Ric Flair is in the ring to address Chris Jericho. He said on behalf of Jimmy Snuka, Rowdy Roddy Piper and Ricky Steamboat, he accepted their challenge for the 3 on 1 handicap match at Wrestlemania. He said he’d be in their corner. He went to talk ore before someone cut him off. Its Chris Jericho on the Titan Tron. Jericho’s in the WWE production truck. He said he was going to explain what they were getting into it. He said this wasn’t a movie. This was real. He said Micky Rourke had the luxury of yelling ‘cut’, sip on a ‘cappuccino’ and think about how he’d blow the Oscars. He said that movie gave Flair the false impression, and impression that people like Flair and Piper and Snuka and Steamboat still matter when its obvious they don’t.
Jericho said he knew the legends would accept his challenge. He said all the legends were afraid if they stayed out of the spotlight that they’d be forgotten and washed up. He said they were afraid that they’d be a nobody like these hypocrites in the stands. He said it was better to be a nobody as opposed to dragging a good name through the mud. He said what he’d do to the legends would be ‘hard to watch’. He said he’d keep on going and going and going. He said Mickey Rourke would be sitting ringside watching the carnage that he was responsible for. He said his friends would be remembered by a whole new generation of people as the men that were washed up and that got beat up and euthanized by Chris Jericho.
Flair said he was wrong. He said they refused to be told when its over by little punks. They love being respected for the accomplishments they’ve achieved. Flair said he’ll be so proud to stand by his Hall of Fame Brothers, his peers and most importantly… his friends, as they beat him. Flair said he’d look forward to standing there with Mickey Rourke and giving a big ‘woooo’- then Jericho decked him.
Jericho threw him to the outside and laid a huge beat down on Flair, busting him open. He threw him into the ring steps, hit him with the top of the announce table and hit a stiff camera shot. Flair’s clothes were ripped and he lay motionless on the outside of the ring. Jericho took his watch off, placed it on the ring steps and stomped on it.
Jeff Hardy v. Dolph Ziggler
Jeff rushed Dolph to the corner but got caught with a knee lift trying a jaw breaker. Ziggler hit him with some punches before going for a chair on the outside. Jeff d rop kicked his legs out f rom under him before picking up the chair and setting it up and going for his splash. Ziggler dodged the move and picked up a trash can and bonked Hardy over the head with it.
Ziggler set the trash can up and perched Hardy on the top rope. Hardy reversed the hold and hit an inverted suplex through the trash can before hitting a twist of fate. Hardy grabbed a chair and hammered Ziggler four or five times with it before hitting one more Twist of Fate and a swanton for the win.
Winner: Jeff Hardy via pin fall
John Cena has a ‘get well’ card for Vickie. Its pretty darn funny.
Kane, Mark Henry, Finlay & Shelton v. Christian, MVP, CM Punk & Kofi Kingston
MVP and Shelton started us off. They countered a bunch of stuff before MVP finally hit an overhead throw and tagged CM Punk. Punk hit a kick and a snap mare before laying in some kicks to Shelton’s back. Shelton hit a jaw breaker before tagging in Finlay. Punk reversed a whip and hit his knee to the face, but Finlay caught him coming in and went to a d rop toe hold.
We came back to Kane bullying CM Punk, but he was able to tag Christian. Christin hit a nice string of offense. Eventually all hell broke lose and everyone got to hit a big signature spot. Finally Shelton and Christian ended up in the middle of the ring together and Christian was able to hit the unprettier for the win.
Winners: Christian, MVP, CM Punk & Kofi Kingston via pin fall
A ’12 Rounds’ promo aired.
Todd Grisham is with Randy Orton. Orton said Triple H was a coward. Orton said he put his hands on Stephanie knowing full well who she was married to. He kicked Vince because he felt like it. Doesn’t sound like a coward does it? Orton said Triple H is trying to up the ante. He said he’d call Triple H and raise him. What he’d do tonight would prove that he wasn’t a coward.
Edge v. The Big Show
Both sort of pleaded with Vickie before the match. Vickie seems displeased with both. Cena popped up on the titan tron and instigated some more.
Edge jumped on Big Show and tried to hit some punches, but Big Show pushed him off. Show hit him with a big head butt which caused Edge to roll out to the ringside area. Show brought Edge back in the hard way before taunting him a little bit and hitting a big old right clubbing hand. Show kept on talking to Vickie while he laid in huge body shots on the rated R superstar.
Show followed Edge to the outside and chopped him hard before tossing him back into the ring. Show tried getting in the ring, but Edge pounced desperately and tried to get in some offense aimed at the leg. Edge hit a DDT and tried some mounted punches on Show but was easily thrown off. Show picked him up and military pressed Edge onto the top rope before tying him up in the ropes.
Vickie pleaded with Show not to hit the right hand and Edge is shrieking like a girl. Chavo stepped into the ring to try and stop the non-sense and that stopped the match. Big Show lined the punch up before Chavo hit him. Show stalked him before Edge inadvertently speared his cousin in law. Show hit the KO punch on Edge and then went to the outside to stare at Vickie before he walked off to the back.
Winner: No Contest
Rey Mysterio v. William Regal
Regal went right at Rey and looked for an arm wringer. Mysterio hit a take down and a monkey flip to break the hold. Rey hit an enzeguiri. He looked for a 619 before Regal bailed. Rey went to the outside and got distracted by JBL and Regal blindsided him. Regal went on the assault, hitting an Irish whip and connecting with a big right hand for a two count.
Regal slapped on a half nelson before laying in more of a beating in the corner. Rey tried to kick his way back out of the corner but was met with a knee to the face. Rey hit a furious kick though, playing possum and then connected with some more, sending Regal into the ropes. Rey hit the 619 and a big splash for the win.
Winner: Rey Mysterio via pin fall
After the match JBL got up and clapped but Rey hit him with a d rop kick in the mush.
The Undertaker is in the ring. He said Michaels’ obsession with beating him at WM has blurred fantasy and reality. Taker said it was true, he never beat him one on one. But need he remind him, the last time they fought, he spent the next five years at home in pain trying to recover. He says he’s not afraid of him, but on April 5th, we’d find out. At Wrestlemania, when you stand across the ring f rom him and you question your own faith, and he will… just remember, it was him who opened the gates to hell.
Michaels popped up on the Titan Tron and they played an awesome video of him in a grave yard recapping all of Taker’s victories at WM. He then came to a tombstone that had 16-1 written on it and kicked it into the grave and buried it, saying all things must come to an end and buried it.
Santino Marella is in the ring with Beth Phoenix and Rosa Mendez. He said he thought he knew who’d be the winner. Himself. He was assaulted by Mickie James last week. If he beat her with one hand tied behind his back, he’d be allowed into the Divas battle royal.
Santino Marella v. Mickie James
I can’t believe I just wrote that ^^.
Santino tries a leg sweep but missed. Mickie slapped him on the butt and tied both his hands behind his back. He hit a leg sweep and then tried to roll over Mickie. He’s now trying to climb the ropes. Beth accidentally causes him to fall off (which is a site) and he gets flat kicked in the head by Mickie James.
Winner: Mickie James by a lot
Santino is beside himself after the match. He’s not man enough to be Mrs. Wrestlemania.
Triple H v. Randy Orton & Ted Dibaise
TONS of brawling started things off leading to Triple H going under the ring for his hammer. When he lifted the apron, Cody Rhodes popped out and began pummeling him. They ripped out hand cuffs and after a major scuffle, were able to cuff Triple H to the ring ropes.
We were on high drama the rest of the time. Orton got on the mic and said, there was only one person who could save Triple H and she knew who she was. They beat Triple H down and went to hit him with the sledge hammer when Stephanie McMahon came running down to the ring. She was in tears and pleaded with Orton to not hurt her husband. Triple H pleaded with her to get away but she wouldn’t. Orton had a crazed look on his face and when Stephanie saw it she attempted to walk away but Cody and Ted had her cut off. Orton pulled her through the ropes and DDT’d her just outside the reach of Triple H. Triple H d ropped to his knees in anger and tears. Orton was on his knees coiled and drooling. He feigned hitting Stephanie with the sledge hammer, but instead, turned her over and kissed her. He picked up the sledge hammer and after another stare down with Triple H, clocked him with the sledge hammer. He stared both down for a long while before slowly leaving the ring.
Show Thoughts— I really felt like Raw needed the shock paddles to more or less resuscitate a Wrestlemania build that had lost some momentum over the last few weeks. Its a manic relationship I have with this Wrestlemania, I love it one week and are really tepid the next, but this week really might have sold this show as a whole, as I felt everything that needed to be hit was hit.
To start, the Orton-Stephanie-Triple H beat down was one of the most dramatically intense scenes I can remember ever seeing on WWE television. Everyone just hit their ‘spot’ perfectly, especially with regards to facial expressions. I often drone on and on about facial expressions, but I don’t feel like I really communicate why they’re so important as much as I should. So here, I’ll digress for a minute and do so.
Wrestling is essentially communicating emotion. Its not up for interpretation. Wrestlers to A at B point to get C reaction. Watching a wrestlers face often tells the story itself. Good wrestling matches communicate emotions and themes better than bad wrestling matches, that while the effort is there to communicate, its not done as effectively. Facial expressions are perhaps the easiest way of communicating those emotions. Expressions of sadness, triumph, struggle, anger, intensity, etc. all help us easily step into the world where our disbelief is suspended so to speak. For example, its a big part of what ‘made’ the Umaga-Cena match that everyone raves about f rom the Royal Rumble in 2007. f rom Umaga’s craziness, to Estrada’s ‘frustrated’ faces, to Cena’s communicating the sense of exhaustion, disbelief, relief, urgency and intensity, what helped make that match so memorable were those expressions.
Sometimes, both Triple H and Randy Orton can be a little hit and miss. Orton likes going over the top sometimes, while Triple H, as a heel almost never does, but as a face, almost always does. Tonight, everyone knocked it out of the park. I’m a guy who watches wrestling like I watch baseball stats these days, so its hard to get me to react, but this certainly did. Orton’s done ‘crazy face’ before… but that wasn’t really crazy face. Tonight… we saw crazy face. f rom the kiss to Stephanie, to drooling after the DDT.. I mean c’mon. His staring at Triple H, just like they were the only two in the ring. The angle drew you in. Triple H falling to his knees looking TOTALLY helpless, if only for a few seconds before flipping back into exhausted, unrelenting rage. THAT is great pro wrestling and THAT is how you kick start an angle.
The Flair-Jericho thing REALLY needed a shot in the arm tonight and got it in a good way tonight, with Jericho issuing Flair a receipt for all the humiliation thus far. From the straight up potato he planted on Flair’s face, to the camera shot and stomping on Flair’s ‘retirement watch’, that was pretty awesome stuff. I know people have issues with why someone didn’t save him, or that Flair didn’t fight back, or whatever. To me, its fine. He needed to take a beating only the way Flair can. To carry this to Mania, it needs heat. Not drama.
The Taker-Michaels feud has been consistently good, but they really knocked it out of the park tonight. I know I’ve been a tad harsh towards Michaels in the past, and I don’t think he’s quite as legendary or awesome a worker as many do, but what he DOES do well, he does really well. The problem is they never STICK with that. The way they’re setting this whole match up, just seems to be playing to a big beat down on Michaels and I’ll love it. He’s always best when he bites off more than he can chew. It just draws attention to the cool brashness and cockiness I like and enjoy about the character, rather than getting over his ‘toughness’ which I don’t’ think is really the route to go with him. So hats off there as well.
The Edge-Cena-Vickie-Cena stuff has settled into a decent enough groove, and while some don’t like it, I think f rom a booking standpoint, it works. When you’ve got three fairly intense headlining feuds, you need to have some fun and this one has been a lot of fun. Coupled with Santino’s antics tonight and a fun quickie match between Rey and Regal, tonight was a really fun night. They definitely jump started a build that really needed it.
Overall Grade: B+
Jeff Hardy def. Dolph Ziggler
Christian, MVP, CM Punk & Kofi Kingston def. Shelton Benjamin, Kane, Finlay & Mark Henry
Big Show def. Edge
Rey Mysterio def. William Regal
Mickie James def. Santino Marella
Who’s Hot, Who’s Not?
1. The Undertaker
2. Triple H
3. Shawn Michaels
4. Rey Mysterio
1. Randy Orton
2. Chris Jericho
3. Vickie Guererro
Match of the Night: Rey Mysterio v. William Regal *3/4
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
Intercontinental Champion: JBL 1-4, 4 points (Last Week: 6)- – I hope the commentary is a ‘sign’ of things to come. With wrestling in desperate need of strong commentators, I’d really like to see JBL back in the fold behind the announce table.
1. Randy Orton 4-2-1, 9 pts. (Last Week: 1)— I really can’t say enough about Orton this week. He was sensational and delivered one of the best hate-filled Raw segments in recent memory. Very strong week for Orton.
2. Shawn Michaels 6-2, 10 pts. (Last Week: 2) — Michaels really delivered with his promo. Someone out-mind games-ing the Undertaker is pretty interesting, especially when that person is five feet smaller. Very cool promo and the one program that’s gone off virtually hitch-free.
3. John Cena 5-4-1, 12 points. (Last Week: 3)— This show smacks of the 2000 program between the Rock, Kurt Angle and Triple H. Obviously here, Cena’s is in the role of the Rock, doing the instigating. Genuinely funnier stuff f rom him this week.
4. Rey Mysterio 7-5, 13 Points (Last Week: 4) — Decent quickie match with Willliam Regal, and showing some ‘tude towards the outgoing JBL.
5. Chris Jericho 2-4 3 pts. (Last Week: 5)— The beat down tonight really injected some hugely needed energy. I know some people were complaining about the lack of logic of no one coming out to get Flair, but really, this feud needs heat. Not drama and saves. That and you can’t have a ‘run in’ when Jimmy Snuka clearly can’t run.
6. CM Punk 6-5, 11 Points (Last Week: 6)— Quiet night for Punker. Pretty pedestrian face in peril segment during the tag match, but that was about it.
7. Kane 4-5, 5 Points (Last Week: 7) — Didn’t add to or take away f rom much of anything this week. Just more or less ‘there’.
8. Kofi Kingston 4-3, 6 points (Last Week: 10) — The lion’s share of the six man revolved around Kofi’s big top rope d rop kick to spark the big ‘free for all’ that would follow and take the match home. Thankfully, Kofi hit the move this time, as opposed to the botches we’ve had in the past.
9. Cody Rhodes 4-1, 4 points (Last Week: 8) — Cody under the ring makes me think of old Tommy Rich hiding under the ring to come help Paul Heyman and Austin Idol cut Jerry Lawler’s head. Beautiful stuff.
10.Ted Dibiase, Jr. 3-0-1, 3 Points (Last Week: 9)— Ted’s gotta stop looking at Randy during the entrances. Like he kept on looking over as if to say ‘what’s he doing? I hope I’m doing the ominus, scary walk the right way.’
Mike Knox 3-3 4 points (Last Week: NR)
William Regal, 3-5, 4 points (Last Week: NR )
Batista 0-0, 0 Points (Last Week: NR)
Santino Marella 0-2, 0 points (Last Week:NR)
Sim Snuka 1-0, 1 Point (Last Week: NR)
JTG 2-4, 2 points (Last Week: NR)
Big Shaad 2-3 2 points (Last Week: NR)
Jamie Noble 0-2, 0 Points (Last Week: NR)
Charlie Haas 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Dolph Ziggler 0-3, 0 Points (Last Week: NR)
Jerry Lawler 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Jim Duggan 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: NR)