Monday, April 23, 2007

Raw Report

Date: 04/23/07 from London, England.

The Big News: John Cena and Shawn Michaels went 45 minutes in a WrestleMania rematch, and it was a really strong match.

Conclusive Finishes: 4 of 5.

Show Analysis:

Shane McMahon came out to start the show. He said that Lashley wouldn’t be there, because he got taken out. Shane continued that a fan would have a chance to take him on. He said he found Britain’s greatest fighter to face him. Oh my God. They signed Michael Bisping and they’re going to use him to put over Shane. No, actually it was long time independent wrestler Robbie Brookside. Shane just destroyed him and executed the Van Terminator.

This reminded me of something J.J. Dillon said in the Four Horsemen DVD. He talked about how proud he was with one match because he wrestled the match as a manager. Dillon had been a wrestler, but realized that as a manager his role was different. Nobody took him seriously as a threat, so he was to look weak enough that the fans thought the face would kick his ass and couldn’t wait to see it.

Shane needs to learn from that lesson. Nobody buys that Shane, the son of the owner of the company who wrestles a few times a year and isn’t even in very good shape, is some sort of physical threat. He should be playing the role of the obnoxious manager who everyone wants to see destroyed, not wrestling virtuoso and tough guy. I think Shane can be a very entertaining character, but he is playing the wrong role and it seems more motivated by ego than anything else.

In any event, Shane told Brookside that this would be a 2 on 1 handicap match. Umaga came out and gave Brookside his running butt drop and a splash off the top. Shane then said this would be a 3 on 1 handicap match, and that brought out Vince. Vince covered Brookside for the pin. This was a dull segment in a dull feud. They then aired a phenomenal video package on Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena at WrestleMania. This was one of the best videos they have done in years and made the match feel epic.

Trevor Murdoch beat Matt Hardy. Murdoch hit some punches and used a sleeper. Matt came back with clotheslines, a bulldog, and a leg drop off the second rope. Lance Cade distracted Matt and Murdoch sent Matt into the post. Murdoch then made what appeared to be an attempt at the Canadian Destroyer. At least I think that was the idea. It was botched beyond recognition. This was basic wrestling build with the challengers beating the champions going into a title match.

Melina beat Maria. Maria executed a spinning head scissors and clothesline, before she was abruptly driven into the mat for the pin. They kept this short and to the point. Great Khali then defeated Carlito. Carlito dodged around and used leg kicks. Khali gave him a head butt. Carlito went to the eyes and attempted a drop kick off the top. He was brushed aside and given a chop and tree slam for the pin. This was just dreadful. That’s three straight clean jobs for Carlito. Ric Flair came to ringside but Carlito angrily told Flair that he doesn’t need him. The Flair/Carlito interplay was very good.

Mick Foley backstage was running down events of recent weeks. Edge came up to him and they were cool with each other. Edge said he would watch John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels. Cena backstage ran into Michaels. Cena said everyone in the promotion has monikers like the Showstopper, but he’s just the champ. This was good little promo and had the right tone of seriousness.

Shawn Michaels beat John Cena in a non-title rematch. Cena was booed again, but not overwhelmingly like last week. The crowd wasn’t really rooting for either man, but just watched attentively and reacted to the big spots. Michaels and Cena did a lot of slow chain wrestling early. Cena went for the FU but was unsuccessful. Michaels shoved Cena and Cena punched Michaels. Cena then worked over Michaels with a headlock. Michaels got out and hit some chops. Cena hit a clothesline and went for the FU, but Michaels tumbled out to the floor.

Michaels came back with chops and stomps. Cena was able to score a suplex and body slam, and they traded blows. Michaels gained control with the swinging neck breaker, flying forearm, inverted atomic drop, body slam and elbow off the top. He went for sweet chin music. Cena avoided it, but Michaels caught him in a backslide for two. Cena went for a flying shoulder block but missed and fell to the floor. Michaels attempted a pescado but Cena caught him, which was an impressive spot. Michaels sent Cena into the post and began to concentrate on Cena’s left arm.

Michaels responded with clotheslines, shoulder blocks, the Cena slam and the five knuckle shuffle. He went for the FU, but Michaels escaped. Michaels went for sweet chin music but Cena avoided that and hit the FU. He went for the pin but Michaels kicked out. Cena threw Michaels to the floor and rammed Michaels’ back into the post. He continued to work on Michaels’ back with a delayed vertical suplex, bear hug and Irish whip into the corner turnbuckle. Cena then whipped out a top rope rocker dropper.

Cena was going for the FU off the top but Michaels got out and hit a power bomb off the top. Cena went for the STFU but Michaels kicked him away. Michaels then knocked Cena off the apron onto the announce table. Michaels went for the piledriver on the ring steps but Cena used a back drop to reverse. Cena and Michaels brawled on the floor, and back in the ring Cena locked in the STFU.

Michaels fought towards the ropes. He teased going unconscious but then made one last push to get to the ropes. Michaels went for sweet chin music but Cena escaped and went for the FU. Michaels got out of that and hit sweet chin music. He covered, but Cena grabbed the bottom rope at 2. Michaels followed with chops. Cena went for the FU but Michaels escaped again and hit sweet chin music. That was finally enough and he scored the pin. Michaels held up the belt afterwards, put it on Cena, and gave him the crotch chop to close the show.

This was an exceptional match, with both men giving tremendous performances and Michaels in particular. Jim Ross also really helped the match with a great call, which once again showcased his ability to make a big match feel special. This match will also likely make their third match into a very big deal.

Final Thoughts:

This was a one match show. That match delivered big time, so the show was a tremendous success.


Anonymous mean dean said...

I'm curious to see what all happens regarding Orton, especially since Edge even said during his promo that there was still an Edge v. Orton match forthcoming, which obviously never came.

While the reports I read didn't make mention, I had heard that Murdoch did something vaguely resembling the CD. Didn't get to see it, but I wish I would have. I have no idea how he'd pull that off....

11:54 PM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

I heard that thing about Edge vs. Orton too, but since nothing came of it I figured I'd just made it up or misheard or something.

Believe me, if you saw Murdoch going for the CD you would still have no idea how he would pull it off.

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah Edge vs. Orton was advertised but someone pussied out. Obviously.

Shane has earned his spot, he can do what he wants.

Nice move by move, I was speed reading to find out how HBK took out Cena.

This was a one match show. That match delivered big time, so the show was a tremendous success.

Sounds similar to the UFC show the other night.

Slightly upset that I missed what is possibly Cena's greatest match. Then again, his greatest matches will never live up to his greatest interviews so I didn't miss much.

If it wasn't for the title, who cares? Not surprised the better match is the one in which Michaels goes over. I guess Cena winning really puts a cap on the limitations.

12:15 AM  
Blogger nevs999 said...

Yes, they advertised an Orton vs. Edge match at least once with the word "TONIGHT" in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

It's almost seemed like they taped the Edge/Mick segment weeks ago and then forget to edit/update it after Orton's latest escapades.

Very strange.

It also appeared Matt Hardy was legit hurt. The ref made the Johnny K-9 "X" sign.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous steve khan said...

They probably advertised Edge vs Orton on purpose to make the length of Michaels/Cena something you coudn't predict.

Edge even alluded to the length of the match beforehand, when he said he was about to have a cup of coffee (not decaf).

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Dave S. said...

Yeah, the Edge vs. Orton match was advertised so that people would think that was the main event. I don't know about you, but I had absolutely no idea Cena vs. Michaels was going to go anywhere near 1 hour. WWE advertised the other match so that the length of the real main event would be a surprise. I actually like what they did, especially since Edge vs. Orton really should take place with a little more promotion behind it, seeing as the match has been building for like 6 months.

As for Cena/Michaels, I thought it was outstanding, and was very happy to see HBK beat Cena clean in the middle of the ring. Unfortunately, this probably means that Cena is keeping his title at the ppv, and it certainly means Michaels is not winning it.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Bozeman Barbarian said...

This was definitely a one-match show, but an excellent one. I'm of the mind it was Michael's payback, of sorts, since the Backlash is a four(three?)-way, but credit to both of 'em for coming up big. I was baffled when I saw the ad for the Edge/Orton matchup, since I knew that Orton wasn't there, but I agree that it was likely included to add to the drama of the HBK/Cena battle--it was, by far, the longest match I've ever seen on Raw, even with the quite judicious editing ( a lot of ad breaks in the final hour ). It does, however, indicate that Cena is probably winning, again, at the PPV...likely pinning Orton, if he's kept in the match. Will there be a third Cena/HBK match? I guess something will be set up at PPV.
I am in total agreement, Todd, that this Lashley/McMahon 'feud' is a complete yawn. I get a kick out of Shane-O too, but yer right, he shouldn't be put over quite so strong. I really think that they are doing Raw serious harm by continuing to focus on Lashley, a non-Raw wrestler, so heavily, as the crowd could give a tinker's damn about any of this, beyond a few hoots at Vince's crewcut. It'll hopefully be finished at the PPV, but I doubt it. I do think that Matt Hardy got legit hurt in the match, as it ended so quickly I think they just decided to pull the plug ASAP. I didn't notice if Murdoch tried the Destroyer, if he did, the mere idea of it seems to me ludicrous.
So, if Orton is put on the shelf for a few more months, then the question I keep asking remains..who is gonna follow up HBK against Cena? There is, at this moment, literally nobody unless, and I fear this may actually be the case, they put up the Great Khali. Good god.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Ryan Rosenthal said...

As much as I enjoyed the epic Cens/Michaels match from RAW, I have to question: Who does Cena do a program with after Michaels?

Obviously they can't be high on Orton right now, so it's not likely to be him. Edge & Cena, while pleasant to watch, is clearly something we've seen before, and quite recently, so I think it would seem like a retread to have them feud again, this soon anyway.

Who else is left exactly?

I know the company is high on Cena, as well they should be, but I really think the smart move is to take the belt off of him for a little while and take the opportunity at Backlash to put it on Edge. Edge is a better overall worker, and him on top presents far more fresh matches than the notion of Cena retaining does.

11:27 PM  
Anonymous mean dean said...

Edge and Cena at this point to me feels kind of like the poor man's Rock and Austin circa 1999. They were involved with each other in some way for quite a bit during that period, and while the stuff was always quality, it got pretty worn out after awhile. It kept fresh by doing things like letting Rock feud with Foley and Austin with 'Taker, maybe thats' the way to go. Give the belt to Edge and let him feud with Shawn, and let Cena chop down Khali without the spotlight of the title being on them.

8:53 PM  

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