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WWE Bragging Rights

October 25, 2009

by Samoa Rowe

-From Pittsburgh, PA. Our hosts are Michael Cole, Todd Grisham, and Jerry Lawler.

-The theme for tonight is “Raw vs. Smackdown.” The brand split was on it’s last legs as even by this time Raw and Smackdown guys would show up on the other show on a fairly regular basis.

United States Champion The Miz vs. Intercontinental Champion John Morrison

Hey, these two used to be a successful tag team! And they both hold secondary titles! I know why they’re fighting! I’m just impressed it’s on pay-per-view and not in an unadvertised 3-minute match on Raw.
Morrison shines in an early mat-based exchange. Miz fights back but Morrison shows off with a standing shooting star press. Miz tosses Morison, but spends too much time gloating. Miz stumbles out of a pinning predicament, they sloppily counter each other, and Miz gets dumped to the floor. Miz counters and sends Morrison crashing to the floor. Miz takes control and targets the back. Morrison takes a beating but finds his second wind. Morrison goes for the pinfall but Miz gets a foot on the ropes. Miz rolls out to avoid Starship Pain but eats a corkscrew plancha to the floor. Miz rebounds with a double axe handle off the top. Morrison counters the Skull Crushing Finale but Starship Pain is countered as well. Miz quickly makes the cover for the win at 10:52! This was a lively opener, just a bit sloppy at times, **½.
Winner: The Miz

-Cody Rhodes is predicting a clean sweep by Raw tonight. Smackdown’s R-Truth challenges this claim. Rhodes points out that Truth originally lost his Bragging Rights qualifier and only got into the team because the original Team Smackdown got embarrassed so badly. Truth suggests that Cody’s dad is the only reason he’s on Raw and Randy Orton is the only reason he’s had any success. Raw’s Big Show joins the debate and tells Truth to go tell the rest of Team Smackdown (including Show’s tag partner, Chris Jericho) that Team Raw will let their actions speak for themselves. I have a hard time buying that any of these guys feel any smidgen of loyalty in their home brand.

Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix, and Natalya vs. Melina, Kelly Kelly, and Gail Kim

This is another Raw vs. Smackdown match and I would bet money that not a single one of you reading this could tell me which show either team belongs to (not without the help of an internet search engine anyways). Beth kicks things off against Gail and it’s a game of power vs. speed. Michelle tags herself in and quickly tags out after eating a hurricanrana. Natalya does better until missing an elbow drop. Kelly tags and delivers a goofy hurricanrana of her own. I’m happy to see Natalya snap Kelly onto the ring ropes and isolate her. Melina gets a hot tag and is a house en fuego! Some heel trickery puts Beth back in charge briefly but Melina drops her on her face. The good divas chase the evil divas out, leaving Melina alone with Beth. The Glam Slam finishes it at 6:52. Apparently, Beth was representing Smackdown, so the Bragging Rights series is even at 1-1. By diva standards, this was a classic, **.
Winners: Beth Phoenix, Michelle McCool, and Natalya

-Triple H and Shawn Michaels are disappointed in the outcome of the divas match. Triple H rallies the troops, but Jack Swagger doesn’t want to listen. HBK puts Swagger in his place. HHH says no one on this team should be able to get along. He points out that everyone has been making fun of Mark Henry since he impregnated Mae Young with a hand. Also, they shoved Vince McMahon’s head up Big Show’s butt, sent Cody Rhodes out on a stretcher, and exposed Kofi Kingston for having a phony Jamaican accent. Kofi tries to save face but no one cares. The point is that no one likes DX, but they all respect them. Hornswoggle tries to replace Swagger but is dismissed. Triple H says they can’t lose because tonight’s match is all about honor and pride. They can’t let the Smackdown guys make them look like losers. Nice try, Game.

World Heavyweight Championship:
The Undertaker © vs. Batista vs. Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk

I’m almost shocked that this isn’t the opener, but I guess opening two October PPVs with the WHC would be too much even for WWE. CM Punk drops Rey and hightails it, with Batista on his trail. Punk lets Undertaker drop Batista before stomping away on him. Taker drops Punk into place for a seated senton from Rey! Undertaker and Batista rekindle their long running rivalry. Punk connects with a superplex on Undertaker! Rey sneaks in for the cover but gets tossed. Batista teaches Punk a lesson with some clotheslines. Undertaker drops Batista and lifts Rey up for a Last Ride. Batista saves Rey with a spear! Batista and Rey hesitate going for the pin but manage to work together to overwhelm Undertaker. Punk breaks it up and nails Rey with Go 2 Sleep! Batista saves Rey but gets caught in Hell’s Gate from the Dead Man. Punk prevents a tap-out but gets repaid with a Last Ride! Punk makes another save and gets tossed out. Undertaker eats a Batista Bomb but Rey steals the cover! Batista gets in Rey’s face and shoves him down. Taker choke slams Batista for 2. Taker and Batista knock each other down and Punk tries to steal the victory. Batista removes Punk and throws Mysterio onto him. Undertaker finishes Batista with the Tombstone at 9:55! Plenty of action here and a good story with Rey and Batista’s friendship deteriorating, ***.
Winner and still World Heavyweight Champion: The Undertaker

-Rey checks on Batista and Josh Mathews wants his feelings about the loss. Rey says they did their best and came close, it just didn’t work out tonight. Rey thinks everything is okay because the match was every man for himself. Batista says he’s sick of coming “this close” to winning the title. He’s also tired of his best friend stabbing him in the back. Uh oh, that’s you, Rey. Batista calmly informs Rey that he’s going to rip his head off. And then he does. Rey begs for mercy as Batista proceeds to kick his ass. This was an excellent heel turn that would lead to Batista doing some of the best work of his career.

Bragging Rights match:
Team Raw (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Big Show, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, Mark Henry, and Kofi Kingston) vs. Team Smackdown (Chris Jericho, Kane, Matt Hardy, Finlay, R-Truth, David Hart Smith, and Tyson Kidd)

The winning team gets a trophy. Aww, just like in Little League! Truth overwhelms Rhodes in the early going, playing off their backstage exchange earlier! Hey, some thought went into this match! Big Show has seen enough and tags himself in, but Truth tags Kane. The big guys have a decent little power contest until Swagger tags. Kane has an easy time teaching Swagger how to be a jobber. Hardy tags and continues to dominate Swagger, at least until Rhodes provides a distraction. This incident almost sparks a 14 man brawl. Hardy becomes the isolated baby face as Team Raw makes quick tags. Finlay gets a lukewarm tag and tosses HBK around. HBK pops up with Sweet Chin Music, but the Hart Dynasty sneaks in and nails a Doomsday Device. Jericho picks his spot well by tagging in to work over a weakened Michaels. HBK shows signs of life but ends up getting isolated for a beating. Kidd misses a springboard elbow drop and Triple H gets a hot tag. Triple H piles up the Smackdown guys but gets caught by a Kane choke slam. Jericho misses a lionsault and a fresh Kofi Kingston cleans house. Jericho counters the Boom Drop but Kofi counters into a roll-up. Trouble in Paradise, but Team Smackdown prevents a cover. The match breaks down with everyone running in to hit spots and finishers. Big Show then betrays Team Raw by choke slamming Kingston! Jericho pins Kingston at 15:31. This was pretty good, but didn’t do anything to distinguish itself from the usual TV tag main events, ***¼.
Winners: Chris Jericho, Kane, Matt Hardy, Finlay, R-Truth, David Hart Smith, and Tyson Kidd

-Jericho clutches the trophy as if it was the Stanley Cup. The entire Smackdown team seems pleased with the victory, despite the questionable finish.

-John Cena looks really, really worried.

-Cody Rhodes blames Kofi Kingston for being the “weak link” in the Bragging Rights match. It comes to blows and Rhodes leaves Kingston down and out.

WWE Championship (60 Minute Iron Man match):
Randy Orton © vs. John Cena

This is billed as Orton and Cena’s “final confrontation” which I wanted to see in writing. Besides being an Iron Man match, this is also “no holds barred” and “falls count anywhere.” If that’s not enough, if Cena loses tonight, he will be sent to Smackdown. They pace themselves by starting out with some mat-based work. They quicken the pace until Cena eats a reversed hard Irish whip. Cena is already selling exhaustion and we’re barely three minutes in. Cena surprises with the STF and Orton quickly taps at 3:50! That was smart, as Orton didn’t want to be in the hold any longer than needed. Cena tries to build some momentum, but Orton regains control. Cena muscles out of a chinlock and delivers the flying leg drop. Orton counters with an RKO and gains a pinfall at 8:56! With only 10 minutes down, it’s time to get creative, so Orton starts using weapons. A mic shot cuts Cena’s forehead and he refuses medical help to dish out a beating. Cena is reversed and goes crashing into the ring steps. Cena finds his fourth wind and unleashes his bag of tricks. Orton counters the Attitude Adjustment but they both go down and pin each other at 16:50. Well, that was cute. The medics finally get a chance to attend to the open wound on Cena’s forehead, because this is the PG era. Cena delivers a top rope Attitude Adjustment and gets another pinfall at 19:25. Cena doesn’t get his 30 second rest because Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes run in for a sneak attack. This allows Orton to even the score at 20:45. Kofi Kingston runs in with a chair and chases Legacy out of the arena. Cena finally remembers that he hates Orton and a brawl breaks out. They kill some time by fighting up the aisle and over to a tech area on the side. Orton smashes Cena’s head into some equipment that causes some pyro on the stage to go off. Orton throws Cena through part of the set and pins him at 26:00. Orton takes a moment to study how the pyrotechnics controls work because he has a plan. Orton places Cena on the stage and TRIES TO BLOW HIM UP WITH FIREWORKS. That’s so PG. Orton is outraged that his murder attempt failed and angrily pounds away on Cena. Surprise schoolboy by Cena gains a pinfall at 32:15! They’re once again tied at 4-4. Orton nails a DDT off the apron and gains another pinfall at about 35:00. My stopwatch doesn’t match WWE’s clock, so I’m just going to wing it from here. Orton is running out of stuff to do and slows things down with some stomping. Cena comes back to life, so Orton decides to stall for time, since he’s in the lead and all. Cena blocks a DDT, prompting Orton to hide in the crowd. Cena finally gets to be on offense, directing Orton through the masses, back to the ringside area. Cena drives Orton through the barricade and sets up some steps by the announce table. Cena nails a big-time Attitude Adjustment off the steps and through the table! Cena gains a pinfall on the floor at about 51:00! They’re even again with 5-5. Cena sets Orton on a table in the ring. Cena goes for a flying leg drop but Orton rolls out! Cena crashes through the table! They exchange shots while struggling to their feet. Cena misses a shoulder block and wipes out the referee. RKO, but there’s no ref! Another referee runs in too late for Orton to gain the pinfall. Orton attacks the new ref but doesn’t seem sure what to do next. The death punt misses and Cena locks on the STF! With only five seconds remaining, Orton taps out! Cena wins the title at 60:00! They pulled out every gimmick to cover for the weaknesses of the participants, including the goofy fireworks stunt, but this was dramatic when it needed to be, ****.
Winner and new WWE Champion: John Cena

Final Thoughts: There was a historic heel turn by Batista, no bad matches, and a great blow-off to a feud that everyone was ready to be over. This was an all-around good show, no complaints here. Thumbs up!

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