March 3, 2009
Raw: WrestleMania takes shape
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling
Raw's live tonight, and with a few short weeks left until WrestleMania, WWE is in "build to PPV" mode. Let's see what WWE cooked up for the Monday night faithful.
We start off quickly with Jerry Lawler in the ring, announcing that tonight's main event will be a World title match between Edge and John Cena. Then, just as quickly, we go Piper's Pit, hosted by Chris Jericho? Sure, why not.
After showing the famous clip from years back with Piper and Jimmy Snuka, Jericho then invites Snuka into the Pit and shows clips from some of their matches.
Jericho gives a great promo, yet again. Snuka stands up to him, and Jericho starts pulling out the fruit. Before he can use the coconut, Snuka intercepts it and threatens Jericho. Jericho then scampers off, only to reappear after pushing the set down on Snuka. Jericho then gives Snuka a major beating. Good segment but still no 'Mania opponent for Y2J.
Match 1 - Rey Mysterio vs. Kane vs. Mike Knox (Triple Threat, Money In The Bank qualifying match)
Man, WWE's really pushing the triple threats eh?
Average match (and that's being generous) sees Knox hit his finisher on Mysterio, only to walk into a Kane chokeslam. Big Red's going to 'Mania.
Post-match, Kane stays heel by chokeslamming Mysterio.
Next up is a look back at WrestleMania XII and the Iron Man match.
This leads into an HBK interview, talking about his match with Vladimir Kozlov and the potential match against Undertaker.
Match 2 - Kelly Kelly/Mickie James vs. Beth Phoenix/Jillian Hall
I feel like we've seen this match 100 times already. Maryse and Melina are on commentary and bicker through the match. Kelly, eventually, gets a top rope sommersault pin for the duke.
Post match, Rosa Mendez runs in, as does Santino Marella and Melina... well, the latter tries to until Maryse trips her up and then gives her a harsh DDT on the outside. Looks like we're potentially getting a unification match at 'Mania for the ladies' titles.
After a video, Randy Orton comes out flanked by Legacy and various lawyers and police officers and announces he will face the winner of the Edge/John Cena bout at 'Mania. Triple H then comes out with a sledgehammer and soon after heads to the ring. He then drops the hammer and is invited into the ring. The two stand face-to-face and Triple H throws the Evolution encounter between the two out to goad him into a 'Mania match. One of the lawyers speak out and order security to remove HHH. Orton calls them off and says he will instead face The Game, with the caveat being that neither can touch each other until 'Mania. The deal is made, and then Orton then taunts Triple H enough for the two to go forehead to forehead (so much for stipulations). Triple H then goes off on Randy again. Strong, strong segment here!
Match 3 - Shawn Michaels vs. Vladimir Kozlov
The match is surprisingly decent, with Kozlov going to other wrestlers' finishers, including the Bulldog powerslam and Lex Luger's Torture Rack. HBK, however, gets the clean pin on Kozlov following the Superkick. Folks, we have our true 'Mania main event, HBK vs 'Taker.
Winner: Shawn Michaels
Next up, we take a look at 12 Rounds, John Cena's next movie. Then we find out that the next inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame is "Cowboy" Bill Watts.
After this, we go to a quick interview with Edge about tonight's main event.
Match 4 - Edge vs. John Cena (World Title Match)
This was another great match between these guys, as we might expect. Eventually, the two go to the finisher exchange/escape finish, with Edge eventually getting DQ'd by hitting Cena with the title belt.
Cena's hopes of going to 'Mania are further dashed when Big Show and Vickie Guerrero come out. Vickie announces Show as Edge's opponent at 'Mania.
Overall, this was a good show and did well to build up 'Mania. Most of the action wasn't great, but the main event, Jericho and the HHH/Orton exchange were wicked.
Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! Wrestling since 2000.