TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 3/2: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live USA Network broadcast
Mar 2, 2009 - 10:10:57 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch.com assistant editor
WWE Raw Live Report
March 2, 2009
The show started with a video recap of the Randy Orton vs. Triple H feud that led to a game of Cat and Mouse and Sledgehammers to conclude last week's show.
Live in the arena, we get a pyro display to open the show. Must be a good financial quarter thus far. Michael Cole told us that Randy Orton will make his championship decision tonight.
In-ring: Jerry Lawler was giddy, giddy, giddy about making an announcement for tonight's biggest main event...ever...on Raw. Straight from interim GM Vickie Guerrero's office: Edge defends the World Title tonight against John Cena.
On-stage: We're going to Piper's Pit. Unfortunately, the bagpipe music was interrupted by Chris Jericho's music. Okay. Jericho slowly made his way on stage and stared into the crowd. Jericho said he's been berated by the fans for so long that he had to take Piper's segment for himself. He went to a video from July 1984 to show Piper playing to Jimmy Snuka's stereotypes before nailing him with the coconut. Sorry, but this will always remind me of Jay Lethal. Cut back to Jericho, who introduced his guest tonight, Superfly Jimmy Snuka.
Snuka came out, then Jericho rolled footage of Piper vs. Snuka from 1984 in the ol' Philadelphia Spectrum. Jericho said it must be sweet memories. By the way, Jericho had a nasty gash on his forehead. He sat down with Snuka to berate him for working independent shows in high school gyms. Snuka wanted a word, but Jericho cut him off. He said Snuka didn't deserve a Royal Rumble spot last year, but he was too selfish and took a spot from a younger wrestler.
Jericho and Snuka stood up together to make it nose-to-nose, then Jericho told him no one cares about him anymore. Paging Snuka, Sim. Jericho told Snuka to pack it in and go home. Do you get it? Snuka shouted back that he doesn't understand. Jericho then recreated the "coconut segment" with Piper by tossing out some produce from a paper bag. Jericho said Piper told him to embrace the past, so how about a banana, a pineapple, and a coconut. Snuka took the coconut from Jericho, then Jericho feigned running away.
Snuka posed on the set, then Jericho crashed the Piper's Pit set from behind, crunching Snuka underneath the boards. Jericho smashed Snuka with a board, then he took off his belt and started whipping Snuka across the back. Jericho shouted down to keep living in the past. He then took a banana and shoved it in Snuka's face. Jericho then stood up and glared into the audience. Hot opening segment. Seems like they put this in the first segment to set up something later in the show. Place Your Bets time: 11:30.
Backstage: Cole and Lawler recapped the opening segment, then Lawler talked on camera about Jericho being so disgraceful to legends. Lawler was beside himself with frustration. Let's pull the trigger on Jericho vs. Lawler. Announcers shifted gears to talking about Edge vs. Cena, then focused on the MITB briefcase hanging above the ring.
In-ring: Rey Mysterio came out first, then Mike Knox. No sign of Jamie Noble seeking revenge. Kane came out and they plugged a replay of Kane's "See No Evil" airing on Sci-Fi this week. May 19...May 19...let's get to the match.
1 -- REY MYSTERIO vs. MIKE KNOX vs. KANE -- MITB qualifying match
Rey was ragdolled to the outside early on, then Knox and Kane kicked each other in the head. Cut to commercial.
Back from break, Knox and Kane were battling in the ring. Rey then fought his way back into the ring and kinda executed a huracanrana on Knox, who did a tumble to sell it. Rey made a cover on Knox, but Knox thought Kane was going to break it up, so he kicked out at like 3 1/2 when the ref took a really nice long pause before three. On the next pin attempt, Kane broke it up before a one count. Rey with some more acrobatics running circles around the big men, then Rey put Knox in position for the 619, only Kane intercepted with a chokeslam attempt that Rey countered into the 619. Rey with a seated sentaun, but Knox kicked Rey in the head. Jamie Noble part two almost. Knox with the Knox Out on Rey, then Kane grabbed Knox and gave him a chokeslam for the pin and the win. Post-match: Kane scooped up Rey and gave him a chokeslam before leaving, satisfied with himself.
WINNER: Kane at 8:50 to qualify for MITB. Decent match with a good finish. Surprising result, but Kane's been in a few MITB matches to have those big man vs. small man sequences. (*1/2)
Backstage: Kozlov was doing some deep knee bends to prepare for Shawn Michaels tonight.
Video package: They went back to WrestleMania 12 for a recap of Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart when Michaels won his first WWE Title with an overtime victory in their 60-minute Iron Man match. Segue to...
Backstage: Todd Grisham brought in Shawn Michaels on cue to talk about facing Kozlov tonight. Dude's never been beaten. He beat Taker on Smackdown. Why are you even showing up, Shawn? Michaels said he's overcome every obstacle in a miserable stretch of his period. Michaels said he headlined WM 14 in this same building with a broken back and his career over. But, since he returned to WWE, he's headlined every WrestleMania. He ends Kozlov's undefeated streak tonight, then he ends Taker's at WrestleMania.
In-ring: Kelly Kelly and Mickie James came to the ring for divas action.
2 -- JILLIAN HALL & BETH PHOENIX (w/Rosa Mendes) vs. KELLY KELLY & MICKIE JAMES
Divas champion Maryse and Women's champion Melina were on commentary for this one. Not much was said. Kelly scored a sunset flip on Jillian for the pin and the win. Afterward, Rosa jumped Kelly, then the diva champions tried to intervene, but Maryse suddenly took out Melina ringside. Maryse then did her little posing and apparently we have a Women's champion vs. Divas champion match for WrestleMania.
WINNERS: Kelly & Mickie at 2:50. Just a set-up for the apparent champion vs. champion match at WrestleMania. (1/2*)
Video package: They went back to the Hunter vs. Orton feud, including the finish to last week's show.
In-ring: Randy Orton's music hit, then Orton walked out on stage flanked by Cody and Teddy. Hey, they're actually wearing clothes. Orton's entourage behind him include suits with briefcases, rent-a-security, and armed security. Maybe they need to hire the dude who manages the Jonas Brothers. He seems to get the job done. Orton makes his decision next.
In-ring: Orton reminded us that he has a championship match at WrestleMania. He said he's challenging the winner of Edge vs. Cena tonight. Orton said many thought he would be challenging Triple H for the World Title, but that's not happening because Hunter is going to jail. Orton is pressing charges against Hunter for assault with a deadly weapon. We all saw it! Orton said he dropped his sledgehammer before Hunter even entered the ring. Orton innocently said he wanted to handle their issues like grown men, but Hunter used his weapon with excess force.
[Q5 -- second hour]
Orton said if he did not escape Hunter, then he might have lost his career or his life. Orton told Hunter to come out and say anything he needs to say now, otherwise he's going to be put away for a very long time. Hunter's music hit and it's time to play the game. Hunter had a sledgehammer slung over his leather jacket, then he stopped on stage and told Orton he has a disease called IED. Hunter said Orton isn't in control of his actions, but he's in complete control of his actions. Hunter slowly started walking to the ring, then the security stepped up in front of Orton in the ring.
SuperHunter measured security with his hammer, then he dropped it on the mat ringside. Hunter did a Flair turnaround pose to show he has no other weapon, then he slowly entered the ring after Orton told security to drop back. He's got a gun! Sorry, too much CSI. Hunter pointed to Orton's entourage that they all tell him what he wants to hear, but Hunter's going to tell him what he needs to hear. Hunter said it's not about Vince or Stephanie, it's about you. He said Orton needs to face him at WrestleMania and beat him for the WWE Title. You gotta avenge the moment that defines your life, Randy.
The moment: Evolution. Hunter said he watched Orton become the youngest World champ in history, but what happened the next night? Hunter reminded Orton that he turned on him and beat the heck out of him. How long was that title reign? Hunter won right away, then he said he wasn't happy for Orton's success. Hunter said he's not a good person himself. Hunter said he made a conscious decision to take what was his. Hunter tried to convince Orton to face him. He played the fear card and shouted right in Orton's ear that he's been afraid his whole life because deep down inside of him, he doesn't have what it takes.
Hunter said Orton can stand here and hide behind his security and such, but he knows the truth. Truth is Orton is that same kid; that same little kid that was carrying my bags around in Evolution. Orton turned his head in disgust as the crowd booed. Hunter called him that same little boy with all the talent in the world, but ultimately gutless. Orton's IED was starting to flare up as Hunter pressed closer. Orton's lawyer stepped in and told Hunter to turn himself into security. Security grabbed Hunter to pull him away, but Orton shouted to let him go.
Security backed away, then Orton said he's changed his mind. No Edge vs. Cena winner, but Hunter for the title at WrestleMania. Orton told Hunter under one condition: you don't touch me and I don't touch you. If you touch me without physical provocation, then you spend WrestleMania behind bars. Orton asked Hunter if we have a deal. Hunter sternly said, "Deal" then he dropped the mic and left.
Orton stopped Hunter on the entranceway by saying it felt great to kick the old man in the skull. Same when he did the same thing to Shane. But, Hunter, oh Hunter, when I hit the RKO on your wife, Stephanie, I replay that over and over in my head. Orton said he can still smell Stephanie's scent. He went into an IED Herbal Essence moment describing her skin on his hands. Orton said he wonders if she remembers anything past being slammed right down into the ground. Hunter had enough and stormed back into the ring to get face-to-face with Orton.
Hunter reminded Orton that the last time they fought back in the ring, he broke Orton's collarbone. He said that was just business. This is personal, he said in a gravely voice. "I'm going to break your neck!" Hunter screamed in Orton's face. He dropped the mic and stormed out of the ring while Orton gritted his teeth in the ring. Wow. Excellent segment to set up Hunter vs. Orton. It's going to fun watching Orton push Hunter's buttons on Raw for the next five weeks. Place your Bet talk time: 14:55.
In-ring: Shawn Michaels came out first to face Kozlov with a shot at The Undertaker on the line. As Kozlov came to the ring, they showed Kozlov with the surprise victory over Taker on Smackdown.
3 -- SHAWN MICHAELS vs. KOZLOZ
Heavy focus from the announcers on Kozlov having never been pinned in Double Double E. Michaels escaped an early attack from Koz and put him on his back for an early figure four attempt. Kozlov reversed pressure, though, and wanted the big slam, but Michaels took a breather on the floor.
Kozlov was in control out of the break working on Michaels's back. Kozlov took his sweet time waiting for Michaels to get back to his feet to take the torture rack. Not quite Lex Luger quality here. Michaels finally fought out, but he walked into a back elbow smash to the mouth. Kozlov with a cover for a two count. Michaels tried to come back with the "vintage" flying forearm before a kip up, but Kozlov met him in mid-air with a headbutt smash for a two count.
They battled up top and Michaels threw some forearm smashes, but Kozlov didn't budge. Michaels finally threw Kozlov down to the mat before slowly making his way to his feet up top for a flying elbow at 10:00. Michaels started to tune up the band, then he smashed Kozlov square in the jaw with Sweet Chin Music for the pin and the win. Clean. Kozlov takes his first loss.
WINNER: Michaels at 10:40. I expected some form of outside interference, so it was surprising to see Michaels nail the superkick clean in the middle for the win. Good finish after Kozlov had offense throughout the match. (*1/2)
Post-match: Michaels celebrated in center ring, then Undertaker's music hit and the arena lights started to flash. No magic show. Taker simply came out on stage and stared into the ring. He did a very slow throat-slash gesture toward Michaels, who raised his chin to show no fear of Taker. Lawler said Michaels just earned the right to face The Undertaker, but Cole said he doesn't think Michaels has second thoughts. Who wins - The Streak or Mr. WrestleMania? It's on. Great camerawork to go back and forth between close-ups of Michaels and Taker. Announcers then plugged the next Hall of Fame induction.
"12 Rounds" plug: Cole and Lawler introduced a plug for "12 Rounds," focusing on John Cena's character of the honorable Danny Fisher.
WWE Hall of Fame announcement: They showed the ol' Cowboy Bill Watts as the next inductee. First was focus on his in-ring work against Bruno Sammartino. Clip of Ernie Ladd in there. Voice-over from Gordon Solie from Florida. Hall of Fame voice-over man talked about Watts's most famous work being behind the scenes in Mid-South. They showed him as a "top executive" with WCW and WWE. Plenty of Jim Ross clips. And Jim Ross is doing the induction on April 4.
Backstage: Grisham was with Edge, who looked very confident tonight. Edge didn't like Todd's tone about Cena. Edge finally grants Cena his re-match and now he's the bad guy. See, Edge wanted to face Cena in his hometown and beat him in his hometown. Edge said that when Big Show beat Cena on Smackdown, he declared that this World Title is his. He'll tell him the same thing tonight.
In-ring: World Hvt. champion Edge came out first for the World Title main event. Lights remained dim as Edge looked around the arena. After a Cena Pause, John Cena's music hit and the arena exploded. Cena came to the ring looking for some Survivor Series magic at TD Banknorth. Lilian Garcia handled the formal ring intros. Cena's reaction: huge positive reaction. Maybe a few boos. Not many. Edge was solid heel. Ref checked each man for foreign objects. Nothing potentially suspicious was found, so ring the bell.
4 -- World Hvt. champion EDGE vs. JOHN CENA -- World Heavyweight Title match
Champ and challenger went through the feeling out process early on, then Edge knocked down Cena early on. Cena hooked the top rope after taking a whip to the ropes, then Edge charged and flew over the top rope to the floor. Time for a break.
Back from break, Edge was in control working on Cena's injured head and jaw from Big Show's work on Smackdown. Cena was backed into a corner, then Edge ran him over with a clothesline. Something went flying from Cena's person before Edge made a cover for a two count.
[Q9 -- over-run]
Cena ducked a clothesline and nailed a series of flying shoulder tackles. Goodness, Cole with the over-use of "vintage" again. Cena with a sit-out slam, then he told Edge You Can't See Me. Cena missed with the Five Knuckle shuffle, though, and Edge rolled him for a two count. Cena wanted the Attitude Adjustment, but Edge slipped out into the Edge-o-matic slam for a two count. They battled up top and Cena took a fall into the ringpost to the floor. Ref started his ten count as the fans screamed in sheer horror that Cena could be counted out. Cena suddenly jumped into the ring just before ten, then he made a comeback with a top rope guillotine leg smash.
Cena wanted the Shuffle one more time and this time he connected after brushing the dirt off his shoulder. Cena wanted the Adjustment, but Edge blocked into a Sharpshooter. Ugly ass Shooter, but Cena sold pain near the ropes. Cena played to the top row of the arena before reaching out to the bottom rope for a rope break. Great sequence. Edge then readied himself for the spear, but Cena wasn't moving. Cena finally made his way to his feet, Edge charged, and Cena slapped on the STFU in center ring. Edge cried out in pain as the camera focused on the WM banner hanging above the arena. Edge then reached out with one last gasp and grabbed the bottom rope for a break.
Cena caught his breath after releasing the hold, then Edge took advantage with the spear out of nowhere. He didn't make an immediate cover, though, and Cena kicked out just before three. Edge, frustrated, grabbed the World Title belt. Cena blocked a belt shot, though, and wanted the Adjustment. Edge grabbed the belt from the ref while up on Cena's shoulders, then he smashed Cena in the face with the belt to earn a DQ. Cena was declared the winner, but Edge kept the World Title belt.
Post-match: Cena caught his breath in the ring while Edge recovered on the stage. Big Show then walked out on stage and stared down at Edge before staring into the ring. Suddenly, Vickie Guerrero came out on stage and stood to the left of Edge, who was still seated on stage. Vickie introduced the #1 contender to the World Title at WrestleMania, Big Show. In the ring, John Cena could only look down in disbelief. Edge was in a state of disbelief. Show and Vickie walked off. Edge and Cena were collectively dumbfounded. Cena held his head in his hands, currently without a WrestleMania match. End show.
WINNER: Cena via DQ at 12:22; Edge retains World Title. Ah, a classic Edge vs. Cena match on free TV. So great. You could see the finish coming either via run-in or Edge DQ'ing himself. Now, we have an issue of where Cena goes from here. I don't see Edge vs. Show as a marquee title match for WrestleMania, so I imagine they will turn this into a triple threat at some point based on Cena not losing the match, but not winning the title. (***1/4)
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