Times Union Center
Announcers: Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler
- We open this week’s show with our animation and then head inside the Times Union Center where we are live and in high definition. Michael Cole welcomes us to Raw as we are just six days away from the Hell in a Cell PPV. We then head to the ring where new announcer Justin Roberts sends us to the VIP Lounge. Mark Henry is chilling on the couch as MVP welcomes us to his show. He is about to bring out tonight’s guest host, but he is interrupted by Big Show and Chris Jericho before he can do so. Show and Jericho will defend the belts against Batista and Rey Mysterio on Sunday. The champs hit the ring and Jericho grabs the mic. Jericho thinks the guest host deserves a much more reverent introduction. MVP and Jericho both go on to verbally blow Reverend Al Sharpton, trading compliments. They finally finish and MVP officially introduces the Reverend. He comes out to Living In America by James Brown and thus has already won me over. He needs Apollo Creed dancing with him though. Al enjoyed the introduction but the crowd is already booing him. He acknowledges it and then starts discussing his education reform tour. The crowd is all over him here. He and MVP talk more about the project before MVP turns the attention to tonight’s show. MVP wants some reform regarding the tag team championships and asks for title match here tonight. Jericho interrupts and rips on the fans before telling Al that they are already competing in a gauntlet match tonight. Plus, MVP & Henry have already blown their championship shot and don’t deserve a second chance. He says that the fans don’t deserve to be educated or have the right to vote because they are already too far gone. They don’t deserve to be in the presence of the greatness of Jericho & Show either. Sharpton says that everyone deserves an opportunity. So, he wants to empower the people by asking if they want to see a championship match here tonight. The fans like Al now. He makes it official: tag team title match is up next! Cue up James Brown! MVP and Henry are all smiles as we hit a break.
1) Chris Jericho & Big Show vs. MVP & Mark Henry for the Unified Tag Team Championship
When we return, Jericho has MVP clamped in a side headlock. MVP works free and clubs Jericho down. He hammers away but Jericho catches him with a Northern Lights suplex for two. MVP gets a backslide and a two count. He clotheslines Jericho down and tags in Henry. Henry plants Jericho with a right hand and then stands on his chest. Jericho is able to survive the assault and tag in Show. They lock up and Henry shoves him back. Show comes back with some big right hands the gut. He charges Henry in the corner, but Henry catches him to block the splash. He puts Show down and tags in MVP. MVP hammers on Show and then hits a facebreaker. He charges but Show meets him with a big clothesline. He starts burying the right hands to MVP’s gut and then tags in Jericho. Chris mares MVP over and ratchets in a chinlock. MVP elbows free and nails Jericho with a clothesline for two. Jericho fights MVP off and then chokes him on the middle rope. Jericho tags in Show who hooks a big side headlock. He takes him down and grinds on it as the crowd tries to rally MVP. Show releases the hold and tags in Jericho. Chris playfully kicks around MVP, but MVP fires back at him. Chris puts him down with an elbow but comes up empty on the Lionsault. MVP crawls over and tags in Henry. He drills Jericho with some clotheslines and a headbutt. Henry picks Jericho up and press slams him onto Show, who was standing on the floor. Jericho tries to recover as we head to break. When we come back, Henry is covering Jericho and gets a two count. Henry puts Jericho down with a body block but Show blind tags and comes in and crushes Henry with a spear. He drops some elbows and follows with a big splash for two. Show puts Henry back down with a headbutt. He follows with a stiff clothesline and gets two. Show lands a punch and then starts to work the arm. The crowd gets behind Henry as they are quite into the match here. Henry powers out but Show stops him cold with a pair of headbutts and a DDT. Show gets a near fall. He tags in Jericho who comes in and hooks a sleeper. Jericho lets go and works Henry over in the corner before tagging Show back in. He whips Henry into the ropes and both men wipe each other out with a double clothesline. Both men crawl over and tag their partners and MVP comes in all fired up. He hammers away and nails Jericho with a big boot for two. MVP plants Jericho and drops the Ballin elbow for two. He sets up the Playmaker, but Show breaks it up. Henry charges in and takes out Show with a shoulderbreaker. Jericho knocks Henry to the floor and MVP sneaks up and rolls him up for a close near fall. MVP hits a DDT and gets two again. Show reaches up and nails MVP and he falls back into a Codebreaker. Jericho covers and that is that. That was a great long opener and they had the crowd hooked all the way through. Jericho & Show d. MVP & Henry when Jericho pins MVP with the Codebreaker; Grade: 3.5
- Backstage, Primo is talking up the Reverend when Hornswoggle comes charging in and freaks out. Chavo comes in and tries to calm him down. He introduces himself to Al and brings in Chris Masters, who will be his tag team partner tonight. Now Santino comes in and talks some shit about their tag match tonight. He calls Chris and Chavo the Geico Cavemen. Santino confuses Al for Don King and Isaac Hayes before Al throws everyone out. He chats with Primo a bit more as we head back to ringside. Cole takes back to some clips of last week and we then head backstage again where Josh Matthews is with Randy Orton. Orton takes the usual digs and makes the usual threats with his usual great delivery. Elsewhere, Alicia Fox and Rosa Mendes are walking as we walk to break.
2) Mickie James vs. Rosa Mendes in a non title match
Mickie is out first and we get some clips of Alicia’s beatdown on her from last week. Rosa is out next, being led to the ring by Alicia. Rosa controls Mickie off the bell, but Mickie quickly turns the tables. Mickie snaps her down with a neckbreaker for two. Mickie gets caught with her head down and Rosa spikes her to the mat. She kicks Mickie and gets two. Rosa works Mickie’s back but Mickie catches her with a back elbow. She takes Rosa over with a headscissors and follows with some forearms. Alicia gets on the apron but Mickie pulls on her hair. She shoves Alicia down and then kicks Rosa in the head to get the win in a decent match. Mickie d. Rosa with a kick to the head; Grade: 1
- Mickie taunts Rosa a bit before we see Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase walking backstage and then head to break.
- We are back and the King is thanking Skillet for “Monster”, which is the PPV theme song. We see that the Cell is hanging above the ring here tonight. Now Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase are joining us for a chat. They hit the ring and grab mics. Ted says that nobody expects them to win on Sunday, but they should. Over the past few weeks, they have taken out DX and are primed for the greatest victory of their careers. He then directs us to the Tron for a brief video recap of these recent beatings. Back live, Cody says that all of the moments have one thing in common: nobody expected those things to happen. Michaels and Triple H are two of the greatest stars in the world and Raw has been their sandbox for over a decade. Triple H is a 13 time champion and a surefire Hall of Famer, but after Sunday he can go get his corner office and desk ready at the WWE offices where he can hang out with his family for the rest of his days. He puts over Michaels as well but says the legend will have a tragic conclusion when they leave him in a broken heap. Cody is interrupted mid sentence by the disembodied voice of Shawn Michaels who yells “boring”! The camera finds them up in a luxury box as Triple H rags on them as well. Ted fakes enjoyment at DX’s jokes but warns them not to be fooled and think Legacy is stupid. They know what DX is doing in trying to take the sting out of the beating they got. Hunter laughs that off and says they make fun of Legacy because they are assholes. Well, he says it in a PG way at the behest of Michaels, but that was the implication. Triple H talks about Incredible Hulk, confusing Bruce Banner with Bob Barker. Shawn correcting him is pretty funny. Hunter compares DX to the Hulk but Cody interrupts the convoluted theory. Shawn cuts Cody off and Hunter finishes, saying that DX likes when the monster comes out, unlike Bruce Banner. They decide not to wait until Sunday and head down through the crowd and to the ring. As they hit the ring, Legacy bails through the crowd. Shawn has the mic and isn’t shocked that Legacy bailed after all their tough talk. Hunter wants them to enjoy the distance between them, because when the Cell lowers on Sunday, there will be no running, hiding or joking. This Sunday, it will be pure hell for Legacy. DiBiase and Rhodes storm off as we go to break. That started as a really effective segment until DX came out and emasculated Legacy and forced them to scamper off. I guess the theory is that they look smart for avoiding confrontation, but it isn’t played that way at all.
3) Jack Swagger vs. Evan Bourne
We are back from break and Jack Swagger is out, stolen US title strapped to his waist. Bourne is out next and we are set for our next match. Swagger takes Bourne down off the bell and then plants him with a backbreaker. He starts to work the knee, locking in a nice submission hold. Bourne reaches the rope and bails to the floor. Bourne gets back in the ring and gets a roll up for two. He kicks Swagger down and follows with a charging clothesline for two. Swagger fights him off and goes for the gutwrench powerbomb but Bourne slips free. He heads up top and dives onto Swagger for two. He heads back up again but Swagger side steps his leap. Bourne lands on his feet, but Swagger is able to catch him and crush him with a powerbomb for the solid win. Swagger d. Bourne with a powerbomb; Grade: 1.5
- Swagger has the mic and guarantees that he will become US Champion on Sunday. Before he can finish, Miz interrupts and heads out to the ring. Miz says that he has made more of an impact on Raw than any other draft pick. He has turned more heads and garnered more attention than anyone and he will be the next US Champion. Miz gets in Swagger’s face, but Jack shoves him off. They brawl on the mat and while they do, Kofi sneaks in the ring and steals his belt back. The brawl continues until Miz sees Kofi and backs off. Jack realizes Kofi grabbed the belt and doesn’t look too happy. They stare each other down as we go to break.
- We are back and checking out WWE.com, which has a story up on Teddy Long, CM Punk and the Undertaker. It is now time for our next bout.
4) Santino Marella & Hornswoggle vs. Chavo Guerrero & Chris Masters
Santino and Hornswoggle are out first and Chavo and Masters are right behind them. Santino and Chavo start off with a little back and forth. Chavo lands a kick and then tags in Masters. Masters works Santino over a bit and then tags Chavo back in. Santino fights back and does some funky little chops on Chavo but Masters comes in and hooks the Masterlock for the win. Guerrero & Masters d. Hornswoggle & Marella when Masters beats Marella with the Masterlock; Grade: .5
- Masters grabs Horny after the bell and locks him in the Masterlock. Chavo comes in the ring and hammers Masters to break the hold. He bails and has a confused look on his face as he heads to the back. Backstage, Jericho, Show and Orton are talking as we head to break.
- We are back and Cole tells us that Ben Roethlisberger will be the guest host next week. He will also have his entire OL as backup. That is a pretty good job to get Ben in there during football season. In the ring, Cole and King run down the PPV card for us. King then sends us backstage to Sharpton. He is thanking us for tonight when Jillian Hall comes in. She wants Al to be her tour manager and sings Living in America for him. Al turns her down because he is on the education tour. Now he is interrupted by the Bella Twins who want to sing and dance with him. Al sings a bit of James Brown and dances as well as we head to break.
- We are back and Michael Cole tells us he will be in Boston for the Smackdown 10th Anniversary episode this week. We then get a sneak peek of a scene from NBC’s Community. It will re-air on USA after Raw.
5) John Cena vs. Chris Jericho
Back to the ring, it is time for our main event gauntlet match. Cena is out first and gets a warm reception from the Albany fans. Jericho will be his first opponent. He powerwalks to the ring and we are good to go. Cole reminds us that Jericho has never defeated Cena one on one. Just call him Tommy Dreamer. Cena takes Jericho down to start and tries to get a quick pin. The crowd is behind Cena here tonight. Jericho puts him down with a clothesline and then follows with some elbows to the head. He chokes Cena on the ropes and plants him with a back elbow for two. Jericho hooks a rear chinlock as Cole says Jericho has to wrestle all three matches whether he wins or loses. Cena fights up and goes for the AA but Jericho rolls through and hammers away. He slingshots Cena throat first into the bottom rope. Back up, Jericho misses a charge in the corner and Cena nails him with a shoulderblock. The crowd is a bit more split now as Cena drops the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He hoists Jericho up but he slithers free and turns Cena into the Walls. Cena fights to the ropes but Jericho refuses to break and gladly takes the DQ to further damage Cena. He won’t break the hold as Cena is screaming in pain. Cena d. Jericho by disqualification; Grade: 1.5
6) John Cena vs. Big Show
Jericho still has Cena trapped in the Walls as Show heads down to the ring. Show steps in the ring and awaits the bell. Show clubs on Cena as we take our final break. When we return, Show is still pounding on him in the corner and working the back. Show hooks a bear hug and starts to wear Cena down. Show lets go of the hold and goes for the Chokeslam but Cena hits a desperation DDT. Show staggers back and Cena hoists him for the AA but Jericho comes in and nails him to draw another DQ. The champs beat on Cena, who was just crushed by Show when Jericho pushed them over. Cena d. Show by disqualification; Grade: 1
7) John Cena vs. Randy Orton
Show hooks Cena in the colossal clutch as Randy Orton makes his way to the ring. Cena fights to his feet as the Cell starts to lower. He takes Orton down and tries to hook the STF but Orton is squirming desperately. Orton is trying to escape before the Cell touches down but he can’t make it in time. Orton stares at Cena from the floor as the crowd is chanting for the champ. Cena notices that the door is open, as is Orton, who is on the opposite side of the ring. Orton slowly starts to walk towards the door and then makes a dash for it, but Cena beats him to it and blocks him. Orton attacks, but Cena fires back and knocks him through the door. Cena hoists Orton up onto his shoulders, but Orton slips off and climbs up the Cell. Cena follows behind him but Orton makes it up first. As Cena reaches the top, Orton looks off the edge. They both stand and stare down on top of the Cell. They start to slug away at each other but Cena is able to hoist Orton up and drop him with the AA. Now that was a cool looking spot. Cena and Orton wrestle to a no contest; Grade: 1.5
- Cena stands tall on top of the Cell as we fade out. This was a surprisingly solid go home show for HIAC. They kept the Sharpton segments to a minimum which was a nice change and focused on building to the PPV. There was also a lot of focus on in ring action with a really good opener. The final spot on top of the Cell was pretty neat looking as well and the crowd was pretty hot all night too. That is it from Albany. Enjoy the PPV and we will see you next week!
Final Grade: B-
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