January 26, 2009
results thanks to pwtorch.com
-A video package aired on last week's Randy Orton-Vince McMahon angle with cool production values with splices of Orton's intro song mixed in. No official Raw opening this week and no pyro.
-Lilian Garcia introduced the Royal Rumble 2009 winner, Orton, who walked out onto the stage with Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase, and three unknown guys in suits. Michael Cole said they understand Orton will be reprimanded tonight. Jerry Lawler said what he said last night - that Vince McMahon suffered a concussion and perhaps neck injuries. Lawler said what Orton did last week was one of the most appalling things he's ever seen in WWE. Orton introduced the three men in suits as "my attorneys and my therapist." He spoke slowly as he talked about being a third-generation WWE Superstar (how is that possible when "WWE Superstars" were invented in 1985; before that, WWF and WWWF performers were old fashioned "rasslers"?) Orton said he's been diagnosed with IED - Intermittent Explosive Disorder. He read a statement saying it affects 16 million Americans where an individual, when provoked, suffers a loss of control and outbursts of physical violence. He said after being slapped by Stephanie McMahon and his job threatened by Vince McMahon, he had become sufficiently provoked. He said everyone saw his face when it was over. "I was not responsible for my actions," he said, noting that his therapist can confirm WWE knew of his condition and did nothing about it, which is why if Stephanie McMahon chooses to fire him tonight, he will sue her and WWE. (Time to decode this storyline into what neurosis Vince McMahon is venting about; who's threatening to sue him now?)
He said that is just the first lawsuit, but there happens to be a second. He said that last night he won the 2009 Royal Rumble. Cody and Ted applauded, and so did a lot of fans. He said he is "more superior than everyone in this company" which means he will sue if he doesn't get the main event slot at WrestleMania. He said if Steph chooses to fire him, not only will she be faced with two lawsuits, but she'll lose Ted and Cody because they have both vowed to me to talk right to TNA if he is fired tonight. Okay, he didn't say TNA, but would that have ever made TNA's night.
He said he had one more piece of business to attend to. He read another statement off of a piece of paper. He read an apology to Mr. McMahon and his family and all of the fans. The crowd booed him. Cole and Lawler discussed Orton blaming his actions on a medical condition. Lawler said he can't really believe he can read an apology and get away with it. "What kind of competitor brings out two attorneys and a therapist?"
-They cut backstage to Stephanie who had her cartoon angry face on as she watched him on the monitor. Strange segment. Orton sure put pressure on the McMahons not to suspend him, as if winning the Rumble wasn't enough. His delivery was strong, if not a touch comical given his leaning on lawyers and a therapist. Steph's angry face was bad acting. Seriously, nobody naturally holds that look that long unless they're interacting with puppets on a kiddie show and the puppet just stole one of their cookies.
1 -- MIZ & JOHN MORRISON vs. CRYME TYME -- World Tag Team Title match
Cole noted that "The Dirt Sheet" on WWE.com this past week took some digs at Orton. Lawler told Cole he'd look good showing off his underwear waistband like JTG does. Miz broke up a pin attempt by Shad, then JTG tackled him out of the ring. Morrison pinned Shad after hitting him from behind with a Moonlight Drive finisher.
WINNERS: Miz & Morrison in 4:00 to retain the tag titles.
-Lawler and Cole were shown at ringside. Lawler hyped the Elimination Chamber match at No Way Out. Lawler said both the WWE Title and World Title would be at stake in the matches. As Lawler said the rules are available at WWE.com, JBL's music interrupted.
-JBL stepped out onto the stage and said he wanted them to be made aware of a special qualifying match later. He said Shawn Michaels will be in a match, and after he wins, he will be entered automatically in the Chamber. He said his opponent will be John Cena. He looked very serious as he said that, then turned around and left. Lawler said, "Are you kidding me?" in response to Michaels being able to wrestle the qualifying match for JBL on JBL's behalf.
-Lawler hyped that the World Television Premiere of the "12 Rounds" trailer, starring John Cena, would air later tonight on Raw. What a coup for WWE!
2 -- KANE vs. KOFI KINGSTON - Elimination Chamber Qualifier
Cole began talking about the four pods inside the Elimination Chambers, describing the match format and rules. A crawler during the match plugged the WWE Kids magazine, the latest regular WWE Magazine, the latest WWE music CD, and the latest DVD releases including Starrcade. Kofi surprised Kane by blocking a chokeslam attempt with a leaping roundhouse kick to the side of his head. He followed with a sunset flip for a pin. Kane's shoulders weren't actually down, but the ref didn't see his left shoulder lift during the count. In any case, Kofi got the official win. Kofi celebrated the big win, as he'll now be in his first co-PPV main event barring injury between now and then.
WINNER: Kingston in 3:00.
-They threw to a clip of Orton slapping and kicking McMahon last week.
-Cole plugged Cena vs. Michaels.
-A commercial aired hyping the replay of the Rumble on PPV including the first mention all show of ECW's Matt Hardy turning on Smackdown's Jeff Hardy.
-As they showed the Cleveland skyline, Lawler said (his favorite NFL team) the Cleveland Browns announced a new General Manager today. He wondered what Raw's G.M. was going to do about Orton tonight. Is Steph officially the G.M.? Do McMahons sink to being mere G.M.s now, like Teddy Long and Vickie Guerrero and Armando Estrada?
-Chris Jericho stepped onto the stage wearing a suit. He immediately brought up the rave reviews for "The Wrestler" starring Mickey Rourke. He threw to a clip that promoted the movie with Darren Aronofsky, the director, commenting on it. Jericho then said one of those who gave the film a glowing review was WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair. He said even though Flair is retired, he can't help himself and he craves the spotlight. He said apparently Flair and Rourke have become friends. He said last night on the Red Carpet, Rourke said something about him. They went to an Access Hollywood clip of Rourke talking about Vince McMahon, Roddy Piper, and Ric Flair embracing him. He said they want him to do WrestleMania. He said Jericho better get his ass in shape. "I'm going to toss him all around like tossed salad," he said, adding that Flair, Piper, and Rock's uncle, Afa the Wild Samoan, have taught him a lot. That mention of Jericho seemed out of left field. Jericho said: "I'm going to say this very slowly. Mickey Rourke, you are out of line. It is one thing to play a wrestler in a movie, but it's an entirely different thing to actually be one. Your comments have offended me, Rourke." He said the last thing he or Flair would ever want to do is offend him. All this talk of Flair indicates he's in line to be at ringside for Rourke if Rourke actually wrestles. I was hoping for something a little more elaborate regarding the Jericho-Rourke hype than Rourke mentioning Jericho for no apparent reason and that launching a full-fledged feud. Disappointing start. Jericho didn't really have anything to sink his teeth into, either. There are many ways they could have launched this feud, and I can't really think of anything less exciting than this. It felt really forced.
-Backstage, Michaels told JBL he did everything he could last night. JBL asked how superkicking him was good for him. Michaels said he had to do something to get Cena lower his guard, and it worked. He said he did all he could to make sure he'd leave the ring as champion. JBL said he assumed wrong. JBL said he'd fire him right now if he didn't need him to do more business. He said he still has a chance to go to WrestleMania as champion. He told him to be the Showstopper one more time and beat Cena again. "You've got one more last chance," he said. "Beat Cena right now."
-A video package aired on the history of WrestleMania with a lot of vintage clips, including Bruno Sammartino, Andre the Giant, Ricky Steamboat, Billy Martin, and many other wrestlers and celebrities. WWE does a great job making WrestleMania seem like a huge deal, and having 24 previous events to draw upon really helps. It seems they're dropped calling it the 25th Anniversary, which is good since it's technically the 24th Anniversary since the 1st anniversary was at WrestleMania 2, so the 25th anniversary would be WrestleMania 26.
3 -- JOHN CENA vs. SHAWN MICHAELS (w/JBL) - Chamber Qualifying
Cole explained that Cena only has a one-in-six chance of walking out of the Elimination Chamber with his title at No Way Out. Michaels opened with chops and an elbow in the corner. Cena went for a bulldog, but Michaels escaped, but Cena slapped Michaels to the mat at 1:00. Michaels bailed out to ringside to regroup and they cut to an early break at 2:00.
Cena settled on a chinlock after the break. Cole said Cena, as champion, has already qualified for the Chamber so he doesn't have the same stake in the match as JBL. Michaels came back with an atomic drop and bodyslam sequence, and then worked his way gingerly toward the top rope. He only made it to the ring apron where Cena caught up to him. Cena dropped Michaels and went for an STF, but Michaels escaped. Cena hit two flying shoulder blocks and his turning sideslam at 7:00. He then signaled for the whole You Can't See Me routine, but when he waved his hand in Michaels's face, Michaels grabbed him and locked him into an STF. It's nice to see that cocky move countered for once.
Cena lifted Michaels after a minute or two of suffering, then took him down with a drop toe hold and quickly applied his STF. JBL looked on nervously at ringside. Michaels reached the bottom rope on his own to force a break at 10:00. Michaels chopped Cena in the corner, but Cena whipped Michaels into the opposite corner where he did the Stevens-Flair flip. Both men went down and were slow to get up. Michaels got up first and crawled out of the ring. JBL told him, "Superkick him! What are you doing?" Michaels said he's going to do it his way. Michaels decided to go for the top rope elbow instead. When he got to the top rope, JBL climbed up onto the ring apron. Cena shoved JBL into Michaels, knocking him to the mat. Cena hit his FU finisher for the win. Cole declared that JBL won't be in the Elimination Chamber. Lawler asked how Michaels fell off the top rope. It seemed pretty clear the first time around, but the replay confirmed the apparent.
WINNER: Cena in 13:00.
STAR RATING: **1/2 -- Good above-average TV match.
-Afterward, JBL walked into the ring as Michaels remained flat on his back writhing in pain. He stood over him with his hands on his hips. So far a really flat follow-up to the Rumble. Cena-Michaels was solid, but the finish was pretty lame with JBL wanting Michaels to somehow superkick Cena while he was still down and costing him inadvertently, but predictably, the chance to hit his elbow.
-Cole and Lawler threw to a clip of Orton's actions last week, then criticized Orton for threatening lawsuits this week. A clip aired of Orton earlier in the show.
-Backstage Todd Grisham interviewed Stephanie McMahon. He asked what if any action will be taken against Orton tonight. Stephanie said there will be action taken again him, and it will be done publicly and to his face.
-They showed freeze-frames of Melina beating Beth Phoenix to win the Women's Title at the Rumble.
4 -- MELINA & KELLY KELLY vs. BETH PHOENIX (w/Santino Marella) & JILLIAN HALL
Santino joined Lawler and Cole on commentary. Santino looked at Cole and said: "Look at you! You look fantastic! Have you been working out, J.R.? I didn't recognize you without your hat." Funny. Lawler agitated Santino by reminding him that Phoenix was no longer the champion. A woman yanked Melina off the ring apron and then ran off before we could see her face. Lawler asked who did it. Santino said, "She fell." Phoenix then finished off Kelly. They showed a replay and much to everyone's surprise, it was Rosa Mendez who interfered.
WINNERS: Phoenix & Jillian in 3:00.
-A WrestleMania 21 vignetted aired, titled "The Rise of the Rated-R Superstar."
-A clip aired of Rey in the Rumble.
5 -- REY MYSTERIO vs. WILLIAM REGAL (w/Layla) - Elimination Chamber Qualifier
Cole touted that Rey lasted nearly 50 minutes in the Rumble last night, outlasting even Mark Henry. That's what he said. Regal dominated for three minutes, but Rey made a comeback and hit the 619 and his springboard splash for the win.
WINNER: Rey Mysterio in 4:00.
-Another scene aired of the Cleveland skyline as they plugged Kevin Rudolf's "Let It Rock" Royal Rumble theme song. Good song.
-Rosa told Santino she had to take a stand for women everywhere by interfering in Phoenix's match, even though Phoenix didn't need her. Phoenix looked upset at first, but then smiled and said, "We can keep her." Funny.
-Cole and Lawler laughed about that segment, then threw to the "special treat" of the World Premiere of the "12 Rounds" trailer starring Cena. It comes out March 22 in theaters. It seemed decent for that genre, certainly better than Mr. Kennedy's movie.
-Lawler plugged Jericho vs. C.M. Punk as the TV main event. They must not have been proud that was the main event, since it's the first they mentioned it.
-A clip aired of Punk winning the IC Title last week in Chicago.
6 -- CHRIS JERICHO vs. C.M. PUNK -- Elimination Chamber Qualifier
Punk did that Hilary Clinton thing where he points to the crowd and acknowledges someone as if his best friend is in the crowd and he just made eye contact. It's like the opposite of when Ric Flair would pick out a phantom heckler and yell things at them about sleeping with their wife. Cole talked about the past year for Punk being so successful. Lawler talked about the ongoing rivalry Punk and Jericho have had. At 2:00 Punk signaled for an early Go To Sleep, but Jericho elbowed out of it and sunset flipped Punk for a near fall. They reversed each other twice into two other near falls. Jericho then went for a Walls of Jericho. Punk spun out of it. Jericho hit a Code Breaker, but it wasn't smooth at all and barely made contact. They went to the three count anyway. Lawler said the Code Breaker caught just enough.
WINNER: Jericho in 3:00. Just too short to amount to much, and it makes matches between equals like this seem like farces when the normal length is now getting shorter and shorter. It was a throwaway TV main event without a lot of backstory, and at least they delivered a clean finish, but it does harm to Punk to lose so quickly to Jericho as competitive as he was up until the finish.
-They went to another video package on Orton-McMahon.
-Stephanie McMahon walked to the ring to her intro song to address the Orton situation. Stephanie said he can't give a half-hearted apology and expect to get away with what he did last week. She called him to the ring. Orton's music played and he walked out, flanked by DiBiase, Rhodes, his two lawyers, and his therapist. Orton said if Steph fired him, she'll be subjecting herself to a nightmare. "I'll be gone, Cody and Ted will be gone, the star power in the Raw locker room will be crippled." Orton's therapist said IED is a serious issue, and ignoring his condition qualifies as extreme negligence. He said his client will not get down on his knees and apologize. He said there will be extreme consequences. She asked if that was "some kind of threat." It's hard to see it as anything else.
Orton said he has the legal right to be at WrestleMania because he won the Rumble. He said he will file an injunction so this year there will be no WrestleMania if he's prohibited from competing. He asked what she plans to do about that. The rest of the Raw locker room walked out onto the stage including Jericho, Mike Knox, Kane, Jamie Noble, and the rest of the heels and babyfaces. Orton asked what they were all looking at. He said he doesn't care if they don't have a WrestleMania. He said he'd take each of them down with him if Steph tries to take him down. He turned and challenged Steph to fire him. He got red-faced and said, "I am begging you to fire me." He said he'd sue this company for all it's worth. He repeated "Fire me now! Let me hear the words your father was about to say right before I kicked him in the skull!" He leaned into her forehead and demanded to be fired. Steph said, "Firing you would be too easy." She broke into a smile and said, "We've got bigger plans."
Shane McMahon stepped out onto the stage as his music played. He looked very emotionally distraught. He took off his jacket, welled up with tears, and then took off his watch. He stepped into the ring ands tared down Orton. Orton, DiBiase, and Rhodes stepped backward as he walked toward them. Shane dove at Orton and speared him. DiBiase and Rhodes pulled him free and held him. Shane broke free with elbows and punched away at Orton. DiBiase and Rhodes again pulled him off and took him down. Shane broke free again and mounted Orton with a barrage of punches. He should be World Champion! He's the toughest guy on the planet. Shane took Orton down with a series of punches. Orton fell back like Andre Arlovski. It's kind of embarrassing to watch this. It's like a flashback to Eric Emrby in World Class booking himself in a completely over the top manner to be tougher than any other men in the promotion. DiBiase and Cody helped Orton to the stage. Shane caught up to them. The other wrestlers pulled Shane away. He elbowed himself free of them, then demanded to know where Orton escaped to. That was pretty much laugh-out-loud bad, making Jeff Jarrett seem humble and muted in comparison when it comes to booking himself strong. Ugh. I know Shane's mad at what Orton did to his father, but come on, they can't expect anyone to take that seriously, can they?