Monday Night Raw
Date: January 23, 2006
Location: Bobcats Arena, Charlotte, North Carolina
Commentators: Jonathan Coachman, Jerry Lawler, Joey Styles
It’s the go home show for the Royal Rumble and that means it’s probably going to be time for a bunch of people to be thrown over the top in a big segment near the end of the show. Other than that we need Edge’s final night as champion before John Cena takes it back from him after three weeks. Let’s get to it.
The opening video, in the form of a movie trailer, looks at Edge winning the title and his path of….well a lot of things actually, on his way to the Royal Rumble.
Here are Edge and Lita for the opening chat. Lita promises that Edge is on the way to Wrestlemania as champion because he won’t be a transitional champion. He’s no Iron Sheik or Mick Foley or someone who lost the title 16 times like Ric Flair. Ric is a walking joke, but he isn’t exactly walking right now. He isn’t here tonight and he is NEVER receiving another title shot. The WE WANT FLAIR chants start up as Edge talks about John Cena joining Flair at the back of the line soon. Edge is ready to win on Sunday so he and Lita can celebrate with mirrors on the ceiling and the spinning hydraulic bed.
Cue Cena to offer Edge congratulations on the movie trailer. See, Cena saw the trailer but he has a bootleg copy of the actual movie. Cena has a review of the movie, which is the classic Boy Meets Ho story. This means various ho puns about Lita until the boy goes to Miami for the Royal Rumble, where he takes the worst beating of his life. Then she falls in love with Hacksaw Jim Duggan, because….you get the idea. Lawler: “I’ve got to see this movie.”
Lita doesn’t know what Cena is talking about but knows Cena and Edge need to find partners for tonight’s main event. She knows Edge will have options but Cena will have to play with himself. Cena: “It’s great to see something coming out of your mouth for once.” Cena promises to win on Sunday.
Kane vs. Carlito
Calito ducks the big shot in the corner and hammers away so Kane goes with right hands and elbows. Kane charges into an elbow though and Carlito’s middle rope dropkick gets two. The tornado DDT is broken up and Kane starts snapping off the clotheslines. A legdrop gets two and the side slam sets up the top rope clothesline. The Tombstone is countered into a Backstabber for two and a springboard twisting Swanton gets two. The chokeslam is broken up with a thumb to the eye and Carlito hits him with a chair for the DQ.
Rating: D+. This didn’t do much to hide the fact that Carlito isn’t a threat to anyone in the ring. His big move got a non-close two on Kane and they moved on like it was nothing. I know he can talk but you need something to back it up somewhere and that just isn’t the case with anything he does in the ring.
Edge suggests Lita, ahem, convince someone to be his partner. She goes into Big Show’s locker room.
Some Carolina Panthers are here.
Lita tries to convince Big Show by taking off her shirt but Edge comes in to say she’s not finishing anything until after the match. That’s a no.
Trish Stratus is warming up when Mickie James comes in to freak out over Trish teaming with Ashley tonight. Trish can’t calm her down and Mickie leaves.
Coach says there is one spot left in the Royal Rumble and he’ll be taking it himself. Jerry Lawler doesn’t like that and, after calling Coach a skinhead, challenges him to a qualifying match. Deal.
Trish Stratus/Ashley vs. Victoria/Candice Michelle
Torrie Wilson is in the villains’ corner. Ashley and Victoria start things off with Ashley hitting a springboard ax handle (not bad) and bringing in Trish. That means a super hurricanrana to take Victoria down again but Victoria kicks Ashley in the head. A wheelbarrow splash gives Candice two but the slingshot flipping legdrop misses. Trish comes in to clean house, including a spinebuster to Victoria. With Trish and Candice fighting on the floor, Ashley high crossbodies Victoria for the pin.
Rating: C-. I’m not sure how many times they can have some combination of the same six women but they are certainly giving it every chance they can. Ashley looked better here than at any time in the ring so far. She still can’t do much more than spots, but she’s doing them with some confidence and that is a step forward for her.
Post match, Mickie runs in and jumps Ashley again. Trish and a referee can barely break it up.
Mama Benjamin is cleaning the locker room because it needs to be nice around here. Shelton comes in and says Shawn Michaels called him a mama’s boy. Mama says Shawn is just jealous, and she could whip Shawn’s mama too.
Video on Billy Graham, who has a book and DVD out. He’s also here, because he doesn’t hate Vince this week.
Shelton Benjamin vs. Shawn Michaels
Mama Benjamin is here too. Hold on though as here’s Vince McMahon to say that if Shawn loses here, he’s out of the Rumble. They trade hammerlocks to start until Shelton grabs a sunset flip for two. A headlock takeover takes Shawn over with a headlock and then he does it again to make his point especially clear. Back up and Shawn hits a chop and a clothesline puts Shelton on the floor.
Mama is checking on her boy but Shawn is back with more chops. They head inside again with Shelton springboarding in but stopping short of the superkick in a callback to their classic last year. A kick to Shawn’s head takes us to a break and we come back with Shelton hitting a suplex.
We hit the chinlock, setting up a Samoan drop for two more. The chinlock goes on again but Mama wants to see a whipping. The superplex attempt is broken up and Shelton runs the corner to kick Shawn in the head for a crash to the floor. We take another break and come back with Shawn slugging away, setting up the forearm.
Shelton runs the corner for a belly to belly superplex and connects with the Dragon Whip for two. Shawn hits another running clothesline and tunes up the band, only to have Mama offer a distraction. That means there’s no referee to count Shelton’s rollup, allowing Shawn to reverse into one of his own and grab the trunks for the pin.
Rating: B. It wasn’t their match from last year but that is a pretty high standard to reach. The Mama stuff has been toned down a lot since her debut and they are settling into more of a rhythm. The gimmick is still death for Shelton, but he was long past the point of having any significant value after the last five months or so.
Post match, Shelton tears a bit.
Edge and Lita pitch the main event spot to HHH. He’ll think about it.
Royal Rumble rundown.
Vince comes in to see Shawn, who wants to know why Vince has gone so psycho on him. Vince just wants to be happy, so he’ll spend some of his money on himself. For now though, he wants WWE to be more about sex, drugs and rock and roll. He offers Shawn a part in the decadence because he’s played the loving husband long enough. Shawn says no, but Vince seems to have a plan.
Royal Rumble Qualifying Match: Jerry Lawler vs. Jonathan Coachman
Coach shoulders him down to start but misses a charge in the corner. There’s a suplex to Coach….and the Spirit Squad debuts, much to Lawler’s confusion. He doesn’t seem to mind though as he hits Coach and goes to the middle rope. The Squad offers another distraction though and Coach grabs a rollup for the pin. So there’s your introduction to one of the more infamous acts of the era.
Post match the Squad does a cheer in Coach’s honor.
Big Show, Gregory Helms, Rob Conway, Lance Cade
This is a weird one as anyone who throws Show over the top is in the Rumble, but Show doesn’t have anything to win. Show cleans house and wins in a hurry in exactly the way you would expect.
Post match here’s HHH to say he’ll win the Rumble. Edge is on his own tonight because HHH is done with making stars. He’s going to Wrestlemania to win either World Title.
Lita offers to calm the nervous Edge down but he’s too worried about not having a partner. Someone comes in and Edge thinks they’re perfect. As usual, the person doesn’t say anything and isn’t seen.
Edge/??? vs. John Cena/???
The partners are…..Chris Masters and Ric Flair. Well the latter was about as obvious as you could get and that’s not a bad thing. Edge is nice enough to let Masters start with Cena as the WE WANT FLAIR chants start up again. Cena grabs a fisherman’s suplex on Masters and hands it off to Flair, getting rid of any possible mixed reaction for a little while. Flair chops Edge off the apron but gets slammed down by Masters.
Edge adds a suplex on the floor and stomps away a bit so Masters can get two. Flair’s chops don’t do much good and it’s a powerslam into a bearhug. Another gorilla press connects but Edge misses a top rope chop. The diving tag brings in Cena and everything breaks down. Flair chop blocks Masters to break up a Masterlock attempt and it’s the FU into the STF for the win.
Rating: C-. Standard main event style tag match here with the best logical ending they could have. If nothing else it makes sense to put Flair out there in Charlotte to let him do something simple. Edge being scared of Cena was exactly what you would expect of him and it makes Cena seem like even more of a threat to the title, if that is possible.
Overall Rating: D+. This was a weird show as the Rumble card is mostly set, leaving this show mainly focusing on enforcing what was made. There were a few minor changes, but it wasn’t a show that you needed to see. Shawn vs. Shelton was good, but there is nothing left but the Rumble for now and it’s time to get to Wrestlemania season.
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