TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 4/28: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of post-Backlash Raw
Apr 28, 2008 - 10:00:46 PM
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY
By James Caldwell, Torch columnist
WWE Raw Live Report
April 28, 2008
The Meadowlands, N.J.
The show started with a high-impact video package on the four-way main event at Backlash. They focused on Hunter winning the belt with a voice-over of his "Pride before the Fall" speech to Orton earlier in the PPV.
Live: Ross and Lawler welcomed us to the show, with Ross claiming 17,166 in attendance tonight. There was a brief pause after Ross introduced the show, then Triple H's music hit and the crowd exploded. Hunter then came out on stage in street clothes and revealed the WWE Title belt around his waist. Hunter smiled as he walked out to ringside with Lillian Garcia announcing him as the new WWE champion. "The age of Orton is over," Lawler said. "It's time to play the game." Hunter did his water-spit entrance and smiled into the crowd before entering the ring.
In-ring: After Hunter's music ended, he surveyed the crowd, which applauded loudly for the new champ. Loud "Triple H" chant as the camera pulled back to reveal more of the crowd. Hunter opened by saying he has an announcement to make. "As of right now, the age of Orton is officially dead!" he shouted. Hunter said eight months ago, he stood behind the curtain ... pause for "Triple H" chant ... read to make a comeback, not knowing what would happen and not knowing if he could ever truly be the best again. He said he now knows without a shadow of a doubt that, "The Game is Back." Before he could transition to talking about challengers, Randy Orton's music interrupted.
Orton walked out on stage dressed to wrestle. He shook his head on the way to the ring staring down Hunter. Orton took the mic and said Hunter does not get a victory speech tonight. Huge boos for Orton. He asked Hunter if he's actually proud of what he did last night. Orton said the odds were stacked against him. Hunter cut him off and reminded Orton of how confident he was before the match last night. He asked Orton if he actually believes he's the victim tonight. Orton said he was a victim of his own success because they couldn't put him against anyone one-on-one. Hunter said that's not the case because Orton used all the multiple-men match to sneak in the back door and escape. Orton said he's getting his one-on-one match at Judgment Day in three short weeks.
Hunter accused Orton of having a title reign based on running his mouth. Hunter said he made a career out of running his own mouth talking about how great he is. He said the difference is that he was telling the truth. Crowd cheered, then Hunter told him to get out of his ring. Orton said he's not going anywhere. He said this is his ring and that is his title. Hunter then cut him off mid-sentence with a microphone shot to the side of the head, which cleared Orton to the outside. Orton then screamed at Hunter that he can't wait until Judgment Day. He said the Age of Orton isn't dead; it has only just begun. Orton said Hunter's last title reign didn't even last 24 hours, and neither will this one. He told Hunter he's using his re-match clause tonight. Orton threw down the mic, then Hunter mouthed that he loves it. Hunter stood tall in the ring while Orton backed away and up the entrance ramp staring down Hunter. JC: Crowd really added to the opening segment. Strong start to the show that went the usual 15 minutes, but didn't seem to drag like most drawn-out opening segments.
Announcers: The camera focused on Ross and Lawler ringside. Ross said they will try to get some information during the break on whether the title match is official for tonight. Nice new touch leading to the break.
Announcers: Ross and Lawler confirmed the WWE Title match is official for tonight.
In-ring: Oh gosh we're going a re-match of the 12-divas match from last night. The babyface divas came out first to Mickie's music. Beth's music led out the heel divas. Ross said Mickie's team wanted a re-match from last night.
1 -- Women's champion MICKIE JAMES & MICHELLE McCOOL & MARIA & KELLY KELLY & CHERRY & ASHLEY vs. BETH PHOENIX & MELINA & JILLIAN HALL & VICTORIA & NATALYA & LAYLA
Things started off with Kelly and Beth, who attacked Kelly from behind after a pre-match scuffle. Not quite Garnett vs. Pachulia, but it'll do. Victoria took a tag, then Kelly snapped off a head scissors, but the heel divas cut her off and went back to work. Kelly then blocked a handspring elbow from Jillian and tagged out to Mickie, who rolled up Jillian with a bridge pin for the win.
WINNERS: Team Mickie in 4:00. This was a four-diva match with barely any involvement from several of the divas. Odd, but served its purpose of attracting a certain audience, albeit briefly. (1/2*)
Video package: They showed key highlights from the Backlash PPV.
In-ring: The white limo pulled up ringside and JBL emerged. Hey, look who's in the ring to face him...Robbie McAllister.
2 -- JBL vs. ROBBIE MCALLISTER (w/Rory McAllister)
The bell sounded and JBL slowly stalked Robbie around the ring before locking up. The story was JBL being severely upset after losing in the WWE Title match last night. JBL quickly smashed Robbie in the corner before nailing the Clothesline from Hell for a quick win.
After the match, JBL told Rory to come get himself some, but Rory backed away. JBL then walked out of the ring and grabbed a headset from the announce table. He said that (beating up Robbie) should have been John Cena because Cena cost him the WWE Title match. JBL demanded the winner of Hunter vs. Orton so he can get his torch back.
WINNER: JBL in 1:00. Quick, effective squash to establish JBL's mean streak. Good to see Robbie still on the roster after his mistake (compounded by TNA) during WrestleMania weekend. (n/a)
In-ring: Kendrick and London ran to the ring for the first tag match of the evening. This segued to Lawler plugging the new WWE Kids magazine. Kendrick and London are hidden in a puzzle, just like they're hidden on this roster. Cade & Murdoch came out to face them.
3 -- BRIAN KENDRICK & PAUL LONDON vs. CADE & MURDOCH
Two minutes into the match, Kendrick rolled up Murdoch and managed to keep Murdoch's shoulders down for a three count to win the match.
Afterward, Cade was frustrated with Murdoch, who quickly rolled to the outside and grabbed a mic. Murdoch then climbed onto the announce table to face Cade, who was in the ring. Murdoch then began singing a country song about not belonging anymore. He said he'll show himself to the door. Murdoch said he didn't mean to cause a big scene. He sang the one about having friends in low places. Fans booed initially, then when Murdoch finished, there was some polite applause. Cade had seen enough, so he bailed from the ring leaving Murdoch standing alone on the announce table.
WINNER: Kendrick & London in 2:00. Murdoch Sings the Hits wasn't exactly one of the high points in Raw history. He showed good range, but he was pitchy at times and Cade definitely wasn't feeling it. Oh yeah, a match. Eh. Fit the storyline of Murdoch sucking, but I'd rather see a competitive tag match if they're going to re-start this division. (1/4*)
Announcers: Ross and Lawler plugged the Presidential candidate appearances on Raw last week, including making the New York Times.
In-ring: Paul Burchill walked to the ring with Katie Lea. He's facing Super Crazy tonight. You can hear the channels changing already. Katie took the mic before the match and said William Regal has made this a two-on-one handicap match.
4 -- PAUL BURCHILL & KATIE LEA vs. SUPER CRAZY
Katie tried to get some early, but Crazy dropped her with a waistlock. Burchill came to his sis's aid, then Katie kicked Crazy in the head. Crazy avoided a corner splash from Katie, then he went for a moonsault on Burchill, but Burchill moved. Katie went up top and landed a missile dropkick on Crazy. Burchill then dropped Crazy with the Curb Stomp, which Ross actually called by name. Burchill with the pin and the win.
WINNERS: Burchill & Katie Lea in 3:00. Fine. Katie had a good showing, but people aren't excited for the tandem yet. (1/2*)
Backstage: Todd Grisham brought in Randy Orton to talk about his re-match tonight. Grisham asked Orton if he's having any second thoughts about invoking his re-match clause. After a lengthy pause, which made Grisham very uncomfortable, Orton stared at Grisham and sternly said, "No". More of Orton staring at Grisham with anger written on his face before cutting to break.
In-ring: They returned form break with the arena dark. There was a spotlight in the ring to showcase William Regal sitting on his King of the Ring throne. Regal said he's not going to relinquish his position as GM of Raw. He said he has earned both titles and he intends to keep them. Regal claimed to be the most powerful entity in WWE as a result. He said the audience's natural xenophobia and jealousy will not allow them to like him, but they and the WWE wrestlers have no choice but to respect him. He claimed to be the ruler and superior going forward.
Mr. Kennedy's music interrupted and he walked out to the ring to confront Regal in his return to Raw. He said he'd love to be the first to congratulate Regal on being the King of the Ring, but he just can't do that. Kennedy said he's the biggest WWE star who wasn't even invited to the tournament, and had he been invited, he would have won. Kennedy wanted Regal in the ring to challenge him for the crown. He tried to do his Mr. Kennedy name announcement, but Regal cut him off and said no one talks to him unless they have been granted an appointment. Regal told Kennedy to apologize.
[Q5 -- second hour]
Kennedy surveyed the scene, thought over his options, and considered his words carefully before announcing his name instead of saying I'm sorry. Regal wasn't pleased, so he landed a clean left hand blow to the jaw that sent Kennedy to the outside. Kennedy then ran back into the ring and tackled Regal leading to a brawl in the ring. Referees eventually stormed the ring in an attempt to separate them. Both men reached their feet with Kennedy showing blood on his forehead. JC: That was a hot return for Kennedy, and Regal showed good arrogance and an air of authority that was needed here. Show back on track after 45 minutes of not much.
In-ring: Santino Marella walked out with Carlito. Santino cut a promo about not liking Italian stereotypes and fake accents like on Sopranos. "It a make me crazy!" he declared. Cody Rhodes's music interrupted and the tag champs strolled to the ring.
5 -- CODY RHODES (w/Hardcore Holly) vs. SANTINO MARELLA (w/Carlito)
Santino tried to win with a roll-up and his feet on the ropes, but Cody escaped. He then nailed a spike DDT in center ring and made the cover for the win. Carlito stalked around the ring with his hands on his hips in frustration. Cody then took the mic after the match and mocked Santino while he was down. Well, that's not very nice. Carlito then snuck into the ring and nailed the backstabber from behind. Carlito and Santino bailed before Holly could go do anything about it.
WINNER: Cody Rhodes in 3:00. Not much to the match. Cody rubbing it in afterwards didn't get over with the crowd and came across like a cheap move for a babyface. Not a smart piece of writing. (1/2*)
Backstage: They showed Chris Jericho walking down the hallway in a formal tuxedo. Lawler said Jericho is dressed for a very special edition of the Highlight Reel or the prom.
Highlight Reel: Chris Jericho walked out to the ring for a very special awards edition of the Highlight Reel. First up was Fuji General with Don Muraco and Mr. Fuji reading off cue cards trying to act. Horrible greatness. Oh no! Second was Cole and Heidenreich from September 2004 with Heidenreich dry humping Cole from behind in the closet! They had a banjo playing while Cole tried to resist Heidenreich's advances. That was so wrong. And third, Shawn Michaels for pretending to have a knee injury in order to beat Batista at Backlash. Jericho said the winner is...Shawn Michaels. Jericho mock clapped and put a big smile on his face, then Michaels's music hit.
Michaels walked out, well more like hobbled out on stage and limped down the entrance ramp to the ring. Michaels managed his way into the ring and Jericho asked for a speech. Michaels told Jericho that he's hurt. Jericho told Michaels the charade is over and the façade is done. He facetiously complimented Michaels on doing whatever he needed to do to win the match. Jericho said if he wasn't standing on the other side of the podium, Michaels would probably try to superkick him right here. He told Michaels to bask in the glory of his moment and tell Batista "gotcha!" Michaels didn't react. The fans chanted, "H-B-K" as Jericho complimented Michaels on being the best modern-day actor in WWE. He called for Michaels's music, then Jericho left the ring sarcastically clapping it up. Jericho disappeared to the back while Michaels simply stood in the ring. JC: They're obviously playing up Michaels's "injuries" from way back in the day when he tried to get out of doing jobs. Where they go from here is interesting, as it certainly seems like Michaels vs. Jericho is next on the agenda, although it doesn't seem like Michaels vs. Batista is over.
ECW promo: They're teasing Kane vs. Chavo in a re-match tomorrow night. Well, it might just be find out whether Chavo was able to unseat Kane at Backlash.
Backstage: They showed Santino Marella walking around, then he approached a person who he thought was a diva. Turned out to be Roddy Piper, who slowly turned around and stared down Santino. "Roddy a Piper!" Santino declared. Santino asked Piper to re-create WrestleMania moments, but Piper slapped him across the face. Piper tried to act by staring off camera to ask if that man has a death wish or if he's just...special. Good to see Piper back, but that was just plain odd.
Video package: They focused on the Hunter vs. Orton match last night with Hunter capturing the WWE Title.
In-ring: Randy Orton slowly walked to the ring for the title match main event. The announcers talked about William Regal going on a tirade backstage after Kennedy tried to usurp his authority earlier.
In-ring: They returned with a close-up look at Randy Orton's face. After a pause, Triple H's music hit and he came to the ring to defend his title. Lillian Garcia handled the formal ring intros with Orton booed heavily. Hunter received a decent pop, but not as strong as when he opened the show. Ross called it Game 7 of the Stanley Cup or the Super Bowl. Referee checked both men for foreign objects, then gave each man pre-match instructions.
6 -- WWE champion TRIPLE H vs. RANDY ORTON -- WWE Title match
Bell sounded just before 9:42 CST, so this is going at least 20 minutes. They started with a basic feeling out process with Hunter landing a hard clothesline at 2:00. Ross said John Cena took a hard kick to the head from Orton last night, so Cena is not at Raw tonight.
Hunter focused his attack on Orton's left and shoulder, but Orton came back with his trademark horizontal DDT off the middle rope. They cut to a break with Orton set to mount his attack.
They returned with Orton pounding on Hunter, spinning him all the way around the ring. Hunter tried to mount a comeback with right hands, but Orton cut him off with a hard clothesline for a nearfall. Orton then applied a reverse chinlock in center ring. Hunter then countered into a sleeperhold, but Orton cut that off with a fallaway suplex on Hunter. The match moved to the outside and Orton rammed Hunter head-first into the steel steps. He then took Hunter back into the ring where he scored a nearfall at 13:00. Orton stalked Hunter for the RKO at 15:00, which no one in the audience bought into because Orton never hits the move when he sets it up. Hunter shoved off, of course, and then met Orton with right hand strikes. He followed with a facebuster and a clothesline, then Orton caught him off the ropes with a big powerslam to cut off Hunter's comeback.
[Q9 -- over-run]
At 18:00, the ref reprimanded Hunter for not breaking his fist attack in the corner, then Hunter walked into a fallaway backbreaker. Orton tried to follow with a top rope move, but Hunter crotched him when Orton took too long. Hunter then climbed up top and landed a superplex in center ring. Orton tried to surprise Hunter with the RKO, but Hunter blocked. Orton then blocked the Pedigree and tried to catapult Hunter into the corner for a rebound RKO, but Hunter blocked and dropped Orton to the mat. He slapped on the crossface in center ring.
Suddenly, they cut to the production truck where William Regal approached the director. The director kept calling camera shots, then Regal told him to cut if off because no one disrespects him and gets away with it. He then grabbed the director and threw him down on the ground after saying the fans don't deserve to see the conclusion of the match. The picture faded to black as audio of Ross and Lawler calling Orton's struggle in the crossface continued. The show faded to Law & Order with Orton still locked in the hold.
WINNER: No Finish in 22:00. Slow start, then they picked it up a little, and went to a dramatic finish with a cliffhanger for next week. This seems to be the set-up for Vince McMahon to return and admonish Regal for being drunk with power, but we'll see. I don't feel strongly one way or the other on the conclusion of the show, as it was unique and will pop a big first quarter-hour for next week's show. That won't mean anything if the payoff isn't good. As with everything in wrestling, follow-up is paramount. (**1/2)
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.
THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com 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)
REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars. **SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**