Monday, March 20, 2006

Raw Report

Date: 03/20/06 from Memphis, TN.

The Big News: Raw was actually a pretty good build for WrestleMania this week, and would have been even better without so much emphasis on a boring, passe Vince McMahon vs. Shawn Michaels feud.

Title Changes/Turns: None.

Match Results: Kane b Carlito Caribbean Cool; Shelton Benjamin b Rob Van Dam and Ric Flair; Victoria b Torrie Wilson; Big Show b Chris Masters-DQ; Triple H & Shane McMahon b Shawn Michaels & John Cena-DQ; Triple H & Shane McMahon NC Shawn Michaels.

Show Analysis:

The show started with a celebration by Vince and Shane McMahon, featuring the Spirit Squad, a band, confetti, balloons and fireworks. Shane and Vince proceeded to run down every angle they have done in the Shane McMahon vs. Shawn Michaels feud, and they predicted Vince would win at WrestleMania. Vince said that Shawn screwed Shawn. Trivia: when Vince McMahon first delivered that line, Anwar Sadat was president of Egypt and Georges St. Pierre was not yet born.

Vince added that his match with Michaels at WrestleMania would be no holds barred, and Shawn Michaels would wrestle HHH on Raw. John Cena came out and said he wanted HHH, so Vince made it a tag match with Cena and Michaels vs. HHH and Shane. Shane didn’t seem happy, although backstage Vince assured HHH and Shane that he would be at ringside to make sure things went properly. This segment dragged badly.

Kane beat Carlito in a passable match. Carlito hit a DDT, but Kane sat up. Kane choked Carlito, but Carlito retaliated with a back cracker. Kane responded with punches and clotheslines. He came off the top, but Carlito caught him with a drop kick. Carlito went for a moonsault off the top, but landed on his feet. Kane caught Carlito with the big boot and went for a choke slam, but Carlito raked his face. Shortly thereafter Carlito used a springboard, but was caught with the choke slam for the pin. Carlito and Chris Masters yelled at each other backstage for unexplained reasons. They announced the Blackjacks in the WWE Hall of Fame, and in running down the Hall of Fame inductions, misspelled Ted DiBiase’s name, which is pretty shameful.

Shelton Benjamin beat Rob Van Dam and Ric Flair in a triple threat match. Mama still hasn’t returned, thank God. Benjamin tried to get RVD and Flair to fight each other, but they went after him. Flair threw chops and RVD kicks. Flair gave Benjamin a knee drop and RVD gave him a leg drop. RVD clotheslined Benjamin to the outside, and gave Flair a drop kick, leg drop and rolling thunder. He hit a somersault plancha on Benjamin and Flair, and in the process Flair and RVD started to bleed. Benjamin hit a butterfly suplex on RVD, and went to the eyes of Flair. Benjamin rammed RVD into the post, and gave Flair a Samoan drop.

RVD came back in with a kick and clotheslines to Benjamin. He hit a Northern lights suplex for a two. RVD kicked Flair in the head repeatedly, and Flair was selling like crazy. RVD gave him rolling thunder, a body slam, and the split legged moonsault, but Flair kicked out. Benjamin brought the title in the ring, but RVD kicked it into him. Flair rolled up RVD for a near fall. RVD came off the top with a kick to Flair, but missed his attempt at the five star frog splash. Flair applied the figure four to RVD, but Benjamin came in and covered Flair while he had it applied for the pin. This was a good match by Raw standards, and it had a very clever finish.

Mick Foley came out and said that Edge was right when he said Foley is like a Muppet, he’s coasting on his reputation, and he has never gotten it done at WrestleMania. But Foley said he couldn’t sleep after being given a concerto, because he realized Edge was right. At that point something changed, and the blood from the thumb tacks tasted different, because he was thirsty for more. He said Edge was speaking the truth, but he has awoken something in Foley and created a monster. He has brought back Cactus Jack. It should be noted he cut this entire promo with the Cactus Jack speech cadence. Edge spoke the truth, but the truth hurts.

Lita came out and said she wanted to speak to the old friendly Foley. She said Edge wants to call off the hardcore match, and just have a regular match at WrestleMania. Foley said this was a set up, and encouraged Lita to slap him a few times. She did, and went for a low blow as Edge ran in through the crowd, but Foley cut her off and applied the mandible claw to her, sans sock. I’m not sure if people bought what Foley said, particularly given he hasn’t gotten into shape yet. But this was a strong intense promo, and was the best build yet for the Edge-Foley match.
Victoria beat Torrie in a quick match. Candice was carried to the ring on a bed like Randy Savage or Haku, and distracted Torrie by throwing pillows at her. Victoria hit the widow’s peak for the pin. Big Show then beat Chris Masters via disqualification. Show hit Masters with chops, but Masters came back with punches and clotheslines. Show responded with a kick and clotheslines, an avalanche into the corner, and a shoulder block. Show threw Masters into the barricade, but missed what I guess you would call an ole kick attempt. Masters then hit him with a chair repeatedly for the DQ. He started to apply the Masterlock, and rammed Show into the ring post.

Mickie James had a big gift box in the ring. She said Trish and her could have been beautiful together, but now she will beat Trish at WrestleMania for the women’s title. Afterwards, she will make all the little girls who idolize her happy, unlike Trish. She unveiled the gift. Sadly, it wasn’t Abdullah the Butcher. Rather, it was Ashley tied up. Trish attacked Mickie and went to untie Ashley, but Mickie jumped Trish from behind. Mickie was bleeding from the nose and hit a high impact DDT. The bleeding Mickie made out with an unconscious Trish, leaving blood on Trish’s lips. She blew a kiss at Trish. The blood totally made this segment, and was a great visual.

The main event began with Shawn Michaels going after Vince McMahon, leaving John Cena and HHH in the ring. Shane McMahon came off the top rope from behind, but Shawn caught him with a punch. Vince ordered Cena disqualified for a closed fist punch, and had him escorted off. This continued the trend of teasing but not delivering HHH vs. John Cena, which I like. Vince announced a handicap match with HHH and Shane vs. Michaels.

Shawn Michaels’ match with HHH and Shane was a no contest. Shane nailed Shawn with punches and kicks, and HHH also added some punches and a spine buster. Shane hit an elbow, and rammed Michaels into the post. Michaels and Shane traded blows, and Shawn hit the flying forearm. He hit inverted atomic drops on HHH and Shane, as well as clotheslines. He gave Shane a body slam and hit the elbow off the top. Shane came back with a low blow, and HHH was setting up for the pedigree when Cena ran in. Shawn got out of the pedigree, and Cena and Michaels fought off security. The McMahons retreated to the entrance, and Vince announced himself vs. John Cena for next week.

Final Thoughts:

After Saturday Night’s Main Event and this edition of Raw, I am finally getting interested in WrestleMania. The problem is they are building around Vince McMahon vs. Shawn Michaels, which is pretty much the same feud Vince McMahon has been involved in over and over again for seven years. It’s unbelievably boring, and it didn’t draw three years ago for a much more marketable Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon match.


Anonymous Phil said...

I had a few problems with this show though it had its obvious strengths. The Trish-Mickie-Ashley segment was ridiculous. Considering they listed the box down from the ceiling (notice the cables on the four vertices), how did Mickie get Ashley in it? It would seem they had stage hands bring Ashley and the chair down to ringside and then lowered the box which ruined the effect for the live crowd in particular. It's like they expect us to believe no one noticed or cared about this kidnapped woman in the middle of the ring. The segment would have worked better back stage.
The main event really dragged as evident by the dead crowd, when Lawler said "stunned", he meant bored. The Shawn-Vince feud would benefit from some even booking like the Austin-Vince feud. Even though Vince would try to screw with Austin weekly, they generally wrote creative and believable ways for Austin to win a few rounds.

9:11 PM  
Anonymous dan said...

They should have put Edge or Shelton against Shawn. A ladder match against Shawn at Mania could have been huge for their careers.

The lack of depth on RAW is really starting to bug me. I can't stand these Kane-Masters-Carlito-Big Show matches.

9:51 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

I was thinking about mentioning that Lawler comment, but I figured it was overkill since I've been pointing out the dead crowds for weeks now and it's getting redundant. Crowds have been dead for Raw for a while because they don't care about the major feuds. It's a miracle nobody turns on the shows, but they don't care. I don't know why Lawler even brought it up.

And oh my god, am I ever sick of the crap wrestling on Raw. For some reason, Shelton Benjamin has been this "up yours" cause where people ridicule the idea he should be pushed because he has "no charisma." Putting aside the fact people always said the same thing about Bret Hart, Shelton's charisma is really immaterial. He can wrestle, and that makes him unique on Raw. I like guys with charisma who can talk, even if they can't wrestle. You won't see me criticizing Cena's push any time soon. But the Raw roster is filled with guys who can't wrestle and have no charisma. They're just big or roided up. At least Shelton clearly has one of those attributes, even if he doesn't have charisma. Edge and RVD have both. Raw is kind of a mess right now, but if you put a gun to my head and told me to book the top programs, I would probably go with Edge vs. RVD for the title, and Benjamin vs. Michaels.

11:11 PM  
Blogger 17Haze said...

Dan: You hit the nail right on the head. The lack of depth is bad. It seems like the same 10 guys and 4 or 5 girls are wrestling every week. I think it would be great if the WWE would come back together and end the brand split. I'm going to the Smackdown event in Kansas City next Tuesday and while at first I was mad that Raw wasn't coming, right now Smackdown seems to be putting on better shows with less star power.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always hear you guys refer to "a dusty finish" what is that? I never understood what it ment? Is it what appears to be a title change not a title change due to other circumstances.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Yeah. Pretty much. It's when they tease that they are going to do a title change, but then the decision is overruled and the champion retains the title. For example, a second referee counts a pin but the first referee comes to and calls for a DQ. It's called a Dusty finish because Dusty Rhodes used it way too much when he was booking for Jim Crockett. It worked well at first, but overused it made fans angry and hurt business.

11:24 AM  
Blogger GreatOne said...

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But read it from the beginning to the end. I think someone like you could appreciate my trials and tribulations on the road to the big time!

10:05 AM  

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