3/23 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Triple H vs. Randy Orton and Ted DiBiase in a handicap match, Edge vs. Big Show highlight the penultimate edition of Raw leading up to WrestleMania 25

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3/23 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: Triple H vs. Randy Orton and Ted DiBiase in a handicap match, Edge vs. Big Show highlight the penultimate edition of Raw leading up to WrestleMania 25
Mar 23, 2009 - 10:00 PM

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Kansas City, Mo.

[Q1] The show opened with a shot of a smiling Ric Flair standing in the ring. Lillian Garcia said, "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome 'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair." Flair strutted and whooed for the live crowd. Flair said that on behalf of Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka, and Ricky Steamboat, he accepts the challenge to a three-on-one handicap match at WrestleMania 25.

Flair said he will be honored to stand in the corner of the legends. He said he can't compete, but he'll be happy to stand in the ring with the three legends and hold their hands high.

Chris Jericho's voice interrupted Flair. He recalled watching the three legends in their prime as footage aired of their matches. The camera panned back and revealed that Jericho was watching the footage inside a production truck. He said he grew up watching those legends, but it was 25 years ago.

Jericho exited the production truck and headed through the backstage area. He said Flair isn't an actor like Mickey Rourke. He said Rourke has the luxury of hearing the director yell cut. "You don't have that luxury, Flair, this is real," he said. Jericho said nobody cares about Flair anymore. He said he was going to show Flair how dire the predicament has become.

Jericho walked through the curtain and said he knew all along that the legends would accept his challenge. He said they're all afraid that they'll all be forgotten if they stay out of the spotlight too long. Jericho entered the ring and vowed to beat Flair's friends. "It's going to be a disgusting beatdown," he said. "It's going to be a disturbing beatdown, and it's going to be an uncomfortable beatdown." Jericho said he would keep going and going and make Mickey Rourke question what he's done.

"Your wrong, Jericho," Flair responded. "What we refuse to do is to be judged by insignificant little punks that will never be Hall of Fame material. We refuse to be told when it's over. We'll make that decision on our own." Flair said he'll be proud to stand by his Hall of Fame brothers, his peers, and most of all his friends as they beat Jericho.

Flair spoke about what would happen to Jericho. Suddenly, Jericho punched Flair and knocked him down. Jericho took Flair to ringside and continued the assault. Jericho pulled Flair's shirt off and beat him bloody. He tossed Flair over the announcers' table and continued to beat him. Jericho threw Flair onto the announcers' desk and threw a piece of plastic from the table at him.

Lawler pleaded with Jericho to stop while on commentary. Jericho ignored him and punched Flair repeatedly. Flair, who was missing both shoes and even one sock at this point, lunched at Jericho, who beat him right back down and then threw him into the steps at ringside.

Jericho dragged Flair around by his t-shirt and placed him against the guardrail located next to the announcers' table. He grabbed a camera from one of the cameramen and slammed it onto Flair's head. Flair didn't fall. Rather, he yelled in pain, and then Jericho threw him down.

Flair bled heavily at ringside as Jericho took his wristwatch. Jericho placed the wristwatch (presumably we're supposed to believe it's the one Shawn Michaels gave him) on the ring steps and stomped it into pieces. Jericho walked off while Flair was left lying at ringside. Lawler, who had been quiet aside from pleading with Jericho earlier, said it was the most humiliating thing he's ever seen...

Powell's POV: Great beatdown angle. Granted, it made me want to see Flair get revenge more than the veterans who are actually wrestling Jericho, but at least they found a way to put some heat on Jericho heading into WrestleMania 25. Dot Net Members were told earlier today that Flair would be on tonight's show. There was some buzz within WWE that Vince McMahon was having second thoughts about handicap match, but all indications during Flair's promo were that they were going forward with the match. I suppose this could open the door to Flair returning, but I hope not. I'm not crazy about the handicap match, but I'd rather see Flair honor his retirement.

[Q2] [C] At ringside, Lawler told Michael Cole that the attack on Flair was humiliating. He said there was no excuse for it. Cole agreed. Jeff Hardy's music played and Cole welcomed us to the longest running...Oh, hell, you know the drill by now...

Powell's POV: I know they probably don't care, but they made Lawler look like a tool for just standing there while Flair was attacked. That would have been a good way to get him involved even if only for one night.

1. Jeff Hardy beat Dolph Ziggler in an Extreme Rules match in 3:00. Hardy wore some wild face paint again this week. Hardy brought a trash can into the ring. Ziggler took control of the match and tried to set up Hardy for a move onto the can, but Jeff shoved him off.

Jeff hit the Twist of Fate and then brought a chair inside the ring. Jeff struck Ziggler with the chair repeatedly. Jeff hit another Twist of Fate and followed up with the Swanton Bomb for the win. After the match, Hardy took the mic and said that he knew his brother was watching. He said what he just saw wasn't extreme, but what happens at WrestleMania will be....

Powell's POV: It's nice to see Hardy appear on Raw for the first time since the WrestleMania hype started. He seemed to be the only main event player who was relegated to the Friday night show.

The announcers introduced a video that recapped the angle from Smackdown involving Edge, Big Show, and Vickie Guerrero...

A pre-taped John Cena promo aired. He was sitting inside a room and read a "Get Well Card" to Vickie that featured a bunch of jokes about the love triangle. Photos aired of what Vickie's children with Edge and Big Show would look like. Funny. Cena questioned whether Edge or Show would even look at her if she wasn't the general manager...

Cole acknowledged that Cena wasn't in the building because he was on the West Coast for "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," which airs later tonight. The announcers also hyped a preview of "12 Rounds" that will air after Raw... [C]

Powell's POV: Did Cole really just tell us that viewers will get their first look at "12 Rounds" after the show? I guess the two previews per show that they've been averaging don't count.

[Q3] A WrestleMania Moments video featured the WrestleMania 21 show...

2. MVP, Kofi Kingston, Christian, and C.M. Punk defeated Shelton Benjamin, Finlay, Kane, and Mark Henry in 7:15. Yes, Finlay is on the heel team. After two minutes of action, the show cut to commercial while Finlay was working over Punk. [C]

Powell's POV: Am I the only person who thinks it cheapens the MITB match to not show the entrances whenever they have this multi-person MITB preview matches? I know that's a lot of entrances, but it makes these matches seem less important. Just a pet peeve of mine.

After the break, Kane was beating up Punk, who fought back quickly and tagged in Christian to work with Shelton. Christian hit some of his signature spots, including the fulcrum. A short time later, Kane had one of his opponents by throat when Kofi nailed him with a missile dropkick. After a series with the babyfaces all hitting their big moves, Christian hit his finisher on Shelton and pinned him.

After the match, Christian stood in the middle of the ring and pointed at the briefcase while Punk watched on. Finlay brought a ladder inside the ring and rammed it into both babyfaces while Hornswoggle watched on. He also battered Kane, Henry, and Tony Atlas with it. Finlay and Hornswoggle celebrated to end the segment...

Powell's POV: Fun match at the end with all the big babyface spots. They're trying to establish that it's every man for himself via their use of Finlay.

The announcers introduced a clip from "12 Rounds"... At ringside, the announcers discussed the movie clip and hyped the Triple H vs. Randy Orton and Ted DiBiase handicap match. "It's almost like WrestleMania tonight," Cole said. Lawler said we'd hear from Orton after the break...

[Q4] [C] A WrestleMania 25 video aired. We're only 13 days away... Cole said again it almost feels like WrestleMania. They recapped the first 45 minutes of the show and hyped the rest of the show. Cole was in his over the top hand gesture mode... A video recapped the Triple H and Randy Orton feud...

Backstage, Todd Grisham interviewed Randy Orton, who said the footage didn't show that Hunter claimed on Smackdown that he suffers from cowardice. Orton said he's not the one who attacks people in their own homes with a sledgehammer. He said he's the one who kicked Vince and Shane McMahon so hard he could feel their heads crack. He also said he's the one who put his hands on Stephanie McMahon despite knowing who she's married to.

Orton said hew as willing to wait until WrestleMania, but Hunter had to up the ante. Orton said he was going to raise Hunter. "I'm going to do something tonight that will make the previous assaults on your family look tame in comparison," he said. "After tonight no one is going to be able to call me a coward. Just remember, Triple H, that it was you and your entire family that brought this on yourself"...

Powell's POV: Great hook for the rest of the show. Where's Linda McMahon? By the way, Lawler plugged Subway and said you can get any footlong for only five dollars. Did you know you can become a Dot Net Member for an entire month for the cost of one footlong by visiting the Dot Net Members' Signup Page? I'm just saying.

Edge made his entrance for his match against Big Show. Lillian Garcia introduced Vickie Guerrero, who was wheeled to the ring in a wheelchair by Chavo Guerrero... [C] After the break, Edge walked to ringside to talk to Vickie, but she turned her head and ignored him. Big Show made his entrance. He tried talking to Vickie and she ignored him too...

[Q5] Before the match, John Cena appeared on the big screen and wished both men luck. He said he was in Los Angeles and wanted to see the two of them beat the hell out of one another. He said they are missing the big picture and listed some of their attributes. He said there's a good chance that after WM25 there's a chance that both men will have slept with Vickie for nothing...

3. Edge fought Big Show to a no-contest in a non-title match in 3:35. Cole said the winner of the Triple Threat match gets Vickie, assuming Edge or Big Show win the match. Show controlled the early part of the match. He followed Edge to ringside and chopped his chest in front of Vickie, Chavo, and the announcers.

Show headed back inside the ring, but Edge cut him off and went on offense for the first time at 2:15. Edge DDT'd Show and then looked to Vickie for her approval. Show came back by pressing Edge over his head and then dropping him over the top rope. Show locked Edge in the ropes and wound up to punch him.

Vickie stood up out of her wheelchair and pleaded with Show to stop. She sent Chavo into the ring, which caused the referee to call for the bell. Chavo struck Show from behind. Show backed him into a corner. The referee helped Edge get free from the ropes. Edge ended up spearing Chavo, and took a punch to the head from Show, who headed to ringside. He looked at Vickie and then pointed at the carnage in the ring...

Powell's POV: Wow, that sucked. I expect the Triple Threat match to be much better, but that was a lousy preview.

The announcers hyped the Triple H match for later in the show... Another "12 Rounds" commercial aired... [C]

Powell's POV: The only thing left for them to show after Raw is the conclusion of the movie. I'm pretty sure we've seen everything else by now.

[Q6] 4. Rey Mysterio beat William Regal (w/Layla) in 2:55. After Rey's introduction, JBL's limo pulled into the building. JBL, Regal, and Layla emerged from the limo and headed to the ring together. JBL joined the announcers on commentary. He shook Lawler's hand and ignored Cole's attempt to shake hands. "Hello, King, Queen," JBL said.

Powell's POV: Wait, I thought Jim Ross told us on Raw commentary a few years ago that Paul Heyman was the queen. I'm so confused.

Early in the match, Rey slid out of the ring. JBL stood up and distracted JBL, and Regal took advantage of it by punching Rey. JBL hyped something special for WrestleMania again. He wouldn't give Lawler a hint despite his request. Rey came up holding his nose at one point, but he came storming back with his finishing sequence and scored the clean pin.

JBL stood up and mockingly applauded Mysterio. clapped. He walked to ringside and was greeted with a sliding kick from Mysterio. JBL held his jaw at ringside while Mysterio celebrated in the ring...

The announcers recapped last week's Undertaker and Shawn MIchaels angle. They hyped that Taker was coming up after the break... [C] An ad hyped Kid Rock's appearance at WrestleMania 25...

Taker's music played, but apparently they didn't have time for the entrance because he was already standing in the ring (forget what I wrote about the MITB entrances). Taker had a mic in hand and he said Shawn Michaels's behavior has taken them to a whole new dimension. He said Shawn's obsession with being Mr. WrestleMania has impaired his perception of what is fantasy and what is reality.

Taker said it's true that he has never defeated HBK. However, he said the last time they wrestled it led to Shawn spending five years at home in agonizing pain. "You say you're not afraid of me," Taker said. "At WrestleMania 25 on April 5 we'll find out." Taker said it was Shawn who opened the gates to hell.

Shawn's music played and he appeared on the big screen. Shawn delivered a pre-taped promo from a graveyard and footage of Taker's WrestleMania victories aired. Shawn pointed to an open grave and said it was Taker's. A tombstone read 16-1. Shawn kicked the tombstone and then poured dirt into the grave while saying, "Rest in Peace."

Back live, Taker was pissed off. He paced back and forth and fumed while Lawler said that no one has ever gotten into Taker's head like HBK has....

Powell's POV: Cool video, but I think it may have been more effective if it hadn't been overproduced. A simple promo with Shawn in the graveyard and minus all the Taker effects would have been suffice. Again, though, it was cool.

[Q7] [C] An ad aired for the WWE Hall of Fame special that will air on the USA Network... A graphic showed the Class of 2009. The announcers teased that the final entrant will be announced tomorrow night on ECW...

In the ring, Santino Marella stood with Beth Phoenix and Rosa Mendes. He said he thinks he knows who will win the 25-Diva battle royal. Both women smiled, but he predicted that he will win. Santino said he went to Vickie Guerrero last week after being beaten up by Mickie James and demanded to be included. "Why should I not be included, because of my genitalia?" he asked. "That's sexual discrimination. He said he had to beat Mickie with one arm tied behind his back to prove that he's man enough to be Miss WrestleMania...

5. Mickie James (w/Kelly Kelly, Melina) defeated Santino Marella (w/Beth Phoenix, Rosa Mendes) in 2:15. Santino had one arm tied behind his back. Mickie used the rope to hogtie him early on and he was forced to wrestle with both arms tied behind his back. At 1:30, Santino tried to climb the ropes with both arms still tied behind his back. Beth accidentally knocked him off. Mickie kicked him and scored the pin...

Powell's POV: I'm devastated that Santino lost this match. He has to be in the Divas battle royal. Make it happen, WWE!

The announcers hyped the handicap match and recalled Orton's threat for the ultimate attack... [C] An ad for ECW hyped MVP's VIP Lounge with the rest of the

Did You Know? ECW was the most watched show on Sci-Fi for the 25th week in a row...

Powell's POV: The series finale of Battlestar Galactica didn't score a better rating? That's a crime.

Yet another "12 Rounds" clip aired...

Powell's POV: Damn, I'm sick of hearing about this movie. I think they've spent more video time hyping the movie than WrestleMania 25.

[Q8] The announcers ran through the WrestleMania 25 lineup and officially listed the Chris Jericho handicap match...

The announcers recapped the Chris Jericho and Ric Flair angle that opened the show. Lawler finally acknowledged that the watch Jericho destroyed was the gold watch that Shawn Michaels gave to Flair at WrestleMania. Lawler got upset and said that while Flair probably won't be at Raw next week, he will be. Lawler challenged Jericho to a match on next week's show...

Powell's POV: If Lawler wants a piece of Jericho so badly, then why did he just stand there while Flair was getting his ass kicked? Poor attention to detail by whomever came up with the angle and the challenge.

Randy Orton and Ted DiBiase were already standing in the ring. Triple H made entrance minus the water spitting routine...

6. Randy Orton and Ted DiBiase vs. Triple H in a handicap match never started. Hunter entered the ring and went after both wrestlers. The heels took control of the brawl quickly, but Hunter came back and got the better of them. He went under the ring to grab a sledgehammer, but Cody Rhodes showed up and cut him off. All three heels beat Hunter down and threw him back inside the ring.

Legacy continued their assault on Hunter and handcuffed him to the top rope. Cody took off his t-shirt to reveal a heavily bandaged left shoulder. Hunter still threw a couple of punches despite being handcuffed, but the heels beat him down. "You're telling me this is not cowardice?" Lawler asked.

Orton headed to ringside and grabbed a mic while his minions continued to assault Hunter. "There's only one person who can save you now, Triple H," Orton said. "And she had better hurry." Rhodes and DiBiase beat up Hunter while Orton headed to ringside and retrieved the sledgehammer that Hunter had stashed. He entered the ring and wound up to hit Hunter, but stopped when he saw Stephanie running out to ringside.

[Overrun] Steph tried to cry and begged Orton not to hit Hunter with the as he stood over her husband's body ready to drop the sledgehammer. She climbed onto the ring apron and then the heels surrounded her. Orton grabbed her in a front face lock as her legs were on the ropes. Hunter reached from his rope and tried to kick at Orton, but he couldn't reach.

Orton dropped back and DDT'd Stephanie. Hunter fell to the mat as he watched. Orton glared at Hunter with a sadistic look. He turned his attention back to Stephanie. Hunter reached over and grabbed Steph's leg, but Orton punched him a few times and then dragged Steph away from him and hovered over her like an animal.

Orton picked up the sledgehammer and looked at Orton. Then he turned back to Stephanie and stood over her while Hunter begged him not to do it. Orton sat in his cobra pose over the fallen Stephanie and kissed her while she was unconscious in the ring. He smiled at Hunter and then crawled toward him. Orton kissed Hunter. Okay, that part didn't happen, but he did kiss Steph.

Orton and Hunter both stood up. Hunter was fuming as he reached out to Orton, who shot him a disgusted look in return. Orton held the sledgehammer up and struck Hunter with it. Orton flashed a maniacal look as he looked back and forth between the fallen couple.

Randy leaned in closely and examined Hunter. He exited the ring with the sledgehammer. He stopped, stared at it, and smiled. He looked back to the ring where Hunter was struggling in the corner and Steph was still lying motionless in the ring. The camera gave viewers a closeup of Orton, who was at ringside with Rhodes and DiBiase, to close the show...

Powell's POV: That beat the hell out of an attack on Linda. The kiss on the fallen Steph is sure to offend some people, but so be it. They needed to do something to make people really care about this program again. This was hardly PG material, but it was a hell of a way to close the show. Orton's performance was outstanding. I'll have a lot more to say about the show in tonight's Dot Net Member Exclusive Audio Update. You can gain instant access to this audio update and get all the perks of membership for only $5 per month by visiting the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.




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