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On a Night of Promos, Chicago Becomes
The Windbag City 
April 4, 2006

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


Ahhhh, the RAW after WrestleMania... always an interesting night.
For WWE, it's like the start of a new Booking Year, and that tends to make for some twists and turns.

And for nosy onlookers who like the "insider" news, it's always fun to see how the big edition of RAW does up against the NCAA Championship game.

I'm guessing this year that RAW should do 

really well. For one, word of mouth after WM seems to be positive in that "it was way better than I expected and 2 or 3 of the matches were really good" kind of way that I predicted, so that's a plus for RAW's prospects. And for two: Florida vs. UCLA? 

I got a lot of e-mail talking about how "this is the first WrestleMania in so-and-so-number-of-years that I'm going to skip." I always wonder how many people make good on threats like that, since sometimes, I end up noticing their e-mails showing up in my in-box six months later, still making the same kind of vague threats. Note to folks: either walk away or don't, don't expect anyone to care about you making a big show out of it. Anyway, my point was that I didn't even have time to make any vague threats: last night was the first NCAA Championship Game that I watched for exactly zero minutes. I, in fact, totally forgot it was on until 10pm's 24-to-RAW switchover, and even then, after scanning the program guide, I decided to leave my DVR's other tuner on the Yankee game.

If other folks are like me, that might mean low ratings for CBS and plenty of opportunity for RAW to do a big number. Then again, I'm the guy who thought that Seattle in the Super Bowl would be instant ratings death, and that didn't turn out so well for me, now did it? In this case, though, I think the lack of cache may combine with the shittiness of Saturday's games (and the fact that the casual fan's interest may have been killed by George Mason getting knocked off) to make for a big chance for RAW to kick off their Booking Year with a goodly sized audience.

The question then becomes: how good was the show that all these people tuned in to see? That's why I'm here to tell you....

Cold Open: Hot Crowd

No opening theme/pyro/etc., just live from Chicago (the Rosemont Horizon still has all the WrestleMania staging/lights/props) where John Cena is making an entrance. And making it briskly. Though we get a quick welcome from Joey Styles, Jerry Lawler, and Coach, Cena gets to the ring and cuts things short, demanding that his music be cut off because "I want to hear this."

What he hears is the same thing he heard last night: 10,000 lustily booing the hell out of him, and maybe 5,000 frantically cheering to try to match that volume level. I was thinking about this a few days ago, and had real concerns about WWE trying to turn the fans into "a character" when it comes to Cena's Mixed Reactions (and I still retain plenty of them, which I'm sure I'll expound upon in the near future)... but just in this One Shining Moment, you see how it has worked to their favor: back in January, Cena would get booed out of the building and there wouldn't really be any comeback (well, maybe once or twice, but NOTHING like what we've gotten this weekend). Little kids and teenage girls were probably confused and intimidated more than anything, and they COULDN'T fire back. But by handling things this way, WWE has encouraged Cena's fanbase to shout back at the other fans.

That doesn't just staunch the hemorrhaging of goodwill that Cena's been doing the past 18 months... it also creates a genuinely electric atmosphere where everybody's picked a side, and nobody's gonna let the other side one-up them. At WrestleMania, I caught Jim Ross craftily comparing the Big Game Atmosphere to an Oklahoma/Texas football game. In my experience, I'd suggest that what he meant to say was it was like a Dayton/Xavier basketball game.

But the point remains the same: in an environment like this, you're not just responding to and interacting with the game/match, you're interacting with the other fans, too. That *never* happens in wrestling -- what with WWE's recent regression into the 80s where they'll TELL US who to cheer for, dammit -- and that makes it a lot of fun to be a part of. Even vicariously, watching on TV.

Possible backfire: if WWE turns this into the main reason to care about Cena, how will it play the next time WWE holds RAW in Jerkwater, Iowa? A lot of their handling of this situation seems to be predicated on "protecting" Cena so that he retains at least his current fanbase, and you know the OO Rule: the more backwater a town, the more likely they'll be to still be cheering for the petulant wigger. It becomes a MUCH more complicated scenario than Bret Hart was 10 years ago... Bret was a heel everywhere in the US, and a babyface everywhere else; and this was a time before WWE held as many TV tapings in Canada as they do now, so it became an issue maybe once or twice a year.... Cena's reception is going to be all over the place; a mostly-heel one week, a mostly-face the next, possibly in towns less than 100 miles apart. Considering that Mostly-Face Cena is no fun, and is just a shitty/predictable-match-having tosser, and I wonder if WWE shouldn't be a bit LESS careful about trying to "protect" Cena so that all fans will kind of go with the flow and help keep the guy interesting.

And my, my, that was quite the digression. RAW is only about 45 seconds old, and the Recap is already 1500 words long. Let's shoot it back to John Cena, who is standing in the ring with a mic....

And sort of dances around with the fans, smiling like he doesn't care, but then tweaking them by smugly noting "The champ is STILL here." It's slow going, because the crowd is hot, and Cena's pausing for the fan reaction between every fifth word, it seems, but he finally starts to get to a point.

Being the WWE Champion isn't about winning a popularity contest, it's about vapid, cliched notions that I'm guessing are coming soon to a t-shirt near you. Stand up and fight for what you believe in, and stuff like that. Just padded out to about 2 minutes, and dressed up in wigger-voice. Because otherwise, tripe like this would have meant that Hulk Hogan was "street" 20 years before "street" got cool. I swear to you, if there existed a translator from Cena Speak to English, one of those Dumb Jock Cliches would probably have come out as "Say Your Prayers and Eat Your Vitamins."

And although its fun to watch Cena be crucified for saying things that would probably count as Good Advice For The Kids, all just because of the way he says them, we do have to move on.... so enter Triple H.

He comes out to a full-length version of the Alternate Entrance Theme he used at Mania. Thankfully, he's dressed in a suit. Without the ridiculous outfit and accoutrements, Motorhead's "Bow Down to the King" seems about 87% less dumb. Even though it still sounds like there's a verse about the King riding through the forest on his mighty steed to save all the villagers. Or something. And I'll never be able to take HHH seriously again until he does SOMEthing to wipe the image of him gaying it up with Led Zepplin in one of the skits in "The Song Remains the Same."

Hunter's first act: to offer Cena a handshake. Which is eye suspiciously, and then accepted. But then HHH called backsies. That sly boots. Crowd might hate Cena, but they're not exactly bringing any love for HHH, here. During a time-eating staredown, there are "You tapped out" chants that easily trump the "Triple H" ones.

And then, it's as if Trips WANTED to get booed more, because once the staredown ends and the crowd settles down, his first words are all in praise of Cena. About how he's a tough kid, about how HHH underestimated him, and about how ultimately, yes, HHH did tap out. What the hell? Go back to holding people down and undermining their pushes, goddammit, Hunter! This is no time to be finding religion. Not against this yutz. 

Thankfully, Trips finds his ballsac a few moments later, and hits his punchline: that yes, all these things are true, and it added up to a loss at WM... "And I'm PISSED about it." In a cute little nod to jack-offs like me who write recaps like this, he moves on and says, "And so I think we all know where I'm going with this. Let's not waste any time dancing around it. I might have lost last night, but I beat the hell out of you doing it, so I want a rematch."

At which point, it's time for a dissenting viewpoint.... Edge and Lita march to the ring. Christ is that gash on Edge's head an ugly one. Makes me wonder what was so messy on the OTHER side of his head that it got a bandage.

Edge, in a nutshell, is sick of Triple H's non-stop run of title matches and re-matches just because of who he is (wink). This time, there should be no rematch, because HHH went into the match as the challenger, and he lost; there's no rematch clause in that case; so to the back of the line with you, sonny.

As you might expect, once he presented a logical case for HHH being bumped out of the #1 Contender spot, Edge also has a theory about who SHOULD get the next title shot: somebody who actually won at WrestleMania, and beat a future Hall of Famer in his own match to do it, somebody who is undefeated at WrestleMania, somebody who has already done what HHH couldn't, and that's beat John Cena for the title.

And then, HHH brings the Zingery. First: "How many of those WM matches were main events? Oh, that's right. None. Go back with the rest of the curtain jerks, and let the main event guys settle this." To which Edge said something mocking about HHH's Conan outfit from the night before and how it takes more than that to be a Main Event Guy. Like holding the WWE Title, which Edge has already done once this year.

Second zinger: "Oh, that's right. I nearly forgot. I fell asleep for 20 minutes, and I missed the whole damned thing." Edge is starting to get pissy, and this is looking like it could come to blows, so Cena -- ever the needy little third grader -- has to draw attention to himself by making a big, grand exit. "Oh, hey, it looks like He-Man and Skeletor over there have some issues, so I'm just gonna mosey on outta here." Edge says something about that making Cena "She-Ra," and just like that Cena must stick around to continue offering his witticisms.

Edge and HHH re-affirm that each wants a shot at Cena, so Cena proposes a solution: later on tonight, why don't we have Edge vs. HHH, and the winner can be the #1 Contender? We get no visible response from HHH, but Edge immediately begins back-peddling, saying that he doesn't have a one-on-one match in him tonight, what with the second-degree burns and the back that got turned into a pin cushion. So Cena twists the knife and points out the sores on and below Lita's lip (where she took the Barbed Wire Mandible Claw the night before), and makes the herpes joke you would expect him to make. That is to say: not a funny one.

That's too much for Edge, who now has a counter-proposal. No one-on-one match, but a handicap match: Edge and HHH against Cena's "hip hop, bling bling ass." Cena counters that by saying, "I oughta kick your ass just for saying bling bling." Um, champ, *YOU* are the one who carries around that ridiculous title belt, don't go taking that out on Edge, OK? But Cena also figures that even if his brain is telling him to decline and live to fight another day, his heart is telling him to be a man and fight. So: "You got your match, bitches." 

Play Cena's music. He seems confident as he heads up the ramp, and Edge and HHH seem to be the same way as they stand in the ring. Effective opening segment; it felt like all three guys were being a bit more natural than usual (letting the dialogue flow, instead of sticking to some stilted, over-written crap from the Writer Monkeys), and they still got exactly where they wanted to go, by setting up tonight's main event match. It's essentially three heels in the WWE Title picture, now, but at least having Edge in there takes away SOME of that sense of inevitability that HHH is already the Uncrowned Champion.


Big Show/Kane vs. The Spirit Squad (World Tag Team Title Match)

Officially representing the Spirit Squad in this match are Mikey (who is the insanely-bad dancer of the team) and Kenny (who is the biggest guy, possessing the Masters-esque caliber of charisma, but who is also young and works hard on the in-ring stuff, and is WWE's next pet project). But the other three Squadders are all at ringside, almost assuredly poised to contribute to the match.

Pretty basic start to the match, with Show and Kane passing Mikey around like Clay Aiken in a prison laundry room (but only after Mikey had brought it upon himself by dancing). Note to Lawler: either get new jokes about Male Cheerleaders (preferably dated the 1980s or later), or just shut up. I think shutting up would be fine, because you'd be hard pressed to find a fan who needs to be told why Male Cheerleaders are so ridiculous. Well, except for any fans out there who were Male Cheerleaders. I'm sure the Spirit Squad are currently George W. Bush's favorite wrestlers....

One of the other Spirit Squad interferred about 2 minutes in, and Kane wound up eating the steel ringpost as a result. That gives us a VERY time-compressed face-in-peril bit. If it lasted more than a minute, I'll make Matt Hocking eat a bug. Then the "hot" tag to Big Show, who hit maybe 2 or 3 big clotheslines/tackles, and then accidently bumped the ref. Uh oh.

Ref down, and Kane was apparently hurt worse than he let on, because he's nowhere to be seen as all five Spirit Squadders swarm on Big Show, eventually dragging him down to the mat, and then hitting that one move of theirs (the each-grab-a-limb-and-toss-the-guy-into-the-air move). They need to give that thing a name so that I don't have to keep typing that up all the time. Maybe something cribbed from Actual Cheerleading Techniques? I'm sure there's special names for when they throw people into the air from different positions, and stuff right (and it's just that in the Spirit Squad's case, they don't catch them). If only I knew somebody who was once a cheerleader who could help me out and pick a name....

Anyway, after That One Move, the ref is now up, but Kane is still down (?). Kenny hits his top rope legdrop, goes for the cover, and.... that's it? Yep.

Your Winners, and NEW Tag Team Champs: Spirit Squad Mikey and Spirit Squad Kenny, via pinfall, in 3-4 minutes. I actually got no problem with the outcome.... but couldn't you have made it be the outcome of a match that didn't stink? There was no flow, no build, and no drama. And on top of that, the finish seemed VERY anticlimactic and unconvincing. Kane's powdered-out-ed-ness was not adequately handled, and I'm to believe Big Show was done in four minutes into a match by That Move and a legdrop? No sale...

After the Match: the Time Management Monkeys are at it again this week, and this is where it starts... for no adequately explained reason, they lingering on the Spirit Squad celebrating on the stage for 2-3 minutes. And it's not like they did a cheer or anything. They just stood around high-fiving while they showed replays and talked about what an upset it was. I *hate* when WWE does shit like this and basically dares its viewers to fast-forward. If somebody writes in and tells me that WWE did it because they were holding out until the NCAA game when to a commercial so people would flip over to RAW and see the title change and then maybe stay tuned, I just might blow my stack.


Replays: just because we didn't already beat this horse dead enough with 3 minutes of vamping before the break, here, you can have 90 more seconds of tag title change replays. I fell sorry for all without the benefit of a Time Shift.

Backstage: Maria the Mic Stand is just pleased as punch to get a few comments from the new champs. Nothing of substance is said, and instead, they go into a (purposely-)bad cheer that consists of them doing a roll-call, and then declaring that they have lots more spirit than anybody else. Which I guess we're supposed to assume is the quality that will help them retain the tag titles?

Video Package: Rob Van Dam won the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. No mention of Shelton Benjamin stealing the show.

Comments From The Winner: coming out of that package, RVD himself hits the top of the stage for a monologue. Just a quick one... (1) Brag about big win? Done. (2) Bring up when he might cash in his title shot? Done. (3) Tease the fans by using the word "Extreme"? Done. Not exactly a super-smooth promo, but it didn't have to be... you're just supposed to read between the lines and determine that RVD is thinking about cashing his title shot in at the ECW PPV in early June. That really is only 2 months away, so why not go straight for teasing it?


Chris F. Masters vs. Some Guy

Night after WM, and we're bringing back squash matches? Oy.

Match is a big fat nothing, and lasts just long enough so that the announcers can make it clear that the only reason CFM and Carlito aren't the tag team champs tonight is because Masters fucked up at WM. Joey and King think this could lead to dissension. Coach thinks the Young Stallions are still close as brothers and on the same page.

Are we all clear on that story? Good. So somebody now tell Masters he can do his Shitty Full Nelson and get this over with.

Your Winner: Chris F. Masters, via submission, in 90 seconds or so. Sucked. But was just an excuse for....

After the Match: Carlito came out, tossing an apple from hand to hand a bit more glibly than he normally might. Masters is confused. Carlito gets in the ring, goes face-to-face with Masters, and takes a bite of apple. It's roughly around here when Masters gets it figured out and starts making "Oh no you bettah not, girlfriend" faces. It's also around here when the crowd gets into a big "Car-lee-toe" chant. But alas, Carlito opts to spit the apple in Jobby O'Jobjobjob's face, and makes nice with Masters. BOO~! But then, as soon as Masters turns his back to Carlito: a double-knee back-cracker. YAY~! 

Ladies and gentlemen: we have a face turn.

A grade-A ass-whupping follows, and Masters is KO'ed on the mat. Carlito goes looking for his apple (which must have rolled out to ringside), and gets increasingly frustrated when he can't locate it. In one of those moments that I am Obligated To Mention, that Retard Chris Masters forgot he was knocked out and sat up partially to start looking around for the apple, too. I am not making this up. Masters can not even lie still without fucking up. Does he still have any apologists out there? Carlito actually spots Masters sitting up, and says "Fuck the apple, I have to do something before dum-dum over there ruins everything." Of course, just as Carlito arrives over Masters carcass, somebody rolls the apple into the ring for Carlito. Carlito -- because he wants to take a stab at cracking my Top 10 Favorite Wrestlers -- just looks at the apple, spikes it to the mat as if to say "too late," and spits a mouthful of Not Apple into Masters' dumb fat face. Masters' reaction indicates that this was significantly grosser than the face full of coarsely-chopped apple he was expecting, but he brought it upon himself. Carlito leaves the ring, making the International Sign For "I Am Much Smarter Than You." 


Invitation to Blaspheme Theatre 

As we pass the halfway mark of the show, we're not exactly running heavy on in-ring, bell-to-bell time, are we? A four minute tag title change and a 1 minute squash... oh well...

Shawn Michaels is here to keep that ratio right where it is. To the middle of the ring for a promo, and Shawn says "Last night at WrestleMania" in a tone of voice like he knows that he's about the 6635th guy to start a sentence like that tonight, but that he's gonna do it a 6636th time anyway.

Shawn takes several minutes to pat himself on the back for delivering everything he promised he would at WM22... it wasn't pretty, and it wasn't a wrestling match, but it was brutal. He could have won at any time, but he kept passing on the Sweet Chin Music because Shawn went to a very dark place in his own soul and decided he needed to turn the tables on Vince and send VINCE to "hell." Shawn thinks he accomplished that. The fan reaction indicates they approve, too.

But now that Shawn did that, he says he intends to follow his own advice from a few months ago and "move on." He's done with the McMahon Family, including it's "oiled-up, orange-tinged" patriarch. And when Shawn looked around for something to move on to, he realized something: EVERYbody wants to beat up John Cena (mixed reaction). So Shawn wants to beat up John Cena, too (mixed reaction). Then, with a knowing smile and an apology to Jesus, Shawn said, "Well, not really, but I would like a shot at the WWE Title." That is a less confrontational way of putting it, and it gets mostly cheers.

However, it also gets an interruption from SHANE McMahon. Michaels isn't too surprised. He says something about how it's a shame that Vince himself can't be here tonight, but let's all welcome the newest member of Vince's favorite club to RAW. A chorus of boos for Shane, who quickly corrects Michaels. Because you see, last night's beating would have sidelined any mortal man. But his father is no mortal man.... so ladies and gentlemen, keep the warm welcomes a-coming, because here's Vince McMahon.

Bandaged and wearing a neck-brace, Vince is welcomed with "asshole" chants. Vince runs down the many ways Michaels has wronged him, including traumatizing his six-month-pregnant daughter and his wife as they watched the match backstage, and scarring Shane emotion by shoving Shane's face up Vince's ass. Vince assures Michaels that if he thinks he's just moving on at this point and landing in championship matches, he is sadly mistaken. In fact, Vince has two words for Shawn....

Shawn interrupts, and suggests that maybe Chicago has two words for Vince. Michaels holds the mic up high and lets the hellbound denizens of Chi-Town shout "Suck It." Shawn seems very pleased with himself and the subsequent "DX, DX" chants. What was that about "moving on," there, again HBK? It was cute as a one time thing, but if you're going to make ripping off TNA Semi-Star Billy Gunn into a regular deal, it'll get old fast.

Vince says those weren't the two words he had in mind. His two words were "Divine Intervention." Because Michaels had help last night. He had help from god. Because god hates Vince McMahon, and always has. At this point, there's kind of a re-do of a WM22 comedy skit, as Vince turns away from the mic and starts sort of rambling to the heavens about "why do you hate me, god?"...

Shawn cuts that off quickly, wondering if it's the lingering concussion, the medications, or the fact that Vince has finally just gone full-on insane. But in any case, Michaels would appreciate it if Vince would just get to whatever point he might actually have.

Vince's point is this: Michaels might think his win last night proved something, but it didn't. Michaels might think he's done and can "move on," but he can't. Because nobody wins a war against the McMahons. You might take a little battle here or there, but you cannot win the war against the mightiest family in wrestling. Before Shawn can move on, he's got to fight at least one more battle in that war and it'll be a tag team match at Backlash. Vince and Shane McMahon (who Vince calls "the product of my semen," which'll just look great on Shane's next baseball jersey; that Vince sure is a marketing genius) versus Shawn Michaels and......


I'm not making that up. Vince can't convince the Rock, Hogan, or Bret Hart to be a part of his little dog and pony show, but he's got the stroke to book The Lord Almighty? It's either that, or God is a little down on his luck and could use the money. Those thieving fucking Protestants with their tax-shelter mega-churches and crooked ministers. Don't people realize that God doesn't see a single penny unless it goes through the Vatican?

As Vince's music plays (and as Shane looks somewhere between cocky about the impending match and grossed out by his new nickname), the announce team declare that this is all the proof we need that Vince has finally lost it. 

Me? I dunno. This could get stupid fast. But at least one part of me is grateful to Vince for the signed permission slip to do a full month's worth of heresy. And during the Easter season, to boot! It'll be Blasphemriffic! Let the rapier-like wits such as Keller make their jokes about how this clearly means JBL will show up as Michaels Divine Partner at Backlash.... but if you stick with me here at OO, we'll have a much better time reserving a table for 50,000 in hell. Me for being a dick, and you for laughing at it.

It's OK: we can all recant on our deathbeds.


Video Package: actually, most of these Mania "video" packages are still photos, but you get the idea. This one recounts Mickie James' women's title win. 

Trish Stratus/Torrie Wilson vs. Mickie James/Candice Michelle

Trish comes out trying to hide a limp. A few fans in Chicago said she seemed genuinely hurt after the WM match, and tonight the announcers say it's a gimpy knee. No status report on the condition of Trish's vagina. [In fact, no mention of that little interlude is mentioned at all on RAW.]

Prop #1 and Prop #2 enter. Then Mickie comes out... dyed blonde and looking for all the world exactly like Trish. It actually was a pretty impressive make-over (not the jokey kind of make-over Mickie did a few times before). I vote that something like that works better if Mickie does it after doing something truly nutso, instead of something that keeps this feud cribbing from "Single White Female".... doesn't it seem like there'd be another psychological layer here if Mickie actually decimated Trish and sent her away for a few weeks on a stretcher. And *then* busted out the make-over, as if to say "It's OK, everybody, Trish is still here. Proceed as usual." *That* would be psycho, and it'd create tons and tons of cool opportunities for when the real Trish came back to continue the feud.

*This* is just an excuse for me to joke that as long as Mickie's gonna be sporting pants from the Trish Collection, it means RAW has just doubled its Ass Cleavage Content. It took Mickie all of 30 seconds to make this prophecy of mine come true. Nee haw.

Trish starts, but only works very briefly against Candice. Between Candice not being very good and Trish being hobbled, this was nothing to write home about. After a whirlybird headscissors, Trish figures she's got things well enough in hand to trust Torrie for a bit.

Bzzzt. Torrie hits about one move, Candice tags in Mickie, Mickie circles around to the opposite side of the ring, shoves Trish off the apron, and hits Torrie with the I Refuse To Call It A Mick Kick Kick. Thanks for playing, Torrie.

Your Winners: Mickie James and Titties McSuperbowl, via pinfall, in about 90 seconds flat. The low-wrestling-content continues. This was nothing but an excuse to introduce Mickie's new look and kick her reign off. In that regard: mission accomplished, I guess.


Video Package: Hall of Fame recap, focusing mostly on Bret and Eddie.

Now It's Chavo's Turn: following the HoF stuff, Chavo Guerrero came out onto the stage to talk. First about how amazing the weekend was for him and his family to see Eddie inducted into the HoF, and to see how much the fans still remember and love Eddie. That's met with cheers (and maybe a few tears). Second, the weekend got even better when Chavo got to see his friend, NAY his family member, Rey Mysterio win the World Title. This is met with a grumble of boos underneath the cheers. Huh; it was one thing for the crowd to be supportive of Kurt, but it'd be another if the crowd really *is* against Rey winning the belt in Eddie's memory; we'll know more on Friday. And third, Chavo said his only regret of the weekend was not having a match of his own and a way to remember his Uncle Eddie in the ring.... but that changes tonight. TONIGHT is Chavo's WrestleMania, and tonight, Chavo is doing the same thing Rey did: he's dedicating his performance to Eddie, and he's walking out with gold. Shelton Benjamin's InterContinental gold. And again, a slight grumbling of boos; might we have reached the saturation point of the fans wanting ANYbody to use Eddie's memory for cheap heat? I dunno, but there was a little something going on there... anyway, Chavo heads to the ring for this match, which is up next. After these.....


Shelton Benjamin vs. Chavo Guerrero (IC Title Match)

Shelton gets his full entrance upon coming back from break, and has added gold chains, costume jewelry, and sunglasses to his Douchebag Makeover. Spot on, Shelton.

Fast start for Chavo, who out-quicks Shelton and gets some near falls. In fact, all the little exchanges they did seemed to end in Chavo's favor. Except for one where Shelton "won" and backed Chavo into a corner and pimp slapped him. The story is the same one being told by the announcers: that Shelton is out of Chavo's league, and there's no reason to take Chavo seriously, no matter WHO he dedicated this match to.

Chavo's two minute run ends when Shelton double-countered a few different moves and finally managed to dropkick Chavo off the ring apron and to the floor, where he landed hard. Shelton administered a few thumps outside the ring, and then took it back inside, where I believe he immediately settled into a chinlock. Hey, Shelton: DRESS like a douchebag. Don't wrestle like one: leave the interminable chinlocks to Orton.

Formula Babyface Fire-Up out of that chinlock, and Chavo's en feugo. Lotsa good high energy stuff, tilt-a-whily moves, head scissors, a back-drop-assisted dropkick... Chavo's confidence is high, and a shimmy-shake dance later, he's feeling it: he nails Eddie's Three Amigos. And after the suplexes? He asks, and receives permission from, the crowd to go up top and hit the Frog Splash.

He should have just done the move, and not wasted the time. Because Shelton moves, and Chavo eats canvas. Shelton does NOT waste any time, and immediately hits the T-Bone Powerslam.

Your Winner and STILL Champ: Shelton Benjamin, via pinfall, in about 5 minutes. Hey, this actually resembled a wrestling match! But it was still only 5 minutes and only a hint of what I bet these guys COULD have done if not for time management issues pinching them.

After the Match: Shelton leaves, but Chavo lingers in the ring. He's clearly disappointed that he let Eddie down by losing, and shows it by gesturing in the finest manner of all gesturing (Broadly). I briefly have visions of Mama Benjamin never being seen again, and if RAW needs a Motivational Parent to get a son back on track, we need Chavo Classic back! But I know that'll never happen....


This Week In Wrestling: Ricky Steamboat beat Ric Flair for the NWA Title at Clash of the Champions on April 2, 1989. Which is nice, but is there a point to doing these every week? If so, hey, at least they got the right week in history this week.

During the Break: Chavo continued his one-man pity party as he walked backstage... as the cameras caught up to him, he was in tears, convinced that he let everybody down: the fans, his family, and his uncle. He talks himself into believing that he's not meant to be a wrestler. And then, out of the blue: he announces that he quits, turns a corner, and walks out of the building. Huh. Like I started talking about in the WM PPV Preview, WWE really should have been thinking of ways to make this weekend be about "closure" on the issue of Eddie so all involved can move on.... but where do you go with Chavo quitting? Just please: not the return of Kerwin White, OK? And at least they get points for not having Chavo turn heel on the Ghost of Eddie for not helping him win.... we'll just have to wait and see, I guess.


Ric Flair comes out to the ring for another one of those things where you're dressed in street clothes and don't have to fight anybody... let's call it A Promo.

Flair notes all the great moments he's had in Chicago. WHOOO! Some of them inside a wrestling ring, even. Double WHOOOO! And even though Flair lost last night at WM22, he is still proud of his performance, and won't ever forget it.

And regardless of the outcome, Flair still believes he's got a 17th World Title in him, and starting tonight, he's gonna....

Be interrupted by Some Guy. He's actually Osama Alejandro RRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrodrigez from OVW, who has not once shown me anything inside the ring, but that doesn't matter because Paul Heyman has made him into rather the effective manager and mouthpiece. And I guess it's time for him to use those verbal skills on the main roster.

Osama gets to the ring, and Flair's all "Ummmm, so who are you, Potsie?", and already we get off to a shaky start, because the new name for the guy is Armando Alejandro Estrada. Which is no fun. I never quite latched onto the guy like some OVW Scouts, but if he can't do his RRRRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrodrigez, then what's the point? It's like Ken Kennedy without the ring introductions.

In fact, Flair even set him up so he could say his name again, but that doesn't work without the RRRRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrodrigez.

Basic gist of "Armando's" speech: he used to watch Flair all the time on the TV down in his native Cuba, and he looked up to Flair. And today, he shares Flair's taste for the finer things in life. Clothes, women, money, that's what Armando's about. Well, good for you, but do you have a point?

Yes, he does. It's that Flair's no longer the jet-setting son of a gun he once was. It's time for him to move along and make way for a new batch of stars. And if Flair won't move out of the way, Armando has found a man who will forcefully move Flair out of the way. Who might that be? It would be:

Umaga. PLONK.

"Umaga" is a large Samoan man with dreadlocks. Since nobody on OVW TV fits that description, I'm gonna go ahead and say that this must be Jamal from 3 Minute Warning, with some face and body paint, since he's basically just been sitting on the shelf, watching his cousin Rosey get fired.

Umaga and Armando manage to decimate Flair as the crowd reacts with dead silence. That's about right. Let's just say that on the continuum of Day After WrestleMania Surprise Appearances, I'm going to rate this one as "Not Brock Lesnar." I'm not saying there's anybody in OVW who could actually duplicate Lesnar's impact at this point, but there HAD to have been better choices for a debut than dressing up Jamal like Kamala... 


Fuck You, TNA: Seated at ringside is Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. OMG, WWE steals a top talent from TNA~! Last time Guillen was seen on wrestling TV, he was trying to top Shaq for the award of Nanciest Chairshot Ever Sallied on Impact. But judging by the way Guillen's made-up and the way Jeff Jarrett was dressed on this week's Impact, the two are apparently staying in touch and trading Queer Eye tips. Jarrett's outfit and hair were hilarious, and rendered even more-so when he accessorized his ensemble with one of those Christ Nails. You know the things I'm talking about right? One look at the guy, and I almost (ALMOST) wished I did the TNA Recap, because I knew Jason would never bust out the line "Jeff Jarrett, asking the age-old question: 'Who Would Jesus Cornhole?'"... 

Some people, and their being nice and respectful of others' beliefs and not wanting to go to hell and all that. Oh well, thanks to Ozzie Guillen showing up on RAW, I got to use it, anyway, and with it only coming off like the mildest of tangents. Thanks, Ozzie! And thanks, Vince McMahon, for making this Blasphemy In Wrestling Month!

Stuff: as if the show wasn't already laden with enough filler and FF-able moments, let's stop by the announce table for about 2 minutes of "highlights" of what's gone down earlier tonight. Tag title this, Carlito face turn that, and of course, a few highlights that set up our main event....

Backstage: Triple H and Edge are talking, and trying to formulate a plan. Of course, each thinks that the other should really take it to John Cena and teach him a lesson, and "I'll just have your back if you need help." So that's not gonna work. Finally, Edge says, "Look, we're not gonna agree on that, so let's just agree that we both hate John Cena and go out there and do whatever it takes to kick his ass, OK?". HHH is fine with that. Edge's music starts in the background, so he turns to leave, while HHH gets a look on his face that suggests that Edge is a naive little child if he believes HHH is "fine" with anything.....

Edge and Triple H vs. Time Management

Full entrance for Edge. Then the START of one for Triple H (for wrestling purposes, it's back to the trusty old music and pyro), and then, because it's 10:59pm and no matter what Rick says we totally weren't wasting time and screwing things up, we still have to break for one last set of....


Edge and Triple H vs. John Cena (Handicap Match)

Contrary to the backstage discussion they just had, HHH just lounges in a corner, and says Edge oughta start things off. Well, somebody better do SOMEthing, it's 11:03, and this is supposed to be a main event.

So Edge and Cena start. Basic stuff. Tie-ups, etc. Evenly matched until Cena backs Edge into a corner and then slaps his upper back. You know: right where he had all those thumbtacks in him the night before. This makes Edge angry, and so we begin the Fisticuffsmanship!

Evenly matched and back and forth with the simplistic offense, until they get tied up in the ropes, and Cena sends Edge out over the top. HHH is caught smirking at first, but then he gets down off his seat atop a turnbuckle and actually stalks Cena. Just long enough for Edge to get back in the ring and attack Cena from behind, and then HHH goes back to lounging and letting Edge do all the work.

Little bit of a beatdown in favor of Edge, and I'd say they were mapping it out for Cena to be the Babyface in Peril, but the segment doesn't last long enough for that.... and to end it, Cena punches Edge in the balls, which isn't very babyface-like.

Following that, both men go down and stay down for a few seconds, and HHH descends from his perch (throne?) to observe the carnage. He circles around as Edge and Cena both get to their feet.... and then, Edge makes a made dash for Cena, and tries to Spear him. But Cena moves, and Edge Spears HHH. Uh oh.

HHH hits the mat, and Cena capitalizes by going to town on Edge. Wacky hiptoss, wacky shoulder tackle, all the wacky you can handle out of John "Unorthodox" Cena. But when Cena props Edge up in a corner and wants to start raining down with fists, HHH comes up behind him and pulls him off. HHH takes care of the fist-raining on his own partner. Cena's laughing about it, and when HHH finally offers Cena some, Edge takes a few free shots. Cena and HHH actually ping-pong Edge back and forth, as the announcers screech in incredulity at the sight.

HHH took it up a notch and nailed Edge with a spinebuster (again, the tender back!)... Cena gave a sort of "Mother may I?" look to HHH, and HHH didn't say "No," so Cena decided to follow-up with a Five Knuckle Shuffle. Dumbass. As Cena bounded off the ropes, HHH kicked him in the gut and hit the Pedigree. FIN.

Your Winner(s): Triple H (and Edge), via pinfall, in about 5 minutes. Rushed and underwhelming because of time constraints, and also very simplistic. But it had heat in spades. Cena and HHH both had cheering sections, and just as importantly, all THREE had booing sections (though Cena's seemed the loudest). A nice atmosphere for a match, even if the simple action and time-shortage left this feeling like a watered down version of the Cena/HHH main event from the night before. 

On the upside, this finish was a lot more interesting and climactic and satisfying than the one at WM. Now, HHH can say he's pinned Cena, which DOES put him in line for a rematch, I guess. Edge can still say he's pinned Cena, too. And lord only knows where the fans go with it, depending on what city you're in. That makes me a bit more optimistic about the main event scene than I was after retching through Cena's superman tap-out win at Mania.

Final shot of the night is HHH celebrating his craftiness and periodically holding up the number of fingers of titles he'll have held once he's done with Cena.


SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28




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