TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 5/19: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live Raw
May 19, 2008 - 10:10:30 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch columnist
WWE Raw Live Report
May 19, 2008
Kansas City, Mo.
The show started with Jeff Hardy coming to the ring for the opening match. Interesting way to start the show without a post-PPV promo. Ross and Lawler talked about Hardy picking up a win over MVP last night. Umaga came out as the opponent. ... Again.
1 -- JEFF HARDY vs. UMAGA
Crowd is red-hot for Hardy to start off this re-match from last week. Hardy avoided a seated rear end splash on the mat, but he couldn't avoid a Samoan drop that led to Umaga slapping on a nerve hold. Hardy escaped and tried to come off the top with a Whisper in the Wind, but Umaga had it scouted and he moved just in time. Umaga tried to capitalize with the running rear end splash, but Hardy moved in time. Umaga then found himself on the outside where Hardy side-stepped him and sent Umaga head-first into the ring steps. Hardy tried a high-risk move, but Umaga caught him in mid-air and gave him a hard - hard! - sidewalk slam on the floor. Ref then counted to ten for a double count-out. Afterward, Umaga left ringside triumphant while medics checked on Hardy.
WINNER: Double count-out in 5:00. Seemed like a bridge to One Night Stand with another Hardy vs. Umaga match. (*1/2)
Backstage: They showed Chris Jericho warming up, then Batista walked over to him and said he needs to get out of his way so he can handle Michaels. Jericho said maybe he should just beat the hell out of Batista tonight. Batista called his bluff and said Jericho is in no condition to compete tonight after the match against Michaels last night. They shared a moment and stared each other down to close the segment.
Back live: The lights were out, then the lights came back on to reveal William Regal in the ring. Huge heat for Regal. He booked Hardy vs. Umaga in Falls Count Anywhere for One Night Stand in two weeks. He then brought in Orton and JBL on the video screen. Regal booked them in a tag match re-match against Hunter and Cena. He said if they win the tag match, they each get their singles re-matches at One Night Stand in their pick of gimmick match. Regal said if Cena and Hunter win, then they face each other at ONS in a match of his choosing.
Regal started to transition to something else, but Mr. Kennedy interrupted. Regal reminded him of the consequences of interrupting him. Kennedy then asked for Regal vs. him one-on-one, just like he's been asking for for weeks. Regal said he doesn't take challenges from ordinary wrestlers. He said the next person who interrupts him will be fired on the spot. Suddenly, Vince McMahon's music hit. Ross suggested Regal rescind that last statement. He said he doesn't know why these three men are out here, but he suspects it's not to talk about BBQ.
Once Vince's music finished and he strutted out, Kennedy sarcastically told Vince he shouldn't have done that because now Regal has to fire him. Vince told him to shut up. He recapped giving Regal 100 percent endorsement, but as a result of Regal's abuse of power, they have received more viewer complaints than ever in their history. Vince said viewer dissatisfaction abounds. He said he knows Regal doesn't care about the fans, nor does he care what they think about him, but it's all about the money. Vince said he's talking TV ratings. He said Raw is the highest-rated show in all of cable, yet when Regal shows up on the air, the ratings plummet. Vince said when Regal is on, the ratings go down, then they go down further as he continues to be on the show.
Vince turned to Kennedy and said he wants him gone, while the TV viewers want Regal gone. He then booked Regal vs. Kennedy for tonight. And the loser will be gone. Loser Leaves Town on Raw. Vince clarified, "As in... Fiiiired!" Kennedy and Regal had a stare down to close the segment.
In-ring: After a video package aired on Beth's double backbreaker last night, Melina walked out to the ring. She did her split ring entrance on the announce table and Ross pulled out his handkerchief to cool himself down. Melina joined them on commentary before Beth Phoenix came to the ring for a match. Maria came out as the opponent.
2 -- MARIA vs. BETH PHOENIX
Melina and Lawler talked about Playboy, and Melina left the door open for Lawler to convince her to pose. Beth dominated the match, then applied a stretch submission with Maria's shoulders pulled back away from her chest. Maria tapped out, giving Beth the submission win. Afterward, Beth stared down Maria, then she left the ring. Suddenly, Melina stormed the ramp and attacked Beth from behind. Beth recovered and gave Melina a hard slam on the ramp. Melina recovered while refs held Beth back from inflicting further damage. Fans ringside chanted, "Let them fight" as they closed the segment.
WINNER: Beth in 3:00. Two months ago, Maria wins with a roll-up. Things are back in line with good focus on the Melina vs. Beth deal, but we still don't have a reason to cheer for Melina in this feud. (1/2*)
Promo: Batista vs. Jericho is up later, with the winner getting Michaels at ONS.
Promo: Piper's Pit returns tonight. Ross and Lawler then talked about the Piper skit on Jimmy Kimmel Live last week. They showed clips from the skit with Piper at Hooters for Sal's birthday. Santino then interrupted and slapped Sal. Piper made a DUI joke, which led to a round of slaps. Sal then smashed Santino with a cake in the face. Kimmel said this is unfortunate.
Backstage: They suddenly went backstage where Mickie James and Katie Lea traded verbal jabs. Katie said she will hold the Women's Title with more class than Mickie ever will. Katie said now Mickie is sleeping her way to the top. She played the John Cena card, while Mickie played innocent. Katie said it's obvious what Mickie is trying to do.
Elsewhere Backstage: Regal was pacing around in his office, then Shawn Michaels walked in and wished him luck against Mr. Kennedy. Regal said he has a lot on his mind, so he can't worry about Michaels. He said Michaels can sit back tonight, but at One Night Stand, he'll be in a Stretcher match against either Batista or Jericho.
Announcers: Ross talked about WWE receiving the Corporate Patriot award in Washington, D.C. for the Tribute to the Troops show. They showed a video package on the U.S.O. giving the award to WWE, with Ric Flair accepting the award as the ambassador for the company.
3 -- IC champion CHRIS JERICHO vs. BATISTA -- non-title match
Ross and Lawler talked about Batista having the advantage with Jericho wrestling a very competitive match last night. Batista started on the offensive with a big lift-up slam that sent Jericho stomach-first into the hard mat. Jericho then came up lame at 2:00 and sold a knee injury. Batista simply smiled as Jericho rolled to the outside to catch a breather. Fans booed Jericho pulling an apparent Michaels.
Back from break, Batista was working on Jericho in the corner. Ross said that during the break, Batista wasn't buying Jericho's apparent knee injury. Lawler said Batista isn't buying a second leg injury. Jericho pulled the top rope down and Batista spilled to the floor. He clutched his left knee, prompting Jericho to give Batista a curious look. Batista limped back into the ring, then Jericho attacked the left knee. He aggressively went after the leg while Lawler pointed out the miraculous recovery for Jericho.
[Q5 -- second hour]
Jericho tried to pull Batista to the floor, but Batista kicked him away into the announce table. Jericho tried to run back into the ring, but Batista met him with a big crescent kick to the jaw, followed by a spinebuster. Batista set up a Batistabomb, but Jericho countered into a half crab on the injured knee. Batista fought the hold for a while, then he reached out to the bottom rope to finally get a break. Jericho quickly took out the leg, then went for a Lionsault, but Batista moved in time. Batista went for the Bomb again, but Jericho held the ropes to block. Both men recovered on the mat 13:00, then set up the finish. Batista blocked the codebreaker, and caught Jericho in the air to nail the Batistabomb for the pin and the win. Both men remained out cold on the mat post-match. Shawn Michaels then walked out on stage and stared into the ring. Batista stared back to tease the big tension for One Night Stand. They maintained the camera shot for a while.
WINNER: Batista in 14:00. Excellent TV match. Jericho created a really strong base for the match, and the psychology of each man teasing the knee injuries really played into the psychology of the Michaels vs. Jericho feud. They really have to be strong hard-selling One Night Stand, and they hit the right note on Michaels vs. Batista with the post-match. (***)
Backstage: Vince and Regal discussed the Loser Leaves Town match. Regal wanted clarification on why this match is happening. Before Vince could give a full explanation, Ted DiBiase walked in and shook hands with Vince. Vince then sent Regal away so he could talk business with DiBiase.
Piper's Pit: Piper's music hit and Santino Marella walked out instead. He was dressed as Piper complete with giant gut. SantinoPiper took the mic and they replayed the skit on Jimmy Kimmel last week. Do we really need to see this twice? He then called out Cousin Sal as his guest on the Pit.
The actual Sal jogged to the ring and took the mic. Santino asked why Sal idolized Piper. Maybe it was failing to become World champ, cross-dressing, or a string of horrible movies. Sal said the thing he admires the most is his ability to back up what he says, which is opposite of Santino. Sal then cut a pretty decent promo on Santino. Suddenly, Ron Simmons appeared on the Titantron to shout Damn. Sal said Santino is hung like a fourth grader, according to Maria, which prompted Santino to make an excuse that fourth-graders are very mature these days. He's seen the pictures. Err... that's what he heard. Yes, child pornography reference on the show. Stay classy.
Santino then pulled out a cake that read: "I'M SORRY". Santino teased putting the cake in Sal's face, then Roddy Piper snuck in behind and put a hand on Santino's shoulder. Santino stuttered an excuse, then Piper took a lick of the cake. In the interim, Sal shoved the cake in Santino's face before Piper cleared him from the ring. Santino kept the mic and said this is sooo funny. He said he wants a match with Piper's pal, Sal. Piper said it's on. Santino said Christmas came early for him this year.
Announcers: Ross and Lawler talked about Cade and Murdoch being finished as a tag team. They sent it to Lillian Garcia, who announced the Loser Leaves Town between Kennedy and Regal. Kennedy came out first and took the mic. He said no more tea and crumpets on Raw, as the winner of the next contest will be Mr. Kennedy...Kennedy.
4 -- MR. KENNEDY vs. WILLIAM REGAL -- Loser is fired
Regal and Kennedy exchanged control in the first two minutes while the announcers talked about Regal as a ratings killer, when just a few weeks ago, he was the most powerful entity in WWE.
At 4:00, they had a standing exchange which ended with Kennedy nailing a swinging kick to the head for a nearfall. Sign Guy's summer tour '08 appears to have started tonight. The match spilled to the outside and Regal took the mic. He said he's still GM of Raw, so he's making this a No DQ match. Regal then took out a pair of brass knucks and rolled Kennedy back into the ring. Regal measured Kennedy for a knucks shot, but Kennedy punted him in the gut. He nailed the mic check out of nowhere, then rolled Regal over for a three count to win. "Regal's fired!" Ross declared.
WINNER: Kennedy in 6:00 to avoid being fired. Good, high-energy TV match with high stakes for the match. Still waiting for the swerve or the twist on this. (*1/2)
Post-match: Regal was left alone in the ring after Kennedy left. Kennedy's music stopped, then Regal slowly pulled himself up by the ropes. He stared into the crowd with his big frown. Regal bent down to pick up the brass knucks, which he tucked back into his trunks. The fans chanted "U-S-A" as Regal surveyed the crowd. He then slowly dipped out of the ring and walked backwards up the entrance ramp. "Good-bye, Mr. Regal" Lawler declared. I'm shocked there was no "na-na-na good bye" chant.
Raw competition note: Andre Polizzi checks in ... TNT just did their clip of "celebrities in the crowd" at Spurs-Hornets Game 7. Included in the group with actor Forrest Whitaker and Saints head coach Sean Payton was Ric Flair. The always fabulous Marv Albert referred to him as "wrestling legend" Ric Flair.
Backstage: Regal was shown pounding on his locker room door. Suddenly, the door opened just a crack. Regal paused in sheer fright. Out stepped Teddy Long. Oh snap! Long smiled as the crowd popped, then Long asked him what's up. Long walked off, leaving Regal speechless.
Elsewhere backstage: Todd Grisham brought in Triple H to comment on the tag match main event tonight. Hunter said he and Cena aren't the best of friends, but he knows Orton and JBL aren't having lunch dates themselves. Hunter said he doesn't care whether it's Orton or Cena at One Night Stand in two weeks. He said there's constant change in WWE, but what doesn't change is him being the best in the business.
In-ring: Randy Orton walked out first for the main event. It's amazing to see how his body has changed from just two months ago. He was noticeably thin in the early part of the year, but he's looking much larger these days. Just stating observations here. JBL then walked before they cut to a break.
John Cena came out first for the babyface team. Triple H walked out next as Spurs vs. Hornets went to commercial break. If WWE is tracking this minute-by-minute, as Vince said, then Hunter's entrance is going to show an increase in viewership. As Hunter finished posing, Ross talked about Hunter trying to surpass Ric Flair's 16 title reigns. I won't detail again how ludicrous that stat is like in last night's report. After Hunter finished his entrance, he stepped to the outside to let Cena start for his team. Orton made the call to start for his team.
5 -- WWE champion TRIPLE H & JOHN CENA vs. JBL & RANDY ORTON
Barely two minutes into the match, they cut to break after Orton was dumped to the outside. Two commercial breaks in the final quarter hour against the finish of a Game 7?
They returned with JBL working on Hunter with a reverse chinlock. Ross and Lawler recapped the stipulations on the line for One Night Stand with Cena getting Hunter for the belt if their team wins and Orton getting Hunter for the belt if his team wins.
[Q9 -- over-run]
Cena took a hot tag at 7:00 and cleaned house on JBL and Orton. Cena then dropped Orton with the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Suddenly, JBL attacked Cena from behind setting off a brawl in the ring. JBL gave Cena a boot to the head to block an FU on Orton, which set up Orton for an attack on Cena. Their heads butted, then Cena jumped across the ring to make a tag to Hunter. JBL also took a tag, setting up Hunter and JBL battling. JBL set up the Clothesline from Hell, but Hunter nailed a spinebuster and dumped Orton to the floor. Back in the ring, Orton aimed for a punt on Hunter, but Hunter moved and Cena took the punt. It was about 90 percent air. JBL then pinned Cena to win the match.
WINNERS: JBL & Orton in 10:00. Standard TV tag main event featuring top stars. At least there wasn't a five-minute beating on Rhino here. Of course, this sets up yet another round of PPV matches to go with the Backlash re-match of Michaels vs. Batista. They couldn't do Hunter vs. Cena, though, as it wouldn't make sense to book that re-match with one week of build-up. They booked themselves into a corner of doing more re-matches people have already seen far too many times, or giving away a mega re-match that could sell a Summerslam card. (**)
Post-match: The heels ganged up on Hunter after Cena was KO'ed. Orton gave Hunter the RKO, then JBL took the mic and told Cena it will be First Blood at One Night Stand. Orton took the mic and told Hunter it will be Last Man Standing match. Yawn. Hunter and Cena remained out cold to close the show while Orton and JBL stood tall on the entrance ramp. They kept the shot forever, going eight minutes past the top of the hour.
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