On Monday, February 18, 2008 at 11:29 PM EST WWE RAW
February 18, 2008
Commentators: Jim Ross & Jerry “The King” Lawler
Reported By: Hunter Golden of WrestleView.com
Triple H’s music hit and he came out to the ring to open up the show to a pretty good pop.
He said he was pretty happy tonight. Twelve months ago, he wasn’t so happy. Last year at this time, he was sitting in a wheel chair getting ready to go to Ford Field and watch 80,000 WWE fans go crazy at Wrestlemania 23. He said he had to sit back and watch from the sidelines. He said after last night, after beating five other guys, the Game was back.
Back in the main event of Wrestlemania.
He said we could bet our backsides, he’d become a 12 time WWE champion. He went to go on and preach some, before WWE Champion Randy Orton’s song hit. He came out and talked about how their history was so deeply intertwined. He went on asking how Triple H would be any different from any one /* he’s defeated in the past year.
John Cena’s music hit and he came out to the ring with a huge pop. He said Orton was the first WWE Champion to be a liar and a loser. He said Orton was WWE Champion with an asterisk, because he never beat him for the belt. He said tonight, they could have a rematch tonight for the title. He said the winner would be the Champion and face Triple H at Wrestlemania.
Orton looked to Triple H and asked him if he was going to let him interrupt what they had going on. Triple H looked at him and said he didn’t give a crap which one of them was champion and he’d beat whoever it was.
Raw GM William Regal came waltzing out to the ramp and said he’d resolve the dispute as fairly as possible. Triple H won the elimination chamber and would get his shot at Wrestlemania. He said Orton intentionally got himself disqualified last night and while that did well for him, it didn’t reflect well on the brand. He said there’d be a one on one match tonight, non title. It’ll be Randy Orton v. John Cena. If Cena wins, he’s in the main event at Wrestlemania.
Triple H protested immediately, saying he was entitled to a one on one match. Regal said, he’d still have a say in it, because he’s the special guest referee in the Orton-Cena match tonight.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Jeff Hardy v. Snitsky
Hardy’s got some new, clean music.
The two locked horns and Snitsky immediately tossed Hardy like a hunk o junk to the corner. Snitsky hit a boot to the gut and began hammering away on Hardy in the corner. Snitsky got a little greedy though and tossed Hardy off the ropes. Hardy quickly drop kicked him in the legs before hitting the good old catapult drop kick.
Hardy scaled the ropes only to get cut off by Snitsky and crotched on the top buckle. Snitsky backed up and delivered a bit boot to the grill that sent Hardy crashing to the floor.
We came back to Snitsky in full control, holding Hardy in a not so nice bear hug. Snitsky let go of the hold and hit a clothesline for a two count before laying the boots to the smaller Hardy. Snitsky followed up with an elbow drop for a two count and Hardy looks like he’s in a world of hurt.
Snitsky kept up the pressure with more elbow drop and more cover attempts, but Hardy kept kicking out. Snitsky pulled back with a sit out rear chin lock and Hardy is in a world of hurt.
Hardy eventually fought his way to his feet, but Snitsky again cut him off with a scoop slam. Snitsky went to drop another elbow only for Jeff to roll out of the way. Hardy hit some flying forearms and a cross body for a quick near fall. Hardy hit whisper in the wind for a two count, but Snitsky kicked out.
Hardy went for the twist of fate but got tossed into the ropes and decapitated with a big boot. Snitsky went for the pump handle slam but Hardy countered out and connected with the twist of fate. He hit the Swanton bomb shortly thereafter and that’s all she wrote.
Winner: Jeff Hardy via pin fall
Floyd Mayweather is here.
Shawn Michaels came down to the ring to announce the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame.
A mind-blowing awesome video aired putting him over. Flair is the best.
Michaels looks really choked up, legitimately and asked the crowd to join in with him with a ‘wooo’.
So I guess we’re going to get a ‘best of the slammys”. Bret Hart was dancing. Bret could wrestle. Bret shouldn’t ever dance again. Not even ½*
Paul Burchill v. Super Crazy
The two circled it up and locked horns. Burchill missed a right and Crazy hit him with some strikes. Burchill caught him in a leap frog though and punted him across the ring. Burchill. “Paul’s a pirate” broke out.
Burchill hit scoop slam for a quick cover attempt before Burchill hit a snap mare and a nasty looking arm submission. Crazy hit some forearms before getting ripped in the gut and decked with a slick looking lariat.
Burchill picked him up and curb stomped him something mean. Burchill made the cover and that’s that.
Winner: Paul Burchill via pin fall
Shane and Big Show are conspiring back stage.
Randy Orton walked in on Triple H in the back. Orton said that a triple threat couldn’t happen. He said Triple H couldn’t tap again like he did at Wrestlemania 22 or have the misfortune he had at Wrestlemania XX. Triple H grinned at him telling him he learned well, but not good enough. He said he’d call it how he saw fit. If it’d favor anyone, it’d favor him.
A replay of last night’s fun between Pretty Boy and Big Show aired.
Show came out to the ring and apologized for what he did last night. He said he was a little overbearing and he needed to make a face to face apology to Mayweather. Mayweather came into the ring and asked the crowd what was up. He said first off, he wanted to start off by saying he loves publicity. He said he’s been a fan of the WWE for many years. He said he was sorry things had to happen the way they did last night but being who he was, he had to retaliate.
Big Show said first of all, he wasn’t calling him out. He was trying to show the size difference between the two and just ‘have a moment. He said it was ok and it was in the past. He wanted to tell him, man to man, face to face, that he was sorry. He extended his hand to shake it. Mayweather is so over the top it rules. Way over the top. Awesomely over the top. Mayweather surveyed the situation before snubbing him and walking off.
Big Show told him to hold up a second. He said he came out here and did what he was supposed to do. Now, he wanted to get something off his chest. He said the only way he could hurt him was by him being on his knees. Even on his knees, he was still bigger than him. He said they both knew if he wanted to, he could take him out in two minutes. He said it was just like now when he walked out of ‘his’ ring.
Big Show said what about a little match, one on one. The best fighter in the world v. the biggest athlete in the world. If he wanted publicity, he should take on the Big Show. Mayweather looked at him and came charging down to the ring. The two stared down in the ring. Mayweather said he accepted the challenge.
Mayweather feigned a punch and Show flinched. Mayweather left the ring with a big smirk on his face.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Mr. Kennedy v. Val Venis
Kennedy’s new music is very, um.
Kennedy goes right after Val and starts hammering him in the back before tossing him into the top turnbuckle. Kennedy came back working over the shoulder and arm. Kennedy eventually let go and hit a clothesline for a two count.
Kennedy went right back at the arm with an arm bar. Val fought back with some shots to the gut but Kennedy rolled through the punches and maintained the hold. Val fought back again and hit a neck breaker, but couldn’t hold onto a half nelson attempt. There were some exchanges in the middle of the ring before Val came at him only to get caught with the mic check.
Winner: Mr. Kennedy via pin fall
Steel Cage Match
Mr. McMahon v. Hornswaggle
Vince is playing peek-a-boo in the cage. Good god Vince is glorious.
Finlay is pleading with Vince to make sure this doesn’t happen. Vince says it is and it is so.
JBL showed up and promptly handcuffed Finlay to the cage. This is the most awesomely sick and emotional thing I’ve seen on wrestling in a good long time. Vince began beating the crap out of Hornswaggle with the belt while JBL laid it in on Finlay up against the cage.
JBL picked up Hornswaggle and began choking him out. Finlay was going berserk up against the cage before JBL took Hornswaggle and slammed him into the cage. Finlay was pleading with JBL to take it out on him before JBL showed him Hornswaggle and hit a huge, huge, huge big boot to Hornswaggle’s head. Finlay screaming “John, what are you doing, please don’t!” before he fall away slammed Hornswaggle into the cage was incredible.
Vince called off the very big dog and motioned to get some help for Hornswaggle. Finlay is beside himself and Hornswaggle is out while the EMT’s are attending to him. Unbelievable.
JR and King somberly recapped the events we just saw unfold. Time to laugh again. Here comes Santino.
Santino said he had some great news. He said what the people wanted, they’d get. Maria would pose for Playboy, but she’d also get to fight Beth Phoenix. Maria didn’t look thrilled. Santino said he’d be in her corner.
Santino stopped before the match and there was a small print on the contract. It said she could only pose for Playboy if she beat Beth Phoenix tonight.
Beth Phoenix v. Maria
Beth came right at her and decked her with some right hands before slamming her hard into the corner. Beth tossed her out of the corner and booted her in the head. Beth yanked her hair and dragged her to the middle of the ring for a two count.
Beth kicked her in the gut a few times before picking her up and crushing her with a back breaker. Maria fought back with some rights before getting tossed into the ropes and planted with a power slam. Maria kept kicking out and Beth isn’t too thrilled.
Beth went for another power slam but Candice Michelle showed up and distracted her long enough to allow Maria to roll her up and pin her.
Winner: Maria via pin fall
Santino is shocked and reluctantly celebrates with Maria and Candice on the ramp.
Triple H is putting on his uber-gay referee shirt.
Last Chance: Special Guest Referee Triple H
John Cena v. Randy Orton
The two circle it up and there’s a long dramatic tie up that results in Orton dodging a charge in the corner and big right hand from Orton. Orton kept on smashing away at Cena’s head like he did last night and Triple H doesn’t seem to mind.
Cena fought back and came off the ropes only to get wrecked with an Orton drop kick. Orton poses for the crowd and knees Cena off the announce table and to the floor. Triple H began the count on the floor as we went to break.
We came back to Cena getting whipped but he gets some feet up and follows it up with a scoop slam for a two count. Cena sent Orton into the ropes but Orton put on the breaks and wiggled under the ropes.
Cena went right after him and slammed him on the Raw announce table before tossing him back into the ring. Orton caught him in the ropes though and set up the DDT and planted Cena’s face 10 feet into the mat for a two count.
Orton kept up the pressure, hammering Cena around the ring again. Cena fought back with punches of his own before Orton caught him with a running power slam for a two count. Orton began laying the boots into the various appendages of John Cena, looking completely in control.
Orton capped off the stomps with a huge knee to the temple of Cena and got a two count for his efforts. Orton went to the side headlock, a smart choice at this point in the match. Orton’s all over the head of Cena and eventually slithered around to Cena’s back and slapped on a rear chin lock.
Cena powered out of the hold with a back suplex and both men are laid out on the mat. Cena missed another charge in the corner and Orton rolled him up but again, only got a two count. Orton hit some European uppercuts in the corner before laying in a series of left hands.
Orton kept up the pressure but Cena amped up and fired back with a big series of rights and lefts. Cena came bounding off the ropes and hit a set of shoulder blocks before connecting with the inverted suplex. Cena signaled for the five knuckle shuffle and connected.
Cena loaded up the FU but Orton rolled over the shoulders and hung Cena up on the top rope. Orton charged Cena but went whirling over the ropes and crashed to the outside of the ring. On the outside, Cena couldn’t keep up and got whipped into the ring steps.
Back in the ring, Orton, coiled like a snake waited for Cena to rise to his feet for an RKO. Cena blocked the hold and slapped on the STFU in the middle of the ring. Orton frantically tried to break the hold and inched to the ropes.
Triple H watched intently as Orton reached the ropes and broke the hold. Triple H ripped Cena off the hold and Cena doesn’t like it at all. Orton tried to catch him but Cena scooped him up in the FU and nailed it for the win.
Winner: John Cena via pin fall
Cena celebrated in the ring as Triple H jumped him and pedigreed him into the mat. Triple H grabbed the belt and stared at both, as they squirmed around on the mat. Orton struggled to his feet and Triple H eyed him not so nicely. He loaded Orton up and pedigreed him too. He posed with the belt as we went off the air.RAW THOUGHTSShow Thoughts-- Well, Wrestlemania went from a big, hazy fog to pretty well spelled out in two days.
From all accounts, we’re going to get the Triple Threat we pretty much suspected and all in all, I like the booking of this. Even more so than Wrestlemania XX, this one has three guys who could all conceivably win the match. Triple H with the big comeback, finally getting back to the top of the mountain in an attempt to restore order. Cena seems to always be unstoppable, but does the WWE want to cool the jets on him? Even Orton has a case, even though he’s probably the most likely to lose. Cena and Triple H have always been sort of the unattainable feat for him. A win at Mania could rocket him to heel superstardom not seen since Triple H back in 2003. Regardless of outcome, it’s strong booking with each possibility bringing with it chances for fresh, entertaining feuds.
Really though, Finlay and JBL just blew everything /* out of the water and with the help of Hornswaggle and Vince, put on perhaps the most emotional angle I’ve seen done on WWE television in at least the past six years. It was beyond sensational. Finlay’s agony, JBL’s dementia, Vince being Vince. It was outstanding and we’ve got what was an utterly weird storyline blossom into one of the hottest angles in the WWE in a long time. Hats off to them in a super-huge way.
The Money in the Bank qualifiers were a little TOO unspectacular, but the two qualifiers, Kennedy and Jeff Hardy HAVE to be the favorites heading in. Both have been getting pretty big pushes lately and it’s entirely possible that either guy walks out with the contract and serves as the check on the title scene.
The Mayweather-Show stuff was so retardedly over the top it was just awesome. Mayweather is the Trump on this year’s card and I’m sure whatever comes of this will be altogether entertaining. Wrestlemanias always benefit from having these fun programs heading in and this shouldn’t be an exception to the rule by any means.
That and Flair is in the hall of fame as the most un-debatable pick ever.
The rest was mostly misable, but none of it detracted from a very busy Raw which kicked off it’s major Wrestlemania angles very well.
Overall Grade: B+
Jeff Hardy def. Snitsky
Paul Burchill def. Super Crazy
Mr. Kennedy def. Val Venis
Maria def. Beth Phoenix
John Cena def. Randy Orton
Who’s Hot, Who’s Not?
1. Jeff Hardy
2. Triple H
3. John Cena
1. Randy Orton
3. Mr. McMahon
4. Mr. Kennedy
Match of the Night: John Cena v. Randy Orton **3/4
Power Rankings5 Points= Title Win
4 Points= World Title defense/win
3 Points= Singles PPV Win
2 Points= Tag PPV Win
2 Points= TV Singles Win
1 Point= TV Tag Win
0 Points= Loss
WWE Champion: Randy Orton 3-3, 5pts. (Last Week: WWE Champion) -- So the reign of Randy Orton finally looks like it’s in serious jeopardy. He makes it look so good.
Intercontinental Champion: Jeff Hardy 5-3, 9pts. (Last Week: IC Champion)— While some might not be wild about it, Money in the Bank is the ideal place for Hardy to be. He wins that and all of a sudden things get really interesting on Raw.
1. Triple H 4-1, 7pts.(Last Week: 4) -- Triple H vaults up to the top spot right now, and after the Elimination chamber win and squishing Cena and Orton at the end of Raw tonight, there should be little doubt.
2. John Cena 4-0, 5 points. (Last Week: 5) -- Cena has another strong showing tonight and a win over the champion gets you places, and this time, it’s not surprising he’s in the main event at Wrestlemania.
3. Shawn Michaels 5-2, 7pts. (Last Week: 1) — Michaels drops a bit thanks to strong showings from Triple H this past weekend. I fully expect him to get Flair at Mania though. It seems like a given for both.
4. Ken Kennedy 4-2, 9pts. (Last Week: 2)-- Kennedy gets a squash win and is back in MITB, where I’m sure he’ll be a favorite. The squash was better than last weeks, as he toned it down a great deal.
5. Chris Jericho 3-4, 5pts. (Last Week: 3)-- Not in action.
6. JBL 2-4, 4 points (Last Week: 8) -- After tonight it’s safe to say that JBL is probably the best in the company at getting heat on a program. He was brilliant tonight.
7. Ric Flair 3-0, 7 points (Last Week: 6) -- Finally, Flair’s where he belongs, in the Hall of Fame.
8. Umaga 1-4, 2 points(Last Week: 7) -- I can’t justify taking him out of the top 10 despite the record. He made the elimination chamber match last night and although he doesn’t have a lot going on now, I imagine he will come Wrestlemania.
9. Carlito 3-1, 5 pts. (Last Week: 9) -- Not in action.
10. Paul Burchill 2-0, 4 points (Last Week: NR) — Thanks to two strong wins, Birchall and his hot sister make it into the top ten for the first time ever.
Cody Rhodes 1-1, 1 point (Last Week: NR)
Hardcore Holly 2-1, 2pt.. (Last Week: 10)
Jerry Lawler 0-0 points (Last Week: NR)
Lance Cade 0-1, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Santino Marella 1-0, 1 point (Last Week: NR)
Paul London 0-1, 0 points(Last Week: NR)
Brian Kendrick, 0-4, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Trevor Murdoch 0-3, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Super Crazy 0-2, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
William Regal 0-2 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Bobby Lashley 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: INJURED)
Ron Simmons 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Harry Smith 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Jim Duggan 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Rory 0-2, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Charlie Haas 0-1, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Robbie 0-2, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Mick Foley 1-0, 1 point (Last Week: NR)
Sgt. Slaughter 0-0. 0 pts. (Last Week: NR)
Val Venis 0-1 0pts. (Last Week: NR)
Snitsky 1-4, 2 points (Last Week: NR)