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" The Gravel Pit "
The Spoonful of Raw: March 6th, 2006
Posted by Patrick Spoon on Mar 7, 2006, 00:50
Thanks to all who sent feedback on last week's effort. Prepare yourselves for disappointment!
LAST WEEK ON WWE RAW: Debbie is pregnant and Phil is the father... or is it Steve?? STAY TUNED!
WE'RE LOUD AND METAL-Y... actually, we're not. Cold opening as Vince and Shane McMahon approach the ring, followed by indie workers moonlighting as security guards. Vince says we'd best not get it twisted and think that the security there is to protect him from Shawn, but the other way around. In the spirit of last night's Academy Awards (which I wasn't even aware was on, illustrating my pop culture/gay cowboy sensibilities), Vince wants to thank all the people who helped make last week's ass kissing possible. Everyone involved is thanked, and Chris Masters' assistance garnered him and Carlito a shot at Big Show and Kane's tag titles at Wrestlemania. We'll ignore that Masters pretty much failed in his contribution and move on since they're all heels and reason doesn't apply. Say, Vince is on the cover of this month's Muscle and Fitness magazine. And here I thought that the pictures of that cover were Photoshop-made gags. BUTWAITAMINUTE, here's Shawn Michaels to bust up the party. The security goons flock to block the entrance ramp, completely ignoring the other three ways from which Michaels can approach, so Shawn comes out of the crowd and jumps the McMahons. Security dudes break it up fast and hold Shawn back as the McMahons make a retreat. But before going, Vince makes a match for later tonight pitting Shawn against Shane McMahon. During the post-angle loitering, Shane's all "but dad, we booked that for Saturday Night's Main Event, this makes no sense!" but Vince is all "it's cool, I've got a plan." After the commercial, Shane continues to bellyache about the match that was just made, claiming he isn't ready yet. Vince says he's a McMahon, so he can handle anything.
Okay, so: Maybe if they keep up with this, a few people might want to see the Vince/Shawn match by the time it rolls around. As it is now, it's not that compelling to me or (apparently) the crowds either. I think I'll start a pool on how much baby oil Vince is going to slather all over himself before the Wrestlemania match to show off his "not typical 60-year old billionaire" physique. And someone kill The Coach please. He was "laughing" at everything Vince said during his little speech, even transitions from thought to thought. It's the worst of both worlds when you have a super-shill in the announcer's booth AND he's a retarded heel. And I used to love the guy when he initially saved SummerSlam 2003 all by himself.
Shelton Benjamin (w/ethnic stereotype)(c) v.s. Ric Flair for the Intercontinental Championship is our first match of the night. Shelton enters with Mama carrying the belt. Lovely. Hey, we don't get a real match either, since Shelton jabs a thumb in the eye of the ref to draw a disqualification faster than you can type "emasculated colored man." Flair applied a figure four leglock and had Shelton tapping, but it was null and void. Flair puts some boots to Shelton and whacks him with Mama's oxygen tank after the bell. No rating.
Okay, so: That was a whole lotta nothin'. And Flair hit the wrong Benjamin with the tank. Finally, to complete the senselessness of the whole thing, the announcers didn't mention ONCE that both were in the Money in the Bank match at Wrestlemania.
So Cowboy Troy is going to be on Raw next week. Raise your hand if this excites you. I hope he pops Wynona like a balloon with a cartoon-sized pin.
During the commercial on WWE.com Unlimited, an apparent Rob Van Dam interview is interrupted by Teddy Long (someone I miss being on Raw), who announces that the Money in the Bank match at Wrestlemania will involve three more participants, which will be determined this Friday on Smackdown. Set your VCRs, kiddies. This will be the only time we see RVD tonight, by the way.
Triple H v.s. Kane, which is billed as a Wrestlemania Rewind Rematch (say that three times fast) will be our first real match of the night. HHH is going to be on Late Night with Conan O'Brien this Thursday night. These two faced off at Wrestlemania XV waaaaaay back in the fog of time known as 1999, so the lame premise has some foundation. Kane looks motivated at the beginning, but it turns into a plodding slobberknocker quickly. Hey look, it's Chris Masters trying to interfere. Kane dispatches Masters, but Carlito comes out also and they do a number on Kane outside the ring. Before that though, there was a neat spot where Kane tried to drag HHH out of the ring, but HHH grabbed the ref and both were being drug out at the same time. Hey, when I see cool unusual stuff like that, it deserves some print. Carlito and Masters drive Kane into a ringpost and roll him back in, where HHH's Pedigree is only a formality. One (*) star.
Okay, so: With the other Wrestlemania Rematch tonight being Big Show and John Cena, we'll probably see Carlito and Masters again. Good to see immediate physicality by the competing tag teams, as they could just as easily (and usually do anyway) let it languish as an afterthought.
For those keeping track, Wrestlemania is still 34 days away even though it was 34 days away a week ago. Good job, guys!
Time for a lotta talk!
Torrie Wilson and Victoria are talking about the unveiling of Candice Michelle's Playboy cover later. Victoria says they can't fuck up and let it be seen before the proper time. Meanwhile, on WWE.com, it's been displayed since noon on Friday. Victoria going glam-bitch has her looking better than ever, and it allows her to be a lot more convincing than Torrie's high-as-hell trust fund darling delivery. Torrie is still thinking about last week, where her interference lead to Candice losing the Women's title match. Victoria says it's all good, and they're going to be the Three... ("What about Chloe?") um, Four Amigas.
Todd Grisham tries to get an interview with Shawn Michaels, but is quickly dismissed. Tood leaves, and the next locker room interloper is Stephanie McMahon, who is pregnant as hell. Take a good look folks, inside that womb lies the HHH of 2035. She says her impending motherhood has given her a new perspective on things, and she apologizes for what her family is doing to Shawn. She then gets some stomach pains and asks Shawn to get her a water while she sits down for a second. The moment Shawn leaves, she reaches down her top and produces a capsule of what is presumably some kind of roofie and puts its contents in Shawn's water bottle. Upon his return, she leaves and we get one of those always-fun "no, don't do it!" moments as Shawn takes a swig of his water.
Okay, so: I proclaim the roofie to be the new ether-soaked rag. Silent, non-intrusive, you wonder why more wrestlers don't use it on their opponents instead of their ring rats OHHHH I WENT THERE
It's time to unveil Candice's magazine cover... uh, again! It's a four-sided setup, with the cover on each side, and the cube of boobies rises to the ceiling to reveal Candice underneath after Torrie and Victoria are done posing around it like Vanna White. She's got the same outfit on that she wears on the cover, which was a REALLY bad idea. I mean, those airbrushers aren't there to help her on live TV. So she goes on and on about being the hottest Playboy cover model ever, but the announcers are quick to point out that Torrie was also on the cover, twice no less. Candice asks Torrie if it's the hottest cover she's ever seen, and Torrie keeps it diplomatic with a "it looks really, really nice." Candice isn't satisfied with this, and says she's hotter than both times Torrie was in Playboy. Torrie says that Candice is acting like a bitch, but Candice wants to make amends. She hugs Torrie, gives a knowing wink to Victoria, and the womanly beatdown commences upon Torrie. So much for the Four Amigas. Is Torrie not long for this company? I can't possibly imagine this is going to be some kind of program or anything.
In the back, Shawn Michaels is feeling kinda funky. Well shit, we told you not to drink that water.
Okay, so: I can't wait for Torrie to come back to exact her revenge and shove Chloe's furry little bum into Candice's face!
Time for Shawn Michaels v.s. Shane McMahon. Shane whoops up on a groggy Shawn, who manages piecemeal offense before the drugs really kick in. Even his mighty nip-up is hampered by the chemicals! Shane punches Shawn around for a while and pins him. The McMahons celebrate as though segregation was re-instituted. Shane has Lilian Garcia (who looks tremendous tonight) announce that there's going to be another match, with Shawn facing his Wrestlemania opponent, Vince McMahon. Vince pins Shawn and the Spirit Squad comes out to celebrate also. They hoist the McMahons onto their shoulders and party like it's 1999, which is consequently the last time this sort of build for a Wrestlemania match would be interesting. There's a guy in the crowd with a sign depicting the symbol for Fast Forward on a VCR. I hope that becomes a trend like "twoooooo" did. No rating, AGAIN.
Okay, so: There was really no satisfying way to conduct this match, since Shane and Shawn are facing each other in a couple of weeks already. More interestingly, it took a roofie to make Shawn job twice in one night, haw haw.
We return to see Eugene in the ring, ready to face off against one of the Spirit Squad members, who are still chilling in the ring. They all make fun of Eugene and play keepaway with their air horn, acting like they're severely retarded to his face all the while. Yikes, that's some REAL heel schtick for you. Kenny attacks Eugene and our match begins, with Kenny Spirit being his official name. Kenny beats down on Eugene for a while but Eugene comes back with a bridged rollup for a near-fall. Eugene continues the comeback with a Rock Bottom ("those were the daaaaaaaaaays!"), but the other Spirit Squad members distract the ref while the fourth non-wrestling member enters the ring and lays out Eugene with a sick-ass kick. I don't even know what to call it, but it was damned cool. Kenny nails a top rope legdrop for the win. Three quarters (3/4*) of a star.
Edge and Lita are headed to the ring for Lita's match with Maria. About time we got some Edge on this show.
Okay, so: If these guys could shed their gimmick somehow, these Spirit Squad dudes look super athletic. I imagine that if you gave one of them a real match they'd be impressive.
After returning from commercial, we get an NFL Films-style highlight package devoted to past Saturday Night's Main Event shows. This week, the King Kong Bundy/Hulk Hogan angle from the lead-up to Wrestlemania 2 is the subject. I really liked this, but I'm a football freak. Amazing how simple stuff could be back in 1986 to get the crowd into a storyline. That still boggles my mind whenever I watch old tapes.
Lita v.s. Maria is this week's Foregone Conclusion Match. Poor Maria, why can't they just let her do interviews and the like? Lita wins with a Twist of Fate, natch. Afterwards, Edge, ardent feminist that he is, tells Lita to hold Maria up for a spear, but this draws out Mick Foley, who looks severely out of shape. Then again, he wasn't wearing a very slimming color shirt. Edge gets the upper hand after Lita jumps on Foley's back and delivers a spear. He follows this up with a one-man conchairto and says he accepts Foley's hardcore match challenge for Wrestlemania. I thought that was implied, since Edge was the guy who laid out the challenge first. Oh well.
Okay, so: Man, poor Mick. They need to give him more of a heads-up when they want to use him in a match so he can get in ring shape. Dude looked 320 out there. I'm sure he'll give his best in the match at Wrestlemania, but it's hard to look credible against the younger and more spry Edge.
Hey, Sherri Martel is the next inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame. Another perfectly fine induction, and they thankfully mention for younger fans that she was wrestling before she was managing, and even mention her time with Harlem Heat in WCW. Shawn Michaels puts her over big, as does Ted DiBiase(!!). In other Hall of Fame news, Stone Cold Steve Austin will be inducting Bret Hart, and Eddie Guererro will be inducted by Chavo Guererro, Chris Benoit, and Rey Mysterio. You know, and I say this with all honesty and with any smarky pretensions aside, the Hall of Fame ceremony looks more interesting than Wrestlemania right now.
Mickie James is excited about the Sherri news, and tells Trish Stratus how it could only be topped by them being inducted together... and Trish cuts her off. Mickie keeps trying to bubble over with enthusiasm, but Trish cuts her off multiple times before saying they need time apart. Mickie is stunned and surprised, so Trish explains that 20 text messages before noon isn't normal. Maybe the one Swedish dude that kept bugging me to be one of my roommates was really Mickie James. It'd explain why I got phone calls before nine in the morning. My wacky misadventures with Scandinavia aside, Mickie sits down and looks to be destroyed as we go to commercial, but not before something we never thought we'd see:
THE BIG SHOW IS DOING PUSHUPS.
Now we can go to commercial.
Okay, so: PLEASE let next week be where we get to see Mickie snap and show the dark side of the stalking that we all saw during the Ashley subplot. This is so the best thing they've got going on Raw right now. Simply typing this has me anticipating next week already. The characters involved have clear identities and motivations, so, amazingly, it's compelling. I guess this is a storyline that managed to escape the usual WWE "creative" treatment. And best of all, it's going to lead to a good match probably.
John Cena v.s. The Big Show is our main event for the night. Cena got a pop initially, thank goodness. When they start booing his entrance we'll have even more serious problems. Big Show tosses him around like a rag doll, but Cena comes back to a good amount of boos (fuck). A Show charge is avoided by Cena and sends Show outside the ring, but heeeeeeere's HHH, with his sledgehammer. Commercial time! We return to see Show bleeding above his eye, but he's still got the match in control. Carlito and Masters come out to pay a visit to Show, but Kane cuts them off and the three brawl to the back. Good thing they came out when they did, since Show's sitting up on the top rope. Oh, no longer, as Cena suplexes him off. The ring doesn't collapse like when Brock Lesnar did it, sadly. Of course, you, the home viewer, didn't know that Show was suplexed, since more expert WWE production lead to showing HHH's reaction to the suplex as it happened. Fortunately, there was a replay soon after to explain why Big Show was suddenly out in the middle of the ring. It gets two for Cena. Show takes control again and lifts Cena up for the chokeslam, but Cena turns it into a hellacious DDT. Show's woozy, but doesn't go down. Some shoulderblocks fail also, and Show hoists Cena again for the chokeslam. Cena escapes, kicks Show in the gut, and delivers a 500lb. FU for the win. HHH, who's been camped out on the entrance ramp this whole time, looks impressed, but not really afraid or anything. We end the show with Cena staring down HHH while holding up the belt and pointing to the Wrestlemania 22 sign in the arena for a neat visual. Two (**) stars.
Okay, so: And that's that. Another underwhelming Wrestlemania build show, but hopefully it'll improve soon. I mean, come on, it HAS to, right? Despite this being the biggest time of the year for the promotion, WWE doesn't seem to have its shit together for this year's Wrestlemania, which is now less than four weeks away. I guess they're saving the good stuff for Saturday Night's Main Event and the two weeks between it and Wrestlemania, but I've always been called an optimist.
Patrick Spoon can be reached at [email protected].