Only 3 weeks away from the Grandest Stage of them All, the road to Wrestlemania made a stop in Portland, Oregon for Monday Night Raw. However, that wasn't the only significant occurrence in wrestling this week. For those of you who didn't know, TNA Impact has now moved to Monday nights in the hopes of reigniting the Monday Night War. Vince McMahon and WWE executives have constantly brushed TNA off in interviews saying that they aren't really aren't competition. On the other hand, Eric Bischoff, Vince Russo, and Dixie Carter have all publicly stated that t this marks the beginning of the new Monday Night War. To hype their debut, Dixie Carter assured TNA fans that something big would happen (as TNA if often prone to do) in the first five minutes and they should tune in. I think this week's Raw will be very telling if the WWE views TNA as competition and they are just putting on a false bravado or whether they genuinely believe that they compete with every form of entertainment. Let's move on to the Raw recap and find out!
As Raw comes on air, we are greeted by the grating voice of Michael Cole, as he welcomes us to the longest running episodic TV show in history. Immediately, the Undertaker's Gong tolled, and the Deadman made his entrance to the ring. You know all those statements by the WWE about how they don't view TNA as competition. Well, the Undertaker beginning the show tells me that it's a load of bullshit.
Taker did his usual shtick on the mic, and talked about how he was going end Michaels' career. Before he could finish, HBK's music hit and Mr. Wrestlemania made his way down to the ring. He accused Undertaker of fearing him. In fact, he is so assured of his victory that he doesn't want any Countouts or DQ's, he wants to kick Taker's teeth down his throat and pin him or submit (Sorry Shawn, only CM Punk can do that) the Phenom. Undertaker took exception and assured Shawn that he would end his career on March 28th. Shawn told the former World Heavyweight Champion that he should keep telling himself that, but he would end the Streak.
This was a fantastic promo mostly thanks to Shawn Michaels. It was actually the highlight of the night. For those who doubt, that these two will be able to top last year's outing, I suggest you watch this. They have already upped the stakes with the Career vs Streak stipulation, but even the micwork has gotten better.
Following such an awesome promo was a 6 Divas Tag Match. I could not have cared less and changed the channel to Impact.
Once they had wasted a couple of minutes with a meaningless Divas match, they came back with ShowMiz cutting a promo. Miz brought up a good point by saying how Morrison & Truth aren't a legitimate team. They are just singles wrestlers, who aren't a cohesive unit and don't really deserve a tag shot. Miz brings up a great point about how these two singles wrestlers just got pushed as a tag team. Wait, isn't that exactly what happened with Miz and Show?
Morrison and Truth came out and beat the shit out of ShowMiz. I actually enjoyed that, Truth and Morrison proved that they can be a cohesive unit and furthered along the feud. It makes me a little more excited for their match at Mania.
Skip Sheffied and William Regal had a segment with Criss Angel. I had rather watch my beard grow than watch this horsecrap. Let's move on.
Legacy had a decent handicap match against Orton. They beat him proving to the world that they are more than jobbers. I played Smackdown vs Raw 2010, and I'm happy that they didn't rip off the game by having a Handicap match at Mania. By the way, I'm enjoying Orton as a face. Usually, I despise that Jizzbucket, but anti-heroes are so rare in the WWE that I'm forced to enjoy Orton's work.
Triple H and Sheamus had a segment together. Triple H actually sounded genuine as he talked about climbing up the ladder in the WWE, and how he got his ass kicked at Wrestlemania when he tried to make a name for himself. It's interesting to note that Hunter never mentioned the Ultimate Warrior by name. Looks like Vince is still a little pissy about getting rejected by Warrior for a HoF induction.
Wrestlemania 12 - Triple H vs Ultimate Warrior - MyVideo
Sheamus tried attacking HHH, and failed as Hunter clotheslined him out of the ring. However, they did agree to a match at Wrestlemania. I really hope we see a repeat for HHH at Wrestlemania 26.
Evan Bourne beat Regal to qualify for the MITB. If you blinked, you missed this match. Oh and I'm very surprised that Kofi wasn't the 8th participant in the Money in the Bank. He doesn't have a match for Mania and it would be a shame if he didn't have one.
Vince forced Cena to compete in a Handicap Guantlet. Kozlov, McIntyre, Swagger, and Henry did Vince's bidding but they proved to ultimately be unsuccessful, since Cena always overcomes the odds. Unfortunately for him, Batista came out, botched a spear, then hit a Batista Bomb. Vince pinned Cena and Raw mercifully ended.
With the exception of Taker/Michaels promo and a decent match between Legacy and Orton, the show had nothing going for it. Criss Angel sucked just like the majority of the guest hosts. He failed to add anything and merely took time away from the show. Usually around Mania, the WWE improves their product. Tonight was not one of those nights. In fact, I would say Impact was a much better show than Raw tonight. I'm hoping the ratings reflect that and Vince knows he has to step his game up. Hopefully, Raw will improve next week as the Texas rattlesnake hosts. Plus, we get Chris Jericho vs Shawn Michaels.