Note: This is not a play by play. I watch the show and I share my opinions on it in a live format. This is not going to give you exact details on everything that happens on Raw. For that, look elsewhere.
The Raw Running Diary for 02/16/09
Live from Spokane
By John C.
No pyro to start. Here’s Vickie Guerrero to introduce us to the new World Champion, her husband Edge. My favorite wrestler in the company and it’s still probably my favorite theme song in the company too. Do we want to know what the R stands for in Rated R Superstar? He thinks it stands for remarkable, resplendent or really, really smart. That’s more than one word.
He heard the fans after losing the first EC match. They thought he was done, thought he was a loser. He points at random people in the crowd to tell them they were wrong. He goes up to a kid, “Hey little fella, when you grow up, you’re gonna be wrong.” Watch that kid be a murderer when he grows up and they can use this tape to show why he did it. He was provoked by Edge. Ha, he took a bump during a promo. Ric Flair would be so proud.
They try to explain last night by saying Vickie became the person in charge at No Way Out because Stephanie was at the hospital. She thought Edge was the most deserving person to be in that match. Nice heel promo. The Board of Directors has officially made Edge the World Heavyweight Champion. They kiss and there’s the interruption by John Cena’s music.
Cena congratulates Edge for his win. He doesn’t like it, but he’s saying congratulations and introducing the fans to his champion. The R stands for many things that insult him and then he says Rematch. The Rated Rematch Superstar isn’t such an interesting name. Edge says no, he’s hurting and if Cena wants to fight him he’ll be on Smackdown. Cena tells him to say hello to Festus and Funaki. Ha, nice insult to Edge and Vickie doing stuff together causing Cena to throw up in his mouth. Edge mentions their past feud (I highly recommend their TLC Match at Unforgiven ’06) and says no rematch. Cena tells him if he tries to hide he’ll find him and says they’re gonna fight and Cena’s gonna hurt him.
Analysis: That was a fun 15 minutes although nothing was really resolved. They didn’t say if Edge was a part of the Raw roster or not. They didn’t say that Cena was getting a title shot, but clearly that’s what was implied here. I’m fine with that even though they’ve wrestled a lot in the past. They always deliver the goods.
After Edge walked up the ramp, there’s Shane McMahon in an office. Shane says he wants Orton in an unsanctioned fight with no Legacy members at ringside. “One way or another, this ends tonight.”
Back from a WrestleMania commercial, we’ve got our first match. It’s Cryme Tyme in the ring with CM Punk teaming up with them in six man action. I really thought Punk should have been in the Elimination Chamber match. He’s too good to not be wrestling on every PPV. Here’s Regal with Layla. Teaming with him is the Priceless duo of Dibiase and Rhodes. Man, their old theme song was so much better than this new one.
CM Punk & Cryme Tyme vs. William Regal, Cody Rhodes & Ted Dibiase
Punk starts off with Rhodes. He hits a Go To Sleep on Rhodes in about one minute. Regal breaks it up as his team bails to the floor. And we’re off to a commercial just four minutes after the last one.
Apparently Punk was dominating the match, but now Priceless and Regal are dominating him. Shocking that a babyface is getting beaten up for a long stretch of a match, huh? The heel teams take turns beating up Punk. Finally Punk frees himself with an enziguri on Rhodes that gets JTG in there. Nice neckbreaker for two. Rhodes punches JTG off him, he goes into Dibiase who hits him with a Cobra Clutch Slam that’s apparently called Dream Street. That’s it.
Winners: Dibiase, Rhodes and Regal
Analysis: *1/2 Pretty basic Raw TV match. If you’re in one of those fantasy wrestling pools, having Rhodes and Dibiase would be a good move because they’ll probably win 80% of their matches this year as they get the big push.
Backstage, Stephanie tries to reason with Shane. The badass Shane says this match happens tonight because Orton’s hurting just as much as he is.
We come back with my boy Chris Jericho in the ring. He cuts his usual promo saying the Academy shouldn’t vote for Mickey Rourke for an Academy Award and continues insulting legends until he’s interrupted by…Rowdy Roddy Piper. Nice. Piper’s always great on the microphone especially when he hasn’t been around a while. He’s gonna shoot. He respected Jericho before because he spoke his mind and backed it up. Now he runs his mouth, calls the legends out and said he used to be entertaining. I find him very entertaining, for the record, but I understand Piper’s perspective. He tells Jericho to “shut the hell up” and cuts Jericho off before he can speak. He mentions crying during The Wrestler and says the movie is about the honor that wrestlers have for everyone. Most of all, the movie explains that they do this for the thrill of performing. “We live for this,” says Piper. He gives examples of how much he enjoyed performing by telling stories of fans sharing their memories with him. He has one hip, he hurts all the time and as long as the people say so he will crawl on his knees to give them one more memorable moment because “old school is cool.” He extends a hand for a shake. Jericho boots him in the knee. Hey, that’s what Piper would have done 20 years ago. He boots him in the gut a few times because I guess booting in the face is trademarked by Orton. Then he bails.
Analysis: This was fantastic. Piper’s one of the top five promo guys in the history of the business and Jericho’s getting really close to being at that level if he isn’t there already. I’m not totally sure where this is headed although if Steve Austin wants to wrestle one more match this would be the perfect scenario with the right opponent. Not saying it will happen, but if it does I’d be one of those that would enjoy it.
Backstage, The Grish is with Randy Orton. He’s got no problem fighting Shane. He says he’ll make sure that the fight will be over when someone isn’t moving. I love Orton’s promos. He’s improved a lot over the last year in that area. Being out with the injury probably allowed him to focus on promos more and it shows.
We’re back with a video highlighting WrestleMania 9, which is probably the worst one ever. Either that or WrestleMania 2. Read Bret Hart’s book (my 2nd favorite wrestling book after Foley’s first one) for his thoughts on the stupid title switch that went from Hart to Yokozuna to Hogan. It’s a typical example of Hogan not doing the job to somebody that deserved it like Hart. The Hart book is awesome, by the way. Highly recommended.
Jamie Noble’s in the ring talking about WrestleMania moments. So much for that promo on ECW about how he was moving to that show. How long has it been, like three weeks. He talks about how Chavo lost in 9 seconds last year. That was to Kane. And guess who is opponent is?
Jamie Noble vs. Kane
It’s over in 16 seconds thanks to a chokeslam.
Analysis: Match of the year, no doubt.
There’s JBL walking. He’s cutting a promo next as we head to break. How many minutes of actual wrestling in hour one? I think it was like 10 minutes. This isn’t TNA, is it?
Promo time with John Bradshaw Layfield, who tells us that as of last night Shawn Michaels is no longer his employee. He is now paid in full. He’s also financially stable although JBL could care less. He has more money than all of us combined. After No Way Out, he had an epiphany that he would do something that nobody has ever done. He wants to end “The Streak” of the Undertaker, which is at 16-0. He says if he beats Undertaker there he will be known as the greatest wrestler of all time. And here’s Shawn Michaels. I’m assuming he’ll want to be the one to end the streak, which is fine by me. I’m all for Undertaker vs. Michaels at Mania. Michaels looks happy. I guess he didn’t blow the check at the casino like I would have. Last night he had an epiphany too even though he doesn’t know how to spell it. He’s no longer a struggling family man, he’s back to being Mr. WrestleMania, among other monikers. He feels like heaven on Earth, so he feels like he deserves to wrestle the Undertaker there. He mentions the ladder match, the Ironman match and the retirement match last year as some of his moments. He wants to face Undertaker is what he’s saying. JBL says it’s his destiny, not Shawn’s. Michaels wants to face JBL next week on Raw with the winner earning the right to challenge Undertaker at WrestleMania. JBL accepts. Good to see the exuberance of Michaels back.
Analysis: Michaels better win. It’s been what, 11 years since the last Undertaker vs. Michaels singles match on PPV? I’m ready for another one. It was fun at the Rumble a few years ago and it will be great at WrestleMania considering the history each guy has at that show. Michaels has the best matches in Mania history while Undertaker’s streak is the best gimmick in Mania history. It’s a good time for the match too considering both guys are going to be 44 years old this year and you never know how much time they have left.
Long video package highlighting the whole Orton/McMahon saga. I laughed my head off when Orton kicked Vince, by the way. I think Vince should come back every three months or so, then get seriously injured every single time. It would be hilarious. I’m assuming this thing leads to HHH returning to Raw to the aid of his wife Stephanie although I guess there are some fans out there that have no idea they have been married with a couple kids for like five years now. Are there fans that really don’t know this? I guess so.
There’s a shot of Shane getting ready, which basically means standing in front of a wall pacing.
Here’s Rey Mysterio. Might this be a match? That would be nice. Mysterio was awesome in the Chamber match tonight. First time they booked him well on Raw since he’s been a part of that show. Hey there’s a bell, I guess this is a match. It’s Joaquin Phoenix! Oh wait, it’s Mike Knox. Same beard. And yes, I made the same joke in the No Way Out preview. I’m tired.
Rey Mysterio vs. Mike Knox
Remember when ECW started and Knox was introduced as the jealous boyfriend of Kelly Worst Kelly Name Kelly Ever Kelly? That’s her real name, I’m pretty sure. I’ve seen her birth certificate. Anyway, Knox has certainly come a long way. He’s okay at doing the bad guy stare that every single tall bad guy in the history of wrestling has to do. He tosses Mysterio to the floor and that means a commercial. Hey, three minutes of actual wrestling is crazy.
We come back to see Knox beating in Mysterio some more. What I love about Mysterio in the ring is that he knows how to sell stuff in a realistic way. That’s the key. Some guys sell too much and it ruins a match. With Mysterio, it always seems real, which is probably because he’s so much smaller than his opponents. That’s why he’s been good for so long, though. One footed pin by Knox gets two. Bear hug time should lead to another 619 chant. How many people get area codes chanted for them when they are in trouble? That’s pretty rare. Love the Mysterio bulldog followed by an enzugiri and a nice looking 619. The leap misses, moonsault is caught and Knox hangs Mysterio upside down in the corner. A charge misses and Mysterio rolls him up for the pinfall, which is exactly the finish that they should have done. Sometimes the obvious is good.
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Analysis: *3/4 The classic Mysterio match that sees the big guy dominate only to lose at the end when Rey makes the comeback. I’ll never get sick of watching Rey Mysterio.
Backstage, there’s Beth Phoenix walking with Santino and her protégé.
Speaking of Phoenix. This email from Chris in Philly:
Rumors of Phoenix vs Trish Stratus at Mania…What are your thoughts on that possibility?
I’d like that a lot. Stratus is my favorite female performer ever and Phoenix is my favorite current female performer, so it would be a nice pairing for sure. I’m not sure how many women’s matches there will be at WrestleMania, so I hope that they can do it even if Beth is without the title. My gut feeling says it doesn’t happen. Hope I’m wrong, though.
Here’s Melina. I miss Melina before this company was PG. She dressed so much better. There’s Beth with Santino and Rosa.
Women’s Title: Melina (c) vs. Beth Phoenix
No more unibrow for Santino if you’re keeping track of things like that. His hair’s different too with some streaks in it. Very aggressive start by Phoenix going for covers immediately. Nice slingshot suplex. Beth counters a Melina bulldog into a side backbreaker. When Melina gets tossed outside, Rosa boots her. That brings out Mickie, Candice and Kelly x2 to beat them up. That distracts Beth enough for Melina to beat her with a rollup. It’s rollup night tonight. Man, Mickie’s gorgeous. I miss when she was in actual matches.
Analysis: This was a typical 5 minute divas match. I’m assuming the story leads to Phoenix blaming Rosa for losing this title rematch. Not sure if that would mean Phoenix goes babyface or not because Raw needs heel divas. I guess the lottery will shake things up in that regard in two months time.
Hall of Fame update. We know Steve Austin’s in already. Next inductees are Dory Funk Jr. and Terry Funk. Good selection. Video package really does a good job of telling their story. I think Funk should get inducted in his Chainsaw Charlie outfit with the pantyhose on his head. Or not. They’ll be inducted by Dusty Rhodes. There’s 15 minutes until the top of the hour, so probably 20-25 minutes left of show.
And we’re back to tell the fans that you should check out WWE.com because the world is talking about Edge winning the World title. Yes, the world. The world that is entertained by wrestling…err sports entertainment. If not the world it at least got me off my ass to write a live running diary, so that’s something at least. Here’s a recap of the earlier Edge/Cena segment. I’m pretty sure I read that Cena’s booked for Smackdown this week, so he’ll continue his hunt of the new champ on that show. Of course they don’t tell you this on Raw.
Here’s Stephanie on the phone backstage. She needs somebody to hurry as fast as they can to help Shane. Then the person of mystery can’t hear her. “Can you hear me?” Apparently not. And she chucks the phone. I think it was Blackberry. Probably better than mine. I’ve yet to have somebody film me while I talk on mine, though. So you win this round, Stephanie. Commercial time with the Orton vs. Shane “fight” coming up next.
A promo tells us that Michaels vs. JBL is next week with the winner earning the right to challenge. The loser? He gets to challenge Kung Fu Naki. Okay, I made that last part up.
Unsanctioned Fight: Shane McMahon vs. Randy Orton
Here Comes the Money is still a good entrance song. I like Edge’s the best, though. Orton’s voices in the head are not as good although maybe I am jealous because I am unable to hear voices in my head. If you hear voices in your head it’s probably best to consult a doctor.
There’s no ref at ringside as Shane attacks Randy in the aisle. There’s a clothesline off the barricade by Shane onto Orton in the crowd. Orton takes control as they come back to the ringside area. Lots of hard head bumps by Shane, who is wearing some of the worst shoes in wrestling history. Even the Iron Shiek’s hooked boots think they are terrible. Randy beats on him some more by ramming him back first into the side of the ring. There’s Shane with a comeback by shoving him over the announcer’s desk. He takes control with a monitor shot to the head. Then he puts Orton in the ring, hits him with the ring bell and sets him up with a steel chair in front of his face for the Van Shane-inator coast to coast kick. But no, there’s Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase. The announcers go nuts saying they weren’t supposed to be there because Orton claimed he didn’t them. Wait, bad guys in wrestling lie? I am shocked! Rhodes lays him out with his spinning DDT move. There’s the Orton punt to knock Shane out. The voices in his head told him to do it, remember. And there’s Stephanie in the ring to do her screaming for her loved one. The EMTs are there to take Shane out while Orton stalks over Stephanie. There’s no security or anything else there. RKO on Stephanie! Hey kids, watch our show, we have man on woman violence. And there’s Triple H without his music showing concern for Stephanie. The announcers don’t say anything. Hunter looks pissed off, his face shaking and going all red. Orton gives him a stare as Hunter rages on some more.
Winner: Randy Orton
And that’s the show.
Analysis: ** Good brutality. Hunter cares for Stephanie? Wow, I didn’t know. Oh wait, I did. Nice of WWE to acknowledge this relationship after so many years. I guess we’re supposed to be fans that only read about WWE stuff on their TV shows and web site. Anyway, everybody played their role perfectly. Shane was the lamb that got fed to the lion. Stephanie getting RKO’d (yes, that’s a verb now) was shocking to an extent because I didn’t think a company that promotes itself as being kid friendly would do man on woman violence. I guess it’s only done to really push a WrestleMania story. I’m fine with it, really. The idea of the crazy heel pissing off the entire family only for Hunter McMahon to save the day works well enough for me. Orton vs. HHH has been done plenty, but Hunter defending the family is a fresh angle.
That was fun. I wrote this because I was interested in how storylines would progress following a very interesting No Way Out show. It looks like we’ll be getting Randy Orton challenging HHH for the WWE title, John Cena challenging Edge for the World Title and Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker. Could we also be getting Chris Jericho against Steve Austin? It’s possible although I’d venture to guess that Austin avoids having one more match, which is fine. I wouldn’t mind the nostalgia of one more Austin match, though.
This show did a good job answering some of our questions from No Way Out. I’ll be interested in Smackdown this week also because Cena’s going to be showing up there, which should continue his pursuit of Edge. Match wise this wasn’t a good show, but it was still a memorable show for its promos, which is fine considering the good quality of wrestling that happened at No Way Out. All in all, a satisfying episode of Raw at least in my mind.
I don’t know if I’ll be doing another of these. I doubt it will be live again because I’m usually out on Monday nights, but this week was an exception due to a holiday. If this is well received I may do another one of these diary style prior to WrestleMania again although it would most likely be on a Tuesday afternoon or something like that. Maybe I’ll do a Smackdown one before Mania too. I’m not sure when the next column will be. Maybe the end of this week, maybe next week. It’s probably going to be about the Undertaker’s streak now that it seems like Michaels vs. Taker is going to happen. You can email me your thoughts on the streak and whether or not you think it should continue forever or end this year or another year.
Smell ya later,