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TV REPORTS
KELLER'S RAW REPORT 2/6: Ongoing "virtual time" coveraage of live show

Feb 6, 2006 - 10:09:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor

RAW REPORT
FEBRUARY 7, 2006
LIVE FROM ATLANTA, GA.


-A video package ornately announced that the Road to WrestleMania "begins tonight!" There will be a Road to WrestleMania tournament to determine the challenger.

-Joey Styles, Jerry Lawler, and Coach introduced the program.

-Maria introduced Edge from mid-ring. Edge and Lita came out. Edge said he is getting a rematch against John Cena because he won last week by DQ. He said the question everyone has since last week is why Lita hit him with the belt to end the match. He said people have speculated that Lita has a secret crush on Cena or perhaps has grown tired of "the Edgester." He held the mic out for Lita, then pulled it away and said he's "always one step ahead of you idiots" (the fans). He said it's not about Lita, it's about him. He said all that matters is that after tonight, "the most watched championship reign in over four years continues." Edge told Maria not to refer to him as the former WWE Champion. Maria innocently said, "But you should be proud to be a former WWE Champion." Edge stepped up, but Lita said she would handle it. She got in Maria's face and told her to refer to Edge a the "future WWE champion." Maria referred to Edge as requested. Hacksaw Duggan came out and played off of his "Ho" yell in reference to Lita. He said he is the special referee for the match later. When he called Lita a ho, Edge attacked him with his two-by-four. When Duggan talks, he sounds just like Scott D'Amore. Maria had been laughing at Duggan, so Lita slapped her. Then he whipped her by the hair in the circle in the ring. Edge then set up a Spear. John Cena made the save.

[Commercial Break]

1 -- CHRIS MASTERS vs. KANE - Road to WrestleMania Tournament

Masters stepped out of Kane's path on a top rope leap, and raked his eyes to break Kane's chokeslam grip. Masters went for the Masterlock, but Kane dropped down to avoid the lock and clotheslined Masters hard. He followed with a powerslam attempt, but Masters slipped out and again went for the Masterlock. Kane slipped to the mat to avoid it, but Masters sat down on him and held the top rope leverage for a pin.

WINNER: Masters at 3:10.

STAR RATING: 1/2* -- Okay, actually. Just not long enough to amount to much.

-The Road to WM22 Tournament brackets are Kane vs. Masters, Rob Van Dam vs. Carlito, Ric Flair vs. Triple H, and JBL vs. Big Show.

-Backstage, Edge suggested Lita be the new guest referee. Lita came on to Vince McMahon. He seemed to be criticizing Edge for pimping out his girlfriend to gain an advantage in a championship match. But then he changed his tune and said he found it admirable he was willing to go so far to gain an advantage. Vince said he would give Edge a chance to name his guest ref by teaming with Lita in the Raw main event against John Cena and Maria. Good booking. That's a perfect way to get another match–up on Raw between Cena and Edge, but enhance it with the involvement of Lita and Maria. All of America was waiting to see whether Vince would change his character or slip in any hidden messages regarding being accused of sexual misconduct at a tanning salon two weekends ago. Nothing particularly worth reading into, although it might be a while before we see Vince outright coming on to another woman on TV.

-A commercial announced that next week, Raw would be preempted on Monday, but air instead on Thursday in prime time. Does Vince know TNA isn't on Thursdays yet?

[Commercial Break]

2 -- MICKIE JAMES vs. ASHLEY (w/Trish as special ref)

Trish's striped referee vest was unlike any ref shirt ever worn before. Wisely, they kept this very short. Mickie attacked Ashley at the start. When Mickie mistakenly bumped into the out of position Trish, she turned to check on Trish. Ashley then rolled up Mickie from behind. Trish counted to three. Mickie looked shocked and betrayed. Coach claimed it was a fast count.

WINNER: Ashley at 1:10.

STAR RATING: Nope.

[Commercial Break]

-In the outrage of the week, they bumped Spirit Squad to the commercial break. They showed footage from the break of Spirit Squad being booed during their in-ring cheer. They each did a hideous solo cheer routine. Seriously, this is gold. I'm not sure how, but it will draw heat.

-Mickie apologized backstage to Trish for hitting her. Trish introduced Mickie to her date, some guy who could easily be a heel sleazebag on a reality dating show. Mickie glared at him as if he was encroaching on her territory. He shook Jackie's hand and patronizingly said he had heard a lot about her.

-Shelton Benjamin's mama told Shelton that she was tired of being approached by crazy men like Goldust and Viscera. Shelton said after what happened to them, anyone would be crazy to mess with her. Eugene then entered the room and said he saw her Big Mama movie and wanted to play with her wig. He grabbed at her hair. She grabbed her chest. Shelton walked back into the room , Eugene ran off, and Mama Benjamin fanned herself and grabbed her heart.

-They plugged Ric Flair vs. Triple H as coming up next.

[Commercial Break]

-During ring intros, they announced tickets going on sale for Saturday Night's Main Event. Cheers to WWE for keeping the same logo. I'm still waiting for the DVD set of Saturday Night's Main Events. The Halloween episode with Bobby Heenan bobbing in chocolate syrup for pumpkins and the Uncle Elmer wedding were defining moments, as was Jesse Ventura's commentary.

3 -- RIC FLAIR vs. TRIPLE H -- Road to WrestleMania Tournament match

The announcers talked up how many WrestleMania main events Triple H has been in. Styles said the winner of the tournament will headline WrestleMania. So the Rumble winner won't headline? Are is "headline" a generic term for "be in one of the two or three top matches"? Hunter went for an early Pedigree, but Flair backdropped out of it. Then they cut to a break at 1:10.

[Commercial Break]

Flair dominated offense after the break and applied the figure-four at 10:00. Hunter screamed in pain and the fans actually seemed to fool themselves into thinking it could end. Hunter eventually reached the bottom rope after about a full minute in the hold. Flair mistakenly thumbed the ref in the eye, then low-blowed Hunter. He threw some chops and punches, but after whipping Hunter into the ropes, Hunter caught him in a sudden Pedigree for a clean win.

WINNER: Triple H at 11:35.

STAR RATING: ** -- Charitable match from Hunter, which is no surprise when playing a heel to someone he respects like Flair. Flair looked sharper than usual and continues to do a lot of little things to make up for his age.

-The announcers were shown on camera. They talked about the tournament, then went to the Candice Michelle "Go Daddy" commercial. They also plugged that Candice will be on the Tonight Show this week. After the humorous and titillating commercial aired, Joey was in a trance staring at the monitor. It's always dangerous territory when Joey is asked to act horny because he tends to overplay the hand, but he handled this well. Lawler, of all people, tried to talk him back to reality.

-They went backstage where Maria expressed nervousness to Cena about losing the match for them. Cena calmed her down by kissing her for several seconds. She seemed to be ecstasy afterward. Cena slapped her ass and walked away. Uh, John, why are you walking away?

[Commercial Break]

-After Shawn Michaels's ring introduction for his match against Big Show in the Road to WrestleMania Tournament, Vince walked out. He said it was Shawn's lucky night because he asked Shane McMahon not to be present. He said if he was, he'd kick his ass around the ring. He then announced that he is forcing Michaels into retirement and he would be holding a retirement party for him next week and his attendance is mandatory. "I'm going to let you walk out on your contract. In fact, I'm going to insist you walk out on your contract," he said. He said his career would then be over. He then pulled him from his scheduled match since he won't be an active wrestler come WrestleMania.

[Commercial Break]

4 -- BIG SHOW vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN (w/Mamma Benjamin)

Shelton worked hard to try to gain an advantage on Show, but Show kept brushing him off. Show shoved Shelton into the ref. Mamma grabbed Show's foot. With Show distracted, Shelton superkicked him out of the ring. When Shelton leaped at Show at ringside, Show punched him in the gut, then tossed him back into the ring. Mamma yelled at her not to touch him. He so intimidated her, she grabbed at her chest and collapsed. Big Show, meanwhile, chokeslammed Shelton for the win. After the match, WWE officials and medics checked on Mamma, who wasn't moving. It took WWE only one week to exploit Mark Madden's real life medical emergency!

WINNER: Big Show at 3:45.

STAR RATING: 3/4*

[Commercial Break]

-They showed that Mamma Benjamin was stretchered during the commercial break.

-Todd Grisham interviewed Carlito, who claimed that Masters disrespected him, not the other way around, and he just tried to teach him some respect. He said he belongs in the WrestleMania main event, and in fact, WrestleMania needs him. He said it's a bonus that his first step in that direction will be over RVD.

-Smackdown Rebound aired.

[Commercial Break]

5 -- ROB VAN DAM vs. CARLITO -- Road to WrestleMania Tournament match

During ring intros, Styles picked RVD as the winner of the tournament. Lawler picked Big Show. Coach picked Triple H. Even in work mode, Coach gets to kiss the ass of the most powerful wrestler in the company. Styles said RVD is fresh. Coach said he's rusty. RVD hit some early offense with a jump spin sidekick and then a jump wheel kick off the apron on to Carlito against the security railing at ringside. Then they cut to an early break.

[Commercial Break]

Carlito had RVD in a chinlock in center ring after the break. They showed a replay of an RVD "crash and burn" at ringside during the break. RVD hit a flip splash on his comeback. He then hit his Rolling Thunder and scored a two count. He missed on a split-legged moonsault, so Carlito rolled up RVD and yanked on his tights for a near fall. Carlito hit a double springboard senton flip onto RVD for a near fall. Styles gasped that he has never seen that out of Carlito before. "How did Carlito do that?" asked Coach. "What a fantastic match!" declared Styles. It seemed like he channelled Sabu. Carlito gave RVD a back-cracker. Carlito grabbed a chair from ringside. The ref grabbed the chair before Carlito could use it. RVD then Van Daminatored Carlito for the win.

WINNER: RVD at 6:30.

STAR RATING: ** -- Solid TV match. Refreshing to see some real athletic highspots on Raw.

-The announcers revealed the results of a WWE.com poll where fans predicted who would win the Road to WrestleMania Tournament: RVD was at 45 percent. Triple H was at 24 percent. Michaels was at 12 percent. Wow. That should send WWE a message about who the People's Choice is for a strong push right now.

-The announcers plugged the big Retirement Party next week and the Edge vs. Cena title match. Two big segments to help them grab a big rating for next week's Thursday telecast.

[Commercial Break]

-Styles plugged that Raw would be taped live on Monday in Greensboro, N.C., but not air until Thursday. It will air live in Canada, so we will have coverage of it next Monday right here at PWTorch.com.

6 -- EDGE & LITA vs. JOHN CENA & MARIA

Cena went after Edge aggressively at the start. Edge took over a minute into the match and whipped Cena into stairs at ringside. Lita tagged in a 1:15 so Maria had to follow. Lita yanked Maria into the ring. She kept it simple, choking Maria over the bottom rope. The she kneed her chest and gave her a russian leg sweep. Maria sidestepped a Lita charge and tagged in Cena. Edge held Cena for Lita to leap off the top rope, but Cena moved and Lita gave Edge a huracanrana by mistake. Cena had Lita alone in the ring. Lita tried to distract Cena by lifting her shirt, revealing much less with her sports bra than she usually reveals with her tops. Edge returned to the ring and went for a spear, but caught Lita with it by mistake (or was it?). After the win, as the announcers said they couldn't believe Maria scored a pin, Cena said he gets to pick the special guest referee. He said he already got a "yes" from someone he met backstage earlier. He said it's the perfect person if Edge is feeling a little hardcore. Sandman! New Jack! Tod Gordon! Nope, Mick Foley, or "my buddy, Mickles," as Styles said. Boy, they're going for a big rating on the off-night.

WINNER: Cena & Maria when Maria pinned Lita at 4:32.

STAR RATING: *1/4 -- Not much of a match, but it did what it needed to well.

We welcome your 1-10 score and comments on this show for a "Raw Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on Raw, click here.

Please consider taking a moment to vote in our 18th Annual Torch Year-End Awards. There are some incredibly close races right now including a one-vote difference for the top spot in one category as I type this. Deadline is tonight at midnight. The Polls are available in the Main Listing.


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