Monday Night Raw – July 2, 2007

Monday Night Raw
Date: July 2, 2007
Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Attendance: 13,500
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

We’re back to normal this week and that means it is time to get ready for the Great American Bash. Since we have nothing to go on after last week, I’m curious to see where this is going to go, but Vengeance would seem to suggest Bobby Lashley as the next challenger to John Cena. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of John Cena retaining the WWE Title in the five way match at Vengeance.

Opening sequence.

Here is Mr. Kennedy for a chat. His name is Mr. Kennedy (no repeat) and he should be WWE Champion. He never got the chance to do that though and it was because of these people. These people convinced him to defend his Money in the Bank briefcase before he was ready so from now on he is caring for himself only.

Cue John Cena to interrupt to welcome the new guy to Raw but Cena can’t remember his name. Cena knows that Kennedy likes to talk (Cena: “A lot.”) but now we are on Monday Night Raw, where anything can happen. After calling him Mr. Kenny G., Cena says he doesn’t trust Kennedy, as someone who threw away the biggest moment in WWE history. They go nose to nose but here are King Booker and Queen Sharmell to interrupt.

Booker says he should be the next challenger for the WWE Title (that’s so strange to hear these days) but Cena doesn’t take kindly to him. The challenge is officially laid out but here is Randy Orton to interrupt. Orton talks about all the things he has done on Raw but he has never had a one on one title match against Cena (that’s hard to fathom).

Cue Bobby Lashley to say he is the uncrowned champion because he never lost the ECW World Title. Lashley challenges as well, but William Regal, who is in charge tonight, because Jonathan Coachman is on vacation this week, interrupts. Tonight it’s a Beat The Clock Challenge and the winner will receive a title shot against Cena at the Great American Bash. We’ll even have a CONTRACT SIGNING tonight!

Beat The Clock Challenge: Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton

Hardy rolls him up for an early two to start but Orton is out of the corner with a hard clothesline for two of his own. The stomping and legdrop give Orton two and we hit the chinlock, which doesn’t seem too bright in a match like this. A waistlock and slam give Orton two and it’s off to a bodyscissors with an armbar.

Hardy is back up with something like a Sling Blade to set up the slingshot dropkick in the corner. It’s too early for the Swanton though and Orton snaps his throat across the top. Hardy comes back with the Whisper in the Wind but Orton shrugs it off and grabs the RKO for the pin to set the time at 7:06.

Rating: D+. There’s something so annoying about having wrestlers suddenly wrestle a completely nonsensical style in a match like this. Since when would Orton be stupid enough to throw on a bodyscissors to kill time in a match where he is supposed to be going as fast as he can? It feels like a way to extend the match and therefore the clock, which could be done by just having a regular match.

Melina vs. Maria

Candice Michelle is on commentary. Maria takes her down and does the hair grab/head smash stuff to start, as it’s probably her best choice. Back up and Melina throws her down and rips at the face for a bit but Maria kicks her down. A bulldog puts Melina down but she hits a faceplant for a breather. The standing legdrop finishes Maria in a hurry.

Post match Melina and Candice get in a brawl with Candice knocking her down.

Video on HHH’s knee injury, surgery, and recovery.

Dusty Rhodes introduces Jim Duggan to his son Cody Rhodes. Randy Orton comes in to say Cody will be better than Dusty one day, though Orton threatens to kill his legend early. Dusty says that was disrespectful so Orton slaps him in the face. Cody has to be held back.

We recap Santino Marella winning the Intercontinental Title in Italy. It feels like we’ve seen that clip a few hundred times now. In a less seen clip, Umaga smashed Marella at Vengeance but lost via DQ.

Santino checks on Maria, who wants him to be careful against Umaga tonight. He has to do this and gives her a kiss on the cheek.

Intercontinental Title: Umaga vs. Santino Marella

Marella is defending and his kicks to the leg don’t do much. A dropkick doesn’t either as Umaga takes it outside to drop Marella hard on the floor. Back in and Marella avoids a charge into the post but Umaga sends him out again. The Samoan drop plants Marella back inside, setting up the running hip attack in the corner. The Samoan Spike gives Umaga the title back in a complete squash.

Rating: D+. That’s what it should have been as there is no reason for Marella to have a chance against Umaga in a straight match. Umaga is still a beast and someone who can run through just about anyone, with Marella being no exception. This is how the match should have gone and Marella’s title reign can go away so he can find a way to become interesting.

Beat The Clock Challenge: King Booker vs. Val Venis

The time is set at 7:06. Booker goes with a fast rollup to start, giving us an early standoff. Some strikes put Venis in the corner but he comes out with a suplex for two of his own. A cross armbreaker of all things sends Venis to the rope so Booker grabs a backbreaker for two. Booker misses a kick to the face and Venis strikes away, setting up a neckbreaker for two of his own. Not that it matters as Booker is right back with the ax kick for the pin, setting the time at 4:30.

Rating: C-. Slightly better than the first match but the levels of talent in the opponents are a bit off. Booker isn’t the most likely contender but he’s just right as someone who could pose enough of a threat that he’s worth keeping an eye on. Not much of a match here, though that’s not exactly the point in this thing.

Mr. Kennedy wants Super Crazy to lay down for him. The offer of some pesos has Crazy’s attention.

Beat The Clock Challenge: Mr. Kennedy vs. Super Crazy

The time is set at 4:30. Kennedy tells him to lay down but grabs the mic to yell at the fans, allowing Crazy to grab a rollup for the fast pin.

Shelton Benjamin comes up to King Booker, who goes on a rant about Mr. Kennedy. Booker wants Benjamin to outlast Bobby Lashley tonight, with promises of a future title shot if he pulls it off.

Dusty Rhodes wants Randy Orton next week.

Carlito annoys Jillian Hall when Sandman comes in to spit beer at him. Ron Simmons, catchphrase.

Carlito vs. Sandman

Sandman drives him into the corner to start but Carlito switches places and stomps away. Sandman’s throat is snapped across the top and a snapmare of all things gives Carlito two. We hit the neck crank as Carlito certainly has a target to start. With that broken up, Carlito grabs the kendo stick but Sandman takes it away and smashes Carlito for the DQ.

Beat The Clock Challenge: Bobby Lashley vs. Shelton Benjamin

The time is set at 4:30. Lashley takes him to the mat to start so Benjamin bails to the floor to burn some time. Back in and an overhead belly to belly suplex rocks Benjamin but the threat of the spear sends him outside again. Back in again and Benjamin counters a backdrop into a DDT (cool) for a fast two. Lashley suplexes him down and hits some running clotheslines, followed by something like a powerslam for two of his own. Benjamin slips out of the running powerslam and hits a superkick. The springboard spinning clothesline….is speared out of the air to give Lashley the pin to beat the time at 4:05.

Rating: C. The athleticism alone was worth seeing as these two can do some amazing things in the ring. Benjamin getting to jump around all over the place is always worth seeing but Lashley was all but destined to get the title shot at Cena. They had a good finish on top of everything else so this worked.

HHH is coming back, date unknown.

Here is William Regal to run the John Cena vs. Bobby Lashley contract signing. Cena comes out and says they know each other so let’s get this over with. Cena knows Lashley is a great star and this will be a heck of a match. Lashley agrees and signs but here are Mr. Kennedy and King Booker to interrupt. The brawl is on and the villains are cleared out and Cena signs, but Lashley spears him down to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. I can go for a show that is built around one idea like we had here, as this was almost all about setting up the title match. There are better ways to set it up than a Beat The Clock Challenge but at least they got everything done in a hurry. This wasn’t a show set up for the wrestling but we had some decent enough matches. Now just get us to the pay per view and the huge showdown and they should be rolling on the way to Summerslam.




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