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Monday Night RAW September 15, 2008
by Bigelow34

FedEx Forum
Memphis, TN
Announcers: Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler

- We head right inside the arena tonight where, for the first time in history, Raw kicks off with a World Championship cage match. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler welcome us to the FedEx Forum where there is a big fight atmosphere in the air. Lillian Garcia is in the ring and we are ready to rock.

1) Chris Jericho defeats CM Punk for the World Heavyweight Championship in a steel cage match when he escapes the cage
Punk is out first and is ready to take his title back and the crowd seems to be behind him at the outset. We see some clips of Punk’s bad night at Unforgiven and then we are joined by the Champion, Chris Jericho. Jericho is out alone, has his arm taped but is wearing the big gold belt on his waist like a true Champion should. He slowly enters the cage and is rocking such a star presence right now it is just awesome to watch. The bell sounds and the crowd is buzzing as the match is officially underway. The two men go nose to nose and Jericho swings first, but Punk blocks and nails Jericho. He is all over the champ and pounding on his head and then follows with some knees. He stomps away and then slugs at Jericho in the corner. He shoots Chris into the corner hard and Jericho collapses down. Punk lands some kneelifts but Jericho is able to hit the corner and start climbing up the cage before Punk runs after and pulls him back in. They duke it out on the top rope and Punk lands a kick to the head, sending Jericho crashing to the mat. Punk starts climbing out and has one leg over the top but Chris pulls him back in. Jericho is able to knock Punk off the top rope, but Punk yanks him down and Jericho lands neck first on the top rope. Punk hits a leg lariat and follows with the running knee in the corner and the bulldog. It is all Punk early on here. He hoists Jericho up for the G2S but Jericho elbows out. Punk scoops him up again and tosses him into the cage. Punk is a bit wobbly and Cole wonders if he is having side effects from the Unforgiven concussion as we go to break. We are back and Jericho has an anklelock on Punk in the center of the ring. He is wrenching away as we see that Punk nearly escaped during the break. Punk kicks his way out of the hold and smacks Jericho around, ending with a spinning backhand. Jericho hits a double leg takedown and locks in the Walls. Punk crawls towards the door while screaming in pain from the hold. He pulls himself out the door and is reaching for the floor. His hands are touching and he wriggles one leg free. Punk is so close but Jericho has the other leg hooked and slams the door shut on Punk’s head. He drags him back in and gets a near fall. Jericho goes back to the leg and then clubs away at Punk’s head. Jericho goes for the Lionsault but Punk gets his good leg up and drills Chris with his knee. Punk kicks Jericho a few times but Jericho dodges the running knee and runs CM into the cage head first. Punk is dazed a bit and Jericho hits a springboard dropkick sending Punk back into the cage again. Chris starts to climb in the opposite corner but Punk catches him on top of the cage. He loads Jericho on his shoulders for a G2S on the top rope, but Jericho elbows out again. Both men slam the other’s head into the cage and then both collapse down to the mat. Punk crawls over and gets a really close near fall. Jericho regains control and runs Punk into the cage again. He starts to climb and is on top of the cage, but Punk hurries up the ropes and pulls him back in. He puts Jericho on his shoulders and hits an electric chair from the top rope. Both men are out but Punk starts climbing towards the door. Jericho catches him and leaps over but Punk stops him. Punk leaps over again and is almost out, but Jericho blocks him. They slug it out by the door and Punk rams Jericho into the cage head first. Punk headbutts Jericho but the momentum sends Jericho flying out the door and to the mat for the win. Punk can’t believe it but Jericho hangs on to the title in a narrow escape. That was a great TV match and a great way to kick off Raw. The end was a bit shaky, but the action was pretty non stop and there were some cool spots mixed in throughout and the finish keeps Punk strong. Plus I love both guys so that doesn’t hurt. Grade: 4

- Shawn Michaels talks to us about Hurricane Ike and solicits a donation to the Red Cross, so visit WWE.com if you are interested. Backstage, Mike Adamle is chatting about No Mercy with Kelly. They are interrupted by Dolph Ziegler, a new face on Raw. His appearance is brief as Mike brings Jericho over and tells him to celebrate now because he needs to start preparing for No Mercy. Jericho says that he needs a break and that Adamle needs to learn to protect his most valuable asset and take care of him. He asks if they can go to his office so he can explain some stuff to Adamle and Mike agrees and they walk off. Elsewhere, Kane is backstage and rocking his old mask. Years ago, he was forced to remove his mask but the truth is nobody forces him to do anything. He took the mask off for all of us so he could finally be accepted, but that didn’t happen. He had the guts to unmask, but it got him nowhere as people still point at him. He doesn’t like that and says that we are repulsed by him and the feeling is more than mutual. Then he sees a man like Rey Mysterio who doesn’t have the courage to do what he did. He still wears the mask but people love him because we all wear masks as well. We hide behind masks of self righteousness and happiness and pretend to care about each other. But deep down, we only care about ourselves and when he beat Rey down and took his mask, he was beating down each and every one of us. Evan Bourne comes in and says that Rey is courageous. He paved the way for guys like Bourne and he can’t wait for Rey to beat Kane tonight. Kane laughs as Bourne walks off. Back in the arena, Jillian Hall joins us and belts out “Hound Dog” as a tribute to Elvis here in Memphis. She keeps singing as we go to break.

2) Candice Michelle defeats Jillian Hall with the Candy Wrapper
We are back and Jillian is now singing “Burning Love” for us now but her singing is interrupted by Candice Michelle’s theme song. As Candice makes her way out, Beth stalks behind her and heads over to take a seat by the announce table. Candice is a beat weary as she hops in the ring. Candice grabs a headlock off a lockup and takes Jillian down, but Jillian turns it into a headscissors. They are back up and Candice puts Jillian down with a shoulderblock. She follows with a dropkick and gets two. Candice attempts a crucifix but Jillian drops down with a Samoan drop for two. Jillian uses the hair to work over Candice and then runs her into the top buckle. Jillian chokes Candice in the corner and then spikes her down. Jillian grabs a full nelson and then mares her over for a seated full nelson. Candice slips out of the hold but Jillian slugs her. Candice fires back and hits an axehandle. She lands a dropkick to the gut and tries to fire up the crowd. Jillian shoots Candice in, but she floats over and snaps Jillian down to the mat for two. Jillian grabs a double underhook and turns her for a Candy Wrapper, but Jillian works out and hits a back suplex. Jillian whips Candice to the corner and goes for a handspring elbow, but Candice hooks her arms and hits the Candy Wrapper for the win. Candice wants a piece of Beth, but she just sits there smirking for a bit. Beth finally accepts the invitation and starts walking towards the ring. Candice dropkicks her as she gets on the apron and Beth is about done with this as she grabs her belt and walks off. The match was a bit off a mess despite Jillian trying to hold it together in there. I will give it to Candice though, she isn’t holding back even after suffering two tough injuries. Grade: .5

- We are back and looking at downtown Memphis before heading back to the arena where JBL is joining us. Cole says that JBL told him he lost millions with the stock market heading south lately which has only added to his bad mood. Apparently many people are also blaming his wife for the recent market crash.

3) John Bradshaw Layfield defeats Tommy Dreamer with the Clothesline from Hell
JBL is in the ring and looking quite angry and he will be battling an ECW loaner in Tommy Dreamer. This is all part of the new Raw/ECW talent agreement between Mike Adamle and Teddy Long. JBL slugs away at Dreamer off the break of a lock up. He clubs his back and runs him into the corner. He slams Tommy down but misses an elbowdrop. Tommy charges but eats a big boot to the face. JBL hammers away at Tommy in the corner but he catches a boot charging in. Tommy hits a swinging neckbreaker for two. Tommy misses a charge in the corner and JBL nails the CFH for the quick win. Grade: 1

- JBL heads outside and grabs a chair but the ref is stepping in between and admonishing JBL. Instead, he opens the chair and sits in it, smiling while Tommy rolls out of the ring. JBL grabs a mic and sits back down. He calls out Mike Adamle and says he isn’t leaving the ring until he is named number one contender. JBL continues to sit as the crowd is all over him and we head to break.

- When we return, JBL is still in the ring and still calling out Adamle and is also trashing the fans now as well. He continues to rant on but he is finally interrupted by Randy Orton. He swaggers down to the ring and grabs a mic. He circles JBL and says that a few weeks ago he gave an evaluation of all the champions of Raw and he was not impressed. That is he went out of his way to ensure Punk didn’t keep his title. He also thinks that JBL is not much of an improvement. The Age of Orton was cut short due to injury and it is only a matter of time before it resumes. When it does, it does not matter who is champion as he will once again become World Champion. Finally, there will be a champion on Raw that actually has credibility. He doesn’t care…well, we will never know what he was going to say, but that is OK as we are joined by Glamarella. They head down to the ring and Orton is a bit perplexed by this interruption. Santino wants to know who Orton thinks he is. He insulted both of them, but unlike Orton, they are champions and they healthy. Orton is “always injury” just like his daddy. He had a cast on his arm for six years, while Santino’s dad is always healthy. He may have had the herpes, but he managed it very well. And unlike Orton, Glamarella represents the new age of champions and he wants an apology. Orton asks if Santino actually expected a response. Orton doesn’t care if he is hurt; he will take Santino out now. JBL tells Orton to apologize to him, not Mr. and Mrs. Phoenix. The Age of Orton is irrelevant and JBL can justifiably say he is the top contender as he took Batista out last week. It is his time and he is staying in the ring until he is named the top contender. He tells Orton to take the bass out of his eyes before something happens to his shoulder. The party continues on as we are now joined by the Animal, who is out to a generous ovation. Batista has a mic as well and he laughs a bit. He says before he beats the hell out of everyone, he must say this is the most pathetic sight he has ever seen with the four of them babbling on like politicians. He quotes Barack Obama and calls Beth a pig with lipstick. Santino says that just because Beth may squeal sometimes, she is not a pig. Batista says he will slam the unibrow off his head. Batista has a proposal. He will face JBL tonight and after he wins, he goes on to No Mercy to beat Chris Jericho to win the World title. He will then keep beating guys until Orton gets his doctor’s note and gets his ass beaten as well. Santino asks if Batista forgot someone. Batista says that Beth can get a crack at the belt when he wins it. He is tired of talking and listening and says that he and JBL can go right now. Our GM finally joins us on the Tron. He says he will take everyone’s opinions into consideration, including Chris Jericho’s. He will announce the No Mercy title match at the end of the show tonight, so there is no need to escalate things here. Batista says he is going to plead his case now and he attacks JBL. Santino helps out JBL, but Batista nails him with a spinebuster. He turns to Beth, but she doesn’t back down from him. She smacks Batista twice and he responds by dropping her with a spinebuster on top of Santino. Santino looks like he may have taken the worst of that exchange. Batista heads off and that was an interesting and lengthy segment. Randy Orton is walking backstage and he happens upon DiBiase, Rhodes and Manu. They stare each other down and go separate ways as we go to break.

- Welcome back as we thank Metallica for loaning “All Nightmare Long” for the No Mercy theme song.

4) Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase & Manu defeats Kofi Kingston, Jerry Lawler & Jim Haas when DiBiase pins Haas with the Million Dollar Legsweep
The tag team champions and their running buddy, Manu, make their way out for six man action. Kofi is out first and it looks like the fans of Memphis will get a special treat tonight as the King is out next for a special homecoming. And, their partner is Good Ol’ JH, Jim Haas. Haas is rocking his Sooners jersey and black hat. He says he didn’t play football at OU, but he has a ring and he goes to the practices. Team Priceless is in for a slobber knocker and don’t forget to buy JR’s BBQ sauce! Manu and Kofi start off and Manu crushes him with a shoulderblock. He scoops up Kofi, but he wriggles free and dropkicks Manu into the corner. He tags in Cody, but Kofi grounds him and tags in the King. Cody lands a right hand and shoots the King in, but Jerry lands a right hand and sends Cody over with a back drop. He follows with a dropkick, but Cody recovers and hits a bulldog for two. Cody grabs a modified STF as Haas heads over to the announce table and yells about Stone Cold. Jerry hits a jaw breaker to break loose and he tags JH as Cody tags DiBiase. Haas lands some rights and a dropkick. He follows with a Thesz press and a big splash for two. Haas goes for the Oklahoma Stampede, but DiBiase slips loose and hits the Million Dollar Legsweep for the win. That was high energy and a lot of fun and Haas is great in this role. Grade: 2.5

- WWE Mobile brings us the Triple H…err, Smackdown Rebound. Elsewhere, JBL catches up to Jericho in the locker room. JBL says he knows they aren’t friends but they made good partners last week. Jericho remembers when JBL cost him his World title match against Orton last year. He says JBL’s chances at a title shot are crashing and that Adamle values his opinion over JBL’s. He is the World Champion and is the top wrestler in the business today. He says if this is Wall Street he isn’t investing in Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers or JBL’s title chances. JBL says tells Jericho that they will see as he walks off.

- The Arby’s WWE Rewind recaps the Regal/Noble battle from last week which ended with Regal and Layla walking off together.

5) Jamie Noble defeats Paul Burchill by submission with a cross armbreaker
Back to the FedEx Forum and a dejected Jamie Noble is making his way to the ring. The Burchills are out next as we are ready for our next match. The bell sounds and Noble attacks right away, but Burchill lands some knees. Noble fights back and he hammers Paul down. He shoots Paul in and lands a knee to the gut and then stomps away. Noble lands a headbutt but Burchill hits an uppercut. Burchill misses a charge in the corner and hits the post. Noble ends up on the apron and springboards into a cross armbreaker for the big win. Grade: .5

- Layla is out and says that she had to make a difficult decision last week. She is sorry…sorry that is took her this long to get rid of Noble. Where was he going to take her, to the local waffle house in her pickup truck? It is over, because she has found a man that is worthy of her. And that brings out King Regal. Regal says that wasn’t Noble she wanted…it was nobility. And that is that as the new couple walks off arm in arm. Backstage, Adamle is chatting with Lance Cade before Batista interrupts them. He wants to know if he is the number one contender. Cade gets in his face but Batista slams him into the door and says he didn’t ask his opinion before walking off without getting his answer. We are off to break as our main event is up next.

6) Kane defeats Rey Mysterio by ref stoppage
We are back and the Big Red Machine is making his out. Mysterio is out next to a nice pop and we are set for our main event. The bell sounds and Rey dodges Kane a bit before being caught and tossed into the corner. Rey hooks the ropes on a whip and lands a boot to Kane’s face. Kane blocks a huracarrana and pulls Rey back up, but Rey punches his way free. Kane regains control and kicks away at Rey and then slides him across the mat to the floor, but Rey somersaults to his feet as he went flying out. Kane slides out after but Rey dodges and heads back in as we go to break. When we return, Kane has a reverse chinlock on Rey. Rey hit a DDT on the floor during the break, but Kan eventually took control. Kane misses an elbow and Rey lands some kicks to Kane and then hammers away in the corner. Kane just tosses Rey across the mat and he goes careening into the post ribs first. Kane whips Rey to the corner hard and then hits a backbreaker and holds it there to work the back. Rey knees his way free but Kane punches him in the back of the head and works Rey over in the corner. Rey dodges a charging boot and then hits a floating bulldog. Rey gets a near fall with a low dropkick and then takes Kane over with a headscissors. Rey heads up top but Kane catches him in mid air. Rey slides down the back and hits an Enziguri which drops Kane across the middle rope. Rey goes for the 619 but Kane turns and drills him with a nasty clothesline. He stomps away at Rey’s ribs in the corner and the referee calls for the bell for no apparent reason. I guess he was protecting Rey? Grade: 2

- Kane tries to rip off Rey’s mask but Evan Bourne makes the save. He and Rey double team Kane and take him down and Bourne hits a Thesz Press from the top. Rey and Bourne take off as Kane seethes in the ring. Backstage, Dolph Ziegler introduces himself to Jericho and Cade and we head off to our final break.

- We are back for the announcement of the top contender for No Mercy and Chris Jericho and Lance Cade are heading to the ring to take part in the ceremonies. Jericho is in some pain here as he has had a hectic eight days. He has a mic, though, and thanks Mike Adamle for respecting his opinion and listening to his advice. The number one contender position should not be taken lightly and there is a lot of talk about who that man should be. In his opinion, neither JBL nor Batista are worthy for the show. So, he suggests that JBL and Batista should face each other at No Mercy and that he should face the winner directly afterwards. The fans may think that isn’t fair, but he says big deal. He had two matches at Unforgiven, beat four men and became Champion because he is the best in the world. He deserves this and thinks Mike Adamle should make his suggestion happen at No Mercy. Adamle now joins us and says that Jericho’s plan is more than fair and he makes it happen. JBL will battle Batista at No Mercy to become number one contender. He has a problem, though, as he has to have quarterly meetings with Shane and Stephanie and doesn’t want to make it a habit of having his contenders wrestle twice in one night. Therefore, the winner of that match will get a shot at a different time. However, he must have a title defense that night and he was approached by someone else backstage. That person had an exciting idea and he couldn’t pass it up. He introduces the new number one contender for No Mercy: Shawn Michaels. Michaels heads out with a mic in his hand and Jericho does not look too happy. He knows they have fought in all sorts of matches, but he thinks there is a way for them to top themselves. He has a match that is thrilling and exhilarating and will give Michaels a chance to destroy Jericho. It is a match that people say he put on the map and that he revolutionized and that match is a ladder match. Some lackeys bring out ladders and Michaels climbs up on a really high one and stares down Jericho as we are out.

Final Analysis
The opening match was great stuff and a hot way to kick off the show. Jericho just comes off as a big time star out there and I liked that they protected Punk without a clusterfuck ending. There was a lot of energy in the match and the crowd was into it all the way through. I like Mike Adamle’s busy backstage segments and his portrayal as a busy GM who is always working to help the show. The Kane promo was very well done and I hope he keeps donning the mask or perhaps his face ends up being injured and he has to put it back on full time. That was also a nice little spot for Evan Bourne. The women’s match was a bit messy but Candice is working hard out there. Jillian always does a good job and she deserves a push at some point here. JBL picks up another angry squash win and he is pretty great at them. The promo that followed was long and intense, but everyone did a nice job with their role and kept things interesting. It was cool to see Glamarella mix it up with the main eventers and that is what I like about Raw right now as everyone can get involved in everyone’s business and it can be done believably. There is definitely no feeling of a glass ceiling on Monday nights for the first time in a long while. I like how Beth was kept strong too and didn’t back down from Batista. The tease between Orton and Team Priceless was intriguing as well. Speaking of Team Priceless, they continue to pick up wins left and right and they get another one tonight. Charlie Haas is pretty damn funny in this role and he is getting over with it as it continues to rejuvenate his career. Jericho rocked it again in his backstage promo with JBL as he shows why he really is the best right now. Jamie Noble picked up a nice win over the quickly plummeting Paul Burchill but it looks as if Regal has won the war by stealing Layla. I actually had the show graded higher at first, but the Rey/Kane match was a bit of a mess. It had a few bright spots but it was just too choppy and never got in a groove. I love that Evan Bourne is getting such big time exposure, though, and I hope they make him and Rey a regular team. The final segment was well done, but I don’t like hotshotting of the Jericho/Michaels title match all too much. However, the idea of a Michaels/Jericho ladder match is pretty sweet. The whole show was pretty entertaining and actually flew by as they kept a nice pace throughout as has been the trend lately. The crowd was up for pretty much the whole show as well. The program has direction to it and to me that is the best part. Everything seems to be built up well and everyone has something constructive to do. Michael Cole has improved a lot since his debut episode after the draft and I enjoy him each week now. All in all, it was a fun show that never slowed down, had a focus and kept on keeping on.
Final Grade: B-

MVP: CM Punk & Chris Jericho
Runner Up: Evan Bourne
Non MVP: Paul Burchill
Runner Up: Tommy Dreamer

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