First I should qualify everything I’m about to write. WWE taped two week’s worth of Raw last night, which will fill up the remaining time leading to No Way Out. We have the results of both shows on Wrestle Zone. However, in keeping with the usual spirit of my Takes on live shows, I’ve purposely not read the spoilers for next week’s episode. (That’s not to say I won’t read them when I’m done writing, however!)
With such a quick turnaround between Royal Rumble and No Way Out, storylines leading to the next PPV don’t have much time to develop. But I’m not going to fault the company for that – it just leaves more build-up time for WrestleMania!
Tonight we saw a couple of stars return to action, Lance Cade and Paul London. It was good to see them both back in the ring, even if they were both in losing efforts. Granted, from a fan’s perspective, I’m a much bigger “fan” of London and Kendrick than I am of Cade and Murdoch, although both teams have their good points. But I’m also a big advocate of strengthening the tag-team division and, though I’m not foolish enough to think that this is happening yet, having a couple of the WWE’s better teams back together certainly doesn’t hurt.
Problem is, it looks as though there may be disention in the ranks amongst one of those teams. Cade didn’t appear too pleased with Murdoch after the duo lost their match to the World Tag Team Champions, Hardcore Holly and Cody Rhodes. We’ll see what the creative folks have in mind for these two, but we’ve seen trouble brew before when Murdoch showed interest in Mickie James.
Is it just me, or is “the grandson of a plumber” as J.R. called him looking better all the time? Teaming Rhodes up with Holly appears to have been the best possible move for this kid, and I’m getting more and more impressed – especially after the showing he had at the Royal Rumble.
As for the other tag match, the reunited London and Kendrick fared as well as the other reunited team in losing to Carlito and Santino. At least it was more of the same from the heel team here, distractions and screw jobs to get it done. Now don’t get me wrong, Santino’s humorous mic work has won me over, and I’m definitely glad that Carlito stayed in the WWE – but I’m going to root for the straps to stay on the champs when these duos lock horns.
And by the way – when is Maria just going to slap the hell out of Santino?
The fun match of the night was a bit of a preview of Raw’s Elmination Chamber as HBK, Jeff Hardy and Chris Jericho teamed up to take on JBL, Umaga and Snitsky. The lead-up to this one was some of the classic stuff you all know and love – HBK comes out, gets the mic, and tells everyone he’s going to win the Elimination Chamber match. Out comes Y2J, “No, me!” Out comes Hardy, “No, me!” Then bring on the heels, stir in the bad blood and let the tempers flare.
Jericho took most of the punishment in the match, apparently drawing the short straw in deciding which of the faces would be isolated from the rest. All hell would eventually break lose, though, leading up to Hardy hitting a Swanton to pick up the win. It seems apparent that the writers want to keep Hardy over desite the disappointing way they had him lose to Orton at the last PPV – and good for them. In this writer’s book, Hardy deserved this main-event push and deserves for it to last a while.
Things did stretch from reality a bit however when they had John Cena take on Mark Henry in an arm wrestling contest. Let me get this straight – a man who just returned from surgery is going to get the “world’s strongest man” in a show of strength? Well, they had Cena inches from winning the thing when Henry threw up his other hand, then Orton tried an RKO and missed, quickly escaped Cena’s clutches and left Henry to get a massive FU from the former champ.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have no doubts that when it comes to strength, John Cena truly is a “bad man.” But having him nearly best the “world’s strongest man” in a test of strength only solidifies one thing – Henry’s place as a monster jobber. Come on, folks! Fan of Henry or not, this is supposed to be the man that put Undertaker out of commission, nearly destroyed Batista and has “struck fear” into other stars on many occassions.
I’m sure to get hate mail for this next statement, but I’m going to admit it. I like John Cena.
He’s good on the mic, has a great personality for the job, and no one has ever been as polarizing – an accomplishment, accidental or not, that I personally find admirable.
But let’s find ways to put the man over without trying to make him out to be a god. After all, JBL already claims that title and who wants all the legal hassles over that one, eh?
In other Raw news, Mr. Kennedy squashed Super Crazy and called for Ric Flair to forfeit their upcoming PPV match. Yeah, like that’s going to happen.
Kelly Yummy, er, I mean Kelly, and Mickie James defeated Victoria and Beth Phoenix in a pretty good tag match. They kept the Glamazon over by not having her take the fall, but at least it was a way to put a notch on the victory belt for MJ in the rivalry between these two.
It’s going to be interesting to see what happens when Candice Michelle returns – as I fully expect her to go right after Phoenix hard and fast.
On the lighter side of things, Hornswoggle was slated to joing the Mr. McMahon Kiss My Ass Club tonight. A rather funny moment as Vince contemplated his ass being in HD. Finlay did come down to stick up for his little buddy, however, and rather than a kiss Vince left with bite marks on his arse. Now, Vince has set a no-disqualification match between himself and Hornswoggle and, if Finlay interferes, he’s fired.
Can you say Mick Foley?
Not a bad episode overall, but I’ll be waiting for next week before I start theorizing on what kind of curve balls the writers may have in store for us this time. (Yes, I’m fully expecting more things to happen along the lines of Cena’s shocking return.)
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