“Monday Night Raw” Post-Mortem


Monday Night Raw
Monday, January 5
New Orleans, LA

Well, helloooo, grapplehounds. Sorry I missed our rendezvous last week, but my Internet was down TWO WHOLE DAYS (dunno what happened — kept getting “page load error” messages, then ultimately no acknowledgment that I’d ever installed the Webster in the first place) and was so depressed I forgot the rasslin’ and cheered myself up with Anaconda on demand. What’s not to like: Ice Cube, Jennifer Lopez insisting on white apparel while surrounded by water on all sides and a monstrous python slurpin’ on a then-unknown Owen Wilson and upchucking Oscar winner Jon Voight — too much ham, I suppose. Wink. For my betrayal, I apologize.

Think I’m mostly up to speed now. Tonight begins with sepia-licked footage of Shawn Michaels“Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” spiel from Armageddon as set-up, then leaps into last week’s Raw (unseen by me) and a fatal four-way between Michaels, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, and John Bradshaw Layfield to determine who faces John Cena for the heavyweight championship at the January 25 Royal Rumble. The Heartbreak Kid eliminated Jericho and Orton, leaving only the chump who signs his checks. Like any good employee who knows he’s about to be downsized, Michaels drops to his knees and allows Layfield to flatten him with a Clothesline from Hell (are you as tired as me of everything being from hell?). So, yeah, yup, OK.

Off we go live, to the Big Easy, where Jericho and Orton await in a ring flanked by Cajuns and po’ boys (including Michaels). They’re not happy with HBK’s shenanigans last week and have submitted a formal protest to general manager Stephanie McMahon, with the stipulation that JBL be disqualified from Rumble competition and that the title never be raised in triumph by Michaels again. Layfield’s limo coasts into the arena and out steps Michaels, his tormented ponytail hangin’ high. Boss man follows and speaks for both in the squared circle. Jericho burrows into Shawn’s shaky resolve. Orton, never one to pirouette prettily with his words, calls him a sellout. Stephanie McMahon, sashaying front-office diabolically in her denim McMini, intercedes to slip another scuffle onto tonight’s card: Orton and Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels and that beloved integrity tester, John Cena. The champ is here! Will Sexy Boy follow his principles or his marching orders? Gotta wait for the main event.

Goldust/Melina vs. Santino Marella/Beth Phoenix
Santino‘s beard is progressing smashingly, a budding forest he’s cultivating in deference to his favorite band, Fleet Foxes. Speaking of foxes, Phoenix booster Rosa Perez is in the house, happily waving her markered-up sign. Poor Goldust is relegated to Melina‘s mixed tag-team partner, and he bows out early, dragging Santino off to let the catfight commence proper. Yelps scamper down Bourbon Street as the womenfolk duke up and smack down. Finally, Melina somersaults over a prone Beth and yanks her legs in for the pinfall. Across the country, 14-year-old boys wet themselves.

Winners: Goldust/Melina

Post-match, Perez breaks the fourth wall, apparently for the second time in as many weeks, to bypass absent security and pummel Melina for humiliating her heroine. She’s escorted back to the masses, but Melina follows and a scuffle throbs anew. It’s broken up as Perez is dragged to the WWE payroll department and Melina’s hips tell the truth all the way back to the locker room.

Intercontinental Championship
CM Punk vs. William Regal
Oh, that Blighty viper. On what should have been Punk‘s special day, Regal made certain the event was anticlimactic for everyone. First he dodged a Punk leap by shoving his valet, Layla, into his opponent’s path — the straight-edge Punk’s too pure to boot the ladies. Then, as Punk tried to execute his Go to Sleep finisher, Regal first panickedly grabbed at the ropes, then at the referee, a verboten tactic according to WWE regulations. Layla barks, “Ring the bell!” and ding ding ding! Punk wins by disqualification, but Regal exits with his title intact. An enraged McMahon reads the sneaky Brit the riot act via JumboTron, demanding he defend the title again next week. DQ will not be an option, unless Layla’s partial to Peanut Buster (or Bluster, in Regal’s case) Parfaits.

Winner: CM Punk

Backstage, JBL yammers at Michaels about the opportunity they’ve been handed to annihilate the champ before the Rumble and practically guarantee Layfield the belt he so covets. “I hired you, Mr. Wrestlemania,” he tells his manservant, “to get me to Wrestlemania.” Heavy hangs the head of the bankrupt.

Meanwhile, Orton’s in the middle of a pep talk with two of his charges, Cody Rhodes and Sim Snuka, when the street-clothed Manu appears to beg for another chance after his loss last week. (Fill me in!) Fearless, Peerless Leader snorts that Team Legacy has no room for losers. Manu is left to simmer.

Rey Mysterio/Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz/John Morrison
All tag-team matches follow the same basic formula: one dude is usually stranded in the ring too long and makes a big, anguished show out of trying to reach his corner. Then, when he succeeds, his partner blasts in and flattens anyone fool enough to lock his gaze. It’s a wrestling tradition, and tonight is no different, with Kofi Kingston literally pining for Rey, waving at the little man in pain as The Miz and Morrison twist him into knots. But eventually, babyflesh face makes contact and in spins Rey. So much transpires I can’t keep track, but when the ink dries and the tumult dies, it’s Mysterio vs. Morrison. The former whips a 619 on the latter, a usually debilitating move. But, no, Morrison appears to be immune tonight, and his foot caves Rey’s breadbasket as the acrobat falls from the sky. Winded, he’s an easy pin.

Winners: The Miz/John Morrison

After his loss, Mysterio faces the relentless wrath of Mike Knox, who’d eaten My Morning Jacket that afternoon and pasted all their beards to his chinny chin chin. Poor Rey!

Kelly Kelly vs. Jillian
Last week we learned (well, you did) that Double-Kel was protecting Randy Orton from Kane (As the World Turnbuckles), thanks to a WWE cameraman well trained in the dramatic reveal. Nothing revealed tonight; it’s the same ol’: Kelly’s still a stiff performer, Jillian still sings pooch-deafening standards through her nose, and she still does not shut up even after the bell rings. Kelly mercifully seals her open trench with her own body for the win.

Winner: Kelly Kelly

Adopting Knox’s strategy, Jillian exercises her sore-loser clause but slips out as the arena goes dark and Kane stomps in under a blood-red sky to inform his wholesome beloved that Orton’s in deep next week. With a diabolical gut-cackle, he returns to his backstage sanctum to torture weasels.

Cody Rhodes/Sim Snuka vs. Cryme Tyme
This time it’s JTG who can’t reach his corner. Notice the “bad guys” seldom have this problem. The usual frenzy ensues, with bodies and baggy jeans flying everywhere. Snuka gets a few backhanded licks in, but it’s Rhodes who rolls up the V.

Winners: Cody Rhodes/Sim Snuka

Also victorious: JBL, strutting from McMahon’s office.

Less victorious: Sim Snuka, dismissed from Legacy for not being the cat getting fanned by the ref’s three-count. Rhodes won’t back him up. “All I know is I won the match,” he shrugs as he walks off. More simmering, this time with the electric eyes of Superfly.

No longer behind closed doors, Stephanie informs Santino and Beth that Rosa Perez has been banned from WWE events. Santino still lives under the delusion that it’s he Perez adores; Beth clutches the scruff of his neck and hauls him away for rehabilitation. Once they’re gone, Jericho slides into frame with a bombshell behind his lips. Apparently, his interoffice memo blew onto the desk of Stephanie’s father, WWE owner Vince McMahon, who’s slated for a Raw return in two weeks, perhaps to wrest control of the show from his legendarily petulant daughter.

John Cena/Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton/Chris Jericho
Welcome to the main event. How ya been? The question on everyone’s mind is “Will Shawn somehow betray Cena?” Shawn’s blank expression betrays nothing. Cena tries to attract his attention, but his partner seems to be longing for the snack bar.

The answer comes somewhat early as HBK tags himself in and he and Cena combine for a double clotheslines on Chris Jericho, prompting the ten-gallon CEO’s mosey toward the ring for an employee evaluation. Later, Cena attempts his usual FU on Jericho, but the snake slithers out. Orton rakes those champion eyes, blinding him temporarily and turning him into Marc Singer in If You Could See What I Hear. He mistakenly lifts his own partner into the FU; luckily, Michaels wriggles free and diplomatically sets him straight. Whew!

Some sleepers are applied, but, fuck, man, they never work; they just gobble up TV time. I write the following phrase four times, so you know it’s urgent: “Cena needs to make the tag.” He crawls, he yearns, he stretches. Finally, the WWE Lord hears his plea and makes his arm long enough to activate his partner. Now it’s Michaels on Jericho. Now it’s Jericho on Michaels’ legs. Now it’s Michaels on Jericho’s legs. Now Michael’s money leg is up and outstretched for that patented Sweet Chin Music, and Y2J curtsies into dreamland. And a-one, and a-two, and a-three…

Winners: John Cena/Shawn Michaels

See you next week! (Pinky swear.)

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