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OO RAW RECAP
The Champ is (Finally) Here 
August 8, 2006

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com

 

It's been about a month and a half since WWE really got a Monday night right... but I think that dry-spell ended with last night's edition of RAW. 
 
Which isn't to say it was a flawless 2 hours, or the most riveting thing any of us will see on TV this week... but it is to say that they seemed to tweak the recent formula to allow for a BIT more focus on the in-ring product, while keeping the storyline focus on the most dependable performers. RAW's streak of mediocrity 

was pretty much defined by no matches longer than 4 minutes and poor time management (where things would happen like a freaking HIGHLANDER being asked to have the night's longest match, do the utter apathy of the audience). 

This week's show avoided those pitfalls, keeping the most important performers in the spotlight as the brand heads towards SummerSlam... the net result was that the pace and velocity of the show seemed to pick up; other than the Diva Search crap, there weren't lengthy bits where you were itching to unleash your Fast-Forward Finger. That's a huge step up from what RAW's delivered the past 6 weeks, and I'm hoping that somebody, somewhere, was taking notes as this show got put together so they can replicate it in the future.

Let's dig in, shall we?

Video Package: the McMahons got the better of DX last week. But you don't need me to tell you that. Unless you're a no-attention-span-having maroon.

Backstage: a camera reveals two Elvis impersonators, with their backs to us. When they turn around, the Elvisses (Elvi?) are obviously Vince and Shane McMahon. They do about 2 minutes of attempted comedy, using Elvis lyrics to describe the many ways HHH is doing the Jailhouse Rock, and HBK took a one-way ride to the Heartbreak Hotel last week. The "big finish" is Elvince revealing that no matter how much HHH begs and pleads, Umaga is going to be cruel to him tonight. Nee haw?

Opening Theme/Pyro/Etc., and as if the cheesy opening Elvis bit didn't tip you off, we're live in Memphis, TN. In a rare display of promotional honesty, while Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross are telling us everything that WILL happen tonight, they also admit that something they promised will NOT be happening tonight, as Hulk Hogan's not in the building due to injury. But no worries: RAW still intends to deliver the goods, starting with gold on the line...

Mickie James vs. Trish Stratus (Very Special "Not A Match" Match)

As Mickie and Trish make their respective entrances, the announcers (almost certainly heeding the advice of the Voice In Their Headsets) make the first of at least 3 or 4 completely lame non sequitur comments about a recently re-released 1999 study correlating wrestling viewing with violent behavior in kids. Allow me:

Dear Vince,

Don't give a shit.

Love,
Everybody in the World with IQs Over 70

Hopefully, that message will get passed along in time for next week, so that we are not subjected to pointless blather again.

Mickie and Trish lock up to start the match, and nanoseconds later, Edge's music fires up. Edge and Lita come storming down the ramp, and Edge has got a mic, claiming that he's sick and tired of being a forgotten man on the show where he's the champion. So he's taking over the show until he gets his opportunity to air a few grievances. That means no women's title match. So he tells Mickie to "hit the bricks, toots," but suggests that Trish might want to stick around for a bit.

Edge's Talking Point tonight is the lack of respect he's receiving as champion. It's not just about his lack of TV exposure, it's also about all the bullshit he's putting up with from management. Such as being forced to go into John Cena's hometown at SummerSlam to defend the WWE Title against Cena. Totally bogus. And being told that if he gets DQ'ed or counted out in that match, he'll lose his WWE Title to a guy who already had MORE than enough of a home field advantage as it was. Even more bogus.

Then we enter the Visual Aids portion of the segment, as Edge displays the SummerSlam promotional poster on the TitanTron. It features DX and Cena in the foreground, making it child's play for Edge to mock DX's sophomoric use of hot dogs and the stupid face Cena is making for the camera. And nowhere on the poster is the man who is the WWE Champion, which seems odd. Hell, notes Edge, even Trish managed to get her pretty little self onto the poster.

Edge says he was willing to let that go, though, once he was told the new edition of the WWE Magazine would be featuring a sexy blond(e)-haired Toronto native on the cover. But surprise, surprise, surprise, when Edge saw the cover, it wasn't a shot of Edge.... it was a picture of Trish. Which is just about enough of the disrespect for Edgeward. He flat-out refuses to be upstaged by somebody who hasn't won an important match in, like, a year (Edge: Tony Schiavone called, he wants his gift for the greatest hyperbole in the history of this business back). 

Edge is really starting to throttle up the Prick, and is getting right up in Trish's face, when Lita decides that it might be more fun for everybody involved if we left the man-on-woman violence aside... she offers to take care of Trish for Edge. Awwww, teamwork: that's so cute. Afterall, opines Lita, Trish is nothing but a "no-talent slut." Should be easy work.

But as Lita makes her approach, Trish strikes pre-emptively. Trish easily gets the better of the initial fisticuffsmanship, but with Edge lurking around, that didn't last for long. But also: once Edge decides to get involved, Carlito sprints out for the save (thank christ; I was sweating bullets thinking they'd try to send Cena out there). Things look good for a bit, as Carlito manages to neutralize Edge.... but in the melee, Lita hits a Spear on Trish. As Carlito immediately swoops in to tend to Trish, Edge and Lita backpedal on out, looking quite smug and satisfied with themselves.

Wow. Nice opening segment. And if I didn't know any better, I'd say it was designed to be EXACTLY what The Rick ordered yesterday. You had Edge finally getting some substantial TV time to do what he does best (be a jerkface), and you had WWE suddenly resuscitating the Trish/Lita feud (hopefully so we can get some big time blow-off/closure on it before one or both women leave the company). Perfect.

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Kane vs. Shelton Benjamin (#1 Contender Match for the IC Title)

Before the match, IC Champ Johnny Nitro and Melina make an entrance. Melina does her split-legged thingie on the announce table, motivating Lawler to do some of his usual pitiable old-man slobbering. But along those lines, please tell me I was not the only one who saw Nitro touching Melina in a rather naughty region as he corralled her off the table... assuming you were like me and your eyeballs were riveted to the Naughty Region to begin with, I'm thinking you probably couldn't have missed it. Even if the USA Network censors sure as hell did.

Then Shelton enters, then Kane enters. And just as Kane is about to set off his corner pyro, Shelton attacks him from behind. DUMBASS! If Kane had shot his corner pyro, pre-match, then you couldn't possibly have lost, Shelton! It's a law!

First minute or so is Shelton out-quicking Kane, and countering the big man offense with little schoolboy roll-ups and stuff. Not enough to get any convincing near-falls, but enough to showcase Shelton's Technique Advantage over Kane. But after that opening minute, Kane's offense starts landing, and Shelton's in increasingly big trouble.

It leads up to Kane going for a chokeslam, but Shelton counters that into a DDT. Then Shelton gets a little too cocky, and decides to head to the top rope. When he comes flying off, Kane catches him, and lands the chokeslam this time. And then: BOOM goes the corner pyro, which is now Kane's post-match Victory Pyro, all because Shelton couldn't restrain himself. Dummy.

Your Winner: Kane, via pinfall, in 2-3 minutes. A total waste of Shelton, and I gotta wonder who the hell is the genius behind a Kane vs. Nitro IC Title feud. You're simply not gonna get the most out of either guy in that scenario. Unless, maybe, it's all a scheme for Nitro to retain the belt while he and Melina prove just how clever and conniving they are. We'll see, but unless the plan is to "promote" Carlito out of the IC picture to a post-SummerSlam deal against Edge, I had kinda wanted to see Carlito/Shelton/Nitro get a chance to wow us in a big-time PPV gimmick match. Instead, Kane's in as the next challenger? Huh.

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Self-Congratulatory Hype: WWE went overseas, and lots of people paid to see them. Unlike what happens here in the States.

John Cena's Still Not Very Funny

After being (purposely) scaled back on last week's show due to strongly negative fan responses, John Cena's gonna press his luck here in Memphis with a promo. Even in the south, where they still think NASCAR is cool, Cena's met with a decidedly mixed reaction. Let's say 60/40 cheers-to-boos. Well: squeals-to-boos, but you get the idea.

Cena says that he's sick and tired of Edge saying the same old shit. Christ, John, poor Edge hasn't even been on TV in any significant role in over a month; you must be one impatient sumbitch, Homey! Respect this, poster that, magazine the other.... Cena doesn't want to hear about it, and frankly, he just plain doesn't like Edge.

And plus: Cena says he has it on good authority that Edge was originally gonna be on the SummerSlam poster, but was taken off when it was determined that his face frightens small children. Small children, of course, being John Cena's #2 demographic (after misguided teenage girls), so he knows of what he speaks. Also: it's not like Edge isn't on the cover of magazines. Why, just this month, he's on the cover of "CBI." Which is "Crying Bitch Illustrated." Punctuate with a visual aid on the TitanTron (because apparently, even if Cena doesn't like Edge, he's still OK with stealing his shtick).

Then Cena says he might be very happy that he's going back to his hometown of Boston for SummerSlam, but if Edge has a problem with that, then Cena figures it's perfectly OK if Edge wants to do SummerSlam right here. Tonight. On neutral ground. In Memphis, TN. First he steals from Edge, now from Foley? Jerk.

But instead of Edge, it's Jonathan Coachman who answers that vague semi-challenge. Coach says that he hates to burst Cena's bubble, but there will be no SummerSlam Preview tonight, because Edge is already scheduled for action (in a mixed tag match with Lita against Carlito/Trish). However, Coach can also see that Cena's chomping at the bit for some action of his own, so he figures he can oblige....

Out comes Viscera, the World's Largest Jobbing Machine. Looks like Cena will have his hands full with 500 lbs. of Vis after these....

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John Cena vs. Viscera

We come back, and join the match already in progress. You know that thing I said in the preramble about there being no real FF moments on this show? Well, I might have slightly exaggerated, as this match certainly wore me down with its one-dimensionality.

Fat man offense. Fat man offense. Lame hope spot. Fat man easily squashes hope spot. Fat man offense. Lather, rinse, repeat. Absolutely nothing interesting here until the very end, when Vis was setting up for the Big Splash/Greco Roman Butt Rape combo... but Cena rolled out of the way. With nary a transition/set-up move, Cena then hoisted Vis up for the F-U and the victory.

Your Winner: John Cena, via pinfall, in about 4-5 minutes (after the ad break). Like most Cena matches, this had him getting his ass kicked and then winning out of nowhere. Unlike most Cena matches, he didn't hit any of his other Wacky Moves, settling for just the F-U out of nowhere. Admittedly: against a giant guy like Vis, that looked damned impressive (Cena didn't just fireman's carry Vis over, he actually held him up on his shoulders for a split second to make sure we all believed he was holding Vis up). But this was still 90 seconds of match in a 5 minute bag, mostly because Vis may be fat, but that doesn't make him any less of a glorified jobber. That makes it really hard to muster up any interest in the match or its outcome.

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This Week in Wrestling: The WWF promoted an early "super show" at Shea Stadium in 1980. One of the main attractions, to hear them tell it? A match between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. WHAT~!??????!?? You mean the WWF LIED TO ME in 1987 when they said Hogan/Andre at WM3 was the first time the two good friends had ever fought?!?!?! Oh, the humanity. [Note to history wonks: I'm being sarcastic. I just think it's odd that, 20 years after the fact, WWE's decided in favor of a bit more honesty.]

Backstage: the McMahons (un-Elvis-ized) are surrounded by cops, claiming that DX is in the building, and that after last week, they are quite sure that Shawn Michaels will be out to get them. The cops seem prepared to deal with any intrusions, so of course, this is when Shane McMahon announces he's gonna leave the office (to make a phone call, or something; which could easily have been done IN the office, but you know how it is with the Hollywood Writer Monkeys... if it's good enough for retarded characters in trite horror flicks, it's good enough for RAW, baby!).

Elsewhere Backstage: Trish and Carlito are hanging out, getting ready for their mixed tag match. Trish has apparently been hitting the espresso or something, as she's all spazzed-out and drama-queen-y talking about how pissed she is at Lita, and all the awful, awful things she will do in mere moments to get her revenge on Lita. For some reason, the phrase "Whup That Trick" is worked into the conversation by Trish about 3 or 4 times. I guess so that JR doesn't have to be the one who makes this week's decidedly-uncool, slightly-dated, and unconvincing Tangentially-Applicable Pop Culture Reference (honestly: how many times in the last month has JR attempted to convince us he knows who Shakira is?). As Trish is getting all alather, Carlito's trying to calm her down with some supportive words. Finally, Trish does stop rambling, looks at Carlito, makes a snap decision, and then gets on tippy-toes to plant a kiss right on his lips. Huh; I guess it *has* been 2 months since these kids started hanging out, so it's about time, but still, that was a bit out-of-left-field, wasn't it? The kiss seems to have had magical soothing powers on Trish, as she is now calm and collected as she decides to head to the ring. And Carlito? A zoom-in on him reveals a perfect non-verbal representation of "I don't know what the hell that was all about.... but it was cool." 

Elsewhere Elsewhere Backstage: Shane wasn't going to make a phone call, at all. Instead, he's trying to find Shawn Michaels, apparently to lure him into a trap where the cops will have no choice but to remove Michaels from the building. My only problem with that: can Shawn Michaels really be that stupid? My vote would be for "no." Shane bumps into the Highlanders, who don't know where Michaels is. Then Shane bumps into Torrie Wilson and Titties McSuperbowl, who (as they do at all times) have nothing useful to share. Finally, just as Shane is getting back to the office, Shawn Michaels swoops in and attacks. I guess he *is* that stupid; leaving me to hope to hell that this is but Phase 1 of a double-reversey secret plot by DX, otherwise, this is just some of the laziest writing of all times. Anyway: after no more than a half-dozen blows, the cops break the scuffle up, and we break for....

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Backstage: the cops are escorting Shawn Michaels out of the building, on charges that he accidentally struck an officer while he was going after Shane. Hokay. But wasn't the whole point that Michaels was gonna be in trouble if he so much as laid a finger on Shane to begin with? Or am I just thinking too hard? [By which I mean "Thinking harder than the entire team of Writer Monkeys combined thought about this week's show"...] Triple H tries to play peacemaker, but is told to back off unless he wants to join his buddy downtown. Looks like the McMahons have successfully divided DX again this week, albeit in about the laziest and least creative way possible.

Carlito and Trish Stratus vs. Edge and Lita (Mixed Tag Match)

Edge and Lita's entrance is augmented with footage of Edge on an upcoming episode of "Mind of Mencia." Which gives me an excuse to bust out the helpful chestnut "If you find Carlos Mencia funny, then more than likely, I cannot respect you as a person." Sorry, but that's just how it is.

Rules are men fight the men, and women versus women, at all times. So the men start. And after a few quick scores by Carlito, Edge settles in with the early advantage. Mostly using face gouging and simple stuff like that. All seemed to be going smashingly for the WWE Champ, but the second Carlito showed signs of life (with a brief flurry that included the now-officially-dubbed "Million Dollar Knee Lift"), Edge decided to get all equal-rights-y, and tagged Lita into the match.

This automatically made Trish legal, and the crowd really came alive as the two charged each other (with Trish coming out on top). If you want a reason why I came out so strongly yesterday in favor of Trish and Lita getting a chance to give us some big time closure on their long-standing feud, well: here you go. The crowd just explained it to you. There simply aren't two other girls in the company (or in the business) who could incite that kind of response.

Trish's tear continued until she tried to snap off the handstand head-scissors, but Edge interfered and held Lita in place while Trish crashed and burned. Thus began Trish's chance to play Ricky Morton. Lita's Requisite Heel Beatdown consisted mostly of choking Trish across the ring ropes, blowing kisses to Edge (awww), and a sleeperhold. Also: there was a top rope clothesline in there somewhere, and as scary as Lita's moonsaults can be, I'll say she hit that one better than Kane ever does.

Right towards the end of the beatdown, Lita seemed to shift gears, and was gonna work on Trish's knee. But she got a grand total of maybe one or two shots in before Trish figured out a counter: when Lita grabbed her leg, Trish booster herself up, and caught Lita around the neck with both ankles, and hit the whirlybird head-scissors. This brought Edge into the ring to try to snuff out Trish's rally, but in turn, that brought in Carlito. A brief Pier Four brawl, and if we're still defining the Tag Team Wrestling Formula in terms of the Rock 'n' Roll Express, then it doesn't get any better than Trish and Carlito finishing that brawl off with gorgeous Stereo Dropkicks and Stereo Kip Ups.

Edge and Lita go flying out of the ring. Trish and Carlito soak in the cheers. And we break for....

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Back, and the men have once again stepped into the ring. And while we were away, Carlito decided to let Trish take it easy and do the Robert Morton part where she just stands around and lets her partner get his ass kicked. A replay shows that Carlito's problems began when he tried for a jawjacker elbow, but Lita tripped him up, allowing Edge to take over.

Edge tries nothing fancy at first, keeping things stompy-punchy, and then settling in with a sort of vaguely-cobra-clutch-y chinlock. But Carlito fires up out of that, and gets a solid mini-rally going in which they do a cool spot where Carlito broadjumps over Edge to the top rope, backflips to get behind Edge, and goes for the Double Knee Back Cracker. But Edge watches his videotapes, and grabs onto the ring ropes for dear life, foiling the move. 

Thus begins a second Edge offensive, a bit more dastardly than the first (complete with some brawling outside of the ring, and Lita taking the opportunity to land a few shots of her own). This time, Edge eventually brought things back down a notch by going for some sort of double-chicken-wing thingie. Milk that for a bit, and then Carlito fires up again, and this time, it's gonna stick: couple big moves, then he DOES land the jawjacker elbow, and both men are down.

Then both men crawl to their corners, and hot tag the girls. Crowd's still loving it as Trish basically reprises the same house o' fire act from before. This time, she hits a big suplex, though, and Edge has to step in immediately to break up the count. Carlito tries to come on into the ring to counter Edge, but the ref intercepts him and gets distracted trying to shuttle Carlito out of the ring. These leaves Edge and Lita to double-team Trish.... they're going for some sort of Lita-on-the-top-rope move (while Edge holds Trish in place), but Trish squirms free, and shoves Edge into the ropes. This causes Lita to lose her footing, and she crotches herself. Edge is more than a little apologetic.

But the ref also turns around at this point and sees Edge in the ring where he shouldn't be, so he's once again gonna try to restore order. When that doesn't go so well, Carlito decides to come on in and take a personal interest in Edge's bidness. While those two are brawling, Trish has recovered and snaps off the headstand head-scissors on Lita. Trish is pleased with her handiwork, and isn't paying close attention as she walks backwards towards the middle of the ring. She ends up bumping into a dazed Carlito... as Trish turns around, she ends up walking right into a wicked Spear by Edge, one that had been meant for Carlito.

Immediately, Edge follows up by tackling Carlito out of the ring, where they continue throwing hands. And slowly-but-surely, Lita comes to her senses, and manages to drape an arm over Trish's limp carcass for the three count.

Your Winners: Edge and Lita, via pinfall, in about 15-16 minutes. Really good stuff here, and the best match RAW has had in over a month, at least. Everybody was spot-on and used to perfection (right up to the rude Spear at the end, which caused my Trish Sympathy Gene to activate). It's also a match that serves at least a triple purpose. (1) It could easily jump-start the final chapter of Trish/Lita, which I think would be great. (2) It could plant the seeds for a post-SummerSlam program between Carlito and Edge. And (3) it was also a clever (and effective, judging by fan reactions) way of giving both Edge and Cena stuff to do without putting them directly at odds. This is wise because not only is Cena's babyface standing precarious (and thus, it suits him to be involved in a match against a worthless pustule like Viscera who nobody will cheer for), but also just because Edge and Cena have been going at it for 8 months now and there's no need to have them essential repeat or recreate past incidents. Just all around a sweet-ass segment.

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SD! Rebound: I don't recap recaps.

Backstage: Todd Grisham asks Randy Orton about Hulk Hogan's knee injury. Orton keeps it short and simple enough that not even he has a chance to mangle a line; well, either that, or the fact that it was a pretape helped him out on that front. He says that Hogan's full of shit and is just using a fake knee injury as an excuse to get out of the match at SummerSlam. But Orton says if Hogan finds his nutsac in time, the challenge is still open, and Randall would be more than happy to kill the legend of Hulk Hogan once and for all.

Old Reliable(s)

Ric Flair is out to bring us the latest chapter in the reliably entertaining Flair/Foley Battle of Wits... and he wastes no time getting to the point: for more than 10 years, Flair says he's been trying to figure Mick Foley out. And now, these past few months, it's been a more pressing matter than ever to figure out what makes Mick Foley tick, since Flair can't seem to press the right buttons to get the rematch he so desperately wants.

But this week, somebody suggested to Flair that he read Foley's book, "Foley is Good." And sure enough, Flair picked it up, the 2 million copy selling NY Times Best Seller, and he finally gave it a look. And guess what? He wasn't impressed. Flair proceeds to throw the book down to the mat and kick its ass for about 45 seconds. One of these days, in a nod to the smarks, I really want Flair to throw down a broom and then start dropping Crazy Man Elbows on it. Meltzer would be required to give that ****, I do believe.

Flair finishes his assault on the book, tears out one page, and throws the rest out to the audience. He says everything he needed to know about Mick Foley was right there on page 169, and the rest of the book was crap. What's on page 169? Why, it's Mick Foley's list of his favorite wrestling matches. And #1 on the list? Terry Funk vs. Ric Flair in an "I Quit" Match from 1989. From here, Flair posits that somewhere deep down, there is a Ric Flair fan inside Mick Foley. That Foley isn't as cocky and confident as he tries to act, but rather, that he's fully aware and respectful of what Ric Flair's accomplished, and is scared to step into the ring with him.

So after floating that theory, Flair challenges Foley to come on out and prove him wrong.

And sure enough: here's Mick Foley with a rebuttal. Except: not so much. He admits that yes, Funk/Flair was the greatest match he ever saw, and that on that night, he realized that Ric Flair was a better wrestler than Cactus Jack or Mick Foley would ever be. But none of that changes the simple reason why Foley won't wrestle Flair....

That reason is that, no matter how much Flair and Foley hate each other, if you put them together in the same wrestling ring, something special will happen. They'll tear the house down and deliver SummerSlam's REAL main event. It'll be a match for the ages. And it will put Ric Flair's legacy right back up where it was in 1989. And Mick? Will simply not be any part of that.

Because he made himself a solemn promise back in WCW in 1994: as Ric Flair was doing absolutely nothing to help out the career of a young Cactus Jack, Foley promised himself he'd never do anything to help out Ric Flair if the opportunity arose. And today, Mick's holding all the cards over Flair: he doesn't have to help Flair if he doesn't want, and he has a contract that lets him fight who he wants, when he wants. And he's not gonna waste one of those matches on Flair. "How ironic is it, Ric, that 12 years after you did everything in your power to prevent my dreams from coming true in WCW, now the only thing standing between you and YOUR dream is ME?".... Foley says Flair's gonna have to bring a hell of a lot more to the table if Mick's gonna change his mind.

So Flair launches into a generic spiel about how he can't believe Foley would walk away from his own legacy as a fearless Hardcore Legend (and Foley has to act like this is affecting him like a gut-punch), and finally says that Flair's not just asking for a rematch, he's offering Foley the chance to be part of the greatest hardcore match ever. How can Foley turn that down? So c'mon, Mick, just for one more day, Ric wants you to be a man.

Foley has taken all this under advisement, and is seething as he says that he can't believe this, but after what Flair's done in recent weeks (even sneaking in a mention of Melina), Flair sure as hell is owed an ass-kicking. So tell you what: if you want to do this Flair, then here's the offer.... it's me and you, it's SummerSlam, and it's an "I Quit" match. A Truck Monkey hit Foley's music prematurely, and it seemed like they were gonna just roll with the punch and end the thing there. But I'm glad they didn't...

Foley decides to ask for the music to be cut, and says that he's fully aware of Ric Flair's great career and all the great matches he's had. But at SummerSlam, it's going to be his greatest match of all. And if Foley has his way, it'll also be Flair's last. Flair's retort: "May one of us bleed to death in Boston." NOW we play Foley's music, having nailed that killer tagline.

I guess there's a touch of anticlimax here, in terms of how Foley finally gave into Flair's demand without anything truly huge or dramatic.... but that's part and parcel of the slow-burning story they did, here, stretching things out for the better part of 2 months. The road getting here has been so frequently excellent that I don't think a big dramatic finish was required; the journey, as they say, was the important thing, and it was definitely fun. That said: looking forward to the match at SummerSlam, they sure as hell have built it up to the point where it better be a Classic For The Ages, otherwise *that* will be an anticlimax that's not so easily forgiven. No pressure, fellas!

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Jerry Lawler vs. Randy Orton

Lawler is wearing an outfit apparently designed to burn out TV picture tubes. He is resplendent in spandex so white, he practically glows. 

Opening minute or so is Orton using his physical superiority to get the better of Lawler, with Lawler popping the crowd by busting out periodic bitch slaps. Works for me. That's basic dynamic for a bit until Orton settles in with (you guessed it) the Chinlock. Little mini-fire-up from Lawler (but you can tell he's half-assing it, as he didn't Bring The Strap Down), but when he whiffs on the Flying Fistdrop, Orton is pretty quick to strike with the RKO.

Your Winner: Randy Orton, via pinfall, in 2-3 minutes. Essentially a squash, but unlike Vis/Cena, it was short enough to not bore or offend. Yes, even with that damned chinlock thrown in there by Lazy Boy.

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Vignette: Jeff Hardy is returning. But to RAW? That's odd.

No Sale

Six vapid Diva Search bimbos enter the ring. Five leave. Wait. They're not leaving. Why not? Oh, who the hell am I kidding? I'm not stopping the FF'ing to find out....

Hype: JR, who's now flying solo for the rest of the show, runs the SummerSlam PPV line-up. Of note: Hogan/Orton is listed, but has a giant "?" on its graphic.

No Sale, Part 2

The four vapid bimbo contestants and the one vapid bimbo host are still in the ring, and they do something. Then they finally do leave. And nope: I'm still not laying off the FF to be able to tell you more.

Video Packages: a fairly comprehensive summary of DX's past two weeks dealing with the McMahons and Umaga (including stuff from earlier tonight). For the learning impaired, I guess.

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Triple H vs. Umaga

Umaga is accompanied by Armando Alejandro Estrrrrrrrrrrada and both McMahons. Triple H? He walks alone. And the smark in me can't help noting it's already after 11pm (eastern) once this match gets under way.

Which is probably why it's so simple. Little back-and-forth to start, which quickly tips in the favor of Triple H so he can taunt the McMahons and rip his shirt off and play to the crowd. But when HHH charges Umaga in a corner, Umaga comes out with a rude spinning heel kick.

Then it's a time-compressed heel beatdown, with Umaga jumping right to the good stuff (including the Headbutt of Woe that I'm digging). Relatively convincing near-fall after Umaga hit the Running Butt Attack.... but not long after that, Hunter began a rally with a series of clotheslines. They played the little "you can't knock over the fat guy" game, but finally on the 3rd or 4th clothesline, Umaga dropped.

HHH's comeback was also in Time Compressed Mode, as about 20 seconds later, he hit a big pendulous spinebuster, which caused the McMahons to intervene to signal End Game. Vince pulled the ref out of the ring, and Shane entered the now-refless ring to attack Trips. This didn't go so well, so Vince stomped the ref once, and got in the ring to help out His Son Shane. This STILL didn't go so well, and we seemed headed towards a Pedigree On Vince....

But just as HHH hooked Vince up, Umaga came from out of nowhere with that same running Asiatic Spike (that looks more like a clothesline) that he used on Michaels last week. Estrrrrrrrrada threw the ref back into the ring, and he groggily counted to three.

Your Winner: the Undefeated Umaga, via pinfall, in about 4-5 minutes. Yeah, probably a little short-ish, but effectively handled, as the pace seemed solid and they definitely crammed in the good stuff instead of sticking to a "formula" that requires restholds, even in the shortest of matches. I think the past two weeks have been "wins" for Umaga, too, and it'll be interesting to see if he can sustain momentum without the benefit of being involved in a McMahon storyline (for an example of what happens when you lose the McMahon Influence, please refer to "Spirit Squad, The"). Cuz (and I'm not making this up) just busting out new chyron that really does say "The Undefeated Umaga" isn't gonna do the trick all on its own.

After the Match: Umaga and Estrrrrrrrada left, and the McMahons got in the ring. After a brief conversation, Shane lifted HHH's carcass and handed him over to Vince. And Vince proceeded to hit a Pedigree to HHH. Jerk. Play Vince's music! And as we survey the carnage caused by the McMahons, we eventually fade to black while Jim Ross suggests there may be hell to pay for the McMahons at SummerSlam....

E-MAIL RICK
BROWSE THE RAW RECAP ARCHIVES


  
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