TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 3/10: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of three-hour show
Mar 10, 2008 - 9:58:56 PM
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By James Caldwell, Torch columnist
WWE Raw Live Report
March 10, 2008
The WrestleMania Rewind show opened live in the arena with Jim Ross announcing Undertaker vs. Mark Henry in a casket match re-match from WrestleMania 22. The official theme music of the druids was playing while they focused on a casket resting on the stage. They plugged the Mayweather vs. Big Show weigh-in tonight as well.
But, we start with Ric Flair, who came out to the ring dressed in a sharp suit. In the ring, Flair let the fans get in their whoos before he talked about Shawn Michaels's promo last week. He said he's got all the respect in the world for Michaels, but he needs him to come out live here in Milwaukee because he has something to say. Michaels's music hit and he walked out dressed for a night of dancing at Wild West. Flair complemented him on the ring entrance, then said the words "sympathy" and "pity" do not exist in his dictionary. Flair said he felt the respect from Michaels last week, but he also felt sympathy. He explained: "I am the Nature Boy, whoo, Ric Flair". Flair said if he can't compete with the best, then he doesn't want his career to continue. He doesn't want people interfering in his matches to keep his career going. Flair said he doesn't want pity; he wants respect. Flair said if he wins at Mania, it's because he's the man. If Michaels beats him at Mania, then he's beaten the man. Flair said he's not delusional that his career could be over, but on a real good day, he could catch one on Michaels. (Sounded a bit contradictory, but we'll let it slide.) He told Michaels he wants the Showstopper at 100 percent commitment right here, right now. Hot dog, we have a wrestling angle.
Michaels slowly approached his promo by saying he meant no pity, and there is no pity in love. Michaels said he is Mr. WrestleMania. He revolutionized the ladder match (X), wrestled for over an hour (XII), and been in the greatest WrestleMania moments in history (XIV). Michaels paused, and said when the day rolls around, he can't control himself anymore. It just happens that he snaps into Showstopper mode. So, he has an alter-ego, but doesn't need a Superman cape to get over? Flair smiled. Michaels said whether Flair's show gets stopped or whether it goes on, there is one thing he can tell him without a shred of uncertainty. Between them, the show is going to get stolen. "Let's do it!" Michaels said. They hugged, and Michaels started to leave, but brought up Flair's Smackdown match in a few days against Edge and his two...er...um...Edge guys. Michaels said his Fridays are usually reserved for Dora the Explorer, but he won't let Flair go at it alone. He said he would make sure it's 3 on...both of us. Flair smiled, but Randy Orton's music hit to ruin the moment.
After the boos subsided, Orton sarcastically said that was such a touching moment. More boos. Orton said he wishes he could just leave at it, but he can't because it's his night to book matches tonight. Orton said two things: Triple H will face Kane in a WrestleMania re-match. He then addressed Michaels because he didn't win last year at Mania. Orton told Flair to pay attention because Michaels can be beat at Mania. Just ask his opponent tonight: John Cena. Orton's music hit, then he stared into the ring where Michaels and Flair conversed.
In-ring: The druids were ringside surrounding the casket, then Undertaker came out for the WM 22 re-match against Mark Henry. After Taker completed his entrance, Taker strolled out and stared at the casket with a tinge of fear.
1 -- THE UNDERTAKER vs. MARK HENRY -- Casket match
Less than a minute into the match, Taker called for the casket to be opened, but Henry kicked Taker away. The match moved to the floor where Taker slammed Henry into the guardrail. Taker then slammed Henry into the casket, but opted to throw him back into the ring. Henry waited for Taker to make his way back into the ring before landing a one-arm slam and splash off the ropes. He called for the casket and tried to drag Taker across the ring, but Taker grabbed his arm and locked in the triangle choke. Henry tapped, but there is no tapping out in a casket match. Henry did the bleeding from the mouth gimmick, then Taker stomped Henry across the ring and into the casket before slamming the lid shut to win.
WINNER: Undertaker in 7:00. Basic execution of a gimmick match. Nothing fishy or elevated here. (*1/4)
Video promo: They re-aired the silly Carlito vs. seagulls WrestleMania spot while Maria watched him make a fool out of himself.
Backstage: They showed Floyd Mayweather hamming it up with his posse. They went to a video package on the boxing community talking about the match against Big Show. Apparently, this is WWE's answer to ESPN's goofy article this morning. Michael Buffer sounds like a completely different person not doing ring announcer voice. Bert Sugar said $20 million will pay for Mayweather's hospital bill. Antonio Tarver said it could jeopardize his boxing career.
Ringside: Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler segued from Mayweather vs. Big Show to the triple threat title match between Orton, Cena, and Hunter. Ross introduced a video promo from Hunter earlier today.
Pre-tape video: Triple H did a sit-down promo from a dark room about last year scheduled to be him vs. Cena in the ultimate Mania re-match, but it didn't happen when he was injured. When he came back, Cena was injured. Hunter said at Mania, he will fight for the WWE Ttitle as if his life depends on it. "As far as I'm concerned, it does," he said. "Cena, Orton - game on."
JC: So far, this is just a normal Raw with a basic special appearance from Undertaker. After all, Henry was on two weeks of Raw this time last month doing Orton's bidding against Cena. They're obviously saving the good stuff for later in the show during the normal timeslot and they can fill time recapping what a lot of people missed in the opening segment.
In-ring: Mr. Kennedy came to the ring. He tried doing his mic promo, but Finlay's good theme music interrupted for a match. Before anything happened, JBL came on the video screen and accepted the Belfast Brawl match at Mania. He said that will allow him to put Finlay in the hospital right next to his mutant son, Hornswoggle.
2 -- FINLAY vs. MR. KENNEDY
Finlay, still with shillelagh in hand, heard the bell sound to start a match, but then he took the shillelagh and smashed Kennedy in the gut to cause a DQ.
After the DQ bell sounded, Finlay smashed the crap out of Kennedy's ribs and face. Referees tried to restrain Finlay, but Finlay yanked Kennedy back into harm's way to dish out more punishment. Interesting crowd reaction, as they popped initially, then got quiet as Finlay continued to dish out punishment. After refs appeared to have the situation under control, Finlay yanked Kennedy away from the refs and smashed him in the head with a shillelagh blow. After landing the KO blow, Finlay walked up the entrance ramp to cheers.
WINNER: Kennedy via DQ at 0:05. Well, the message got across to JBL and the segment was better than last week's confusing promo exchange. I just question why Kennedy of all people to take the beating and cry like a baby. I'm sure we'll find out later. (n/a)
Video package: They showed wrestlers in Phoenix two weeks ago to promote the joint partnership between WWE and Make-a-Wish foundation. They promoted Raven Symone at Mania for the biggest wish-granting they've done. They also recognized John Cena for his contributions to the charity. They showed some of the ladies in the audience wiping away tears when Cena was talking at the press conference.
In-ring: Lillian Garcia announced an IC Title match. Jeff Hardy came out first to defend the title. Ross said it won't be a WrestleMania rewind match for Hardy, as he will be defending against Chris Jericho after what happened last week in the Highlight Reel when Hardy gave Jericho the Twist of Fate. Jericho came out next to challenge for the belt. Someone spent some time in the tanning bed the last six days.
3 -- IC champion JEFF HARDY vs. CHRIS JERICHO -- Intercontinental Title match
Things were a little tense early on, then Jericho landed a slap and Hardy returned fire. Things got physical in a hurry, leading to a tackle-fest that spilled to the floor. Back in the ring, Jericho tackled Hardy again before knocking him to the floor again. They cut to a break.
They returned with Jericho working on Hardy's neck until he missed with a corner splash and fell to the floor. Hardy then nailed a double-foot dropkick through the ropes. On the outside, he tried running the guardrail for a splash onto Jericho, but Jericho shoved him hard into the announce table in mid-air. That looked nasty. Back in the ring, Jericho nailed a splash, but Hardy kicked out just before three.
[Q5 -- second hour; normal first hour]
Jericho kept working on Hardy, but he came back with Whisper in the Wind at 8:00. Jericho answered with a Northern Lights suplex, but Hardy bridged out and rolled up Jericho for a close two count. Hardy went for a leaping dropkick in the corner, but Jericho moved in time. Jericho then went up top for a splash, but Hardy rolled through and got another nearfall. Jericho then nailed the Twist of Fate of his own and a lionsault, but Hardy kicked out just before a three count. Nice nearfall. Jericho actually got a chant in his favor for once, then Jericho blocked a move and went for the Walls of Jericho. Hardy rolled him up, though, and just did miss a three count. Jericho went for a step up enziguiri, but Hardy ducked and nailed the Twist of Fate. He went up top for the Swanton Bomb, but Jericho moved just in time. What action. Jericho waited for Hardy to get up, then he nailed the code breaker. Jericho quickly covered Hardy and scored a three count to win the match and the title.
WINNER: Chris Jericho in 12:00 to capture the IC Title. Excellent TV match. A perfect example of how to apply a storyline to a match. They started the match with a little personal exchange to follow up on last week, then Jericho backed up his non-title victory two weeks by one-upping Hardy once again. I'd love to see a best-of-seven series for the IC Title after Mania. (***1/4)
Post-match: Jericho held up the IC Title belt in victory, then they replayed the finishing sequence. Jericho left with the belt in hand while checking his mouth for remaining teeth. Hardy rolled over onto his side in the ring while Jericho celebrated on the stage.
Backstage: Oh goodness, Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff. Sheiky was struggling to move his frame down the hallway while holding the Iranian flag. The man knows how to get a payday.
Video package: They recapped WrestleMania I for Sheik & Volkoff vs. Windham & Rotundo. New champions with Sheik and a very fit Volkoff securing the tag titles. And there's Freddie Blassie.
In-ring: Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff struggled to wave their flags in the ring. Volkoff then asked for respect as he sings the Soviet National Anthem. Sheik took the mic and said Russia and Iran numba one. He spit in the face of U.S.A. Some generic rock music hit, then Windham and Rotunda came to the ring with an American flag in hand. Suddenly, Jillian Hall interrupted before am match could start. Jillian said she wasn't even born when they wrestled at WrestleMania I. Jillian said she knows her history, and she knows the U.S. Express came out to the song "Born in the USA". Unfortunately, they can't even afford the rights to the sing because they're has-beens. That's why she's here, though, to sing it for them. She started to sing horribly, then Rotunda picked up Jillian and gave her an airplane spin. Jillian then stumbled out of the ring. No match, thankfully.
[Q6 - the rating ought to drop line a stone with two commercial breaks and no action.]
Ringside: Ross and Lawler talked about Sheik's Hall of Fame speech still going on. They segued to Mike Adamle, who was backstage to give a campy recap of the Hall of Fame inductees. Next to be inducted: Jack and Jerry Brisco. They showed old-school clips of them working in Georgia, Florida, and Texas. They showed clips from Brisco Bros. body shop. Thank goodness no Stooges footage with Patterson. They had commentary from Jim Ross, Steve Austin, Dory Funk, Jr., Pat Patterson, and Dean Malenko. I'd have to imagine the Funks will induct them, but who knows.
Video package: They showed clips of Big Show inflicting pain and carnage on people over the years. ... Ross and Lawler went back to WrestleMania 15 for Triple H vs. Kane. They showed focused on the physicality of the match.
Backstage: Kane was watching the recap on the monitor with a grunt. Orton then walked in and tried to get Kane on his side. He reminded Kane of all the crap Hunter has put him through, stopping just short of the Katie Vick angle. Kane grabbed Orton by the throat and said he doesn't need a history lesson. He said he remembers everything. Kane tossed Orton aside and stormed off. Orton caught his breath then glared off camera.
Announcers: they plugged John Legend singing America the Beautiful to open Mania.
4 -- TRIPLE H vs. KANE
Hunter landed a jaw-rocking punch, which Kane shook off before simply staring at him with that sideways look. Hunter backed off, then Kane smashed him in the face. Hunter came back with an elbow to the face, but Kane dumped him over the top turnbuckle to the floor. Back in the ring, Kane landed a boot to the face, but Hunter came back with a spinebuster. Hunter then went for the Pedigree, but Kane landed a back drop. At 5:00, Orton walked out on stage for a closer look. Kane went for a chokeslam, but Kane snuck a peek at Orton. Hunter then went for the Pedigree, but he took his eyes off Kane and looked at Orton. Kane countered with a sidewalk slam before going up top. Hunter blocked with a kick to the gut, though, and nailed the Pedigree for the pin and the win. After the match, Hunter pointed to the Mania sign, then flexed while Orton slowly held up the WWE Title belt.
WINNER: Hunter in 6:00. There was no crowd heat during the first four minutes, as the crowd just sat through about 25 minutes of nothingness after the finish to Jericho-Hardy. Not a good sign when one-third of the main event at WrestleMania is getting the same crowd reaction as a throwaway tag match. (3/4*)
Pre-tape video: They showed John Cena in the dark room to talk about WrestleMania. He did a slow build-up to the point that he wanted to be at WrestleMania so bad that he risked his health, career, and success for one chance to possibly win the WWE Title. Cena thanked Orton for the torn pec because maybe he got a little complacent before the injury. He said he never wants to feel that again. His voice increased in volume as he talked about WrestleMania representing the top dogs fighting it out for wrestling supremacy. He said his time will come again this year. A smattering of boos live.
In-ring: Melina came out with Women's champion Beth Phoenix. How unfortunate the Women's champ is taking a backseat to the designated diva jobber. They showed a Mania 23 recap of Ashley vs. Melina, with Melina winning to retain the Women's Title. How the mighty have fallen. Melina then took the mic and said she was really looking forward to beating Ashley again, but Ashley is injured. Melina said she's a typical Playboy cover girl who looks great on the outside, but has nothing on the inside. She then announced a WrestleMania pre-match and said she's not just another pretty face. ODB jumped ship? Nope, Maria came out with Candice to face Melina. They dropped the Playboy cover from the ceiling.
5 -- MELINA (w/Women's champ Beth Phoenix) vs. MARIA (w/Candice Michelle)
A minute into the match, Santino Marella walked out on stage holding a copy of Playboy. Santino approached the ring and got on the apron holding up the magazine. Santino then ripped it apart, being careful not to expose the contents to the camera. Melina then took advantage with her sweeping leg drop for the win. After the match, Candice shoved Santino, but Beth ran over to Candice and shoved her down hard. Santino then raised Beth and Melina's arms in victory to preview the BunnyMania match. Candice then checked on Maria while the heels gloated.
WINNER: Melina in 2:00. Nothing happening here. Again, I ask why this show is three hours. The show has come to a screeching halt since the IC Title match. (1/4*)
Video package: They showed clips of Mayweather preparing to face Big Show. Mayweather talked cocky, then they showed footage from his house of him counting $1.0 million in cold hard cash. He did a Cribs walk-through to show off his custom clothes, shoes, jackets, and cars. The weigh-in is next.
In-ring: Shane McMahon came out on stage dressed in a suit. He's still doing the money dance, but without any conviction. Shane started to do the dance again in the ring, but the camera cut away to a wide shot of the arena. Shane cut right to the chase and brought out Big Show first. He came out dressed to wrestle and the fans gave him a mixed reaction. They shook hands.
[Q9 -- third hour; normal second hour]
Shane built up Mayweather, which drew noticeable boos. Mayweather then walked out on stage surrounded by his posse. Mayweather, sporting shades and some bling around his neck, did a cocky heel strut to the ring. Ross said Mayweather is boxing and he's carrying it on his back. Mayweather eventually made it into the ring with his people surrounding him. Shane asked for some decorum here. He then invited Mayweather to hop on the scale first. Before that, though, he surveyed the crowd, which booed him. The camera zoomed in on the scale to show 159 pounds. The fans booed that. Big Show approached the scale next and he was booed. The camera zoomed in to show 441 pounds.
Before Shane could talk about a photo-op, Show ripped the mic away and said Mayweather has brought along his posse, but now he would like to bring out his posse. That got cheered. Suddenly, random wrestlers came to the ring as Show's back up. Mayweather complained about the posse invasion, which was basically the entire locker room of mid-carders. They stood ringside and Show said he told Mayweather last week that no one in the locker room likes him. Show said everyone wants to see the $20 million man. He suggested Mayweather take out some of the money and toss it into the crowd so they don't hate them so much. Show then suggested Mayweather dish out some more money to his dogs so they pretend to be his friends a little while longer. Ouch.
Show said that he could guarantee that Mayweather never boxes again. That got a cheer. Show said he was leaving it up to Mayweather. He called him a runt, then handed him the mic. The fans chanted, "You suck" as Mayweather paced around the ring. He then got on the turnbuckle and pulled out a wad of cash. He smelled it a few times, then said Show is right. He is the $20 million man. He then flung some bills toward Show, which agitated him. Mayweather said he respects what Show has done, but he doesn't respect Show as a human being. The "what?" chants got louder and louder, and Mayweather played right into it. Mayweather said Show has to catch him first. Show then picked up some of the bills and handed them out to the mid-carders ringside. Haas was ecstatic.
Mayweather then brought it home that he broke Show's nose at No Way Out. At WrestleMania 24, he will break Show's jaw. Boos for that. Mayweather then tossed another bill toward Show before telling his posse to head out. With everyone out of the ring except Show, Shane, and Mayweather, Show grabbed Mayweather and tossed him over the top rope into the crowd of mid-carders ala the boxer dude last week. A full scramble ensued with Mayweather selling an elbow injury. Wrestlers and Mayweather's posse mixed it up, with Shane getting knocked over on the stage. There was a stand-off between the wrestlers and the posse on top of the stage with the announcers laying out to make it seem legit. JC: That got the angle back on track with a hot segment that was presented as real, similar to No Way Out. Nice recovery.
Video recap: Ross and Lawler recapped the end of the Mayweather angle where Show lifted Mayweather into the air and chucked him into the crowd of mid-carders. They showed Mayweather landing on the pile, then suddenly grabbing his elbow as if he remembered he was supposed to be selling an injury.
Sit-down promo: Time for Randy Orton's pre-show promo from the dark room. He said he is the perfect champion. You can take the strength of Cena, the intelligence of Hunter, the desire of Cena, the athleticism of Hunter, etc. and combine those attributes into one person, then you get Randy Orton. He said there's only one thing missing that they don't have: the WWE Championship.
In-ring: World Hvt. champion Edge came to the ring with his "Edge guys", Ryder & Hawkins.
In-ring: Edge and his guys were jawing with some fans out of the break. C.M. Punk then came out as an opponent in this situation. Oh, so it's one-on-one against Edge. They're giving this away with zero hype? Wow.
6 -- World Hvt. champion EDGE (w/Hawkins and Ryder) vs. C.M. PUNK -- non-title match
Edge landed a back elbow smash and Ross informed the Raw viewers that Edge is engaged to the Smackdown G.M., which reeks of collusion. Long-time Raw viewers will have fond memories of the McMahon-Helmsley era. At 2:00, Edge took Punk to the apron and went for a spear to the floor, but Punk caught him with a stiff kick to the side of the head. He then came off the ropes with a springboard dive for a nearfall. Punk landed a running knee in the corner, but Edge blocked the bulldog with a DDT in center ring for a nearfall. Suddenly, Hawkins and Ryder jumped on the apron when Punk went for Go 2 Sleep. It served as a distraction that allowed Edge to nail Punk with a spear for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Edge in 4:00. OK match. Just a chance for Punk to show his face on Raw TV, but not enough to get anyone excited about ECW tomorrow night. Or any night. (*)
In-ring: Back from break, William Regal was just standing in the ring with his typical sneer. So random. Regal took the mic and said the battle for brand supremacy will not be a battle at all, because that implies an evenly-matched contest. He said it won't be when Raw is represented by this man! They went to a video clip on Umaga doing a lot of scary things. Regal then eagerly brought out U-mang-ah to the ring. Regal said he really pities Smackdown's Batista because he needs to know what no one can stop this man. He said this man leaves a path of destruction everywhere.
Suddenly, Batista's music cut off Regal and Batista walked out on stage in jeans, a wife-beater tank top, and some flashy Lugz boots. Batista, with his cool shades trying to be The Rock, stood off against Umaga before lowering his shades and throwing a right hand blow. They traded blows before Umaga landed an uppercut to the throat. Umaga then measured him for the Samoan Spike, but Batista ducked and nailed a spinebuster. Batista readied for a Batista bomb, but Umaga bailed to the outside and ran around like a savage. Regal and refs tried to control him as Batista smiled in short-term victory.
Announcers: Ross and Lawler recapped the Mania main event of Cena vs. Michaels last year, which Ross called one of the best Mania matches he's ever seen. They showed the ending of Cena forcing Michaels to tap out.
Announcers: Ross and Lawler plugged that Vince McMahon will be honored at the Walk of Fame on Friday morning at 11:30 a.m. in Hollywood. Ross then said they can confirm that Mayweather injured his elbow during the scuffle with Big Show.
In-ring: Shawn Michaels came to the ring for the main event against Cena. After a significant pause, Cena's music hit and there was the usual loud mix of cheers and boos. Ross then plugged WWE on Larry King Live this Thursday night.
7 -- SHAWN MICHAELS vs. JOHN CENA
They locked up and Ross went back to last April when Cena and Michaels went 56 minutes in London in the match of the year. Michaels slowed things down with a front facelock to give the cameramen plenty of opportunity to get shots of the WrestleMania banner hanging above the arena. Michaels suddenly went for the inverted figure four, but Cena immediately countered into the STFU. Michaels quickly escaped, though, and recovered on the floor before they cut to a break.
[Commercial Break - 19 in a row. It's Rockets Time.]
They returned with Michaels in an epic struggle to escape from the deadly vice of a John Cena shoulder lock. Michaels did so, then landed a swinging neck breaker. He sold a left arm injury, then Cena and Michaels traded right hand blows. Cena ran over Michaels with a series of shoulder blocks, but Michaels chucked him over the top rope to the floor. Time stood still as Cena recovered, the ref went to one knee to talk to Cena before starting a count, and Michaels recovered in the ring. Back in the ring, Michaels applied a knee-bending submission. He then went for a figure four, but Cena countered with a roll-up for a nearfall. Cena attempted an FU, but Cena did a spot where his knee buckled and Michaels took his knee out from behind.
[Q13 -- over-run]
Cena made his comeback on one good leg that was booed. He then called for the Five Knuckle Shuffle and delivered an exasperated attempt. He went for the FU again, but Michaels countered into a roll-up. Michaels then landed a smashing clothesline out of the corner and both men recovered on the mat. Michaels then fired up with offense at 13:00 and the announcers said it's what he talked about earlier about getting into a zone. Michaels went up top and connected with an elbow smash. He then tuned up the band, but Cena countered the superkick into an STFU attempt. Michaels blocked, though, and struggled into an inverted figure four in center ring. Cena fought the hold and crawled toward the bottom rope to break the hold. The fans booed the rope break at 15:00.
Michaels dropkicked Cena off the ring apron to the floor, then he measured Cena for a moonsault from the apron to the floor and connected. Both men got up, then traded blows. Michaels smacked Cena into the ringpost, then Orton suddenly appeared and smashed Michaels and Cena from behind. Clunky spot. The ref called for the bell. Orton then took a chair into the ring with Cena. He measured Cena for an RKO into the chair, but Cena blocked and dropped Orton ass-first onto the seat of the chair. Cena then lifted up Orton, nearly lost his balance, and nailed an FU in center ring. Cena's music hit and he sold a knee injury.
WINNER: No Contest in 16:00. The crowd and I'm sure many viewers at home were burnt out by this point. The match was fine, but I question giving away a marquee singles match with little fanfare that has the potential to water down the big WrestleMania matches. (**1/4)
They cut backstage where Triple H was smiling along watching the monitor. He said it's been an entertaining two weeks with Cena and Orton running the show. Hunter, looking into the camera, said it will be Cena and Orton in the same ring next week. He said it won't be one-on-one, though. Hunter said it will be Orton and Cena together. He said they'll be teamed up against...the entire Raw roster. Hunter smiled, then they cut back to the ring where Cena was walking around the ring with a frown on his face. Apparently he didn't see Hunter's promo, or did he? Cena posed in the ring while Orton grimaced on the mat. End show at seven minutes past the top of the hour.
We welcome your 1-10 score and comments on this show for a "Raw Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on Raw, click here.
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