A SPECIAL IWW TREAT~! EXCLUSIVE FOR INDEED WRESTLING WEEKLY by HOST RAY RHODES
Tonight starts off with Cena and HBK firing up the crowd before their TAG TEAM TITLE DEFENSE. I sincerely hope the tag titles get from HBK/Cena to Rated RKO to Cryme Tyme, or the Highlanders, or WGTT or Cade/Murdoch, or even Flair and Carlito before Wrestlemania but I'm not holding my breath. It's truly beyond me why the tag titles are not in the tag title division right now as we zoom towards Wrestlemania. I'm sure they could have done the same storyline without them.
Edge and Orton on the Titantron (is it still called the Titantron?)and they don't want to fight just yet. Edge says, "Roll that beautiful bean footage", or at least, he probably wanted to. Excellent little montage of HBK's ruthless turns on his partners and friends which is a nice touch to set the two a bit ill at ease. Good set-up here for later in the night.
Shelton takes on Jeff Hardy for a spot in the Money in the Bank ladder match at Wrestlemania. If you're in the know, you know that we already have CM Punk, King Booker, and Edge. I feel Edge is being wasted here! Decent match between the two of the most sloppiest workers (though talented!)and Shelton crashes and burns on a Springboard attempt. I wouldn't be overly surprised if that was PLANNED. Hardy picks up the win and earns his slot in Spotfest 2007. Keeping Benjamin out of this match is like having an Inferno match without Kane, it just isn't the same.
McMahon goes over his haircut ideas for the Donald. Not quite sure how having a haircut would produce MORE HAIR rather than less but whatever. We get it already, thanks.
Melina, who is turning into a capable wrestler, and Maria, who is well, trying, have a decent RAW women's bout but a thought occurred to me earlier in the week–the WWE must actually encourage and demand women to use hair-based offense in their matches. Hair-biels, Hair pulls, hair slams must be ordered upon these women and it's shame, it really undercuts them and they deserve better. Not that I don't think a good hair-biel or two has a place, because they do. Melina picks up the roll-up after blocking a Maria Bronco Buster. Strange how old homo-erotic men's moves are now the signature moves of the women (Maria=Bronco Buster, Torrie=Stinkface).
Vince brings out Umaga and does a speech running down the Donald before Trump appears on the Titantron from what looked to be a virtual reality set of his boardroom. Am I the only one who thought that it didn't look real? He touts his representative as being an animal and in one pick instantly makes the single most disappointing match in Wrestlemania History: ECW Champion Bobby Lashley v I-C Champ Umaga. So, you take two of your champions and put them in one match, where the titles are meaningless. So, you take a guy who has had a string of hideous matches and give him a huge spot. So, you try to pretend Umaga wasn't watered down after being Cena's cannon fodder. If Cena could beat him in singles, and in a Last Man Standing, Lashley should have no problem here. So, McMahon is now the underdog in this match. I'm baffled and disappointed by the whole thing. The brawl was something that RAW has needed badly but I just can't get into this match.
Next up, Masters attempts to give Khali the MasterLock Challenge but cannot get his arms wrapped around him and is visibly frustrated. Out comes KANE to fell the great beast, but not before wrapping a chair around Masters' skull and chokeslamming him. Thanks for showing up for work, Chris. I know I'm being a Negative Nancy here but this would have been the perfect match for Trump-Vince. Vince brings out a Monster, Trump brings out someone who is still an underdog but has a legitimate shot at winning. Now it seems we're going to have two train wreck matches., although I am a MARK for Khali. I love him.
Remember not so long ago when the Brand Split meant something? I don't mind the occasional jump but they've spent so much time and energy trying to make the split mean something and they're always talking about Raw contracts, and Smackdown contracts. Having Khali and Kane just show up to different shows should be something the GM of both brands should be pissed about–in theory. I just don't get it.
Jerry Lawler enters the Hall of Fame. Perhaps this is their way of saying, "It's time to hang it up?" Maybe he has cancer or something. Not my first, third, or any choice for this year.
Carlito takes on Kenny Dystra in mid-card mambo securely in the Viscera Slot of match before the main event. Good angle between Flair and Carlito, Flair is being used correctly by helping get the younger guys over one way or the other. He's already done so much for Kenny, now he's helping Carlito get to the next level. Good stuff here.
Tag Team titles are on the line and well, Edge walks out leaving Orton for the dreaded Superkick-FU combo. Won't Edge feel silly after Orton shows him the FOOTAGE. The Superkick teases each week are tremendous and I'm not sure which would be better: waiting until Wrestlemania or kicking his face off a week prior. Personally, I think Cena turning on HBK first would be more intriguing.
Final Thoughts: The Wrestlemania build up is fun, and even though I'm griping an awful lot, I think they're doing a great job making the Title Matches seem really important and having underlying tension build. I just don't agree with a lot of the undercard matches already and I'm quite perplexed as to why they're working on this Edge-Orton split when Edge is already locked in the Money in the Bank match. Seems like a waste. I'm anxious to see if the Tag Division gets their belts back and to see if Smackdown can produce a couple interesting matches before it's too late to get any interesting hype going. I might not agree with the booking but Raw produced several solid matches and good build-up for Wrestlemania so on a scale of Funaki's, I give it 4 Funaki's out of 5, which is about a B grade for me. Special guest Referee in an already clogged up Battle of the Billionaires Match next week, the Internet already knows who it is.