Little Rock, Arkansas
September 21, 2009
results thanks to http://www.pwtorch.com
WWE Raw opened with a shot
of a limo pulling up backstage. Cedric the Entertainer stepped out with the
Bella Twins, then a parade of random characters came out. Started with some of
Cedric's friends, then some random football players doing high-knee warm-ups. A
Jewish rabbi circumcising a baby. Okay... Reminded me of the old SNL skit with
Dan Aykroyd driving that sweet Royal Deluxe. Out last was a farmer with a goat.
I have no idea what that segment was about and it made sure people kept the dial
locked to Monday Night Football if people were taking a look at what's on tap
for Raw tonight at the top of the hour.
Arena: After the full pyro intro, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show. DX came out first to start the show. Changing up the template tonight. Triple H's dressed to wrestle. Michaels is not. Apparently they're presenting Hunter unadvertised in a singles match to jumpstart the show. Once the DX theme music stopped, crowd was red-hot for DX. Hunter waited out the applause, then asked the crowd if they're ready. Hunter hyped Hell in a Cell in two weeks. He asked Shawn who was in the very first one. "Me," Michaels said. And who won the first HIAC match ever? "Me," Michaels said. Michaels then asked who has won more HIAC matches than anyone else? "Me," Hunter said. How many? "Five," Hunter said. No, I said, how many... nevermind. Michaels then asked who has never, ever, never, ever, ever, ever competed in a HIAC match and has no idea of the devastation and destruction the human body must endure to even compete on the match? Hunter sold deep thought before saying, "Ooh, our opponents, Cody and Ted." Fans booed.
Hunter paused and said they've never ever competed inside Hell in a Cell. They have no idea what they're about to go through. The last time they were inside the Cell, their opponents were left beaten, battered, and destroyed. Hunter asked who that was. Michaels said Vince McMahon...and they actually liked him. Hunter said they like him, but they don't like Cody and Ted. Hunter said Cody's about to come out here and catch a beating. In two weeks, he's going to get everything HIAC promises to be. Destruction, carnage, and the beatings of their lives. Camera zoomed in tight on Hunter, who said this whole thing comes to an end at HIAC. PYB (3) talk time: 5:05.
On cue, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase came to the ring looking confident with themselves. Cody talked strategy in DiBiase's ear on the way to the ring before Cody entered the ring and posed on the top turnbuckle. Cody and DiBiase just have such a great heel charisma to them. It's slow and methodical, which is perfect.
1 -- CODY RHODES (w/Ted DiBiase) vs. TRIPLE H (w/Shawn Michaels)
Cody Rhodes took it to Hunter early on and beat him down in the corner. Great aggression from Cody, but he missed with a shoulder tackle and ate the ringpost. Hunter then reintroduced Cody to the ringpost two more times to inflict more punishment. Hunter then slapped on the Crossface center ring. Hunter trying to show he doesn't just use submissions to sell a submissions-PPV. Cody scored a rope break, then retreated on the floor, but Hunter kicked him through the ropes. Hunter in control going to break.
Back from break, Cody had control over Hunter as the announcers talked up Legacy increasing in confidence after their win over DX at Breaking Point. Cody put Hunter on the bottom rope to choke him, then the ref reprimanded him and DiBiase landed a cheap shot from the floor. HBK gave chase briefly, but DiBiase ran away and Cody made a cover for a two count. Hunter then dumped Cody to the outside and things broke down on the outside. Cody slapped Michaels, who tried to chase down Cody and DiBiase, but they smashed him into the announce table. Michaels was then laid out with a high-low clothesline and legsweep. Nice spot. Cody then ran into the ring to go after Hunter, but he ducked a clothesline and wanted the Pedigree. However, DiBiase stormed the ring with a chair to the back on Hunter to cause a DQ.
Post-match: Crowd was hot as DiBiase then wound up and nailed Hunter with a chair shot to the head. (Hunter got one hand up to block, but the intense heat does not justify a chair shot anywhere near the head, especially with a company leader calling for it.) Anyways, DiBiase and Rhodes attacked Hunter and laid him out with the Cross Rhodes and Dream Street finishers. Crowd was hot as DiBiase and Rhodes stood tall over Hunter. They wanted to finish him with a chair around the neck, but Michaels jumped into the ring with a sledgehammer and chased off Legacy. Legacy slowly backed away with a great heel look in their facial expressions as Michaels limped around in the ring before holding up a lifeless Hunter.
WINNER: Hunter via DQ at 9:10. Let's get it out of the way first. Chair shots near the head don't prove anyone's toughness in 2009; it proves stupidity. Anyways, this was very intense and a great segment to build to Legacy vs. DX. WWE is planting seeds to see those punk kids Legacy get theirs in the Cell in two weeks. Well done. (**1/2)
Announcer plugs: U.S. Title match - Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger...with no pre-match hype. Announcers then plugged the Hell in a Cell contract signing for Cena and Orton. Up next: Cedric the Entertainer.
HIAC plug: They aired a video package focusing on the Hell in a Cell structure before focusing on Cena vs. Orton. They said it's Cena's first trip inside the Cell.
Announcers: Lilian Garcia, making her final appearance on Raw, gave a long intro for Cedric the Entertainer. Cedric was escorted on stage by the Barker's Beauties Bella Twins. Cedric said it's going to be off the chain tonight. Who let Taz back in WWE? Cedric said he loves that Raw, which is why he's hosting. Cedric started a comedy routine. Let's see if it's better than Abraham Washington's stuff. He said Big Show drives a Prius. Cedric talked about the second and generation wrestlers on the roster. They showed Randy Orton and Bob Orton on a split-screen. Cedric stumbling here...Andre the Giant and King Kong Buddy produced Big Show. They did the Kool-Aid Man for Mark Henry. Shane McKinley had that line weeks ago. The Miz was shown as the son of a jackass. Who let Obama back on Raw?
Suddenly, Santino's music interrupted. Santino stomped out on stage with his jaw on the floor. He ah could not ah believe it was Frederick the Entertainer. Ced corrected him. Santino said he'll just call him Fred. He's seen every one of his movies, including All-Star Comedy Jam. Santino said he wants to go stand-up comedy as a career. Ced said he would introduce him. Santino giggled, then Ced introduced him with a big build-up. Santino told Ced he hopes he's wearing a bulletproof vest because he's about to kill. Oh my. Santino did a fast-food joke that was no-sold and Santino did a great reaction when there were crickets. Cedric interrupted and said, "Beyonce had the best video of all-time!" Kanye West subtle plug. Ced then told Santino to stick to the wrestling.
Chavo Guerrero's music suddenly interrupted and he stomped out on stage not looking too happy with the proceedings. Ced said anyone who lets a leprechaun beat him every week is a loser. Santino whispered in Cedric's ear that he really was not letting him lose and he actually lost to him clean every week. Cedric did a double-take, then gave Chavo a pep talk. "Aa aah are you finished?" Chavo shot back. He said he's tired of all these celebrity guests booking him in a no-win situation. He said he's tired of all this celebrity guest host junk. Cedric said this is the same guy who was karate chopped by Bob Barker last week. (Two weeks ago.) Chavo then issued a challenge to Cedric for tonight. Cedric said he doesn't wrestle. He then plugged his new movie over and over, but Chavo cut him off and said it's on. Santino suddenly jumped back in to accept the challenge. He booked "Frederick the Entertainment vs. Chavo the Leprechaun Loser." Cedric sold concern. Santino: "You're ah gonna punch him and a kick him and ah beat him up." Cedric said why he's really concerned: wearing the little tight wrestling gear. PYB (3) talk time: 8:05. JC: This had about 75 percent hits and 25 percent misses. Some real good comedy from Santino mixed in with some good heel work from Santino. Overall, I liked this.
Backstage: They cut to The Miz with the U.S. Title belt over his shoulder after stealing it from Kofi last week. Miz rubbed his title belt and said he is the reason people watch Raw. He said the U.S. champion should actually be from the U.S. He didn't float over on a raft listening to a Bob Marley CD...suddenly Kofi jumped Miz from behind and took back his title belt. "'Sup, Josh?" Kofi asked. Kofi back with possession of the belt. With that resolved, let's get a break.
[Commercial Break. Ha, Subway Scrabble is advertising a Prius as a prize. Quick product placement follow-up.]
In-ring: Evan Bourne came to the ring for a singles match. The Miz then came out selling a neck injury after Kofi's attack backstage.
3 -- THE MIZ vs. EVAN BOURNE
Miz was the aggressor early on, but Bourne suddenly nailed him with a kick strike out of the corner. Miz then caught Bourne in the corner and smashed the back of his leg across the top rope. Miz followed up with a boot to the head. Some guys in the front row are trying to get some juice behind the "twooooooo" on a nearfall again. That hasn't been popular in four years. Miz tried a hard clothesline, but Bourne slipped under into a pin attempt for a twooooo. Miz went back on the attack with an aggressive kick strike before working over Bourne on the mat. Very aggressive from Miz, who landed successive left arm lariats before giving him a high knee lift as Bourne was throat-first across the apron. Some of the high-pitched audience members were screaming close to an arena mic as lovable Bourne was attacked. Back in the ring, Miz settled into a double underhook Camel Clutch, but Bourne reached his feet and rammed Miz head-first into the turnbuckle. Bourne came back with kick strikes, but Miz came back with his running clothesline attack in the corner. He then went up top, but Bourne crotched him. Bourne then climbed up top and hit a huracanrana that Miz had to embellish a bit. Bourne sprung up top and wanted the Shooting Star Press as the crowd came to its feet, but Miz moved and Bourne landed on his feet. Miz then followed right up with the Skullcrushing Finale for the pin and the win. Afterward, Miz sold a high leg injury but celebrated all the way up the ramp to the stage.
WINNER: The Miz at 5:25. Really nice TV match. Miz's aggressive approach in the ring is serving him very well. His in-ring work built up a lot of sympathy for babyface Bourne and the crowd was very much into the action as a result. Miz, DiBiase, and Rhodes are on top of their games right now as mid-card heels on the verge of a breakthrough. (**1/4)
Locker room: DiBiase and Cody Rhodes were talking backstage. Randy Orton then walked in and said he doesn't want them out there for the contract signing. He told them to take the night off since they're on the cusp of taking out DX once and for all. Orton said it's just a contract signing; he's got it taken care of. Legacy walked off, then Orton stared off camera in deep thought.
[Commercial Break. Not sure if it was a local or national promo, but an ad for CSI:Miami's season premiere coming up at the top of the hour was shown. If I'm WWE, I'm not happy with a competitor's TV show in the timeslot being advertised.]
In-ring: Jerry Lawler was at the contract table setting just before the top of the hour. Lawler set up the Hell in a Cell match between Cena and Orton, then he brought out the challenger, Randy Orton. They replayed a clip from last week when Cena fed Orton to Batista to close Raw. Cole reminded us Batista is on Smackdown now. Orton sat down in his contract table chair, then Lawler paused and introduced WWE champion John Cena. Cena came out on stage to a hot, appreciative crowd. They're in the South where it's typically been 95 percent cheers for Cena. Orton lowered his eyes with anger written on his face as Cena hit the ring.
[Q5 -- second hour]
In-ring: Moderator Mayor Lawler said there's a no physicality rule tonight. Who made that decision? Lawler said Trish Stratus booked a PPV title match between them last week, so here is the contract for the title match at Hell in a Cell. Orton quickly signed the document, then took the mic. He looked at Lawler and told him to get out of the ring. Lawler nodded and left. Orton turned his attention to Cena and said Cena thinks he's got him all figured out, but he's wrong. Orton stood up and said he's more dangerous than ever. He's willing to do whatever it takes to get his title back. Orton said Cena's never been in a Hell in a Cell match before, but he knows what to expect and knows what it takes to win. Orton told Cena he will never be the same.
Cena stood up to loud cheers and threw his hat into the crowd. He picked up his mic and went from super-serious to "Oh, I'm sorry, I really wasn't listening" with a sarcastic smirk. Cena said the only thing he remembers is what Orton said at Breaking Point. Cena had a little compilation of Orton saying "I Quit" over and over and over again. Orton said this isn't a joke. Cena said Orton already made this a joke. Cena said Orton's predictable and everyone knows exactly what he's going to do and say. He then mocked Orton's faces before recapping the Orton-Cena story. Cena said Orton tortured him at Breaking Point, but he survived that one. He sarcastically said he must not have a chance in the world at Hell in a Cell. Cena mocked Orton, who began pacing around. Cena signed the document and said it's now official that this match will happen. Cena told Orton if he doesn't win, then it's Orton's last chance. No more re-matches. No more championships. He gets nothing. Cena said Orton will then be reduced to a dude in his underwear who hangs out with two other dudes in their underwear.
Cena cut the comedy crap and got serious. He looked into Orton's eyes and said for all of Orton's beatings, punishments, and schemes, he said he knows what Orton is capable of. Cena said Orton should be worried because he has no idea what he's capable of. Cena did a mock "win one for the team voice" about not just fighting the good fight or giving it his best shot. He went back to a deep voice and said he will destroy Orton at the PPV. Orton shot back he would like to put Cena through this table with an RKO right now, but he can't legally. Cena said Cena's arrogance has caused people to hate him ever since he came into WWE. Orton said he found two individuals who would like nothing more than to put Cena through hell right now.
Cue up the Big Show and Chris Jericho theme music. Jericho and Show quickly marched down to the ring. Cena cleared the ring of everything except the contract table and stood his ground. Cena sold concern over being cornered, which was not believable after he mocked all of those elements in the promo. Big Show cleared the announce table, then Cena tried to go after Jericho and Show, but they attacked him and beat him down. Cena took a beating, but MVP and Mark Henry ran to the ring and made the save. Cedric then showed up on camera and told them to settle down. He said they just made this a lot easier for him. All of them in a six-man tag match tonight. Predictable, but effective for getting a lot of star power in one ring. Good set-up. PYB (3) talk time: 10:50.
JC: Regarding the contract signing promo, there seemed to be too many elements all mixed together. Cena going back and forth between mockery/comedy and seriousness was a bit too much of a reminder of those bad attempts at comedy in promos he was scripted to deliver last year. The last two or three weeks, he really found his tone delivering promos in short bites, but he had to show more range in this exchange since he was given about eight more minutes of TV time to sell the feud and had to attempt some different things to keep people interested. It was okay; a solid single with the runner on second being waved home. I'm at a thumbs in the middle on this.
ECW plug: They talked up ECW champion Christian vs. Zack Ryder on ECW this week. Slogan for ECW is now "Anything can happen."
Video package: They showed a recap of Alicia Fox winning a #1 contender match to the Divas Title last week while champ Mickie James sat in on commentary.
Ringside: They showed Alicia Fox sitting in a chair ringside in street clothes. She's getting a good look at Divas champ Mickie James tonight. Mickie was out first, then Beth Phoenix for a singles match-up.
4 -- Divas champion MICKIE JAMES vs. BETH PHOENIX -- non-title match
Match quickly moved to the floor where Mickie was distracted by Alicia's presence ringside and Beth rammed her into the ringpost. Beth then dragged her back into the ring and quickly hit her double underhook chickenwing implant buster. Too soon? Beth with the pin for the win to make short work of the champ. Post-match: Alicia Fox slipped into the ring with possession of the Divas Title. She stalked Mickie, who slowly made her way to her feet. Alicia then dropped Mickie with the Alicia Foxkick. (I made that up.) She stood tall with the belt in hand.
WINNER: Beth Phoenix at 1:01. Well, there's your probable Place Your Bets shortest match winner. Very curious booking of Mickie, but they're short on time tonight with three more matches to go and cut out the majority of this match-up. Alicia looked good as a viable threat to the belt. (n/a)
[Commercial Break. They had a local promo for Smackdown in Houston two nights after the TLC PPV in San Antonio this December. Rey Mysterio was heavily featured in the ad.]
ECW plug: Another plug for Zack Ryder challenging for the ECW Title tomorrow night. Heavy focus on Ryder. Will he capitalize on the biggest opportunity of his career?
In-ring: Lilian Garcia introduced the U.S. Title match tonight. U.S. champion Kofi Kingston came out first. Could have used some sort of verbal discussion from Jack Swagger pre-match to express what this title opportunity means to him. Swagger then came out to the ring and did his pre-match push-ups as his pyro exploded on the down and up. Nice.
5 -- U.S. champion KOFI KINGSTON vs. JACK SWAGGER -- U.S. Title match
Match started with a quick pace. This isn't going very long. Cole pulled out the list of past U.S. champs from his thesaurus and read off the list for the home audience. Suddenly, The Miz ran down to ringside and stole the U.S. Title belt. Jack Swagger then ran down Miz on the floor and walked off with the title belt. Swagger looked back into the ring, then walked to the back. Announcers didn't know what to rule here. Ref checked on Kofi in the ring. Um...so, like, what's the result? There wasn't a ten count from the ref counting out Swagger.
WINNER: No Announcement around 1:45 when the segment ended. So, Swagger has the belt at the end of this week. Looks like build-up is for a three-way at the PPV. (n/a)
Announcers: Cole and Lawler immediately went to a recap video of the Cedric entrance at the beginning of the show. They weren't allowed to care about the result of the U.S. Title situation, which told the audience all they needed know about whether that program means anything. Bad News Bears booking.
In-ring: Chavo Guerrero came to the ring for the match-up against Cedric. Let's see how they'll pull the rug out from under Chavo this week. Turned out to be Santino as special referee. After Santino came out in his referee t-shirt, Cedric came out sporting something from Jerry Lawler's Memphis 1979 ring collection. He even had a cape and top hat. It's WWE's inferiority complex about having to present that 'rasslin stuff with men who compete in trunks and have to wear those "tight little outfits." Before the bell sounded, Cedric put on a Lucha mask. "He's a luchador!" Lawler said.
6 -- CHAVO GUERRERO vs. CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER -- Santino Marella special referee
Bell sounded and Cedric danced around the ring in his top hat and Lucha mask. Still sporting the cape. Cedric tried a collar and elbow tie-up, but Chavo shoved him away. Chavo stole his trademark hat and put it on the ground before stomping on it. Chavo began paintbrushing him, so Cedric went to the outside and sold frustration. He then went under the ring and disappeared. Chavo slowly walked away, then slowly walked to the other side of the ring thinking he was real sneaky. Suddenly, there was another man underneath the same outfit. It was not Cedric, but a much bigger man under the mask. And he had no charisma. The bigger man then chased Chavo around the ring and tossed him into the ring. Cole: "Shazam." Um...Shaq, is that you? Big Cedric took Chavo into the ring and beat him up some. This died a slow, painful death. Suddenly, Big Ced disappeared under the ring and little Ced showed up in the form of Hornswoggle. He landed a tadpole splash, then disappeared under the ring. Apparently the real Cedric showed back up and pinned Chavo for the pin and the win. Cole said Santino the ref lost complete control of that match. Post-match: Hornswoggle and Big Cedric then jumped into the ring to celebrate. All three of them did a dance in the ring wearing the same spandex Jerry Lawler trunks and Cedric hat. No reveal on who Big Ced was. Whoever he was had no charisma and didn't study any Mr. Wrestling II Johnny Walker tapes beforehand.
WINNER: Cedric the Entertainer at 4:11. A waste of time. Sure, it'll get them on The Soup or whatever other entertainment show WWE wants to be on, but it continues to reinforce the idea to the general public that (a) Jay Leno can work an armbar on Hulk Hogan because it's just silly wrestling that doesn't require any athletic ability or training and (b) that WWE is low-brow, low-IQ entertainment. The fact that they gave this four minutes, but didn't have time to even announce a result for the U.S. Title match shows where their priorities are. (n/a)
Next week's Raw guest host: Reverend Al Sharpton was confirmed to host the show. ... Announcers: Cole and Lawler plugged the Hell in a Cell PPV. They announced a three-way between Kofi, Miz, and Swagger for the U.S. Title inside the Cell.
Backstage: Cedric was talking to Kelly Kelly about how he did all the work to win that match. He said they should make some championships together. Suddenly, Chris Jericho stepped in over Cedric's shoulder to glare at him. Jericho and Kelly in the same segment. Jericho told Cedric they need to talk right now. Jericho wasn't kidding. Suddenly, Big Show put his hand on Cedric's shoulder and said they need to talk. Cedric did the big gulp and said "okay" in between breaths.
Ringside: Jerry Lawler was shown ringside with a mic in hand. He said tonight is the final night for one of their divas in WWE. He thanked Lilian Garcia for over ten years of service to WWE. They cut to Lilian in-ring, who was crying. She said ten years ago when she signed up for WWE, she never knew what kind of adventure she was going to have. Lilian talked about singing the National Anthem after 9/11 and overseas for the U.S. military. She thanked the WWE crew, announcers, and superstars. Lilian choked up talking about announcing some of the greatest matches in WWE history. She thanked everyone for their love and support, adding that she will miss everyone so much. That was the most real emotion on WWE TV in a long, long time. Should have given her the mic more often. Audience applauded Lilian, who waved to the crowd as they cut to break. Great conclusion to her career. Thankfully, they didn't bring out anything silly, but let her leave with her head held high. Well done.
Smackdown plug: Batista is back with a vengeance. Batista faces Big Show one-on-one. Oh dear. Not the Batista vs. Show formula match all over again.
In-ring: Chris Jericho, Big Show, and Randy Orton were already in the ring out of the break. Jericho said they dislike John Cena as much as he does, so they went to Cedric and said he needs to up the ante for the six-man tag. Jericho said if their team loses, then Orton has to face Cena, Henry, and MVP in a three-on-one gauntlet match. Orton flipped out, but Show calmed him down. Show said if they win, then Cena gets a three-on-one gauntlet against the three of them. Orton calmed down and Show said they just need to win tonight. John Cena's music hit and Cena came out to ringside before they cut to another break.
[Q9 -- over-run]
7 -- RANDY ORTON & Unified tag champions CHRIS JERICHO & BIG SHOW vs. WWE champion JOHN CENA & MARK HENRY & MVP
Bell sounded back from break and Cena started things off. Orton came in, then slithered away from Cena. Cena chased Orton around the floor, but he stopped when he met Big Show. Show smiled, then Jericho jumped Cena from behind. Back in the ring, heels began working over Cena to put him in trouble. Heels very quick in and out since WWE's short on time and they needed to accelerate the pace to build momentum for Cena's comeback. Crowd went nuts as Cena teased a hot tag, then brought in MVP to clean house on Jericho. MVP landed a big clothesline, then he nailed that weak-looking jawbreaker across his knee before setting up the Ballin' elbow drop. MVP made a cover, but Jericho kicked out. Show then cut off MVP in the corner from the apron behind the ref's back and the heels went back to work on MVP. Crowd started an "MVP" chant to rally behind him. MVP teased a tag in his corner, but Orton cut him off. And they repeated it with MVP just a few inches closer as the hard camera shook from the crowd being into the action. Shaky hard camera really enhances a story. MVP then bumped into Henry for a tag and Henry cleaned house on the heels. "And it's a big house," Lawler said. Cena suddenly dumped Show over the top rope with a giant FU. Out of nowhere, Orton dropped Henry center ring with the RKO. He then fell on top of Henry and pinned him with Cena just a few moments too slow to break up the pin.
Post-match: Orton celebrated with Show and Jericho on the floor as Cena sold concern and disbelief in the ring. Cena gritted teeth and sold the serious nature of the moment faced with a three-on-one gauntlet match next week. They replayed the finish with Jericho chopblocking Henry to set up Orton for the RKO on Henry to win the match. Back live, Cole said Cena runs the gauntlet next week. Cena rubbed his head in disbelief as they closed the show with the heels standing tall on the outside.
WINNERS: Team Orton at 8:15. Predictable (not wrong!), good finish to the match to put Cena in jeopardy going into next week. Continued the back-and-forth booking of Orton looking like an idiot and looking like a credible heel. This week, he looked pretty smart at the end of the day. Cena selling fear and acting like he's faced with a 10,000 foot jump with just a backpack just does not work at all on the same show he mocked all of those elements and mocked his feud against Randy Orton earlier in the show. WWE can't have it both ways with Cena trying to be Mr. Comedian at one point, then over-selling fear later in the show. Good outweighed the bad of bridging to the lead-in show next week, though, with the crowd super-hot for the match to convey to the home audience they were really into in the storyline. (**1/2)