First let me thank so many of you for emailing me and giving me your thoughts on how Raw came off on TV. I did tape it but I haven’t watched it yet. But let me tell all of you that being there live last night was almost as fantastic as being at Wrestlemania last year, and believe me it was almost the same feeling. Live the show was outstanding. When I read on WWE.com that Raw would be the biggest Raw ever, I thought as much as I wanted to believe that I had a bad feeling that the hype for the show would mean we would get a good show, but not a great show. Well I am so happy to say that we got an excellent show.
I think what really makes this all so wonderful is that my 21 year old son Jason a one time big WWF fan got to see three of his all time favorites, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. Jason left the show not only loving it as much as I did but all set to stay home on Sunday and watch Wrestlemania with me, AND he told me that when No Mercy comes here in October he’s going to be right there with me. This was one very special night for me. So special that all my cheering, booing and chanting didn’t embarrass him at all, in fact he joined right in. So you can see my night was perfect.
Instead of going through the segments or angles let me just tell you what it was like for me to watch the crowd, see the signs, notice what Tee shirts seemed to be the most worn by the fans and see really every top WWE star from all three shows. I have been to many Raws and Smackdowns, and so many have been outstanding but you know what? I think this might have just been the greatest Raw that I ever attended. Now as far as the top shirt of the night goes? It had to be all different styles of DX shirts. This crowd was hot for Shawn and Triple H, and I’m sure you noticed on TV the glow in the dark green DX sticks during the show. I would have to say that DX means a lot to the Chicago fans. John Cena shirts were also quite popular especially with the younger kids, but as far as the signs go, DX and the whole Hair vs. Hair feud seemed to take over the arena. I was really surprised by how many signs I saw having to do with that feud. And I saw plenty of Austin shirts and Batista shirts, but as I said DX and Cena dominated what the “cool” fans of Chicago wore. Of course I didn’t wear any wrestling tee shirt, so I guess that kind of says it all about me.
As I said Vince McMahon gave us so much in Raw’s two hours. Before I get into Raw, I want to tell you very quickly about Heat. We had Cade and Murdoch come out with Murdoch facing this young guy Kofi Kingston. My son took to him immediately. He did a little mic work in a Jamaican accent and just seemed to have a really nice personality. Cade/Murdoch didn’t get a great reaction, but it wasn’t horrible. We then had Val Venis vs. Charlie Haas, and the match was good but again the crowd wasn’t really into either one. But it wasn’t like you could hear a pin drop while the match was going on. Shelton Benjamin got a nice pop as did his opponent Super Crazy, but the two guys that were OVER and I do mean over, were Shad and JTG. The crowd erupted when they came out, and stayed with them through out their match against jobbers. So at least I got Cryme Tyme, Haas, Benjamin and Super Crazy for Heat so things started out well.
But it was Raw’s opening segment with Coach and Stone Cold Steve Austin that made me believe that Raw was going to be a really good show, I just didn’t know how good it would be. Austin got maybe the biggest pop of the night. I don’t know how many expected him there. I know I wasn’t expecting it at all, so his appearance was a pleasant surprise for me. And another fantastic surprise was seeing CM Punk on Raw. I know most of you know that he’s a favorite of mine and I was just like a teenager when he came out. Yes I screamed his name and chanted with the crowd CM PUNK throughout his match. See you can be 53 yet still act weird, so remember that. Seriously it was such a treat for me to see Punk and then to have all the guys in the MIB match on the Cutting Edge was like icing on the cake. I was excited to see each and every one of the participants. Booker, the Hardy’s, Finlay, Kennedy and Randy Orton. This was a segment that went over very well with the crowd.
I have to say the women’s match I believe was the quietest the crowd got the whole night. I was really hoping Jillian would sing in that way that she has, but she didn’t and that disappointed me. Lashley was way over once he got in the ring with Vince. When he first made his entrance he got a nice reaction, but it was once the two were standing face to face is when the crowd got louder. I felt so bad that Johnny Nitro was stuck with Master, Cade and Murdoch to try to take out Lashley. That guy deserves to be in a match at Wrestlemania and to have him with that group in my eyes wasn’t exactly a compliment to him. When Umaga came out man the crowd really got into what went on between him and Lashley. You would have thought with the crowd’s reaction that this WAS the top feud at Wrestlemania.
Another twosome that really went over with all of us was Khali and Kane. As soon as Kane came out with his lovely hook accessory and Khali and Kane started to go at it, I was cheering with everyone else. There is just something that seems to work so well between these two. I’m not sure about their match Sunday, but last night even though they were only out there for a few seconds it came off perfectly. Ric Flair and Carlito got a very nice reaction, and my only complaint was that I would have loved to have had Carlito in a match. Now the crowd was really booing Cena when he did his over the top promo backstage. This was weird. Before Raw started anytime Cena’s face showed up on a video the majority of the fans would boo him. This was the pattern until during the break Lillian Garcia was helping pass out brand new Cena shirts. As the guy was shooting the shirts in the stands the crowd was going nuts. I mean who wouldn’t want a free shirt? But then as I said the more he talked backstage the louder the boos got. And when HBK did his promo he got the cheers and just a few boos.
And the main event was out of this world. I haven’t seen Taker live in about 5 years. There is nothing like seeing Taker in person. Now I got Batista at my show in October in a dark match against Booker T. I always like seeing him and the fans gave him a nice pop, and when Cena came out he got more cheers then boos, but once the match took place the crowd started turning on him. Of course when the DX music hit and Michaels came out the crowd went nuts and the green X’s lit up and for those of us that didn’t buy the green X’s we just made the X sign, damn I loved it. So if you noticed every time Cena got offense on Taker more so then Batista the crowd would boo him. You would hear cheers if Taker hit Cena, and boos if Cena hit Taker. I’ve been to these shows before and this always makes me laugh. I have to say I loved the fact that we had all four guys in the ring and that Shawn super kicked Cena. I didn’t think that would happen until Wrestlemania, so just like being surprised by Austin and Punk, HBK’s super kicked totally caught me off guard. The majority of fans seemed to love it as well. As you can see WWE gave us one hell of a show.
I am SO ready for Wrestlemania, and with the 8 man tag team tonight on ECW with Edge, Punk, and the Hardy’s vs. Kennedy, Booker, Finlay and Randy Orton, and Friday’s Smackdown, I would say that this Sunday’s show is looking really good, much better than I thought it would. This weekend I will be back with my Wrestlemania picks, so feel free to start sending me your predictions. I also want to say that today is my 7th year of writings columns. I say this every year but I cannot believe how time flies. It’s such a privilege for me to be able to do what I do. So I want to thank all of you that have supported me throughout the years. Let me end with the latest release. Joey Mercury yesterday was released from WWE. Now from what I have been reading and from what I just heard on a hotline report it has to do with the Wellness program, and that he has personal problems and once he takes care of those problems its very likely that WWE will take Joey back. So hopefully things will work out for him.