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Well, it’s 8:00, and Raw just finished.  That’s one of the perks of having Comcast.  Most of the HD channels broadcast 3 hours ahead of time, so I can watch various things early.

Let’s start with the big show last night.  The first thing I’d like to address is the removal of the Tag Team Title Unification match from the card.  There is no reason whatsoever to take that and make it a “DVD Bonus Match.”  You’re just pissing off the people who paid an already absurd amount of money to watch this show, and now you’re taking what was most likely going to be a great match away from them?  Makes me glad I acquired the show through other means.  When it came time for the world title matches, I wondered if it was going to be the buffer match between the other title matches.  Then, when the WWE title match was announced, I said aloud, “They couldn’t be saving the tag match for the end, could they?”  Of course, they didn’t.  I didn’t find out until today, after I’d watched the show, that they moved the match to the pre-show.  Let me tell you, that was one of the matches I was most looking forward to seeing, and they snubbed me, as well as all the other fans out there, of what was likely an awesome match.  The match on Raw tonight was okay, but the magic of crowning the first ever Unified Tag Team Champs was utterly ruined.  And besides, I got the pick wrong too.  I was surprised to find out that Primo and Carlito won.  I suppose that means Creative is just going to do what they do with every great tag team they’ve ever had: split them up and push one of them and let the other suffer in the doldrums that is jobber status.  I feel bad for Miz.  Because he’s going to be the jobber after they split.  John Morrison has far too much upside to even be considered being put into the lower card.  I made a statement a few days ago that he’d be a world champion within a year, and I guess this is the first step in doing so.

Also, I wanted to briefly talk about the announce team for the show.  I am a little angry that they snubbed both Todd Grisham AND Matt Striker from the show.  Obviously, there was going to be a change with Tazz gone.  But not even putting Striker in there was a foolish idea.  If they’d have stuck him in there instead of Cole, the show could very well have been more entertaining.  But Michael Cole seems to be un-get-rid-of-able.  I don’t hate him as much as seemingly everyone else on the planet, but he’s too silent most of the time.  Striker would have filled in the gaps very nicely.  Oh, well.  ECW wasn’t exactly very well represented, either.

Hey, you know what they could have done?  Instead of having Kid Rock perform at all, put the tag match in there, have them go for about nine minutes, and three or four more for entrances and exits.  Then we wouldn’t have to listen to an idiot like Kid Rock.  I bet the crowd would have enjoyed that more.  I certainly would have.

Now, on to the matches that were actually shown.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match

I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who was disappointed that Punk won again.  Yes, he’s good, but he’s won it before, and I think it’s someone else’s time to win the big one *COUGH*Christian*COUGH*.  That’s what I get for going with my heat on this one instead of my brain.  As usual, this was a great match, full of crazy spots and high-flying antics that would scare most normal people.  Definite highlights would include: Shelton’s swan dive off a 15 foot ladder to a crowd of people waiting below (after a sequence of great suicide dives and planchas started by Finlay of all people), Kofi’s Spiderman climb up a closed ladder being held by Mark Henry, and Kofi’s swing through an open ladder to kick someone (memory fails me at the moment).  But the botches were really ugly.  Christian’s Unprettier on Punk off a ladder placed between the top rope and another ladder was taken very badly by Punk, and MVP’s botch of Shelton’s sunset flip into a powerbomb from the ladder was an awkward sight.  Something I’ve never understood is why people on the receiving end of an elevated powerbomb always seem unwilling to just take the bump.  Like when someone takes a powerbomb from off the ropes, they always clutch the ropes for a second before crashing to the mat.  It makes them look scared or unwilling to just fall straight down.  And that irritates me.  But back to the match at hand.

I’m actually quite concerned about MVP because of that sick powerbomb he took shortly after his botch.  Shelton powerbombed him OVER the ropes and to the floor, with only Mark Henry sort of, but not really, protecting his fall.  He landed really badly on his upper back and possibly his neck, and we didn’t see him again for the rest of the match.  I certainly hope he isn’t injured.  I actually wonder a bit if that mistake on Shelton’s part (it was a poor decision, I think) messed up the finish of the match.  MVP was getting a pretty huge push up until then, and he was, I believe, fourth on my expected choices for winning, but he was second on my list of people I WANTED to win the match, so I suppose we’ll see later on whether or not that was meant to be.

25 Diva Battle Royal

No entrances for any of the ladies.  They just all walked on during Kid Rock’s performance which I skipped past because I can do that.  Mae Young was the timekeeper, so I’m 0 for 2 in picks so far (0 for 3 if you count the tag match we were robbed of).  The action was far too confusing to tell what was happening until there were, I think, five ladies left.  Unsurprisingly, Santino found a way into the match and won, eliminating Beth Phoenis and Melina simultaneously.  This smacks of Andy Kaufman and his Intergender championship so much.  Only Kaufman didn’t dress in drag.  That I know of.  Again, if they’d just not had Kid Rock perform, they could have given entrances to all the ladies and had more than four minutes of blonde hair flying everywhere.  What did surprise me was that neither Trish Stratus or Lita were a part of this, but Jackie Gayda and Torrie Wilson were.  Really?  Jackie Gayda?  You’re kidding, right?  Well, long story very short, Santino won, and now he’s apparently a woman.  This should be…strange.  Especially for a company that’s been revamping its image for so many months, working to get that TVPG rating, and now they’ve got a cross-dresser.  Their logic boggles my mind.

Jericho vs. Legends

Let me just say one thing about this match.  Well, okay, I have more to say, but this one thing stands above the rest: I wish that, when I am Ricky Steamboat’s age, I look as good as he does.  That was an absolute shocker.  And what surprised me more was that he was flying around the ring like it was 1989.  The man is 56 years old and he’s in better shape than several of the other superstars currently employed.  And he’s more willing to take some chances than half the superstars employed by WWE.  His plancha over the top rope and onto the floor onto Jericho was one of the most memorable moments in the entire show.  And people were going nuts for it.  They took out Snuka early, and Piper shortly after, so as to let the one man who’s apparently still able to do the stuff eh could do 20 years ago do his stuff.  Steamboat carried this match.  Yes, Jericho won, but Steamboat was the best worker by far.

And then came the Mickey Rourke ugliness.  Why is it that every time a wrestling promotion wants to bring in a celebrity, it always turns out to be a huge waste of everyone’s time?  David Arquette, Kevin Federline, Adam “Pacman” Jones, Floyd Mayweather, and now Mickey Rourke.  Every single program these celebrities have been involved in have been some of the worst programs ever conceived by a creative team.  Jericho should have mocked Rourke and left as a winner, not called him out and then got knocked out by one punch from a “former boxer.”  Cole said that Rourke spent a number of years as a boxer.  I suppose ONE is a number of years.  Seriously.  That whole segment was an embarassment to Jericho, who’d just built up a huge amount of momentum after his victory over three men.  I’ve been vocal in my opposition to this entire program with Jericho and the Legends, but even I have to admit that Rourke knocking out Jericho in one hit was ludicrous and ruined most of the credibility Jericho’d built up over the previous weeks.  A decent match ruined by an awful segment.

Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy

I called this one to be the show-stealer.  Well…the show-stealer of show-stealers.  Unfortunately, it would be thoroughly overshadowed later on in the evening.  Plenty of spots and weapons used, including a shopvac, a framed poster, and the usual fare (tables, chairs, trashcans).  Jeff’s dropkick onto Matt while Matt had a trash can over his head was a memorable spot, as well as Jeff’s suicide splash from the top rope onto two tables and Matt with a chair resting on his chest.  But, of course, the second most memorable moment of the night was Jeff’s missed legdrop from off a 15 foot ladder that had to have messed up his hips, tailbone, and probably his spine.  That was a scary-looking fall and the miss must really have hurt.  Matt’s followup Twist of Fate with a chair collared around Jeff’s neck was a sick move, and I was pretty surprised to see Matt walk away…well, crawl away, really, with the victory.  Might Jeff be cooling down now after his year plus at the main event level?  Perhaps.  Only time will tell.

JBL vs. Rey Mysterio – IC Title Match

It’s like Creative feels obliged to screw us out of no less than one title match each year at Wrestlemania.  Last year they gave us an 8 second ECW title match, this year it’s a 20 second IC title match.  They didn’t even HAVE an ECW match this year!  What a jip.  Anyway, Rey’s a Triple Crown champion and JBL’s apparently gone for good.  Sigh.  I was really hoping he’d be the new Smackdown color man, but with him gone, who’s the new guy going to be?  I haven’t read any spoilers, and I don’t plan to, so whomever gets the job I will find out on Friday.  I’ve actually thought about a couple of options for them.  Well, one besides JBL, that being Mr. Kennedy.  He’s still (apparently) not healed from whatever injury he’s been out for however many months from, and we know he’s great on the stick.  Why not let him run with JR for a little while?  He could be like another diamond in the rough, like Striker.  I’ll have to wait until Friday to find out.

HBK vs. Taker

Match of the night.  Should have been the main event.  Likely a Match of the Year candidate.  It was a spectacle to behold, indeed.  One of the keys to a great match, I’ve thought, is that you don’t realize how long it’s gone on for until it’s over, and you realize it’s been 25 minutes since it started.  A great match will last for a while, but you won’t notice that it’s been going on as long as it has.  These two men pulled out all the stops, and then created some new stops and pulled them out too.  It had the most memorable (and quite possibly the scariest) moment of the entire show when Taker did his plancha to the outside, only to over-rotate and nearly land on his head and neck out on the floor.  That was a seriously scary couple of minutes while Shawn and the ref were trying to get up and back into the ring.  Then they went for another 15 minutes.  You know what?  These two men must have taken a clue from Steamboat earlier in the evening.  If a 56 year old man can fly off the top rope without hesitation, then these two in their 40’s should be able to do just as much, if not more.  There’s really too much to describe, so I’ll just say that if you can somehow obtain access to Wrestlemania 25 for free or extremely cheap, you have to watch this match.  Even if you’re not a fan of wrestling, you’ll probably enjoy this match.  Just do yourselves a favor and end the show with that match.  Because the next two had no chance to be as great as this one.

Edge vs. Cena vs. Big Show – World Heavyweight Championship

I believe I said in my post a few days ago that one of the two major titles would change hands.  I picked the wrong one.  Cena wins to a chorus of boos (Houston really hates him, it appears) in a decent match with a few cool spots, but nothing special, and certainly nothing like the match previous to it.  Watching Edge lose a major title for the eighth time made me wonder what his longest title reign was, seeing as how his last two have been six weeks each.  So I’m going to go look now on the world’s worst source of information, Wikipedia.

According to their records, his last four title reigns have been (from his most recent reign which ended yesterday): 7 weeks, 3 weeks, 3 weeks, and 4 weeks.  His total of eight reigns have totaled 392 total days as a world champion.  That’s an average of seven weeks per title reign.  I’d rather have one title reign that lasted 400 days than 8 title reigns that lasted 50 days each.  Look at this also: between Edge’s second and third WWE Championship reigns, 2 years and 6 days passed.  There were three titleholders in that time.  John Cena (380 days), Randy Orton (203 days), and Triple H (210 days).  I’m not counting that debacle at No Mercy when Triple H was in three matches in one night.Edge’s two title reigns were 21 days each that surrounded those three other matches.  His reigns were like extremely flimsy bread surrounding three very hearty portions of sandwich fillings.  If he really wants to become a Legend, he needs to have a title reign of more than three months.  Give him an eight month title run, or something.  Otherwise, he’ll just be what he called Mick Foley a few years back: a transitional champion.  And no one wants to be that.

Anyway, back to the match at hand.  There were two memorable moments in this match.  First was Cena hitting his top rope legdrop on the Big Show.  Only Big Show was standing outside, and Cena took a pretty big fall landing right on his tailbone.  And, of course, the giant-sized FU (I refuse to call it the Attitude Adjuster), lifting up a billed weight of 735 pounds, then FU-ing Big Show and then Edge for good measure.  If he’d pulled off the double FU, it would have been one of the true highlights of the evening.  Instead, it was a kinda cool attempt at a big spot.  Cena wins, and order is restored.  At least until next week.

HHH vs. Orton – WWE Title

I don’t want to think about this.  This was THE MAIN EVENT, and it looked like a match from Velocity or Heat.  It was god-awful.  But not just the wrestling.  The camera work was terrible for this match and this match alone, the announce team sounded like they’d called it in after the previous match, and the refereeing was some of the worst I’d ever seen.  First of all, Scott Armstrong is a terrible ref to begin with.  Why he keeps getting the main event matches is beyond me.  Second, he doesn’t seem to understand that if someone is breaking the rules, they have a five count to stop doing what they’re doing.  If someone’s using the ropes to their advantage to shove their foot onto their opponent’s neck, you warn them once, then start counting, not yell at them for 30 second, THEN start the five count.  By the end of the match I was yelling at the ref to just start the five count instead of just giving constant warnings that he was going to start the five count.  There was a point where I disqualified Randy Orton because he was kicking Triple H in the corner for something like 30 seconds straight, using the ropes to keep his balance.  This entire match was the biggest botch of the night.  Trust me, if you want to remember this as a good show, then stop after the Taker-HBK match, because your hopes for two good title matches will be dashed.

For the entire show, I’ll give it, say, a 7/10.  Four points for the Taker-HBK match, 3 for the MITB, a point each for Jeff’s insane leg drop and Ricky Steamboat’s performance, a half a point for Santina Marella, minus half a point for Kid Rock, and minus one point each for the exclusion of the tag match and the horrible main event.  It’s arbitrary, I know, but if the main event wasn’t so goddamned awful and the tag match was included, this would have been one hell of a show.  Also, if they’d put the Taker-HBK match at the end, I would have given them another half point for putting the true main event at the end of the show instead of the middle.

As for Raw tonight, I have one thing to say: why bring Batista back so soon?  I’d read reports he was going to be out until June.  Why bring him back two months ahead of schedule?  Haven’t you (I’m speaking directly to WWE Creative now) noticed that there’s this trend where if you bring someone back before they’re supposed to come back that there’s a much higher chance they’ll get reinjured?  HM?  I thought not.  Just let him sit out.  The less Batista we have to watch, the better.

Okay, I’m done for now.  I’ll probably try to start doing those Top 5 lists soon, maybe include them with show recaps if they’re not as beefy as the past two posts I’ve done.  I must say, this is the most writing I’ve done since I was in college.  Only this time I enjoy the topic I’m writing about!

Oh, and in case you weren’t counting but were curious, I was 3 for 9 in picks for WM 25.  Let’s hope Backlash goes a little better…

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