On Monday, March 31, 2008 at 11:52 PM EST WWE RAW
March 31, 2008
Commentators: Jim Ross & Jerry “The King” Lawler
Reported By: Hunter Golden of WrestleView.com
And I get the hot tag from Adam Martin!
CM Punk v. Chris Jericho
The two exchanged some strikes before settling into a little headlock action. A little while after that they played around with some roll ups and back slides. COUNTERZ~!
Finally Punk rapped Jericho in the mug with a right hand and went for a quick cover attempt. Punk hit some not so nice elbows into the grill of Chris Jericho who responded with a not so nice kick to the chest and a cover attempt of his own. Jericho laid in a back breaker before Punk slowly rose to his feet and the two traded punches before Jericho flipped him head over feet with a knee to the gut.
Jericho dug an elbow in on the face during the cover attempt before gathering the straight edge sissy boy and flopping down on his mid section with a senton. Jericho hung Punk up on the middle of the top rope, but got greedy and was hung up himself trying to play around.
Punk quickly gathered him and hit a forearm to the face, but ended up getting back body dropped to the floor. Jericho went for a baseball slide dropkick but completely whiffed. Punk capitalized and nailed a big round house kick.
Back in the ring, the two traded big moves before settling into a striking exchange. Punk missed a drop kick before Jericho missed on the lion sault. Jericho came up lame on the landing and Punk pounced, hitting a knee breaker. Jericho tried to get something going but found himself stuck in Go 2 Sleep. Jericho fought out and went for the walls and once Punk broke free, Jericho tossed him into the ropes. Punk looked for a lariat, but Jericho ducked under it and caught him with the code breaker. Three seconds later, it’s all over.
Winner: Chris Jericho via pin fall
Another Flair segment aired.
Big Show’s music hit and he came out to the ring with a smile on his face, in spite of it all.
Show came out and congratulated Floyd Mayweather. But he kind of veered off of the beaten path and talked about how much Ric Flair meant to him. He said Flair looked him in the eye this weekend and told him he was the greatest big man he was ever in the ring with. Show almost started to cry. He talked a bit about being a monster before the Great Khali’s music hit and he came waltzing on down to the ring.
Show demanded he get out of his face. Show backed up and he and Khali squared off. The crowd’s chanting ‘Show’s gonna kill you’. Glorious. Khali backed down, apparently willing to fight, but only on his terms.
Santino is in the back doing copious amounts of squats. Maria came by and said she didn’t want to have this match with him. He said his skills were wasted with the WWE Divas and that they should be home cooking pasta and making babies. They were the lowest form of entertainment on the show. He said the match was still on. Maria slapped him and walked away.
Randy Orton v. Matt Hardy
The two started pummeling each other right from the get go and it didn’t take long for the action to spill to the outside. Hardy chucked Orton into the barricade and began laying in some brutally stiff elbows into Orton’s forehead before tossing him into the ring. He tossed him in the ring and hung him up on the top rope and dropped an elbow for a near fall.
Hardy laid in some shots and connected with a stiff lariat for a two count before Orton bailed in an attempt to regroup. Hardy went right after him and slammed Orton’s head off the ring steps before chucking him back into the ring and covering him for a two count.
Hardy hit a swinging neck breaker for a two count before pursuing Orton to the corner and laying in some shoulder shots. Orton countered an Irish whip and ate a back elbow on the follow through, but managed to slam Hardy to the mat on the second attempt. Both men are laid out on the mat.
We came back to Orton locking in a nasty looking head lock on Hardy. Hardy fought out but was quickly flat backed by the champion. Orton went into a speedier version of the Garvin stomp before slamming a knee down on Hardy’s jaw for a two count.
Hardy fought back with some rights, but got perched up on the top rope as Orton loaded up a super plex. Hardy fought him off and hit a moon sault for a two count. Hardy kept up the pressure and hit the clothesline/bulldog combo for another near fall. Matt connected with a side effect for another two count, but Orton still managed to kick out.
Hardy loaded up the twist of fate, but Orton countered out and hit a European upper cut. He went for a second, but Hardy countered with a backslide. Hardy went to the second rope but Orton again bailed to the outside, but Hardy came bounding off the apron, clattering into the champion. Hardy hit a twist of fate on the floor but Hardy’s too tempted to inflict pain and elects to drag him into the ring rather than let the count out happen.
He went to drag Orton in and Orton popped up out of nowhere and nailed and RKO for the win.
Winner: Randy Orton via pin fall
Dusty Rhodes was in the back giving his thoughts on the Nature Boy. He said every time they got into the ring, it was magic. He said there were legends and icons, but from this day forward, Ric Flair was, in his eyes, a national treasure.
JBL approached Randy Orton in the back. He took the belt out of Orton’s hands and looked at it before flopping it back in Orton’s lap.
Anything Goes Match
Maria v. Santino Marella
The two circled it up before Santino decked her. All the Divas are on their way down to the ring and here they come into the ring and now Cena’s getting hammered by like a million women. They held his legs apart and Maria dropped a huge head butt on his balls for the three count as the girls helped her hold him down.
Winner: Maria via pin fall
Ric Flair’s farewell address is next!
Flair’s music hits and here he comes.
Flair said he wrestled his very last match. He said he would never, ever again. He said he wasn’t sad. He said we shouldn’t be sad, either. He said we should be happy he had the greatest career in the history of pro wrestling. He said he lost last night, but he lost to a great, great, great wrestler and for one night, a better man. He said he raised more hell, had more fun and loved all of us every day of his life.
He said he’d been teared up all day long, but he’s off and he’s in a good place. He thanked the fans for their love and support and making him who he was today. His music hit and he strutted around some, and then Triple H’s music hit.
Triple H came down to the ring, and said if he thought the people were the only ones who wanted to say thank you, if he thought the millions watching on TV wanted to say thank you, well, then, he’s got another thing coming.
He said he had to come out to the ring and tell him something from the bottom of his heart, that he loved him. He got on his knees and bowed to Flair. Now, he said, that took care of him, but there were a few other guys who had something to say, too.
He said there was this one group of guys he talked to who were making his hand cramp up in a four. Tully Blanchard, JJ Dillon, Barry Windham and Arn Anderson came out to the ring with the four horseman music blaring. Batista’s music hit and he came out to the ring himself.
Good lord, it’s Ricky Steamboat. Harley Race. Jesus Christ, this is pretty cool. Greg Valentine is next and he’s rugged. Dean Malenko’s coming down and there’s more good matches in the ring at the age of 70 than you’ll ever see ever again. Cena, Jericho and a few others followed and Flair’s family came out last.
Michaels’ music hit and here he comes awkward moments. They have a very emotional embrace and Triple H makes a joke to lighten it up a bit about HBK and Flair’s matching watches. The entire WWE locker room comes out to the ringside area to say ‘thank you’.
We got a massive ‘thank you Ric’ Chant and in the way best befitting him, we all say goodbye to Ric Flair. RAW THOUGHTSShow Thoughts-- Well, thank god this weekend is over in a way. Just too emotionally draining. But it made it all the more memorable.
And to be honest, I just can’t possibly come up with any more words for Ric Flair. I’m done, drained, tapped, finished and every other conclusive word one can think to rip out of Webster’s book of words. That being said, it’s utterly inappropriate for me to NOT remark on it, so I guess I’ll just re-post my column I wrote about him HERE.
‘Often in society, those that have it and talk about it, we don’t like. But then again…”-- Tully Blanchard
I don’t think there’s a single guy in pro wrestling who is harder to write about than Ric Flair. I mean what exactly do you say that hasn’t been said already? Even parroting stuff is difficult because you’ve got to find a way to parrot it better. I’m definitely not all that creative. I am a Republican, after all.
Everyone’s counted their love for Flair in so many ways.
Everyone’s talked about Flair’s great matches with guys like Ricky Steamboat, Dusty Rhodes, Terry Funk, Harley Race, Sting, Triple H, Lex Luger, Vader, Terry Taylor, Kerry Von Erich, Butch Reed and pretty much every guy who was ever worth shaking a stick at.
Everyone’s talked about Flair’s, well, ‘flair’ for the dramatic. Who could forget him giving a training bra to Ricky Morton or dropping an elbow on Carlito’s half eaten apple? Who could possibly make sparkly, feathery robes, strutting and slapping more manly than Flair?
Everyone’s talked about the respect that they have for him out of the ring. Wrestlers have blathered on and on about lining up for the honor of lying down for him. His name is constantly bantered around as a potential candidate for the Governor’s office in North Carolina.
Heck, we’ve even talked about Flair’s more controversial side. Who could forget the ‘no one in the WWE does steroids’ quote on ESPN’s “Cold Pizza”? Or the mug shot after having a spot of road rage in January of 2006? Or calling Mick Foley a ‘stunt’ man? Even for his faults, we still love him.
We’ve talked about all the various components that make Flair what he is so talking about that is kind of pointless. I’m not two shakes away from an emotional break down, either, so talking about what Flair means ‘to me’ would be simply too melodramatic and frankly as unstable a written piece as I could possibly write. Flair’s last match is much more than a crappy, overly dramatic career retrospective. After all, putting him on a pedestal as I’m sure Flair would probably tell you, is missing the point.
So what’s Causin’ all this?
What makes Flair so compelling I suppose, isn’t the robes, the great matches, the training bras or the antics. It’s that despite all of that, Flair is probably the most normal and true to life character you’ve ever seen. We love him because in the most ridiculous way possible, he’s really just all of us.
Often in wrestling, it’s what characters do that separates them from the rest of us that is what draws us to them. But Flair wasn’t another character. What separated him from us actually drew him closer to him. He was the best and worst in all of us, in the most normal way possible.
Flair had a knack for making you want to hate him as much as you secretly wanted to be like him. He talked about having it all and we didn’t like it, but then again, we kind of did. Ric Flair represented all the things we like and dislike about ourselves, unearthing and prodding at a sense of insecurity that lies within everyone. We hated it on one hand, but on the other, we appreciated him for it.
Bringing with him the most disarming of personalities that only he could bring, He represented as many of the hopes and aspirations we tell our family about, but also the ones we didn’t. He represents the things we’re proud of, the things we’re not so proud of. Even the things we just don’t want anyone to know we want to be proud of.
Flair toppling the unstoppable Vaders and out classing the un-out-classable Ricky Steamboats of life are all what we hope to do at our best. Wrestling with our shirts on against Sting is sometimes how we feel when we’re at our lowest. Toughing it out and working with what we’ve got on Raw in the last few years is the best we can hope for when the deck is so obviously stacked against us.
Flair’s character lived the same life we all do but most importantly, the life we all want to have, coping with both what we’re capable of being and what we hope to avoid and, in the end, proud of who we are in spite of it all, comfortable in our own skin.
So to Ric Flair, thank you for being what we all wish we could be and showing that it can be possible. If a guy who grew up not knowing who his real parents were with a dumpy build can chase a dream, do it well, take some lumps and regardless of how wild the ride might be, still manage to be left standing on your own two feet happy with life despite his shortcomings, can do it, then so can we.
Throughout my life as a wrestling fan, I gladly ‘learned to live with it’. So much so, that it’s going to be tough as a wrestling fan to live without it. Indeed, Space Mountain, like life, may be the oldest ride in the park.
But it still has the longest line.
Thank you, Naitch.
Now for the rest of the show tonight, it was probably the best post-Wrestlemania Raw I can remember maybe all the way back to 2001 and the famous Rock-Austin cage match. Just a lot of fun stuff all up and down the card.
The JBL-Orton stuff is pretty neat-o and seeing tension mounting between Michaels and Batista could be something special.
I’m really liking this sort of new trend in WWE booking where it’s becoming far less constrained than it has in the past. Orton’s reign is very Flair-esque in a way. Last night’s big win just smacks of the same sort of vibe we got from the Starcade 88 match between Flair and Lex Luger, where Luger was built up for a whole year and in the end just didn’t have the goods to get it done. Orton’s certainly now the defacto top heel. A clean win over Triple H and John Cena, at the same time on the biggest show of the year no less, makes you that.
The matches were very fun tonight, and overall, I feel like we’re in a super place heading towards the build for Backlash.
Irregardless though, it’s hard to comment on much /* than Flair. I’m just going to stop writing.
Overall Grade: A
Cryme Tyme def. Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch
Paul London & Brian Kendrick def. Cody Rhodes & Hardcore Holly
Chris Jericho def. CM Punk
Randy Orton def. Matt Hardy
Maria def. Santino Marella
Who’s Hot, Who’s Not?
1. Ric Flair
2. Shawn Michaels
3. Triple H
4. Big Show
1. Randy Orton
3. William Regal
4. Santino Marella
Match of the Night: 8-Man Tag Match **
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 6-5, 13pts. (Last Week: WWE Champion) -- So needless to say, I’m pretty shocked we’re still calling Orton champion this week, but here we are. And a strong champion he be.
Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho 6-7, 14pts. (Last Week: 6)-- Jericho’s really becoming the working baby face of the show these days. He’s in good matches with a lot of the younger guys almost every single week and doing a really good job of shouldering the burden in the mid card. He’s looked like a million bucks.
1. Shawn Michaels 10-2, 16pts. (Last Week: 3) -- Well, ending Ric Flair’s career is a pretty colossal feather in the cap one would think. That 10-2 record is pretty darn impressive, too. That makes him good enough for the #1 spot.
2. Triple H 7-3, 11pts.(Last Week: 1) -- Triple H was like that lesbian professor we had in college who was all about taking things back and what not. He tried to take back the cross face. He tried to take back the tap out spot.. All of it was token stuff ripped out of the Benoit triple threat match a few years ago. Needless to say, Triple H ain’t the best lesbian.
3. John Cena 7-3, 9 points. (Last Week: 2) -- Cena was uncharacteristically not so with it last night, but then again, a couple of guys who’re always ’with it’ weren’t, either. Nonetheless, he’s the guy who took the fall in the big match, so he drops.
4. JBL 4-5, 9 points (Last Week: 7)-- I’m pretty relieved they put JBL over as strongly as they have the past few weeks. This guy’s got the chance to really be a great super heel, so I’m stoked they’re finally taking the time to do it. JBL-Orton would surely be too much mean-ness for one ring.
5. Ric Flair 6-1, 12 points (Last Week: 6) -- Really, I’m leaving him on the top 10 just because I can. I’ll fight whomever disagrees.
6. Umaga 4-6, 8 points (Last Week: 6) -- Another guy, like Cena, whose almost a given on every show that wasn’t so much last night. Nothing really happening from him tonight though.
7. Ken Kennedy 5-5, 11pts. (Last Week: 7)-- After a more or less unspectacular performance in money in the bank last night, Kennedy has a relatively quiet night tonight.
8. Jeff Hardy 5-5, 9pts. (Last Week: 8)-- Suspended
9. Carlito 5-4, 8 pts. (Last Week: 9) -- Not in action
10. Santino Marella 2-2, 2 points (Last Week: 10) -- Poor guy got pinned by a girl. Jesus christ, Santino. He stays because I feel THAT bad for him.
Cody Rhodes 2-2, 2 points (Last Week: NR)
Paul Burchill 2-0, 4 points (Last Week: NR)
Jerry Lawler 0-1, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Lance Cade 0-3, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Hardcore Holly 3-2, 3pts. (Last Week: 910
Paul London 1-2, 1 points(Last Week: NR)
Brian Kendrick, 1-5, 1 points (Last Week: NR)
Trevor Murdoch 0-4, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Super Crazy 0-3, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
William Regal 0-2 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Harry Smith 0-1, 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)