August 2, 2009
Justin Rozzero

Monday Night Raw 7/27/09
Verizon Center
Washington DC
Announcers: Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler

- OK, I am going to try out a new format. I am going to cut out the full play-by-play and just give the highlights of the promos and matches while infusing more opinion into each segment. Hope you enjoy it!

- We open up this weeks show in the arena where Jerry Lawler joins us. He runs down the resume of this week’s Guest Host and then brings him out…Shaquille O’Neal! Shaq struts out and heads to the ring as Cole welcomes us to Raw. Shaq heels it up and tells the crowd that LeBron James said hello. He is in charge and it is his show. Shaq makes Lawler look like a midget. Shaq announces a Beat the Clock Challenge to determine Randy Orton’s challenger at Summerslam. He then runs down the contestants: Triple H, MVP, Jack Swagger, Mark Henry and John Cena. Shaq pumps up the crowd a bit but he is interrupted by Chris Jericho. They do the epic staredown as the crowd buzzes. Jericho gets a great Kobe Bryant dig in on Shaq and then puts over his new team with Big Show. Shaq calls him Christina and kisses his forehead. Shaq tussles with his hair as Jericho seethes. Jericho has been disrespected and is the best in the world and he demands to be consulted with. Jericho threatens problems with Shaq but Shaq doesn’t seem too intimidated as he gets in Jericho’s face. Jericho proudly brings out Big Show for the big showdown. Show is decked out in a suit and is looking quite dapper. They go toe to toe and Show is only slightly shorter, but not by much. The crowd is really digging this. Show rags on Shaq’s free throw shooting and then calls him slim before telling him to leave. Shaq calls Show fat and plugs his new TV show. He challenges Show to a match here tonight. Show thinks things over and doesn’t care for the ensuing legal fallout that would occur when he kills Shaq. Show says he won’t fight…and Jericho steps in and says he won’t either. That was funny. Shaq said he was ready for them to back down from the challenge, so he hired a team for them to face tonight. And it’s Cryme Tyme! They head out and back up Shaq as the champs head off for higher ground. Shaq also tells them that he will be the special outside enforcer. That was a fun opening segment as Shaq was having a good time and Jericho was just fantastic out there, natch.

1) Mark Henry vs. Carlito in a Beat the Clock match
Somebody’s going to get their wings clipped as Mark Henry comes out to kick off the Beat the Clock challenge. Carlito is his challenger and is looking awfully angry as he heads out. Carlito is wise to start as he bails to the floor to eat up time and screw Henry. He keeps dodging Henry and the crowd doesn’t seem to care for that. Henry uses his power to take over and keep Carlito in the ring. Henry continues to overpower Carlito, picking up some near falls. This is going a bit too long. Henry really should have been the guy to shred his opponent and get a quick win to move on. Carlito is still able to hang in as we pass the three minute mark. Henry keeps watching the clock but can’t seem to put Carlito away. He misses a sit down splash and Carlito goes on the offensive. Carlito is just getting way too much offense here as he locks on a reverse chinlock. The story they are telling isn’t bad, it just isn’t the right time for it. The crowd was hot when it started and a Henry squash would have really kept things rocking, but instead they worked a slow paced match that kind of put a dent in Henry’s superman image they have been cultivating. Henry finally turns things around and drops the World’s Strongest Slam to finally put away the pesky Carlito. Like I said, that wasn’t a bad match, but it was just the wrong time to put it out there. Henry d. Carlito with the World’s Strongest Slam; Grade: 1.5
Time to Beat: 6:49

- Henry celebrates as we head off to break.

- The Verizon Wireless Rewind takes us back to last night when Mickie James knocked off Maryse to win the Divas Championship.

- We are back live and checking out the Washington Monument. Back inside, we are being joined by some of the Washington Redskins, led by Jason Campbell.

2) Mickie James, Kelly & Gail Kim vs. Beth Phoenix, Rosa Mendes & Alicia Fox
Mickie leads out Kelly and Gail for our next match. Their opponents are already in the ring and it looks like those Beth pregnancy rumors were false as she starts off the match against Gail. She looks strong to start as she pounds on Gail. King is flying solo here as Cole went to get an interview with Shaq. Alicia comes in and works over Gail as the crowd tries to rally her. The heels work some quick tags but Gail finally battles back and tags in Mickie. I am kind of surprised that Maryse isn’t involved here. I guess they are moving on to a new challenger. Mickie gets two on Alicia off a nice neckbreaker. The match carries on until Gail picks up the win with a missile dropkick on Alicia. Beth is not happy as she glares at Mickie from the apron. Match was nothing and was basically a showcase for Mickie with a nice win from Gail. Gail, Mickie & Kelly d. Beth, Rosa & Alicia when Gail pins Alicia with a missile dropkick; Grade: .5

- Backstage, Cole catches up with Shaq and puts him over a bit. Hornswoggle comes in and they do the showdown. Shaq drops to a knee and they embrace. Shaq says they went to high school together and then asks Horny to dunk on a hoop he has back there. Horny misses and falls hard to the ground and Cole says it was Shaq-a-licious and wants a dap but Shaq just shakes his head as we go to break.

3) MVP vs. Chris Masters in a Beat the Clock match
MVP makes his way out as we return. He must beat Henry’s time of 6:49 to move on in the Challenge. And, whoa, the Masterpiece is back! Chris Masters is looking quite ripped and lean as he hits the ring. MVP works hot out of the gate, trying his best to get a quick win. I wonder if Masters jobs here or actually wins to start a feud. Masters gains control and grounds MVP. King is putting over Masters and the Masterlock big right out of the gate. It is like 2006 all over again! Masters keeps trying to apply the Masterlock but MVP is able to avoid it. I like that MVP is working a quick pace to put over the Clock gimmick. We dip under four minutes as Masters tosses MVP to the floor. Masters is able to keep MVP on the floor and lock him in the Masterpiece to cause a double countout. That will eliminate MVP from Beat the Clock, which is a bad move. This could have been a good chance to really give MVP a high profile match, but it looks like he is ticketed for a feud with Masters. The match wasn’t bad as MVP was working to get the quick pinfall. MVP and Chris Masters wrestle to a double countout; Grade: 1.5
Time to Beat: 6:49

- MVP is pissed off as Masters coolly heads off and we go to break.

4) The Brian Kendrick vs. Kofi Kingston
We are back and Kendrick is in the ring and putting the stink eye on the King. Kofi is out next, but Kendrick has the mic and is tearing into Lawler over last week’s confrontation. Kendrick keeps rambling on until Kofi runs over and drills him with the TIP for the easy win. I have no idea where any of this is heading for Kendrick. Kingston d. Kendrick with the Trouble in Paradise; Grade: 0

- Cole calls Kofi “titillating” as he celebrates his win. Triple H is walking backstage, but Ted DiBiase assaults him from behind and drills his leg with a club. He takes off as Hunter pulls himself up and hobbles around and we head to break.

5) Cody Rhodes vs. Triple H in a Beat the Clock match
When we return, Cody Rhodes hits the ring. He is looking to prevent Triple H from beating Henry’s time of 6:49. We get some stills from last night’s WWE Championship match, where Randy Orton outlasted Triple H and John Cena thanks to the help of his Legacy stablemates. Hunter slowly hobbles out as we hit the top of the hour. They really need to have Legacy just run interference and cost Triple H the challenge here. They should let Henry’s longer time stand for a change of pace with these Challenges. Cody mocks Hunter’s leg injury as the match starts up. Hunter may not understand the concept here as he slowly works Cody over in the early goings. Cole tells us that Hunter knows he has time to work with but King disagrees with that strategy. Cody is able to turn things around and works the dinged up leg. The crowd is into Triple H here tonight. Cole thinks Rhodes has marching orders from Orton to prevent Triple H from advancing. Cody is doing a nice job of grounding Hunter to eat up time, including hooking in a figure four. Hunter finally starts to battle back as we are under 1:00 on the clock. He drills Cody with a spinebuster and the crowd is roaring. DiBiase appears and starts yelling at Triple H from the apron. Triple H jaws back at him before finally turning back to Cody. His leg hobbles him a bit and he finally hits the Pedigree but it is too little, too late and Hunter is eliminated! I am glad they pulled the trigger on that to mix things up a bit. Rhodes and Triple H wrestle to a time limit draw; Grade: 2
Time to Beat: 6:49

- Hunter is not very happy as Cole wonders if Swagger or Cena can beat Henry’s time, Backstage, Shaq and Santino are playing Scrabble. Santino thinks shenanigans are afoot since Shaq used “Shaqtus” as a word and had a whole bunch of “Q” tiles. Cryme Tyme head in and they talk about beating the champions later tonight. The three men bust out the “Money” rap until Santino interrupts and does a bomb ass freestyle. He even works in an Angelina Jolie adoption joke. Santino and Cryme Tyme head out as Shaq goes back to his scrabble board.

- We are back and checking out the Jefferson Memorial. Cole puts over the job Shaq has done while King wonders if Shaq is putting his career in jeopardy by being the enforcer later tonight.

6) Hornswoggle vs. Chaco Guerrero
Shaq’s fellow high school alumnus makes his way out for another match with Chavo Guerrero. Chavo is looking awfully chipper for someone with a recent losing streak like he currently has. Lillian announces that Shaq has ordered Chavo to compete blindfolded. Chavo is none too pleased as the referee makes him put the blindfold on. Chavo stumbles around a bit as Cole asks King for some strategy tips. King says the only way to win is to peak. Chavo gets a hold of Horny but he is able to escape through the ref’s legs. Horny gets a back suplex for two but Chavo is able to peak and hit a dropkick. Chavo tries to find his way to the top rope but Horny just sneaks around behind him as he climbs up. Chavo tries to peak, but the ref stops him. So, he puts the hood back down and just leaps for it. Of course, he eats the mat as Horny was standing behind him. Horny heads up and drops the Tadpole Splash for the win to run his record to 4-0. This was nothing but comedy fodder, as usual. Hornswoggle d. Guerrero with the Tadpole Splash; Grade: .5

- Backstage, Orton is admiring his title when Jack Swagger walks in. Swagger says he will beat the clock and tells Orton he is bigger, strong and younger so Randy should be scared. Swagger heads off as Mark Henry saunters in. He stares at Orton and then laughs as we go to break.

- We are back and checking out some servicemen and women that are with us in the arena tonight.

7) Jack Swagger vs. Evan Bourne in a Beat the Clock match
Mr. Swagger is out and he has to put away his opponent in under 6:49 to advance here. Evan Bourne is back in action after that nasty bump at the hands of Big Show a few weeks back. Swagger tries to ground Bourne but Evan is able to rally a bit. Swagger uses his size to regain control and starts to work the arm. I love Swagger’s crisp offense and it looks even better with Bourne taking the bumps. Bourne heads up top but Swagger catches him as we tick under 4:00. King compares Bourne to a young Mysterio and the comparison may be true as he steals an upset win on Swagger! Bourne rolled through a Gutwrench attempt with a small package and knocks Swagger out of the Challenge. Bourne beats Swagger with a small package; Grade: 2
Time to Beat: 6:49

- Swagger is stunned as Cole unveils our final Beat the Clock Challenge match: John Cena vs. Miz. That match is coming up after this next break.

- We are back and Cole tells us that Jeremy Piven will be hosting Raw next week. And that is awesome news as Ari Gold will be in the house at Mohegan Sun. He and King then recap Triple H’s Beat the Clock match from earlier tonight. Backstage, Josh Matthews is with Triple H. Hunter is mad at himself for not seeing the Legacy issue sooner. He has been going straight at Orton when he should have eliminated Rhodes & DiBiase first. He is done playing games and next week he wants Rhodes & DiBiase next week. He tells them he is a guy they shouldn’t screw with before heading off.

8) John Cena vs. Miz in a Beat the Clock match
Back at ringside, Lillian Garcia introduces the Miz as he looks to spoil Cena’s chances in the Beat the Clock Challenge. Miz has a mic and talks about his love of the Cleveland Cavs. He says they should sit Shaq against the Wizards to keep him fresh since the Cavs will win anyway. The opposing team always dominates the Washington teams and then let the clock tick down until the soul crushing conclusion and that is what he is going to do to Cena right now. He doesn’t have to beat Cena; he just has to last 6:49. Miz takes a dig at Obama and says he can last the time because he is awesome. Outside of the Obama crack, that was a great promo. We take a quick break as Miz starts to taunt the crowd. When we return, Randy Orton has made his way out to observe this contest. Cena makes his way out to an enormous pop and even he seems a bit overwhelmed. The bell sounds and the clock is running as the crowd is chanting for Cena. Miz sticks to his strategy to start as he dodges Cena and milks the clock. He bails to the floor and stalls as long as he can before being counted out. Cena catches him coming in and it is on. Henry is looking on backstage as Miz takes over the match. I hope Henry advances because they really need a fresh matchup for Summerslam. Miz tosses Cena to the floor and into the steps as we are at 3:40. Cena beats the ref’s count back in but Miz ties him in the ropes as the clock is now approaching 2:30. Cena finally breaks loose and locks in the STF. Miz tries to fight it, but he finally taps and Cena advances to Summerslam. Cena d. Miz with the STF; Grade: 1

- Randy Orton hops in the ring and stares down Cena as our Summerslam title match is officially set. Well, at least Triple H is out of it. We see Shaq walking backstage as we head to break.

- We are back and thanking Aerosmith for the groovy Summerslam theme song. Cole talks about next week’s show as Triple H will take on Rhodes & DiBiase and Jeremy Piven will be in charge. I wonder if Shawn Michaels will return to set up a Summerslam tag showdown.

9) Cryme Tyme vs. Chris Jericho & Big Show in a non tile match
Shaq makes his way out for our non title main event. Jericho is out first, followed by Show and then Cryme Tyme. This is actually a pretty big spot for Cryme Tyme but they don’t have much time left to make it count. JTG and Jericho kick things off as Cole and King put over Shaq one more time. JTG has some good offense and I think he could be a solid midcard singles face down the road with his charisma. Jericho tags in Show and the champs take control as Cole starts his usual talk about Show’s hands. Shaq is rooting for CT as Show just glares at him. JTG takes a nice bump off Show’s spear. Jericho comes back and keeps JTG down as we are well into an overrun on USA right now. Shaq gives JTG an assist and he finally tags in Shad. Jericho to slow him up and goes for the Walls, but Shad flips loose. CT double team Jericho but Show comes in and totally decimates CT to draw the weak DQ. Cryme Tyme d. Show & Jericho by disqualification; Grade: 2

- Show tosses CT aside and calls for Shaq. Shaq takes his shirt off to a huge pop. Shaq hops in the ring and shoves Show. Show grabs Shaq by the throat but Shaq returns the favor and starts choking out Show. This is an awesome moment. CT comes in to help and Shaq knocks Show to the floor with a big shoulderblock. CT and Shaq celebrate and Cole plugs next week as we fade out. See you next week!

Final Grade: C+

MVP: Shaquille O’Neal
Runner Up: John Cena
Non MVP: MVP
Runner Up: The Brian Kendrick

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