800th Episode Celebration
St. Pete Times Forum
Announcers: Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler
- We kick off the show with a nifty little video package showing Raw clips from years gone by and touting the 800th episode plateau. We then hit our opening animation before heading inside the arena for episode 800 of Raw and we are live and in high definition. Michael Cole welcomes us to the show and he and King run down tonight’s docket for us. The steel cage hangs ominously over the ring and we are joined by Randy Orton right out of the gate. Last week, he gave Shane and Stephanie McMahon an ultimatum: fire Mike Adamle as GM or he walks. The crowd is on him right off the bat. In typical McMahon fashion, Shane and Steph have decided to make us wait until they grace with their presence. He will not leave the ringside area until they come out and announce their decision. And with that, Orton hops to the floor and takes a seat ringside as our opening match is about to start.
1) Matt & Jeff Hardy defeat MVP & The Brian Kendrick when Matt pins MVP after a Jeff Swanton Bomb
The crowd goes from booing to shrieking as the Hardy Brothers are reunited here tonight. We get a clip from episode #764 earlier this year when Jeff Hardy hit that crazy Swanton off the lighting rig onto Randy Orton. MVP is out next and will be interesting to see if he can finally pick up a win here. Cole goes over the incentive bonus angle going down on Smackdown as The Brian Kendrick and Ezekiel make their way out. MVP and Jeff start things off and MVP sends him hard to the mat for a one count. He slams Jeff down but misses a kneedrop. Jeff lands a boot and follows with a double leg takedown and a leg drop to the abdomen. Jeff tags his brother and they hit a double back elbow and elbow drop for two. Matt tags Jeff and he hits the Whisper in the Wind for two. Jeff goes for the springboard dropkick in the corner, but MVP dodges it and he crashes. MVP tags Kendrick who kicks Jeff and gets a two count. The crowd is loud and proud for Hardy as Kendrick hits a low dropkick to the face of Jeff for another near fall. Kendrick goes for Sliced Bread #2 but Jeff avoids it and takes Kendrick down. Both men make tags and Matt wins the exchange with MVP. He shoots him into the corner, follows with a clothesline and takes MVP out with a bulldog, hitting Kendrick with a clothesline on the way down. Matt hits an elbow from the second rope and gets a near fall, broken up by Kendrick. Matt and MVP charge each other and hit a double clothesline. MVP is able to tag Kendrick but the referee didn’t see it and pushes Kendrick outside. That allows Jeff to sneak in, take MVP down and hit a Swanton Bomb. Matt covers and gets the win in a fun opener. Grade: 2.5
- For our first Classic Raw Moment we get clips from Episode #1 in January 1993 and then head to break.
- When we return, we get a Classic Raw Moment from Episode #17 as the Kid upsets Razor Ramon in what would become the first signature Raw moment.
2) William Regal wins a Battle Royal to earn an Intercontinental Championship match next week
Participants: Jamie Noble, Snitsky, William Regal, Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase, Shad, JTG & Manu
We are back in the arena and Cryme Tyme is making their way out for a Battle Royal. The winner will receive an IC title match next week on Raw. Before we start, Glamarella make their way out to observe the bout. The bell rings and the brawl starts as Glamarella join the announce table. Santino says he didn’t recognize Lawler without his sandwich. Santino rambles on about the meaning of Intercontinental as the Battle Royal rages on. He claims he can beat anybody and then says Regal is crazy looking. Priceless teams up and tosses Snitsky but DiBiase turns on his boys and dumps Cody and Manu. DiBiase’s look as he stares down at them is…well, priceless. Noble is eliminated but he drags Regal to the floor and gets some shots in on him before being forced to the back. Shad saves JTG from elimination but DiBiase sidesteps a slingshot shoulderblock by JTG and then drops Shad with a neckbreaker. He backdrops JTG out to the floor and then he stands tall over Shad. Shad fights him off but DiBiase is able to eliminate him. As DiBiase is looking at Shad, Regal sneaks up from behind and throws DiBiase out. Santino tells us that that man…he is a sneaky one! Santino doesn’t seem too concerned about it as Layla comes in the ring to celebrate with her man. Apparently, Raw will emanate from Manchester, England next week and we will see if that bodes well for Regal. Grade: N/A
- We cut to the garage where Stephanie and Shane McMahon emerge from a limousine. Steph tells Shane to take care of this one himself as he knows what to do. Shane walks off as we go to break.
- Back from commercial and it is Classic Raw Moment time. This clip is from episode #409 and features the surreal Vince/Shane showdown the night of Nitro’s final episode. Back to the arena, Randy Orton is in the ring and ready to address his issues. Last week, his health and well being were in jeopardy thanks to Mike Adamle and then Adamle decided to slap Randy in the face. So, again, Adamle goes or Orton goes and Randy wants to know which it is. And we are fixing to find out as the Money is making his way to the ring to a warm reception. Shane doesn’t appreciate the aggressive tone and won’t tolerate any threats. Randy wants an answer and says that if Shane’s father was here, this would be done already. Shane says he isn’t his father and that Randy better respect his position in the company. As Shane is about to get started, a smiling Mike Adamle power walks to the ring to join the party. He has something to say before Shane speaks. Since the beginning of Raw, everyone in charge has had an agenda, whether it be a good one or bad one. He wanted to be the first GM to remain neutral and not take sides. He did just that and it made him special. He says there is one thing that happens in this business and he isn’t going to let it happen to him. He starts to flub his lines a bit and covers it by saying he is emotional. The GM job corrupts and he won’t let it happen to him so he is officially resigning as GM. That elicits a big pop and a confused look from Shane. He thanks Shane and quickly walks off. Orton tells him to stop and says he wants an apology, but Adamle keeps on walking. Shane says if anyone owes an apology, it is Orton. Orton doesn’t like that, but Shane doesn’t care. Shane says that Orton looks to be in top form and quick as a cat. He spoke with Randy’s doctors and found out that Randy has been cleared to compete for weeks now and hasn’t told anybody. Shane asks when Randy was going to let everyone know. Orton figured Survivor Series would be a good time, but Shane was thinking tonight would work better. In his position, he can’t deny the fans around the world from watching Orton in action. So, tonight Randy will be competing in a match. Orton says he would love to wrestle here tonight but he isn’t prepared and doesn’t have his gain. Shane has personally taken care of everything, so the excuses are off the table. Orton will compete here tonight and he will take on CM Punk! Shane dances for us as Orton hangs his head and then glares at him as we go to break.
- We are back and it is Classic Raw Moment time and this one is from Episode #778 and features the quick promos from Barack Obama and John McCain from earlier this year.
3) Vladimir Kozlov defeats Bret Haas with a headbutt to the chest
Back to the arena, we have the Raw debut of Vladimir Kozlov on the eve of the biggest match of his career. He will face the Undertaker Friday on Smackdown to try to earn a title match with Triple H at Survivor Series. And we here some familiar music as Bret “Hitman” Haas makes his entrance and hops into the ring. He gives the shades away and is killing the impression, as always. Neither the crowd nor Kozlov is too impressed with Haas’ promo. Haas lands a quick boot but Kozlov kicks him to the mat. He shoves Haas into the ropes and then headbutts him in the chest for the quick squash win. Grade: .5
- Wrestlemania tickets go on sale in four days and fourteen minutes, so be ready! We now get a recap of the Cyber Sunday main event where Batista regained the World title from Chris Jericho. Backstage, the Grish is with Batista and references all of the classic title matches in the history of Raw as we are set for another one. Batista says it took him a long time to get his title back and he isn’t ready to give it up. Jericho has no excuses tonight inside the cage and he will go home empty handed as Batista goes home as Champion. Over at the announce table. King and Cole briefly talk about DX and we get our next Classic Raw Moment. This one is from Episode #257 and features the DX invasion of WCW at the Norfolk Scope. I still love the kid who yells about getting his ticket for free. Back to 2008, DX is walking backstage and we head to break.
- Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 drops this Sunday and we get some clips of a simulated match between Miz & Morrison and DX which DX wins, natch.
- And back inside the Forum, things are about to get rowdy as the DX music hits and Triple H and Shawn Michaels come charging out to a monster pop. Old school DX would never have carried glow sticks! Triple H does the usual but Shawn stops him, says he isn’t ready and that he can’t do this. He saw Miz & Morrison mocking them on ECW last week and implores Hunter to take a look at the Tron. They show a clip of the fantastic Dirt Sheet where Miz & Morrison used DX’s own medicine against them. Shawn says that could have been them and that Hunter should look at the genius. They took two guys, dressed them up and beat them down and that hasn’t been done since weeks ago. Hunter says it was actually done in segment four. Michaels pokes fun at Hunter’s nose abut Hunter says the camera adds ten pounds. Shawn asks how many cameras they have on it. Shawn says they went over the edge and mocked his chaps. He puts up with a lot. You can mock his kids and punch his wife but you don’t cross the line and mock the chaps. Hunter says the part that made him mad was when they got on Shawn for going bald. Shawn doesn’t recall them discussing that. They argue a bit over it before Shawn says they will never speak of it again. Hunter points out that Miz and Morrison were in high school while they were out revolutionizing the industry. We get a quick look at Miz’s high school senior picture. They say he looks like a horse and the picture was taken just after he won the Kentucky Derby. Hunter throws a cheap horse face jab at Lillian which draws a lot of boos and wasn’t very nice. Morrison’s high school picture has him bending over and Hunter says it is a picture of the position Morrison assumes at rest stops around the country. He says they look like guys who got beat up in high school. Finally, Shawn is ready and the fans are ready. Hunter asks Miz if he is ready and we get a clip from No Mercy 2006 when Miz got jiggy with Big Dick Johnson. Michaels says he doesn’t feel so well now after seeing that. Hunter says Miz and Morrison have a dream to have the same rights as all couples across America, so let’s get ready to suck it. Well, that was an amusing segment. Miz and Morrison cut Shawn off before he can tell us that he has two words for us and make their way out to the ring as we go to break.
4) Shawn Michaels & Triple H defeat John Morrison & Miz when Triple H pins Miz with the Pedigree
When we return, Morrison has a reverse chinlock on Hunter in the center of the ring. Hunter fights to his feet and is able to hit Morrison with a clothesline. Morrison and Hunter both make tags. Michaels hits the flying forearm and a reverse atomic drop. He slams Miz down and heads up top and comes off with the elbow. He tunes up the band but Morrison hooks his arm long enough to allow Miz to deck Shawn with a stiff clothesline. Miz and Morrison hit their slingshot double team in the corner and Morrison gets a near fall. Morrison stomps away and grabs a modified reverse chinlock as the crowd rallies HBK. Michaels breaks it and chops away but Morrison shoots him hard into the corner and then puts him down with a clothesline for two. Morrison tags Miz and he lands a boot to the gut. He whips Shawn to the corner and hits the charging clothesline. Miz mocks Hunter but gets caught by a Shawn backslide for one. Miz pops up and hits a clothesline and tags Morrison back in. He pulls Shawn up and goes for a corkscrew, but Shawn blocks it and hits an Enziguri. Shawn makes the tag and Hunter hammers away at Morrison, putting him down with a kneelift. Morrison shoots Hunter in but gets caught with a facebuster. Hunter loads up the Pedigree but Miz charges in. Hunter hits him with a spinebuster but Morrison takes Hunter down for two. Morrison kips up to mock Michaels and then cues up the band and drills Hunter with a Superkick. He tags in Miz and they stomp away at Hunter. Miz pulls him up and sets up a Pedigree but homey don’t play that and Hunter back flips out of it. He tosses Morrison to the floor and drills Miz with the Pedigree for the win. That was a good match and Miz and Morrison looked good, even in defeat. Grade: 2.5
- Backstage, Shane McMahon and JBL are watching the monitor. JBL has a business proposition regarding the end of the Mike Adamle era. He says Raw needs a new leader and he throws his hat in the GM ring. Shane says he will take it under advisement but a man of JBL’s stature should be front and center with a high profile match tonight. JBL assumes he is being inserted into the steel cage match and will be the first Champion GM, but Shane says a match with the Undertaker is more what he had in mind. JBL says it is a matchup of titans and is an honor and that he loves it. JBL walks off and we walk off to break.
- Back from break with another Classic Raw Moment from Episode #243. This clip is of the famous Steve Austin/Mike Tyson showdown from the night after the 1998 Royal Rumble.
5) Natalya, Layla, Victoria, Katie Lea Burchill, Maryse, Jillian Hall, Beth Phoenix & Lena defeat Mickie James, Michelle McCool, Maria, Kelly, Candice, Brie Bella, Eve Torres & Mae Young when Phoenix pins Young with a roll up
When we return to the arena, the heel Divas are lined up in the ring and we are then joined by the face Divas, led by Mickie James. Lillian points out that we have uneven teams…so we are graced by the presence of Hall of Famer Mae Young. Lillian calls her the “Matriarch of the Mat”. Beth and Kelly start are off King rattles off all his old jokes. Kelly hits the spinning headscissors and then tags in Mae. Beth laughs but Mae lands a stiff forearm and then hammers Beth into the corner. She shoves down Natalya and then shoves Victoria as well. She nails Jillian but the momentum sends her falling backwards as well. All of the heels stand up and face off with Mae, but the faces charge in and take them all out with spears. The ring clears and that allows Beth the chance to sneak in and roll up Mae for the win. Santino heads down and celebrates with his woman, prancing around and trumpeting like only he can. Grade: .5
- WWE Mobil brings us the Smackdown Rebound which recaps the Undertaker/Chavo casket match from last week and then we go to break.
- We are back from commercial and it is Classic Raw Moment time as we head to Episode #456 and the showdown between Hollywood Hogan and the Rock in 2002.
6) CM Punk defeats Randy Orton by disqualification when Ted DiBiase interferes
CM Punk and his tag team belt are out first and he is ready for revenge. Orton is out next for his first match since injuring his collarbone against Triple H in June. The bell sounds and the two dance around each other a bit with Punk nailing an Enziguri to start the action. He lands some knees in the corner but Orton pops out and hits a clothesline. Orton stomps at Punk and looks like he hasn’t missed a beat so far. He goes to the chinlock and wrenches it in. Punk fights to his feet, dodges a charge and hits a flying clothesline. He lands some rights, a spinning backhand and a kick to the head. Punk nails the running knee in the corner but Orton shoves him off on the bulldog attempt. Orton lines up for the RKO but Ted DiBiase flies in and clotheslines Punk as he gets to his feet, drawing the bell. Orton isn’t happy so he hits the stiff running boot to DiBiase’s head, dropping him. The crowd is chanting “RKO” as he stares down Manu and Cody. Orton leaves as DiBiase is out cold in the ring. Grade: 1.5
- Backstage, Manu and Cody confront Orton, asking him why he kicked DiBiase. Ted is on a stretcher right now thanks to Randy. Orton understands they want revenge on Punk but they cost him a match. DiBiase is talented but he had to kick some sense into him. He will see if it sinks in. Orton tells them to do something about it if they have a problem. They do nothing and Orton tells them they are smart and says there may be hope for them just yet. Orton walks off and it is Classic Raw Moment time. We go to Episode #772 to check out the weigh-in between Big Show and Floyd Mayweather. Elsewhere, Stephanie is using her phone when she is joined by Mike Adamle. She compliments him on his speech but Adamle wants to get to the point. He says that he was named GM but every time he came up with an idea, Steph would call and change it and that is why he is quitting. Everything she said was contrary to what Shane said to him and that is why he was always so lost out there. He says that motherhood did Steph no good and she is still a megalomaniac. She tells Adamle not to blame her and that controlling this show is her birthright. Adamle walks off as Shane walks in. Shane has a major Survivor Series announcement but won’t tell Steph yet, telling her she will be surprised and it will be fun.
- We are back and the King is thanking AC/DC for "Spoilin' for a Fight", which is the Survivor Series theme song, and we then get another Classic Raw Moment. This one features highlights from Episode #475 where Jeff Hardy challenged Undertaker for the Undisputed Championship in a ladder match in July 2002. Back in the forum we are joined by Jim Ross who will be joining us for our next match. This is a fitting move, I must say. Tazz is already at ringside and they will be doing commentary for this interbrand match.
7) Undertaker defeats John Bradshaw Layfield by countout
JBL’s limo pulls up and he comes walking out and heads to the ring. The Phenom is out next and as he slowly walks to the ring, we see a clip from Episode #1 when Undertaker entered the Manhattan Center to battle Damian Demento. The bell sounds and Taker grabs a side headlock. JBL shoots him into the ropes but Taker puts him down with a shoulderblock. He hammers away at JBL in the corner and then goes Old School on us. JBL recovers and hits a clothesline to put Taker down. JBL hammers at Taker in the corner now and then stomps away at him. He lands another right hand, but Taker fires back at him. Taker scoops JBL up and drops him with Snake Eyes and follows with a boot to the face. He drops a leg and gets a near fall. JBL gets to his feet but Taker buries him with a Chokeslam. JBL is able to hit a desperation boot to the face and then tumbles to the floor. JBL is about to get back in the ring, but Taker sits up and he thinks better of it and walks off and takes the count out loss. Shawn Michaels comes from behind and tosses JBL back in the ring. Taker plants him with a Tombstone as Michaels stares into the ring intently and Taker glares back at him. That was a good little power match while it lasted. Grade: 2
- Backstage, Chris Jericho is chatting with Shane McMahon and he wants to know the Survivor Series announcement. Shane says the World Championship will be defended at Survivor Series…and the challenger will be John Cena! Jericho says he will win the match tonight and beat Cena at Survivor Series as karma has a way of righting itself. Jericho heads off and we go to break.
- When we return we get a Classic Raw Moment from Episode #304 and it is the classic beer bath that Steve Austin gave to the Rock and the McMahons in March 1999. Back in the arena, Kung Fu Naki is putting on a karate dance exhibition in the ring for us and his joined by Hornswoggle. They do a little jig in the ring and then are joined by the Boogeyman, who also dances with them. And now Goldust has joined us to dance a bit. Jim Duggan. Sgt. Slaughter, Jesse, Festus, Dusty Rhodes and Sgt. Slaughter join the party as do Michael Cole, Lillian Garcia and the King. The dancing continues for a few moments before Ron Simmons appears on the ramp and drops a big old “DAMN” on us! It is now time for another Classic Raw Moment from Episode #775. This one features the emotional retirement ceremony for Ric Flair.
- We are back and checking out Episode #630 for another Classic Raw Moment. This moment is a recap of the fantastic Edge/Lita wedding from 2005. We have some members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at ringside and they are fighting amongst each other as Kane makes his way to the ring.
8) Kane & Mark Henry defeat Rey Mysterio & Kofi Kingston when Henry pins Kingston with the World’s Strongest Slam
As Kane hits the ring, Mark Henry and Tony Atlas follow after and they await their opponents. Lawler tells the story of his Raw match with Henry back in 1996 which was a cool touch. Mysterio is out next and he is followed by Kofi Kingston. Cole tells us that Evan Bourne was supposed to be in this match, but he hurt his ankle last week on ECW and will miss some time so we get a cup of Kofi instead. Rey and Kane kick things off and Kane hammers away to start. Rey takes him over with a headscissors takeover but Kane plants him with a sidewalk slam off a charge. Kane tags in Henry. Mark presses Rey over his head, but Rey lands on his feet. He charges and Mark puts him down with a clothesline. He misses an elbowdrop and Rey tags in Kofi. He flies in with an axehandle and follows with some forearms but Henry tosses him hard into the corner. Kofi drop toeholds Henry into the corner. He leaps up into the corner and hammers at Henry. Henry blocks a whip and tosses Kofi to the corner, but Kofi kicks him on a charge. Kofi comes off the top but Mark catches him. Rey dropkicks Kofi but Henry doesn’t budge. Kane takes out Rey and Henry crushes Kofi with the World’s Strongest Slam for the win. Grade: 1.5
- Kane tosses Rey to the floor and we are joined by the Great Khali. Kane is outside grabbing Rey but Khali headbutts him down as he walks to the ring. He hops inside and puts a beat down on Henry, setting him up for the 619. Rey obliges and Khali chops Henry down as he bounces back. Looks like the Khali face turn is a go and the crowd is digging it. Khali celebrates as we go to break.
- Back to the show, the King and Cole talk about Shane’s proclamation that John Cena will get a Heavyweight title shot at Survivor Series. We then get another Cena package, this one highlighting Cena’s rise through the WWE ranks. They focus on his rap persona in part of it and remind us all just how great he was during that initial rise to the top. Backstage, Stephanie catches up with Shane and says she loved his Survivor Series announcement. She wants Shane to keep her in the loop going forward. Shane wishes Vince was here to have seen in and Steph says he would be proud of them right now. In the arena, the cage lowers and we go to break.
- We are back and getting one last Classic Raw Moment. It is from Episode #761 and is a recap of the 2007 Tribute to the Troops special.
9) Chris Jericho defeats Batista in a steel cage match to win the World Heavyweight Championship
Back inside the forum, the cage is down and Chris Jericho is making his way out for his much anticipate World Championship rematch. Batista is out next and is pumped up as is the crowd. The bell sounds and Batista shoves Jericho down off a lock up. He scoops Jericho up and runs him into the corner. He shoots Jericho across and he quickly scampers up the cage but Batista catches him and pulls him back in. Batista hoists him on his shoulder and plants him with a powerslam. Jericho is back up but Batista puts him back down with a clothesline for two. He runs him to the buckle and he hammers away some more. Jericho is able to land a boot when Batista puts his head down on a charge, but Batista shakes it off and runs Jericho into the cage. He tosses him into the steel again and then he drags Jericho to his feet. Jericho takes a third ride to the cage as we hit our final break. When we return, Jericho is turning Batista into the Walls. The crowd seems pretty split right now. Jericho yells for the door to be opened as he wrenches in the hold. Batista hooks Jericho’s foot and turns out of the hold. He kicks Jericho off and he almost careens out the door, but Jericho’s feet get tangled in the ropes and Batista is able to pull him back in. Jericho is able to slam Batista’s knee in the door as he was pulled back in. Jericho charges but Batista catches him and hits a spinning sidewalk slam for two. Batista hits a clothesline in the corner but eats a Jericho boot. Jericho charges again but Batista catches him and goes for spinebuster. Batista’s leg gives out and he collapses down, allowing Jericho to get a two count. Jericho goes for the Codebreaker, but Batista catches him again and runs him into the cage back first. Jericho dodges a spear and Batista crashes into the cage head first. Jericho starts climbing out and is all the way on the top but Batista opens the door and catches Jericho as he comes down the side. He pulls Jericho back and throws him to the mat. He hits a spinebuster and loads him up for the Batistabomb. Jericho hooks the cage as Batista hoists him up and starts climbing again. Batista climbs up after him and they battle until they both come crashing to the mat. Jericho is up first and climbing but Batista catches him again and hooks Jericho up for a top rope Batistabomb. As Jericho is holding on for dear life, he grabs a metal ring off one of the cables and bashes Batista in the head with it. Jericho climbs over but Batista catches him. Jericho is able to wriggle free, kick Batista in the knee and he drops to the mat to get the win and his Championship back! Wow…that was an upset! Grade: 3
- Jericho staggers off with the belt as we fade out.
The show started off hot out of the gate with Orton delivering a concise, strong promo to set the stage for the night. The opener was good as well and got the crowd rocking right out of the gate as the Hardys are always super over. It was cool seeing Kendrick and MVP on Raw as well. The classic Raw moments were great as always and I liked that they labeled them by episode number, which was a nice touch. The battle royal was decent enough and was carried by Santino’s commentary, as expected. Regal gets the win as next week’s show is in England and he will be mighty over as a face. I hope they don’t end the Santino run just yet and I don’t think they will. Mike Adamle officially resigned and I am sad to see him go. I thought his run had a lot of potential but it just never quite clicked. I did like how they tried to keep him straight laced between face and heel but he just wasn’t confident or boisterous enough to really take hold of the role. Hopefully they have him go back to interviewing because I think that is where he fits best. Shane was great as always out there as well and his interactions with Orton were well done. The Kozlov squash was just way to get him a quick win and pump up his big match on Friday. The DX pre-match segment was funny and even though it felt like a burial, Miz and Morrison have gotten equal time to rag on the old guys so it is fair game. Hunter is still a bit too condescending for a face, but it is fine against naturally strong heels like Miz & Morrison. I really didn’t care for the dumb Lillian joke and he almost killed the crowd off with it. The match itself was solid and Miz and Morrison got a lot of offense in and definitely showed they can hang believably with the big boys.
The women’s match was nothing special and just a moment in the sun for Mae Young. I am just glad she didn’t get the win. The Orton/Punk match was quick, which is fine, as they need to build to a major showdown between the two of them down the line. I like that DiBiase is becoming the Alpha Dog of Priceless as he was the one to take out Punk. I thought Orton was going to join them here, but they swerved it again and had him punt DiBiase. The crowd was begging for an RKO but hopefully they don’t turn Orton face off of it. The backstage spot with them seemed to steer Orton back towards them which is where he belongs. I like that they are trying to explain away Adamle’s nervousness by playing up Steph’s control on him, but it is too late to salvage it. I wonder if they will just use Shane and Steph as co-leaders of the show for a stretch here. The Taker/JBL match was actually pretty good but rather short. The thing that intrigued me was the staredown between Michaels and Taker after the match. You have to wonder if they are planting the early seeds for a legendary Texas Wrestlemania showdown. The dance segment was harmless fun and just a quick nostalgia pop segment. At least they kept it short. The Kane/Henry tag match was another brief affair meant to give Henry a win and rebuild him a bit. The crowd seems ready for a Khali face turn and he certainly has a bizarre charisma that connects with the fans. The Main Event was solid enough and really got cooking at the end. The finish was a huge upset as I didn’t think Jericho would be getting the belt back. That was a great capper to a fun show.
The matches were all pretty short but they were all energetic and kept the crowd alive throughout. It was cool seeing all of the talent on one show and they used everyone well. This show worked because it was a mix of a little nostalgia with some non-angle bouts and a lot of Raw storyline development driving the whole program. They did a good job and the three hours actually moved along very quickly and never really dragged. It was a good outing as the march to Survivor Series continues on. Final Grade: B+
MVP: Chris Jericho Runner Up: Randy Orton Non MVP: Triple H Runner Up: Batista
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