Monday Night Raw
Date: April 14, 2008
Location: 02 Arena, London, England
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
We’re over in England this week with less than two weeks to go before Backlash. The Raw World Title match at the pay per view is now a four way and that means we should be in for some build on the way in. Other than that, Batista and Shawn Michaels aren’t happy with each other and that likely won’t end well. Let’s get to it.
William Regal is drinking tea in his office when JBL comes in. JBL doesn’t care where we are tonight or that Regal is wrestling in his home country. What he cares about is that Regal has become spineless, just like Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Why are John Cena and HHH in his title match at Backlash? Regal didn’t want a match as awful as Orton vs. JBL, which doesn’t work for JBL either. He wants out of here on a private plane, but Regal gives him a match with HHH instead (the fans approve).
Here is Shawn Michaels to get things going. He recaps the build up to and match with Ric Flair at Wrestlemania, where Shawn gave Flair his best, just as requested. That should have been closure and everyone is cool with it….except for Batista. Last week on Smackdown, we came to the realization that Batista’s problem is with Shawn himself (Shawn: “Shocking.”).
Back in 1998, doctors told him he would never wrestle again but he came back in 2002, proving them all wrong. He has done a lot of things in the past though and now he is tired of apologizing. At Backlash, Shawn is going to kick Batista’s teeth down his throat….but here is Ric Flair….’s music, as Chris Jericho comes out instead (the fans are NOT pleased). Jericho says Batista thinks Shawn is a phony, but Jericho knows that what Shawn loves the most is Shawn Michaels.
In reality, Shawn probably liked taking out Flair and probably wanted to send him through a barber shop window. Jericho thinks Batista is being irrational about Flair being gone, but he isn’t being irrational about Shawn. Maybe Shawn is the one who suggested the retirement stipulation in the first place. Then Shawn superkicks him silly and says he’ll admit this: that felt pretty good. This story is getting better, though that might be because it moved on from the Flair worship.
Carlito/Santino Marella vs. Brian Kendrick/Paul London
For a future title shot. Santino and London start things off with London taking over. Carlito comes in with London dragging him over to the corner so Kendrick can come in with the kicks. Carlito gets in a sitout spinebuster as we see Hardcore Holly and Carlito watching in the back. The villains take turns beating Kendrick down but he slips over and brings in London to pick up the pace. Everything breaks down and Kendrick misses a hard charge to the floor. London dropkicks Santino tot he floor but gets Backstabbed to give Carlito the pin.
Rating: C-. I’m not sure what WWE sees in Marella and Carlito but it feels like they have fought Holly and Rhodes over and over again at this point. The division needs a lot more depth and it would seem that London and Kendrick could be quite the option. Instead, we get the low level team who might not exactly be the most inspiring choice. The division hasn’t been good for a long time now and the lows are getting even worse.
Post match Santino and Carlito promise to get the titles.
Women’s Title: Beth Phoenix vs. Mickie James
Mickie is challenging and gets powered down without much trouble to start. Some forearms and kicks slow Beth down but she rams Mickie hard into the corner. A slingshot suplex sets up a dragon sleeper (that’s a unique sequence) but Mickie fights up again. This time Beth pulls her into a double arm chickenwing, with Mickie’s legs around her waist (ow).
Since that can’t last long, Mickie sends her into the corner and Beth is rocked. The MickieDT is cut off though but Mickie is fine enough to hit the top rope Thesz press for two (which JR calls a bulldog for some reason). The Glam Slam is loaded up but Mickie reverses into a cradle for the pin and the title out of nowhere.
Rating: C+. You really can see how much further along these two are in the ring as they had a much better match than almost any other women in the company could pull off. Mickie winning the title makes the England show feel bigger, but also Beth had carried the title for a long time and a change was needed. The fact that it took place in a good match made it even better.
Post match Mickie can’t believe she won, with Maria and Ashley coming out to celebrate with her. Mickie is so happy that she kisses Todd Grisham.
William Regal is warming up and suggests Mike Adamle let him get ready. Chris Jericho comes in to talk about Shawn Michaels vs. Batista, so Regal makes him guest referee. Jericho wants to wrestle, so he can face Umaga tonight.
JTG vs. Trevor Murdoch
Shad Gaspard and Lance Cade are here too. Earlier today, Cade gave Murdoch a pep talk, which didn’t seem to include getting dropkicked by JTG. A big boot drops JTG for two and we’re already off to the chinlock. Murdoch goes up for a high crossbody but JTG rolls through for the surprise pin.
Post match Cade pats Murdoch on the back and walks away without him.
Here is Randy Orton for a chat before his match. Orton talks about how the win at Backlash is only going to make him feel like a bigger star because we are living in his age.
William Regal vs. Randy Orton
Non-title. Regal neck bridges to avoid getting powered to the mat so they go with the test of strength instead. The fans are WAY behind Regal as Orton gets flipped into a bodyscissors. Orton’s headlock doesn’t get very far but his backbreaker has Regal writhing in pain.
We hit the chinlock and the fans still haven’t dropped the LET’S GO REGAL chants. Regal fights up and grabs a reverse fisherman’s suplex, sending Orton bailing to the floor. Back in and a running knee gives Regal two before he starts stomping on the leg. The referee won’t let him do it near the legs though, and the distraction is enough for Orton to grab the RKO for the pin.
Rating: C+. The intensity was there and the fans were way behind Regal, which makes Orton getting the win all the better for him. Orton is the top villain around at the moment and as Regal was always going to be incredibly popular here, it makes Regal feel like bigger threat. If nothing else, it is nice to see Regal being all intense and focused here, as you don’t get to see it very often.
Umaga is ready for Chris Jericho.
Intercontinental Title: Chris Jericho vs. Umaga
Jericho is defending and gets knocked to the apron early on. Back up and Jericho dropkicks the knee before striking away as well as he can. That earns him an elbow to the face but Umaga isn’t quite interested in following up in a hurry. Jericho gets launched hard over the top for a crash to the floor and we take a break.
Back with Umaga knocking him out of the corner and the nerve hold going on. With that broken up, Jericho avoids a charge to send him outside, followed by the baseball slide through the ropes. Umaga takes Jericho’s head off with a clothesline but Jericho gets the knees up to block a sitdown splash.
Jericho tries a slam for no logical reason and is whipped hard into the apron to put him down again. The running hip attack misses though and Jericho scores with the missile dropkick to the back of the head. The Walls are blocked so Umaga Samoan drops him for two, only to miss the Samoan Spike. Umaga kicks him into the corner but misses the splash and hits the post. That’s enough for Jericho to roll him up (with feet on the ropes) to retain in a bit of a shifty move.
Rating: B-. This was a back and forth match and the two of them both looked good. Jericho had to cheat to beat Umaga but he survived so much from Umaga in the first place. That being said, Jericho has been needing a shakeup for the time being and maybe a heel turn is the right way to go. Good match here and the amount of time it got helped.
Jim Duggan vs. Paul Burchill
Katie Lea Burchill is here with Paul. Duggan gets jumped at the bell to start and the beating is on, with the fans not being pleased with Duggan getting mauled. Back up and Duggan slugs away but a corner clothesline sets up a curb stomp to give Paul the pin.
After plugging his DVD, HHH says he’s going to make JBL play the game.
John Bradshaw Layfield vs. HHH
Joined in progress with HHH grabbing a headlock takeover to put them both on the mat. JBL powers up and drives him into the corner, meaning it’s time to go nose to nose (HHH might have an advantage). A neckbreaker gives HHH two and we hit the armbar. That’s broken up and JBL knocks him down again, setting up a full nelson of all things. HHH powers up and slugs away, setting up the facebuster. A running clothesline sends JBL to the floor and the brawl is on in the aisle…and here is Randy Orton to jump HHH for the DQ.
Rating: C-. Pretty basic match as JBL isn’t the person you want doing exciting stuff. This was just a way to get Orton out there for the fight with the two of them, which isn’t much of a surprise with the four way coming up. JBL just can’t back it up in the ring that well without a bunch of shenanigans so keeping it short here was as good of a call as they had.
Post match Orton unloads on HHH, who comes back with the spinebuster. The Pedigree is loaded up but JBL breaks it up with a big boot. Now the big double teaming is on, including the RKO to HHH. The Punt is loaded up but JBL cuts Orton off with the Clothesline From JBL (that looked good too). JBL poses with the title and hits another Clothesline on HHH before posing again to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. These British shows can be a bit all over the place when it comes to quality and this one was no exception. Maybe it was jet lag or maybe it was just not very interesting choices but the show wasn’t the most thrilling. Backlash has come together well enough already and I’m interested in seeing the show, but this wasn’t their best TV. The title change was fun and the Jericho stuff worked, though the rest wasn’t all that good. Get to Backlash already.
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