Albany, New York
September 28, 2009

results thanks to http://www.pwtorch.com

WWE Raw opened with the usual pyro entrance, then crowd shots of the signs in the arena. Announcers Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler hyped John Cena vs. Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, and Big Show in the gauntlet match. Lawler said it doesn't look good for Cena. Stack that deck.

VIP Lounge: Already in the ring for the VIP Lounge was the Big Red tandem of MVP and Mark Henry. MVP reminded us big things are popping and little things are stopping. Henry sat on the couch enjoying the moment. He started to introduce the guest host of Raw...boos in the crowd...but Jericho and Big Show's music interrupted. They sauntered out feeling pretty good about themselves. Cole reminded us Jericho & Show are defending the tag belts against Batista and Rey Mysterio at Hell in a Cell.

Once all assembled parties were in the ring, Jericho told MVP he needed to give Sharpton a better intro. Like the greatest civil rights leader. MVP and Jericho proceeded to go back and forth talking up Sharpton. Jericho said he's a man who tells it like it is. Crowd not buying the Sharpton hype. MVP hyped the education reform tour, then Jericho blurted out Sharpton's name before MVP could finish. That was funny.

Reverend Sharpton then came to the ring with a babyface demeanor as Cole and Lawler quickly plugged his education reform. Crowd booed Sharpton once his music stopped. "Tough crowd," he said. Sharpton plugged his education reform program. Crowd not into this. MVP then transitioned into demanding some reform with the Unified tag titles. MVP told Sharpton to book a title match against JeriShow. He actually said the Internet nickname JeriShow. Sharpton seemed a bit lost and asked Jericho what they think about that.

Jericho said what he thinks is that he doesn't care what the hypocrites and parasites in the arena think. He said MVP and Henry already had their title shots. Jericho said only he knows what is best for the idiots in the crowd who don't deserve an education or the right to vote. Not his best promo. Seemed a bit old and like he was just reciting his usual lines without conviction. Sharpton said everybody deserves an opportunity. He polled the crowd and said they're going to have a championship match next. That got the crowd behind him. Jericho claimed it was discrimination at the highest degree. PYB (3) talk time: 8:20.

[Commercial Break]

1 -- Unified tag champions CHRIS JERICHO & BIG SHOW vs. MVP & MARK HENRY -- Unified tag title match

Action was in progress back from break with Jericho working over MVP. Poor choice to cut to a close-up camera shot of Mark Henry, who visibly asked the ref "How much time?" He nodded his approval upon receiving the answer. Anyways, MVP dragged Jericho to his corner and brought in Henry, who clubbed Jericho across the back. Henry tossed Jericho across the ring, then Jericho scampered over to his corner to tag in Big Show.

[Q2] Show tapped Jericho on the shoulder to comfort him, then Show slowly entered to square off against Big Mark Henry. They had a big-man lock-up and Henry flexed and smiled. Show then kicked Henry in the gut and clubbed him into the corner. Show did a little jog for a corner splash, but Henry caught him in mid-air, then clotheslined him to the mat. MVP tagged in and tried to knock Show off his feet, but Show exploded on MVP with a big clothesline. Ref did his part immediately checking on MVP to sell the move.

Jericho entered the ring to work over MVP while he was in a weakened state, as Lawler pointed out. Crowd chanted MVP's name as MVP fired back on Jericho. They had an awkward exchange with a miscommunication, then Jericho went back on the attack. Show re-entered moments later and worked over MVP on the mat with a big side headlock. Show walked across MVP's sternum to bring in Jericho, who tagged in and kicked MVP in the back. Jericho called a spot to MVP and MVP ran into a back elbow smash. Jericho wanted a Lionsault, but MVP moved and Jericho ate the mat. Henry tagged in and cleaned house on Jericho before knocking Show off the apron. Henry then gorilla press-slammed Jericho over the top rope to the floor, but Show caught Jericho in mid-air and held him up. Jericho sold near-death while MVP and Henry stood tall going to another break at 8:00. They're giving this one a lot of time. It's been a sloppy match thus far, though.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, Jericho escaped a pin attempt from Henry by putting his foot on the bottom rope. Show suddenly blind-tagged in and equally suddenly speared Henry center ring. Show went back to work on Henry and landed a big splash for a two count. Jericho and Show ran some double-team interference working around the ref and Show landed a clothesline on Henry for a two count. Henry fought back against Show, but Show landed a DDT for a two count. Jericho then tagged in and cockily approached Henry for a kick strike. He followed with a sleeper hold attempt, but he comically couldn't get his arms around Henry. Henry co-operated with the spot and dropped down to one knee to sell the move and build up toward ramming Jericho into the corner turnbuckle. Both men sold the effects, but Jericho went back on the attack with kick strikes in the corner.

Jericho then dragged Henry to the heel corner and brought in Big Show again. They each went for a double clothesline and each man fell hard to the mat like trees in the woods. Both men eventually made tags to speed things up between Jericho and MVP. MVP landed the early offense in the exchange including a big boot for a two count. MVP followed with a big clothesline, then he spotted an opportunity for the Ballin' elbow drop. MVP made the cover, but Jericho kicked out at two. Cole at this point said winner gets Batista & Rey on Sunday at the PPV. MVP wanted the Playmaker at 17:15, but Show interrupted. Action broke down everywhere. MVP tried to roll up Jericho from behind for a pin, but Jericho kicked out just before three. Cole said: "MVP's gonna steal it." Wrong word choice, Mike. Crowd popped on the real close nearfall.

[Q3] MVP then came back with a DDT and made a cover, but Jericho again with a super close kickout. Crowd was hot for the finish. Show made it to his feet on the outside and smashed MVP from behind with a forearm smash as he bounced off the ropes. MVP then walked into the codebreaker from Jericho. Jericho couldn't make an instant cover, but he eventually rolled on top of MVP for the pin and the win.

WINNERS: Big Show & Jericho at 18:18 to retain the Unified tag titles. Really sloppy first-half of the match before the commercial break. Very sluggish Henry-Show exchange during the second-half of the match before bringing in the faster-moving MVP and Jericho to set up a very nice finish after the long build-up to the finish. Jericho was off his game tonight until really selling those nearfalls by MVP. He's one of the best in the business at selling the all-important nearfall, like Kurt Angle in TNA. (**1/4)

Announcers: John Cena runs the gauntlet against Orton, Show, and Jericho. As if you didn't get enough of Show and Jericho tonight, you get more!

[Commercial Break]

Backstage: Primo Colon was in a teacher's classroom talking to Reverend Al Sharpton about being an inspiration to minorities. Hornswoggle then ran into the classroom and Chavo Guerrero chased him around. Sharpton told him to calm down. Chavo introduced himself, then brought in generic wrestler #1, Chris Masters. Suddenly, Santino entered and introduced his partner, Hornswoggle. Santino said he saved lots of money switching to Geico. He then took a breath and looked at Sharpton. Santino declared it's the greatest boxing promoter of all-time. Sharpton said he's not Don King. The segment ended with Sharpton telling everyone to leave. Sharpton to Primo: "I'm not sure what I got myself into tonight." Primo said everyone es loco. Cole and Lawler were having such a great laugh ringside. I think it's obvious Cole laughs in his sleep every night when thinks about Hornswoggle vs. Chavo.

Backstage: After the announcers talked up the deck stacked against Cena tonight, they cut to Josh Mathews for an interview with Randy Orton. Orton methodically marched through a death and destruction promo on Cena before their WWE Title match at the PPV. We'll mark that generic promo #1 tonight. Just didn't catch the viewer for why they should order the PPV on Sunday. Seemed like empty threats we've heard from Orton before. It was a fine promo, but WWE hasn't booked Orton to have enough credibility for those threats to be credible.

Elsewhere backstage: Alicia Fox and Rosa Mendes were shown walking down the hallway for a match up next.

[Commercial Break]


WWE PSA: On average, minority students are three grade levels behind white students by the fourth grade.

In-ring: Divas champion Mickie James came to the ring for a divas tag match. Cole and Lawler plugged Mickie vs. Alicia Fox for the Divas Title at the PPV on Sunday. Alicia Fox and Rosa Mendes then came to the ring with Rosa facing Mickie.

2 -- Divas champion MICKIE JAMES vs. ROSA MENDES (w/Alicia Fox)

Beth Phoenix nowhere to be seen after pinning Mickie in one minute last week. Match sarted off in standard form with Rosa working over Mickie in the ring. Alicia, suddenly an expert on mat work, shouted instructions to Rosa. Mickie then made her comeback and took out Rosa with a spinkick. She made the cover for the pin and the win. Mickie stood tall while Alicia glared at her to close the segment.

WINNER: Mickie at 3:40. Fine build for Mickie vs. Alicia at the PPV. Got the point across with a decent match for Mickie to get a needed win back after being squashed by Beth last week. (*)

Smackdown plug: They aired an in-your-face video package advertising stars from Raw, ECW, and Smackdown converging on Smackdown for the 10-year celebration this Friday. WWE plugged the big eight-man tag main event with Cena & DX & Undertaker vs. Orton & Legacy & C.M. Punk.

[Commercial Break]

ECW plug: William Regal has made his intentions clear of becoming #1 contender again.

In-ring: They focused on the Hell in a Cell structure hanging above the ring. Legacy's music hit and Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes came to the ring. Justin Roberts, by the way, is the ring announcer for Raw. No match was announced. Apparently they're starting with a promo even though they're dressed to wrestle. Each man took a mic and slowly looked around the arena before DiBiase started. He gets it. Nobody expects them to win on Sunday. But, people should expect it. He said what they've done over the past few weeks shows they are prime for the single greatest victory of their careers. DiBiase addressed those with a short attention span or those who have chosen to forget, check this out. Legacy rolled video of them beating the tar out of DX over the past few weeks including the Breaking Point PPV victory.

Back in the ring, DiBiase and Rhodes were pretty pleased with themselves. Fans booed, then Cody sneered at the crowd and cut his promo. Cody said Shawn Michaels and Triple H are two of the greatest wrestlers in WWE. More credentials. Cody told Hunter to go ahead and get his cozy corner office ready in Stamford, Conn. to sit behind a desk with the rest of his family after they put him on the shelf for the rest of what would have been his career. Great line. Cody said Michaels is the greatest in-ring performer ever. He told us a story about Michaels's greatness, but the thing is the legend has a tragic conclusion when Legacy stands over a broken heap that was Shawn Michaels. Cody said at Hell in a Cell, they aren't going to be locked in there with DX, but DX is going to be locked in...suddenly there was a loud booooooring from Shawn Michaels's voice somewhere in the arena. Legacy looked around trying to find DX as DiBiase said time is running out for the two of them.

They showed DX standing atop of the arena like two tough guys. DiBiase told the audience to look way up there where DX was sitting in a skybox. DiBiase said they're just so funny and hysterical. DiBiase said they see right through DX. They're trying to take the sting out of the beating they just gave them. Hunter was too cool for school saying they made fun of Legacy because the two of them are complete...Michaels interrupted and told him it's a PG show. Hunter said it's family-friendly, oh ya. He said they're like butts, but not so much the cheeks. Rather, the center part. Wow. Hunter said they make fun of them because ...oh yeah, Cody is a comic book nerd. Hunter tried to insult Cody, but Michaels knew the comic book reference to be ironic. Hunter tried to work through this about DX being like the Incredible Hulk because they're calm and cool when not the Hulk, but they destroy opponents when the monster comes out. Hunter finally got to the bottom of things and said they're taking the fight to them right now.

DX's music hit and they stormed the ring after slowly walking down the arena steps to the ringside area. Legacy bailed to the outside, though, and ran to the front row. DiBiase and Cody didn't sell fear, thankfully. Hunter and Michaels stood their ground in the ring, then Michaels took the mic. He shook his head and said what a shock. After all the talk, here they stand ready to go and there they go running away. Hunter told them to enjoy this distance because on Sunday, a cell is going to lower around the four of them and there won't be any running or hiding or joking. Hunter pointed at them and said it's going to be pure hell on Sunday. DiBiase and Cody had enough and walked off down a side exit tunnel to the back. PYB (3) talk time: 11:15.

Announcers: Cole and Lawler plugged Cena's survival skills in the gauntlet match tonight.

[Commercial Break]

Did You Know: Raw was watched by more adults 18-49 than Jay Leno's show last week. A cooking show on Food Network probably was too.

In-ring: Jack Swagger came to the ring with possession of the U.S. Title belt around his waist. Swagger smacked the belt around his waist a few times to show off his stolen prize. Cole then took us back to last week when Kofi Kingston took back his title belt from Miz, who tried to steal it again, but Swagger stole it and left the show with the belt. Announcers plugged Kofi vs. Swagger vs. Miz on Sunday for the title. Evan Bourne then came out as his opponent with the high-pitched kids screaming. Good sign. Also of note, Swagger vs. Bourne with no pre-match hype once again. No shock there.



Bourne walked right up to Swagger after the bell sounded, but Swagger quickly put him on the mat and started bending and stretching Bourne like a pretzel. Swagger with a sick leg stretch that bent Bourne's leg like a GI Joe action figure. Action moved to the floor where Bourne nailed an enziguiri kick. He capitalized back in the ring with a series of kick strikes before landing a running clothesline. Swagger then tried a gutwrench powerbomb, but Bourne landed on his feet on the top turnbuckle. He then came off the top with a double knee strike that scored a two count. Bourne wanted to follow with a top rope move, but Swagger popped up to his feet, only to take a running head scissors. Swagger maintained contact, though, and transitioned into an emphatic powerbomb for the pin and the win. Good show of strength by Swagger.

WINNER: Swagger at 3:01. Good set-up match for Swagger to look strong going into the PPV. Bourne had enough offense to look credible, but the problem remains the big picture where the audience continues to be told the mid-card isn't important in the grand scheme of things. (*3/4)

Post-match: Swagger took the mic and said he has the look, talent, and already has the gold. Swagger said in a few short days at HIAC, he will officially become the All-American American United States champion. Fans booed. Miz's music interrupted Swagger's promo and Miz came out on stage in dress clothes. Miz: "Really, Jack, really?!" He rhetorically asked Swagger which 2009 draft pick has done more on Raw. Me, me, me was the answer. Miz told Swagger he knows it, Kofi knows, and everyone in the arena knows it. Swagger never made eye contact and continued to stare ahead at the hard camera like a robot. Miz became upset, then Swagger and Miz began brawling in the ring. The big brawl led to Kofi Kingston slowly sneaking into the ring and taking his title belt back. Miz and Swagger continued to fight, then Kofi's music hit and they realized Kofi had the belt. Kofi showed it off on stage as Miz and Swagger stared at each other with disgust.

[Commercial Break]

WWE PSA: On average, minority students are three grade levels behind white students by the fourth grade.

In-ring: Santino Marella came out on stage doing his mock Chris Masters pose. He then brought out Hornswoggle as his tag partner. A match for the kiddos. Why this is near the end of the show when the kids are asleep is beyond me. Chavo Guerrero and Chris Masters then came out and the announcers recapped Cedric the Entertainer running circles around Chavo last week.



Masters and Chavo worked over Santino to start things off. Santino then fired himself up and did some goofy triple-arm motion leading to an eye gouge. In the confusion, Masters snuck into the ring and slapped on the Masterlock. Santino sold death, but did his classic Santino Hulk Up, only to collapse in Masters's arms. Ref called for the bell. Afterward, Masters dragged Hornswoggle into the ring. Chavo told him to do it; do it man. Masters put Hornswoggle in the Masterlock and Chavo stared at Masters. Chavo suddenly reared back and popped Masters in the face to break the hold. Chavo didn't seem to know what happened, so he left the ring. Chavo slowly walked away as Masters stared at him in disbelief back in the ring.

WINNERS: Masters & Chavo at 2:19. Apparently Chavo was only in it for the chase. He didn't really want to go after Hornswoggle; he just wanted to chase him down and be able to say he had him in his grasp. That's all I have to explain this. (* for Santino comedy.)

Backstage: They showed Jericho, Show, and Orton talking strategy in their locker room. Show said he's got him.

[Commercial Break]

Live Event tour: They showed a video package on the Raw brand traveling through Central America and Mexico this weekend, as well as the Smackdown brand touring Spain and France. Santino was shown in a sit-down interview saying you can truly feel the vibrations from the crowd.

Next week's guest host: Ben Roethlisberger. I hope they keep him away from the divas. Is that too soon? Cole and Lawler said Ben is bringing his offensive linemen too. Of note Steelers are on NBC next Sunday night against the Chargers head-to-head with the PPV. WWE better hope the o-line keeps Ben vertical and clean next week.

In-ring: Cole and Lawler stood center ring to give the hard sell for the PPV while the Monday Night Football theme played.

Backstage: Reverend Al Sharpton was shown on-camera wanting to thank everyone. Suddenly, Jillian Hall interrupted and asked Sharpton to be her tour manager. She started to sing "Living in America." Sharpton sold disgust. He told Jillian good luck after telling her to get lost. Sharpton wanted to plug his education reform again, but Bella Twins interrupted to plead with him to sing and dance. Sharpton obliged and danced to some James Brown music. Why am I thinking about WCW PPVs right about now?

Backstage: They showed John Cena walking down the hallway selling fear. Let's hope he's wearing dark pants.

[Commercial Break]


Announcers: After a video aired for the Smackdown tenth anniversary show, Cole gave us his first real emotion all show saying that was part of his life for nine years. He then sent it to a brief clip of "Community" that airs on NBC. More NBC-USA cross-over under the NBC Universal umbrella. I'll take a clip of Chevy Chase any day of the week, but preferably in the 1980s on a vacation somewhere. Just not the European Vacation one. That one's pretty rough. My list after years of extensive study: (1) Vacation, (2) Christmas, (3) Las Vegas, (4) European. Two and three are interchangeable, though.

In-ring: Justin Roberts introduced the gauntlet match main event. John Cena came out first, then Chris Jericho came out. Announcers said Jericho has never beaten Cena in a one-on-one match before. Back to that storyline from a while ago.

5 -- WWE champion JOHN CENA vs. RANDY ORTON & Unified tag champions CHRIS JERICHO & BIG SHOW -- gauntlet non-title match

Cena and Jericho started with some chain wrestling and Jericho took the early advantage. Jericho then landed a hard back elbow smash to cut off Cena and go to work on him on the mat. Cena made his obligatory comeback at 2:30 and dropped the Five Knuckle Shuffle center ring. Cena then wanted the FU, but Jericho elbowed out into the Walls of Jericho. Cena fought the hold, but Jericho sat down on Cena's back. Cena eventually crawled to the bottom rope for a break, but Jericho wouldn't let go. Jericho maintained the hold for five seconds, causing a DQ. Jericho refused to break the hold as Cena screamed out in pain. Ref admonished Jericho, who maintained the hold. They even showed Cena tapping out. Jericho wouldn't let go. Cena tried to get out as Big Show's music hit. Show slowly walked to the ring as Jericho maintained the hold. Must be a record. Jericho finally dropped the hold and announcers declared Cena is a broken man. Stack that deck.

5b -- WWE champion JOHN CENA vs. BIG SHOW (w/Chris Jericho)

Match re-stared with Show slowly staring down Cena in the ring. Show then smashed Cena across the back. Show landed more shots to the back as they cut to a break.

[Commercial Break]

They returned from break with Show working over Cena with a bear hug. Jericho shouted encouragement to Show and kept telling Cena to give up. Show then teased a chokeslam, but SuperCena countered with a DDT center ring. Cena dug down deep and slowly reached his feet to tease the FU. SuperCena hoisted Show on his shoulders, but Jericho ran into the ring to prevent the FU for another DQ. Show then put Cena in the Camel Clutch to continue working over that back.

[Q9 -- over-run]

In-ring: Orton's music hit and he slowly made his way to the ring for the third part that never really started. Cena sold tremendous back pain as Orton was on his one-step-every-five-minutes pace. Orton stared into the ring as Cena tried to pull himself up by the ropes. Orton did his heelish slight turn of the head look as Cena told him to hurry up and come get some. Bell sounded and Cena seemed to be in a different state of mind. Orton slowly walked over to him, but Cena pointed to the top of the building and the Cell started to lower down. Orton looked around, then Cena tackled him. They wrestled around with The Viper trying to slither away, but Cena kept him inside the ring as the Cell slowly lowered down to the ring. Apparently all of the work from the tag champs meant nothing at this point. (Plausible explanation is that Orton took forever to get in the ring so Cena had time to recover.)

Orton finally escaped Cena, but he couldn't make it out of the Cell in time. Orton turned back to look into the ring where Cena was preparing for a fight. Cena smiled and looked around and noticed the door was open over his shoulder. Cena rubbed his hands together, then Orton made a dash for the door. Orton side-stepped Cena and landed outside the Cell, but Cena grabbed him for an FU. Orton instead climbed onto the Cell walls and started climbing to the roof. Cena followed him up and they both found themselves on top of the Cell. Orton saw he was trapped, then Cena grappled him and landed an FU on top of the Cell. Cena stood tall over Orton, who remained motionless. Cena then fired himself up and celebrated in front of the crowd. They closed with an underneath shot of Orton sprawled like a CSI crime scene. Cena did one last celebration to close the show.

WINNER: No official announcement. Well, the work from Jericho and Show was pretty pointless since SuperCena just shook it all off. Orton didn't have much credibility as a heel here. Jericho and Show did all the work, then he wasted it all away in the match storyline. Cena stood tall to close the show to give viewers a happy note. WWE took the "we'll make them feel good about life and want to pay money to see Orton get even more of a beating on Sunday" route to sell the PPV main event along with a little involvement from the Cell as a selling point. We'll see if it works. (**)