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2/6 Raw Deal with Dusty Giebink: The Road to WrestleMania begins with a tournament

Feb 7, 2006 - 1:47:00 AM
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By Dusty Giebink, Torch Team Contributor

WWE Raw review
February 6, 2006
Live from Atlanta, Ga.
Aired on USA Network
Report by Dusty Giebink, PWTorch.com Raw Brand Specialist


Before I start the Raw Deal review, let’s go down to the studio for the pre-game show!

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IRS: Welcome everyone to another edition of the Raw Deal pre-game show. Gentlemen, what would you like to talk about this week?

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Adam Bomb: Well, as you know, Irwin, I’ve taken up country line dancing as a hobby lately…
Giant Gonzalez: Oh no you didn’t!
Adam Bomb: I certainly did, my contractual friend. My line of thinking is, line dancing is so old, it’s actually new again!
Giant Gonzalez: You fool! Line dancing is so yesterday, so yesterday…

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IRS: Uh, yeah. In any event, Mountie! What have you got on your mind?
Mountie: On tonight’s show will be the first round of a tournament to determine the number one contender to the WWE Title. One of the participants is he who shall remain unnamed, the current Intercontinental Champion.
IRS: You mean Ric Fl…
Mountie: Silence! I dare not speak the name of a man besmirching my belt with such ferocity. They need to vacate the title this instant and give it back to me!
IRS: On to the show!

The show began with a video package emphasizing that the “road to WrestleMania” starts with this show. I’m not sure we’re going to get there on one tank of gas. In any event, starting with this show they’re having an eight-man tournament to determine who the number one contender will be for John Cena’s World Title at Mania.

Maria introduced Edge and Lita in the ring. They aired clips from last week’s show, where Lita hit Edge with the title belt to get Cena disqualified in the main event. Maria was about to ask why, but Edge cut her off. He said on next week’s show it would be him against Cena for the WWE Championship again. He said he gets the rematch because he beat Cena the week before. See, Lita hit Edge instead of Cena, so that Edge could “win” the match, and therefore get his rematch. Edge would have lost that match cleanly otherwise, and so Lita’s actions helped him out of the predicament. This is high end stuff for wrestling. Edge vowed to win the belt back next week and make it so that the tournament winner would have to face him at Mania. Edge scolded Maria for the way she introduced him as the former champion and all, to which she said he should be happy to be a former champion. Lita demanded Maria announce Edge as the “future WWE Champion.” Maria obliged, but was not happy about it.

And, with that, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan came to the ring. I am not making this up. Seriously, this sounds like one of my hair-brained ideas I’d come up with at a party to make my drunken friends laugh or something. “Ooh, ooh, and then let’s have Hacksaw Duggan come out!” But no, this really happened. Duggan said there would be no one better than him to be the guest referee for a Cena vs. Edge match. He then started a “USA” chant. “What does the USA have to do with this?!” – Edge. Duggan said that Lita is a “Hoooooo!” Edge jumped him and nailed him with his own piece of lumber. Lita got in Maria’s face and stalked her around the ring. Edge was about to spear her when all the sudden Cena came out of nowhere and brawled with Edge. He drove Edge and Lita out of the ring and showed much vigor in doing so.

[commercial break]

(1) Chris Masters defeated Kane. This was the first of four first round matches on this show. Coach said he knew who was going to win the tournament, but would hold off until all the matches were completed here in order to be fair. He’s a great man. Kane started things off with much gusto, but missed an elbow drop. Masters pounded away on him in the corner as Styles said he had a Mr. Olympia type physique. Not really. He looks more like a blown up version of an extra from The O.C. or something. Masters hit a neckbreaker, but Kane sat up. Masters caught him charging in the corner and hit a back elbow. Masters signaled for the masterlock, but Kane anticipated it and cut him off. Kane clotheslined him in the corner, and then did the same in the opposite corner. He then hit a sideslam and went up top. Masters ducked out of the way and went for the masterlock, but Kane got out of it. Kane went for the chokeslam, but Masters went to the eyes. Kane again countered a masterlock attempt and moments later went for the tombstone. Masters countered out of it and ended up in a rollup position near the ropes. He grabbed hold of the ropes for dear life behind the ref’s back and managed the victory.

Edge and Lita were meeting with McMahon backstage. Edge wanted Lita to be the special guest referee for the title match next week. Lita wanted to know what she would have to do to, uh, close the deal with McMahon. McMahon wondered what kind of a guy would have his girlfriend stoop to such a level like that. He admitted he found it quite admirable, and granted Edge the opportunity to have Lita be the special guest referee. He said Edge and Lita would compete in a tag team match against Cena and Maria, with the winner getting the chance to name the special guest referee.

Elsewhere backstage, Ashley was shown getting ready to come to the ring for her match.

[commercial break]

(2) Ashley defeated Mickie James. Trish Stratus was the special guest referee for this one. They aired clips from last week’s show, where Ashley called Mickie a “psycho,” and Mickie jumped her and had to be physically restrained and all that. Mickie jumped her to start things off right proper. She whipped Ashley across the ring by the hair. She then kneed her in the gut and caught her with a back elbow moments later. Ashley fought back with some punches and forearms and such. Mickie clobbered Trish inadvertently, which allowed for Ashley to get the rollup victory. Mickie freaked out after the watch, trying to figure out what happened.

[commercial break]

Because WWE wants their ratings to go down, they relegated the Spirit Squad to a commercial break, Unlimited-only segment. They aired a brief clip of it when they came back from break, and it rocked my face off. Especially Mondo, who is a person that Godzilla fears. In any event, yeah, they did a cheer for the crowd.

Backstage, James apologized to Stratus for accidentally hitting her. She said she knows she may be passionate at times, but she really does love her. All the sudden, Trish’s date, a player from the Atlanta Thrashers hockey team, appeared on the scene. He said he had heard a lot about Mickie, and then left with Trish. Mickie fumed at this.

Elsewhere backstage, Shelton Benjamin was wheeling his mama around. She ranted about how Goldust freaked her out the week before. Benjamin told her not to worry about that happening again, and left her alone as he went to take care of something. She talked about how good of a boy he is, but then Eugene appeared on the scene. Eugene said he loved her movie, Big Momma’s House 2. He wanted to take her wig off, but she insisted it wasn’t a wig. “Big Momma rules!” – Eugene. Benjamin came back and ran him off. Mama said she needed oxygen again, and that’s a joke that will never get old to me, no matter how much it is told.

[commercial break]

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IRS: And here we are at the halfway point of this week’s Raw. This time we’re not in the middle of a match, so that’s a nice change of pace.

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Adam Bomb: So far the tournament is going swimmingly, I have to say, with one of the good guys, Chris Masters, taking out one of the biggest evildoer meanies of them all, Kane….
Giant Gonzalez: You know, it’s like they always say. Oneth by land, and when in Rome, do you want fries with that.
Adam Bomb:
Giant Gonzalez: I have rendered you speechless with my wisdom.
Adam Bomb: Good grief.

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Mountie: Where’s the entertainment, IRS? Can you tell me that? Huh, can ya? I want to be entertained. This is not entertaining me, arguably the most entertaining man on the face of the earth. Raw needs me.
IRS: On that note, let’s get back to the action!

(3) Triple H defeated Ric Flair. This was the second first round match in the tournament. Hunter started things off with a shoulder tackle, and then Flair caught him with a hip toss. Flair worked a headlock on the mat. Flair chopped away on Hunter in the corner. Hunter went for an early pedigree, but Flair blocked him and backdropped him over the top rope. They then cut to break.

[commercial break]

Back from break and Flair was hammering away on Hunter. Triple H battled back with a big time spinebuster and did some hammering away of his own. Hunter measured Flair and dropped a knee. Hunter figured he had things well in hand and pounded away on Flair in the corner. Flair did one of his patented flops as Styles was ranting about how every wrestler should want to headline WrestleMania. Hunter hit a Davey Boy Smith trademarked delayed suplex and got a two count for it. Hunter hit a “well placed” swinging neckbreaker, according to Styles. Flair got a hope rollup in for a two count and began to take his second opportunity. He chopped and punched away at Hunter in the corner, but Hunter caught him with a back elbow. Hunter tried something off the second rope, but Flair got his boot up. Hunter was on spaghetti legs, and so Flair chop blocked him and set him up for the figure four. Flair went up top, and actually hit a forearm for a two count. Flair locked in the figure four. Hunter reached the ropes to break it. Flair went for some more chops in the corner, and the ref inadvertently walked into a thumb in the eye. This allowed Flair to get a low blow in. Hunter caught Flair moments later, however, and hit the pedigree for the pinfall victory.

They showed the announcers on camera hyping up the various tournament matches still to come. Lawler segued into talking about the GoDaddy.com commercial featuring Candice Michelle. She is scheduled to appear on the Tonight Show sometime this week. They aired the full version of the commercial as a Raw exclusive. This is Shakespearian level stuff, people, because her bra string snaps off, she dances atop this old dude’s table, and he needs some oxygen. Styles sold the commercial in the greatest way ever by staring straight ahead for several moments without moving.

Backstage, Cena was talking to Maria. Maria was concerned because she’s not a wrestler and didn’t want Lita to hurt her and whatever. Cena wanted her to calm down and ended up kissing her. He then slapped her on the butt and went to go tell his buddies and slap them with the towels and whatever other stuff locker room heroes do.

[commercial break]

Shawn Michaels made his way to the ring for his first round tournament match, which would be against Big Show. They aired footage of Shane McMahon taking Michaels out with a chair as Vince McMahon dared Michaels to hit him from last week’s show. Vince came out before the match could start. Vince said this was Michaels’ lucky night, because Shane wasn’t there this week. He said if Shane were here, he’d be out there right now, kicking Michaels’ butt once again. He said he was going to invite Shane to be at the show tonight, but changed his mind. He said he changed his mind on something else as well. See, last week Michaels brought up that he could just walk out on his contract, but he wouldn’t do that because McMahon would sue his ass and the rest of his body. McMahon said on second though, he would let Michaels walk away. Indeed, he would be holding a retirement ceremony for Michaels, and Michaels’ participation in this event would be mandatory. Michaels challenged McMahon to come to the ring and handle things in that fashion, but McMahon instead announced that since he was going to be retiring next week anyway, there was no need for him to be in the tournament this week. And therefore, Shelton Benjamin would be taking his place.

[commercial break]

(4) Big Show defeated Shelton Benjamin. We came back from break with the match in progress. Big Show used those soup bone, iron skillet hands to chop Shelton like the cherry tree I cannot lie about. Or something. Styles put over that Show was a sight to see at the live events. Show propped Benjamin up on the top rope and climbed up to meet him. Shelton caught him and snapped his neck over the top rope. Benjamin caught Show with a dragon whip and then a springboard bulldog for but a one count. Show kicked out with much force and began hitting clotheslines and a powerslam. Show hit a shoulderblock that sent Benjamin into the referee. Mama tried to intervene by grabbing Show’s leg, and so Show had a staredown with her. Benjamin caught Show with a kick that sent Show to the outside. Benjamin launched himself at Show, but got caught. Moments later, Show whipped Benjamin back in the ring and mama pleaded with him to leave her baby alone. Show backed her down. Mama collapsed in a heap and Show won the match in the ring with a chokeslam. A bunch of officials and medics hit the ringside area to check on mama, who wasn’t moving.

[commercial break]

They showed that Shelton’s mama had been stretchered off during the break.

Backstage, Todd Grisham interviewed Carlito. Grisham said that Van Dam probably had revenge in mind after what Carlito did to him all those months ago on the Cabana. Carlito said that was nothing, he was just trying to teach him some respect. Carlito said that it was all about getting the chance to main event WrestleMania, and if he got the opportunity to beat Rob Van Dam in the process, that was cool.

The weakly Smackdown Rebound aired, centering around Rey Mysterio winning the Royal Rumble match, thanking Eddie Guerrero, and then being challenged by Randy Orton. They made a future match for those two, with the title shot on the line.

(5) Rob Van Dam defeated Carlito. Van Dam started things off by chasing Carlito around the ring. He went outside to meet Carlito and punched away on him. He tossed him back into the ring to start things off right. Van Dam hit a spinning kick and Carlito again went outside for a breather. Van Dam propped Carlito up on the barricade and came down onto him from the apron with a corkscrew legdrop as they cut to break.

[commercial break]

We came back from break and they showed us Van Dam crashing and burning, missing something and hitting his head on the barricade, during the commercial break. Carlito had things well in hand, and even mocked Van Dam’s signature pointing at himself spot. Carlito choked Van Dam out on the bottom rope. He hit Van Dam with a back elbow and got a two count for his troubles. Van Dam elbowed his way out of a headlock and dropkicked Carlito’s knee out from under him. Van Dam hit a couple rolling thunders for a two count. He slammed Carlito near the corner and went for the split legged moonsault. Carlito got the knees up and got a two count with a handful of tights. Carlito then snapped Van Dam’s neck on the top rope and hit a springboard into a somersault senton for a two count. Carlito hit Van Dam with the backtracker backbreaker and got another two count. Carlito went outside and got a chair, which is dumb because why would you do that? Honestly. Van Dam caught him and kicked the chair into his face, which serves him right, you know. Van Dam then hit the frogsplash to get the victory.

The announcers showed the results of a WWE.com asking fans to vote on who they thought would win the tournament. Van Dam was in first with 45 percent, which is pretty telling. Triple H had 24 percent, and Shawn Michaels was the only other one in double digits with 12 percent. We know now how good a vote for Michaels was, though.

They hyped up Big Show vs. Triple H and Chris Masters vs. Rob Van Dam in tournament matches for next week’s show, which would take place on Thursday night instead of the usual Monday night. Also on that show will be the mandatory Shawn Michaels retirement ceremony dealie, conducted by Mr. McMahon.

[commercial break]

(6) John Cena & Maria defeated Edge & Lita. Cena started things off by going after Edge in fast and aggressive fashion. Cena eventually went shoulder first into the ringpost and Edge forced Cena to tag Maria in. Edge tossed Cena to the outside and then whipped him into the 253,908 pound ringsteps. Edge invited Maria into the ring, but Maria resisted, so Lita whipped her into the ring the hard way. “The only good thing about Maria right now is her outfit!” – Coach. Lita choked Maria out on the bottom rope as Edge mocked her from the outside. Lita went for the spear on Maria but missed. Maria hightailed it over to her corner and tagged Cena back in. Cena took Edge down, informed him that he could not see him, but then Lita ran distraction and allowed Edge to sneak up on him from behind. Cena stepped out of the way, and Lita came down off the ropes onto Edge accidentally. Cena realized that Lita was still the legal, uh, person in the match and so he went to get him some. Lita flashed him and Edge charged at him from behind, but Cena again stepped out of the way of it. In the mess, Maria came into the ring and pinned Lita to get the victory for her team. Cena hugged her in congratulations.

Cena got on the mic and said that since his team won, he got to pick the special guest referee for the title match against Edge next week. He said he had the perfect person in mind in the event that Edge was feeling a little “hardcore” during the match. You guessed it – Mick Foley. Styles marked out big for him. Edge looked on in disbelief

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IRS: And that concludes another edition of Monday Night Raw. What have you guys got to say about this historic, epic edition of everyone’s favorite Monday night wrestling show? Adam Bomb? Giant Gonzalez? Holla at yo’ boy.

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Giant Gonzalez: You know, man, I’m really confused.
Adam Bomb: That’s okay. What’s up, man? Maybe I can help you out.
Giant Gonzalez: Well, Monday Night Raw is going to be on Thursday night next week, right?
Adam Bomb: Yep, that’s how I understand it.
Giant Gonzalez: Okay, so let me see if I got this straight. Monday Night Raw will be on Thursday night. Smackdown, which used to be on Thursday nights, is now on Friday nights. My question to you is simple: Change sucks.
Adam Bomb: Word.

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Mountie: I too have something to complain about it.
IRS: Oh boy, I can’t wait to hear this…
Mountie: What the heck was the point of Hacksaw Duggan appearing on this show?! I mean, honestly. If they wanted to bring an old superstar out there for no real reason, why not the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time? It makes no sense to me, tax man.
IRS: Yeah, Mountie, I see your point. It’s like they want to go out of business!

Final Show Grade: 5.0. Vince Russo is secretly booking Raw, and has been for a while now. At least since the Edge title reign, because the surprise win at the New Year’s Revolution PPV and the quick strike back in Cena’s favor is classic Russo. So, too, has been the booking on Raw lately. How else to explain the Jim Duggan swerve? He served no purpose on this show other than to be the “Oh, it’s him. Oh, I guess it’s not him” guy. I guess it beats being a janitor. See also that the Shawn Michaels vs. Vince McMahon seems to be classic Vince Russo as well, especially considering new and improved Russo has found God. Vince McMahon is the devil trying to lead another soul astray. Michaels must use his faith and convictions to resist temptation and defeat the evil. And next week’s inevitable “Oh, he’s not really going to be retiring” “swerve” is straight out of a bad episode of Nitro, too.

I will admit straight away that I love tournaments. I think it’s a good way to create compelling television for a couple weeks, making people talk about who they think will win what match, and what the finals are going to be, and what have you. None of the tournament matches were particularly good, but since this is WWE we’re talking about, that’s hardly the biggest of their concerns. The fans voting for Van Dam shows that they may be willing to accept an increased push for him. Of course, it can be argued that the only reason they didn’t vote for Triple H is because he’s a heel and they’re supposed to hate him, and so he can still lay claim to being the rightful people’s choice. Or something. In any event, the other two matches were a whole lot of nothing, also.

The guest referee angle that anchored the show was solid enough. The Cena-Maria kiss came out of nowhere and was an interesting twist to see. I wonder if they’ll follow it up in the coming weeks, or whether it wasn’t just a one week thing. It was nice to see someone thinking of Mark Madden with the Shelton’s mama heart attack angle. Mickie James’ obsessive stalker character continues to develop with the soap opera twists and turns, this time jealous that Trish was dating some guy. It is seriously one of the most interesting things they’ve done in a long while and makes you want to tune in every week so see where they go with it next.

And it was strange to see a show with no Triple H interview.

Dusty Giebink recommends Skittles for your dining pleasure. He welcomes any questions, answers, comments or concerns you may have, and can be contacted at dusty13@gmail.com.


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