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CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 2/22: Complete coverage of Elimination Chamber fallout, big WM26 matches set up, Jewel & Ty Murray guest host

Feb 22, 2010 - 10:15:00 PM
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WWE Raw Live Report
February 22, 2009
Live from Indianapolis, Ind.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor


WWE Raw started with a video package on last night's Elimination Chamber PPV with John Cena winning the WWE Title in the Raw brand's Chamber match before Batista took the title thanks to Mr. McMahon. So, now we find out the fallout.

Live in the arena, pyro shot off in the building to show people that WWE still knows how to work pyro after The Undertaker's scare last night. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler introduced the show, focusing on a slow-motion replay of Shawn Michaels costing Taker the World Title. Also, there was a mechanical bull in the arena. Cue up a graphic of Jewel and pro bullrider Ty Murray guest-hosting the show tonight.

In-ring: Justin Roberts introduced the new World Hvt. champion Chris Jericho to start the show. Interesting way to start. Out came Jericho smiling from ear to ear with the title belt over his shoulder. Jericho, dressed in a suit, smugly adjusted his tie as the announcers recapped Jericho being gifted the title at the PPV. Once Jericho's music stopped, the boos came down. "I'm going to WrestleMania!" Jericho declared like Drew Brees a few weeks ago. Mostly boos as Jericho paused to let it sink in. Jericho then talked about beating Undertaker twice (including Smackdown two episodes ago) and not many men being able to do that. He repeated, "I am the World Hvt. champion" a few times before making sure the audience understands.

Cue up Edge's music for the interruption. Edge didn't come out through the ring entrance, though. Edge suddenly bolted through the back of the ring and waited for Jericho to turn around to spear him. Edge then took the mic and told Jericho he's going to WrestleMania..."against me!" It's official with Jericho vs. Edge for the World Title at WrestleMania. Edge then took off and Jericho collected himself with a crybaby expression.

The announcers reset what just happened, but then John Cena's music hit and Cena stomped out to the ring not too happy with things after losing the title to Batista last night. Cena paused once he hit the ring, collected himself, and opened by saying he can be added to the list of wrestlers who have been screwed by Vince McMahon. Cena said if McMahon wants to do business that way, then he wants to do business too. He said because he was champion last night, he wants his re-match right now. Cue up Vince McMahon's music.

Out came McMahon on stage looking quite happy with him. McMahon said he made a business deal with Batista and now Bret Hart is somewhere in Calgary, Alberta with a broken ankle thoroughly humiliated. "Thank you, Dave," McMahon said. McMahon said his business arrangement was that if Batista wanted a WWE Title match anytime, anyplace, he could have it. McMahon said it's not personal, but business. He said if it was personal, then he could go back to last week when Cena told Batista if he wants some, come get some. Cena shouted back that he's taking back the WWE Title now, dammit. McMahon told him tough luck because Batista isn't defending until WrestleMania.

McMahon then mentioned Sheamus also has a re-match. He polled the audience on who deserves the re-match and they naturally responded with a Cena chant. McMahon said he's going to make a business deal tonight. If Cena wins tonight, he gets Batista at WrestleMania. But, if Cena loses, Sheamus gets the title shot. He said if Sheamus wins, then Cena will be sitting in the seats or in the locker room. Cena cut off McMahon and they had an intense cross-talk exchange before Cena demanded to know who he's facing tonight. The camera zoomed in tight on McMahon as he milked the moment before saying, "Batista." Cena did his stone-face look as McMahon smirked from the stage. The announcers sold the usual stacked deck against Cena as they cut to break. PYB (3) talk time: 9:45. Good opening segment to set up a WrestleMania main event and the next one to be found out later in the show. I'm not a fan of Cena vs. Batista on free TV if that turns into the WrestleMania title match, but they set this up pretty well.

[Q2]

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Justin Roberts randomly announced the finals of the Divas Title tournament tonight. Figures. Maryse was out first, followed by Gail Kim. Off we go.

1 -- MARYSE vs. GAIL KIM -- Divas Title Tournament Finals

The bell sounded and Gail went for a very quick roll-up. That would have been an appropriate finish with WWE doing all kinds of absurdity with this tournament. Very fast pace here, as they seemed to be trying to do a five-minute match in two minutes. Maryse cut off Gail's brief comeback and hit the hair-flipping DDT for the pin and the win. And we have a new Divas champion after stretching out this tournament for two months.

WINNER: Maryse at 3:10 to capture the Divas Title. I'm just glad this tournament is over after WWE stretched the heck out of this for so long. Gail deserved better than how she was booked the last two nights. Maryse as the new champ should make for interesting TV going forward. (*)

[Commercial Break]

Backstage: Ty Murray was talking to the Bella Twins. The camera panned left to show Jewel on crutches. They worked her injury into the storyline where she claimed she injured her ankle riding the bull - the same one the Divas will be riding later. Of course, Jillian Hall walked in to challenge Jewel on the singing. She tried to sing, but Jewel cut her off. Jewel then sang the real version, which Jillian thought was her trying to show her up. Jewel then reached back and slapped Jillian across the face. Alicia Fox checked on her friend and walked off.

[Q3]

Backstage: They showed Randy Orton staring off in deep thought. Cody Rhodes then walked in and said the entire purpose of the group was to ensure Orton would be headlining WrestleMania. Cody talked about Ted DiBiase going to Mania because he's inducting his old man into the Hall of Fame. He questioned how they're going to function tonight in a tag match. Orton cut off Cody and said if there's anyone to blame, it should be him. Orton said he's screwed up lately and he asked for a six-man tag to show they're still a unit. Cody didn't know what to make of Orton taking the blame. He told Cody to tell Ted... "I'm sorry." Orton walked off, then Ted walked in to ask how it went. Cody said it went really well. "Almost too well," Cody said. Ted asked if they're sticking to the plan. "Absolutely," Cody said. They stared off camera where Orton disappeared to. Nice segment.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Up next was the six-man tag match. Out first was the mid-card babyface trio of Yoshi Tatsu making his Raw debut coming over from the ECW brand, Evan Bourne, and Kofi Kingston, who was in a WWE Title match last night. Legacy then came out and the announcers talked up the Elimination Chamber damage. Lawler said Triple H is not here and Sheamus is out with a concussion.

2 -- LEGACY (RANDY ORTON & TED DIBIASE & CODY RHODES) vs. KOFI KIGNSTON & EVAN BOURNE & YOSHI TATSU

Yoshi started things off and the announcers talked up Yoshi signing as a free agent. Bourne then tagged in and worked over Cody before setting up the Air Bourne. Cody crotched Bourne, though, and took Bourne off the top rope with the Alabama Slam for a two count. They cut to break with the action in the ring rather than on the floor.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, DiBiase was working over Bourne, who came back with a double knee smash on DiBiase to cut off Ted. Bourne sold crawling across the desert to his corner and he tagged in Kofi, who came in hot with flying offense on DiBiase. Kofi then tried to warm up the Boom Drop, but Orton distracted the ref and Cody smashed Kofi from behind on the ring apron.

[Q4] The match continued with Orton entering the match and scoop-slamming Kofi three straight times. The dreaded scoop slam! Kofi battled back, but Orton cut him off with an uppercut. Orton then dropped a knee across the throat before settling in a classic reverse chinlock. Getting back to the basics here. Orton just started walking around the ring, then Cody blind-tagged himself into the match. Orton stared at Cody, then grabbed Cody as he was trying to enter the ring and hooked him for the classic horizontal spike DDT. Orton bailed from the ring, then DiBiase got in his face. "What was that all about? What's your problem?! Tell me right now!" Orton then snapped and dropped Ted on the floor padding with the RKO. The crowd was hot for the latest from Orton. Back in the ring, Yoshi tagged in for Kofi and gave Cody a rolling snapmare into a kick. He then tagged in Bourne, who went up top and nailed Air Bourne on Cody, who folded his legs like a dead insect as Bourne pinned him for the win.

Post-match: They cut to a shot of Orton standing on the entranceramp glaring down into the ring as the announcers talked up Orton beating Legacy to the punch. They showed DiBiase collecting himself on the floor and Cody writhing in pain on the mat before plugging Batista vs. Cena tonight. Also, HBK explains himself tonight.

WINNERS: Bourne & Tatsu & Kofi at 9:50. Fine match for the storyline purpose of setting up the latest split tease with Legacy. I'm waiting to see where it goes heading to WrestleMania before analyzing what happened here. Good advancement this week. (*1/4)

[Commercial Break]

NXT plug: They plugged the debut of NXT tomorrow night on Syfy.

Video package: Cole fed to a video package on Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker dating back to WrestleMania 25, then Michaels throwing out the challenge for Taker at WM26 during the Slammys Award show late last year. They rolled a music video on Taker-Michaels from WM26 and more clips of their storyline development over the past few months, including Michaels failing at the Royal Rumble despite eliminating Triple H, and then leading to Michaels costing Taker the World Title at the PPV last night. They had a voice-over on Hunter telling Michaels he's obsessed with Taker a few weeks ago.

In-ring: Shawn Michaels's music hit to bring out Michaels in street clothes and a Cowboy hat. Looks like Ty Murray. Michaels placed his hat on the ringpost and began his promo saying he's not going to explain a whole lot here. He said he did what he had to do at the PPV and he's heard the rumor of Taker being here tonight. Michaels said he's counting on a reaction tonight. Cue up the gong one minute before the top of the hour.

[Q5 -- second hour]

They had the flames and pyro and regular Taker intro on stage. Out came Undertaker this time wearing a full armored jacket. No flames shot up as Taker walked on stage. They saved the flames for after Taker reached the walkway. Whew. It will be hard to look at that entrance again without thinking of the fire incident. Anyways, Taker slowly walked to the ring and entered. He stood a few feet away from Michaels maintaining a deadlock with him. "You wanted my attention, now you have it," Undertaker said in his best Clint Eastwood voice. John Wayne said people called their match last year the best match ever, but as flattering as that is, he wrestled a perfect match - no wait, nearly a perfect match. "I made one mistake," Michaels said. "And it cost me everything." Michaels said he can't live with that. He begged Taker for a re-match, but Taker refused. "You ignored me," Michaels said. "You didn't leave me any choice and that's why I cost you the World Hvt. championship. I know you're angry at me. I know as you stand there, you can't wait to get your hands on me. And that's okay. You want your revenge. Face me at WrestleMania and get your revenge." Taker sneered before turning to Michaels. "You're on. I accept," Taker declared. Michaels turned and walked away. "On one condition," Taker said. Michaels turned back to Taker. "This year, you have to put up something as well," he said. "Your soul. This year won't be enough. If you defeat me, you end The Streak. But, if I beat you, your career is over." The crowd popped as Michaels maintained a stern look toward Taker. Michaels continued to stare back. "That's it, Shawn, The Streak vs. Your Career." Michaels continued to stare back. Michaels walked a few steps closer to Taker. "You don't get it!" he said. "If I can't beat you at WrestleMania, I have no career. (pause) You're on!" They continued to stare back at each other before Taker's gong hit to fade out. PYB (3) talk time: 9:20. Awesome, awesome set-up for Taker vs. Michaels at Mania. Great segment.

Announcers: Before going to break, they plugged Cena vs. Batista tonight. They cut backstage to show former ECW champion Christian walking down the hallway. He signed with Raw and he's in a MITB qualifying match next.

[Commercial Break. A spot aired for TNA Impact moving to Monday nights on March 8. Good insertion here. "The War is Back," is the slogan.]

In-ring: Justin Roberts introduced the first MITB qualifying match for the Money in the Bank at WrestleMania. Christian came out first. They plugged NXT's debut tomorrow night and cued up an inset promo from Heath Slater talking about being mentored by Christian. Carlito then came out as Christian's opponent here. Actually, he ran to the ring. Cue up an inset promo from Michael Tarver talking about himself with Carlito as his Pro.

[Q6]

3 -- CHRISTIAN vs. CARLITO -- Money in the Bank qualifying match

The announcers talked up the MITB concept with the same "innovative" wording as the NXT concept debuting tomorrow night. Christian and Carlito went back and forth with the briefcase hanging above the ring as the prize here. Christian hit a fallaway inverted DDT before trying a corner move, only to have Carlito drop him on his face. Carlito followed with a spinning neckbreaker, but it was only good for a two count. Christian then teased the Killswitch twice before ramming Carlito into the corner ringpost. Christian followed with the Killswitch for the pin and the win. He's going to WrestleMania. Christian then surveyed the Peeps and stared at the WrestleMania 26 banner hanging in the arena.

WINNER: Christian at 3:01 to qualify for the MITB match. Kind of a throw-it-out-there match that was competitive, but too short to build to a good TV match. WWE obviously sees Christian at that mid-card level right now, so he just needs to "stay in the game" and eventually move up to a higher place on the card. Patience here. (*)

Entrance area: They showed the mechanical bull to plug Divas bullriding coming up next with Khali's lover, the pregnant woman with Hornswoggle's child, and the two male Divas. Oh, that's right, the Jerry Springer segment was a work.

[Commercial Break]

Stage area: They went to the mechanical bullriding segment with the divas. Eve, then Kelly Kelly, then the Bella Twins rode the bull as if they were in a cheap bar with dim lights and some guy who dropped out of high school screaming and shouting with a whistle. Just my opinion here, but this is just degrading, objectifying TV for the women on the roster. After each diva completed an eight-second ride, The Miz and Big Show came out to interrupt. Miz asked, "This is what this show has devolved to?" Jewel yodeled in response to Miz, who said this show revolves around the Unified tag champs. Murray said they're just trying to have some fun. Show said it's no big deal because anyone could ride the mechanical bull. They're back in the carnival days with Show challenged to step up to the bull.

[Q6] Show hopped down to the floor and stretched it out before approaching the bull. Show staggered over to the bull and gingerly hopped on like a clumsy oaf. Cue up the bull music and a much faster version for show to ride. And off he went. Show tried not to break a smile here. Miz complained about it not being fair. Murray mocked Miz's voice, then the bull started taunting Show. "You want a piece of me?!" Show shouted at a mechanical bull. Show then tried a KO Punch, but the bull moved and Show missed. But they sold it as Show hitting. It doesn't matter anyways. Jewell called it "stuffed animal cruelty." Miz said this was just another guest host activity ending with utter disappointment. "Just like the Colts in the Super Bowl," Miz said. Cheap heat to save the segment. Ouch. The crowd ate it up with boos, then Jewel said she's going to call Miz and Show Mr. and Mrs. Clean because they're facing the team who wiped the floor with them last week on Raw. Tag title match up next against MVP and Mark Henry. Interesting to note the last two weeks have included severe rips on pointless guest-hosting segments. Could be a hint of a post-Mania phase out. I liked Jewel and Murray here, but they weren't given much to work with.

[Commercial Break]

Backstage: Miz and Show were warming up in the ring before Henry and MVP came to the ring to challenge for the titles. Didn't MVP cash in a title match last night for the U.S. Title? Anyways, they showed a clean-shaven Daniel Bryan standing in the back sporting a suit and a short-cropped haircut watching a monitor to check out Miz warming up. Wow. Bryan Danielson, how do you do? Actually a nice, sharp look after the shock of seeing a clean version of Danielson.

4 -- Unified tag champions BIG SHOW & U.S. champion THE MIZ vs. MARK HENRY & MVP -- Unified tag title match

Henry was sporting a taped shoulder to sell the crash through the barricade at the PPV last night. Nice follow-up. After some initial action, Cole mentioned Daniel Bryan wrestling all over the world for the last ten years and Miz ripping him for not looking like a star in his blog. Lawler said "sometimes the truth hurts" and sometimes you need mentoring to develop an ego. Henry then tagged in and headbutted Show before working on Show with his one good arm. Henry hit a splash, but he dropped down to the mat selling the effects. Miz then tried a splash in some confusion, but Henry dropped him with the World's Strongest Slam. Show is legal and he waited for Henry to turn around to drop him with the KO Punch for the pin and the win. Miz and Show celebrated their latest successful title defense to close the brief segment.

WINNERS: Show & Miz at 2:46 to retain the Unified tag titles. Another short match that defied logic on why you put a title match on TV if it's only going to last three minutes. The additional plug for NXT was fine. I just need some time to adjust to a clean-looking Bryan Danielson. (*)

Up next: Cue up the Hart music and a plug for a health update on Bret Hart up next after last week's car crash angle.

[Commercial Break]

[Q8]

Announcers: Cole and Lawler talked on-camera about Jewel and Murray guest-hosting the show tonight. Cole plugged Jewel's new single before going to the Hall of Fame plug. After showing Ted DiBiase and Antonio Inoki as the first two inductees, they announced...Wendi Richter for the Hall of Fame. Wow. They focused on Richter being made a star during the Rock 'n Roll era with Cyndi Lauper and Fabulous Moolah. No focus on the Original Screwjob that sent her away from WWE for over 25 years. Roddy Piper is inducting her. I covered the Original Screwjob last year, which you can read at this link.

Back to Cole, who talked about Bret Hart's injuries with the ligament damage injury. They rolled footage from last week's Raw when Hart said his good-byes before he was run over by the mystery woman in the parking garage.

Backstage: Vince McMahon suddenly appeared on camera to say he really was considering facing Bret Hart at WrestleMania because he was looking forward to competition against Hart. McMahon said he categorically denies any involvement in the car accident. He said he's inviting Hart back next week to give him a proper farewell. He said he'll even provide an ambulance, wheelchair, or hydraulic lift to give the fans a proper good-bye. Next step in The Theory of Hart and Cena possibly staging this to set up Hart vs. an overconfident McMahon at WrestleMania.

Backstage: They showed John Cena trying to gather himself as he sold The Moment before facing Batista in the main event.

[Commercial Break]

NXT plug: One more look at the debut show tomorrow night in ECW's old timeslot.

Announcers: Lawler said he was told during the break that Bret Hart has accepted McMahon's offer to be on Raw next week from Oklahoma City. They plugged Cheech & Chong guest-hosting Raw next week. Lawler was all giddy. "Smoking," he said. Also next week, Randy Orton vs. Ted DiBiase. They plugged the first two announced WrestleMania matches before Cena's music hit one minute before the top of the hour.

[Q9 -- over-run]

After Cena completed his entrance with the announcers reminding viewers what's at stake with Cena or Sheamus facing Batista at WrestleMania, there was a long pause with Cena bouncing around the ring. Apparently Batista paid off the music guy to make Cena sweat. Batista then came out with the WWE Title belt around his waist. Single spotlight on Batista as he slowly made his way to the ring. Slowly. Slowly. Slowly. Looking at a long over-run or very short match. Batista even adjusted his kneepads on the ring steps to keep prolonging this. Batista so great as a heel here.

5 -- WWE champion BATISTA vs. JOHN CENA -- non-title match

The bell sounded and Cena charged Batista in the corner, but Batista heeled into the corner to avoid a clean lock up. Batista then out of nowhere kneed Cena below the belt. The announcers sold confusion. Or maybe they just were. The ref called for the bell and Batista was DQ'ed, giving Cena the win. Post-match: Batista mockingly clapped for Cena before kicking him in the face and pounding away on Cena with an evil grin on his face. Batista then slowly left the ring and did some more shadow-boxing on the entrance ramp. Cena slowly got to his knees and Batista turned around to see Cena moving again. He ran back into the ring and chucked Cena into the ringpost before Cena fell to the floor. Batista followed by chucking Cena into the guardrail in front of some concerned pro-Cena fans. Batista then rammed Cena back-first into the ringpost. Cena writhed in pain before Batista walked away again to big heel heat.

Refs and medics checked on Cena. "Go get 'em," Batista said in between coughs as medics ran down to ringside. Batista then decided he wasn't done and he walked back to ringside to retrieve a chair. Batista proceeded to pop Cena across the back with a chair shot. Cena started to pull himself up, then Batista cracked him with another chair shot. Cena started twitching to sell nerve damage. The crowd chanted Cena's name as Cena got up again with Batista landing another chair shot to the back. Batista said he has all day. Batista with another shot to the upper back. A little too close to the head on that one.

Batista chuckled to himself, then slowly left the ringside area with chair in hand. They went to a replay of the "match" where Batista just punted Cena in the crotch to cause a DQ. "Why, though," Cole asked rhetorically. Cole and Lawler tried to figure out the obvious that Batista wants Cena at WrestleMania. Back live, Batista triumphantly raised his arms in victory on the stage. He smiled for the crowd as Cena was shown selling mass pain on the floor to wrap the show.

WINNER: Cena via DQ at 0:25, Cena advances to face Batista for the WWE Title at WrestleMania. Another storyline-driven match that at least didn't try to be a "match" like the Unified tag title match and they didn't give away anything before their WrestleMania title match. The story, though, was a hot, hot angle to set up Batista vs. Cena at WrestleMania. Batista is on fire as a heel and Cena plays that sympathetic babyface card very well. The little things Batista does really adds up to building his character. (n/a)

FINAL THOUGHT: Very focused show building to the top three matches at WrestleMania. (Jericho vs. Edge was a side thought, but it's more for Smackdown to focus on.) Top star honors have to go to Batista, Orton, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, and Cena on this show. Next week, we should find out where WWE is taking the Legacy split on the way to WrestleMania.

We welcome your 0-10 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, email to pwtorch@gmail.com using our Feedback form.


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