WWE Raw Live Report
April 30 in Nashville, Tennessee
We open with John Cena walking backstage with his WWE Title belt displayed prominently. Vince McMahon then walked up to Cena sporting his ECW Title. McMahon, in another doo-rag, did a pseudo rap and said the champ is here. Cena said all he sees is a stooge in a doo-rag. Shawn Michaels then interrupted and stared down McMahon with a curious look. Cena rolled his eyes in McMahon’s direction, then Michaels told Cena sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Michaels said he had him beat last night, and he wants one more match. Cena said he’s always game. McMahon then said everyone’s talking about their match last week, so he’s going to book Michaels vs. Cena tonight, but Michaels has to win the non-title match in order to earn another title shot. McMahon then said once Michaels wins the WWE Title, maybe he can come after the big title. “Peace out my brothers!” McMahon shouted as he left. Michaels and Cena shared a moment acknowledging that McMahon’s lost his mind.
1 — EDGE vs. RANDY ORTON
Ross and Lawler hyped the match as a battle of humungous egos. The bell sounded and Edge slapped Orton across the face to star the action. They did a cat and mouse chase on the outside before Orton landed a thumb in the eye. Orton then toyed with Edge, driving Edge’s face into the mat so the camera couldn’t pick up Edge’s facial reactions. Orton then shoved Edge off the apron and Edge crashed into the guardrail. Odd opening three minutes with Edge being completely dominated.
Orton was in control out of the break, but he missed a splash against the ropes and Edge speared him off the apron directly onto the Raw announce table. He crashed onto Ross and Lawler, then Edge picked him up and threw him in the ring for a nearfall. Surprisingly enough, the fans were behind Orton, popping when he kicked out of two pin attempts. Edge then caught Orton with a reverse spin kick and went up top.
10:00: Orton got up and crotched Edge on the top turnbuckle. He then went up top and set up for a superplex, but Edge knocked him down with a headbutt. Edge then came off the top, but Orton met him in mid-air with a dropkick at Edge’s highest point. Both men recovered to their knees and exchanged right hand blows, then they slowly reached their feet before Orton caught Edge with an inverted backbreaker for a close nearfall. Man, the fans are really behind Orton tonight. Orton surprised Edge with a powerslam off the ropes, but it was good for a nearfall only. Loud “Randy” chant at 13:00. Orton then ducked a clothesline and they had a mid-air collision. Edge was the first one up and he took off the turnbuckle pad. The ref scolded him, then Orton tried to roll up Edge, but it was good for a two count only. Edge tried to counter, but Orton kicked out. Orton then took Edge to the corner for ten punches, but Edge gave him snake eyes in the corner. Orton came up bleeding and both men went for pinfall attempts, using the ropes for additional leverage, but the ref caught them each time. Orton went for the RKO at 15:00, but Edge blocked and hit an impaler DDT for a very close nearfall. The fans cheered for Orton, who slowly reached his feet and leapt into the air to avoid the spear. Orton then stalked Edge for the RKO and waited for the right moment to go for his finisher, but Edge shoved him off and hit a spear for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Edge in 17:00. Wow. What a great wrestling match. That was one of those matches that you really didn’t want to see end. Maybe another five or ten minutes of counters and reversals. WWE is red-hot in the wrestling department right now. And the bigger story was the babyface fan reaction for Orton. It remains to be seen whether that’s a one-time reaction or something to build on, but it was quite a surprise. (***1/2)
They recapped the ending to Michaels vs. Cena II on Raw last week. Ross plugged that IC champion Santino Morella would have a live interview up next.
Tomorrow night on ECW, the McMahons brag about getting their revenge on Lashley, but the Originals confront Vince.
Todd Grisham interviewed Santino about his background training to become a wrestler before buying a ticket in Italy and winning the IC Title. Santino said he can’t believe how his dream came true and he celebrated by drinking plenty of wine with his family. He has a title defense next week. The promo didn’t work. The “I’m living my dream” babyface promo doesn’t work with a cynical pro wrestling audience in 2007.
They cut to a promo from RVD after Backlash last night. He said ECW made wrestling hip again back in the day, and McMahon must have been so pleased with himself for burying and resurrecting ECW in his own vision before winning the ECW Title.
Ross said RVD might have to pay for his words when he faces Umaga tonight. Backstage, Shane McMahon approached Vince to touch the belt. Vince told him to chill, then he pulled out the “sticks in my crawl” line about guys like RVD. He said RVD needed to pay tonight. Shane then gave him a big hug and told him he loves him. Vince wasn’t sure what to make of the hug, so he gave Shane the belt to hold. Shane said it’s heavy, then Vince left and Shane quietly chanted “E-C-W” to himself.
Maria tried to interview Edge backstage, but Edge ripped the mic away and said he’s angry because Shawn Michaels has been granted yet another WWE Title match. He said he’s going to insert himself into the title picture by force whether anyone likes it or not.
Cade and Murdoch were ringside on commentary. Cade said they’re going to have another night to challenge for the tag titles after the Hardys beat them fair and square last night. Murdoch reiterated that their team is about sportsmanship and good tag team wrestling.
2 — JEFF HARDY vs. NITRO
Nitro quickly gained control in the opening minute and Murdoch said he needs a beer and popcorn. Lawler continued to act surprised as Cade & Murdoch handed out complements to the Hardys. Jeff then came off the top with Whisper in the Wind at 2:00 and made a full comeback with right arm clotheslines. They battled up top, then Jeff back dropped Nitro off the top to the floor. Jeff then hit a top rope Swanton Bomb for the pin and the win.
After the match, Cade & Murdoch clapped it up for Jeff on the outside. Cade then took the mic and announced Jeff as the winner. He said all they want to do is come in the ring and shake his hand. Lawler wasn’t buying the sudden sense of sportsmanship, and neither was Jeff. He slowly backed out of the ring and held one of his tag title belts in the air as Cade & Murdoch continued to applaud Jeff.
WINNER: Jeff Hardy in 4:00. Basic singles victory for Jeff over Nitro, who has sunk like a rock. Intriguing storyline development between Jeff and Cade & Murdoch, as it allowed the challengers to show some personality for once. (3/4*)
They aired a video package promoting The Condemned. The voice-over man said the movie received rave reviews. I must have missed those.
They recapped Vince McMahon winning the ECW Title at Backlash. Shane McMahon then came to the ring and welcomed out Umaga. Ross said Lashley is in Birmingham, Alabama being looked at by Dr. James Andrews for a shoulder injury. A perfect segue to a Triple H reference to plant seeds for when Hunter returns from rehab. RVD came out for his match against Umaga, who had a look of hunger and glee on his face.
3 — UMAGA (w/Shane McMahon) vs. ROB VAN DAM
We start the top of the hour with RVD landing a spin kick in the corner, but Umaga shoved him off the top rope into the guardrail on the floor. Back in the ring, RVD went for a body slam, but Umaga fell on top of him on the mat. Suddenly, RVD went for a sleeper hold after jumping on Umaga’s back. Umaga went down to both knees as Shane looked on with concern, then Umaga powered to his feet and rammed RVD into the corner to finally break the hold. On the outside, RVD went back to a sleeper hold, and Umaga broke it up by thrusting RVD off his back into the ring steps. RVD made it back into the ring just before a ten count, then Umaga landed a flying headbutt to the chest. Umaga went for his signature rear splash, but RVD moved out of the way just in time. He then rattled Umaga with thrust kicks, but it wasn’t until he went up top for a thrust kick that the knocked Umaga on his back. Umaga came right back with headbutt blows, but missed with a corner splash. RVD then landed a back kick and went up top. He hit a nice five star frog splash, but Umaga caught RVD by the throat when he hit the mat. He then brought RVD to his feet and landed a Samoan spike to the throat for the win. Afterward, Vince McMahon came out on stage and held up the ECW Title belt to celebrate with Shane and Umaga.
WINNER: Umaga in 10:00. Good back-and-forth match. Coming into this show, I would have expected Orton and RVD to take losses, but both men have had their fair share of credible offense tonight. The losses really didn’t take much away from either man tonight. (**)
Backstage, Ric Flair was making a cup of coffee at catering. Carlito and Torrie Wilson walked up to Flair, and Carlito apologized for taking out his frustrations on Flair last week after losing to Khali. Carlito said they have a match against Shelton & Haas, and he’ll be out of his hair if they can’t get it done tonight. Flair said he only has one more chance. Torrie asked Carlito if this is a good idea, then Carlito snapped back that he knows what he’s doing.
Shawn Michaels’s music hit for Cena vs. Michaels III, but Michaels didn’t come out. They then cut backstage where Michaels was slumped against a wall, apparently knocked out. Officials scrambled to check on Michaels, then they cut to a break.
Chaos ensued backstage as Cena and Val Venis tried to figure out what was going on. Coach then entered the scene and accused Cena of knocking out Michaels so he wouldn’t have to face him in the main event. Cena grabbed Coach and threw him against the wall, then left. Vince McMahon entered the scene and wanted to know who knocked out Michaels. He told Coach to find out, but he pointed a finger at Michaels and told him he’s still in the main event. All right, who let Rikishi back on the roster?
4 — RIC FLAIR & CARLITO (w/Torrie Wilson) vs. CHARLIE HAAS & SHELTON BENJAMIN
Ross, speaking as the voice of the fans, got tough on commentary regarding Michaels’s injury and asked whether McMahon treats his wrestlers like animals. “Easy, RVD,” Lawler said. The heels isolated Carlito in their corner, then Carlito tried to fight out with left hand jabs, but Carlito cut him off with a backbreaker. Torrie then started a slow clap as the fans chanted for Flair. Carlito finally fought out of the heel corner with a pancake slam and made the tag to Flair, who ripped off a round of chops on Shelton. Carlito cleared Haas out of the ring, then Flair gave Shelton a back drop. He started to strut as Carlito stood in the background, then Carlito waited for Flair to turn around and he dropped him with a left hand jab. Carlito mounted Flair and pounded away as Torrie Wilson covered her mouth in shock. Carlito left the ring and Flair chased him up the entrance ramp. Flair tackled Carlito as Lawler pointed out that you never turn your back on Flair. Carlito then landed an eye rake and left. Flair came up holding his face, but he stood his ground as the camera focused on his look of frustration and passion.
WINNER: No Contest in 6:00. The fans responded when Flair snapped on Carlito, and if Carlito’s skating on thin ice right now, they might as well use him to restart a money push for Flair. (*)
Backstage, the leading candidate for who took out Shawn Michaels (Edge) was face-down in the locker room. An official told Coach that he found Edge unconscious. Coach then told someone to get him Randy Orton.
Ross and Lawler debated what’s happened tonight, with Michaels and Edge being knocked out. Lawler tried to play devil’s advocate for Orton that we shouldn’t instantly accuse him of KO’ing both men.
They showed a video package on The Condemned.
Mr. Kennedy came out with his briefcase and made several references to the O.J. Simpson trial. He said he’s not the one who took out Shawn Michaels and Edge, though, because he doesn’t need to do stuff like that. Kennedy then polled the crowd if they wanted to see him cash in his briefcase tonight. They screamed and cheered, but Kennedy brought them back down by saying he’s not doing that. Kennedy then ripped on Edge for how he used his Money in the Bank stipulation to pin John Cena after he survived an Elimination Chamber match, so he’s going to be upfront about when he’s cashing in. He said it will be at WrestleMania 24 and there will be a new champion.
They cut backstage where Kenny Dykstra (remember him?) found Randy Orton knocked out on the shower floor. Coach and a referee also found the scene, then went running away to find help. Kenny checked on Orton as they cut to a break.
Backstage, Vince McMahon was talking to a stagehand about his ECW Title win. Coach then found McMahon and said he can’t figure out who knocked out all of the top wrestlers. McMahon said he knows whodunit, with a poster of Steve Austin in The Condemned looming large in the background. Not-so-subtle foreshadowing or a heck of a red herring. McMahon then told Coach to go find John Cena and send him to the ring.
5 — MICKIE JAMES & CANDICE MICHELLE vs. WWE Women’s champion MELINA & VICTORIA
Candice went for a backslide on Victoria in the opening minute and Ross said her skills seem to be improving each week. Mickie and Melina then entered the ring and they brawled on the mat. Melina screamed as Mickie landed right hand blows, then Victoria yanked Mickie out of the ring to the floor. The heels then isolated Mickie in the ring before Candice took a hot tag and ran around the ring. She snapped off a head scissors that nearly broke Victoria’s neck, and Melina broke up a pin attempt. The heels tried to execute a double suplex on Candice, but Mickie broke it up. Candice then rolled up Victoria for the win.
WINNERS: Candice & Mickie in 4:00. Good energy. Not sure what’s with the push for Candice, but she’s at least showing signs of improvement in the ring. (3/4*)
They showed John Cena slowly walking backstage with a stern look on his face. Ross said we would get to the bottom of this after the break.
They showed a promo from The Sandman, Tommy Dreamer, and RVD after Backlash last night. Sabu simply threw a ladder against a wall. Dreamer said McMahon’s ego got in the way and he finally got his wish to be champion of ECW. Sandman said McMahon better be careful what he wishes for. Good passion from everyone.
They recapped Michaels, Edge, and Randy Orton being knocked out tonight. Back live in the arena, Cena came right to the ring and grabbed the mic.
[Q9 — over-run]
Cena stared into the crowd, and said apparently someone is trying to make a statement and get the attention of the WWE champion. He said he has a newsflash that he doesn’t back down from any challenge. Cena threw down the mic and ripped off his cap and shirt, waiting for someone to come out and answer the challenge. You’re expecting Austin or Triple H or Batista or Taker or even Rikishi, but instead you get… Great Khali. Cena’s confidence was instantly shot, but he met Khali on the entrance ramp and tried to throw right hand blows, but Khali simply threw him into the ring ropes. Back in the ring, Khali landed a big boot, but Cena fought back and put Khali on his shoulders for the FU. Khali, though, landed a huge elbow smash to slip out, then he gave Cena a two-hand chokeslam. He grabbed the WWE Title belt and placed one boot on Cena’s chest while holding the belt high in the air. Khali then left the ring and stood tall on the stage to close the show. Good crowd heat, but they advertise a classic re-match and all we get is another attempt at main event push no. 583 for Khali.