This was written on the day of the show and is left untouched from when I wrote it live.
The John Report: WWE Capitol Punishment Recap
June 19, 2011
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter at @johnreport
The announcers are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Booker T. The ring ropes are red, white and blue to honor America. I missed the first five minutes, but I made it just as Kofi Kingston came running out for the first match.
US Title: Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler
Good crowd reaction for Kofi. Lawler is still making fat Vickie jokes even though she’s obviously lost a lot of weight. Cole called him out on it too. They actually acknowledged that Ziggler was the World Champion earlier in the year. Usually they ignore it. Nice pinning German suplex attempt for Ziggler. Kingston fights out of the sleeper and Ziggler misses a splash as Kofi goes in offensive mode. Ziggler counters the SOS, but Kofi hits a crossbody across Ziggler’s back while he was crouched over. That was a different spot. Kofi gets the SOS for a great nearfall as we are at the nine minute mark here.
They do a series of nearfall sequences. Kofi ends up fighting out of it and hits a double foot stomp for a two count. I expected this to be the opener. Good choice. The crowd is really hot for it and reacting to the nearfalls perfectly. Kingston to the top, Ziggler follows him up, but Kofi shoves him off and hits a picture perfect crossbody block for a great nearfall. Trouble in Paradise missed. Vickie gouged Kingston in the eyes. Ziggler pulled him to the ground and put on the sleeper. At one point he used the ropes to push off. Booker and Lawler said that should have been a DQ. The ref calls for the bell claiming that Kingston is out. It was confusing. The announcers are wondering about it. The match went about 13 minutes or so.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: *** Very solid match from these two, as always. The story is that Vickie’s interference was too much for Kofi to deal with. They also put over Dolph’s sleeper hold very well. I thought Kingston was going to keep it, but Dolph winning it is fine with me. I think both guys need to be elevated sooner or later. The ending was a little weird. The idea behind it was okay, but the execution was a little sloppy. I would have liked to see the ref raise Kingston’s hand one time, have it drop and then the match be thrown out. It would have been a better visual to end the match.
Backstage, they showed R-Truth arriving in a limo with the WWE Title. “The champ is in the house, fo shizzle.” He talks to Eve, who tells him she doesn’t know who he is anymore. “Nobody knows who I am anymore,” he tells me. “I’d like to dedicate this victory to all the little Jimmy’s and the little Jenny’s. That’s the truth.” Then he walked away.
Todd Grisham interviewed The Miz. He said he’s sick of hearing about Alex Riley and that he’d still be champion if it wasn’t for Riley. Solid promo. They aired a video package highlighting the history of Riley and Miz.
The Miz vs. Alex Riley
The Miz came out to good heat. Riley is announced from Washington DC, so he got a big pop. SAY IT TO MY FACE! The song is alright. I just laugh at the SAY IT TO MY FACE! Yelling at the beginning. Nice “I love you dad” sign in the crowd. Miz has the Money in the Bank briefcase with him. It’s almost the one year anniversary of that. Riley comes out brawling, but Miz slows him down and works him over in the middle of the ring. There’s been a lot of punches thrown with Miz in control for the first five minutes.
The Miz slows the action down with a reverse chinlock as the crowd gets behind Riley, but they are fairly quiet. Miz hits a corner clothesline followed by a double axehandle for a two count. They go out on the floor. Riley throws Miz into the announce table. He grabs Cole by the tie as Cole tells him that Miz was like a father to Riley. Yes, a father that’s pretty much the same age as the guy. Miz gets the briefcase. He walks into the ring with it. The ref blocks it. Riley hits a leaping DDT similar to what Edge used for years. That’s enough for the pin. Really? Riley won after 10 minutes.
Winner: Alex Riley
Analysis: *1/2 It was a very average match. I realize they want to elevate Riley, but he didn’t look very impressive here. His only offense was a few moves on the outside and then a DDT move that the fans didn’t know was his finisher because he’s barely won any matches. They could have set the finish up better. I’m 0-2 in picks. I thought Miz would go over leading to a rematch next month.
Backstage, Sgt. Slaughter talks to a fake Barack Obama. Then Vickie sings “Happy Father’s Day” to the president seductively. They’re going for funny, but it’s just awful. The secret service took her away. Slaughter said it looks like she got carried away. Wow. Brutal.
They aired a video hyping tomorrow’s 3 hour Raw.
Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio video package will lead us to that match next.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show
No Ricardo Rodriguez to introduce Del Rio. That felt wrong. With Del Rio about to enter, Big Show attacked him on the ramp. He whipped him into the railing around the ring. Out of nowhere, Mark Henry attacked Big Show. From a stretcher job to being fine “two days later.” It’s like how Big Show was fine two weeks after getting run over a car. Henry picks up Big Show and gives him the World’s Strongest Slam through the Spanish Announce Table. You know if the Spanish table is there that it’s going to get broken. That was very impressive. The announcers put it over huge. Henry then attacked Show’s knee. Henry left. Del Rio wants the ref to start the count on Big Show, who is on the floor. The match hasn’t officially started even though they’ve been out there for about four minutes.
Five minutes in, Big Show finally rolls into the ring. Referee Jack Doan asks him if he’s okay. Show says he’s ready to go. Bell rings. Show goes for a chokeslam, but Del Rio kicks the left leg. Then he chops him down and dropkicks him in the knee. Show powers out at two. Show catches him by the throw, he hits a Chokeslam and collapses. Del Rio rolls out of the ring. Del Rio drapes his neck across the top rope and he fights him off by going after the knee. He goes for the Cross Armbreaker, but Show counters it by picking him up and slamming him back suplex style. Del Rio comes back aggressively and instead of a Cross Armbreaker he goes for a Cross Legbreaker on the left knee. That’s awesome. Show makes it to the ropes to break the hold. The ref ends up calling the match off because Big Show can’t get back to his feet. They really sold it well by having Show on the mat for like one minute straight. The “match” went about five minutes.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio via referee’s decision
Analysis: * It was more of an angle than a match. It makes Del Rio look good as they prepare him for Cena at Summerslam. It also will lead to more Mark Henry-Big Show matches, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. I think Big Show did a great job of selling the leg. He’s better at it than a lot of people on the roster. I’m 0-3 on predictions. I thought Show was going to win while Del Rio would get it next month. It feels like somebody got in Vince’s ear about doing some MMA type finishes because this match and the opener had finishes that we don’t normally see in WWE.
Backstage, R-Truth wanted to get some photos done. The photographer told him the belt had Cena’s name on it, so he didn’t want to do it. Truth got mad. End segment.
They aired a video promoting the Best of WCW Nitro DVD. I have not bought it yet. I watched the show while it was on, but it might be good to pick it up soon for nostalgia sake.
Prior to the next match, Wade Barrett cut an anti-American promo. He made a reference to Anthony Weiner resigning. Eventually, he tied it into Ezekiel Jackson. It’s a good idea because Zeke isn’t that over and now they’ll be more supportive of him. Barrett’s an above average talker.
Intercontinental Title: Wade Barrett vs. Ezekiel Jackson
The crowd chants “USA! USA!” for Zeke even though Cole points out he’s from Guyana. Booker says “he looks American.” Cole laughs. Barrett hits a boot to the face for a two count. This match needs to be kept short. Barrett hits a Bossman Slam for two. That cradle attempt by Barrett on Jackson was ugly. Not a good spot to do with somebody like Zeke. Barrett hits a Pumphandle Slam for two. Did I hear “WE WANT RYDER” chants during this match? Yes I did. Everybody heard it except Vince. Big Zeke makes his big comeback. Crowd isn’t reacting very much. Barrett hits Wasteland, his finisher. Zeke kicks out. You know he’s winning now. Barrett goes for a boot, Jackson blocks it. Bodyslam one, bodyslam two and there’s bodyslam three. It’s the 1980s all over again. Rest in peace, Big John Studd. There’s a fourth bodyslam. Jackson puts Barrett in the Torture Rack. Barrett gives up at the six minute mark.
Winner: Ezekiel Jackson via submission
Analysis: * I’m glad it was short at six minutes. That’s all they needed. Barrett was on offense for four minutes, Jackson came back in the last two and won wit his power moves. He’s not that over, though. I’m glad this feud is finished. The Corre was one of the worst stables in WWE history, by the way. They barely made a mark because they were split up way too soon. I finally got a prediction right. That’s nice haha.
After the match, Jerry Lawler went in the ring to ask Jackson how it feels to be the IC Champion. Zeke says “this is awesome, this is great.” He says he proved himself in the nation’s capital of Washington, DC. He says what matters to him is “liberty and the personification of domination.” He’s a below average talker.
Backstage, Beth Phoenix, Santino and Kelly Kelly talked to the President. He asks Obama if he can show him his Cobra. Then he does it and Secret Service tackles him. “It’s a wrestling maneuver,” yells Santino. Yes he said wrestling. Another awful segment. Vince must love these things.
Josh Mathews interviews CM Punk, who says Washington is the home of the Straight Edge movement. Punk calls the politicians liars and ends up saying he’s the only honest person in the company because he tells us what he’s going to do. Then he says after he beats Mysterio, which I predict, he’s going to “do the most honest thing the WWE Universe has ever seen.” What does he mean? We don’t know because he walks off. Punk is the best talker in WWE…but you already knew that.
CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio
No video package for these guys. The story is that each guy has a win in their recent rivalry, so this is the rubber match. Punk’s sporting red, white and blue tights and boots for the match. Hopefully they get 15 minutes or so because they always have good matches. The first few minutes are Punk dominating the action by slowing it down. Nice tilt-a-whirl backbreaker by Punk for two. Cole’s telling the other two that he’s calling all the moves while they are supposed to be the experts. Actually the play by play guy did call the moves back when Jim Ross was announcing. Punk puts Mysterio into the abdominal stretch. Due to them working a slow style early it likely means they’re getting that 15 minutes, so that should lead to a very good match.
Finally, Mysterio gets some control at the eight minute mark with an awesome headscissors. There’s a springboard moonsault for Mysterio onto Punk on the floor. I remember him doing that move in WCW 15 years ago (watch that Nitro DVD) and being amazed by it. The crowd would pop huge. Now they barely react. Time flies, I guess. Mysterio gets a diving headbutt for two. The crowd isn’t as hot as they were earlier. Punk counters a crossbody for two. Mysterio uses his quicks to come back and hits a hard kick to the face. In the background, the Spanish announcers are calling the match without a table. When is the Spanish Announce Table breaking DVD coming out? Punk gets his running knee in the corner. Mysterio avoids another one and he hits a 619 around the ring post. Punk goes to the floor. That was a cool spot.
Mysterio rolls Punk into the ring. He goes for a splash, but Punk counters by getting his knees up and they smash Rey in the ribs. Punk goes for a GTS, but Mysterio counters with an awesome looking hurricanrana for two. Punk kicks him hard in the head for two. I’m pretty sure he beat Mysterio with that on Raw a few weeks ago. “I’m exhausted,” says Booker. It’s been a very good match. Punk goes for the GTS, but Rey counters with an arm drag. Rey goes for the 619, Punk catches him and hits the GTS for the win. WOW! That was a fantastic counter and finish. Punk via pinfall at 14 minutes.
Winner: CM Punk
Analysis: ***3/4 As expected, they had a great match because they were given the time to tell a great story. I’m putting it a notch below four stars. Punk worked the body early on, Mysterio made his comebacks, hit his big moves and Punk kept fighting back. The finish was as good of a finish as any of their previous matches. I don’t care if they’ve wrestled dozens of times now. I won’t tire of great wrestling matches like this one. Match of the night so far obviously. I’m 2-3 on picks now. I think this sets up Punk to challenge Cena for the WWE Title next month in Punk’s hometown of Chicago. That will be interesting if they go that route.
Christian vs. Orton is up next. Another classic? I think so. They get the long video package treatment.
I should point out that TJR writer Cody Dodson is messaging me on Twitter about how they are taking down Zack Ryder signs. “If they’re scribbled with marker they take them away. If they’re artfully done they just tell them to keep them down. Never knew Vince liked art.” Wow. What a company.
Orton comes out first to a big pop as the announcers talk about the concussion that Orton suffered a week ago. The concussion was legit. It happened in Spain last Sunday in a match with Christian and Orton. They said it happened a week earlier on Smackdown when Christian attacked him. Orton passed the concussion test and was cleared to wrestle by doctors yesterday.
World Heavyweight Title: Randy Orton vs. Christian
The crowd’s hot for Orton. Christian doesn’t earn huge heel heat, but I think it will be okay during the match. With this match taking place at 9:45pmET they’ll likely get 15+ minutes again since there’s only one more advertised match left on the show.
The majority of the first part of the match is Christian working over Orton. He picked on body parts, but then he switched the focus to the head. That’s the wise move because of Orton’s concussion. Good camera work by showing Orton’s eyes looking glazed over. Orton comes back by whipping him into the ropes and getting a huge back body drop. Booker keeps pointing out that Orton’s wavering because of the concussion. Nice powerslam by Orton that Cole calls a scoop slam. Belly to belly by Orton for two. That’s new from Randy. Orton’s doing a good job of selling the concussion. Randy comes back with a superplex for two as Lawler points out that he’s damaging himself by doing such a move. Booker talks about how during the heat of the moment you don’t realize the pain, but that Orton’s going to feel this later in life. That’s the kind of comment that is good announcing. Orton puts Christian up in a powerbomb position and then drops him with a neckbreaker. I remember him doing that spot years ago, but not very often. We’re at ten minutes now.
Orton goes for the RKO, but Christian slips out of the ring. Orton chases him out of the ring. He hits the DDT off the ropes. The crowd cheers wildly as Orton bangs the mat for the RKO. Christian counters with the reverse DDT for two. Good nearfall there. Christian goes for a spear, Orton leapfrogs, RKO is countered and Christian hits a spear for two. That was a fantastic nearfall. Christian hits the boots to the face. RKO by Orton. Christian’s foot is obviously under the ropes. The announcers completely miss it. Everybody could see it, though. The angle they shot it from made it obvious. Match went 14 minutes.
Winner: Randy Orton
Post match, Christian tries to explain to the ref that his foot was under the rope. They haven’t shown a replay yet. Orton watches him complain. Then he decks him with the title. He says: “Payback’s a bitch.” Still no replays on the finish.
Analysis: **** Another awesome match from these guys. I liked the match at Over the Limit better. That’s a small complaint. The nearfalls weren’t as good they were last month. It’s the match of the night so far, slightly ahead of Punk/Mysterio. I thought there were some great sequences late, but that they could have added another four or five minutes to it in order to make it even more special. This is your WWE feud of the year by far. The question is now that Christian has a legitimate beef where does the story go from here?
They finally showed the replay. After two replays they finally point out that his left foot is under the ropes. Michael Cole starts yelling about it. Booker and Lawler both said it was close. These announcers are terrible. It was clearly obvious that his foot was under the ropes from ANY angle. The announcers have been terrible all night.
The Money in the Bank promo is Big Show reading a fairy tale to Hornswoggle about Money in the Bank. He says “again, again.” Then Show punches the camera to tell us lights out.
“Money money money money…” song starts playing. It’s the Shane McMahon song! What the hell?
Some dude named Keith Stone comes out with Keystone Light along with the Bella Twins. For what? I have no idea. I’ve never drank Keystone Light. I’m Canadian. We have real beer.
There’s a video package for R-Truth and Cena. It’s coming later. Bonus match now.
Jack Swagger vs. Evan Bourne
This is the breather match before the main event. Swagger overpowers him with a couple of gutbusters. The crowd is pretty quiet. They’ve been below average throughout most of the night. Swagger hits a back body drop for two. Jack hits the Swagger Bomb out of the corner for two. Crowd is still quiet. It’s hard to follow two great matches like we just saw when they feature two guys that have three minute specials on Raw weekly. Swagger slows Bourne down with a big boot for two. Bourne hits a great DDT for two. “My dad gave me a DDT like that,” says Lawler. Weird. Bourne hits some kicks to put Swagger down. He goes to the top, Swagger moves, Bourne misses and Swagger ends up putting him in the Ankle Lock. Bourne rolls him up. He wins in 7 minutes.
Winner: Evan Bourne
Analysis: ** A solid match from two good workers, but they’ve been buried for so long that the crowd wasn’t invested in it very much. We’ve also seen Bourne get the upset win last year against Jericho and they did nothing to follow it up. It’s nothing new.
They plugged the Power to the People three hour Raw special tomorrow night. Cole says to Booker: “You’re going to be there.” Booker smiles and says “perhaps I will be.”
They introduced “Barack Obama” to the set. There’s no ramp by the way. He’s standing by a podium. They show soldiers at ringside saluting him. He does some speech telling us that on Monday nights he watches Raw. He says he’s not the anonymous Raw General Manager. If he was we’d see less of Cole and more of Jim Ross: “God I love that fat bastard.” He says good luck to Cena. The crowd boos. They also gave him the WHAT? treatment. Crowd booed R-Truth too. He says Truth is like Biden in that he can’t understand what he’s saying, but that he’s a hoot. Then says a bad joke about Teddy Long. This segment was a major fail.
Booker T. asks the President to come back. He called the President a homey. He says it’s a pleasure to meet him. He complimented him and then asked him if he could do the Spinarooni. He says he’s going to show him how to do it. Booker T. does the Spinarooni as the crowd wakes up a little. “Do you want to see the Barackorooni?” Then the President does his version of the Spinarooni. This was awful too. I wish I could get the last ten minutes of my life back. “Only here, folks. Only here,” says Cole. That was awful.
They plugged the National Guard, which is a major WWE sponsor.
Main event is next. They air a video package highlighting the Truth/Cena feud.
R-Truth comes out first with the WWE Title in hand. Still no theme music for Truth after “The Truth shall set you free” line at the beginning. John Cena comes out second and he doesn’t even seem angry to be without the title.
WWE Title: John Cena vs. R-Truth
There are the “Let’s go Cena” and “Cena sucks” chants to start the match. The Little Jimmy’s are showing their support for Cena. Then Truth walks outside the ring and there’s a “Little Jimmy” chant. That’s great. The crowd is really loud with the chants. The match is very slow and boring in the first five minutes with very little offense early on. Truth hits his flying forearm for two. Wasn’t that his finisher for a while? I don’t even know. He barely won matches. Booker said he invented the move. Cole was laughing. I don’t know if he invented it, but Booker did that flying forearm for many years. Cole’s act is getting so annoying that it’s hurting the product more than it should. The majority of the match had Truth on offense, but the fans aren’t used to his heel offense because they barely put him in matches. Wow, did Booker just say that the crowd is totally behind Cena? Then Cole called him on it and dropped it. We’re at ten minutes now.
Cena makes a comeback, but not his usual one. Truth hits an inverted neckbreaker for a two count. Good move. Cena puts on the STF, but Truth gets to the ropes. Truth hits him with the Scissors Kick for two. Truth hits his new finisher, slamming Cena’s head into the mat, for a two count. Cena goes to the floor. Truth gets a Cena hat from a fan. He takes a swig of the fans drink. The kid throws the drink in Truth’s face. Cena walks over, throws Truth in the ring and hits the Attitude Adjustment to win. Obviously the kid was a plant. The match went 14 minutes.
Winner: John Cena
Post match, Cena put the hat on the kid, brought him to the ring, raised his hand and celebrating. He celebrated with the troops at ringside to end the show.
Analysis: *1/2 A very average main event. Cena didn’t even hit his usual offensive moves. Truth was on offense for 90% of it, SuperCena recovered from it, hit one move and that was it. It made Truth look weak. Of course nobody reacted to any of Truth’s pinfalls because it was obvious that Cena was winning. It would have been nice
I ended up 4-3 on my picks. Got the first three wrong and the last four advertised matches (Bourne/Swagger was unadvertised) were correct.
Three Stars of the Night
1. Randy Orton – Very good match and great job selling the concussion.
2. Christian – Another awesome performance. Best match on PPV for the third straight month.
3. (tie) CM Punk – I hope this leads to a push.
3. (tie) Rey Mysterio
Call it a 4.5 out of 10. It wasn’t expected to be a great show. It met those lowered expectations.
The two highlights were the Orton/Christian and Punk/Mysterio matches. They both got around 15 minutes, but neither match was one of those epic, must see type of matches. Perhaps if they got five minutes more each then they could have reached that level. As it is, they gave us two quality matches that separated them from everything else on the show.
The other thing to take away from the show is that some heels on the Raw side have a lot of momentum thanks to wins by Del Rio, Punk and Ziggler. Who is the next guy to go after Cena? I think it’ll likely be Punk at Money in the Bank while Del Rio is the guy at Summerslam whether he wins the Money in the Bank ladder match or not.
Those segments with the fake President were as bad as anything WWE has done in years. I really don’t understand the motivation. Who wrote them? Who approved them? I’d love to have some answers to those questions. You’re asking people to spend $55 on PPV for this show and that’s the best kind of entertainment you can give? Thankfully those segments are likely over now.
I’m not sure why, but the announcers were as bad as they’ve ever been on this PPV. There were a few times where they said stuff that made me shake my head profusely wondering why they’re saying such things. I hope somebody in WWE has the balls to tell Vince McMahon that the announcers were especially awful tonight. I dislike face Lawler, heel Cole is annoying and Booker’s fine with me, but the dynamic is off when the play by play guy is a heel while the other two are faces. It does not work.
Two great matches out of eight. The opener was slightly above average. Everything else felt average. Some of the finishes were questionable too. A weird show in a lot of ways.
Thanks for reading.