Raw made it two excellent shows in a row. They’re not quite on a Washington Capitals level roll, but they’re doing well for themselves.
The show started with a fantastic package on the Bret Hart-Vince McMahon angle from last week. They then showed a NASCAR vehicle spinning in circles in the parking lot. The car came out into the arena and we were supposed to believe it was Carl Edwards, but instead it was Hornswoggle who came out of the car. Edwards then came to the ring separately.
Edwards mentioned the Saints’ Super Bowl win for a cheap pop. The crowd was very happy. He then plugged that he will be driving 500 miles in a circle next weekend, so be sure to mark down that one on your calendar. He said that John Cena is his friend, which brought out Sheamus. Sheamus demanded the last entry slot in the Elimination Chamber. Well, he is the champion. It’s unfair enough he’s thrown into a six way title defense. The last slot is the least thing they could do.
Christian then came out. He got a very nice pop. The announcers said it has been a long time since we’ve seen Christian on Raw. Does 8 weeks really qualify? Christian said that NASCAR is blowing up in Canada and that it almost makes Canadians feel okay about losing out on a WNBA franchise. Woah, hold up. Now that’s just uncalled for. The WNBA is a legitimate sport with real athletes and deserves respect. Contrary to what Ben Miller or other chauvinists may say.
They brought up that ECW would be folding and that WWE NXT would be taking its place. Sheamus thought this would mean Christian’s unemployment, so he evidently isn’t very bright. Now if he’d said that about Trent Barreta and Caylen Croft, he might be onto something. Christian said instead that the ECW guys would be free agents. Oh my god. The Instant Classic’s coming back to TNA. Hogan’s done it again! Christian challenged Sheamus to a match and Edwards made it immediately.
Sheamus beat Christian. Sheamus hit a fall away slam and clotheslined Christian to the floor. Christian came back with a springboard crossbody to the floor, missile dropkick, neck breaker and tornado DDT. Sheamus turned the tide with a big boot and abruptly hit the razor’s edge for the pin.
This was WWE making perfectly clear where ECW stands in its hierarchy. And I’m not complaining at all. Really, with the ECW title disappearing shortly and the success of the undisputed tag team titles, I say WWE should just go ahead and create one unified heavyweight champion. That should be built up so it means something, but why not shoot for a SummerSlam unification?
Backstage, Shawn Michaels suggested to Triple H that they could be a part of WrestleMania together. HHH responded that he is planning to take the singles title in the Chamber. Elsewhere, Cody Rhodes told Ted DiBiase that he thought he could have beaten Mark Henry to qualify for the Chamber. DiBiase told him to stop whining. Rhodes then asked whether DiBiase would have beaten John Cena. DiBiase said he is better than Rhodes and Cena. Randy Orton came in. He announced DiBiase vs. Cena and Rhodes vs. Orton.
Big Show and Miz beat DX and the Straight Edge Society to win the unified tag titles. Prior to the match, CM Punk said that when people celebrate Mardi Gras or Super Bowl victories they turn to drugs and alcohol because they are weak and don’t know any better. Punk said he would show why straight edge means he’s better than us. You know, upon further reflection, I’m not sure he means me. So until he specifies, I’m going to assume he means he’s showing why straight edge means he’s better than you. No offense.
Punk then did a mini-angle with Jared the Subway Guy. Hey, at least he wasn’t guest host. Punk tried to recruit him to be the spokesperson for straight edge. Jared said no so the Straight Edge society was getting ready to submarine him when DX made the save and the tag match began.
Three men were in at the same time, so the heels teamed up to beat down HHH. HHH got the tag to Michaels. Michaels went for his nip up spot but then quickly got up after remembering what happened last week. That was a nice little touch. Michaels hit an elbow off the top and sweet chin music on Punk to eliminate the Straight Edge Society.
Big Show immediately went to town on Michaels for a while. Michaels hit sweet chin music on Show and tagged HHH. HHH hit a high knee, face buster and spine buster on Miz. Michaels then tagged himself in. HHH was confused and as he spoke with Michaels about this Miz threw Michaels into HHH and rolled up Michaels for the pin. This was a good match.
Backstage, Big Show and Miz celebrated their title win. Show said that with Chris Jericho he never beat DX and with Miz he did it the first time. Show said that Miz treats him as an equal and a friend. Show was so proud in saying this like he had emotional scars from his treatment by Jericho and it came across absolutely hilarious. Miz said that together they will run WWE. Miz referred to them as Miz Show but Show said he preferred Show Miz.
Backstage, Shawn Michaels desperately asked Teddy Long to trade for him so he could be put in the Smackdown Elimination Chamber. He came across pathetic, begging and pleading. Long said the Elimination Chamber was set. Michaels started yelling and grabbing Long. HHH then came in and tried to stop Michaels.
Michaels said his career is over and gave Long sweet chin music. Carlito was in the background for this entire angle laughing and Michaels’ kick sent both Long and Carlito falling to the floor. I assume Carlito was there to break Long’s fall on the floor. If that wasn’t the idea, this was dumb because Carlito took away from the seriousness of the angle. It worked well either way, though.
Gail Kim beat Jillian Hall. This match went no time at all. Hall got in a few moves and then Kim hit her finisher “eat defeat” for the pin. After the match, Maryse again said she wanted to have a good match with Gail Kim. She then said a whole lot of stuff of French while smiling. No good disingenuous French Canadians! She laughed and offered Kim a handshake. They announced Ted DiBiase for this year’s Hall of Fame.
Cody Rhodes beat Randy Orton. Orton slapped Rhodes and Rhodes gave Orton a dropkick. Orton hit some punches and Rhodes used a side Russian leg sweep. Rhodes missed a crossbody off the ropes and Orton was setting up for the RKO when Sheamus ran out for a distraction and Rhodes hit the roll of the dice for the pin. The announcers were selling that Rhodes might be in cahoots with Sheamus but Rhodes protected Orton with a chair. There was no heat for any of this.
This Legacy breakup angle isn’t working. The problem is that WWE in the name of unpredictability hasn’t invested the fans in anything. It’s the same problem to a lesser extent with the title matches for WrestleMania. Do we want Orton to turn face on Rhodes and DiBiase? Do we want Rhodes and DiBiase to turn face on Orton? Do we want them all to turn on each other?
It’s completely unclear and without the audience being conditioned to want something, it doesn’t care what happens. This angle ought to be so simple. One guy is being manipulated and cheated by the other two. It builds up for week after week until finally he fights back and the crowd goes crazy. But I guess that’s just too much like pro wrasslin’. Shades of grey. Unpredictability. Etc.
Backstage, Carl Edwards promised something special for next week that fans would never forget. What was this monumental announcement? Singles matches with Sheamus vs. Orton, DiBiase vs. Kingston and HHH vs. Cena. Edwards acted like he had just announced Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and Hulk Hogan vs. Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle and Undertaker. The announcers then marked out like this was an unbelievable development. I was very confused.
John Cena was supposed to wrestle Ted DiBiase, but he just attacked him and applied the STF on the floor. DiBiase tapped but there was no match. An angry Cena called out Batista, but Batista didn’t show up. Cena said he thinks Vince McMahon was behind what Batista did last week so he called Vince out. Vince came out with security. Cena told Vince to come in the ring himself or he’d beat up all the security and then would be much angrier.
Vince McMahon admitted paying Batista to screw Bret Hart again. However, he said he had nothing to do with Batista attacking Cena. Cena wanted to know why and Vince suggested maybe it was because Cena eliminated Batista at the Rumble or maybe Batista just doesn’t like Cena.
Cena said that Vince is just about money. Cena said that he does it instead because he loves it. Cena then kept talking about doing it for money versus doing it for love. I like that Cena wasn’t smiling and joking, but this material was so corny. Cena managed to pull it off with his delivery anyway. Cena asked Vince if he would take the match. Vince said yes.
After another video package on what Vince did last week, Bret attacked Vince with punches. Vince ran off. He then said that he changed his mind and that there wouldn’t be a match because Bret deserved to be screwed. Bret then went after the WWE video equipment ala Montreal. He didn’t write WCW in the air, though. I’m not sure the audience understood the significance of this, but I thought it worked well and this was another strong close to the show.
The Bret Hart-Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels-Undertaker build continues to be very good and there was some good wrestling and good supplementary angles on this show as well.