TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 5/5: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live Raw
May 5, 2008 - 10:08:12 PM
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By James Caldwell, Torch columnist
WWE Raw Live Report
May 5, 2008
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The show started with a video package on William Regal's claim to being the most-powerful entity in all of WWE. The video package included a clip of Mr. Kennedy beginning his feud with Regal last week. The video ended with Regal's claim to being the most-powerful entity playing over video of Regal cutting off the end of Raw.
Live: No pyro intro. No music. Just Vince McMahon out on stage surveying the audience. McMahon said William Regal did something last week that no one has ever done before: pulling the plug on the end of the Raw during a championship match. McMahon agreed with the WWE fan sentiment that Regal's actions were reprehensible. He said he also finds Regal's actions to be visionary. McMahon said Regal's actions reminded him of, well, himself. He gave 100 percent endorsement to Regal as King and GM of Raw.
In-ring: McMahon sent it to Lillian Garcia, who introduced William Regal as the official king of Raw. Regal strolled out to the ring to some kingly music, then he took the mic and said people might not like him, but people will respect him. Crowd booed instead of giving him a cheer he desired. Regal said he might exercise his authority again, which promoted a loud "Regal sucks" chant. That's what WWE wanted with the heat on Regal. Regal then asked for the lights to be turned out, which prompted loud boos. Light bulbs flashed in the darkness, then Regal asked for the lights again. He said this show will continue, but people might not be able to see it because he's willing to have the entire show in darkness.
Mr. Kennedy's music interrupted to big cheers, and Kennedy walked to the ring sporting his goofy track pants and jacket. Kennedy walked right up to Regal and stared him down. He said that if Regal wants respect so much, then all he needs to do is take him up on the offer for a one-on-one match in this very ring tonight. Regal said it's a dreadful shame when people don't know their place in life. He said he's Kennedy's superior, which prompted Kennedy to tell him to prove it. Regal said Kennedy can prove it himself with a main event match of Kennedy vs. the entire ECW roster. He said it's a little exchange with Armando Estrada if Regal promotes the 100th episode of ECW tomorrow night.
This appeared to be done until Triple H's music hit. Hunter walked out on stage hunched over at the neck in street clothes before he looked up to survey the crowd. Hunter slowly made his way to the ring not looking particularly happy. He asked Regal to pardon the interruption, but he wanted to congratulate Regal on his new position in power. Hunter wanted to offer some free advice that if he wants to maintain the status, you don't want to make mistakes. For example, last week, Regal turned the lights out on his match. "That was a mistake," he said. Hunter said the next mistake was coming to the ring after it went off TV and ending the match live. He said Regal disrespected him, and if Regal would like to keep his power, "you do not want to go to war with me," he said emphatically. Crowd was more responsive to Kennedy in this segment.
Regal said he doesn't want to do that because Hunter has a steel cage match for the WWE Title in two weeks. He then changed tonight's main event. ECW vs. Kennedy...and Hunter. Regal slipped out of the ring, then Kennedy and Hunter shared a few words. JC: That sound you hear is utter laughter from fans being asked to buy into ECW in the main event of a Raw show. It's the freakin' ECW brand, which has about the same credibility as Kurt Angle in an interview on TNA TV ratings. This opening segment went far too long and didn't accomplish much.
ECW plug: 100 episodes of ECW.
In-ring: Divas were surrounding the ring in anticipation of Mickie vs. Beth for the Women's Title. Ashley is ringside. Beth Phoenix came out first as the challenger. The babyface lumberjacks stared her down, then Mickie James skipped out to defend the belt.
1 -- Women's champion MICKIE JAMES vs. BETH PHOENIX -- WWE Women's Title match -- lumberjacks match
Beth sent Mickie to the outside a minute into the match, then the heel lumberjacks attacked Mickie. Back in the ring, Mickie had enough of the heels grabbing at her feet, so she tried to attack Jillian ringside. A divas brawl broke out while Ross tried to restrain Lawler from getting mixed up in the action. They cut to break.
They returned with Mickie trying to fight back against Beth with kicks to the gut, but Beth tossed Mickie to the apron and the heel divas nipped at her heels again. Back in the ring, Mickie caught Beth with an enziguiri kick that sent Beth to the floor. The babyface divas ganged up on Beth, then Beth dragged Maria into the ring. Meanwhile, Melina accidentally blasted Beth with her shoe when Mickie ducked. Mickie then rolled up a stunned Beth from behind for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Mickie in 9:00 to retain the Women's Title. Heavy on outside involvement because WWE apparently believes Mickie and Beth can't hold their own in a near-ten-minute title match. Fine was fine otherwise. (*)
Backstage: Regal was pacing in his office when Chris Jericho walked in. Regal said Jericho made a claim last week that Shawn Michaels was faking a knee injury. Jericho was proud of his claim, then Regal booked Jericho in a tag match with Michaels against Miz & Morrison. Regal said if Michaels is faking the injury, then Jericho has nothing to worry about tonight. Jericho smirked and left. Regal as a smart, serious heel authority figure is greatness.
Backstage: Trevor Murdoch was singing country songs to the makeup lady, who wasn't impressed. Trish Stratus then showed up off camera. Oh my. Huge pop live from the crowd. Stratus tried to absorb Murdoch's singing, then Ron Simmons walked in the shot and shouted "Damn!" in Murdoch's face. No words from Stratus? What is this, a Hanes commercial with Michael Jordan?
Announcers: Ross plugged Ron Simmons's induction into the college football Hall of Fame. They showed some old school clips of Simmons in action at Florida St. After the video package aired, Ross and Lawler plugged Hunter & Kennedy vs. ECW tonight.
Backstage: Todd Grisham was in the locker room area to welcome in Randy Orton. Grisham asked Orton for comments on the end of Raw last week. Orton said Hunter would have people believe he had the match won, but that wasn't accurate. He said he doesn't necessarily agree with Regal's decision, but he respects Regal because of his position. Grisham then asked Orton about facing C.M. Punk tonight. He said Punk will see the cold, hard reality of facing him if he decides to cash in his MITB opportunity when the Age of Orton resumes at Judgment Day. A fine interview with a more serious presentation of Grisham.
In-ring: Some dude who they claimed is from Toronto was in the ring, then Burchill and his sister came to the ring. Before the match started, William Regal walked out and said someone else who has been disrespected will be calling this match. He called for Ross's mic to be muted, then he brought out Mike Adamle to call the match. Big heat for Adamle.
2 -- PAUL BURCHILL & KATIE LEA vs. JOHN CUTLER -- Handicap match
Adamle started off with a parody of himself referencing the idea that the butler is always the murderer. Lawler was pretty much playing along with how terrible Adamle is. Apparently this whole thing is a joke. Fans chanted "this is boring" while they showed Jim Ross sitting with his legs folded ringside. Match ended with Burchill hitting the Curb Stomp after a few botched moves and intentionally terrible announcing. Adamle tried to sign off, then Lawler said he won't complain about his announcing. Adamle started to thank him, but Lawler quipped, "The line's too long." That made the entire segment. Lawler begged for Ross to come home, but Ross merely shrugged his shoulders from ringside.
WINNERS: Burchill & Katie in 3:00. Intentional train wreck segment and match. Just dumb until Lawler's great line at the end. This is apparently WWE's way of owning the Adamle idiocy by turning it into a parody storyline with Lawler providing the criticism. (DUD)
Torch reader Mat Le Vore of West Palm Beach, Fla. summed it up best: "Why should I, as a viewer, allow myself be punished and bored just for a WWE storyline? Expecting viewers to allow themselves to be punished through boredom for a worked angle is nothing but ridiculous and arrogant on WWE's part."
Backstage: Shawn Michaels was shown strapping on a knee brace. Jericho walked in and told Shakespeare to be ready for their match. Michaels took a serious tone and said he's hurt, so he'll do the best he can. Jericho smirked and said he better do his best.
In-ring: John Morrison and The Miz came to the ring together while Ross said this team is one of the reasons why he watches ECW every week. He said they are the future of tag team wrestling in WWE. Chris Jericho then came out first for his team. That was easily the biggest pop for Jericho since he returned to WWE. It's the first TV in Canada since he returned, so that explains it. Shawn Michaels's music hit and he was booed heavily. Yep, we're back in Canada. Michaels hobbled out on stage and Ross referenced the long memories of Canadian fans, going back to Survivor Series '97. Jericho made faces to show he was not convinced of Michaels's plight struggling through all of his ring entrance mannerisms.
[Q5 -- second hour]
3 -- SHAWN MICHAELS & CHRIS JERICHO vs. WWE tag team champions THE MIZ & JOHN MORRISON
Ross and Lawler debated the merits of Michaels's claim, providing the two sides of the argument about whether to believe Michaels or buy into some skepticism being whispered in the WWE locker room. Jericho started things off and he took Miz off the apron with a springboard kick. Morrison returned the favor with a big kick blast to Jericho. The tag champs ganged up on Jericho, then Morrison tried to knock Michaels off the apron. Michaels was downed momentarily, but then he regained his feet and hobbled into a big Sweet Chin Music on Morrison. Michaels instantly collapsed to the mat and held his knee. Jericho then nailed the Lionsault for the pin and the win. Afterward, Jericho was stunned. Michaels simply turned and left. Jericho continued to look stunned while they replayed the finish.
WINNERS: Jericho & Michaels in 4:00. Well, that was a ringing endorsement of the ECW brand when the tag champs were beaten in four minutes by one and a half men. Hurry, call your friends for the Kennedy & Hunter vs. ECW main event! Other than idiotic decision to stick Miz & Morrison in this match, it was a good storyline development for Michaels with more questions to be answered on his knee. Jericho showing doubt over his own doubt was a nice touch. (3/4*)
In-ring: Former WWE champion Randy Orton slowly walked to the ring in anticipation of facing C.M. Punk. They did a cool camera shot with a close-up of Orton facing the stage, then the camera pulling back to show Punk's back as he emerged from the stage for his entrance. Nice change of pace.
4 -- RANDY ORTON vs. C.M. PUNK
Orton took control in the first minute, then began the Orton stomp. He went for a leaping knee drop, but Punk rolled out of the way on the mat. Orton then avoided a springboard dive from Punk and made a quick cover for a nearfall. Punk then came back with a kick combo before nailing the bulldog out of the corner for a nearfall of his own. Crowd was quiet, then William Regal came out on stage and said he won't be disrespected. He called for the lights to be blacked out and declared the match to be officially over.
WINNER: Premature ejection of match in 4:00. This is getting ridiculous. People are going to quickly turn off this show instead of being pissed off enough to stay tuned to see the heel authority figure get his comeuppance. (n/a)
Backstage: Todd Grisham caught up with Randy Orton, who was pissed off about Regal's decision. He said he's going to Regal's office to find out what's going on right now.
Carlito's Cabana: Carlito was in the ring for his Cabana segment. He talked about last week's interaction between Roddy Piper and Santino Marella last week. After a video package aired on Piper slapping Santino, Carlito introduced Piper, who jogged to the ring to a strong ovation. Carlito said Piper took things too far last week. Piper said his entire career was built on taking things too far. He said he beat Mr. T, beat Hulk Hogan, and beat cancer. Piper said he doesn't have time to play nice-nice with the Super Mario brother, and he doesn't have time to talk about it because his name isn't Dr. Phil. Piper said he handles business his way: with a slap. That's a promo. Carlito paused for the "Roddy" chant, then Carlito said Piper is lucky he wasn't there because he would have slapped Piper back. Piper made fun of Carlito's hair, then Santino's music hit.
Santino walked out on stage to a huge pop of anticipation for Santino vs. Piper in a verbal war. Santino told Carlito doesn't need to touch Piper because he's all his. Santino said it took Piper eight years to become IC champion, while he did it his first night in the company. He said pretty soon, he will be World tag team champions with his friend, Carlito. Piper cut off Santino and said the first thing Santino needs is a designated driver. Ouch!!! The fans then chanted, "DUI" at Santino, who said enough of this.
Cody Rhodes interrupted the proceedings and told them to hold up one second. Cody told Santino and Carlito to cool off. Carlito told him to shut up because his boyfriend, Hardcore Holly, isn't here. Cody said Holly might not be here, but he knows two guys who are dying to meet Piper. Cryme Tyme's music hit and the three of them stormed the ring. Carlito and Santino bailed, then Shad and JTG checked out the Cabana set.
Shad took the mic and said that's just like two chumps to run before the fight. He then said tonight it's not about the money tonight, but it's about that Rowdy, Rowdy, yeah yeah. Piper did a pose, then he started dancing some odd jig. Cody tried to look "urban" holding the mic like a rapper.
Announcers: Ross and Lawler plugged Hunter vs. Orton at Judgment Day in a steel cage for the WWE Title. They've now added JBL vs. John Cena.
Backstage: They showed JBL standing behind the passenger door of his white limo. He looked like a sleazy used car salesman showing off cars in a commercial airing at either 2:00 a.m. or 10:00 a.m. on Saturday mornings. JBL then took us inside the limo for his Stretch Limo segment. He made several car crashing analogies for Cena at Judgment Day, then JBL exited his limo, which had now arrived ringside. Already in the ring was D.H. Smith, who was ready to face JBL. Smith paced the ring as JBL mocked the Canadian Bulldog nickname for Smith. He said Smith is the last of the Hart Foundation, which is dead. JBL said Smith's daddy can't help him. Neither can Bret Hart. In fact, God can't help Smith right now.
5 -- JBL vs. D.H. SMITH
JBL smashed Smith with the mic when the bell rang, then JBL tore him up with fists and a boot to the face. He called for the Clothesline from Hell and smashed Smith for the easy pin and the win. Post-match: JBL beat up Smith some more after the match. He kicked Smith several times in the head before landing hard right hand blows. Referees finally spilled into the ring to restrain JBL and check on Smith, but not before JBL landed one more kick to the head for good measure.
WINNER: JBL in 1:00. Fine for getting the heat on JBL ahead of his match against Cena. (n/a)
Backstage: Regal was arguing with the entire ECW roster, then he told them to be quiet and put aside their petty differences for one night. So, we've invested all of these emotions in the wonderfully-crafted and magnificently-played-out ECW storylines, only to be told they are mere petty differences? Unacceptable. Regal gave them a quiet pep talk to take out Hunter and Kennedy. Kane hung behind and stared down Regal before turning to walk behind his fellow ECW brand members.
Announcers: Ross and Lawler led to the Smackdown Rebound, which featured Vickie Guerrero stripping The Undertaker of the World Hvt. Title. Mind-boggling that they stuck this long video package in the final quarter-hour of the show.
In-ring: Miz & Morrison led the ECW brand to the ring. Lillian Garcia announced them as The Entire ECW roster. What a fine consortium of goofs. ECW champion Kane then had his own personal ring entrance. Apparently he is not part of the ECW roster. How come the divas aren't part of this? Is WWE now discriminating on the basis of gender? They certainly aren't discriminating based on wrestling skill, as Bam Neely, Mike Knox, and Matt Striker are in there.
In-ring: Mr. Kennedy came out first for the main event. Triple H then did his full ring entrance. So, what are the rules for this? First pin wins? Run the entire gauntlet? First team to explain in 10 words or fewer why ECW exists? Ross said it's first fall for the finish.
6 -- ENTIRE ECW ROSTER & ECW champion KANE vs. WWE champion TRIPLE H & MR. KENNEDY
Elijah Burke started off against Kennedy as Ross repeated the first fall rules for the match. Kennedy landed a knockdown clothesline on Burke for a nearfall early on. Hunter took a tag and worked on Burke. Burke then slapped in Striker, who walked into a high knee from Hunter. Crowd is dead for this. They decided to get the crowd absolutely red-hot for this by having...Mike Knox tag in. Whoever laid out the first three minutes of this should be strongly reprimanded.
[Q9 -- over-run]
The deal continued with the ECW babyfaces trying to work on Kennedy to build heat, but crowd wasn't stirred. Kofi and Shelton then accidentally ran into each other. Crowd doesn't watch ECW, so they had no idea what was going on with their storyline. Nunzio tagged in and worked on Kennedy, who quickly disposed of Nunzio. Chavo tagged in, though, and this led to The Roster trying to attack Hunter in the ring. The action broke down, then Kane gave Kennedy a chokeslam. After Bam knocked out Kane, Chavo came off the top with a frogsplash on Kennedy for the pin and the win.
WINNERS: ECW Roster in 5:00. That was possibly one of the worst Raw main events in a while. WWE needs to provide an actual reason to care about the ECW brand if they wanted the live audience to care about this match. But we know from last week's lesson that Mike Adamle > the entire ECW roster. So, unless Adamle was out there getting beat up, the fans weren't going to care. (1/4*)
Post-match: The whole deal broke down with the ECW roster members fighting each other while Knox and Hunter fought each other. The ECW wrestlers then ganged up on Hunter. Knox retrieved a chair from ringside, but Hunter stole the chair and cleaned house. He landed chair shots to the head on Punk, Knox, Dreamer, Nunzio, and Miz. He can do that because he's Hunter. The lights then went down. When they came back on, Orton was in the ring and he quickly surprised Hunter with an RKO in center ring. Orton then stared down at Hunter for a few moments 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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