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WWE Raw - March 19, 2007
by SamoaRowe

I must say, the Papa Roach opening theme actually gets me pumped up for Raw. Maybe that is because we all had to suffer through four years of “Across the Nation” but I digress.

Advertised for tonight are two “Wrestlemania Reversal” matches, pitting John Cena against Chris Benoit and Shawn Michaels against JBL.

Our hosts for the evening are Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler.

The show immediately starts off with Shawn Michaels coming to the arena, so we get to find out right away if his match with JBL is really a bait and switch. JBL’s limo arrives in the arena and JBL steps out in his normal business attire. JBL takes a microphone and talks about being annoyed at having a match. He says that no one tells him what he’s going to do or when to come out of retirement. If he comes out of retirement, it’ll be in New York City, not in “freaking Indianapolis!” JBL is a hell of a heel, by the way. JBL berates HBK for having countless opportunities to take Cena out, and he hasn’t done it yet, and calls him an egotistical prick. JBL claims that HBK knows that “deep down he cannot beat John Cena.” JBL goes on to pick on HBK for being a “good guy” so that the fans will like him. JBL claims he would beat HBK’s ass if it weren’t for his retirement, because HBK makes him sick. HBK takes the microphone. HBK has his own point of view. HBK assures victory against Cena at Wrestlemania. HBK reminds us that no one tells him what to do. HBK then hits JBL with the sweet chin music while in mid-sentence. I was expecting a bait and switch, so I’m not angry about it, and this gave HBK some momentum heading into Wrestlemania, so this worked.

They have a graphic hyping the “Battle of the Billionaires” match at Wrestlemania, and I have to laugh that McMahon and Trump are in front of Lashley and Umaga, you know, the actual match participants.

Backstage, Orton gets into Edge’s face for “selling him out” on last week’s ECW show. Edge takes a drink and tells Orton to calm down. Orton talked to Mr. McMahon and got Edge removed from the Money in the Bank match. Orton says Edge really lost his Money in the Bank spot over disappointing Mr. McMahon on ECW. The tension breaks without incident, as Orton leaves Edge to storm around. I really hope this doesn’t lead to Orton turning face.

Chris Masters is in the ring for a Masterlock Challenge. They have a brief video package showing numerous stars failing the Masterlock Challenge. Could tonight be the night someone breaks it? Could be, as the challenger is none other than ECW “World” Champion Bobby Lashley! Masters goes for the hold, but can’t quite get it, so he slaps the back of Lashley’s head instead. Lashley smacks him back and sits down again. Masters finally applies the Masterlock and Lashley appears to be fading. Lashley then breaks it cleanly! Well, there goes what little of Masters’ career was left. Playing that video package before the segment really made it obvious that Masters’ two year streak was over. No complaints here because Chris Masters is really worthless and it gives Lashley some momentum heading into his high profile Wrestlemania match.

We get yet another behind the scenes look at Ashley Massaro in Playboy. I get the feeling this video package will immediately be followed by a Melina whining session. Ashley’s commentary continues to be worthless with gems like “I was just like, oh my God, I can’t believe…” The photographer likes her tattoos. Fascinating.

Half an hour into the show and there has been no wrestling. Weren’t people picking on TNA for doing this last week? Anyway, Lashley is backstage and Vince McMahon, Coach, and security are waiting for him. McMahon applauds and congratulates in an insincere manner. McMahon tells Lashley that Umaga will beat him at Wrestlemania and then Trump will be shaved bald. Lashley just smiles and lets security usher him out. Stone Cold would have never tolerated that horse crap. Maria makes a cameo and then Eugene walks into Vince, spilling his drink. I guess this means Eugene is wrestling Khali or Umaga tonight. Vince tells Eugene to get ready for competition, tells Coach to get Umaga, and then Ron Simmons walks in and proclaims “… DAMN!” in response to the stain on Vince’s suit. This was a rather strange segment, to say the least.

J.R. and King take a moment to acknowledge the passing of Arnold Skaaland. This leads to a video package for the legend.

40 minutes into the show, and we have a battle royal to qualify for Money in the Bank, which Edge has lost his spot in . Ric Flair, Johnny Nitro, Carlito, and Edge get their entrances on television.

Money in the Bank Qualifier Battle Royal:
The bell rings and the action is everywhere. Everyone gangs up on Viscera, you know, because he’s fat and hard to eliminate. They succeed and Viscera is gone at 40 seconds. Edge targets his former brother-in-law, Val Venis. Edge then rolls out of the ring because his knee apparently hurts. In the ring, Flair is fighting Super Crazy, and Kenny Dykstra is battling Venis. I also see Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas in there. Super Crazy is dumped out by Haas and Benjamin at 3:00 after attempting an off the turnbuckle headscissors/arm drag on both. We then head to a commercial. Pretty dull so far, and Edge pulling an injury leads me to believe he’s going to sneak back in at the last minute and pull off a cheap victory, which makes sense because he fractured his jaw against Rob Van Dam several weeks back.

The match comes back and there were some eliminations during the commercial. Nitro eliminated Val Venis, and Charlie Haas was eliminated by Carlito. Edge is still being attended to by a trainer over his “injured” knee. Carlito and Kenny battle it out on the top rope, which isn’t very smart in a battle royal. Kenny gets knocked to the mat, and Benjamin leaps up for a sneaky move, but Flair pushes him down around 8:10 for an elimination. Kenny and Nitro are then eliminated almost simultaneously after the nine minute mark, and its down to just Flair and Carlito. They chop each other around a bit, and Carlito hits a springboard elbow. Carlito tries to eliminate Flair, but the crafty veteran hung on to the ropes. Carlito then tries to headscissor Flair over the ropes, but no luck there. Flair then back body drops Carlito to the floor, seemingly winning the match. Edge then runs in and eliminates Flair at 10:56! Did I call that or what? The crowd is not happy about this turn of events, but Edge has his spot back, *1/2.
Winner: Edge

Mr. McMahon comes out to the arena, and the stupid barber shop set is on the stage. I just keep telling myself that I only need to see that for two more weeks. Vince has his evil security team move the barber stuff into the ring, as we’re going to be treated to a Vince interview after the commercial break.

WWE Slam of the Week: last week Donald Trump introduced his photoshop image of what Vince will look like bald, which led to Trump shoving McMahon over a table. That was brutal.

After the break, Vince has the microphone and introduces his Wrestlemania representative, Umaga. It is time for Eugene to get crushed by Umaga! And that barber set is right there by the ring. I wonder if Eugene gets shaved afterwards?

Umaga (with Armando Alejandro Estrada and Vince McMahon) vs. Eugene
Umaga knocks Eugene off the apron as the bell rings. Umaga introduces Eugene to the steel steps and tosses him into the ring. Umaga stomps on poor Eugene for a little bit, as it seems hard to believe that Eugene was a potential main event character only three years ago. Umaga pummels Eugene into a corner for the running ass shot. Umaga then hits the Samoan Spike for the victory at 1:44. You know, I could just copy and paste Umaga’s squash matches and change the names of his opponent, and no one would ever know the difference, DUD.
Winner: Umaga

After the match, Umaga sets Eugene into the barber chair. They strap him in and McMahon pretends that Eugene is Trump. McMahon starts cutting Eugene’s hair off. Eugene needed a haircut anyway. McMahon then makes some contrived statement about how this symbolizes him cutting the hair of every fan in the arena. That is pushing it a bit. Vince follows this up with a “Billionaire Bitch Slap ™.” While this is effective in putting Vince and Umaga over as heels for Wrestlemania, it really doesn’t add to the feud. Are we supposed to believe that Trump and Lashley are going to be upset that Eugene was shaved?

After a break, Candice Michelle is in the ring and is trash talking Melina. Candice puts over her Playboy cover from a year ago, and calls out Melina. There is real heat between these two, as Candice has been trash talking her online and on the radio. If they wrestle, I surely expect Melina will kill her. Melina comes out on the stage and says that Candice only has a job because she knows how to take off her clothes. I can’t argue with that statement. Melina makes fun of Candice’s Go Daddy ads, which is pretty hilarious. Melina is breaking Heel Work 101, she shouldn’t be pointing out flaws in the babyface that are true! Oh well. Melina claims that Playboy has begged her to do a photo shoot, but she turned them down. Candice makes the cheap joke about “Melina not turning much of anything down.” If Melina won’t get naked, then Candice will, and challenge her to a Bra and Panties match. Melina accepts and I can’t wait to see what Melina botches this week. We head to a commercial.

Bra and Panties match: Melina vs. Candice Michelle
Melina’s Women’s title isn’t on the line, as Candice didn’t want a shot for whatever reason. The match started during the commercial break. Candice tries to take Melina’s shirt off, but it’s blocked. Candice inventively uses the ropes and her legs to remove Melina’s bottom. This only pisses Melina off, who viciously pulls Candice’s shirt off. Why the hell am I doing play by play for this? Candice hits a snap mare and goes for the shirt, but Melina blocks with strikes. Melina applies a head scissors and goes for Candice’s bottom, but Candice rolls into the ropes. The battle a little more and Melina succeeds in stripping Candice for the win at 2:33 (television time). This was obviously a DUD.
Winner: Melina

After the match, Ashley Massaro comes to the ring and confronts Melina. Ashley then finishes stripping Melina, who desperately tries to cover herself. Ashley celebrates, when suddenly The Great Khali comes into the arena to zero reaction. The distraction allows Melina to jump Ashley. Khali poses in the ring and gets some boos. Melina leaves Ashley alone with Khali. Khali lifts Ashley by the neck, and Jerry Lawler runs in for the save. Khali grabs Lawler and hits the crappy double chokeslam. I guess Khali was trying to send Kane a message? Who knows, this whole segment was awful.

After the commercial, there is another promotional video for the Battle of the Billionaires, as numerous celebrities talk about wanting to see Trump shaved. It is worth mentioning that Todd Grisham has taken Lawler’s place at the commentator’s booth.

Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton
Whoa, it’s Druggie McCrackhead vs. Suck Bag! I’ll let you guess which is which. I would have had a field day with this match in 2004. Hell, I’m going to have a field day anyway. J.R. also goes overboard hyping Skittles again, I got numerous comments for not acknowledging this in the past. Anyway, they lock up and go through the usual early match motions. Orton runs into arm drags like an idiot and gets trapped in an arm lock like the pansy he is. Orton fights out and hits the inverted back breaker. Orton then goes for the half-assed Boston Crab that everyone on the boards was picking on him for last week. Hardy makes it to the ropes and gets up to trade shots. Orton bounces off the ropes and runs into Hardy’s arms. Mule kick from Hardy gets him a near fall. Hardy hits the Whisper of the Wind, and it is about this time that Edge runs in and slides a ladder into the ring. Orton grabs the ladder and disqualifies himself at 3:34 by hitting Hardy with it. The match was there, ¾*.
Winner by disqualification: Jeff Hardy

After the match, Orton and Edge exchange words, allowing Hardy to hit the Twist of Fate on Orton. Jeff sets up the ladder and climbs to the top for a big leg drop onto Orton! This really seemed to hurt Orton too, hope he’s alright. I couldn’t think of a better way to hype up the Money in the Bank match.

After a commercial break, it is time for the theatrical preview to WWE Films’ The Condemned, which stars Steve Austin. It actually looks pretty good.

Backstage, Vince is on his cell phone, with Coach sitting nearby. Vince says he is going to drop a bomb on the audience, as next week Bobby Lashley will take on Vince himself. Coach questions the logic behind this match. Vince is offended, and promises to beat Bobby Lashley. I don’t see why Vince is so excited, it’s not like he can shave Lashley’s head or anything. Maybe he’ll glue a wig onto Lashley instead? I’d like to see that.

Shawn Michaels comes back to the arena to watch the main event.

After the break, the newly bald Eugene is crying.

John Cena vs. Chris Benoit
There are no titles on the line here. Match starts off fast with a tie up. Benoit corners Cena with chops and knee strikes. Benoit hits some head butts and aggressively chops Cena out of the ring. Benoit slams Cena’s head into the announce table and tries to hit a German suplex. Cena countered and almost hit HBK, but stopped himself. Cena gets tossed into the ring. Benoit hits a snap suplex and gets a near fall. Benoit hits a couple more chops and a back suplex. Elbow drop by Benoit and a near fall. HBK is talking about potentially “snapping” against Cena at any time, as Cena finally gets a boot to Benoit’s face. Cena clubs Benoit and whips him into the turnbuckle. Cena charges, but Benoit counters. Benoit gets the sharp shooter! They’re in the middle of the ring, leaving Cena to be trapped in the maneuver for a lengthy period of time. Cena finally gets to the ropes, and gets to his feet to trade shots. Benoit hits a trio of German suplexes. Benoit goes top rope and misses a flying head butt. They get up and Cena hits his shoulder tackles to kick start his five moves of doom. Cena gets the five knuckle shuffle, but counters out of the F-U. Benoit goes for the crossface, but Cena locks in the STFU. Benoit uncharacteristically taps out at 6:05. 2004 called and they want their Cena match back, *3/4.
Winner: John Cena

After the match, Shawn Michaels leaps into the ring and teases a sweet chin music, but instead says “gotcha.” HBK offers a handshake. Cena accepts the hand shake, but goes for the F-U… but doesn’t follow through, returning the “gotcha” favor. JBL then shows up on the stage. JBL must have been the guy Vince was talking to on the phone, because he has an announcement for next week. It is going to be HBK and Cena against The Undertaker and Batista in a No Way Out rematch. The Undertaker’s music plays as the show goes off the air.

Final Thoughts: Wow, Raw took a nose dive in the quality department this week. It was mostly an early hard sell for Wrestlemania, and the build for the matches went along nicely for the most part, but unfortunately, Raw as it’s own show, took a hit. This was the worst Raw I’ve seen in a while.

Thumbs down.

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