Monday Night Raw
Date: February 26, 2007
Location: Save Mart Center, Fresno, California
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
We’re rapidly approaching Wrestlemania and this time around we have more from Donald Trump. This week, Trump gets to pick his representative to face Umaga in the Battle of the Billionaires, which is going to be the show’s real main event. Other than that, we have the continuing saga of Shawn Michaels trying to keep John Cena safe until Wrestlemania. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of the Battle of the Billionaires, leading to Trump returning tonight.
Tag Team Titles: John Cena/Shawn Michaels vs. Rated-RKO
Cena and Michaels are defending….or at least they should be. Instead, Rated-RKO pops up on screen to say they aren’t ready to compete right now. Instead, they’ll have this match later tonight.
Randy Orton says that Shawn got robbed at the Oscars last night, because he managed to say that he had Cena’s back until Wrestlemania. Cena needs to watch his back because Shawn is a liar. We see a video history of Shawn turning on his partners, which really has happened a lot. Back in the arena, Cena isn’t sure what to think as Edge calls Shawn a liar. Having your back and stabbing you in the back are two different things. See you later tonight. Staring ensues, with Shawn saying “you can trust me.” Right.
Mick Foley has a new book: the Hardcore Diaries, complete with a lot of celebrities.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Jeff Hardy vs. Shelton Benjamin
Shelton doesn’t get an entrance but we do get an explanation of Money in the Bank, plus Big Match Intros. Benjamin takes him to the mat without much effort to start but Hardy is back up with a few kicks to the ribs. Hardy gets taken down again though and Benjamin hammers away, setting up the quickly broken chinlock. A few more shots send Benjamin outside, meaning Hardy can run the barricade to hit the clothesline. The Whisper in the Wind connects but it’s too early for the Swanton, with Benjamin jumping up for a belly to belly superplex into the big crash.
We take a break and come back with Benjamin holding a chinlock with a bodyscissors. Hardy fights up but gets backdropped right down for a fast two. Another chinlock goes on until Hardy fights up again, this time sending Benjamin to the apron. Benjamin slips off a springboard and lands HARD, allowing Hardy to grab a quick two. The Stinger Splash hits buckle and it’s a Twist of Fate into the Swanton to give Hardy the fast pin.
Rating: C. The botch just before the ending is what is going to be remembered here, as there is no way around something like that. Benjamin fell and landed on his face, thankfully without some kind of an injury. Hardy going to Money in the Bank makes a lot more sense here as Benjamin is just a tag guy at the moment.
Post match, Vince McMahon pops up on screen to sarcastically congratulate Jeff for winning. Jeff didn’t win last week when he faced Umaga though, just like whoever Donald Trump picks at Wrestlemania won’t do. We get some of the HILARIOUS shots of Trump in various stages of baldness, which Vince promises we will see at Wrestlemania.
Video on Ashley’s Playboy shoot.
Melina rants and raves about Ashley and Mick Foley getting all of this attention. Next week she has to face Mickie James in a Falls Count Anywhere match and tonight she has to face Maria. Johnny Nitro: “SHUT UP!” Nitro goes on a rant about how he isn’t going to Wrestlemania and has nothing, but he doesn’t have time to listen to her right now.
Johnny Nitro vs. Super Crazy
Nitro jumps him before the bell and the beating is on outside. Crazy is sent hard into the steps, setting up a faceplant on the floor. That’s enough for Nitro, who walks away still furious.
Melina vs. Maria
Non-title and Melina has the paparazzi, which Nitro was lacking. Melina takes her down by the hair to start and it’s already in catfight territory. Back up and Maria misses a dropkick as Melina holds onto the rope. Choking ensues on said ropes, with Lawler saying Maria can teach you some new positions. The camel clutch doesn’t last long on Maria, who fights up and knocks her into the corner. The Bronco Buster is blocked with a kick to the ribs though, allowing Melina to grab a rollup for the pin.
Rating: D. This was as good as it was going to get between these two as Melina is still getting the hang of this and Maria was never exactly good in the first place. The idea here was to get Melina in the ring and show that she could do something other than beating Mickie James. It wasn’t a good match, but what else were you expecting under these circumstances?
Wrestlemania is in thirty four days.
Here is Vince McMahon to find out Donald Trump’s Wrestlemania pick. Vince recaps the Battle of the Billionaires concept and explains why Trump is here. He isn’t sure what he wants more: Trump being bald or giving Trump a billionaire b**** slap. Before we get to that though, we see a clip of Umaga destroying Rey Mysterio on Smackdown, just to eliminate Rey from the list of options.
Vince brings out Umaga and Armando Alejandro Estrada before explaining that Trump made his career on outdoing someone else. This might include building a skyscraper or marrying a good looking woman, causing Trump to get divorced and marry a better looking one. If Trump says he’s winning at Wrestlemania, Vince will turn him into a bald faced liar.
Trump pops up on screen to say he is impressed by Umaga (dang he pronounced it right), but Umaga is an animal. You tame animals, and Trump will do that by finding someone or something superior. Therefore, here is the man responsible for Trump shaving Vince’s head at Wrestlemania: Bobby Lashley. Cue Lashley, with Vince demanding that security get out here right now. Umaga hits him in the face and the brawl is on, with security not being able to hold them apart for very long. This was a hot angle and the fight looked great.
It’s time for the Masterlock Challenge with….Great Khali answering. Oh dear. Chris Masters isn’t sure what to do as Khali sits in the chair, as he can’t get his arms around Khali’s shoulders. Cue Kane though and the violence is on, with a bunch of chair shots getting rid of Khali and Masters. This was short and to the point as we seem to have our Wrestlemania monster fight.
Vince McMahon is rating at Coach about Trump when he gets a phone call. Someone on the Board of Directors has an idea: a guest referee for the Battle of the Billionaires. Coach thinks that would be unfair but Vince isn’t so sure. Either way, he isn’t winding up bald.
Jerry Lawler is announced for the Hall of Fame. Lawler seems touched by the announcement and we get the Hall of Fame video, including some pretty sweet Memphis footage.
We recap the opening sequence, including the Shawn betrayal montage again.
Carlito vs. Kenny Dykstra
Torrie Wilson is here with Carlito and we’re joined in progress with Dykstra holding a chinlock. With a few moments to kill, we see Dykstra calling Carlito Flair’s flunkie during the break to set Carlito off. Carlito fights back and hits the springboard spinning Swanton but Dykstra pokes him in the eye. A flapjack gives Carlito two anyway but another springboard misses. Dykstra sends him right first into the apron for two and some shoulders to the ribs make it worse.
We hit the seated abdominal stretch, followed by a knee to the ribs to cut off Carlito’s comeback. Now it’s the standing abdominal stretch, including the notable lack of toe hooking. As a result, Carlito sends him to the apron and hits the springboard back elbow back inside. A hurricanrana is countered into a sitout powerbomb for two on Carlito but Dykstra misses a charge into the corner. Carlito Backstabs him for the pin.
Rating: C-. As usual, Carlito isn’t exactly thrilling but the rib stuff was fine for a midcard Raw match. They didn’t need to do anything more than this as the idea was for Carlito to get a win. Granted I’m not sure how much it means to beat Dykstra, but it is better than losing week after week.
Ric Flair comes out to applaud Carlito.
Vince McMahon is still annoyed and is going to ECW to make Bobby Lashley’s life a nightmare.
Tag Team Titles: John Cena/Shawn Michaels vs. Rated-RKO
Cena and Michaels are defending and Shawn keeps his eye on Cena during the entrances. Shawn and Edge start things off with Shawn working on the arm. That’s enough for Edge so Orton comes in and gets pummeled in the corner by Orton. Cena gets taken into the wrong corner though and the villains take over. Edge forearms him down without much trouble and it’s back to Orton for the right hands to the head.
Some choking in the corner sets up more right hands as the offense hasn’t exactly taken off yet. Cena’s release fisherman’s suplex gets him a breather though and it’s off to Shawn to pick up the pace. The top rope elbow hits Orton and it’s an atomic drop to put Edge on the floor. Shawn tries Sweet Chin Music but Orton ducks, meaning Cena has to catch the boot instead.
We take a break and come back with Edge cranking on Shawn’s arms. The comeback is cut off by the Edgecution and it’s back to Orton to stomp away. The chinlock goes on for a bit, followed by the backbreaker for two. It’s back to Edge for the sleeper, which is broken up like any common sleeper. Shawn gets over for the tag to Cena as everything breaks down, with Shawn being sent outside. The spear is countered into the AA but Orton comes in with one of the belts. Shawn takes it away and hits Edge, only to throw it back to Orton. Edge sees Orton holding it and walks off, leaving Orton to get superkicked into the AA for the pin.
Rating: C+. They were in a bit of an interesting place here as I could have seen it going either way. Cena and Michaels dropping the titles to let them focus on their Wrestlemania match would have made sense, but so does Michaels continuing to guard Cena. I like the way they went, and now it seems they have a way to wrap up Rated-RKO. The team doesn’t need to be around any longer anyway so it isn’t some great loss.
The long staredown between Cena and Michaels ends the show.
Overall Rating: C+. They’re doing a good job of making me want to see Wrestlemania and that is more than I would have bet on coming into the season. Almost all of the matches are already set and that does not leave much to do other than push everything across the finish line. This show did a nice job of doing just that, and I want to see the show more than I ever would have bet on leading up to it. Another pretty good show here, but another good step towards Wrestlemania.
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