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Pick a Stiff Night

Coming out of the pay per view Sunday the WWE went with a transitional Raw and allowed its biggest names to take on the lower half of the roster. This move only made sense as we are 3 weeks away from the next pay per view in Unforgiven and it does not offer much time to start new programs while finishing the events of Summer Slam. At least they gave us a decent main event in Jericho and Punk, but the rest of the night really wasn't special.

The night pretty much revolved around Jericho and his punch of Shawn Michael's wife. First Jericho started the show off blaming HBK and the fans for the actions at Summer Slam. We also saw Michaels' response to the actions after the pay per view and got soft spoken response of his need to tend to his family. CM Punk also got in the act by vowing to give a Chi town beating to Jericho. Well the champ tried his best but came up short as Jericho was victorious. It was a good exchange between the two and this could be a good program for Punk once the Jericho and Michaels situation dies down. But you have to wonder why would you have your champ lose after a pay per view. We'll see how this develops.

We did learn what the title match will be for Unforgiven as we will see Kane, JBL, Batista, Cena and Punk in the championship scramble. The idea of the match is there will be 20 minutes and the man to score the last pin will be the champion. It does keep the title picture fresh, but I'm afraid it will be a confusing affair. There will be way to much going on in the ring and the time limit makes it too long to hold the fans interest.

The rest of the night really featured nothing of interest other than featuring the big boys of Raw up against inferior competition. Cena found himself in a handicap match against the tag champs DiBiase and Rhodes. This match did have some back story as Cena lost the tag belts, along with Batista, last week to this duo. Before the match started Cryme Tyme ran to the ring and while Shad distracted the champs JTG ran off with the belts. A nice angle but an odd way to get these teams intertwined as the match with Cena was still on. The champs did get to show some decent moves on Cena, but after dominating all match they would lose as Cena found his second wind to gain the win. By this time you already forgot the title were stolen and it kind of killed that angle. Regardless it should be a good program between the two tag teams.

Th rest of the night featured dull matchups which saw Batista make quick work of Paul Burchill. JBL knocked out Jamie Noble while we saw Mickie James and Kelly Kelly defeat Jillian and Katie Lea. The only other match that had something was D-Lo Brown getting a DQ win over Santino Marella. Beth Phoenix helped her man by interfering in order to prevent the pin, but brought about the DQ as her and D-Lo got into it. But that was not all, as Beth had to rescue her man from Kofi Kingston who also got involved. But as with Summer Slam, the WWE's new power couple prevailed.

They did try to build the Mysterio and Kane angle some more tonight as Kane spoke as to how and why he has Rey's mask. It seems he attacked Mysterio in a parking lot and right now we don't know what happened to Mysterio. This brought Batista out again as he and Kane had a quick scrap. They need a story for both Kane and Mysterio but I'm not sure if this plot will work as it seems to be losing momentum already. It was a great surprise when Kane pulled out the mask but I don't think they have enough to carry the story. They need to get these two together if there is any hope of having a good program.

Here's a quick report from Raw live...

Dark Matches:

Takishi Morishima defeated Charlie Haas with a missle dropkick. It took Morishima a few minutes to get comfortable, but he looked pretty good in the ring. He looks like a more Asian Samoan Joe...

William Regal beat Jake Hager (local guy) with the running knee. Regal ran the match. Regal would do one of his 15 different chin locks, and Jake would counter, over and over. The kid was eager, but seemed a bit lost.

Biggest Pops:
1. CM Punk (by far).
2. John Cena (mixed reaction, but I've never seen a guy so over since Rock/Austin. If you remember the HHH-Cena match from Wrestlemania 22 you have some idea how Chicago treated him).
3. Batista

Biggest Heat:
1. Jericho (I could barely hear his promo the booing was so loud).
2. JBL
3. Jillian (she botched a Chicago song, couldn't tell which one).

Post-TV Taping:

JBL came out, cut a promo on the Cubs (there were a few there, and one of them - Ryan Dempster, I think - and JBL got in it verbally a bit) and on how pathetic Chicago is, and challenged Punk to a title match. It was a good match, which Punk won by countering the Clothesline From Hell into a GTS. After the win he got a loud ovation (80% of the crowd was still there) and cut a promo about how much he loves his hometown and how he was one of Cena's hired guns during his WM22 entrance. He said that anyone could be champ if they work hard and don't lose confidence in themselves.

I think what WWE should do to finish off the Kane/Rey storyline is have a mask match, where if Kane wins, Mysterio looses his mask, but if Mysterio does win, Kane needs to put his back on, because it seems that they are going somewhere with the mask thing.

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