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Raw: Enemies of Jericho's enemies become his friends
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


From the “In Case You Missed It” file comes the opening of tonight’s show from Washington, D.C., which is a lengthy recap of how John Cena got his championship back. But Chris Jericho would like to regain that belt himself, and his schemes are sure to be front and center as we head live to the Verizon Center. Hey, do we get the network with our seats?

Jericho has hired himself some security guards so he won’t have to be touched by any of Cena’s fans as he makes his way down through the crowd to the ring. Spewing his usual disdain for the paying customers, he says he did not represent them before and has no plans on doing so when he recovers the World Heavyweight Championship. He does want to save one Cena fan though: his son. Jericho claims his boy became a big Cena supporter during his dad’s last absence from the WWE. He even had to ban little Jericho from watching WWE television, but he’s lifting the ban at Armageddon so his son can watch his old hero fall at the hands of his father.

Ring action is about to start with another first round match in the ongoing Intercontinental Title Tournament. Or that’s the plan anyway, though it changes quickly when Rey Mysterio’s path to the ring is blocked by Mike Knox. A fight erupts, and Knox gets in a few solid shots before a referee saves Mysterio from further harm. Rey is clutching his arm. No match after all, I suppose. By the way, it’s tough to buy the one millionth incarnation of the “unstoppable monster” gimmick when said monster immediately goes after the smallest guy on the roster. I’m just saying.

Stephanie McMahon informs Todd Grisham that Mysterio has suffered some torn ligaments in his arm. Helpfully, Layla passes along William Regal’s suggestion that Rey be knocked out of the tournament if he’s unable to compete tonight, and Steph seems to like that idea.

Match 1 – CM Punk and Kofi Kingston vs. Priceless (Cody Rhodes and Manu)

Kingston gets dumped out to the floor before the commercial break. He’s the one in the spotlight later on, as he takes the hot tag from Punk and unleashes a variety of aerial moves. A big spinning kick from Kofi pins Rhodes as Randy Orton looks on scornfully from backstage.

Since there are only 23 shopping days left until Christmas, DX is back to push some more WWE gift ideas. Today, Shawn Michaels and Triple H show off the Elimination Chamber playset, which I’d actually love to have if I wasn’t sure my wife would soon be depositing it and me outside. HBK has a bit of a Christmas breakdown when he thinks about kids asking him to put together the Chamber (and its 40 pieces) after getting just a few hours of sleep. Once again, it’s funny stuff.

On the less comedic tip, Orton has his latest encounter with Rhodes and Manu. Explaining that he sees potential in them when they work together, Randy says he hopes they can take the first step in realizing their collective potential later tonight. Elsewhere, Jericho hunts down Kane – who is facing Cena later tonight – and tells him everyone in the locker room thinks Cena will win. Kane sees through the subterfuge but promises to lay a beating on the champ for his own reasons.

Match 2 – Jillian vs. Melina

It looks like Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix want to watch this match too. Melina makes fairly short work of Jillian with the Last Call, but Marella is not impressed. He even claims that anyone can do Melina’s ring entrance and volunteers to do it himself. Much hilarity ensues – if you find simulated groin injuries hilarious.

Back in the locker room, Santino ices down his groin and gets a massage from his girlfriend. Or at least that’s what he thinks. It’s actually... wait for it… Goldust! I guess every variety show needs its slapstick, but this also seems like something that could get old fast.

Match 3 – JBL vs. Shawn Michaels – Street Fight

JBL comes down to the ring in his suit but preparing for a match as he approaches. He says he made an offer to Michaels last week but never got an answer, and the Street Fight is what’s going to go down if he doesn’t get one now. HBK heads down, dressed in street clothes but with his wrists taped. And now we get to the crux of the matter: JBL claims that while the stock market has been getting pummeled by the economic downturn, he’s made money by investing in other places. Meanwhile, he says Michaels has lost his retirement, his nest egg and his college fund for his kids. JBL also points out that HBK isn’t exactly a picture of health, and is one bad spot away from disaster. So Layfield wants to know if Michaels wants to wrestle until he’s 60 in high school gyms or make big money working for him. He demands an immediate answer, keenly aware that the fans want Michaels to dish out some Sweet Chin Music. JBL even says he’ll give Shawn a free shot, with the understanding that the offer is off the table forever if he takes it. Clearly reveling in Shawn’s indecision, JBL smiles as Michaels slinks away up the ramp and says he looks forward to doing business with him. Now that was a good segment, with both men playing their roles to a tee.

Match 4 – Batista vs. Dolph Ziggler

It’s the debut match for Ziggler, who’s spent most of his camera time to this point shaking hands. He slaps Batista before the match, apparently upset that Big Dave doesn’t know who he is. Ziggler gets in a surprising amount of offense and manages to escape from several finishing moves. All that does is make Batista mad, and one Batista Bomb later, Ziggler’s career record on Raw stands at 0-1.

Orton interrupts Batista’s post-match posing, congratulating him on the victory but warning that the two of them will face off someday. The Animal responds that someday is closer than he might think, because Stephanie has already declared that they will wrestle at Armageddon. Orton says he can’t wait, but his face says otherwise.

Staying with Orton, we see him approached by Jericho backstage. Randy rebuffs any attempts to get him to team up against Cena, as he figures he’ll take care of the champ himself when the time comes. Before he leaves, Jericho sows some doubts by claiming that Orton’s return from injury received much less fanfare than Cena’s comeback. Hard to argue that.

Match 5 – John Morrison vs. Finlay – Intercontinental Title Tournament Match – First Round

There’s not too much special in this match. I can’t shake the feeling that Morrison would be destined for stardom if only he wasn’t so thoroughly mediocre on the stick. Hornswoggle gets involved on the outside, but that only distracts Finlay and leads to his downfall. A springboard enzuigiri puts the Irishman down for the count.

An extended preview airs for Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia, starring Mr. Kennedy. All I can say about that is... good grief. Back in the arena, Stephanie boasts that she has made the show bigger and better since she took over. Pimping next week’s three-hour show that incorporates the Slammy Awards, she announces the nominees for Superstar of the Year: Edge, Batista, Jeff Hardy, Chris Jericho, Triple H and John Cena. Next week they will be in action in the following combinations: Jericho-Hardy, HHH-Batista and Cena-Edge.

Match 6 – The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio – Intercontinental Title Tournament Match – First Round

It looks like Rey won’t have to drop out after all as he competes with his right arm heavily bandaged. Miz really targets that arm, but Mysterio proves more than up to the challenge. After a nice sequence of counters and reversals, Rey manages to roll up his foe out of a pinning attempt to earn the pinfall.

Main Event – Kane vs. John Cena

It’s toe to toe right from the opening bell. Kane gets the upper hand momentarily on the outside, then keeps pressing the offense back inside the ring. Cena dodges a top-rope clothesline and goes for the STFU. Jericho runs down and the champ has to go deal with him, smashing him into the retaining wall. Kane uses the recovery time to set up his finisher, but Cena wiggles out of two chokeslam attempts and manages to get the big man lifted onto his shoulders. An FU seals the deal as Jericho thinks better of rushing the ring.

Unfortunately for him, Cena decides not to wait and heads to the floor to attack. Jericho is getting the worst of it just below the stage when Rhodes and Manu run out and join in the fun. Cena holds his own despite the odds, but that changes when Orton makes his presence felt. A DDT on the floor leaves Cena helpless for an onslaught by all of the heels. Orton and Priceless watch as Jericho puts Cena in the Walls of Jericho and adds a helping of verbal abuse. See you later D.C.!

Nick Tylwalk is getting his son J.T. ready to be the first second-generation Raw reporter – though he may have to wait until he’s more than four months old to take over. Send pointers to ntylwalk7@yahoo.com.