SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The following report was originally published on PWTorch.com ten years ago this week…
KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
MAY 4, 2009
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
-The show opened with clips of Randy Orton being confronted by MVP last week, leading to their match and Shane McMahon’s run-in.
-The Raw opening aired. Michael Cole introduced the show and said 16,000-plus fans are anticipating the arrival of Shane McMahon vs. Randy Orton.
1 — RANDY ORTON vs. SHANE MCMAHON
Cole said taking out Shane McMahon is the final piece to complete Orton’s demented puzzle. Orton came out first, the World Champ taking a back seat to the Super-Shane-Mac. Actually, it was necessary for Shane’s unsportsmanlike sneak attack of Orton from behind, although Orton’s character has hardly earned any less. The best part is we didn’t have to see the 39 year old dance on the stage. He clotheslined Orton over the top rope to the floor. Orton immediately took over and threw Shane into the guard rail. Shane came back with some punches and took the World Champ ten years younger than him in his prime. Shane continued to dominate as they brawled into the crowd, destroying the centerpiece heel of WWE who’s an actual full time wrestler counted on to draw on PPV and house shows year round. Shane threw Orton back into the ringside area and leaped off the ring barrier with a clothesline. The crowd, of course, popped because they’re realizing Orton is actually a total wimp, able to get beat up by an office worker in sweat pants and a t-shirt. Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes jumped Shane, saving World Champion Orton from further beating by Super-Shane-O-Mac (who really should wear a cape, as all superheroes do). Orton joined in the beat down. MVP ran out for the save, but he was overwhelmed with a triple-team, also. DiBiase, Cody, and Orton threw MVP out of the ring and tured their attention back to Shane. Batista then ran out and clotheslined and speared the heels out of the ring. Cole called it an explosive start to Monday Night Raw.
WINNER: No contest in 6:00.
-Vickie Guerrero stepped onto the stage and angrily said her main event will not be jeopardized. She said Shane will face Orton, but she’s going to let everyone get involved. She booked Batista vs. DiBiase and MVP vs. Cody. She said whoever wins their match can join either Shane or Orton in their match. It’s a little TNA-like in it’s layering, but it could turn out to be Batista & MVP & Shane vs. Orton, or a more fair situation would be Orton getting the help he needs against Super-Shane-O by teaming with both DiBiase and Rhodes in a three-on-one situation, although even then, Super-Shane could probably easily fend off the mere mortals. Whenever they put a “main event” first on the show, there’s usually a booking reason behind it rather than it just being an attempt to pop an early strong Q1 rating. In this case, it set up three matches later on the show.
-WWE Fact: In addition to almost two million females, more males watched Raw last Monday than any show on NBC.
1 — MATT HARDY vs. KOFI KINGSTON
Hardy walked out with his arm in a case held gingerly by his side. He looked unhappy. Lawler said he sensed Cole was skeptical of Hardy’s claim he had a broken hand. Lawler wondered why one would wear a cast if it weren’t broken. Hardy said he is wrestling under protest because he is injured. Lawler talked about how tough it is to do anything when your right hand is in a cast. The crawler on the screen plugged WWE Superstars on WGN, the Kids Mag featuring “98 Awesome Supestars,” a chance to create your own highlight video at WWE.com, and the ’90s DVD. Kofi went into his signature series of moves at 3:00. Hardy kicked out after the double legdrop. Kofi then hit his 360 degree round kick for the win. Afterward, in frustration, Hardy hit Kofi with his cast. Cole called him “a bitter, bitter man.”
WINNER: Kingston at 4:00.
STAR RATING: * — Nice short match. I’m surprised they had Hardy do a clean job to Kofi in four minutes on Raw. I would have bet Hardy was higher on the totem pole right now than Kofi, for sure. I’d certainly put more behind Hardy right now, as they need heels for Cena more than they need fresh babyfaces for any heel, and Hardy is more ready than Kofi to move up to main event level.
-Cole plugged Shane vs. Orton with various additions to the match depending on Batista vs. DiBiase (that was good on Smackdown a couple weeks back) and Cody vs. MVP.
-Santino talked to Kelly Kelly backstage. He told her she’s going to have a blast teaming with his twin sister Santina. Kelly said she’s looking forward to meeting her. Santino said last week she was breathed on by Vickie “Guerrera” and now she has the swine flu, which is funny since Vickie is “snort – snort, pig like.” Chavo Guerrero walked up. Santino began singing his entrance song. Chavo shoed Kelly away, the first time any man has ever done that to her. He then asked Santino if he was making fun of his aunt. He said nobody who wants to make it on Raw should do that. Santino apologized and sent a message to Vickie. He then made pig snorting sounds, laughed, and walked away.
-They went to Lawler and Cole at ringside. They talked about the Big Show attack of Cena at the end of his Backlash match against Edge. They showed video of him being thrown into the search light. Cole called it “exclusive never-before-seen-on-television” footage of the incident. I think pay-per-view is seen on TVs, so Cole’s not quite accurate there. If he meant first time on basic cable, well, then yes. They also showed Cena, who didn’t answer The Miz’s challenge last week, showing up later to cost Big Show his match by standing on the stage and looking at him.
-Big Show told Vickie backstage that he wants to end Cena’s career tonight. Vickie said that’s impossible because he’s unable to compete. She said he can’t wrestle for two more weeks. But she said she could book Show against Cena at Judgment Day.
-Elsewhere, the Bella Twins walked up to MVP and told him how much they love “The View.” They each asked him out at the same time. He said yes, but first he wanted to win his match.
2 — MVP vs. CODY RHODES
William Regal, the forgotten one, joined Cole and Lawler on commentary. Regal complained that in the “animated open” of Raw, Miz and MVP are in it, but not him. Kevin Nash made the same complaint last year to TNA management. Regarding Miz, Regal said: “He’s got the future of a snowman. He reminds me of Kermit the Frog without the talent.” He complained more about the pecking order on Raw and those getting preferential treatment. He said MVP was a good draft pick. They cut to Shane watching on a monitor backstage. Shane settled into working over MVP’s left leg on the mat. Cody made a brief comeback at 3:00, but MVP knocked him down and set up his finishing sequence. Cody rolled to the floor. MVP threw him back into the ring. Regal got up and clipped MVP off the ring apron. The ref didn’t see it, but then counted MVP out of the ring as he clutched his knee on the floor. Cole said that means the balance of power has shifted in Orton’s favor in his match later against Shane. Well, not yet. It takes more than two wrestlers in their primes in their 20s to have a chance against the 39 year old executive in his health club workout outfit known as Super Shane-O-Mac.
WINNER: Cody Rhodes via countout in 4:00.
STAR RATING: *
-A commercial for Smackdown hyped Chris Jericho vs. Jeff Hardy.
-Lawler stood mid-ring as his music played. He said this week they’re going to have a “sing-off” with Raw Divas. The crowd booed. Lawler introduced Jillian Hall and Festus. He said the rules are each contestant will sing and then the fans will vote. Jillian Hall sang first. She was as grating as always. Then he introduced Festus. Festus just stood there and didn’t say anything or sing anything. Lawler said he had an idea and then had the bell rung. Festus then sang “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow.” The crowd cheered. The bell rang again and Festus powered down. The crowd heavily favored Festus. Jillian freaked out and asked for another chance. She said the fans don’t know what they’re talking about.
Miz walked out to his music. He put Festus’s hand up against his forehead in a “L” shape for loser. He then kicked him in the gut and threw him out of the ring. “Get that fat bald virgin out of my ring,” he said. “I am The Miz!” He said last week he called out John Cena, but Cena didn’t come to the ring. He said that tells him Cena is afraid of him. He asked him where his hustle and loyalty is to all of his fans. “Where’s your respect, your self-respect, or is that some hollow catch phrase you use to sell shirts?” The crowd chanted for Cena. He challenged him again. He said if he were injured and being called out, he’d have answered his challenge. Cena showed up on the big screen as they cut to a break.
Back from the break, Miz was asking the crowd, “You’re booing me? Really? Really. Really?” He asked if it’s because he’s awesome and Cena still hasn’t come out. That was quite the challenge for Miz to hold the audience for the entire commercial break – probably a test of some kind. Miz said maybe Cena’s trying to find his latest movie script. “I mailed it to The Rock. He used it as toilet paper.” He the added: “Cena, you are all hype, churned out by the WWE Machine so the kiddies have someone to scream for and their cougar mothers have someone to fantasize about. I am the most talented Raw Superstar there is. I am trying to prove it calling out the biggest, baddest Superstar on Raw. You’re not stepping up to the plate.” He yelled: “You’re always saying, You want some, come get some. I want the whole damn thing. Come on!” He tore off his hat and bandana. He said he wanted the record book to show that The Miz called out Cena and The Miz beat Cena for the second straight week. He said he wanted the record book to show it was Miz-2, Cena-0. He asked Lilian to announce it. She wouldn’t. He called her useless. As he grabbed her mic hmself, Cena’s music played.
Cena walked out onto the stage wearing his HLA t-shirt. Great timing as Cena walked out at the start of the second hour. They’re timing the show very well. Cole said he doesn’t know how smart that is. Cena walked gingerly to the ring. Once he got into the ring, Show’s music played. He walked out. Cena held his ground, staring at him with no expression. Cena put his hands up in an action figure position rather than any known fighting stance. After an interminable staredown, Show kicked Cena in the gut with a smile on his face. Lawler said Cena was helpless. Show punched him in the gut. After a few more methodical belly punches and a camel clutch, Show got up and stood over Cena’s lifeless body.
-Lawler plugged the two upcoming main events.
-A commercial hyped the debut of The Cutting Edge with guest Jeff Hardy on WWE Superstars. It’s going to take more than three context-free hype-free matches, no matter how big the names, to draw ratings for that show. Adding some storyline developments is key, and The Cutting Edge could accomplish that.
-They replayed Show’s beatdown of Cena. They went to Lawler and Cole at ringside. Lawler said Cena wasn’t medically cleared to wrestle yet, and this beatdown could be a major setback.
-Lilian introduced Jared the Subway Guy as guest ring announcer for the next match.
3 — MICKIE JAMES vs. MARYSE – Non-Title match
Lawler invited the winner of this match to sit on his lap for the rest of the show. He called it the best seat in the house. Maryse got Mickie in an “early” upper body chinlock. Mickie fought of it and hit two low dropkicks. She followed up with a DDT for the win.
WINNER: Mickie in 3:00.
STAR RATING: 1/2* — Okay for a short match.
-They showed Batista warming up backstage.
4 — TED DIBIASE vs. BATISTA
DiBiase took early control. Batista came back with a quick strong bodyslam. At 3:00 DiBiase used a drop toe hold to slam Batista face-first to the mat. Batista countered by raising his boot as DiBiase leaped off the ropes. DiBiase slapped Batista, which set off Batista into a series of shoulders and boots to the face in the corner. The ref counted to five and Batista wouldn’t break, so he DQ’d him. Batista asked, “Are you kidding me?” Hey, there are rules. This is pro wrestling. The ref said he was just doing his job.
WINNER: DiBiase via DQ in 4:00.
STAR RATING: 3/4* — Not much time to turn into much of a match. They seem to be using more “protective finishes” lately, where there’s not a clean pin or submission, but for a reason, not just as a copout. In this case it got across Batista’s temper and set up DiBiase being added to the match with Rhodes and Orton. Smart money is still on Super Shane-O-Mac. Don’t let his lack of a cape fool you.
-WWE Fact: WWE outperformed last week key websites from NBC, MTV, NASCAR, MLB, UFC, ABC, NIKE, and the NBA.
-Chavo chatted with Vickie backstage. He said Santino’s joke was horrible. “It doesn’t even make sense,” he said. He shifted to talking about more important matters – her main event. He said he has to be sure Batista and MVP can’t interfere. He said if MVP interfered, he’d strip him of the U.S. Title. He said if Batista interfered, he’d take away his title match Judgment Day.
5 — CARLITO vs. BRIAN KENDRICK
This is the weekly match late in the show that fills as much time as they need before the main event. Kendrick got early control, but Carlito shot back with offense and a two count. Kendrick caught Carlito on a springboard with a kick to the face for his own two count. Carlito countered a Sliced Bread attempt and hit the Back Stabber off the ropes for the win.
WINNER: Carlito in 1:00.
STAR RATING: 1/4* — Too short to add up to much, but what is clear is whatever push Kendrick was once going to get as a heel is over.
-The Smackdown Rebound aired.
-Clips aired of Sherri Shepherd on Smackdown with MVP last Friday. They plugged that MVP would be on “The View” tomorrow. Cole said, “I love The View! I watch it all the time.”
-They showed a clip of Regal attacking MVP earlier in the night.
-Batista apologized to Shane backstage. He didn’t seem particularly impressed with Batista’s apology. Batista said he will make Orton pay in two weeks and he can count on that. He kept apologizing as Shane walked away.
-The ring intro aired for Rhodes, Orton, and DiBiase. A brief video package aired on Orton’s punt kicks.
-A commercial hyped Christian vs. Mark Henry on ECW tomorrow night at the new start time of an hour later.
6 — CODY RHODES & TED DIBIASE & RANDY ORTON vs. SHANE MCMAHON
Cole said Shane is looking to dig down deep. Shane strutted onto the stage, trying not to be too cool, but it’s hard for him to help himself. He actually wore a Shane-O-Mac jersey that has “McMahon vs. Orton – Raw” on the back. That is the type of move that would get any other wrestler backstage mocked openly and relentlessly for being a big mark. Shane held his own early against Rhodes. He fought out of the heel corner and locked Rhodes in an armbar. Rhodes escaped and tagged in Orton. Orton went for a backdrop, but Shane kicked him in the face. Orton bailed out and tagged in DiBiase. Cole said Orton wanted no part of Shane.
DiBiase surprised McMahon with a clothesline. Shane popped out of the corner with a clothesline of his own. Then he locked DiBiase down with an armbar in center-ring, preventing him from making a tag. Shane again stopped DiBiase from tagging out a minute later. Shane kneed DiBiase and then gave him a neckbreaker. Cole said Shane is fueled by passion and emotion. Shane climbed to the top rope and hit a flying elbow for a near fall. Only Rhodes interfering stopped Shane from single-handedly beating Raw’s top three heels. The action spilled to the floor where Shane went after Cody, throwing him head-first into the ringside steps, then into the guard rail. He kicked him in the ribs and then picked up a chair. Orton jumped Shane from behind. Orton threw Shane back into the ring. He tagged in legally and stomped and kicked him into the mat.
Rhodes tagged in and went for a moonsault. Shane moved and Rhodes crashed. Rhodes crawled over and tagged in DiBiase. Shane had no partner to tag. Shane took control immediately on DiBiase, who tagged in Orton seconds later. Shane punched away at the fresh Orton and knocked him over the top rope with a clothesline. He then backdropped DiBiase and Rhodes to the floor. He single-handedly beat up all three heels at ringside. Shane began disassembling the ringside table. Lawler said he’s on a mission. He put Orton on the table. Shane climbed to the top and leaped off with a flying elbow. Orton moved and Shane, who came up a bit short anyway, crashed through the table. Orton got up and stared down at Shane with a sinister determination. Cole said someone had to stop this as “Shane is helpless.” Shane is never helpless. He’s a McMahon. DiBiase and Rhodes held Shane down as Orton set up a chairshot to his ankle on the steps. Shane writhed in what looked like a McMahon experiencing pain, although that would be weakness, and McMahon’s aren’t weak, so he is clearly just faking it to lull the heels into a false sense of security. DiBiase and Rhodes held Shane’s ankle over the steps again. Orton held a chair, but then threw it down and looked at the top piece of the steps. He picked that up and smashed Shane’s foot with it. Shane gasped in pain, although the steps just landed on the top third of his foot at an angle, so it didn’t look devastating at all. At least now Shane has an excuse for never hitting the top rope dropkick into the trash can ever again. He can blame it on Legacy rather than mortality and aging. They didn’t like the original impact of the step smashing Shane’s foot because the replay was done from behind Rhodes and DiBiase with the impact point blocked. Medics tended to Shane at ringside. He told them. “Oh, don’t touch it, man.” He was helped onto a stretcher. Orton, from the stage, said, “Batista, your Judgment Day is coming.”
WINNER: No announcement.
FINAL THOUGHTS: That was among the most absurd 15 minutes of TV wrestling I’ve ever seen. I don’t have the will or energy to express the utter ridiculousness of Shane holding his own against three top heels for that long. Let’s hope Shane’s Fantasy Wrestler Camp, held at our expense, is over.