TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 5/12: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live Raw
May 12, 2008 - 10:03:40 PM
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By James Caldwell, Torch columnist
WWE Raw Live Report
May 12, 2008
The show started with a recap of last Monday when WWE champion Triple H ate the ECW brand for dinner, then the lights went on and off, setting up Randy Orton for the show-closing RKO.
Live in the arena: The arena was dark with no pyro. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to a dark arena before the lights came up to reveal William Regal in the ring with Lillian Garcia. Big heat for Regal. Lillian sang "God Save The Queen," much to the angst of the audience while Regal stood stoic in the ring. Big turned into huge heat against Regal, who said how dare they disrespect his country. He said he could have people thrown out of the building if he wants. Regal went to the outside and surveyed the front row. He picked a couple of the crowd and asked for them to leave. Mickie James then stormed ringside and said that's her family. Regal didn't care, but Mickie kept arguing. Regal said he could strip Mickie of the Women's Title if he wanted.
Suddenly, John Cena's music interrupted and the roof came off. Cena saluted the crowd then sternly walked to the ring not looking in the mood for a fun night at the casino. Cena led Mickie out of the ring, then he approached Regal. He said he's been away for a few weeks and he needs to talk to Regal man-to-man. Cena went the self-deprecating route, then said pretty much everybody thinks Regal is messing up. Regal said not everyone, as Vince McMahon gave him full endorsement. Cena cut him off and said Vince is straight insane. He then pulled out some emails from fans to WWE's website about Regal.
Cena read some emails. One dude said Regal turning off the lights two weeks in a row is an absolute disgrace. Why should we respect Regal when he doesn't respect us? Another dude wrote in this is WCW Thunder bad. He said he's going to start a petition for a Fire Rus...er..."Fire Regal, clap clap, Fire Regal, clap clap" chant. Cena read another one, then he asked Regal for his thoughts. The fans chanted, "Fire Regal" before Regal could respond. Regal quietly asked if that's how they truly feel. He paused, took a deep breath, then he gave Cena his word he won't be turning out the lights on any matches. Regal said Cena's been off TV for a few weeks after Orton kicked him in the head at Backlash, so tonight it's Cena vs. Orton in the main event. Big pop for that.
Cena said there must be a catch, so when can he expect JBL to interfere? Regal told him not to worry because if anyone not directly involved in the match interferes, he or she will be automatically suspended. Regal said hopefully that will earn a little respect. Regal started to leave, then Cena cut him off and said he's in the USA. Cena said he doesn't care where you're from, but you have to realize where you're from. Cena with the cheap pop referencing Hockeytown and Motown. He said Aretha Franklin sang a little song about R-E-S-P-E-C-T, and that's how we're going to start this sumbitch. Cena then told Lillian to sing it out. After Lillian finished off a few verses, Cena said the lights aren't going off tonight. His music hit and Cena left the ring after a hot opening segment.
Announcers: Ross and Lawler plugged Chris Jericho apologizing to Shawn Michaels tonight. Also, Holly & Rhodes vs. Carlito & Santino for the tag belts.
In-ring: Roddy Piper slowly walked out to ringside. He shook hands with Ross and Lawler before sitting down at the timekeeper's table. Santino Marella then came out first for the World Tag Title match. Santino did the belt-around-the-waist motion to Piper, who stood up to exchange a few words. Carlito then came out telling everyone he has j-status with the official Judgment Day PPV t-shirt. Holly and Rhodes followed out to defend the belts.
1 -- World tag team champions HARDCORE HOLLY & CODY RHODES vs. SANTINO MARELLA & CARLITO -- World Tag Title match
Ross and Lawler talked about some sort of rumor that people feel Holly & Rhodes will lose the belts tonight. Random, but it has to be based on what Vince is feeling about rumors flying out of the WWE locker room these days. In any event, Carlito and Santino worked over Holly to start things off. Just before 3:00, Piper distracted Santino, allowing Cody to nail a spike DDT on Carlito for the pin and the win.
WINNERS: Cody & Holly in 3:00. Apparently Piper is the new manager of the tag champs to give them a little color? Piper claimed in an interview last month that he has a long-term deal with WWE, so if he's committed to be on the road regularly, then might as well use him to spice up the champs. (3/4*)
Announcers: Ross asked Lawler a question about whether Shawn Michaels's knee injury is legit or not. Lawler said he's watched the tape over and over, and initially it looks legit. He really doesn't know, but he knows Jericho is now convinced Shawn was injured. This led to Ross plugging a text messaging deal on whether Michaels is injured. Yes or No.
On stage: Mr. Kennedy walked out and took the ceiling mic. He said he has a big mouth, but no one is going to shut it for him. Why? Because he's Mister Kennedy... Kennedy. He then entered the ring in anticipation of facing Snitsky. Snitsky has expanded, with his love handles all over the place along with some crazy-looking facial hair. Not even scary. Just weird.
2 -- MR. KENNEDY vs. SNITSKY
Lawler filled some time asking Ross if he's ever tried to introduce himself like Kennedy? "Hi, I'm good 'ole JR!... JR!" Ross paused and said he'd practice that. The match dragged on with Snitsky smashing Kennedy with a hard clothesline at 3:00. He went for the pumphandle slam finisher, but Kennedy slipped out and nailed the mic check. Crowd popped, then Kennedy rolled Snitsky over and pinned him.
WINNER: Kennedy in 4:00. Slow match, but it served the purpose of making it clear to the audience that Kennedy is supposed to be a babyface these days. (1/2*)
Announcers: Ross and Lawler plugged Cena vs. Orton for tonight. Good to see continual advertising for the match.
Backstage: Grisham brought in Santino for an interview after the deal with Piper. He said he won't be insulted by ah Roddy the Piper. It's not the '80s, he said, which means Hogan isn't champ anymore. Santino vowed to find Piper and make him pay.
Elsewhere backstage: Cena was getting a cup of coffee when Mickie James walked over to thank him for the opening segment with Regal. Cena said it's cool. She then asked if he wanted to go out with her, her brother, and her brother's girlfriend afterward. Cena went into robot mode and said he has a commitment to his job, which includes staying focused on Orton tonight and Judgment Day on Sunday. Mickie wasn't sure how to take that, so Cena broke robot character and said of course he's good for going out for drinks later. He warned things get wild with him sometimes. Mickie said she can do wild. Cena said that's cool, then Mickie walked off to prepare for a match up next. In-ter-esting. But, I thought Mickie was interested in Murdoch. Oh yeah, that was about 15 storylines ago.
Elsewhere backstage II: They showed Beth and Melina walking in anticipation of the match against Mickie.
In-ring: Melina came out first for the divas tag match. After she did her little in-ring pose thingie, Beth Phoenix came out while the announcers talked about Beth and Melina not being on the same page last week. Maria led out the babyface tandem, then Mickie James pranced out to a typical strong reaction.
3 -- MELINA & BETH PHOENIX vs. Women's champion MICKIE JAMES & MARIA
Melina and Beth had an early miscommunication, with Beth being bumped off the ring apron. Beth then opted to leave the ring instead of take a tag from Melina to set up a beating on Mickie. Melina lost control, and Mickie finished off Melina with a neckbreaker. Beth just kept walking up the ramp with her back to the ring while Mickie and Maria celebrated afterward.
WINNERS: Mickie & Maria in 2:00. Would have liked to have seen more in-ring time devoted to the women prior to going to the finish with the miscommunication, but the storyline is at least progressing. (n/a)
[Commercial Break. Judgment Day video plug: They're advertising Orton vs. Hunter for the PPV, but still no mention of this being a cage match. Is this even a cage match anymore? ... ECW plug: Kane vs. Everyone.]
Announcers: Ross and Lawler revealed the text voting. 72 percent of voters believe Michaels is telling the truth about his knee injury. There has to be a punch line for the other 28 percent, but I'm drawing a blank.
[Q5 -- second hour]
In-ring: Chris Jericho came to the ring dressed for a night at the club. Jericho waited out a "Y2J" chant, then he set up the storyline about Michaels's apparent knee injury. Jericho said he didn't buy it initially after being in the ring with him as special referee. He said he gave Michaels an award for his performance in milking the injury, but then something changed last week when Michaels helped him win a tag match apparently on one good leg. Jericho said something clicked when he saw the pain on Michaels's face when trying to deliver the superkick. He offered an apology and said he wanted to tell Michaels he's sorry. Jericho looked into the camera and said he's sorry. He suggested they could call off their one-on-one match at the PPV if Michaels is injured.
Michaels's music interrupted, then he hobbled out to the ring and took a mic. Michaels approached Jericho and started to talk, but Jericho cut him off and said he just wanted to apologize to him. Jericho kept talking over Michaels, who told him he doesn't need to apologize. Michaels said for the first time in his career, he feigned an injury. Michaels said Jericho is right; he's not hurt. Jericho didn't know how to react. They stared at each other, then Jericho smiled and said he knows what Michaels is doing. He said he won't be fooled twice, but he won't buy the mind games from Michaels. Jericho said Michaels better come up with a better game plan that that to fool him.
Michaels said he told everybody that he would do whatever it takes to win. He said he did just that. Michaels said Jericho is right that he's not hurt. Jericho said now Michaels is insulting his intelligence. He said the problem is that Michaels thinks he's smarter than everyone else. Jericho said he knows in his heart that Michaels is hurt. Michaels then stepped back and popped Jericho in the mouth with a superkick. Jericho fell flat on his back like an old dog with his paws up in the air. Michaels then leaned in next to Jericho and told Jericho to trust him that he's not hurt. Michaels dropped the mic then did a flip over the top rope to the floor and walked up the ramp showing no ill-effects of a knee injury. JC: Surprising the audience would still cheer for Michaels after he duped everyone. Michaels simply has that veteran respect where he can do whatever necessary to get ahead and the audience will still cheer for him.
In-ring: After a pause, Jeff Hardy's new music hit. The crowd came to life, but no sign of Hardy. Suddenly, Hardy emerged and the crowd roared. Hardy slapped hands on the way to the ring while Lillian told the crowd to welcome back Jeff Hardy. Ross called it a wonderful surprise. Hardy entered the ring and surveyed the crowd at all four corners.
Once his music stopped, Hardy looked to the crowd, which was chanting "Hardy, Hardy". Hardy opened by saying it feels good to be back. He said he never wanted to be away, but the truth is he made a mistake and he paid for it. Hardy said now that he's back, he has a lot of things to do. He said first thing is to become Intercont--- his mic was cut off, then William Regal walked out on stage and asked if something's wrong with the mic. He said no one wants to hear Hardy's mea culpa. Regal said Hardy should be punished for his sins by competing against this man. Out walked Umaga. I think 2007 wants its feud back.
4 -- JEFF HARDY vs. UMAGA
Before Umaga could enter the ring, Hardy landed a baseball slide kick that sent Umaga across the floor. Umaga recovered and threw Hardy hard into the guardrail. He then rolled Hardy into the ring to officially begin a match. Crowd was hot in its support of Hardy. Umaga quieted them momentarily with a big diving splash in center ring. He continued to beat down Hardy while the fans rallied in their support. Umaga went for the big rear end splash, but Hardy moved just in time. He then nailed a Whisper in the Wind on Umaga. He made a cover and the ref counted three as Umaga appeared to kick out. Nevertheless, Hardy with the big comeback win.
WINNER: Hardy in 2:00. Quick and effective for giving Hardy a big return done right. This show will be a major litmus test for the effect of Cena and Hardy on ratings. Hardy wasn't advertised ahead of time, so fans weren't automatically tuning in for Hardy, but his return should have kept folks tuning in who were flipping around the dial. (1/2*)
Video package: Focus on Cena's virtuosity vs. JBL's cunning to promote their Judgment Day match.
In-ring: Cryme Tyme came out for a tag match. Ross welcomed us back to the show with his dawg, Jerry Lawler. What a shock - Cade & Murdoch came out as the opponents. 2007 is still on the phone looking for its feud back.
Early in the match, Lawler talked about Murdoch winning once he started singing. Where are these victories that we've been missing? Murdoch blocked a sunset flip and rolled up JTG for the pin and the win.
Afterward, Cade celebrated like they just won the Super Bowl. Cade took a mic and said that's what he's talking about with them being back on a roll. He said maybe the singing has something to do with it. Cade asked the crowd if they want to hear him sing. He said it doesn't matter what they want anyways, only what he wants. Cade told Murdoch to sing their victory song. He started singing country with "know when to fold 'em." Suddenly, Cade blasted Murdoch in the face with a hard right hand punch. Cade simply stared down at Murdoch, who struggled to figure out what planet he was on. Once Murdoch made it to his knees, Cade landed one more right hand to the skull that KO'ed Murdoch. Cade then left the ring and simply stared into a stunned crowd to end the segment.
WINNER: Murdoch & Cade in 2:00; Cade's fist in 5:00. It was inevitable the break-up would occur, and something I wrote about in 2007 that should happen. At least we can finally put an end to the Cryme Tyme vs. Cade & Murdoch program that simply would not end. (1/2*)
Smackdown Rebound: They focused on Vickie Guerrero announcing a match for the World Title at Judgment Day with Undertaker facing the winner of Championship Chase. They showed Batista winning until Vickie pulled the rug out from under Batista when Edge was inserted to win the deal and get Taker for the belt at the PPV.
Backstage: Melina had an icepack on her neck trying to talk to Jillian Hall about her problems. Beth Phoenix then walked in and told Melina what's the real story with their problems. Beth said she knows Melina just wants the Women's Title, and Melina thinks she can beat Mickie easier than she can beat Beth for the belt. Melina asked if that's so. She then landed a forearm blow that set off a full-scale brawl. Beth got the best of the fight, then referees eventually stepped in to settle things down.
Announcers: Ross and Lawler plugged the Judgment Day card. They finally plugged Hunter vs. Orton inside a steel cage.
Backstage: Grisham brought in Randy Orton for an interview. Grisham asked Orton about facing Cena tonight and Hunter for the belt at Judgment Day. Orton rhetorically asked who was standing victorious at WrestleMania, and who was standing over Hunter's fallen body last week. That would be him. He said Hunter had a lucky night at Backlash. Orton said Age of Orton returns at Judgment Day. He transitioned to Cena, and said Cena will learn what Hunter already found out. He said he will prove he's not only the best athlete in WWE, but also the smartest.
ECW plug: Please tune in for Miz vs. Punk and Morrison vs. Kane in separate singles matches.
In-ring: Some new rocker music hit for Randy Orton. Why do they keep messing with the ring music formula? Just keep it the way it is! The opening lyrics talked about voices in his head. I thought that was Kane. (May 19!) John Cena then came out to a strong reaction.
6 -- JOHN CENA vs. RANDY ORTON
The bell sounded and the fans chanted Cena's name. Orton immediately went for a headlock on the mat to ground Cena, but Cena came back with a fisherman suplex. Orton ducked a clothesline, then he nailed the fallaway backbreaker for a nearfall. Orton peered ominously around the ring while the fans engaged in a duel chant pro-Cena and pro-Orton. Orton tried to start the Orton stomp, but Cena grabbed his foot and dumped him over the top rope to the floor.
The fight picked up mid-ring with Orton nailed a turnaround powerslam off the ropes for a nearfall. Crowd was red hot, so Orton took the volume down slightly with a reverse chinlock on the mat. The crowd picked up the volume with their dueling chants. Cena fought out of the hold and went for a trademark shoulder tackle, but Orton had it scouted so he ducked and Cena ate the mat. Orton tried to follow with an RKO, but Cena shoved off and nailed a blockbuster. He then went up top for the guillotine leg drop. Cena was looking for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Orton rolled to the outside.
Regal then walked out on stage with JBL in zebra stripes. He said the current referee is not suitable for the match, so he's found a replacement. JBL stormed the ring and confronted Cena, who punched him to the outside. Cena then avoided the RKO from Orton and went for the FU, but JBL kicked Cena in the head. Orton then covered Cena for the fastest three count ever.
WINNER: Orton in 9:00. Very good TV match while it lasted. Smart use of Regal to show his craftiness in a way that fit the storyline, but didn't kill the audience. (**1/2)
Post-match: JBL and Orton doubled up on Cena until Triple H's music hit and Hunter walked to the ring with a purpose. Crowd was red hot at this point. JBL met Hunter with a right hand, but Hunter blocked and attacked JBL. Cena cleared JBL to the outside, which led to a brawl into the stands. They fought through the sea of humanity. Back in the ring, Orton caught Hunter with a knee, then big right hand punches. Orton continued to smash Hunter until a cage was suddenly lowered to the ring.
[Q9 -- over-run]
With the cage on the ground, Orton measured Hunter for a whip into the cage, but Hunter blocked and nailed a spinebuster in center ring. Hunter then chucked Orton into the cage wall and Orton slipped through the bottom of the cage wall to the floor. Hunter scaled the top of the cage and stood on top looking down at Orton, who crawled on his back down the entrance ramp. Jeff Hardy looking down at Orton? They faded to black only one minute past the top of the hour in possibly the shortest over-run in years.
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