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WWE Monday Night RAW - February 19, 2007
by Samoa Rowe

Last week Donald Trump made his in-person debut on Raw. He wanted to face Mr. McMahon at Wrestlemania, but they made a deal. They will each choose a competitor to represent them at Wrestlemania, and whoever loses gets their head shaved.

With No Way Out in the history books, the road to Wrestlemania is in full force! Tonight, Mc McMahon will announce his representative to face Donald Trump’s rep at Wrestlemania! Also, Rob Van Dam faces Edge in a “Money in the Bank” qualifier!

The show opens with an old fashioned barber shop chair and poll set up in the ring, and we are joined by Mr. McMahon. Vince puts over his “battle of the billionaires” with Donald Trump. Vince plans on beating up Trump at Wrestlemania before shaving his hair. The crowd is really uninterested in this segment, and who can blame them since Vince is in full blown rambling mode. For some reason, he brings up Britney Spears and her rather unfortunate new hair cut. He shows Britney “before and after” on the Titantron. Vince goes back to making bald Trump jokes, some incorporating doctored photos, and this segment really needs to get to the point and end. The crowd is nice enough to laugh at a few of the jokes too, which makes me sad. Vince finally announces his rep and it’s… UMAGA! He’s not a bad choice, I was afraid Vince was going to pick Khali. Umaga and Armando Alejandro Estrada join Vince in the ring. Vince then announces that Umaga is going to be a champion, and this brings out Jeff Hardy for an Intercontinental title match. Hardy confronts Vince on his way to the ring, obviously not pleased about his match. We head to a commercial. This entire segment was boring as hell and took forever to get to the point.

Intercontinental Championship:
Jeff Hardy © vs. Umaga (with Armando Alejandro Estrada)

My prediction going into this match is that Hardy will lose the belt. The match started during the commercial break. Umaga chases Hardy to ringside, but Jeff leaps back into the ring for a drop kick through the ropes. Hardy soon goes for a sling shot over the ropes, but Umaga catches him in mid air. Umaga tries to drop him into the steps, but Hardy counters and then leaps off the barricade onto the Samoan Bulldozer, but Umaga strikes Hardy in mid-air. The action spills back into the ring, and Umaga is in control. Umaga takes his sweet time punching and kicking. Jeff is unable to mount any offense for a bit, leaving Umaga to methodically beat him down. Umaga locks a claw onto Jeff’s shoulder, and this match is going so slow that I can only assume this is setting the stage for a lengthy bout. Hardy fights out of the hold, but gets clotheslined. Umaga climbs to the second rope and misses a diving head butt. Umaga misses with a corner splash and takes the Whisp of the Wind. Hardy goes for the cover but gets thrown off. Umaga is back in control and gets a Samoan drop in. Umaga drags Hardy into the corner for the running ass shot. Umaga then gets the Samoan Spike in and pins Hardy for the title at 5:42 (not including the commercial). After the hot opening, this match died a swift death and was mainly heatless, ¼*. Umaga is the new Intercontinental Champion, so that is significant, but Hardy did not deserve to lose the belt in such a burying fashion.
Winner and new Intercontinental Champion: Umaga

Mick Foley has a new book coming out, so we get a commercial. Foley teases that his book contains a lot of criticism against the WWE, so it should be a fun read. I am talking to both Geist and Plague, and they both responded with “Foley has a new book?”

Ric Flair and Carlito (with Torrie Wilson) vs. Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch

Last week Flair went one on one with Carlito and out-smarted him for a victory. This is building off the segment a couple of weeks ago where Flair questioned Carlito’s passion for the business. Flair starts off against Cade. They go at it, with Flair taking control fairly easily and tagging in Carlito. Cade takes a springboard elbow and a running knee to the face. Carlito is pushed into Murdoch, who takes a cheap shot, and Cade slams Carlito. Tag is made to Murdoch, who hits some generic offense. Murdoch tags in Cade for some generic double teaming. Murdoch is immediately tagged in again so he can put Carlito into the obligatory rest hold for a face in peril. Carlito fights out of it (surprise) but gets taken down by an elbow shot. Murdoch goes to the second rope, but Carlito gets a foot up. Carlito makes the desperate tag to Flair, who cleans house. Flair tackles the back of Murdoch’s knee and goes for the figure four, but is cut off by a flying Lance Cade. Carlito helps dump Cade to the floor, allowing Flair to hit a low blow on Murdoch. Carlito is tagged in, hits the back cracker on Murdoch, and pins him at 4:28. This was pretty pedestrian, ¾*. I am enjoying this angle though, mainly because I’m still not sure where it is heading.
Winners: Ric Flair and Carlito

Backstage, Todd Grisham is standing by with World Tag Team Champions, Shawn Michaels and John Cena. He asks them about their victory at No Way Out. HBK reminds everyone that he has Cena’s back. They tease a heated confrontation, but HBK pimps the new DX DVD instead. Cena responds by advertising his DVD, The Marine. Apparently it is the best movie since Gone with the Wind. I can buy that. Hm, The Marine has a hot blond playing Cena’s wife and the DX DVD has naked midgets and fat male strippers, this would be a tough choice for me.

Elsewhere, Randy Orton and Edge are sniveling together. Edge is hyped for his Money in the Bank qualifier, which is up next!

We get a video package looking back on the first two Money in the Bank ladder matches which were held at Wrestlemania 21 and 22. Both matches were excellent, and it seems to have become a new tradition of Wrestlemania.

Money in the Bank qualifying match:
Edge vs. Rob Van Dam

RVD is still a part of the ECW brand, but since the roster split rules seem to allow superstars to show up on any show they want these days, he is back on Raw yet again. They tie up and Edge wrenches RVD’s wrist. RVD uses his leg to free himself and returns the favor. The match restarts, giving RVD a chance for some trademark taunting. They tie up again and Edge gets a side headlock in. RVD pushes him away and takes control. Edge takes a breather at ringside, just in time for a commercial at the 1:30 mark.

After the break, RVD has Edge in a rest hold! That tends to happen a lot, doesn’t it? RVD continues his work on RVD’s wrist and goes for a cover. RVD goes back to an arm lock, but Edge fights out of it. RVD reverses an Irish Whip, but Edge grabs the ropes. RVD pushes Edge to the floor. RVD drops Edge gut first on the barricade and hits a spinning leg drop off the apron. RVD dumps Edge back into the ring, but Edge catches him off guard upon his return. Edge hits a spinning neckbreaker, and then mocks RVD. The crowd has been really dead all night. I just thought I’d share that. Edge gets a back breaker and goes for a cover. Next up is a chin lock from Edge! It turns into a sleeper, but RVD escapes. They get into a slug fest, and RVD hits a spinning heel kick on Edge in the corner. Both men are down and selling how tired they are. They get up and trade some more shots before RVD hits a series of clotheslines and a kick to the gut. Edge runs into another spinning heel kick. RVD goes for rolling thunder, but Edge leaps up and catches RVD for a power slam! That was cool. Edge gets a near fall out of it. Edge sets RVD up on the top turnbuckle for a superplex. RVD fights it and hangs Edge up on the ropes. RVD leaps from the top, knocking Edge off to the floor. RVD then springboards over the ropes onto Edge. The action returns to the ring, RVD goes for a flying crossbody, but Edge drop kicks him in mid-air. This gets Edge another near fall. RVD then dodges a spear, slams Edge’s skull into the ring post, and hits the split legged moonsault for a near fall. RVD soon dodges another spear, and takes Edge down with a kick to the face. RVD goes to the top for a frog splash, but Randy Orton distracts him. This gives Edge a chance to hit RVD with the spear for the victory at 13:30! Edge is heading into Money in the Bank, which is a swerve from the long rumored Orton/Edge match at Wrestlemania. This match was hurt by a long dead sequence and the quiet crowd didn’t help either. However, it picked up a bit near the end and was solid throughout, **1/4.
Winner: Edge

WWE Slam of the Week: Super Crazy and Mickie James came up short against Johnny Nitro and Melina in a mixed tag match last week.

WWE Women’s Championship:
Mickie James © vs. Melina

I cannot imagine the point of having this match again before Wrestlemania unless either Melina wins the title tonight or they end up not facing each other at Wrestlemania like I had predicted. Nitro and Super Crazy are not at ringside for this one either. They tie up and push each other around while going for the hair. Mickie gets a side head lock in, but Melina counters with a hammerlock. Mickie counters and twists Melina’s arm, slamming her to the mat in the process. Melina gets some shots in, but eats a clothesline. Mickie gets a beautiful drop kick to the face and dumps Melina to the floor. Mickie goes for a baseball slide, but Melina pulls her to the floor. Back in the ring, Melina hits a running kick to the face and gets a near fall. Melina grabs Mickie by the hair and swings her around the ring for another near fall. After an interesting submission spot by Melina, Mickie fires back with some shots and swings Melina by the hair as well. Mickie targets the face of Melina with some shots, which only makes the challenger angry. Mickie soon hits a Lou Thesz press, but gets whipped into the corner. Mickie fires back with a head scissors take down. Melina reverses Mickie’s momentum for a cover attempt and uses the ropes to pin Mickie for the title at 4:21! This was the second title change of the night, which is unusual for a basic episode of Raw. This was a spirited contest, featuring some satisfying action. ** for a great effort.
Winner and new Women’s Champion: Melina

Backstage, Todd Grisham tries to get a word in with Mickie about her loss, which upsets her. Mickie slaps the taste out of Grisham’s mouth.

The Highlanders vs. The Great Khali

Dammit, after a couple weeks of no Khali, I was hoping he was taken off television again. The Highlanders attack Khali as he climbs over the ropes. Khali immediately tosses the hairy one to the floor. Khali even gets a head butt in, I should rate this match in the positive range. He grabs the bald one by the throat and proceeds to stand there for a few seconds. The hairy one attacks him from behind, but gets pushed down. Khali chops the bald one, who falls to the floor. Khali turns around and hits a big boot on the hairy one. Khali then hits the double armed Chokeslam on Robbie McAllister and steps on him for the victory at 1:32. This was your basic Khali squash, which means I hated it. DUD.
Winner: The Great Khali

The stupid barber shop set up is on the stage now. They replay clips from the awful opening segment, complete with the altered Trump photos. I guess I wasn’t grumpy enough without having to see this again.

Backstage, Coach is talking to Kenny Dykstra. They are interrupted by The Great Khali. Khali spews some gibberish that I can’t quite understand. Coach seemed to understand what he said, something about wanting better competition. Khali storms off, and a nervous Coach walks into Ron Simmons. We get a “damn” from Simmons, saving this segment.

We are now treated to clips from Ashley Massaro’s Playboy cover unveiling from last week’s Smackdown. This really isn’t improving my mood either. Then, of all the things to cover from No Way Out, we see footage from Ashley winning a diva talent contest by pulling a Sable.

Elsewhere backstage, Melina is making out with Johnny Nitro to celebrate her title win. Melina is upset that Ashley had a video package and trashes her. If this leads to Melina wrestling Ashley at Wrestlemania, I will vomit.

Next is a video package announcing that “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig is being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He is an awesome choice, it just makes me sad that he isn’t alive to be at the ceremony. It also makes me sad that he isn’t alive in general.

Next week: Donald Trump picks his representative to face Umaga at Wrestlemania 23. Also, John Cena and Shawn Michaels defend the tag titles against Randy Orton and Edge.

Non title match:
WWE Champion John Cena vs. Randy Orton

The crowd finally wakes up for Cena’s entrance. Seriously, this has been an awful crowd. They tie up with Cena gaining the early advantage. They break in the corner and tie up again, this time Orton gains the advantage. Orton targets the ribs of John Cena with some kicks and stomps him to the mat. Cena reverses and Irish Whip and gets a fisherman suplex for a near fall. Orton pokes Cena in the eye and nails an uppercut. Cena reverses an Irish Whip into a hip toss. Cena drops an elbow for a near fall. Cena hits the Irish Whip, but eats a clothesline. Orton gets a near fall. Cena reverses another Irish Whip and gets a bull dog. Orton escapes to ringside, but Cena rolls him back in. Cena and Orton take each other down with clotheslines. Orton returns to ringside to stall for time and grabs a chair. The referee tries to talk Orton out of it as we head to a commercial break. So far this has been very basic, but lively.

After the break, Cena is trapped in a Randy Orton rest hold! During the break, Cena collided with the steel steps. Cena fights out of the rest hold (as usual) but Orton knocks him down before he can mount any significant offense. Orton DDTs Cena, who was hanging off the ropes. Orton gets a near fall in. Orton angrily takes some shots at Cena, including one of those uppercuts that I enjoy so much. Orton floors Cena and proceeds to stomp at almost every point on Cena’s body. Orton hits a running knee drop and gets yet another near fall. Orton goes for a reverse chin lock, and Cena stumbles around. Cena lifts Orton, but the hold isn’t broken. Cena fades to the mat, as Orton continues to do what he does best, which is apply rest holds. Cena stands up again and pushes Orton’s arm away. Orton hits some punches on Cena, who then begins to no sell them. Cena hits a hard clothesline and the running shoulder tackle and suplex into the five knuckle shuffle. Yes, it is five moves of doom time, but Orton escapes the F-U attempt and hits a drop kick. Orton climbs to the top rope and hits a flying crossbody, but Cena rolls through into a near fall! I thought Cena had it. Orton regains control and signals the RKO. Cena reverses the RKO and Orton hits the mat hard. Cena then goes for the F-U, but Edge runs in and hits the spear for the disqualification at 13:03! This was a solid match, though very basic and by the numbers. Cena and Orton are probably capable of delivering a main event quality match together, but that will have to wait for another day, **1/2.
Winner by DQ: John Cena

After the match, Edge grabs a couple of chairs and positions Cena for the conchairto. Shawn Michaels runs in and cleans house on Rated RKO with the chair in a most awesome fashion. HBK then teases hitting Cena with the chair too, as Cena clearly looked suspicious. HBK decides not to, and Raw has a happy ending.

Final Thoughts: This Raw wasn’t as good as it has been lately. The crowd was dead all night, which really hurt a lot of the matches and segments. The opening McMahon segment was horrible and was a very typical instance of Vince doing things that he finds amusing and thus expects everyone else to find amusing too. There were two title changes tonight, which was kind of neat, but still is on the verge of over kill. The wrestling was pretty decent too, and the build for Wrestlemania is going along nicely, so that earns this points.

Thumbs in the middle.

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