SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The following report was originally published ten years ago this week on PWTorch.com…
KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
APRIL 6, 2009
LIVE FROM HOUSTON, TEX.
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
-A shortened version of the WrestleMania 25 highlight video from the end of last night’s show aired, followed by the usual Raw opening. Then pryo blasted in the arena as the camera panned the crowd as Michael Cole introduced the show. He called it a beautiful, majestic, extraordinary WrestleMania. Jerry Lawler plugged an all-star tag team main event with John Cena & Rey Mysterio & C.M. Punk & Jeff Hardy & Rick Steamboat vs. Chris Jericho & Edge & Matt Hardy & The Big Show & Kane.
-Randy Orton’s music played and he made his full ring intro. He drew attention to a bruise on the side of his face as he began the voyage to the ring, strolling deliberately and slowly. Lawler said he’s surprised to see Orton on his feet. He said he doesn’t know what sickens him more – that Triple H used a sledgehammer to beat him last night or that “you people enjoyed every last second of it.” He said he thinks it’s good that the people have a moment of happiness in their otherwise miserable lives. “But the fact is, last night proved nothing,” he said. “Triple H knows he cannot beat me on his own.” He said he will get his rematch. He said the company, the McMahons, and the fans owe it to him. He said when he gets his rematch, he will beat Triple H and take his rightful place as WWE Champion. “May God help the McMahon family if they decide to get in my way again,” he said. The crowd loudly chanted, “RKO! RKO!”
He said he bashed the “old man and his son” in the skull and RKO’d and DDT’d Stephanie. He said maybe next he attends a McMahon family outing. He said he hadn’t seen Linda in a while. I’m sure she’d be happy to see me. The crowd laughed their approval. He then suggested he introduce himself to all of the McMahon family grandchildren. “Yes, that would be nice.” Vince McMahon’s music played. The way Orton reacted to it was just fantastic, with a slow haunting turn of his head.
McMahon rushed to the ring in his silly lavender suit and pants pulled up past his belly button. He objected to Orton mentioning his grandchildren. McMahon said if he wants to get his hands on a McMahon, he has one right there in the ring, so he’s offering him what he wants. McMahon said he will not give him another title match, though. He said after what he put his family through, he’s going to instead give him a Backlash. He said he’s going to be back in the ring with his friends, Ted DiBiase & Cody Rhodes, against Triple H & Vince & Shane McMahon. So last week’s Raw was more about setting up Backlash than effectively selling the angle with Stephanie and Orton the week before.
Orton said he thinks it’s obvious he’s terrified of him because he’s hiding behind his son-in-law and son. McMahon said Orton is the one who is terrified because Rhodes and DiBiase aren’t standing out there with him right now. He said without Rhodes and DiBiase, he’s an abject failure. Orton objected strongly. He challenged McMahon to a one-on-one match tonight. The crowd popped. He asked if he’d be a failure then. He said he doesn’t need Cody and Ted, just as he didn’t need them when he crushed his skull in with his foot. He said if he faces him one-on-one, he guarantees he won’t make it to Backlash. He said he’ll have his WrestleMania moment a day late when he “permanently puts him down.” He then said, “What do you say, sir?” McMahon paused, gulped, and said he might permanently put him down or in a coma, but maybe he won’t. “You’re on!” Cole and Lawler then talked briefly about what just happened.
-A commercial aired hyping next week’s draft special. Lawler said next week the entire complexion of WWE could change.
1 — PRIMO & CARLITO COLON vs. JOHN MORRISON & MIZ — Unified Tag Team Title lumberjack match
This match, promised to WWE fans ordering WrestleMania 25, didn’t air on the PPV, so “to make it up to everyone,” they give a rematch away for free the next night. The lumberjacks included Ricky Ortiz, Jesse (but no Festus for some reason), Goldust, The Great Khali, Hurricane Helms, Mike Knox, Tyson Kidd, William Regal, Ezekiel Jackson, The Brian Kendrick, Jamie Noble, R-Truth, Cryme Tyme, Jack Swagger, Charlie Haas, Zach Ryder, Curt Hawkins, Paul Burchill, Tommy Dreamer, Jimmy Wang Yang, Vladimir Kozlov, and the super muscular gotta-be-gay disco dancing British guy with Tetris blocks on his trunks from ECW. The lumberjacks got involved early, going after Morrison at ringside. They cut to a break at 2:00.
Lawler wondered if The Dirt Sheet would continue if Miz and Morrison got drafted to different brands. Uh, Miz & Morrison have been on every brand most weeks lately, so the brand split has been defined as meaning little or nothing, so it’s a tough sell to the audience that if one is on Raw and the other on Smackdown that they somehow will be kept apart. Miz attempted to superplex Carlito. Carlito reversed it and sent Miz onto the floor among lumberjacksM. Carlito fell back, too, into another group of lumberjacks in the process. Primo dove through the ropes at ringside. Morrison then hit a great flip dive onto a group of other lumberjacks. That looked great in slo-mo. Morrison broke up a pin attempt by Carlito on Miz. Miz went for a jackknife cover on Carlito for a near fall as chaos broke out at ringside with everyone else. Carlito hit a Back Stabber a few seconds later on Miz for the win.
WINNERS: Carlito & Primo in 8:00 to retain the tag team titles.
STAR RATING: *1/2 — Short match, but good dose of action.
-They went backstage to Vince who had his white shirt unbuttoned showing his massive bulging muscular tanned chest. Shane approached him about Backlash’s six-man match. He second-guessed Vince facing Orton one-on-one. Vince said he’s never backed down from a challenged, and he won’t start now. Vince said he knows Shane has his back of Rhodes and DiBiase interfere. “I just want him!” he said.
-Lawler plugged a Divas Tag Team match. Oh, I can’t wait. It bet it lasts at least 35 seconds!
-Now that WrestleMania is over, they switched back to plugging “12 Rounds.” They showed Cena on his media blitz promoting the movie. This was actually more to put Cena over than the movie. They showed a map of Cena’s trips around the country doing media interviews. Cena said he’s met a lot of interesting people and done a lot of great things. He said he’ll look back and be very proud of what he accomplished in making a very good movie.
-WWE Fact: The 25h Anniversary of WrestleMania was provided to our troops across 176 countries, 200 Navy ships at sea, and 76 bases worldwide via the Armed Forces Radio Network. Good for WWE for doing that.
-Lawler sent out special thanks to Kid Rock for his concert as “So Hott” played in the background.
2 — MELINA & LAYLA & MICKIE JAMES & JILLIAN HALL & KELLY KELLY vs. EVE TORRES & MARYSE & MARIA & GAIL KIM & NATALYA
Gail Kim opened the match against Melina. Lawler said that Cole talked about the Diva Battle Royal, but didn’t mention the winner. He said they’d hear from Santina later. Lawler said she’s Santino’s twin sister, “another newcomer to the WWE.” Cole said, “Yeah, okay.” Lawler said he wants all of the Divas to be drafted to Raw. That’d be great for Lawler, unless he simultaneous got drafted to ECW or Smackdown. Doh! A brawl broke out at ringside as Mickie gave Natalya a DDT off the second rope for the win.
WINNERS: Mickie James’s team in 3:00.
STAR RATING: * — There’s some real potential in the division now for longer meaningful singles matches with Kim against Natalya, Mickie, and Melina in particular. Oh, Beth Phoenix, too, of course.
-They showed Shane walking backstage like a total badass into Triple H’s locker room. He walked up to Hunter and said he was trying to talk some sense into Vince. Triple H said he would do his best, but he doesn’t think his talking to him would do any good. He said he’d let him know what he says.
-A freeze-frame was shown of Cena giving an FU to Big Show. Cole and Lawler then plugged the all-star tag team match.
-Ring intros took place for the big all-star tag match. During ring intros, they showed freeze-frames of the Money in the Bank ladder match. Lawler also gushed about Steamboat’s showing at WrestleMania. Cena wore his newly won World Hvt. Title belt to the ring. Two commercial breaks and ring intros is literally all that aired in this final quarter of hour number one.
-An ECW TV commercial aired. Nothing specific hyped, just talk about Money in the Bank.
3 — JEFF HARDY & C.M. PUNK & REY MYSTERIO & RICKY “THE DRAGON” STEAMBOAT & JOHN CENA vs. THE BIG SHOW & MATT HARDY & CHRIS JERICHO & EDGE & KANE
I’m not sure how featuring all of these Smackdown wrestlers on Raw helps promote the importance of the draft next week. They’re showing it doesn’t matter what brand you’re on. The crowd wanted Steamboat. Cena tagged him in at 2:00. The crowd chanted, “You’ve still got it!” as he hit a top rope chop to Edge’s arm, then applied an armbar. Lawler said Steamboat hasn’t lost a step. I think a better way to put it is that Steamboat has lost a step or two, but he had room to lose a step or two and still be really good. He threw a series of offensive moves including a dropkick, but Kane eventually stopped him with a sideslam. Jericho tagged in and took over on Steamboat briefly, then he tagged in Big Show who slapped Steamboat in the chest hard. The crowd loudly chanted, “Let’s Go Steamboat!” as Big Show beat him down, then tagged Jericho back in. Cole said Jericho is a vulture. At 5:00 Jericho went for a Walls of Jericho. Steamboat countered with a roll-up. Jeff Hardy was still selling the extreme rules match, having limped to the ring and hung out on the ring apron to this point. Steamboat hot-tagged Punk who hit Jericho with a bulldog amidst other moves. Kane booted Punk in the head as the cut to a break at 7:00.
Punk continued to take a beating from Edge and Hardy, then Big Show. Edge kept his distance from Show during the match. Pun hot-tagged Jeff Hardy at 12:00, who went to work on Edge and scored a quick near fall. Hardy hit a Twist of Fate on Edge, then fended off attempted interference from Matt. Jeff tagged in Cena, then dove onto Matt at ringside. Cena clotheslined Show over the top rope to the floor. Rey and Edge then battled, with Rey setting up Edge for a 619, but Jericho interfered. Rey head-scissored Jericho into place and nailed both Edge and Jericho with a 619. Steamboat climbed to the top rope and hit Edge with a flying crossbody block as Rey hit Jericho with the same. Rey and Jericho were legal, so they scored the pin. In a nice touch, Steamboat rolled out of the ring before the count since he wasn’t the legal man. Rather than just blow off the rules and make the ref ignore his presence, he actually left the ring for the pin, then returned. That’s a really respectful, cool attention to detail that this industry needs more of. Steamboat was the last to leave the ring, as he played to the crowd on the second rope for a minute as the other four applauded from the stage. He then jumped into their arms on the stage.
WINNERS: Steamboat & Hardy & Cena & Punk & Rey in 14:00.
STAR RATING: **3/4 — Nice match. The Steamboat nostalgia novelty was worth a half star and the crowd reaction for him was great to see.
-Triple H approached Vince backstage. Vince said he didn’t want to hear it. Triple H said he is the most stubborn, obnoxious, overly aggressive SOBs he’s ever met. “But I’m proud of ya’,” he said. He asked him to “finish it.” Uh, shouldn’t someone acknowledge the elephant in the room, which is that Vince is over 60 years old and not a legit wrestler or fighter, and Randy Orton is in his prime? I mean, are we supposed to believe that Triple H thinks his 62 year old father-in-law seriously has a chance to finish Orton off? Shouldn’t someone be talking some sense into the old man, not encouraging suicide? Or are we supposed to play along with the ridiculous notion that the McMahons have some sort of special powers? At least Shane seemed to realize it, but everyone else is just standing by pretending this is reasonable.
-Lilian Garcia introduced Vickie Guerrero. She said she has to choose between being G.M. of Raw or Smackdown. She said she’s decided to become the permanent G.M. of Monday Night Raw. The crowd booed. She said Raw has become “stale and stagnant.” She said she believes she can be a breath of fresh air with her unique thinking and fairness and professionalism. She said Edge will have a mandatory rematch at Backlash. She said it’ll be her fiances last chance at regaining his championship. She let out a sinister laugh. She said the six-man match announced earlier for Backlash will now be a championship match. She said if Triple H’s team wins, he retains; if Orton’s team wins, Orton becomes champion. Way to devalue the title with a ridiculous stip like that.
-They showed Lawler and Cole at ringside reacting to Vickie’s announcement. Then Vickie returned and added that the Edge-Cena match at Backlash will be a Last Man Standing match. Did she forgot to say that the first time and get sent back out? Cole and Lawler touted the great Michaels-Undertaker match. Lawler said a lot of people believe it’s the best match in WrestleMania history. They showed the Michaels flying elbow picture from the cover of the Houston Chronicle.
-They aired an abbreviated WrestleMania video and then hyped the replay on PPV all week. Worth getting just for Taker-Michaels, by the way, if the $55 is in your budget. (But be sure to spend about the same amount to get a 365 day PWTorch VIP membership first of course!)
-Cole plugged the Orton-McMahon match. Shouldn’t this be sold as McMahon walking into his own grave? Seriously, the idea of pitching this as some sort of reasonably competitive situation is just beyond ridiculous.
-A commercial aired hyping the new WWE Superstars show on WGN.
-After a shot of Houston’s skyline, they showed highlights from the Hall of Fame.
-Santina Marella came out wearing her crown. She called her brother “obnoxiously good looking and manly.” She said when he wasn’t allowed in the battle royal, his heart was broken, but it’s mended now because his flesh and blood won instead of him. He said he couldn’t believe it after she run. “So many feelings were running through my feminine body parts,” she said. She wondered if she’d be on the calender of Sports Illustrated or maybe she’ll meet a nice man and have babies. Lawler said, “So, Michael, are you available?” She fantasied about being Miss WrestleMania some day. Beth Phoenix’s music interrupted. She strode to the ring looking quite upset, with Rosa Mendez.
Santina introduced herself to Beth as Lawler chuckled. Beth said, “Cut the crap, okay? What are you trying to do? I’ll tell you what. You’re embarrassing yourself in front of all of these people. And don’t let me ever catch you in the Divas’ locker room again.” Santina asked, “Where am I supposed top change?” Beth complained that she threw her over the top rope. Santina said it was “every woman for herself.” Beth challenged her to a match. Santina said she’s jealous because she’s more woman than she’ll ever be. Santina accepted her challenge. Santina called for a referee.
-Santina danced after the break. Cole called it the most ridiculous thing he’s ever seen and seemed genuinely cracked up. This is really funny. Santina is 100 percent into it. Cole plugged that fans can see the entire performance at WWE.com.
4 — SANTINA MARELLA vs. BETH PHOENIX
Beth opened with a chop to Santina’s chest. Cole and Lawler played it up tongue-in-cheek that Santina is really Santino’s twin sister. Beth spanked Santina early. Cole said, “This is just bizarre.” Santina landed on Beth for the win.
WINNER: Santina in 2:00.
STAR RATING: No way!
-They showed Vince McMahon heading to the entrance tunnel backstage.
5 — VINCE MCMAHON vs. RANDY ORTON
Lawler put over the shape McMahon is in. McMahon slapped Orton hard twice and then punched him in the stomach. This is already the most ridiculous thing since, well, Shane McMahon beat up Orton, DiBIase, and Rhodes. The McMahons are the epitome of marks for themselves, and it’s getting kind of pathetic and sad since it’s really doing damage to their best young heel draw in Orton. No sign of DiBiase and Rhodes all night, by the way. McMahon battered Orton at ringside. Back in the ring at 2:00 Orton gave McMahon a backbreaker. He gave him too much offense already, though. Orton dropped a series of knees to the back of McMahon’s head. Orton set up a punt kick. Shane attacked Orton and pounded away at Orton’s head with his barrage of punches. DiBiase and Rhodes then showed up to kick Shane out of the ring. As the three heels stomped away at Shane, Triple H ran out to make the save. He got a mediocre response, nothing compared to Steamboat earlier. He took out Orton and Rhodes and then beat up on Orton in the ring. DiBiase and Rhodes jumped back in and attacked Triple H.
WINNER: No contest in 5:00.
-The three heels beat down the McMahons and Triple H until Batista’s music played. He charged to the ring and attacked Legacy, easily clearing the ring of Orton and DiBiase and then giving Rhodes a spinebuster. “Batista is back!” said Lawler. Rhodes bailed out, but Shane and Triple H threw him back into the ring where Batista gave him a Batista Bomb. McMahon said on the house mic, “Hey Orton, you’re right. I’m not going to make it to Backlash. Taking my place is going to be The Animal, Dave Batista!” Orton threw a fit on the stage. Batista looked bigger than ever. That should help him avoid another muscle tear at the worst possible time.