March 24, 2009
Justin Rozzero

Monday Night Raw 3/23/09
Sprint Center
Kansas City, MO
Announcers: Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler

- We open up our show inside the Sprint Center as Ric Flair joins us for the second week in a row. Whoo! On behalf of Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka and Ricky Steamboat, Flair accepts Jericho’s challenge for the three on one handicap match at Wrestlemania. And the Nature Boy will be honored to be standing their corner. As Jericho knows, he can’t compete but he will be happy to stand with the great legends and hold their hands high after they beat Jericho and shut him up forever. Jericho’s voice joins us over the loudspeakers and says he has heard everything he needs to know. He was just a boy for Wrestlemania I and he remembers watching those men entertain everyone but that was 25 years ago. Back then, he wouldn’t have believed that he would someday become a bigger star than all of them. We see that Jericho is in the production truck and he wants to explain to Flair to know exactly what he is signing up for. Jericho leaves the truck and walks backstage saying this isn’t a movie like the Wrestler and last week’s unfair attack won’t lead to the credits. This is real and Flair isn’t an actor like Mickey Rourke. Rourke can take a break, sit in his trailer and drink cappuccino and wonder how he blew the Oscars but Flair doesn’t have that luxury. That movie gave Flair a false impression that he still matters, but he doesn’t. Nobody cares about Ric Flair anymore and he is about to show him how dire the predicament has become. Jericho emerges and heads to the ring to a loud chorus of boos. He knew all along that the legends would accept because all of them are afraid to stay out of the spotlight so they won’t be forgotten and washed up. He says that Flair is afraid that he will end up a faceless nobody like all of the hypocrites in the arena. He tells Flair that being nobody is better than soiling his name over and over. He will beat Flair’s friends and it will be disturbing and uncomfortable and Flair will be forced to sit at ringside powerless but Jericho will not stop the beating. Rourke will be sitting at ringside, watching the carnage that he caused, wondering what he did. Despite all the HOF accomplishments, the legends will be remembered as washed up has-beens by this generation as they are euthanized by Chris Jericho. Flair tells Jericho he is wrong and what they refuse to do is be judged by insignificant punks like Jericho. They refuse to be told when it is over; they will make that decision on their own. They love to be respected for their accomplishments and they in turn respect those people. What Jericho doesn’t understand is that Flair will be proud to stand by his HOF brothers, peers and friends as they beat Jericho. Flair says he isn’t finished and since they can speak freely, Flair will let us know what he is looking forward to. He is looking forward to standing in the ring, bringing Mickey Rourke inside the ring to stand with the legends to look at Jericho’s broken body. And then the 70,000 screaming fans and millions around the world will all go Whoo! But Jericho doesn’t like that so he punches him square in the face and busts Flair open with a bevy of right hands. He kicks him to the floor but follows outside and keeps the assault on. He tosses him over the announce table and just keeps pounding away at him, knocking him into the timekeeper area. Jericho is drawing great heat here. He runs Flair into the table again and slams the buster front of the t able on top of him. Jericho hits Flair with Flair’s shoe and then throws it into the crowd. Lawler is imploring Jericho to stop, but Chris keeps hammering away. Jericho continues to strip Flair if his clothes as he pounds away. He tosses him into the steps and walks around ringside, covered in Flair’s blood. He runs him into the steps again and then slugs away some more. Jericho grabs a TV camera and walks over to Flair, who is sitting up against the barricade. Jericho smashes Flair in the head with the camera and then shoves him hard to the floor. Jericho pulls off Flair’s watch, presumably the gift from Shawn Michaels. He lays it on the steps and smashes it with his foot as Flair lies on the ground in a pool of blood. Jericho walks off as we go to break. That was a sick beating and added a whole lot of heat to this program.

- We are back and Lawler is quite indignant about what just happened, saying there is no excuse for what happened. Cole agrees as we hit the ring for our opening match.

1) Jeff Hardy vs. Dolph Ziggler in an Extreme Rules match
And it looks like we have a special guest this week as Jeff Hardy joins us for some extreme action in preparation for Wrestlemania. Dolph is in the ring as King and Cole run down the rest of our known card for tonight. Dolph wants a handshake, but Jeff kicks him instead. He hammers away in the corner but Dolph lands a knee and a clothesline. Dolph slides outside and grabs a chair. He comes back but Jeff dropkicks his knee to gain control. He backs Dolph into the corner and tries the poetry in motion off the chair but Dolph avoids it. Dolph slugs away and then goes outside to grab a trash can. Dolph comes back in and smashes Jeff with it for a two count. Dolph puts Jeff up on the top rope but Jeff fights him off and drops him onto the trash can with a gourdbuster off the top rope. He drops Dolph on the trash can with a swinging neckbreaker and then heads out to the floor. He grabs the chair and looks to the crowd. He smashes Dolph in the back over and over and then hits a swinging neckbreaker on the chair. He goes up to and connects with the Swanton for the win. That was a basic brawl to pump up Jeff for Wrestlemania. Hardy d. Ziggler with a Swanton bomb; Grade: 1.5

- Jeff has the mic and tells his brother that what he just witnessed was not extreme, but what Matt feels at Wrestlemania will be. At ringside, Cole and King talk about the Vicki/Edge/Show love triangle and we head back to Smackdown for the Edge/Show face off that went down. Edge accidentally speared his wife and Show tried to carry her back, but Edge chopped him down. Backstage, John Cena is sitting in a chair. He says he heard Vicki is under the weather so he wrote her a get well card. He gets his digs in and we get clips of the Smackdown incident and a mock up of what Vicki’s offspring would look like with both men. Cena wonders if Show and Edge would even look at Vicki if she wasn’t the GM. He promises to take the title at Wrestlemania and that is that. Cena will not be here tonight as he is in LA to visit with Jay Leno. Stay tuned after Raw for a 12 Rounds sneak peak on USA and we are off to a break.

- We our back and our Wrestlemania moment takes us back to 2005 and Wrestlemania 21. The MITB briefcase hangs high above the ring and we are set for our next match.

2) Kane, Shelton Benjamin, Mark Henry & Finlay vs. CM Punk, Christian, MVP & Kofi Kingston
Kane arrives as everyone else is already in the ring. MVP and Shelton starts things off and MVP grabs a side headlock. He puts Shelton down but misses a boot and Shelton takes him over with a German suplex for one. He slugs away at MVP and grabs a side headlock. MVP slips out of a back suplex and hits a belly-to-belly. He tags in Punk but Shelton is able to fight him off and tag in Finlay. Punk kicks Shelton off the apron but Finlay clubs Punk down. He hooks an ankle submission on Punk as we go to break. When we return, Kane has a standing chinlock on Punk. Punk fights free but Kane slugs him down. Punk avoids Kane and lands a few kicks before tagging in Christian. Kane tags Shelton as well. Christian hammers away at Shelton and nails a flying forearm. He follows with a monkey flip but Shelton lands on his feet. Christian avoids a splash in the corner and the slugs Shelton down. He knocks Finlay off the apron as well. Things break down and everyone starts brawling. Kane grabs MVP by the throat, but Kofi hits him with a missile dropkick. Henry comes in and catches Punk, but MVP chop blocks Henry down and out to the floor. Punk hits a plancha on Henry to take him out. Shelton takes out MVP from behind but Christian nails him with the Unprettier for the win. The match wasn’t much and was rushed until the hot finish. Punk, Christian, MVP & Kingston d. Kane, Benjamin, Henry & Finlay when Christian pins Benjamin with the Unprettier; Grade: 1.5

- Finlay comes in the ring and nails Christian, Kane and Henry with a ladder. Even Tony Atlas catches a shot to the gut. Finlay and Hornswoggle celebrate as we take a look at 12 Rounds. The movie opens this Friday, so go check it out, will you? It is then break time.

- Wrestlemania is just 12 days away; call your local cable provider right now! The King thanks AC/DC for “Shoot to Thrill” and then he and Cole run down tonight’s happenings so far. Cole then takes us back to last week for a recap of the Legacy/Triple H segment. We then go backstage where the Grish is with Randy Orton. Grish says that many believe Hunter has gained the psychological advantage. Orton says he does not suffer from cowardice like Triple H accused him of. He does not attack people at home with a sledgehammer. He is the one that kicked Vince and Shane so hard that he felt their skulls crack. He also put his hands on Stephanie despite knowing who her husband was. Does that sound like a coward? Triple H needs to remember who he is dealing with. He was fine with waiting until Wrestlemania but Hunter had to raise the ante. Well, Orton will raise it as well and we see an assault tonight that makes the past ones look tame. It was Triple H and his family that brought this upon themselves. We then head back to the ring for our next match.

3) Edge vs. Big Show in a non title match
Edge makes his way out first for this Wrestlemania preview. We are then joined by Vicki Guerrero, who is pushed to the ring in a wheelchair by Chavo. As she is wheeled down we go to break. We are back and Vicki is sitting at ringside. Edge goes out to talk to her but she won’t even look at him as he whispers in her ear. Chavo plays dumb and looks around and then tells Edge he has nothing to do with it. Edge goes back in the ring as we are joined by Big Show. Show tries to talk to Vicki as well but she wants nothing to do with him either. Show gives up and heads inside for the match. The two square off but we are joined by John Cena on the Tron. He wishes he could be there, but he is in LA. He wants to see them beat the hell out each other but he also wants to let them know that Vicki isn’t in the triple threat but Cena is. Show and Edge are so obsessed right now that they are missing the big picture. Everyone watching is laughing at them because they aren’t acting like men. Instead of playing this out like a bad episode of Sex in the City they should fight like the top stars that they are. There is a good chance that by the time Wrestlemania ends both men would have slept with Vicki for nothing. The bell sounds and both men hammer away at each other. Show shoves Edge down and Edge bails to the floor. Show yanks him back up on the apron and beals him into the ring. Show clubs Edge back down and then he tells Vicki that Edge doesn’t deserve her. He slugs Edge to the floor as Chavo wheels Vicki away from him. Show follows out and crushes Edge with a chop. Show keeps talking to Vicki about how weak Edge is as tosses Edge back inside. As Show climbs in, Edge takes him out with a dropkick and starts working over his knee. Show fights Edge off but Edge kicks his knee to take him down. Edge hits a DDT and then mounts him and pounds away. Show shoves Edge off again and then is able to press Edge over his head and hot shot him on the top rope. Show ties Edge in the ropes but Vicki leaves her seat and pleads with Show to stop. Show gears up his right hand but Vicki sends Chavo in. Scott Armstrong calls for the bell but Show tosses Chavo aside. Show d. Edge by disqualification when Chavo Guerrero interferes; Grade: 1.5

- Chavo clubs him from behind, which allows Edge to be freed. Edge comes with a spear, but Show avoids it and he drills Chavo. Show crushes Edge with a right hand and then leaves the ring. He tells Vicki that he did that for her and then walks off. Vicki looks on concerned as Edge lays unconscious and we go to break.

- Subway’s delicious Five Dollar Footlongs take us back two weeks when JBL beat CM Punk for the IC title.

4) Rey Mysterio vs. William Regal
We are back in the Sprint Center and Rey Mysterio is headed to the ring. Cole tells us that JBL has officially accepted Rey’s Wrestlemania challenge and King reminds us that JBL has promised to do something historic at the show. The stock market bell sounds and JBL’s limo emerges. The door opens and JBL, William Regal and Layla all head out and to the ring. JBL joins us on commentary as Regal steps into the ring. He calls Lawler and Cole “King and Queen” which is pretty funny. Regal grabs a wristlock but Rey flips out of it. JBL calls Rey lucky while Regal worked his way to the top. Rey lands some dropkicks and gets a one count. Rye kicks Regal into the middle rope but Regal slides to the floor. Rey comes out but JBL distracts him and Regal slugs him down. Regal heads back in and Rey follows him. Regal hammers away in the corner as JBL runs down a list of legends that have never been in Wrestlemania that would have loved to be on the show. Regal locks in a full nelson and then quickly breaks the hold and slugs away. JBL gives no hint towards his historical surprise but promises an easy victory. Regal catches Rey with a stiff knee to the nose, but Rey plays opossum and baits in Regal before kicking him. He sends Regal into the ropes and nails the 619. He follows with a splash off the top rope for the win. This was just another express line match in a series of them tonight. Mysterio d. Regal with a splash from the top rope; Grade: 1.5

- JBL walks up to the ring to glare at Rey, but Rey nails him with a baseball slide dropkick. He celebrates as Cole and King take us back to last week to see Shawn Michaels take out Vladimir Kozlov and Undertaker with superkicks. Undertaker is in the house and will be joining us next.

- We are back, the ring is empty and the bell is tolling. The lights dim and we are joined by the Phenom, who appears center ring as the purple light fades up. Taker says that Michaels’ behavior has taken this to a new dimension. His obsession with being Mr. Wrestlemania and defeating Taker has impaired his ability to decipher what is fantasy and what is reality. He heard what Shawn had to say and it is true that he has never beaten Shawn one on one, but he reminds Shawn that the last time they did battle, Michaels spent the next five years at home in agonizing pain trying to recover. Michaels says he isn’t afraid, but on Sunday April 5, we will find out. At Wrestlemania, when Shawn stands across from Taker and begins to question his own faith, he wants Shawn to remember that he opened the gates to hell. Michaels’ music plays and we get a video on the Tron. It is Shawn standing in a cemetery with random Undertaker and Michaels clips playing while he speaks. He is always one step ahead and that is why he is on Taker’s turf. Some may call it sacrilegious, but he calls it defiant. He isn’t intimidated and he respects Taker but he isn’t afraid to confront him. The 16 previous wins don’t intimidate him. Michaels runs through all of Taker’s wins as he walks around the cemetery in a neat little montage. A fresh grave has been dug, surrounded by darkness of death. The grave is for Undertaker and his undefeated streak will be buried forever there. Not just six feet under, but down to the depths of hell. The tombstone has “16-1” on it and Shawn says that the undefeated streak will rest in peace. Michaels shovels dirt into the grave and we go to darkness. The lights come up and Taker is glaring at the Tron. That was a phenomenal piece of business. King says that nobody has ever gotten to Taker like this and says Michaels may have a death wish. Taker freaks out as we go to break.

- The Hall of Fame ceremony is on USA on April 4th, so check it out. Cole tells us that one more HOF inductee will be named tomorrow night on ECW. In the ring, we are joined by Santino Marella, Beth Phoenix and Rosa Mendes. Santino says he knows who the winner of the Diva battle royal will be: Santino Marella! Last week after Mickie James assaulted him, he went to Vicki and asked to be entered. It is sexual discrimination to keep him out based on his gentiles. So, if he can beat Mickie tonight with one arm behind his back he gets to prove that he is man enough to be Mr. Wrestlemania.

5) Santino Marella vs. Mickie James
Mickie heads out with Melina and Kelly and the bell sounds. She takes Santino down and spanks him. She hops on Santino’s back and ties up his other arm as well. Mickie wants a test of strength but Santino kicks her down instead. He drops some stiff knees and then flops on his back. He tries to steamroll her, but she avoids him and gets a near fall. Santino lands a knee to the gut and then heads up top. Santino struggles to climb up and by the time he does, Mickie crotches him. Beth ends up knocking Santino off the top by accident and Mickie nails him with the Mick Kick for the win. Mickie d. Marella with the Mick Kick; Grade: 1

- Mickie, Melina and Kelly celebrate as we go to break.

- We are back and Cole and King plug 12 Rounds once again and we get another trailer focusing on Danny Fisher and Miles Jackson. After that, we get the run down of the full Wrestlemania card. We then hear voices as Randy Orton and Ted DiBiase make their way to the ring for our main event. They stalk to the ring as we take a break.

- When we return, we take a look back at our opening segment. Cole says that they are not sure if Flair can make it to Wrestlemania now. Lawler calls out Jericho and challenges him to a match next week on Raw. Orton and DiBiase are waiting patiently in the ring and we are finally joined by the Game. Hunter climbs in the ring and charges both men. Orton and Triple H quickly brawl out to the floor and Hunter tackles Orton from behind. DiBiase attacks and shoots Hunter back in the ring. Orton comes in and clubs Hunter down from behind. DiBiase holds Hunter as Orton just hammers away at him. Hunter bails outside and he is able to fight off DiBiase and then send Orton flying over the announce table. Hunter goes under the ring for a weapon, but Cody Rhodes comes sliding out and slugs Hunter in the head. He pulls out handcuffs and they toss him inside the ring. Hunter fights back a bit, but they subdue him and cuff him to the top rope. Hunter still fights them off briefly before they hammer him down. Orton grabs the mic and says that only one person can save Hunter now and that she had better hurry. The assault continues as Orton grabs the sledgehammer from under the ring. As he lines up to hit Hunter, we see Stephanie running down the aisle. She stands there as Hunter tells her to get back. Orton tells her to get in the ring because it is up to her to save her husband. Steph is looking hot again. She climbs on the apron but Orton just glares at her, sledge in hand. She climbs down, but DiBiase and Rhodes are behind her. Orton pulls her onto the apron and hooks her in a chancery. Triple H desperately tries to make the save, but he is cuffed and can’t reach. Orton taunts him and then spikes Steph with the hanging DDT. Hunter buries his head as Orton slinks over and gets in his face. Orton smacks Hunter down again and then lies on top of Steph for a second. He grabs the sledge, looks at Hunter with bug eyes and then turns his attention to Stephanie. Hunter is desperately trying to break free as Orton looks up and then lays the hammer next to Steph’s body. Orton gets back up and grabs the sledge again, standing just out of Hunter’s reach. He finally smacks Hunter with the hammer, sending him crashing into the corner. Randy finally leaves the ring and slowly walks back with DiBiase and Rhodes. He keeps his eyes locked on Triple H and then turns as they head off. Steph is still motionless and Triple H is hanging in the corner, trying to reach for his wife as we fade out. That segment totally bumped my grade up a level. Orton is beyond awesome as the sadistic heel and the crowd was into it big time.

Final Grade: B-

MVP: Chris Jericho & Ric Flair
Runner Up: Randy Orton, Triple H and Shawn Michaels
Non MVP: Dolph Ziggler
Runner Up: Edge

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