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Tonight, WWE RAW returns to Toronto, Ontario – the first time since WWE held their September Pay-Per-View, Unforgiven, in 2006. I got lucky enough to get some tickets for the show, and I’m sitting somewhere behind the top left turnbuckle (TV point-of-view), 18 rows behind the ring. Sweet.
I arrived around 7 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre (ACC), and the lineup was crazy. We got in, and they aired many WrestleMania 24 promos for DVD, as well as previous Pay-Per-Views now available on DVD. Lillian Garcia entered to a loud applause and began hyping the crowd. Shortly after, she received some heat for calling it the Air America Centre, which gave her heat all night long. Her singing of ‘O Canada!’ was very good (not sure if Vince made her say that, or if it was a legitmate accident, or if it was just for fun – you decide). Lillian announces us going live in a minute – crowd goes nuts, and then everything stops. Nobody knew that the crowd reaction at the beginning of RAW was filmed prior to RAW, then edited into the show.
- Heat begins. Hacksaw Jim Duggan & Super Crazy defeated Charlie Haas and Robbie McAllister. Hacksaw came out with a US flag, to a somewhat mixed reaction. Before entering the ring, he switched the flag to a Canadian one, and received a huge pop. Super Crazy followed likewise. Crazy hit a flying moonsault from the apron, crowd loved it.
- Paul London & Brian Kendrick defeated Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch. Lance Cade walked out afterwards, no singing from Murdoch (that happens later). Once again, London and Kendrick looked impressive at worst, and its still baffling that these guys can be considered in the ‘dog house’.
- Paul Burchill & Katie Lea vs. John Cutler. Lots of “Lets Go Jobber”. Like all hometowns, the jobber was from Ontario.
- Dark match. Kofi Kingston defeats jobber. Kingston is over with the crowd.
- King and J.R. enter to a huge ovation.
- RAW begins. Sellout crowd of roughly 16,644 (ACC holds 20,000 for Raptors and Leafs). No pyro, but a KOTR package airs selling William Regal. Not thrilled about there being no pyro. Shortly after, Vince McMahon appears, and says that he fully endorses Regal’s actions. many worshipping fans, me being one of them. Personally, I’m thrilled Vince showed. He leaves, and out comes William Regal, promoting his KOTR title, saying how everyone must respect him. Loud chants of ‘Regal Sucks’ fill the arena. In doing so, he turns the lights out in the ACC. No one was happy. As he turns the lights on, Mr. Kennedy comes out and challenges him to a match. Regal counter-offers (or makes it, since he’s the GM), the main event for tonight, Mr. Kennedy vs. the entire ECW roster (not many, but still). Triple H comes out to the loudest ovation of the night. Triple H offers friendly advice, and tells Regal not to piss him off. Regal changes the main event match to Kennedy and Triple H vs. the entire ECW roster.
- Promo for ECW’s 100th episode.
- Diva’s lumberjill match. (C) Mickie James defeats Beth Phoenix. Melina nails Beth in the head with her shoe, Mickie scores the pinfall.
- Y2J enters Regal’s officeto a huge pop, Canada’s first hometown kid of the night (employed by the WWE). Regal makes a tag match, Y2J and HBK together.
- Trevor Murdoch is seen singing backstage. He’s not that bad. Better than Jillian, at least. The camera turns, and Trish Stratus, looking better than ever, is there, with a look of disgust on her face. The camera zooms out, and Ron Simmons is there. “Damn!”. Good spot.
- Video package of Ron Simmons football/wrestling days.
- Todd Grisham interviewing Randy Orton. Orton gets a huge pop. Orton vows to beat the MITB winner CM Punk tonight.
- Video package promoting Carlito’s Cabana – special guest, Rowdy Roddy Piper (huge pop again).
- Regal comes out and cuts off J.R.’s mic. In comes (you’ve gotta be kidding me) ECW announcer Mike Adamle. Thank God I’m live and didn’t have to hear him. So far, I’ve heard nothing but bad things. I’m still not sure whether he’s actualyl this bad, or if it’s his gimmick, because it’s bad. Really bad. And his reporting from the stands prior to ‘Mania 24 where he introduced the Class of 2008 was bad too.
- Back to the match. Paul Burchill and Katie Lea defeat jobber. Jobber comes out to an ovation of boos. Paul Burchill and Katie Lea come out to more boos. Jobber is introduced as a Canadian, and the crowd goes nuts. “Let’s Go Jobber” chants break out, but he gets squashed. Burchill had the jobber in a submission, then Katie two-foot-stomped off the top rope over the jobber’s outstretched stomach, which was a nice spot, and sold very well.
- Y2J enters HBK’s changeroom. HBK defends knee injury. Short clip.
- WWE Tag Team Champs John Morrison and The Miz come out to a crowd of boos. Y2J’s countdown begins to a rowdy crowd. Everyone is on their feet, and the crowd is loving it. Y2J’s pyro goes off, and it’s one of the loudest things I’ve ever heard in my life. It was also very hot, especially after the final explosion. Jericho is pumped, and Canada is loving him. HBK is next, and he limps out to a mixed reaction. On two knees, HBK’s pyro goes off, which was amazing to say the least. Also very loud, obviously, but not hot like Jericho’s. HBK was on the apron the whole time before Sweet Chinning Morrison, letting Jericho get the cover after a Codebreaker. HBK limps to the back, and Jericho takes pictures with the crowd. About to leave, he comes upon a fan with down syndrome, and takes a few photos with the fan, hugs, high-fives, and handshakes. Class act.
- Orton vs. CM Punk ends in a no contest. Both guys got a loud ovation, with Orton likely being the favourite. Regal turns the lights out, the second time tonight. I am pissed. Orton leaves, CM Punk follows.
- Carlito’s Cabana sets up, and Carlito enters. Video package of Grisham talking to Orton who is fuming and heading over to Regal’s office. The Regal-Orton/result of this is never shown. Carlito does a short intro before Piper comes out. Ridiculous pop for Piper. Piper makes fun of Carlito, which sets the crowd on fire. He calls him ‘Buckwheat’, makes fun of his hair, and critisizes the Carlito-Maria-seagul commercial, and the crowd goes nuts. Santino comes out to a huge pop, and ‘San-ti-no’ chants fill the arena. Piper tells him to get a designated driver (Santino was charged and arrested with DUI last week). Good stuff. Piper is challenged, and Cody Rhodes comes to the entrance, and hypes a tag team. Out comes Cryme Tyme. Another huge pop. They run, and Cryme Tyme dances with Piper and Rhodes. The latter two leave, and Cryme Tyme sells Carlito’s hammock for $120. What a rip. The fan who bought it looked like Carlito, and everyone was laughing. I think he realized that he paid roughly $100 too much.
- DH Smith comes out to a chorus of boos. He’s introduced as a Canadian, and now he’s loved. JBL promos from in his limo, and gets a good pop. He verbally attacks Smith for a while, relating to him being the late British Bulldogs kid, a Hart Foundation generation, etc. and the crowd backs up Smith. JBL wins a squash, and Smith is carried off on a stretcher. Since Smith came back from his HGH suspension, he has not hit another human being. Cena, Umaga, JBL. No hits whatsoever.
- ECW roster is yelling at Regal, all leave eventually. SmackDown! ReBound.
- During the last part, about 10 refs walked to ringside, and then back again. Orton is hidden under the ring.
- ‘Taker gets a good pop, as does Edge. ECW enters the ring altogether, and Kane separately. Kane’s pyro is nuts. Stick your face in an oven at 500 degrees, and that’s Kane’s pyro from 18 rows from ringside. His in-ring pyro is huge too. Kennedy comes out to a big pop, but looks childish once Triple H enters. ECW wins, with Kennedy getting pinned by Chavo. During the match, ECW guys began fighting each other a bit, based on their programs outside of RAW.
- As ECW self-destructed, some ECW guys grabbed a chair, but Triple H countered and began busting heads. The lights turn out. Again. I am livid. Lights go back on, and Orton is stalking Triple H. HHH turns, and a huge RKO ensues. RAW goes off the air.
- Orton watches Triple H for a few minutes, and proceeds up the ramp. Jericho’s music hits, and after 30 seconds, Jericho appears. Orton scrambles back to the ring, awaiting Jericho’s ring entry. Eventually, Triple H gets up, turns Orton around, and pedigrees him. Triple H leaves after celebrating with Jericho. Orton rolls out of the ring. Jericho is in the ring, and about to leave.
- Triple bell ring. Lillian announces an Intercontinental match, Jericho vs — (she never said anything). Jericho jumps the ropes and beats up Orton. Very good dark match, and Jericho wins cleanly with a Codebreaker for the 3 count. Jericho celebrates more with the crowd, who began leaving in bits and pieces after not knowing what was happening with the dark match and all. Great ending.
Final thoughts – Great RAW, maybe the best of 2008 thus far. Great matches all around, great promos, Vince showed, Piper showed, Trish showed, and, the best of all – NO JOHN CENA! All the kids were mad. I was thrilled. Cena received a mixed reaction when his picture was shown on the Titantron. Everyone over 10 booed. Everyone under 10 cheered. At least, everyone with the mentality of someone 10 years of age cheered. Great RAW, especially live, it was terrific, despite not being graced by the legendary comedy/announcing of King and J.R.
I have a Facebook account if you would like to see pictures, my friend and I took quite a few. Add me if you want, or, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like me to email you the pictures we took.