Monday, February 19, 2007

Raw Report

Date: 02/19/07 from Bakersfield, CA.

The Big News: Raw featured a pair of title changes and the announcement of Vince McMahon’s representative against Donald Trump. The build for WrestleMania is shaping up to be among the best of the decade.

Conclusive Finishes: 4 of 6.

Show Analysis:

Vince McMahon came out to start the show and there was a barber pole and chair in the ring. He was over the top even by his standards, and said that he is excited for the battle of the billionaires. He declared that he’ll beat up Donald Trump after his representative beats Trump’s. He added that he will shave Trump’s head, and leave him looking grotesque like Britney Spears. They showed a bunch of hairstyles Vince could give Trump for comedy, but Vince said he will shave Trump bald.

Vince said that Trump will have to announce his representative next week, and introduced Umaga as his representative. That’s definitely the best choice over the other main contender Great Khali. As far as the opponent, I’m not sold on Lashley. He is just so bland as a face. The ideal scenario would be for Trump to introduce someone new. Vince could dismiss him until he debuts with a decisive win over Trump on a major stage. It’s a natural slot to create a new star, but I don’t know if it will have the same effect on someone who has been around.

Umaga defeated Jeff Hardy to win the Intercontinental Title. Vince announced this match at the end of his monologue. Hardy hit a baseball slide but came off the barricade into an Umaga palm thrust to the throat. Umaga worked over Hardy for a while until he missed a head butt off the second rope. Hardy hit a whisper in the wind, but Umaga easily powered out of the pinning attempt. He then hit a Samoan drop, running butt drop and Samoan spike for the pin. This was a total squash designed to get over Umaga as strong as possible. It was effective in that goal. I’m not sure why they are putting the title on Umaga, but I guess we will see.

They aired one of the first commercials for Mick Foley’s new book, and the commercial itself was great. They sold it basically as Foley publicly criticizing the company, its politics, DX and the like. He concluded, “Winston Churchill had three autobiographies. Why can’t I? Who did Churchill ever beat?” That line was hilarious on multiple levels. I was already planning on picking up Foley’s book, but now I’m almost certainly going to read it very quickly after purchase.

Ric Flair and Carlito beat Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch. There were no teases of dissension here. Flair and Carlito were successful early until Cade caught Carlito with the side effect. The heels worked over Carlito until he tagged Flair. Flair came in with chops, punches, a chop block and a strut. He tagged Carlito who hit the back cracker for the pin. I still have no idea where they are going with this Flair/Carlito stuff, but I would suspect they will end up breaking up at some point over the next few weeks to set up a WrestleMania match.

John Cena and Shawn Michaels did an interview backstage. Cena said they were successful at No Way Out, because they know where they stand going into WrestleMania. Michaels said he wants to make sure nothing happens to Cena before Mania. They teased dissension, but instead did sarcastic hard sells of their DVDs. I don’t think that’s a funny spot, but Michaels ended up giving Big Dick Johnson sweet chin music, which I appreciated. Elsewhere, Randy Orton told Edge they have a tag title rematch next week, and it will be easy after Orton takes out Cena. Edge said he will win Money in the Bank and use it right after the title match at WrestleMania.

Edge defeated Rob Van Dam to earn a spot in the Money in the Bank match at WrestleMania. RVD worked over Edge early, and hit his twisting leg drop onto the barricade. Edge responded with a swinging neck breaker, but RVD came back with clotheslines and kicks. He went for rolling thunder but was countered with a power slam, which was a cool spot.

RVD crotched Edge on the top rope and hit a spinning kick off the top. He followed with a pescado, but was caught with a dropkick when diving off the top rope again. RVD leap frogged a spear attempt and hit a split legged moonsault for two. RVD was going up for the frog splash when Randy Orton jumped onto the apron to distract RVD. RVD knocked Orton off the apron but Edge hit the spear for the pin. This was a very good match, with RVD getting more offense than I would have expected going in.

Melina beat Mickie James to win the women’s title. Mickie hit a running dropkick and baseball slide to the outside. She missed a second and Melina threw her by her hair. Melina then gave Mickie the CURB STOMP~~~~!!!! The two women brawled. Mickie hit knees and the Charlie Thesz press. Mickie went for a huracanrana but was thrown off and Melina covered for the pin. Melina seemed genuinely excited and emotional about winning. Backstage, Mickie slapped Grisham for asking about the loss.

Great Khali beat the Highlanders in a handicap match. He gave Rory the chop and Robbie the tree slam. Backstage he told Coach he wants better competition. I want better competition for him as well. After WWE cuts him he would make a great freak show opponent in Pride or K1. Elsewhere, Melina trashed Ashley for posing in Playboy. If they’re wrestling at Mania they’d better keep it short.

They announced Mr. Perfect as the second inductee for the Hall of Fame this year. I’m glad about that, as Curt Hennig may have been my first favorite wrestler. They showed clips of the vignettes he did with various athletes back in the day. They then ran a great package on his career. USA ran a new commercial basically trying to present Raw fans as educated and middle class for advertisers. WWE should remember that goal every week, because it’s going to take a concerted and long-term effort to make that a reality.

John Cena beat Randy Orton via disqualification. Orton hit a DDT, used the Garvin stomp, and followed with a knee drop. Cena came back with the Cena slam and five knuckle shuffle. He went for the FU but Orton raked the eyes and hit a dropkick. Orton hit a crossbody off the top, but Cena rolled through for a near fall. Orton hit the back breaker and went for the RKO, but it was blocked. Cena went for the FU but Edge ran in with a spear for the DQ. Shawn Michaels made the save. He cleared the ring with a chair and teased hitting Cena with it but didn’t.

Final Thoughts:

This was another excellent show. Raw has tremendous momentum right now, and I’m looking forward to these shows on a weekly basis as much as I have in a long time.


Anonymous Mean Dean said...

I'm torn on the whole DVD spot. On one hand, I thought it was genuinely funny, but at the same time it shouldn't be done immediately after a serious promo for 'Mania.

I'm not sure if you hadn't noticed, especially since it's the first time I've noticed it in a report, but Melina's been using the Curb Stomp for a few weeks now.

I echo your sentiments for Hennig. Mr. Perfect along with DiBiase were the first heel acts that I was able to get into back when I was young.

1:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They gave Umaga the title cause he is in the main event at mania and lets be honest McMahon and Trump is the main event..Cant have Mr McMahon rep being a nobody huh?


9:53 AM  
Anonymous Dave S. said...

Umaga vs. Lashley would be an unmitigated disaster, especially since it would almost certainly result in a terrible match and Umaga losing. Trump's representative should be either Foley, Benoit (not likely), CM Punk (0% chance) or... I can't even think of anyone else. The top 4 faces in the company are in the 2 title matches, and there really are no other major babyfaces to choose from.

1:19 PM  

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