November 25, 2008
Raw: Dealing with Survivor Series fallout
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling
There are only three certain things in life: death, taxes and John Cena winning a championship after returning from a lengthy absence. It’s that last one that has former champ Chris Jericho in a foul mood, and there are bound to be some other surly folks as we survey the aftermath of Survivor Series live from Providence, Rhode Island.
The broadcast begins with Shane McMahon pulling up in his sports car and tossing the keys to Cryme Tyme -- probably not the smartest idea if he wants to see it again. He greets a few people as he walks through the back, but he’s obviously in a hurry to get out to the stage. His music hits and he talks to the fans about two men who have rematch clauses for Cena’s world heavyweight championship, namely Jericho and Batista. To settle that dilemma, he orders a No. One Contender's Match between the two of them for tonight ... except that sister Stephanie steals his thunder by showing up and adding Randy Orton to the match as well. The siblings exchange a few words as the crowd chants for Cena. Stephanie is about to announce the tag team match that will lead off the show when Shane repays the favor and declares that John Morrison and The Miz will face Shawn Michaels and Rey Mysterio. Angrily, Steph says that Raw is her show and she’s not about to let her brother ruin it. Shane retorts that he’s only out there to have some fun and make the show better. When Stephanie tells Shane to hop back in his car and return to New York, he wonders aloud whether his sister’s idea of running the show will include sleeping her way into more power again. That gets him a slap in the face, but Shane says he’ll be happy to watch Steph run Raw right into the ground.
Match 1 -- John Morrison and The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio and Shawn Michaels
I’m still working on learning how to make my entrances in slow motion like Morrison and Miz. I have to think that would be a good party trick. Just seconds into the action, JBL orders his reluctant driver to take him to the ring. He gets there in time to see a cool spot that has HBK and Morrison both crawl along the ropes to tag their partners. Michaels takes his usual beating but emerges victorious, and a frustrated Morrison keeps the fight going after the bell. JBL enters and finds Shawn helpless, but he turns and gives a big boot to Morrison instead. Michaels’ confused expression says it all as JBL silently heads to the back.
Plucky backstage interviewer Todd Grisham chases down JBL for an explanation. Layfield claims that he made a business offer to Michaels and his help was merely a show of good faith on his part. He feels confident HBK will accept his offer shortly.
Now welcome to the stage, the star of Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia, Mr. Kennedy. Wait, there are sequels to Behind Enemy Lines? Kennedy spent some time in line with the fans on Sunday night asking them which WWE Superstar reminds them most of Barack Obama. He gets a wide range of answers, the best of which is a young man saying Vince McMahon because both he and Obama have big ears. Kennedy was surprised another name didn’t come up, the name of a young, fresh, charismatic Superstar: Mr. Kennedy ... Kennedy. It doesn’t sound like the fans missed him as much as they do some wrestlers who are away for a while.
Grisham asks for a few of Batista’s clichés, um, I mean thoughts on the upcoming Triple Threat Match. First he congratulates Cena, saying he knows what it feels like to be on top. Since Dave wants to feel that way again, he plans on winning tonight and reclaiming the title at Armageddon.
Original Intercontinental Champion Pat Patterson joins Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler to pimp the DVD set that covers the history of the title, and also to get a ringside seat for the first match in an eight-man tournament to determine who gets to wrestle William Regal for that very same belt.
Match 2 -- Kofi Kingston vs. Kane -- Intercontinental Title Tournament Match -- First Round
It’s hard to see Kingston going over clean here. His array of creative moves is really something, though his springboard plancha attempt doesn’t go smoothly and looks like it almost hurts both men. Sure enough, Kane has Kofi wrapped backwards around the ringpost outside the ring, and the ref calls for the DQ. An angry Kane (and really, is there any other kind?) brings the steps into the ring to "protest" the decision on Kingston’s face, but he stops when Stephanie comes out to propose he save his aggression for a match with Cena on next week’s show.
Match 3 -- Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista -- World Heavyweight Title No. One Contenders Match
Cody Rhodes and Manu are interested observers backstage. Batista gets the early advantage by wrecking both of his opponents, but they eventually all get in some offense. A missed Lionsault has Orton stalking Jericho for the RKO, but I doubt he’ll get it while we go to a commercial break. Orton and Jericho form a temporary alliance but Randy breaks it first. Jericho and Batista go back and forth with a few counters; Batista ends up in the Walls of Jericho and Orton has to save him. Randy gets a spear from Batista as a thank you, but Jericho flies in with a low dropkick, knocking Batista away and allowing him to steal the pinfall.
Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix come to the ring, and Santino is not a happy camper. He’s upset about being left off the I-C title DVD and about getting snubbed for the tournament, and he vows to take some frustration out on his opponent tonight, who just happens to be a familiar face making a return to action.
Match 4 -- Santino Marella vs. Goldust
Surprisingly, this is almost a squash. Goldust gets in almost all of the offense en route to winning with the Final Cut. Unless, Goldust is being readied for a big push, that seemed kind of pointless.
Orton and the guys from Priceless stare each other down in the back. Well, not Ted DiBiase, because Junior is off shooting The Marine 2. Wait, there’s a sequel to The Marine?
Match 5 -- CM Punk vs. Snitsky -- Intercontinental Title Tournament Match -- First Round
Regal and Layla sit in with the announcers and get a ringside view. The current I-C champ says he hopes Punk wins the tourney because he’s foreseen them having a feud for the ages. No Willie, that’s just the script for the rest of 2008! Snitsky briefly has Punk in trouble, but Mr. Straight Edge is able to put him away with the Go To Sleep.
Grisham is really earning his money tonight. He asks Mysterio about his first round tournament match against The Miz, which will take place next Monday. Rey says he’s done his history on the title and wants to put his name aside some legendary champions. He’s interrupted by Mike Knox, who stares holes in Rey for a minute before moving on. Oh goodie, let’s do a David versus Goliath angle with them. That’s so fresh.
Season’s greetings from DX! Michaels and Triple H promote merchandise as only they can, and they have a special helper who gives a whole new meaning to jingle bells. Classic stuff.
Match 6 -- Beth Phoenix, Jillian and Katie Lea vs. Mickie James, Candice Michelle and Melina
Is this really how we’re ending the wrestling portion of tonight’s show? It sure looks that way. The big story here is the return of Melina, who looks good as she picks up the win by pinning Katie Lea.
Newly minted No. 1 Contender Jericho is walking around backstage in a suit. Stephanie asks where he’s going, and he replies that he intends to play one-man welcoming committee when Cena hits the ring.
True to his word, Jericho gets to the ring first and chastises the fans for thinking things would be different just because Cena was back. The champ cuts him off from the Titan Tron, telling him that if he wants a welcome, he’ll get it from thousands of Cena’s friends, a.k.a. the fans. Cena makes his way through the crowd, and what follows is an excruciatingly long segment that revolves around Cena sticking up for the fans. Okay, we get it. Jericho backs away from a physical confrontation, but Cena is able to goad him into stepping back inside the ropes. Jericho says he’s not impressed or intimidated, and he keeps up the verbal insults until Cena decides he’s had enough. Jericho’s ensuing beating begins in the ring, spills out to the floor and ends back inside the ring with the STFU. But don’t forget Kane, who is watching backstage in anticipation of his showdown with Cena next week. Until then, please turn the lights off on your way out.
Nick Tylwalk wonders if the WWE is trying to wear him down, because he sees that there is yet another three-hour episode coming up in a few weeks. Send words of encouragement to firstname.lastname@example.org .