TV REPORTS 7/31 WWE Raw: Caldwell's ongoing Alternative Perspective review
Jul 31, 2006 - 10:08:00 PM
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By James Caldwell, Torch columnist
WWE Raw Alternative Report
July 31 in East Rutherford, New Jersey
- We start with Jim Ross welcoming us to the show alongside 17,401 fans inside the arena. Ross and Lawler plugged HBK-Umaga and Orton Knows Best on the show tonight.
- Shane McMahon came out to start the show. He was followed out by Vince. Ross called WWE a global phenomenon thanks to Vince. Vince was heavily booed, but he just kept smiling. He said that the smile won't come off his face because baby girl, Stephanie, gave birth to a baby girl. There was a loud crashing noise that threw off Vince momentarily before saying the granddaughter is already more wealthy than anyone in the arena. He said he would dedicate their tag match at Summerslam to their granddaughter. Vince made the official announcement of McMahon vs. DX. DX's music hit, but no one came out. Shane smirked. He said DX should be concerned about HBK facing Umaga tonight. DX's music struck up again, but nothing happened. It struck up in full again and they came out on stage. HBK congratulated the McMahons in Hebrew then Hunter reminded him they aren't Jewish. HBK said they can really celebrate having a Summerslam match. He said they would be celebrating once it's all over. HBK brought up the latest addition to the McMahon family. HBK said Hunter was also in the hospital last week. He said Hunter has acquired the entire McMahon family scrapbook. Huh. Hunter said he would like to share some photos of Vince. He qualified the pics as a bit dated from the "Civil War era." Vince was, of course, peeved at someone pointing out his age. They introduced a Photoshop pic of Vince wearing a bib with "I heart rooster." The Shane baby pic had a silver spoon in his mouth. Vince said that was enough. Hunter said he had the first public photo of the new baby. He showed a Photoshop pic of his face on a baby body with "DX Rulz" on the t-shirt. Shane said he had enough and they would be changing DX's diapers. "That's a really good one," Hunter said. Vince wanted his music, but HBK interrupted. Hunter said he had two words for Vince and Shane. They struggled with getting their music to play so Vince asked for his music. DX's music hit then they did crotch chops on the stage. Blah opening.
- They hyped the Diva contest. Lawler said it's the worst part of the show. Well, that someone has to be eliminated. The Miz introduced "diva bashing on each other" footage. Jen said J.T. should be eliminated next. Show a little life, please.
1 -- NITRO (w/Melina) vs. CARLITO vs. SHELTON BENJAMIN
During Nitro's entrance, Carlito thumbed Shelton in the eye then drop kicked Nitro square in the face as he was about to split Melina's legs. Shelton came back with a somersault dive onto both men on the outside. The bell sounded to officially start the match.
Shelton had Nitro locked in a reverse chinlock out of the break. They showed footage from during the break when Shelton caught Carlito with a sidekick to the chops. Ross and Lawler plugged the move to The Score in Canada. Nitro scored a nearfall on Shelton with a nice sunset flip combination. Carlito topped Nitro with a better sunset flip on Shelton for a nearfall. Shelton flipped Nitro into a double somersault face-smash on the mat out of the corner. Carlito had a shocked look on his face then he dropped Shelton with a high knee lift. Carlito and Nitro stuttered through a standing huricanrana then Shelton caught Carlito with an elevated DDT. Shelton covered Nitro then Melina placed Nitro's foot on the bottom rope to break the count. Shelton argued with Melina. Carlito ran into Shelton then Nitro ran into Carlito. Nitro rolled up Carlito to hook the tights for the win to retain the IC Title.
WINNER: Nitro in 8:00 (5:00 TV time in the ring) to retain the IC Title. Great athleticism to keep the crowd into the match, but, as I've said for three weeks, they need to give these men more time in the ring.
- They went to the pre-tape diva-bashing segment where Leyla said she wanted to vote off Milena. Blah. They plugged Cena-Matt Striker on the show tonight. Oh Dear.
- Randy Orton was in the ring out of the break. He said that at Summerslam, he would take Hulk Hogan's legend and kill it. He said his career would take off after that. Movies. Books. "Hogan, Hogan" chant. Randy said he's even had an offer for his own reality show. He introduced the cast of his new show, Orton Knows Best. Randy introduced imposter Nick, Brooke, Linda, and Hulk. Imposter Hulk did the ear cupping in the ring. Imposter Brooke was ditzy and wore giant red pumps. Imposter Nick said he wanted to be a pro wrestler just like his dad. He said Nick needed to lose some hair and get used to this - a kick to the gut and a toss to the outside. Randy said Linda must love animals since she married Hulk, a beached walrus. Randy said they lucked out when they gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Brooke. Imposter Hulk ranted on Randy. The fans booed. Randy told Hulk to start thinking about himself. He said his Hall of Fame career would end at Summerslam. He said he had a kiss in mind. He macked on the Imposter Brooke. "The symbolism of this is somewhat uncomfortable and perverse," Ross said. He dropped Imposter Hulk with the RKO then his music hit. Randy began to leave then Imposter Brooke made eyes at him. He blew I.B. a kiss while she continued to stare at him. Randy approached the announce table then smacked Lawler across the face. This, plain and simply, did not work.
- Vince and Shane were discussing matters backstage. Armando Alejandro entered the office. He thanked Vince for the match with Umaga against HBK. He offered Vince and Shane a Cuban cigar as a gesture of goodwill for the birth of Shane's daughter. He said he had three more boxes in the car if they wanted more. Vince suggested he retrieve the cigars. Shane took Vince's cigar and put it in his pocket. "You don't smoke anymore," Shane said. Vince said he used to.
- They recapped Randy's cheap shot on Lawler before the break. Lawler said if there was no Hogan, there would be no Randy Orton. He challenged Randy to a match on Raw next week in Memphis. "Don't expect a wrestling match; expect me to whip a little respect into your ass," Lawler said.
- In another diva bash segment, Erica said she would vote off Erica because she wouldn't be able to give 100 percent effort to WWE. No life.
- Torrie Wilson came out to one of those alt. rock songs that don't work as wrestling theme music. She wore a referee outfit for the upcoming diva tag match.
2 -- TRISH STRATUS & CANDICE MICHELLE vs. MICKIE JAMES & VICTORIA
Ross said this might be the most TIVO'ed match of the year by WNBA fans and Rosie O'Donnell. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Candice worked on Victoria's left arm early on. Candice took blows from Mickie then fired back with right forearms. Mickie caught Candice with an elbow off the ropes then worked on Candice. Trish took a hot tag and cleaned house. She snapped off a huricanrana on Victoria from the top turnbuckle. She hit a rolling head scissors on both heels. Trish cleared Mickie to the outside then landed saliva-enhanced chops to Mickie's chest. Trish caught Mickie out of the corner with a sick powerbomb. Mickie kicked out of a nearfall then raked Trish in the eyes. Mickie argued with Torrie then walked into a kick to the gut from Trish. Trish tried to execute Stratusfaction, but she didn't get it off well. She covered Mickie then Candice kicked Victoria to the side, which allowed Trish to score a clean pin on Mickie.
WINNERS: Trish & Candice in 4:00. The lines Ross were being fed were close to being on the Don West level of over-done "enthusiasm". The lack of acknowledgement of the history between Trish and Mickie - and the significance of Trish pinning Mickie - was sad because of how hot their program was just six months ago. Now, it's just another diva feud.
- Mick Foley spoke with Nitro and Melina backstage. Foley asked for a favor. He asked if Melina would go out to the ring and introduce him. They walked off. Nitro told Melina to keep it sexy.
- In another pre-tape, Milena said Erica should be voted off. She took the Carnegie approach of building her up before saying she wanted her off. They cut her off before she could finish. It was probably for the better.
- Not to be confused with Milena, Melina came out to introduce Mick Foley. He said this was an important moment in his life because he decided to give the fans what they want: Foley and Flair in the ring...tonight. He said they would join forces in their quest for tag team gold. Foley said maybe the Foley/Flair tag team might be ridiculous, but they're really not that different. He said he would like to point out their similarities. He said they both believe in helping out the younger superstars. Foley said Flair took Randy Orton under his wing and he took Melina under his wing. He said Flair is a personal friend with the President of the U.S. Loud boos. He said he is a personal friend of a hardcore porn icon. Foley said one person got to the top by screwing a lot of people and the other by doing adult friends. He put himself over with the Katie Couric appearances and national headlines for good deeds. Nothing like watching a heel Foley play babyface to amuse himself.
Ric Flair's music interrupted and he came out to the ring. Flair told Foley to keep his mouth shut. Flair said he has waited three weeks, which is a long time in his book. He said he doesn't overstay his welcome. Flair asked if the real, badass, hardcore Mick Foley is in the building. Flair did a bump then told Cactus Jack to shove it. "Who gives a damn about a book?" Flair asked. He namedropped Alex Rodriguez, which drew boos, and then said Foley is lazier than Rodriguez. Flair said his personal book was about a lifetime of greatness. He said Foley talks about imaginary badasses. He asked where Bruiser Brody is today. (Um...dead?) He said Foley says Stan Hansen is imaginary. He referenced Harley and Terry Funk. He said they would step over Foley on the way to the bathroom. Flair said he has 19 stitches on his forehead thanks to Foley. He wanted Foley in a match with thumbtacks, trashcan, barbed wire, ladders, and chairs. "I want Cactus Jack. I want Mick Foley. I want whatever you want to be that day," Foley said. He said he would shove Socko up Foley's ass if he brought it out. Flair asked if anyone wanted to see himself and Foley go hardcore. The fans popped. "You've tasted my blood," Flair said. "I want to fall off the cage. I want barbed wire to the head. I want thumbtacks. I want whatever you got, Cactus Jack." Flair said that most of all, he wants Foley to finalize it. Flair said Foley keeps talking about his family, but he is running around with a diva like Melina. Flair said he would have done Melina back in the day and made her ride Space Mountain. The fans cheered.
Foley said Flair looks at Melina like a conquest or an object. He said he only sees friendship, kindness, and compassion. The fans booed. Foley said he thinks of his porn star friend and what she has done with work overseas. He said he's not taking tips from a man who's been married three times...so far...and been an absentee father twice. Foley said maybe he stepped over the line with that verbiage, but he wanted to bring up their flight to Manila months ago. He said they couldn't agree on politics or wrestling, but they could agree on family. Foley said he watched Flair dial all four of his children and have a family bonding moment. He said he wanted to share the same moment of being able to tell his kids that he was just arrested. Flair snapped on Foley with right hands. Foley cleared out then Coach walked out. He said Vince McMahon ordered Foley-Flair at Summerslam. Foley called Coach a condescending bastard then said Vince needs to look over his contract because he wrestles who he wants, when he wants. Foley said he wouldn't waste one of the few remaining matches he has left in his body on Flair. He stormed off with Melina. A train wreck segment of mass proportions. This was all over the map, but the only thing that matters is if these two sell PPVs at Summerslam. We'll see if that happens.
- In a pre-tape, Rebecca told viewers to vote for her. Someone needs to show the remaining six divas a tape of Christy Hemme in the '04 diva search.
- Ross and Lawler talked about Edge-Cena at Summerslam. Ross said that if Edge loses by DQ, he loses the WWE Title.
- Matt Striker came out. He said "hommies" isn't in the dictionary. He listed ad-ject-ives to describe himself. Cena's music hit to boos. Ross did the "love him or hate him" speech about Cena boos. Striker bailed out before the opening bell. Edge's music hit before the opening bell, as well. Edge and Lita came out on stage. They went to their Rated R announce table where Ross and Lawler used to sit near the stage.
3 -- JOHN CENA vs. MATT STRIKER
Cena clotheslined Striker after the opening bell. Edge and Lita ran over Ross and Lawler on commentary. He said he has the Queen of Juganomics with him. "I think you made out with a better deal," Lita said. Cena kept staring in Edge's direction. He did the Five Knuckle Shuffle combo to boos. He went for the FU and Edge said there's no way that would happen to him. Cena applied the STFU and Striker quickly tapped out. Afterwards, Cena did the belt around the waist motion in Edge's direction. Edge threw down his headset and walked off with Lita.
WINNER: Cena in 1:00. They booked themselves into a corner here. Cena had to look strong against a lower-lower card heel, but they needed more time to keep the story going of Cena chasing Edge. Of course, WWE probably remembers the last time they were in New Jersey when Cena was beyond heavily booed so they tried to keep it short as a result. This was just not effective for continuing the Edge-Cena story.
- The Slam of the Week showed Spirit Squad beating Highlanders for their first loss last week. Spirit Squad was in the ring after the break to deliver a cheer. They said Johnny would knock Rory out of his skirt.
4 -- JOHNNY (w/Spirit Squad) vs. RORY MCALLISTER (w/Robbie)
Squad ribbed the new referee with their megaphone. The referee took the megaphone then told the four non-participant Squad members to leave. The fans cheered. Johnny took Rory to the corner with stomps to the chest. Ross and Lawler took turns doing their Scottish accent work. Johnny applied a submission hold then Rory fought out and landed back elbow smashes in the midst of his apathetically-received comeback. Johnny slipped out of a side suplex and hit the Johnny Go Round kick to the face. Johnny spent too much time dancing in front of Robbie then Rory rolled him up with a small package for the win.
WINNER: Rory in 3:00. It's going to be a tough road to get fans to care about the Highlanders working with Spirit Squad. So far, it's not there.
- In a pre-tape, J.T. said Rebecca should be voted off because she's too concerned about her look.
- An ECW TV promo aired to hype Show-Batista and Angle's return.
- The Miz was out for the obligatory waste of TV time with the diva contest. He introduced all of the six remaining divas. Erica has the most awkward wave I have ever seen. Miz said all the divas are up for elimination despite J.T. winning musical chairs on Smackdown. Rebecca was voted off. Again, no group hug. And they danced.
- They aired the WrestleMania 23 Fan Fest footage from last week in Detroit.
- HBK was getting ready for his match while Hunter was reclining in a chair. Two "detectives" and two "security guards" walked into the locker room. They flashed a badge and warrant to search Hunter's bag for "illegal substances." Maybe they'll find the cause of Elevated Liver Enzymes. They found two boxes of Cuban cigars. One scrawny detective said that's considered contraband. They told Hunter he needed to leave the building. Hunter said he doesn't smoke and he wasn't going anywhere. They did the "easy way or the hard way" line. Probably the worst possible line to go with since it drummed up images of the heyday of WWE with Austin-McMahon. Hunter was escorted out of the locker room. He said he would get (Jerry) McDevitt on the case. Haha. Wink Wink. Hunter walked by Vince and Shane, who were hanging out of their office talking about setting an example for good health and wellness. Hunter said that if they wanted to play, he could play too. Shane pulled out two cigars and shared one with Vince, who smelled his cigar.
- Ross talked about Lawler-Orton next week on Raw. HBK came out to the DX entrance. Ross asked if HBK would be Cinderella Man or if he would have a bad draw against Umaga.
5 -- SHAWN MICHAELS vs. UMAGA (w/Armando)
Ross tried to cover for the storyline inconsistency of Armando walking to the ring with cigars in the ring after Hunter was carried off for having cigars by saying Armando can't be stupid enough to walk around with real Cubans. Umaga robotically avoided an early Sunset Flip attempt then went for a rear splash, but HBK slipped out of the way. Umaga eventually cleared HBK to the outside. Vince and Shane walked out.
Umaga kicked HBK over the top rope to the floor out of the break. Umaga dropped a double axe handle smash from the apron. Ross shot on Floyd Landis for having naturally high levels of testosterone, related to Umaga clicking on all cylinders in dominating HBK. Umaga went for the rear smash in the corner, but HBK moved out of the way just in time. Ross said HBK would pull off a "huge upset" if he were to beat Umaga. HBK snapped off chops to the chest then knocked him over with a flying forearm smash to the face. HBK pulled Armando onto the apron then Umaga tried to smash HBK, but HBK moved and Umaga smashed Armando. Umaga hit a Samoan Drop then Vince brought Umaga's attention to Armando. Umaga snapped then tossed chairs around. He went back in the ring and Vince did the cigar snapping to signal for the Samoan Spike. HBK ducked the throat shot then knocked Vince off the apron. Shane interfered then a barrage of interference led to Umaga catching HBK from out of nowhere with a charging spike shot to the throat. Umaga covered HBK for the win.
WINNER: Umaga in 13:00. The best in-ring action of the night, which isn't saying a whole lot.
- Afterwards, Umaga and Armando left the ring. Vince and Shane began attacking HBK. Shane held HBK in the corner as Vince pulled off his belt. It didn't look right for a second as Vince was in position to mount HBK from behind if he chose that route. Vince lashed HBK across the back with repeated belt shots then he placed a chair over HBK's face. After Shane warmed up the band, Shane superkicked the chair into HBK's face. HBK slumped to the mat then Vince screamed at HBK that Hunter would face Umaga next week.
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