TV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 5/21: Ongoing virtual time coverage of live show
May 21, 2007 - 10:10:00 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch columnist
WWE Raw Live Report
May 21 in Moline, Illinois
We open with a recap of last night's Judgment Day, focusing on Lashley's handicap victory, but not capturing the ECW Title. Hold on. Need to check the calendar. OK, today is Monday, not Tuesday.
They open live in the arena with Lashley coming out dressed to wrestle, but with no pyro. He broke it down in simple terms that in order to capture the ECW Title, he has to beat Vince McMahon. Lashley then proposed himself vs. Vince for the belt. After a few seconds of pause, Vince's music hit and he strutted out with Shane and Umaga. No doo-rag or head covering for Vince tonight. Vince started to talk, but his audio level wasn't brought up. He then answered Lashley that he wouldn't give him a title match tonight. Vince said Lashley didn't get the job done last night, and he has bigger and better things to be concerned about, such as the One Night Stand PPV. He said every match will be contested under Extreme Rules. Vince then said he would go one-on-one with an ECW Original in a Street Fight ... pause for dramatic effect ... the Blue Meanie. Lashley wanted to know why he couldn't get his title shot. Shane then took the mic from Vince and said his father is InVinceible in a Street Fight. He's beaten Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Triple H, Ken Shamrock, Shane McMahon, and Stephanie. Vince had a look of indigestion and consternation. Shane then told Lashley that if it's a street fight he wants, then a street fight he gets. Vince, not so pleased, took the mic from Shane and quietly told Lashley that he's on. Vince added a stipulation, though. He has to beat every one of his opponents tonight. "Buckle up, Lashley, you have to run the gauntlet." Vince solemnly held up the ECW Title belt over his head as Lashley stared at the McMahon/Umaga union. Another tease of dissension between Shane and Vince, hopefully leading to something intriguing down the road.
Jim Ross spoke in low tones about what happened to Shawn Michaels last night. They utilized some Christmas music over a video package as Ross said we would have an update on Michaels's career, which is in jeopardy.
They aired a video package on Saturday Night's Main event, airing June 2 at 11:30 p.m. EST on NBC. Way too much to promote in two weeks.
Ric Flair came to the ring dressed to wrestle. After Ross and Lawler did some promos, Carlito came out. Hooray for re-runs from the PPV last night.
1 -- RIC FLAIR vs. CARLITO
Flair, sporting an elbow pad over his left elbow to sell Carlito's work last night, started the match with stiff right hand chops to the chest. Carlito answered with a high back body drop, then he stomped Flair's elbow. He ripped off the elbow pad, then the tape, and worked on the elbow with an arm bar. Ross put over Carlito for having one of his best matches last night. Flair kicked Carlito away, then he ripped off another round of chops. He went to the back of the knee with a chopblock, then he stomped the left knee. Flair went for the figure four, but Carlito thumbed him in the eye. Both men spilled to the outside, then exchanged chops. The ref applied a ten count, and Flair jumped on the apron, but the referee declared a double count out.
After the match, Carlito pulled Flair off the apron and gave him a back cracker. He didn't get it all on the first try, so he hit the back cracker a second time. Carlito then grabbed his apple and spit on Flair's fallen body. They picked up some ringside audio, with a woman screaming, "I hope you choke on your apple!" Sign her up. Carlito walked away as Flair caught his breath on the floor.
WINNER: Double count out in 5:00. Solid action. Good intensity. The post-match angle, with the announcers staying quiet, created a more realistic moment that gave Carlito some much-needed edge. Fans will want to see Flair get his revenge at One Night Stand, but WWE absolutely must give Flair promo time on this show or next week's show. It would be ludicrous not to. (*1/2)
Melina came out for a "diva challenge" match, then Candice did her entrance and Melina started to gag.
2 -- MELINA vs. CANDICE MICHELLE -- non-title match
Melina started things off with a slap to the face, as Ross said many fans have noticed Candice's improved in-ring skills. Melina stretched Candice against the ropes, then she put her in a surfboard stretch in center ring. Melina continued to torture Candice's back, then she missed with a charging splash against the ropes. She came up favoring the back of her leg, and Candice capitalized with a back breaker across her knee. Candice followed with a series of clothesline, then she nailed a dropkick and fired up. Ross wanted to know who's teaching Candice her new maneuvers. (Sounds like a storyline development waiting to happen. Maybe the forgotten Nitro?) Melina escaped a pin attempt, then raked Candice's eyes. Candice came back, though, with a bridge pin off the ropes and scored the pin for the win. Ross said somewhere, sometime, Melina is going to have to put her belt on the line against Candice.
WINNER: Candice in 4:00. Good energy, again. Candice isn't at Mickie's level in the ring, but the fans are responding well to the big push. Could be interesting to see whether Ross's line about wanting to know who's teaching Candice her new moves leads to a new storyline development. (*1/4)
Backstage, Great Khali screamed at his translator about not having the WWE Title belt.
Lashley was shown walking backstage toward the ring.
They did a video package on Steve Austin's promotional tour for The Condemned. Good video package that highlighted Steve Austin a crossover celebrity and star. Too bad they waited until FOUR WEEKS AFTER THE MOVIE OPENED to air this video.
Bobby Lashley came out for his gauntlet match. They cut backstage where Vince McMahon watched Lashley on a monitor.
3 -- BOBBY LASHLEY RUNS THE GAUNTLET
All right, let's bring out the mid-carder foil! First man out is Chris Masters. Well, no IC Title match against Marella tonight. Lashley with a double-leg take down in the opening minute for a one count. He missed hard with a spear in the corner, then Masters hit a single-arm DDT for a one count. He went for the Masterlock, and the crowd tried to rally behind Lashley, who leaned against the ropes to break the hold. Lashley then made his comeback and dropped Masters with a spear for the pin. They cut backstage where Vince looked on with disdain. They replayed the highpoints from the match, then Lashley left the ring. Apparently, it's not a bang-bang-bang type affair. More of a day/night doubleheader for Lashley.
WINNER: Lashley in 4:00. Crowd is hot tonight, which helped the in-ring action for the third consecutive match. (*1/4)
They aired another video package on Shawn Michaels from Judgment Day, focusing on the faraway look in Michaels's eyes.
They cut backstage where the Hardys were on their way to the ring.
Hey, look, it's Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas. They're ringside for commentary. The Hardys came out, then Nitro and Dykstra made a rare cameo appearance on Raw. Shelton tried to comment on why they're out there, but his audio wasn't working. Even when he gets mic time, no one can hear him.
4 -- JEFF & MATT HARDY vs. NITRO & KENNY DYKSTRA -- non-title match
Kenny and Nitro worked on Matt to start things off. Matt then landed an elbow smash on Nitro and made the hot tag to Jeff, who cleaned house. Jeff with a face jam on Nitro, then he went up top, but Kenny pulled him down. Jeff recovered, though, and hit a sunset flip powerbomb on Nitro for the win. The fans popped like crazy.
After the match, Shelton and Haas joined Nitro and Dykstra in a four-on-two beating on the Hardys. Cade and Murdoch then hit the ring and made the save. They cleared the ring, and stood their ground in the ring with the Hardys. Ross put away his doubts about Cade & Murdoch, which sounded like a set-up for the heel turn, but there was no turn here. Matt and Cade shook hands, while Jeff blew off Murdoch initially before all four men stood tall.
WINNERS: Hardys in 3:00. This is very, very intriguing with Cade & Murdoch. Probably the most intriguing tag division storyline on Raw in some time. Hardys are way over, of course, which created good energy. (*)
They cut backstage where Great Khali was walking to the ring with his translator. Ross said there's a controversy to be addressed. Probably related to Khali having his foot in the ropes before he tapped out to the STFU.
Great Khali walked out with the charismaless translator. Ross called Cena vs. Khali one of the most amazing matches last night. Apparently, WWE gave Ross a list of 1,001 superlatives about last night's PPV. In the ring, the translator dude presented the man who should be WWE champion. Khali cut a promo in his language, and the translator dude said Khali was cheated last night. He said he knew Khali's foot was under the ropes the whole time. The ref screwed Khali last night. The fans screwed Khali last night. He said Cena screwed Khali last night, too. That's a heck of an orgy. They went to footage from last night with a spot shadow on Khali's foot under the bottom rope. The translator struggled through the play-by-play, then he said Khali should be champion because John Cena is a coward for using the ring steps last night. He said Khali could beat Cena anywhere, anytime. In the ring. In the audience. On the ramp. Cena's music then interrupted, and the place went nuts when he walked out.
Cena stood across the ring from Khali and said he didn't come here to complain about refs, the fans, or an eight-foot crybaby. He said he's not going to argue with the footage. Two things are for sure, though. 1 - Khali's foot was under the bottom rope. 2 - "I made the Great Khali tap out!" Cena said he came out because Khali called him a coward. He said he was afraid of Khali before Judgment Day, but he stood toe-to-toe with him at Judgment Day and survived. He's not scared of him anywhere. Cena said he got him and he knows he can get him again. He said he wants a re-match. Khali then nailed Cena with a big chop to the head. He picked him up, and followed with a two-hand chokebomb. Khali stood over Cena's fallen body, then walked out of the ring.
Segment analysis: They need to upgrade the translator, but they've turned Khali into a monster heel. Border line on how Cena came out on this. He can talk a big game and back it up in the ring, but the sudden transition from talking a big game to being flat on his back was questionable. Looks like Falls Count Anywhere at One Night Stand.
Tomorrow night on ECW - Elijah Burke & Cor Von vs. Punk & RVD. Well, RVD isn't finished up yet.
They came back and recapped Khali laying out Cena in the previous segment.
Lashley was in the ring ready for the second gauntlet match.
5 -- LASHLEY RUNS THE GAUNTLET
Viscera came out and stared down Lashley. Viscera ran over Lashley with a clothesline, then they cut backstage where Vince was watching intently. Suddenly, Lashley sent Viscera off the ropes and caught his momentum to turn it into a big scoop slam. He made a cover for a nearfall. Viscera quickly recovered, though, and hit a sidewalk slam for a close nearfall. Lashley slowly came to his feet and Viscera paint brushed him before catching Lashley with a windmill kick to the face for a nearfall. [Q6]
Viscera then built up momentum for a big running train splash, but Lashley moved and speared Viscera for the three count. They cut backstage where Vince slowly turned his back to the monitor without too much of an expression on his face.
WINNER: Lashley in 5:00. Good energy and Viscera looked good in the ring. Another babyface-building match with Lashley scoring a victory over a monster, freak heel. If WWE really wanted to make some babyface stars with the freak heels on the roster, add Viscera to the possible monster group of Khali, Umaga, and Snitsky, then get someone like James Mitchell as the mouthpiece. (*1/2)
Ross announced Cena vs. Khali for One Night Stand, then Lawler added that it's Falls Count Anywhere.
Torrie Wilson led out a parade of divas to the ring. Maryse followed out. Leyla, Brooke, and Kelly Kelly came out next. Ashley out next. They're all wearing some funky pink/red outfits. Ashley then cut a promo on the new Timbaland music video featuring the divas.
The music video was basically a comic book story using the Sin City presentation. The climax was Ashley, Maryse, and Torrie as the "baby faces" against Extreme Expose in a battle royale. To Be Continued...
From the diva music video, they cut to another video clip from Shawn Michaels's concussion injury at the PPV last night. Ross, speaking quietly, said they would have an update after the break.
[Commercial Break. Clusterbombs!]
Ringside, Ross talked about the concussion angle for Michaels. He said Michaels's head injuries date back to 1995. He said two Hall of Fame QB's had their careers ended by concussions. Lawler talked about boxers having similar problems leading to memory loss and dementia. Ross said Shawn, being Shawn, defied doctor's orders and tried to wrestle Randy Orton last night. Orton then interrupted and came to the ring. Lawler said he wishes he would have done something last night to stop the match. Orton then took the mic and said he regrets that Michaels's wife had to endure what happened last night. This led to a lengthy video package on Orton taking out Michaels at Judgment Day. Back in the arena, the fans booed Orton heavily. Orton then said everyone has to ask whether that's the last match in Michaels's career. He said that in pro wrestling, like in any professional sport, an injury is a big target. Orton said Michaels didn't listen to the doctor, so he did what any professional would have done. "I beat Shawn Michaels," he said. He claimed it wasn't because of the concussion, but because he's the legend killer, Randy Orton. His music hit, then Orton slowly walked out. Strong, poignant segment.
Backstage, Vince gave Umaga a pep talk to beat Lashley for him.
Bobby Lashley was in the ring ready for his third gauntlet match.
6 -- BOBBY LASHLEY RUNS THE GAUNTLET
Umaga strolled out as Lashley stared him down from inside the ring. He went right on the attack with forearm blows and a big splash. Lashley made a brief comeback, but Umaga cut him off with a Samoan drop for a nearfall. Umaga then went for a top rope headbutt, but he only scored a glancing blow. Both men reached their feet at an eight count, then Lashley avoided a corner splash and landed a right hand blow. He followed with a shoulder tackle knocking Umaga clear out of the ring to the floor. Umaga recovered to his feet using the announce table, then Lashley went for a double axe handle blow from the apron, but Umaga met him with a mid-air clothesline. Umaga then cleared the timekeeper and picked up a chair. He waited for Lashley to turn around, then he smashed him in the face with a chair. The ref called for the bell and declared Lashley the winner by DQ. Lashley was KO'ed on the floor as they replayed the finish. The crowd was silent.
They cut backstage where Vince was leading Shane to the ring.
WINNER: Lashley via DQ in 6:00. Well, they have to set up the immortal Shane McMahon for the big main event match. (*)
They came back and showed Lashley flat on his back in the ring. Umaga celebrated as only he can, then they replayed Umaga KO'ing Lashley before the break. Shane's music then hit and he danced to the ring with Vince slowly walking out with the ECW Title.
7 -- BOBBY LASHLEY RUNS THE GAUNTLET
The ref held off Shane, who wanted to go right for Lashley. The ref asked Lashley if he could continue, then he called for the bell. Shane instantly landed right hand blows and dropped Lashley face-first in the corner with a dropkick. He then stretched Lashley's stomach across the ringpost. Umaga then grabbed a chair and walked over to Lashley, but Vince and Shane stepped in the way and reprimanded Umaga. The referee then booted Umaga from ringside. Vince and Shane followed Umaga up the entrance ramp to make sure he left, then Shane re-entered the ring and Lashley rolled him up for a nearfall. Lashley followed with a spinebuster, but SuperMcMahon kicked out. Shane, of course, recovered in record speed and hit a float over DDT for a nearfall.
[Q9 -- over-run]
Shane followed with a Boston Crab in center ring and Lashley struggled momentarily before flipping Shane to the corner. Shane quickly followed with a top rope elbow smash to the back and made a cover for a nearfall. He then put Lashley in a Camel Clutch, but Lashley powered to his feet and rammed Shane into the corner turnbuckle to break the hold. Lashley then landed right hand blows and went for a powerslam, but his back gave out and Shane attacked the back again. He then went up top, but Lashley was playing opossum and he caught Shane in mid-air with a huge spear for the pin and the win. Vince was in an emotionless stake of shock. After the match, Lashley recovered to his feet and stared down Vince, who continued to stand ringside and pierce Lashley's skin with his eyes. Lashley then stood in the corner and saluted the crowd as Vince looked up at him.
WINNER: Lashley in 8:00 to win the gauntlet. If you're not a fan of Lashley, tonight wasn't the night to watch Raw. If you're a fan of Superman Shane McMahon, then tonight certainly was your night. The crowd responded well to Lashley's victory over Shane, so the concept of the gauntlet worked. Whether it translates into people buying One Night Stand to see the Super Boss in the form of Vince McMahon facing Lashley remains to be seen. (*1/2)
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