Monday Night Raw
Date: September 11, 2006
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
Oh yeah I think they might make this one feel special. It’s the go home show for Unforgiven and that means we need the final push forward, including a pretty big main event. This week it’s Vince McMahon vs. HHH, which should be rather special for Vince given what the Garden means to him. Let’s get to it.
We open with a moment of silence for the 5th anniversary of 9/11. The Marine Corps Color Guard presents the flag and Lilian Garcia sings America the Beautiful, which is great as always.
Ric Flair vs. Umaga
Flair (in red, meaning it isn’t likely to be a good night for him) slugs away to start so Armando Alejandro Estrada gets up for a distraction. That just lets Flair hit some low blows but Umaga is up again. Flair has had it and grabs a chair for some shots to the head and the DQ.
Umaga isn’t having these chair shots to the head either so Flair grabs the steps, which are swatted away as well. A Samoan drop plants Flair on the floor so here’s Kane for the brawl. Umaga chairs Kane down but he sits up and gets sent outside. Kane picks up the steps and throws them over the top, hitting Umaga square in the face (I remember watching that live and losing it at how scary that looked). The fire sends Umaga staggering away.
Vince and Shane McMahon are outside the Garden and we see Vince’s marker on the Madison Square Garden Walk Of Fame (roped off of course).
We see a clip of Cactus Jack vs. HHH in (and out of) the Cell at No Way Out 2000. I know it’s well remembered but it’s a shame more people don’t talk about that match as much as they do thanks to the other Foley Cell match.
Here’s the New York City Pipe And Drum Corps to introduce the Highlanders……and Roddy Piper to blow the roof off the place. Piper is pleased to have been ranked as the #1 offender in WWE history in a new magazine. He introduces the Highlanders and asks which one Rory is. Rory: “This is my cousin Robbie.” Robbie: “I’m Robbie.” Roddy: “I’m Roddy!” Robbie: “I’m Robbie!” Roddy: “I’m Roddy!” Then they slap each other, which Piper says is the most fun he’s had since he beat up Mr. T.
Cue the Spirit Squad to say that everyone here is dressed like girls. Piper says that’s tough talk coming from a bunch of guys who had their testicles replaced with pom poms. The challenge for the six man tag is thrown out and you know that Piper is down for that. Granted he issued the challenge so maybe that was implied.
Roddy Piper/Highlanders vs. Spirit Squad
Joined in progress with Roddy holding Johnny’s arm so Robbie can come in off the top with an ax handle. The two Squad members on the floor offer a distraction so the ones in the match can get in a few cheap shots. Robbie fights out of Kenny’s chinlock but gets taken into the corner again anyway.
Mikey’s running knee gets two and we hit the neck crank. Kenny breaks up another comeback bid and it’s back to Johnny for a hard clothesline. The chinlock doesn’t last long again and the hot tag brings in Piper to clean house. Kenny slugs away at Piper, who quickly backdrops him out onto the floor. The Highlanders grab the double reverse slingshot suplex and Piper steals the pin.
Rating: D+. Of course the match itself wasn’t the point here and we got everything we needed here. This show is being treated like a homecoming special and Piper is one of the most famous wrestlers ever in Madison Square Garden. Go with what works to pop the crowd here and give the Highlanders a bit of a rub at the same time. Piper looked like he was having a ball out there too and that’s great to see.
Johnny Nitro and Melina don’t like Jeff Hardy saying their press conference was like watching paint dry. Melina doesn’t think much of Mick Foley talking about things that happened twelve years ago but hang on because Hardy is painting. Said painting is trashed so he throws the paint on the two of them.
Another classic Cell moment: Shawn vs. Undertaker.
Here are Edge and Lita for a chat before Edge is in a six man tag. Tonight is going to be John Cena’s last match on Raw before he gets sent back to Smackdown where he got started. In honor of his move, it’s time for a special rap, with Edge talking about winning at Unforgiven and mocks the Yankees and New York women.
Edge/Randy Orton/Johnny Nitro vs. John Cena/Carlito/Jeff Hardy
Nitro, still covered in paint, hammers at Jeff in the corner to start but Hardy knocks him right back down. The dropkick to the ribs allows Hardy to bring Carlito in to flip Nitro over and nip up. Orton comes in and gets clotheslined down, followed by an elbow to the face for two. It’s off to Cena and that means the big showdown with Orton despite it not really being a big showdown moment yet.
Cena’s release fisherman’s suplex gets two but Cena goes after Edge, allowing Orton to hit his own suplex. The painted Nitro comes in and gets taken down for some right hands to the face, allowing the tag back to Carlito. It’s back to Orton, who gets clotheslined down and taken into the corner so Hardy can stomp away. A running clothesline puts Orton on the floor and Hardy nails a dive to take him down again.
Edge gets in a cheap shot to Hardy though and that means some hardcore six way staring to take us to a break. Back with Edge working on Hardy’s leg before handing it off to Nitro for the same. Edge comes back in and gets caught with the Whisper in the Wind, allowing the hot tag off to Carlito.
The pace picks up but Edge pulls the middle rope down to send him crashing to the floor. Back in and Nitro’s neckbreaker gets a delayed two so it’s another chinlock. That’s broken up as well and it’s the really hot tag to bring in Cena. Carlito cuts off an RKO attempt with a Backstabber and Hardy adds a Swanton to Orton. The FU into the STFU finishes Nitro as Edge and Lita walk out.
Rating: C+. This got a lot of time but there were quite a few chinlocks to stretch said time out. What we got did work well enough though and I was liking what we were seeing for the most part. Nitro losing to Cena isn’t the worst thing in the world, though I’m still not wild on seeing a champion take a fall. Good match here, but not quite as epic as they seemed to be trying to reach.
Another Cell moment: HHH pins Chris Jericho on top of the Cell.
Cryme Tyme knocks a white guy down and steals his wallet. Egads this isn’t aging well, even if it’s so over the top that it’s hard to take seriously.
Vince McMahon says he’ll win here, unlike Muhammad Ali.
Super Crazy vs. Chris Masters
Rematch from last week when Crazy got an upset win. Masters jumps him from behind to start and the beatdown is on with Crazy getting caught in a chinlock. Back up and Crazy scores with a middle rope crossbody before slipping out of an over the shoulder backbreaker. A hurricanrana takes Masters down again and a sunset flip gives Crazy the fast pin. As usual, the best way to make someone matter in wrestling is to give them some wins so well done so far.
Robert Patrick is in the Marine.
Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James
This is Trish’s final match on Raw. Mickie grabs the wristlock to start but Trish flips out and throws in a smile. The Thesz press into some right hands have Mickie in trouble but she counters the Stratusphere into a hurricanrana out of the corner. A double clothesline puts them both down but Trish is fine enough to catch Mickie in the Stratusphere on the second attempt. The Chick Kick misses and here’s Lita for a distraction. That’s fine with Trish, who hits the Stratusfaction off of Lita to finish Mickie.
Rating: C-. The match wasn’t much to see and that’s completely missing the point. Trish might have been surpassed over the years (almost everyone is at some point) but she absolutely was a huge deal and a game changer for women’s wrestling. If nothing else, how many of today’s crop of women cite her as a huge influence? Trish deserves a big sendoff and that’s what they were going for here, at least on Raw.
Post match Mickie and Trish hug and Trish thanks the fans.
Classic Cell Moment: Kevin Nash vs. HHH, in a match that has kind of been buried in history. I can’t say I really disagree either.
This Week In Wrestling History: the post 9/11 show.
D-Generation X runs into Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch and the brawl is on in a hurry. Shane McMahon runs in to help with the beatdown before the main event. Big Show joins in and chokeslams Shawn Michaels onto the limo. Speaking of the limo, HHH has the door slammed on him, allowing Vince McMahon to come in and make the main event no holds barred.
HHH vs. Vince McMahon
No Holds Barred and Vince’s muscle shirt is red instead of the usual black. HHH can barely walk and is bleeding from the…..ear? Somewhere head related at least. Vince is smart enough to headbutt him in said ear, knocking HHH down in a hurry. Choking ensues and some shots to the face with Vince’s belt put HHH on the floor. Vince posts him hard and adds in a kick to the face, so HHH tells him to suck it.
A Pedigree gives Vince two and it’s Game On. HHH hammers away and hits the spinebuster but here’s Shane for a cheap shot to save his pop. Cue Shawn, holding his ribs, for the save but Big Show takes care of that comeback as well. HHH grabs the sledgehammer, only to be taken down by the numbers. Shane chairs Shawn and Vince hits HHH with the sledgehammer for the pin.
Rating: D+. As has been the case tonight, the wrestling didn’t matter here because this was barely a match. What matters here is DX FINALLY having to deal with some adversity as they have mowed through everyone else in recent months with no one else even making them break a sweat. I’m not sure I can imagine them losing inside the Cell, but this set up the possibility and that’s what mattered.
Overall Rating: C+. This show worked because they made it feel like an important night. The Garden is sacred ground for WWE and they know how to make it feel like a place that matters. That’s what they did here and it worked rather well, with a mixture of a build to the pay per view and special moments throughout the night. I had a good time with this and as I said more than twice, this wasn’t about the wrestling and that’s ok in a special situation.
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