.

6) Ted DiBiase, Jr. & Cody Rhodes defeat Batista & John Cena for the WWF Tag Team Championship when DiBiase pins Cena with a rollup
And the big poll winner is out first and then followed by the Animal as our Tag Team Championship rematch is up next after this break. When we return, Team Priceless is in the ring and Batista and Cena are trying to determine who starts the match. Cena heads to the apron but as soon as the bell rings he tags Batista from behind and hops in the ring. Rhodes and DiBiase jump Cena and take control right off the bat. Rhodes hammers away at Cena and takes him down with a Russian legsweep for two. Cena comes back with a flying shoulderblock and follows with a side slam. He walks over to Batista in the corner and does the “You Can’t See Me” to him and then drops the Five Knuckle Shuffle on Cody as we take our final break. When we return, DiBiase has a reverse chinlock on Cena. Cole says the key has been the challengers’ ability to work as a team. Cena fights to his feet and breaks the hold. DiBiase misses a charge in the corner and Cena tags in Batista. He puts DiBiase down with a clothesline and then works over Ted’s midsection in the corner. He eats a boot on a charge, but catches DiBiase coming in and plants him with a spinebuster. He taunts Cena and loads up the Batistabomb, but Cena comes in and saves DiBiase. He stares down with Batista, and that allows Cody the chance to clip Batista. Cody starts to work the leg and grabs a grapevine. He gets a rollup for two and works the knee. Cody charges, but Batista catches him with a powerslam. Batista crawls to the corner and smacks Cena in the face to tag him in. Cena is not happy and starts jawing with Batista on the apron. DiBiase shoves Cena into Batista and rolls him up for the pin and the titles. Grade: 2

- Batista hops in the ring and they stare each other down. DiBiase and Rhodes come back in for a cheap shot, but Batista and Cena ward them off and then beat the piss out of them on the floor. Cena starts to walk away and the crowd is booing him loudly. He stops and then heads back to the ring but the security force cuts him off and they keep the two men apart. They are able to break loose and brawl a bit before being separated again. They repeat the process a couple of times and are brawling as we fade out for the night.

Final Analysis
The opening segment was good as Batista and Cena both did their best to add some hype and big match feel to their hastily put together match. Both men were intense and made valid points as to why each is the best. The opening matches existed for one purpose: add some build to the mixed tag match at Summerslam. Santino was funny on commentary as you would expect and the relationship with Beth continues to be interesting and entertaining. We will see if they can add some gold to their budding relationship. The DiBiase and Rhodes promo was great stuff and those two are so far ahead of their age it is amazing. They seem so at ease out there and deliver their line crisply and confidently and are very believable in what they say. Cryme Tyme picked up a quick little win over the returning Highlanders and I am guessing it is to line them up as challengers down the line. I think the Orton thing is a work and it is just to throw everyone off the scent and that he will return at Summerslam. He can then reveal the whole thing was made up the next night. The Punk/JBL segment was great stuff and Punk held his own in there with JBL. The crowd was all over the place with Punk but he came across like a top dog and I like how he was very strong in his beliefs. Even though we know he can be a great heel someday, he is a bigger asset as a face right now due to his lifestyle and convictions. The Jericho/Kane match wasn’t bad but the crowd just wasn’t into it at all. The aftermath with the mask was a swerve out of left field, but it will be interesting to see where it leads. The Regal/Noble match was awesome while it lasted and I am pleading that they get a PPV match at some point, but I won’t hold my breath. Regal has been a beast since returning and let’s hope he stays clean and takes advantage of it this time around. The Main Event was nothing special and was all about building the Cena/Batista Summerslam match, which is perfectly acceptable for this show. The post match brawl was good and the crowd finally seemed into it at the end. I wish they gave this match more of a buildup, but they ended up doing at least a decent job the last two weeks. I am very glad to see the belts back with DiBiase and Rhodes. The crowd was kind of flat tonight despite the show being fairly decent. There wasn’t a ton of great in ring action, but it is the go home Raw before a major PPV. All of the big Raw matches were built up nicely throughout the match and they even had time to continue the bizarre Kane angle. As a stand alone show, it was just OK but as a go home show, I would say they did a pretty good job of at least selling Summerslam tonight. Final Grade: C+

MVP: Ted DiBiase & Cody Rhodes
Runner Up: Santino Marella & Beth Phoenix
Non MVP: Mickie James
Runner Up: Jamie Noble

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