InsidePulse Report for WWE RAW – 12.12.05
You just grab your brownish area by its points and you don’t let go no matter what your mom says!
– Ah, Buster, we hardly knew you…
Hi, I’m Matthew Michaels, and I’ll be subbing for SMS today for Monday Night RAW — LIVE from Boston, MA! (Can you technically “sub” for someone who’s only done one RAW Report?)
You know the drill — no play-by-play, only the key points of each match, recaps of out-of-the-ring segments, and overall show rankings at the end. I’ll also try to get WWE.com’s “Unlimited” stuff in here if my media player is working… so let’s go!
>>Unlimited starts off with Lilian introducing Jerry “The King” Lawler, Joey Styles and Jonathan Coachman, in that order, and then the lovely Miss Garcia singing the national anthem followed by loud “U-S-A! U-S-A!” chants from the live crowd.
The show starts with a video recap of the “Trial of Eric Bischoff,” complete with “People’s Court” music and typeface, as well as the closing angle from last week’s show.
Vince is on stage, and after a bit of trouble with his microphone, he promises that Eric Bischoff will “stay fired” and that “I’d like to thank Mr. Bischoff for his contributions and wish his family a very merry Christmas.” He runs through a list of replacements: Stephanie (huge boos), Shane (big pop), Theo Epstein (boos), Ted Turner, or even “one of you!” (mixed reaction). Vince explains that he was “just ribbing” and it won’t be one of the members of the audience. He names himself interim General Manager for tonight, and that there will be five qualifying matches for the open slots in the Elimination Chamber. The first competitor’s music “will not be censored” and it’s Kurt Angle, who stops on the ramp to give Vince — who’s “conducting” the audience — a dirty look. His opponent is Intercontinental Champion Ric Flair.
Match 1: Ric Flair vs. Kurt Angle – Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match
– The announce team talks about how banged up Ric Flair is following a Last Man Standing match with HHH (at Survivor Series), and address rumors he had a concussion after the match
– Lots of chops to start, Kurt hits the Three German Supli, and into the Angle Lock, but Flair makes the ropes, and we go to commercial
– (On WWE.com) Flair takes over outside, locking on double crotch-grabs, but Angle turns the tables and rolls Ric back into the ring and hooks on a chin-lock, then hits Flair with a bodyslam
– Back from commercial, Angle has Flair down on the mat, overpowering him as Styles talks about Ric’s recent bad press and road rage allegations
– Flair works the leg then locks on the Figure Four but to no avail
– A chair gets brought into the ring, and with the ref distracted Angle hits Flair with a loaded fist (with his gold medal wrapped around it) then gets the pin to qualify for the Elimination Chamber!
Winner: Kurt Angle
Post-match, Kurt talks about the volunteer Tribute to the Troops and that he didn’t volunteer, because why would he fly 30 hours and put his life in danger for people who don’t appreciate him. “If they catch Osama, maybe then I’ll go over there and sign a few autographs.” Since Kurt doesn’t like basketball and hockey heros, who have nothing on him, Daivari — from elsewhere in the arena — spits on a statue of Larry Bird and … as he’s about to spraypaint Bobby Orr … STOPPED by Boston’s hometown hero John Cena.
Cena gives a great promo about how Kurt doesn’t get it, and shouldn’t get all bent out of shape for being booed by the crowd. “Half the people out there think I suck” he says (ha!), and they have every right to as Americans. It dragged a bit as Cena talks about the soldiers fighting for our freedoms, but then picks up again as the Champ ends things off with “and if you don’t get that, you can’t see me” while spraypainting the camera lens black as we fade out and go to commercial.
>>WWE.com shows a divas commercial
Backstage, Flair is looking sad, as Edge and Lita approach him to taunt the Nature Boy about road rage and dare him to assault a woman. Flair stands up for himself, but Edge throws out a “WOO” and walks off.
In the locker room, Shelton, with Shawn’s book in hand, comes up to Michaels and tells him to make up his mind: first he wants Shelton to show attitude, then when he does, he abandons his partner. Shelton feels Shawn should have done more than just “stand there” while the ref counted 1-2-3. Shawn said he had it all taken care of and Shelton wasn’t needed. Benjamin retorts — some things never change, and the only attitude HBK cares about is his own: “selfish ’til the end.” He promises to show Carlito attitude and qualify for the Elimination Chamber. “I swear to God, I hope you’re in there too.” Shawn puts on the serious face as we head to commercial (after a graphic for Big Show vs. HBK “later tonight”).
>>WWE.com has Todd Grisham scanning the fans for cool signs
Video of John Cena on a promotional tour for his CD in Milan, Italy. He doesn’t know much Italian, but the fans are fine with English rapping, and they show him surrounded by tons of fans, and on TV shows like “Top of the Pops.”
Match 2: Carlito vs. Shelton Benjamin – Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match
– They recap the Michaels/Benjamin storyline, and we’ve got an interesting dynamic in the announce booth today, with King playing all-out babyface, Coach the heel, and Styles cross between calling things down the middle and playing devil’s advocate
– Match starts with some back and forth action, including a cool spot where Shelton goes to launch himself out of the ring onto Carlito, and lands on his feet when Colon moves out of the way
– Carlito uses a BOSTON CRAB IN BOSTON! But Shelton outdoes him by doing a sunset flip over the referee, but only gets TWO
– Carlito tries for his finisher (inverted spinning neckbreaker), but Shelton reverses with the T-Bone Suplex for the win — BUT WAIT, Shelton goes for the apple, showing attitude
– Unfortunately that backfires, and Carlito uses his OTHER finisher (the roll-up with a handful of tights) to get the 1-2-3 and enter the Elimination Chamber!
Backstage, Trevor Murdoch pitches Vince on becoming new GM (complete with trucker cap and spit-cup), and Mr. McMahon promises to take that into consideration. Then, in his office, Candice is waiting and also wants to be GM. Her qualifications? Oh, guess… BUT ANGLE STORMS IN (with Daivari) and says they need to talk as we head to commercial.
>>On WWE.com, Maria talks about the WWE.com auction site. (On the chair Rey Mysterio used to hit Big Show in the head: “you can’t use it as a chair … ’cause you’ll sit down and go boom.”) She also talks about Cena’s hair from the “Bad Bad Man” video and Eric Bischoff’s portrait that used to hang in his office.
Back from commercial with a video clip of Big Show and Kane squashing the entire RAW tag team division, as we lead into…
Match 3: Shawn Michaels vs. The Big Show – Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match
– They plug the RAW vs. SD tag match headlining Armageddon this Sunday: Big Show and Kane vs. Batista and Rey Mysterio, and the fact that this is the first time HBK and Show are going one-on-one in WWE history (Coach is right, I don’t believe it!)
– Coach and Styles declare HBK favorite to win the EC match if he gets in, as he won the first ever iteration of that match at Survivor Series 2002
– Early on, HBK chops countered by a Show pie-face, but the match goes outside of the ring where Michaels tries an ill-advised dive onto Show, who simply catches him
– Show dominates until he goes for a big elbow drop that misses, and Shawn gets some offense in briefly, but it’s back to a bear-hug — which Shawn counters with a “BOX TO THE EARS!”
– HBK uses the ropes to catapult himself into Show, but while it wobbles the giant, HBK falls to the ground, kips up, and then counters a choke-slam attempt with a HUGE DDT
– Elbow drop, Sweet Chin Music, but Show’s still standing! Second super-kick blocked by Show into a choke slam, and both men are down … just in time for a HHH run-in!
– In a really smart move, HHH goes after Show with a chair, but then realizes what he’s doing, and turns around and hits Shawn for the DQ (and to avoid facing Show in the EC)!
Winner: Shawn Michaels
Needless to say, Show is pissed as he walks back towards the locker room.
Angle and Daivari are in Vince’s office and want to make a statement by beating Cena for the WWE Title in his home-town. But Vince isn’t Bischoff and can’t be intimidated. Instead, we’ll have Cena vs. Daivari in the first “you can’t see me match” (really the 8974th ever blindfold match). One more thing, says Vince: as an American you can say whatever you want about the troops or Larry Bird, but “don’t ever interrupt me.” We go to commercial as Vince picks up Candice’s wand and gives it a weird look.
Before going to commercial, we get a nice video package promoting next week’s Tribute to the Troops…
>>On WWE.com we see Viscera’s ring entrance, and she obviously holds a grudge because Garcia’s giving him the cold shoulder
Coming out of commercial, we hear that “The Big Idea with Donnie Deutsch” (Thursday at 10 p.m. on CNBC) will talk about the Afghanistan trip by WWE’s superstars.
Match 4: Chris Masters vs. Viscera – Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match
– If Chris Masters qualifies and wins at New Year’s Revolution, he will be the youngest WWE Champion ever at the age of 22; and as intriguing as that sounds, I REALLY have to pee…
– I’m back as the announcers are wondering if Viscera could even fit into one of the Elimination Chambers
– Vis dominates early but Masters finally locks in the Master Lock (he couldn’t do it while Vis was standing, but on his knees, it worked), and Masters is on his way to the main event at the next RAW PPV
Winner: Chris Masters
Four of the five challenging spots have been filled, and does anyone reading this really think Kane’s beating HHH in the final qualifier?
Smackdown Rebound is a long video package recapping the Undertaker/Randy Orton shenanigans from last week. Creepy…
>>On WWE.com, Trish goes to “let her down easy,” but there’s a change in plans as Mickie James pops out of the diva locker room and tells Trish how great it’s been hanging out with her, and she’s always been a huge fan and used to go to shows with her grand-pappy, including Wrestlemania 17 where she stood up to Vince (“you were totally sleeping with him … no it’s cool, I loved it, I thought it was great”), but her grand-pappy died and now he’s looking down on them. Trish decides to instead wish her good luck in her #1 contender’s match vs. Victoria, and Mickie offers a “what-what…WHAT” high-five!
Back from commercial and the entire scene above is re-played before we head over to Matt Striker in front of a green chalkboard with “STRIKER” and “family values” written on it. He also has a teacher’s desk set up in front of it. He rails against people having tons of babies in order to get money from Uncle Sam, same-sex marriage (“Where are all the fathers, you ask? … here in Massachusetts, they’re out marrying other men!”), those who are “smoking the pot,” etc. “I’m Matt Striker, and I’m gonna be YOUR TEACHER.” Great promo.
Wait a second, Chris Nowinski is backstage and wants to be the first ever Harvard Graduate to be General Manager! Wait another second, The American Dream Dusty Rhodes is there… Vince: “or should I say, the General Manager Dusty Rhodes?” And it’s commercial time!
>>WWE.com continues the Vince/Dusty segment. “You can put it down in your dictionary in your pronoun section that nobody crack whip with the American Dream. Not you.” Uh…
Match 5: Victoria vs. Mickie James – Number 1 Contender’s Match
– Trish is out on commentary, coming out with James to Trish’s music, and refers to Mickie as her best acquaintance
– Victoria’s in an all black two-piece outfit, kneepads, wristpands and boots, with her right knee in a brace. Her halter top is flattering, showing good cleavage, and she’s got silver accessories on. Mickie’s got on a pink top with white bra underneath, matching white panties, and a green skirt, pink necklace and what looks like a boa around her waist. Oh and green, pink and brown argyle socks
– Mickie wins with the DDT after blocking a Widow’s Peak, and Trish did a good job with subtle commentary, capping off the match looking a bit concerned that she’ll now have to face Mickie
Winner: Mickie James
Vince is backstage with the ref assigned to Cena/Daivari, testing out a blindfold.
They show HHH walking backstage, as his match vs. Kane is NEXT!
>>On WWE.com, Mickie has a microphone and is celebrating in the ring with Trish. “At New Year’s “Resolution (sic), I’ll be in the ring with the greatest women’s wrestler of all time, TRISH STRATUS!!!!” She says it will be an honor but stops short of saying it would be more of an honor to win the title. Trish looks concerned. Me? I’m just wondering who’s entrance music Mickie’ll come out to at the PPV.
Match 6: Kane vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley – Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match
– The match starts off a bit slowly, but Hunter’s out of the ring early (right next to Carlito’s apple) and we head to commercial (right after another Tribute to the Troops video)…
– (On WWE.com) Hunter takes over and throws Kane into the steps, and then rolls him back into the ring where we have a slug-fest, punches, knees, etc. Of course the action heads back outside as it fades to black and we head back to the USA Network
– Back from commercial, and HHH goes for a quick pin attempt after a spinebuster, selling frustration after Kane kicks out at 2
– Some WWE.com clips as HHH goes for the sleeper, but Kane counters with a side-slam and they’re down for the count! But Kane sits up, natch
– Flying clothesline from the Big Red Machine and holy shit, Kane has an OUTEE belly-button! Who knew?!
– HHH keeps getting to the ropes or outside the ring whenever Kane takes control, telling a good story, which the announcers reinforce
– Pedigree attempt into a backdrop, but Kane ends up giving the big boot to the ref
– After a low blow on Kane, HHH goes for the sledgehammer, but Big Show’s out, double choke-slam, and the ref is revived in time for the ONE-TWO-THREE! Although he’s right next to the sledgehammer, so will there be a “Dusty Finish?” Or did I jump the gun in assuming HHH would be in the Chamber? I guess it’s Hunter/Show at NYR.
Cena’s walking to the ring as we head to commercial…
>>Commercial break includes another Vengeance ad, pimping Randy vs. Taker hard to The Doors’ “The End” and on WWE.com, we see Daivari’s ring entrance, with the Dearborn, Michigan native escorted to the ring by Kurt Angle
Match 7: John Cena vs. Khosrow Daivari – You Can’t See Me Match
– Oh, interesting: Cena’s the only one blindfolded, and he actually has a black hood on, tied with drawstrings at the neck
– Lots of comedy spots with Angle and Daivari making noises to confuse the Champ, Cena pointing to the crowd to help him find his opponent, and Angle getting some cheap shots in
– Cena finally gets a hold of Daivari, and makes him tap with the STF!
Winner: John Cena
Post-match, Cena and Angle go at it, but Kurt escapes, leaving Daivari to get take an F-U for the team. Cena’s music plays as the show ends with he and Angle staring each other down and King and Styles wondering who the GM will be…
Very good show, storyline-wise, with three key angles advanced: who will be in the Elimination Chamber? What will happen with Trish and Mickie? And who will be the new GM? The several teases of possible candidates all made sense (except for Candice and Murdoch, but you know Vince had to have one of the divas involved and they’re obviously really high on Trevor), and I wouldn’t mind seeing Nowinski or Rhodes in the role.
Nothing to complain about at all. Even the couple of botched spots were covered up well, and while there were no four-star mat clinics, everything was passable, and even the weakest matches — Masters/Viscera and Daivari/Cena — were kept short and told a story.
An above-average show kicked up a notch due to great storytelling and seemingly a lot on the line. There wasn’t one segment that upset me, nor anything that blew me away, and sometimes that’s just fine on a wrestling program. I do wonder where Tajiri was in his hyped-up “final appearance in WWE” and would have liked to see Michaels/Show and Angle/Flair go longer since they were really clicking, but I’ll forgive that when overall the two hours goes by and I’m entertained throughout. Plus, promo work from Striker, Murdoch and (finally) Benjamin was very good to see for three of the younger members of the roster.
That’s all for now — I hope you enjoyed the coverage, and whether you did or not, feel free to post your comments here, shoot me an email, or even show me that you can do better.
Until next time…