Last night was the first Raw under the new Triple H regime. He kicked off the 10 o’clock hour giving his state of the WWE address. For a moment, it felt like ‘Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.’ Trips opened his first speech as the COO with a sincere thank you to Vince. From there he made history with the announcement that brand new champ, Rey Mysterio, would have his first time title defense the same night as his title victory against John Cena. The Game clamied that this was the first time that’s happened but I’m pretty sure something like that has happened before. What hasn’t happened before was such a blatant disregard of progress. Punk electrified audiences so far this summer because all generations of wrestling fans could enjoy and identify with him. A Rey-Cena main event felt like 4 steps back and a featured highlight of a kids’ birthday party.
The path to the future was further blazed with Jim Ross’ return, reuniting the Attitude-era commentary team of King and JR. Naturally, this lead to a rant from Cole evoking severe a serious case of deja vu and a less than stellar start to the HHH era. Hunter discussed the financial downfalls of firing Cole before relieving him of his commentating duties for the evening. Cole’s night wasn’t over though, he was scheduled for a match with a mystery opponent. A lackluster segment was saved by the appearance of R-Truth who is now more crazy than ever. Truth came to the ring with 2 imaginary friends. The King of Kings played hilariously to this by creating two imaginary friends of his own. A frustrated Truth began retreating to the back but HHH had a surprise for him: John Morrison. JoMo came out and got some revenge on R-Truth with a good ol’ fashion beat down followed by a Starship Pain. And with that, the Hunter Hearst
McMahon Helmsley era has begun. The rest of Raw reactions from last night after the jump…
- The show opened with the championship match we were promised last week between the Miz and Rey Mysterio. The repetitive nature of Rey has been well documented on this blog, but a young Miz found several ways to make this match interesting. In the end, it was a quick series of reversals that set up Rey for his 619 and first reign as WWE champ. A WWE Title match to start the show should have been exciting but the elephant in the room with the Pepsi tattoo made this bout feel like one of those episodes of Lost that promised answers but offered 50 new questions.
- After the match, Miz attacked the new champ and Del Rio once again teased a MitB cash-in. Luckily for him, the bell didn’t ring because Rey recovered quickly hitting ADR with an over the top rope splash. Looks like we’re going to see Alberto do this a few more times in the coming months.
- Rey’s victory was followed by a celebration backstage where he was showered with champagne by a bunch of faces who probably won’t be in the company in 2 years. Inevitably, Cena appeared to offer a short congrats. The clouds were gathering for a Cena-Rey confrontation.
- Dolph Ziggler and Evan Bourne then squared off in a non-title match. DZ took the W with a sleeper. I have 2 main observations to make here. 1) Cole said a victory for Bourne could him a title match. Since when did beating a champ in a non-title match become the pre-requisite for getting a title match? It feels a little silly that we rarely see a champ defend his title on free TV anymore. My other observation? Ziggler can flat-out wrestle. The guy is oozing with athleticism and talent. If WWE dedicate more time and gave more freedom to their wrestlers in the ring, Ziggler would easily be consider one of the best.
- We returned from commercial break with an interesting segment/commercial for Keystone Light. Eve was in the back berating the Bella Twins for their twin magic tendencies. Shot as if it were happening live, the appearance of Keith Stone came as a surprise. The always smooth Stone served as mediator and ultimately offered his own simple solution. Taking the hand of Nikki Bella, he escorted her away from her sister and pulled out a handful of markers. The camera stayed focused on Eve and Brie as they watched with open mouths. When the camera panned back seconds later, Nikki’s entire right arm was covered with a hand-drawn sleeve tattoo. Very smooth indeed.
- After that there was a match with girls that involved a booty-shake moonsault and a slap on the ass followed by a seduction pose. Typical Divas bout with the good gals winning.
- Following the HHH segment, Cole came out of retirement as a wrestler donning the Game’s tights and borrowing his alternate King of Kings entrance music. With water bottle in hand and shoulders broadened, Cole did a great job mimicking his new boss. His moment in the brief moment in spotlight was overshadowed by the emergence internet superstar Zack Ryder. Ryder, debuting his highly anticipated t-shirt, beat Cole quickly in a squash match. We got a Woo Woo Woo and the show felt a little because of it.
- Del Rio and Kofi Kingston put on a solid show. WWE sprinkled random highlights of the two throughout the show serving as a great reminder that they’re both highly entertaining in the ring when given an opportunity and time. It was nice to see a match between the two that probably won’t lead to any type of long term feud. It was wrestling for the sake of wrestling. That’s always appreciated.
- The main event was the second WWE title match of the evening. Cena and Rey have been two of the top faces in the company for a better part of the 21st century, so this match was pretty monumental for a Raw broadcast. The sometimes stale move set of each man was freshened up by unique reversals from their opponent.
The ChampJohn Cena had some stiff hits that will ensure some major soreness for Mysterio Tuesday morning. Rey’s top rope arsenal is limited now a days, prompting my buddy Sean to call him ‘Air Boredom’, but he still put on a great performance. At one point, he turned the tables on Cena, borrowing the STFU. That hold was nearly countered into an Attitude Adjustment. In the end, it was Cena grabbing Rey, en route to his 619 delivery and getting the 1-2-3. John Cena was the Champ again his music blaring as the crowd cheered. Everything was right in the WWE Universe. But then it happened…
- “Look into my eyes, what do you see?” That’s the question Living Colour’s song asks in it’s opening line. Within seconds, we saw CM Punk arrive with his WWE title. Punk’s emergence from the entranceway caused John Cena to mouth the words ‘My God’. Cena was not alone in his sentiments. Donning his stunningly accurate ‘Best in the World’ shirt, Punk made his way to the ring. Standing toe to toe, each man held their WWE title. Cena held up his belt as if to make a case that he is the champ. Punk then held his slightly higher to garner a massive cheer. It was an unbelievable moment.