January 1, 2008
Raw: 2007 ends with a Flair
By DALE PLUMMER -- SLAM! Wrestling

Happy New Year, everyone! Hopefully the holiday season has been good to you, and we wrap up 2007 with one last Monday Night RAW. Even Vince knows not to go head to head with Dick Clark, so tonight's RAW is "live" on tape from Greensboro, North Carolina.

The show starts with a video package declaring Randy Orton as the greatest RAW superstar of 2007. And then the champ makes his appearance in a single spotlight in the middle of the ring. Orton says the past year can be summarized in three letters, "R-K-O." And in 2008 he will be more dominant then ever. Jeff Hardy has something to say about that, and the number one contender walks to the ring. Hardy says everything Orton said has no meaning without momentum. Hardy shows the video of Jeff pinning him two weeks ago. Orton calls it a lucky win; Hardy says it proves he can win and he has the "MO". Orton says talk to Jericho, Michaels and Cena about momentum, and Hardy will never beat him. Orton and Hardy face off. Orton goes for an RKO, but Jeff counters with the Twist of Fate, leaving Orton in the middle of the ring.

Matt Hardy greets his brother backstage. Matt congratulates Jeff on his success. Jeff asks how Matt is doing after the appendectomy. Matt says he is fine, and asks Jeff if he can get a title shot when he beats Orton. Jeff says theyíll talk about it.

Match #1 -- Mr. Kennedy vs. Shawn Michaels

Michaels gains the advantage on a lock up, but Kennedy powers out. HBK slaps on a side headlock and then hits an arm drag into an arm bar. Kennedy breaks the hold in the corner. HBK rips the knee pad off of Kennedy and drives his knee into the mat. Michaels locks in a half crab, but Kennedy gets to the ropes. Kennedy floats over a slam, and shoulder tackles HBK out of the ring and both men spill to the floor. HBK gets in the ring on a nine count. And we go to break.

After the commercial, HBK is beating on Ken in the corner, but Kennedy counters and hits a knee to the face. Shawn ducks a short arm clothesline and locks in a cross face. Kennedy fights out, and drops an elbow. Kennedy drives HBK back first into the ring post, and then hangs him in a tree of woe. HBK is set on the turnbuckle. HBK fights off Kennedy, but then is cut down on the top turnbuckle. Kennedy hits a superplex and covers. Shawn kicks out at two. Kennedy locks in a sitting abdominal stretch. HBK breaks free, hitting the flying forearm. Michaels kips up, and slams Kennedy to the mat. HBK drives an elbow into the mat as Kennedy rolls out of the way. Ken gets a near fall with an Oklahoma roll. HBK bridges out of a pin, and gets a near fall with a back slide. HBK slips out of the Green Bay Plunge, but misses on Sweet Chin Music. Kennedy counters with the flatline and gets the pin.

Winner via pinfall: Ken Kennedy

The Grish is with The Game. Todd wants to know how Triple H feels about possibly ending Ric Flairís career. Hunter says losing isnít an option, and Ric will know he lost to the best. Vince McMahon interrupts, gloating about the match, and informs Triple H that if he loses he is out of the Royal Rumble. (Thatís the stipulation I was looking for.)

Big Dick Johnson, Ron Simmons, and Jillian wish everyone a happy new year.

Vince is with William Regal and wants Regal to start the New Year with a match against Hornswoggle. Regal asks about Finlay, and Vince says he is out of the country.

We are treated to footage of Hacksaw Jim Duggan winning the first Royal Rumble.

Match #2 -- Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Umaga -- Royal Rumble Qualifier

My money is on Umaga. One punch takes Duggan off his feet. Umaga hits the corner charge and Duggan is busted open. Umaga hits the Samoan Spike and covers for the win.

Winner via pinfall: Umaga

Ric Flair is talking with Cody Rhodes and Bob Holly, when Vince breaks in. Vince asks Ric if he is ready for one last walk down that aisle. Vince tells him it is over.

JBL has arrived on RAW (either that or WWE has signed a deal with the beef council). JBL makes his way to the ring amidst his own fanfare ... and more pyro and then even more pyro, get on with it all ready. This has gone on for like five minutes, seriously, why? JBL says this day will be known for one thing and one thing only. This day JBL comes to RAW. JBL says he doesnít have to be here; he is here for power. Chris Jericho finally interrupts, and JBL is looking for a fight. The two brawl on the outside until several referees and backstage agents separate the two.

JBL is chewing out the refs and agents backstage for his treatment.

Match #3 -- Melina vs. Mickie James vs. Beth Phoenix -- Triple Threat Womenís Title match

(Now Beth Phoenix has the opportunity to injure two Divas in one match!) Phoenix kicks James off of Melina, and hits a delayed fishermanís suplex. Mickie James gets back in the ring a second too late to break up the pin. Phoenix retains her belt.

Winner via pinfall: Beth Phoenix

Match #4 -- William Regal w/ Vince McMahon vs. Hornswoggle

Regal is still in his suit for this match. Hornswoggle gives his dad a hug in the ring, and then Vince wants the two men to shake hands. Regal and Horny lock up, and the hold is broken in the corner. The two lock up again, and Horny is powered into the corner. Vince gives instructions to his son. Regal takes down the little guy, but Regal canít bring himself to hit the poor fellow. Vince looks confused, and calls Regal over. Vince lectures Regal, and Hornswoggle attacks from behind. Regal gains the upper hand and just canít bring himself to harm the little guy. Vince pulls out the brass knucks and tells Regal to use them, but Regal just canít hit the little fellow. Regal lets him go and Hornswoggle runs off. Vince enters the ring, slapping Regal across the face. Vince says this was a test, and Regal failed. Vince just wanted to see if Regal would hit him, and Vince wants to know who Regal is. Vince orders Regal from the ring.

No Contest

Match #5 -- Jeff Hardy vs. Santino Marella w/ Maria and Carlito

Hardy and Marella lock up with a collar and elbow tie up, and the hold is quickly broken in the corner. Jeff hits an arm drag take over. Marella pulls out a back heel trip, and Hardy responds with a drop kick in the corner. Hardy climbs the turnbuckle, but is interrupted by Randy Orton on the TitanTron. Orton says have fun in the ER, and kicks Matt Hardy in the head. Jeff runs to the back to check on his brother.

Winner via countout: Santino Marella

Triple H and Ric Flair talk in the back. Hunter is very confident that he is going to win. Flair says he feels like he is looking at himself 20 years ago. Flair tells Hunter he will always be his friend, and he wants him to be The Game tonight. Flair says he will rise to the occasion, tonight.

Match #6 -- Triple H vs. Ric Flair

Triple H and Flair circle each other in the ring, and then lock up. Hunter with a hammerlock, that Flair counters. The Nature Boy catches himself on the ropes. The two lock up again, and Flair is laid out with a punch. Hunter slaps on a side head lock, and then takes down Flair a shoulder block. Hunter backs Flair into the corner and Flair reverses positions. Trips punches his way out. Flair with chops and punches, but is cut down with a back elbow. Hunter drops a knee twice onto Flair. Hunter pounds away at Flair in the corner, but Flair fights back with knife-edge chops. Flair goes for a backdrop, and HHH counters with a face buster. Hunter hits a neck breaker, but only gets a two count. Flair is shot off the ropes, and Hunter hits a spinebuster. Triple H waits for Flair to get to his feet. Flair counters the pedigree with a backslide, but only scores a two count. Hunter goes to the sleeper. Flair breaks the hold with a back suplex and both men are down. Flair and Hunter trade shots again. Flair chops down Hunter, and then hits a double arm suplex. Flair counters a charge with a shot to the face. Flair climbs the turnbuckle and scores with a flying punch. Flair struts around the ring, dropping a knee into Hunter's face. Two chop blocks send Hunter to the mat, and Flair goes for the figure four. Triple H blocks it, and goes for the sleeper. Flair counters with a knee breaker, and goes right into the figure four. Flair locks the hold in the middle of the ring, as Triple H strains for the ropes. Hunter finally gets to the ropes to break the hold. Flair walks right into a Pedigree, but does damage to his own leg. As Hunter crawls to Flair, William Regal comes down and hits Flair with the brass knucks. The ref calls for the bell, and Hunter is DQíed. So Ric Flair is still on the active roster, but there will be no Royal Rumble for Triple H.

Winner via DQ: Ric Flair

The show ends with the two friends hugging in the middle of the ring.

Dale Plummer has been writing for SLAM! Wrestling since 2003. Dale would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year.


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