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TV REPORTS
KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT 11/26: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live USA Network show

Nov 26, 2007 - 10:19:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor

KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT
NOVEMBER 26, 2007
LIVE FROM CHARLOTTE, N.C.


WHAT HAPPENED: 1ST HOUR

-The show opened with clips of last week's Randy Orton torch saga and Chris Jericho's return. The Raw opening then aired (Jericho has been added to the opening montage in several spots, as has Santino (he may have been there for a while, actually). Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd. Ross said Jericho would be on the show, but they are in the heart of Ric Flair country, and he'd be there, too. Triple H's music played and made his full intro. Ross said they were starting out with their main event tonight.

1 -- TRIPLE H & JEFF HARDY vs. UMAGA & SNITSKY

It's always good to see WWE shake up the format, such as putting the "main event" on first. It usually means something bigger is planned for the final quarter that will be revealed as the show progresses (i fact, it's uncanny how bigger things always transpire "unplanned" whenever they put the announced main event first), or that the first match will be more of an angle than a match. Q1 is usually the lowest rated quarter hour segment of the entire show, so it's risky to put the main event on first as the audience isn't trained to always tune in at the start (especially since they tend to give a nice recap of major early happenings later in the show). Lawler on Snitsky: "Six foot, eight inches tall. I didn't know you could stack ugly that high!" Hardy and Hunter took turns beating on Snitsky. Lawler said Snitsky has never been pinned on Raw. Huh? Does all of 2005-2006 not count in his career, where he became a virtual jobber, or were Snitsky's jobber days on a different show? At 4:00 Hardy dove onto both heels at ringside. They caught him. Hunter then dove off the ring apron and, like Tommy Dreamer, looked like he was being yanked to the ground faster than gravity as he knocked everyone to the floor. They cut to a break.

[Commercial Break]

After the break, Hardy and Umaga were exchanging blows. Umaga caught a flying Hardy and slammed him hard to the mat. Ross touted Umaga as the most athletic super-heavyweight in WWE history. At 11:00 Hardy hot-tagged Triple H who tossed Umaga head-first over the top turnbuckle and into the ringpost leading to a one count. Love those one count kickouts, as they make two counts mean something. Hunter backdropped a charging Snitsky over the top rope to the floor. Hardy tagged in and immediately was taken down by Umaga. Hunter clotheslined Snitsky over the security railing into the crowd as Umaga charged at Hardy with a corner butt splash. Hunter yanked Hardy out of the path, then Hardy hit a Twist of Fate, Hunter hit a Pedigree, and Hardy hit a Swanton Bomb for the pin.

WINNERS: Hunter & Hardy in 13:00.

STAR RATING: ** - Solid tag match. What you'd expect from ten minutes of these four.

-After the match, William Regal stepped out to his music. He said he'd like to see The Game and Hardy in action at Armageddon. Regal said he sees Hardy in the fight of his life against Triple H. It won't be an IC Title match, though, since that would put Hunter in the position of having to "lower himself" to holding the IC Title if he scores the pin. Hunter and Hardy turned to face each other, shifting their attitude from partnership to foes.

-They went backstage and out of a limo stepped Ric Flair. Ross said there's a lot of speculation about why he's returning in his home town. Lawler said he hopes it isn't what he thinks it is.

[Commercial Break]

-Ric Flair walked to the ring to his music as the crowd cheered. Lots of "wooooo!" signs in the crowd, of course. Ross called him a future Hall of Famer. That's no news flash. Flair stood mic ring and thanked the fans. He said, "As usual, you're too kind." He said Charlotte has been great to him, as has ever city he's ever competed in. "I'm saying thank you to all of you," he said. "There's a reason I haven't been on Raw for six months. Because I know and you know that my wrestling career can't go on forever." Flair immediately began to cry. No surprise. He said he's gotten involved in state-wide politics and opened his own marketing company. "I've had a lot of time to ponder my future," he said. He said sooner or later, there will be a time for him to retire. The crowd booed. That's almost mean. What, do they want to him wrestle into his 80s? He compared himself to Brett Favre and Cal Ripkin Jr. He said Favre is playing better than any other quarterback in the NFL. He then said: "I am here to announce to you I will never retire! I will only retire when I'm dead in this ring. Over my dead body, I've got too much juice left. I'm still Nature Boy. I love this business; I'm going nowhere. Thank you. Woooo!" Lawler laughed as Flair strutted.

Vince McMahon then strutted to the ring, applauding on his way. McMahon said, "Whoa, Ric, you had me goin'. The crowd chanted "You suck!" Vince told them, "Come on, Ric Flair does not suck." He said likes that Flair will never retire. "You mean a lot to the WWE audience and you're a pretty good piece of property, as far as I'm concerned." He said he liked the fact that he's never going to retire and he hopes he goes on forever, "as long as you keep on winning." He said the first match he loses will be his last. "You understand me," Vince snarled. He said he didn't care if it was DQ or countout, the next time he loses, his career is over. He wished him luck and said he hopes he doesn't die anytime soon.

Randy Orton then walked out to his intro music with his World Title belt. Orton said he came out there to thank him for all of the advice he gave to him early in his career. He thanked him for being a friend during his formative years and being there for him whenever he had personal problems. He thanked him for being a legend and a role model. He then said, "I want to thank you in advance for the honor, the pleasure, tonight of ending your career." Lawler said he couldn't believe what he was witnessing. As Orton and Flair stared at each other, Ross said Flair's career is on the line tonight. Good segment. The ratings this week for the main event will be interesting to be sure.

[Commercial Break]

2 -- THE HIGHLANDERS & LANCE CADE & TREVOR MURDOCH vs. HARDCORE HOLLY P& CODY RHODES & HACKSAW DUGGAN & SUPER CRAZY

WINNERS: Holly & Rhodes & Duggan & Crazy in 3:00 when Holly pinned Robbie after an Alabama Slam.

-A commercial aired promoting ECW's TV main event: Kane vs. Big Daddy V in an Extreme Rules match, plus Kelly Kelly vs. Layla.

[Commercial Break]

-Todd Grisham interviewed Jeff Hardy about facing Triple H at Armageddon. Hardy said they've been on a role, but he looks forward to the competition. He said he hopes it doesn't get in the way of... at which point Hunter interrupted. He said he's not good with the friends thing. He said he can't think of a partner he hasn't turned on. He said he's an 11 time champion because he did business, not because he made friends. He said at Armageddon he's not stepping into the ring with a friend, a buddy, or a partner, "you're stepping into the ring with The Game." Hardy smiled and didn't look intimidated.

-Ross and Lawler talked as highlights aired of the Shawn Michaels-Mr. Kennedy angle last week. They're really shaking up the stale formula of the show with top stars mixing with others in a nice mix right now. They went backstage to Mr. Kennedy who held up Michaels's DVD, which goes on sale tomorrow. He said he wanted to present his take before Michaels shilled for it. Kennedy held up the unfolded DVD box with all three discs on display. It was practically a QVC plug disguised as a rip-job. Kennedy said Michaels is good as losing matches and even loses his smile. Nobody in the crowd reacted, as if even five percent of today's audience knows about that promo from a dozen years ago. He said Michaels politicked his way into maintaining his main event status even though there were more talented individuals who have already surpassed him. Kennedy said the DVD will show fans the highs and lows of Michaels's career, but nothing will compare to the low he'll feel when he steps into the ring with him.

-Lawler plugged that Jericho was next. That freeze-frame of Jericho they keep showing still seems like it's a smile and a pose for a Crest Teeth Whitening Strips glossy full page magazine ad.

[Commercial Break]

-They showed the exterior of the arena in Charlotte as Ross reminded viewers of the Flair vs. Orton main event.

-They went backstage to Barry Windham, Arn Anderson, and Ric Flair chatting backstage. Barry had the genetics to become overweight as he aged (based on his dad), but he had the bodytype that seemed like he'd avoid it. He hasn't.

WHAT HAPPENED: 2ND HOUR

-Chris Jericho walked out wearing a non-glittery blue sleeveless "Save_Us" t-shirt. Jericho had a tough act to follow after hometown Flair, but the crowd didn't give Jericho a megastar reception by any means. He said, "The second coming of Y-2-J-ya is here." He paused to almost zero crowd reaction. Tough crowd. He said he was there to save everyone from Randy Orton and become the new WWE Champion. There were scattered cheers and even a few boos. He said he hasn't heard from Orton all week, so maybe he didn't understand him. He said he would speak in short sentences with few words. He said he'd Ortonize it: "Me want title match." He brought a visual aid, the Crest White strips headshot of himself, the Cookie Monster (representing "Want"), the title belt, and a match (you know, the kind that comes from a match book). Jericho asked Orton to answer any way he wanted - verbal, physical, violent. He said the Jericohlics want to know his answer.

Santino Marella's music played instead. Business just picked up. He walked out and said, "Well, well, well" as he strutted to the ring. He called him KYJ (now that's freakin' hilarious). He said, "You can't just march in off the street like a bum who bypasses security with that nice Lindsay Lohan haircut and demand a title shot." Jericho asked who he is. He said he knows Lillian, Stu the cameraman, the time keeper, and even the guy selling popcorn. Jericho said, "Wait, I know, you're Santito. Sandusky. Santigo. Santokyo. Santa Maria, Suxseedo..." Santino freaked out and kept saying his name. "You make me so frustrated," Santino said. He added that Orton didn't give him an answer because he doesn't deserve one. He said he could beat him up right now, too. Jericho de-shirted and told him to beat him up. Jericho called for a referee. Santino said he had to warm-up with his squat-thrusts and Maria has to give him massage first. He said he'd be back, but first he wanted to give him a little something to think about. He then jumped Lawler and beat him up as Ross shouted, "Come on! That's enough! What a cheap shot." Ross said there'd be a fight - Jericho's first match in two years against Santino next.

[Commercial Break]

3 -- CHRIS JERICHO vs. SANTINO MARELLA

Lawler was well enough to do color. He said he wouldn't comment on it or he'd say something he shouldn't say on television. Jericho has been working out with Lance Storm to prepare for his return, so he should be in decent ring shape. Jericho dropkicked Marella to the floor, then jumped out after him. Back in the ring, he kicked at Marella, played to the crowd, and then went for another dropkick. Marella held the ropes, so Jericho fell onto the back of his head. Jericho escaped a Marella mathold and clotheslined and atomic dropped him followed by a face buster. He then signalled for something, and then knocked out Marella with his new Code Breaker finisher (a double knee front drop skull buster, for lack of better description) for the win. Jericho got up and signalled that he wanted the WWE Title belt.

WINNER: Jericho in 4:00.

STAR RATING: *

-Jericho called for Lawler to join him inside the ring. Lawler took him up on the offer. Jericho joined Ross on commentary as Lawler returned fire on Marella. He gave Marella two kneelifts, prompting Ross to compare them to Mr. Wrestling II. Lawler then hit a fistdrop off the middle rope. Jericho repeated some of his nicknames for Santino. Jericho said he's not joking about wanting a title shot and said he wants the answer tonight.

-Backstage, Shawn Michaels made his first live appearance and hugged Flair backstage. He said he had to see him. He said he didn't know coming there it might be the last time he sees him wrestle. He said he's not ready to accept this could be the end of his career, but he said he's never been objective where he's concerned. He said Orton is on a role. "I know that better than anybody," he said, "but I want you to understand something." He then gave him a pep talk about being the one and only legend the industry will ever have. Flair welled up, of course. He said he is the greatest wrestler in the world today, so no matter what Orton brings, "to be the man, you've gotta beat the man, and tonight I don't think he can do it." Flair simply said, "Thank you," then he seemed ready to move in for a big kiss. He rubbed Michaels shoulders. He then backed off and said Michaels is everything he talked about in more. "In a worst case scenario, I'll go out in a blaze of glory." He walked away. They stayed on Michaels, who looked contemplatively toward the floor. Very nice segment.

[Commercial Break]

-A recap aired of the Flair content on the show.

4 -- BRIAN KENDRICK vs. MR. KENNEDY

Kendrick had that pre-match look that said he was about to lose quickly and decisively without a chance to show much of anything. Kennedy slapped Kendrick hard at the start. Kendrick charged, but Kennedy took him down with a hard clothesline. He followed with a catapult into the bottom rope throat-first. He followed with his finisher for a clean three count. After the match, Kennedy cut a promo on Michaels saying what he did to Kendrick was just a sample of what fans can look forward to on the next Michaels DVD or live and in person at Armageddon. It was really nice that Michaels didn't have to do a corny self-promotion of his DVD. The Kennedy "anti-plug" worked better and saved Michaels some dignity.

WINNER: Kennedy in 2:00.

STAR RATING: 1/4* -- Not much to it. Kendrick, of course, deserves better. Any local indy jobber could have played that part instead.

-The Smackdown recap aired focused on the Edge-Vickie Guerrero segment.

[Commercial Break]

-McMahon chatted with Hornswoggle last night. He said he got lucky last week with a win over Carlito and in a tag match on Smackdown last week. He told Hornswoggle that maybe Finlay should face The Great Khali at Armageddon. He told Hornswoggle to go get him an ice cream sandwich. McMahon then spoke in code into a walky-talky saying, "Mr. Roger has left the neighborhood." That'll be an answer to a trivia questions some day. Hornswoggle walked into another room looking for ice cream. Carlito was there waiting for him. Carlito said he would teach him a lesson. Hornswoggle laughed and painted a black opening in the brick wall, then ran through it. Carlito looked shocked at what he just witnessed. He bit into his apple, then decided to take a run at it himself. He bounced off of it. Ron Simmons walked up to him and said, "Damn!" That was just one of the dumbest thing ever. Just too dumb to be funny.

[Commercial Break]

5 -- MELINA vs. MICKIE JAMES

Glamazon watched the match from ringside. Melina caught a charging Mickie with two boots at 1:00. Mickie, though, threw Melina off the ropes to the mat, then went for a pin. Melina came back with a roll-up for a two count. Mickie hit a DDT a minute later for the clean win. Mickie had a stare-down with Glamazon after the match.

WINNER: Mickie James in 2:00.

STAR RATING: DUD - Lots of timing issues in this short match. Clunky and choppy and sloppy looking.

-As Flair was headed toward the entrance tunnel backstage, he was met with a round of applause from a group of wrestlers including former Horsemen partner Dean Malenko. Triple H walked up to him, patted him on the back, and said, "Show him who you are." Ross said he was about to compete in the biggest match of his life.

-A commercial hyped the Michaels DVD.

[Commercial Break]

6 -- RANDY ORTON vs. RIC FLAIR

Lawler said when he's about to wrestle, he looks for fear in his opponent's eyes. He said Orton is seeing nothing of the sort in Flair. The match began at 10:55 p.m. ET. Flair opened with chops, of course. A minute later Orton hit Flair with a flurry of punches in the corner. The crowd chanted "Nature Boy, Nature Boy." Flair surprised Orton with an inside cradle for a near fall; Orton fired right back with a clothesline. Flair returned fire with chops. Ross said Orton would be immortalized if he was the man who ended Flair's career. Orton hit Flair with a standing dropkick, then scored a two count. Orton followed with a chinlock. Ross said he's had an amazing relationship with Flair for a quarter century and he can't believe he might be calling his final match. Lawler said he definitely doesn't want to call his last match tonight. Orton clotheslined Flair over the top rope to the floor. Lawler shouted at Flair to get back into the ring or his career would be over. Orton met him at ringside. They exchanged punches. Orton suplexed Flair on the floor. Orton got back into the ring as the ref began counting Flair out. Flair pulled himself dramatically back to the ring apron and into the ring. There wasn't quite the pop that spot deserved, but the crowd wasn't buying that would be the final moment of Flair's in-ring career. Orton applied a side headlock, then a back suplex. Orton teased an RKO, but Flair slipped away and went back to chops, then a chop block to the back of Orton's leg. Flair then applied a figure-four in mid-ring. The crowd popped for that. Orton struggled and eventually reached the bottom rope to force a break. He went for a second figure-four. Orton avoided it and hit an RKO. Flair was lying near the ropes. Ross said, "No, no, no!" Orton held his knee in pain, delaying his crawl over to cover Flair. The ref counted, but Flair grabbed the bottom rope to stop the count. A loud "Nature Boy, Nature Boy" chant rang out. As Orton set up another RKO, Jericho distracted Orton at ringside. Flair hit a low-blow, school boyed Orton, yanked on his tights, and scored a three count on the champ. Ross said he's never been so happy to see Jericho. "I'm spent," said Ross. "What an emotional night here on Raw. What a night for the Nature Boy in his hometown." Jericho stared seriously at Orton. No toothy smile this week from him.

WINNER: Flair in 11:00.

STAR RATING: ** -- Definitely served its purpose well. Of course, athletically, it wasn't stellar, but that wasn't the story of this match. It was good to get Jericho involved in the big match so he didn't seem like an afterthought to the Flair-Orton storyline of this show.

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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