Raw: A special holiday surprise in Toronto
NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling
It’s a very merry holiday edition of Raw, coming to us from Toronto’s own Air Canada Centre. Will we get presents or coal from the WWE? Only one way to find out, as Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix are ready to kick things off by revealing a secret about Santa Claus. Uh-oh...
Before Marella can do his big reveal, John Cena drops in to put the kibosh on it. The World Heavyweight Champion claims to already know the secret, which is that Santino never liked Santa. Marella scoffs at Cena and challenges him to a mixed tag match with a partner of his choosing. Goldust volunteers, but ends up slinking away unfulfilled when Marella clarifies and says the partner must have ovaries. Cena doesn’t seem worried, and assures Santino he will find a partner and take the match.
Match 1 – Kane vs. Shawn Michaels
This is the first of four “Race to the Rumble” matches that will feature eight former champs competing in singles matches. Tonight’s winners will meet in a Fatal Four Way next Monday, with that winner receiving a shot at Cena’s title at the Royal Rumble. Kane comes to the ring with Kelly Kelly and offers her a reluctant apology ordered by Stephanie McMahon. However, Kane thinks Kelly owes him an apology too, since she led him on and tried to fool him by thinking she had something going on with The Miz. Hey, he is supposed to be the chick magnet. The match goes somewhat better for the Big Red Machine, except that he sees HBK escape from not one but two attempts at a chokeslam. Michaels connects with Sweet Chin Music after the second one and covers to get the win.
In case you missed last week’s show, Hacksaw Jim Duggan made an appearance. Also Randy Orton did his running kick to Batista’s head, which was probably more important since it’s the subject of this video package.
Match 2 – Kofi Kingston vs. Manu
It’s a battle between the strength of Manu and the speed of Kingston, who sounds like he’s as over in Canada as he is in the States. Manu sets up for a Samoan drop or something similar, but Kofi pulls off a cool counter and scores the pinfall.
Cena shakes hands backstage with Kelly Kelly. You don’t think...? No, that would be too obvious, right? Elsewhere, Sim Snuka pleads his case to Orton, saying he’d be a great addition to the stable Randy is building. Disgusted with Manu, Orton seems receptive to adding a new member, and Snuka and Manu stare each other down for a bit.
D-Generation X makes one final pitch for holiday gift ideas -- though Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler are quick to point out that the spot was filmed before Michaels accepted an offer to work for JBL. This segment ends with the boys wrestling each other after HBK says he remembers coming off four years on the shelf to beat Triple H at SummerSlam 2002, while The Game counters that he remembers Shawn had hair back then. Burn!
Speaking of Michaels, he’s in the locker room talking to CM Punk when Triple H visits and says they need to talk. Hunter wants to know why Shawn went to work for JBL when he could have just asked for help. Michaels responds that he knew Helmsley would be there for him, but he wanted to get out of the hole he dug for himself without any help. Shawn asks Hunter to trust him, since he knows what he’s doing. For his sake, The Game hopes he does.
Match 3 – Jillian and Layla vs. Mickie James and Melina
William Regal joins the announcers to watch his lady friend in action in a match that goes much longer than you might assume. The Intercontinental Champion also boasts that he’ll have the most memorable title reign of all time, surpassing all of the champions featured on the recent DVD release. Free plug! Melina ends the match by pinning Jillian with a cool flipping sit-put power bomb. I’m pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve ever typed anything close to that during a women’s match.
Match 4 – Rey Mysterio vs. JBL
In the pre-show dark match, Kizarny beat either Hawkins or Ryder (those guys are
pretty much interchangeable).
During the commercial breaks, they did a Sign of the Night segment with Jerry
Lawler doing emcee work, reading off peoples' signs, and a Kiss Cam segment with
Charlie Haas coming out dressed as the Mountie.
After the show went off the air, Chris Jericho came out to face John Cena in a
streetfight for the title. Jericho cut an anti-Canadian promo to start, noting
that he was born in New York and was forced to move to Canada by his "abusive
parents", which finally got some fans to boo him, unlike during his RAW match
against CM Punk. Cena won after an FU.
-- Bob Kapur
As Mysterio comes out, we learn that Stephanie has given Mike Knox the night off. One wonders what he’s off from, exactly, since all he’s done for the past few shows is ambush Rey. JBL gets in tons of offense and Mysterio finds himself scrambling to kick out numerous times. He even ends up in the Torture Rack at one point. JBL attempts to use a fallaway slam to throw Mysterio out of the ring, but Rey counters with a DDT. An enzuigiri and a dropkick leave JBL set up for a 619, but Michaels appears and drags his boss to safety. Surprisingly, HBK slaps Bradshaw out on the floor, though the method behind his madness becomes clear when the ref calls for the bell and awards JBL the win thanks to outside interference. As Yoda would say, clever that Michaels is.
Match 5 – Randy Orton vs. Batista
Actually this isn’t much of a match, as it’s announced that Batista is unable to compete thanks to head injuries from last week, giving Orton a win by forfeit. Randy cuts a promo saying that he’s been dreaming of kicking Batista in the head every night for the last four years. Mocking the Animal, Orton tells him his time is past and he’s come full circle from the Evolution days by once again taking a backseat to the Legend Killer.
Dolph Ziggler introduces himself to Kelly Kelly, because that’s what Dolph Ziggler does. The Miz and John Morrison are the next visitors, and Miz is none too pleased that she set him up as the target of Kane’s wrath. They wonder aloud if it’s Cena she’s protecting and how she can compete tonight when rumor has it that her hotel room has been broken into and trashed, with her passport and other things stolen. Who would do such a thing? And is it just me, or are some of these interconnected storylines actually making sense?
Match 6 – Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk
Despite being picked as WWE Magazine’s “Jerk of the Year,” Jericho gets plenty of love from the Canadian fans. This is a really good match with tremendous back and forth action. Punk finally seems to gain the upper hand as he looks for the Go To Sleep, but Jericho pulls off a nifty reversal that leads into the Walls of Jericho. Punk manages to escape the hold to score with a high knee in the corner and a kick to the head, but the strain of the submission hold has taken its toll, and both men hit the mat. Punk finally pulls himself up and springboards off the top rope, but Jericho catches him in mid-air and drops him into the Code Breaker. A very cool finish gives Jericho the win and sets the field for next week’s Four Way: Michaels, JBL, Orton and Jericho.
Kelly Kelly is making a hasty exit, leaving Todd Grisham to question why she’s leaving since she’s slated to be in the main event. Kelly claims she’s spoken to John and he understands why she has to go. A video package shows highlights from this year’s Tribute to the Troops show, something that always gives me goose bumps.
Main Event – Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix vs. John Cena and ?
Doing his usual stellar heel promo work, Marella runs down Canada as “second place to the U.S. in pretty much everything” -- though he gets his share of cheers in his hometown. He makes another attempt to tell Santa’s secret, but he’s foiled once again as Cena comes down the ramp. The champ says Santa has a front row seat for tonight’s show and even managed to find him a new tag team partner: Trish Stratus! Naturally, Stratus gets a huge pop from her home crowd. She looks good, if a little less muscular since she last appeared in a WWE ring. Trish shows off her Matrix move early on and holds her own with Phoenix. The men tag in, and Santino falls victim to a Five Knuckle Shuffle. Beth saves her man only to get hit with a Chick Kick. An FU puts Santino away and sends the Toronto faithful home happy. On behalf of everyone at SLAM! Wrestling, here’s wishing you a happy holiday season.
Since Trish’s appearance was billed as “one night only,” Nick Tylwalk is wondering if she’ll accept an offer to make a “one night only” appearance at his house. To help with the report, of course! Sound off on the odds on her accepting this offer at firstname.lastname@example.org.