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May 18, 2009
– Adam Russell

Positively Raw Treat

This week’s Raw, to be blunt, was terrible. If you saw it, you will know why. If you were lucky enough to have missed it, chances are
you still know why. Unfortunately, this standard of show isn’t that rare for Monday nights. In a nutshell, there was far too much talk,
poorly written and delivered promos and skits, and nowhere near enough wrestling- and what there was wasn’t much cop.

Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by the excellent run of shows that SmackDown is on, and even with ECW, comfortably the second best
wrestling show on television right now. Whatever the reason, watching Raw this week I couldn’t help but think about what a scathing
review I was going to write. When it comes down to it though, that would simply be too easy. I’ve decided instead to try to focus on the
positives this week. Maybe the positive vibes will go some way to making for an improved show next week.

Louisville, Kentucky welcomed WWE Champion, Randy Orton, who made his way to the ring after a series of stills were shown indicating
how Orton retained his title against Batista at Judgment Day (via a disqualification loss after slapping the referee in the face). Orton said
that last night he wasn’t just looking to retain the title; he was looking to put Batista out of action for good, and would have done were
it not for the run-in by Ric Flair. He said that in their Evolution days, Flair was never fond of him, because he saw him as a threat to Triple
H. He talked about kicking Flair in the head in the Summer of 2007, saying that he likes to think that if he hadn’t have done that, Flair
may have had enough to beat Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania, thereby putting off his retirement. He continued that he has kicked all his
former Evolution team-mates in the head, and they have never been the same since. He then said that Flair merely delayed the
inevitable, and dared him to get into his business again. At that moment, Flair’s familiar music kicked in, and the Nature Boy strutted
his way down the aisle. Flair told Orton that he might still be the champion, but he never beat Batista. He said that in Evolution Orton was
supposed to be the chosen one, the man, but Batista blew by him and never looked back, becoming the man himself. He went on that
until you beat the man, you’ve accomplished nothing. Orton responded that the WWE championship means that he is the man, and
he can beat Batista anytime, in any place. Flair interrupted the champ with a ‘wooo’, and then told Orton that he spoke to Vickie
Guerrero, giving her an idea that she made official. He announced that in three weeks on pay-per-view (Extreme Rules, as Michael Cole
informed us) it will be Randy Orton versus Batista in a steel cage match. Orton then asked Flair, since Flair was nice enough to deliver
that message to him, to deliver a message to Batista, popping Naitch in the face. As Orton laid the stomps into Flair, Ted DiBiase and
Cody Rhodes made their way out. They were cut off by Batista, who soon fell victim to the numbers game. As the three on two assault
continued, John Cena came in to make the save. Legacy bailed, as a Cena chant broke out.

Not a bad way to open the show. Orton and Flair were decent on the mic (we’re still at a point now where the Ric Flair appearances
are a welcome treat), and the crowd reacted well to Cena’s involvement.

When we came back from the break, Josh Matthews caught up with John Cena in the back, asking him why he got involved in the
Legacy/Batista/Flair situation. Cena replied that, for what seems like forever, he’s been beat down and worn out, the critics saying
he’s lost a step, and the believers beginning to question his resolve. He continued that with his back to the wall, he overcame
physics and gravity by beating the Big Show at Judgment Day, proving the critics wrong, and giving the believers a sense of pride,
knowing that he won’t let them down. Cena then said that he doesn’t usually go looking for trouble, but it needs to be said that
whoever wins out of Batista and Orton at Extreme Rules needs to realize that it’s only a matter of time before the champ is here. As
Cena walked away, having not really answered Josh’s question, he was stopped by Vickie Guerrero. The General Manager asked
him what made him think he was ready to move on, saying that she’ll address that later. As for tonight, she continued, the main event
would pit the team of Cena and Batista against the three members of Legacy. Cena sarcastically acted shocked and disturbed by the
ruling, then saying that he loved it. Oh, that Cena.

It was now time for the first match of the evening; a divas battle royal with the winner earning a future divas championship match.

--- Divas Battle Royal - Kelly Kelly, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Beth Phoenix, Rosa Mendes, Jillian Hall and Mickie James

Maryse joined us on commentary for this match, and didn’t seem impressed with any of her possible opponents. The first
elimination came just 27 seconds in, Mickie taking out Rosa, and then Beth clotheslined an undisclosed Bella twin out at ‘36. Jillian,
the hometown girl, paired off with Mickie, hitting her with a handspring elbow in the corner, before Mickie eliminated her with a
headscissors at 1’20. As that was going on, Beth took out the other Bella twin, leaving herself, Mickie and Kelly. Beth laid out Kelly
and focused her attention on Mickie, hanging her up in the tree of woe. Kelly dropkicked her from behind, but Beth shook it off and picked
her up for a slam. Kelly wriggled out of the predicament, and threw Beth out of the ring at 2‘08, leaving just her and Mickie. Beth
grabbed Kelly’s legs and tried to pull her out of the ring, and while the referee tried to usher Beth away, Maryse left her commentary
position, and sprayed something into the face of Mickie, who was lying on the mat. Kelly, who didn’t see Maryse’s interference,
had the simple task then of pushing Mickie out of the ring, to win the match, and a divas title shot, at 2’31.

This match was short, which is definitely a positive, judging by some of the action. Kelly’s win was somewhat surprising, and
surprises are usually good in wrestling. Plus, Maryse’s use of the spray brought to mind her fellow French-Canadian, Rick Martel
and his ‘Arrogance’ cologne, and is an interesting way to forward the program between her and Mickie. Yes, positives all around.

The Raw Rewind featured the altercation between Santino Marella and The Miz and Chavo Guerrero at Judgment Day.

--- Santino Marella Vs Chavo Guerrero

Chavo was the aggressor in the early stages, delivering a kick to Santino, a forearm uppercut, and an atomic drop. Santino comically
tried to walk the pain off, but was caught by a forearm from Chavo. Chavo locked on a surfboard to Santino’s arms, and then
repeatedly slapped him in the face. This angered Santino and he came back at Chavo with a punch, elbow, clothesline and back body
drop. He then ran into a pair of boots from Chavo, who went up to the top rope, seemingly to deliver a frog splash. Marella rolled out of the
way, but did so before Chavo had even come off the top. Chavo jumped down and ran at Marella, who ducked, sending Chavo into the
corner. A jackknife cover later, and Santino picked up the victory at 3’34. As Santino celebrated the win, Chavo grabbed the mic and
said that tonight Santino’s sister, Santina, will defend her Miss WrestleMania crown against Vickie Guerrero.

A video aired promoting Mr. Kennedy’s impending return to the roster, before we cut to Maryse in the back. She said something in
French, presumably to herself, before being interrupted by The Miz. Miz said that he doesn’t know what she’s saying, but it’s
hot. Maryse seemed less than impressed. Miz went on to say that he is 4-0 against John Cena and, although Cena may be done with the
Big Show, he is just getting started with The Miz.

Elsewhere in the back, Josh Matthews was interviewing Matt Hardy, about the United States championship match he has with MVP later
tonight. Josh speculated that he received the title match in return for helping Vickie Guerrero’s husband, Edge, retain his World
Heavyweight Championship against Jeff Hardy at Judgment Day. Matt responded that he did what he did because Jeff broke his hand
and tried to take away his livelihood. He went on that Vickie is a fair GM, and that she erased his loss to Kofi Kingston a few weeks back
from the record books. The only reason he’s getting a US championship shot, he said, is because he’s earned it.

Still elsewhere in the back, we saw Vickie asking Chavo what he was thinking announcing her in a match against Santina. Chavo said
that he was embarrassed by Santino, but that she shouldn’t worry because he has a plan. Randy Orton then barged in, and asked
Vickie what she was thinking making a steel cage match between him and Batista. He said that she doesn’t make any steel cage
matches without first consulting him. Vickie shot back that she is the general manager, and doesn’t need to consult anybody. She
then told him to worry about his match tonight, and Orton had the final word, saying that she should worry about staying on his good side.

Three backstage segments on the trot there, and I suppose it’s a positive that we got them all out of the way in one fell swoop. The
Matt Hardy interview was fine, promoting his match tonight. The other two segments were effective in making me appreciate the following
match all the more.

--- Carlito and Primo Colon Vs The Brian Kendrick and Goldust

Last week, after beating Carlito, Kendrick announced that he was going to find a partner to win the tag team championships with. His
pick was Goldust, for this none-title match. Goldust started off with Carlito, taking the advantage with a couple of shoulderblocks, before
the two traded armdrags. Kendrick let it be known from the apron that he was not pleased with Goldust’s performance, and tagged
himself in. He kicked Carlito, snapmaring him over and locking on a dragon sleeper. Carlito worked up to his feet but Kendrick sent him
into the corner. Kendrick then distracted the ref, and was alarmed by Goldust’s refusal to take advantage of the referee’s turned
back. He berated Goldie, and then ran into a dropkick from Carlito, who tagged in his brother. Primo came in and hit a flying elbow and a
side Russian legsweep for a two count. Kendrick came back with a jaw japper, but Primo The Kendrick, sending Kendrick front-first into
the mat, and then delivered a springboard cross body block for the victory at 2’25. Kendrick blamed Goldust for the defeat, giving him
a slap. It looked like the two were going to lock up, but Hornswoggle came in from behind Kendrick and grabbed his leg. Kendrick went
after Hornswoggle, but Goldust played protector and, in the end, Hornswoggle ran through the Gold one’s legs and kicked Kendrick
in the shin, causing him to retreat out of the ring.

As short as this match was, it’s always good to see the tag team champions in action, particularly the best tag team wrestler in the
company, Primo. It’s also always a pleasure to see Dustin Rhodes on TV, and his double act with Hornswoggle could provide some
entertainment.

In the back we are shown Miz, dressed like John Cena, making his way to the ring. After the break, The Miz comes out to Cena’s old
theme song, ‘Word Life’. Miz said that Cena still won’t fight him, which is why he’s dressed up like him tonight. He then
announced that he has made a remix of ‘Word Life’, which he calls ‘Nerd Life’, which he would perform for the fans. The
rap went as follows;

Cena was first in line to see Star Trek: The Movie; the dude was 25 before he even touched a booby
This is Cena’s tour academy anthem, he’s like a girl throwing a tantrum, holding coolness for ransom, the Steve Urkel of
handsome (inserting an Urkel-esque, or so I’m told, ‘did I do that?)
You see Cena’s face and you’re like, buy buy buy; here’s a new merchandise idea; John Cena 2-ply (pulling out a toilet roll
adorned with John Cena’s face)
You claim you’re from Boston, you’re the number one man; dude, you’re from West Newbury driving a soccer mom van
You date girls with no teeth who look kinda funny; the Miz is in L.A. with the Playboy bunny
12 Rounds was terrible, you’re a wannabe actor; everybody go by the DVD and put it in the crapper
So Cena, I’m calling you out, the challenge is on, quit trying to stall; you’re looking at the new face of Monday Night Raw.

After Cena didn’t come out, The Miz proclaimed that he was now 5-0 against ‘the champ’, and finished the rap by saying;

Because Cena’s dead like a possum; because I’m the Miz and I’m awesome.

Positives? Well, the last time somebody tried their hand at poetry on Raw (John Cena in the lead-up to WrestleMania), I decided to
complete my report in rhyming couplets. I’m not going to do that this time, which is definitely a positive.

But the segment wasn’t over (kinda like The Miz; sorry, couldn’t resist). Jerry Lawler grabbed himself a mic and made his way
into the ring, informing Miz that because of his rap the commercials are now getting higher ratings than Raw (one for a future ’Did
You Know’). He told the Miz that just because you call someone out and they don’t respond, it doesn’t mean that you have a
victory over them. To prove his point, he called out Batista, and when the Animal didn’t show, he called out Bruno Sammartino, Hulk
Hogan and Steve Austin for a three-on-one handicap match. He then said that instead of talking out of his rear end, he should just go and
ask Vickie Guerrero for a match with Cena. Miz told Lawler that he talks out of his rear end every week on commentary, and that maybe he
will go and talk to Vickie. At that point, The Big Show made his way out. Show said that make-believe time is over, and that he isn’t
done with Cena. He then said that Vickie Guerrero had made a match between him and Cena for Extreme Rules, a match that he knows
Cena can’t possibly win; a submission match. He told Miz that until then, he would have to wait for his piece of Cena. The Miz replied
that he can wait until Cena has beaten Show, and then pushed Lawler into the World’s Largest Athlete, before scurrying out of the
ring. Show laid a punch into the back of Lawler, and then locked him in a camel clutch, laying him out.

All in all, this segment was a platform to announce the Show-Cena match for Extreme Rules, whilst also continuing the storyline between
Cena and The Miz. In that, it was objective achieved.

We next saw a video recap of the tag team match from last week’s show, which pitted the team of MVP and Kofi Kingston, against the
duo of William Regal and Matt Hardy. Jim Ross then joined Michael Cole to announce the rest of the show.

--- United States Championship Match- MVP (champion) Vs Matt Hardy

Hardy came out as we were shown stills of the World Heavyweight Championship match between Edge and Jeff Hardy at Judgment Day.
MVP came out looking for a quick win with a roll up, and Hardy countered with a small package. MVP then hit a series of kneelifts, and
Hardy left the ring. Matt came back in and was hit with a suplex, and a backslide, before coming into the match with a side effect for a
nearfall. Matt then tried to take off the top turnbuckle and, as the ref intervened, used his cast on the leg of the champion. Hardy continued
to work on the leg, wrapping it up in the ropes, and slamming it into the ringpost. MVP came back with a boot to the face, a clothesline off
the second rope, and a side suplex, the latter earning him a two count at the 3’27 mark. A facebuster was followed up by the Ballinâ
€™ Elbow for another two. Matt begged off, but then threw MVP through the ropes to the outside. He followed him out and, after a kick to
the injured leg, went for a shot with the cast. MVP ducked, and Hardy cracked his hand against the ringpost. MVP sent Hardy back into the
ring and punished the challenger by stomping on his hand. He then hit the big boot into the corner, and followed up with the Playmaker
for the victory at 5’15.

A nice little match, this keeps MVP rolling on Raw, and doesn’t really do any damage to Matt Hardy. These two men, of course, had a
great feud over the US title a year back on SmackDown, and this is another addition to their oeuvre.

In the back, Ric Flair, showing off his guns, and Batista talked. Batista asked Flair why he was so happy, and Flair told him that he’s
going to call out Orton next week on Raw, mentioning that being retired doesn’t mean that he can’t still fight. Batista told Flair that
he has nothing to prove anymore, which made Flair question whether or not Batista still believes in him. Flair told Batista that he can still
beat up 90% of the guys on the roster if he has to, and that if Batista has lost confidence in him, then he won’t be by his side in the
main event tonight.

In Vickie’s office, Chavo was lying on the floor, with Vickie standing on a couch. Chavo told her to pretend it’s the top rope, but
Vickie said it was insane, and that she can’t hit a frogsplash. Chavo said she’s ready, but Vickie said the match is on. Santina
entered at that point, saying that she was looking forward to the match. She went on that it would be fitting if Vickie hit the frogsplash, as
the only way she could beat her is if pigs fly. This got Vickie mad enough to announce the match was back on, as Santina did more pig
impressions.

--- Santina Marella Vs Vickie Guerrero

Chavo accompanied his aunt Vickie out and, before the match, Santina took to the mic. She said that Vickie is jealous of her body, at
which point the GM slapped her in the face. Santina said that she’s a lesbian who likes it rough, and kissed Vickie, then saying that
the only other thing that tastes like that is the other white meat, breaking into a pig impression. Chavo took the mic and said the match is
now no-disqualification. The bell rung and Chavo attacked Santina from behind. The two brawled on the floor, before Santina back body
dropped Chavo over the top rope. William Regal then intervened on behalf of Vickie, taking down Santina with an exploder suplex, and
then a running kneelift. Vickie covered Santina to become Miss WrestleMania, at 1’32. Chavo put the sash and crown on her.

It’s always good to see William Regal in action, and maybe this will be the start of a bigger role for him. Also, Santino’s pig
impression is really quite realistic-sounding.

--- Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes Vs Batista and John Cena

Cody Rhodes and John Cena got us underway in our main event, and Cena got the advantage, whipping Cody into the corner, but then
running into an elbow. Orton came in, but Cena kicked him and tagged in Batista. Orton wanted no part of the Animal, and tagged Ted in,
who took a clothesline from Batista. Cody entered the ring, but Batista ducked his clothesline, and hit a double shoulderblock on
Priceless, and then he and Cena clotheslined Ted and Cody out of the ring as we cut to break at 1’53. We returned at 4’44 with
Orton and Batista on the outside, Orton slamming Batista’s head into the apron. Back in the ring, Orton picked up a two count, and
then delivered a Garvin-esque series of stomps to his number one contender. DiBiase tagged in and hit a drop toe hold on Batista,
followed by an elbowdrop for a nearfall, and then locked on a facelock. Batista escaped the move by snapmaring DiBiase over, but then
ran into a boot in the corner. Cody tagged in with some stomps and clubs before tagging Ted back in, and the former tag team
champions delivered a double punch to the gut of Batista. Ted locked on another facelock and, again, Batista escaped, this time by
whipping him into the ropes. The two collided mid-ring, and this gave Batista the opportunity to tag Cena in, while Ted tagged in Cody.
Cena hit a couple of flying shoulderblocks on Cody, followed by a back suplex slam, and the 5-knuckle shuffle. He picked Cody up for an
FU but, as he was up on Cena’s shoulders, Cody tagged in Orton. Cena delivered the move on Cody and went for a cover, but the
now-legal Orton rolled him over and mounted him with punches. After a kneedrop, Orton tagged in DiBiase, who missed a double stomp
from the second rope. He recovered to hit a clothesline, and then a trio of Million Dollar Man-esque fist drops, as Cole told us how
reminiscent this was of Randy Orton. Cody came in and applied a chickenwing to Cena, who fought to his feet and sent Rhodes into the
corner. Cody avoided Cena’s charge into the corner though, and hit an impressive top rope moonsault on the standing Cena for a
two count. Orton was then tagged back in, delivering a dropkick to the face of Cena for yet another nearfall. The champion then applied a
facelock on Cena, who managed to power his way towards the corner and finally tag in Batista. Batista hit a clothesline on Orton, and
then a powerslam for a two count. Meanwhile, in the aisle we see that the Big Show has made his way out and is brawling with Cena,
who has a chair. Batista spinebustered Orton in the ring, and then got rid of Priceless. We learn too that Flair has made his way to
ringside, and is taking care of Cody Rhodes. Batista delivered a spear to Orton, pinning him at 14’46. After the match, Batista and
Flair celebrated, as it seemed that Cena had made his way to the back with Show.

This was a pretty good main event, featuring some nice wrestling, and the added excitement of the run-ins at the end. At nearly fifteen
minutes in length, it was also, by some margin, the longest match on the show, and the best.

So, all things considered, there are a few positives to come out of this week’s Raw. I’m also positive when I say that, if WWE
continues to churn out this kind of skit-happy garbage on Monday nights, Lawler’s comment about the commercials doing better
ratings than the show itself might turn out to be closer to the truth than he thinks.

MVP of the night- It seems to get harder and harder to pick an MVP every week on both Raw and SmackDown, but for completely different
reasons. This week I’ll plump for Cody Rhodes. If nothing else he nailed that sweet moonsault.