raw(lite): shocked. used. aroused.

I’ve mentioned many a time that I started watching wrestling during the Attitude Era, so any return visit to the WWE from Stone Cold Steve Austin holds quite the thrill. There’s nothing like the sound of smashing glass to evoke early wrestling memories. You wouldn’t believe the number of times I was the recipient of one of my brother’s botched Stone Cold Stunners during the late 90s. Anyway, Stone Cold was back as guest host of Raw and he kicked it off with much whoop-ass and beer swilling.

As Stone Cold finished his speech, John Cena dove into the ring to get the first match of the night going. Austin left, John saluted and Big Show came out for a fight. Tonight, you see, is all about flashing back to Wrestlemania 25 . Ah yes. Remember that long, drawn-out feud between Cena and Big Show that seemed like it would never end? Uggg. Actually, this was supposed to be a Wrestlemania 20 Rewind, but whatever.

So they had a match, but WWE being excellent marketing geniuses, they linked it all nicely in to next weekend’s big event and had Batista stroll down the ramp to distract John from the matter in hand. This gave Big Show an opportunity to sock John in the mouth and pin him for the win.

Neither Sheamus nor Evan Bourne had any part to play in last year’s big dance, so they faced off against each other to fill out some of the matches. Sadly for Evan Bourne, the match never even got started. Sheamus whacked him round the head with a microphone, then kicked him in the head and put the Celtic Cross on him to finish the job.

Nobody can say Evan hasn’t paid his dues. Sheamus felt his air-time would be better used telling the world how he plans on demolishing HHH at Wrestlemania. I spent my time trying to figure out whether Sheamus’ hair is dyed or not, coming to the conclusion that it isn’t, because his eyelashes are proper ginger too. How would you make it through the week without my in-depth analysis of professional wrestling?

Backstage, HBK and Austin were having a chin-wag about old times and Michaels was still canvasing opinion on whether people think he can beat the Undertaker second time around. Come on, Shawn! Have some faith in yourself. Stop asking everyone what they think.

We can’t have a repeat of Shawn’s Wrestlemania 25 match. We have to pay lots of money to see that next weekend. Austin set a match up with Jericho instead. Jericho wasn’t in the mood and tried to sweet-talk Austin into letting him get out of it by telling some old road stories. How did that go?

Sometimes pictures paint a thousand words

For the second week running, the Raw Divas were given a proper match without any silly gimmicks. It warmed the cockles of my cynical heart.  Maryse was demolishing Kelly Kelly, so once the pain appeared to be too much, Eve and Gail Kim ran out to assist. Then LayCool ran in and cleared house. It was a thing of beauty all round.

The only bummer is that there still isn’t a proper Divas match set-up for Wrestlemania. Wouldn’t it be brilliant if there was a serious women’s match at ‘Mania? Or they could just have the ladies prance around in lovely frocks and let a man in drag win the Miss Wrestlemania contest. Whatever.

Back to the boys. It’s Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho, so you know it was a fantastic match. But how will this tie-in with their Wrestlemania matches? Jericho was getting tired, so he decided to leave the ring and make his way up the ramp before the match was even over. This allowed Edge to run out from behind the curtain and punch Jericho back into the ring.

Of course. If you didn't know that..... hi, you must be new.

For months now, there’s been a gentle hint that Legacy were on their last legs. In recent weeks, it’s been less of a hint and more of a blaring fog-horn. A triple threat between all three members of Legacy was set up for Wrestlemania and not a moment too soon. Josh Matthews was given the unenviable task of asking Randy Orton how he felt about it. He talked a lot about how Rhodes and DiBiase will soon realise that they’re nothing without him. Really, it was just an exercise in selling Randy’s rubbish new t-shirt.

I'll pass.

From there we had Orton’s match against HHH. I think it was the first time Hunter had done his full ‘The Game’ entrance since putting his DX gear back in the dress-ups box. I popped. Hard. It was good.

Missed you so much.

This, of course, was a repeat of WM25’s match, which was to be the culmination of months of torment for the McMahon family at the hands of Orton. Unfortunately, nobody remembers the actual match because it followed Taker/Michaels. Tough gig! The match played out as expected and I was thinking how weird it was to have a Randy Orton match without his former bitches, Ted & Cody, running out to help him to the win.

It's a 'double-team beatdown'. Thanks for clearing that up, Lawler.

Trips came back into the ring, then Sheamus ran in to get his slice of The Game too. It was carnage!

Batista won a seemingly pointless match against Kofi Kingston, especially as Kofi is yet to be given his inevitable spot in the Money in the Bank ladder match. Although, Batista did manage to slice his forehead open and drip claret all over the and Kofi himself. So that made it worth watching. Being the true heel, Dave even refused to use the towel he was promptly handed to wipe the blood away. What a trooper for the old-school.

In wrestling, a public contract signing is sometimes required. This is usually when some big secret needs to be revealed or when they just feel like having barnstormer of a brawl. This week, Vince McMahon and Bret Hart had to sign the contract for the tragic event that will be their match at Wrestlemania. And just to make sure things go off without a hitch, Stone Cold invigilated this most important of signings. He also reversed Vince’s decision to keep Stu Hart out of the WWE Hall of Fame.

After much trepidation, mainly on Vince’s side of the table, the papers were indeed signed. IT’S ON! Austin proclaimed that he was looking forward to seeing Vince “get the ass-whoopin of his life”, the censors tried to mute “ass-whoopin”  but failed, and Austin strutted his way back up the ramp knowing that his job was done.

There was just one tiny detail that Stone Cold and The Hitman had kept from Vince before the contract signing. Austin let Bret do the honours. Umm, Mr. McMahon? I think you’d better turn back to the table.

You mean…..Bret wasn’t really hurt? His leg wasn’t really broken? That whole elaborate scene where his leg was “crushed” by some dumb broad who didn’t know how to use her reverse pedal was just a rouse? I’m shocked! I feel used! And a slightly aroused. Ok, not aroused, but it certainly was exciting. Of course, if Vince had any common sense, he would have realised it was a set-up when Bret walked down to the ring with one under-the-arm crutch and no boot on his cast a couple of weeks ago, as I had pointed out. If only he read Wrestlegasm.Com, eh?

Bret discarded his bogus crutch and beat Vince up with his former cast. It’s almost as if…….