Date: 02/23/09 from Nashville, TN.
The Big News: Chris Jericho continued his feud with wrestling legends, this time verbally dueling with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat.
Vickie Guerrero came out to start the show and said that after what happened to Shane and Stephanie McMahon, she is now the interim general manager of Raw. She wished the McMahons the best. John Cena came out, not understanding why she got the job. He suggested Mike Adamle or Michael Cole would be better, making fun of both. He told Vickie not to lie to the fans, and said that she doesn’t care about the McMahons, only that her husband is champion. He said he wanted to use his rematch clause on this edition of Raw.
Edge and Big Show joined the proceedings. Edge said that he doesn’t answer to Cena, and that Cena can never reach the status he wants because he is in Edge’s era. Edge presented Cena as the shining beacon of hope that all fans cling to, and said that when Cena loses his title rematch the people will be left with nothing. Umm, okay. Cena made fun of Vickie, so Show told him to show some respect. Cena responded by implying Show and Vickie are sexually involved. Vickie said that Edge is her husband, Show her friend and Cena her subordinate. She announced Cena would face either a friend or family later in the show.
CM Punk beat John Morrison and the Miz to earn a spot in the Money in the Bank match at WrestleMania. It was a triple threat but functioned as a handicap match most of the way with Miz and Morrison double teaming Punk. Punk went for the GTS on Miz, but Miz got caught in the ropes. Punk gave him a high kick, but Morrison then dumped Punk out of the ring. Morrison attempted a shooting star press off the apron, but hit Miz instead of Punk.
Miz and Morrison double teamed for a little while, but Punk eventually fought them both off with a bulldog/clothesline combination and a power slam on Morrison. Miz and Morrison hit him with a kick/electric chair combination. Morrison and Miz then turned on each other. They both went for pins and began fighting. Miz went for a suplex on Morrison, but Punk caught Morrison. He then spun Morrison around to knock Miz out of the ring and hit the go 2 sleep for the pin. This was a clever finish and a good match. The lack of crowd reaction hurt, but this crowd appeared pretty dead for much of the show.
Cryme Tyme and Melina beat Dolph Ziggler, Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix. You know, in the history of lame gimmicks, Dolph’s gimmick as the guy who likes to introduce himself repeatedly really is all time bad. The heels worked over JTG. JTG tagged Shad. Shad came in with clotheslines on Dolph. Dolph tagged Santino. Santino pumped himself up but then charged into an STO for the pin.
Shawn Michaels beat JBL. They traded punches early. JBL went to throw Michaels into the post. Michaels reversed and sent JBL into the post, but JBL bounced back into Michaels’ head. JBL went for a superplex. Michaels fought him off, but then JBL came in and knocked Michaels to the floor with a yakuza kick. JBL worked over Michaels with an abdominal stretch, but Michaels then made his comeback.
Michaels hit a flying forearm, inverted atomic drops, a body slam, and an elbow off the top. JBL avoided sweet chin music, and Michaels avoided the clothesline from hell. JBL hit a big boot and went for the clothesline from hell again but ran right into sweet chin music. The match was okay but not particularly good. Vladimir Kozlov then came to the ring, and they announced he would face Michaels on Raw next week for a chance to face Undertaker. Michaels went to attack Kozlov but was caught with a spine buster.
Mike Knox beat Jamie Noble in 29 seconds. Noble before the match said that if he lasted longer than last week he knew he would be going to WrestleMania. Knox beat him with the downward spiral. They had a clock, because you know, they figure everyone loves to watch people get humiliated as much as Vince. They then ran a tremendous video package announcing Ricky Steamboat for the Hall of Fame. They put over his match with Randy Savage and aired a lot of WCW footage. He will be inducted by Ric Flair.
They then introduced Ricky Steamboat to the crowd. The crowd didn’t react much, but they didn’t react to basically anything. Steamboat was dressed in a suit and looked good. He put over the meaning of the Hall of Fame and put over the crowd. That brought out Chris Jericho. Jericho celebrated Mickey Rourke not winning an Oscar, and said he’s a loser just like his character in the movie and Flair, Piper and Steamboat.
Jericho accused Steamboat of selling his soul by becoming the “Dragon”, the karate kid, and feeding into stereotypes. He talked about Steamboat carrying the Komodo dragon and spitting fire like a circus freak. Jericho said that Steamboat retired and ended up broken down with a broken family, still working backstage in the business. Jericho labeled him a life long sellout, the loyal dog that is getting his bone with the Hall. He called Steamboat a hypocrite and started to leave.
Steamboat stopped him, saying that if Jericho wanted to talk about hypocrisy he had something to say. He said he remembered signing an autograph for Jericho 20 years ago, and noted that Jericho described Steamboat as his hero in his autobiography. He further noted how Jericho has gone back and forth between embracing and turning on fans for years like a hypocrite.
Steamboat added that never changed at any point in his career. He always entertained the audience, and he returned to WWE to help the young talent and pass the torch because he loves the business. He said he’s not a hypocrite or a sellout, but a Hall of Famer. Jericho kneed him low, hit him with the microphone and sent him into the video wall in response. He yelled at Steamboat and called him a has been.
Both Jericho and Steamboat were so fantastic in this segment. What’s so great about Jericho’s feuds is that he finds little ways to add believability. Those little touches of reality add poignancy and emotion that so many cookie cutter feuds lack. Jericho’s segments have recently been the best stuff in pro wrestling every week.
John Cena beat Chavo Guerrero. Vickie said that Cena wouldn’t get his title rematch. Cena vowed to hunt Vickie for a title shot on Raw and Smackdown. All she has to do is avoid him for 22 more days and the mandatory title rematch vanishes. Seriously, I don’t understand this rematch clause concept at all. Apparently it’s in your contract that you get a rematch if you lose a title, but the general manager can just say no and you have no recourse other than to bug him or her. Anyway, Chavo was Cena’s opponent, predictable but crappy. Cena won in a hurry with the five knuckle shuffle, FU and STF.
Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase came to the ring, and Orton had a sledgehammer. Orton said he’s a victim. He wanted to mind his own business but the McMahons just wouldn’t stay out of his way. He said he hoped Stephanie’s kids were watching her get the RKO so they can learn from their mother’s mistakes.
A furious HHH charged to the ring with a sledgehammer. When he arrived, Orton suggested they lose the sledgehammers. Both men threw them away, but when HHH got into the ring he pulled out a second sledgehammer. Legacy ran away. The doors to the parking lot were locked, so they ducked into a dressing room and barricaded the door. HHH broke through it with a sledgehammer like the Shining.
HHH closed in on DiBiase and Orton and hit DiBiase with the sledgehammer. He swung at Orton but crashed through a mirror. Orton and DiBiase again ran off. They grabbed weapons, but then thought better of it, threw them down and ran away again. They got into a car which HHH hit with a sledgehammer before they drove off. I didn’t like this angle. It all felt too goofy to me, more like a cartoon than a serious angle. I would have just kept them apart more explicitly.
I thought this was a good show overall. Some of the WrestleMania angles are working better than others, but on the whole the direction is solid.