TV REPORTS KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT 7/31: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live show
Jul 31, 2006 - 10:26:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
JULY 31, 2006
LIVE FROM EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.
-Jim Ross introduced the show and touted that they were live in front of a sellout crowd at the Continental Airlines Arena of 17,401. He and Jerry Lawler hyped the Shawn Michaels vs. Umaga main event, plus a new reality series, "Orton Knows Best" (yikes).
-Shane McMahon danced onto the stage to his music, then a proud looking new grandpa Vince McMahon walked out. Is Shane McMahon wondering why the birth of his children was hardly as big of a deal as Stephanie? Vince reacted to the hostile crowd by saying nothing could ruin his mood because his baby girl, Stephanie, had a baby girl of her own. He noted to the fans that the baby girl is already worth more than anyone in the arena (as if all the money in the world would be enough to offset the trauma of being born into the crazy McMahon family). Shane added: "Combined. And far more intelligent." As Vince talked, the opening note of DX's theme song played loudly a couple of times, interrupting his train of thought. Vince announced that they'd be facing DX at Summerslam. DX's music eventually played outright and Shawn Michaels and Triple H.
Michaels congratulated Vince in Hebrew. Hunter said they aren't Jewish. Michaels said they have a lot to celebrate, including a match against Vince & Shane at Summerslam. Michaels went on to hint around about Hunter's involvement in the new grandchild's birth, saying he was in the hospital room last week, and he obtained the McMahon family photo album. They showed a photo of Vince's head on a baby's body. They made fun of how old the photo is. Then they showed a baby picture of Shane's head with a silver spoon in his mouth, proving he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Then they showed a picture of Steph's new baby, and it was Triple H's head on a baby with DX shirt. Shawn said, "She looks familiar, but I just can't put my finger on it." Shane proudly shot back a one-liner, saying they're the babies, so at Summerslam, they'd be changing DX's diapers. Vince reacted like a swallowed cough syrup. Hunter mocked his one-liner. They argued over whose music the truck should play, and eventually the director hit DX's music.
-The Miz backstage introduced the first in a series of segments throughout the night where Diva Contestants say who they'd send home if they could. Jen picked J.T. because "a real diva doesn't copy anybody at all and has her own ideas."
1 -- JOHNNY NITRO (w/Melina) vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. CARLITO -- IC Title match
Ross said the rumor is Carlito and Trish are an item, and if he won the IC Title tonight, there'd be quite a party. Ross against called Shelton the "Terrell Owens of the WWE." Carlito jumped Nitro before the bell, then Shelton flip dove onto both of them at ringside. The bell rang to start the match, then they went to a break.
As they returned from the break, Shelton had Nitro in a chinlock. Regarding Carlito's haircut, Lawler said, "I didn't know Supercuts had a drive-thru window." When Shelton had Carlito covered, Melina put Carlito's leg on the bottom rope. Shelton yelled at her. Nitro then rolled up Carlito from behind, yanked on the tights, and won the match.
WINNER: Nitro in 6:00.
STAR RATING: *1/4 -- Only the second half of the match aired. Par for these three in a rushed TV match. Some nice action, but it didn't add up to much.
-Layla said she'd like to see Milena voted off because she can talk the talk, but can't walk the walk. That should be on the list of phrases nobody can say on a wrestling show.
-Randy Orton walked to the ring. He said at Summerslam, he is going to take the legend of Hulk Hogan and kill it. He said then he would be bombarded with book offers, movie deals, and TV show offers. He said he already has a TV deal. He introduced his cast - Hulk's son Nick, daughter Brooke, wife Linda, and a fake Hulk. Orton stared at his watch as they waved to the crowd. He asked Nick what he wants to be when he grows up. He said he wants to be a pro wrestler just like his dad. He said to do that, he'll have to lose the hair on top of his head and get used to this. He kicked him in the gut and tossed him out of the ring. He called Hulk a beached walrus. The Hulk impersonator cut a Hulk-like cliched promo. Orton said in three weeks his Hall of Fame legendary career would be over. He said there's nothing he or his family or the fans can do about it. Then he kissed Brooke and gave the fake Hulk an RKO. Ross said the symbolism of that was perverse and uncomfortable. Ross said there wouldn't be a Hogan stand-in at Summerslam. Disappointing segment. Completely thrown together and unimaginative compared to its potential, but still a decent way to fill a segment hyping the Orton-Hogan match without Hogan actually present. Better than Orton just standing there sleep-walking his way through another mundane solo promo.
-Backstage, Armado Alejandro Estrada walked in on Vince and Shane chatting. He thanked them for giving his man Umaga a match against Michaels. He gave him a cigar as a gift for being a new grandfather. Shane said since he doesn't smoke them anymore, he'd take it.
-A commercial aired for Big Show vs. Batista as the ECW TV main event, and also noted Kurt Angle would be in action.
-They went to ringside where Jerry Lawler challenged Orton to a match on Raw next week in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn. He said to expect him "to whip a little respect into his ass."
-Erica said she'd vote off Rebecca since she already got another contract with another company and couldn't give 100 percent to WWE if she won.
2 -- TRISH STRATUS & CANDICE MICHELLE vs. VICTORIA & MICKEY JAMES
Torrie Wilson was special referee. "Maybe we should call this match Enhancement in Paradise," said Ross after commenting on the women wrestlers filling their tops. When Lawler said the cover of Field & Stream turns him on, Ross sarcastically responded, "Ladies and gentleman, there's nothing like a large mouthed bass to turn me on." Ross said, "This will be the most TiVo's match of the year by WNBA fans and Rosie O'Donnell, not that there's anything wrong with that." At 2:00 Trish hot-tagged in and beat up Mickey for a minute. Trish hit a powerbomb for a near fall, then finished her with a Stratusfaction.
WINNER: Trish in 4:00.
STAR RATING: 3/4*
-Backstage, Nitro, Melina, and Mick Foley were chatting about "cheap water." Foley said he wanted Melina to introduce him for his first in-person appearance on Raw in six weeks. Nitro approved and told her to keep it sexy.
-Milena said Erica should be next to go because while she's nice, she's not right for this competition.
-Melina introduced Foley. Ross said he's become a strange enigma and he can't figure him out. Foley said important people should be on hand for the important moments of life, and this is an important night in his life. He said he has decided to give the fans what they really want - "Mick Foley vs. Ric Flair in this very ring tonight right here in New Jersey - as he join forces in our quest for tag team gold." He said that may sound ridiculous, but it's not as strange as some might think. He said they share a lot in common. He said Flair took a young Randy Orton under his wing a few years ago, and he took Melina under his wing a while back. He said Flair is a personal friend of the President of the United States while he's a friend of hardcore porn icon Christy Canyon. He said one of them got to the top screwing a lot of people, and the other became famous in adult films. He then laughed at his own joke. He said he's been interviewed by USA Today twice and was interviewed by Katie Couric. He said Flair made headlines for an embarrassing road rage incident. Ross noted that Flair was exonerated.
Flair's music interrupted. Foley said he had been expecting him. Flair told Foley he needed to keep his mouth shut. He said he's been waiting three weeks, and that's a long time for him because everybody knows he's overstayed his welcome for a long time. That didn't really make much sense. Flair asked if the hardcore Foley was talking, the Cactus Jack Mick Foley. He said yes. Flair fell face-first onto the mat, then got up and said take that and shove it. He said they are long overdue. "Talkin' about your book. Who gives a damn about a book. They're booing A-Rod in New York and they're gonna be booin' you because you're lazier than A-Rod. For those of you who don't know, I drank a lot more than one glass of wine writing my book because my book is a lifetime of greatness. That's me, Ric Flair. " He bounced against the rope and said, "God-damn, I'm wound up." He was bleeped. "You said something about imaginary bad-asses. Bruiser Brody, where are you today? Stan Hansen in Denver, Colorado - Stan, he's calling you imaginary. Harley Race, Terry Funk, the list goes on. Imaginary bad asses? Those guys would walk over you on the way to the bathroom and you wouldn't open your mouth for one second. Those are badasses." He told Foley, "I want to taste your blood!" Melina stepped out of the ring after Flair took another flop. He said, "Bring Mr. Socko. I dare you. I'll shove him up your ass." He asked the crowd if they want to see Foley and Flair go. "You've tasted my blood. I've got to taste yours. I've got to try you. I want to fall off the cage, I want barbed wire in the head. I want thumb tacks. I want whatever you got, Cactus Jack." He leaned into Foley's face. "Most of all, I want you - you and me to finalize this."
He said he gets tired of Foley talking about his ear, his book, his wife and kids. He said regarding Melina: "She's the kind of diva the Nature Boy used to run around with, not you. Yeah, 15 years ago, all night long." He then did the Flair strut. He said she would be Space Mountainized. Foley said that's the difference between them: "You look at Melina and you see a conquest. I look at her and see a friend." He said he has a friend in the porn business. "You look in her eyes and think what are my odds. I look in those eyes and see only kindness and compassion. I've got a friend in the porno business and I watched a little bit of what she did when I was a younger man. Now I think of that girl and I think of what she's done with children overseas. I'll be damned if I'm going to be taking family tips from a man who's been married three times... so far. And a man who has been an absentee father twice." Flair stepped toward Foley. He stepped back and said he stepped over the line and was wrong. He said since his book came out, they haven't had much to talk about. He said on a trip overseas, they shared little in common, but they could talk about family. He said he picked up the phone and called his four children and told them he loves them because you just never know. He said he is a little jealous of him because he'll never know what it's like to look his kids in the face and say, "Kids, your dad's just been arrested." Flair punched Foley. Ross said Foley stepped over the line. Foley retreated.
Coach walked out with mic in hand. He said after their verbal jousting, he's announced that Mr. McMahon has authorized a match everyone would like to see - Ric Flair vs. Mick Foley at Summerslam. Foley said Vince McMahon needs to go back and read over his contract because it says he wrestles who he wants, when he wants. "In 20 years of putting on the Mick Foley stunt show, I have suffered. I have a few good matches left in this body, and I'll be damned if I'm going to waste it on a washed up piece of crap like you. Have a nice day. Yeah!" Ross said, "This company needs a staff psychology!" Flair and Foley continue to hurt each other's legacy in this feud. Neither is looking good. Flair looked like he could pass out (or worse) at any moment.
-Rebecca said all five others have to go. They let her get away with not picking one by name.
3 -- JOHN CENA vs. MATT STRIKER
During Cena's ring intro, Ross said: "Love him or hate him, that's your Texas-sized First Amendment right, express yourself any way you want." Ross announced the match stip that if Edge loses by DQ at Summerslam, he loses the title. Had WWE.com not prematurely leaked that stip, I wonder if the Raw announcement of it would have been done with more fanfare? Edge and Lita walked out. A tarp lifted stage right and revealed the Rated-R Announce table. Ross said the good news it's not anywhere near them. Edge and Lita added commentary for the two minutes the match lasted. Edge held up his title belt and said it was his.
WINNER: Cena with an STFU in 2:00.
STAR RATING: 1/4* -- Short TV squash. Just an excuse to put Cena and Edge on the air.
4 -- RORY MCALLISTER (w/Robbie) vs. JOHNNY (w/rest of Spirit Squad)
After some early interference by the Spirit Squaders at ringside, the ref ordered them through their own megaphone to return to the back. The crowd popped as the Squaders protested.
WINNER: Rory in 4:00 with an inside cradle.
STAR RATING: 1/4* - Dreadfully mundane.
-J.T. said she'd like to see Rebecca voted off because she's too concerned about his look and couldn't handle getting rocked in the ring.
-The Miz stepped out with the remaining six Diva Contestants. Rebecca was voted off. She smiled and walked off. She deserved to go because she didn't have the guts to name someone by name that she felt should be voted off. Miz ended with a "Hoo-Rah!"
-They went to footage of the WrestleMania 23 press conference at Ford Field hosted by Gene Okerlund.
-Two agents walked into DX's locker room. They said an eye witness reported that they have illegal substances in their possession. They found Cuban cigars. Hunter said they weren't his and he doesn't even smoke. Michaels tried to speak up for him, but they told him it doesn't concern him. They led Hunter out of the locker room. He said after he calls his attorney (Jerry) McDevitt, they'll be sorry. He passed Vince and Shane chatting in a doorway. As Hunter walked away, they pulled out cigars and smiled.
5 -- SHAWN MICHAELS vs. UMAGA
The unstoppable Samoan Bulldozer was stopped immediately by Michaels with a boot to the face and chops. They destroyed most of the months of build-up the past couple of weeks by showing Umaga is a regular, fallible wrestler just like all others. He would have to become that eventually to have competitive matches with other main eventers (as was the case with Goldberg eventually, which is where he came up short as a long-term reliable top act), but that should have come after a big PPV match; filling TV main events was determined to be more important than saving him for a PPV main event first. They had done a nice job before that making it seem like he might be something more than that. A minute into the match, Vince and Shane walked toward the ring as Michaels took a breather at ringside.
Umaga roundhouse kicked Michaels in the chest, knocking him over the top rope to the floor. He rammed Michaels into the announcers' table. Ross yelled, "Get him back in the ring. That's uncalled for!" Ross said it doesn't take a genius to figure out that Estrada was responsible for Hunter being taken away by law enforcement agents. Umaga kicked and stomped away at Michaels for a couple of minutes. As Michaels was about to nip up late in the match, Estrada held his leg. Umaga charged at Michaels, but he moved and Umaga knocked Estrada to the floor. Umaga caught Michaels charging at him and tossed him into the mat and Samoan dropped him to the mat. Umaga swung at Michaels with a Samoan Spike, but Michaels ducked and gave Umaga a low-blow as the ref was distracted by Vince McMahon. Michaels went to the top rope and came off with an elbow. Vince held Michaels's leg as he stomped the mat to signal for Sweet Chin Music. Michaels punched Vince. Shane ran into the ring. Michaels took him out with a flying forearm. Michaels nipped up, but Umaga surprised him with a lariat for the win.
WINNER: Umaga in 12:00.
STAR RATING: ** -- Solid average TV match.
-After the match, Shane held Michaels as Vince kicked him in the gut. Vince then took off his belt and whipped Michaels. Vince then held a chair against Michaels's face. Shane stomped the mat to signal for SCM. He kicked the chair into Michaels's face. Michaels collapsed to the mat. Vince shouted that Hunter would have to face Umaga next week on Raw.
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