Raw Report


4258492.jpgCould we be set for the first ever WWE Title match at Mania between two tag team champions?

Well the WWE still have just over a month left to get the titles off Cena and HBK but ya gotta believe that they won’t get a better chance than last night when they successfully defended their belts against Rated RKO.

Last night opened with John Cena and Shawn Michaels coming out to the ring expecting to defend their titles but Rated RKO had other plans. Edge and Randy Orton came up on the titan tron and told Cena to watch his back because HBK has a history of turning on his opponents (and HBK was in the position for the superkick which just made this even sweeter!).

They showed one really awesome video package of the famous “barber shop” incident with Marty Jannetty, his turning on Kevin Nash, X-Pac, Hulk Hogan and EVEN the superkick to Booker T in the short nWo angle that WENT NOWEHRE.

I truly never thought the WWE would show that again!!!

Last night was a great show, probably the best of the year.

MATCHES

Jeff Hardy def. Shelton Benjamin in a “Money in the Bank Qualifying Match” – 3 stars

Although it was obvious who was going over in this match, I loved the video packages they showed before the match with both guys past history of ladder matches at Mania. Also, the announcement of who both guys were when they were already in the ring ready to square off, added a great “big match” feel, which carried over throughout the bout.

Shelton’s spot where he fell off the ropes could have been real nasty but thankfully it wasn’t. Jeff did really well to cover it up by going for the pinfall on Benjamin straight away.

Solid match…. but how much did it suck that Vince came straight up on the Titantron as the match ended and buried Jeff after his big win and put over Umaga? Way to get your mid card guys over Vince!

Super Crazy and Johnny Nitro ended in a no-contest

Nitro assaults Crazy before the bell and gives him a stiff looking wheel barrel face buster on the outside.

Nice spot and it was effective in getting over Nitro’s disappointment over the MITB match last week and showing him totally pissed with the world… but couldn’t they have chosen a jobber or someone not being pushed like Crazy to bury??? Maybe Hacksaw?

Melina def. Maria to retain the WWE Women’s Title – 1 star

Why does the WWE continue to put Maria into matches when she clearly can’t wrestle? What is the logic exactly?

The big question to me is why haven’t they gone out and replaced Trish Stratus and Lita who both left Raw last year, and were a part of only a handful of the females who could actually wrestle. Victoria, Mickie James and Melina are the only women RAW have now, it’s nowhere near enough.

If they don’t have females down in their developmental, then why not hire some? Forget all these crappy Diva Search contestants and hire some good female workers. I’m sure they are out there if you look hard enough.

At least Maria tried I guess which is more than Candice and Torrie most of the time.

Crappy match and we learned that next week Mickie will be using her title re-match clause… but of course she hasn’t got a chance because it’s going to be Ashley vs. Melina at Mania.

Carlito def. Kenny Dykstra – 3 stars

Loved Carlito’s new ring shorts.

So we didn’t get the Carlito/Flair turn on last night’s show, but you just know it’s coming.

I’m loving this angle so far, Carlito vs. Flair could be a great Mania match focused around respect and could really be one of the show stealers if both men are on their game and  given plenty of time to tell their story.

Carlito is far more effective as a heel and if they eventually put him over in this program with Flair, he might finally start to climb up the ladder. The only thing that might change the WWE’s mind, is Carlito is getting really strong reactions with Flair as his mentor at the moment…. but logic says it will make his turn all that sweeter.

Good match with Carlito going over with the back cracker.

Shawn Michaels and John Cena def. Rated RKO to retain their WWE Tag Team Titles – 3 and a half stars

Really fun main event and I was surprised they didn’t go for the Super kick on last night’s show but a slow burner is fine with me.

Personally, I would have given the titles to Edge and Orton as Cena and HBK’s match at Mania isn’t about the Tag Titles, it’s about the WWE Title and the tag belts shouldn’t take the focus away from that.

I believe the only time tag team champions should face off against each other in a match is when they are a firmly established team and having problems or have been put together to face off against each other when they don’t want too.

The Eddie Guerrero/Rey Mysterio program of two years ago was the perfect way to do this type of match, I just don’t see Cena and HBK being friends or tag partners so what purpose does them having the belts serve the main event?

ANGLES

Mick Foley’s got a new book out ya know… can’t wait to read it. It’s a shame they haven’t capitalized on this and given Foley a program for Mania… an ECW World Title match against Rob Van Dam could have drawn huge numbers, if they had the foresight of given RVD the title a few weeks back.

Some problems were teased between Nitro and Melina, with him yelling at her. I liked it… Nitro could be a huge player if pushed correctly.

Donald Trump obviously picked Bobby Lashley (he got the name right!) for his battle of the billionaires match, in what was again a pre-taped announcement from Trump. Crowd seemed to enjoy the choice and the confrontation with Vince’s choice Umaga with all the security guys crowded around actually made me care about the match far more than the potential of seeing Vince or Trump bald at Mania.

How shocked were all you guys when it was The Great Khali coming out to attempt to break the Master Lock challenge? Obviously, the guy was to big for Masters to put it on, so “no-one has broken the master lock” will still be the official line from him in the future. Kane came out to continue their feud that no-one cares about and further setup their match at Wrestlemania.

Jerry Lawler was announced to be inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame, which is THROUGHOULY DESERVED. He is a true legend in this business. Great video package too.

By the way, as red blooded male…. how fucking hot was Maria and Lillian Garcia tonight? They should be forced to wear those outfits for every god damn show!

Final Rating – A

Best Raw of the year so far from where I’m sitting. All the angles came off brillaintly, the majority of the matches were great and each had their own story to tell, and the main event program of Cena and HBK progressed in the right direction once again. Only thing stopping it getting the full rating (A+) was the Melina vs. Maria stopping it being a cross the board show of full matches.

photo credit – wwe.com

umaga_178×163.jpgThe big news that came out of this Monday’s Raw was Vince McMahon choosing his representative for the “The Battle of the Billionaires” Hair vs. Hair Match at Wrestlemania 23.

Thankfully he didn’t pick The Great Khali and fingers crossed we might be lucky enough to avoid watching him trying to wrestle at “The Grand Daddy of them all”.

Instead he choose Umaga, who quite frankly has taken his stupid early 90’s monster gimmick and turned into something worth watching on Monday nights. He is a legitimate big player now-a-days, and since his match with Cena at the Royal Rumble, he is over with the crowd.

RESULTS….

Umaga def. Jeff Hardy to become the NEW INTERCONTINETAL CHAMPION

Honestly, this wasn’t too far away from being a SQUASH match. I really don’t see the logic in putting the title on Umaga, he is already over with the crowd as the third biggest heel wrestler on the show (after Edge and Orton) and now that he has been put in the Billionaire match, what’s the advantage of him carrying the IC belt?

Jeff Hardy was a fine champion, until the WWE started jobbing him out to The Great Khali a few weeks ago, if he had been booked better then he would have got over more.

Ric Flair and Carlito def. Cade and Murdoch

Jim Ross says something like “one of the most promising young teams on raw right now“. YEAH, OF COURSE!

Not a bad match and it’s a clever way of having Flair do less work in the ring and allow Carlito to show his skills off. Although, here’s hoping that the team doesn’t last long and they go for the turn at Wrestlemania 23.

I would love to see the cocky heel Carlito go up against the old timer Ric Flair at Wrestlemania. Looking at how gimmick filled the event is looking, a simple story of two men wrestling for respect, would be welcomed by me.

Edge def. Rob Van Dam in a Money in the Bank Qualifing Match

During his entrance, the crowd didn’t seem sure whether to cheer for the “ECW original” Rob Van Dam but they soon got into him once the match started.

Remember this match was for the title way back at Vengeance? How things have gone down hill for RVD.

This was a great match, best RVD match in quite some time. Some cool innovative moves from both guys, including Edge’s great swinging neckbreaker and samoan drop from a rolling thunder which I think The Rock might have done way back when.

Not surprised by the outcome of the match, RVD is going to continue to drift into the abyss until he either signs his contract or goes to TNA. The question of whether the ECW or Smackdown wrestlers will be involved in the Ladder match at Mania is still to be decided.

Melina def. Mickie James to become the NEW WOMEN’S CHAMPION

Another title change I wouldn’t have gone for. Why take away the title from someone who can wrestler for someone who can’t?

It was the same typical bad match from Melina, with the finish being rather pathetic. It’s pretty obvious they have put the title on Melina so she can fight the playboy diva Ashley, in a match that I’m quite sure no-one wants to see.

Poor Mickie, she had the best women’s match in years at last year’s Wrestlemania with Trish and now she probably won’t even get on the card of the next one…bumped out for the hopeless in-ring talents of Melina.

The Great Khali squashes The Highlanders

A total waste of 3 minutes of my life. When will the WWE realize that Khali is going no-where?

Are they going to shove him down our throats until we give a shit…. because newsflash Vince…. no-one cares about this “7 foot monster!”.

John Cena def. Randy Orton

Ok main event. Did it’s job and got Shawn Michaels to make the save for his tag team partner.

Next week it’s going to be Edge and Orton vs. HBK and Cena…. I feel it may be Sweet Chin Music time for Cena.

Notes

Great show with one fantastic match from RVD and Edge, along with the Cena and Orton and tag match which was perfectly fine.

The show kept moving along at a nice pace, and the direction towards Wrestlemania is now in full swing.

Show Rating – B+