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The Magic is Gone 
July 11, 2006

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com


Well, that thing I said yesterday about having an unusually-large 90 minute time shift for RAW? Turns out, I lied. 
Christ almighty, every year ESPN "schedules" the Home Run Derby to last for 2 hours, and every year it runs over a bit. I'm used to it, and that's why I figured I wouldn't get to RAW until maybe 10:20 or 10:30pm (eastern).... but this year, the damned thing ran over by a full hour. And just trust me: it didn't have to. 

But for whatever reason, ESPN is convinced that they can turn any decent, wholesome sporting event into utterly self-indulgent and unwatchable schlock, even if it means "Big and Rich" befouling something as pure as the American Pastime for several minutes before we can commence to the -- you know? -- putting of the bat on the ball in between other pointless interruptions.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, though. If they think they can stretch 30 minutes worth of sports highlights and analysis into the laughably-awful monstrosity that is the 90-minute Sunday Night SportsCenter, then it stands to reason that 90 minutes of Home Run Derbying needs to be padded out to 3 hours.

And while I'm ranting: can somebody tell me where in the blue hell Tasty Sports Broad Erin Andrews is at? ESPN/ABC have had a zillion high profile sports events in the last 2 months, but she wasn't at the NBA Finals, wasn't at the World Cup, wasn't at either of the Drafts (that I saw; but admittedly, I think actually watching a Draft is about as exciting as watching paint dry except for the 5 second window in which your team makes a pick), and has been criminally absent from all Yankees games I've watched (and her intelligent brand of dugout reporting/interviewing is what I noticed first about her). I guess it could be worse than Bonnie Bernstein (they could have let Leanne Tweeden pretend at being a sportscaster, instead of just letting her bimbo her way through the All Star Weekend Celebrity Softball Game).... but c'mon: some of us are jonsing for our fix of ironically-named Atlanta natives. I don't think she's been used since college basketball season, and given the pitiable state of ESPN's roster of alleged broadcasters, that's just plain wrong. 

Of course, none of this is why you called. You're here because of the wrestling I watched last night. Not the other things I watched while I was putting off watching the wrestling.

So let's just get on with the procedure. Given that the lone highlights were supplied by OO Favorites Mick Foley and Edge, and given that I think that magic of RAW's strong post-WrestleMania run is officially gone after three consecutive weak outings, I'll try to make this as quick and painless as possible.... 

Video Package: Last week, John Cena beat the crap out of Rob Van Dam, but Edge was the one who made the pinfall and won the WWE Title.

Cold Open: Now with Hot bOObs!

No opening theme/pyro/etc., just a cut to Lilian Garcia standing in the middle of the ring (in Sioux City, IA, or possibly Sioux Falls, SD; I don't remember, but it also doesn't really matter if it's between two backwater bergs even less metropolitan than my beloved Dayton), who introduces us to the NEW WWE Champion, Edge.

Edge hits the stage, and is accompanied by Lita. Lita, by virtue of the return of One Of Those Shirts, is accompanied by her boobs. All four make their way to the ringside area, where Edge unveils a Very Special Auxiliary Announce Table (adorned with the "Rated R Superstar" Logo). Edge and Lita sit themselves down and put on the headsets, as they're here to do a bit of scouting for Saturday Night's Main Event, and also to lend a bit of Expert Analysis to the show.

John Cena vs. Shelton Benjamin

Edge tries his mightiest to convince us that Shelton could very easily score the upset win here tonight and vault himself into the #1 Contender's spot for SNME. But much as I love both Edge and Shelton, I think we all know Edge was full of shit on that one.

Cena started fast and over-powered Shelton for the opening minute or two, but things changed at that point, as Homey spent too much time trying to be all hard by staring bullets at Edge. Edge -- correctly -- identified that Cena was foolish for letting himself be distracted by a mere announcers. Lita -- without even an ounce of prodding from Lawler -- also chimed in that it's not like she was wearing that shirt by accident. That's my cute little slutbag! Don't you ever stop acting like there's absolutely no filthy notion I could conjure up that you wouldn't positively love to be involved with! [For Lita's next trick, I have one request: try using vocal inflection to put "punctuation marks" at the ends of your sentences. Cuz some funny things were said, but the awkward stopping and trailing off kinda sapped some of the impact.]

Shelton took advantage of the "distraction" (which wasn't even a distraction, it was Cena idiotically turning his attention away from his opponent), and gained command of the match. Some decent stuff here, including the always-flashy suplex-that-gets-reversed-into-a-neckbreaker-move. Then there was an homage to Orton, as Shelton clamped on a chinlock for a bit. Then Cena fired up out of that and decided to go to the top rope (Edge, in a comically dismissive tone of voice: "What the hell does he think he's doing up there?".... Me: "What he just said!"), where he falls prey to Shelton Benjamin's latest installment of "I Am Awesome And The Best Move Of The Night Shall Be Mine."

Get this: with Cena standing on the top rope, Shelton gets to his feet, sprints to the corner, and hits a double-jump springboard enzuigiri. Wow. Cena goes flying off the turnbuckle to the floor. Nice. Edge is certainly enjoying the sight of Cena KO'ed in front of his Special Announce Table, but stays seated, as it's time for us to look at some....


Back, and Shelton's taking the Orton vibe to a rather unfortunate extreme: he's working that chinlock. And he's working it multiple times, since Cena kept trying to break it, and Shelton would just keep slapping it on. In Shelton's defense: at least he appears to know how to apply a legal chinlock (it's visibly NOT a choke, and the pressure is on the sides of the neck/throat) and also doesn't act like a putz and over-sell it like Orton does (honestly: has one man ever put as much effort into making something relatively simple look so strenuous as Orton does with his chinlocking?)...

So this goes on longer than was strictly necessary until Cena finally begins an honest-to-god comeback. After powering out of the chinlock, it's a few traded-punches, and then Cena gets the better of that and goes straight to the Wacky Arsenal. Wacky clothesline. Wacky tackle. Wacky suplex. Then the Five Knuckle Shuffle (even in whichever jerkwater berg this was, there's ample boos for some of Cena's gayer antics, such as this). Cena hoisted Shelton up for the F-U, but Shelton wormed out of that, and actually got Cena up in position for an F-U! But now it was Cena's turn to weasel out, and he got Shelton in position for what I'm assuming was SUPPOSED to look like the set-up for the T-Bone Powerbomb (if they were playing tit-for-tat on stealing each other's finishers), but which -- due to Cena's flamboyant lack of technical prowess -- bore essentially no resemblance to said maneuver.

Shelton managed to counter out of that, but didn't follow-up... so Cena hit a sorta-Snake-Eyes-looking thing on him, landed the F-U, and then applied an SSTF that was shitty-looking even by Cena's standards. I don't know what Cena was using to wrench Shelton's head back, but I'm guessing it must have been pixies or magical fairies or something, cuz it sure as hell wasn't his weak-ass facelock.

Your Winner: John Cena, via submission, in about 10-12 minutes. First half was EXTREMELY promising. Second half was pretty fricking brutal, though.

After the Match: for no discernable reason, Petulant Brat John Cena suddenly dove over the Rated R Announce Table and tackled Edge. (Edge had not said or done anything untoward. Cena just tackled him. Applying the "what would I think if I saw this same thing happen in real life" heuristic, any rational viewer should agree with me that Cena is a fucking immature jackass with serious emotional issues.) As Cena tried to throw Edge into the ring and follow, Lita grabbed his ankle and slowed him down just enough for Edge to gather himself and hit Cena with a Spear. Add on a DDT for effect, and Cena's fully laid out. Edge and Lita leave together, and they've got a mic: after promising Cena more of the same on Saturday Night's Main Event, Edge decides that these fans are not worthy of any Live Sex Celebration, so he and Lita are heading back to the hotel to celebrate in private. Except for the camera crew that will broadcast their actions back to the very same fans

Coming Saturday: Hulk Hogan is on SNME, and he's bringing his daughter. Wheee.


Moments Ago: stuff happened, and if you're not a retard, you don't need to be told about it again. But that's not stopping WWE from doing so anyway.

In the Parking Lot: it appears that security measures are in place to detect the arrival of DX. But so far: No DX.

Video Package: Last week, DX did a bunch of stuff that made Vince McMahon look like a putz.

Backstage: Eugene is hanging out with Torrie Wilson and Snitsky (why? don't ask me), and thinks the video package was hilarious, and wonders why Torrie and Snitsky aren't laughing, too. It's because Vince and Shane McMahon are standing right behind Eugene. D'oh. For reasons that I could not quite decipher, Vince and Shane have scheduled themselves for a match tonight, and now that they've seen Eugene laughing at last week's antics, they think they've found their opponent. So: later on tonight, it's Vince and Shane vs. Eugene in a handicap match. Wow, what a doozy?


Trish Stratus vs. Melina

Trish is flying solo. Melina has Nitro with her (and is also sporting new ring attire so as to prove that Trish isn't the only one who is capable of rocking the tightest of pants). And after a strong start for Trish, Nitro is the difference maker: the brawl spills outside, and Nitro grabs Trish for a quick distraction, while Melina slides under the ring apron, and comes out 90 degrees to the right, which is NOT where Trish was thinking she'd be once she got free of Nitro. Advantage: Melina.

Melina then commenced to clubbering for a few minutes, giving Jim Ross ample time to marvel at how surprisingly capable she is (and giving Lawler time to yammer incessantly about her ample cleavage). Nothing fancy, though, and Melina's onslaught ends when she decides to try a move off the top turnbuckle, but Trish catches her with the handstand 'rana, instead.

Thus begins Trish's big rally, and she busts out all the hits: Thesz Press, the Handjob Chops, the Whirlybird Headscissors, etc.... it all builds up to Trish setting up for the Stratusfaction Bulldog. But at the last second, Trish spies Nitro getting up on the ring apron, and instead of springboarding off the ropes, she releases Melina and baseball slides into Nitro. Problem solved? Nope. Because as soon as Trish turns around to get back to bidness, Melina hits her with a quick schoolgirl roll-up for the upset.

Your Winner: Melina, via pinfall, in about 4-5 minutes. Although far from spectacular, this one did something the opener didn't, and stayed very solid throughout. No lulls whatsoever. That's about all you can ask for when you're watching a match that is essentially nothing but a cheap prelude to what happens....

After the Match: Melina may have won, but she and Nitro haven't had enough fun yet, so they start looking like they're gonna do a little 2-on-1 beatdown.... until Carlito hits the ring, that is. Some quick brawling to put the babyfaces back in command, and then Trish and Carlito hit Stereo Thesz Presses and the Stereo Dropkicks. Screw you, Rock 'n' Roll Express! It's cooler when these two do it! Nitro and Melina decide to get out of Dodge...

At the Hotel: Edge and Lita are attempting to check in, but a slow-witted yokel desk clerk takes his sweet time showing up to help them, and then informs them that their room isn't ready yet. The clerk suggests they might hang out in the bar... so Edge sends Lita to go order a few drinks, and then gives the clerk a solid tongue-thrashing that recounts the many reasons why some people are champions and other people are paid lackeys with bad haircuts. What a jerk.


Video Package: Diva Search Crap.

The Highlanders vs. Matt Striker/Rob Conway

The Highlanders do a little mic work, and can't say enough good about the wonders of corn, which goes over great with the Iowaians. But before they can get to the (inevitable) part where they reveal their love for corn is actually physical and not just platonic, they are interrupted by Striker and Conway (who, we are told, have made up after last week's failure to defeat the Highlanders).

Striker starts, and has little success. So he tags in Conway, who also has little success. Less kilt-related offense from the Highlanders this week (perhaps somebody from SD! sent a memo asking them to not steal Vito's shtick?), but more Bushwhackers-inspired offense in its stead. Striker ends up just standing idly by as Conway gets the 'Scot Drop" for the second week in a row.

Your Winners: the Highlanders, via pinfall, in about 2 minutes flat. 'Twas a squash, nothing but. Unless it's also the start of a Striker/Conway feud. Which shouldn't concern anybody but the Cubs Fan, since he'll be the only one who has to suffer through it on Heat!

Backstage: Ric Flair is walking with a purpose when he's stopped by Maria the Mic Stand. But Naitch is not to be sidetracked: "There's a time for business, and looking at you, by god, I know there's a time for pleasure," says Ric, displaying a rare ability among WWE's roster of mostly-douchebags: the ability to offer a generously flattering compliment without being a face-slappable sleaze. Flair says this is one of those business times, though, as he's about to hit the ring and tell us all the "truth" about Mick Foley....


Flair to the Extreme?

Following up on his promise, here's Ric Flair headed to the ring, where he basically says "The truth about Mick Foley is that he challenged me to a 2-out-of-3 falls pure wrestling match at the last PPV, and I whupped him in two straight falls." But sadly, Flair kind of did it in a rambly way that didn't seem particularly smooth or logical. Remember that thing I said a month or so back about Flair being awesome at "being Naitch," but being a surprisingly awkward promo guy when asked to convey points or respond spontaneously to unscripted material? Well, this was kind of along those lines....

Let's all, for the sake of enjoyment, just pretend that Flair also remembered to mention that after Foley lost, his response was to be a savage hardcore "stuntman" who brutalized Flair in front of his hometown fans and his family. And let's also pretend that Flair took a moment to demand a rematch. Because if he had, everything would have made a lot more sense when Mick Foley popped up on the TitanTron to interrupt Flair's rambling with a pre-taped bit of Promo Goodness.

Foley says that it's funny that Flair'd be in a truth-telling mood, because if you want to tell the truth, how about the one where Flair's "autobiography" consisted of Flair getting drunk for about a week straight, and then talking out his ass while some ghost writer took notes. That's a good one! 

Meantime, Foley wrote his own books, longhand, including a little nugget of truth about how Flair was once a less-than-desirable boss to Foley in WCW. Then Mick goes on to retell the story of losing his ear in a match in Germany, and how Flair was his boss then, and when Flair was handed Mick's severed ear, Flair poked his head out of the curtain and was amazed to see Mick STILL WRESTLING. So Mick calls "bullshit" on Flair's claim that Foley ever took the "easy way out" by wrestling the hardcore style. There's nothing easy about losing your ear, about bleeding buckets, or about driving 1000 miles per week in order to train to be a wrestler in your spare time.

Mick refuses to be told he took the "easy way out" or that he can't wrestle by a man whose only offensive maneuver these days is touching another man's genitalia. [ZING~!] And he refuses to acknowledge Flair's claim that he's been in the ring with hundreds of genuine "bad-asses," but that Foley is none of them... because, Mick says, none of Flair's other imaginary bad-asses ever made Flair bleed like he bled at the PPV, nor made his family cry like they did at the sight of their own father.

So now, Flair's standing in the ring, saying he wants to get back in the ring with Mick "all night long" (umm, actually, unless I missed it, Flair didn't say that tonight, but remember: we're pretending)... but guess what? That spot in Mick's mind that was occupied by all those thoughts about Flair is empty now. After what happened at the PPV, Ric Flair no longer matters to Mick. He's nothing, he's nobody, and he's not getting a rematch. Whether he likes it, WHOOO!, or doesn't like it, he'd better learn to live with that. No rematch, "you used up piece of crap." End of pre-taped segment.

Back in the ring, Flair once again started spewing relative non sequiturs and took of his jacket to indicate how angry he was... it seems as though he was once again just marking time and attempting to ad lib until the NEXT interruption.

Which came in the form of Paul Heyman. Hmmmm...

Heyman says that, gentleman that he is, he's recently made his peace with Mick Foley, and the two were recently discussing how Flair always seems to make the same mistake over and over again: being unable to accept and appreciate "extreme" wrestling and those who practice it.  Such as the new ECW Champion, the Big Show, whose title win from last week just so happens to be cued up, so they play it on the TitanTron for all to see. And for me to FF.

Back to live action, and the Big Show himself is here in the flesh... he says that everything Flair's accomplished in his career is amazing, but now, Big Show has done something that Flair's never done: he's held the WCW, WWE, and ECW World Titles. Oy, I was kinda hoping they'd just let that little footnote go by the wayside, since harping on it only serves to remind me that the current "ECW" Title really has no business being considered anything but a brand new Secondary WWE Title Belt. But whatever. 

And then, because he's apparently smoking the same thing as RVD, Show follows the New ECW Tradition, and offers to defend his title against a random opponent for no readily apparent reason. Is it asking too much to have at least a LITTLE Temporal Causality here? After some haranguing, Show lays it out simply, "You got one more in ya?" And sure enough, Flair says he does. So it's Flair vs. Big Show Tuesday night on Sci-Fi in a match that bears more resemblance to 1996 Nitro than to what 2006 ECW should be.

As soon as Flair accepts, Heyman distracts him, allowing Big Show to attack from behind. He hits the Cobra Clutch Neckbreaker, chuckles at his handiwork, and then leaves with Heyman.

Wow. They sure did pack a lot of stuff into that segment. Foley's stuff was the easy highlight (not just of the segment, but of the whole night); just awesome. And although I'm the one who laid out a scenario yesterday in which Flair could have challenged for the ECW Title, this was not even close to how I would have envisioned it happening. Plus 10 for somebody at WWE seeing the wisdom of stealing from The Me; minus several million for not stealing the WHOLE idea.

Backstage: Vince and Shane are chatting, talking about how they are convinced that DX will show up tonight, and when they do, "the plan goes into effect." A knock on the door has them worried that DX may be here, now. But not quite: it's Eugene, who's come to apologize, cuz he didn't mean to hurt anybody's feelings, so maybe they can all just be friends, instead of fighting tonight. Vince and Shane decided to play nice, and Vince even distracted Eugene with the gift of a DX t-shirt... but then Shane snuck up from behind and poured some green gunk over Eugene's head. Then Vince and Shane started beating up Eugene, and for reasons unknown, decided to give him a swirly. [Is it because it's not RAW until something toilet-related happens?] Finally, Vince and Shane kick the partially-green, but partially-toilet-water-cleansed Eugene out of the room, telling him to "Tell DX the fun is over." So Vince and Shane are convinced that DX and Eugene are somehow in cahoots, I guess, and that's why all this is happening?


During the Break: Paul Heyman tried to recruit Candice Michelle to ECW. Why, Paul, why? His idea was for a Kelly/Candice Dance-Off... Candice turns him down, but says if she can dance WITH Kelly instead of against her, he's got a deal. Oy. I'd rather if they paired Candice with Francine, as the Wonder Duo Of Supposedly Attractive Women Who For Some Reason Shrivel The Rick's Wang. I can't fully explain it, people, I can only report the facts: and the facts are that if you are capable of being sexually aroused by Titties McSuperbowl, then we are simply wired very differently.

Viscera vs. Charlie Haas

So both Vis and Haas gesture (Broadly) to indicate that this match is for Lilian Garcia. Both seemed convinced they will win the heart of Sweet Lilian by beating the piss out of the other guy. Lilian, however, doesn't appear all that interested.

In fact, after all of about 90 seconds of tepid back-and-forth "action," she just gets up, and grabs her mic to announce, "Just stop it, the two of you. Look, I'm happy to be friends with both of you. But that's it: just friends." For some reason (oh, I know what it is, I'm just too polite to point out the myriad shortcomings of wrestling's socially-stunted, sexless fanbase of losers), Lilian gets booed for playing the "let's be friends" card.

With Lilian trying to play peacekepper, Haas rakes Vis' eyes, temporarily blinding him (and apparently causing all of his tactile senses to go numb), because Vis is suddenly unable to tell the difference between a 120-pound babe in a miniskirt and a 240-pound man in tights: when Lilian stumbles into Vis, she gets a Fat Man Samoan Drop for her troubles.

As medics rush to the ring to tend to Lilian, Vis and Haas both briefly feign concerns. Then they sort of lock eyes, and instead of going at each other, they start laughing together. The mics even pick up Haas saying "Friends, my ass." And then Vis and Haas make the universal sign for "Screw that bitch," and they leave together. Cuz they both know the other will so totally put out later at the hotel and won't pull that "just friends" crap.

Your Winner: Nobody, it was a no decision after less than 2 minutes of "action." I guess there's nothing wrong with creating another tag team. And I guess I'm glad that if you had to follow through on this silly angle, at least they finished it off the right way: with both Vis and Haas as heels. Since lord knows, despite WWE's attempts to portray it otherwise, both behaved like total assclowns with regards to Lilian over the past however many months.

At the Hotel: Edge and Lita are at the bar, and they're drinking..... mimosas? Is Edge going gay on us? Men don't drink mimosas other than at fancy brunches, dammit! Then again: I get the impression that we're supposed to be getting a laugh out of the rather dubious drink choice, given the way Edge would make a funny face (as if he'd just done a double-shot of rank whiskey) after sipping his mimosa, and then commenting "These babies will put hair on your chest." So fair play to you, Edgeward. We get a few self-serving toasts regarding Edge's prowess as a wrestling champion and Lita's hotness as a tasty whore, and then the desk clerk from earlier finally arrives with the room keys. Time for this party to head upstairs!


The Crap

So they cart out the 8 diva search finalists, and appropriately enough, the festivities are MC'ed by another vapid, effeminate waste of space: The Miz. Why the hell hasn't anybody accepted my "OO Ten Dollar Challenge," yet, and face-punched that tool while he's doing one of his segments from the audience on SD!? Just imagine the smug sense of satisfaction you'd feel when you explain yourself to Miz, and he finds out that he's only worth $10!

To my immense schadenfreude, Miz screwed up his lines worse than Orton in this segment, and even the most dimwitted in the audience had to have noticed. Why not just let Coach handle this? For one, he's a professional who can string together 3 words to form a cogent sentence. And for two, he resembles a heterosexual male, which would actually lend some credibility to the requisite lecherous commentary that the Diva Search host will be doing.

Then we met the girls, each of whom got 20 seconds to tell us why we should vote for her. Sadly, none of the girls displayed the wit to spend her 20 seconds accurately and clearly explaining HOW to vote for her, after Miz so cosmically fucked up those details. That would have been funny.

None of the girls stood out as being any more tolerable than the others, and after a couple of them, the crowd was grumbling and half-booing. What a surprise. Do me a favor, though: if you simply MUST participate in this nonsense (and in so doing, give WWE the impression that people actually give a shit, ensuring a fourth Diva Search next summer), then you are required to vote for "Milena." Just because she's already publicly stated she won't pose for Playboy. I figure voting for her SERIOUSLY screws with WWE's plans to pimp the winner out to Hef. And screwing with WWE is just about the only plus I can see coming out of this thing.

Once the agony is over, we are told that the contest continues on SmackDown! (hey, so this should be over twice as fast this year, then!), where at least I don't have to recap it. Not that I recapped it here, either, but you know what I mean.....

Backstage: Hacksaw Jim Duggan was giving Shane McMahon the ol' what-for after what happened to Eugene earlier. Duggan says he's known Shane since he was yay-high, and he didn't realize Shane had grown up to be such a prick, picking on a harmless kid like Eugene like that. Just as Duggan was threatening to beat some respect into Shane, Vince struck from behind with a steel chair.  Shane followed up with a chairshot of his own. Pointlessness, tonight thy name is RAW.


Randy Orton vs. Val Venis

Before the match, Orton regales us with his latest public speaking fuck up: "In case you already didn't know," sayeth Young Randall as he manages to invert two words in such a fashion so as to render his statement Officially Retarded, "Hulk Hogan is coming to Saturday Night's Main Event." And Orton's looking forward to introducing himself to the legend.

Then Val Venis came out, and got pinned in less than 20 seconds. I am not exaggerating. In fact, if it was more than 15 seconds, I'll eat a bug. Poor Val.

Then Orton got the mic back, and said, "Oh, and one more thing: I'm looking forward to introducing myself to Hogan's daughter, too." Punctuate that with a douchetastic smirk, which is about the only reasonably-genuine personality Orton seems capable of displaying, and we're finished here.

Your Winner: Randy Orton, via pinfall, in about 15 seconds. Hey, no chinlocks! That's something, right? 

At the Hotel: Edge is lounging on a loveseat, with Lita wrapped around him, and says he's interested to see what happens when Hogan meets "Young Randall." [His words, not mine. Well, actually, they *are* mine, but in this case, they did come out of Edge's mouth, because everybody knows he's a kleptomaniac, and the only place he likes to steal lines from is OO. But that's OK: even if Bulldog has never forgiven him, I have.] This launches Edge and Lita into a brief spat of dueling Hogan Impersonations, neither of which is very good, but that's kind of the point. Then there's a knock on the door, and it's room service... a guy who doesn't really look *that* much like Pee Wee Herman brings in the food, and is instantly mocked by Edge for resembling Children's TV's Most Famous Public Masturbator (while Lita punctuates with an admittedly dead-on Pee Wee Laugh). While looking over the spread, Edge notices there's no champagne, so he tells Pee Wee to go fetch a bottle or two, and not to dawdle: he has three minutes, or else. Did somebody say Three Minutes? But I'm not a big enough jackoff to come up with an Umaga joke to throw in here just because Edge is a smart enough guy to know how long commercial breaks are and a considerate enough guy to make sure that nothing interesting happens until we come back from...


At the Hotel: Edge and Lita are nibbling. On the food. At least, for now. There's a knock on the door, and Edge expects it's the champagne. But it's not: it's John Cena, once again displaying the sort of immature temper tantrum you'd normally associate with a spoiled sixth-grader who is finally told that there will be no PlayStation 2 until after he mows the lawn. Cena just flies into the room, and tackles Edge, while shouting "The Champ is here." Um, no you're not, Homey. Edge gets tossed all around the room, as Cena makes sure to focus on things like the room service food and some of the associate breakaway glassware. Cena pins Edge down on the loveseat, and forcefeeds him some of the food, too; because nothing says "I am genuinely angry with you for perfectly legitimate reasons" like storming into somebody else's hotel room and lecturing them on the importance of a balanced diet. Cena finally gets up, briefly fondles the WWE Title, and then tosses the belt down on Edge's carcass as he leaves. Somebody check me on this: at no time did Edge instigate the violence or in anyway mistreat Cena, and yet twice Cena sneak-attacked him on this show.... and Cena's the babyface? You know how I usually make a distinction between people I want to slap (out of disinterested dismissal) and people I want to eyeball punch (out of genuine malice)? Well, Cena's on his way to creating an all new category: guy who really needs a spanking. What a fucking brat he is.

Hype: they run the SNME line-up. Only notable item is that "Sabu will be in action." No opponent given, but it's worth noting that apparently WWE has realized that Sabu and his uniquely-action-packed matches are actually a valuable selling point, regardless of his opponent.


Eugene vs. Vince McMahon/Shane McMahon (Handicap Match)

The McMahons enter first, and Vince even gives Eugene a special introduction... but Eugene's not gonna be fooled by any pretend-joviality. He's slow to approach the ring, but then his hand is forced when the Spirit Squad run in behind him. Two McMahons, or five Male Cheerleaders? Eugene opts to give the McMahons a try.

That doesn't work out so well. After getting beat down, 1-on-2, Eugene is at the mercy of Shane. Meantime, Vince has grabbed a mic and is standing on the ring apron doing a little commentary, and also making random proclamations as it suits the action in (and around) the ring. This includes making the match No Disqualification when the Spirit Squad decided to get involved to snuff out a rally by Eugene.

After a couple minutes of that, Eugene starts Hulking Up. And wait: he's still got a ton of green paint on his body! Somebody alert the dickweed lawyers at Marvel! "Hulk" and "green" in the same sentence! That is SURE to cause confusion in the marketplace and ruin your valuable cartoon franchise! Or not....

The heels all stand around long enough for Eugene to go through just about the entire Hogan Arsenal (because that gives JR and Lawler and excuse to remind us that Hogan's gonna be at SNME in just 5 days)... once they're sure Saturday Night has been adequately pimped, FINALLY the Spirit Squad get in the ring and interrupt Eugene's rally. They pound away for a bit, and hit the Fukuoko Toss.

Vince decides this is a good time to get into the match legally, and is tagged in. Instead of pinning Eugene, though, Vince directs traffic, and sets Eugene up on the Auxiliary Rated R Announce Table. Shane is about to fly off the top rope, when DX's music hits. Because DX hates Holy Shit Highspots, the jerks.

Vince, however, is anything but upset by the interruption. Rather, he's pleased to see DX, and just wants to know what took them so damned long. DX suspiciously saunters off to one side of the stage, causing Vince to say "Get back in the middle of the stage, so I can look you straight in the eyes." Nice try, Vince, but you're about as subtle as a kick in the balls.... and DX recognizes it. So they saunter all the way over to the OTHER side. Vince is flustered, now, as DX toys with him... Vince says "I know you guys want to come down here, and the only way to do that is to step to the middle of the stage and come down that ramp." So sure enough, DX steps to the middle....

Which causes Vince to go into a fit of screaming "NOW!" into the mic (and for some reason, even shouting "How now brown cow!"), but somebody must have missed a cue, because by the time a giant net fell from the heavens, Michaels and Hunter had stepped harmlessly out of the way. As Vince sputtered, somebody remembered that there's still, technically, a match going on. Eugene snuck up on Vince and rolled him up for the three-count. 

Your Winner: Eugene, via pinfall, in about 6-7 minutes. Let's just say that I think of a lot of things when I think of "Evil Master Plan" and "a giant net" is none of them. And also: I think of a lot of things when I hear "giant net" and "Eugene" and "Spirit Squad" and "the Mcmahons," and "Main Event of RAW' is none of them. A thoroughly lame closing segment. The fake laughing done by DX as the show wrapped up and faded to black says it all: if Actual Participants were laughing in that overly-fake way you laugh when you want everybody to know that what just happened was actually not that funny at all, how the hell are we, the Home Viewers, supposed to feel? This segment might have played as a crowd-pleasing early show throwaway bit, but as a main event? So very unsatisfying and anticlimactic. 

But hey, in that regard, it fit right in with most of the rest of the show. Trish/Melina probably had the most entertaining match (and post-match angle), and it was all of four minutes long, and if you take away Edge's fantastic prickishness and Foley's kick-ass promo, I wouldn't be able to name you a single other thing worth commending. This RAW was not exactly a world-beater...


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RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28




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