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Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Raw 15th Anniversary: was I supposed to bring a gift?

We open Raw with an amalgamation of all the previous theme music and opening graphics.

Vince over-eggs the power walk pudding followed by Shane and Steph. No Linda though. Matching colours and everything.

“welcome everyone to Monday Night Raw” in patented Vince style. He says that Linda has a gastro intestinal infection. Vince calls in the photographer but is interrupted by Hornswaggle to a surprisingly big pop. “Hornswaggle” chant as he hugs his Dad’s leg.

Vince tells Shane and Steph he loves them. He dismissively says it to Honry as well. But then he loves all of us too.

Vince wants the family to say “Monday” on three. 1..........2...........

Time to play the Game.

Triple H interrupts to a major pop and “Triple H” chant. He tells us that the fans are smart, they know what’s going on, he feels part of the family. “Sup Steph” he adds.

Trips wants to bring out the people that Vince has “loved” – starting he says, with someone representing the current crop of divas. Melina. “I did not have sex with that Women” “whatever, Clinton”

Representing the past, the original Diva Sunny. And she looks hot! Horny hugs and gets himself some.

Next up is Mae Young. I struggle to pay attention to this, I’m still thinking about Sunny.

Mae avoids Horny, but dry humps Vince, before Melina, Sunny and Trips pull her off. Vince says it was at Moolah’s funeral and had had a lot to drink. At this point, Shane can’t take any more. He’s outta here. Vince tells Steph that he was thinking of her Mom. Trips tell Vince that “anyone can do the pretty ones”
Trips asks any employee that may have been mistaken as a women to come out.

Cue Finkel, Big Dick Johnson, Brisco, Patterson, Bastion Booger and Knuckleball Swartz (thats Lombardi) – they enter to Vince singing at the Slammys.

Trips introduces all of them, but stops at Knuckleball. He asks who he is, and Scwartz tells him. Trips says that Brooklyn Brawler must be busy.

Steph tells Vince that he has embarrassed them enough, and she will embarrass him. She kisses Triple H passionately. He says “see you at home”

Vince say “I hate you” and storms off. Triple H apologises to Hornswaggle, and says if only there was someone who could make him happy just by the sound of his music. Cue the Godfather, with about a dozen hos. Great line from JR “King, I think I see your new ex-wife”

Err, interesting opening segment.

After a break is the Ladder match for the IC title.

Quick, back and forth opening, and Jeff eventually dropkicks Carlito from the apron onto a (hopefully gimmicked) ladder. Jeff Begins to climb, then Carlito Springboards from the ropes to the ladder, hits Hardy with a couple of punches, then sunset flips, over the ladder, over Jeff and hits a modified powerbomb. “Holy Shit” chants take us to commercial..........

We come back to find Carlito down, ladder in the corner. Jeff climbs to the top, vaults the ladder, but misses the attempted legdrop.

Carlito traps a Hardy leg in the ladder and stomps it. He fetches another ladder and drops it on the first, still containing Jeff’s leg. He then stacks both ladders, and slams Jeff onto the ladders, leg first.

Carly begins to climb a ladder, but Jeff is up. He beats Carly off it, but Carlito is back on top, setting up the ladder in the corner. Jeff is really selling the leg and Carlito lays him on the ladder. As Carly runs in, Jeff counters and back drops Carlito into the ladder. Very stiff.

Jeff hits a swanton. Well, I think he was supposed to hit it. He didn’t get much. JR calls the hit but Lawler tries to cover. Jeff climbs, Carlito pulls him off. Jeff goes for a Twist of Fate, but Carly counters into a Backstabber on the ladder. Both men climb, Carlito gets one hand on the gold, but Jeff pushes him off, onto the ropes. Jeff takes the belt and wins one of the best Raw matches of 2007

Things to take from the match – Jeff sold a leg injury big time, so don’t be surprised to see this play a part in him losing to Triple H, but having an excuse. Also, Carlito sold like a madman and took some crazy bumps. That looked like a display to prove his worth to the company to me.

Grisham talks to Heartbreak Mountain, Shawn Michaels, w/ extra white teeth. Michaels says that he can’t remember what he was doing 15 years ago because it’s a little sketchy. He says that Mr Kennedy-Kennedy (that’s what he called him)did something last week which was not a Raw highlight, but if he couldn’t interact with the fake Marty Jannetty, what will he do with the real one?

Jannetty then jumps into shot, thanks Shawn for inviting him (I think), challenges Kennedy (I think) and then says he has to go get ready (I think). To be honest, I couldn’t understand much, but its Ken Kenndy v Marty Jannetty later tonight...............I think.

Next follows a pretty cool compilation of some great Raw moments. Too many for me to recap, but it was pretty slick, with some moments I had forgotten.

Santino now in the ring with Maria. He says that he is the future and has issued an open challenge to anyone. The man who answers is.............

RVD. No seriously. To begin with, I couldn’t remember the theme music, and when I recalled it, it took an eternity for the man himself to show up. But he did, and he wiped out Marella in about 30 seconds after a frog splash. I have no idea if this means RVD is back for good, but man was it god to see him. Wish it had have been for longer.

More commercials, but before that an Evolution teaser airs. They will be reuniting after the break.

Evolution are on their way out, led by Ric Flair, but he is in his gear. Ric would wear an expensive suit for a reunion, wouldn’t he? Trips follows, and both so far are wearing Evolution shirts. Flair and Trips shake hands, followed by Trips water spit. Thats still gross, I don’t care what anyone says.

Next out is Batista, also in an Evolution jersey to a lukewarm pop. Not so many Smackdown viewers in, then. Hug for Flair, and hug for Trips. Screw continuity.

And now here is Orton. No Evolution shirt for him, as King says. Orton disassociates himself from the others, cutting a promo from the top of the ramp. Orton cues VT after he won the title but got dropped by the other three.

Verbal jousting follows, and Orton says that he doesn’t want to be remembered for Evolution, but for Rated RKO with this man. Edge comes out. Batista tells him to bring it to the ring, and Flair challenges them to find another partner. Orton says he thought Ric would say that, and introduces their partner, Umaga. Guess we now know why they were on the gear – dah, I mean in their gear.

After break the match is underway. Flair and Edge tangle, as King tells us that if Flair’s team loses that doesn’t mean he has to retire. That stip is only for singles matches. Umaga tags in and applies a nerve hold, and Ric...........yawns? I don’t think that was meant to look like a yawn, more a cry in pain, but it was funny. It is late for a man of Ric’s age to still be up though.

Trips and Batista eventually hit the ring to hit stereo spinebusters on Orton and Edge. Umaga enters, knocks down the ref and we have a DQ. Orton and Edge bail, and Umaga gets a ball shot from Naitch, Spear from Big Dave, and a Pedigree from the Game. Evolution stand tall as we see Jeff Hardy applying ice backstage.

More flashbacks. This time all the memories are entitled “road rage”. Damn, the WWE have spent a fortune hiring and wrecking vehicles over the years.

Backstage, we see Hornswaggle bothering Mickie James and a slimmed down (so slimmed down I wasn’t sure it was her until Regal mentioned her name) Molly Holly, until RAW GM pulls him away and books him in a rematch with Khali. And Finlay got his ticket from Ireland cancelled by sheer misfortune. So Hornswaggle will be saved, but by whom.................?

Now let me tell you who, brother. No time at all into the match, and the Hulkster (in nWo black and white, not red and yellow) is out to face the man who he should have faced at Mania. Khali nails a few blows, but Hogan Hulks up. Hogan hits Khali to the outside, and then hits an Asai Moonsault on Khali.

Just kidding, but he does shake Hornswaggle’s hand, and basically the leprechaun is the new Eugene. Hogan pimps WWE as the greatest company in the world, and says there is nothing better than being in the ring. He also plugs the new superstars, and says never say never......but does a Savage impression. Odd.

He pimps American Gladiators, and does a few poses with Hornswaggle. Always cool to have Hogan back – I think we’ll see him at Mania.

A package of old and newer DX moments airs and reminds me how very one dimensional their humour is. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes they are funny, but you need to be in the right mood.

Yay, Fink is in the ring. He is introducing a 15 man battle royal. Is that what everybody wants? Well here is Al Snow. Followed by Bart Gunn, and did you expect to get through the evening without seeing Doink.

And Barry Darsow is here, with mask and without hair, as the Repo Man. Next is Steve Blackman, who looks exactly the same. Pete Gas is next, from the Posse. Hey, and Mr Backlund! TNA rejects now?

After just seven entrants, it’s an advert break again. Dammit, that means I’ll have to do some fast recapping after the break. Who the hell is going to be so uninteresting that Bart Gunn got higher billing?
Well, we are back, and we now have (wait for it) Gangrel on his way, with Skinner, The Goon, IRS and Flash Funk. I make that 12.

Scotty 2 Hotty is next, followed by the Anvil! Yes, the WWE does have a Hart. Well, a Neidhart. Anorexic Sarge is next. You didn’t think we’d get through the without Slaughter did you?

Next, we are backstage, and its a familiar knock on the door. Followed by the menacing walk to the ring complete with pyro (of a sort) Yes, its Gillberg.

Well, he didn’t last long, and is eliminated, closely followed by Backlund. Doink is slung by Al Snow, who then ousts Gangrel. The Snowman is then sent flying by Flash Funk, before Pete Gas goes. Bart Gunn is gone too, before Funk and Blackman eliminate each other. Repo throws Goon and we down to six.

Neidhart gets rid of Goon, but is done in by Skinner. Four left and three still work for WWE.

Scotty counters an IRS briefcase, and Worms Irwin. Skinner slings Scotty, but walks into a Cobra Clutch. Keirn charges Sarge and is thrown out, but IRS ousts Slaugher. IRS celebrates and is joined by......Ted DiBiase! The Million Dollar Man joins his old partner mid ring for a Money Inc reunion.

No wait, it’s a ruse. Ted gives Irwin a couple of bucks. IRS puts it in his briefcase and hops over the top rope. Seems Ted bought the win. He gives the old “Everyone’s got a price” line, and his trademark laugh. I’m not sure how many in the audience got the reference, mind you.

After a montage of people slapping others (mostly McMahons, it has to be said) we see Eric Bischoff strolling backstage. Seems we are going to see who kicked the show we are watching’s ass 86 straight weeks.

Eric, now very Grey, talks to us about how much it means to him to be back on Raw. He gets very emotional, but soon turns on the people. He wants them to stand and give him a round of applause, but is interrupted. Seems someone will Save Us.

Jericho seems happy to confront his old boss. Who, by the way, fired Jericho a couple of years ago. Fairly uninspired promo leads to Jericho eventually smacking Bischoff in the face, and before he can apply the Walls, Orton is out. Jericho cuts him of, and applies the Liontamer to the champ, getting a visual tap-out. You know what, that was the champion and the number one contender, a segment basically aimed at hyping Sunday’s main event – and it’s the weakest on the show so far.

Hang on a minute. Another advert break, and that’s like the 6th advert for SatNav during the show. Why do they think wrestling fans have a poor sense of direction?

JR asks us how we can have 15th anniversary celebration without the American Dream? Err, how about because he has been on about 6 episodes out of the 750-odd? I think Tekno Team 2000 and Well Dunn were on more than that.

Cody Rhodes (ah, that’s why Dusty is here) and Hardcore Holly are here for a Tag Title match with Cade and Murdoch. Dream says that he is proud to “stand in this very ring” – when he is sat down outside.

And, bah gawd, Cody and Bob take the straps. I’d say they’ll lose them back on Sunday, and that this match was basically a squash, doing very little for C&M. Bit weak, frankly.

Anyway, The Merkin Dream celebrates with Cody and Bob..........well, with Cody, and we have a package about celebrities that have featured on Raw.

After the break, we get a Divas package, and afterwards it’s Jillian, in the ring to sing “Twelve days of Christmas.” She gets to day two, before Trish Stratus interrupts. JR calls her Canada’s finest export to Raw. Definitely no Bret, then.

Trish says hi to a view people, then runs down Jillian’s singing. Trish is now pencil thin, and as Jillian verbally retaliates, Lita interjects. Jillian urges Lita to hit Trish, but Lita rounds on Jillian too, slating her voice. Jillian sings again, but gets a beatdown, which is made all the better by the microphone she is wearing. You know, Jillian is a fantastic heel.

Next up we have a montage of some of the alleged funniest moments ever, without actually including any more than 2 funny ones. I’ll give them Foley catching Rocky with the “it doesn’t matter” line, and anything Edge and Christian was reeking of awesomeness, but where was Jericho’s original debut? Where was Kane’s impression of Hogan and Rock? Where was the Dating Game? Where was anything involving Regal with Tajiri?

Next we have a package of Raw weddings, which is being viewed backstage by Lita. She is joined by Kane, and they exchange a few difficult seconds before Simmons delivers his obligatory gimmick line. Man, that would have been cooler if Matt and Edge would have joined the picture.

Kennedy is out here next, ready to face Marty Jannetty. Marty emerges and some of the kids in the audience think that Billy Kidman has had a breakdown, before their older brothers and uncles explain that Marty have more talent in his little finger than many folk have in their entire career.

Anyway, a reasonably dull match ensues, with Marty telegraphing everything so much that Kennedy has time to hit the ropes, call down his mic, do a 20 minute promo, run down Scott Hall, shill some HBK merchandise, verbally joust with the King, run down Scott Hall again, and replace the microphone before countering.

Anyway, Marty manfully battles on, but Ken ultimately wins, and beats down Marty post match, before HBK makes the save. Kennedy, though, regains the upper hand, before being interrupted by The Game.

Seems like we get a DX reunion for the first time in, what? 4 weeks?

Vince needs to come through to save this show, because it’s flagging after a great start. He is in the ring, and is about to reveal the greatest Raw superstar of all time.

And, shock of shocks, he reads out “Vincent Kennedy McMahon”. Ooh, didn’t see that coming. Screeching tyres signal Mick Foley arrived......wait, no, it s Mankind. Mick has the dirty suit, mask and sock combo going on, and as Vince tries to get rid of him, he receives a Socko Claw.

BONG! Foley hightails it as he hears the music of The Undertaker, who does the full entrance towards the Chairman. And then...........chokeslam. Pretty sloppy one too.

Austin arrives next, with Vince still flat out Steve gets on the stick to praise Raw. He gets a couple of beers, and waits for Vince to get up to share one, before applying the Stunner. Austin then says that the greatest stars on Raw are the fans.

H e then invites everyone else down, and the back empties to join Austin. Seriously, a weak ending to what started off as a fantastic show and petered out to very little.

I don’t know whether I enjoyed this show or not. I'll tell you soon.

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