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RAW 3/19

The attitude of the WWE right now is that they are going to do whatever it takes to put over the big stars as they get set for WrestleMania 23, and Monday Night's RAW did just that. The show had a variety of good matches, and the main event with John Cena beating Chris Benoit via tap out was well done, and again, made Cena seem like a mega-star. With the little push that they give Benoit, and the fact he has a lackluster opponent for WrestleMania in MVP, his loss here really meant little. It meant more for Cena, who was teased by Shawn Michaels during the match with sweet chin music, and did the return by almost giving him the FU at the end of the show.

The last moments of the show saw JBL, who was supposed to wrestle Michaels but instead simply came out and cut a great promo to start the show, announcing that next week it would be Cena and Michaels in a tag match in a rematch of No Way Out vs Undertaker and Batista. That may finally be the match that simply sees all four guys just turn on each other, as right now there is no way in my opinion with the way the booking has been that they hand one of these four Mania main event stars a clean loss in that match. Which is good, they should not do that. You can bet that at the SmackDown/ECW tapings tonight that you'll see both Cena and Michaels.

They also continued the breakup and impending feud with Rated RKO - Edge and Randy Orton, as the two went back and forth through the night. First it was announced by Orton that since Edge didn't help him beat Bobby Lashley last week, that Edge's Money in the Bank spot is now up for grabs in a battle royale. That was kind of predictable, as you knew that in the end, Edge would get the spot back, and using the old fake injury to avoid much contact in the battle royale, he snuck in at the end and did win the spot back.

Then later on in a match with Orton and Jeff Hardy, Edge came out, threw a ladder in the ring, and Orton used it on Hardy, causing a DQ. After that though, Orton and Edge argued, causing Orton to be open season for Hardy to use the ladder to deliver a stunning leg drop on Orton to close out what I thought was a strong segment. They also used Lashley as the man to finally break clean the Chris Masters Masterlock full nelson challenge. It again, was a strong segment and no one better with the push right now to get the job done than Lashley. Why do I sense that now all the hoopla with the Masterlock Challenge is over, that we'll see Masters go face sometime soon? Just a guess.

To build the hair vs hair challenge, they used poor Nick Dinsmore (Eugene), who we've not seen on RAW in quite awhile, as a jobber for Umaga. It was after that with Vince McMahon at ringside that they used the hair cutting equipment to shave his head, which was a cool visual and sets up more the big match at Mania for Umaga and Lashley. A woman's bra and panties match with Melina and Candice also was on the show, with then Ashley coming in after Melina won, only to then for some odd reason get near choke slammed by Khali. Then Jerry Lawler, for some unknown reason, showed up to try and stop the choke slam, only to get slammed himself. An odd segment.

That was basically it for another hot show, with the big stars getting the mainstream attention, and next week the mega-tag along with an announced match (that likely won't happen) with Lashley vs Vince McMahon. I'll be live at the SmackDown/ECW tapings tonight in Cleveland, so check for a report on that tomorrow.

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