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RAW 3/5

WWE RAW on Monday night from Phoenix provided another solid two hours of build towards WrestleMania 23 in Detroit on April 1st. The main highlights of the show was the announcement of Steve Austin as the guest ref for the Bobby Lashley vs Umaga match with Trump and Vince McMahon's hair on the line. I thought with bringing out Eric Bishoff as well as Mick Foley, this was a well done segment. The other highlight was the back and forth between John Cena and Shawn Michaels as they continue their tense build towards their WWE title match at Mania.

The build with Michaels and Cena all centers around when/if will Shawn turn on Cena. They almost had it happen on Monday night with Shawn not helping Cena in his match with Johnny Nitro that ended with Joey Mercury and Edge giving him a beat down for a DQ. Finally, Michaels did get in the ring to help, and the show ended with Cena and Michaels doing another confused stare down, which I don't have a problem with.

The other build that they are still slowly teasing is the breakup of Rated RKO, as Edge early in the show had another run-in with Randy Orton in the opening match with Michaels and Orton. Then at the end of the night when Edge was to take on Cena, Edge asked Orton if he had his back, and Orton finally said "no." This is another great build, and I still think they could do this match at Mania, but I think they will hold off with Edge already in the Money in the Bank match.

Speaking of that, they had the last qualifying match for MITB, and it was to be Carlito and Ric Flair, but in the end it became a sloppy end with The Great Khali coming out and beating on both men, basically wasting the match and having it a no-contest. That still leaves a spot, and I still think they should go with Orton, and further build the tension with he and Edge in the match. Why they would waste Flair-Carlito here I think was a bad move, but oh well.

The scary spot of the night came in the women's title match with Melina and Mickie James, as a good match ended with James trying a huracanrana, but ended up going down backwards and hitting her head pretty hard on the mat, allowing Melina the easy pin. This was a very good women's match, and after the match, Ashley (who was the guest ring announcer), and Melina got into it, and Ashley pushed her down. This of course will further their course for an upcoming match at Mania. As for James, she suffered a stinger, but is okay.

The night was topped off with the Cena-Nitro match, which came about when Edge pulled the backout trick, and as MNM came out, it ended up being Nitro as Cena's opponent. I think as we saw MNM together, it basically clinches we'll see them together in some fashion at Mania. The end with Michaels was also well done, and I thought the whole show continued its strong trend for the upcoming mega card in Detroit in just over three weeks.

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