WWE Raw Flashback: WrestleMania 25 go-home show, Shawn Michaels and Undertaker, John Cena vs. Big Show, Jerry Lawler vs. Chris Jericho, 18-Diva tag match
The following is Jason Powell's "Live Coverage" report of the March 30, 2009 WWE Raw television show. Check back tonight for Jason Powell's WWE Raw live coverage review. Dot Net Members can look forward to an exclusive audio review of the show later tonight. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up for membership now via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Dallas, Tex.
[Q1] A shot aired of a hearse backing into the backstage parking area as Undertaker's music played... The opening montage aired... Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler introduced the show. Lawler announced that Undertaker would respond to Shawn Michaels tonight. Cole hyped John Cena vs. Big Show...
Powell's POV: And the final Raw before WrestleMania 25 is underway. I want to be excited about the show, but WWE hasn't made it easy this year. Here's hoping they do something special tonight to put me and the masses in the mood for WrestleMania. I'm surprised that they didn't mention Lawler's match against Chris Jericho.
1. Kelly Kelly, Maria, Mickie James, Melina, Brie Bella, Gail Kim, Alicia Fox, Eve Torres, and Tiffany defeated Natalya, Michelle McCool, Maryse, Nikki Bella, Layla, Jillian Hall, Rosa Mendes, Beth Phoenix, and Katie Lea Burchill in an 18-Diva tag match in 1:45. In the end, Tiffany pinned Katie. Not much to the match.
Afterward, Santino Marella walked onto the stage wearing a bathrobe. He said he was denied entry in the WWE Divas battle royal by Vickie Guerrero, so he went to Jack Tunney. He admitted Tunney died years ago, but said he wouldn't be denied. Santino said he was there for a swimsuit competition.
Santino, who was in the ring by this point, said he wanted to prove that he has what it takes to be Miss WrestleMania. He took off his robe while Kid Rock's "So Hot" played and revealed a Borat bathing suit. Beth had to be restrained by Rosa, but the other divas cracked up while Santino danced. Eventually, they all ganged up on him and threw him out of the ring...
Powell's POV: Sure, the Borat suit was a rip off, but that was still funny. Please let him enter the battle royal. Maybe he'll dress up in the Spider Lady costume.
A video recapped Randy Orton's latest attack on Triple H and Stephanie McMahon... Cole hyped Jericho vs. Jerry Lawler for after the break. Lawler's music played and he headed to the ring as the show cut to commercial... [C]
Powell's POV: There's the plug for the King's match. Honestly, I'm looking forward to that match more than John Cena vs. Big Show.
[Q2] Highlights aired from last week of Chris Jericho attacking Ric Flair and stomping on the wristwatch that Shawn Michaels gave him...
2. Chris Jericho beat Jerry Lawler via submission in 3:20. Before the match, Cole announced the rules of the WrestleMania 25 handicap match. He said Jericho has to beat all three legends in order to win the match, but only one legend has to beat Jericho to win the match for the team.
Lawler struck Jericho with several punches early. Jericho backed into the corner and shielded his face before catching Lawler with a cheap shot. Jericho took control of the match and punched Lawler repeatedly. He said Lawler was just like The Wrestler. Lawler caught Jericho coming off the second rope and connected with a punch. Lawler pulled down the strap on his tights and threw a flurry of punches at Jericho.
Jericho begged off, then caught Lawler with a low blow. He flipped Lawler into position for the Walls of Jericho and won via submission. Jericho started to leave the ring, but headed back and stood over Lawler. Jericho picked up Lawler and taunted him, but Lawler punched him. Jericho headed to ringside, took the mic, and said he wouldn't get back inside the ring because he already beat Lawler.
Jericho said it isn't about whether he beats the legends at WrestleMania, it's about whether he destroys them like he did Ric Flair last week. Jericho said it all started with Mickey Rourke and he said he would be there to watch the demise of his friends. Jericho vowed to eradicate the legends from the business...
Powell's POV: That was forgettable. The crowd responded nicely for Lawler, but nothing about the segment matched the intensity from last week. Of course, Jericho delivered several great promos and angles in past weeks to sell his particular match. Still, they could have used a Ric Flair promo to deliver a final sales pitch. By the way, Cole called the match solo. Here's hoping that never happens again.
Cole introduced a "12 Rounds" clip... A commercial hyped Steve Austin and the Hall of Fame special... [C]
[Q3] Highlights aired of the John Cena, Edge, and Big Show feud... Backstage, Todd Grisham tried to interview Cena, but Edge walked into the room and said Cena's chance to win are virtually nonexistent. Grisham left the room. Edge proposed the idea of he and Cena taking out Big Show and then facing off one-on-one.
Cena said it makes perfect sense. "But I don't care," Cena said. "I've never liked you and I've never trusted you." Cena said he'd rather lose on his own, but that won't happen. He said he's going to WrestleMania to become the World Hvt. Champion. Cena left the room...
Powell's POV: It's nice to see them actually acknowledge the World Hvt. Championship, which has been an afterthought in the campy comedic Triple Threat match buildup.
Cole said Randy Orton was planning his WrestleMania address for later in the show. He interviewed Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, who were standing backstage. Cody said Orton had plenty of things to say about what transpired last week. DiBiase said Orton's comments will affect everyone in the WWE Universe. "Because after WrestleMania, everything you know about the WWE, it changes forever," DiBiase said. Back at ringside, Cole casually thanked them...
Powell's POV: Cole is void of genuine emotion. A threat like that should have elicited some type of emotional response from Cole, but he gave viewers the same tone he would have used if a waiter had asked him whether he wanted fries or chips with his hamburger.
A shot aired of the hearse as Taker's music played. A group of men lifted the castket top open to reveal Shawn Michaels lying inside. He looked at the camera and mouthed the words, "You expecting someone else?"... [C]
After the break, they replayed the footage of Michaels, only this time the production truck remembered to turn up the volume when HBK delivered his line...
Powell's POV: Do you think Vince McMahon is blowing a gasket right now?
Jerry Lawler jogged back down to ringside still dressed in his wrestling gear and rejoined Cole on commentary...
Powell's POV: Thank you!
Rey Mysterio made his entrance. JBL's limo pulled into the building. He walked to ringside wearing his wrestling gear. He said he asked for a match with Mysterio tonight for psychological reasons. He said he would beat Rey within an inch of his life...
3. Rey Mysterio defeated JBL in a non-title match in 6:45. Rey went for the 619 early, but JBL avoided it. Rey went for another move off the ropes, but JBL caught the diving Mysterio with a boot to the stomach as the how cut to commercial.
[Q4] [C] Mysterio hit some fast-paced offense after the break and hit his usual finishing combo with the 619 and the top rope splash for the clean win...
Powell's POV: The crowd popped for Mysterio winning the match. It's odd to see a WrestleMania match on television six days before the show, but I guess they had to do something to hype it.
The announcers hyped the Cena vs. Big Show match. A clip aired of a Cena promo from Smackdown. A shot aired of Big Show walking backstage... [C] A WrestleMania Moments video recapped WrestleMania 11 and the Lawrence Taylor vs. Bam Bam Bigelow match...
A shot aired of Dallas Cowboys players sitting in the front row. Former Cowboys player Michael Irvin was among them. Boo!!!
Powell's POV: Yes, one of the Cowboys players pretended to elbow one of his teammates. It never fails.
Ring introductions for the John Cena vs. Big Show match took place...
[Q5] 4. Big Show pinned John Cena in 10:40. A shot aired of Vickie Guerrero watching the match on a backstage monitor. Cena pointed out that she was blackmailed into adding Cena to the WM25 match. Cole made a big fuss over Big Show weighing in at 485 lbs. At 2:00, Cena fired a couple of punches and Show and then ran the ropes and dove at him, but Show just shoved him to the ground. Nice spot to put over Show's size. Later, Show missed a second rope splash attempt. Cena landed a top rope leg drop and went for the STF, but Show kicked him aside. [C]
Highlights aired of Show working over Cena and dominating the match during the break. Show stood on Cena's back and held both arms in the air. He signaled for the chokeslam as Cena struggled to get to his feet. Show went for the move, but Cena turned it into a DDT. Cena went for the STF, but Show's size prevented him from applying the move.
The announcers questioned whether Cena would be able to use the hold at WrestleMania. Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment, but he couldn't handle Show's weight. Show chokeslammed Cena and scored the clean pin. After the match, Edge entered the ring and attacked the fallen Cena while Show stood in the corner and watched...
Powell's POV: Wise move heading into WrestleMania 25. They finally took the focus off the live triangle and switched to the deck being stacked against Cena. It just seems like it's too little too late.
Highlights aired from Smackdown of the latest Shawn Michaels and Undertaker angle... Back live, a shot aired of Shawn walking backstage as a group of men carried a casket behind him...
[Q6] [C] The casket was set up in the ring with a "16-1" wreath next to it. Shawn's music played and he walked out dressed in all black. Shawn headed to the ring and said he is not intimidated by Taker. He reminded viewers that Taker has never pinned him. He also recalled superkicking Taker, walking on the hallowed grounds of the graveyard, and showed on Smackdown that "my light will forever outshine your darkness."
Shawn said he's done it all without the slightest bit of consequence or without a hint of retribution. Shawn flung the casket open to show that Taker wasn't inside. "There will be no retribution, Undertaker, not tonight, not Sunday, not ever," Michaels said. Shawn recalled Taker saying he uses WrestleMania to show his peers and the world what he represents. Shawn said he's personally insulted that Taker doesn't think he can end his winning streak.
"I'm Mr. WrestleMania," Michaels said. "This Sunday, every moment of the last 24 years is going to pale in comparison to what I achieve." He said people will talk about how wins the title matches and the ladders and tables, but the moment that will be etched in their minds forever is when he pins Taker at WrestleMania.
The bell sounded and the lights went out. The bell rang again, the lights came on, and Taker was standing in the ring. However, HBK was nowhere to be found. Taker destroyed the set out of frustration. He stopped and slowly turned toward the casket, which was closed.
Taker walked toward the casket and opened it, but Shawn wasn't inside. Taker slammed his hands down in frustration. Suddenly, Shawn emerged from underneath the casket and nailed Taker with Sweet Chin Music. Shawn stood over Taker and delivered a DX chop. Lawler asked why Shawn was doing this. Cole questioned whether Shawn had gone too far. Michaels flashed as smile at the top of the stage while Taker struggled to get to his feet...
Powell's POV: Good final hype for their match. I love the build with Shawn getting the better of Taker in the prematch mind games.
[Q7] [C] The announcers recapped the Taker and HBK angle... Cole and Lawler hyped the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony and then a Steve Austin video aired... The announcers ran through the HOF lineup. Lawler said he has the honor of hosting the event... The announcers ran through the WrestleMania 25 lineup...
Powell's POV: It's about damn time they get back to hyping Austin's HOF induction. By the way, can't someone poor Lawler a shirt?
A shot aired of Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase giving instructions to a group of security guards... A shot aired of the Money in the Bank briefcase hanging above the ring. A ladder was set up in the entrance aisle. C.M. Punk and Kane were introduced for an eight-man battle royal featuring the MITB participants. Punk ignored the threat of bad luck by walking under the ladder... [C]
Did You Know? WWE sold a shit-load of their new encyclopedia... A video hyped the Hardy vs. Hardy feud...
5. Kane beat Christian, Mark Henry, Kofi Kingston, Finlay, MVP, Shelton Benjamin, and C.M. Punk in an eight-man battle royal in 3:45. Henry eliminated Finlay 40 seconds into the match. Hornswoggle distracted Henry momentarily and the other wrestlers dumped him over the top rope.
[Q8] MVP and Shelton battled on the ring apron until Kane ran over and clotheslined them both to the floor at 2:00. Christian, Kingston, and Punk teamed up Kane. The partnership didn't last long, though, as Punk tossed Kofi over the top rope.
Punk hit the high knee on Christian and went for a bulldog, but Christian fought him off and tried to throw him over the top rope. Punk held on, but Kane picked up Christian, threw him onto Punk, and both Christian and Punk fell to the floor. After the match, Kane climbed the ladder and pulled down the briefcase...
Powell's POV: Well, Kane's not winning Money in the Bank. I can't believe how flat most of the MITB preview matches have been. This was not an exception.
Backstage, DiBiase knocked on Randy Orton's door while Rhodes and security stood next to him. Orton answered the door and then walked down a hall while flanked by his minions and security. Cole said Orton's WrestleMania address was coming up after the break... [C]
The announcers hyped Tuesday's WrestleMania 25 press conference at the Hard Rock in NYC while Randy Orton walked to the ring by himself...
In the ring, Orton glared at the booing fans and waited several seconds before saying anything. "At the age of 24, I became the youngest World Champion in the history of WWE," Orton started. "It was the greatest moment in my life, but it was short lived." He recalled his supposed friend and mentor Triple H turning on him "in a fit of jealous rage." Highlights aired of Evolution's attack on Orton and the infamous thumbs down angle.
Orton said everything started to fall into place that night. He said Hunter ruined his life, so he vowed to himself to ruin his life. Orton said he had to wait to start a group of his own. He said he had to wait for Hunter to become more powerful than ever before. He said he also waited to find something that Hunter truly cares about. He said it began at the Royal Rumble. Footage aired from the Rumble match of Orton eliminating Hunter.
Back live, Orton boasted about how he systematically took down the McMahon family. Footage aired of each of those attacks.
Powell's POV: It's amazing that WWE's production team has all those clips ready to go and seems to know exactly when Orton is going to pause. I'm just saying.
[Overrun] Orton said he RKO'd Hunter's wife nearly five years after Triple H turned on him. Orton said he wanted to make it clear that he knew exactly what he was doing the entire time. "IED?" Orton asked. "No, no, no. I knew exactly what I was doing the entire time." Orton told the fans to sit down and shut their mouths and listen to everything he has to say.
Orton said he knew that Triple H would retaliate. He recalled Hunter breaking into his home, and striking Rhodes and DiBiase with a sledgehammer. Orton said he wanted Hunter to feel like he was in control so that his guard was down. He said that allowed him to do "this..." Highlights aired from last week's Raw of Orton DDT'ing Stephanie McMahon and kissing her while a handcuffed Hunter was forced to watch.
Randy said every time they lock up or Hunter throws a punch, he'll be looking at the man who attacked his wife and "sealed it with a kiss." Orton said he spoke to Vickie Guerrero and was told that Hunter would lose the title if he gets disqualified or is counted out. He said it would be an automatic disqualification if Hunter showed up with a sledgehammer.
Orton said he's taken everything from Hunter except his title. Orton said the balance of power will shift. Orton continued to talk until he noticed a big screen shot of a limo speeding into the backstage area. He asked for the lights to be turned on and demanded that Rhodes, DiBiase, and security come out.
Rhodes and DiBiase joined Orton in the ring and security remained at ringside. A shot aired of an empty limo. Orton called out Hunter. Instead...
"No Chance in Hell" played. Vince McMahon walked onto the stage with a scowl on his face and struck a He-Man pose. He started to loosen his collar and sleeves. Shane McMahon's music played. Vince pointed to the back and Triple H's music played.
Hunter, Vince, and Shane stood on he stage huffing and puffing. Eventually, they walked toward the ring and beat the hell out of Orton's security guards together. Hunter took off his shirt and the McMahons all charged the ring. Legacy came out to greet them and a big brawl broke out with Hunter and Orton battling, while Vince fought DiBiase, and Shane fought Cody. The camera followed Orton and Hunter. They fought at ringside and eventually inside the ring. Hunter was in control of the brawl when the show went off the air...
Powell's POV: I wasn't a fan of the Super Shane antics and the McMahon family gimmick is played out, but this was a hot conclusion to the show and one that I honestly didn't see coming. Does anyone else have a really bad feeling about the new match stipulations that Orton mentioned during his promo?
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