Monday Night Raw – March 26, 2007

Monday Night Raw
Date: March 26, 2007
Location: Allstate Arena, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 15,146
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the go home show for Wrestlemania and that means we are not likely to see a lot of wrestling this time around. Instead, expect a heck of a lot of talking, plus some rather short matches to get everyone to Detroit as safely as possible. That being said, we have a heck of a double main event with Bobby Lashley vs. Vince McMahon and a No Way Out main event with Shawn Michaels/John Cena vs. Batista/Undertaker. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Here is Coach in the ring to announce that Vince McMahon vs. Bobby Lashley is now No DQ, but any interference will result in a fine and suspension. Cue Steve Austin to another thunderous pop and he has a story to tell Coach. He was sitting down at the ranch and got a bunch of gifts, in the form of a new four wheeler, a rifle, a hunting knife and more. Every gift that he got was from Donald Trump and he thinks that Trump is trying to buy him off.

Coach thinks so to but Vince would never…..and Austin cuts him off, saying that he told the delivery driver to take them all back. It turns out that they came from Stamford, Connecticut and the offices of Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Does Vince think Austin is stupid enough to think that Trump is buying him off? Coach says no one thinks he is stupid and eventually admits that he was the one who sent the gifts.

Austin isn’t pleased but explains that he will beat up both Lashley and Umaga if they don’t listen to him at Wrestlemania. Coach understands the idea, but he does not understand why Vince and Trump are worried about being bald. Austin and Coach show that bald is beautiful….and there’s the Stunner. Beer is consumed and poured onto Coach.

Post break, Austin leaves in his truck but gets cut off by Vince McMahon’s limo. Vince comes out of the sun roof to yell but sees Austin, who flips him off for old times’ sake. With Austin gone, Vince gets out, pulls the driver out, beats him up, and fires him.

Jillian Hall/Victoria/Melina vs. Torrie Wilson/Ashley/Candice Michelle

Ashley rolls Melina up for an early near fall and it’s off to Candice to spinwheel kick Victoria. The Go Daddy dance takes too long and Victoria kicks Candice down. The Tree of Woe sets up a running Bronco Buster to the upside down Candice and Jillian comes in for the assortment of hair pulling. Candice avoids a flipping legdrop and crawls over (nearly crawling out of her shorts on the way there) for the hot tag to Ashley. Everything breaks down with Ashley snapping off some headscissors. The other four brawl, leaving Ashley to victory roll Hall for the pin.

Rating: D. I think you can figure out the reason behind this one and seeing Ashley’s house cleaning at the end was not exactly appealing. It isn’t Ashley’s fault that she can’t learn how to be a wrestler in the span of a few months. The title match isn’t going to be about the technical side and that wasn’t the case here either. Not good wrestling, but that wasn’t what this was for in the first place.

Video on Bobby Lashley.

CM Punk vs. Kenny Dykstra

Punk is the hometown boy and Dykstra jumps him on the way in. Dykstra hammers away and kicks Punk off the top before he has the chance to doing anything. The chinlock doesn’t last long but a jumping back elbow cuts Punk down again. Some clotheslines give Dykstra two and we hit another chinlock. Back up again and Punk knees his way out of a front facelock, setting up the springboard clothesline. More knees, including one in the corner, sets up the bulldog for two. The still yet to be named Go To Sleep finishes Dykstra.

Rating: C-. This was a nice way to have Punk get a come from behind win in his hometown while also building him up a bit for Wrestlemania. It isn’t hard to figure this one out and they did it well enough. They didn’t do anything flashy here as it was just a nice win with a guy beating someone beneath him. Don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be.

Post match Edge pops up on screen to say Punk isn’t winning at Wrestlemania. Don’t worry though, because Punk is going to get his chance to respond in the first ever eight man edition of the Cutting Edge.

Clip of Bobby Lashley crashing through the cage wall to get to Umaga on ECW. That’s still great.

All of the Money in the Bank participants are in the ring as Edge comes out for the big interview. Edge brags about his success in ladder matches, which includes winning more ladder matches than everyone in here combined. Throw in that he has never lost at Wrestlemania and why should anyone else have a chance? How is Matt Hardy even on Wrestlemania?

Matt promises to be in Edge’s face but makes the mistake of mentioning Lita and gets cut off. King Booker talks about all of his success but mentions the word peasants, which is too far for Finlay. He is sick of all this nonsense because everyone else sounds like a bunch of old women. Finlay to Edge: “You didn’t like that chisel chin?” Randy Orton tells Finlay to not hurt Edge’s feelings because Edge needs an excuse to bail out of this match like he has done for the last month.

Mr. Kennedy cuts them off (big reaction) but Edge cuts that off as well and mocks Jeff Hardy’s pose. Jeff says this is going to be his first Wrestlemania in five years so he plans to steal the show. He’ll go through his own brother if it means winning Money in the Bank. The CM PUNK chants cut everyone off so Edge asks him about being straightedge.

Edge: “Well my addictions are sex, violence and championship gold around my waste.” Punk says Edge seems to be addicted to running his mouth and the fight is on. Edge slips out while everyone else fights, with the Hardys and Punk standing tall….until they realize Edge is on the ramp. The chase is on and we take a break.

John Cena explains how we are going to have Playboy bunnies, vampires, ladders, the Queen of Soul and MICHAEL COLE at Wrestlemania. Cena: “WHO KEEPS INVITING MICHAEL COLE???” We’re going to have a legend killer, the Deadman and a bald billionaire, but after all that, there will be John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels.

People will talk about it for years, even Maria when her grandkids are there and certain parts of her are hanging down to her knees. Maria isn’t convinced, but Cena gets serious and talks about how he is going to carve his name into the history books. One man will be left standing and he will proudly say THE CHAMP IS HERE. This was Cena’s hard sell at the end and it worked as always.

We look at Vince McMahon not being able to bribe Bobby Lashley. Then Lashley threatened violence against the boss.

Vince McMahon vs. Bobby Lashley

Non-title and No DQ, though interference is not allowed. Before the match, Vince says that he isn’t going to embarrass him with his physical dominance, because he’ll just pin Lashley instead. NOW you can ring the bell….and Vince drops to the floor. Cue Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch to go after Lashley, with limited success.

Now it’s Chris Masters coming in but he can’t get the Masterlock. John Morrison comes in and goes after Lashley, earning himself a running powerslam. Umaga and Armando Alejandro Estrada come in as well and the real fight is on. The numbers finally take Lashley down (Vince’s low blow helped) and Umaga’s pop up Samoan Drop lets Vince get the pin.

Post match the big beatdown is on, including the running hip attack in the corner and the Samoan Spike. That means Vince can get another pin to really prove himself, followed by one more Samoan Spike.

During the break, Vince promises to win on Sunday and then shave Donald Trump’s head. Cue Eugene in a Trump outfit, complete with wig, but Vince rips the wig off and leaves.

Randy Orton/Mr. Kennedy vs. Hardys

You would think this kind of a reunion would be built up a bit more. Orton jogs out to the stage for a weird visual. Matt headlocks Orton to start and hits a quick middle rope elbow to the back of the head for one. Jeff comes in but gets knocked into the corner by Kennedy so the stomping can begin. An anklescissors gets Jeff out of the corner but Kennedy sends him hard out to the floor.

Orton drops him onto the announcers’ table and we hit the chinlock back inside. Kennedy comes back in but his belly to back superplex is broken up, allowing Jeff to hit the Whisper in the Wind. The hot tag brings in Matt to clean house but he takes too long setting up the Twist of Fate on Orton. Kennedy makes the save but gets taken to the floor by Jeff. That’s fine with Orton, who grabs the RKO for the pin on Matt.

Rating: C-. This was the momentum building match, but it’s a little hard to buy that the Hardys are going to lose clean to a makeshift team in less than five minutes. I know the match doesn’t mean a thing going forward, but the Hardys losing to Orton and Kennedy? It isn’t a huge stretch, but it is a bit of a surprise.

The final inductee into the Hall of Fame class is…..Jim Ross. You can’t have Lawler go in without Ross so this is appropriate. The wrestlers imitating JR’s catchphrases is pretty awesome. JR gets a very emotional moment with the crowd, including a standing ovation.

Great Khali vs. Ric Flair

The destruction is on in a hurry and they head outside, with Khali loading up the chokeslam onto the steps. Cue Carlito for the fast DQ to save Flair.

Carlito gets destroyed for being nice but Kane comes in for the real save.

Ladies and Gentlemen by Saliva is the official theme song of the show. They let you know when they perform it in concert too.

The Condemned is coming.

Wrestlemania rundown.

Shawn Michaels talks about facing John Cena before but this is different than ever before. Every legend, icon, immortal, New York Times bestseller and great have stood across the ring from him but none of them could get it done. Yet here he is, standing the test of time because he is the main event, the icon and the showstopper. On Sunday, Shawn is going to take Cena to the top of the mountain but first, Cena has to go through the valley. Shawn is walking out as WWE Champion, but he has his partner’s back tonight. This was a heck of a promo, which isn’t really Shawn’s strong suit most of the time.

Shawn Michaels/John Cena vs. Batista/Undertaker

Non-title. The entrances take the better part of ever until it’s Undertaker and Cena taking turns throwing the other into the corner for right hands. Snake Eyes drops Cena but the big boot is countered into a failed FU attempt. Shawn comes in but gets kicked in the face, leaving Cena to get clotheslined. Batista comes in to help clean house but Undertaker is ready to fight.

Cena breaks that up (he isn’t always that bright and is soundly booed) and Shawn comes in to get rid of the Smackdown guys. Shawn whips Undertaker into the steps, followed by a swinging neckbreaker for two back inside. It’s back to Cena, who gets dropped with the jumping clothesline. Batista is back in for the shoulders to the ribs but Cena bulldogs him down (again with the booing).

Everything breaks down and Undertaker boots Shawn in the face. There’s a spinebuster to Cena but Undertaker throws Shawn at Batista to break up the Batista Bomb (in a callback to Smackdown). That’s enough for Undertaker, who walks out, leaving Cena to initiate the finishing sequence on Batista. Shawn joins in on the double Shuffle…..and FINALLY superkicks Cena to give Batista the pin.

Rating: B. This was ALL about the storylines working on their own and the tag match was just happening at the same time. What makes it works is the two stories being so well built up that I wanted to see what happened. The fact that you had four people who can work a good match like this and they didn’t stop for the entire time they had. Good action, but better storytelling, which is more important anyway.

We actually take one more break and come back with….replays of the superkick to end the show.

Overall Rating: B. The wrestling here was completely inconsequential. This show was about accomplishing one goal and it did just that: I want to watch Wrestlemania. This year’s build has been one of the best that I can remember and as long as Smackdown isn’t a total disaster, they have done an outstanding job of making me want to see the show. Good build to the pay per view, even if it would have been quite the miss as a regular show. It wasn’t a regular show though, and that’s what matters.

 

 

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