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KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT 5/22: Ongoing "virtual time" analysis of live show

May 22, 2006 - 10:11:00 PM

By Wade Keller, Torch editor

MAY 22, 2006

-The show opened with Vince McMahon saying that last week, Triple H mistakenly hit Shane McMahon, and the only thing that saved Shane was his superb conditioning and prowess. He said because of his actions, Triple H must apologize tonight to him in the ring.

-After the Raw opening, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show, then Mick Foley walked out.

-Foley explained he's "not a bad guy." He said he's the same cuddly, gap-toothed-smiling nice guy he's always been. He even said it's great to be in Las Vegas. He got a crowd pop. Lawler said Foley still gets the cheap pop even when he's otherwise being booed. Foley added, "Then again, it's not really all that nice to be in Las Vegas." He said he doesn't believe in a town where people go to try to get lucky and get a fortune without earning it. He said he earned his fortune with hard work and sacrifice. He said that is similar to his guest, Edge, who earned his title as the most viewed champion of the last five years and earned his undefeated streak at WrestleMania. Edge walked out with Lita.

Foley said Lita was hot. He then said that he doesn't care what Tommy Dreamer and Terry Funk say about hardcore, he believes Edge is the best hardcore wrestler. Foley presented Edge with the old Hardcore Title belt. Edge said he couldn't accept it. Edge acted moved by the gesture. Foley chanted "You're hard, you're hardcore." Fans chanted, "You suck, you suck." Edge agreed that everything he has accomplished, he deserves, but he said he can't accept the belt. He said Foley forgot to mention that he has the hottest girl in Vegas coming to bed with him tonight. He added that Foley is the hardcore legend because he toiled in the ECW bingo hall for years, and had to bite his tongue as a so-called legend like Ric Flair characterized him as a "glorified stuntman." He said while he did beat his ass at WrestleMania, he can't accept the belt. "You, Mick Foley, you deserve to be the Hardcore Champion." Foley said it is ironic that the man who called him a glorified stuntman earned his WrestleMania check by "not getting killed in a ladder match." After that little dig at Flair ("a receipt," as they say), he said he and Edge have a problem because he thinks he deserves the Hardcore Championship. He said there's only one way to resolve the issue. The crowd began cheering. "That's the Mick Foley I know," said Ross. Foley suggested they beat the hell out of each other one more time. He asked the crowd if they want to see it. Edge said he had a better idea. He whispered something to Lilian. She announced they are the new co-holders of the WWE Hardcore Championship. Edge, Foley, and Lita held the belt up together.

The ECW theme music then began playing. Out walked Paul Heyman. Ross said he is the founder of ECW. Heyman was wearing his signature big leather jacket and baseball cap. Heyman said he finds it ironic that he sees live prostitution on Monday Night Raw. Heyman started a "ho, ho, ho" chant (ironic for a Jewish man). Heyman said he wasn't talking about Lita, he was talking about Foley. "Cards on the table, Mick Foley, you're a prostitute," Heyman said. "Here you are, a legend, a man who gave his blood, his sweat, his tear, his sacrifice, to entertain each and every one of these people, here you are a man who took time away from his family to entertain these people, and you prostitute yourself away from them for Edge and Lita? You prostitute their love and their admiration (the fans) for them (Edge, Lita). Mick, you prostituted your name and your legacy, but I'll be damned if I stand here and let you prostitute the name of hardcore. Why don't you, Mick, tell me what it's like to look in the mirror and see the reflection and all that reflection is a shell of your former self."

Foley said that's not what he sees when he looks in the mirror. Instead, he sees the co-holder of the WWE Hardcore Championship. He said he sees a WWE superstar, a real-life action figure, an author of best selling books (including a new one due out this spring). He said he finds it strange to hear Heyman telling him about being a former shell because he isn't Smackdown G.M. "You don't own your own company; you've got nothing Paul, no power. Go back to the hole where you came from," said Foley.

Heyman said Foley is right that he's powerless and is a cog in a wheel. "No, Mick, I do have the power to make a challenge. See, I'm involved in this little concept called ECW One Night Stand. Live on pay-per-view Sunday night, June 11." He said the date a few more times, then proposed that Foley & Edge face "any two hardcore ECW scumbags that I can drag out of a Bingo Hall to take you two through an extreme experience that the two of you could never deny." Foley said Heyman is chock full of great suggestions, but he had a suggestion for him - to get out of their WWE building. He then said, "No freaking way, Paul." Heyman began laughing. Foley asked him why. Heyman said he just came to the realization that Lita is the only one in the ring with any nuts. Edge grabbed the mic and said he won't take it anymore. Edge said, "You're on at One Night Stand." Edge told Mick, "Let's show this dumbass what hardcore is all about!" They pursued Heyman up the rampway. Heyman then said if they continued, they'd meet their opponents at One Night Stand. He forgot to say "on June 11" that time. Dreamer and Funk walked out and bashed Foley and Edge with a trash can lid and a cookie sheeet. Dreamer beat up Dreamer while Funk whipped Foley into the ringside steps. Foley flipped over them and somersaulted to the mat on the other side. Dreamer went after Edge with his kendo stick. Foley bailed out into the crowd. As Dreamer and Funk celebrated in the ring, Ross said he couldn't believe Foley and Edge ran from a fight. They showed Heyman laughing.

Very good segment. There was no ambiguity this week over whether Foley was trying to get pro-WWE cheers. He was total heel this week. It wasn't portrayed this week as if fans had to take sides between being pro-WWE and pro-ECW. It was a more traditional set-up with babyfaces and heels, and the faces just happen to represent ECW.

[Commercial Break]

1 -- SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. ROB VAN DAM -- Intercontinental Title match

RVD went on an early flurry, including a knee to the head for a quick two count. He hit a drop spin wheel kick and set up Rolling Thunder, but Shelton rolled out of the ring first.

[Commercial Break]

Back from the break, at 6:00 Shelton had RVD in a chinlock. They showed a clip from during the break of Shelton blocking an RVD powerbomb attempt and turning it into a snake eyes. They went into a series of near falls. Shelton then hit a neckbreaker for another two count. Shelton followed with a chinlock/body scissors combo. The ccrowd chanted "RVD, RVD." At 8:00 Shelton missed a corner splash when RVD moved. RVD then hit a springboard reverse sidekick followed by two half-hearted clotheslines, a solid sidekick, and a splash leading to a near fall. RVD used a body scissors to cradle Shelton for a two count. Then he hit Rolling Thunder for another two count at 9:00. When Shelton went for a Samoan Drop, RVD's legs KO'd the ref. Shelton then grabbed his IC Title belt at ringside. When he brought the belt into the ring, RVD kicked the belt into Shelton's face. The ref came to and thought RVD used the belt as a weapon and called for the DQ. After the match, a frustrated RVD hit Shelton with a frog splash.

WINNER: Shelton in 10:00.

STAR RATING: **1/4 -- Good TV match.

-Backstage, Vince McMahon chatted with ZZ Top, reminiscing about partying last night in Vegas. He also talked about beating Triple H for the title in Vegas seven years ago with the help of Steve Austin. Candice Michelle walked in and flirted with ZZ Top after Vince left. They played with her pearl necklace. That seemed pointless.

[Commercial Break]

-A recap aired of last week's incident where Triple H mistakenly hit Shane McMahon with his sledgehammer.

-Vince McMahon walked to the ring to his full intro. Vince again said Hunter must apologize to him for what he did to Shane. He called for Hunter to come to the ring. Hunter came to his full ring intro. Hunter walked out slowly, as if he weren't thrilled with being called out. When he got to the ring, McMahon told Hunter that he wanted to remind him first of what has happened to Shawn Michaels for the last few months after he defied his wishes. He said Shawn will see his living hell continue this week as he faces all five members of the Spirit Squad. He looked at Hunter and said, "I'm waiting for those two words." The crowd caught on and thought Hunter was going to say "Suck it!" Hunter sorta teased it with a long pause, but then gave in and said, "I'm sorry." The fans were disappointed. Vince accepted the apology, then gave him a new assignment. He had to destroy Michaels with the sledgehammer this week, bashing him in the skull with it. Hunter then offered Vince a handshake. Vince accepted. The crowd booed. Hunter held onto the handshake a second longer than Vince wanted. Vince looked a little concerned. Hunter then said, "We definitely have an understanding." Hunter's expression didn't give away his intentions. Vince left. Jim Ross expressed concern for Michaels's well being later.

-Ross plugged the John Cena vs. Chris Masters match up next, asking whether Cena would submit to the Masterlock.

[Commercial Break]

-Ross announced that "See No Evil" had the third-largest per-screen average of all movies over the weekend. They aired clips from the movie and then interviewed people who were presented as having just seen the movie talking about how scary it was.

-Todd Grisham interviewed Kane. Kane revealed that May 19 was the date that his mother and adopted family were killed in a fire. He said he has fought his whole life to suppress those feelings and demons, but now May 19 has come and gone, and he has a new movie out in which he kills lots of people in unique and excruciating fashion, and tonight he has a match in which he plans to inflict insufferable pain and punishment upon his opponent. He said, "You want to know the truth? I've never been happier." He then let out a maniacal laugh. Ross said, "Thank god he's happy." He added that he saw "See No Evil" and vouched for how scary it was. Lawler said he has to rewatch it with his eyes open this time.


During Masters's ring intro, the screen switched to a plug for "ECW One Night Stand" with a commercial insert featuring Paul Heyman saying it was sponsored by the X Men videogame. Lawler complained about too much ECW stuff on Raw. Ross said the ECW PPV was a big success last year. Lawler said he's going to react to June 11 like Kane did to May 19. Cena's full ring intro then took place. It sounded as if he was largely cheered. Ross referred to him as "the controversial champ." He added that Cena has been "hotter than doughnut grease." A fan held up a sign that said, "We've Cena Nuff."


Cena got a solid pop. The boos came out when he went on offense, but it wasn't overwhelming by any means. It's actually kind of a letdown because with the intensity of hatred down, his fans are also less intense in their cheers, so he's kind of back to getting a normal response. At 2:00, Masters signaled for the Masterlock. Cena blocked the hold and then yanked Masters through the ropes to the floor. Cena landed outside the ring, too, so they cut to a break.

[Commercial Break]

Cena hit Masters with a flying shoulderblock after the break, then clotheslined him from behind and applied the STFU. Masters tapped out immediately.

WINNER: Cena in 6:00 - half of which didn't air due to the commercial.

STAR RATING: 3/4* -- Not enough of it aired to evaluate it.

-After the match, Rob Van Dam walked out to interrupt Cena's celebration. Cena waited for him. Ross pointed out they were partners last week. RVD and Cena circled each other. RVD told Cena to savor the time he has with the title while he explains something to him. He said he has a title shot in a briefcase. He said the only way he could get a fair shake in WWE and get a title shot is by earning it at WrestleMania in the Money in the Bank match. He said because he would probably get screwed out of what he earned in a regular WWE match, he wants to have the match somewhere he's a lot more comfortable - "somewhere where the conditions work extremely well in my favor. I'm cashing in Money in the Bank on June 11 at One Night Stand." Lawler wondered if he could do that. Ross said, "Anywhere, anytime, that's the deal." RVD dropped the briefcase. Cena leaned in and went nose-to-nose with RVD for some trash-talking. RVD slapped Cena. Cena wiped it off and punched RVD back. Cena powerslammed RVD. Masters entered the ring with a briefcase. Cena knocked him out of the ring. RVD tossed the briefcase to Cena and jump reverse sidekicked toward the case. He missed the case, but grazed Cena, and Cena took a bump. The crowd didn't cheer RVD. There were some boos, but mostly they didn't seem to know how to react.

[Commercial Break]

-They showed scenes of the Vegas strip.

-Carlito and Maria chatted backstage. He tried to talk Maria into helping him cheat at a casino blackjack game. Maria didn't like the idea of cheating. Carlito did a little card trick for Maria. Maria asked Gene Snitsky if he wanted to play with them. Carlito didn't like that idea. Snitsky said he called a number in the back of a magazine and was going to meet up with a real Las Vegas Showgirl. Maria said she saw her over there. Snitsky walked up from behind and began caressing the person's feet. He said they could go on a date and watch "See No Evil." He said, "I once killed his unborn fetus, but we're past that now." Then he gasped when the person turned around and it was Goldust. Goldust asked him what he was doing. Snitsky said he likes to rub feet. He asked Goldust what he was doing. He said he likes to dress up. They both seemed a bit disgusted by each other. Carlito said what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and added, "That wasn't cool."

-Elsewhere backstage, Michaels confronted Triple H about kissing up to McMahon. Michaels said he basically sold his soul to the devil out there. Hunter said he did what he has to do and he doesn't care what people think. Michaels replied, "Why don't you just do whatever Vince McMahon wants you to do, sellout!" Michaels stormed off. Hunter reacted without expression.

[Commercial Break]


Before the match, Murdoch said the reviews are in and critics will definitely pick Tom Hanks as the best leading man of the weekend. Kane then came out and beat up Murdoch as Ross and Lawler talked about "See No Evil." Ross touted that over half a million people watched the movie. Kane won quickly and decisively with a chokeslam. After the match, Kane chokeslammed Murdoch another time. The crowd chanted, "One more time," and Kane gave them what they wanted. Ross said Kane smiled, as if the weight of the world was off his shoulders. Then the lights turned red and Kane's mask told Kane that if he thought it was over, he was wrong, it will never be over. Kane got very sad.

WINNER: Kane in 1:00.


[Commercial Break]

-The "This Week in Wrestling History" WWE 24/7 segment featuring Scott Hall invading Nitro for the first time leading to clips of the New World Order. There were clips of X-Pac, Dennis Rodman, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Kevin Nash, and Hall.

4 -- TORRIE WILSON (w/her little dog) vs. MICKEY JAMES

WINNER: Mickey in 2:00 after a DDT.

STAR RATING: DUD -- Not good at all. Badly choreographed looking.

-After the match, Trish Stratus walked out with her right arm in an immobilizer again. Trish said Beth Phoenix is the newest official WWe Diva. Mickey threw a fit in the ring and staggered around. When she jumped to the floor, Beth surprise attacked her. Mickey ran away through the crowd and Beth pursued her.

[Commercial Break]

-Viscera stood in the ring and said the World's Largest Love Machine has realized it's "time to settle down." He told Lilian to bring her "sexy bottom" into the ring, or else he'd come get her. Lilian tepidly walked into the ring. Lawler said she is still smitten. Viscera admired her. Lilian grabbed the mic and said, "The last time we were in Las Vegas, you dumped me for a bunch of Spanish hos." Viscera admitted that was "my bad." He reached into his robe and pulled out a partially eaten cheeseburger. He said if she goes with him to one of the all-night chappels in Vegas, he won't have to eat cheeseburgers every day because he can come home to his loving and home-cooked food. "Lilian, I'm 500 pounds of lovin', I'm hungry, and I'm hungry, so what do you say?" Ross said, "Run for your life, Lilian." Viscera got on his knee and asked Lilian to mary him. Ross said he got married in Vegas and it worked for him, so maybe it could work for her. Armando Alejandro Estrada walked out onto the stage before Lilian could answer. He congratulated the lovely couple. He said before she gives an answer to him, Big Vis may be hungry for action, but so is the Samoan Bulldozer, Umaga. They brawled at ringside. Ross said it wasn't an official match. Viscera headbutted Viscera. He then knocked Viscera to the floor with a shoulder block. He followed with the Samoan Spike. Viscera fell and clutched his throat.

-Clips aired of WWE wrestlers reviewing "See No Evil." Ross said he's not normally a horror movie fan, "but that was shocking!"

-Backstage, Spirit Squad told Triple H that Mr. McMahon told them to tell him to stand right there backstage, and then when Mr. McMahon gives the signal, come to the ring and take out Michaels. Spirit Squad tried to get Hunter to join in their chant. He wouldn't. They reacted to him like he was beneath them on the totem pole of coolness.

[Commercial Break]

-A commercial aired for ECW One Night Stand, with Heyman doing the voiceover. The three wrestlers mentioned specifically were RVD, Chris Benoit, and Terry Funk.

5 -- SPIRIT SQUAD (Mikey & Nicky & Mitch & Kenny & Johnny) vs. SHAWN MICHAELS

Ross said during Michaels's ring intro that it might be the last time they see him wrestle. Lawler said he has the worst odds in Vegas this night. Michaels charged into the ring with a chair, so Spirit Squad bailed out. Vince walked out onto the stage and relieved the referee of his duties. He told him to get the hell out and take the chair with him. Ross wondered who would count the fall if there was no ref. Spirit Squad attacked Michaels from behind. The bell rang to start the match. They swarmed Michaels. The crowd chanted, "HBK, HBK." Ross said if this was happening outside the arena, there'd be five people arrested for a mugging. Ross talked about how Michaels had overcome so much, and now he faced this. Ross said that Spirit Squad are talented and deserve to be on Raw, but five-against-one is wrong. Spirit Squad took turns holding Michaels down as one member flipped and dove onto Michaels. Vince looked on watching his master plan play out. Ross said McMahon's obsession with Michaels began way back in December of last year. They all bent over and trash-talked Michaels while he was down. At 6:00 Michaels began a comeback, backdropping and clotheslining several of them over the top rope. He then took Mikey down with a chairshot and followed with a top rope elbowdrop. He then signalled for Sweet Chin Music and KO'd Mikey. He went to superkick Nicky, but he hit a chair instead. Michaels went down selling a leg injury. Spirit Squad swarmed again, this time focusing on his knee. They tore off his knee wrap and brace. The crowd chanted, "Triple H, Triple H." Ross said Michaels has had numerous surgeries on that knee. He said it was getting disgusting. They put Michaels's leg in a chair and then hit a top rope legdrop. Ross said if Michaels's leg wasn't broken, he was the recipient of a miracle. Vince then called for Triple H to come out. Hunter walked to the ring with a sledgehammer in hand. "If Micahels's career isn't over, it's about to be." As Spirit Squad held Michaels in the corner, Hunter wound up with the sledgehammer. Kenny yanked the sledgehammer away from Hunter and said, "I'll do it." As he charged at Michaels, Hunter stopped him and gave him a spinebuster. Hunter then began beating up each of the Spirit Squaders. "Triple H is kicking some serious ass," said Ross. Vince gulped on the stage as Hunter hit a Pedigree in the ring. Hunter's music played as McMahon fumed and Michaels clutched at his knee in the corner to end the show.

WINNER: No decision in 12:00ish.

STAR RATING: n/a -- Good action, actually. Spirit Squad were creative in their offense for several minutes, and Michaels's comeback was somehow designed in a way that seemed somewhat plausible despite the five-on-one odds. Hunter's turn leaves questions unanswered, such as how forgiving Michaels will be that Hunter let that attack go on so long before he made any indication he was willing to stop a career-ending attack. Good intrigue, though, headed into next week.

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.

He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


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