Thursday, February 23, 2006

Raw Report

I forgot to post this on Monday. I had more fun with this one than any in a little while.

Date: 02/20/06 from Trenton, NJ.

The Big News: HHH will be in the title match at WrestleMania for the fifteenth straight year.

Title Changes/Turns: Shelton Benjamin and Mama Benjamin took the Intercontinental Title from Ric Flair. Could a feud with Buff Bagwell and Judy Bagwell be on the horizon?

Match Results: Candice Michelle won Battle Royal; Edge b Hacksaw Jim Duggan; Kane b Chris Masters; Shelton Benjamin b Ric Flair; Shawn Michaels b Johnny Jeter, Kenny Doane, Mikey Mondo & Nicky Nemeth; Carlito Caribbean Cool b Nick Burke; Hunter Hearst Helmsley b Big Show and Rob Van Dam.

Show Analysis:

Candice Michelle won a women’s battle royal to earn a title match next week. This was awful, but it could have been worse. I still don’t understand the logic in putting people that can’t wrestle in wrestling matches on national television, but that’s an old story. Candice eliminated Torrie, while Ashley and Maria teamed up to eliminate Victoria. Maria gave Candice the bronco buster, but Mickie disposed of Maria. As Mickie attempted to eliminate Ashley, Candice dumped them both.

Edge came to the ring, and impolitely told Candice to leave. He said he would be champion were it not for Mick Foley, and vowed to send a message to Foley in his treatment of Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Edge proceeded to pin Duggan. Duggan hit clotheslines early, but Edge knocked him to the outside and hit an ax handle off the apron. Duggan posted Edge on the floor, but Edge came back with a drop kick and belly to back suplex. Duggan responded with a clothesline, body slam, and got in the three point stance. Lita grabbed his leg and Edge hit the spear for the pin. I was surprised Edge didn’t go over more strongly.

Edge gave Duggan a low blow with the 2x4 after the match, and challenged Foley for WrestleMania. That got very little response, unsurprisingly given how out of the blue this feud is. Edge demanded a response next week. They ran a backstage Big Show interview where he talked about what a big deal the title is, and how much he wants to headline WrestleMania. He said he is focused on getting there. They aired a package of John Cena getting an incredible reaction in Bombay, India. They should air this footage repeatedly, because it made Cena look like an enormous star. It reminded me of the footage they used to air of Bret Hart overseas.

Kane beat Chris Masters. They brawled early. Masters got the advantage by ramming Kane into the post, but Kane came back and hit a clothesline off the top. Masters went for the Masterlock, which was reversed into a choke slam attempt, reversed into another Masterlock attempt, reversed into a Kane Masterlock attempt, which Masters escaped. After all that Kane hit the big boot for the clean pin. Masters jumped Kane after the match, and applied the Masterlock, so I guess this feud will continue through WrestleMania. What a delight.

“Rob Van Dam was a different type of attraction than I had ever seen in wrestling. Because usually in wrestling you need to put a guy in a heated situation where ‘I hate you and I’m going to get my revenge on you.’ That wasn’t the case with Rob Van Dam. People didn’t want to hear that about him.”
-Paul Heyman

Rob Van Dam did a serious promo about wanting to headline at WrestleMania. It didn’t really work. See the aforementioned quote from the guy who would know better than anyone else how to get over RVD. WWE has a real problem catering to people’s strengths. RVD is one of the few guys left on the roster that could get over as a fresh main event talent in a hurry. However, that is not going to happen with angry, somber promos and matches with Gene Snitsky.

Watch some ECW tapes. Let him do a cocky 45 second promo about how great he is backstage, and then give him an opponent he can work with in the ring. That’s the formula that got him over in ECW. Fans have never gotten that guy in WWE, which in a sense is a positive because if they ever do, they are going to react huge. The Spirit Squad spoke with Vince McMahon backstage. Vince made a four on one match with all of them except Mitch (Nick Mitchell) against Shawn Michaels. Mitch wanted in as well, but Vince said that four on one is fair but five on one is a bit much. That was funny.

Shelton Benjamin defeated Ric Flair to win the Intercontinental Title. He dedicated the match to Mama. Benjamin and Flair traded chops and punches early. Flair hit a back body drop and threw Benjamin over the top rope. Benjamin hit a Samoan drop on the floor, and a suplex back in the ring. He worked over Flair’s back for a while, until Flair was able to counter a springboard drop kick attempt. Flair applied the figure four, but Benjamin got to the ropes. Mama Benjamin started complaining about her heart, and as the referee went to help her Benjamin hit Flair with her oxygen tank twice. He hit the T-Bone for the win. Mama was fine and started dancing.

I hate this idiotic Russo gimmick so god damn much. If they just pushed Benjamin this whole time without the idiotic Mama character emasculating him and turning him into an F rate cartoon comedy figure, he might have actually gotten over. Why is it that the only guys given winning streaks in WWE have some fatal flaw or lame gimmick that prevents them from getting to a higher level? Mama Benjamin is an “are you kidding?” gimmick. When someone proposed it, someone with common sense should have said, “Are you kidding?” and that would have been the end of it. Apply everything I just said to the Spirit Squad, by the way.

Shawn Michaels defeated the Spirit Squad via disqualification. Kenny (Doane) hit a drop kick on Michaels early, and Johnny (Jeter) hit a spin kick. The other members of Spirit Squad interfered freely. Kenny jumped off the apron onto a trampoline on the floor into a clothesline, which was a really cool spot. Seriously, the introduction of trampolines into pro wrestling seems to me a really good idea. They are no less logical than tables, and they can help create some spectacular moves. Let the revolution begin! Trampampolines!

Anyway, back to the match. Michaels kept fighting back, and after Kenny missed a leg drop off the top rope, he fought off all of the Spirit Squad members. He hit a body slam and elbow off the top on Mikey (Mondo). He knocked Mitch off the apron and hit sweet chin music, but all the Spirit Squad members made the save. The referee called for a disqualification. This match made Spirit Squad seem even more like jobbers than their bush league already did.

As they were beating up Michaels, Marty Jannetty made the save. Coach asked, “Where did Marty Jannetty come from?” I’m not sure, but I believe his last match was a three way dance with Ricky Morton and Bruiser Bedlam in a parole on a pole match. Oh me oh my, I’m having too much fun tonight. The Rockers hugged. I like this route towards Vince vs. Shawn at WrestleMania.

Carlito beat Nick Burke. He spoke on the microphone during the match. I know that gimmick has been done before, but I can’t remember off-hand where other than that Jerry Lawler did it at one point. He said he humiliated Steve Austin and Roddy Piper at WrestleMania last year, and he had something better planned for this year. Apparently that has something to do with Money in the Bank. He hit the back cracker and a neck breaker for the pin. Carlito is really improving.

They announced Eddie Guerrero for the Hall of Fame. The ratio of footage of WWE wrestlers and personalities celebrating and mourning Guerrero to actual footage of Guerrero’s career was rather disturbing. Vince McMahon came out and said he would give Marty Jannetty a full time WWE contract next week, but first Marty would have to join the Vince McMahon kiss my ass club. HHH did a promo about going to WrestleMania again.

HHH beat Rob Van Dam and Big Show. This was a very good match, and it was laid out flawlessly. Everyone looked good and got over. Big Show dominated early. He hit a press slam on HHH, chops on RVD and HHH, and head butts on HHH. He gave RVD a side slam and a gorilla slam on the floor. He was just destroying everyone until RVD and HHH finally started double teaming him. They fired punches and kicks at him, while he kept fighting back and going for choke slams. He finally hit a double choke slam, and gave both of them clotheslines. He hit a power slam on HHH and another body slam.

HHH finally fought him off, and RVD hit a kick off the top to send Show to the outside. RVD hit a split legged moonsault on HHH for a near fall. He hit a spinning heel kick, rolling thunder, and the five star frog splash on HHH, but Show broke up the pin. RVD knocked him down and went for the five star frog splash on him, but HHH pushed RVD off the top to the floor.

He hit Show with a chair and hit the pedigree, but RVD made the save. RVD back dropped HHH to the floor and hit a five star frog splash on Show, but HHH stopped the referee’s count while Show recovered. The referee got free, but Show kicked out at two. HHH hit the pedigree on RVD for the pin. John Cena came out for a stare down with HHH to end the show.

Final Thoughts:

Conclusory statements often lead to false impressions.


Anonymous Steve Khan said...

I hated the finish to the main event. RVD hit the Frog Splash and had the match won, so HHH grabbed the referee. The referee saw that RVD had the pin, and that it was HHH holding him back. Seconds later, HHH hits the Pedigree to RVD, and the referee goes right ahead and counts the fall, rewarding HHH the win. I think this is where the referee is supposed to use some judgment.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Swain said...

When HHH and RVD were going at Big Show, did you get the feeling that HHH was telling RVD to throw punches, to help keep RVD looking weak? RVD's punches are his weakest link, and yet he kept on returning to them, mainly when Trips was there. Just a little thing, but a thing nonetheless.

3:44 PM  

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