I want some wrestling. RAW did not deliver on that front. Yet our opening recap is about Vickie Guererro. The fact that Vickie Guererro and Michael Cole are not only in major storylines but in matches says something about the sports entertainment sub-genre of professional wrestling. At least it’s the champion himself who opens the show. That’s Edge, Canada’s own Adam Copeland, for any new readers who know nothing about wrestling. I can throw you a bone once in a while but, honestly, you’re going to be pretty lost here. ?
Tonight: contract signing. That’s a tried and true wrestling segment and busting it out for Wrestlemania makes perfect sense. But Edge quickly stops talking about Del Rio attacking him and starts talking about Vickie. I’ve never been this happy to see Drew McIntyre as he runs in and lays out Edge. General Manager Teddy Long (Bald, African American, middle aged man with a vaguely 70s vibe that include phrases like “Holla!”) interrupts and tells McIntyre it’s his fault Vickie got fired and if he doesn’t face Edge right now: he’s fired too!
I’m so starved for good wrestling Drew McIntyre looks good. It’s back and forth and technical until Edge hits a Spear but breaks his own pin to go for a submission hold instead. I think he’s used this one before but I don’t know what they’re calling it now. It gets a quick win and apparently he’s “sending a message to Del Rio.”
Cody Rhodes in Rey’s mask coming out to Rey’s music is an awesome tease and swerve. The crowd hates him. He takes off the mask to reveal he is still wearing his clear protective mask. Recap of Rhodes and his father, Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, setting up Rey Mysterio and Cody stealing Rey’s mask in the first place. Cody orders the crowd not to look at him. Cody wanted the crowd to share his feeling of disappointment after he missed the Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber Pay Per Views thanks to Rey Mysterio. Cody cuts a decent promo and vows to expose Rey’s face at Wrestlemania.
Kane paces in the parking garage. The Corre (a four-man stable, or gang, of wrestlers consisting of Wade Barrett, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel and Ezekiel Jackson) reminds him they helped him against Undertaker. He didn’t want their help. The Corre just want him to neat Big Show tonight. But now the tag titles are on the line as the former champs, comedy duo Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov, have invoked their rematch clause. Nothing special wrestlers means nothing special match. Santino looks to set up his comedy finishing move The Cobra, but the other members of The Corre interfere and The Cobra ends up striking Wade Barrett instead. That leaves him open to the champs and they retain.
We get recap from RAW of Triple H addressing The Undertaker. That means Taker is about to show up. Yep. The gong sounds as soon as the video ends. They’re using the Johnny Cash music as his entrance theme. Undertaker looks like he’s walking slowly by choice, not out of need. Taker maintains his usual position: the streak is unbreakable. But Taker is happy to agree Triple H is impressive. But when he loses at Wrestlemania he will become nothing more than a statistic. Another name on a long list who have tried and failed.
Divas tag action as Beth Phoenix and Rosa Mendez face Lay-Cool aka Layla El and Michelle McCool. McCool is wearing an ankle brace and her ankle gets targeted heavily. She gets Layla in but Beth comes in fresh at the same time. McCool has to break up a pin. Then Beth falls victim to the brace and Layla scores a pin. They constantly tease dissention in the pair then have them make up right away. I actually like that. Someday one of them will actually turn on the other and, if they can pull it off, it could be amazing. I just hope something stupid like an injury derails it.
I’m not excited for Kane versus Big Show and I’m justified. It’s a very short match before The Corre arrive and throw Kane a chair. Kane uses it and gets disqualified. But when The Corre try to beat down Show Kane waffles Justin Gabriel with the chair and sends The Corre running.
Michael Cole takes center stage to introduce Jack Swagger, his trainer for Cole’s match against Jerry Lawler at Wrestlemania. He will reveal the referee on Monday but teases it’s The Miz. The Swagger squashes JTG who seems to be the Zack Ryder of Smackdown. Then a long recap of The Rock and John Cena’s feud. Production has added a few interesting clips and sound effects to make it less repetitive. Kudos. Alberto Del Rio’s personal portrait painter get ambushed by Edge who sabotages the painting.
Time for the contract signing. Del Rio has his ring announcer sing the Mexican national anthem. He gets farther than I’d like before Edge interrupts. Edge’s arm is taped thanks to Del Rio’s Cross-Armbreaker. Teddy Long hints at the elephant in the ring when Long asks if this can be the first contract signing that doesn’t end in chaos? The crowd is chanting “USA!” while a Canadian faces off with a Mexican. Sigh. Del Rio plays the destiny card but Edge tells him destiny can change in the blink of an eye. They sign. The crowd now seems to be chanting “Triple H” What a weird crowd. Violence does break out with Edge starting it and gets the early jump. Then he trashes the set. But when he sets up for a Spear the ring announcer gets involved again and Del Rio make a quick recovery. Del Rio gets to apply his finisher on the injured arm yet again. But he varies the beatdown a bit and somehow Edge ends up bleeding from the nose. Then he tries to use a chair on the arm but Christian makes the save. Edge is marred with crimson as Christian helps him up.
Well, my hopes for good wrestling were pretty much dashed. Is the road to Wrestlemania going to be long on talk and short on action? Couldn’t they trim the recaps and let the Intercontinental Champion defend the title? Do I have to YouTube Superstars to see wrestling?