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TV REPORTS
KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT 5/8: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live show

May 8, 2006 - 10:12:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor

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The Arrowhead Pond

WWE RAW REPORT
MAY 8, 2006
LIVE FROM ANAHEIM, CALIF.


-Highlights aired of last week's angle with Triple H walking out of the match as a referee, disobeying Vince McMahon's wishes. No mention or clip of Joey Styles's speech, adding a sense of realism to the idea that it was "unscripted."

-Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show. They hyped Big Show vs. Kane and Edge vs. Mick Foley. Lawler welcomed Ross back. Ross said it's like being home again.

-Triple H walked to the ring. Ross heaped praise on Hunter, talking about him being a fighter who has studied all of the greats. No negative comments from the lead announcer translates into another step toward his official babyface turn. Ross said, "The Game wants number eleven very, very badly." Hunter began by saying he didn't come to the ring to be the special referee or fight with Vince McMahon over what he deserves. He said he came there for one reason - and that is the WWE Championship. He acknowledged that some argue he has had enough opportunities. He said he doesn't give a damn because he's "the exception to every rule." He called out John Cena, demanding a title shot now. After a pause of ten seconds, Cena's music began. I like that small touch of realism. It would be unrealistic for Cena's music to be cued and Cena to come out immediately. Now, ten seconds is hardly enough time for him to get dressed properly, find his belt, and make his way to the ring, but the ten seconds is at least plausible and doesn't make everything feel prefabbed and obviously, overtly scripted.

Cena walked to the ring and said Hunter has ten championships and the Yankees have 27 championships, but in neither case does that mean they get an easy path to the championship game. Cena said, "We all know what you've done, man. We all respect you for that, man. This is about what you've done lately, and lately in championship matches I've pinned you and made you tap out. Cena said that doesn't justify his demands to get back on his throne. Cena said if he turns him down, though, he'll have to listen to him every week complain and get hit in the head with a sledgehammer. He said option B is to have a match right away. Cena said it's a tough one, but he's accepting option B. He took off his shirt and got ready. Hunter said, "It's on. Let's make it official. Get a referee down here right now and let's ring that bell," said Hunter. Instead of a referee, Vince McMahon made his drunken stick-up-the-butt march to the ring.

McMahon said there is no reason for a referee to come out because there will not be a championship match tonight. McMahon said Hunter defied him last week, and now he wants him to give him whatever he wants. Hunter said, "Yeah." Regarding Kenny, Hunter said, "I'm sure Kenny and his little buddies get together every night and pump each other with spirit." Vince winced. Hunter said if Kenny beat Cena, he'd be making an equal trade. He called Cena a "poser." Cena interrupted, did some mock poses, and said he poses after beating Hunter. Hunter said his next pose is on his back after he knocks him out. Cena said he hasn't seen that yet.

Hunter told Vince that it's a proven formula that he wins championships and makes him lots of money. Vince yelled, "Shut up!" McMahon correct Hunter, saying his name is not Vince, it's Mr. McMahon. He said he's not anyone's friend, he's the boss. He said he appreciates all that Hunter has done for him in the past, and to show his appreciation, he wants to show him he can change his mind anytime he wants. "You've got your championship match!" he said. Hunter smiled. McMahon added, "Just not tonight." He then gave Hunter the rest of the night off. Hunter looked upset. Vince threatened to change his mind about giving Hunter a title shot in the future. Cena held the title belt in front of Hunter's face. Hunter left the ring. McMahon said Cena doesn't have the night off. He said later all five members of the Spirit Squad will face Cena and Shawn Michaels. This is the "Spirit Squad Era" of Raw. Cena told McMahon he can do him the pleasure of "kissing my ass." Vince talked over him and said his mic should be cut off. Vince then officially started the Fatal Four-Way Match for the IC Title. RVD walked toward the ring. Cena held the belt in front of RVD. RVD gazed at it. Cena looked at the Money in the Bank briefcase. Lawler wondered who the three opponents would be. It's always weak when announcers know less than the viewers who visit WWE.com to read the Raw preview.

-RVD said what happened with Joey Styles last week was a bunch of crap. "For the record, I agree with everything he had to say about sports entertainment." There were a few boos. He said they share the same views and he respects that Styles had the balls to share them. RVD said he gets a lot of energy from hearing them chant his initials, but tonight he wants to hear three other letters. "ECW, ECW." That seemed a little bit like begging for ECW chants, rather than letting it happen organically. It was also interesting that a few fans booed and there was no big pop when RVD said he agreed with Styles because Styles took a dig at the fans last week. (When Vince McMahon launched the XFL, he took an anti-NFL approach and made it an either/or situation, where loyal NFL fans were put in a position to feel disloyal if they watched the XFL - and vice-versa. Now, that was hardly the only or even the main reason the XFL failed, but it didn't help, and this could work against ECW if they push that angle too much.)

[Commercial Break]

1 -- ROB VAN DAM vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. CHRIS MASTERS vs. CHARLIE HAAS -- Intercontinental Title match

Ross and Lawler spoke of the disadvantage that RVD face because he could lose the title without being in the ring or part of the equation when someone else scored a pin or a submission. Masters threw RVD out of the ring and then joined Shelton in double-teaming Haas. Shelton and Masters worked together until it came time to go for a pin. RVD returned to the ring and hit a top rope superkick on Masters and cleared the ring. They cut to a break at 3:00.

[Commercial Break]

Masters suplexed RVD as they returned from the break. Shelton raked Masters's eyes to break up his pin attempt. Haas schoolboyed Shelton for a two count at 4:00. RVD snuck in a Rolling Thunder on Masters. Shelton then pounced on RVD. Haas eventually went after RVD. Shelton nailed Haas with a roundhouse kick to the head and went for a pin. RVD broke it up. At 8:30 Masters put the Masterlock on Haas. RVD surprised Masters from behind with a flying sunset flip for a pin. Ross exclaimed, "My god, where did Van Dam come from?" No loud "ECW" chants during the match. Now watch Vince McMahon cancel the whole project on a whim tomorrow because the crowd in Anaheim didn't go crazy chanting "ECW, ECW."

WINNER: RVD in 9:00.

STAR RATING: **1/2 -- Good four-way action, well booked, with a nice finish.

-Ross plugged Spirit Squad vs. Cena & Hunter.

[Commercial Break]

-A commercial aired hyping Smackdown's Rey vs. Greta Khali main event. They called Rey the "greatest underdog champion of all-time." Yeah, one who loses to Mark Henry and admits he was about to tap out to Kurt Angle the week before.

-They showed Luke Perry and ZZ Top in the crowd. Perry has a new series he's publicizing. They went to a video feature on "See No Evil." Ross said Kane was tough to work with. They had producers, directors, camera man, and actors all talk about how he was tough to work with and had a temper. One crew member said he's never worked with someone who so closely resembled the character he played. Todd Grisham interviewed three of the stars of "See No Evil." One of them said he never smiled once and was rude. Another said he smiled only when he was murdering someone. The male co-star said May 19 a few times. Kane walked in and choked him. The women screamed. Kane shoved him to the ground and walked away. He got off easy. Way too easy.

-They plugged Foley vs. Edge and Cena & Michaels vs. Spirit Squad again.

[Commercial Break]

2 -- CARLITO vs. MATT STRIKER

Ross said Striker gained national acclaim as a high school teacher who was fired. He didn't say he was fired for skipping school to wrestle. At 2:00 Eugene charged into the ring and attacked Striker, costing Carlito a DQ decision. Carlito gave Striker a facebuster, then helped Eugene to his feet. Then he gave Eugene the back cracker. Ross said he "gave Eugene something to think about."

WINNER: Striker via DQ in 2:00.

STAR RATING: 1/4*

[Commercial Break]

-Edge walked to the ring for the hardcore match and cut a promo on Foley. Ross said this could be graphic. He said they could crown the greatest hardcore champion alive today, but not without the ECW initials involved. He said Edge said last week he could make it any kind of match he wanted. He said as a result, he was making it a three-way match with "The Innovator of Violence" Tommy Dreamer added. Dreamer got no reaction, so now McMahon will really pull the plug on the project.

3 -- MICK FOLEY vs. TOMMY DREAMER vs. EDGE (w/Lita)

Foley then hit Dreamer from behind with a barbed wire wrapped baseball bat. Edge and Foley squared off, but then Edge dropped his baseball bat and Foley handed Edge his barbed wire baseball bat. Edge then hit Dreamer with the bat. Foley drove the barbed wire into Dreamer's forehead. Dreamer did what he always did best - bleed. Dreamer then got legdropped between the legs with the barbed wire baseball bat lying on his crotch. Lita and Edge held Dreamer as Foley applied Mr. Socko. Edge then gave Dreamer a Spear as Foley still had Mr. Socko applied. They pinned Dreamer together. "What have we just seen here?" said Ross. Lawler asked, "Can you explain this to me, J.R.?" The crowd didn't know how to react. That explains Foley's out of place and overt self-aggrandizing last week about having the greatest hardcore match ever and Edge being the toughest S.O.B. he's ever faced. They replayed the highlights, then Ross said, "What is going on here?"

WINNERS: Foley and Edge in 3:00.

STAR RATING: n/a -- Good angle since it probably blindsided most viewers. Foley's character needed something fresh, and this could be that new angle he needed. It presumably sets up Edge & Foley vs. Dreamer & Terry Funk at the ECW PPV.

-They shifted to a plug for Maria vs. Mickey James next.

[Commercial Break]

4 -- MICKEY JAMES vs. MARIA - Non-Title Match

"Do you think if I told her she had a beautiful body, she'd hold it against me," Lawler said apologetically. Ross gave him a hard time for using old one-liners. Mickey trash-talked Trish at ringside after the match, then stomped Maria. Trish entered the ring to make the save, but after a few blows with her left arm, Mickey took control. Another unidentified blond entered the ring and attacked Mickey. Security pried her off Mickey. They did a good job at first of making it seem unplanned, as if a fan from the crowd did it. The camera, though, zoomed in on the mystery woman as security held her arms down. Mickey screamed, "Oh my god! What are you doing here? You ruin everything!" So Mickey recognized her. (It's Beth Phoenix from OVW and recent Shimmer events.)

WINNER: Mickey in 2:00 after a DDT.

STAR RATING: 1/4*

[Commercial Break]

5 -- UMAGA vs. TWO JOBBERS

Armando Alejendro Estrada introduced two jobbers for Umaga. He asked each of them if they had wives, kids, and most importantly, health insurance. Ross said he never thought he'd see Ric Flair destroyed like Umaga destroyed him. Umaga looked pretty tough. They're actually doing a good job making him seem unstoppable. Whether people will pay to see an act like this in 2006 remains to be seen, though.

WINNER: Umaga in 4:00.

STAR RATING: 3/4*

[Commercial Break]

6 -- KANE vs. BIG SHOW

Kane and Show worked a strange style featuring what Ross described as "surreal" as Show used a drop told hold and various other amateur style approaches. Ross also acknowledged the Foley turn, saying he'd expect to hear an explanation from him next week. Kane applied a hammer lock. Show reversed it. "I'm liking it, but I'm shocked," said Ross about the exchanges. Show used another drop toe hold into a side headlock. Kane used a drop toe hold to send Show head-first into the top turnbuckle. A video aired with audio of May 19th being said over and over. Kane went berserk with a series of chops against Big Show.

WINNER: No contest in 5:00.

STAR RATING: 1/2* -- They get an A for originality for the content leading up to the finish. It wasn't good, but it was better than missing moves left and right.

-Spirit Squad pepped each other up for the main event.

[Commercial Break]

-In the 24/7 "This Week in Wrestling History" segment, they showed clips from the first-ever Saturday Night's Main Event on May 11, 1985. The narration said the first SNME began a strong relationship between WWE and network TV which "still flourishes today."

-They showed Lemmy from Motorhead in the crowd.

-Ross plugged the next Saturday Night's Main Event from Dallas, Tex. on July 15, 2006.

7 -- SPIRIT SQUAD vs. SHAWN MICHAELS & JOHN CENA

Spirit Squad came out first and filled the ring. Then Michaels came out. He waited for Cena. Cena and Michaels then jumped into the ring, and Spirit Squad jumped out to ringside. Michaels faced Kenny to start. Michaels tagged in Cena. There were boos at that point. Cena didn't acknowledge them. Then a loud "Cena, Cena" chant broke out, notably higher in pitch. Kenny tagged out. Cena worked over all four other members. Kenny didn't enter, so Cena tossed him in over the top rope. Michaels and Cena threw Kenny head over heels onto all other Squaders at ringside.

[Commercial Break]

Cena was rallying after the break, but eventually Spirit Squad took over with a swarm attack. They used the trampoline to elevate and hit a flying clothesline on Cena at ringside. Ross acknowledged that some like and some don't like Cena, "and that's your prerogative, but he's tougher than hell." Squad continued to tag in and out and control Cena. Cena teased a hot-tag to Michaels at 10:00, but he couldn't reach. The announcers did a nice job saying that as obnoxious as Spirit Squad is, they're smart about how they isolated Cena and prevented a tag to Michaels. Mikey missed a swanton moonsault at 13:00. An "HBK" chant broke out and Cena dove and hot-tagged him in. Michaels fended off a series of charges by each Squad member. Kenny eventually hit Michaels with a tag title belt and scored the pin. As the ref raised Kenny's arm, he knocked out the ref and then began taking his clothes off. Oh, he just wanted his belt. Kenny then whipped Michaels with the belt "like a government mule," said Ross. Cena charged into the ring and made the save, clearing the ring of Spirit Squad. Triple H walked to the ring at the same time and then gave Cena a Pedigree to a mix of cheers and boos. Hunter did the crotch chop to end the show.

WINNERS: Spirit Squad in 15:00.

STAR RATING: **3/4 -- Good main event tag match. The Cena beat down lasted a while, but Squad kept it entertaining. The slow simmer to the DX reunion is also being well done with patience.

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.


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