New Orleans, Louisiana
January 5, 2009
results thanks to pwtorch.com
Intro: The show started
with a video package on HBK selling himself to JBL, then helping JBL win the #1
contender slot on last week's Raw.
In-ring: Chris Jericho and Randy Orton were standing in the ring together dressed for some business. Jericho said himself and Orton feel HBK working with JBL in last week's fatal four-way match went against the rules of every man for himself. Jericho said they have formally filed a protest about what happened last week. Orton said his piece, then Jericho picked up the promo that they will not leave this ring until a proper decision is made.
JBL's music interrupted and out came the JBL Longhorn limo (yes, I'm watching Texas vs. Ohio St. on the DVR later tonight) and out walked Shawn Michaels instead of JBL. Michaels had his cowboy hat held low over his eyes with the camera unable to get an expression. JBL then followed out behind Michaels and they slowly made their way to the ring.
Michaels entered the ring first and held his head low as JBL did the talking. He said Orton and Jericho would have done the exact same thing he did if they had the resources he has. Jericho said they don't deal with indecent and immoral people. He then went right up to Michaels and asked him what he thinks about being a sell-out and a phony, especially when it turns out he was right from their program months ago.
Michaels took the mic and said the one thing that allows him to sleep at night and not be sickened with himself is that he personally made sure Orton and Jericho would not fight for the World championship. Orton said HBK can justify it all he wants, but HBK took a turn for his worst. And it turns out Ric Flair's career was ended by a weak, pathetic sell-out. The same of it all, Shawn, is that once their protest is heard, the decision will be over-turned tonight.
Stephanie McMahon then showed up on stage and said the fact of the matter is that HBK was hit by the Clothesline from Hell last week and their complaint is invalid. She said JBL will go on to face John Cena for the title at the Rumble. Stephanie said her decision stands, but Jericho and Orton can take solace in the fact they have been entered in the Rumble.
Jericho snapped back that it's obvious they should be in the Rumble, but Michaels doesn't deserve to be in the Rumble, especially if you don't want him to poison the match just like he did last week. Michaels had his puppy-dog face, then JBL stepped in - interrupting Stephanie - and said Michaels will be in his corner when he defeats Cena for the World Title and that will be his only function.
Stephanie paused to make sure JBL knew he interrupted her, then booked a tag match for tonight. Jericho & Orton vs. Michaels & John Cena, the opponent for JBL at the Rumble. Michaels tried to fight back tears of frustration as the announcers then plugged Regal vs. Punk for the IC Title later tonight.
In-ring: Goldust was in the ring squatting down for a piece of action tonight. Melina then came out as his tag partner. Out next was Glamarella with Santino Marella holding Beth's Slammy and Beth holding her Women's Title.
1 -- SANTINO MARELLA & Women's champion BETH PHOENIX vs. GOLDUST & MELINA
Early on, Goldust tried to kiss Beth, who shied away before Goldy nailed a flying butt bomb on Santino to knock him to the mat. Goldust then clotheslined Santino over the top rope to the floor. The divas then entered the ring and Melina caught her in the corner for a sort-of turnaround head jam. She then bridge pinned Beth for the pin and the win.
After the match, Beth's #1 fan hopped the guardrail and tried to attack Melina, but security held her back. Melina wanted a piece of #1 Rosa Mendes, but security yanked her away. Melina then returned to ringside to celebrate the victory while Goldust disappeared and made himself invisible. After a replay of the finish, Melina celebrated with Goldust, who kinda walked around in a dazed state.
WINNERS: Melina & Goldust in 4:00. Decent set-up for Beth vs. Melina for the belt at the Rumble. Goldust's involvement? Apparently they need to justify having him on the roster. Just fine, though. (3/4*)
Backstage: Todd Grisham brought in C.M. Punk to discuss matters prior to the IC Title match against Regal. Punk said he's totally stoked and he's always wanted to go after the IC Title since he was a kid. Ricky Steamboat. Bret Hart. Mr. Perfect. He wants to add his name to the list. Punk said time flies in WWE, but he hasn't forgotten that Regal beat him in the finals of the King of the Ring in '08 and he's looking to start the new year with an IC Title victory. Cole and Lawler said the match is next. You would think if they really wanted to establish the importance of the title, it would be on last during tonight's show. But, it's the IC Title.
In-ring: Lilian Garcia provided the on-camera intros for the IC Title match picking up the third quarter hour of the show. C.M. Punk came out first as the challenger. William Regal then came out with Layla to defend the title. Here we go.
2 -- Intercontinental champion WILLIAM REGAL (w/Layla) vs. C.M. PUNK -- IC Title match
Punk quickly knocked Regal to the floor in the opening minute, then Punk set up for a splash, but Regal pulled Layla in harm's way to make sure Punk didn't try anything. Regal took advantage of the hesitation and yanked Punk down hard to the mat. Nice heel tactics. Layla then scowled at Regal for being so dastardly. Punk then teased the G2S at 3:00, but Regal grabbed the ref by the shirt collar to prevent the hold. The ref then called for a DQ and Punk was not pleased with the call.
After the DQ, Layla quickly grabbed the IC Title belt and handed it to Regal as they tried to high-tail it. Of course, Layla was still quite upset with Regal. Quite funny. Punk complained to the ref about the DQ, then Stephanie McMahon appeared on screen and said she won't let the first title match of 2009 end this way. She said in the re-match, a DQ will hand the belt over to Punk. Fans cheered. Not clear on when the re-match is. After the commercial, at the Rumble, on the debut of Superstars on WGN?
WINNER: Punk via DQ in 4:00; Regal retained the IC Title. Well that sucked. At least there's a follow-up re-match, but will anyone care about another IC Title match with a false-start on the first title match of the year? (n/a)
DVD promo: They hyped Mr. Kennedy's DVD.
[Commercial Break. Strangest movie trailer commercial ever for "Taken."]
Locker room: JBL was standing over HBK in the locker room as HBK sat down on a chair. HBK was sporting an official Royal Rumble t-shirt, meaning he has official j-status. JBL talked about Stephanie setting up the perfect scenario of Shawn Michaels being able to take out John Cena tonight to make sure Cena forfeits the title and JBL walks into WrestleMania as World champion. JBL said him returning to Texas at WrestleMania 25 as the conquering hero is major business. It's financial security for the rest of Michaels's life. Never have to worry about a future bill, his wife or kids, or anything. He said the hard part is over, so don't let him down.
Backstage: Randy Orton talked to Cody Rhodes and Sim Snuka about passing phase one last week. Now, they have to win this week and they're in. Manu then walked in and begged for another chance to prove himself. Orton told Manu that he lost and that's it. Manu shot back that Orton lost his match last week. "What did you say?!" Orton shot back. He said Manu has done absolutely nothing with the chance he's given him. Orton said half the people in the building don't even know Manu's name and he has the audacity to act like a big deal. Orton then led Cody and Sim away, leaving Manu to sneer at him. Perhaps a babyface rival legends faction?
Elsewhere backstage: Dolph Ziggler introduced himself to Mickie James, then Rey Mysterio and Kofi Kingston walked past on the way to the ring for a tag match.
Smackdown promo: Triple H vs. Vickie and Hunter faces Triple Jeopardy with all kinds of ways for Hunter to run through the gauntlet of lesser talent.
In-ring: World tag team champions Miz & Morrison came to the ring for a featured tag match. Morrison then took the mic in the ring and quieted the crowd down. Miz spoke first about the fans having the audacity to boo them. He told them "boo you!" and Morrison said the city that took over the title of murder capital of the U.S. has no room to boo them. Miz sarcastically apologized for being so great, then they introduced themselves. Be Jealous.
Rey Mysterio came out first for the babyface team and it was announced he's been added to the Royal Rumble match. Cole then recapped last week's ten-man tag match when Rey finished off Mike Knox to apparently end the program. Kofi Kingston came out as his partner and they announced Kofi is in the Rumble as well.
3 -- World tag team champions THE MIZ & JOHN MORRISON vs. REY MYSTERIO & KOFI KINGSTON -- non-title match
After lengthy ring intros and other essential pre-match business, they went to the babyfaces standing tall before cutting to a break about a minute into the match. I'm putting money on Kofi on the defensive out of the break.
Dang, it was Rey on the defensive out of the break. Kofi picked up a tag at 5:00, and he cleared Morrison off the apron, but Morrison recovered and crotched Kofi on the top rope when he went up top. Miz and Morrison then took control working over Kofi.
[Q5 -- second hour]
Kofi tried to break free at 9:00, but Miz and Morrison cut him off once again. Kofi finally broke free at 10:00 as Rey encouraged the fans to show up and get into the hot tag sequence. Kofi finally crawled across the desert and tagged in Rey, who swashbuckled his way into a huracanrana on Morrison. Rey then scored a nearfall on a double-foot dropkick, but Morrison blocked a wheelbarrow attempt into a front gutbuster for a nearfall. Nice counter of an overly-choreographed move.
Rey then landed a DDT with a springboard counter for a two count. Things broke down and Kofi took Miz to the floor. He clutched his knee on the way down. In the ring, Rey hit the 619 on Morrison, then kicked the Miz away. Rey wanted the springboard sentaun on Morrison to finish it, but Miz provided enough of a distraction for Morrison to counter the Sentaun with a spin kick to the gut in mid-air. Morrison then covered Rey for the pin and the win.
After the match, Mike Knox stormed the ring and attacked Rey. Well, program isn't over yet. Knox then swung Rey into the ropes and slingshot him throat-first across the middle rope. Kofi tried to limp into the ring while still clutching his knee, then Knox kicked him back to the outside. Knox hung Rey up on the top rope, then kicked him in the head and Rey fell hard to the mat. Knox, with his giant beard, went over to the scraps and walked right over Rey on the way out.
WINNERS: Miz & Morrison in 13:00. Nice finish to the match, although we might need a health check on Kofi. Miz & Morrison continue to be a great tandem and Morrison continues to show why the latter part of 2009 should be his break-out time as a singles wrestler. (**1/2)
Backstage: Shawn Michaels was lacing up his boots, then John Cena walked over to him. After waiting out the big cheers live in the arena, Cena said it is what it is. HBK's situation is pretty clear, so he just needs to know if he's facing three guys tonight. Michaels snapped and said the first line tonight, "I'm nobody's puppet tonight!" Cena was taken aback, so he paused. Michaels rhetorically asked Cena what he should expect from history. He then walked off, leaving Cena to think whether he's dealing with Clique HBK or re-born HBK.
Edge DVD promo: This preview has been rated D for Decadence. I'll take plugs for Edge's DVD over Mr. Kennedy's "Behind Enemy Lines" DVD any day of the week.
In-ring: Kelly Kelly came to the ring for a divas contest. They showed Kelly revealing Randy Orton as her friend with benefits from last week. Jillian Hall then came out singing...er...botching "When the Saints Go Marching In" since they're in New Orleans. Plenty of shots of fans covering their ears in pain.
4 -- JILLIAN HALL vs. KELLY KELLY
Lawler offered his usual jokes about Kelly's attractiveness, but offered a serious comment about her improving each week in the ring. Jillian quickly went to work on Kelly, talking her way through a heel beating on Kelly. She then screamed toward the hard cam, causing my cat's ears to go wild. Jillian sat down on a seated full nelson, then Kelly broke free and kicked Jillian beneath the chin. She flipped away from Jillian, then snapped off a multiple-revolutions head scissors. She went up top and nailed a cross body block, but for a two count only.
Kelly tried a victory roll, but Jillian countered with a bridge pin of her own. Kelly escaped, then wanted a handspring elbow smash, but Kelly kicked her away. Kelly then stepped up on Jillian's back and landed a sick guillotine leg drop. She made the cover for the win. Afterward, Jillian attacked Kelly from behind until Kane's entrance hit. Kane then entered the ring to confront Kelly, who slowly tried to back away from Kane. He took the mic and said the truth finally comes out that she never liked him, but only protected Orton, who rejected her. Kane said it doesn't feel real good, does it? Kane said that next week, he's going back to what he enjoys in taking people apart. He has a match with Orton next week. He told her to feel free to watch. Kane laughed and dropped the mic.
WINNER: Kelly in 4:00. Fine. Jillian was able to work in some heel tactics - like screaming - to keep the action intriguing leading to Kelly's comeback. Good set-up for Kane vs. Orton next week. (3/4*)
Announcers: Cole and Lawler plugged Triple H being in three different matches per Vickie Guerrero on Smackdown this Friday. They plugged the "explicit" photos of Vickie.
In-ring: Cody and Sim Snuka came to the ring for the Legacy qualifying match. No sign of Orton. Cryme Tyme then came out as the opposition for the match.
5 -- CRYME TYME (JTG & SHAD GASPAR) vs. SIM SNUKA & CODY RHODES
Lawler set up his own joke that Cryme Tyme received a key to the city from New Orleans earlier in the weekend, then they had to change the locks today. Cole chuckled on the canned line. The chemistry between the two is just so forced. Cody and Sim worked over JTG for a few moments, then Shad took a lukewarm tag and back dropped Cody hard to the mat. He then scoop-slammed Cody and fired up the crowd for a "Money Money Yeah Yeah" elbow drop ala the Five Knuckle Shuffle. It came down to Cody and JTG, and Cody landed a spin-out facebuster on JTG for the pin and the win.
WINNERS: Legacy in 6:00. Legacy picks up a predictable win here to apparently remain in the group, but the follow-up after the commercial was pretty interesting... (*)
Backstage: After Cody and Sim slapped hands in the ring, they cut backstage to show JBL walking out of Stephanie McMahon's office. He put his hat back on his head and walked down the hallway. At least he wasn't re-buttoning his shirt.
ECW tomorrow night: Matt Hardy vs. Mark Henry. Again? Really?
Backstage: Cody Rhodes and Sim Snuka were slapping hands together, then they walked up to Orton to get their props. Orton told Cody he's in, but Sim is out. Sim was confused. Orton said Cody scored the win in the tag match. Sim reasoned that it was a tag match. Orton asked Cody for his opinion. Cody paused and said he did win the match. He left it at that, then walked away. Orton followed him and patted him on the back while Sim stewed. Well, well, well. Perhaps Ted DiBiase, Jr. returns in the babyface role to team with Sim & Manu since Orton took out DiBiase via the Punt to the head months ago. Boom, there's your storyline.
Backstage - Steph's office: Santino and Beth Phoenix were talking to Stephanie McMahon about Rosa Mendes being out of control. Santino, comically unaware of the world he lives in, said you can't blame her for being attracted to him. Stephanie said she's been booted because she can't respect security. Beth thanked Steph for her decision, then Beth yanked Santino away.
Suddenly, Chris Jericho walked in and wanted to know if JBL was buying her out or something. Jericho said he took his formal complaint a level higher than her - to Vinnie Mac. Stephanie said that ever since "the accident," her dad has been out of the picture. Jericho said that while warming up for his match, he received a call from Vince McMahon's office. He has a bit of news that Vince McMahon will be on the show in two weeks. So, who's show is it going to be? Jericho sneered at Steph, then walked off. Steph was speechless.
Backstage: John Cena was shown walking in anticipation of the main event.
Announcers: Cole and Lawler said Punk vs. Regal for the IC Title has been re-booked for next week's show. So, it's Punk vs. Regal and Orton vs. Kane next week.
In-ring: Speaking of Orton, he came out first for the main event tag match. Chris Jericho then came out as his tag partner. Shawn Michaels came out alone, then John Cena came out and the kids went nuts. Lawler said that's how you blow the roof off the place. Michaels gave him a non-look as Cena did his pre-match poses for the crowd.
6 -- WWE World Hvt. champion JOHN CENA & SHAWN MICHAELS vs. RANDY ORTON & CHRIS JERICHO
No debate between Michaels and Cena on who would start this one off, as Michaels went right to the apron and grabbed a tag rope for a dead stare out into space. Cena checked for life behind his dead eyes, then went to work against Jericho, who quickly grounded him. Crowd was quickly on fire as Cena made a comeback with a side headlock. Michaels then blind-tagged himself into the match and wanted a superkick on Jericho, but Jericho ducked. Cena then looked at Michaels and they clotheslined Jericho to the floor. JBL then came out on stage and looked into the ring. Michaels met him with a puppy-dog stare while Cena looked at Michaels to see if he was on the right page. Cut to break with tension high.
During the break, Michaels lost control of the match. Lawler said JBL left ringside after distracting HBK, which allowed Orton and Jericho to take control. Cena took a hot tag at 6:00 and cleaned house on Orton. He then brushed that dirt off and dropped him with the Five Knuckle Shuffle in center ring. Cena wanted the FU on Orton and Michaels tried to clear off Jericho, but Orton raked Cena in the eyes to escape. Cena then grappled Michaels, thinking he was Orton, but HBK slipped out of the FU. HBK screamed at Cena, who then was attacked from behind by Orton and Jericho to begin an attack on Cena. Great sequence.
By the way, crowd is ridiculously hot for this one. Jericho settled into some mat work on Cena, who tried to get the crowd to rally. Michaels snapped out of his daze with a loud "Cena, Cena" chant and showed a touch of emotion for his default tag partner. Cena suddenly powered into FU position, but Jericho countered with a DDT in center ring for a two count. Cena tried to fight back at 11:00, but Jericho locked in a sleeperhold. Cena tried to reach out for a tag, but Jericho hopped on his back for additional leverage to pull Cena back to center ring. Another nice sequence. They showed JBL watching on a monitor backstage.
[Q9 -- over-run]
Jericho took Cena to the corner and wanted a superplex, but Cena fought him and shoved Jericho down to the mat. Cena then came off the top with his guillotine leg drop. Cena then crawled to the wrong corner before regrouping and going over to his corner for HBK's tag. Before Cena could reach up, Orton took his tag and tackled Cena to cut him off. Great sequence again. Orton then missed with a dropkick when Cena hooked the ropes off a whip, then Michaels demanded that tag in an encouraging way.
Cena pulled himself up at 15:00 and then jumped all the way across the ring to hot tag Cena. HBK stopped and thought about going after Cena, but then HBK sprang on Jericho with a flying right hand smash. Michaels unloaded on Jericho, but Jericho caught him with a smash across the face. He wanted a Lionsault, bur HBK got the knees up. HBK then went up top in vintage fashion and wanted a top rope elbow, but Jericho got his knees up to block. That took the crowd out of it momentarily. Jericho then wanted the Walls of Jericho, but HBK rolled him and Orton broke it up.
All heck broke loose when Cena became involved, then Orton wanted the RKO, but Cena shoved Orton off and HBK smashed him right in the face with Sweet Chin Music. Jericho then popped up and Michaels smashed him for good measure with the superkick. Cena backed up, thinking he was next, but Michaels went over to Jericho and covered him for the pin and the win.
Post-match: Cena went to the apron to back away from Michaels, who seemed a little froggy. The crowd went nuts as Cena continued to be leery of Michaels. They cut backstage where Grisham brought in JBL for a chat. JBL stared at the monitor and said his employee was great out there tonight. But, we'll see how he handles next week when Michaels faces Cena one-on-one with him in HBK's corner. JBL let that soak in, then they cut back to the ring where Cena re-entered the ring when HBK left. HBK then re-entered the ring and walked over to Cena, who threw up a forearm to half-way defend himself. They ended the show with HBK teasing a back-and-forth on how to handle Cena.
WINNERS: Cena & Michaels in 16:00. Excellent WWE main event style match that was heavy on storyline to carry the tag team portion of the match. Crowd was red-hot and Cena and Michaels effectively milked those hot tags. Orton was nearly lost in the shuffle while Jericho was great on the heel end of things. Well done to set up next week's blockbuster Raw. (***1/4)