Monday Night Raw – April 3, 2006

Monday Night Raw
Date: April 3, 2006
Location: Allstate Arena, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 14,300
Commentators: Joey Styles, Jerry Lawler, Jonathan Coachman

It’s the night after Wrestlemania so it’s time for the biggest show of the year. You can see a lot of different things happening on this show, including some debuts or returns, plus the beginning of the build to Backlash. That’s a very special show for me and I’m really curious to see how the build goes. Let’s get to it.

Here’s John Cena, who retained the Raw World Title last night, to open things up. Cena says he knows some fans are not going to want to hear this, but…pause for loud booing…the champ is STILL here. Last night, he and HHH beat the heck out of each other for this title. That’s what this is all about: capturing the title and defending it night in and night out. It isn’t a popularity contest but about rising up and fighting hard while standing tall no matter what. Now he knows that there is a large group of….and here’s HHH to interrupt.

They stare each other down and HHH extends his hand…but pulls it away when Cena eventually goes for it. HHH admits that Cena is a tough kid because Cena found a way to win after that beating. That loss ticked HHH off because he made the same mistake that everyone else has made: they underestimated Cena and he tapped out. That title is still HHH’s though and he wants another shot. Cue a heavily bandaged Edge and Lita to say that HHH lost last night so he loses his spot to someone who won last night.

Edge is still perfect at Wrestlemania, but HHH asks how many of those matches were in the main event. That seems to touch a nerve with Edge, so HHH tells him to go to the back with the other curtain jerkers. Edge says at least he beat Cena and won the title, though HHH said he missed Edge’s title reign because he was taking a nap. Edge could have taken a nap last night after he stole the show but he stayed awake to see HHH tap out. Cena: “It seems that He-Man and Skeletor have some issues.”

That doesn’t sit well with the two of them so Cena has an idea: the two of them in a #1 contenders match. Edge suggests a handicap match so they can beat up his “bling bling a**.” Cena: “You lost me at the end there. Did you just say bling bling? I should kick your a** just for saying that.” HHH: “Yeah, yeah you should.” HHH thinks the handicap match sounds like a good idea so Cena is in. HHH and Edge were having a really good exchange there and I could go for more of them.

Tag Team Titles: Kane/Big Show vs. Spirit Squad

Kenny and Mikey are challenging for the Squad with the rest of the team at ringside. Mikey cartwheels out of a whip into the ropes and then gets thrown at Johnny. Kane hits a side slam into the top rope clothesline but Mikey gets pulled to the floor, sending Kane shoulder first into the post. The Squad starts working on the arm but Mikey’s hammerlock is countered into a Samoan drop. That’s enough for the hot tag off to Show but the referee gets distracted, allowing the group beatdown. The team gets together and lifts Show up for the big slam. Kenny drops the top rope leg for the pin and the titles in a big upset.

Rating: D. There’s your big surprise title change with the monsters finally losing the titles. I’m surprised that it wasn’t a more screwy finish but there is something to be said about having the Squad manage to slay the giants after no one else has been able to come close. Show and Kane were long since done with the titles so points for a surprise title change and the lack of some ridiculous way to get the titles off of them.

Post break, the very excited Spirit Squad chants about winning the titles.

Video on Money in the Bank with Rob Van Dam winning the briefcase.

Here’s Van Dam for a chat. He has had a lot of nicknames over his career and now he is Mr. Money in the Bank. There have been a lot of congratulations over the last 24 hours and a lot of people asking when he is cashing in. He isn’t waiting as long as Edge did, because good timing isn’t just important. It’s EXTREME.

Chris Masters vs. ???

Masters is ticked off and the Masterlock finishes in less than a minute.

Post match here’s Carlito, who loads up the apple but swallows it to raise Masters’ hand. Masters is pleased but gets the Backstabber, followed by the apple spit. The fans really approve of that one.

Here’s Shawn Michaels for a chat. Last night, his match with Vince McMahon was everything he expected, including being downright ugly. Yes he could have won the match a lot earlier with one Sweet Chin Music, but last night wasn’t about a wrestling match. The point was to put Vince through some punishment and now Shawn has been given a great relief. Now he doesn’t have to see Vince’s orange body or listen to weird Oscar speeches. Since the cool thing to do around here is want to beat up John Cena, maybe Shawn can do it too, perhaps for the WWE Title.

Cue Shane McMahon but before he can say anything, Shawn welcomes him as the newest member of Vince’s special club. Shane ignores that by introducing Vince, who is in a neck brace with a rather large bandage on his forehead. Vince talks about Linda and Stephanie being backstage last night and seeing what happened to him. That’s nothing compared to Shane’s trauma when he was shoved face first into Vince’s rectal cavity. Shane is now emotionally scarred for life but now Shawn wants a title shot.

Vince has two words for him too: divine intervention. Last night wasn’t fair because it was Vince vs. Shawn/God in a handicap match. Shawn thinks Vince has finally gone completely insane and asks for Vince’s point. Well maybe he could have gotten to it if you hadn’t cut him off. Vince says Shawn can’t win the war against the McMahons because they’re not done. At Backlash, it’s Vince/Shane vs. Shawn/God. Shawn is stunned, because that was actually just announced.

Great story about this. The idea of the match was put together when Vince and company, including Michael Hayes, were on the way back from Europe. Vince pitched the idea and said he was going to do it. Hayes, paraphrased: “COULD YOU WAIT UNTIL WE’RE NOT 20,000 FEET OVER THE OCEAN TO SAY THAT???”

We look back at the Tag Team Title change.

We look back at Carlito turning on Masters.

Trish Stratus/Torrie Wilson vs. Candice Michelle/Mickie James

Mickie is now in full Trish gear, including with her hair done in the same way. Trish is STUNNED, despite this not being the first time Mickie has done this. Candice certainly seems to approve of Mickie as Trish before getting headlocked by the real Trish to start. The Matrix into the headscissors takes Candice down as Mickie is too busy hanging the title on the ropes. Mickie comes in and slaps Torrie in the back of the head before kicking Trish off the apron. The Mick Kick finishes Torrie in a hurry.

Post match Trish hands Mickie the title, sending Mickie into a lot of screaming.

Video on the Hall of Fame inductions.

Here’s Chavo Guerrero to, after soaking in the EDDIE chants, introduce himself. Last night was a great honor to him to see Rey Mysterio win the World Heavyweight Championship. He wanted to have his own title shot last night but tonight is his Wrestlemania.

Intercontinental Title: Shelton Benjamin vs. Chavo Guerrero

Guerrero is challenging and takes Shelton down for a very quick two. Back up and Shelton takes him into the corner but Chavo shoves him out, only to miss a dropkick. Shelton knees him to the floor and takes it back inside for a chinlock. Chavo uses the power of blood relatives to fight up and now the dropkick connects. Another dropkick gets two and there’s a headscissors to put Shelton down to quite the reaction. Three Amigos set up the frog splash but Shelton moves, setting up the exploder to retain.

Rating: C. This didn’t last long but the crowd reaction was quite the nice surprise. The Eddie stuff can be annoying at times but given the way the fans are reacting to the whole thing, I can’t blame WWE for at least trying it. The problem is they are more wading in it than dabbling in it, which is where it becomes exploiting rather than honoring. That seems like it might be continuing with Chavo.

Post match, Chavo seems disgusted with himself as he leaves.

During the break, Chavo quit.

Here’s Ric Flair for a chat. He talks about having some unbelievable moments in Chicago and some of them have even been in his career. Last night he did not win but he still has one more World Title run in him. Cue a man in sunglasses and a hat speaking Spanish, demanding that everyone listen to him. His name is Armando Alejandro Estrada to say that Flair’s time is over. America needs a new hero, but Flair cuts him off.

Estrada cuts him off as well, saying he grew up watching Flair on his broken down TV in Cuba. Now Estrada is a businessman who enjoys the finer things in life. He enjoys the clothes, the women and the money, so he has the man who is going to change WWE. Flair says let’s meet him, so here is Umaga. Flair tries to jump him on the way in and is promptly destroyed, including the running hip attack in the corner. Some headbutts into a torture rack slam leave Flair laying. Well that worked, partially because of that fairly cool torture rack slam.

Edge/HHH vs. John Cena

Non-title, Lita is in the villains’ corner and they don’t have to tag. HHH chills on the top as Cena sends Edge hard into the corner. Lita grabs the foot though and Edge gets in a cheap shot to take over. The fans are rather against Cena, with commentary calling them traditionalists. Yeah like back in the day when you booed the good guy out of the building every chance you could.

Edge gets sent outside to set up the HHH showdown but gets back in for a cheap shot to put Cena down again. That brings HHH down off the ropes but Edge spears him by mistake. Edge shrugs so it’s Cena unloading on him, only to have HHH get up and hammer on Edge in the corner. Cena loads up the Shuffle but runs into the Pedigree for the pin.

Rating: C-. You can see the triple threat from here and that’s a little bit better than another HHH singles match for the title. HHH attacking Edge was a cool moment and I could go for seeing something else between them. It would certainly be a fresh feud but at the moment, it makes more sense for both of them to go after Cena because they’re both much more about the title than anything else.

Overall Rating: C. They did some good stuff here but there was also a bunch of stuff that just came and went without being all that interesting. This wasn’t the big over the top insanity that the show would become in the later years but we did get the Tag Team Title change, Umaga debuting, Masters and Carlito imploding and some stuff being set up for Backlash. They moved things forward, but it still wasn’t the best show. It felt big though and you can feel the Wrestlemania energy still hanging on.

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