Monday Night Raw – March 5, 2007

Monday Night Raw
Date: March 5, 2007
Location: US Airways Center, Phoenix, Arizona
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We are less than a month away from Wrestlemania and for once, the build is actually clicking really well. There is a lot of focus on the Battle of the Billionaires, which is hardly the most thrilling story due to the people involved, but just about everything else has my interest. Let’s get to it.

John Cena comes up to Shawn Michaels in the back (to a THUNDEROUS CENA chant) and asks what is up with Shawn. Michaels says he isn’t going to turn on him, but Cena wants some more reassurance. What makes this one so different? Shawn: “I don’t know. Maybe it’s not.” Cena has Shawn’s back tonight, but Shawn says he doesn’t need it. That’s not cool with Cena, who will have Shawn’s back. Shawn says he doesn’t want or need Cena’s help and walks off.

Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton

Edge is here with Orton, who punches Shawn down to start. That doesn’t last long, as Shawn is back up with a clothesline out to the floor. Back in and Orton punches him down a few more times, followed by a rather evil rake to the eyes. Orton sends him crashing out to the floor and we take a break. Back with Orton holding a pretty bad Boston crab and Shawn teasing the tap until he makes it over to the rope.

Shawn is back up with a crossbody for two but Orton drops him hard with the hanging DDT. A dropkick sets up the chinlock, which draws Shawn back to his feet for the chops. The atomic drop into the slam sets up the top rope elbow but Sweet Chin Music is countered into the RKO attempt, which is countered with a shove into the referee. Orton hits a clothesline and Edge throws in a title, but the referee intercepts the belt. That’s enough for Shawn to grab a rollup for the fast pin.

Rating: B-. It’s two main eventers getting some time and having a story to set up the match. That’s going to work every time and it was one of the better Raw matches in recent memory as a result. I liked what we got here and you know something else is going to happen after the match to make things that much better. Rather good opener here, which shouldn’t be a surprise.

Post match Edge throws in a chair, with Orton laying Shawn out with an RKO. Cue John Cena for the late save.

We recap Bobby Lashley destroying the cage to crush Umaga on ECW.

Vince McMahon asks Armando Alejandro Estrada what kind of mood Umaga is in tonight against Jeff Hardy. Estrada has something planned and leaves. Coach thinks Vince is worried about the guest referee being named for the Battle of the Millionaires. Vince of course isn’t, because he has made a suggestion, as Chairman of the Board: Shane McMahon.

Intercontinental Title: Umaga vs. Jeff Hardy

Umaga, with Armando Alejandro Estrada, is defending. Hardy avoids an early charge in the corner and they sent outside where Umaga gets dropkicked off the steps. Back in and Umaga blasts him with a clothesline before cannonballing down onto Hardy’s chest. Hardy tries to fight up and gets clotheslined down again, meaning it’s time to go into the Tree of Woe. The running headbutt knocks Hardy silly and it’s the running hip attack into the Samoan Spike to retain the title.

Rating: C-. Total squash here for the most part and that’s what it should have been. Umaga has jumped up the ladder and he should be squashing Hardy at the moment. It did what it was supposed to do and is going to make Bobby Lashley look that much better when he can go toe to toe with Umaga.

We recap Bobby Lashley’s week: brawling with Umaga on Raw, beating Hardcore Holly on ECW and turning down Vince McMahon’s offer to jump on Smackdown.

Some low level celebrities and John Travolta give their picks on the Battle of the Billionaires. Travolta does not seem to have any idea what he is being asked about.

Ric Flair and Carlito are in a Money in the Bank qualifying match tonight and Flair is very confident that he’s winning tonight and at Wrestlemania. Flair: “Why? Because I can. WOO!”

Shane McMahon calls Vince McMahon and thinks the Board of Directors votes how Vince wants. More later.

Here is Jim Duggan to take the Masterlock Challenge. The hold goes on, Duggan is in trouble, the fans chant USA, Duggan can’t fight out, Masters wins. This is about two minutes of the show.

We recap Shawn Michaels getting beaten down until John Cena made the late save.

Shawn isn’t happy with Cena, but will still have his back tonight. Cena doesn’t seem impressed.

Here is Vince McMahon for the announcement about the guest referee. Before we get to that though, Vince has an announcement: next week, Donald Trump will be here to sign the contract for Wrestlemania. If Trump gets out of line, it is going to be the McMahon B**** Slap. As for the guest referee… is Eric Bischoff. Don’t worry though because he isn’t the guest referee, but he does live in Phoenix. We hear about the garbage truck firing and Bischoff can’t wait to see Vince bald.

Bischoff leaves and Vince wants the guest referee….so here is Mick Foley in a referee shirt. Vince: “How are the kids?” Vince is clearly nervous and seems to hint at a bribe, but Mick would rather have his old job back. That’s granted, but Mick also wants unlimited access to pop in and plug his new book, the Hardcore Diaries. Oh and could Vince pick up his room service bill, including an adult double feature? Sure on that too, but Foley isn’t the referee for Wrestlemania. He’s the referee for a rib eating contest between Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns Gorilla.

Cue the Gorilla so Vince throws them both out as Shane McMahon comes out to replace them. Vince is thrilled, but Shane says they lost. Vince: “If you’re not the guest referee…..” And cue the glass shatter, giving us an all time Vince Face with the Wrestlemania sign behind him. Steve Austin comes out, hits the buckles, won’t shake Vince’s hand, and drinks a lot. He does throw some beer on Vince for old times’ sake and the fans are very pleased. As usual, Austin knows when he doesn’t have to do anything more than the classics without saying a word. The fake referees were great too, with Austin being a perfect payoff.

Post break, Foley leaves with the Gorilla, giving Ron Simmons something to swear about.

Women’s Title: Mickie James vs. Melina

Melina is defending, Falls Count Anywhere, and Ashley is guest ring announcer. As luck would have it, Lawler has Ashley’s Playboy, with the expected reactions. They waste no time in brawling to the back with Mickie tossing her over a makeup table. Now it’s time to go into the women’s locker room, with Lawler demanding wider camera angles. Victoria goes after Mickie but Torrie Wilson hairsprays Melina in the face. Candice Michelle pops up in a towel, which is ripped off in a hurry.

They head back into the arena and the ring with Mickie throwing her around by the hair over and over. Melina is sat on top for a super hurricanrana but holds on, leaving Mickie to crash ONTO HER HEAD, allowing Melina to get the pin. That was terrifying and I would hope not how it was planned.

Rating: D+. Well that was completely terrifying and not something I ever need to see again. Mickie crashed down hard and thankfully they got straight to the pin after that. The Falls Count Anywhere stuff was little more than a way to feature some of the other women and Ashley’s Playboy gets another plug. I don’t know how much the match mattered, but that is often the case with the title.

Post match Melina goes to yell at Ashley, who shoves her down. Ashley helps Mickie to her feet, which is quite the relief.

Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Carlito vs. Ric Flair

Torrie Wilson is here with Carlito. Flair gets backed into the corner to start and stomps away until Flair chops his way to freedom. Carlito knocks him down again though and stomps away, setting up a snap suplex for two. The left hands are rained down so Flair chops away even more. The knee drop gets two and Flair grabs a chinlock. That’s broken up as well, allowing Carlito to hit the springboard back elbow….and here is Great Khali to jump them both. There is no bell so we’ll call that a no contest, meaning no winner.

Rating: C-. This didn’t have time to do much but it wasn’t going to be very good in the first place. The story works well enough but it isn’t like this is a great idea. Flair as a mentor to Carlito is still a little weird, but so is barely having Carlito ever win anything. I’d assume one turns on the other in the end, though that could take some time.

Post match Khali says he wants Kane.

Here’s the Steve Austin appearance again.

Austin will be on ECW.

The newest Hall of Fame inductee is…..Nick Bockwinkel. That would be this year’s “how is he not in already” entrant.

Randy Orton makes it very clear to Edge: he does NOT have his back tonight.

John Cena vs. Edge

Non-title….and non-Edge at first as MNM comes out instead. Cue Edge to say he is a civil rights activist (yes) and since Arizona was one of the last states to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day, something needs to be done. Johnny Nitro’s great great grandmother was Black so he’s getting to face Cena instead. I really was not expecting that one so well done….maybe?

John Cena vs. Johnny Nitro

Non-title with the rest of MNM and Edge at ringside. Nitro kicks him down to start and sends him outside, where Mercury gets in a posting. Cena goes into the steps and it’s a chinlock to keep him down back inside. That’s broken up with raw power and Cena starts the clothesline comeback. The ProtoBomb into the Shuffle means Cena has to knock Edge off the apron. The AA is broken up by Mercury for the DQ.

Rating: C-. Another match that didn’t have time to go anywhere and was only there to set something up going forward. Edge’s line to get out of the match was completely out there, but it worked well for the kind of coward that he can be. Barely a match of course, but Nitro isn’t feeling like a complete accident in these roles anymore.

Post match the beatdown, including the Snapshot, is on. Cue Shawn Michaels, who teases running in for the save but turns around….only to run in and save Cena. Now it’s Cena’s change to be confused to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. The wrestling wasn’t very good here outside of the opener but the Steve Austin surprise worked well. They have the card set and now it is time to hammer things home. There are still a few weeks to go until Wrestlemania so hopefully the feuds have been mapped out well. Otherwise you run out of ideas in a hurry and the last few weeks are awful. Not a great show here, but Wrestlemania is looking strong.




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