Are you ready? Then stop questioning your heart and join me, because it is time for Monday Night RAW!
Shawn Michaels? music hits and he makes his way out to the ring. He says that ?he has a feeling?. It is the same feeling that had before he threw Marty Jannety through the barbershop window in 1992, and the feeling he had in 1996 when he defeated Bret Hart for the Title. It is the feeling that he can do anything.
Shawn notes that the WWE has released a DVD entitled ?My Journey? which coincidentally coincides with him putting his career on the line at Wrestlemania. Shawn says that the fans will need to clear some room on their DVD shelf to prepare for Volume 2, because this is only the beginning. He puts over the fact that he will defeating The Undertaker, and says that at Wrestlemania The Undertaker will —
The lights go out in the arena. A video package airs which highlights the career of Shawn Michaels. The video ends with Taker’s voice saying that Shawn’s career will rest in peace. The final shot is a graphic of Shawn with the caption ?1985-2010?.
When the lights come back on, Shawn states that he appreciates The Undertaker’s attempt at intimidating him, but if he really wants to intimidate him, then he needs to come out and do it to his face.
Pete Rose’s music hits, and he makes his way out to the ramp. Rose says that Shawn is the right man to end The Undertaker’s streak. Pete says that as the guest host, he is going to have Shawn compete tonight against The Undertaker’s brother Kane. He puts up the same stipulations as there will be in Shawn’s match at ?mania. Pete asks him to get revenge for all of the things that Kane has done to him in the past. Shawn accepts!
Video package airs highlighting the Cena/Batista feud.
The Miz w/ The Big Show v. John Morrison w/ R-Truth
Big Show and R-Truth join the booth for commentary. The former Tag Team partners, and Champions, Miz and Morrison lock it up in the ring. Miz slaps John in the face, and Morrison strikes back with one of his own. Morrison sends Miz to the outside and looks to leap out after him. The Miz backs up, so Morrison moves to the apron. Miz runs at him, but gets kicked in the face. John hits a beautiful Asai Moonsault to the outside!
We come back to RAW as The Miz has Morrison locked in a headlock. Clips show that during the commercial The Miz was working on Morrison’s neck. The Miz goes for a kick, but Morrison ducks and goes for a quick roll-up. Miz kicks out. This time Miz connects with a kick and goes for a cover of his own. Morrison kicks out.
Miz locks on a modified rear headlock. The crowd is behind Morrison as he starts to get to his feet. Morrison escapes and backs Miz into the corner. The Miz charges at him, and Morrison drops him to the mat for his efforts. Morrison follows up with a stiff knee to the face. Miz kicks out of the cover.
Morrison takes to the top turnbuckle, but Miz is there to counter. Miz heads to the second rope and is looking for a Superplex. Morrison counters, and hits a sunset flip. Morrison leaps up and hits the Starship Pain, and this match is over!
Winner via Starship Pain: John Morrison
After the match, The Big show pushes R-Truth away and tries to get in the ring to go after Morrison. John kicks him with a baseball slide, and he and Truth escape up the entrance ramp.
In the back we see HHH taping his knee for a match later tonight. Randy Orton walks up behind him. Hunter says that just because he and Orton have common enemies tonight, it doesn?t mean that the past has been forgotten. Orton cryptically tells Hunter to not forget he still has to make it to Wrestlemania.
Another video package airs highlighting the Cena/Batista feud.
The camera pans to a shot of the Money in the Bank case hanging above the ring. We see that Jack Swagger has joined the booth for commentary. This is the final qualifying match for the 10th spot.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Kofi Kingston v. Kozlov
The match starts with Kozlov throwing Kofi to the outside. He brings him back into the ring hits a release German Suplex on Kofi. He follows up with a cover, but Kofi kicks out. Kozlov lifts him into the air for a modified torture rack. He then picks Kofi up and hits a nice fall away slam. He then sets Kofi up on the top turnbuckle and takes the opportunity to land a couple of punches. Kofi counters, and is able to knock Kozlov away. He leaps into the air for Trouble in Paradise, and this match is over.
Winner via Trouble in Paradise: Kofi Kingston
Before tonight’s huge handicap match, Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase take a pair of microphones and hit the ring. The cut a promo on Orton, while taking a fair of shots at each other. They take on Orton at ?mania in a Triple Threat Match.
Cody Rhodes, Ted Dibiase & Sheamus v. Randy Orton & HHH
The match looks to start off with HHH and Sheamus, but it seems the Irishman was justt easing the audience, and tags in Cody instead. HHH takes it to Cody without ever taking his eyes off of Sheamus. He backs Cody into the corner and lands a couple of punches. Rhodes escapes and tags in Ted. Dibiase backs HHH into a corner, but Hunter is not going down that easily. He hits an inverted atomic drop, and then knocks Sheamus off of the apron. Dibiase regains his composure and kicks HHH to the mat. Sheamus gets the tag.
It is now HHH and Sheamus in the ring. Hunter is in the corner and Sheamus knocks him to the mat and mounts him. He connects with a slew of punches. He grabs The Game’s head, and then tags in Dibiase. Hunter is stranded in the enemies corner as Rhodes and Dibiase take turns kicking HHH and tagging each and other into the match. A distraction allows Sheamus to get in a couple of blows as well.
Rhodes takes HHH to the center of the ring, which ends up looking like a bad idea as Hunter is able to work up a bit of momentum. Cody hits a beautiful drop punch, but it is not enough, as Hunter is able to make it to his corner and tag Orton into the ring. Sheamus is tagged in by Rhodes as Orton proceeds to clean house. The crowd is going insane as Orton is preparing to strike against Sheamus. Rhodes is on the apron, which causes Randy to go after him and sets him up for the suspended DDT. Sheamus senses the opportunity and connects with his big boot. This match is over!
Winners via Big Boot: Sheamus, Cody Rhodes & Ted Dibiase
After the match, Legacy rolls HHH into the ring. Sheamus is setting up for the big boot, but Hunter realizes the impending doom and counters. He throws Sheamus out of the ring.
Yet another video package airs highlighting the Cena/Batista feud.
Up Next: Bret Hart!
Video package airs highlighting the Bret Hart/Vince McMahon feud.
Bret’s music hits and he makes his way out to the ring. Bret says that when he left the WWE 12 years ago, it left a bad taste in his mouth that he has never really lost. In his wildest dreams, he never thought he would get another shot at Wrestlemania, especially not against Vince McMahon. He says that he has gotten tired of listening to ?Bret Screwed Bret?. Come next Monday, all that people will be hear is ?Bret beat Vince?.
Bret says that Vince called his family a bunch of derelicts. Bret says that at ?mania his whole family will be in attendance to induct his father Stu, and they can?t wait to see Bret beat Vince. McMahon may have driven half of his family out of the WWE (e.g. Linda and Shane) but all of the Hart family will be in Phoenix. Bret says that his match in Phoenix will be one for the ages. Because he is the best there was, the best there is, and the best there ever will be!
Vince’s music hits. McMahon only utters one sentence: ?Bret, come Sunday at Wrestlemania, one way or another, you?re screwed?.
In the back Shawn Michaels is preparing for his match, and Pete Rose tells him good luck.
Somehow, another video package airs highlighting the Cena/Batista feud.
Shawn Michaels v. Kane
This match can only end via pinfall or submission. The match starts with Shawn ducking under Kane, and connecting with a chop. Kane quickly turns around the momentum and hits a huge vertical suplex. Shawn kicks out of the cover. Kane lifts him off the mat and lays in with a headlock. Shawn breaks free, but gets caught with another slew of punches. Kane whips Michaels into the corner. He bounces back into the ring and gets caught with a Side Walk Slam. Shawn kicks out.
Kane goes to the top rope, and leaps for the huge clothesline, but HBK counters into a crossface! Kane escapes, but gets caught with an ankle lock. Kane escapes from that as well. Shawn manages to knock Kane to the mat, and heads to the top turnbuckle. He leaps and hits his patented elbow drop! Michaels starts to tune up the band.
The lights go out and Kane has disappeared from the ring, and in his place is The Undertaker! Taker chokeslam Shawn Michaels! The gong hits and the lights go out again. The lights come back up and Kane is back in the ring!! He goes for the cover, but somehow Shawn kicks out! The crowd is going insane. Kane is shocked and lifts Shawn into the air for the Tombstone. Shawn escapes and hits Sweet Chin Music!
Winner via Sweet Chin Music: Shawn Michaels
A video package airs highlighting, surprise, surprise, the Cena/Batista feud.
WWE Hall of Fame Inductee
Bob Uecker ?Mr. Baseball?
Inducted by: Dick Ebersol
In the back Pete Rose is talking to Christian. Rose says it made him feel amazing that he was able to have Shawn beat Kane. He says his luck has finally changed here in the WWE. Rose opens the door to go back into his office, and a red light is eminating from the room! The Big Red Machine appears and grabs rose by the neck. Kane tells him that he luck has NOT changed!
Video package airs highlighting the happenings with the RAW and Smackdown Divas.
Eve, Gail Kim & Beth Phoenix w/ Kelly Kelly & Mickie James v. Maryse, Layla & Michelle McCool w/ Alicia Fox & Vickie Guerrero
The match starts with Michelle and Gail. Kim hits a crossbody and goes for the cover. Michelle kicks out. Gail goes for a roll up, but Michelle uniquely counters into a roll up of her own. Michelle McCool lifts Gail Kim up for the Faith Breaker (Style’s Clash) and this match is over.
Winners: Maryse, Layla & Michelle McCool
Just to mix things up, a video package airs highlighting the feud between Batista and John Cena.
Batista saunters his way down to the ring with a large security force in tow. He cuts his promo in essential darkness aside from lights in the ring. A very cool ambiance. He starts off his promo with a Scott Hall quote, ‘say hello to the bad guy?. Batista says that when he and Cena are in the ring, bad things happen to Cena. It is the same old story and nothing is going to change. The crowd starts up with some Cena chants. Batista says that they hate him because he tells the truth. He mocks Cena for some of his catchphrases. Batista tells the fans that they mean nothing to him. When he sees the fans, he doesn?t see people, he sees dollar signs.
Batista calls out John Cena, and Cena makes his way out to the ring. John says that he has already let the fans down. He says that he let them down by allowing Batista to walk out with the Title. The crowd starts a loud ?you can?t wrestle? chant. Cena uses it to illustrate that he has lost faith in himself, as have the fans. Cena says that throughout his career he has always given people something to believe in. And it was because at heart he always believed in himself.
Batista says that Cena has already beaten himself. He says that just like the fans, John is a common loser. Cena says that’s the first thing in weeks out of Batista’s mouth that makes sense. John IS just like all of these people. Batista has put himself above everyone else. Cena says that Dave actually thinks he is the animal. Cena says that he is the proof positive that Batista is bad at his job.
Batista says that Cena has been on his back for four weeks, that’s why he is good at his job. Cena says that is Batista was good at his job, he wouldn?t be in the ring surrounded by guards. If Batista was good at his job, Cena wouldn?t be standing in this ring at all. Cena says that he doesn?t see ?The Animal?, he sees Dave Batista. Dave Batista can be beat, and Dave Batista will be beat. At Wrestlemania he will take back the Title.
Cena says that if that’s all Batista has to say, then he is done. Cena looks to leave but Batista is riled up. He starts to fling insults at John. Batista pushes his way through the security which was a bad idea as John punches him square in the face! All hell breaks loose as Cena fights through all of the security. Batista flees the ring and heads up the ramp. John Cena stands triumphant in the ring as the thousands of fans in the arena begin to chant his name.
We are on the precipice of the biggest night in all of Sports Entertainment. It is also my favorite night of the year in wrestling as all the stars seem to align. Even when the show does not live up to its expected 5 star caliber expectations, there is a certain magic in the air. I find that it is one of, if not the only night, in which my fellow wrestling columnists take up and enjoy my mentality which has brought me to this point.
Enjoy the product! Got lost in the grand spectacle that is professional wrestling! It’s an absurd business at its very core. Never forget that despite all the glamour, this is a circus act. And I love it!
I was anticipating being able to share with you guys my predictions for Wrestlemania, but to be honest I?m really not sure on the majority of the matches. I?m really turning to you guys for help, especially for when I have to send in my picks for the WrestleView pool later in the week. After a perfect prediction record for Destination X, I?ve found myself at the top of the pack and don?t want to lose.
Here’s what I think I know ? Bret Hart is going to defeat Vince McMahon. Aside from that match, I?m not sure on anything. Hell, I actually think there is an off chance to The Undertaker might not win. I don?t think he?ll lose, but I won?t be shocked if the match ends in a Double Submission, Double Pin, or something along those lines. Nothing is certain in professional wrestling, never forget that.
Batista v. Cena could go either way. I think this depends on the final line up of the card. Traditionally a face wins the final match, but that’s not always certain. Especially since everyone and their mother is counting on an Edge victory, this could very well be the year for Batista to retain. He is nearing the end of his career, and he is a very hot heel right now.
Money in the Bank is always a tossup. My early gut told me that John Morrison would win the match, but uh, he is not in it which kind of threw me through a loop. I?m thinking of sticking with Christian for this match because now that ECW is once again defunct, he doesn?t really have much to do. This could be a great stepping point to elevate him to the top. Maybe turn heel and cash it in on Edge? The possibilities are endless.
Enough about Wrestlemania, I?ll write more about that later in the week. The fact that the show kicked off with Shawn Michaels shows what the company views as one of, if not the biggest, match of the card. I will not be surprised if this match ends up closing the night out. I?d almost be surprised if it wasn?t.
Really great promo which kicked off the night. Really cemented Shawn’s fortitude going into this match. They are doing a fantastic job of convincing the audience that if ANYONE can end the streak, it is Shawn. That is always the hardest part of the build up for Taker’s match at ?mania, and I think they have once again done a fantastic job.
I have to give a lot of credit to the way that they utilized Pete Rose tonight. They immediately had him come out at the top of the program and get involved. He has a history in the WWE, and they fully utilized his past. Honestly, you could not have a scripted a more perfect host with the connection to Kane to make that match at the opening. Well done.
Pretty good match between Miz and Morrison. It is amazing the growth of these performers over the past several years. Both started in Tough Enough and rose to enormous success. It’s always fun to see the two of them square off in the ring. I?m not a huge fan of having the match at ?mania be against R-Truth & Morrison simply because I think they are missing out on a huge opportunity to elevate the Hart Dynasty considered Bret’s role on the PPV. That aside, I do think they?ll put up a great effort, but I think the Champions should, and will, retain.
Does anyone appreciate the throw back to Saturday Night’s Main Event with creating icons for Superstars names? They are doing it for Wrestlemania this year, and I love it!
Is it bad that the second they announced there was a qualifying match for Money in the Bank, I figured it would be Kofi? Gee, once he came out I wasn?t too surprised by that victory.
The Handicap match was essentially what most viewers would expect going into it. It highlights the two matches that we will see at ?mania which will really serve to elevate some of the younger guys. As of the time of this recap being released, I?m leaning towards Dibiase and Sheamus walking out the victors. I just feel as though if HHH wins, it will really damage the rise of Sheamus. Most may not believe HHH would be willing to put the guy over, but in recent Wrestlemanias that is exactly what Hunter has done.
Bret Hart cut one of the best promos I have heard in quite some time. THAT is how you do it ladies and gentlemen. The passion, the energy, the content, it was all there. It accomplished everything it needed to do and I have to give Hart an incredible amount of credit for his delivery tonight. McMahon only said one sentence, and it could been any more succinct or powerful. I?m actually really looking forward to this match at Wrestlemania. If nothing else, it should be entertaining. And that’s why I watch the product.
How many freakin? video packages can they air for the Batista/Cena feud? For crying out loud, it was like every ten minutes. I?m actually really looking forward to the match itself, I was just laughing at the absurd amount of video packages. Whether you are a fan of either guy, or not, at the top of their game Cena and Batista are two of the best in the business. There match at Wrestlemania should not disappoint wrestling fans.
The Kane v. HBK match tonight was fantastic. By and far the best match of the night. It had every amazing thing that I love about this crazy sport. Good wrestling, a story, and just some crazy, crazy happenings. I personally loved The Taker and Kane place shifting supernatural angle. It was just fantastic.
I?m a big fan of the announcement of Bob Uecker into the WWE Hall of Fame. I think it is a great decision as he has certainly had some entertaining moments in the WWE. Not to mention that his role in the movie ?Major League? is one of my favorites of all time. Seriously, if you haven?t seen it you don?t know what you are missing.
That Rose/Kane segment was both expected and well done. RAW tonight is making me really excited and happy as a wrestling fan. I apologize if anyone thinks I?m being exuberantly enthusiastic but I can?t help it. I?ll be there to comment when the WWE makes mistakes, but I?ll also be there to congratulate them when they do things right. Tonight, nearly everything was done to perfection. Definitely the best RAW since I have started recapping. This show was an absolute A+ tonight from top to bottom.
Ok, maybe except for that Diva matchup. To be fair that felt like a time issue more than anything else. This feud is largely centered around Smackdown, and as such this match was more designed to highlight that fact and tell the viewers to see how it plays out this Friday night. Credit to Michelle for that really unique roll-up counter. I?ve never seen that before.
The final promo of the night finally saw fruition for all of those Cena/Batista video packages that aired throughout the evening. I liked the ambiance that Batista had when he cut his promo in the darkened ring. Also wearing the white shirt in contrast to the black shirts of the security guards was a really effective visuals. It is the little things like this which can make a good segment, great.
Cena has become one of the best wrestlers on the mic bar none. In particular his ability to start in a place of loss and weakness and then elevate himself to the top of his game is impressive. Regardless of whether you are a Cena fan, you have to appreciate the technical aspects of his character.
All in all, as I said before, just an A+ effort on the part of the RAW roster and creative tonight. Since this is the ?end of the wrestling calendar year? I?d also like to thank the WWE production staff from top to bottom for putting out such an amazing and crisp product. You guys are the real heroes of the WWE, and as a fan I really appreciate the hard work.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for Wrestlemania!
Match of the Night
Shawn Michaels v. Kane
3 Month Rolling Rankings (We?ll get there!); WWE Title Win 7, WWE Title Loss 6, Undercard Title Win 5, Undercard Title Loss 4, RAW Win 3, RAW Loss 2, RAW Appearance 1, PPV WWE Title Win 14, PPV WWE Title Loss 12, PPV Undercard Title Win 10, PPV Undercard Title Loss 8, PPV Win 6, PPV Loss 4, PPV Appearance 2.
February 22nd ? March 22nd 2010
1. Big Show ? 16 pts. [lw 1]
2. The Miz ? 14 pts. [lw 2]
3. Shawn Michaels ? 12 pts. [lw 3]
4. Randy Orton ? 11 pts. [lw 3]
4. Ted Dibiase ? 11 pts. [lw 5]
6. Cody Rhodes ? 10 pts. [lw 8]
7. John Cena ? 9 pts. [lw 5]
7. HHH ? 9 pts. [lw 8]
9. Evan Bourne ? 8 pts. [lw 5]
10. Mark Henry ? 7 pts. [lw 8]
10. MVP ? 7 pts. [lw 8]
10. Sheamus ? 7 pts. [lw NA]
10. Mr. McMahon ? 7 pts. [lw NA]
1. Maryse ? 15 pts. [lw 1]
2.Gail Kim ? 13 pts. [lw 2]
3. Kelly Kelly ? 10 pts. [lw 3]
4. Eve Torres ? 10 pts. [lw 4]
5. Alicia Fox ? 6 pts. [lw 5]
6. Jillian ? 4 pts. [lw 6]
7. Brie Bella ? 3 pts. [lw 7]
7. Katie Lea ? 3 pts. [lw 7]
7. Nikki Bella ? 3 pts. [lw 7]
So that’s RAW?. Love it? Hate it? Disagree with everything I said? Just want to chat wrestling? I?m always up for reading your thoughts and do my absolute best to reply to every message I get. Send them over to me at email@example.com.
Visit WrestleView daily for unique columns, recaps, audio and more including my columns That’s a Wrap and WrestleView Road Trip! Also this week will feature the debut of my NEW audio show for the WrestleView Radio Network featuring Anthony Valvo (Mr. V) entitled ?The Teacher’s Lounge?. If you?re a VIP member, don?t miss it!