TV REPORTS KELLER'S RAW REPORT 7/18: Ongoing "virtual time" analysis of live show
Jul 18, 2005 - 10:10:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
JULY 18, 2005
-Eric Bischoff interrupted ring announcements for the first match. He bemoaned being FU'd by John Cena last week. Cena then came out and welcomed everyone to the "new Raw." Bischoff said he was in charge and he was going to make him wrestle Gene Snitsky in a lumberjack match. He said he would be in no condition to defend his title by the time Summerslam arrives.
-The Raw opening aired, then Jim Ross, Coach, and Jerry Lawler introduced the show. They showed the cage hanging over the ring.
1 -- CARLITO vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN -- IC Title match
It was a no countout match, so Carlito couldn't use the same method to protect his title. Benjamin launched himself off the top rope toward Carlito on the floor, but slipped and almost came up way short. Carlito teased intentionally getting counted out, but was reminded by the ref he'd lose the title. Carlito hung Benjamin upside down inside the ring. Carlito tried to use the ropes for leverage. Benjamin made a comeback and they exchanged near falls. Once Carlito felt he was in danger of losing, he gave Benjamin an obvious low-blow prompting the DQ.
WINNER: Benjamin via DQ so Carlito retained the IC Title at 5:10.
STAR RATING: *1/4
-A recap aired of the Shawn Michaels-Hulk Hogan storyline.
-Kurt Angle came out for the Kurt Angle Invitational. He claimed he gave the hometown hero a free ride last week and made it appear he almost beat him, but in reality he was in control the whole time. He ripped on some Philadelphia Eagles in the front row. The players reacted well, playing into it. Angle then called out the latest hometown hero. It was the same Matt Striker as last week, again calling himself Matt Martel from Philadelphia. Angle said he already beat him once, so he was out of opportunities.
2 -- KURT ANGLE vs. MATT MARTEL
Martel nearly made Angle pass out. Angle stuck his tongue out like two hours dead roadkill, selling the rear naked choke well, even holding his breath enough to turn blue. Eventually, though Angle did escape and hit an Angle Slam and the anklelock for the tapout.
WINNER: Angle at 2:22.
STAR RATING: 1/2* -- I know this is just filler until they get rolling with Angle's first major Raw storyline, but at this point it seems like he's lost any momentum from the fresh environment of the brand switch.
-The Diva Contestants entered the ring along with Coach and Christy Hemme. Each said who they felt least deserved to remain in the competition. The crowd and booed and heckled throughout, some booing when various divas said who the think didn't deserve to win, others booing the entire segment in general. Eventually, Coach revealed that Simona was eliminated by fan voting last week. She looked sad, then said , "Oh well," shrugged her shoulders, and waved to the fans.
-Backstage, Kerwin White was practicing golf. Bischoff suggested he move to Scottsdale, Ariz., the "golf capital of the world." Kerwin said it sounded okay, but it was too close to the border. Then he let loose with a chummy laugh. Bischoff laughed along with him. Chris Jericho entered the room. Bischoff told Jericho that he liked his idea to put Cena in a lumberjack match against Cena. Jericho said he had a new idea. Bischoff said he was intrigued. Jericho said he wanted to challenge Cena to a Battle of the Bands next week on Raw. Jericho said that would only happen if Cena made it out of the building tonight.
-Todd Grisham interrupted Shawn Michaels on his cell phone. He told Michaels that Hulk Hogan was in the arena. Michaels feigned being scared, then wondered why it took him two weeks to response. He said his whole point was to give the fans one more match. He said they'd find out later if he was man enough for the challenge. He said he hoped he didn't let the fans down. "Let's see if he can step up to the Show Stopper."
-Chris Masters walked out and said nobody has been able to break the Master Lock. He upped the prize to $20,000. Hurricane's music played, then Rosey answered the challenge. Masters looked worried. Rosey put up a fight, but ended up passed out again. Ross and Lawler marvelled that Masters could get his arms wrapped around Rosey. Masters said, "Nobody breaks my Master Lock! Look at that! The bigger they are, the harder they fall." Big Show's music then interrupted. Masters really freaked out this time. Show walked out, saving his finger as if Masters had just said the wrong thing. Masters said he'd love to let Show take up his challenge, but then said, "No" and left. Show said, "You're just like a squirrel in the winter; you've got no nuts."
-Grisham interviewed Edge and Lita backstage. Edge said he's not feeling good about being locked in a cage with the deranged, psychotic loser like Kane. He said at least it will keep another deranged, psychotic loser out of the match. He said Grisham looked confused. He said he is talking about that person he's not allowed to talk about him. He mentioned he couldn't separate his personal life and professional life. He said he interrupted Lita on Byte This last week. He said since everyone has been asking, yes, the last six months of his life has been miserable. He said having geeks who sit at their keyboards who have never been in a relationship and have been commenting on their lives sucks. He got really angry, and actually showed some real emotion without the smarmy smirk that's usually underlying all of his promos. It felt as real as anything he's ever said on a promo. It's the first official comment of any kind, worked or shoot, he's made about that situation. [Check out the WWE News section for two detailed reports on Lita's interview on Byte This last Thursday that included Matt Hardy calling in.]
-Hulk Hogan came out at the top of the second hour with a full-fledged ring entrance. A loud "Hogan, Hogan" chant rang out. The fans cheered him nonstop. He played into it beautifully, like no other wrestler can. He said the first thing he wanted to do was thank his Hulkamaniacs for making his new show the highest rated premiere ever on VH1. He said despite all of his travels, there's no way he'd miss being in Philly tonight, "brother." They showed Hogan's son, Nick, in the front row with spiked hair and a big smile on his face. He's gone through a growth spurt since the TV show was filmed. Michaels's music interrupted. He danced on the stage, apologized for perhaps stealing his thunder, but said that's what he's all about - stealing thunder. He said he would come down to the ring, and then was interrupted by "Hogan" chants. Michaels stopped in mid-sentence, looked at the fans, then finished, saying he would join him in the ring, but he's afraid if he did, he'd have to wait another two weeks to get an answer to his challenge. He said the last time they were in the ring together, he was on his back looking at the lights "courtesy of a little Sweet Chin Music." He said he didn't want any excuses to get in the way of the answer he was looking for. Michaels asked Hogan what he could possibly show him that he hasn't already seen. "Then it hit me like a bolt of lighting," Michaels said. "You have never, ever in all of your career faced someone with the unbridled passion of the Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels." I thought he was going to say, "You have never, ever been in a four star match." Michaels said everyone has fallen to the aura and myth that is Hulkamania, "but me, I don't see it." He said he wanted to push him like he's never been pushed before. He said if he accepts his challenge for Summerslam, "you will find out that immortality has a price." He said the question is whether he has what it takes to pay that price. "It's not like the past. Today, and forever, if you accept my challenge, you're going to go in there with the headliner, the Show Stopper, the main event, the icon, who is the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels."
Hulk Hogan said, "Good god, I've been paying the price in this business long before you've ever had a match, brother." He said when Michaels was still trying to graduate high school, he was selling out the Philadelphia Spectrum. Hogan said the next time he tries to superkick him, it's going to be "eye to eye in the middle of the ring." Hogan looked at the fans and said, "All he wanted was one more match? One more match?" Hogan held the mic out hoping for a fan chant of "One More Match." He didn't get it, so he knew to pull the mic back quickly. Hogan then said, "Well, you're on, brother." Hogan said as he prepares to get into the ring with the immortal Hulkamaniacs, he needs to ask himself one question: "Whatcha gonna do, brother, whatcha gonna do at Summerslam when Hulkamania destroys you?" Hogan's music then played.
-Chris Jericho gave a pep talk to his lumberjacks backstage (hey, there's Tyson Tomko!). He told them that Cena's been taking digs at them behind their backs so this is their chance for revenge.
-They showed the cage being lowered over the ring.
-As Edge was about to enter the cage for his match against Kane, Matt Hardy jumped the security railing and attacked him. The camera zoomed in on Matt's face as Ross said "a fan" jumped the security railing. Lawler said, "That's not a fan, J.R." To add a feeling of legitimacy, Coach or Lawler could have said something to the effect of, "Director, get the camera off that jerk. He doesn't deserve the attention." Better yet, say "Kevin" to make it really feel like a shoot since no one's ever said Kevin Dunn's name on air before regarding camera shots. Edge told Hardy to "go back to the indies." Edge got in a kick on Hardy and said, "You're a piece of sh--." A "Hardy, Hardy" chant rang out. Security dumped him back over the railing. Hardy then ran away, and security chased after him. Next week, Hardy's gonna have to dress up as an old man to get past security.
3 -- EDGE (w/Lita) vs. KANE -- Cage Match
At the 86th minute mark in the show, we enter our eighth minute of in-ring action of the show. If Vince McMahon keeps it under ten percent maybe advertisers will finally buy his pitch that he's been saying for decades that WWE isn't pro wrestling, it's sports entertainment. But then with less than ten percent wrestling content, people will begin asking what justifies the word "sports" in the title. Kane bled from the forehead early. Edge hit a spear early. Kane came back at 8:00 and hit a top rope flying clothesline. Kane set up a powerbomb at 7:00, but Edge kicked Kane between the legs.
Edge nearly escaped the cage at 8:00, but Kane powerbombed him to the mat. Edge kicked out before three. Edge surprised Kane with a spear and scored a two count. Edge tried to escape the cage, but Kane grabbed his leg to stop him. Lita tossed Edge the Money in the Bank briefcase, which he used as a weapon. When Edge climbed to the top of the cage, Kane tried to stop him, but Edge kicked him to the mat. Kane climbed the cage again and grabbed Edge to set up a chokeslam, but Edge KO'd him with the briefcase for the win.
WINNER: Edge in 11:00 (approx. since joined in progress after break)
STAR RATING: **1/2 -- Not a dull moment. Solid action with a nice dose of blood to put over the cage aspect.
-They showed the Philadelphia Eagles at ringside again.
-The Smackdown Rebound aired.
-Maria interviewed John Cena. "Are you nervous about being hit with an axe or being hit with any falling trees?" asked Maria. (That's so obviously scripted, and the charm of Maria was that her screw-ups were more subtle. For her gimmick to work, she can't screw up every single week.) Cena asked Maria if when she goes down on the Cena trail if she's scared of the big white trouser snake. He asked Maria if she could go get his flannel shirt for him so he's ready for his lumberjack match. She said she'd love to. Cena then cut an intense promo, ending with "The Champ is Here!"
-They announced Kane vs. Edge in a stretcher match next week.
4 -- JOHN CENA vs. GENE SNITSKY - Lumberjack Match
Cena wore a #92 Philadelphia Eagles jersey, a tribute to the late Reggie White. Snitsky threw Cena to the floor early and the lumberjacks swarmed Cena. Ross asked whether Cena could survive the attack as they cut to a final break.
This was the "hold your breath and hope to avoid disaster" match. They managed to avoid disaster by working conservatively. Cena took a nice bump on a Snitsky clothesline at 10:00. Then he went into a sleeper. When Cena came back and set up an FU, Angle rolled into the ring and clipped him. The lumberjacks, led by Jericho, attacked Cena at ringside again. When Snitsky went for the cover, Ross said we were about to see one of the biggest upsets every on Raw. Cena surprised Snitsky with a "big time" DDT out of nowhere. Big Show and Shelton Benjamin came out. Benjamin made it to the ring quickly. Show did not. Several other babyfaces followed including Tajiri, Viscera, Hurricane, and Rosey. Benjamin launched off the stairs and hit Carlito with a clothesline. Viscera laid on top of the Heart Throbs and humped them. Bischoff walked out to observe his plan falling apart. As Cena battled Jericho, Snitsky set up a chairshot. Cena ducked the chair and gave Snitsky the FU for the win. Ross said it wasn't the happy ending that Bischoff wanted. Jericho threw a fit and bashed a chair against the ringpost repeatedly.
WINNER: Cena at 14:34.
STAR RATING: ** -- Fair match. The lumberjacks added a good dose of energy to a match that might have been a disaster otherwise.
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