- We open up with a shot of the parking lot where Shane McMahon pulls up and walks into the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, which is just a scant 15 minutes away from my castle. He is greeted by Cryme Tyme, Kelly and Dolph Ziegler, who he assumes is a stage hand, before hustling down to ramp to greet the fired up Providence faithful. Shane reminds us that John Cena is the new World Heavyweight Champion, which puts us all in a dilemma. There are two superstars that have rematch clauses at this time: Chris Jericho and Batista. So, tonight, Jericho will face off with Batista to determine who faces Cena at Armageddon. Cena is in the building tonight…and before Shane can continue, we are joined by Stephanie McMahon. She also has an announcement and says that Randy Orton also has a valid argument for a title shot and she is adding Orton to the match tonight. Batista, Jericho and Orton will battle to earn a title shot. Shane says he does love surprises, but he takes a stern whisper with his sister and they go back and forth a bit away from the mics. Steph introduces our opening match, but Shane one ups her to announce the faces to a big pop. It looks like we are set for dueling GM as Steph claims that Raw is her show. She didn’t want to do this publicly, but Shane showed up unannounced and made championship match. Steph won’t let Shane stab her in the back again and ruin her show. Shane says she is way off base. He is out here to have some of fun and to make Raw a better show. Steph tells him to hop in his Ferrari and drive back to NYC where he came from. Steph tells Shane to run the corporation and she will run the show. Shane is taken aback that she wants to do this all publicly. Shane asks her if she plans on sleeping with another star and finding a new husband. Steph smacks him and Shane concedes and says he will sit back and watch Steph run Raw right into the ground. He struts off and Steph follows. Over at the announce table, Cole and King welcome us to the show and tell us again that Cena will be here tonight. And with that, we head to the ring.
1) Shawn Michaels & Rey Mysterio defeat John Morrison & the Miz when Mysterio pins Miz with a top rope sunset flip powerbomb
Miz and Morrison are out first and we see some clips from last week’s show when Miz & Morrison beat Michaels & Mysterio. Rey is out next and he is followed by the Heartbreak Kid. Morrison and Rey start things up and Rey works out of a go behind with some elbows. He follows with a wild headscissors takeover as we cut to JBL in his limo. He tells his driver to go and he argues that a match is going on, but JBL doesn’t care and tells him to go to the ring. When we cut back, Michaels is in control of Morrison, but John comes back and puts Shawn down. Morrison ducks a Superkick and lands a leaping kick of his own. Morrison pulls Michaels to his feet as JBL’s music starts up and the limo drives out to the aisle. JBL emerges and heads down to the ring as we go to break. When we return, Miz slams Michaels for two. During the break, Miz ran Rey into the restraining wall, taking him out of the match for now. Miz has a side headlock, but Shawn is able to take him over with a back suplex. He looks to tag, but Rey is still out on the floor. Morrison tags in and he stomps away at Shawn and then hammers at him with right hands. Morrison puts Shawn on the top and tries a superplex, but Shawn blocks it and sends him to the mat face first. Shawn pulls himself along the ropes and tags in Rey as Morrison tags Miz. Rey takes him over with a headscissors and follows with a second one to send Miz into the turnbuckles. Rey nails a split leg moonsault and gets a near fall. He kicks Morrison to the floor and hits a seated senton on Miz. He dropkicks him into the ropes and drills a 619. Rey heads up top again but Morrison snags his leg. Shawn comes over and takes out Morrison, but John runs him into the post. Miz climbs up top to meet Rey, but Rey headbutts him low and then nails a nice sunset flip powerbomb for the win. Rey was great here. Morrison nails Rey from behind and sends flailing out to the floor. Shawn comes back in but Morrison just brutally pounds on him. JBL now joins the festivities, lines Shawn up as Morrison holds him, but he turns and kicks Morrison in the face! JBL grabs his coat and hat and walks off as Shawn lies in the ring confused. Grade: 2
- When we return, JBL is walking backstage as the Grish catches up with him. This morning, JBL made Michaels an offer that would be beneficial to both of them and Shawn is considering it. What just happened in the ring was just a sign of good faith for Shawn and he expects the deal to be done soon. Well then, that is interesting. Back in the ring, Lillian brings out Mr. Kennedy, who is returning from filming Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia. The crowd doesn’t seem overly excited to see him, but let’s see what he has to say. He thanks Lillian for the movie plug and then runs down the premise for us. Last night, Survivor Series was in Boston and he thought to himself: let’s get a camera crew and invade the line of fans waiting to get into the arena. As we have just come off the heels of a red hot election, he decided to ask a relevant question: which WWE superstar best reminds the fans of Barack Obama. Various fan answers are Shelton Benjamin, Triple H, Undertaker, Batista, Rock, Jim Duggan, Big Show, Randy Orton, Kofi Kingston, Primo, John Cena, Cryme Tyme, Rey Mysterio, John Morrison, Batista, MVP, Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon. The kid who answered Vince said they are both stubborn and have big ears. Back to Kennedy, and he is surprised that he was not mentioned at all, despite having a Presidential ring to his name and being young, fresh and charismatic. The trademark mic drops from the ceiling and he reminds us of his name, twice, and he is out. Backstage, the Grish is with Batista. He wants his thoughts about tonight’s match. Batista congratulates Cena on his big comeback and title win last night. Batista knows the feeling of being on top, and he will get there again, starting tonight. Batista heads off and we go to break.
- The Slammys are back! And they take place two weeks from tonight as part of a Three Hour Raw!
2) Kofi Kingston defeats Kane by disqualification in an Intercontinental Championship number one contender tournament opening round match
Lillian introduces Pat Patterson, who is at ringside and joining the announce table. They talk about his IC title win back in the day as Kofi Kingston comes out for the match. Kofi visits with Pat at ringside, but the cheers turns to fire and brimstone as Kane makes his way to the ring. Patterson puts over the IC Title DVD as the bell sounds. Kane takes control early and gets a near fall. Kofi ducks an elbow and kicks away at the legs. Kofi charges but eats a Kane boot. Kane gets two off of that. He pulls Kofi up and goes for the sidewalk slam, but Kofi spins out of it. He leaps up onto Kane in the corner, hammers away and then flips off. Kofi lands a nice kick in the corner and then comes off the top with a high cross body for two. He misses another kick, but slips out of a Chokeslam attempt. Kofi kicks Kane to the floor and then dives out after him with a plancha but lands hard on the mat. Kane tosses Kofi into the post. Kane wraps Kofi around the post and wrenches his back. The ref warns him, but he doesn’t break, so Kane gets DQ’d and Kofi advances on in the tournament. Kane isn’t happy at that one. He tosses the steel steps in the ring and then pounds Kofi with them. Stephanie now comes out and offers Kane two choices: take his aggression out on Kofi now or Cena next week. Kane smiles and Steph makes the match official for next week: Kane vs. Cena. Grade: 1
- The Subway WWE Slam of the Week recaps the Team Batista vs. Team Orton match from last night.
3) Chris Jericho defeats Randy Orton and Batista to earn a World Heavyweight Championship match at Armageddon when he pins Orton after a Batista spear
Back in the arena, Chris Jericho is the first man out and he does not look very happy. Orton is out next and then Batista is out last. The bell sounds and Batista goes right at Orton. Jericho gets involved and Batista fights both men off. He works Orton over in the corner with his shoulder and then sends him hard to the corner. He hammers away at Jericho and then puts him down with a shoulderblock for two. Batista grabs Orton, mares him over and then boots him in the face for two. Batista hammers away at Jericho and then sends Orton to the floor with a boot. He mares Jericho over and hits the ropes, but Orton hooks his legs and he pulls him to the floor. Batista slugs Orton down and climbs on the apron, which allows Jericho to hit a springboard dropkick. Back inside, Jericho works over Orton but misses a Lionsault. Orton lines up the RKO but we are out to break as Jericho gets up. When we return, Batista has Jericho up for a powerbomb, but Jericho slips out and gets a sunset flip. During the break, Batista grabbed Orton before the RKO and ran him into the post. Orton is back in now and dropping knees on Batista, gaining a near fall. Orton stomps on Batista’s midsection and then hammers away at his chest with some stiff forearms. Jericho is now back in as well and both men stomp away at Batista. Orton and Jericho put Batista down but then Orton turns on Jericho and slugs him to the mat. Orton kicks Batista but Jericho nails Randy with an Enziguri for two. Batista puts Jericho down with a back elbow and then whips Orton into him in the corner. He knocks Orton down again and the catches a charging Jericho with a spinning sidewalk slam. Batista nails Orton with a clothesline and a powerslam for two but Jericho breaks up the pin. Jericho stomps away, but Orton puts him down with a powerslam for a near fall. Batista reverses an Irish whip and plants Orton with a spinebuster. Jericho goes for the Codebreaker, but Batista catches him and tosses him into the corner. Batista goes for the Batistabomb, but Jericho takes him down and locks in the Walls. Orton nails Jericho from behind, breaking the hold. Orton drops Jericho with his inverted backbreaker and then lines up the RKO. Orton decides to try the kick of death instead, but Batista spears Orton as he charges. He goes for the pin, but Jericho comes in dropkicks Batista in the face and pins Orton. That was a fun triple threat match and I love sneaky Jericho as Batista is screwed again. Grade: 3
- We are back and Glamarella is in the ring! Santino has the mic and asks how much time we have so he can pose. As far as he is considered, he is the greatest IC champion of all time. For him not be featured in the IC Title DVD is a mistake. For him not to be entered in the tournament is even a bigger mistake. But for that hater who requested to face Santino tonight, they made the biggest mistake of them all, because he did not come alone: he has back up. He brought his two Roman soldiers: Pasquale and Francesco (his arms) and they are looking forward to a fight…with Goldust!
4) Goldust defeats Santino Marella with the Final Cut
Goldust is back for another WWE tour of duty and he slowly walks to the ring for this next match. He looks to be in good shape again as well which is good to see. They lock up but Goldust shoves him off. Goldust plays some mind games and then he blows a kiss at Beth. Santino doesn’t like that and he charges but Goldust slugs him down. He hits the leaping butt bump and gets a one count. Goldust grabs a reverse chinlock but Santino gets to the ropes. Santino lands a boot to the gut and he starts hammering away. Goldust nails Santino in the face and follows with an inverted atomic drop and shoulderblock. He hits the Final Cut and picks up the win. That was a good return for Goldust and he looks to be ready to go this time around. Grade: 1.5
- The WWE Rewind takes us back a week when Mike Knox pulverized Kofi backstage and then kicked Evan Bourne down off his crutches before slamming him in the injured foot with one. And we are off to break.
- We are back and Randy Orton is wandering the halls and runs into Cody and Manu. They stare at each intently and Orton slowly walks off.
5) CM Punk defeats Snitsky with the Go 2 Sleep in an Intercontinental Championship number one contender tournament opening round match
Back in the arena and we are joined by CM Punk who is set for our next IC tournament match. Before his opponent comes out, William Regal and Layla head down to the ring to observe. Snitsky makes his way out next and charges to the ring as Regal joins in on commentary. Punk grabs an armbar and works it as Regal puts over the IC title and says wrestlers should have to go through tournaments to earn title shots. Snitsky gains control and drops a couple of elbows for two. Regal wants Punk to win so they can continue their feud for the ages. Punk comes off the middle rope, but Snitsky catches him in a bear hug. Punk headbutts free and lands some forearms. He charges, but Snitsky puts him down with a forearm of his own. He kicks away at Punk and drops a leg for a near fall. Regal takes a cheap shot at Santino and puts over the title and tournament again. Snitsky goes back to the bear hug as Regal says that Pat Patterson “sings like a nightingale”. Punk elbows free but Snitsky slams him down to the mat. Snitsky misses an elbow drop and Punk kicks his thigh. Punk gets up and hits a jawbreaker and then lands a kick to the head. Snitsky misses a charge in the corner and Punk hits the springboard clothesline for two. Punk follows with the charging kneelift, but Snitsky shoves him off on the bulldog attempt and lands a boot to the face. Snitsky goes back to the bear hug again as Regal puts Punk over again. Punk elbows out but Snitsky puts him down again as the crowd tries to rally him. Snitsky goes for the Pumphandle slam, but Punk slips loose and nails the G2S for the win. Another solid big man/little man match that Punk excels at. Grade: 2
- Backstage, the Grish is with Rey. Rey will take on Miz in a tournament match next week. Rey puts over the IC title and the DVD As he talks, Mike Knox strolls in and stares down at him before walking off. Rey stares off as we go to break.
- We are back and thanking AC/DC for the Survivor Series theme song "Spoilin' for a Fight". And randomly backstage, DX is joining us and they are pimping some merchandise with a sweet Christmas version of their song in the background. Kelly models a shirt for us as Triple H says they met while filming the video game commercial. Shawn takes that opportunity to plug SD vs. Raw, although he screws up all the gaming systems. Kelly corrects him and they shoo her off. She tosses the shirt back to Hunter and their reactions to the stripping are pretty funny. OK, back to the ring.
6) Mickie James, Candice Michelle & Melina defeat Jillian Hall, Katie Lea & Beth Phoenix when Melina pins Katie Lea with a legdrop reverse DDT
Beth leads Katie and Jillian to the ring and then reminds us that she lead the Raw divas to victory last night. Jillian takes the mic and she is excited for the return of the Slammys. She knows she will be nominated for a lot of awards and she will prove how great she is here as she puts together a great musical performance. She sings a bit as Katie dances in the background, much to the consternation of Beth. The singing continues as we go to break. When we return, Mickie, Candice and Melina all head out. Melina is making her return after a lengthy recovery from an ankle injury in June. The Titantron video and Lawler blow the surprise return of Melina before she appears and he apologizes for it. Jillian and Candice start off and Candice nails a dropkick for two. Jillian shoots Candice to the corner but misses a charge. Beth lands a cheap shot on Candice and Jillian tosses her across the ring by her hair. She runs Candice into the corner and hammers away and then follows with the handspring splash. She tags in Beth, who drops an elbow and gets two. Beth plants Candice with a backbreaker and follows with two more. She presses Candice over her knee but Candice knees free. Beth slams her down and then kicks her head around. Candice is able to kick Beth off. Beth tags Katie as Candice tags Melina. Melina takes out all three women and then punches away at Katie. She hops on Katie’s back and takers her over with a sunset flip powerbomb for two. Beth comes in and a brawl breaks out. Mickie hits at top rope Thesz press on Beth and that allows Melina to use her leg to hit a modified reverse DDT on Katie for the win. Grade: 1.5
- Chris Jericho is walking backstage and happens upon Steph. He is bedecked in his suit and informs Steph that he will be heading to the ring to be Cena’s one man welcoming committee. He walks off and we go to break.
- We are back and checking out downtown Providence, RI. Cole then takes us back to earlier tonight when Chris Jericho beat Batista and Orton to earn a title match at Unforgiven. Back in the arena, Chris Jericho has joined us in the ring. He says the fans all think a new era has arrived and things will change now that Cena is the champion. Well, all of the hypocrites thought that when Batista won the belt, but eight days later, he won the belt back and nothing changed. In three weeks at Armageddon, the same thing will happen to Cena and Jericho will be the World Champion at the end of 2008. Cena interrupts and appears on the Titantron. He is amongst a plethora of fans. He says that Jericho lost his sense of reality a while ago and he now thinks he is better than everyone else. The fans aren’t hypocrites and they know what they like and don’t like. They don’t like a little man in a form fitting suit telling them they aren’t good enough every week. Cena didn’t show up alone tonight, he has thousands of friends with him and if Jericho wants to welcome him, he has to welcome all of them…right now. And with that, Cena and his crew of fans march out from the concession area, down the steps and towards the ring. Cena hops the railing and climbs in the ring, leaving the fans in the crowd. Cena tells Jericho to look around the crowd and see that they all have one thing in common: they care about WWE. Every time they come to an arena, the fine people spend their money to boo and cheer who they wish. They have passion and all they ask for in return is that all of the superstars match their passion. They need to enjoy that the fans put up their signs and get rowdy when the cameras go on. They need to respect the fact that none of this exists without the fans. Cena isn’t here to start a new era or dynasty. He doesn’t even know how many titles he has won or lost. His one goal is to give everything he has to entertain the WWE’s most valuable asset: the fans. Jericho asks the fans if they agree and then says he doesn’t give a damn. He wants Cena to listen to everyone he has beaten and he runs it down. Cena stops him and mocks the weekly list. They are different people and the biggest difference is that Jericho talks business while he means business. Cena takes off his shirt and hat and gets in Jericho’s face but Chris backs off and leaves the ring, shaking his head. Cena puts over the match last night and Jericho’s in ring ability. He says that Jericho claims he needs to save this place each week, but Cena likes this place. Cena wants to tear Jericho in half because he insults people. Jericho claims to be an honest man, but he has been lying the entire time. Cena is as much a fan as everyone there and by holding the World title, it proves they are all good enough and they do not need saving or changing. It proves that the champ is here! Jericho stomps back into the ring with his mic. He says the champ is right here, and point to himself. Cena doesn’t intimidate or impress him and he thinks Cena is scared of him because he knows Jericho will take the belt at Armageddon. Cena is nothing but a liar and a hypocrite just like the sycophants he panders to every night. He will beat Cena like the flash in the pan that he is and there is nothing he can do about it. Cena is a worm and a coward…and Cena has had enough as he pummels Jericho around the ring. He takes him over with a Fisherman’s buster and then sends him flying to the floor. He follows out after him and runs him into the announce table and then pours a soda on him. Cena runs him into the stairs twice. Cena picks the stairs up and drills Jericho with them and then tosses him back in the ring. Cena locks in a full nelson and then slams him hard to the mat out of it. Cena looks to the crowd and then locks in the STFU. He releases and stands tall with his belt and we see Kane watching from backstage we fade out.
The opening segment was interesting although I really hope Shane doesn’t fade off and leave Steph to be in charge. I like the dueling GM deal and Shane is just more interesting than his sister at this point. The opening tag match was solid as a whole, but Rey looked great. His offense was all crisp and he was non stop in there once he got the tag. I am glad to see him getting back into shape and really moving well again. The JBL twist was intriguing and I wonder what this deal will end up being. The Kennedy segment just sort of there but succeeded in getting him back into our memory banks after being gone for a while. I will call them out on one thing and tell everyone that Kennedy did not interview those people last night. I was in the North Station terminal when the camera crew was polling the fans and he was nowhere to be found! The Kofi/Kane match was nothing and I was surprised to see Kofi advance. He could have used a pinfall win, but I will take it and I see they wanted to keep Kane strong to fight Cena next week. The triple threat was pretty fun and the finish was good stuff. I didn’t expect Jericho to win so that was a pleasant surprise and I love that he continues to outsmart Batista after the Animal busts his ass out there each week. It was good to see Goldust back and he was moving well out there. Santino needs no comment as he entertained as always. The Punk/Snitsky match was good as Punk always hits the spot with that early 90s Bret Hart style. He just carries anyone to a good match and does it through selling and well timed comebacks to scratch out wins. I understand that the tournament and IC title hype is to push the DVD, but I am enjoying the resurgence of the belt that seems to be on the horizon. The DX spot was funny and I would perfectly happy if they just did those spots and nothing else every week from here on out. And Kelly is awesome. The main event promo was good, mainly thanks to Jericho. Cena hits all his points and speaks clearly, but he still comes off as pandering. Hopefully he gets back in a groove as the weeks churn on. The brawl afterwards was solid though and Cena did a good job with his hatred there. This was an up and down show all night. It had some good moments and some sluggish ones. However, nothing was that great or really bad. It was just sort of there. They did progress various angles in some interesting directions, so there was forward movement, which is always good. The matches were all solid, but nothing spectacular. The crowd was up and down throughout as well. The one positive that rang true all night was that everyone worked hard tonight in and out of the ring. All of that adds up to a very average night of Raw. Final Grade: C
MVP: Chris Jericho Runner Up: Rey Mysterio Non MVP: Kane Runner Up: Batista
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