And be sure to hit the live Raw thread to talk about tonight's show as it happens.
And thanks to Csonka for holding down the fort the past two weeks. Man, I missed Christian's last appearance on Raw? I'm heartbroken. But there's plenty of Carlito and RVD -- and Hulk Hogan -- to go around tonight, so I think we'll be just fine. Let's do it...
411's WWE RAW REPORT -- 07.04.05
Happy birthday, America, and welcome to Monday Night Raw, live from the Arco Arena in Sacramento, California, home of the loudest and most loyal fans in the NBA. Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler & Jonathan Coachman are your hosts!
Promised for Tonight
- Sgt Slaughter's "Bikini Boot Camp" for prospective divas
- John Cena on Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel
But we kick it off with CARLITO! He hits the ring and enters the Cabana set. "Tonight is the fourth of July, the only night" -- pop -- ["USA!"] Carlito is "As I was saying, this is the only night of the year for fireworks. But on Carlito's Cabana, there's fireworks every night. Especially tonight! How often does a star, a star as big, a star as huge as Carlito come to Sacramento? But enough about Carlito. My guest tonight has a new reality show debuting on VH1 Sunday night at 10 pm." [DEAFENING "Hogan!" chant] "He's gonna be touring all over the country promoting his new show on shows like Jay Leno's, Live with Jimmy Kimmel, Regis and Kelly, but the first place he wanted to come was right here on Carlito's Cabana. And not a damn highlight reel. And if you thought the Osbournes were dysfunctional, wait until you see Hogan Knows Best. Roll the footage."
And, indeed, we get some promo footage of Hogan Knows Best. It involves him interrogating some guy about his relationship with Brooke Hogan, whom he proclaims to be not sexually active. Hogan finds out that the guy is sexually active and lost his virginity at 19. A relationship between him and a teenager could be pretty borderline. Hogan isn't sure, but he thinks it may fall into that gray area of not legal. Hey, that much was pretty amusing.
Carlito thinks so, too. "Wow! Well then. Without further ado, the legend, the immortal, the one and only -- you all know him. HULK HOGAN!"
Hulk Hogan comes out to Real American!
"Wow. Don't do anything else. Let me first say" -- ["HOGAN!"] -- "This, this is huge. Let me say that it's truly an honor. I mean, you've got it all. You're the most recognized name inw restling. As a matter of fact, you're probably the most recognized name in the world. But I have to say, this is the biggest thing in your career that you have ever done."
"WELL LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING, BROTHER. Hogan Knows Best, the reality show --"
"I'm not talking about a reality show. I'm talking about you being here on Carlito's Cabana!" Boos. "Just kidding. Seriously though, Carlito had a question for you. If you really wanted to promote your new reality show, why didn't you bring your daughter Brooke?"
"LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING, YOUNG MAN. You're getting real borderline with getting thrown way up to the top of the building, brother."
"Relax, brother. Look." ["Kick his ass!"] "All I'm saying is, Carlito, Carlito's cool. But Brooke, Brooke is hot. I mean, why don't you let Carlito take her out on a date? I mean, you say she's not sexually active, but Carlito would like to --"
Hogan attacks and dumps Carlito.
KURT ANGLE interrupts! He's horrified. ["You suck!"] "This is what I'm talking about. Who cares about your daughter? What these people should care about is that I made Shawn Michaels tap out at Wrsetlemania, and I made Ric Flair, the 16-time World Champion, tap out last week. But instead of respecting me, these people go online and vote that Ric Flair is still the man over me. Instead of respecting me, these people show respect and cheer you, Hulk Hogan. And why? Because you have your own reality show? Well, whoop-dee-freakin'-doo." ["Hogan!"] "Let me give you a little dose of reality, Hogan. The last time you and I were in this ring, I made you tap out. And I could do it all over again if I wanted to, anytime, anywhere. But the one person that I would like ot make tap out even more than you, most of all, is your daughter Brooke."
So Hogan pops him with a sucker punch. Right hands! Carlito attacks Hogan from behind. Carlito gets a DDT!! They stomp away! But Shawn Michaels makes the save! Carlito and Angle split, and Michaels looks over Hogan. Play Carlito's music! Michaels and Hogan celebrate in the ring, and we may have just found our main event.
Intrepid reporter Todd Grisham, from outside General Manager Eric Bischoff's office, informs us that Shawn Michaels stormed into there moments ago. A heated discussion between Michaels and Bischoff is taking place inside. He's listening in and will give us all the details as soon as they become available.
Match #1: Edge & Gene Snitsky (w/ Lita) vs Big Show and Kane
Kane gets a substantial pop. Like, the best one I've heard for him in a while. He lights the corners on fire pre-match, though, which is never a good idea. Edge and Kane start. Snitsky gets a cheap shot to Kane before Edge and Kane slug it out. Kane puts Edge in the corner, but Edge ducks under a punch and scrambles over to tag Snitsky. kane slugs it out with Snitsky. Snitsky gets a whip, Edge gets a cheap shot to the back, and Snitsky covers for one from Referee Chad Patton. Snitsky whips Kane into the corner, but charges into an elbow. Kane tags in Show to a nice pop, and Show gets a big slap to the chest. Show gets a clothesline and an elbow. Show uses a hard whip into the corner. Edge runs in as the illegal man like a moron when Show is looking right at him, and gets clotheslined. Show signals for the chokeslam, but Lita pulls Edge out of the ring. Snitsky starts to recover as Kane decides to chase Lita around the ring. She runs backstage with Kane following her up the ramp. What will happen in this epic match? Does Kane return to the ring? I'd assume so, but we'll find out for sure... right after this Ad Break! (2:04)
Ad Break ends (4:37)
During the break, Edge hit a chop block on Big Show when Big Show was trying to chokeslam Snitsky, and Snitsky currently has Show in a leglock. Lita has apparently left the premises. Show uses the free leg to hit Snitsky in the head enough times to force him to break, but Snitsky uses stomps to keep Show away from Kane. King asks whether Lita is OK. Coach is sure someone's looking out for her backstage and she'll be just fine. Count me on the Coach bandwagon -- the commentary team sounds much fresher with the third voice in there. Edge tags in and gets a big double kneedrop to Show's bum left knee. Snitsky tags in and starts to stomp that knee. Chad Patton is offended, allowing Edge to slam the knee into the ring apron. But Show manages to fight back with punches. Show even gets a whip, but Snitsky charges with an attack to the knee. Show wins the next slugfest with a series of rights, too, but Snitsky finally comes to and kicks the knee again. Edge blind-tags in and they get a double shoulderblock from the second turnbuckle to knock Show over! Edge covers for two. Then they get greedy and go for a double suplex. Yeah, that's gonna work. Show counters to a double suplex of his own, and it's HOT TAG KANE. Shoulderblock to Snitsky! Whip and a boot ot Snitsky! Avalanche! Sidewalk slam! Kane heads up top -- flying lariat! Edge gets on the apron, so Kane pulls him in by the hair. Edge staggers to his feet an dgets headbutted by Show. Kane whips Snitsky into Edge in a neutral corner, and Show whips Kane into them! Show clotheslines Edge out, and Kane lines up Snitsky... CHOKESLAM! One, two, three!
Winners: Big Show and Kane via pinfall (10:02)
Edge scrambles backstage with his beloved briefcase. Kane thanks Show for his help tonight. Fun match, but this seems to put Edge squarely in a holding pattern for the moment. I wonder if there's any reason for that.
Todd Grisham says Shawn Michaels is still negotiating with Eric Bischoff. Todd has no update to provide until... speak of the devil, out comes Shawn Michaels! Shawn says that he just did what he always does. He moaned and he moaned until he got his way. (Ooh! Insider!) So tonight, it's gonna be Kurt Angle and his tag-team partner Carlito against the Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels, and the immortal Hulk Hogan.
Match #2: The Heart Throbs vs Viscera
The Heart Throbs have a message for Lilian, as they dance over to her and declare how overwhelmingly cool and charismatic they are. Romeo proclaims, "And Lilian, just for you tonight, we're gonna have Big Vis scream, 'No, No, No!', and after the match, if you like what you see, you'll be screaming, 'Oh, oh, oh!'" An interesting juxtaposition. Vis is still in his suit when the Throbs attack before the bell, but they both run into bodyslams. Vis whips Romeo into Antonio in the corner, but charges into a double boot. They duck a double clothesline and hit Viscera with a double shoulderblock. Coach notes that we're that much closer to oh, oh, oh. Romero gets a chinlock and Antonio punches away. They seem to be on a mission. Romeo tries to start a slugfest but runs the ropes into a clothesline. Vis hits Romeo with a big splash on the back and goes for the anal riding punches, but Antonio sneaks in with a dropkick to save his partner. They drag Vis over to the corner, each grab one leg, and slam them into the ringpost to crotch Vis hard and draw the disqualification.
Winner: Viscera via disqualification (2:02)
They head over to Lilian and present her with their feather boas. Lilian just looks sad, apparently still feeling the affer-effects of being jilted by Viscera.
The prospective divas are backstage, preparing themselves. Chris Jericho is preparing himself nearby for the Highlight Reel with John Cena. What's next? Who knows?
We get a promo for the Great American Bash, starring Torrie Wilson... and Kurt Angle.
Backstage, Maria informs us that 11 superstars were traded after Smackdown last week. Chavo Guerrero is her guest, and he interrupts before she can ask her question. He's wearing a suit. He says that as Chavo, his achievements never lived up to his ability. There's only one place to put the blame -- on the Hispanic people. They'e done nothing and support him and stand behind him all over the world. Chavo says that the real American perception of Hispanics has held him back, though. He has decided to denounce his Hispanic heritage and join middle-class America: apple pie, Fourth of July, that's now him. He's also decided to not be known as Chavo Guerrero spit take. He has legally and proudly changed his name to Kerwin White. He asks her what nationality that is. It's stupid. Just like you. Stupid. Maria is insulted.
Backstage, Hurricane, Rosey & Super Stacy wish us a happy Fourth of July. One fun way to celebrate is by lighting sparklers. There are safety issues with them, though: they're still hot when they burn out. That's why we keep a Hurriwaterbucket nearby. Stacy demonstrates putting a sparkler in such a bucket, bending over in the process. Rosey lights his arm on fire with his sparkler. Sight gag! Hurricane, luckily, also has a Hurri-Fire Extinguisher nearby, and uses it. Our heroes wish us a happy Fourth of July.
Backstage, John Cena walks up to Maria, who is still unhappy about being called stupid by Chavo or Kerwin White or whatever his name is. Cena thinks that's ridiculous and notes that she has a lot going for her: she looks good, she... looks good, and... Cena suggests that she show her strengths and hide her weaknesses. It'll work itself out, he says, and he cheers her up with a slap to the backside.
Summerslam is seven weeks away!
Chris Jericho is here, and he enters the Highlight Reel set. "Welcome to RAW - IS - JERICHO!" Pyro. You won't see any cheesy deck chairs or stupid palm trees here tonight -- this is the HIGHLIGHT REEL, daddy-o, and earlier I was watching Carlito's little eheheheh cabana. And I saw he had Hulk Hogan, a true multimedia superstar as his guest. Well since the Highlight Reel is the big time, I wanted the same stature of guest to be with me tonight. Unfortunately, there is no bigger multimedia superstar on Raw than moi, but I managed to get the next closest thing. My guest tonight has a lot in common with me. We both have successful music careers. We're both world-class entertainers, as well as being championship athletes. Ladies and gentlemen and Jerichoholics of all ages, let me introduce to you my guest tonight, the current WWE champion -- John Cena!"
A standing ovation, because the champ is here! John Cena makes his way to the ring.
He sits down. "Back on the Highlight Reel again, man. Thanks for having me." ["Cena!"] "It looks like Sactown is hella excited tonight!" Pop.
The crowd is excited, and so is Jericho. "Johnny boy! John John John!" "Chris Chris Chris!" Jericho congratulates him for doing great. He's WWE Champion -- and he loves that thing when it spins. Cool. Very cool. Yeah. -- and he has a hit album, a second video coming up, and a concert coming up in Philadelphia in two weeks. He's HOT! But Chris Jericho wants to remind John Cena of a couple of things: Jericho was the first undisputed champion in the history of the business, he has three hit records, he's done five music videos, and he's played hundreds of concerts, including his most recent one at the Download festival in Nottingham England, in front of 50,000 screaming Jerichoholics. And he even has footage, so he tells his monkeys to roll the footage on the OBSCENELY, UNIQUELY EXPENSIVE JERITRON 5000. "That is how a real rock star does it. What do you think of that, Junior?"
Cena thinks the interview is pretty one-sided. He's not gonna knock it -- Jericho rocked it -- and he wishes Jericho good luck. Jericho is offended. It had nothing to do with luck! Cena offers congratulations again and starts to head off. Jericho asks why that's supposed to mean something to him. Cena removes his visor.
Jericho: "Let me remind you of something. Yeah, I'm in your face. Let me remind you of who you're talking to. I have reached legendary status in the 15 years that I've been in this business, and John, I'm a much, much bigger star than you are, my friend. Uh-huh. And the only reason why people don't realize that is because you've got that championship around your shoulder for now. But I'll tell you this. I can take that from you anytime I want." He nods. Cena smiles.
"So that's what this is about. The WWE Title. You tell everybody that you have it all, that you've done it all, but Chris, deep down inside, and I can see it in your eyes, hell, I can feel it, you're nothing without the WWE Title." ["Cena!"] "LISTEN TO 'EM, CHRIS! Listen to 'em! You see? That's why you come out here every week and say I'm Chris Jericho. Look at all the great stuff I've done. I got a lot of cool stuff, it's over here in a pile of cool stuff. You're the first to tell everybody you're on top of the world. Allow ME to be the first to tell you that you're an asshole. Come out here every week. Braggin' about yourself, tootin' your own horn, selling yourself out.You're trying to slip one by these people. Yo! Wake up. These people ain't stupid, man." Pop. Cena points to the ear. "You hear that? That is real recognizing real. Don't get it twisted. Everything you've done, I remember. I remember -- all of you remember -- when Raw really was Jericho. But now, Jericho - is - cheap. You see, he's taken every single thing you've done, the Highlight Reel, the championships, everything, and thrown them in a big bag of cheap sauce. Y2J? Homie, I look at you and see Y2Cheap."
Jericho slaps Cena. Cena nods... and spears him. He unloads the punches, and it's a brawl on the floor of the Highlight Reel set! Cena wins a slugfest and gets a shoulderblock. OFF GOES THE JERSEY. Cena throws it into the crowd. Jericho bails, and is frustrated. Senior Official Earl Hebner, "Vigilant" Mike Chioda, and Referees Chad Patton & Jack Doan restrain him and escort him backstage. Play Cena's music! Jericho looks toward the ring, jealous but not terribly motivated to fight back. He points at him from the top of the stage.
Tremendous segment. Both guys knocked their respective promos out of the park. If this is Raw's Summerslam main event, you'll get no complaints from me.
Sgt Slaughter's Bikini Boot Camp is next.
Christy Hemme & Jonathan Coachman introduce Sgt Slaughter's Bikini Boot Camp. Sgt Slaughter walks out. The prospective divas follow.
Sarge congratulates them on their patriotic attire. He asks whether they are ready to do the obstacle course. "Yes sir!" He can't hear them. "Yes sir!" But before it, Sarge asks whether they want to blow on his whistle.
Before that can happen, though, Coach explains the various obstacles:
- 10 jumping jacks at the yellow X on the ramp!
- Jump over a wall on the ramp!
- Crawl under netting set up in the ring!
- Get into a potato sack and jump 1/4 of the way around the ring!
- Skip rope 10 times at the yellow X outside the ring!
- Jump back over the wall again and head to the stage!
And the winner gets immunity from the first elimination vote.
Coach demonstrates. He has trouble getting into the potato sack. Ha ha! Coach can't get into the sack! He finishes in 48 seconds. This is a clever way to get each contestant's name on the screen while they do stuff that gets them noticed, I guess. Anyway, the second contestant, Leyla, is disqualified for a wardrobe malfunction when her top falls off. Heh. And Senior Official Earl Hebner is ready with a towel ringside! Heh. Anyway, it goes on, and it's sort of repetitive, and by sort of I mean very, and the crowd reaction just disappears by the end. Elisabeth wins with a time of 35 seconds.
Earlier Tonight, we get highlights of Kurt Angle saying something disparaging to Hulk Hogan. We don't see what it is, due to technical malfunctions, but it was him saying he'd love to make Brooke tap out. Tonight's main event will be the 1-0 tag team of Hulk Hogan & Shawn Michaels against the debuting team of Kurt Angle and Carlito.
We're back live, with the divas still at the top of the ramp. Christy Hemme informs Elisabeth that she's won immunity, in case she forgot. And it's "Dance While Your Name Is On The Screen" time! I kind of missed watching Coach try to make up something to say to fill the time while each of them is on the screen.
And when it's all over, Val Venis walks out! JR predicts that he'll like what he sees. He is correct. But Val can't waste too much time up there, because he's out here for a match.
Match #3: Val Venis vs René Duprée
HE'S BACK! Le Phénom Français has a new moustache and a white jacket. "Mes dames et mes sieurs, le Phenom Francais est arrivé! I said the French Phenom has arrived, and he's around, baby! And I've set out to do two things: to prove once and for all that I'm the greatest specimen to ever set foot in the squared circle, and that I am exactly what I say I am, simply phenomenal. Val, you're simply pathetic."
Now THAT was uncalled for, so Val slugs him. He gets his running kneelifts against the ropes and Russian legsweep in early. René bails outside, and Referee Jack Doan stops Val from following him out, allowing René to get a cheap shot from the outside, a chop and a series of stomps. René gets a vertical suplex and covers for two. René unloads chops in the corner. Coach puts over René's PANACHE~!! René gets a whip into the corner - ["USA!"] - but Val blocks a charge, gets a kneelift and hits a backdrop and a clothesline. Val ducks a clothesline and hits the half-nelson slam for two. René catches Val with a double-leg takedown out of nowhere and covers with two feet on the second rope for the win!
Winner: René Duprée via pinfall (1:53)
Okay then. Are we not going for the obvious feud with Rob Conway that would elevate both guys at the same time while not burying anyone? Maybe next week. But this was certainly an underwhelming return.
Smackdown Rebound: Speaking of underwhelming returns, we see the six-way elimination match for the SD! Championship, featuring the surprise return to Smackdown of... Christian. JBL wins, but is informed that all he's won is the #1 contendership to Batista's World Title.
Todd Grisham is backstage, and we're just moments away from our huge tag team main event. Kurt Angle & Carlito are asked how they feel about having to face two icons. Icons or not, nobody comes onto the Cabana and disrespects IC Champ Carlito and the only Olympic gold medalist in WWE history and gets away with it. It's not cool.
Angle notes that the Fourth of July IS cool, and Angle is going to get the respect that he deserves. There are going to be fireworks tonight, and the grand finale is going to be Angle making someone's ankle snap in two.
Carlito has his game face on. He takes a bite of his apple anyway, and fakes the spit in Todd's face... but doesn't let it go. He laughs and heads to the ring. The main event is presumably... next!
Match #4: Carlito Cool and Kurt Angle vs Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan
Kurt Angle tries to attack before the bell, but "Vigilant" Mike Chioda won't have any of that. Hogan Knows Best debuts this Sunday. Even JR, who's not a big reality TV fan, isn't going to miss this! ["HOGAN!"] Carlito and Hogan start. They lock up, and Hogan tosses Carlito down hard. He stares at Angle. Angle tags in. They lock up again, and Hogan just shoves him down again. Angle gets a go-behind, to a waistlock, reversed to an armwringer by Hogan, and Shawn tags in with a shot from the second turnbuckle. Angle gets a pair of rights, but Shawn gets a whip and an armdrag. ["HBK!"] Shawn gets an armbar, but Angle rakes the face and hits a bodyslam. Tag Carlito. Carlito tries a running elbowdrop, but Shawn dodges it and gets an armdrag into an armbar on Carlito. He messes with Carlito's hair, which angers Chioda a bit. Hogan tags in... whip and a clothesline! Bodyslam! Off goes the bandana. Hogan sends Carlito headfirst into the outstretched boot of Shawn from the apron. Shawn gets a wristlock, but Carlito backs him into the heel corner and tags in Angle. Angle gets a series of rights in a neutral corner, but Shawn reverses and unloads the chops. Kurt reverses a cross-corner whip but charge sinto a boot and a clothesline. Shawn clotheslines Carlito just because, then dumps Kurt. Hogan dumps Carlito, and the faces celebrate. But will they survive, or be upset? Will Hogan take any bumps? Find out after this... Ad Break! (3:16 - you don't suppose)
Ad Break ends (6:21)
We're back with Angle and Shawn slugging it out in the corner. Angle puts Shawn on the second turnbuckle and tries the belly-to-belly superplex, but Shawn grabs the back of Angle's top and punches him off. He heads up with the flying elbow! Shawn tunes up the band. Carlito charges and narrowly ducks a clothesline from Shawn. Kurt escapes the superplex but gets chopped. But Kurt whips Shawn into a knee to the back from Carlito, who's back on the apron, and Kurt gets the overhead belly-to-belly suplex for two. Carlito chops Shawn hard. He taunts Hogan, who obviously isn't used to Chioda refereeing. ["Hogan!"] This allows a bit of double-teaming. Carlito gets a whip into a neutral corner, and Shawn falls down. He stands on Shawn's throat. Angle gets on the floor as Hogan argues with Chioda some more and hits Shawn hard in the throat. Carlito goes back to the choking and stomping. He tags in Angle. ["HBK!"] Angle hits a back suplex for two. Carlito tags in and gets a series of kicks in the corner. When Carlito distracts Chioda, he lets Angle choke Michaels out with the tag ropes. Then he gets Chioda going at it with Hogan again, allowing for some double teaming. Carlito gets a vertical suplex for two. Angle tags back in with a waistlock that also traps one arm -- a rear half bearhug? Michaels escapes. Kurt runs the ropes, and Michaels goes for a dropkick, but Kurt stops and Shawn hits air. Kurt tries the ankle lock, quickly reversed. Kurt tries the Angle Slam, reversed. Shawn spins around a few times... TORNADO DDT! Double-KO... HOT TAG HOGAN! Carlito's seen a ghost. Ten right hands! BOOT! Angle charges and gets backdropped to the outside. Hogan points to Carlito, who's laid out on the floor. He stalls forever... and ever... runs the ropes... legdrop! One... two... three!
Winners: Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels via pinfall (12:34)
And the pop is enormous. Hogan is unbelievable. He and Michaels pose down and celebrate...
... and then Shawn comes up with a SUPERKICK OUT OF NOWHERE!!!
The hell? He just freezes and stares down at Hogan. Then he closes his eyes. He's in a trance. Our hosts are at a loss to explain what's going on. Shawn sloooowly gets on the apron, where he looks down at Hogan once more. He strolls backstage, not looking up, as the "Hogan" chants go on. And we're out.
Well, that was certainly surprising. And on the fourth of July, no less. How ironic.