Tonight, RAW emulated from the Target Center in the freezing tundra that is Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was freaking awesome.
I have..."connections" and was privileged enough to be sitting in the second row for most of the night, then moving into the front row for the last 2 matches. But even still, I would have def paid for this house show. Everyone worked their butts off and, most of all, IT WAS FUN! The arena was 3/4 full on the bottom level...but everyone was excited so you couldn't tell.
La Resistance v. Hurricane and Rosey Lots of "USA" chants. 'Cane and Rosey win with a Side Suplex/Elbow Drop combo.
Royal Rumble Qualifier: Christian w/ Tomko v William Regal The moment Christian came out the crowd was on him. They cheered big time for Regal while he was doing his "face-cheating" (i.e. holding onto Christian's leg while Christian is trying to break his hold before the 5) and "flexing" of his bicep. Christian gets the pin when Tomko connects with a boot to Regal's face while the ref is tied up with Christian.
IC Championship Match: Shelton Benjamin v Maven The people behind me were calling Maven "Onion-Head." Shelton goes all Stinger and gets the pin with a clothesline off the top rope.
Muhammad Hassan w/ Khosrow Daivari v Chris Jericho Jericho blew the place up when he came out and told Daivari to "Shut the hell up!" Hassan rolls up Y2J for the pin when Jericho is trying to put an interfering Daivari in the Walls of Jericho and Hassan gets in a quick low-blow. Jericho stays behind to thank the fans and everyone went nuts.
Segment: Coach comes out and says that Bischoff really cares about the Minnesota fans, so he brings out Christy Hemme (who asked me who she should talk to in order to find the lockerroom when she walked into Target Center). Coach says Hemme has let herself go since becoming the Diva Search winner. With that, Coach brings out Simon Dean who he says will whip Christy back into shape as well as us fat Minnesotans. Lots of "Nova" and "Where's Meanie?" chants for Dean as he says that his Simon System powder will get Christy back into shape. He pours it into a Caribou Coffee cup and Christy throws it in his face. While Coach is attending to Dean, Christy low-blows him and skampers off. Coach says he will "get that bitch." Meanwhile, Benoit and Edge come out. Benoit laughs at Coach while Edge has a brief word with him before getting to the ring.
Chris Benoit v Edge Edge comes out and says that he is the real World Heavyweight champion. Lots of stiff chops on Benoit's part and lots of good pain on Edge's. Edge gets the win when Coach comes back out to distract Benoit and Edge gets a cheating win. Christy runs back out to slap Edge and Coach. Benoit salutes the fans then left.
Hardcore Match: Gene Snitsky v Kane Snitsky says his famous lines, but says that Lita and Kane's pain will be his fault. Kane comes out and they beat each other with a trash can/lids. Kane gets the win with a Chokeslam (which I took a killer picture of.)
Molly Holly v Victoria w/ Val Venis as Referee Decent match. Venis says he is like cement (figure it out). The crowd was for Molly since she is from Forest Lake, MN, but Victoria had a following. Victoria gets the win with the Widow's Peak.
Randy Orton v. Batista Batista was getting cheered like mad and he played up to every bit of it. He was really trying to conceal his smile and excitement, but you could tell he was pumped more than usual. The crowd split when Orton came out but there was a very loud "Batista" chant for a while. Batista then began to jaw-jack with a 4 year old with a Randy Orton teddy bear...and the kid didn't back down. It was awesome and Batista was trying not to laugh at the...cuteness :/...of the situation. Orton wins when he reverses the Tiger Bomb into an RKO. The crowd still blew up for Batista though and he then started to smile and play to the crowd. He even tagged some hands on the way back.
Main Event: HBK Shawn Michaels v Ric Flair This is the first time I had ever seen Flair or Michaels. Flair gets on the mic and says that HBK has as much of a chance of getting over him in Minnesota as Randy Moss has of catching a TD Sunday against Philly. Flair says he doesn't care for Michaels' "shit". It was a pretty decent match with all of the usual antics from both of them save Michaels' elbow drop. HBK went for a roll-up but ended up pulling down...and I mean down...Ric Flair's trunks. Flair did the top-rope catch with his pants barely on. The world got to see the Nature Butt-Hole...which was really gross. HBK kips up and nails Sweet Chin Music for the win. Afterward, Edge comes back out to hit and run Michaels, but Benoit comes out to even the odds. After the scuffle, Michaels stays behind to tag the fans and send everyone off goodnight.
It was really an awesome show. I honestly don't care about attendance and storylines and whatever. Give me solid, fun wrestling like this and you'll have me everytime. I'll be back the next time...which will be SmackDown!'s Judgment Day PPV in May.
The adjusted RAW rating has it dropping from a 3.9 to a 3.8, with hourly ratings of 3.5 and 4.1. The 3.5 for hour one was actually much higher than I expected, as the Joe Millionaire blitzkrieg was opposing it.