Monday, February 05, 2007

Raw Report

Date: 02/05/07 from Sioux City, IA.

The Big News: The top matches for WrestleMania are set: Batista vs. Undertaker and Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena. Also, Ric Flair cut an awesome promo on Carlito.

Title Changes/Turns: None.

Conclusive Finishes: 7 of 7! I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt on the six man tag.

Match Results: Chris Masters, Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas b Carlito Caribbean Cool & Cryme Tyme; Umaga b Balls Mahoney; Super Crazy b Johnny Nitro; Mickie James b Melina; Jeff Hardy b Ric Flair; Bobby Lashley b Kenny Dykstra; Shawn Michaels b Randy Orton and Edge.

Show Analysis:

Undertaker came out to start the show, followed by the three champions. Undertaker stared them all down, but then made a throat slashing motion at Batista. This brought out Shawn Michaels, followed by Randy Orton and Edge. Each wanted a shot at John Cena now that Undertaker had chosen Batista. Vince McMahon was next out, and suggested that nobody is challenging Lashley because he may be the toughest champion of all. Yeah, I’m sure that must be it.

Vince said that Lashley would have to defend his title against someone on Raw. He also made Cena vs. Orton vs. Edge for the WrestleMania title shot at Cena. Taker concluded the segment by choke slamming Batista. This open was basically what you would expect. It was a little too similar to the start of last week’s show, but effective enough.

Chris Masters and the World’s Greatest Tag Team defeated Carlito and Cryme Tyme. For some reason, when I try to write Chris Masters’ name, 7 times out of 10 I write “Christ” instead of “Chris.” I have no idea what this means. It’s not like I have that problem with Chris Benoit. Perhaps it’s a sign. In any event, the heels worked over JTG. Shelton Benjamin gave him a knee lift and Haas an overhead belly to belly.

JTG tagged Carlito, who came in with clotheslines, a springboard double elbow, and a knee lift. Masters went for the Masterlock but Carlito escaped. He rolled up Haas, but Benjamin came from the outside with a springboard blockbuster on Carlito. Haas rolled through and grabbed the tights for the pin. This was short but good.

Backstage, Kenny Dykstra asked for a title shot against Lashley and was granted it. Vince also had a letter from Donald Trump. It said he would up the ante, and the people in the crowd cheered, thinking money. Instead, it was revealed he would appear next week on Raw, which the crowd didn’t react to with enthusiasm. Trump said in the letter he had a business proposal for Vince, and Vince suggested he wanted Trump to join the kiss my ass club.

Elsewhere, Ric Flair briefly spoke about his title shot against Jeff Hardy. Meanwhile, Candice and Melina had one of those weird conversations between women where they pretend they’re really friendly but clearly have it out for each other. Johnny Nitro told Melina he would teach Super Crazy a lesson.

Jonathan Coachman said that because Vince McMahon has it out for ECW, he had a hand picked opponent to take care of Balls Mahoney. It was Umaga. Umaga beat Balls Mahoney in a brief squash. He choked Balls, gave Balls a head butt off the ropes, executed a Samoan drop on Balls, gave Balls the butt drop and finished Balls with the Samoan Spike. Wow. It’s like Umaga chose all his moves in anticipation of a match with Balls.

Super Crazy beat Johnny Nitro. Crazy was accompanied by Mickie James, while Nitro was accompanied by Melina. Nitro gave Crazy a back breaker and side Russian leg sweep. Mickie tripped Nitro, and Crazy hit some dropkicks and a tilt-a-whirl back breaker. Crazy hit a body slam and went for the moonsault. Nitro tried to cut him off but was stopped and Crazy hit the moonsault for the pin.

I don’t get this finish at all. This is precisely why WWE does such a bad job creating new stars these days. Nitro is one of the few guys on the WWE undercard who shows spark and potential for something big and WWE sees something in him. That is precisely the sort of guy you protect on the way up, yet here he is losing to Super Crazy, who at this point in time is just a body with no real upward potential. This is exactly the sort of feud that shouldn’t have parity booking. Johnny Nitro is a potential star. Super Crazy isn’t. Every time Johnny Nitro wrestles Super Crazy, Johnny Nitro should win.

Mickie James retained the women’s title by defeating Melina. This was longer than most women’s matches, but unfortunately it resulted in a sloppy, not particularly good match. Melina used knees, kicks, punches and clotheslines. Mickie came back with an elbow, forearms and clotheslines. Nitro tried to interfere, but Crazy stopped him. Mickie went for the sunset flip off the top. Melina grabbed the ropes but was caught and Mickie rolled through for the pin.

John Cena approached Shawn Michaels backstage. Michaels figured Cena was coming to say he wanted Michaels to win the main event. Cena said that wasn’t the case, because he’s beaten Edge repeatedly and would beat him again at Mania. He said he just came to say he hopes Michaels stays safe out there.

Jeff Hardy beat Ric Flair to retain the Intercontinental Title. Flair hit chops and Hardy punches. Hardy landed wrong on his leg and Flair went after it for a while. Eventually Hardy came back with an enzuigiri, leading to a delayed Flair flop. Hardy hit the whisper in the wind and twist of fate, but he missed the swanton. Flair stomped on his leg and went for the figure four, but he was rolled up for the pin. Flair hugged Hardy after the match. This was a fun little match. Batista backstage said he doesn’t have a problem with Taker choke slamming him, but payback’s a bitch.

Bobby Lashley beat Kenny Dykstra. Lashley kept punching Lashley early and Dykstra flew all around for him. Dykstra eventually hit a dropkick to the knee and followed with an extended headlock sequence. This eventually elicited some boring chants. Lashley came back with the delayed vertical suplex. He went for the spear but Dykstra kicked him in the head. Lashley then hit a gorilla press into a power slam for the pin.

Edge and Randy Orton backstage agreed that they wouldn’t work as a tag team, but that neither wanted Shawn Michaels to win. Then came quite the segment. Carlito was in a good mood, leaving the building with Torrie Wilson before the main event. He ran into Ric Flair, and said he didn’t care he lost. Ric Flair then tore into him with an awesome tirade.

Flair lectured him about being a lazy underachiever lucky to even be on the show. He just ripped into Carlito for leaving early and having no passion. Flair said he’s trying to figure out who he is, and Carlito’s leaving before the main event. He called Carlito pathetic and stormed off. This was awesome. Seriously, see if you can find it on youtube. Flair was unbelievable here. Somewhere Brian Gewirtz’ jaw dropped. Who would have thought Ric Flair could cut a promo?

Shawn Michaels beat Edge and Randy Orton to earn a WrestleMania title shot. The wrestlers took turns early. Eventually, Orton hit an RKO on Michaels. He went for the pin but Edge pulled him off. Orton and Edge argued. They shook hands but then punched each other at the same time, which was amusing. Orton went for the RKO, but Edge escaped. Edge went for the spear but Orton leap frogged it. Orton and Edge hit a double crossbody. Michaels took advantage to hit an elbow off the top on Edge.

Michaels went for sweet chin music but didn’t get either opponent. Edge accidentally speared Orton. Michaels then gave Edge sweet chin music and pinned Orton for the win. Cena and Michaels had a staredown after the match. Batista and Undertaker came out on the stage and had a staredown of their own. Then both teams stared at each other to close the show. This was a tremendous finish to Raw.

Final Thoughts:

This was a very strong show. Like last week it had an excellent and focused start and conclusion. But this week the middle of the show was much better and the start and finish were a little better too. WWE build is typically stronger leading up to WrestleMania because they have more focus, and this year is no exception. Hopefully they can actually follow through this year.

Finally, I have a couple things to plug. First, you can read my first column for the latimes.com here:

http://www.latimes.com/sports/boxing/la-spw-mmaranks2feb02,1,1492645.story?coll=la-headlines-sports-boxing

It’s a set of MMA rankings, and I think it’ll be interesting to you if you’re a new fan of the sport or an established one. I’ll also be providing coverage of Elite XC and Pride FC the next few weeks, so that should be a lot of fun.

Also, I did an audio show today with Bryan Alvarez at:

http://www.f4wonline.com/

I think it’s a fun listen so I encourage you to check it out. The bad news is it is for members of his site only. The good news is you can get membership for a month for less than seven bucks, and that will give you all sorts of other great content including audio shows with Dave Meltzer, Chris Nowinski and others. So if you’re not a member go ahead and sign up. It’s definitely worth it.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Mean Dean said...

Somewhere Brian Gewirtz’ jaw dropped. Who would have thought Ric Flair could cut a promo?

Nah, Gewirtz didn't think it was any good because there wasn't any lame "humor" in it.

The end of the show just leads me to believe they really didn't decide who 'Taker was going to face until the 11th hour. I really can't seem them booking that main event for NWO if they were certain they were going with 'Taker/Batista.

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the show, review was good too.

Shame on you for plugging Figure Four Weekly. Seriously.

I'll take Lashley as the most legit of the 3 current world champions. Flair's promo was one of those times where the talent comes through the television and is in your living room. It seems idiotic in a sense to even call it a promo, as there was so much truth to the things that he was saying it was surreal. They picked a perfect guy to cut it on btw. Shelton Benjamin should go to TNA. Guy could honestly be a star there.

Honestly though, how are we as fans suppose to buy TNA as a legit wrestling company when they broadcast out of some shoddy arena with duel entrances? It's so f'n small time. They should sell to WWE and travel with RAW. I'm sure WWE could make one of them cool little side entrances like they got for ECW.

What are the odds a woman is gonna beat Vince in the wrestling business? +5000? And by beat, I mean on one night draw more viewers in the same time slot as one of Vince's shows.

How bout an over / under 7 years for the McMahon family to own both the TNA and ROH video libraries?

Top 5 Wrestlers who shouldn't, but will do jobs for Jeff Jarrett in 2007.
1. Kurt Angle
2. Samoa Joe
3. Rob Van Dam
4. Rhino
5. Christian Cage

If vince hadn't brainwashed the general public into what a professional wrestler is supposed to look like. Samoa Joe would easily be a mainstream star.

But I have to say, TNA is growing. Maybe patience is key.

4:17 PM  
Blogger Houston Mitchell said...

That was a classic Flair promo. It shows how the mic skills on so many of the others are lacking.

Todd, what do you think they have planned (I'm going out on a limb and assuming the writers actually having a plan) with this Flair angle?

4:51 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

The joke with Gewirtz is that it came out he thought for the longest time (and maybe still does) that Ric Flair can't cut a promo. He didn't grow up a wrestling fan and I guess he caught one bad Flair promo or something years ago, but that's part of why Flair rarely talks despite being one of the best promos in the business.

I think the odds are much greater a woman is going to beat Vince in the wrestling business than Vince Russo is going to beat Vince in the wrestling business.

I think eventually the McMahon family will own the TNA library. ROH...eh. I don't know. I could see them hanging onto that for a while, and WWE probably doesn't have as much interest anyway because most of the talent is short and short people have no talent.

Just based on what Dave said in one of his updates or the Observer (forget where), it sounds like Flair is turning heel in WWE's plans. He's a bad guy for being mean to Carlito and getting so agitated. I know, I know, this doesn't make the greatest of sense, but if I had to guess that's where I think they're going.

5:58 PM  
Anonymous Steve Khan said...

Johnny Nitro should've won the IC Title from Hardy at New Year's Revolution. Nitro had a lot of momentum on his side at the time, and the fact that he was JUST involved with the K-Fed angle didn't hurt either. I thought the timing would've been perfect. Its not helping Hardy as much as it would've benefited Nitro.

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Steve D. said...

Hey Todd,

I know you don't review ECW anymore, but have you been keeping up with it? I was wondering what you think of the Originals vs Vince and the New Guys thing they have now.

And call me stupid, but I wish they would have CM Punk get involved, pretend to side with the Originals, then turn heel, and get into a feud with Sandman, similar to his feud with Raven in ROH. It just seems like the perfect fit!

8:56 PM  

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