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TV REPORTS
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 3/1: Complete coverage of Bret Hart's return, Unified tag title match, Cheech & Chong host

Mar 1, 2010 - 10:10:01 PM
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WWE Raw Live Report
March 1, 2009
Live from Oklahoma City, Okla.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor


WWE Raw started with fireworks shooting off in OKC with Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler introducing the show and hyping a "Farewell to Bret 'Hitman' Hart" tonight. They also plugged Randy Orton vs. Ted DiBiase tonight.

In-ring: Cue up Shawn Michaels's music to start the show. Interesting start. As Michaels walked to the ring, they played an abbreviated version of The Video Package highlighting what led to last week when Michaels vs. Taker - Career vs. Streak - was set up for WrestleMania. Back live, Michaels was in a dark arena setting with a loud "HBK, HBK" chant before he could start. Michaels looked around the arena before talking about a buzz around the WWE locker room with everyone thinking he's crazy for putting his career on the line at Mania. Michaels said as he walks the halls, he sees his peers and all they can do is look away. "I see them standing over in the corner whispering," Michaels said. "Not a one of them believes in me. Not one of them believes that I can defeat The Undertaker at WrestleMania." Michaels paused for a cheer.

Michaels said he recognizes The Streak is at 17-0, but no one has given him a run for his money like he did last year. He also knows beyond a shadow of a doubt - as an undeniable fact - that every man, woman, or child knows he is Mr. WrestleMania. Pause for a louder cheer. He said he believes he can end Taker's undefeated Streak. But for all of his peers who don't believe in him, he wants to give them an opportunity to come to the ring, look him in the eyes, and tell him he can't win. The camera went to a shot of the entranceramp...pause...Triple H's music hit. Nice.

Triple H slowly walked out on stage, then walked to the ring as Michaels shot him a dumbfounded look. Hunter entered the ring and slowly walked up to Michaels, who opened, "You of all people." Hunter interrupted and said, "No, I don't think you can beat The Undertaker at WrestleMania." Pause... "I know you can!" Hunter said it's not about the people or the cameras, but them right here, right now. He said he's wrestled everybody in the business for the last 15 years and he can tell Shawn honestly that he's the best he's ever been in the ring with. Hunter talked about the locker room not believing him. He said no one in the locker room is on his level because he has no peers. Hunter told him he truly is Mr. WrestleMania.

Hunter said the Road to WrestleMania always takes them down different paths and he can say with 100 percent certainty, DX will never die, but it's going to be a long time before the people see them together again. Hunter said he hates for the last image of them being a Unified tag title loss. That's why he's invoked the re-match clause. Tonight. Big crowd pop. Michaels took the mic and said he believes...pause for loud "DX" chant. Michaels said he appreciates what Hunter said and did, but they're going down separate paths. Hunter said it's not about defending the tag titles at Mania, as matter of fact, the champs don't have to defend for 30 days, so they should focus on the day after WrestleMania. He said they'll throw a party the Raw after WrestleMania to celebrate ending Taker's Streak.

Hunter said he believes Michaels will still be here the night after Mania. "I believe that The Undertaker's Streak at WrestleMania will have come to an end," Hunter said. "I believe that you will beat The Undertaker." Hunter said that's just what he believes, so what do you believe? "HBK, HBK" chant from the crowd. Michaels said he believes they have some tag team titles to win tonight. Cue up the DX theme music and Hunter and Michaels slapped hands to celebrate them having a tag title match later. PYB (3) talk time: 9:40. Nice segment. They needed to find a way to stretch Michaels-Taker to Mania, so this was a good use of Triple H to get there. We'll see if they set up Hunter's Mania match in the tag title situation.

[Q2]

Backstage: Cheech and Chong were in their backstage office looking at their setting, then the Bella Twins walked in to talk about their tour. Some sweet-talking, then the Bellas walked off with Cheech. Hornswoggle then walked in with some Lucky Charms to present to Chong. Cue up a psychedelic moment with some far-out elevator music and the camera shot spinning. Fortunately, they cut to a plug for Randy Orton vs. Ted DiBiase up next.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Randy Orton's music hit to bring out Orton after they replayed Orton taking out Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes last week on Raw. Orton wasn't done completing his ring entrance when Legacy's music hit to bring out Ted DiBiase.

1 -- RANDY ORTON vs. TED DIBIASE

The bell sounded and they circled around the ring before DiBiase landed a kick to the gut, but Orton fired back with right hands. Lawler equated this to NXT with Orton mentoring DiBiase to where DiBiase thought he knew more than his mentor. Cole, defending the "Rookie" in the equation, said perhaps DiBiase got tired of Orton's methods. So weird with Cole defending a "Rookie" on Monday nights and ripping them on Tuesdays. At 1:30, DiBiase chucked Orton to the floor and they brawled until Orton bounced DiBiase's head off the ringpost. Orton returned to the ring and glared down at DiBiase as they cut to break.

[Commercial Break. A spot ran for the new Slim Jim commercial featuring Edge. They had one of the Bella Twins standing next to Edge, who was sitting on a "throne of wisdom."]

Back from break, DiBiase was pounding on Orton in the ring. DiBiase landed right hand blows before ramming Orton head-first into the corner turnbuckle. Unfortunately, DiBiase hasn't been built up as a heel, so the audience is silent for DiBiase's heel work. They came to life when Orton kicked out of a close nearfall before DiBiase applied a modified Cobra Clutch. Orton fought out of the hold, then clotheslined Orton for a two count. They traded haymakers from a standing position, then Orton hit a powerslam off the ropes. Orton then began to stomp away on DiBiase before landing a big knee drop.

[Q3] Orton began stalking DiBiase for the RKO as the crowd rallied behind him. The crowd popped for Cody Rhodes running down to the ring to distract Orton. Orton and DiBiase exchanged pin attempts, then Cody stormed the ring and attacked Orton, with the match thrown out. Both Ted and Cody beat down Orton, then Orton suddenly fought back against both of them. Orton landed a dropkick that cleared DiBiase, then Rhodes ate a fallaway backbreaker. Orton then tried a snap DDT, but DiBiase pulled Rhodes out of the way. Cue up Orton's theme music with Orton standing tall in the ring.

WINNER: No Contest at 9:01. This is such a muddy affair that it's not clear where, if anywhere, they're going with this leading to WrestleMania. DiBiase and Rhodes have zero credibility as a heel unit - they can't even effectively execute a two-on-one beating. Orton is a sympathetic babyface right now, which is the only redeeming quality of this program. (*1/2)

NXT plug: They plugged the NXT show with highlights from the first episode, encouraging viewers to tune in tomorrow night on Syfy.

[Commercial Break]

Backstage: Back live, they went to a shot of a limo pulling up backstage. Out came Bret Hart sporting a cast over his left leg. No one there to help him? He was on a crutch, bringing back memories of the Hart Foundation angles from the mid-1990s.

Backstage: They had the trippy camera angle and presentation with Chong giving "Eve" a shoulder massage. Cheech walked back in and snapped him out of it, asking why he was giving William Regal a massage. Regal, indignant, jumped off the couch. They talked about the "sugar" in the Lucky Charms. Sugar = weed if you're scoring at home. Cheech then talked to "Kelly Kelly," but it was Chris Masters standing there. Masters talked, but it was Kelly Kelly's voice. He/She asked why he's still staring at his/her chest. Masters did the pec dance, then more Hornswoggle with Lucky Charms. Chong asked if there are any mushrooms...er...marshmallows. Cut. Such a stupid, waste-of-time segment part II. Just end the guest-hosting garbage...after Austin hosts, of course.

Video package: They rolled video of Batista taking out John Cena at the end of last week's Raw. Lawler then plugged a possible confrontation between Cena and Batista tonight.

[Commercial Break]

[Q4]

Video package: They recapped Christian winning the Money in the Bank qualifying match over Carlito last week. Cole listed Dolph Ziggler, Kane, and Shelton Benjamin as the qualifiers on Smackdown.

In-ring: Jack Swagger came out for a MITB qualifying match in his home state. Swagger soaked up the adoration in his mind, then Santino came out to challenge Swagger.

2 -- JACK SWAGGER vs. SANTINO MARELLA - Money in the Bank qualifying match

Swagger quickly ate left hand blows, then Santino ducked under a clothesline. Swagger shook it off and blasted Santino with a clothesline before hitting the gutwrench powerbomb. Pin and the win in under 30 seconds. They'll have another qualifying match later in the show, Cole said.

WINNER: Swagger at 0:27 to qualify for MITB. Nice squash to get some focus back on Swagger. As I said in the VIP Hotline last week, Swagger is a good addition to the match to execute some power offense and set up spots using the mid-sized wrestlers. (n/a)

Backstage: Rockstar Dave Batista walked out of his locker room dressed in heavy black from head-to-toe. He told his assigned security to stay out of his spotlight when he walks to the ring. Confrontation vs. Cena up next.

Video package: They rolled a video on Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker to hype WrestleMania 26 with the musical background tone of two gunslingers going at it in the Old West.

[Commercial Break]

NXT plug: A different voice-over man promoted tomorrow night's episode focusing on meeting Skip Sheffield and Justin Gabriel.

In-ring: John Cena's music hit five minutes before the top of the hour to a typically huge pop. Cena soaked up the crowd response once his music stopped. Apparently he's fresh as a daisy after the beating at the end of Raw last week. Cena said he's had some time to think about what happened at Elimination Chamber. He said Batista was smart enough to algin with Vince McMahon and do a nice business deal. Last week on Raw, though, Batista "ambushed him." They were in a match, how is that an ambush? Anyways, Cena said he used to consider Batista a friend, but now he has a problem with him.

Cena transitioned into saying his silver lining in all of this is that he is going to WrestleMania and headlining in a WWE Title match. Cena said he needs to pay Batista back. And he believes they should do this right now. Cena stood his ground in the ring, then Batista's music hit to bring out security. Batista then slowly walked out on stage standing in his spotlight holding up the WWE Title belt. Cena laughed as Batista continued to act like an entitled star.

[Q5 -- second hour]

Batista's music stopped and Cena asked why the big, bad animal is rolling with security. Batista said the security isn't for him, but for Cena. He said these men are going to make sure he doesn't come down to the ring and hurt him again. Cena told Batista to come down to the ring or just stand there like a big...pansy. PG-friendly comeback, followed by a typical Batista cough. This actually created a "pansy" chant. Batista chuckled to himself and said he'll explain himself - he wanted to face Cena at WrestleMania, so he lost, Cena got what he wanted, and he got what he wanted.

Batista went through history about their rise being practically identical. WrestleMania 21 to now. Batista said they're two of the biggest stars since the Attitude Era. He referenced WM21 and said they've never looked back since then, but for some insane reason, this company has decided to label Cena as "the man." Crowd popped for that. "John Cena - the name and face of the WWE," Batista said mockingly. "Championships...magazine covers...commercials...movies." He said somehow the torch was passed from Stone Cold Steve Austin to Cena, but it should have been him. "I'm the biggest star in this company!" he declared. The crowd interrupted with a "Cena, Cena" chant before Batista continued that he did what he did last week to prove he's better than Cena. "The second reason is plain and simple - I just can't stand you!"

Cena said this is all about some fictional torch that no one's actually seen? Cena told Batista to focus up because this is about them two in the ring. He said he's the first one to show up and last one to leave, but Batista can't even show up on time. Cena said he's given his freakin' life for this business and Batista expects the business to be given to him. He told Batista to look in the mirror and see he's selfish, always will be, and always has been. Batista said he agrees with that because he doesn't care about the audience. "I am here to make money, win titles, and I don't care if these people cheer me or boo me," Batista said. Best promo line ever. Batista told Cena to keep on kissing babies and hugging fat girls while he's in the gym somewhere thinking about beating the crap out of Cena at Mania. Batista said every time they're in the ring together, bad things happen...to Cena. He reminded Cena of when he broke his neck.

Cena tried to interrupt, but Batista shot back that whatever Cena says is irrelevant. He said all Cena does is bark, bark while all he does is destroy folks. Batista told Cena to deliver one of his little catchphrases or say something inspiring. Cena waited for a crowd applause, then the camera went back to Batista for the money line: "You can't beat me, John, and deep down, you know it." Batista dropped the mic and turned his back on the audience before holding up the WWE Title belt for all to see. Cue up Batista's theme music with Cena standing lock-jawed in the ring - the hero's quest before him. PYB (3) talk time: 12:35. Batista's promo might have been the best promo I've seen in a long, long time. Batista has absolutely nailed his character and his talking points, which effectively incite WWE's casual audience every time. The line about winning titles, making money, and training in the gym for WrestleMania was perfect. Cena facing a quest to be more than just a WWE P.R. machine product is a great storyline for Cena going to Mania. Just awesome, awesome, awesome TV.

Announcers: Cole plugged Bret Hart's farewell to come later in the show. Lawler plugged the Unified tag title match coming up.

[Commercial Break. A spot ran for TNA to March 8 focusing on Hulk Hogan's in-ring return for the big tag match between Hogan and Ric Flair.]

Backstage: More Cheech and Chong munching on Lucky Charms. Chavo Guerrero was then shown wearing a Mariachi outfit. Carlito and Primo were shown wearing stereotypical outfits. Primo said they're Puerto Rican and they can't stand each other. Katie Lea Burchill was wearing some wacky outfit too. Yoshi Tatsu then walked in wearing a moustache. Suddenly, The Rooster was back from the DX-McMahon feud from four years ago. It was Santino's voice plugging a divas pillow fight to come. From greatness to crap all in the matter of a segment.

In-ring: Zack Ryder was in the ring for a MITB qualifying match. MVP then came out to face Ryder.

[Q6]

3 -- MVP vs. ZACK RYDER (w/Rosa Mendes) -- Money in the Bank qualifying match

Cole and Lawler's only talking points on Ryder were his ring attire. Lawler seemed dumbfounded by this Ryder fellow. MVP then hit a Ballin' elbow drop and Rosa tried to distract MVP, but MVP hit the Playmaker on Ryder for the easy win.

WINNER: MVP at 0:46 to qualify for MITB. Ryder better shut his phone off on Friday. Geez. What a burial. (n/a)

Announcers: Cole and Lawler plugged a Divas pajama pillow fight up next. They showed Gail Kim and Eve playfully hitting each other on the way to the ring. This the day before Linda McMahon's first public debate in the Senate race after McMahon has spent five months saying WWE is just good, quality family PG TV?

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Cheech and Chong stumbled out to the ring and acted like they were high before introducing the babyface trio of Kelly Kelly, Eve, and Gail Kim to oppose the heel trio of Maryse, Alicia Fox, and Jillian Hall. All six were dressed in pajamas and swinging pillows. There's even a ref for this.

4 -- GAIL KIM & KELLY KELLY & EVE vs. Divas champion MARYSE & ALICIA FOX & JILLIAN HALL -- Pillow fight match

Cheech and Chong sat ringside in leather chairs intently watching the action as various pillow striking occurred in the ring. Eve then hit a flip splash on Alicia for the pin and the win. After the match, Cheech and Chong seemed lost before Hornswoggle jumped out from under the ring and tossed boxes of Lucky Charms to the guest hosts. They tossed some cereal into the crowd and threw it at the announcers. Cole tried to prevent Lawler from taking a bite. They acted stupid, then Cole fed into the latest Hall of Fame induction.

WINNERS: Team Eve at 1:57. Relatively tame compared to Attitude era segments of this ilk, but still not PG-TV. Now, it's just creepy with the grown women divas dressed up like little girls, like a bad CSI episode.

Hal of Fame induction: Old-school AWA with Mad Dog Vachon being announced for the Hall of Fame. They included classic AWA clips of Vachon in action, especially with Mean Gene Okerlund holding the stick. He'll be inducted by Pat Patterson.

Plug: Bret Hart's "farewell" up next.

[Q7]

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Cole plugged NXT tomorrow night. Cole and Lawler then focused on the WrestleMania 26 line-up.

In-ring: Justin Roberts began to introduce Bret Hart, but Vince McMahon's music interrupted and he walked out to take the mic from Roberts. McMahon built up Bret Hart before welcoming him out. Hart then limped out on stage barely using the crutch while his left foot was wrapped in a cast. They went back to two weeks ago when Bret Hart "tried to say good-bye" before the car wreck angle happened. Back live, McMahon introduced, "Bret Hart!" He wanted Hart to clear his name of the personal accident two weeks ago. Hart said he doesn't know if that's true, but ever since he returned to WWE, McMahon has treated him like a piece of garbage. He told McMahon to get the hell out of his ring. McMahon started to leave, but he stopped and had one more thing to say. He said Hart accused him of being a World Champion liar before, so if that's the case, he might as well be a World Champion! McMahon said he lied when he invited Hart back. Hart wanted to know why he invited him back. McMahon said it felt good to screw him at Survivor Series before asking Hart didn't he challenge him to a match at WrestleMania. "Did you challenge ME?!" McMahon shouted. Hart smirked and said he's currently incapacitated. McMahon surveyed the scene and mocked the injury before saying even a dried-up fossil can heal in six weeks. He said Hart didn't come back to WWE to "make things right" or "set the record straight," but because it's been eating him for years. "For years, you wanted to fight me!" Hart said that's fair enough because he's wanted to fight him for 13 years. McMahon said he wants him at WrestleMania. "Don't you remember who I am? I'm the guy who screwed you in Montreal. I'm the guy who sent you down to doubya-cee-doubya (WCW) and you wasted away."

[Q8] McMahon reminded him of the Stu Hart bait-and-switch for the Hall of Fame, then pleaded with Hart to get back in the ring one more time. McMahon said Hart's a Canadian hero after all. He then polled the audience on whether they want to see Bret Hart in a match at WrestleMania. Hart said he knows what he's trying to do: goad him into a match. But he's injured and has a broken leg. "Idiot," Hart declared. McMahon slowly walked over to Hart and said he hates to hear that because his last name used to stand for something, but now he's got no heart. McMahon said Hart has let everyone down. "Bret Hart, you're a coward!" McMahon shouted. He then kicked the crutch out from under Hart and Hart fell to the mat. Hart crawled over to his crutch as McMahon paced around the ring, then Hart chucked the crutch at McMahon.

McMahon left the ring and Hart snarled at him from inside the ring. McMahon called him a yellow coward. "You want a match at WrestleMania? You got it!" Hart declared. McMahon smiled and soaked in the moment, envisioning a butt-whopping. Cole called it embarrassing. Hart's music stopped and McMahon stopped the music to announce himself for a match next week to show how fit he is. He said he'll take on Hart's biggest fan: John Cena. Cue up McMahon's music and he limped around the stage mocking Hart's injury. PYB (3) talk time: 11:30. Off segment. Too much talking on the show, leading to a sad-looking Hart and McMahon not having the greatest interaction in history.

Backstage: They showed Miz and Big Show confidently walking down the hallway set to defend the tag titles next.

HBK DVD plug: They started plugging the upcoming Shawn Michaels DVD with some voice-overs from HBK going back through his history dating back to World Class as a "young boy." Classic. They showed clips of the Rockers, DX, his relationship with Bret Hart, WrestleMania 10 with the ladder and Razor, and the Iron Man Match.

[Commercial Break]

Plugs: Cole and Lawler plugged Criss Angel guest-hosting Raw next week. They plugged DiBiase & Rhodes vs. Orton in a handicap match next week. Also, McMahon vs. Cena.

In-ring: Cue up DX's theme music for the main event tag title match. Big Show and The Miz then walked out to the ring and they cut to a break four minutes before the top of the hour.

[Commercial Break]

5 -- Unified tag champions BIG SHOW & U.S. champion THE MIZ vs. DX (SHAWN MICHAELS & TRIPLE H) -- Unified tag title match

The match started with Michaels and Big Show starting things off against each other. Cole and Lawler plugged Big Show vs. Edge in a singles match on Smackdown this Friday.

[Q9 -- over-run] Show re-entered and Michaels fought him away to tag in Triple H, who waited for Show to run into him to set up a spinebuster. Miz tried to run into the ring, but Hunter gave him a spinebuster. Show then dropped Hunter with a chokeslam, but Michaels dropped Show with a superkick. Both Show and Hunter remained out cold as the ref went through a ten count. Hunter stirred at six, then Show stirred at seven. Show then tagged in Miz at nine and Michaels tagged in for Hunter. Michaels landed a flying fist on Miz before hitting an atomic drop, chop, and going up top. Michaels wanted a vintage flying elbow and he connected. Michaels then tuned up the band, but Undertaker suddenly appeared on the video screen. Just an image. No movement. There, the eyes rolled in the back of Taker's head. Michaels was fixated on Taker, then Michaels turned around to superkick Miz, but Miz ducked and rolled up Michaels with a jackknife pin. Ref Jack Doane fast-counted Michaels and Miz scored the three count for the win.

WINNERS: Miz & Big Show at 4:30. Short match fitting the theme of tonight's show with little wrestling and heavy storyline emphasis. Fine. (*)

Post-match: Michaels shook and shook while Hunter stood over him to offer consolation. Hunter put his hand on Michaels's shoulder, but Michaels snapped back, "Don't touch me!" Michaels then stormed up the entranceramp as Sheamus suddenly appeared out of nowhere and attacked Hunter. Sheamus clotheslined Hunter to the floor before landing a bicycle kick on Hunter into the announce table. "Sheamus sucks," chant from the crowd. Sheamus then leaned back against the ring as Hunter slowly pulled himself up. Sheamus measured Hunter before kicking him into the announce table. They replayed the highlights of Sheamus attacking Hunter before closing with a shot of Sheamus standing over Hunter's fallen body to close the show.

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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