Switching gears entirely, we’re now on to Raw last night which I thought (suspension not withstanding) was an excellent show. Now I hate to be a cynic and say that the reason it was so good was because WWE only has two weeks to push storylines heading into a PPV, but whatever the reason, last night’s show was spot on. There seemed to be no wasted time. Everything dealt with fallout from Judgment Day heading into One Night Stand. Exactly the way a post-PPV Raw should be.
I love when a show starts off with in-ring action, and last night did in the form of Jeff Hardy vs Umaga in a rematch from last week. This was a great opener with a lot of good back and forth action. These guys work very well together. Normally I don’t like the big guy/small guy combo, but since Umaga’s not a normal bug guy and Hardy’s not a normal small guy, they have solid, competitive matches. To top it off, the finish here was nuts! It saw Umaga hit the spinning sidewalk slam on Hardy on the outside! Both men were counted out, and this saga will conclude at One Night Stand when Hardy faces YouMaynga in a falls count anywhere match. Out of a possible 9 stars, I give this opening match 7 stars.
Back from commercial break and we find General Manager Regal in the ring. Now, considering what we know about Regal’s suspension at this point, looking back I can only say that this segment was well done. I had written a review prior to the suspension announcement denouncing the segment as I had no idea why WWE would spend so much time getting Regal over as a heel only to “fire” him a few weeks later. But, the truth is now known, so in hindsight this was the best thing to do.
Following the announcement that Regal will later face Kennedy in a loser-leaves-Raw match, we have our second match of the night, Beth Phoenix vs Maria, with Melina sitting at ringside. I can honestly say that Phoenix is the best thing to happen to the women’s division since Trish and Lita. She is fantastic, and tonight was no exception. Even while working with the clumsy Maria can Beth manage to show-off her skills. The finish here saw Maria submit to a beautiful looking surfboard style chicken wing following the Glam Slam. 5 Stars.
Following the match, Melina runs up the entrance ramp and attacks Phoenix from behind with her shoe (this time intentionally) as officials attempt to break the two apart. This is setting up what could be a really nice face turn for Melina as well as a great feud between her and Beth.
Back from commercial break and it’s time for our hour one main event; Chris Jericho vs Batista, with the winner to face Shawn Michaels at One Night Stand in a stretcher match. This was another great match. Some really interesting stuff here including both guys “favoring the knee” at one point, which added a nice sense of irony to what was already a quality wrestling match. 8 Stars.
Next up we have our comedy bit of the night, provided by none other than the duo of Piper and Martini. Another hilarious segment. I thought their stuff on Kimmel the other night was great cross promotion, not to mention funny, and got some much needed positive mainstream attention out there. Out comes Santino dressed as “Rodney The Piper,” and he begins complaining about Piper irritating fans all over the world. Cousin Sal from the Kimmel show is out next to defend Piper and claim that according to Maria, Santino is hung like a 4th grader. This gets a well-timed “DAMN” from Ron Simmons on the Titan-Tron as Piper himself appears behind Marella. After a brief back and forth, Santino ends up getting a cake to the face and Piper announces that he will get a shot at Cousin Sal in a wrestling match! A well done segment in my opinion, providing some great comedic relief.
After “Abbott and Costello” finish up, we go to commercial break and come back with our loser-leaves-Raw match, Kennedy vs GM William Regal. Solid match here with both guys working in some trademark offense against each other. The finish saw Regal attempt a shot at Kennedy with the brass knucks, only to have Kennedy counter with a low-blow and a Mic Check for the 1,2,3. After the match, a bewildered William Regal headed back to his office where he was unexpectedly greeted by Teddy Long, who we can safely presume is taking over for Regal as GM during his suspension. I suppose WWE has had plans to suspend Regal going back to at least last week Tuesday, since Long announced he was quitting Smackdown during the taping. 6 Stars.
It is now time for our main event of the evening, a tag match featuring HHH teaming with John Cena to take on the team of Randy Orton and JBL. There was a lot going on here that made this match both suspenseful and enjoyable. First off all, it seems as if WWE is finally (knock on wood) starting to book Cena properly. Beginning with him being taken out of the main event spot at Judgment Day, last night saw him tagging with HHH against his opponent from the PPV, JBL. Two smart moves. Obviously Cena’s “Superman” victory over JBL was irritating to most on Sunday night, but the freshness of Cena’s spot on Raw right now is what the fans are ultimately responding to. I hope this trend continues. Secondly, the stipulation at work in this match was really creative in my opinion. Regal situated it such that HHH and Cena were basically screwed no matter what happened. If they lost, JBL and Orton were rewarded with rematches at One Night Stand, where they got to choose the extreme match of their choice. If Cena and Trips won, the two would have to fight each other at the PPV. As it turned out, JBL and Orton won the match when Orton punted Cena in the head and JBL scored the pinfall. JBL then announced he wanted Cena in a First Blood match, while Orton said he wanted HHH in a Last Man Standing Match. 6 Stars.
Overall, I thought this was a great edition of Monday Night Raw. It did what I think all Raw’s should do; and that is focus on the players that make an impact on Raw every week. We didn’t have to deal with anything that wasn’t of importance, such as the tag team situation, Cade and Murdoch, Diva’s that can’t wrestle, drawn out vignettes/backstage segments, etc. This is NOT to say that I don’t care to see TV-only angles on Raw, but more so that WWE didn’t waste an entire hour of Raw on them. Raw tonight gets an in-ring score of 6.5 Stars, but with solid storyline work and a great comedy segment, which earns a point, I will give tonight’s edition of Monday Night Raw 7.5 out of 9 Stars.
-Anyone notice the sign that a kid had in the front row? It said “Sign Guy In Training.” Awesome.
-Best Ron Simmons “DAMN” in a long time.
-JR: “Mr. McMahon is making his way to the ring, and I suspect it’s not to talk about barbecue.” Funny stuff.
-Melina looked hot last night. I also liked when she commented on Beth being insane by still coming out to the ring holding up a non-existent title.
-Orton’s new music is starting to grow on me, it really seems to fit him.
-I liked the backstage segment with Katie Lea and Mickie James. This could lead to a great feud between the two Divas, not to mention something fresh for Cena and Burchill.
-Slam of the week was Beth’s double back breaker. That’s still the move of the year in my opinion.
-JR couldn’t understand what Umaga screamed in Samoan after his match with Hardy. I did, he asked “Does Chevrolet make applesauce?”
-The One Night Stand card is shaping up quite nicely.
-Go RED WINGS!
Thanks as always for reading, and be sure to send any feedback to WZNick@hotmail.com