Monday Night Raw – April 24, 2006

Monday Night Raw
Date: April 24, 2006
Location: Wembley Arena, London, England
Attendance: 8,500
Commentators: Joey Styles, Jerry Lawler, Jonathan Coachman

We’re overseas for a taped show this week as it’s the go home show for Backlash. With all of the handicap matches for the main event exhausted, I’m not sure what we’re going to be seeing here. Aside from a red phone booth and whatever else WWE associates with England of course. Let’s get to it.

We open with a long recap of Shawn Michaels vs. Vince McMahon, mainly focusing on their Wrestlemania match and the ensuing fallout.

Opening sequence.

Here are Edge and Lita to get things going. Edge talks about being in a triple threat match at Backlash and one of the men he is facing is HHH. We see Edge pinning HHH last week in the handicap match, followed by a clip of Edge pinning John Cena at New Year’s Revolution. This should be simple enough for even the British fans to figure out: Edge is going to be leaving Backlash as WWE Champion.

Cue HHH, to a pretty strong face pop. HHH says Edge has come a long way as he now looks like, talks like and acts like a champion. Edge even was a champion…for three weeks. It means Edge can go, but he can’t go very long. A lot of guys have that problem and HHH knows how frustrating that must be for Lita. Edge can even have his own catchphrase: the premature superstar. Edge insists he can do it ten times a night and last week he only needed three seconds to pin HHH.

That was rather impressive, but HHH was only focusing on sending Cena a message. On Sunday, he is focusing on the title and he will go through either of them to get back on the throne. Edge is sick of hearing about the eleventh title reign but wants to know why HHH is in the triple threat. He lost at Wrestlemania and has never beaten Edge, so Edge suggests that HHH likes to get on his knees in front of Vince.

That gives us the most obvious Lita joke of the year but HHH says he’ll bash Vince McMahon or his own grandmother in the head to be champion (dang Randy Orton stole that line from him all those years later). Cue John Cena to go after HHH as Edge and Lita bail. HHH is ready to go but here’s the Spirit Squad to interrupt. The let us know, through cheering form, that they will be facing the three of them tonight in a handicap match. HHH, Cena and Edge aren’t exactly thrilled.

Chris Masters/Matt Striker/Shelton Benjamin vs. Carlito/Charlie Haas/Rob Van Dam

Carlito and Benjamin start things off but it’s quickly off to Van Dam, who gets pounded down in the corner. Van Dam kicks him out to the floor and the villains are cleared out in a hurry. Rob hits a big dive and we take an early break. Back with Van Dam in trouble as Masters pulls him off the ropes to set up a bearhug. Shelton comes in for the reverse chinlock as the LET’S GO ROB chant starts up. That sounds so out of place after the RVD chants became so well known.

Van Dam fights up and makes the hot tag to bring in Haas as house is cleaned. Everything breaks down and Carlito hits a Backstabber on Benjamin. Masters comes in with the Masterlock to Carlito but Haas makes the save with a German suplex. Carlito Rolls the Dice on Striker but walks into the t-bone from Shelton. Van Dam comes in off the top with a kick to Benjamin’s…well something. The Five Star finishes Shelton.

Rating: C+. This didn’t get too much time considering the commercial but they were going non-stop almost the entire time they were on camera. That’s a good way to go and I can always go for a six man tag mixing up a bunch of feuds at once. Van Dam now has momentum going into the title match, Carlito vs. Masters will be a thing and Striker…well he has a job at least.

Vince McMahon calls last week’s “acts of God” a bunch of coincidences and says he has fired the pyrotechnics director. Vince has it on good authority that God is on holiday this week so tonight, Shane McMahon will take care of Shawn Michaels. Shane says he’ll get back at Shawn tonight and he swears to God….pause for a look around….that Shawn will get what’s coming to him.

Kane is still going insane when Big Show comes up. They have been friends and partners but they need to work this out. Show says May 19 and Kane threatens him if he says it again. Show: “May…19.” The fight is on with Kane sending him into a metal wall and beating the heck out of him until referees break it up. Show’s eye was hurt in the melee and it’s busted open rather bad.

Coach is in the ring because it’s time for a bikini contest. We have Candice Michelle, Maria, Torrie Wilson and Victoria here and the fans seem to fancy Torrie (as you might have guessed). They disrobe, the fans cheer for Maria, Candice wins anyway. Candice’s prize is the chance to kiss Coach but here’s Viscera to threaten to do, ahem, things, to Coach. Instead he’s taking the prize, meaning he beats up Coach, kisses Candice, and leaves with her.

We see the same video that opened the show.

Shawn Michaels vs. Shane McMahon

Vince is here to handle Shane’s introduction. Shane starts fast and is quickly sent over the top for a big crash. A cheap shot lets Shane get in a few knees and punches to the back before hammering away at the face instead. Shane even shows off a bit with a torture rack neckbreaker for two, only to miss a pretty good looking moonsault. Shawn wins a slugout and hits the forearm into the nip up, followed by the top rope elbow.

Vince breaks up Sweet Chin Music but gets beaten onto the announcers’ table for his efforts. Shane makes the save and helps Vince load up the announcers’ table. A monitor to the head sets up the big elbow through the table and Vince says he told Shawn so. Vince declares God a chicken who will abandon him on Sunday. The match is a no contest of course.

Rating: C. Pretty good for a Shane match as he just does his spots and doesn’t try to have anything resembling a traditional match. That’s all he should do and it worked out well enough. It wasn’t exactly good but Shawn can work with anyone and helped Shane through things here. They weren’t out there very long either and that helped hide a lot of the weaknesses.

We look back at Kane attacking Big Show.

We look at See No Evil, of course edited off the Network.

Backlash rundown.

Edge comes in to see Cena because they have to work together. Cena says Edge is a snake and if he tries anything, he’s going down quicker than Lita.

Post break, Edge and Lita seem to be scheming.

Umaga vs. Steve Lewington

Lewington would wind up having a cup of coffee on ECW as DJ Gabriel. Umaga wastes no time in kicking him to the floor before swinging Lewington into the steps. Back in and the running Tree of Woe headbutt sets up the running hip attack in the corner. The thumb to Lewington’s throat is good for the pin.

Post match here’s Umaga to slug away at Umaga, including a testicular claw before a right hand puts Umaga on the floor.

Lita comes up to see HHH and says she has smoothed it over with Cena. HHH hopes she’s still nice after he beats Edge on Sunday. Lita says if he does, she can hit him with his sledgehammer. She leaves, but HHH was hoping for advice on how to take on five guys at once. Dang some of these lines are brutal.

Flair vs. Umaga is set for Backlash.

Here’s Mickie James, dressed like herself and coming out to her own music. She’ll admit it: she got a little carried away after winning the Women’s Title. Yeah she dressed up like Trish and dyed her hair but now she knows who she is. She’s ready to beat Trish again on Sunday, but here is Trish in the full Mickie impression again. Trish keeps cutting her off and saying the same things Mickie is saying, setting up the fight. The Chick Kick sends Mickie out to the floor.

Edge/HHH/John Cena vs. Spirit Squad

The cheering starts before the bell and the trio clears the ring in a hurry. We take a very quick break and come back with Edge unloading on Johnny in the corner before it’s off to Mikey to get beaten up as well. Edge sends Johnny into Mikey but the distraction lets Mikey get in a few cheap shots. Kenny comes in and the numbers game have Edge in trouble. Edge gets away for a bit though and it’s off to HHH, who comes in off a slap from Edge, which doesn’t go well.

HHH takes over on Mikey but Cena slaps his way in as well, much to HHH’s annoyance. Mikey uses a trampoline to springboard up and get in a shot on Cena, allowing Johnny to hit a spinning kick to Cena’s head. Cena is sent outside for the big group beatdown and it’s an assisted moonsault to give Mikey two back inside. Mikey grabs a chinlock before it’s off to Mitch for a flipping neckbreaker. After a rather odd crawl over to the ropes, Mitch brings Johnny back in to get punched in the face over and over.

Johnny takes Cena down again though and it’s back to Mikey, who gets powerslammed. Cena manages to beat up the Squad for just a bit before it’s HHH tagging himself back in to clean house. Kenny breaks up the Pedigree as everything breaks down. The FU to Johnny and the Pedigree to Mikey connect at the same time as Edge and Lita walk out. Cena and HHH slug it out as the match and show end.

Rating: D+. This was another example of a match that was there to advance a story with some wrestling going on at the same time. The biggest problem with the Spirit Squad (ok the second biggest) was on display here: other than Kenny, none of them stand out in any way and they’re just a bunch of pests who can beat people up because of their numbers advantage. That’s fine if you’re a little more intimidating, but a bunch of annoying guys beating people up is kind of a weird combination. And the whole cheerleaders thing makes it even worse.

Overall Rating: C-. These British shows are always a little off and this one did nothing to hide the fact that we are coming up on a two match show this Sunday. The triple threat is looking good and they have done a nice job of making you believe that anyone could win. The McMahons vs. Michaels stuff though is one of those things that is feeling very stupid in a hurry and that could make for a long, long Sunday. Still though, this is a formula that worked well enough on a larger scale at Wrestlemania so maybe it can work out here too.



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