Monday Night Raw – May 29, 2006

Monday Night Raw
Date: May 29, 2006
Location: Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, Washington
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We’re on the way to One Night Stand and the top of the show is starting to take place. Given that it isn’t a traditional show, there is a good chance that we won’t be seeing much more than just the two main matches. I’m not sure what we’re going to see on the way there, but Rob Van Dam vs. John Cena needs some build. Let’s get to it.

We open with the traditional Memorial Day video. That’s always nice to see.

Here’s Vince McMahon to get things going. He gets to the point by saying that losing HHH was like losing one of his own (maybe not the best illustration on Memorial Day) and we see HHH hitting Shane McMahon with the sledgehammer two weeks ago. Shane is still recovering but he has a lot of headaches. As for everything else, Shawn Michaels is no more because of what the Spirit Squad did to him last week.

After looking at Shawn’s knee being destroyed, Vince talks to Shawn at home, suggesting that the fans are chanting various insults at him. There is always a place for Shawn in WWE though. Maybe he could set the ring up or be a timekeeper or something like that. We also look at HHH turning on the Spirit Squad last week, which has Vince flabbergasted. Vince is ready to see HHH’s true colors tonight, as he faces Kenny.

Other than that though, Vince needs to announce a new General Manager, but there is no one who fits the requirements. Instead, here’s his new Executive Assistant: Jonathan Coachman. Coach comes out to announce some matches tonight, including John Cena vs. someone he has never faced before, Edge vs. Big Show, with the winner getting a WWE Title shot at Vengeance, and Shelton Benjamin defending the Intercontinental Title against Kane. Coach thanks Vince for the chance but Vince orders him to get HHH in his office right now.

Intercontinental Title: Kane vs. Shelton Benjamin

Kane is challenging and knocks Shelton down before the bell to start fast. Shelton slips out of a suplex to start and hammers away, which earns him a big boot to the floor. We take a break and come back with Shelton holding a chinlock, thanks to posting Kane while we were away. Shelton kicks him in the head but Kane sits up and hits another big boot. There’s the side slam into the top rope clothesline.

The chokeslam is countered into a rollup but even the feet on the ropes isn’t enough to keep the title. The Dragon Whip is countered as well but the counter is countered into a spinning DDT. Shelton’s Stinger Splash hits Kane’s back so Shelton tries one to his face, which is countered into a chokeslam. That should be it, but here’s Kane’s old music and….a guy in a really bad Kane Halloween costume, complete with the old mask. The real Kane is even more confused and gets chokeslammed as the match was thrown out somewhere in there.

Rating: D+. What we got wasn’t too bad but I don’t see this Kane vs. Kane story going very well. The Undertaker vs. Undertaker idea didn’t work twelve years before this and something tells me that the modern version isn’t going to be better. If nothing else, at least find a better costume. Like the inverted red and black one which always looked great.

Post break, here’s what you saw pre-break, which might not be the best thing to remind the fans about.

Coach is looking for HHH but runs into Armando Alejandro Estrada, who offers Vince his services instead. With Coach gone, Viscera pins Estrada face first against the wall and swears vengeance on Umaga as I try not to imagine various thrusting motions.

HHH comes in to see Vince and tries to calm things down. Vince makes tonight’s main event a Spirit Jack match, with a Spirit Squad member in each corner. HHH: “You would do that for me?” He promises to bring a friend of his own, and happens to have his sledgehammer.

Umaga vs. Viscera

Umaga jumps him before the bell and sends Viscera face first into the ramp. They get in and the Samoan Spike finishes in thirty seconds. They kept cutting to Lilian Garcia because she and Viscera are still a thing.

More See No Evil stuff.

Torrie Wilson/Beth Phoenix vs. Victoria/Candice Michelle

Trish Stratus and Mickie James are the thirds. Beth and Victoria slug it out to start, with Lawler making “trading licks” jokes. Torrie comes in to help Beth with a double chop, followed by the Stink Face. Victoria slams her down and hands it off to Candice for a Vader Bomb. A dancing elbow gets two but another misses, allowing the hot tag to Beth to clean house. Beth knocks Victoria into Mickie and finishes Candice with a Michinoku Driver.

Rating: D. They did what they were trying to do here by introducing Beth and letting her get a win, though you can only get so far with Torrie and Candice working a good chunk of the match. They’re trying to do something new though and just adding Beth and Mickie is a great breath of fresh air. The division has needed that for years so maybe this can help.

Back from a break with Lawler ranting about how bad ECW, including several shots at Tazz, but here’s Rob Van Dam to interrupt. Van Dam doesn’t hit Lawler but does sit in on commentary, suggesting that Lawler hang up his boots like Tazz did. Wouldn’t that be just the same situation that Lawler is in now? Think this stuff through Rob.

John Cena vs. Johnny Nitro

Non-title and the Nitro, with Melina, push begins. That entrance really does make them seem like some of the biggest stars around. Melina gives Nitro a kiss on the cheek to start but Cena punches him in the face to get things going in a hurry. Nitro kicks him down and drops the breakdancing legdrop before hammering away in the corner. Lawler and Van Dam argue about ECW on commentary (you can tell Lawler really didn’t like it and that helps a lot) as Cena makes the comeback (about two minutes into the match), hits all of his signature stuff, and finishes clean with the STFU in a hurry.

Rating: D+. Well ok then. I understand that Nitro, a career tag guy so far, shouldn’t be beating or realistically even hanging with Cena, but maybe they shouldn’t put him against Cena in his singles debut. Aside from the legdrop and a few right hands, this was all Cena, who barely looked like he broke a sweat. I’m not sure I get this, as someone like Chris Masters or any other midcard heel would have been far more expendable and been able to do the same thing.

Cena and Van Dam have a staredown post match until Nitro sidesteps a charging Nitro to send him into Rob.

Here are Mick Foley, with the Hardcore Title, and Paul Heyman, at face to face podiums for a chat. Foley talks about Heyman calling him a prostitute last week and yeah Foley is guilty. If you’re here to see men of principles taking a stand, you’re in the wrong place. The only difference between ECW Mick Foley and WWE Mick Foley is Mick has traded up for a billion dollar pimp in Vince McMahon.

That brings him to One Night Stand, which is where Foley gets upset. How can ECW claim to be hardcore after he and Edge tore the house down at Wrestlemania? Either way, Foley wishes Heyman and his porn addicted, pot smoking band of Mick Foley wannabes with their show. Heyman says that would mean more if it didn’t come from a Terry Funk knockoff. Foley admits that Funk is the greatest wrestler he has ever seen and Dreamer was tough but they couldn’t do what he did. Heyman: “Pull a sock out of their crotch, put it on his hand and entertain Vince McMahon while he was in the hospital?”

Foley says Funk and Dreamer had “Bingo Hall Balls” because they would never venture to WWE (uh…..) and do what Foley did. Foley goes around to Heyman’s side and says you either left ECW as a drunk, a drug addict, a criminal or a corpse. Heyman just resents Foley for becoming the biggest star the industry has ever seen. That’s not true actually, as Heyman’s issue is that Foley is a whore.

However, Heyman wants Foley to understand the new vision for ECW. It isn’t just going to be about flaming tables and piledriving women (Heyman: “We’ll still have some of that.”) but as Foley knows, ECW is coming back full time (if that had been mentioned before, it was completely in passing). Anyone from Raw or Smackdown is welcome to jump over, but Vince has also given him two Draft picks, one from each show.

Foley says the Raw pick is going to be Rob Van Dam, because Rob really was, ahem, a high flier. Heyman: “The Kool-Aid comes in many forms Mick.” As for the Smackdown pick….Foley cuts him off, suggesting that it is going to be a scarred up Mick Foley ripoff. Actually it’s someone ECW has been wanting for some time and he’s here tonight: KURT ANGLE. Foley is ready to fight and is taken down in a heartbeat, setting up the Angle Slam to send Foley leaving.

There’s a lot to unpack here, and that’s a good thing. First of all, these two were the perfect picks for this argument as they are two of the best talkers ever and Foley can easily keep up with Heyman when he’s on. Heyman can get away with calling out Foley’s hypocrisy and make you believe every bit of it, which isn’t something everyone can do.

Then there’s the ECW relaunch, which is a pretty big deal of its own. Having big names come over will help it, but the one thing I always got out of it was that it wasn’t WCW, the AWA, WCCW or something else coming back or some new show. It was ECW, which does say something about the impact that it had. At the very least there was a nostalgia for it, which says a lot about a company that wasn’t really around that long. It’s cool to see it coming back, though I don’t know how much faith you could have put into WWE to do it right, even from here.

This Week In Wrestling History: Andre the Giant debuts, June 1, 1971. Dang it why can’t these clips be on the Network?

Edge vs. Big Show

Lita is here with Edge and the winner gets a World Title shot at Vengeance. JR: “This is a Wrestlemania like environment.” I don’t remember many #1 contenders matches at Wrestlemania. Edge ducks a chop in the corner to start and slugs away but the second chop attempt works rather well. Another chop puts Edge down but Lita grabs Show’s foot so Edge can slug away to no avail.

Show hits Snake Eyes but Edge manages to snap him throat first off the top. The charge sends Show head first into the buckle and Edge manages an Impaler. The spear is countered into a chokeslam attempt so Edge throws the referee down. Edge is sent outside and grabs a chair, which is swatted away. Lita gets in a low blow so now it’s a chair, setting up the spear to finish Show.

Rating: D+. We haven’t been having very good matches tonight but they are accomplishing their goals, which is much more important. Edge cheated over and over here but gets a title match out of it, which I’ll take over them just announcing his shot at Vengeance. This did what it was supposed to do and that is what matters most.

Yet another See No Evil video.

Smackdown Rebound.

HHH, with sledgehammer, runs into Vince, who takes the hammer away and says not tonight.

Kenny vs. HHH

The Spirit Squad is here too. HHH punches him down to start so Kenny bails to the floor. A neck snap across the top rope lets Kenny take over for all of a second before HHH runs him over again. The jumping knee to the arm region looks to set up the Pedigree but Mitch grabs the leg. Mitch is sent hard into the steps and some more of the Squad is knocked down as we take a break.

Back with Kenny still in trouble and HHH beating up the Squad for trying to help him up. The triple teaming puts HHH down for a change and Kenny gets two. A right hand into some choking from the floor sets up another right hand but Kenny is sent shoulder first into the post. More interference lets Johnny kick HHH in the face to give Kenny two and the group stomping is on again.

Back in and Kenny Tunes Up The Band but HHH counters (he’s seen it enough) with a DDT. A low blow cuts HHH down again though and it’s time to wrap the knee around the post a few times. Kenny starts pulling on the knee and drops some elbow but HHH kicks Mikey into the ropes to crotch Kenny down. The facebuster starts the comeback and HHH pounds away in the corner. There’s the spinebuster but the Pedigree attempt is broken up by more distractions. The next attempt is enough to finish Kenny off.

Rating: C-. While it was better than the rest of the matches on the show (the time helped a lot), this was a little bit too much HHH, as not only did he survive the 5-1 beatdown, but he won the match as clean as can be expected. It wasn’t the worst match, but HHH winning over these odds is kind of a lot to take.

Post match the beatdown is still on but HHH whips out a spare sledgehammer. HHH cleans house but here’s Vince to say next week, HHH joins his special club.

Overall Rating: D+. And there goes the hot streak, as they did advance stories in a logical way but it also included so many bad to very bad matches that the storyline stuff was overwhelmed. Throw in the double Kane thing and there was only so much that could be done. The Heyman/Foley showdown was rather good (as you might have guessed), but there were so many things that felt either shortsighted or just dumb that it was knocked backwards. Bad show, and hopefully not the start of a trend.

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