Are you ready? Then stop questioning your heart and join me, because it is time for Monday Night RAW!
It is I, David Stephens, filling in for Hunter Golden tonight. I last helmed RAW for the eventful January 4th edition which included the return of Bret ?Hitman? Hart! Please feel free to check out my other work for WrestleView which includes the weekly ECW (now NXT) Recaps, as well as my columns ?That’s a Wrap? & ?WrestleView Road Trip?. It’s always a pleasure to write for the WrestleView audience, so I hope you enjoy my report tonight.
The show starts off with the NEW World Heavyweight Champion, Chris Jericho, making his way down to the ring. He proudly proclaims that he is ?going to Wrestlemania?! Jericho points out that after being assaulted by Mike Tyson a month ago, he claimed he would never return to RAW. However, due to his performance last night at the Elimination Chamber PPV, he has changed his mind. The very cocky Champion puts over the fact that he beat The Undertaker twice in a row. He keeps repeating over and over again that he is fact, The World Heavyweight Champion, and he is going to Wrestlemania!
Edge’s music hits and it looks like we may be getting his much anticipated announcement. Instead of hitting the ramp, Edge appears from behind the ring and spears Jericho! Edge grabs the mic and says that Jericho is going to Wrestlemania, and Jericho is going to be facing him! It is now official, Jericho vs. Edge at Wrestlemania 26.
After they both clear the ring, John Cena’s music fills the arena and he hits the ring. Last night he won the RAW Elimination Chamber match and won the WWE Title, but shortly thereafter lost it to Batista in a spontaneous match created by Mr. McMahon. Cena says to add him to the list of guys that Vince McMahon has screwed. Cena is mad as hell because of Vince creating the match with Batista which cost him the Championship. Cena says that because he was Champion, he wants a rematch, and he wants it right now.
?No Chance in Hell? hits the airwaves, as McMahon comes out on the entrance ramp with mic in hand. McMahon says that his decision was based purely on business. Vince did not want to mess up his manicured hand by having to fight Bret Hart, so he made a deal with Batista. If Batista scratched his back, he?d scratch Batista’s. McMahon says there is nothing personal, just business. So McMahon gave Batista the Title in return for his service.
Cena demands that he have his rematch right here on RAW. Vince points out that Cena is not the only one that deserves a rematch, another Champion fell last night, and that man is Sheamus. Vince asks who should have the match, Sheamus or Cena? Oh, and Batista won?t be defending until ?Mania. McMahon says that Cena will have a match tonight. If Cena wins, he gets the Title shot, if he loses, Sheamus will get the shot. Cena says that he will take the match, and asks for the identity of his opponent. McMahon answers ? Batista!
WWE Divas Championship
Gail Kim v. Maryse
This match which was supposed to be on the PPV last night was postponed and made a Tag Team match, so we are getting the Finals of the Divas Tournament right now. It starts off with Kim using her speed to dodge Maryse’s attacks. Gail goes for a quick cover, but Maryse kicks out. Maryse is whipped into the corner, and is caught with a shoulder to the gut. Maryse does not let this phase her as she grabs Gail’s hair. Kim goes for her finisher, but Maryse counters and throws her to the mat. Kim goes for a quick roll-up, but Maryse kicks out.
Gail now heads to the top rope with her back to the ring. Maryse runs to the turnbuckle as Kim leaps, and Gail catches nothing but air. Both Divas are on the mat as the referee begins the 10 count. Maryse is the first to her feet, but Gail snaps a quick roll up pin. Maryse kicks out.
Gail again heads for the corner, this time ascending to the second rope. Maryse pulls her down hard, and Gail Kim lands painfully on the second rope. The momentary distraction allows Maryse to hit the French Kiss. This match is over.
Winner & NEW Divas Champion: Maryse
We are back live and there is a mechanical bull set up in the arena. Apparently the Divas will be giving it a ride later tonight. That’s definitely PG.
In the back Ty Murray and wife Jewel are talking with the Divas. Jewel has crutches, and says that she hurt her ankle on the mechanical bull. Jillian Hall comes into the room. She says that she is quite the singer herself and can sing better than Jewel. She starts to sing, and Jewel does a bit of the song to show Jillian how it is supposed to go. Jillian questions if Jewel is trying to show her up. Jewel takes the advice of her friend Sharon Osbourne, and slaps Jillian across the face!
We head to the locker room where Orton is talking to Cody Rhodes. Cody says that he knew Ted Dibiase would try and betray Orton, and apologizes. Orton says the problem rest in the fact that Orton did too good of a job training them. He says that he asked for a Six-Man match later tonight, to show that Legacy is on the same page. He asks Cody to tell Dibiase that he is sorry. Orton walks away, and Ted walks up to Cody. He asks how it went with Orton. Cody replies ?too well?. Ted asks Cody if he is still on board with the plan, and Cody answers yes.
Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne & Yoshi Tatsu v. Randy Orton, Ted Dibiase & Cody Rhodes
Yoshi has joined RAW as one of the free agents from ECW! In fact, his entire Tag Team is made up of former ECW competitors. The match starts with Tatsu and Dibiase. Yoshi uses his speed to run around Ted, and drops him into an arm bar. Yoshi tags in Evan Bourne. Ted hits a suplex on Bourne and then tags in Rhodes. Cody comes in looking cocky, but quickly gets caught by a kick from Bourne. Evan slams him to the mat and then heads to the top rope. Rhodes runs over to counter and picks up Evan. Bourne finds himself met with a hard wheelbarrow slam. Cody goes for the cover, but Bourne kicks out.
We come back as Dibiase and Bourne are in the ring. Ted hits a hard clothesline on Evan and goes for a cover. Evan kicks out. Ted tries to lift Bourne into the air, but Evan counters by falling knees first onto Ted. Evan gets to the corner and tags in Kofi. Kingston is on fire as he lays out with Ted with kicks and a dropkick. Kofi tries to bounce off the ropes, but gets hit with a cheap shot from Orton. Ted tags Randy into the match. Orton goes right after Kofi and hits three consecutive scoop slams. Kofi gets to his feet, only to be caught with an European Uppercut. Randy goes for a headlock. Kofi comes close to escaping, but gets hit with a ?vintage? backbreaker, as Michael Cole so aptly put it.
Cody Rhodes tags himself in as Orton is still in the ring. Apparently Orton does not take to kindly to this as he sets Dibiase up for a suspended DDT. Dibiase is confused and runs to the outside where Orton has headed. He starts to angrily question Orton’s rational. Instead of responding, Orton hits him with a RKO!
Yoshi is tagged into the ring and hits his patented rolling snapmare, kick combo on the stunned Superstar. Yoshi tags in Bourne who heads directly for the corner. Evan leaps and connects with the Shooting Star Press, and picks up the win.
Winners via Shooting Star Press: Tatsu, Bourne & Kingston
Video package airs highlighting the drama between HBK & The Undertaker.
Shawn’s music hits, and the Heartbreak Kid, looking very serious, makes his way down to the ring. HBK says that he did what he needed to do. He understands that it wasn?t a popular decision with the fans, but he can live with that. Shawn says that he is not just hoping for a reaction from The Undertaker, he is counting on.
The lights go out in the arena, and The Undertaker’s music hits! The fog rolls, and the fire burns, as the Deadman makes his way out onto the entrance ramp. The Undertaker has his old gothic rob on, and no Cowboy hat. He does not looked pleased, and is quite demonic. He enters the ring and says that Shawn wanted his attention, and now he has it. Shawn says that despite the accolades that people gave him for his match against Undertaker, he made one mistake and he lost the match. HBK says that is something he just can?t live with. Despite begging Taker for a rematch, the Deadman refused and ignored his plea. THAT is the reason that he interfered in the match last night, and cost Taker the Title.
Shawn says that if Undertaker wants his revenge, he needs to face Shawn at Wrestlemania. Taker picks up the mic and simply says, ?you?re on, I accept?. Shawn goes to leave the ring, but Taker adds, ?on one condition?. Taker says that Shawn needs to put up something as well this year. If Shawn wins, he ends the streak. BUT if Taker wins, then Shawn’s career is over! Shawn accepts, and the match is signed. Shawn Michaels v. The Undertaker, The Streak v. Shawn’s Career.
In the back we see Christian getting prepared for a match. Yes, it is official. Captain Charisma has signed with Monday Night RAW!!
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Christian v. Carlito
Christian is on RAW!! Just needed to add a couple of more exclamation points to emphasize my excitement. Hell, I?m a wrestling fan, so let me have my moments of fandom. We see a quick video of his mentee on WWE NXT, Heath Slater. Heath puts himself over and says that they will be a force to be reckoned with. Carlito’s mentee Michael Tarver also gets a brief video spot to put himself over.
Christian and Carlito go right after each other at the offset. Carlito backs Christian into the corner and thrusts his shoulder into the former ECW Champ. Carlito charges at Christian, but gets thrown into the air and lands face first on the mat. Carlito seeks the second rope for comfort, but Christian jumps on his back to apply pressure. He follows this up with a punch to the face. Christian heads for the top rope and leaps for a crossbody, but misses. Christian is not phased as he hits Carlito with a slam and goes for a cover. Carlito kicks out.
Christian again heads to the corner, but Carlito pulls him to the mat and tries for a cover. Christian kicks out. Christian looks to be going for the Killswitch, but Carlito counters and throws Christian into the ropes. Christian bounces back and tries again, but again is countered. This time Carlito is whipped into the corner, and that is the impact that Christian needed to momentarily stunned Carlito. Christian connects with the Killswitch and qualifies for the Money in the Bank Match at Wrestlemania!
Winner via Killswitch: Christian
Up next, the very PG Divas Bull riding contest
Jewel & Ty Murray make their first actual appearance in front of the live crowd. Jewel says that Wrestling is a very dominating sport, just like bull riding. She says that it is time to bring the girls into the mix. Ty says to bring out the girls, and away we go.
First up is Eve Torres. Not even sure how to recap this. She lasts the whole 8 seconds. Good endurance there Eve. Kelly Kelly is up next. She also lasts all the way to the end. Either this bull is set on easy, or the Divas are really experienced at riding?. nevermind. The Bella Twins ride double, cause, why not? They also last the whole time.
The music of the Unified Tag Team Champions hits and The Miz & Big Show make their way to the ramp. Miz says that he is ashamed that this is what the show has devolved to. Miz asks if a yodeling competition is up next. Jewel says that her yodeling would destroy him (lol!). Big Show says that anybody could ride that bull. So Ty challenges him to give it a try. Big Show says he is the world’s largest athlete, and he can clearly do it. Ty says that the competition is Show riding the bull, not vice versa.
Big Show gives it a try, and well? he fails. Utterly (yeah I totally just made a cow pun). Miz tries to tell Show not to let it get to him. Meanwhile Ty says that the bull is taunting him. Believe it or not, Show starts to yell at the bull. This just got interesting. Big Show hits the knockout punch on the bull, and falls over in the process!
Jewel and Murray are laughing and announce that The Tag Champs are going to have to face the team that defeated them last week. That match is up next!
Unified Tag Team Championship Match
The Big Show & The Miz v. MVP & Mark Henry
In the back we see Daniel Bryan (aka Bryan Danielson of ROH and Indy fame) watching the match on the monitor. The Miz is Daniel’s mentor on tomorrow’s debut show of WWE NXT. It is worth noting that they actually plugged Bryan a lot during last night’s PPV. It’s safe to say that the WWE has high hopes for the international wrestling star.
The Miz and MVP start off the match. MVP throws Miz to the mat, so Miz tags in Big Show. MVP goes right after Big Show, barely letting him into the ring. Big Show regains his composure and spears MVP. Show then exposes MVP’s chest and gives him a hard chop.
The Commentator’s take a moment to note that there is a lot of controversy and complaints online about the fact that The Miz is mentoring Daniel Bryan. They are REALLY building up the interaction between these two.
Back in the ring we see that MVP has tagged in Mark Henry. MVP continues on the attack as Big Show tags in The Miz. Show runs over to MVP’s side and knocks him out of the ring. Meanwhile, behind his back, Mark Henry has picked up Miz and connects with the World’s Strongest Slam. He goes for the pin, but Big Show breaks up the count. Show hits his knockout punch, and then Miz covers to pick up the win.
Winners & STILL Unified Tag Team Champions: The Miz & Big Show
Up next: Bret Hart Update
The next inductee for the Hall of Fame is announced. It is none other than the women who ended the Fabulous Moolah’s near 3 decade run as women’s Champion? Wendi Richter! She will be inducted by Rowdy Roddy Piper.
Michael Cole & King update us on the state of Bret Hart. For those not aware, last week he had his leg injured as a car backed into his limo. The gist of the injury is that his leg and ankle are messed up. Vince McMahon is in the back and says that he is sorry for what happened to Bret. He says that he was actually considering facing Bret at ?mania, until the tragic accident. McMahon oddly assures the fans that he had nothing to do with the accident that occurred last week. He invites Bret back to RAW next week to give a proper farewell to the WWE Universe.
King announces that Hart has accepted McMahon’s offer and will be on RAW next week for a farewell. Also next week, the guest hosts are Cheech & Chong. Announced match for next week is Randy Orton v. Ted Dibiase!
John Cena v. Batista
This match is set to begin just after the 11pm mark. Cena is the first to enter the ring. Batista’s music takes a fair amount of time to hit. Batista then walks very slowly to the ring. He even pauses at the ring steps to pull up his knee pads. The bell rings and Cena charges directly at Batista. Batista is hanging on to the ropes, so the referee keeps Cena away. Batista then walks into Cena and knees him in the groin. The referee calls for the bell!
Winner via DQ: John Cena
After the match Batista applauds Cena for ?earning? the right to face him at ?Mania. Batista then lays into Cena with a series of punches and kicks. Batista is smiling as he heads back up the ramp. Batista then turns around and heads back into the ring. He picks up John and throws him shoulder first into the steel post. Cena falls to the outside, and Batista follows him out. Batista throws Cena into the barricade. Batista then moves the rings steps, and picks Cena up to ram his spine into the steel post.
Batista once again heads up the ramp with a smile on his face as medics run down to help Cena. Batista then heads back down to the ring again, and this time grabs a steel chair. He comes back over to Cena and hits him over the back. After several moments, Cena struggles to get to his hands and knees, but Batista just lays in another chair shot for his troubles. Batista hits yet another shot square against the former Champ’s back. Cena is trying with all of his might to get up, but Batista hits him again with the chair. Batista heads up the ramp again, with a sick smile on his face as we go off the air.
I have long been a fan of the Guest Host concept for RAW. I know that there are a lot of people that love it, and just as many that hate it. You can count me as a fan. I seriously haven?t laughed so hard in recent memory as I did with that Jerry Springer segment last week. At the time I stated that it was the best segment in RAW history. Admittedly that might be a SLIGHT exaggeration, but man it was awesome! Which brings us to tonight’s guest hosts. Jewel & Ty Murray. As often in the case of decisions by the WWE, I take up the mantra of ‘sure, why not??. I knew very little about Jewel, and pretty much nothing about Ty Murray. I?m not someone who enters into matters of wrestling in a pessimistic state, because I think that is crap. If you make up your mind that something is going to be terrible, then that’s probably what you are going to get.
A lot got accomplished in the first 15 minutes of the show tonight. ?Tis a generally universal complaint that there is too much talking in wrestling. But they essentially established the matches for Wrestlemania so it worked out well enough. All 4 guys were really fired up which set a decent tone for the evening.
The Divas Championship match was quick, but decent enough. I know the cool thing to do right now is to hate on Gail Kim’s skill, but she wrestled pretty well tonight. Both women looked pretty good in the ring and utilized their given time well. Maryse makes sense as the Champion, even though I personally would have liked to have seen Gail Kim get a run with the belt.
Despite my plea for optimism, the first segment with Jewel and Murray came off as a waste. I don?t even have the slightest idea what they are there to promote tonight. Can someone please tell me how Divas riding a mechanical bull is in anyway PG? Not that I?m complaining, I just have no idea how they pass some of these things off.
I?m pretty excited to see that Yoshi Tatsu has been picked up by RAW. He is a very talented Superstar that had some very good matches over on ECW. The Six Man match was fairly straightforward, but told the story which was needed. Now that Legacy has turned on each other for the 30th time, I?m hoping that they can accept that the audience gets it, and move forward with the storyline.
The long anticipated match is now official. It is Career v. Streak as Michaels will take on the undefeated Deadman at Wrestlemania. This feud has more build than any I can remember in recent memory. If you don?t think this match will be an instant classic, then you are either a fool, or seriously misguided. I?m already looking forward to what they do to top last year’s extraordinary effort.
Captain Charisma has signed with RAW! I know a lot of people expected Christian to head over to Smackdown, but I love the fit with RAW. Christian thrives in the live environment. I won?t fool myself into thinking that everyone watched ECW as often as I did over the past couple years (hey, I had to recap it), but Christian’s work was very entertaining. His match against Carlito tonight was very quick, and did not do much for the Caribbean Cool Superstar. Regardless, it will be great to see Christian in the Money in the Bank Match at ?Mania. This blockbuster PPV is shaping up to be a really incredible night.
This second segment with Jewel and Murray proved that my optimism can pay off. What I thought would be a terrible segment with the Divas essentially simulating sex by riding a mechanical bull turned into a good comedy segment. Watching Big Show yell at the bull was pretty awesome. Overall, I?m going to have to give a favorable impression to tonight’s guest hosts. Though, I still do not have even the slightest idea as to what they were on the show to promote. The closest to a reason we heard was Jewel’s song from the Valentine’s Day soundtrack, and that her husband has some upcoming PBR Competitions.
The Tag Team match was simple enough. I thought that they buried MVP and Henry a little bit, but I doubt that this particular feud is anywhere near over. I can?t get over how much the WWE keeps plugging Daniel Bryan. They not only have been talking about him constantly on PPV and TV, but actually showed him in the back watching the match. They addressed the fact that there is controversy over The Miz being his mentor, and I think this is turning out to be perfect. I read a report last week that The Miz was being replaced as his mentor, but clearly that was nothing but bunk. I can?t wait for NXT tomorrow!
I?m not quite sure WHERE they are going with the Bret Hart angle, but am very curious to see what happens. I?d expect that for Bret to agree to come back, they laid out all the plans before his first appearance. This is clearly going to hit a point of culmination, but as to what that may be, we?ll find out next week. Yes, I could speculate, but all it would be is a guess. I?d rather wait to see exactly what happens next week.
The main event for the evening was puzzling to say the least. What exactly was Batista’s motivation in handing Cena the opportunity at ?Mania? It seems clear that he did so under McMahon’s direction, and no doubt he enjoyed the additional punishment after the match. The biggest question I have is where was Sheamus? He straight up got screwed as a result of this match. I don?t understand why he would not have come down to the ring and angrily attack Batista. I was actually expecting Cena to lose this match tonight as a result of Sheamus interfering. Clearly that is not the direction they want to go, but common sense dictates that a competitor such as Sheamus would not let such an action go unpunished. Hopefully something comes of this next week.
A couple quick notes about the Elimination Chamber from last night. Somehow I managed to go on record and correctly predict that John Cena would win the match. I actually used my mantra of, ‘sure, why not?? to once again succeed when trying to understand this company. Hey, sometimes things just work themselves out. It was a bizarre PPV simply because I don?t see how they felt comfortable promoting something for fans to spend $40 on when it only included 4 matches. That’s $10 per billed match. One of which did not even occur. BUT I do not think that the PPV was a complete failure. In fact, there were several things that I liked.
I give credit to both of the Elimination Chamber matches as I believe they stand up quite well to the Chamber matches that we have seen in the past. Each one conveyed all the unique stories they required and kept the audience entertained. McIntyre/Kane was decent, though arguably not a PPV caliber match. The Divas bit was throw away, but more because they changed 25% of the billed card to accomplish nothing. So much for crowning a new Champion on PPV. Miz/MVP was a surprise match, but actually quite good. Also kudus to the WWE for the sheer number of times that they plugged Daniel Bryan on PPV. The guy has not even debuted for the company yet! On that note, I?m looking forward to tomorrow night and the ?next evolution in sports entertainment? as Vince has billed it.
Tomorrow I?ll be covering the DEBUT show of WWE NXT right here on WrestleView. Be sure to check it out!
– David Stephens
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 so send them over to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit WrestleView daily for unique columns, recaps, audio and more including my ECW/NXT Recap, and columns That’s a Wrap and WrestleView Road Trip!