Monday Night Raw – January 16, 2006: Cracking Open A Time Capsule

Monday Night Raw
Date: January 16, 2006
Location: RBC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina
Attendance: 7,500
Commentators: Joey Styles, Jerry Lawler, Jonathan Coachman

Another request and this time around it’s for a pretty simple reason. I’m not sure the match was announced in advance so we’ll save that for later, but it’s one of those matches that you hear and say either “well of course he did” or you’re so confused that you don’t know which way to go next. Let’s get to it.

I’ve already done the show before this one, which you can see here:

It’s the Martin Luther King Jr. Day show and you know Vince is going to make sure to cover that one. That’s still cool yet kind of surprising at the same time.

Opening sequence.

The match was indeed known in advance: Edge vs. Ric Flair for the WWE Championship in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. I mean….what?

We look at Kurt Angle moving to Smackdown to become the new World Heavyweight Champion (due to Batista tearing his tricep and being put on the shelf for about six months). He’s facing Shawn Michaels tonight because this is a heck of a stacked show.

Here are Edge and Lita (just…..yeah) to open things up. People have been saying Edge stole his title from Cena at New Year’s Revolution but he won it fair and square. He’s absolutely right actually. That’s how Money in the Bank works and now he’s the WWE Champion. Edge calls the shots and now he gets to call the shots, which included a live sex celebration last week. Apparently that offended some people and that’s just too bad.

The end of last week’s show was the highest rated ending to Raw in two years (erg) and the day after he won the title, over 25 million people were on (I repeat my previous erg. Wrestlers shouldn’t care about that stuff.). That makes him the most watched WWE Champion of all time. That makes quite the assumption. I might have been on there playing Out Think the Fink.

As for the people who didn’t like it, we see a clip of Ric Flair taking a Conchairto for interfering last week. Later tonight he’s going to finish Flair off in a TLC match but for right now, he wants live, uninterrupted sex with Lita right here. Obviously he’s not a Rocky fan because WOMEN WEAKEN LEGS. A chair is brought in and Lita removes Edge’s shirt before climbing on top of him.

Cue Kurt Angle with manager Daivari (King: “Can’t we just have some live sex?”) for the YOU SUCK chants with Angle saying were directed at Lita. Angle says tricks like this make him a joke while people like him know he’s the real thing. Edge says it made him smart and a challenge is made for a title unification match. That’s not happening because Edge isn’t lowering himself to fight Angle.

That means a release German suplex but here’s Vince McMahon to interrupt. He wants the two scheduled matches to take place tonight so Edge needs to go get ready. Vince: “And cover yourself up!” As for Angle, he’ll be facing Shawn tonight, but it’s a non-title match. Instead, Shawn is fighting for his contract and is gone if he loses. Long segment here but Edge is relishing this role and nailing it so far. Throw in Wrestling Machine Kurt Angle and Lita at perhaps her hottest ever and this was awesome on a variety of levels.

Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle

Non-title but Shawn’s job is on the line. Shawn stares at Vince on the way to the ring because that’s one of the top stories of 2006. Joined in progress after a break with Shawn chasing Daivari around the ring before heading back inside for a headlock on the mat. Angle fights up and stomps away in the corner, only to get the skin chopped off of his chest. That doesn’t seem to both Angle though, who comes out with an overhead belly to belly. A hard German suplex gives Kurt two and we hit a bodyscissors.

Back up and Shawn chops him again but gets sent hard into the corner. The Angle Slam is countered into a DDT for two but Daivari low bridges Shawn to the floor. That earns Daivari a superkick, only to have Angle hit the Angle Slam on the floor as we take a break. Back with Angle having a belly to belly superplex broken up but running the corner to hit the super Angle Slam for two instead. A desperation Sweet Chin Music is countered into the ankle lock which Shawn reverses into a small package for two of his own.

The forearm into the nip up just earns Shawn another ankle lock but this one is kicked off in short order. Angle gets knocked down to set up a weird looking missed top rope elbow. The ankle lock goes on again and Shawn flails, eventually hitting Daivari as a bonus. Angle gets the grapevine but Daivari brings in a chair and Kurt lets go for some reason. As you might expect, Daivari swings the chair and this Angle, knocking him into a rollup to give Shawn the pin.

Rating: B. These two have very solid chemistry and make their matches look easy. The ending was a little bit messy but at least it keeps the new champion from losing clean. I mean, they could have had it be a countout or something but why do that when you can have him get pinned? Still though, very entertaining match here and that’s all you would have expected.

Angle yells at Daivari….who slaps him in the face. An Angle Slam over the top has Daivari looking rather dead.

During the break, Angle dumps Daivari.

Maria Kanellis, still the incredibly annoying and ditzy interviewer (that’s not a bad thing), shows Chris Masters Carlito turning on him at New Year’s Revolution. Masters blames Carlito for the loss and promises to win the Royal Rumble. Oh and tonight, John Cena is losing the Master Lock Challenge.

Ashley Massaro (never got the appeal and she was terrible in the ring) is worried about the six woman tag tonight but Trish Stratus tells her to calm down. The crazy lesbian stalker Mickie James (their partner tonight) comes in and apologizes for attacking Ashley last week. Psycho Mickie worked so well.

It’s time for the Masterlock Challenge. Masters introduces Cena as the former WWE Champion and we’re ready to go. We get a rare very pro-Cena chant as he sits down in the chair but Cena grabs the arm before the hold can go on. The hold goes on a few seconds later and Cena tries a variety of escapes to no avail. Cena fights up again and almost breaks it but here’s Edge for a belt shot to the head.

Shawn is having his ankle looked at when Vince comes in. Vince tells him to get out of the building before moving over to Ric Flair, on the trainer’s mat next to him. Last week Ric interrupted Vince’s celebration and tonight, Flair can make the magic happen one more time. Vince’s mistress Candice Michelle comes in and asks Vince to critique her match. She does her stupid dance and even Flair is giving this a look to say it’s the dumbest thing he’s ever seen.

Candice Michelle/Torrie Wilson/Victoria vs. Trish Stratus/Mickie James/Ashley

If there is ANY justice in the world, this will be all Trish/Mickie/Victoria. Torrie has her dog with her and Victoria is in her weird short/curlier hair phase (not a bad look, just very different than her usual one). But hang on: before the match we need a behind the scenes look at Candice Michelle’s GoDaddy commercial. In other words, it’s her in a white tank top washing windows. To be fair, they’re not trying to hide what they’re going for here and she makes jokes about the whole thing.

Victoria cranks on Trish’s arm to start (thank goodness) until a rollup gives Trish two. A headscissors out of the corner looks to set up Stratusfaction but Candice comes in, meaning Trish has to headscissor her down as well (with Trish’s tights going rather far down in the process). Ashley gets the hot tag, much to Mickie’s annoyance. She’s so annoyed that she spears Ashley down, setting up the Widow’s Peak for the pin.

As usual, it’s SO weird anymore to see the women as nothing but eye candy with the wrestling being a detail to look at them in their revealing outfits. Total mess of course but at least they had the right wrestlers in there for the most part. To tell you what Torrie meant here, she held the dog while standing on the apron.

Rob Van Dam is back in the Royal Rumble after missing a year of action due to a torn ACL.

Carlito takes credit for keeping Van Dam on the injured list even longer. The fans chant for RVD but Carlito doesn’t want to hear it because he’s going to win the Royal Rumble. No one on Raw or Smackdown can throw him over the top, and that’s cool. Kane, over the top, next segment.

A production guy tells Vince that a woman wants to see him. Vince thinks it’s Candice and says make her wait a minute.

Post break Vince is ready for her and starts stripping but instead it’s…..Mama Benjamin (a rather large woman played by a comedienne who managed her son Shelton Benjamin), who throws money at him. She wants to know why Shelton isn’t wrestling tonight while Shelton looks like he wants to die. Vince agrees to give him a match and Mama tells him to go get ready. Shelton leaves and Mama tells Vince to call her when he wants some chocolate thunder. Vince shivers as she leaves.

Royal Rumble rundown. All two matches announced so far.

Shelton Benjamin vs. Big Show

Show has a broken hand. Mama Benjamin is terrified (Shelton: “He just tall. That’s all Mama.”) and Show backs both of them into the corner. To his credit, Show opens the ropes for her (Mama: “You do the best you can son.”) and we’re ready to go. Show drops him without much effort but hurts the hand again. Shelton is smart enough to send the hand into the post and hits it again to break up the chokeslam. A fall away slam sends Shelton outside but here’s HHH (who broke Show’s hand) for a distraction, resulting in a countout win for Shelton.

Raw World Title: Edge vs. Ric Flair

Edge is defending in a TLC match, the first ever singles version. Flair’s Intercontinental Title isn’t on the line. Ric goes over to hug his 19 year old daughter Ashley, better known as Charlotte. Lita has changed tops, likely for the sake of the censors, but the Edge tank top works perfectly well too. Oh and Flair has a concussion thanks to Edge, just in case there weren’t enough details coming into this.

Flair chops away in the corner to start but Edge decks him in the jaw to take over. It’s already time for the first ladder, which goes into Flair’s head but actually doesn’t draw blood. Edge puts him inside the ladder and crushes it with a chair, which somehow doesn’t kill Flair. They head outside with Edge being chopped into the crowd but Flair follows him out instead of, you know, going to win the title.

Back to ringside with Edge suplexing Flair on the floor. Lita starts getting the chairs ready as Edge puts Flair on a table. The Conchairto is broken up by a testicular claw and Edge is tossed into the barricade. Lita gets slammed down as well but Edge gets in a chair shot to finally bust Flair open. It almost makes me feel better to have it happen instead of waiting on it for so long.

Edge heads back in and hits a HUGE splash to put Flair through the table on the floor. There is blood everywhere and Flair’s family is panicking as we take a break. Back with Flair having a 1980s level of blood but still being able to put Edge inside a ladder for some chair shots. Flair cracks him with another chair shot and then just shoves a ladder onto him. A few shots to the ankle have Flair loading up the ladder but he moves it to the corner instead.

Flair goes up and of course gets superplexed back down for a double knockdown. Edge hits him low but misses a missile dropkick off the ladder. He’s fine enough to chair Flair in the head though and it’s time to climb. Somehow Ric is up and turns the ladder over, sending Edge through a table at ringside in a HUGE crash. Lita breaks up the climb though, which just makes me want to see Lita vs. Charlotte. That earns Lita a Figure Four as Edge is still down. Flair’s ultra slow climb lets Edge get up though and the slug it out on top of the ladder. Naturally Edge gets the better of it and retains the title.

Rating: C+. I never feel right watching Flair in something like this. The guy is nearly sixty and putting his body through something like this with all the blood and violence when he’s more than capable of having a good regular match. I get the idea behind it (if nothing else just saying “Flair in a TLC match” is a draw) but I wish they could come up with something better than this. It’s an entertaining match, but not something I’m comfortable watching.

Post match Edge spears him down and loads up the Conchairto, only to have Cena come in for the save to end the show.

Overall Rating: B-. This show is such a time capsule as you have Cena being the super face, the women being worthless in the ring yet oozing sex appeal in something that’s not around nearly as strong today (which isn’t a bad thing), throwing a TLC match and Shawn vs. Angle on free TV and acting like Carlito and Chris Masters could ever have any kind of main event value. The show was fun, but it really isn’t something I’d want to watch week to week. It feels like it would get very grating in short order, but for a one off it was rather fun.

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