February 25, 2009
Justin Rozzero

Monday Night Raw 2/23/09
Sommet Center
Nashville, TN
Announcers: Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler

- We open up the show with a recap of last week’s final segment, which saw Randy Orton defeat Shane McMahon and then take Stephanie out with the RKO before Triple H charged out, ran them off and had some sort of mental and facial meltdown in the ring. We then fade inside the Sommet Center where we are joined by Vicki Guerrero for the second straight week and…well, excuse her! The crowd doesn’t seem to care for her request. Due to the unfortunate incident last week, the WWE Board of Directors has named her the interim GM of Raw. She just wants wish the McMahons nothing but the best from the bottom of her heart. She assures each of us that she will treat Raw as she does Smackdown. She also wants to say…well, we don’t find because John Cena is in the house and powerwalking to the ring. Cena says this isn’t right and is shocked the BOD has chosen Vicki for this job. With everyone looking for a job now-a-days, they chose her? They should bring Mike Adamle back, at least he was funny when he screwed up or they could even bring Michael Cole out there for the job. We could have heard great quotes like “oh my, vintage Michael Cole!” Anyway, he won’t fight City Hall so he just congratulates Vicki. He tells her to have pride in the product and not lie. They know she doesn’t care about the McMahons or any of us. She only cares about the fact that her husband is World Champion. He pointed it out last week, but he will tell her tonight: he has a rematch clause and he is cashing it in tonight. That gets a pop. That also brings out Edge, who is here to rebut, for sure. He has his belt and Big Show along with him. He tells Cena he can’t threaten his wife and he compares Cena to Randy Orton. He says it is about time for Cena to feel intimidated. Cena tells Edge not to make this more than it is, he tells him to stand up and be a man. The match is going to happen and Edge has no reason or excuse to not defend the title tonight. Edge says he does have an excuse in that he doesn’t answer to Cena. He feels sorry for Cena because he wants to be this generation’s Sammartino, Hogan or Austin, the guy that all the loser kids and working stiffs look up to. Cena wants to be that guy so bad but it can’t happen because Edge won’t let it happen/ Cena just happens to exist in the same era as Edge, who is tougher, smarter and more talented than anyone who preceded him. As long as Edge exists, Cena can’t be the guy he wants to be. And that is a shame because people are losing jobs, getting divorced and failing tests and Cena is the beacon of hope they all cling to. Edge tells him he should hold off on the rematch because once it happens all of the people will be left with nothing. Cena tells Edge that was a fine speech and he likes to talk tough because he is standing in the ring with the barbaric, disgusting 400 pound beast…and he also brought the Big Show out too. Cena doesn’t try to be anyone else and says things are simple: Edge is a Champion,. Cena is the former Champion and one match away from being the future Champion. Vicki is the new GM and she should do the ring thing and step up to make it happen. Show tells Cena to show respect for the GM. Cena says he can’t fit Show into the equation. Vicki is GM and Edge is Champion…what does Show do? Cena says he must have been hired to take care of Vicki, but he didn’t realize Edge was that bad in bed. He says it is a whole lot of love. Vicki cuts him off and says Edge is her family and Show is her friend but Cena is just her subordinate. And she has decided to put Cena in a match with either her friend or her family. Cena says he will either be slaying a giant tonight, or he will walk out as the new Champion. Backstage, a car pulls up and DiBiase and Rhodes hop out, look around and tell Orton the coast is clear. He quickly hops out of the car and runs into the arena as we run to break.

- We are back and checking out Tootsie’s Lounge across the street. The briefcase is hanging above the ring and we are ready for our first Money in the Bank qualifying match.

1) CM Punk vs. John Morrison vs. Miz in a Money in the Bank Qualifying match
Punk is out first as he tries to become the first man to repeat as MITB winner at Wrestlemania. Miz is out next and he is followed by his tag team partner, John Morrison. Cole reminds us that every MITB winner has successfully cashed in and won the Championship. They all point towards the briefcase as the bell sounds. Punk starts kicking away at both men and cradles Miz for a one count. Miz and Morrison start double teaming, landing a stomachbreaker. Miz lands a boot, but Punk kicks back. The numbers are too much and Miz and Morrison take control as the crowd starts chanting for Punk. Punk leapfrogs Miz on a charge but Morrison clubs him down. Miz eats a boot on a charge and Punk takes out Morrison with a clothesline. He hoists Miz up for the G2S, but Miz hooks the top rope and slides off to the apron. Punk kicks him to the floor, but Morrison charges and they topple over the top as well. All three men are out as we go to break. When we return, Morrison has Punk in a side headlock as we see that Miz was taken out during the break. Punk hit Miz with a cross body on the floor and then Morrison dropped on Miz with a shooting star press from the apron when Punk moved away. Back live, Punk fights up and hits a leg lariat. He slams Morrison and then follows with some stiff kicks. Punk shoots Morrison into the corner and hits the running knee, but Miz comes crashing in with the corner clothesline. Morrison got knocked from the ring in that chaos and Miz works over Punk. He takes him over with a suplex for two. Miz cranks in a reverse chinlock but Punk fights up again and hammers free. Morrison comes back in but eats a kick. Miz charges, but Punk back drops him. Punk grabs a headlock on Morrison, hooks his legs on Miz’s head and takes them both over. He bulldogs Morrison and hits a clothesline on Miz at the same time. Punk gets a powerslam on Morrison for two. Miz hoists Punk on his shoulders and Morrison nails a springboard kick, sending Miz and Punk down to the mat. Morrison covers Punk and gets two and then Miz rolls Morrison up for two. Miz and Morrison look up at the briefcase and then start brawling. Miz dumps Morrison to the apron on a charge and then tries to suplex him back in. Punk catches Morrison on the suplex attempt, shoves Miz to the floor and then crushes Morrison with the G2S for the win. Punk moves on to Wrestlemania. I expected more out of this and they sort of lost the crowd during the break as they seemed restrained throughout. Punk looks at the Wrestlemania sign as we go to break. Punk d. Morrison & Miz when he pins Morrison with the Go 2 Sleep; Grade: 2.5

- We are back and Cole and King send us to a replay of the sit down interview Jim Ross had with Triple H on Smackdown. During the intro, King lets the cat out of the bag for the first time on Raw and admits the Hunter and Stephanie are married. Check out Drama’s Smackdown review for the details! Back live, the Grish is standing outside Orton’s locker room, but he hasn’t gotten a response yet. But here are Rhodes and DiBiase. Cody says that they see how this is being presented and it isn’t right. Orton didn’t ask to fight Shane last week and he didn’t ask Steph to come out to the ring either. People need to stop pointing fingers and take responsibility for their actions. Ted says that Orton will speak later tonight and that they will be ready if the last McMahon standing, Triple H, shows up. Elsewhere, Team Glamarella is walking backstage and they catch up with Dolph Ziggler. Santino introduces the crew and then compares abdominals. We are due for some mixed six person tag action when we come back from this break.

- The Just for Men Rewind looks back at Melina’s victory over Beth Phoenix last week. We scan backstage and see the Grish setting up shop as we are waiting for Triple H’s arrival at some point here tonight.

2) Cryme Tyme & Melina vs. Santino Marella, Dolph Ziggler & Beth Phoenix
Melina is out first and then joined by Cryme Tyme. Team Glamarella and Dolph are out next and this is quite the mix of talent in the ring. Melina and Beth start off and Melina hops on Beth’s back and grabs a half nelson. Beth spikes her to the match but Melina leaps right back on her. Beth shoots Melina to the corner and follows with a splash. Melina turns things around, drapes Beth across the middle rope and drops on top of her. Beth and Melina square off and Beth tags in Ziggler, much to the consternation of Santino. JTG tags in as well, but Dolph takes him over with an armdrag. JTG hits a couple of his own and the follows with a face plant for two. Dolph turns things around and stomps away at JTG. Santino refuses to tag in, short arming Dolph. Dolph hits a double legdrop for two and grabs a reverse chinlock as Santino yells at Dolph to let him in. JTG lands a punch to the face and tags in Shad. Shad hits some clotheslines and then pancakes Dolph. Shad rolls the dice but Dolph scampers away before he can drop the elbow. Dolph tags in Santino and he and Shad have and animated showdown. Santino finally charges but he runs right into Shad’s arms and Shad spikes him with a leg sweep Urinage called the Thugnificance for the win. That was a fun little match as Santino and Beth were funny on the apron. Cryme Tyme & Melina d. Marella, Ziggler & Phoenix when Shad pins Marella with the Thugnificance; Grade: 2

- Shawn Michaels is walking backstage as he faces JBL next…well, after this break.

- Wrestlemania is 41 days away! We see John Cena warming up in the locker room as the King ships us off to a 12 Rounds trailer.

3) Shawn Michaels vs. John Bradshaw Layfield
Back live, JBL makes his way to the ring and he is then followed by his former employee. As much as I enjoyed the JBL/Michaels angle, it is good to see the old Shawn Michaels dancing his way to the ring to huge pops. Cole tells us that Vicki has decreed that the winner of this match will face Vladimir Kozlov for the right to face the Undertaker at Wrestlemania. They lock up off the bell but JBL lands a right hand off the break. Michaels jumps JBL and slugs away at him. He charges again, but JBL puts him down with a shoulderblock for two. JBL stomps on Shawn’s hand and then takes him over with a swinging neckbreaker for two. Michaels dodges an elbow drop and chops JBL down. Shawn starts to work the arm but JBL just punches his way out with a stiff right hand. He pulls Shawn up and then hammers away in the corner. Shawn kicks JBL on a back drop attempt and then follows up with some more chops and right hands. JBL reverses a whip and sends Shawn hard into the corner. He kicks Shawn to the mat and drops an elbow for two. JBL buries some knees in the corner but he walks into a boot to the face. JBL slugs Michaels and sends him through the ropes and to the floor. JBL follows him out but Shawn wriggles free and runs JBL into the post. Both men slide back in, just beating the count, but they are still weary so we take a break. When we return both men are struggling to their feet. JBL lands a right hand to Michaels and then sits him up on the top rope. JBL slugs away and then follows Shawn up. Shawn shoves JBL off but JBL kicks him off the top and to the floor. Shawn slowly gets back in but JBL plants him with a short clothesline for two. JBL pulls Shawn up and hooks on an abdominal stretch as the crowd tries to rally Shawn. Shawn elbows free and then follows with some chops. He ducks a clothesline and hits the flying forearm. Shawn kips up and then heads to the top. He connects with the elbow and starts tuning up the band. JBL ducks SCM and shoots Michaels hard into the corner. He tosses Shawn over the top, but he skins the cat. Shawn turns and walks right into a big boot. JBL lines up for the CFH but he gets caught with SCM as he charges. Michaels covers and picks up the win. He will move on to face Kozlov next week to earn the shot at Undertaker. That felt like a match from a 1996 Raw. Maybe it was the crowd that gave it that feel as they were kind of into it, but not fully. Still, it was a good match and Shawn showed a lot of fire. Michaels d. JBL with Sweet Chin Music; Grade: 3

- As Shawn celebrates, Kozlov makes his way to the ring and stares down Shawn. Michaels looks around and starts tossing some right hands, but Kozlov just plants him with a short chokeslam. Kozlov is all sorts of fired up as we cut to Legacy prepping in the locker room before heading to break.

- We are back and checking out a Wrestlemania Moment. This one recaps last year’s show, focusing on all the big matches, especially Michaels/Flair.

4) Jamie Noble vs. Mike Knox
Noble admits that he only lasted 15 seconds against Kane last week. If he can last longer tonight, he knows he will head to Wrestlemania. Things don’t look good for Mr. Noble as Mike Knox comes stalking out to the ring. Noble charges Knox off the bell, but Knox tosses him down. There is a clock in the bottom corner, which is pretty funny. Knox kicks Noble in the face and kills him with the STO for the win. Noble went 29 seconds this week. Knox d. Noble with the STO; Grade: .5

- Cole and King are set to introduce us to the next 2009 Hall of Fame inductee: Ricky Steamboat! And I just got all fired up myself as the Dragon’s music cranked up to start that package. Steamboat joins Steve Austin, Terry Funk and Dory Funk, Jr. in this year’s class. Ric Flair will induct the Dragon and the King tells us we will hear from Steamboat after this break.

- We are back and Michael Cole is on the stage as he brings out Ricky Steamboat. Cole congratulates him and Steamboat says this is the greatest honor of his life. He remembers wrestling at Wrestlemania III and winning the IC title was the highlight of his career. And this is now the highlight of his life. As he stands here and looks out to the fans, he just wants to say thank you because without the fans, it isn’t possible. And that is enough of that as we are joined by Chris Jericho. He also wants to say thank you…to the Academy of Arts and Motion Picture Sciences because they proved Jericho right. Despite all his pandering, Mickey Rourke lost the Oscar. Now he is just a loser, hanging one for one last chance at glory like the man he portrayed in the movie. He reminds Jericho of all the losers in this business, like Flair, Piper and Steamboat. When he was wrestling all the classic matches in NWA, a company which WWE won’t even admit existed by the way, he was just Rickey Steamboat. When he came to WWF, though, he became the Dragon and started pandering to the fans. He was a stereotype that sold headbands and he eventually came into the ring with a Komodo dragon spitting fire like a circus, but he was just getting a paycheck. But when his career ended, he was the same mess as everyone else, a broken down wrestler with a dysfunctional family. If he wasn’t injured, he would be out there wrestling like Flair and Piper. However, he took the back door and got a job backstage with WWE just to try and hang on. Just because he wears a suit instead of a robe or kilt, that doesn’t make him any less pathetic or any less of a sell out. He tells him to enjoy his induction with all these hypocrites. Steamboat says he knows what a hypocrite is and he remembers signing an autograph for Jericho 20 years ago. He remembers Jericho calling him his hero and that it is even in Jericho’s autobiography. Ten years ago, when he came to WWE, he was a snotty brat kid that turned down the fans. Within a year, he started to embrace the fans…calling them his Jerichoholics. Then he spent years turning on the fans and embracing them and back and forth. Steamboat says Jericho is the true hypocrite. Steamboat never changed once throughout his whole career. He gave the audience respect and entertained them every time he came through the curtain. He never changed, not one. He, Flair, Piper and the legends…they know who they are. Coming back to work with WWE and the young talent was a chance to pass the torch. He didn’t sell out; he did it because he loves the business. He doesn’t care what Jericho thinks of him because it doesn’t matter. He is not a hypocrite or a sell out, but he is someone Jericho will never be: a Hall of Famer. Jericho smashes Steamboat with the mic and then runs him into the screen. Jericho screams at him and then walks off. Cole sends us to a replay of our opening promo and we go to break. Man that Jericho/Steamboat segment was just killer stuff and Jericho and the weekly legend of his choice are just carrying Raw on their backs at this point.

- We are back and Cole and King are talking about Orton’s attack last night. We visit with the Grish in the garage, but he says we have had no sign of Triple H yet, but he is waiting on him.

5) John Cena vs. Chavo Guerrero
Back in the arena, John Cena is out and charging to the ring. Vicki joins us and tells Cena he will not be granted his shot tonight. Cena says he is losing patience, but he will follow Vicki everywhere, be it Smackdown or Raw. They are going to see a lot of each other until Vicki grants him his rematch. Vicki suggests that he stops talking and focuses on his match with…Chavo Guerrero. Cena takes control off the bell and spikes Chavo with a spinning slam. He drops the Five Knuckle Shuffle and quickly polishes him off with the Attitude Adjustment and the STF. Cena d. Guerrero with the STF; Grade: 0

- Backstage, Cody and Ted are clearing the hallway as Orton emerges, brandishing a sledgehammer. They head off as we head to break.

- We are back from commercial and we are all hearing voices as Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes and a sledgehammer make their way to the ring. Orton says he has been waiting for Triple H all night, so he may as well wait in the ring. That is if he even shows up at all. If it happens, well triple H truly is a McMahon: arrogant, out of touch and plain stupid. Triple H thinks Stephanie was a victim, but he is wrong because Randy is the victim. All he ever wanted to do was mind his business and proceed with his career but the McMahons wouldn’t stay out of the way. Weeks ago, Vince insulted his family and he lost control and kicked him in the skull, thanks to his IED, of course. He then beat Shane McMahon at No Way Out, but he wouldn’t stop, so he kicked him in the head and put him in the hospital next to his old man. It didn’t have to go down like that, but Shane pushed him until he pushed back. And then, there is Stephanie. The last time she got in Randy’s face, she slapped him. She thinks she can do whatever she wants because of her last name but she got in his face again and instinct took over. The people sitting in the crowd judge him but they have no idea what he goes through. They have no idea what it is like to be on top of their profession. He does things they only fantasize about: being famous, a celebrity and constantly scrutinized by the public and media. They have no idea of the pressure he is under. This is what A-Rod should have said. But the McMahons do and Stephanie should have known better. He can only hope Triple H’s children were watching last week so they could learn from their mother’s mistakes. We cut up to the Tron as we see Triple H powerwalking with his sledgehammer as the Grish follows diligently behind him. He finally appears on the stage as the crowd chants for him. He slowly stalks to the ring but Orton tells him to hang on. He figured he would bring out his trusty friend and says someone will get hurt bad. There are three of them and one Triple H. Orton will lose the sledgehammer if Triple H loses his so they settle this like men. Orton tosses the hammer to the floor and Triple H reciprocates as he climbs onto the apron and into the ring. He slowly takes off his jacket as Legacy slowly circles him. Hunter pulls out another sledgehammer from behind him and Orton and DiBiase bail. Rhodes catches a shot to the gut. Hunter runs out after Orton and DiBiase. They try to escape but the door is locked so they duck into a locker room. They barricade the door as Hunter smashes the handle with the sledgehammer. He busts the door down and corners Orton and DiBiase. They throw stuff at him, which is pretty funny. He swings and misses, hitting the wall, but connects with DiBiase on the second attempt. Orton begs for mercy but ducks as Triple H swings and ends up tossing the sledge through a mirror. Orton and DiBiase leave the room and run down the hallway, tossing stuff in Hunter’s way as they escape. They hop in the car and speed off as Hunter smashes the window with the hammer. He stands angrily as we fade out. That was entertaining in a campy way, but it certainly wasn’t as serious and legit as I think they were shooting for.

Final Grade: C+
MVP
: Ricky Steamboat & Chris Jericho
Runner Up: Shawn Michaels
Non MVP: John Bradshaw Layfield
Runner Up: Jamie Noble

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