Monday Night Raw
Date: March 3, 2008
Location: Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
It’s finally Wrestlemania month and we are less than four weeks away from the show. The big story around here is the triple threat match between Raw World Champion Randy Orton and challengers HHH and John Cena. Other than that, we’re going to be seeing Big Show vs. a professional fighter, because wrestlers are…tap dancers or something. Let’s get to it.
Randy Orton, John Cena and HHH are in William Regal’s office and has a great idea: for the next three weeks, one of them will be in charge every week. Tonight it’s Cena, but Orton thinks they should have a pact that says the other two should get the night off every week. Cena has a better idea.
Big Show vs. Brandon Hill
This is billed as MMA (win by pin/submission/knockout), as Hill is a boxer and Floyd Mayweather Jr. is watching live from Las Vegas (I’m sure). We get the showdown, with Show towering over the rather small Hill, and in a rare production gaffe, you see the cameramen in the ring (I don’t know if that’s a choice for the match, but it feels WAY out of place in WWE). Hill runs away to start and then panics when Show grabs him by the trunks. Then the chokeslam finishes for Show fast.
Post match Show calls out Mayweather and promises to ruin him at Wrestlemania. Mayweather pops up on screen to yell about how he’ll break Show’s jaw. Oh and he’s coming to the show. Then Show tosses Hill over the top for a nasty landing.
Video on HHH.
Shawn Michaels/Ric Flair vs. Lance Cade/Trevor Murdoch
Flair and Murdoch start things off, with Flair sending him into the corner for some right hands. Shawn comes in for an awkward collision with Murdoch, allowing Cade to grab a belly to back suplex. An atomic drop/big boot combination gets two on Shawn but he gets a boot up to stop a diving Murdoch. It’s back to Flair to strike away, setting up the stereo Figure Fours for the stereo submissions.
Rating: C. Just a quick, nothing match here with Flair and Shawn getting to spend some time together with Wrestlemania on the way. We still have some more weeks for them to be nice to each other before they get personal, which still feels like a bit of a stretch. Cade and Murdoch’s fall continues, as they are now about as worthless as they could be. Because tag teams.
Post match Shawn says he doesn’t want to be the one who ends Flair’s career. He knows Flair is thinking “what makes Shawn think he’s that guy”, but it’s Wrestlemania and he’s Shawn Michaels. At Wrestlemania, Flair’s show is going to be stopped.
John Cena comes in to see William Regal and gets right to the point: tonight it’s Randy Orton vs. HHH, while Cena will face Mr. Kennedy. Oh and since Cena is in charge, Regal can leave the office.
Umaga vs. Super Crazy
William Regal is on commentary as Umaga wins with the Samoan Spike in less than 45 seconds.
Here is Chris Jericho for the return of the Highlight Reel. Jericho talks about how this is the talk show that inspired the others, such as Are You Smarter Than A Snitsky and Cooking With Goldberg. For now though, let’s get our guest out there: Jeff Hardy. Jericho shows us a clip of him beating Hardy last week to qualify for Money In The Bank, even though Hardy is already in there. Of course fans are expecting Hardy to steal the show, but this time Hardy talks about how important it is for him to win here. Then Hardy lays him out with the Twist of Fate.
Mr. Kennedy vs. John Cena
Kennedy’s headlock doesn’t do much to start as Cena is right back with a backdrop. We take a break about thirty seconds in (erg) and come back with Kennedy bailing to the floor, meaning the chase is on. Kennedy snaps him throat first across the top rope to take over, setting up a hard ram into the apron. Back in and Kennedy hits a neckbreaker onto the knee for two, followed by the cravate to stay on the neck. Cena powers out and hits the running clotheslines into the top rope Fameasser. The STFU finishes Kennedy off.
Rating: C+. They didn’t have much time here and that commercial was quite the waste of time. Cena gets some revenge to make up for the night where he was hurt in October so a thread is tied up. I’m not sure how many people were wanting it to be tied up, but getting Cena in the ring on Raw is often a good idea and having him win here without much drama over the winner worked fine.
Jerry Lawler is in the ring to emcee the unveiling of Maria’s Playboy cover. Maria and Candice Michelle come out, the cover is unveiled…and Santino Marella has censored it. Cue Santino to complain about Maria being in the magazine, Maria yells at him and Lawler clears him out. The real cover is revealed, Lawler is excited and that’s it. So why did they have the other version ready (a giant banner above the ring) when they were surprised that Santino had messed with the poster size one?
John Cena was at a NASCAR race.
Money In The Bank Qualifying Match: Carlito vs. Cody Rhodes
Cody’s headlock doesn’t go very far to start but he does get two off a backslide. Back up and Carlito sends him into the corner for some shots to the face but the Backstabber misses. A middle rope spinning crossbody gives Cody two and a sunset flip is good for the same. Cody tries a victory roll but Carlito reverses into a backstabber for the pin.
Rating: C-. This was quick and to the point, with Carlito qualifying for a match he has no chance of winning. Cody isn’t going to win it either and is way too early in his career to be there either, so maybe just not having these two in a match for a spot would have been better. It’s good to get Cody in the ring, but Carlito means nothing at this point and that isn’t easy to hide.
We get a satellite interview with Floyd Mayweather Jr., who brags about how awesome he is and how he is ready to dominate WWE. He’s ready to break Big Show’s jaw and declares himself the real king, much to Lawler’s….well I’d assume annoyance, but Mayweather promises to turn the company into Money Mayweather Entertainment so we don’t get much of a reaction.
Mae Young is going into the Hall of Fame, meaning we get quite the entertaining video package.
Here is Finlay to confront JBL after Hornswoggle was attacked last week. For now though, here is Vince McMahon to interrupt, with Vince confirming that he is NOT Hornswoggle’s father, but Finlay certainly is. JBL isn’t here, but we do have him via satellite….from Hornswoggle’s hospital room. JBL says it’s fun to prey on the innocent and the challenge to face Finlay is thrown out for Wrestlemania. Then JBL turns out the lights and we hear Hornswoggle screaming. That was an intense scene and JBL is kind of perfect for it, but they rushed through it so fast that it didn’t have quite the impact.
HHH vs. Randy Orton
Non-title and John Cena is on commentary. Orton takes him into the corner to start and we get a clean….stare at each other. HHH does the same thing but punches Orton in the face, which fits him rather well. Some headlock takeovers from HHH are broken up by Orton’s headscissors as Cena talks about everything Orton did to his father.
Orton grabs the backbreaker as the fans are rather behind HHH. The circle stomping ensues until HHH is back up with the facebuster. They fight to the floor with HHH hammering away, setting up the spinebuster back inside. Orton bails to the floor and grabs the title so Cena breaks it up, only to have HHH knock both of them over. Cena comes in and jumps HHH for the DQ.
Rating: C. They didn’t have much time to do anything here and the match was more about sitting around waiting on Cena to do something to end things. That’s likely what we are going to be seeing for a few weeks to come and that is not the worst idea. The idea is to make fans want to see Wrestlemania and little teases like this could make that be the case.
Post match Cena gives HHH the FU but walks into the RKO so Orton can stand tall to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. You can definitely feel a similar style of build to Wrestlemania on Raw and Smackdown. The main event is the huge focal point with one other big match per show announced. This week saw JBL vs. Finlay all but set up and when you throw in Umaga vs. Batista and Money in the Bank, the core of the show is ready. This week’s show was just ok, but the build to Wrestlemania is what matters most and that is going rather well.
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