Monday Night Raw – July 31, 2006

Monday Night Raw
Date: July 31, 2006
Location: Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Attendance: 17,401
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

Things are back to normal this week as HHH is back from the hospital after Stephanie McMahon gave birth. We’re on the road to Summerslam with about three weeks left and that means it’s time to start setting up some of the card. You can probably guess some of it from here but we still need some official announcements. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Here are Vince and Shane McMahon to open things up. Vince says you can’t get the smiles off of their faces because his baby girl had a baby girl. His granddaughter is already more wealthy than anyone here and the celebration will keep going through Summerslam. That’s because the two of them will be facing D-Generation X at Summerslam. DX’s music starts….and then shuts off almost immediately. Shane mentions Shawn Michaels vs. Umaga tonight….and the music starts again, only to cut off even faster.

Then it plays for real as DX comes out, with Shawn giving Vince and Shane some Jewish greetings. HHH: “Uh, we’re not Jewish.” With that out of the way, Shawn talks about HHH being in the hospital room with Stephanie last week and he has the entire McMahon family photo album. First up is the first known photo of Vince, but please forgive the photography because these pre-Civil War photos don’t hold up well. It’s baby Vince (with the adult face) and an I HEART ROOSTERS shirt.

Shane’s first photo features a silver spoon in his mouth, with Shawn saying Shane jumped on the doctor’s table and started dancing with his umbilical cord. There’s one more, and that is of course a photo of the newest member of the McMahon Family. It’s HHH, with Shawn not being able to put his finger on who it is. Shane: “At Summerslam, we’re going to be changing your diapers.” HHH: “Did you just say you’re going to change our diapers?” HHH has some advice for Vince’s granddaughter’s nutritional health: SUCK IT.

We hear from the Diva Search girls, as they say who they want to send home. They’re going one at a time throughout the night, because we’re just that lucky.

Intercontinental Title: Johnny Nitro vs. Carlito vs. Shelton Benjamin

Nitro, with Melina, is defending. Carlito breaks up Nitro’s rather lengthy entrance but Benjamin takes the two of them down and we go to an early break. Back with Nitro missing a running shooting star press, allowing Carlito to sunset flip Benjamin for two. Nitro gets knocked down so Carlito hammers away on Benjamin. There’s a hurricanrana to send Benjamin outside but he comes back in with a DDT to Carlito. Melina puts the foot on the ropes for the save so Shelton yells at her, allowing Nitro to roll Carlito up with tights to retain.

Rating: C. The action was good while it lasted but they only had so much time given the commercial. Nitro escaping with the title works well enough as Melina is a great way to keep the title on him. Carlito looked fired up here too, which isn’t something you get to see all that often.

Here’s Randy Orton for a chat. He has had a big career, and that includes his own reality show: Orton Knows Best. Orton brings out the rest of the cast: Nick, Brooke, Linda and Hulk himself, all of whom are a bit over the top with the parodies. Nick wants to be a wrestler like his old man, so Orton says he’ll have to get used to this, with Orton sending him to the floor.

Orton hits on Brooke so Hulk hits the catchphrases and posing. Orton knows he’s the over protective father and says he can kiss his career goodbye at Summerslam. For now though, he has another kiss in mind and kisses Brooke. The RKO lays Hulk out but Orton isn’t done, as he heads to the floor to slap Jerry Lawler for helping Hogan last week.

Armando Alejandro Estrada offers Vince and Shane a congratulatory cigar and has more boxes in his car. He’s off to get them, with Vince and Shane approving.

Lawler isn’t happy with what Orton did and wants to face him next week in Memphis, Tennessee. Just don’t expect a wrestling match.

Trish Stratus/Candice Michelle vs. Mickie James/Victoria

Torrie Wilson is guest referee. Victoria knocks Candice down to start but Candice cranks on her arm. That just earns her a knee to the face as JR talks about fishing. Mickie comes in for an exchange of forearms and a lot of shouting as Lawler is too busy talking about Orton to make horrible comments. Victoria gets crotched on top and the hot tag brings in Trish to clean house. A kick to the chest sends Victoria to the floor and Trish powerbombs Mickie to counter a hurricanrana out of the corner. Stratusfaction hits Mickie and Candice dropkicks Victoria to the floor as Trish gets the pin.

Rating: D+. Run of the mill women’s tag here with Torrie only there for the sake of promoting her appearance in FHM. It was rather striking how much easier this was to watch without Lawler’s usual antics though and that’s a rather nice change of pace. Not their worst effort either, with some of the better in-ring women out there this time.

Mick Foley congratulates Johnny Nitro and Melina on their win. Foley is a little anxious about being on the show for the first time in six weeks, so he asks Melina to come to the ring with him.

Melina introduces Foley, who says he is going to give the fans what they want: Foley and Ric Flair in the ring tonight…..going after the Tag Team Titles! Ok so that’s ridiculous, but they do have some similarities. They both like to take young wrestlers under their wing. Flair did it with Randy Orton in Evolution and Foley did the same thing with Melina. They both have famous friends too. Flair is a personal friend of the President of the United States while Foley is a personal friend of adult film star Christy Canyon. One of their friends made it to the top by screwing a lot of people, and the other is in adult films.

Foley has been on the front page of USA Today twice and has been interviewed by Katie Couric twice. Flair makes headlines for road rage incidents. Cue Flair, who says Foley needs to keep his mouth shut. Flair says the two of them are ready to go and this isn’t about Foley’s book. They’re booing Alex Rodriguez in New York and the people here are booing Foley because he’s lazy. Foley has been talking about the “imaginary bada****” that Flair has faced, sending Flair into a rant about Bruiser Brody, Stan Hansen and Harley Race, who would walk over Foley on their way to the bathroom.

Flair wants Foley with thumbtacks, ladders and barbed wire because he wants Foley’s blood. Flair rolls across the ring and says he wants whatever Cactus Jack has. Then you have Foley talking about his wife and kids while he’s running around with Melina. She’s the kind of woman who would be Space Mountainized fifteen years ago. Foley says Flair sees Melina as a conquest but he sees kindness in her eyes. And no, Foley isn’t going to take family advice from someone who has been married three times.

Foley talks about a fourteen hour flight with Flair from Manila where they talked about family. Flair called all four of his kids because you never know when you might not get to talk to them again. That’s a great relationship, but Foley will never have to tell his kids that he has been arrested. Flair punches him in the face but here’s Jonathan Coachman to say Vince McMahon has made the match for Summerslam.

Foley says not so fast, because his contract says he wrestles when he wants, where he wants, and he isn’t wasting one of his remaining matches on Flair. This was rather intense with Flair reaching levels he hasn’t touched in a long time and Foley doing his mind games and personal insults perfectly. The Melina addition is a little weird, but you could feel the personal animosity here.

Edge vs. John Cena is confirmed for Summerslam and if Edge gets disqualified, he loses the title.

John Cena vs. Matt Striker

Before the match, Striker says Cena damages the English language by calling his fans homies. Edge and Lita come out to join commentary as the STFU finishes in about a minute.

Rory McCallister vs. Johnny

Everyone else is at ringside. Rory grabs a headlock to start but gets shoved away, with Mitch throwing in the megaphone. The referee takes it away from Johnny and uses it to eject the Spirit Squad in a cute moment. Rory hammers away but gets slammed head first into the mat for his efforts. The headlock doesn’t last long on Rory, who slugs away and hits some ax handles to the chest. Johnny kicks him down but Rory grabs a quick small package for the pin.

Rating: D+. So the Squad loses the title match the previous week and then they start building up the team? I could go for a rematch after the first one had a screwy ending, but at least they seem to have a little something going. It’s not like the Squad has anyone coming after the titles outside of the Highlanders.

Here are the Diva Search girls so Rebecca can be eliminated.

We look at the Wrestlemania XXIII press conference.

DX is in their locker room when some investigators come in to say they have a reason to believe HHH has some illegal substances. They find the Cuban cigars and he’ll have to go downtown. Vince and Shane find this rather amusing.

Shawn Michaels vs. Umaga

Armando Alejandro Estrada is here with Umaga. Shawn slugs away to start and hammers away in the corner to little avail. Umaga gets annoyed so Shawn slides between his legs to the floor as the McMahons come out. We take a break and come back with Umaga hitting a running headbutt, followed by a kick to the face to put Shawn on the floor. Back in and Umaga stomps away in the corner before hitting the neck crank.

Shawn fights up as expected and chops away until the running forearm puts Umaga down. There’s the nip up so Estrada gets on the apron, only to be knocked down by Umaga. The pop up Samoan drop crushes Shawn though and Vince gets on the apron for some motivation. That’s enough for Shawn to hit a low blow but Vince grabs the leg to break up Sweet Chin Music. Shawn takes out Shane but the distraction lets Umaga hit the Spike for the pin.

Rating: C. Shawn can have this kind of match in his sleep and knows exactly how to face off with a monster like Umaga. The match was full of shenanigans of course and Shawn doesn’t lose much by getting pinned, but Umaga got a lot out of the win and that’s what matters. They’re building him up and if that’s what DX is good for in this run, so be it.

Post match the McMahons beat Shawn down, including a superkick to send a chair into his face. Vince makes HHH vs. Umaga for next week to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. This was a show where the wrestling wasn’t the focus as they built some things up for the future in a hurry. The McMahons having Umaga as their ace in the hole is the best thing that has happened to the story in a long time and we have the top part of the Summerslam card set. That’s a pretty efficient show and I could go for more of them like this in the future.

 

 

 

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