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RAW FLASHBACK - 5 yrs. ago (02-04-08): Day-after-Super Bowl features Arm Wrestling, Hardy & HBK & Jericho main event

Feb 4, 2013 - 3:25:40 PM
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WWE Raw Flashback Report day-after-Super Bowl
February 4, 2008
Austin, Tex.
Report by Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


THE FEATURE SEGMENT

This show was thin on content. It was one of those programs where, when it was over, you thought, "That's it?" It's not the worst feeling in the world, as the feeling after Impact later in the week was much worse, which was a feeling of "What in the hell just happened?" This was thinly booked because the writing team had to put together two shows at the same time to be taped the same night as the crew would be overseas the following week, so Raw couldn't take place live as usual.

This was an example of why Raw taking place live each week makes it a better show than it would be if it were taped every other week, two at a time, as WWE did 15 years ago before Eric Bischoff and WCW Nitro prompted them to go to the more expensive weekly route.

With only three weeks between the Royal Rumble and No Way Out, though, it was bad timing to have a show that left you feeling a little flat about the product. There were several old standby angles, including an arm wrestling contest and a Kiss My Ass segment.

ARM WRESTLING: CENA VS. HENRY

John Cena came out to his full ring intro for the main event segment to close out the show - an arm wrestling contest against Mark Henry. They faced off in mid-ring at an arm wrestling table. Nothing is less exciting and more predictable in pro wrestling than arm wrestling contests.

According to the predictable script, Henry complained about something - Cena having "oil" on his hands. Henry stalled and complained more as the ref told him there was nothing wrong with Cena's hand. Henry slammed Cena's arm into the table, then Henry said, "I'm ready now!"

They went back and forth with near wins, then when Cena was about to win, Orton jumped Cena from behind. Cena came back and Orton fled, then Cena gave Henry an FU as Ross shouted, "Good Lord Almighty!" Basic solid segment that got across Cena's strength while putting Orton in a position to act sneaky and heelish. Not great, but fine.

HORNSOWOGGLE AVOIDS THE KISS

Vince McMahon decided it was time to humble his son, Hornswoggle, by making him join the Kiss My Ass Club. In an overly long, self-indulgent segment at the start of the second hour, the ski played out.

McMahon stepped out in a suit fully clothed, but just for a minute. Jim Ross bemoaned Vince's planned humiliation of his own son, Hornswoggle. He went on a long rant about disciplining kids and said WWE fans try to reason with their kids rather than issue commands. He said the only way to discipline a child is to make them kiss your ass. He called out Hornswoggle. Vince gave Hornswoggle a brief lecture, then he dropped his pants. A fan shouted, "Oh, my eyes!" Vince lifted the back of his shirt as the opposite side of the gasped. He asked Hornswoggle to kiss it.

He bent over as Hornswoggle closed his eyes and moved in. He then shook his head and backed off. Vince said he didn't have all night. "Kiss it, you little bastard!" Just as he was about to move in for another attempt, Finlay interrupted. He walked out and threw his arms up, asking Vince what he was up to. Vince asked what the meaning was of his interruption. Vince said tonight isn't about loyalty and friendship, it's about discipline. Vince reminded him of the fact that he signs his paycheck, so he told him to follow Hornswoggle in joining his exclusive club.

After more yelling by Vince, Hornswoggle moved in and bit him on the ass. Vince covered his front while trying to escape the grip of Hornswoggle's teeth. Finlay and Hornswoggle backed up to the stage smiling the whole way. Hornswoggle did a little dance on the stage, followed by Finlay. Vince was so upset, after pulling up his pants, he booked himself against Hornswoggle in a no-DQ match next week on Raw. He said if Finlay gets involved, he will be fiiiiiirrreeed! "You're not laughing now, are you!?"

This was just one example of how Raw felt like a thrown-together, thinly booked show since the creative team had to write two shows at once to cover for the dual taping and the WWE crew going overseas this week. The Kiss My Ass Club isn't nearly as wild and daring and entertaining as McMahon imagines it is. But it's one of those fallback skits they can go to during a time when ideas aren't coming to them.

KELLER'S RAW RAMBLINGS

Chris Jericho is just totally being overshadowed by the emergence of Jeff Hardy as the fan's choice babyface. Jericho would have been better off if Cena hadn't gotten injured and Hardy didn't get the push as he sorta unexpected took Jericho's spot while Jericho's countdown clock was ticking… Looking at this show, it's hard to believe it filled two hours considering the first four matches collectively lasted about eight minutes. The main event at 16 minutes, with one break in the middle, was a nice dose of energy and athleticism from some good babyface wrestlers…

ANOTHER VOICE

Bruce Mitchell (4.0): Nothing much wrong with this show, but nothing inspired either. Everyone just went through the motions, from Mr. McMahon's dull ass to Snitsky's dull job-doing to Cena re-run power-lift at the end of the show. Mr. Kennedy cut a mean promo on Ric Flair. The tag team stuff was filler. The star driven six-man main event was pedestrian. It's tough to get in two two-hour shows taped in one night, I would imagine. I wonder why they never call Mark Henry the "self-proclaimed silverback" on Raw?

Box Score Essentials by Wade Keller:

Randy Orton stood mid-ring as Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show. Orton said John Cena accepted his invite to wrestle him at No Way Out in two weeks. He said Cena can't escape that even if he ends up injured. There is no-way-out (get it?) even if he tears a muscle arm wrestling Mark Henry later. Cena came out and signed the contract. Henry came out to distract Cena. Orton then gave Cena an RKO. Solid segment.

Todd Grisham interviewed Orton and Henry backstage. Orton said Henry came out on his own and he took advantage of the situation. Henry said he'd enjoy ripping Cena's arm out of its socket later.

(1) Kelly Kelly & Mickie James beat Beth Phoenix & Victoria in 3:00. Awkward and clunky. (1/2*)

William Regal talked to Hornswoggle about his duty to join a certain exclusive club later in the show.

Shawn Michaels walked out to a full ring intro. He talked about coming close to winning the Rumble last year, but he won't let a chance to main event WrestleMania slip by again, so he plans to win the Rumble. Chris Jericho came out and made his case. He was followed by Jeff Hardy, JBL, Umaga, and Snitsky who each made his case. Michaels took some digs at Snitsky's yellow teeth, then jump-started a brawl with everyone. Regal walked out onto the stage and booked a six-man tag later with all of them.

(2) Mr. Kennedy beat Super Crazy in 2:00. Not much to it other than showing Kennedy can concentrate on a leg and force a tapout. (1/4*)

Kennedy said afterward he plans to take Flair out of action permanently with a similar attack. He vowed that Flair would walk with a limp the rest of his life.

Mike Adamle stood among fans and plugged No Way Out.

(3) Santino Marella (w/Maria) & Carlito beat Paul London & Brian Kendrick in 1:00.

Backstage, Vince had his pants down and he was bent over getting his ass buffed by a guy with an electric buffer. McMahon then said, "Imagine that! Mr. McMahon's ass in HD!"

Hornswoggle hesitated kissing Vince's ass in a long segment at the start of the second hour. Finlay came out and save Hornswoggle from having to do it. Vince booked himself against Hornswoggle next week.

(4) Cody Rhodes & Hardcore Holly beat Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch in 2:00. (1/2*)

Afterward, Carlito, Santino, and Maria walked out and cut a promo about being the new no. 1 contenders to the tag titles. Santino said they have as much chance keeping their titles now as Maria has of posing nude in Playboy, "but maybe you can pose in Balding Tough Guy With A Little Friend Who Has a Name Like a Little Girl" magazine.

A plug aired for Bravo's "Project Runway" episode featuring the WWE Divas (which included the departed Kristal and injured Candice Michelle).

Ross and Lawler plugged the No Way Out PPV line-up.

(5) Jeff Hardy & Shawn Michaels & Chris Jericho beat JBL & Snitsky & Umaga in 16:00. After six-way action broke out, it ended up with Hardy giving Snitsky a Twist of Fate and a Swanton for the three count. Ross touted how hot Jeff Hardy is right now several times during this match. Solid formula six-man tag action to give this show a dose of extended athletics and wrestling for the first time as a way to fill time with star power before the Cena appearance.

As John Cena was about to beat Henry in an arm wrestling contest, Orton jumped him from behind. Basic, solid by-the-numbers segment where Orton came off like a mean heel.


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