The following article was originally published ten years ago this week here at PWTorch.com…
KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
MARCH 9, 2009
LIVE FROM JACKSONVILLE, FLA.
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
-The show opened with clips of last week’s Triple H-Randy Orton developments. Then they showed a scene outside of a house. Michael Cole said it was Randy Orton’s house in St. Louis, Mo. and he’d join them for a live satellite interview later. “Wait until you see what happens!” he said. Jerry Lawler plugged Triple H vs. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase later. Oh good, more of Triple H in handicapped matches.
-Shawn Michaels came out to his intro music. He entered the ring, took off his hat, and grabbed the mic as the crowd began loudly chanting “HBK, HBK.” He talked about Undertaker’s 16-0 streak and said it was a feat nobody considers ever being able to beat. Michaels said when it comes to show-stopping performances, he’s no slouch himself. He said it’s important to understand that he respects the Undertaker, but he’s not afraid of the Undertaker. “You may be 16-0 at WrestleMania, but I am Mr. WrestleMania.” He said nothing lasts forever, and he said he has never been outperformed at WrestleMania. He said something has to give. Undertaker’s bell sounded and then a video montage aired showing him in each of his WrestleMania victories. Great video sequence of all of his opponents and all of his looks over the years.
When the video ended, Taker was standing behind Michaels in the ring. Michaels turned and said he’s been expecting him. Taker said, “Once again, Shawn, your arrogance has clouded your judgment. You see, I do respect you, but I’ve fought many men I’ve respected and they’ve all fallen. And you will be no different.” Michaels said they’ve each taken very different professional and personal paths. Michaels said now that he has him in front of him, he wanted to let him know he shouldn’t have to qualify to wrestle anyone. He reminded him of his WrestleMania resume. He said he’s the Show Stopper and he’s ready for this challenge.
Taker acknowledged Michaels’s epic victories, but added that he’s also had bitter defeats. He said despite all of those achievements, it’s just a dream of his to beat him at WrestleMania and he will soon lay it to rest. He said he concerns himself with being the Show Stopper and winning a match and breaking a streak, but he should be concerned with what he’s going to do to him physically, and even more importantly what he’s going to do to his soul. He said he doesn’t need to outperform him and steal the show, but at WrestleMania he will realize he is the most dangerous entity that has ever stepped foot in that ring. He said Michaels should have been more carefully about he wished for because he just opened Hell’s Gates. When he began to say he will rest in peace, Michaels interrupted and said on Apr. 5 he will rest quite comfortably knowing he did the impossible, ending the winning streak of the Undertaker. Michaels said he has never defeated him and he never will. Michaels’s music played as he left the ring. Very good segment. That was more talking between those two than I expected, and it was cool to see Taker break away from just the catchphrase gimmicky promo style and talk at length a little more. This feels bigger because of the streak aspect against Michaels’s rep as Mr. WrestleMania than it would have if a world title were on the line.
-Lawler wondered what John Cena whispered in Vickie Guerrero’s ear on Friday night on Smackdown.
-Lawler said he’s never seen anyone stand up to Undertaker like Michaels just did.
1 — C.M. PUNK vs. JBL — Intercontinental Title match
Cole said the multi-millionaire JBL is looking to win gold tonight. Most fans are thinking: There’s still an IC Title? And it’s C.M. Punk?!? Lawler said Vickie gave JBL this match just so he would shut up. Punk flew through the ropes and speared JBL at ringside at 2:00, then they cut to a break. It seems like a secret rule that if a wrestler dive to ringside at his opponent, they must cut to a break. They do that on TNA, too.
After the break, JBL had Punk in an octopus. They showed that during the break JBL surprised Punk with a boot to the face. JBL gave Punk a fallaway slam mid-ring for a two count at 6:00. At 8:00 Punk came back with a headbutt and a DDT off the second rope. He crawled over and made the cover, but JBL kicked out just before three. Punk hit a spin wheel kick and a series of offensive moves, including his running knee in the corner and bulldog combo for a near fall. The crowd popped. JBL avoided the GTS with an eye rake and then hit the Clothesline from Hell for the win. Lawler said, “What a shock!” I’m not sure what’s so shocking, though. JBL has been at or above Punk’s level on the roster most of the time since Punk arrived.
WINNER: JBL in 10:00 to capture the IC Title.
STAR RATING: ** — Decent TV match. Not a ton to it, but served it’s purpose just fine. A textbook average two-star match.
-They showed Orton sitting on a couch in his house with his wife.
-WWE Fact: Last Monday Raw was once again the most watched TV show on cable, beating its nearest competition by more than one million viewers.
-JBL told Vickie backstage that he is a Wrestling God, just as he told her. He said she can’t be serious about her request. She said she is because she did him a favor. JBL agreed. Edge walked up and said he wants to talk to his wife. She said, “I haven’t talked to you all weekend.” Edge said he’s calmed down and now wants to know what Cena whispered to her. She snapped, “It doesn’t matter!” Edge said she’s right, it doesn’t matter, as long as he signs his WrestleMania contract tonight. I like the new attention to detail where they’re acknowledging that Edge and Vickie would have had to have avoided each other since Friday to logically not have discussed the matter earlier. At times they’d have ignored it and it’d have been distracting because everyone would have assumed they’d of course have talked before Raw.
-They went to Lawler and Cole at ringside. They interviewed Orton and his wife via satellite. Orton introduced his wife Samantha. Cole asked why Orton violated his own stipulation of not touching Triple H before WrestleMania. Orton called it an “alleged violation” and then asked that they show a video package recapping it. The video package included Orton’s words that they not lay “hands” on each other between now and WrestleMania unless physically provoked. Back to Orton, he said some may call it a violation, but he calls it restraint. He said he could have kicked him in the head or RKO’d him and ended everything right there, but he’s proud he has the self-control that was necessary to take his rightful place on WrestleMania. He said he is confident Triple H will show up in Houston and perhaps on Raw tonight. He said it’s a prideful Triple H-McMahon thing. He said every time he shows up, he’ll take a little more out of him, but not so much he can’t defend his title. Cole asked if they could continue the interview later. Orton said he’s not going anywhere; he’s sitting there with his wife to watch the main event. Cole plugged the two-on-one main event again. Lawler asked whether The Game can overcome the odds.
-Lawler plugged the Divas Champion vs. Women’s Champion match coming up next.
2 — MARYSE vs. MELINA
Many other WWE Divas were at ringside, the Smackdown women on one side and the Raw women on the other side of the ring. Maryse scored the pin in a ridiculously short match. I mean, seriously. A champion vs. champion match goes two minutes? That’s among the most egregiously short matches ever. Why bother having a women’s wrestling division if they can’t give a match of that stature at least eight minutes (heck, throw a commercial break in the middle if they must). Afterward, all of the women jumped into the ring and brawled with one another, setting up a 150 Raw Divas vs. 150 Smackdown Divas elimination match at WrestleMania that will probably last about 27 seconds.
WINNER: Maryse in 2:00.
STAR RATING: 1/4*
-A recap aired of the Smackdown contract signing angle with Edge and Big Show leading to Cena’s appearance.
-A video package aired on WrestleMania VI in Toronto, Ont. Being in Toronto was portrayed as making WrestleMania a true international event. As if Canada counts as “another country.” (Just kidding, Canadians. I actually love Canada. Vancouver’s my favorite city I’ve ever visited.) Clips aired of Andre the Giant turning on Bobby Heenan. Highlights aired of Ultimate Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan.
-Lilian Garcia introduced Vickie, who stood mid-ring and told the booing fans, “Excuse me!” She announced a 25 Diva Battle Royal featuring women from Raw, Smackdown, ECW, and past WWE history (as opposed to future WWE history). Fans held up signs that spelled “Vickie You’re Not Excused.” She then introduced The Big Show for a contract signing. The Big Show walked out wearing The Big Suit. Then Edge came out to his music. Edge sat at the table and told Vickie that he had something to say. He said he was at WrestleMania VI and he saw Ultimate Warrior take on Hogan when he was a kid. He said he knows Show is better than the Warrior and he knows he’s far better than Hulk Hogan. He said the fans may not like them, but they are the top two Superstars in WWE today. He suggested they let the past be the past and concentrate on WrestleMania. Show said he’s glad to hear him say that and he agrees with him 100 percent. Cena’s music interrupted and he came out to a nice ovation.
Edge asked him what he was doing there because he’s not in the match. Cena asked Vickie, “You didn’t tell him?” Cena asked if he should tell him. Vickie tried to shut him up. Edge said it didn’t matter and told Show they should get “this leech” out of this ring. Vickie interrupted and said she invited Cena out there. She said after a lot of consideration, it was only fair to the audience that she allow Cena to compete for the title at WrestleMania. Show yelled at Vickie, “Who cares what the audience thinks? I’m the number one contender!” Cena told Vickie it’s time everyone knows the truth. Cena told Edge and Show that he interrupted the contract signing on Smackdown because he had information she needed to hear before everything became official. He said, “I told Vickie that I love her.” The crowd roared with laughter and snickers. Edge’s jaw dropped and head tilted. Vickie hung her head.
Cena said it might get weird because Edge and Vickie “might be legally married.” He said he knows Vickie has feelings for her, too. He said he can’t help whom he falls in love with. “The heart wants what the heart wants,” he said. He said he wants two things – the World Championship and Vickie Guerrero. He told Vickie, “I love you.” He said he knows now he’ll see Edge and Show at WrestleMania.
As Cena walked away, Edge stopped him and yelled that he knows he doesn’t love Vickie. “You’re playing on her emotional state so you can worm your way into the title match at WrestleMania.” He said it won’t work because Vickie’s going to tear up the contract. Cena said Edge is right, he doesn’t love Vickie. He said, “To be quite honest, the site of her makes me sick.” He said the real truth is when he came to Smackdown, he politely told Vickie that Raw was held in her hometown and he had some friends, like the guy who might take your ticket or the paramedic or the t-shirt. “I told Vickie I even knew the guy who worked the security camera.” They went to a clip of Vickie in her locker room with a black and white overhead security camera. They have those in the locker rooms, huh? Big Show walked in and nervously said Edge is in the shower. Show kissed her. She said they have to slow down their romance until after WrestleMania. She said she hopes he wins at WrestleMania. She slapped him on the ass as he walked away.
Back in the ring, as the fans cheered, Edge was fuming mad as Vickie cried. Cena made a goofy face while shrugging his shoulders, a facial expression Andy Samberg of SNL might make. He then went into Ricky Ricardo voice and said she had some explaining to do. Edge demanded Vickie look him in the face. She wouldn’t. Edge sat on the chair and stared down. Vickie tried to collect herself. Big Show stood at ringside and looked like he got caught eating all of the cookies in the cookie jar.
-A clip aired of last week’s Piper’s Pit with Chris Jericho and Superfly Snuka.
3 — CHRIS JERICHO vs. KOFI KINGSTON – Money in the Bank ladder match
Lawler said, “I’m so disappointed in this young man right here, it’s hard for me to even talk about him.” A minute into the match with Jericho on offense they cut to a break.
Jericho controlled the match after the break. Kofi made a comeback at 7:00. When he went into his finishing sequence, Jericho gave him a low blow and then went for a Walls of Jericho. Kofi powered out of it. Jericho gave him an enzuigiri for a two count. Jericho went for a Lionsault, but Kofi moved and then hit his jumping legdrop for a two count. Jericho blocked Kofi’s kick and applied a Walls of Jericho mid-ring. Kofi climbed toward the bottom rope. Jericho pulled him back to mid-ring. As he appeared on the verge of tapping out, Ric Flair showed up on stage and his music played. Jericho let go of the hold, unwisely, and turned to face Flair. When he turned back to Kofi, Kofi surprised him with a kick and scored a three count. Kingston celebrated on the stage with Flair.
WINNER: Kingston in 10:00.
STAR RATING: ** — Jericho seemed easily distracted when he let go right before victory with a MITB slot on the line. Maybe the announcers could have added a quick comment about Jericho being overconfident that he had Kingston down and out, underestimating Kofi’s resilience.
-Lawler touted the opportunity that winning the MITB match can give a wrestler. Cole then went back to Orton via satellite. He asked why he wasn’t at Raw. Orton asked if he was implying he was scared of Triple H. He said it’s the other way around – he’s afraid of what he might do to Triple H if he were there. Orton said he’s not always in control of his actions. He said he is showing restraint and that is the only reason he is not there.
-WWE Fact: WWE Universe has more Facebook friends than the Boston Celtics, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Entourage. That’s a weird stat.
-Todd Grisham interviewed Jericho. Jericho was fuming about Flair stealing his WrestleMania moment, his chance to win the MITB match and regain his title. Jericho dared Flair to come out of retirement and face him next week on Raw. He said he’s been waiting for an invitation to return to the spotlight for one more time and he’s giving him that chance.
-Back at ringside, Lawler said he’d love to see Flair take Jericho up on his challenge and kick his butt next week. Cole threw to the latest Hall of Fame announcement: “Funloving Birdman” Koko B. Ware, “who transformed WWE.” They showed a clip of him singing lead in the “Piledriver” theme song. Honky Tonk Man is inducting him. Cole said the Hall of Fame videos for the inductees are all available at the WWE website.
-The ring intros for Rey Mysterio, Finlay, and Christian took place. It was Christian’s unheralded return to Raw. Cole called him an ECW Superstar.
4 — REY MYSTERIO & FINLAY (w/Hornswoggle) & CHRISTIAN vs. KANE & MIZ & JOHN MORRISON
Cole talked about the Cena-Show-Edge-Vickie situation and did the geeky Mike Tenay voice-crack as he said apparently Show and Vickie are having “an affair!?!?!” Rey hot-tagged in at 3:00, but Kane set him up for a quick chokeslam. Rey’s partners made the save. Chaos broke out ending with Rey giving Morrison a 619 and a huracanrana into a leverage pin for the win.
WINNERS: Rey & Christian & Finlay in 3:00.
STAR RATING: 3/4* — Too short to amount to much.
-Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase were shown heading toward the entrance tunnel.
-An add hyped the battle royal qualifier for a MITB spot.
-Cole plugged Michaels & Undertaker vs. JBL & Vladimir Kozlov next week on Raw. Cole ten hyped that “12 Rounds” starring John Cena was being released. Cole and Lawler talked about the plot and then threw to a video package on Cena’s nemesis in the movie.
5 — TRIPLE H vs. CODY RHODES & TED DIBIASE
During the DiBiase and Rhodes ring intro, they showed Orton and his wife watching from their couch. Garcia then introduced Triple H. His music played. No sign of Triple H, though. DiBiase and Rhodes wanted their arms raised in victory.
Garcia chatted with the ref and then announced that Rhodes and DiBiase won via forfeit.
WINNERS: DiBiase & Rhodes via forfeit.
-They showed Orton on the big screen. He snorted, “Cut the music!” He said nobody should be smiling right now. He said Rhodes and DiBiase shouldn’t be smiling. He said Triple H isn’t the competitor or the man he thinks he is. He said this probably indicates he won’t show up to WrestleMania and he won’t have a chance to beat him for the title at WrestleMania. The doorbell rang. He told his wife to get it, then continued his promo. He then realized what was probably up and shouted for her not to get the door. She screamed as Triple H barged in with a sledgehammer. Orton ran away as Triple H ran past his wife. Triple H searched for them and found other people in there. Not sure who those other people were. He found Orton’s wife Samantha sitting behind the kitchen island holding a phone. Triple H demanded to know where he went. She couldn’t speak. Triple H continued to search his house. Another woman ran out of the laundry room. Who are all of these people? Were they holding a swingers party or something? Triple H then worked his way up the steps, but he heard something below him and came back down. It could have been a cat, a dog, or another mysterious person hanging out in their house, but Triple H rounded the corner and Orton leaped out of the storage area under the steps and tackled Triple H. They brawled around the house, destroying furniture. It wasn’t a very “homey” house; very sterile and sparsely furnished – hopefully a model home for the skit and now their real house. Triple H threw Orton through the window as cops arrived (Orton’s wife called the cops). The cops arrested Triple H and checked on Orton. Orton said he broke into his house and attacked him. He told them to take him away and arrest him. He chased after Triple H after they locked him up in the squad car. The cops held him back and talked him back into his house. Another camera shows Triple H huffing and puffing inside the cop car.
FINAL THOUGHTS (6.5): The in-ring wrestling wasn’t memorable, and that two minute women’s champion vs. women’s champion match was ridiculous. The Undertaker-Shawn Michaels angle was a pleasant surprise. It was basic solid promo work that, when you have the material and background those two have to work with, and when the issue is pride over who wins a match, shows how the best wrestling angles tend to be about the sporting aspects of it. The Triple H vs. Orton house skit was fine with me. I understand some will hate it because it was a bit over the top at its core, but I admire that they covered most of the bases well in terms of showing us how the cops were called and resisting the temptation to show us seven different camera angles of every scene and rather sticking with one handheld. Why were all these other people hanging around the house at 10:05 p.m., though? The Vickie twists and turns were okay. Cena’s line about being in love with Vickie was fun, but he walked a fine line of being a jerk when he said he said the sight of her makes him sick. The follow up on this is key because it could easily move into slapstick comedy territory and lose its core drawing power. A bit of an off-week for Jericho in terms of getting a centerpiece segment, but I do like how they’re putting bigger names in the qualifying matches and finding ways to have them lose (including the Hardys on Smackdown on Friday) so that the mid-carders are in that match and the bigger names have a logical reason to end up elsewhere on the card. The Ric Flair teaser is a smart ratings move and they hyped it with just the right tone for something that isn’t going to actually happen (it better not).
RECOMMENDED: 10 YRS AGO – KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT (3-2-09): Jericho interviews Snuka on Piper’s Pit, Edge vs. Cena for WWE Title, Shawn Michaels vs. Kozlov for Undertaker match at WrestleMania, plus Triple H, Rey, Kane, more