Monday Night Raw
Date: April 16, 2007
Location: Datchforum, Milan, Italy
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
We have a special one here as the show is in Italy for the first time ever. That should make for a cool atmosphere if nothing else and that is almost always a good idea. For once though, Raw is on a roll as we move towards Backlash. If this show can continue that streak, they’ll be able to say…..however you praise something in Italian. Let’s get to it.
Here is Coach to get things going. Coach isn’t happy with last week’s announcement of the Backlash main event, so therefore we’ll do his original idea tonight: John Cena vs. Rated-RKO in a handicap match. With that out of the way, Coach introduces Vince McMahon (again with the snappy hat). After saying he doesn’t understand any of the fans’ chants, Vince talks about how he has received a better reception from every other city in Europe. Milan is supposed to be the fashion capital of the world but look at these people and tell him that is true.
Vince insults the smell of garlic in the city and brings out Umaga, with Armando Alejandro Estrada. We see a clip of Umaga and company destroying Bobby Lashley last week, followed by Vince announcing that Lashley is not here as he did not clear customs to enter the country. With that out of the way, Vince says he wants to see Umaga in action tonight, so someone can come out here and face him. With no one coming, Vince offers to make it an Intercontinental Title match.
Still no takers, so Vince asks for someone to come out of the crowd. A fan agrees and says si, he does understand English. The soccer chants are on and Vince explains the idea of a hold harmless clause. The fan is down with that and says his name is Santino Marella. Let’s do it.
Intercontinental Title: Santino Marella vs. Umaga
Marella is challenging and hammers away, including some kicks at the leg. Umaga misses a charge into the post and Santino is on a roll….but Vince remembers that this is no holds barred. Estrada offers a distraction and Umaga runs Santino over, allowing Estrada to get in some slaps of his own. Umaga hits a Vader Bomb but here is Lashley to slam Umaga off the top. The brawl is on so Vince grabs a chair, which Lashley takes away and blasts Umaga again. A spear cuts Umaga down and Lashley puts Santino on top for the pin and the title.
Rating: D. The match was nothing of course and there is nothing wrong with that. This was all about letting Lashley get one up on the villains and it worked out well enough. WWE gets a bit of fresh blood on their roster as well and Santino winning is certainly a surprise upset. Good angle, but nothing as a match.
The big celebration is on (which is weird with no music) as we take a break. Back with Jerry Lawler in the ring with Lashley and Marella. Lashley says he’ll keep his ECW World Title at Backlash, but tonight is about Santino. Some Italian cheap pops ensue as Santino isn’t a big talker to start.
Ric Flair talks to Carlito about the beautiful Italian women. Carlito is sorry for walking out on him last week but Flair says it’s ok. They’ll win tonight and get back in contention, though Carlito doesn’t seem convinced after Flair leaves.
Ric Flair/Carlito vs. World’s Greatest Tag Team
Torrie Wilson is here with Flair/Carlito. Benjamin and Carlito start things off with Carlito hitting a hiptoss into a slam. Haas and Benjamin are cleared out in a hurry so Haas comes in to shoulder Flair in the corner. That doesn’t seem to bother Flair, who goes after Haas’ leg but Benjamin cuts him off.
The villains take over on Flair with Haas kicking and punching away. Flair gets taken into the corner for some alternating stomping but Flair suplexes his way to freedom. The hot tag brings in Carlito to slug away as everything breaks down. The referee gets rid of Flair, allowing Haas to trip Carlito into Benjamin’s exploder for the pin.
Rating: C-. The problems continue for Flair and Carlito, who don’t seem to be long for the tag team ranks. You don’t often come back from the communication issues world and that looks like where they are now. I’m not sure what is next for either of them after they’re done with each other, but it isn’t like this is some epic story in the first place.
Post match, Carlito is incredibly frustrated and storms off, leaving Torrie with Flair (that seems like a really bad idea).
We look at Michael Pena setting up the four way at Backlash for the WWE Championship.
John Cena, who is REALLY not popular here, gives Maria a special look before talking about how there is one champ around here. Cue Shawn Michaels to say he was here to bail Cena out on the way to Wrestlemania. Now though, he doesn’t care what happens to Cena and next week, he’s leaving Cena on his back.
There is an Italian announce team at ringside and one of them looks like Tazz.
The Condemned has a villain.
Melina is getting ready for the Divas Fashion Show and Johnny Nitro is rather pleased. Cue Eugene to stare at her, which doesn’t please Nitro as much.
Great Khali is coming to Raw.
Johnny Nitro vs. Eugene
Nitro stomps away to start, both on the mat and in the corner. Some shots to the head set up a flipping neckbreaker to put Eugene away in just over a minute.
We look at Milan’s fashion industry.
It’s time for a Diva Fashion Show, featuring a guy named Paolo Marilla (he’s in a tuxedo and seems to be a big shot in fashion) as the host. First up is Candice Michelle with an angel’s wings dress. Victoria takes off her shoes and almost marches down the ramp. Mickie is in more regular clothes with I guess the higher fashion idea. Maria and Torrie Wilson are in rather limited clothing and Melina is in a dress we saw a few minutes ago. Torrie wins so Melina jumps her until Mickie makes the save. This was another reason to have the Divas in the ring together.
Jeff Hardy vs. Lance Cade
Matt Hardy and Trevor Murdoch are here too. Feeling out process to start with the referee having to yell at Cade for being too aggressive. Cade slams Hardy but misses a clothesline, allowing Jeff to hit Whisper in the Wind for two. Back up and Cade hits some knees to the ribs, with Murdoch adding a cheap shot for a bonus.
Jeff is back up with a dropkick through the ropes to take Murdoch down but Cade kicks him in the face. Matt chases Murdoch off after another cheap shot and a headbutt gives Cade two. An elbow to the face into a snapmare gets the same but Hardy is back up with the sitout jawbreaker. The yet to be named Sling Blade sets up the Swanton, which hits knees thanks to a Murdoch distraction. A clothesline gives Cade the upset pin.
Rating: C. It’s almost weird to see Cade getting a feature match but he was showcased fairly well here. It puts a bit of heat on the title match at Backlash, or at least as much can be put on a Tag Team Title match these days. Cade looked like a star here though and that’s a bright sign for his future.
The Condemned has stunts!
Here is Chris Masters to talk about various works of art here in Italy. There have been some amazing works, but none of the masters have ever created a masterpiece like him.
Chris Masters vs. Super Crazy
They fight over a lockup to start with Masters powering him around. Back up and Masters sends him outside, setting up a big running flip dive. Back in and Masters avoids a moonsault (or “look at this move”) according to Lawler so the stomping can ensue. Masters whips him hard into the corner for two but has to counter a crucifix into something like a Samoan drop for two more.
The chinlock puts Crazy in more trouble and it works so well that Masters puts it on again. Crazy fights up and starts kicking at Masters’ legs for the break, setting up a standing flipping legdrop for two. Masters doesn’t seem to mind and catches him with a wheelbarrow suplex for the pin.
Rating: C. I liked this more than I thought I would and a lot of that is due to Masters mixing things up a bit. Yeah he did the same offense until the ending but then it wasn’t the Masterlock for the first time pretty much ever. That has been one of the biggest problems with Masters for a very long time now so it is nice to see him throw in a curve ball. Crazy’s usual charisma made it even better so well done on a totally watchable match.
Rated-RKO blame each other for various things but tonight they are going to get on the same page to take out John Cena.
John Cena vs. Rated-RKO
Non-title. Edge starts for the team and gets caught in an early release fisherman’s suplex for two. Cena grabs a rollup for the same as he’s in desperation mode early on. A front facelock doesn’t get Cena very far as the fans are all over him. Orton comes in and gets taken down for two (with JR saying a pin would have been cool). Some forearms to the chest have Cena in trouble and he scores with a big boot (Has he ever used that before?) as Edge comes in to send us to a break.
Back with Edge knocking Cena off the apron and into the announcers’ table as the beating continues. Orton powers him back inside to hammer away and it’s back to Edge for a big boot of his own. Now it’s Orton getting to forearm away even more but Edge has to Edge-O-Matic his way out of an FU attempt. Cena knocks Edge off the top and hits the top rope Fameasser but Orton is right back in to cut him off.
Cue Shawn Michaels as Cena fights back, including the Shuffle to Edge. Orton dropkicks Cena to break up the FU on Edge and the referee gets bumped. Back up and Edge spears Orton by mistake. Shawn comes in and tries a superkick to Cena but takes Edge out instead. The FU to Shawn allows Cena to pin Edge and escape.
Rating: C-. Kind of a dull match here but the ending sequence got better. Part of the problem was that this was mainly spent on Edge and Orton slowly beating Cena down, which isn’t the most thrilling match. At least they gave us something interesting in the ending, but it was definitely a slower paced main event.
Overall Rating: C. You’re only going to get so much out of these international shows, with the opening segment being the only thing worth seeing. The rest of the show was completely watchable, but it’s not like the majority of it is all that great. Backlash is starting to take shape and we have Cena vs. Michaels set for next week, so call this a step towards the future without doing much on its own.
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