TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 2/23: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live USA Network broadcast
Feb 23, 2009 - 10:10:42 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch.com assistant editor
WWE Raw Live Report
February 23, 2009
The show started with a video package recapping Randy Orton taking out the McMahon family, including last week when he took out Shane and Stephanie before Triple H made the save for his wife. Heavy emphasis on Orton's Punt to Shane's head. And Hunter's beard shaking.
In-ring: We start the show without pyro. Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero was in the ring. "Excuse me!" she said. Board of directors involved again, as they have named Vickie the interim GM of Raw due to the McMahon family being taken out. Loud boos. Vickie, ever the tone-deaf character, thanked them for their support. She vowed to carry on the dedication and commitment to Raw as she does on Friday nights.
Cue up John Cena's theme music to interrupt Vickie. Huge explosion from the crowd, then Cena entered the ring to cut off Vickie. Board of directors is going with Vickie? Que? With everyone looking for a job these days, they might as well bring back Mike Adamle. They could have hired Michael Cole. Cena did some Cole-bashing...verbally...then paused for a "Cena, Cena" chant. Jerry Lawler whispered under his breath not to let Cena talk to him like that.
Cena said he's not going to fight city hall, though, so congrats to Vickie on the interim GM. Cena warned her about having some pride in the product. We all know that Vickie doesn't care about the McMahons or any of the fans. All you care about is that your hubby is the World champ. Cena reminded Vickie that he does have a re-match clause against Edge. And guess what...he's cashing it in...tonight.
Suddenly, Edge interrupted with the World Title belt over his shoulder. Big Show accompanied him after coughing through the smoke from Edge's pyro. Nice. Edge asked Cena who he thinks he is...Randy Orton? Edge entered the ring and gave Vickie a protective hug. He said it's time for Cena to feel intimidated. Cena told him for once-in-your-life, stand up and be a man. He said this match is going to happen. No excuse not to defend the World Title right here tonight.
Edge said he does have an excuse - "I don't answer to you." Edge said he feels sorry for Cena because he wants to be this generation's Bruno, Hulk, or Austin. The guy that every loser kid or worker stiff looks up to. You want to be that guy so bad, but it can't happen. It's impossible because he won't let it happen. Really, Cena, it's a matter of bad timing because he exists in the same era of Edge. Edge claimed to be tougher and smarter than anyone who has held this title before.
Edge continued that people are losing their jobs, getting divorced, failing tests, and Cena is that shining light - the beacon of light, man. So, Cena wants this re-match, but maybe Cena should stretch this out a little longer because when he beats him in the re-match, all of these people will be left with nothing. Cena said that's a fine speech. Loud "Cena, Cena" chant from the kids and working stiffs. Cena said Edge suddenly found a dose of courage standing in the ring with a barbaric, disgusting beast. And, of course, you brought the Big Show. A little re-direction.
Edge snapped about Cena disrespecting his wife. Cena cut him off and said here's the story: you're a champ, I'm a former champ, and I'm one match away from winning the title again. Cena said Vickie needs to step up and make sure this match happens. Big Show decided it was time to interject. Respect the GM, Cena. Cena said he can't figure this one with Show. Where do you fit in? Wait, wait, he over-looked it. Show was hired to "take care" of Vickie. Wow, Edge, I didn't realize you're that big of a slouch in the bedroom.
Vickie had enough and said Edge is her family. Show is her friend. You, Cena, are neither. You're my subordinate and now you're in action tonight. It will either be against her family or friend. Cena thought it over, then decided on facing Edge for the World Heavyweight Title tonight. I think. Announcers didn't make it clear. Who knows. (3) Place your Bets: 11:40 talk time.
Up tonight: Punk vs. Miz vs. Morrison in a qualifying match for Money in the Bank.
Parking garage: A black vehicle pulled up and out walked Legacy. Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes popped out first. They checked the building to ensure no sign of the McMahons or Super Hunter, then tapped the car window. Randy Orton suddenly popped out and they scampered inside the building.
1 -- IC champion C.M. Punk vs. World tag team champion THE MIZ vs. World tag team champion JOHN MORRISON -- Qualifying match for Money in the Bank at WrestleMania
Briefcase was suspended above the ring to show what's on the line tonight. Punk retreated to his corner after the opening bell to anticipate a double-team attack in the three-way match, but the tag champs successfully double-teamed Punk. Eventually, Punk avoided a clothesline near the ropes and dumped Miz to the floor. Morrison was then out to the floor with Punk, and they cut to a break with all three men recovering.
They returned with Morrison working on Punk, then Punk made a comeback with a series of knee lifts. Suddenly, Miz smashed Punk in the corner and Morrison was knocked to the outside in the process. Miz worked on Punk at 7:30 while Lawler speculated that things could break down between the tag champs. Morrison re-entered the ring, but Punk pulled out some double-team moves on the champs.
Suddenly, Punk got caught in the electric chair on Miz's shoulders and Morrison hit a springboard kick on Punk. Miz and Morrison tried to pin Punk, then the champs got into a mid-ring brawl. The champs exploding allowed Punk to sneak in from behind and hoist Morrison up for the G2S after kicking Miz to the floor. After nailing the G2S, Punk covered Morrison for the win to qualify for the MITB ladder match. Punk's looking for a repeat from last year when he won MITB.
WINNER: Punk at 10:25. Nice match. Strange crowd reactions at the end, as the action seemed fine, but the crowd was silent or just not mic'ed well. Looks like we'll get Miz vs. Morrison or Miz & Morrison vs. the Colons at WrestleMania. Can't leave the tag champs off the PPV card. (*1/2)
Triple H shot: They showed Triple H preparing for a live interview. Or, perhaps, it was the pre-interview shot from Smackdown where he sat down with Jim Ross to comment on Randy taking out Stephanie.
Announcers: Cole and Lawler talked about Triple H's very emotional interview on Smackdown. Lawler said Hunter is married to Stephanie, then they sent it to the Smackdown sit-down.
From Friday's show: Jim Ross asked Hunter about the incident where Orton took out Stephanie on Raw. Hunter calmly talked about Orton walking a fine line around here lately. He said Orton put his hands...pause...reflect...stop...sip of water...sorry...roll his eyes...Hunter continued that a lot of people might not like Vince McMahon, but he's a 63 year-old man who took a kick to the head. He took out his brother-in-law Shane, then put his hands on his wife. Hunter fought back tears while staring into the camera. "You've crossed the line, Orton. One you can't come back from." Hunter looked off camera to collect himself, then looked back into the camera. "Stephanie is the mother of my children," Hunter said before ripping off his lavaliere mic and walking off the set.
Backstage: Todd Grisham was outside of Randy Orton's locker room trying to get a word with Orton. His bagboys Cody and Teddy walked out to comment on Orton. Cody said Shane and Stephanie brought it upon themselves last week. Shane wanted the unsanctioned fight. Stephanie ran to the ring. Cody asked for personal responsibility here. Ted said Orton will address last week later tonight when he's ready.
Elsewhere backstage: Santino had Beth Phoenix and Rosa Mendes on his arms, then they approached Dolph Ziggler. Santino introduced his ladies to Dolph. "Lots of love" between himself and girlfriend Beth. Santino then led his ladies away while Dolph followed.
The Rock promo: Dwayne Johnson was shown in a USA Network spot urging Raw fans to check out "Race to Witch Mountain" on March 13. Uh-oh. John Cena can't be happy with Rock using WWE fans to put money in his pocket.
Parking garage: They showed the parking garage in anticipation of Triple H arriving at the arena. A little "behind the scenes" with Grisham being given a new mic while production assistants walked around trying to look busy.
In-ring: Women's champion Melina came to the ring for a six-person tag match. Cryme Tyme was given full ring intros tonight, as they came out as tag partners. Glamarella + Dolph Ziggler came out as the opposition. Welcome back, Dolph.
Melina and Beth started things off against each other. Very quiet tonight. Cole isn't helping on play-by-play. Dolph and JTG tagged in to battle in the ring. Dolph short-armed Santino on a tag, then Shad tagged in and took apart Dolph. Shad then powered up and missed with a money-money elbow drop. Santino finally tagged in, then he fired himself up and ran into a clothesline from Shad, who pinned him for the win. That was quick.
WINNERS: Cryme Tyme & Melina at 3:57. More of Santino's comedy act, which is wearing thin if he's going to be booked like this in the ring. Glamarella is going nowhere fast. Nice to see a re-focused effort from WWE to give Cryme Tyme decent TV exposure this week. (*)
Backstage: They showed Shawn Michaels walking down the hallway in anticipation of his match against JBL. It's up next.
[Commercial Break. USA promo: Dwayne Johnson was shown plugging a sneak peek at his movie right before returning to Raw.]
Backstage: They showed John Cena sitting down in the locker room in anticipation of whether he's facing Big Show or Edge tonight. Cue up a "12 Rounds" trailer for his movie. Johnson vs. Cena coming to theaters in March.
[Q5 -- second hour]
Ringside: JBL emerged from his white limo to face Shawn Michaels. Winner gets Taker at WrestleMania 25. JBL was still sporting a shiner over his left eye. JBL callously stared into the crowd, then Shawn Michaels excitedly came out to the ring. Random camera shot of JBL showed him smiling while talking to the ref or someone else. Don't think that was meant to be shown. Back to Michaels on camera, then back to JBL, who had a big frown. And we get a bait and switch, as Cole quietly said Vickie has made a decision that the winner of JBL vs. Michaels tonight gets Kozlov next week on Raw. Winner of that one gets Taker at WrestleMania.
3 -- SHAWN MICHAELS vs. JBL
Awkward spot early in the match, as JBL and Michaels kinda ran into each other mid-ring. Michaels appeared to lose a tooth, then JBL paused to look down at Michaels and they called an audible. JBL went on the offensive, but Michaels came back with forearm blows. JBL had a spot of blood on his forehead, then he took control. JBL smashed Michaels with a right hand and Michaels fell through the ropes to the floor. The action moved to the floor where Michaels rammed JBL head-first into the ringpost. Ref started a ten count and both men made it back in at eight-ish. Cut to break.
Back from break, JBL was in control smashing Michaels with right hands in the corner. They had an exchange up top, then JBL kicked him in the jaw to knock Michaels to the outside. Ref applied another ten count, but Michaels made it back into the ring at six. JBL then smashed him with a short-arm clothesline for a two count. Michaels made his comeback at 11:00 and nailed a top rope elbow smash square in the chest. He then tuned up the band anticipating WrestleMania 25, but JBL ducked. They had an exchange where JBL nailed a big boot to the face after Michaels skinned the cat back into the ring.
JBL started to talk trash leaning down toward Michaels, then he wanted the Clothesline from Hell, but JBL gave Michaels enough time to recover and catch JBL off the ropes with Sweet Chin Music for the pin and the win. Nice finishing spot.
WINNER: Michaels at 13:02. Solid TV match. Gotta love how WWE set up the audience to think Michaels vs. JBL was for a shot at Taker without telling them it was a virtual semi-final match to face Kozlov next week. Michaels was great at the end. (**)
Post-match: Michaels celebrated the victory while the announcers talked about Michaels possibly having the opportunity to face Undertaker at WrestleMania. Kozlov's music hit, then Kozlov entered the ring for a staredown with Michaels. They'll face each other next week. Crowd with a "USA" chant, then Michaels tried to attack Kozlov, but Kozlov blocked and nailed a Rock Bottom to silence Michaels. Kozlov then grunted and yelled. Yeah!!!
Backstage: Legacy was taping up in their locker room. Soup would have taken that a step further with some lotion and thigh rubbing.
WrestleMania recap: They went back to last year at WrestleMania 24 for highlights of Money in the Bank, Big Show vs. Floyd Mayweather, and Taker vs. Edge. I was about to say no clips of Flair vs. Michaels, but they focused heavy on Flair vs. Michaels at the end of the video package. "I'm sorry. I love you." Voice-over said Flair will never just be a man, but the man.
In-ring: Jamie Noble was in the ring smiling after watching the video. Noble said he knows he only lasted 15 seconds against Kane last week, but if he lasts longer than his opponent tonight, then he knows he's going to WrestleMania. Out came mean Mike Knox.
4 -- MIKE KNOX vs. JAMIE NOBLE
They put a clock in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen. Thanks for that, as my stopwatch decided to freeze at bell time. Knox with a big boot, then the Knox Out in center ring for an easy pin and the win. He lasted 29 seconds, though.
WINNER: Knox at 0:29. Apparently Noble is going to WrestleMania?
Hall of Fame announcement: Announcers talked about Steve Austin and the Funks already being inducted, then they announced Ricky Steamboat as the next inductee. Cue up classic clips of Steamboat in the NWA, WCW, and WWE. They took us to WrestleMania III for Steamboat vs. Savage for "one of the greatest matches ever." And then the 1989 series between Steamboat and Flair. "Prestigious NWA World Title" was uttered on WWE TV. Steve Austin was shown talking, then Ric Flair, who said he's a humble, great guy. That was a sweet video. And he'll be inducted by Ric Flair. We'll hear from Steamboat later tonight.
On-stage: Michael Cole stood on stage to introduce Ricky Steamboat, who came out sporting a nice suit. Steamboat, now a backstage agent, posed on stage while Lawler talked about his classic matches against Ric Flair. Cole asked Steamboat about the honor, and Steamboat talked about WrestleMania III. No mention of Savage by name. He said being recognized in the Hall is the greatest honor of his career. You could see this coming...Chris Jericho's music interrupted, then Steamboat pushed Cole away as Jericho walked out on stage.
Jericho smugly approached Steamboat, who stood his ground on stage. Jericho, in a sharp brown suit, said thank you to the Academy Award people for not voting for Mickey Rourke last night. So, now he's a loser, just like the character he portrayed in "The Wrestler." Rourke said Rourke reminds him of a lot of the losers in this business: Flair, Piper, and Steamboat. Jericho paused for Steamboat to think things over. He said Steamboat made his name in the NWA, which this company doesn't even acknowledge ever existed. He said Steamboat didn't become a star until he came to WWE and played into karate stereotypes as "the Dragon." When Steamboat decided settling for getting a paycheck in WCW (without mentioning WCW by name) wasn't enough, Steamboat decided to pathetically get back into wrestling applying for a job as a backstage guy. Jericho said Steamboat is the biggest hypocrite of them all.
Jericho walked off, but Steamboat called his name. He asked Jericho if he understands that word. He said he remembers being an autograph session 20 years ago and signing an autograph for him. Steamboat said he remembers Jericho saying he admired Steamboat, even writing that in his autobiography. Then, ten years ago when Jericho came to WWE, Jericho was a snotty, brat wrestler. Within a year, less than a year, Jericho embraced the fans. Called them Jericholics. Then, spent the next several years turning on them and embracing them. Rinse. Repeat. That's a hypocrite, Steamboat said. Steamboat said he worked babyface from the first day he put on a pair of boots to the day he retired. He never changed. Not once, he said. Steamboat said himself, Piper, and Flair know who they are. Steamboat said him coming back to work for WWE was to help young talent and future superstars. That's not a sell-out, he said, and he did it because he loves this business.
Steamboat said he doesn't care what Jericho thinks of him. He's not a hypocrite or a sell-out. But, I am someone you may never be... a Hall of Famer. Ouch. Jericho stared down, then bopped Steamboat in the head with the mic and threw him into the Raw set. Jericho screamed down at Steamboat for being a has-been and sell-out. He told him to stay on the ground where he belongs. Jericho smiled, then walked back through the curtain. Ringside, Cole talked quietly about Piper last week, then Steamboat this week. Who's next?
Video package: They re-focused on the opening segment between Cena and Team Vickie. Who does Cena face tonight?
Arena: They returned to the show with a wide-shot of the arena completely dark except for a few flashing lights on the arena scoreboard. Um...okay...back to a USA Network spot on the Obama Hope art.
Announcers: Cole apologized for the technical difficulties. Transition into talking about Triple H in a precarious situation with Randy Orton. They sent it to the parking garage where Grisham said there's no sign of Triple H yet. He'll let us know when Hunter shows up.
In-ring: John Cena came out for the TV main event against someone. Vickie Guerrero came out on stage and said Cena won't be granted his World Title match tonight. Cena smiled and said like he couldn't see that one coming. Cena was apparently really blown up doing his ring intro, as he took heavy breaths answering Vickie that he's going to follow Vickie everywhere she goes until she decides to give Cena his re-match against Edge. Vickie told Cena to stop talking and start focusing on wrestling. Either family or friend tonight. Out came Chavo Guerrero. Oh boy. Cena was less than excited. Chavo quickly hit the ring, as they're short on time.
5 -- JOHN CENA vs. CHAVO GUERRERO
Cena quickly landed a hard clothesline before brushing the dirt off his shoulder for the Five Knuckle Shuffle with eye contact to Vickie. Cena nailed the FU before slapping on the STFU while staring toward Vicke, who remained on stage. Chavo tapped out and Cena scored the win.
WINNER: Cena at 0:45. This whole angle just feels so lost. It started with a ridiculous opening segment for the first of two bait and switches on the show. WWE just needs to stop fooling around and book a WrestleMania match between Cena and Edge, so they can move on to hyping it. (n/a)
Backstage: Legacy walked out of Orton's locker room and surveyed the hallway. Orton then pulled out Hunter's trust sledgehammer and held it up for the camera.
ECW promo: Tomorrow night, Christian faces Jack Swagger for the ECW Title. ... By the way, where's Rey Mysterio tonight?
[Q9 -- over-run]
In-ring: Just a few moments before the top of the hour, Randy Orton led Cody and Teddy out to the ring for a chat. Orton was sporting the sledgehammer. He said he's been waiting for Triple H all night and he's tired of waiting in the back. Orton claimed he's the victim of the McMahon family because all he wanted to do was mind his own business. The McMahons wouldn't stay out of his way, he said. He lost control when Vince insulted his family, so he kicked him as hard as he could in the skull. Orton played the IED card there.
Orton turned to Shane and said the dude just wouldn't stop coming after him, so he kicked him in the head to put him in the hospital right next to his old man. Didn't have to go down like that, but Shane pushed and pushed until Orton pushed back. Orton then turned to the fans and cut Vince McMahon's promo about being under constant pressure and scrutiny from the media. They have no idea what he goes through, Orton said. He said he hopes Stephanie's kids will one day see what happened last week so they learn from the family's mistakes.
Cut to Triple H on the video screen walking through the parking garage looking very 2001-ish with sledgehammer in hand and a leather jacket on. Hunter came out on stage with no music and stared into the ring. He stared into the ring, then slowly made his way down the ramp while Legacy backed up in the ring. Hunter came up the ring steps, then Orton said he figured Hunter would show up with his trusty weapon. He told Hunter to ditch his sledge and he would ditch his own. Orton dropped his over the top rope, then Hunter slowly dropped his.
Orton readied himself in the ring next to Cody and Teddy, then Hunter slowly entered the ring. He slowly unbuttoned his leather jacket while some female fans screamed. Hunter tossed the jacket over the top rope, leaving his official WWE Top Rope Triple H t-shirt and some street fight jeans. Legacy slowly approached Hunter, who braced himself, before pulling out another sledgehammer from his back pocket. Hunter chased off Legacy, then chased after Orton and Ted through the backstage area. They passed some random WWE stars on the way, but came up on a closed exit door. Hunter chased them into a side office where they were locked in. Hunter bashed open the door with SuperShane strength, then he cornered Orton and Teddy.
Hunter knocked down Ted, leaving Orton by himself against a sink. Orton ducked a hammer shot, then Hunter smashed the sink mirror. Orton and Ted bailed passed Cryme Tyme in the hallway before picking up weapons. They finally bailed through another side exit door where Cody had the getaway car running. Hunter smashed the driver-side window before the car sped off. Hunter chucked his hammer toward the car, but missed. Final shot was of Hunter determined to get them. (3) Place your Bets: 11:53 talk time.
Caldwell's Final Thought: The creative effort (McMahons and writers) is really out-of-touch to continue building up the McMahon family as superheroes who should be feared as if they are gods among men. Randy Orton went from a superstar heel to being chased backstage by Triple H in a ridiculous angle. Orton having to show so much fear and playing a weak version of a cowardly heel is so inane, especially when we got a taste of how great Orton can be as a heel on the Raw before the Royal Rumble. First SuperShane, now SuperDuperHunter.
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