Monday Night Raw – January 15, 2007

Monday Night Raw
Date: January 15, 2007
Location: Centurytel Center, Bossier City, Louisiana
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We are on the way to the Royal Rumble though you might not know it based on how the last few weeks have gone. Instead, the last few weeks have focused on various celebrities, or at least celebrity impersonators in last week’s case. The actual wrestling stories coming out of last week saw a likely rematch being set up between John Cena and Umaga for the Raw World Title, and Shawn Michaels vs. Rated-RKO this week. Let’s get to it.

We open with the traditional Martin Luther King Jr. Day video. That’s a rather nice tradition for the show.

Here is John Cena to get things going and we’ve got a contract signing. Boss Jonathan Coachman brings out Umaga and Armando Alejandro Estrada and Umaga turns the chair over in a hurry. Coach has an idea to make the match special, so Estrada gets to pick the stipulation. Estrada doesn’t want another fluke win, so we’ll be having a Last Man Standing match.

Since Umaga is, you know, a savage, Estrada signs for him, but Cena says he must be crazy to do this. Well sure why not, so Cena signs and then dives onto Umaga to start the fight. They go to the floor and Cena hits him in the head with the steps. Back in and the FU puts Estrada through the table. Counting the King video and the opening, we are done with this segment about ten minutes into the show. I can absolutely go with that kind of efficiency for a contract signing.

Johnny Nitro/Melina vs. Jeff Hardy/Maria

Maria doing Jeff’s entrance dance is certainly a sight. Nitro bails from the threat of an early Twist of Fate attempt so it’s off to Melina. Maria comes in and bulldogs her out of the corner for two but Nitro trips her from the apron. We hit the reverse chinlock to put Maria down for a change but she counters a backbreaker into a headscissors. It’s off to Nitro so Maria kicks him in the shin, allowing Jeff to hit the Whisper in the Wind. Maria takes Melina outside, leaving Jeff to break up a superplex attempt. The Swanton is good for the pin on Nitro.

Rating: C-. This didn’t have time to do much but it was a fine way to advance both feuds, even if the men should have wrapped up. Maria isn’t going to be a serious competitor in the ring but at least she can do enough basic stuff to get by in something like this. Let the experienced people get in and do their thing and get out, which is exactly what they did here.

Vince McMahon calls Donald Trump but Trump’s secretary, who doesn’t know who Vince is, says he is having dinner. Vince starts to give out the number but looks at Coach and stops himself. Coach doesn’t seem to buy that Trump is going to call back.

Here is Rated-RKO for a chat but DX’s music interrupts them. The music turns into a flatline sound though, with Randy Orton saying that is what is happening to DX. Tonight they are taking out Shawn Michaels and HHH is already sitting at home recovering from a torn quadricep muscle.

Orton leaves to take care of something backstage while Edge talks about how Shawn’s TV debut took place near here, so him being destroyed makes sense. Edge goes to check on Orton….and they drag out a bloody Jim Duggan. Since Duggan might help Shawn later, we need a demonstration of what Shawn has coming for him. Duggan gets a Conchairto and here are the referees, just a few seconds late of course.

Ric Flair vs. Kenny Dykstra

How many times are these guys going to fight??? Flair takes him into the corner for the chops to start and there’s a headlock takeover. Dykstra fights up and gets in a shot to Flair’s knee, setting up a Figure Four of his own. That’s broken up and Flair chops away before cutting off a charge with an elbow to the face. Flair goes up and actually hits something like a top rope clothesline for two. JR: “I think we just saw a moment!” Dykstra is right back with a rollup but gets caught grabbing the rope. Flair’s rollup with trunks gets two so he tries another and, this time with putting his feet on the ropes, gets the pin.

Rating: C-. And they’re done. Or at least they should be, as this feud has already gone on far too long. Flair took him to school here and got his win back. Now let the whole thing go and move on to anything else, because it wasn’t exactly an interesting feud in the first place. Dykstra is as midcard of a midcard heel as you can get so let’s move on to something else already.

Smackdown Rebound.

Shawn Michaels arrives and is told about what happened to Jim Duggan. That’s not what Shawn wanted but he only has one partner. He’ll do this alone tonight, but Ric Flair comes in to say he’ll fight with Shawn tonight. Shawn shakes his hand but still seems nervous.

Vince McMahon is still waiting on Donald Trump’s call but Coach suggests it might be Vince’s batteries. Vince: “There is nothing wrong with my batteries.” Coach asks Vince what the big deal is and Vince pulls out a letter that Trump sent him last week. The letter talks about how Trump is a big WWE fan but he didn’t like the Trump vs. Rosie O’Donnell match last week. Trump will be watching this week and wants something better. Oh and watch the Apprentice on Sunday nights. Coach is a fan, but Vince would rather talk about the compelling television you are about to see.

Wrestlemania is coming in 76 days.

Here is Vince McMahon to give us compelling television and I’m as scared as you are. He knows Donald Trump wants compelling television so let’s look at Rosie vs. Trump from last week. Hold on though as we need to see it in SLOW MOTION. Vince sees a difference between himself and Trump: instead of asking the audience what they want and then giving it to them like Trump, Vince decides what his fans wants and then gives it to them (How in the world is that not a FAR more quoted line?).

Vince moves on to the Miss USA controversy, as she did something that meant she should lose her crown. It turns out that Miss USA is here tonight, so here is Torrie Wilson in a gown. Torrie reluctantly says she has been a bad girl and asks how she can make it up to Vince, America’s Favorite Billionaire.

Cue an angry Carlito to interrupt and say that Vince is not cool. Trump vs. Rosie sucked and this is brutal. Trump was right: Vince doesn’t know what people want and the fans want to see people fight. Vince likes that idea and is ready to go right now…but let’s have Great Khali do it instead. Carlito gets in a few shots until a big chop and the double chokeslam leave him laying. Vince: “Now that? That’s cool.”

Women’s Title: Mickie James vs. Victoria

Mickie is defending so Victoria pulls her down by the hair. That’s fine enough as Mickie jumps over her in the corner and does the same thing. Mickie gets draped over the top rope so Mickie can throw in a few spanks. That earns Mickie a trip to the floor and a baseball slide takes her out in a hurry. Back in and Victoria tosses her around by the hair and then stands on it for a bonus. Mickie cradles her for two so Victoria pulls on her leg. That’s broken up but the MickieDT is countered into the swinging side slam. Mickie is sick of this and hits a spinning kick to the face to retain.

Rating: D+. This wasn’t exactly their best work as it felt sluggish to go with all of the botches. These two are capable of having a good match because they have the chemistry together, but it just wasn’t clicking this time. This should end the feud, as Mickie can move on to Melina while Victoria can continue to be more talented than most of the women featured on the show.

We recap the contract signing.

Royal Rumble rundown….now with 25 names already entered into the Rumble. There is something to be said for the “throw everyone in at once” method.

Here is Chris Masters for a chat. He is ready for the Royal Rumble and the winner is standing before you. Masters pulls out a note while talking about how no one can break the Masterlock. The note is a signed document from Vince McMahon himself, which says that since JBL interfered in Iraq, the Masterlock has NEVER been broken.

The Masterlock Challenge is on again so here is Ron Simmons of all people to accept. Masters immediately starts backing off but Simmons shoves him down. The hold goes on and, after the usual escape tease….Super Crazy of all people comes in to jump Masters. Simmons watches as Crazy lays Masters out, meaning it’s catchphrase time.

Wrestlemania Recall: Rob Van Dam wins Money in the Bank.

JR confirms that Simmons did NOT break the Masterlock, due to Crazy’s interference.

Ric Flair has been attacked and laid out. Again. What is that, three times since Rated-RKO formed?

JTG vs. Shelton Benjamin

Shad Gaspard and Charlie Haas are here too. Shelton breaks up an early headscissors to start by hitting a shoulder breaker out of the corner. A hammerlock stays on the arm and Shelton sends it hard into the buckle. The referee has to yell at Shad as JTG fights back, only to get kicked in the face. Shad uses the distraction to unhook a turnbuckle pad so Haas complains, allowing Shad to break up a powerbomb attempt to give JTG the pin.

Ric Flair is on his way to the hospital so Shawn Michaels is rather upset. He superkicks Todd Grisham to blow off some steam.

We get a video with HHH talking about his quad injury and surgery. This goes on for a good while.

Shawn Michaels vs. Rated-RKO

Non-title. Before the match, Rated-RKO mocks DX’s intro and has security confiscate all of the DX signs. Shawn charges in and starts fast by sending both of them out to the floor. We settle down to Edge getting chopped in the corner until he rakes the eyes to escape. Orton comes in and gets hammered down in a hurry. Shawn is sent outside though and Edge blasts him with a running clothesline.

Back in and Edge hammers Shawn down without much effort to bust him open. Orton’s backbreaker lets Edge hammer away even more until we take a break. It’s back to Orton to get in some right hands of his own but Shawn flips over in the corner and nails a clothesline. Edge comes back in and spears Orton by mistake and Shawn has a chance.

The comeback is on with the forearm into the nipup into the atomic drop. Shawn’s top rope elbow connects but he can’t follow up right away. Sweet Chin Music is loaded up but Shawn has to jump Orton as he comes back in. Edge hits the spear and now it’s time for the chairs so the referee throws it out.

Rating: C. This worked out about as well as it could have as there was only so much that could be done here. Shawn can’t beat the champs on his own but you don’t want them beating Shawn because he has no partner and no real place to go if he loses. It wasn’t a bad match at all, but it was much more about finding a way out than anything else.

Post match the Conchairto is loaded up but Shawn nips it up into Edge’s face which is only slightly better than I remember seeing it live. Shawn fights back and finds the sledgehammer to knock Orton out. A Conchairto is loaded up and Orton is crushed to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. I’m glad they have named most of the Royal Rumble entrants but the rest of the show was barely worth seeing. The contract signing worked, but it was one of those shows where it felt like they didn’t have much to do and jumped through the two hours as quickly as they could. While it isn’t a terrible show, it’s a totally skippable one (especially the Trump/Vince stuff), which tends to be the case until we get to the Rumble.

 

 

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