Chicago, Illinois
January 19, 2009

results thanks to pwtorch.com


The show started with the annual replaying of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech. They transitioned into a shot of Barack Obama, which got a pop in Chicago.

Six months ago: Vince McMahon was giving away $1.0 million when the set blew up and crunched him on stage. "Paul, I can't feel my legs!" joined the wrestling quotebook and off we go tonight.

After the regular Raw intro and pyro, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to Mr. McMahon's return. We'll have to wait, as Randy Orton's music hit to kick off the show. Orton came out alone - and very slowly - without his fanboys. Apparently they're starting with a six-man battle royale to preview the Royal Rumble on Sunday.

Kofi Kingston, then Kane came out as two of the other six. Announcers said Kane is setting the record on Sunday by being in his eleventh straight Rumble. Santino Marella came out fourth, then some new Legacy music hit bringing out Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes as the last two.

1 -- BATTLE ROYALE match

A few seconds into the match, the lights went down and out. Lawler covered that Kane was having another entrance. Lights came back on a few seconds later, then all of the heels ganged up on Kane and Kofi until Legacy decided to dump Santino out of the ring at 1:00.

Legacy then dumped Kofi over the top rope, leaving Kane against the Legacy. Out went Cody Rhodes very quickly. DiBiase then skinned the cat before coming back into the ring to nearly eliminate everyone, but Orton held onto the top rope and won because only one of his feet hit the ring. Afterward, Orton celebrated with his boys in the ring.

WINNER: Randy Orton at 1:50. Well, that was insanely short for a battle royale. And they went to sell a Rumble PPV on Sunday? (n/a)

[Commercial Break]


Backstage: They showed C.M. Punk warming up backstage. Fans popped seeing Punk back home. He has William Regal in a No DQ match tonight for the IC Title.

2 -- Women's champion BETH PHOENIX vs. KELLY KELLY -- non-title match

Kelly sporting a Chicago Blackhawks half-jersey to get the local cheers. Beth quickly shoved Kelly down to the mat before Kelly kicked back only to take a big chest smash. Fans were hot with a "Kelly, Kelly" chant before Beth nailed her sit-out facebuster for the pin.

WINNER: Beth at 1:30. Quick squash for Beth to set up her title match against Melina at the Rumble.

Backstage: Orton and DiBiase were chatting it up. Orton said if he wins, they all win. Cody then stepped in and said there's a problem. He said Sim and Manu were in Steph's office earlier and rumor is that Stephanie is going to fire Orton tonight. Orton was taken aback, then he said we'll see about that. Orton walked off. DiBiase was concerned. Cody was...well...Cody.

[Commercial Break]

Video: They showed a photo-op of outgoing Prez Bush being given a WWE Title belt.

Backstage: Santino embraced Beth backstage after her match victory. Santino said he has a surprise present. Out came #1 stalker fan Rosa Mendes. He said he's giving her a special internship. Rosa said she'll do anything to learn from the best. Santino, "Pleaaaaaase, can we keep her????" Beth paused and said she'll think about it. She walked off, then Santino gave Rosa tips on how to impress her...tonight.

Steph office: Stephanie was on the phone telling someone how to take care of her child. Gotta keep tabs on Hunter with those ebay pics lying around the house. Randy Orton then walked in and said he thinks Steph did the right thing firing Chris Jericho last week. Steph cut him off and said she's not firing him, so he can stop sucking up to her and get out of her office. Stephanie stood up in a huff, so Orton stood up and said he was only being nice. He said the only person who needs to be worried about being fired is Stephanie since daddy back. Orton said the only reason why she has a job is because she's Vince's daughter and everyone laughs behind her back. She would be a nobody without that last name. Steph reached back and slapped someone, then Orton stared back at her and walked off.

[Commercial Break]


12 Rounds: Next week on Raw, they will have the "world premiere" of John Cena's new movie.

In-ring: C.M. Punk came out first to a huge reaction for the IC Title match. He sported the official flag of Chicago and showed it off walking to the ring. William Regal then came out with Layla to defend the title. Cole narrated clips of the previous two false-start matches in the series, bringing us to tonight with No DQ.

3 -- IC champion WILLIAM REGAL (w/Layla) vs. C.M. PUNK -- Intercontinental Title match -- No DQ

Punk landed some stiff kicks to the chest in the ongoing, then Regal rolled to the floor to recover. Punk blocked a suplex on the floor, then rammed him into the ringpost and nailed a kick to the back. Back in the ring, Punk snapped off a suplex before landing more leg blows to the back. Let's get a break.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, Regal was in trouble with Punk locking him in a submission hold inside the ropes. Punk locked that sucker in forever with no five count in a No DQ, so Layla pulled Punk off. The distraction allowed Regal to smash Punk onto the ring apron. Back in the ring, Regal went to work on Punk with submission holds. Suddenly, they had a standing exchange with forearm blows until Punk landed a spinning backfist and a roundhouse kick to the head. Punk made a cover, but only a two count at 8:00.

Punk with the high knee in the corner, but Regal blocked the bulldog and hit a half-nelson release suplex that dropped Punk straight on his neck. Geez. Regal made a cover, but only a two count. Regal went back to work, then wanted the big knee smash, but Punk ducked and wanted the G2S (huge pop for the tease). Regal fought the hold with repeated elbow smashes, but Punk dropped him with the G2S for the pin and the win to set off a wild celebration in Chicago. Punk soaked up the moment for a few minutes while they replayed the finish and stayed in the moment for quite some time. Nice to see that.

WINNER: C.M. Punk at 9:50 to capture the IC Title. Stiff as a mother match. Excellent work by both men with plenty of intensity and a great exchange of offense. Punk nearly breaking his neck was a momentary setback, but a great 10-minute TV bout nevertheless. (***)


Video package: They looked at last week's epic match between World Hvt. champ John Cena and Shawn Michaels - HBK's WrestleMania, per JBL's employee handbook. They focused on JBL standing over Cena to close the show, setting up Cena vs. JBL at the Rumble next Sunday.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Jerry Lawler was in the ring to host the official contract signing between John Cena and JBL for the Rumble. Out first was JBL, who was accompanied by Shawn Michaels. Cowboy hats en vogue tonight. Both men entered the ring with a business-like approach and stood over Lawler's shoulder as Cena's music to a huge girls and kids reaction.

Cena made his way to the ring with a purpose, then his music stopped and the mixed reaction picked up. Lawler moderated by asking who wants to go first. Cena grabbed his leather chair and leaned over before signing the document left-handed. JBL then picked up the clipboard, read over the paperwork, made sure it wasn't a "terms of your release," and slammed down the clipboard after signing.

JBL said it's only a matter of time before his reign begins. Cena answered, "You're a scumbag." He said he doesn't even want to talk to JBL, but he wants to talk to HBK. JBL said it's between the two of them and HBK has a personal services contract under him. JBL said Michaels's only function at the Rumble will be to ensure his title victory at the Rumble.

Cena said he knows JBL didn't pay Michaels all that money just to stand there. He addressed Michaels and said they had a match last week. Not just any match, but an epic match. Cena said he looked into the eyes of the main event, the HBK, and had a match with the Showstopper. He said HBK still has it. Cena said his wife, kids, peers, and these fans love HBK because of who he is and what he does because he just does it better than everybody else. Cena thought maybe Michaels was working hurt or lost a step, but he proved last week he can still go. He called him Mr. WrestleMania and not a puppet of JBL.

HBK silent. JBL said he knows Michaels is all that, which is why he hired him. He said Shawn and all his employees work for him out of choice and because he pays them quite well. JBL said he hired Shawn for one reason: for me to become World champion, then return to Texas for WM 25 as the returning conquering hero. JBL said Michaels will get what he truly cares about: a large, large paycheck. He paused and said it's not personal; it's merely a business decision.

[Q5 -- second hour]

Michaels suddenly snapped out of his funk and said shut up! Big pop. He ripped off the cowboy hat and stared at JBL while Cena pumped his fist. Michaels said taking money from a disgusting individual like JBL makes him sick. He said he despises what he's become, but he does it and he'll continue to do it. Michaels addressed Cena: you don't live in my world. He said he's not 20 years old anymore and he has obligations and pressures that Cena can't even fathom.

Michaels said he has kids to put through college and a wife to look in the eyes. He said Cena and people like Cena know his situation, but they don't know him or live his life. Michaels said he got himself into this and he'll get himself out of this. He said he'll do what he has to do and if it means taking money from JBL, then he'll do it. If that overshadows everything he's done in his career or throws an asterisk by his name, or costs Cena the World Title, then so be it.

Cena answered that Michaels talks about what he has or doesn't have, but everyone knows he's still HBK. He said the fans want to see the real HBK, not this one. Cena said at the Rumble, Michaels has a choice. Fans chanted his name, then Cena said HBK will have to choose: will you really be the guy who helps JBL become the next World champ? Cena said he knows HBK wouldn't do it. No way he would help JBL.

Cena and HBK went face-to-face, then Michaels took the mic and said he's sorry he feels that way. They had an awkward attempt to attack Cena where someone was a step off, then Michaels went for the superkick. Cena ducked, though, and JBL kicked him in the face. JBL then gave him the Clothesline from Hell after Michaels left the ring. Cena was left out cold in the ring. After a replay of the finish, they showed Cena pulling himself up.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Rey Mysterio came to the ring for the epic match-up against Knoxy. Backstage: Todd Grisham walked up to Mike Knox and wanted to know what he has against Rey. He said he doesn't have anything against him. Grisham: "uuuuuh, so why do you attack him?" Knox thought about it, then said he doesn't have an answer. Knox sneered, then walked off. Greatest backstage interview ever. Ever. Knox's tone, his anti-heel voice, and Grisham's line of dumbfounded questions was just classic.



Rey quickly knocked Knox to the floor, then wanted a dropkick, but Knox clotheslined him from his knees on Rey's level. Rey then slingshot Knox across the ring and wanted the 619, but Knox caught his legs and "disconnected the call" before whiplashing Rey throat-first across the middle rope. Knox then wiped the blood off his mouth and began attacking Rey with a vicious beating in the corner. Ref DQ'ed him for not breaking a five count, then Knox went back for more by nailing the Knox Out in center ring.

WINNER: Rey Mysterio via DQ at 2:50. Just fine to keep the storyline going. Did I just write that? Not right. We'll see where this goes before passing judgment this week. (*)

Backstage: Steph was on the phone, then she quickly hung up. Apparently Vince is here. Suddenly, Chris Jericho was in Steph's office. She demanded that he leave after she fired him last week. Jericho said not so fast. See, he talked to Vince's office last week and he will be allowed to say his piece tonight. He vowed not to hold anything back. Jericho sneered and walked off, leaving Steph in peril.

[Commercial Break]

Smackdown Rebound: They focused on the Black Cloud hanging over Jeff Hardy's head leading to him taking the pyro accident. This Friday, an exclusive interview with Hardy before defending his WWE Title against Edge on Sunday.

In-ring: Miz and Morrison were already in the ring for a chat. Miz said they want to commemorate this Royal Rumble by beating the winner of the first one: Jim Duggan. Morrison told him to show up and pick which one of them he wants to lose to tonight. Instead, Cryme Tyme interrupted and said Duggan is on "special assignment" right now. Shad said today is historical because it's MLK Day and tomorrow is Barack's day. Miz whispered: "I'm Republican." Hooray!

Shad suggested they begin their chase for the tag titles tonight. Cryme Tyme walked into the ring and Morrison said they're worse than the Cubs. Big heat for that. JTG suggested if they win, they get a future tag title shot, but if Miz & Morrison win, then CT will leave them alone for good. Morrison said that's fine and they will win because "Yes, we can." Oh. Let's get a match.


5 -- World tag team champions THE MIZ & JOHN MORRISON vs. CRYME TYME (SHAD GASPAR & JTG) -- non-title match

CT stole the victory in less than two minutes running referee interference to set up Shad for a front slam on Morrison for the pin. Miz was beside himself afterward.

WINNERS: Cryme Tyme at 1:30. Another too-short match tonight. Promo exchange was more intriguing than the match, which is typical for this feud. (1/2*)

Recap: They went back to Randy Orton's promo on Stephanie McMahon from earlier in the show with Orton talking about Steph being a complete nobody if she didn't have her last name.

[Commercial Break]

A little too late: They finally gave a hard-sell for the Royal Rumble match and a WrestleMania title match on the line. Classic clips were shown all throughout this video package. Steve Austin with 38 eliminations. Kane with the record for eleven eliminations in one Rumble and eleven straight appearances. Chyna is the only woman. Rey has the longest length of time in one Rumble. Warlord with his annual Raw TV plug with the shortest appearance at 0:02. No. 27 is the most-desired number. Since 1993, 70 percent of the Rumble winners have gone on to WrestleMania to win the strap.

Backstage: Mickie James was talking to Cody Rhodes again. Snow blizzard? Cody wanted to know why he should take career advice from her. Goldust then stepped in for a brother to brother chat. He said he wants to give some advice on how to be a true champion. Goldust handed over the Best of Starrcade DVD. Sting, Flair, even daddy. First Sting mention on WWE TV? He said that DVD could teach you more about wrestling than Orton could in a lifetime. Cody said the classic two-out-of-three falls match between Austin and Dustin Rhodes is on there. He shoved the DVD back in Goldust's gut and said he's not going to waste his talent like Dustin did. Cody said he doesn't need a history lesson. He said when they make the "Cody Rhodes" DVD, he'll send him and the Dream a copy. Cody stormed off, then Goldust shook his head in disbelief.

Backstage: A limo pulled up outside the building. NWO Hollywood? NWO C-team? Lawler suggested Vince is back.


[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Jillian was in the ring singing away. Lawler said she tried to audition for Obama's inauguration, but they told her, "No you can't." They recapped Melina being beat down last week, then Melina came to the ring for a filler match.


A few seconds into the action, Beth, Santino, and Rosa walked to the ringside area while Jillian yanked on Melina's hair in the corner. Jill nearly botched a move, but slammed Melina to the mat. Out of the corner, Melina rolled through on Jillian with a sunset flip pin for the win. Post-match: Rosa jumped into the ring to earn her keep by attacking Melina, which allowed Beth to sneak into the ring and gave her the chicken wing front-face slam to set up their match at the Rumble. Afterward, Beth stormed out of the ring, leaving Santino to ponder things.

WINNER: Melina at 1:20. Just a quick set-up for the Rumble. (1/2*)

Backstage: Dolph Ziggler hyped himself to Candice Michelle. Dolph said if he's in the Rumble match, households all across the world will know the name...Dolph turned around to see Vince McMahon standing next to him. Unexpected return there. Vince, looking very friendly, introduced himself and Dolph became speechless. He lost his name. Candice laughed. Vince walked off. He's back and up next.

[Commercial Break]

Video recap: They went back to the contract-signing-gone-awry with JBL knocking down Cena with the Clothesline from Hell.

In-ring: No Chance and out strutted Vince McMahon in a classic over-the-top suit. McMahon strutted out to the ring and smiled before surveying the audience. McMahon asked if they're happy to see him back and the crowd cheered. He said tonight is not about a reception, though, it's about business. Let's take care of some business right now. First, a former superstar who has a grievance to air.

[Q9 -- over-run]

At the top of the hour, Chris Jericho came out in a classic heel suit. They shook hands and McMahon complemented him on the suit. Jericho thanked him for hearing him out and listed his credentials as being the best in the world. He said he took Raw and carried it on his back while Vince was out before Vince's daughter fired him. Jericho stammered through a virtual begging to be re-hired and re-instated in the Rumble.

McMahon thought things over, said he watched last week, said Steph can be a bit impulsive at times, but wondered if Stephanie has made any progress. Jericho said she's regressed into an incompetent princess. McMahon focused on the word "princess" and brought out Stephanie to the ring.

With Steph in the ring, Vince said he really doesn't want to go over her head, but he's thinking about re-instating Jericho - Superstar of the Year. ... But, he's not. Vince then announced himself and Steph are going to run Raw together. He said they could give Jericho a second chance if Steph would like to. She took the mic and walked up to Jericho before walking a circle around him. Stephanie asked for an apology, but Jericho shook his head no.

Steph threatened security, but Jericho whispered, "I'm sorry." Stephanie said she's a little hard of hearing. Jericho swallowed his pride and said, "I said...I'm sorry." Stephanie looked him up and down and said he'll have to do better than that. "Stephanie, I'm sorry I spoke out of turn against you. I was frustrated at myself and I shouldn't have taken that out on you and I hope you can find it in your heart to please forgive me," he said with zero sincerity. Steph said that's good, but it's not good enough.

She reasoned Jericho has been calling all these fans hypocrites for months, so if he wants his job back, then apologize to all of them. Jericho sneered at her, then the crowd chanted, "On your knees." Steph suggested he take them up on the offer. She pointed to the mat as Vince surveyed the scene with a big grin on his face.

Jericho went down to one knee, then slowly placed the other knee down. He scowled toward the arena before introducing his apology. Jericho said he has a gift and when he has a gift that makes you perform better than anyone else on the planet, then it might seem like he's arrogant. Jericho said he's said a lot of mean things, but he's asking...what I'm saying is that if I have said anything to offend you, then I apologize.

After Jericho issued the classic non-apology, Steph told him to get up because this is embarrassing. She said she'll see him at the Rumble, and now he can leave with the fans telling him what they really think of him. Jericho slowly walked out of the ring, surveyed the audience with a scowl, then walked out to a chorus of boos and "you suck" chants.

Vince McMahon interjected that it warms him to see Jericho grovel like that. He smiled, then told Steph she's still daddy's little girl. They shared a hug, then Randy Orton's music interrupted. Orton walked past Jericho and made his way to the ring to interrupt this family portrait. He said there's another apology in order. Orton said Steph slapped him in the face earlier today for no reason at all. He told Vince to make Steph apologize to him.

We're 11 minutes past the top of the hour with Orton explaining that he is worth more than she is because he is going to win the Rumble, go on to headline Mania, and make Vince millions of dollars because people pay to see him, not Steph. Ouch. Orton said Vince might not want to admit this, but every since Steph has popped out some grandkids, she has become essentially worthless. Steph wanted a piece of Orton, but Vince held her back and told Steph to get out of the ring.

Vince waited for Stephanie to leave, then he turned to Orton and thought over his words. Vince shot Orton a cold stare, then asked, "Who the hell do you think you are?" Vince said Orton is standing in his ring and Orton is privileged to be in it. Vince went to Orton's dad, Cowboy Bob. He said Bob was a mediocre wrestler until he put a spotlight on him. Had he not done that, Orton wouldn't be standing here right now. Chances are, Orton would be a gym teacher in St. Louis.

"Randy, what I'm saying is that now you can apologize to me," he said. Orton sneered at Vince, but no response. Vince added...or else. Orton thought things over, then Vince went on that if Orton doesn't apologize, he'll terminate him on the spot. Orton said Vince does not want to do that, sir. Big pause here. Fans chanted, "R-K-O." Vince began the "You're fired" line, but Orton cut him off at "You're" and smashed him in the face. Orton then kicked Vince in the head before nailing him with the big Punt to the head.

Steph stormed back into the ring to check on daddy while crying out for help. What's left of the agents showed up to check on Vince, then medics showed up. Orton put his hand on his face in disbelief for what he did. They replayed The Punt with it looking like a pretty clean blow. DiBiase and Cody then showed up to support Orton, who didn't know what to do about what he did. He then hopped out of the ring and quickly took off with Cody and DiBiase following him. Vince was strapped to a headboard as Steph continued to cry out for him to respond. They faded out 18 minutes past the top of the hour