Monday, March 05, 2007

Raw Report

Date: 03/05/07 from Phoenix, AZ.

The Big News: Steve Austin was announced as special guest referee for Umaga vs. Lashley, but not before WWE teased a few other names.

Conclusive Finishes: 2 of 5. That’s not a good number. They should be putting the top stars over to make the top matches at WrestleMania feel more important.

Show Analysis:

Shawn Michaels defeated Randy Orton. Prior to the match, John Cena said he would have Michaels’ back in this match, but Michaels said he didn’t need the help. Thus, Edge was in Orton’s corner but Cena wasn’t in Michaels’. Orton hit an implant DDT, punches and a knee drop. Michaels came back with an inverted atomic drop, back drop and elbow off the top.

Michaels went for sweet chin music but Orton caught the move and a ref bump followed. Orton hit the RKO but the referee was out. Edge threw a title belt into the ring but the referee caught it and Michaels rolled up Orton for the pin. After the match Orton gave Michaels the RKO on a chair, but Cena made the save. This match was pretty cookie cutter with a weak ending.

Backstage, Coach told Vince McMahon that he looked stressed, but Vince said the board of directors would do whatever he said and make Shane McMahon the special referee for Umaga vs. Lashley. This led into an Umaga victory over Jeff Hardy. Jeff hit a pescado and clothesline off the steps early, but then Umaga took over. Umaga hit a hard clothesline, running head butt, butt drop and Samoan spike for the pin. This was pretty much a squash, and I’m all for putting over strongly the guys in prominent positions.

They ran a video featuring a bunch of celebrities saying they would like to see Donald Trump have his head shaved. This was odd given that it portrayed Trump as the heel and a much bigger deal than Vince, but the positive is that it made the match feel like something big. Carlito and Ric Flair were interviewed backstage. Flair said he would beat Carlito to earn an opportunity at Money in the Bank and WrestleMania because he has more passion. Carlito said he would win even if he had to go through Flair. Chris Masters then won a Masterlock challenge over Jim Duggan.

Vince McMahon came out and said that the contract signing for Lashley vs. Umaga will take place next week. Eric Bischoff then came out looking smug. He said he’s not the special referee, but that he lives in Phoenix and decided to stop by and say hello. He was angry at Vince for firing him, and said everyone would enjoy watching Donald Trump shave Vince’s head. That’s crappy attention to detail, since Bischoff returned after being fired by Vince and the last time we saw him he was made general manager for an evening by Vince and was sucking up to him.

At that point, Mick Foley came out in a referee shirt. Vince sucked up to Foley, thinking he would be the special referee. Foley pointed out that the last time he was on Raw he was kissing Vince’s ass and now Vince was kissing his. Vince wanted to let bygones be bygones. Foley asked for his old job back, access to promote his book, and expenses for his hotel room. Vince agreed to all of this, at which point Foley said he wouldn’t be the special referee for Lashley vs. Umaga, but rather a rib eating contest between Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Gorilla.
Next out was Shane McMahon. Vince welcomed him to the ring and was happy, thinking Shane would be the referee. Shane informed him that they lost the vote 5-4. Shane whispered to Vince who the board had picked, and Vince looked upset. That brought out Stone Cold Steve Austin to an electric pop. Vince offered to shake his hand, but Austin wouldn’t do it and drank a lot of beer instead. This was a very fun segment.

Melina beat Mickie James in a falls count anywhere match. Melina rammed Mickie into the barricade, and threw a garbage can at her. They went backstage and brawled into the diva locker room. Victoria helped Melina, but Torrie made the save. Candice came out of the shower and had her towel pulled off, at which point it went to black. They brawled back to ringside, where Melina rammed Mickie repeatedly into the mat. Mickie threw Melina by the hair and hit a fisherman suplex for two. Mickie went for a top rope huracanrana but the move was screwed up and Mickie landed on her neck. Melina immediately covered for the pin. Melina went to get her belt back from Ashley, who was the special ring announcer. Ashley shoved Melina down. This was an entertaining brawl.

Carlito and Ric Flair’s match ended in a no contest. They battled back and forth. Carlito hit punches and kicks, then Flair threw chops and punches. Carlito hit a drop kick and suplex, while Flair landed an elbow and knee drop. At that point Great Khali came in, attacked both men, gave Flair the tree slam and said he wants Kane. Pushing Great Khali pisses me off because he has no talent and they could be spending the effort trying to get over someone who actually has the potential to get over. He’s essentially a recreation of Zeus almost twenty years later, and it’s a completely different landscape. They didn’t even keep Zeus around this long, and he actually drew a strong buy rate. They announced Nick Bockwinkel for the Hall of Fame.

John Cena defeated Johnny Nitro by disqualification. They had said throughout the show Edge would be wrestling Cena, but backstage Orton told Edge he wouldn’t have Edge’s back. Edge then came out with MNM, and Nitro was announced as Cena’s opponent. Nitro briefly had the advantage, but Cena came back with the five knuckle shuffle. He went for the FU, but Mercury gave him a chop block. The heels then worked Cena over three on one. Michaels came down for the save but then stopped. After a long tease and booing, he finally came to the ring and saved Cena.

Final Thoughts:

It’s pretty clear by this point that the build all the way to WrestleMania is going to be excellent. Now’s the time to start crossing your fingers that things don’t fall apart after that show. This was another good show, with the highlight being the segment announcing Steve Austin as special referee. Other than that, it wasn’t as inspired as recent weeks but was still a solid, entertaining two hours.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bockwinkel goes in hall of fame and I don't think he had anything to do with wwf/wwe but Lance Russell can't induct Lawler cause nobody knows who he is?

My picks for Hall of Fame..Macho Man,Steamboat,Dibiase,Rotundo and Solie..Solie had nothing to do with WWF/WWE but he was and is the voice and Bockwinkel and Gagne is in and hell Pete Rose is in

The card looks good but The Trump stuff is just stupid..I detect a massive swerve..The Kane match is a huge waste..The womans match is gonna stink..Is victoria in the dog house or something?..So HBK turns on Cena? They wrestling in a month anyway so why try to make people think HBK has his back?

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

--Given the strength of the recent Raws, the increase in attention paid to the show that coincides with both WrestleMania and the quality of the recent product, it’s baffling that WWE feels a need to give away, with no advanced advertising, two PPV main event caliber matches on free TV. The TV ratings will hold up fine without the matches, particularly with the strong-drawing guest referee angle. The cop out was having a cheap finish in the opener, but it still takes the varnish off a prospective Michaels-Orton match down the road. Think it of this way: would last weekend’s Sylvia-Couture match have had as much appeal had it taken place of free TV anytime within the past two years? The bait and switch in the main event was likewise senseless, why not just advertise Cena v. Nitro? That might cost you, what, 100,000 to 200,000 viewers tops? But better that than irritate all the five million or so viewers watching.

--Also, as DX vs. Edge & Orton has the makings of a money-drawing feud later this year, they need to book the heels stronger. For instance, having the two run from John Cena when they have him outnumbered is foolish and unrealistic (Look out, Cena’s running really fast and he looks really angry! RUN!!!).

--They are doing a good job of building up Umaga and Bobby Lashley as dueling monsters. While Vince v. Donald is the drawing card as far as that match is concerned, long-term, the priority shifts to making the other two drawing cards independent of such preferential booking. Now is a good time to start.

--I wonder if Foley’s “old job” refers to his role as commissioner; that would make the most sense from a storyline perspective. Of course, that kind of agreement wouldn’t be binding since Foley never specified what job he was referring to. Not that WWE creative cares much about the rules guiding parole evidence and so forth.

--Watching Ric Flair and Nick Bockwinkel back-to-back brings a lot of reflections. Among them is just how good Buddy Rogers must have been since both guys did a variant of Rogers’ gimmick.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Tyson said...

Another one of those times where a pop coming through the screen will give you chills.

There's only a handful of guys that can get that kind of "road warrior pop". 3 of which are the strongest characters that WWE has produced in the last 10-15 years.

10 years later that guy still gets that kind of reaction, and not in New York, or LA or Chicago. Just Amazing. If that doesn't show people the difference in what WWE can do with a talent as opposed to what a group like ECW could do with the Sandman, both with very similar gimmicks, I'm not sure what will.

What about last night's show says "maybe it's time to go in a different direction"? I still think Shane runnning an MMA promotion won't necessarily be a bad thing for them. And for all the shit talkin' guys in TNA seem to do, I'm pretty sure it was WWE who created that niche for them on Spike TV. Anyone hear think that moving the NHL to the USA Network would be a win-win for both the league and the network?

1:21 PM  
Blogger nevs999 said...

If I understand Tyson correctly, I couldn't agree more about the NHL. The league desperately needs to get back on a more "mainstream" network. No one covered it better than ESPN, even if I was the lone viewer in the nation.

- Matt in Anchorage

P.S. - Is it me, or did HBK get the hairplugs spruced up for Wrestlemania season?

4:43 PM  
Anonymous mean dean said...

even if I was the lone viewer in the nation.

I watched right there with ya, and I know Todd's a Caps fan.

12:39 AM  
Anonymous tyson said...

That was a scary inicident involving Mickie James. Scared the shit outta me I'll say that much. In goin' back in watching the replay Melina did a poor job of preparing herself for the move. The communication between the two can't be very good either for somethin' like that to happen. Good move by WWE puttin' the women's title on Melina before the PR and Mexico trips.

I recently read somewhere that Kurt Angle is upset about how he is being portrayed with this David Soares publicity stunt. Come on now. Its time like this that really let me know how mentally tough a guy like Barry Bonds truly is.

12:28 PM  

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