Tonight’s WWE Monday Night Raw has one of those big event feels tonight. Last night’s pay-per-view, Night of Champions, left us with a controversial finish to the WWE Title between Randy Orton, HHH, and John Cena that saw Orton retain despite tapping out during the match. You know that will spill over to tonight’s show which means it falls into the (large) hands of tonight’s guest host. Shaquille O’Neal will be the guest host for tonight’s edition of Raw and you that the man formerly known as The Big Cactus will have a big impact on tonight’s show.
We’ll be live blogging tonight’s edition of Raw starting at 9:00PM with the preview show. Raw kicks off at 9:15PM.
9:00 PM – Hello and welcome to Monday Night Raw… Countdown on The Score with your host and hero Greg Sansone. Right off the top, he’s hyping Shaq. Can’t blame him. He roles highlights of last week’s Raw main event tag match. With Cena/H vs. Orton/DiBiase/Rhodes. I guess we’ll wait for PPV results.
9:04 PM – Now we got the pay-per-view results being listed out like they didn’t have time to do a highlight package. Here’s the full results from last night’s Night of Champions PPV where every title was on the line.
Chris Jericho & The Big Show def. Ted DiBiase & Cody Rhodes to retain the Unified Tag Titles
Christian def. Tommy Dreamer to win the ECW Title
Kofi Kingston def. Primo, MVP, Carlito, Jack Swagger, & The Miz to retain the US Title
Michelle McCool def. Melina to retain the Women’s Title
Randy Orton def. Triple H & John Cena to retain the WWE Title
Mickie James def. Maryse to win the Divas Title
Rey Mysterio def. Dolph Ziggler to retain the Intercontinental Title
Jeff Hardy def. CM Punk to win the World Heavyweight Title
9:08 PM – Sansone sends us to break while telling us that only three titles changed hands last night. On the one hand, frequent title changes would devalue the title. On the other hand, if the show gimmick is all titles are defended, I think you can get away with a few extra changes.
9:11 PM – While Sansone is giving away DVDs, the WWE have already announced a future special guest host of Raw. Actor Jeremy Piven (likely best known for playing Ari Gold on Entourage) will host Monday Night Raw in two weeks’ time on August 10th. No, I won’t be live blogging that.
9:13 PM – Early predictions for the show: Shaq will have a stare down with someone at least as big as him (Big Show or Kane). The main event will involve John Cena and/or Triple H in some capacity. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was the main event is a tag match. I would be shocked if there wasn’t one on-camera basketball moment/reference during the show. And I’m almost willing to guarantee someone asks someone else how their ass tastes.
9:15 PM – The countdown is over and it’s time to rock. Raw is Shaq starts now.
9:17 PM – The show starts with Jerry Lawler in the ring to introduce the guest host. Says Shaq is a 15-time MVP. The most dominant player of all time. Tripped over his words there. And Shaq has his own entrance video and everything. He high-fives fans on his way to the ring. Pretty dead reaction.
9:18 PM – Shaq makes a joke about LeBron saying high “Hi!” Then he announces a Beat the Clock challenge which Jerry Lawler explains as if he was asking a question. Shaq then announces the participants by reading the names off the Titan-Tron.
9:20 PM – Shaq trying to play to the crowd is interrupted by Chris Jericho. Thank God because this was dying.
9:21 PM – They stare down and Shaq has over a foot on Y2J. Jericho says when he heard the most dominant player in the NBA was coming to Raw, he thought it was Kobe. Shaq called him Christina and then kissed him. Shaq asked him what he was doing out there. A Christina chant breaks out and Jericho tells the crowd “It’s Chris, you parasites.”
9:23 PM – Jericho insists that he’s been overlooked by the guest hosts, including Shaq. Y2J says Shaq will have problems if he ignores him. Shaq wants to know what problems he will have. And that problem is Jericho’s tag partner, The Big Show, who’s coming to the ring.
9:27 PM – It’s a seven-foot-tall stare down and Shaq has about an inch or two on Shaq. Show says Shaq has a better chance of hitting two free throws in a row than intimidating him. Shaq calls him fat boy and then challenges him to a match right there. Show is about to accept but declines when he says the NBA will breathe down his neck after he cripples Shaq. Jericho comes in and says he wouldn’t fight him either. Shaq says since they won’t fight him, he brought in two people to fight them. Cryme Time comes to the ring.
9:28 PM – Show and Y2J back off since they’re outnumbered. Shaq will be the special outside enforcer for the match and then starts a Christina chant. The crowd just isn’t into Shaq. We go to break with the Beat the Clock challenge starting next.
9:32 PM – We’re back with our first Beat The Clock match. Mark Henry will be out first. His objective is to beat Carlito in the fastest time possible. The wrestler with the fastest win in their BTC match gets a title shot against Randy Orton at SummerSlam.
9:34 PM – The match starts and Carlito bails to the outside to waste time. Meanwhile, someone in the front row has a “Ludvig Borga” sign in the front row. Carlito get Henry to go outside but his attempt to take advantange didn’t pay off. Henry press slams him back into the ring for a 2 count.
9:37 PM – Carlito is tossed to the outside and hurled against the barrier. Tossed back in for 2. Carlito fights back with fists and a springboard back elbow but meets a clothesline for a 2 count. Big splash on Carlito but a hand under the ropes prevents the pin. Henry goes for a butt splash but Carlito moves. Carlito pins for two. Carlito with a springboard dropkick for 2. Now goes for a chin lock.
9:41 PM – Henry smashes Carlito into the turnbuckles for 2. Carlito comes back with a sleeper. Brings Henry down to his knees. Henry rallies back and crushes Carlito into the turnbuckles. Carlito’s dropkick countered into World Strongest Slam but that’s countered into a missed Backstabber. Carlito hits a jawbreaker but Henry comes back with a WWS at 6:49 for the win. New Divas champ Mickie James leads her team into 6-Diva tag action after the break.
9:47 PM – And we’re back with the WWE Rewind which shows Mickie James winning the Divas Title. The Wrestling Observer Online said that it was a sloppy match. The Washington Redskins are front-row at Raw. Now, it’s time for the eye candy. Mickie James, Gail Kim, and Kelly Kelly are the first team. They’ll face Alicia Fox, Beth Phoenix, and Rosa Mendes. Michael Cole has been sent to the back to interview Shaq.
9:49 PM – Kim and Phoenix start and Phoenix is overpowering her. Kim manages a headscissors choke before it’s broken up. A Phoenix press slam leads to a two count. Fox is tagged in, hits a backbreaker and gets a 2. Mendes tags in and hits a bodyslam for two. Fox tagged in but is monkeyflipped. Kim tags in James who unloads on everyone.
9:51 PM – James hits a neckbreaker on Fox for two. Lawler is struggling at play-by-play as James hits the hurricanrana. Kim with the blind tag, missile dropkick and a three count. Kelly ran interference to prevent the pin from being broken up.
9:54 PM – In the back, Shaq’s office is decorated with Cavs and Lakers stuff. He’s talking to Michael Cole. Hornswoggle comes in. Shaq says they went to high school together. The leprechaun misses a slam dunk on a kid’s net and Shaq hands him some Enlyten. Cole says it was Shaqalicious. Shaq looks bemused and walks away leaving Cole hanging on a fist-pound as we go to break.
9:56 PM – We’re back with a BTC match. MVP will have to beat Chris Masters in a time faster than 6:49 to have a shot to face Randy Orton at SummerSlam.
9:58 PM – Masters is returning to Raw for the first time in a while. MVP starts by using his speed to counter Masters’ power.
10:00 PM – Masters goes for the Masterlock early but it’s countered into a roll-up that’s good for 2. Masters takes control of the match with his superior strength. MVP counters a sunset flip with a clothesline for two. Masters goes for the Masterlock again to no avail. Masters back in control.
10:02 PM – MVP hits a kick for two. Masters flings MVP to the outside and gets a small “You can’t wrestle” chant. They’re fighting on the outside and Masters gets the Masterlock. They’re both counted out and MVP won’t beat the clock. Henry’s 6:49 is still the time to beat with Jack Swagger, HHH, and John Cena still to go. H will face Cody Rhodes later on. But first, it’s time for a break.
10:04 PM – Just recapping my predictions so far. There was a basketball moment with Hornswoggle. And Shaq did have a stare down with the 7′ tall Big Show. If Cena or H’s BTC match is last, I’ll be three for three.
10:08 PM – Brian Kendrick is in the ring staring at Jerry Lawler as we come back. His opponent is the US Champ Kofi Kingston. Kendrick interrupts Kingston’s entrance to trash talk Lawler. While Kendrick is talking smack, the bell rings. Kingston hits the Trouble in Paradise for the three count in a matter of seconds. Tonight on “When Comedy Writers Write Wrestling.”
10:09 PM – In the back, Triple H is walking to the ring when he’s attacked from behind. Ted DiBiase Jr. took what looked like a crowbar to H’s left knee. He said “Good luck tonight” as he walked away and H hobbled to his feet. It’s H and Rhodes after the break.
10:14 PM – Rhodes comes out with a big of extra swagger in his step knowing that H is hurt. This is the third BTC match. HHH must beat Rhodes in less than 6:49 to have a chance to meet Orton at SummerSlam. Cole and Lawler recap last night’s WWE Title match which Orton won despite tapping out when in Cena’s STF and H’s Sharpshooter.
10:15 PM – HHH doesn’t look any worse for wear as he comes to the ring until he pulls himself onto the ring apron. Before that, he looked fine.
10:17 PM – Rhodes starts by going for the leg but H forces him away. They meet in the middle of the ring and H takes control with a headlock.
10:21 PM – Rhodes backs H into a corner but H takes control again with a knee lift and goes back to the headlock. He’s backed into a corner where Rhodes kicks H’s knew. Then he wraps H’s knee around the ring post and is now focusing on the knee with knee locks and stomps.
10:23 PM – Rhodes goes up top and hits and old school double axe-handle for two. A second is countered for a Pedigree that Rhodes counters out of. Rhodes with the Figure Four. H counters out. Another Figure Four attempt which H shoves out of sending Rhodes into the ring post.
10:24 PM – H with a spinebuster. DiBiase distracted H so H throws Rhodes into him. H hits the Pedigree but time runs out on Triple H so he won’t face Orton. With Cena and Swagger left, Mark Henry still leads with 6:49.
10:27 PM – In the back, Shaq is playing Scrabble with Santino Marella. Shaq is using words such as Shaqzilla and Shaqtus. Cryme Time shows up to chat with Shaq. Shaq and Cryme Time rap but Santino steals the show. He’s told to leave the office but I think he was okay. Shaq goes back to his Scrabble game saying “Even Vince McMahon can’t beat me at this game” as we go to break.
10:29 PM – SI’s Arash Markazi points out something I missed. When Shaq came to the ring at the opening of the show, he ripped up an “All Hail King Kobe” sign. Good start to the show.
10:33 PM – We’re back and Hornswoggle is making his way to the ring.He’ll be facing Chavo Guerrero. Chavo is 0-3 against the little man. This ought to be interesting. Chavo must wrestle blindfolded by order of Shaq.
10:37 PM – I don’t even know how to live blog a comedy match. Hornswoggle tricks Chavo into tackling the ref which leads to a comedy moment and Hornswoggle gets a school boy pin for 2. Hornswoggle with a bulldog for 2. Chavo peaks under his blindfold and hits a dropkick for two. He then feels his way to the turnbuckle where he crashes and burns on a frog splash. Hornswoggle hits his own frog splash for the win. He’s now 4-0 against Chavo.
10:39 PM – We go back to Randy Orton’s locker room. Jack Swagger comes in. He says that he will beat the clock unlike H. He says he’s bigger, stronger, and younger than Orton. Mark Henry comes in next and stares down Orton and gives a massive smile which is kinda scary. Now, it’s off to break.
10:44 PM – We’re back and did you know that the WWE offers free tickets to all military personnel for all events in the US. Next is the fourth BTC match. Jack Swagger must beat Evan Bourne in less than 6:49 to have a shot at Orton.
10:45 PM – Swagger has a massive size advantage over Bourne but Bourne is lightning quick. Swagger is an NCAA All-American wrestler and is starting with some amateur wrestling moves. Bourne counters with lucha libre style moves.
10:50 PM – Swagger gets a two with a big German suplex. Swagger slows things down with an elbow lock. Swagger with a Northern Lights suplex for 2. Vertical suplex for 2. Tries for a long distance Snake Eyes but it’s countered out of. Bourne goes up top but is thrown across the ring. Swagger hits a second rope splash for only 2. Swagger goes for a Gutwrench Powerbomb but Bourne counters into a small package. 1, 2, 3! Bourne gets the win and Swagger doesn’t beat the clock. Mark Henry still leads at 6:49 as the only on to win his match. John Cena faces The Miz after the break in the final BTC match.
10:54 PM – Jeremy Piven will host NEXT WEEK’S Raw at Mohegan Sun Casino. Got my earlier info off WWE.com. Good work, boys. Meanwhile, Cole and Lawler recap H’s BTC match.
10:56 PM – In the back, Josh Matthews is interviewing HHH. H says Orton is nothing without Rhodes and DiBiase. He challenges them to a match next week. Now, it’s Miz and Cena in the final BTC match.
10:58 PM – The Miz is on the mic. He mentions that he’s a Cavs fan. He says that the Redskins and Wizards will both get dominated by the opposition. He says that opposing teams just run the clock down in the fourth quarter against them. He says all he has to do is run the clock down against Cena. “Can he do it? Like that man you elected, who’s failing, yes, I can!”
11:02 PM – We’re back and Randy Orton has made his way to ring side to sit at the commentary table with Cole and Lawler. Cena comes on stage and the arena is filled with the shrill screaming of young girls.
11:04 PM – Slow start to the match. Cena charge and Miz dodges, then ducks to the outside.
11:06 PM – Miz runs in to beat the count but Cena takes control. Cena gets a two count. Miz rolls to the outside and is met by a Cena clothesline. Cena goes for an STF but Miz gets to the ropes. Miz takes control by sending Cena into the ring post and a back suplex.
11:08 PM – Miz with a headlock, flapjack, and whips Cena out of the ring. Then he whips Cena into the ring steps. Cena is down and out. He groggily gets back in at 9. Miz ties Cena up in the ropes.
11:10 PM – Cena is freed by the ref and gets Miz in the STF. Miz struggles for a few seconds but eventually taps out. Cena beat the clock with over a two-and-a-half minutes to spare. Cena will face Orton at SummerSlam. Orton climbs into the ring and stares down Cena. Shaq is making his way through the back to the ring. He’ll be the enforcer in the main event tag match after the break.
11:12 PM – Aerosmith is providing the official theme to SummerSlam with their song “You Gotta Move”… Or something like that.
11:14 PM – Now, it’s time for the main event. Shaq comes to the ring to some polite cheering but not much. I’m surprised at how not over Shaq is with the crowd. I mentioned last week that this would be a worry about bringing Shaq to another NBA town.
11:16 PM – Just a reminder: Tonight’s main event is a non-title tag match. The champs Chris Jericho and Big Show will take on Cryme Time (Shad and JTG) with Shaq at ring side as the Special Outside Enforcer. From the sounds of it, the whole crowd is dead and no one is cheering.
11:18 PM – JTG and Y2J start. JTG gets the early upper hand. The first cover comes after a facebuster. Jericho uses the ref as a distraction and get the upper hand on JTG before tagging in Show.
11:20 PM – Show with big fists and a headlock on JTG. Shaq is trying cheer on JTG. Show hits the big chop and a full nelson right in front of Shaq. Shaq was getting into it with a bit of trash talking to Show.
11:22 PM – Show hits a massive clothesline on JTG, sending him to the outside. Show stayed in control with a couple of power moves before tagging in Jericho. Y2J taunted Shaq and Shad and a Christina chant started again. JTG almost got to the corner but Y2J slammed him down. After a 2 count, Jericho locked in a chin lock.
11:25 PM – JTG with a counter lariat to drop Jericho. Shaq helps JTG to the corner for the tag. Shad takes control. Jericho tries to get the Walls of Jericho but is tossed to Shaq. Shaq shoves Y2J. Cryme Time use the opportunity to hit a flying neck breaker. Shad with a pin. Show breaks it up and gets DQ’d.
11:27 PM – Show calls Shaq in the ring. Show looks for a chokeslam. Shaq counters with a hand around Show’s throat. They fought for the upper hand until Cryme Time came in to break things up. Shaq then caught Show with a running shoulder block to send him to the outside. Shaq posed with Cryme Time as the credits rolled. He then chased Big Show and Jericho up the ramp and to the back to end the show.
When I put up the news item about this last week, I was worried that Shaq might not get a positive reaction from an NBA crowd. I think that really hurt the show tonight. The wrestling wasn’t bad. At times, it was even unpredictable. I didn’t expect Mark Henry to be in the lead from start to nearly finish in the Beat The Clock challenge. I did expect the winner to be in the last match. The last time I saw Raw, The Miz was talking smack about Cena. Now, he’s jobbing at every turn. The WWE’s done some pretty good writing with this feud.
Anwyay, I think I’ll give this show a 5/10. The backstage skits with Shaq were better than him in the ring. The moments with Big Show and Jericho were better than the crown gave them credit for. The show was better than a 5 (probably closer to a 6.5) but if the crowd was dead, I can’t shake that. I wanted to like this episode. I just can’t give it better than just a pass because Shaq was generally poorly used.