WWE Raw Report
By: Todd Martin
Date: 02/16/09 from Spokane, WA.
The Big News: With No Way Out over, WWE finally began the build for WrestleMania.
Vickie Guerrero came out to start the show and introduced Edge. Edge celebrated winning the title at No Way Out. He called himself a miracle, and said that like Jesus turned water into wine he turned the WWE title into the world title. Really, that’s more like turning water into water. Vickie explained that when Stephanie McMahon went to the hospital with Shane, Vickie was in charge. Thus, she was able to replace Kofi Kingston with Edge in the second elimination chamber.
John Cena then came out. He congratulated Edge, but said that he wanted a rematch and that he would get Edge. This was a good opening segment. If Edge vs. Cena is the plan for WrestleMania, that’s a really underwhelming match. Backstage, Shane McMahon challenged Randy Orton to an unsanctioned fight to settle their score.
William Regal, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase beat CM Punk and Cryme Tyme. Punk hit the GTS on Rhodes at the onset of the match, but Rhodes’ partners pulled him out of the ring. The heels got heat on Punk including a series of Regal knees. Punk hit an enzuigiri and tagged in JTG. A brawl broke out, and DiBiase hit a cobra clutch slam (called Dream Street) for the pin. Backstage, Stephanie tried to talk Shane out of the fight with Orton, but Shane wasn’t having it.
Chris Jericho made his way to the ring and implored members of the academy not to vote for Mickey Rourke. He said that it will encourage washed up legends to continue when they need to shut up and shut it down for their own good. That brought out Roddy Piper.
Piper told Jericho that he has liked and respected Jericho for most of Jericho’s career. However, now Jericho isn’t entertaining but judgmental and patronizing. Piper told Jericho to shut up. Piper said that the Wrestler isn’t about old timers wanting another run, but about the honor and respect they have. He added that it’s about physical and emotional pain, and the thrill of performing. An emotional Piper said that Ric Flair was right, that wrestlers live for that.
Piper talked about fans remembering spending time watching great wrestling moments with now deceased family members. He said those moments shouldn’t be buried but should be celebrated. Piper noted that he has one hip and hurts all the time, but as long as the fans say so he will crawl out to give one more memorable moment because old school’s cool. Jericho then kicked Piper in the leg and screamed at him to crawl around. It’s hard to understate just how phenomenal Piper was in this segment. It was one of the best promos I’ve ever seen.
Randy Orton backstage said that he has no problem fighting Shane, and that he doesn’t need Rhodes and DiBiase to leave Shane unconscious. Kane beat Jamie Noble in 16 seconds with a choke slam. Noble before the match said that he won’t fumble his big WrestleMania moment and he’ll last longer than the 9 seconds Chavo Guerrero made it last year against Kane. I’m fine with the occasional buffoon to laugh at, but it’s amazing how many guys WWE books to be total jokes. It’s their favorite and most repeated archetype these days, and that’s ridiculous.
JBL came out for a historic announcement. He said he doesn’t care that Shawn Michaels is now free and financially secure, because he had an epiphany. His new goal is to end the Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak. Shawn Michaels then came out and said that the showstopper, headliner and main event is back. He said he is Mr. WrestleMania and wants to face Undertaker himself.
Michaels proposed a match between himself and JBL next week with the winner getting Undertaker. JBL agreed. Michaels then started poking JBL and said JBL will be lucky to make it to Mania. Michaels came across really obnoxious in this segment. As for Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, that may end up being the match with the most interest at WrestleMania.
Rey Mysterio beat Mike Knox. The crowd was hot for this one. Knox hit a big clothesline, threw Rey under the bottom rope, and hit a tilt-a-whirl back breaker. Rey came back with a bulldog, enzuigiri and 619. He went for the west coast pop but Knox ducked under. Knox tied Rey into the tree of woe, but charged into the post and Rey rolled him up for the pin.
Melina retained the women’s title beating Beth Phoenix. Santino has a new look. Gone is the eyebrow, but in are highlights in the hair. Beth worked over Melina. On the outside, Rosa attacked Melina. That brought out Kelly, Candice and Mickie, who beat up Santino and Rosa. In the ring, Melina used a small package for the pin. I just don’t understand why Melina retained here given what a flop she has been as champion.
They announced Terry Funk and Dory Funk, Jr. for the Hall of Fame, and they will be inducted by that egg sucking dog Dusty Rhodes. Backstage, Stephanie McMahon was on the phone with someone who she asked to come and intervene in Shane and Orton’s fight.
The main event was the big showdown between Randy Orton and Shane McMahon. They brawled into the crowd. Orton threw Shane into the announce table and steps. Shane hit Orton with the ring bell twice and set up for the Van Terminator. At that point Rhodes and DiBiase ran in to interfere. Rhodes hit the roll of the dice and Orton punted Shane. Stephanie came out to mourn our fallen hero. “I love you, Shane,” said the little kid in the front row. I’ll give this much to gallant Shane: Orton never could get the best of him one-on-one to the end. He’s a true warrior.
As Shane was carted off, Orton gave Stephanie the RKO. He then acted shocked by what he did. HHH ran in to check in on Stephanie. A seething HHH stared down Orton, who looked resigned and concerned about what he got himself into. Orton and HHH both did a great job here, and that’s apparently your other big Mania match.
I have mixed feelings about WWE’s recent programming, from No Way Out last night to Raw tonight. On one hand, this was an entertaining show, and No Way Out was even better. But ultimately the goal of wrestling is to make money, and I suspect WWE may have thrown away a lot of money by taking so long to get around to setting up their key WrestleMania matches.