St. Petersburg Times Forum – Tampa, Florida – May 1, 2011
Josh Mathews, Jerry Lawler, and Booker T are on commentary.
MATCH #1: Last Man Standing Match – Randy Orton vs. CM Punk
Punk is accompanied by Mason Ryan, David Otunga, and Michael McGillicutty, the New Nexus. The Anonymous Raw General Manager announces that the New Nexus has been banned from ringside. Orton takes it to Cena right away and the crowd is hot for him. They take it right to the floor and Orton slams Punk into the steel steps. Back in the ring Punk kicks Orton in the gut and goes to work. Somehow one of the turnbuckles has been exposed and I’m not sure how I missed that. Punk hits a knee drop and Orton comes right back with one of his own. They go right back to the floor and Punk finds a kendo stick and starts wearing Orton out with it. Back in the ring Punk continues the kendo stick attack. Orton fights out of the corner and grabs the stick but Punk kicks him in the gut before he can use it. Punk goes back to work, hitting a back suplex. He goes up top but jumps right into a shot with the kendo stick. Orton unloads on Punk with the stick now, and hits the Backbreaker. Punk rolls to the apron and Orton tries the DDT, but Punk counters it and catapults Orton into the exposed turnbuckle. Orton gets up at the count of seven, and Punk hits the running knee lift in the corner. Punk sets up a chair in the turnbuckles but of course it backfires s Orton hurls him into it head-first. That sends Punk crashing to the floor. Outside the ring Orton goes to work, hitting the snap powerslam. Punk gets up at seven while Orton is dismantling the announce table. That gives Punk the chance to land a roundhouse kick to the head. Orton quickly recovers and hits a back suplex on the barricade. Back in the ring Orton goes for the RKO but Punk avoids it and hits the Go 2 Sleep! Orton barely makes it back up at nine. Punk goes outside for a chair and delivers a Russian Legsweep right on the chair. Once again Orton just barely makes it back up. Punk puts the chair in a sitting position and goes for another Russian Legsweep but Orton counters with an RKO! That’s a great counter. Punk makes it back to his feet and then stumbles to the floor. Orton goes to the floor and clotheslines Punk over the barricade into the crowd. He sets up for the DDT but Punk blocks it and pushes Orton’s back into the ring post. Punk wraps a chair around Orton’s neck and throws it into the post! Somehow Orton is able to make it back to his feet at nine. Punk puts Orton on the announce table and looks for GTS but Orton blocks it and hits the RKO! Punk shockingly makes it back to his feet but falls right back down. Orton looks for the Punt but Punk grabs him and drops him on to the steel steps. Punk grabs a kendo stick and Orton gets up at nine. Back in the ring Punk goes up top with the stick but Orton grabs one of his own and lays into him first. Orton goes up top with Punk and hits a Super RKO! Punk can’t answer the 10-count and Orton is the winner at 20:06! These two work well together and they did some great spots here that led up to a great finish.
MATCH #2: Tables Match for the U.S. Championship – Sheamus vs. Kofi Kingston
Sheamus has been the Champion since 3.14.11, and this is his third defense. Kingston takes the fight right to Sheamus, surprising the Irishman. He goes outside early and tries to set up a table but Sheamus cuts him off and throws him into the barricade. Sheamus pulls out a table of his own but this time Kingston cuts him off with a series of kicks. Kingston puts Sheamus on a table but he’s not work down enough to stay there. Sheamus once again throws Kingston into the barricade. He brings out a table and sets up for the High Cross but Kingston fights him off. Back in the ring Sheamus hits a slingshot shoulder tackle and a couple of knee drops. Sheamus goes out and grabs another table and shoves it into Kingston’s midsection. He sets it up in the corner and tries to drive Kingston into it, but Kingston slips out and hits a double stomp. Kingston almost puts Sheamus through the table but can’t quite do it yet. Sheamus tries the Brogue Kick but Kingston avoids it and tries a suplex through a table at ringside, but Sheamus pushes him off and hits the Brogue Kick that sends Kingston OVER the table and to the floor. That’s a neat spot. Back in the ring they fight up on the top rope as Sheamus looks to slam Kingston through a table. Kingston fights it off but Sheamus remains in control. Sheamus goes for a suplex over the apron through a table, but Kingston kicks him off. As Sheamus uses the table to pull himself up, Kingston goes to the top rope and hits the Boom Drop to break the table at 9:08! The finish was rather abrupt but they did some good spots in the match and I like both guys.
MATCH #3: Country Whipping Match – Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross vs. Michael Cole & Jack Swagger
Michael Cole has wrapped himself in bubble wrap, negating the effects of the strap. Swagger and Lawler star the match, which seems wise on both teams’ part. The King takes the first advantage and whips Swagger into his corner. Cole tags in and gloats about how the strap doesn’t hurt him, so Lawler punches him in ht efface and pulls the bubble wrap off. Good spot. Swagger tags back in and ties Lawler’s strap to the middle rope and put the boots to him. Cole gets his licks in and gets out quickly. Swagger tries a Vader Bomb but misses and Lawler goes to work. Cole hits Lawler with the strap and it has no effect, but the distraction allows Swagger to put on the Ankle Lock. JR distracts Swagger into breaking the hold and Lawler hits a DDT. Now JR officially tags in and he wears Swagger out with the strap. JR then uses his own version of the Ankle Lock and poor Swagger has to sell it. Swagger is able to make the tag and Cole wants no part of that. JR takes it to Cole with the strap, and then hits him with a running clothesline. He continues the whipping and when Swagger comes in to try and stop him, JR hits a low blow! The distraction allows Cole to get a quick schoolboy rollup to steal the win at 7:02. They kept it short and given the extreme limitations of the participants this wasn’t so terrible. I feel bad that Swagger had to sell offense from Jim Ross though. Great commentator he is, great wrestler he is not.
MATCH #4: Falls Count Anywhere Match – Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
They start off hot, with strikes coming from both men at a rapid rate. Mysterio quickly sends Rhodes to the floor with a headscissors and then delivers another one out on the floor. Rhodes fights back with a dropkick for two. They fight up by the entrance and Mysterio throws Rhodes into the set. Rhodes drops down to the pit and Mysterio hits a seated senton off the entrance for two. They continue fighting through the arena and Rhodes drops Mysterio nuts-first on a barricade. The battle continues further up into the crowd as they’re climbing stairs. They go all the way to the concourse and Mysterio runs Rhodes into a garbage can and gets a two-count. Rhodes fights back with the Beautiful Disaster off a concession stand for two. That’s neat. Mysterio responds with a cross body block off another concession stand and he also gets a two-count. The crowd watching outside the arena chants “this is awesome.” I think THAT is awesome. They fight back down the steps towards the ring. Rhodes hiptosses Mysterio over the barricade back to ringside. Mysterio goes for the bulldog but Rhodes catches him and slams him face-first off the steel steps for a two-count. Back in the ring Mysterio hits a springboard cross body block for two. Mysterio follows with a missile headbutt for another near-fall. He sets up for the 619 and exposes his knee brace but he can’t hit it so he tries a guillotine legdrop and Rhodes moves out of the way. Rhodes sets Mysterio in the Broken Arrow position and kicks Mysterio in the midsection twice (not low blows as Booker T would have you believe) and hits an Alabama Slam but it only gets two. He sets Mysterio on the top rope but gets green mist spat into his face! Mysterio then hits a 619 and the springboard splash for the win at 11:41. That was a ton of fun and made good use of the stipulation.
MATCH #5: Loser Leaves WWE Match – Layla vs. Michelle McCool
McCool attacks Layla before the bell and away we go. She knocks Layla to the floor and then brings her back in the ring and hits a kick to the head for two. Layla tries to fight up but McCool knocks her back to the floor. That proves to be a mistake as Layla pulls McCool to the floor and slams her into the announce table. Layla charges but McCool moves and she crashes into the table. Back in the ring Layla hits a boot to the gut and a dropkick to the head for two. McCool tries to beg off but Layla won’t have it. It was a ruse though, as McCool hits a belly-to-belly suplex for two. McCool throws Layla back to the floor and follows her out. She tries a running kick but misses and lands on the barricade. Layla gets up on the barricade and McCool throws her down hard. Back in the ring McCool trash talks her former partner. Layla comes back with Diamond Dust but it only gets two. She is actually crying, and thus she runs right into a kick to the face but it only gets two. McCool goes for the Faithbreaker but Layla counters out of it and hits a hard neckbreaker for a two-count. From the ground McCool lands another kick to the head but Layla kicks out at two. McCool goes for another Faithbreaker and this time hits it but she can’t cover right away and Layla is able to crucifix her for the win at 5:24. There was no real selling but the energy was there and they did some cool spots.
After the match, KHARMA makes her debut and destroys Michelle McCool and laughs maniacally about it. The rest of the divas watching in the back look on concerned.
MATCH #6: Ladder Match for the Vacant World Heavyweight Championship – Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian
The title has been vacant since Edge was forced to retire on April 15, 2011. This is the fifth time in the title’s history that it has been vacant. Christian’s t-shirt is awesome. Del Rio of course is accompanied by his ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez. The crowd is jazzed for this one before it even starts. They start a “Let’s Go Christian” chant. Meanwhile Del Rio and Christian go back and forth in the early going. Christian takes Del Rio down and grabs the first ladder of the match. Before he can do anything with it Del Rio cuts him off. Now Del Rio tries to bring a ladder in but Christian kicks it back into his face. Christian tries the first climb but Del Rio pulls him down. Del Rio tries to climb a ladder and Christian pull him down but Del Rio stays on top with an enziguiri. Christian comes back and knocks Del Rio to the floor and then tries to set up a ladder, but Del Rio sweeps his feet out from under him. Del Rio throws Christian into the steel steps and then sets up a ladder between the ring apron and the announce table. He tries a suplex but Christian blocks it and tries a catapult, but Del Rio blocks that. Christian goes to the top rope and Del Rio tries to knock him down but he lands on a ladder and takes Del Rio down with a cross body block. Back in the ring Christian climbs up the ladder but again Del Rio knocks him down. Christian comes back and tries the Unprettier and Del Rio avoids it, only to run right into a flapjack right on a ladder. Once again Christian tries to climb up the ladder but Del Rio throws a smaller ladder at him to stop the climb, and then brings him down with an armbreaker. Del Rio takes control now and tries to hit Christian with the small ladder but misses and slams it into his face. Christian climbs up again and Del Rio pulls him down into a powerbomb but Christian counters with a rana. That sends Del Rio to the apron, and he tries to suplex Christian onto the ladder that was set up before, but Christian backdrops him back into the ring on a different ladder. That’s quite a bump. Christian goes to the top rope holding a ladder, and Del Rio runs up and kicks him down, causing Christian to fall on the ladder. Del Rio tries to climb but Christian grabs his ankle. Even so Del Rio stays in control and knocks Christian to the floor. Rodriguez hands Del Rio a chair but Christian avoids it and throws Del Rio into the ring post. Back in the ring Christian hits the Spear! Christian climbs the ladder but Del Rio pulls him through the rungs! That’s awesome. Del Rio climbs the other side but Christian is able to slide through and he pushes Del Rio down. Christian picks up the little ladder and Del Rio kicks it into his face. Del Rio knocks Christian onto the ladder between the apron and the table and goes for a senton but Christian moves! That’s another nasty bump. Back in the ring Christian climbs up and the crowd is going nuts! Brodus Clay makes his way out and moves the ladder out from under him! Clay pulls Christian down and tries to slam him but Christian slips out and throws Clay into a ladder, and then hits him with the little ladder. Del Rio gets back in and dropkicks the ladder into Christian, and then locks on the Cross Armbreaker through the ladder. He breaks the hold and climbs up again but from out of nowhere EDGE makes his way out in a jeep and honks the horn, distracting Del Rio long enough for Christian to push him to the floor! The crowd is losing their collective mind as Christian climbs up and pulls the belt down at 21:04! That was a phenomenal ladder match with an incredible pace and some awesome spots; probably the best match Del Rio has ever had and easily one of Christian’s best singles matches.
MATCH #7: Lumberjack Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship – Big Show & Kane vs. Wade Barrett & Ezekiel Jackson
Big Show & Kane have been the Champions since 4.22.11, and this is their second defense. For lumberjacks I see David Hart Smith, Primo, Johnny Curtis, Evan Bourne, Santino Marella, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Tyler Reks, Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso, Titus O’Neil, Byron Saxton, Conor O’Brian, Yoshi Tatsu, Trent Barreta, Lucky Cannon, Darren Young, Jacob Novak, and Vladimir Kozlov. Barrett is the current Intercontinental Champion, so he has a chance for #DoubleGold. Show and Barrett start the match and Show immediately takes control. Kane tags in for more of the same. He hits the side suplex and signals for the Chokeslam but Jackson distracts Kane, allowing Barrett to dump him to the floor. Lumberjacks swarm and throw Kane back in the ring, but Show doesn’t take too kindly to that so he throws Reks and one of the Usos into the ring to get beat up by Kane. That was stupid though, as it allows Jackson to take control. The Corre duo works Kane over briefly until Kane and Jackson clothesline each other. Tags are made and Show is a house afire. Show runs to the ropes and Jackson pulls them down, sending Show to the floor. Lumberjacks throw Show back in the ring and Jackson bodyslams him with ease. Barrett tags himself in and goes for Wasteland but Show blocks it and hits the Chokeslam for the pin at 4:18. The lumberjacks get into a brawl outside the ring. The match was passable for a TV match, but served little purpose other than to put over the Corre split.
MATCH #8: Triple Threat Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship – The Miz vs. John Cena vs. John Morrison
Miz has been the Champion since 11.22.10, and this is his seventh defense. The Johns team up on the WWE Champion but they quickly turn on each other of course. Morrison dropkicks Cena and then Miz comes back and clobbers Morrison with a clothesline. Miz hurls Morrison into the cage as Mathews says that the Champion has never ever been involved in a Steel Cage match. The pace continues to be quick and offense is coming from all over the place. Cena and Miz fight to the top rope and Cena brings him down with a bulldog. Miz comes back and hits the Skull Crushing Finale on Cena as Morrison almost makes his way over the top of the cage. The former tag team championship partners fight on top of the cage, trading punches. Cena joins them up there and the Johns double superplex Miz back down to the canvas. All three men are down. Morrison is up first and he goes to the top of the cage but Cena hauls him in. However, Morrison perseveres, hitting a springboard flying kick on Miz and a standing Flux Capacitor on Cena. Miz comes back and powerbombs Morrison into the cage. Cena then grabs Miz in the STF. Miz crawls toward the floor and almost makes it out but Cena pulls him back in and almost makes it out himself. Morrison goes up to the top of the cage and Cena joins him. They slug it out and Morrison kicks the door back into Miz’s face. Morrison stands on the door and ends up getting crotched. I don’t understand why he wouldn’t try to just drop to the floor. Miz pulls Morrison in the ring and Cena hits him with a monkey flip for a near-fall the crowd actually bough. Miz hits Cena with the mini DDT for two. He continues working on Cena, not noticing Morrison back on top of the cage. Once again Miz and Morrison slug it out on top of the cage. Miz almost makes it out but Morrison pulls him back in and knocks him down to the mat. Cena recovers and Morrison kicks him down as well, and then hits a modified Starship Pain to wipe out both of his opponents. Morrison tries to crawl out, but his nemesis R-Truth comes out and stops him! R-Truth gets in the cage and beats Morrison down. He also delivers the Corkscrew Scissors Kick to Cena. Truth then hits Morrison with What’s Up before exiting the cage. All three men are down. Miz and Cena are up first and climb to the top of the cage to wage war. They go down to the top rope and Miz tries the Skull Crushing Finale but Cena reverses to a super Attitude Adjustment to get the pin and win the title at 19:52! The action never stopped throughout the match and the finish was neat. R-Truth’s interference made sense too.
BONUS MATCH: John Cena, Christian & Mark Henry vs. The Miz, CM Punk & Alberto Del Rio, Monday Night RAW, 4.25.11
The Miz is the current WWE Champion and is accompanied by his lackey Alex Riley. Christian and Miz start the match. They go back and forth and Christian gets the upper hand. Cena tags in and Miz bails as we head to a commercial. When we come back Cena is in control, beating on both Miz and Punk. Henry tags in and Punk finds himself in the wrong part of the ring. The babyface trio works Punk over until Del Rio distracts Christian long enough for Punk to kick him square in the head. Del Rio takes advantage of the downed Christian and unloads on him. The heels keep Christian away from his partners and wear him down. Del Rio takes particular pleasure in working on Christian’s previously injured arm. After several minutes Christian is able to kick Del Rio back off the top rope, and then he follows that with a tornado DDT. Both men are down, but tags are made! Miz and Cena are legal, and Cena is in video game mode. Then from out of nowhere, Mark Henry clobbers Cena with a clothesline! But that’s his partner! Christian questions him and gets press slammed onto the ring steps. Back in the ring Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale to get the pin at 8:28 (shown). That was a fairly typical RAW main event, but it was fun enough. Even with as often as Henry turns, it was still well executed.