TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 2/26: Ongoing coverage of live edition of Raw
Feb 26, 2007 - 10:09:00 PM
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by James Caldwell, PWTorch columnist
Torch editor Wade Keller's VIP-exclusive Raw report will be posted on the Torch VIP site Tuesday morning and emailed to Torch VIP Email Express members. Check back after Raw for Torch Reax on this show. We welcome your feedback after the show (click here) and invite your participation in our Raw 0-10 poll and our Raw MVP poll shortly after the show concludes. Also, I will be by about an hour after Raw's conclusion with an audio analysis of the show exclusively for VIP members with a special guest analyst of the week.
WWE Raw Live Report
February 26 in Fresno, California
We open with a recap of Donald Trump's appearance on Raw two weeks ago to confront Vince McMahon. Today's big question: Will Trump remember the name of his representative tonight?
No fireworks. No big intro. We go straight to the ring for a tag title match and John Cena's entrance. Shawn Michaels came out, then Edge and Orton appeared on the Titantron. Orton said there's a misunderstanding because they're not quite ready to compete, but they would be ready later in the night. Orton told Michaels that he was robbed at the Oscars last night because he is the single best actor the world has ever seen based on him telling Cena that he has his back until Mania. Orton gave him a sarcastic golf clap and asked if having Cena's back means he doesn't take care of Cena's sides, front, or jaw. Orton then said they had a video package to prove their point. We went back to January 1992 when HBK sent Marty Jannetty through the barber shop window. Then, we saw Michaels giving Kevin Nash the superkick in 1994. We saw Commissioner HBK lay out X-Pac in 1998. Then, it was Booker T. taking the superkick during the NWO angle in 2002. Finally, it was Michaels giving Hulk Hogan the superkick before Summerslam 2005. Back live, Cena slowly turned around and faced Michaels. Edge then screamed that HBK is a liar. HBK was expressionless. Cena and HBK had a brief staredown before Michaels mouthed, "You can trust me. C'mon, I have your back."
We saw Part 2 of Mick Foley plugging his new book. He talked about Katie Couric, Reggie Jackson, Barry Bonds, Donald Rumsfeld, and Bill Clinton to prove his point that he's not a namedropper.
1 -- JEFF HARDY vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN -- Money in the Bank qualifying match
We saw footage of Shelton in the MITB match at Mania 21 when he "ran the stairs" up the ladder. Lillian Garcia did the formal introductions after Ross name dropped Adrian Peterson in relation to Shelton. Shelton went for the early pin before Hardy came back with a double foot dropkick to the back. Hardy went up top for the Swanton, but Shelton did the single jump from the mat to the top turnbuckle and slammed Hardy to the floor. That move never gets old. We cut to a break.
Shelton had control out of the break, then he went for a top rope springboard move, but he wiped out and Hardy instinctively covered him to make it seem like Shelton slipping and falling was a planned spot. He had a pin, the ref's arm went down three times, but Shelton kicked out in time and the referee allowed the match to continue. Ross and Lawler tried to present it as a "sporting event" moment, like a first base umpire initially signaling out, then changing his mind to safe. Hardy quickly hit the Twist of Fate and Swanton Bomb for the win. Afterward, we saw a graphic on the MITB match, with eight participants instead of six this year.
WINNER: Hardy in 10:00. The commercial break hurt the momentum of the match, as things never really going rolling after the break. Crowd was hot for Hardy, as expected. (*3/4)
While Hardy was leaving ringside, Vince McMahon interrupted on the Titantron. He said he recalls Hardy not celebrating last week when Umaga beat him for the IC Title belt last week. McMahon then introduced Photoshopped portraits of Trump with the various haircuts he presented last week.
Tomorrow night on ECW, Lashley defends the ECW Title in a steel cage.
We saw a video package on Ashley posing for Playboy. Melina then screamed at Nitro backstage about having to deal with Ashley stealing the limelight from her, Mick Foley showing up on WWE TV when she fired him last year, and Mickie James getting a Women's Title match next week in a Falls Count Anywhere match. Nitro then screamed Melina and told her to shut up. He said he lost his MITB qualifying match last week, which means he's out of WrestleMania. Nitro said he has nothing, then he left for the ring when his music hit. Melina was almost choking back tears.
Nitro stormed to the ring with a pissed off look on his face. Crazy came out, then Nitro met him on the floor and assaulted him. He threw Crazy into the ring steps, then gave him a pancake slam on the floor. The bell never sounded since the match never entered the ring, then Nitro left the ringside area. Refs checked on Crazy as Nitro stood on the stage with a maniacal look on his face.
2 -- MELINA vs. MARIA -- non-title match
Melina smirked at Maria as she came to the ring for the match. She then pulled Maria down by the hair and avoided a dropkick off the ropes before driving a boot to the back of Maria's head. Maria made a comeback by using Melina's hair to her advantage. She then hit a bulldog out of the corner for a nearfall. After dropping Melina into the corner, she went for the Bronco Buster, but Melina got her foot up and kicked her in the babymaker. Melina then rolled up Maria for the win.
WINNER: Melina in 5:00. Competitive match that the crowd slowly got into. Maria has improved dramatically in the ring. (*1/4)
Vince McMahon walked out on stage past the barber shop props. He took the mic and set the stage for the hair vs. hair match at Mania. McMahon said he doesn't know what's going to be worse for Trump: having his head shaved or taking a Billionaire Bitchslap. He said we know who Trump won't be selecting, then we saw clips of Umaga beating down Rey Mysterio on Smackdown last Friday. McMahon then brought out Umaga, who had a new tattoo with "S-A-M-O-A" written across his chest. Armando held the IC Title belt for Umaga, then McMahon and Umaga shared a moment in the ring.
McMahon said Trump lives by the credo that anything you can do, I can better. He said someone marries a hot chick, then Trump gets a divorce and marries a hotter chick. McMahon said this is the one time where Trump can't do him one better. Trump then appeared on the Titantron from his board room and said Umaga is an animal that can be tamed. What a perfect intro for the Liontamer Chris Jericho. Trump then introduced Bobby Lashley and got his name right this time. Lashley came to the ring and held his ECW Title belt up to McMahon and Umaga. McMahon suggested security intervene before something gets out of hand. Fresno's finest, referees, and producers hit the ring to stand in between both men before anything got started. McMahon tried to stand in between them, but Lashley and Umaga came to blows. Umaga then jumped across the ring and attacked Lashley. Suddenly, Lashley took Umaga to the outside and the brawl was on next to the announce table. When things died down, Lashley jumped on the announce table and leapt onto Umaga. They cut to a break with Lawler screaming for security. The ringside fans got into the action at the appropriate times and both men taking out the cameraman at various points made it seem all the more real. Intense segment.
We returned for a recap of the Umaga-Lashley brawl in the previous segment.
Chris Masters was then in the ring for a Masterlock Challenge. Great Khali then came out and Masters wasn't as confident as usual. Well, it's time to officially bury Masters. Khali sat down and told Masters to get on with it. Masters tried to apply the hold, but he couldn't get a full grip. Khali had enough and stood up from the chair to celebrate his apparent victory. Kane's music hit, then Kane came to the ring and chokeslammed Masters. Kane then kicked the chair into Khali, but Khali shoved him away. Kane then gave him a big boot into the ropes and clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor. Kane then turned around and gave Masters a stiff chair shot to the top of the head. Khali raised his arms in the air and stood his ground on the floor as Kane's red pyro went off. Kane and Khali had a stare down and Ross said something has to give between them. The crowd was hot for the segment, but I don't know how hot they'll be for the actual match.
Backstage, The Coach spoke with an irate McMahon about the brawl. McMahon suddenly had a phone call and someone told him to present something to the corporate board. He solemnly told the other person to have a good night. "Those sonsofbitches board of directors!" McMahon screamed. McMahon said that because of the integrity of the match and what just happened, the board is suggesting a guest referee. Coach said that would be unfair. McMahon said that might not be a bad idea. He said one thing is for sure that he's not going to wind up like a bald-headed freak. Foreshadowing...
Ross teased the third Hall of Fame announcement after the break.
Ross plugged Lashley, Edge, Orton, and Cena on "Deal or No Deal" this Sunday night on NBC.
Lillian Garcia then introduced Jerry Lawler as the third Hall of Fame inductee. Lawler and Ross had a hug, then we saw a video package on Lawler's career with classic clips from the Mid South Coliseum in Memphis. We saw the top moments from the Andy Kaufman angle, including Lawler's slap on David Letterman's Tonight Show.
Randy Orton and Edge discussed strategy backstage, then we saw footage from the top of the show when Edge planted seeds in Cena's head about whether HBK is trustworthy. We saw the video package from the top of the show with HBK turning on Jannetty, Nash, X-Pac, Booker T., and Hogan. Lawler said that if HBK does turn on Cena tonight, Cena would never see it coming.
Carlito and Torrie Wilson came to the ring for a match before they cut to a break.
3 -- CARLITO (w/Torrie Wilson) vs. KENNY
We joined the match in progress with Kenny having Carlito in a headlock. We saw footage from during the break when Kenny asked Carlito how cool it is to be Ric Flair's flunkie. Carlito then spit in his face, leading to the match. Back to live action, Carlito came back with a back elbow smash and a somersault dive off the middle rope for a nearfall. Kenny choked Carlito in the corner, which led to a "Kenny Sucks" chant. The action moved to the floor where Kenny shoved Carlito repeatedly into the apron. Carlito suddenly came back with hard chops to the chest before Kenny landed shoulder blocks in the corner to cut him off. Kenny went to an abdominal stretch and Carlito fought out by flipping Kenny to the apron. He then came back with a succession of hard left-arm clotheslines before hitting a springboard back elbow smash. Carlito then went for a huricanrana, but Kenny blocked with a powerbomb for a nearfall. Kenny went for a corner move, but Carlito moved and Kenny ate the ringpost. Carlito then hit the backcracker for the win. Afterward, Ric Flair stepped out on the stage and congratulated Carlito, who smiled and pointed at Flair.
WINNER: Carlito in 8:00 of TV time. Good, physical match. Up and down at times in terms of action, but the good outweighed the bad. Raw has become a much more physical show lately, which is always a good trend for a TV wrestling show. (**)
Backstage, McMahon took a swig of water and told Coach that he's going to San Jose tomorrow night to make Lashley's night a living hell on ECW TV.
Edge and Orton came out first for the tag title match. Shawn Michaels came out, followed by Cena for another monster pop. Edge and Orton ducked to the outside, leaving Cena to pose for the fans and Michaels to stand quietly in one corner of the ring.
4 -- JOHN CENA & SHAWN MICHAELS vs. EDGE & RANDY ORTON -- WWE Tag Title match
HBK landed two hard chops to the chest to start the match. The camera then zoomed in tight on Edge's face as he tried to take a breath from his knees after taking the hard smack across the shot. Very subtle point in the presentation that WWE does very effectively. Cena took a tag and accepted a dropkick to the back from Orton. Edge then tagged in and the heels isolated Cena in their corner. Cena finally made a hot tag to HBK after taking a beating and HBK went to work on Orton with a flying fist smash and scoop slam. He then went up top and hit an elbow drop before dropping Edge with an atomic drop. Cena then dumped Edge to the outside. You could see the next moment coming. HBK tuned up the band on Orton, but Orton moved and Cena grabbed HBK's foot in mid-air. HBK hopped on one leg before Cena dropped his foot so they could have a staredown. HBK tried to look innocent as they cut to a break.
We came back with HBK and Edge having a mid-ring exchange. Edge then went to work on HBK's back as we footage from during the commercial of Edge and Orton taking advantage of the staredown between HBK and Cena to control the match. Orton and Edge then isolated HBK as Cena tried to get a tag.
[Q9 -- over-run]
HBK made his comeback at the top of the third hour, but Orton cut him off with a back breaker. With Edge in the ring, HBK fought out of a sleeper hold by crotching him across the top rope. HBK then made the hot tag to Cena, who cleaned house as the crowd exploded. He hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle on Orton, then went for the FU on Orton, but Edge shoved Orton's legs into the referee, who took a bump. With the ring cleared down to Edge and Cena, Edge went for a spear, but Cena countered with an FU attempt. Orton tried to use a belt on Cena, but HBK stole it and hit Edge across the back. He then tossed the belt to Orton. Edge turned around and saw Orton holding the smoking gun, then he bailed on Orton despite Orton's pleadings. HBK then caught Orton with Sweet Chin Music and he spun into an FU from Cena for the win.
WINNERS: Cena & HBK in 16:00. Very dramatic main event match with the usual good dose of action from the four involved participants. The continued tease of HBK possibly turning on Cena is being handled perfectly and making their title match all the more intriguing. Solid effort from the booking to the performance to the announcing. (***)
Afterward, HBK and Cena came close and celebrated their tag title victory. The referee then put the WWE Title belt in between both men and they had a staredown over the belt. HBK kept cool without tipping his hand, then Cena posed in the corner. He hopped down to the mat and flinched with HBK standing to his side. Ross plugged the announcement of the special referee for McMahon vs. Trump on next week's show. HBK then walked over to Cena and patted him on the side to close the show.
We welcome your 1-10 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, click here.
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