SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The following report was originally posted on PWTorch.com ten years ago this week…
KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
MARCH 2, 2009
LIVE FROM BOSTON, MASS.
-Highlights aired of the Randy Orton-Triple H feud. The Raw opening montage then aired. Michael Cole introduced the show and threw to the ring for a major announcement by Jerry Lawler.
-Lawler excitedly said that interim G.M. Vickie Guerrero had instructed him to make an announcement, which he believes is among the biggest matches in Raw history. He said Edge would defend the World Title against John Cena. The crowd cheered. Boy, this is dangerous either way. If it happens, they’re giving away a WrestleMania match that’s already bordering on being overly familiar just to pop a rating, and if they don’t deliver it’s the second time in four days that they’ve promised a big WrestleMania caliber match and not delivered (Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy). WWE smells ratings momentum and they can’t resist going for an even bigger boost to get more bragging rights.
-The Piper’s Pit set was on the stage. Chris Jericho’s music played. He walked out and said he went to great lengths to procure the original Piper’s Pit set and he’s now hosting it himself. Jericho threw to a clip of a Piper’s Pit from July 17, 1984, nearly 25 years ago, when Piper hitting “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka over the head with a coconut, knocking over the set, and shoving a banana in his face. Jericho then introduced Snuka. The real Snuka walked out. Cole and Lawler acted a bit surprised it was really him. Snuka looked leerily at Jericho. Jericho asked him to sit down. Snuka sat facing him and leaned in to his face. Jericho said that confrontation led to a lot of classic matches between he and Piper. Jericho threw to clips from those matches including Snuka pinning Piper after a top rope crossbody block. When Snuka tried to talk, Jericho told him to wait his turn.
Jericho told Snuka that he is the poster boy for what “The Wrestler” is all about. Jericho said in other sports, Hall of Famers retire. “But not you, Jimmy. You’re in your mid-60s, yet you embarrass yourself every weekend by working independent shows in high school gyms all across New Jersey,” said Jericho. Snuka tried to interrupt again. Jericho cut him off and said it was selfish of him and Piper to enter the Royal Rumble last year, knocking two of many deserving Superstars out of an opportunity of a lifetime. “You had to hear the roar of the crowd one last time,” he said. He said his body is broken down and he has few brain cells left, but he had to hear the cheers from the hypocrites one more time. He said people like him, Ric Flair, and Steamboat are all alike, with egos too big to let it go. He said Snuka has turned into a pathetic disgrace. Jericho stood. Snuka stood and kicked his chair away. Jericho said Snuka doesn’t have the right to be angry anymore. “You are finished,” he said. “Nobody cares about you anymore, Snuka.” He told him to go home and stay home.
Jericho said maybe it’s time to go old school. He reached into a bag of goodies to remind him of his glory days. He pulled out a pineapple. He threw a few bananas at him. Jericho then pulled out a coconut. Snuka got wide-eyed and took a half step back. Jericho tossed the coconut in the air. Snuka caught it and threatened to hit Jericho with it. Jericho stepped back and said, “Don’t disgrace yourself. You’ve made your point.” He then ran away. Snuka kneeled on the set and extended his arms like he did back in the 1980s as he smiled. Jericho kicked the set over and on top of Snuka. Jericho then smashed him across the back with a long board and stomped him. He yelled that he’s a washed up Hall of Famer. He whipped him across the back with his belt several times. Then he shoved a banana in his face and smiled. Another in a series of excellent segments by Jericho. It was probably wise to not count on any speaking by Snuka, but Snuka was better than usual in his reactions to Jericho.
-WWE Fact: Raw’s second hour was the no. 1 TV show for male viewers last week, even beating out “CSI: Miami” and both NCAA games on ESPN combined.
-A disgusted Lawler and Cole threw to highlights of the Jericho-Snuka segment. They showed Lawler and Cole at ringside. Lawler said Jericho’s actions are simply inexcusable. He said it’s uncalled for and crazy. This still seems to potentially be moving toward a Jericho vs. Lawler match at WrestleMania. Lawler, as co-host, naturally is the one to react to these segments, but because of that he does seem to be involved each week and it would be natural for him to eventually lose his cool and demand a match to put Jericho in his place.
-Lawler and Cole plugged that Kane’s “See No Evil” makes its cable premiere on Saturday night on Sci-Fi. Lawler said Kane is one of the only people who can star in a horror movie without make-up. Cole also plugged that Kane would be in action on ECW on Tuesday night.
1 — REY MYSTERIO vs. MIKE KNOX vs. KANE — Money in the Bank Qualifier
Rey caught a charging Kane with a boot, but when he went for a huracanrana, Kane caught him. Rey punched his way out of Kane’s grip, but Knox grabbed Rey and threw him to the floor. Kane and Knox hit each other with simultaneous big boots. They cut to a break at 1:00.
Knox had Rey bent over his knee after the break. Kane yanked Rey by his leg to the floor. Knox corner splashed Kane at 6:00 and then settled into a chinlock. He followed with a big boot. Rey then returned to the ring with a springboard huracanrana on Knox followed by a bulldog for a near fall. Knox came back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Knox tossed a diving Rey over his head into Kane. Rey then set up a Knox for a 619, but Kane caught him as he charged with a 619. Then he gave Knox a big boot. Rey escaped a chokeslam attempt by Kane and hit him with a 619. He followed with the seats senton for a near fall, broken up by Knox. Knox then gave Rey his finisher, which Cole said injured Jamie Noble last week. Kane then surprised Knox with a chokeslam to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 25.
WINNER: Kane in 9:00.
STAR RATING: ** — Good mix of spots taking advantage of the size difference. I’m not sure I’m excited about Kane being in the ladder match at WM25, but maybe they have bigger plans for Rey.
-They showed Vladimir Kozlov squatting backstage to warm up for his match against Shawn Michaels later, which had been barely mentioned, if at all, at this point.
-A WrestleMania 12 video aired. The narrator said that while it featured the debut of Steve Austin and Triple H, it was the Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart marathon match that was the centerpiece of the show. [We recorded a new WrestleMania Retrospective Audio Roundtable on Sunday, this one featuring Bruce Mitchell, Pat McNeill, and me discussing the entire WrestleMania 9 card, including the insider backstory on the match-ups, little known backstage details on the show, and the ramifications of what happened from a historical perspective. It is the latest in our ongoing series available exclusively to VIP members. WrestleManias one through eight have also been published and are available right now to VIP members. SUBSCRIBE HERE]
-Todd Grisham interviewed Shawn Michaels backstage. He asked him about facing Kozlov later, specifically how he planned to do what no one else has been able to do, which is beat him. Michaels said 11 years ago he headlined WrestleMania 14 in this same arena even with a broken back, and since coming back he has stolen the show each time. He said he’s the Headliner, the Showstopper, and the Main Event, and tonight he will end Kozlov’s undefeated streak. He said he will then end Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania. Good, straight-forward promo from Michaels.
-Ring intros aired for Mickie Jamies and Kelly Kelly.
2 — MICKIE JAMES & KELLY KELLY vs. BETH PHOENIX (w/Rosa Mendez) & JILLIAN HALL
Melina and Maryse joined Cole and Lawler at ringside. Lawler said he hopes that’s what heaven is like. Cole asked Maryse what brings her to Raw. She said she was invited, but she asked Melina what she was doing there. Kelly and Phoenix began. Phoenix dropped Kelly into the turnbuckles, and Kelly took a potentially nasty bump when the back of her head hit the middle turnbuckle. That’s not the first time Phoenix just appears to be reckless with the well-being of her opponent. Lawler even characterized it as “reckless.” Phoenix saved Jillian from a pin by Mickie, although it was one of those situations where the ref didn’t need to “reward” the heels by stopping his count when Phoenix entered the ring since Jillian’s shoulders were still down for a full three count with Mickie on top even as Phoenix interfered. Mickie kicked Phoenix and tagged in Kelly, who hit Phoenix with a sunset flip. Awkward finish as Phoenix had to stand there bent over waiting for Kelly to get to the top rope and execute the sunset flip. Kelly also seemed to barely keep her footing as she pushed off the top rope.
WINNER: Kelly & Mickie in 3:00.
STAR RATING: 1/4* — The effort was there, but it was among the sloppy women’s matches in a while.
-Afterward, Mendez attacked Kelly. Mickie made the save. When Melina tried to enter the ring, Maryse yanked her off the apron and DDT’d her onto the floor. The DDT looked nasty, but with all that hair it was tough to tell how hard the impact was, if any.
-Lawler and Cole threw to a video package on the intensity of the Triple H-Orton feud.
-Orton came to the ring, flanked by Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes, and an entourage of lawyers and armed security.
-A commercial hyped Kane’s appearance on ECW on Tuesday.
-Orton stood in the ring with six security guards, Cody, Ted, and three guys in suits doing their best to look important holding briefcases. Orton said he is entitled to a championship match at WrestleMania, so he is officially challenging the winner of tonight’s Edge-Cena match. He said most fans probably thought he’d be challenging Triple H, but that isn’t going to happen. Orton said that won’t happen because Triple H isn’t going to WrestleMania, he’s going to jail. He said tonight he is pressing charges against Triple H. Orton said he planned to settle things like grown men last week, but instead Triple H went after him with excessive force with a concealed sledgehammer. He said had he not escaped, he could ended his career not to mention his life. Orton said it’s time to face the music, so if he’s got something to say, come out and say it, because soon he’ll be going away for a very long time.
Triple H’s music played. Orton gulped, but looked bravely toward the stage. Triple H walked out with his sledgehammer in hand. He told Orton that doctors may say he’s not in control of his actions because he has EID, but he wanted to make it clear he was in control of his. Triple H walked to the ring as security stepped in front of Orton in the ring. Triple H threw down his sledgehammer and spun around to show that he doesn’t have another one tucked behind him. If I were Orton, I’d insist on a pat down for guns and knives.
Triple H stepped into the ring and said people tell Orton what he wants to know, but he’s going to tell them what he needs to know. Orton says he knows, it’s about how he kicked a 63 year old man and hurt his wife, the mother of his children. Triple H said this is about him. Hunter said he needs to go to WrestleMania and beat him for the WWE Championship. He said he needs it because he needs to avenge the moment that defines his life.
“You know what I’m talking about. Evolution,” he said. “I watched you become the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in history. What happened the next night, Randy? I turned on you. I beat the hell out of you.” He asked him for how long he held the title. “Was it a month? Was it even that long?” He said he doesn’t run from his past and he’s not a good person. “I never have been a good person,” Triple H said. “I wasn’t happy for your success. I made a conscious decision and I took what was mine.” He said he has a chance to go to the biggest stage there has ever been and beat him for the WWE Championship and put all of it behind him. “But yet you make a conscious choice to run,” he said. “Why is that? I’ll tell you why. It’s because you’re afraid.”
Triple H said Orton has been afraid his whole life because he knows deep down he doesn’t have what it takes. He said he can stand in the ring and hide behind his lawyers and security and talk tough, but the truth is he’s that same little kid that was carrying his bags around in Evolution. Triple H leaned in where he was practically touching Orton’s face with his nose. Orton looked to the side and tried to take it all in without reacting. Triple H said he is still gutless. A lawyer stepped in and said his client has nothing more to say to him unless he turns himself into the authorities. As security began to shove Triple H out of the ring Orton said, “Wait, let him go! I think I’ve changed my mind.” He said he won’t be facing Edge or Cena at WrestleMania, he’s going to be facing Triple H. But under one condition. He said he wants to settle this at WrestleMania and not before. “You do not put your hands on me unless you are physically provoked. I don’t touch you, you don’t touch me. If you violate that, there is no match, I press charges, and you spend WrestleMania behind bars. Do we got a deal?” Triple H said, “Deal,” then threw the mic to the ground and walked away.
Orton said, “Oh, Hunter, there’s one more thing. Since you want to get all personal and everything, I thought you should know that regardless of whether or not I was in control of my actions, it felt great when I kicked the old man in the skull. It felt even better when I did the same thing to Shane. But, Hunter, when I hit that RKO on your wife, I replay that over and over and over in my head. I can still smell her scent, her skin, so soft. At least that’s what I remember. I wonder what the last thing your wife remembers?” Triple H couldn’t take anymore and he barged into the ring. Orton leaned in forehead-to-forehead. That’s technically touching so someone’s in violation of their agreement. Triple H said, “The last time you and I fought in this ring, I broke your collarbone. That was just business. This is personal. I’m going to break your neck!” Lawler said he had chillbumps.
Very good segment. Orton is fantastic once again. Triple H played his part well, too. It’s hard to believe they’ll be able to keep the heat at this level or better for four weeks, though.
-Lawler and Cole plugged the Cena-Edge and Michaels-Kozlov matches.
3 — SHAWN MICHAELS vs. VLADIMIR KOZLOV – Winner Faces Undertaker at WrestleMania 25
Kozlov overpowered Michaels early. Michaels applied a figure-four. Kozlov reversed it. Michaels bailed out to ringside at 2:00, so they cut to a break.
Kozlov was in control after the break. He dropped Michaels over the top turnbuckle and headbutted his kidney area. Kozlov lifted Michaels into a torture rack at 8:00. Michaels escaped, but when he charged Kozlov, Kozlov caught him with an elbow to the side of his face leading to a near fall. He mounted Michaels and pounded him. When Michaels flew at Kozlov, Kozlov caught him with a battering ram mid-flight. Cole really sold it well as being a big deal.
Kozlov set Michaels onto the top rope and set up a suplex. Michaels pounded away at Kozlov’s back with forearms to try to block the move. Michaels eventually shoved Kozlov to the mat. Then he struggled his way to the top rope and hit a flying elbow. He played to the crowd and worked them into a frenzy. Then he stomped the mat and waited for Kozlov to stand. He nailed him with Sweet Chin Music and scored the clean three count. Lawler said, “Do you realize what we just saw?” Cole said Kozlov is no longer undefeated.
WINNER: Michaels in 11:00.
STAR RATING: ** — Solid job by Michaels carrying Kozlov to a watchable match. He played rag doll well, and Kozlov stayed within what he can do and did it well, too.
-As Michaels celebrated, Undertaker’s music played. Michaels looked toward the entrance stage. Undertaker walked out onto the stage and stared Michaels’s direction.
-Cole said the latest Hall of Fame announcement would be next. They went to a WrestleMania 25 video package to the official theme song by “AC/DC.”
-WWE Fact: Did you know last week, Raw outrated every show on every cable network, continuing its reign as the no. 1 rated entertainment show in cable TV history?
-The video aired announcing Bill Watts being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Some great vintage clips of his wrestling career, some of the top stars from Mid-South Wrestling when he was promoter and glimpses of him as a WCW executive on camera with Tony Schiavone and Eric Bischoff. Jim Ross inducts him.
-Grisham interviewed Edge backstage. Grisham said it was convenient that he’s giving Cena his rematch just days after Big Show knocked him out. Edge said he didn’t like his tone. He said he’s giving Cena his title shot because Boston is near his hometown and he wants his family to see him beat him up close. Edge said he will tell Cena at the end of the night just as he did on Friday that the World Title is his.
-An ECW commercial hyped Kane appearing on the show. Is that really a draw for that show?
-Clips aired of Cena vs. Big Show from Smackdown on Friday.
4 — EDGE vs. JOHN CENA — World Hvt. Title match
Cena appeared less than ready for the match. Lawler said Cena felt like his jaw may have been dislocated by Big Show. “But he’s not going to admit if he’s not 100 percent,” said Lawler. “This is his opportunity.” Cena took Edge down with a hip toss and applied a headlock early. Edge quickly escaped and reversed Cena into a headlock. Cena escaped, but Edge kicked Cena in the shoulder. When Edge charged, Cena ducked and Edge flew to the floor. As Cena celebrated and Edge regrouped, they cut to a break at 2:00.
Edge controlled for several minutes after the break. Cena came back at 8:00 with a flying shoulder block and then a released side suplex.
He played to the crowd and went into his finishing You Can’t See Me routine. Edge avoided the fistdrop and went for a leverage pin. Cena kicked out and went for the Attitude Adjustment. Edge countered with head slam for a two count. Edge dropped an elbow to counter a Cena sunset flip attempt. Cena followed with a schoolboy for a two count. Edge countered with a DDT for a near fall. Edge climbed to the top rope. Cena jumped up and met him at the top. He lifted him for an Attitude Adjuster. Edge slipped out and knocked Cena off the top rope. Cena tumbled to the floor. The ref began to count him out. Cena leaped back into the ring just before the ten count. He then gave Edge a flip bulldog. He climbed to the top rope and hit Edge from behind with a legdrop to the back of his neck. He then went into the You Can’t See Me routine again. Edge avoided the Attitude Adjuster and applied a sharpshooter at 12:00. Cena crawled to the bottom rope and forced a break. Edge waited for Cena to get up, but when he charged for a Spear, Cena ducked and countered with an STF. Edge flailed and then grabbed the bottom rope to force a break. Edge got up and speared Cena out of nowhere. Edge scored a believable, dramatic near fall. A frustrated Edge ran to ringside and grabbed his World Title belt. He entered the ring. Cena lifted Edge. Edge, though, bashed Cena with the title belt to escape the Attitude Adjuster. The ref called for the bell, DQ’ing Edge.
WINNER: Cena via DQ in 15:00.
STAR RATING: ***1/2 — Really strong TV main event. They delivered much more than I expected.
-Afterward, Big Show walked out and stood next to Edge. Edge seemed surprised. Show stared down Cena who was in the ring as Edge caught his breath. He asked for help getting up. Show didn’t reach back. Vickie Guerrero stepped out onto the stage with mic in hand. She then introduced Big Show as the no. 1 contender for the World Championship at WrestleMania. Edge wasn’t happy. Show smiled. Cena shook his hand as the reality sunk in that his WrestleMania dreams were not coming true. Lawler said: “Cena’s lost it all tonight. Cena may not even be going to WrestleMania.”
FINAL THOUGHTS: Really good finish to the show. For those wondering where Big Show fits into WrestleMania, it appears they’re moving him into a three-way match with Cena and Edge. The next month will tell the story of Cena eventually being added to the match, perhaps when a McMahon triumphantly returns to Raw to overrule Vickie because Edge got intentionally DQ’d in Cena’s title rematch tonight.