Raw comes to you live from Phoenix, Arizona.
They open with a short highlight package from WrestleMania 26 that ended with the crowd chanting “HBK! HBK!” I honestly could care less about the show, I’m simply waiting for the farewell. That said, who isn’t?
Batista came out saying he didn’t care what happened at WrestleMania, saying that John Cena did’t beat him even though he just did. Cena came out and said Batista can ask for his rematch tonight, but Batista declined for it to happen tonight. A short brawl ensued with Cena getting the upper hand before Batista bailed. As soon as Batista leaves, Jack Swagger runs in and clocks Cena with the MITB briefcase! After a few more shots, he grabs the mic and proclaims he’s cashing in right now! But by the time a ref ran out, Cena was able to get up. Jack waived the ref off, so the briefcase was never officially used here. Awesome stuff. I wonder how long he’s going to do this for.
They showed early footage of HBK with Marty Jannetty and the Rockers, which was where I first saw him. There was zero indication that that skinny blonde kid would turn out to be the greatest WWE superstar of all time.
The guest hosts from “Hot Tub Time Machine” Rob Corddry and Clarke Duke announce a Legends Lumberjack match, followed by a Divas hot tub match. They also announced Batista/Swagger vs. Cena and a partner of his choosing. Not a great segment.
Christian d. Ted Dibiase in a Legends Lumberjack Match (*3/4)
the ring was surrounded by legends from the 1980s like Roddy Piper, Sargeant Slaughter, Ted DiBiase, Ricky Steamboat, Pat Patterson, etc. They got about five minutes to work. Cody Rhodes is apparently out with a concussion due to Orton’s kick to the head at WrestleMania 26, so we’ll see how this affects his draft status. The match went down the crapper when they got tossed to the floor and all the guys were fighting each other. They went back in the ring, Ted was distracted and Christian pinned him with the Killswitch. Post match, Ted got mad at his dad, Ted Dibiase Sr., for distracting him during the match. DiBiase has been a victim of some poor booking lately.
Clip of HBK turning on Jannetty during the Barber Shop segment. One of my all-time favourites.
The guest hosts jumped into a hot tub with Tiffany, Rosa, Nikki & Brie Bella. I don’t remember what was said, I was busy looking at Tiffany in a bikini. The winner supposedly gets a shot at the Divas Championship or something.
Triple H came and cut a promo talking about what HBK means to him. He said he knew that Shawn could beat Undertaker, but it didn’t happen. He talked about knowing each other for 16 years and how they did it all side by side, back to back and even face to face (Summerslam 2002). He used the Kliq/Wolfpac sign as a symbol of that friendship dating back to the mid 90s with Hall, Nash & Waltman. He started tearing up, then talked about always wanting to say something, but never got a chance to say it until now. Before he says anything, Sheamus attacked him in the back with a steel pipe. HHH went down and then went to break with the trainers checking out HHH. All signs point to Sheamus beating HHH at Extreme Rules. Good promo by HHH. Right here, it hit me that HBK’s days in the ring are done. When HHH starts tearing up, you know it’s something sad.
Mickie, Gail, Beth, Eve & Kelly d. Vickie, Michelle, Layla, Alicia & Maryse (DUD)
Rematch from WM26. Maryse posed during the open, so Eve rolled her up and pinned in her immediately. It’s over already? (That’s what she said!). I’ve never seen a 10-woman match that ended in 5 seconds. Totally unnecessary.
Video package on the HBK/Razor ladder match at WM10. Insane match, even by today’s standards.
Bret Hart promo. He’s wearing a shirt with him and Owen from many years ago. He said Shawn Michaels was one of the best ever and wished him the best in the future. He mentioned his dad, mom, Owen & Davey Boy looking down from heaven and it prompted the crowd to start an “Owen” chant. He was about to leave when Miz & Big Show came out. Miz said that he’s 1-0 at WrestleMania, so he’s 17 wins away from reaching the Undertaker’s streak. Bret laughed, so Miz goes “Don’t laugh, I’m awesome!” Hysterical. Eventually all his talking to Bret led to the Hart Dynasty coming out to Bret’s aid. Dynasty challenges, Show didn’t want it, but Miz did, so it happened.
The Hart Dynasty d. The Miz & Big Show via countout (*1/2)
Non-title match, so there was never really any doubt that the Dynasty would win. The Hart Dynasty have been heels since they started in WWE, but this looks to be the face turn for them. They even wore white and pink tights rather than the usual black with pink. The heels worked over Tyson for a few minutes until he got the hot tag to DH Smith. Kidd ended up hitting the Hart Attack clothesline and then put Miz into the Sharpshooter while Bret was smiling at ringside. With Miz near the ropes, Big Show reached through and pulled him out of there. They walked up the ramp taking the countout loss. Hopefully this leads to a PPV title shot for them.
HBK video package with DX.
More with the hot tub. Tiffany and Rosa leave. Craig Robinson comes on the TV and talked about how he was booking a “match” and the Bellas left. He also invited other guests into the tub, which prompted Mark Henry (in a red speedo) and Hornswoggle (with scuba gear biting Corddry’s feet) to join in. Mark Henry in a speedo in HD was one of the most vile experiences I’ve ever had. So disgusting.
I love how WWE promotes Audioslave’s “Be Yourself” album. They broke up a few years ago, and the CD is like 5 years old.
Jack Swagger promo. He said he’s the “odds-on favourite.” Still don’t know why he’s losing to Santino a month ago, but now gets MITB. He has no credibility anymore.
John Cena & Randy Orton d. Batista & Jack Swagger (*1/2)
One week after Orton teams with HHH, the guy he feuded with in the first half of 2009, he’s teaming with John Cena, the guy he feuded with in the second half of 2009. Great pop for the “surprise” partner. Orton’s face turn is really working even though he still has a heel character. The “RKO” chants during the match were pretty huge. The table puts over how big Swagger is at 6?6? 260 pounds, even though Christian, who should’ve won MITB, is never going to get that kind of push even despite having earned and proven it through 10+ years. Orton got the hot tag and eventually RKO’s Batista and Swagger for the cover. Crowd expoded.
They showed a video package on last year’s WrestleMania match with HBK losing to Taker. Has to be the greatest match of all time. For me, Hart/Austin at WM13 is a close second.
Shawn Michaels’ Farewell Speech
For those of you who didn’t see this, you have no souls. Go watch it. Now. Before he spoke, Undertaker came out, tipped his cap from the top of the ramp and walked back. HBK did a candid, heartfelt speech for about 15 minutes. He spoke openly about how all he ever wanted to do was wrestle, how he started at 19, got his beginning in the WWF at 23 and he was standing in the ring now at 44 (he’ll be 45 in the summer). The crowd was really great during the speech chanting “HBK! HBK!” as well as “Thank you Shawn! Thank you Shawn!” at various points throughout. He talked about how there was a time in his life when wrestling was the only thing he had in his life, which was true. If you read his book, he used drugs in the 90s, was a jerk and the only place where he felt comfortable was in the ring. He also mentioned being tough to get along with in the 90s, which was also true. A famous story from that era is that he changed in Vince’s office while everybody else changed in the same locker room. The guy was hated by most of his peers because he was such an ass.
The fans chanted “One More Match!” so he addressed that. He mentioned that a lot of guys say they’re retiring, but they come back and he doesn’t want to be one of those guys. He doesn’t want to go back on his word to the fans or the Undertaker. He made it a point to say, “I’m going to do everything in my power make sure that doesn’t happen” in reference to one more match. I believe him because, like he said, he’s an open book and he says what’s on his mind without much filter. I think as of right now he has no plans to wrestle again. He could very well change his mind in time for the next WM, but for now, I think he’s done.
HBK thanks Bret, calls out JR as the greatest announcer of all time and the production team while mentioning a guy named Adam that puts together the video packages of him. His speech about Bret was really touching, saying that he hopes Bret will take his friendship back and forgive him for all the stuff in the past. He also thanked Vince McMahon at length saying that without him he didn’t know if he’d be where he’s at right now. Shawn was basically on the creative team during his peak in 1997, which pissed off a lot of people in that era including Bret Hart.
He thanked the Jesus Christ for saving him and told his family that he’s coming home. Then he ended it with: “Ladies and gentlemen, the Heartbreak Kid has left the building.” For those not familiar with the reference, when his singles run started in the early 1990s they would have the announcer say that over the speakers before a match started. It would be after his match and it would happen at some random point later in the show. Of course, it was a play on Elvis Presley. HHH came out, they hugged and they spoke privately. He took out two glowsticks, put them in an X symbol on the ramp and walked off to leave Shawn on his own.
Amazing speech. I actually started crying – I’m sure I’m not the only one, either. A few of the parts in the speech really hit home: the first tear down Shawn’s cheek, the Bret part, the family. All of it was flawless. He soaked in the cheers, he let the crowd chant what they wanted and he spoke from the heart. It was almost as if he was talking to everyone individually. HBK was always one of the best on the mic. I would have liked to see some of his peers come out to hug him, or maybe say a few words, but it’s understandable why they didn’t. In a business that people say is “fake”, it was a very real moment. It was Shawn Michaels at his best because he was at home in the ring one last time.
Star of the Night
1. “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels
Final Score: 7
I have no favourite wrestlers left. HBK, Austin, Rock, Mr. Perfect, Razor Ramon…they’re all gone. The Attitude Era lies solely through Undertaker, HHH, Chris Jericho, Edge and Christian. It it time to stop watching WWE? Or at least time to stop ordering WrestleMania? As with Michaels, it was a long and memorable run. As with Michaels, you have to know when it’s time to walk away. I hate to say it, but that time may soon be coming.
I’m not entirely sure how to rate this show. I don’t really remember any of Raw except for the speech. I own a bunch of his matches and DVDs, his book, toys from back in the day, posters, etc. He was easily my favourite of all time, with Austin a close 2nd. Growing up and watching, until now, he’s been the hook for me and has kept me interested in WWE’s inconsistent product. HBK alone was capable of turning around shows and PPVs. Some PPVs would look awful, but it was OK – Shawn’s on the show, so we’re guaranteed at least one great match. The fans counted on HBK to deliver. time and time again, and for 25 years, he did so, better than anyone else.
I’m always going to remember March 29, 2010 because my favorite wrestler, Shawn Michaels, said goodbye tonight. His in-ring career may be over, but the memories will last a lifetime.
This marks the 4th time I have cried for the WWE: Owen and Eddie’s death, Ric Flair’s farewell speech and finally this one.
“Ladies and gentlemen, The Heartbreak Kid has left the building.”
Thank you Shawn Michaels.
Best. Superstar. Ever.
- Email – captaincharisma [at] hotmail.com
- Twitter – @VoiceofValeri