Monday Night Raw – January 29, 2007

Monday Night Raw
Date: January 29, 2007
Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Attendance: 17,115
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We’re done with the Royal Rumble and that means it is time to start moving forward towards Wrestlemania. The big Raw stories coming out of last night would be John Cena retaining the WWE Title in a great Last Man Standing match over Umaga, plus Shawn Michaels coming this close to winning the Royal Rumble. I wonder if that means anything. Let’s get to it.

Here is Shawn Michaels to get things going. Last week, he said no mortal man was going to keep him from making it to Wrestlemania. The problem is there were 29 mortal men in the Royal Rumble and one Undertaker. That was a setback, but he is going to Wrestlemania to become the new WWE Champion. Undertaker has the right to choose, but he hasn’t picked yet. If Undertaker picks Bobby Lashley’s ECW World Title (Shawn has jokes) or Batista’s World Heavyweight Title, that leaves John Cena and the WWE Title wide open. Tonight, Shawn is throwing his hat in the ring but here is Cena to interrupt.

Cena likes that idea but here is Edge to interrupt. Edge laughs at Shawn for losing last night and is greeted with a YOU SUCK chant. Shawn lost last night and he has beaten Cena more times than he can count. Edge is undefeated at Wrestlemania so the title shot should be his. Cue Randy Orton, who doesn’t seem to agree.

Last night it was every man for himself and it is the same with that WWE Title. Edge has had 30 title shots at Cena but Orton hasn’t had one. Cena cuts them off and the challenge is on but Vince McMahon pops up on screen. Since it’s Fan Appreciation Night, the Tag Team Title match is on for later. Cena seems intrigued and Shawn….kind of stands there.

JTG talks to the camera and sends some shout outs to his friends but Shad Gaspard says they have a match up next.

Cryme Tyme vs. Shelton Benjamin/Charlie Haas

Haas hammerlocks Shad to start but a shoulder puts Haas into the corner. A Shelton cheap shot cuts him off though and it’s time to stomp on Shad’s knee. Benjamin comes in and stays on the leg, even cutting off Shad’s rights and lefts with a half crab. Shad finally kicks him away and brings in JTG to take over. An elbow to Benjamin and a backdrop to Haas connect but everything breaks down. Shad is sent outside and Haas sneaks in a DDT so Benjamin can cover JTG (with tights) for the pin. That’s Cryme Tyme’s first loss.

Rating: C-. I’m not sure what the point was in having Cryme Tyme lose here unless they needed to be cooled down a bit, as they are the hottest regular team going at the moment. Haas and Benjamin haven’t been doing much of anything lately so this was kind of a strange loss. It’s not a career killer or anything, but kind of odd.

Vince McMahon gives Melina a pep talk in the back, telling her to seize the moment. Vince gets a hug and Melina leaves, with Coach replacing her. Fan Appreciation Night is ready to go and they’re both excited. It’s going to be bigger than the Royal Rumble and maybe even bigger than Wrestlemania. This is going to leave Vince’s name up there with Mother Teresa, Gandhi and DESMOND TUTU! Coach goes to make sure everything is ready.

This Week In Wrestling History: the first Royal Rumble, which was in no way aired to screw with the NWA’s Bunkhouse Stampede (which didn’t need to be screwed with in the first place).

Melina vs. Maria

The winner gets a Women’s Title shot at some point in the future, as per Vince McMahon’s order (or a First Contenders match according to Melina). JR says Maria has been improving every time she is in the ring, which is a scary concept. Maria rolls her up to start and hits a Bronco Buster for one. Melina isn’t having that and tosses Maria down by the hair to take over. A few kicks out of the corner don’t do Maria much good as Melina hits a not great looking flapjack. Melina screams a lot and grabs a Muta Lock for the tap. Lawler says that’s called California Dream, which Melina told him online. Lawler: “I’d like to blog her.”

Shawn Michaels isn’t going to kick Todd Grisham again but he’ll win the Tag Team Titles tonight. John Cena is no HHH though.

Super Crazy interrupts Mickie James, asking her if she remembers people calling her crazy. Well he’s SUPER Crazy! Melina comes in to say Mickie must be crazy if she thinks she’s keeping the Women’s Title. A brawl breaks out, with Melina shouting “I’M THE TRUE CHAMPION YOU WH***!”

Edge is with Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch and can’t believe that Randy Orton thinks he should get a title shot at Wrestlemania. No one can take the Tag Team Titles from them though.

Stills of Umaga vs. John Cena.

Umaga vs. Val Venis

Umaga starts fast with the Samoan drop and ties Venis in the Tree of Woe. The running headbutt connects and the running hip attack sets up the Samoan Spike to complete the squash.

Here is Vince McMahon, in a cowboy hat, for Fan Appreciation Night, complete with something under a sheet. Vince: “HOWDY PARDNER! Why you must be the new school marm!” That’s ridiculous, just like wearing a cowboy hat (yep). Anyone over the age of five wearing a cowboy hat is stupid, because it even messes up your hair. Vince stomps on the hat and thanks the fans for making him a billionaire. He would like to give everyone some monetary thanks but it can only be one person.

Vince calls in a woman from the crowd, who is in no way a model. He knows she must be nervous and then pulls the sheet off, revealing a large version of his Muscle & Fitness cover from last year. The woman seems to like it and Vince sends her away, saying he won’t remember her name (Jackie). And now, in a moment that I’m sure will age just fine, Donald Trump appears on the screen, sending Vince into a panic. He says the fans have no choice but to do what Vince wants and no one would want that picture. Not even Vince’s wife!

Trump knows what the fans want, including the value for what they paid for tickets tonight. Therefore, he is dumping money out of the ceiling, which seems to be completely real, despite what Vince says. Vince: “DONALD TRUMP YOU SON OF A B****!” JR even catches some money as Vince tries to get his head around the idea that it is raining cash. Vince rants about how the people are taking his money and storms off, as JR declares that Vince has been trumped. It’s going to be a long, long Road To Wrestlemania.

Post break, Coach, with money, says he can’t believe Trump would try to upstage him like that. Coach has gathered up as much money as he could, even throwing in some of his own (Ten dollars!). Vince jumps in the limo and leaves in a huff anyway.

Carlito/Super Crazy vs. Kenny Dykstra/Chris Masters

Torrie Wilson is here with Carlito/Crazy. Masters drives Crazy into the corner to start and drives in some knees to the ribs. Crazy knocks him down and drops a corkscrew elbow for an early two. It’s off to Dykstra, who gets caught with a basement dropkick. Carlito comes in for a hurricanrana to the floor and the stereo dives drop the villains.

Back in and Masters trips Crazy down so Dykstra can drop an elbow to take over. The chinlock goes on for a bit, followed by Carlito coming in to break up a cover. Dykstra grabs his own chinlock but gets belly to back suplexed for his efforts. The double tag brings in Carlito and Masters to pick up the pace, including Carlito’s running knee lift. Everything breaks down and the Backstabber gives Carlito the pin.

Rating: C-. This could have been worse as Carlito and Crazy worked out well enough together. I never need to see Masters vs. Carlito again though, as it is one of those pairings that has been beaten so far into the ground. Dykstra continues to be one of those people who is just kind of there, but it can be rather hard to build someone up from almost nothing.

Randy Orton talks about what an honor it was to win the Tag Team Titles with Edge but they both want to be WWE Champion. As for tonight, they’re retaining the titles.

Intercontinental Title: Great Khali vs. Jeff Hardy

Khali is challenging and knocks Hardy outside in a hurry. Hardy gets pulled back in with one arm and some heavy shots knock him down again. A big clothesline makes it worse for Hardy, who manages to get up for a Whisper in the Wind. That doesn’t do much though as the big chop puts Hardy on the floor for the countout.

Rating: D. It was more of an angle than a match and it made Khali look great without having Hardy get pinned. In theory this should set up Khali destroying him to win the title, or at least a title match, though I’m not sure I believe WWE is going to follow through on it. Nothing match, but it wasn’t supposed to be.

Candice Michelle is in a GoDaddy commercial for the Super Bowl. Not on Peacock of course.

Wrestlemania Recall: the first Money In The Bank.

Vladimir Kozlov is amazed that money fell from the ceiling but he wasn’t impressed by the Royal Rumble. He would have won you see.

Highlights of the Last Man Standing match.

John Cena and Ric Flair are in the back, with Flair saying Shawn Michaels wants to go to the main event of Wrestlemania. He might even superkick Cena to get there.

Vince McMahon will be on ECW this week. Oh dear.

Tag Team Titles: Rated-RKO vs. Shawn Michaels/John Cena

Michaels/Cena are challenging and the champs bail to the floor to start. Shawn chops Edge to start and Orton is almost ready to come in and save him. Instead it’s more chopping against the ropes with Edge flopping around early on. Cena comes in to quite the reaction and it’s a hiptoss into an elbow to the jaw for two. A DDT is good for the same but it’s off to Orton for some forearms to the back.

Orton grabs a suplex and Cena gets caught in the wrong corner. Cena fights up but gets knocked down again, only to have Orton knock Edge down by mistake. Things are about to fall apart but Orton knees Cena in the back from the apron to keep him in trouble. A knee drop gives Orton two and Edge adds a dropkick for the same.

The bodyscissors with a chinlock goes on until Cena fights up and powers his way to freedom. The hot tag brings in Shawn to clean house but Orton breaks up the superkick with a dropkick. Shawn blocks the RKO though and brings (the busted open) Cena back in for the FU and the pin to give us new champions.

Rating: C+. This was the way to get the Road To Wrestlemania off in a hurry as Shawn vs. Cena is already all but set for the show. That isn’t a bad thing, and it isn’t like there is a strong division underneath the titles in the first place. Michaels and Cena holding the titles isn’t that much different than Orton and Edge, so using it as a plot device to get us to Wrestlemania is not a bad thing.

Post match Shawn teases a superkick but stops, leaving Cena to yell at him instead. Then the gong goes off and here is Undertaker to stare them down to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. The wrestling wasn’t the point here, because this show was all about having stuff happen. They did a lot of big things on this show and you can see where a good chunk of the Wrestlemania build is going. Your individual tastes may vary, but there is something to be said about having the build start hot and that is what they did here. The followup is important, but at least they were off to a good start.

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