Hi everyone! Raw tour guide/action-figure-picture-taker Dusty Giebink is off this week due to other obligations, but will be filling in with Smackdown coverage this Friday! That means your friendly neighborhoood Smackdown reviewer swings both ways... when it comes to wrestling coverage. Let's get to it!
Last Monday: They showed highlights from the Shawn Michaels versus Shane storyline from last Monday. Super Pregnant Stephanie came in to Shawn's locker room before his match with Shane to apologize on behalf of her brother and father for what they had done, making an unconscious Michaels kiss Vince McMahon's ass. Stephanie gave this annoying, rambling speech about children changing your life and asking Shawn to accept her apology. The best part was when she asked Shawn to get her some water after experiencing some apparent stomach pains, despite there being a water sitting right there. What a germaphobe that would rather have fresh water than get water for some apparent pains. However, the pains were mere subterfuge! She reached into her boobs and pulled out poison! She then poured this white powder into Shawn's water, right in front of the camera, because WWE doesn't know what the word "subtlety" means. Shawn gave her the water and asked if she was alright, and she claimed the baby was just thirsty. Shawn then, like a dope, took her at her word and drank his water. His poisoned water. Shawn came out for his pre-Saturday Night's Main Event match with Shane. He began stumbling around and wrestling like some of those wrestlers who got released for being in "no condition to perform." Shane finally knocked Shawn out with a big punch combination and got the win. Shawn then had a special impromptu match against his WrestleMania opponent, Vince! Mr. McMahon covered and quickly got a pinfall over Mr. Michaels.
The Raw intro video played. Gotta love how Stacy was magically traded to Raw now that, you know, people actually care about her again. The pyro went off and we were good to go! Confusing sign of the night: "FEMA bought our tickets." Uh... OK, sweet.
Tonight: "Mr. Monday Night" Rob Van Dam challenges "Mama's boy" Shelton Benjamin for the Intercontinental Championship! We've also got the WrestleMania 22 contract signing, hosted by the Coach (Oh boy...), for John Cena versus Triple H.
*** It looks like Vince McMahon has a creepy, creepy new entrance video that starts with an insane closeup of his eyes. He came out with a doctor (Or at least a guy in a white lab coat), Shane, and security. WWE's wacky sign guy with the red hat and light blue work shirt was there, but had a crappy seat where his signs couldn't easily be seen. There was a mystery black curtain surrounding something, with an open top.
Mr. McMahon thanked everyone for that warm Texas welcome. Vince said to boo all they want, but his son Shane beat the Holy Hell out of Shawn Michaels last week! Not only that, but last week, Shane beat Shawn Michaels up and covered him for the one, two, three, and then insisted that Vince do the same, which he did, beating Shawn Michaels himself! The crowd started an "asshole" chant. Vince said he could understand Shawn being upset and depressed for losing to both McMahons in the same night. Vince said that, however, there was no excuse for Shawn's actions and activities after that match was over. Vince said he had it on good authority, in fact, documented that, after the match, Shawn became disoriented. Shawn couldn't even stand up, according to Mr. McMahon, and was slurring his words, so that you couldn't even understand what he was saying. This has led Vince and other WWE officials to the only logical conclusion: "Shawn Michaels is on drugs!" Which is why, tonight, Vince is forcing Shawn to submit to a public urination test! (Guess that's what the black curtain's for.) Shane commended her dad on his decision, because he's concerned because he's supposed to step in the ring on Saturday against Shawn, and he needs to know if this guy is clean! Jerry said "Ask your sister," and I don't know if Lawler meant what sounded like a double entendre or not. Vince said he understands that, and also understands this: Based on his actions last week, Shawn Michaels has besmirched the reputation of WWE and everyone in it! Vince demanded that Michaels come down to the ring right now!
Michaels' music hit and he came out in a suit. King was explaining what actually happened last week as Coach kissed McMahon ass. Vince said that they were about to proceed with the test as the crowd chanted "HBK!" Vince said to chant his name all you want, because he may not be there for much longer. They're about to have this test, and if he flunks, Vince wants to know what sort of possible explanation Shawn has for his actions of last week for these fans, his fans all over the world, or for his family. Shane got on the mic and said that his explanation is that Shawn is that he's a liar, a hypocrite, and a "disgusting... junkie!" Shane emphasized again that Shawn is a junkie. Vince said, if Shawn is a junkie, these tests will prove it, right in this ring, in a few minutes. If Shawn is a junkie, it is Vince's duty to inform him that he will be suspended indefinitely without pay, and if he's proven a junkie tonight, he will automatically forfeit his match against Shane at Saturday Night's Main Event and against Vince at WrestleMania. Styles was getting apoplectic. Vince said that, having said all of that, he was going to introduce Shawn to Dr. Feldman, who would administer the test. (I'm surprised they didn't call him Dr. Black, or at least Dr. White.) Before that, though, Vince wanted to inspect the cup. Vince gave him the cup and said to administer the test, "let's get it on." Shane said that you can't trust a junkie, you can't trust this man! Shane said that you know he's dishonest, how do we know this is going to be on the up and up? Shane said someone would have to supervise this. Vince said he had a good point. Vince said that, not only will the doctor administer the test, he'll observe the "collection." Vince asked both of them to go into this collection booth and collect a sample. Vince said that he understands that it may be difficult for Shawn to urinate in front of thousands of people here and millions at home, but he's got all night and he doesn't care if it takes Shawn all night.
Shawn and the doctor got in the booth and Shawn started trying to pee. Vince then said "The following public service announcement is brought to you by the chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment, Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Kids, I have a lesson for you. If you're a user, you're a loser. Don't wind up like Shawn Michaels. Don't do drugs. Thank you very much." Saying this with the evil cheesy grin in the middle was awesome. Vince turned back to what was going on and said "We don't have all night." (Wasn't he just talking about how he had all night?!) The doctor held up the "specimen." Shawn apparently had been drinking a lot, and was also dehydrated, because that thing was ridiculously full and dark. Vince told the security to back away. Vince said "Oh my God! Oh, you really had to go! Whoa! Easy!" Vince asked if he would proceed with his testing, and it would only take a minute or two to find out if Shawn had been taking drugs. The doctor inserted a testing strip into the liquid. Vince said that Shane and he were talking before they came out tonight, and asked what Shawn might say in a set of circumstances like this, before the test proves positive. Vince asked if he would like to apologize to his family and what he might like to see. Vince asked one of the security guards to hand him a mic. Shane said that there's an old classic saying, and what he should have said is "Just say no." Coach: "A lot of good messages here, guys. A lot of good messages." (Priceless.) Shawn said "You're enjoying this, aren't ya?" Shawn said there's another old classic saying, and it goes something like this: "Doc, it's better to be pissed off, than pissed on!" Shawn then grabbed the urine and threw it at Vince and Shane! They fell over and were coughing after getting the urine on themselves. (If that was real, wouldn't be real fun to wrestle in that ring tonight.) Vince was retching as Shawn's music hit and he walked up the ramp. Vince stood up and was going nuts. He was smelling his hands and freaking out. He ripped off his jacket and was not a happy man, soaked in urine.
Promo time: "Twenty years ago, it started a revolution. Now, it's back! Saturday Night's Main Event: It's a two hour nonstop thrill ride featuring the superstars of Raw and Smackdown! The crown prince of WWE, Shane McMahon, takes on the HeartBreak Kid, Shawn Michaels, in a street fight. Then, for the first time ever, a WrestleMania main event versus main event match. Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, and Kurt Angle join forces to outnumber John Cena and Triple H. Saturday Night's Main Event, Saturday on NBC!" Interesting to see who's featured in this spot. Other than those named, from the current roster, we saw RVD, Big Show & Kane, Ric Flair, the Boogeyman, Candice Michelle, and the Undertaker.
Moments ago: They recapped Vince threatening the possible forfeiture of Shawn's two McMahon matches, the peeing behind the curtain, and finally Shawn throwing pee at the McMahons. Yikes. Jerry Lawler: "Oh my gosh! This may be one of the biggest and the greatest moments in the history of Raw!" I don't know if "great" is the word for it, but sure.
*** Backstage, Vince and Shane were in front of a sink. Shane was frantically scrubbing his face with soap and water. Apparently, Vince is more OK with urine, because he wasn't cleaning himself. Vince was talking about "that son of a bitch" Shawn Michaels. Vince said he would put him in a match tonight against the Spirit Squad, "all four guys." (Uh, there's five guys, Mr. McMahon.) Vince said, this time, all four in the ring at the same time, Texas tornado match, and then put it in a steel cage! (Whooooo!)
(1) Women's Champion Trish Stratus defeated Victoria (with Candice) in a Women's Championship match.
Pre-match analysis: Trish came down, and was looking quite lovely tonight. She had on leather pants and a black half-top with a grey half-vest over it. Actually, saying "half" is too much, as they both cut off right under her breasts, showing her wonderful, wonderful stomach. I knew I loved Trish before, but now I think I love her even more after reading yesterday that she's a comic fan! Yes, I'm a geek. Want to make somethin' of it?
Jerry Lawler hyped up that, on Saturday Night's Main Event, we'd have Trish Stratus and Torrie Wilson teaming up against Candice Michelle and Victoria. (God, please make sure that Trish and Victoria take up ninety percent of the in-ring time of that match. No, wait, just make it a hundred percent.)
Victoria's music hit next, and she was accompanied by Candice. Victoria had on her neon yellow ring gear. Candice was looking quite stunning tonight, wearing black tights with a sort of lingerie long think cloak thing. (If anyone knows what the heck this thing is called, shoot me a line at email@example.com! They hyped Candice's Playboy. Victoria ran into the ring and attacked Trish before the bell.
Match analysis: The bell rang and Victoria hid. Trish went on the attack and hit a Lou Thesz press into some punches. Victoria hit a drop toehold to send Trish into the ropes, then grabbed her hair and slammed her backwards to the mat. Victoria covered, but Trish kicked out. Victoria covered twice more, but no luck. Trish hit a big punch to Victoria's midsection, but Victoria came back with a big knee. Victoria took Trish up into a "fireperson's" carry and then swung her around and down to the mat in a move called the Spider's Web. Victoria got a two count. Trish slammed Trish's face into the mat. Victoria picked Trish up by the hair and slammed her back down to the mat. Candice celebrated at ringside. Victoria covered again, but no luck. Victoria grabbed Trish by the hair and pulled her forward over her back, hanging Trish in the air by her hair before releasing her after a few seconds. Victoria went back to this again, but Trish flipped forward and landed on her feet, then kicked Victoria in the face! She went to follow up, but Victoria used leverage to send Trish through the ropes to the outside. Victoria rolled her back in and covered, but Trish kicked out.
Victoria put Trish back in that fireperson's carry position again, but Trish countered mid-move into a tilt-a-whirl flying headscissors! That was freaking sweet. It was a little sloppy in the transition, but not bad at all. Trish followed up, with both women going for clotheslines, and both went down. Victoria was up first. Trish blocked a punch and hit a few big forearms. Trish ran into a back elbow. Trish went for the Stratusphere in the corner, but Victoria shoved her off and went for a punch, but Trish ducked and hit a spinning headscissors! Trish hit a spinebuster and hooked the leg, but Victoria kicked out. Victoria raked the eyes. Victoria set up the Stratusfaction bulldog and signaled for it, but Candice got up on the apron for the distraction, allowing Victoria to kick Trish in the gut and go for the Widow's Peak. However, with the ref still distracted by Candice, Torrie Wilson ran in and hit a sitdown powerbomb on Victoria! Apparently, her version of that is called "the Nose Job." Victoria got up and turned into a Chick Kick from Trish! Trish hooked the leg and got the win to retain the championship!
Post-match analysis: Candice was not a happy lady. She screamed and went to check on Victoria. They showed a recap of Torrie running in and hitting the Nose Job on Victoria before scampering to the back. In the ring, Victoria was apparently supposed to get on the mic, but the mic wasn't working. They quickly cut to commercial.
Match grade: B-. This was such a fun match. It was about a million times better than most recent WWE women's wrestling matches, probably because they put the two most experienced WWE women's wrestlers in the ring together and let them wrestle. They also put out a ton of energy and didn't seem like the diva types who always look like they're trying to remember how to do what they're supposed to do next for the whole match. They only got five minutes, but it was a good five minutes. The crowd dug this, and they threw in a couple fun rarely seen spots.
Promo time: Hi there! WrestleMania is coming! This seemed like one of the standard Mania commercials, but it was actually a WWEShop.com commercial. Apparently, you can use the code "BIGTIME" to get ten percent off orders of fifty dollars of more, plus free shipping.
WWE.com Unlimited, during commercial: Victoria screamed at Torrie and said that she swore to God that she was going to make Torrie pay big time.
Cowboy Troy was on his way down to the ring. Ugh. He's the co-host of USA Network's Nashville Star, so it's time for some cross promotion! I liked the cross promotion with Joe Schmo a lot more. He had on jeans, a black t-shirt with yellow design, a big ol' belt buckle and a black cowboy hat. He came and sat down at commentary, shaking everyone's hands. Jerry Lawler said it felt good to be sitting next to someone wearing a black cowboy hat again. Ha! Coach said he was going to show some of Mick Foley's greatest moments.
*** They introduced a video package designed like a movie trailer, beginning with a green screen that said "The following Superstar has been Rated O for overrated." It was followed by WrestleMania footage and a voiceover with different graphics emphasizing the voiceover's points. "The critics have spoken... The most overrated superstar in WrestleMania history if Mick Foley." It went from being dramatic to playing wacky, circus-like music, with cartoon sound effects over Mick Foley's WrestleMania moments. "The Washington Journal says, 'What a joke! How can one man continue to fail so spectacularly?' The L.A. Sun proclaims 'Crap-tacular. Foley truly capture the spirit of a loser, over and over again.' And the New York Bugle raves 'I can't wait to see how easily Edge defeats Foley at WrestleMania 22.' If you only laugh at one WrestleMania performance this year, make sure it's Mick Foley's!" That was pretty great, though it could have been much better.
(2) Edge (with Lita) defeated Goldust.
Pre-match analysis: Edge came out with Lita. Lita had on black pants and a zebra colored corset showing her black bra. Goldust was waiting in the ring, crouching Goldust style. No big Goldust entrance? Sad! Cowboy Troy put over Edge, saying that he was a high flyer with a lot of energy.
Match analysis: Edge ducked a lockup from Goldust. Edge sucker punched Goldust in the corner. Cowboy Troy was talking about Nashville Star, making Edge look like a bit of a punk. Edge hit a knee and a big boot to take down Goldust. Edge delivered straight punches on the mat. Coach asked Cowboy Troy to bring Ashley Judd by. Joey Styles looked super uncomfortable during this segment, and had that "Shoot me now" look on his face. Coach talked about how he used to wear a black cowboy hat and looked a lot better than Cowboy Troy in it. Edge whipped Goldust hard into the corner. Lawler had a great line, saying "Coach is a figment of his own imagination." Lawler was saying that Edge hates country music, and that "all his taste is in his mouth." Goldust was throwing punches from his knees as he tried to get up, but Edge cut him off. Edge ran the ropes, but Goldust turned it into a deep powerslam! Styles tried to talk about the match, and Cowboy Troy actually was cool with it, but Coach just wanted to talk about, well, non-match stuff more. Goldust hit his drop down to the mat and punch up spot. Goldust hit an inverted atomic drop, followed by a clothesline. Goldust went for the ten punch in the corner. After nine, he pointed at Lita and hit a headbutt. Goldust spread Edge's legs, hooking one around opposite ropes, to set up Shattered Dreams. Cowboy Troy said that he'd actually seen it administered a time or two, and he sounded credible saying so. Lita got up on the apron as Goldust set up the move, distracting Goldust. Goldust swatted at her and turned around, right into a spear! Edge got the pinfall victory.
Post-match analysis: Lita shot her mouth off at ringside. Joey Styles was saying goodbye to Cowboy Troy when Edge told him to shut up. Edge addressed "Cowboy Carl," and Cowboy Troy corrected him. Edge said that, if Cowboy Troy wants to steal his thunder, he's the star of this show. Cowboy Troy laughed. Edge said he was the rated R superstar, but Cowboy Troy said that he needed to "buy a vowel, brother," whatever that means. Edge said that he'd be the star of WrestleMania. He asked if they wanted him to prove it, and told them to roll the trailer. Some girl in the audience yelled "Get him, Troy!"
This trailer opened with a green screen saying "The following Superstar has been rated R." Over Edge WrestleMania highlights, the voiceover said "From Edge, the acclaimed superstar who brought you TLC..." They showed TLC footage and had JR yelling "Oh my God! Edge, from the twenty foot ladder!" over footage of Edge spearing Jeff Hardy off of the tag belts. "... and Money In The Bank..." They showed Edge hitting Benoit with a steel chair before climbing up and getting the suitcase as JR and King talked about the victory. "...comes his greatest WrestleMania yet." They showed some recent Edge highlights, including winning the title, as well as highlights of his feud against Mick Foley. "On April 2nd, the most watched champion of the past five years returns to the scene of his greatest triumphs." Interesting that they would include the part about him being the most watched champion. They had the clip of Edge saying "I've never lost at WrestleMania!" Then the voiceover said "And this time, it's hardcore!" They played the one man conchairto on Foley. "Witness the final destruction of Mick Foley at WrestleMania 22." Edge said "Mick, you're pathetic!" The voiceover finished up with "Courtesy of the Rated R superstar, Edge."
Edge said that Mick was just going to add to his WrestleMania legacy, and if he thinks otherwise, he can tell Edge on Saturday Night's Main Event. It's going to be the return of his talk show, the Cutting Edge, and Mick will be the guest! Edge said that the difference will be that this Cutting Edge will be rated H for Hardcore!
Match grade: D+. This was alright, but it was pretty much a squash. The announcers spent most of this match hyping Nashville Star with Cowboy Troy, though Troy didn't come across as totally ignorant of wrestling. It's sad when Goldust doesn't even get a freaking ring entrance anymore, especially when said ring entrance is a huge chunk of his character.
Tonight: Rob Van Dam versus Shelton Benjamin for the Intercontinental Championship!
Up Next: The John Cena and Triple H WrestleMania 22 contract signing, overseen by Coach!
WrestleMania Big Time Moment: They played the classic Piper's Pit with Morton Downey, Junior. Morton kept blowing smoke in Roddy's face, and Piper had enough, so he finally snapped and pulled out a hidden fire extinguisher, spraying it all over Downey!
*** Maria was working out backstage on a machine, working her chest and arms, I believe. God, this was hot. Maria, you're too good to be dating C.M. Punk! In a great line, Trish came up to Maria and said "Hey Maria! I'm sorry to interrupt your workout... in the middle of the hallway, um..." Trish asked if Maria had seen Torrie anywhere. Maria said, no, she'd been working out, and asked Trish if she'd tried this thing. Trish said no. Maria took this from possible coincidence to obvious plug, saying "It's the new Bowflex Extreme 2! It's freakin' awesome!" Trish said she hadn't, but it looked like it was working, and Maria was looking good. (That's an understatement.) Trish asked again if she'd seen Torrie, but Maria said to try the locker room. Trish said to have a good workout. Maria said thanks as Trish walked off and walked into the "Diva's" locker room. (Note to WWE: The apostrophe, if this is a locker room for more than one diva, goes after the S. Just a heads up.) Trish opened the door to this dirty looking tiny locker room and saw Torrie laid out. Trish yelled at Maria "Maria! Get help! Torrie's laid out!" She then checked on Torrie. She'd had a copy of Candice's Playboy laid on her chest. Trish tossed the magazine and yelled for Maria to get the doctor. (Is that the same one from the urine test?)
Lawler and Styles were saying it was obvious who knocked out Torrie with the magazine laid on her chest from Candice and Victoria. Coach said that's what Torrie gets for sticking her nose where it doesn't belong. Lawler said that you take care of business in the ring, not back in the locker room. Styles, seemingly exasperated, tried introducing the Hall of Fame announcement of the week (that Raw gets while Smackdown gets nothing). Coach said they had to talk about the official WrestleMania theme song first. Seemed kind of weird to talk about the Hall of Fame then go to that, seemed like it could have been a mistake. Anyway, yay for Peter Gabriel's "Big Time" off of his greatest hits.
They reviewed what had already been announced. Stone Cold Steve Austin inducts Bret Hart; Chavo Guerrero, Chris Benoit, and Rey Mysterio induct Eddie Guerrero; "Mean Gene" Okerlund, the first announcer to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, gets inducted by Hulk Hogan; and they announced that the Sensational Sherri Martel would be inducted by "the Million Dollar Man"/WWE road agent Ted DiBiase.
The latest inductee: Verne Gagne! They had a voiceover to help explain who he is for the younguns (like yours truly). "He was truly a pioneer of wrestling. Verne Gagne grew up in Minnesota, and when the time arrived for him to choose a college, he stayed right at home, opting to become a Golden Gopher. There, at the University of Minnesota, he won four Big Ten wrestling championships, and was the NCAA champion of both 1948 and 1949." They showed various newspaper articles on his athletics, as well as a big list of his various amateur accomplishments. "Gagne also went on to represent the United States, as a member of the 1948 U.S. Olympic wrestling team. He would evolve from a remarkable amateur wrestler to one of the greatest professional wrestlers of any generation. Gagne headlined huge events at Chicago's Comiskey Park and Soldier Field, taking on wrestling's finest: Gene Kinisky, Baron Von Raschke, Jerry "Crusher" Blackwell, Billy Robinson, and most notably, Nick Bockwinkel. Gagne's wrestling career spanned over thirty years, and he held the AWA World Championship on ten separate occasions. As his in-ring career wound down, Gagne split his time as the main promoter of the legendary American Wrestling Association, while also training future superstars, like Sergeant Slaughter, Ric Flair, Bob Backlund, and a host of others. His contributions to the sport of professional wrestling are unparalleled, and it is with great admiration that we induct Verne Gagne into the WWE Hall of Fame." Verne will be inducted by his sun, Greg Gagne. Joey Styles talked about how Greg also competed in the AWA. Lawler said that he was the last official AWA World Heavyweight Champion, so he's looking forward to seeing Verne at the Hall of Fame. Coach said it would be a big night, but WrestleMania is what we're going to "Chi-town" for. Coach's music hit and he walked to the ring for the contract signing.
WWE Rewind: This segment was, of course, sponsored by Bowflex. They showed highlights of John Cena versus Big Show last week, with Cena hitting the FU on Show! Triple H initially looked scared, and then more intrigued/amazed.
Following contract signing: Shawn Michaels versus the Spirit Squad in a 4 on 1 Texas tornado steel cage match!
*** Coach said that we are just twenty days away from WrestleMania, and right now, the contract will be signed for "one of the most anticipated main events in WWE history." Uh, sure it is. Coach emphasized that these men have never faced each other one on one for the WWE Championship. He first introduced "the Game," "the King of Kings," Triple H. Trips came out in a pretty sweet black suit. What was up with Triple H getting bumped from Conan O'Brien last week? Triple H came down to the ring, shook hands with Coach, and had a seat in one of the two chairs at the desk with the contract, putting his feet up on the desk and smirking as Coach introduced WWE Champion, John Cena. Cena came out and held the belt up on the stage. Triple H looked cocky as Cena came to the ring. Cena shot him a cold, serious look. Lawler talked about Cena's "Hustle, loyalty, respect" shirt, saying that Triple H wasn't showing a lot of respect here with his feet up on the desk. Triple H removed his sunglasses and put them in his pocket.
Coach, in a nice show of logic, said that both of their lawyers had looked at the contract backstage and assured both of them that everything was in order. Coach asked if they had any questions before they got started. Coach said, since Triple H is the challenger, he would sign first. Coach pushed the contract over to Triple H. Triple H, of course, grabbed the microphone before signing. Triple H said, before he signed this contract, he wanted to let Cena know that he was impressed last week. Triple H asked if anyone saw Raw last week, getting a big pop from the crowd. Triple H asked who here saw Cena pick up the 500 pound Big Show. Another big pop. Triple H then talked about Cena giving Big Show the FU, and sarcastically said it blew his mind. Triple H said he wasn't sure if the people understood what that meant. Triple H said that would kill a normal man, but not John Cena! Triple H said he was impressed, but as strong as Cena is, it's not going to make a damn bit of difference or help him one bit at WrestleMania. Triple H said that all of this is a formality, including the contract signing and the stare in Cena's eyes. The crowd started loudly chanting for Cena, interrupting Triple H as he was trying to say it was just a formality to Triple H getting the title. Triple H said to the fans that they can chant all they want, but that won't help him any either, he guarantees it. Triple H said it's a foregone conclusion, a fact, that at WrestleMania, the WWE Championship "comes back home." Triple H put the microphone down and started to sign the contract. He looked at Coach and was shaking the pen, indicating it wasn't working, but then scribbled in the corner and got it to work. Triple H pushed the contract and pen over to Cena. Cena quickly signed the contract and slammed it down on top of his title belt, closer to Coach for him to grab it.
Triple H got on the mic and said that, just like that, it was over. He said that this is the point where, usually at these contract signings, once he's sure the name is on the dotted line and the match is official and there's no backing out of it, he flips over the table, pulls out a sledgehammer, and bashes your brains in. Triple H said he's the kind of guy who takes any advantage he can get and that he'll manipulate anything. However, Triple H said he's not going to do that, because he doesn't need to do that with Cena. He doesn't need an advantage, Cena is already at a big enough disadvantage. Triple H set the microphone down again, getting a smirk from Cena.
Cena said he was fired up coming out there, but Triple H cracks him up. Cena said it's a funny story, and asked if that's the reason why. Cena said that maybe it's because, if Triple H flips the table over, grabs the sledgehammer and tries to bash his brains in, Cena will grab that hammer "and stick it straight up your ass!" Cena showed some weird, crazy intensity near the end of that sentence, changing emotions ridiculously fast. Triple H mouthed "Let's do this" and stood up. Cena could have looked cool here, but he paused to take his cap and turn it around backwards, making him look like an absolute goof. They both stood up and kicked their chairs backwards. Triple H removed his jacket as they stared each other down, but then the Big Show's music hit!
Actually, correction, it was the Big Show introduction transitioning into Kane's music as they both came out. Triple H pointed at them and talked to Cena. In a great bit, Triple H flipped over the table and grabbed a sledgehammer that was strapped to the bottom of the table! Cena was reaking out and looked like he wanted to fight with Triple H, but Triple H looked like he was more worried about Kane and the Big Show. Styles talked about how Big Show and Kane each lost WrestleMania rewind matches last week, Big Show losing to Cena, and Kane losing to Triple H, and that they didn't look happy about it. King said that he thought Triple H would have to think twice about using that sledgehammer, because he has no escape route. As Big Show and Kane climbed the apron, Carlito and Chris Masters attacked! Security and referees came out to separate them. Big Show shoved down a ton of security guards.
Vince McMahon appeared on the big screen and said to shut it down. He said that, if these six guys wanted to fight so badly, he's in a fighting mood, so here's what we'll do: The six of them will see action in the ring tonight. Triple H will lead a team of Carlito and Chris Masters in a six-man tag team match against the Big Show, Kane, and WWE Champion John Cena! Vince told them all to get the Hell out of his ring, because Shawn Michaels is going to have the holy Hell beat out of him in a steel cage match, and that's next! Vince smelled something and looked to sniff his jacket, then sniffed his tie, wrinkling up his face and nose. John Cena yelled at Triple H that he's the one who's at a disadvantage. They continued to talk trash in the ring as we went to break.
Promo time: Another promo aired for Saturday Night's Main Event, this Saturday at 8 PM!
Pre-match analysis: The cool steel cage music played as the steel cage was lowered over the ring. They showed a clip from earlier tonight of the whole drug testing angle, with Vince and Shane making Michaels pee in the middle of the ring, then throwing his urine at Vine and Shane. King made this more gross, talking about it splashing into the mouths of Vince and Shane. Yikes. They replayed the reaction once more, saying to watch Vince's eyes and mouth when he got splashed. You could tell he knew it was coming, because Vince closed his eyes before it was thrown.
Shawn Michaels' music hit. He had on a new t-shirt on with the letters HBK, no kidding, wrapped in thorns. You know, like Jesus's crown of thorns. I think this t-shirt might finally be the messiah complex going too far. They showed an underage girl holding up a sign saying "HBK is my boy toy!" (If it was the nineties, I might have believed it.) Lillian Garcia said that this match could be won by pinfall, submission, or escaping the cage. King was cracking up about the urine throwing.
The Spirit Squad came out to an all new, all great entrance video, that opens with each of them yelling their names. "Kenny! Johnny! Mitch! Nicky! Mikey! And we are... the Spirit Squad!" Nicky and Mikey had the best enthusiastic yells of their names. Kenny blew the airhorn as they came down to the ring. Apparently, they don't trust that Million Dollar Tough Enough goof Nick "Mitch" Mitchell in the ring, as the other four are the ones in this match. (Actually, to be fair, Mitch's back is reportedly injured, but based on how little experience he has, I don't know that he should be in the ring yet anyway.) They huddled, all putting their hands in the middle and saying "One, two, three, Spirit Squad!" They then vaulted Mikey on the outside up to the top of the cage to crawl in! That was pretty great. Shawn pounced, attacking him before he even climbed into the cage.
Match analysis: The bell rung and the rest of the Spirit Squad climbed over other walls of the cage. Michaels quickly took down most of them initially. He finally got taken down by a big group of them and beaten down by all four in the middle of the ring. The four of them catapulted Shawn up into the air, letthing him slam down to the mat. Styles got Mitch and Mikey confused, saying Mikey was the one on the outside. The real Mikey was doing a great cheer dance. Mitch banged on the all of the cage with the megaphone. A couple of Spirit Squad members lifted Michaels up and threw him into the cage. Mikey stomped on his head. Mitch did jumping jacks on the outside. The rest of the Spirit Squad took turns attacking Michaels in the corner. Three of them then made a pyramid for Johnny to vault over and throw a forearm at Michaels! That was so awesome. Kenny covered, but Michaels kicked out. They beat on him and yelled at him. Mitch blew the airhorn at ringside. They whipped Michaels hard into the corner and set up another pyramid, but this time, Michaels moved out of the way!
He hit two of the Spirit Squad members in the crotch! He beat on Jeter and hit a flying forearm to Jeter. Kenny went to the top rope and went for a legdrop, but Michaels rolled out of the way! Michaels kipped up and hit a couple of inverted atomic drops, some forearms, and a big DDT. He took out a couple more and hit a scoop slam, then started climbing the ropes. He delivered an elbow drop off the top rope, then set up for Sweet Chin Music. One of the Spirit Squad came at him, so he tossed them into the cage, then backdropped another one into the cage. Michaels went to walk out the door, but Mitch pushed the ref out of the way and tried slamming the door on Michaels! Michaels stopped it and then pushed the door back at Mitch, knocking him down! Michaels hit Sweet Chin Music inside the cage. He was about to walk out the door, but Shane McMahon slammed the door into the back of Shawn Michaels! Shane got in and dragged Michaels over to the middle of the ring, then draped a Spirit Squad members' arm over Michaels for the win.
Post-match analysis: Shane's music hit after the ring first, then Spirit Squad's. Sounds like someone in the production truck screwed up. The music stopped and Shane threw Michaels face first into the steel cage. He celebrated and danced around the ring, whooing! Michaels was bleeding heavily. Shane threw Michaels into the opposite cage wall. Shane ordered the cage to be raised. He had Shawn's blood on his shirt as he yelled into Michaels' face. Shane directed traffic with the Spirit Squad. They set up Michaels in the corner. One of the Spirit Squad members pulled a trash can out from under the ring and, after failing at trying to get it between the ropes, passed it over the ropes to Shane. They set up the trash can in front of Michaels, and Shane climbed the ropes. He almost lost his balance, but he went coast to coast, Van Terminator style, kicking the trash can into Michaels! Shane yelled in Shawn's face, saying that he would pay on Saturday. Shane danced to his music. Shane looked down at the blood on his shirt before leaving the ring.
Match grade: B. I don't even know how to grade this match. It was so fun but totally not like any other match. They had a little of everything in this match. The pyramid spots were particularly awesome, but they actually were able to have some credible, legitimate wrestling moves, despite there being so many men involved. This also proves that Shawn Michaels can have a great match with anyone.
Promo time: WrestleMania 22, just 20 days away!
They read down the sponsorships, including the new Natalie Portman flick and, of course, Bowflex.
They showed a recap from moments ago of Michaels about to escape the cage before getting the cage door slammed in the back of his head by Shane McMahon. Shane then busted Michaels open on the cage. They showed Shane going coast to coast on Shawn Michaels in slow motion. A spot like that needs way more selling than Shane gave it.
*** Todd Grisham interviewed Trish Stratus backstage. Todd asked Trish about finding Torrie unconscious on the floor backstage. Trish said that Torrie suffered a concussion and will not be able to compete Saturday night. Trish didn't think it was a coincidence that Victoria and Candice are nowhere to be found. Mickie interrupted and Trish asked Todd for a minute.
Mickie James said that she just heard what happened. she was also talking over the loudest pair of bracelets ever, that kept clanging together whenever she would move her arm. Mickie was wearing a hot pink top (hot in both senses) showing off her abdomen. She actually didn't look as, ahem, plump as she usually does tonight, but that may be because she's sticking her chest out and the camera isn't showing much of her previously giant arms. Mickie said that she understands what Trish said last week about needing her space, she really does, but she really cares about Trish and can't sit back here and watch Trish wrestle a handicap match against Victoria and Candice. She asked Trish to let her be her partner, and said that she can't stand them anymore than Trish can. Mickie said it would just be this last time, then after the match, they can go their separate ways, she promises. So, what do you say? (It's a trap, Trish! Don't do it!) Trish shook Mickie's hand without saying a word and walked off. Mickie smiled, looking after her lady love.
Styles was about to hype who else they would see Saturday when King stopped him and asked Coach if he was excited about this person. Coach refused to participate in this portion of the program. King said everyone else in the world would be happy about this. They then played a video clip of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin highlights to a remix of Austin's music with lyrics. They came back and hyped Stone Cold Steve Austin and JBL in a beer drinking contest at Saturday Night's Main Event.
*** Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon were backstage in the office. Vince talked about Shawn's blood being all over Shane, saying that's what tonight's all about. Shane exclaimed "Having a good night!" Vince said, as much fun as they're having tonight, it will pale in comparison to this Saturday night! Vince told Shane to guess what he's doing for Shane this Saturday: He's bringing back a certified member of the Mr. McMahon Kiss My Ass Club to call Saturday Night's Main Event, but particularly to call Shane's match. He pulled out a black cowboy hat and said that it's good ol' JR! Vince laughed maniacally and Shane grabbed the hat and laughed. Shane said that was awesome and put on the hat. He said that "future Hall of Famer" announcer JR was going to call this match. Shane said he could hear it right now: "Shane beats Shawn! Shane beats Shawn! Good God almighty, Shawn Michaels is broken in half!" Vince laughed evilly. Shane said that, if JR doesn't call this match right, he would leave JR a bloody mess, just like he did Shawn Michaels. Shane walked out, and even Vince seemed somewhat taken aback by this, looking shocked.
*** RVD was warming up backstage, throwing some shadow punches.
Promo time: Hey, have you heard of this Saturday Night's Main Event thing? No? Me neither.
Tonight: Big Show, John Cena, and Kane team up to take on Carlito, Triple H, and Chris Masters!
(4) Intercontinental Champion Shelton Benjamin defeated Rob Van Dam.
Pre-match analysis: Ric Flair came down to ringside for commentary. Whooooooo! Flair shook hands with King and Styles and tried to shake hands with Coach, but Coach totally no sold him and looked away. Flair tried to get his attention, but no luck. Coach complained about having to share his time with Cowboy Troy earlier, and now having to share his time with Ric Flair.
WWE Slam of the Week: Last Monday, Ric Flair fought Shelton Benjamin and won, but it was due to disqualification due to a thumb to the eye of the referee. Booooo! However, after the match, Flair used Shelton's mama's air tank to attack Shelton!
Shelton came down mama-less! Coach said that the Intercontinental title looked great around Shelton's waist and assumed Flair would agree. Flair said that Shelton is a great athlete, but the belt looked a lot better around Flair's waist.
Shelton got on the mic and said that his mama wasn't there because she had to undergo heart surgery. Shelton said that he held Flair fully responsible. Shelton said that what Flair did "last night" (Don't expect to see a mic in Shelton's hand again anytime soon), running around like an idiot, caused his mother's heart condition to worsen, and if anything's happened to her, Flair's going to pay. Shelton addressed his mama, and said that he knew she was in the hospital watching. From the bottom of his heart, he said "I love you," and he's going to beat the Hell out of anyone that has the guts, before being interrupted by RVD's music. RVD came down to the ring wearing a pretty cool red singlet this week.
Match analysis: Benjamin and RVD locked up and started off slow. Benjamin hit a snapmare and swatted at the back of RVD's head. Flair talked about how he's excited about the ladder match and getting another chance for a big run in this business. Benjamin scoop slammed RVD. Benjamin tried ramming RVD's head into the turnbuckle, but RVD blocked it and hit a high kick to Benjamin's face. RVD hit a clothesline and a deep armdrag, followed by a standing dropkick to send Benjamin to the outside. RVD followed up and threw Benjamin back into the ring. Benjamin hit a big kick and put RVD up on the top turnbuckle. Benjamin went to climb up, but RVD knocked Benjamin to the mat. Benjamin dropped all the way to the top floor and belly-to-belly suplexed RVD to the mat! That was awesome.
Back from break, Benjamin had RVD in an arm submission. They showed that, during the break, Benjamin threw RVD shoulder first into the steel turnbuckle post. Benjamin threw RVD to the mat. Flair put over the Intercontinental Championship. Benjamin threw some straight punches on the mat. Coach predicted that Shelton would retain again this week, just like he did last week, and then Coach pretended to forget who he went up against. Flair told him, easy, saying they're only five feet apart and that Coach doesn't want him to slap him right off that chair. Lawler offered to move so they'd be only three feet apart. Coach begged his pardon. Flair said, speaking of Beal Street, let's talk about Rush Street. He said that, if he won that match, he'd be on Rush Street until five AM in downtown Chicago. King asked if he could come, and Flair said "Yeah" in the most unconvincing manner ever. Styles complained about not getting invited. In the ring, Benjamin had RVD in another arm submission.
Styles talked about how RVD had been IC champion five times and how three of those victories came against former world champions: Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, and the late Eddie Guerrero. RVD stood up and was fighting back. He went for a spin kick, but Benjamin ducked and hit a big kick. Flair said he'd take his sixteen times, Rob would take his five times, Shelton would take his two times, it doesn't matter, whoever wins the Money in the Bank match gets a shot at the world title. Benjamin picked RVD up by his hair and threw a straight punch. Benjamin whipped RVD into the ropes and went for a front dropkick, but RVD grabbed the ropes, so no one home for Benjamin. Flair talked about his match with Edge, saying how it was his first ladder match and a hell of a ladder match, and that it helped him get ready for Money in the Bank. Coach agreed that it was great. RVD hit a back elbow, then got fired up and hit a couple clotheslines and a big side kick. The crowd chanted "E-C-Dub!" RVD hit a big spin kick to Benjamin in the corner, followed by a rolling thunder splash. He hooked the leg, but Benjamin kicked out.
RVD hit the monkey flip in the corner, but Benjamin landed on his feet. Benjamin went for a kick, but RVD grabbed the leg and hit a windmill kick to the face! RVD jumped up top and hit the leaping side kick to Benjamin on the apron, sending him to the floor. RVD then slingshotted over the top rope for the pescado to Benjamin on the outside! RVD rolled Shelton back in the ring, but Benjamin rolled back out. He grabbed the title belt and was getting back in the ring as RVD talked to the ref. Flair ran up to the apron and grabbed the belt. Benjamin and Flair dropped the belt. RVD went to throw a running forearm at Benjamin, but Benjamin moved out of the way, so RVD hit Flair! As RVD was distracted, Benjamin rolled him up and grabbed the ropes for the win!
Post-match analysis: RVD and Flair argued inside the ring about what just happened. They had a face off as Shelton celebrated with his belt on the ramp. A ref got in the ring and tried to settle things down. They showed a recap of what happened with Flair getting knocked to the outside and RVD losing the match. RVD and Flair continued to argue in the ring. Shelton looked on from the ramp.
Match grade: B. Good, but nothing special. It started off a little too slow and had some good work throughout, including one awesome spot where Shelton jumped up to the top rope and did a belly-to-belly slam off the top rope without pausing. Flair on commentary was a little disappointing, but he did make several great points in the midst of it all, particularly in hyping the importance of titles, that ultimately helped both this match and the build for the Money In The Bank match.
Up next: Big Show, John Cena, and Kane against Carlito, Chris Masters, and Triple H! (Note how King lists Cena in the middle, but makes sure to list Triple H last.)
Promo time: Saturday Night's Main Event! Watch it!
Styles talked about SNME and the return of Jim Ross. Coach said it was nice working with Styles and nice knowing him for a "cup of coffee." They hyped up the SNME card, beginning with the Shawn Michaels versus Shane McMahon street fight, then the Cutting Edge with special guest Mick Foley, the Boogeyman versus Booker T from Smackdown, JBL facing Stone Cold Steve Austin in a beer drinking contest, Candice Michelle and Victoria taking on Trish Stratus and Mickie James, and the WrestleMania main event versus WrestleMania main event match between John Cena and Triple H on one side, and Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton, and Kurt Angle on the other.
(5) John Cena, Kane & Big Show defeated Triple H, Carlito & Chris Masters via disqualification.
Pre-match analysis: Carlito came out first. They showed this great crazed fan wearing a Carlito wig, a Carlito t-shirt, and eating a couple of apples. There was also some even crazier, freakier looking guy behind him. Chris Masters was up next. I'm pretty sure that his entrance is still the greatest part of his character, though the rest of the character is catching up. It's also not as cool now that he doesn't wait as long on the stage before coming down to the ring. Triple H was out next. They cut to break right after Triple H did his water spit.
Big Show and Kane were in the ring coming back from break. Kane's music was playing. Carlito, Masters, and Triple H were on the apron. Carlito dropped down to the outside as Big Show and Kane lumbered around the ring. Cena came out next. They hyped that Cena would be on Jimmy Kimmel Live tomorrow night on ABC. Triple H gets bumped from a show the week before Cena gets to do an appearance? Ouch.
Match analysis: Big Show and Carlito started things off. Show shoved Carlito into the corner and hit a big open hand chop. Big Show did the "shhhh!" bit and hit another big slap to the chest. Bit Show hit a headbutt to the back of the head, then did another shhhhh chop in the corner. Kane tagged in. He hit an uppercut, followed by a big boot. Kane bounced Carlito's head off the turnbuckle, followed by a clothesline in the corner. Kane picked up Carlito and hit a sidwalk slam. Masters ran in for a save, but Kane hit him with an uppercut. Carlito hit an eye couge and tagged in Triple H. Cena blind tagged himself in! The crowd went crazy. Triple H nodded at Cena. They talked trash to each other. Triple H waved at Cena and blind tagged in Carlito. Carlito wasn't happy.
Cena took Carlito apart. Cena hit a huge back bodydrop. Masters ran in and Cena hit a belly-to-belly suplex! He stared down Triple H. Triple H looked like he was panicking a bit, but Masters ran up from behind and attacked! The ref sent Masters out of the ring. Carlito hit a snap suplex and tagged in Masters. Masters hit a delayed vertical suplex and dragged Cena away from the corner so he couldn't tag out. Masters dropped an elbow to the lower back and tagged Carlito back in.
Carlito dropped an elbow and threw a flurry of kicks, followed by a flurry of punches. Carlito hooked hte leg, but Cena kicked out. Styles talked about the possibility of Carlito and Masters being tag team champions. Carlito hit a great move that was like a Russian leg sweep but, well, without the leg sweep. Carlito hooked the leg, but Cena got the shoulder up at two. Carlito went for a splash in the corner, but Cena moved out of the way and tagged in Big Show!
Show clotheslined Carlito twice and hit a big back kick to Masters. Triple H came in, but Show no sold a punch and hit a huge headbutt to Triple H! Big Show powerslammed Carlito and hooked the leg, but Masters made the save. Kane hit the top rope clothesline to Masters! He clotheslined Masters to the outside. Triple H was running the ropes, but Big Show caught him and pressed him, then slammed him to the mat! Big Show and Kane set up for a douple chokeslam, but Carlito and Masters ran in and hit double chair shots for the DQ! Carlito hit Big Show and Masters hit Kane.
Post-match analysis: Big Show punched the chair out of Carlito's hands when Carlito tried to hit him with the chair, and Kane big booted the chair out of Masters' hands! Kane and Show chased those two to the back. Triple H stood up on the outside, with Cena being left alone in the ring. Cena was calling Triple H out and wanted to do it right now. Triple H and Cena were talking trash at one another. Triple H got up on the apron and stared down Cena as they continued to yell at one another. However, as Triple H was talking to Cena, Randy Orton ran into the ring and RKO'd Cena! Triple H walked over and looked at Orton who fled to ringside and escaped through the crowd. Triple H looked at Orton, then back at the prone Cena and smirked as we went off the air.
Match grade: C. An alright main event that effectively built up Triple H versus John Cena, playing into Triple H's apparent fear of Cena. They need to do something fast to make people have any thought in their mind that Carlito and Chris Masters have any hope of winning those tag belts, though. People know that they'll cheat, but they apparently can't even cheat properly, as they end up getting disqualified instead of, you know, cheating to win.
Show rating: 7.0. This was a fun show and the first show recently to really feel like it was building toward anything. Of course, this show felt more like it was building to Saturday Night's Main Event than WrestleMania, but hey, that's better than nothing. The Triple H versus John Cena feud was well built tonight, and I like that they're going for the old school build where the heel and the babyface don't even touch for a long time. Triple H has also shown more personality than he's shown in years over the last few weeks, with his lying about not needing the sledgehammer and then revealing the sledgehammer was priceless. The main event tag match was good, though they could have done more to make Carlito and Chris Masters feel more big time instead of having Kane and Big Show basically punk them out at the end of the show. Having someone else from the other brand appear also helped make the end of this show feel like something special, but it does help remind us of the fact that Orton and Chavo interfering on each other's shows previously never led to anything since, well, WWE didn't seem to have anything in mind for them.
The Shawn Michaels versus Vince McMahon feud continues to be the greatest thing WWE has going. WWE somehow managed to top themselves with surrealness with the public drug testing to open the show. There were so many things to love about this segment, whether it be the Dr. Black surrogate or Vince's anti-drug public service announcement. Just say no, kids! The Spirit Squad match was a blast too, with some great multi-man spots based on the cheerleading gimmick as well as just some solid wrestling psychology. I expected this to be a total cluster, but everyone worked together well and worked it out. Shawn Michaels can still have a great match with anyone. I'm also intrigued to see where they go with crazy Shane McMahon, who's apparently even scaring papa Vince now.
Shelton versus RVD was a good but not great match. The one real bright spot here was that Flair did a nice job building up the importance of title belts, as well as hyping the Money In The Bank match at WrestleMania. Flair talking about partying until five in the morning in Chicago was the kind of feel good excitement that the wrestlers should get when talking about winning important matches.
The women's match to open the show was one of the most fun WWE women's matches in a long time. They actually had a storyline going into it, they worked hard, they threw in some spots that they don't use in every match, and it was a great use of the women to add something different to the show. The Edge versus Goldust match, on the other hand, was pretty lame, served little purpose, and was made even more purposeless by having the whole segment being used to promote Nashville Star. Remember when Edge was WWE Champion? Me neither. The trailers were fun, but they weren't so great that they are going to make you want to see the Edge versus Foley match any more. The Trish and Maria product placement was so cheesy that it was fantastic.
1) WWE did a storyline loosely based on the drug testing policy.
2) It was announced that AWA promoter and legendary Minnesotan wrestler Verne Gagne was announced as the latest Hall of Fame inductee.
3) It was officially announced that Jim Ross will be returning to announce Saturday Night's Main Event.
4) Mickie James will team with Trish Stratus against Candice and Victoria at Saturday Night's Main Event.
5) Maria blatantly plugs the Bowflex Extreme in a wacky backstage segment.
Thanks for tuning in, everyone! Be sure to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts on the report. Dusty will be back with you Friday for a very special Friday Smackdown Deal, and then back for the Raw Deal next Monday. I'll have an OVW column later this week and be back with you for another OVW column next week, then a week for Friday for your usual edition of Smackdown Express! You can also check out last week's OVW column on the difficulties in transitioning from OVW to WWE. Until next time, be strong and remember to smile!
Mike Roe reviews Friday Night Smackdown every week for PWTorch.com. Mike always wants to hear from you at email@example.com with your thoughts, comments, questions, critiques, or whatever else you want to share. He also writes an OVW Specialist column.
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