NOTE: I missed the opening segment (first seven minutes or so) due to a racketball game running late. So...
-I pick up with a video package of Batista/Undertaker, then JBL plugs his interview with both combatants tonight!
-Teddy Long is backstage making reservations when Kristal walks in. He says he made reservations for the two of themher 5-on-5 divas match. Teddy wishes her luck in her match. Long is a playa!
1- MR. KENNEDY VS. FINLAY There is a ladder on the outside of the ring. Michael Cole says all members of MITB are in action tonight except Edge, who begged out earlier (must be what I missed!). Long collar-and-elbow tie-up for the two, and they take it to the outside of the ring. Back in, they lock up again. Kennedy works it into a side-headlock as the crowd (or one person I heard) chanted “boring.” Finlay with a hammerlock on the mat. Head of Finlay goes into the turnbuckle. After a near-fall, Kennedy tries to take off the top buckle pad, but Finlay catches him and after a short beating, takes it off fully. He wanders toward Kennedy, who rolls him in a small package for two. Finlay gets rammed into the exposed steel followed by a Lambeau leap from the mat for two. Kennedy goes for a ladder under the ring, but Finlay kicks him in the face. Finlay with a forearm to the chest. Finlay whips Kennedy into the buckle, but misses a charge shoulder-first and Kennedy gets a two count. Kennedy grabs the ladder that was set up outside the ring and brings it inside. Kennedy tries to hit Finlay, who dodges it, and takes over on offense. Hornswaggle makes his first appearance, bringing a step-ladder into the ring. Ref Jim Korderas is distracted, so Hornswaggle, from the “top” with a Ken-ton onto Kennedy. Finlay picks Kennedy up and hits the Celtic Crunch on Kennedy for the pin.
WINNER: Finlay by pinfall at 5:57 These guys clearly didn’t want to show too much before WM.
-We get highlights from the McMahon/Lashley situation from last Monday.
-A special look at the WM23 press conference from earlier this week is coming up!
-Nothing keeps Maryse between her and Friday Night Smackdown.
2- MVP VS. VIKO BATAMANGO MVP’s opponent has the speed and stamina of a gazelle and someone who can give him a run for his money. It’s the Ethiopian Champion, and the spelling is purely a guess. Ah, there’s the chyron to help me. It appears to be D-Ray 3000 in Saba Simba garb. MVP goes after him to start, laying in some punches to the ribs in the corner. Whip into the buckle and MVP greets him with a big boot. Knees to the mid-section, and MVP gets the rolling Germans. Playmaker gets mis-calculated, but it hits anyway for the victory.
WINNER: MVP by pinfall at 1:32. MVP gets on the mic to send a message to Chris Benoit about Sunday.
-Highlights of Smackdown two weeks ago when Undertaker was getting beaten on by King Booker and Finlay, then throwing Finlay into Batista.
-Tonight, the self-proclaimed biggest interview in sports entertainment history is tonight.
3- RANDY ORTON VS. JEFF HARDY Hardy gets a clean break in the corner but after another tie-up, Orton grabs the left arm. Reversal by Hardy and he’s got the upper-hand. Orton backs Hardy into the corner and sneaks in a right hand. Orton misses a charge and gets caught with an arm-drag. Hardy concentrates on the left arm of Orton now. Straight right hands by Orton in the corner. Hardy with a two-count on a roll-up, face-first suplex by Hardy for two as well. Hardy to the middle rope for the ten-count of punches. Back elbow finds the mark, and Orton looked like he was going into the ropes at half speed. European uppercut by Orton. Big clothesline by Orton on Hardy after Hardy jumped over Orton going into the turnbuckle. Orton then knocks Hardy off the apron into the barricade at ringside. That’s our cue for a break.
Back from break, Orton has his rear chin-lock on Hardy, who the crowd is cheering for. Hardy punches his way out, but Orton catches him with a side back-breaker for two. Orton talks some trash to Hardy, then hits the standing dropkick into a cover for two. Orton gets frustrated and starts choking Hardy in the ropes, then stomps away on him. With Hardy lying on the mat, Orton goes to the outside and gives him an uppercut. Back to the chinlock. This goes on for a while until Hardy elbows out, but Orton takes him back down, assisted by a handful of hair. Kneedrop misses for Orton. Hardy takes Orton to the mat and both men are down. Hardy is up and lands some clotheslines on Orton. Into the turnbuckle, Hardy goes up and hits the Whisper in the Wind for two. Hardy back up, but Orton rolls away. Orton throws Hardy through the ropes and to the outside. There, Edge comes down and lays the boots to Hardy. Orton yells a quite audible “What the fuck” at Edge. Orton throws Hardy back into the ring, and sets up the RKO. He takes time to yell at Edge, which gives Hardy time to roll him up for the win.
WINNER: Hardy by pinfall at 15:22 Serviceable match, but Orton’s chin locks in the middle were just brutal.
-Clips from Smackdown last week, RE: Batista and Taker. Tonight, JBL hosts them in an interview segment.
-Cole and JBL show highlights of last Monday’s HBK/Cena from RAW. They then run down the matches for WM23.
-The heel team comes out for the 10-diva tag match, which is NEXT!
4- MELINA, MICHELLE MCCOOL, JILLIAN, VICTORIA AND KRISTAL VS. ASHLEY, TORRIE WILSON, MICKIE JAMES, MARIA, CANDICE MICHELLE Mickie with a snap-mare on Victoria then a dropkick as Victoria is seated. Mickie misses a dropkick as Victoria’s teammates hold her going into the ropes. McCool tags in and after a double-team, gets a two-count. McCool puts the boots to Mickie in the corner. Tag brings in Melina, who chokes Mickie in the ropes. A cheap-shot by the heel team and a two-count for Melina is registered. Jillian tags in and gets the first hair toss of the match. Bodyslam and tag into Victoria, who misses a moonsault. Both women are down. Mickie makes the (hot?) tag to Candice, who greets Victoria with a spin kick then does that stupid dance. Whip into the buckle and tag to Maria. Victoria is set up and Maria hits the bronco buster then tags out. Torrie is in now for the stinkface. Victoria finally tags to Jillian and Torrie tags Ashley. Ashley clothesline Kristal down after taking down Jillian. Jillian comes back though, tries to powerbomb Ashley, but Ashley rolls her up for the win.
WINNERS: Ashley, Torrie, Mickie, Maria and Candice by pinfall at 3:33. Started as a decent match, but then degenerated into the non-wrestlers getting their spots in (Maria, Torrie).
-Clips from The Condemned, with actor/director comments. I liked the ones with the Eminem song (was it Eminem?) in the commercials.
-King Booker is walking backstage, coming out to face CM Punk next!
5- KING BOOKER VS. CM PUNK Tie up ends in a surprising clean break in the corner from Booker. Booker applies some knees and forearms to Punk. Right hands follow, but he goes for one too many. Punk blocks it and uses his educated feet to get the advantage. Snap-mare and dropkick on the seated King for two. Punk gets some nice kicks to the shoulder of Booker. Reversal into the ropes, and Booker hangs Punk out to dry on the top rope. Booker into a cover for two. Booker with a chop, but Punk comes back with some forearms. Off the ropes, Punk is caught and a spinebuster is hit by Booker. Booker works into a chinlock now. That doesn’t last long however, but Booker puts Punk down with a yank of the hair. The two go toe-to-toe with chops and punches and Punk comes out on top, but is put down after going off the ropes and into an elbow. Punk counters Booker and gets a swinging neckbreaker. Punk uses kicks and a heel kick for his fast-paced offense that gets him a two count. Enziguiri by Punk, into a cover, again for two. Punk hits his knee to the face in the corner, but Booker gets a sidekick to the jaw of Punk. Kick to the gut, misses a scissors kick does Booker. Punk gets out of a suplex, rolls up Booker and gets the three!
WINNER: Punk by pinfall at 6:48. In case you’re counting, that’s three in a row matches that have ended in a roll-up.
-Highlights of the main event tag match from last Monday.
-Coming up next, JBL interviews Undertaker and Batista! Also up next (is that possible?), the WM23 press conference and the Trump/McMahon confrontation.
-We get highlights of the WrestleMania 23 press conference at the Trump Plaza. Nice slap from Trump!
-JBL’s music hits, and you know what that means. He heads into the ring for his much-hyped interview. But first, JBL brags about his in-ring accomplishments. Before the interviewees can come out, Stone Cold Steve Austin does. Well, WWE.com did advertise him for Smackdown. Without saying anything, Austin stuns JBL and grabs some brews. He then pours some alcoholic beverages on JBL’s face, which wakes him up. He’s on his feet, but that’s the wrong move, because Austin hits ANOTHER stunner. Cole promises the interview will go on as scheduled, next!
-Theodore Long is in the ring, with plenty of security. Batista is introduced first. The wall of security separates the two men. Something tells me that’s not going to be enough. Teddy asks if Batista still respects Taker. A simple “No” from Batista. Undertaker has no reply. Batista says that in 48 hours, he’s going to whip Taker’s ass. About 60/40 boos to cheers for that. Taker takes off his jacket in response. Batista pushes his way through security and goes after the dead man. They even take it to the outside of the ring. Batista makes it back into the ring and security fails to hold Taker back on the outside. Some agents come out to break it up too (I spy: Johnny Ace, Michael Hayes and Mike Rotundo). Batista leaves Taker down in the ring and heads up the aisle, but Taker does the zombie sit-up and the two stare at each other to end the show.
The first segment was supposed to be Edge vs. Matt Hardy, but Edge backed out of the match, delivering a good promo in the process, and brought out the Great Khali. Hey, I thought the point of the brand split was that I wouldn't have to see guys like Khali more than once a week? Anyway, Matt and Khali proceed to have a match. Khali pretty much pushes Matt around with his dizzying array of moves (but sadly, no JUDO CHOP~! to the head). As he goes for the tree slam, Kane's pyro goes off. Khali goes up the ramp looking for Kane, but finds him on the Titantron. Kane says "two more days" as he wields his hook and laughs maniacally. And go to commercial...
In other words, geemoney, you didn't miss much.
The Wisdom of Homsar: AaAaAa! I'm a trendy tote bag!
Punk going over Booker blew my mind. Looks like some people have had a change of heart about him.
To those who say people wouldn't look; they wouldn't be interested; they're too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter's opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost. This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires, and lights, in a box.-Edward R. Murrow
This was a good little Raw. Nothing major happened, but it was a nice show. It made my mother (who hasn't seriously watched in 20 years) sit down and pay attention. She said that Rene Dupree looked "oafish."