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Cena, Smackdown earn Bragging Rights
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling


John Cena sets up a very special Attitude Adjustment through a table. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea



It was a fight for brand supremacy Sunday as WWE presented its first-ever Bragging Rights pay-per-view. While the show was focused around the 7-on-7 battle between Raw and Smackdown, only a trophy was on the line there. Instead, it was the 60-minute Iron Man Match between Randy Orton and John Cena for the WWE Championship that stole the show, as Cena won the decisive fall in the final seconds to reclaim the title.

Emanating from Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pa., Bragging Rights saw Smackdown flex its muscles as the top brand in World Wrestling Entertainment, winning 2-of-3 intrabrand matches.

The main event Iron Man Match was hot from the start and well-paced to keep both the fans in the arena and at home into the contest.

After a feeling out process, Cena locks in the STF about four minutes into the match and Orton quickly taps. 1-0 Cena - 56 minutes left

But after dropping the first fall, Orton quickly rebounds taking it to Cena. We get out first Orton chinlock of the night and this one is about a Level 4. He's really wearing Cena out with this one. Cena finally breaks the hold and hits the Throwback. He goes to the top and hits the flying legdrop and calls for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Orton pops up and hits the RKO out of nowhere. Tied 1-1 - 51 minutes to go

Right after the 30 second rest period, Orton shoves Cena off the apron and into the barricade. Orton stays outside and takes Cena to the announce table. He grabs a monitor and lines Cena up for a shot to the "SKULL!" as Cole would say. Orton covers but Cena kicks out. They go back in the ring and Orton belts Cena with the microphone. Covers for two. Cena is bleeding and the doctor comes out and the referee wants it to be checked but Cena is having none of it and charges Orton and tosses him over the top rope. He bangs Orton's head into the steps but Orton returns the favor for a two count. He then stomps Cena's head into the steps but he kicks out again.

Back in the ring, Orton starts slapping and pounding the mat, calling for the RKO. He goes for it but Cena pushes him off and hits a vintage shoulderblock and the side slam. Five knuckle shuffle time again and this time he connects. Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment but Orton counters into a reverse RKO while in the air. They land arms across each other, so the referee counts them both down. Tied 2-2 - 43 minutes go

The doctors come in to tend to Cena during the rest period to clear the blood. Orton posts himself while charing Cena. Lawler speculates that the doctors glued Cena's head shut. To the top rope and Cena hits an Attitude Adjustment from the top. Cena is slow to cover but still gets it. 3-2 Cena - 40 minutes to go

During the rest period, Legacy comes out and attacks Cena. DiBiase hits Dream Street. They pull Orton onto Cena for the fall. Tied 3-3 - 39 minutes to go

During the rest period, Kingston runs in with a chair and chases Legacy off.

They brawl on the outside with Cena taking it to Orton, but Orton takes control by bouncing Cena's head off the guard rial. They battle by the technical equipment. Orton bangs Cena's head off a board that sets off stage pyro that makes pretty much everybody soil themselves. Orton then puts Cena through part of the set, making for some sparks. Orton covers the lifeless Cena. 4-3 Orton - 35 minutes to go

Orton goes back to the pyro board and start randomly hitting buttons when a light bulb goes off. He puts Cena on the stage and hits a one man Conchairto on Cena and then drags him into the middle of the stage and goes back to the pyro board. Orton hits a button but it doesn't work. He tries again, no response. He then bangs the board and some goes off, but Cena had rolled to the other side of the stage. Orton is angry. Then come back down to the ringside area.

Orton is decimating Cena. Orton grabs the steps and throws them and hits Cena in the skull. Orton grabs a chair and hits Cena in the back while he's up against the post. Cena kicks out of the pin at two. Back in the ring, Cena rolls Orton up out of nowhere. Tied 4-4 - 27 minutes left

Orton attacks Cena during the rest period and then backs off. He then drapes Cena over the apron and gives him the falling DDT onto the floor. He covers and gets a fall. 5-4 Orton - 25 minutes to go

Orton methodically picking Cena apart. Cena ducks a clothesline and hits Orton. Orton takes a walk up the ramp. Cena eventually goes to the top of the ramp and Cena walks right into an attack. Orton walks back into the ring and Cena walks from the top of the ramp. Cena slides into the ring and Orton jumps him and goes to work on the skull of Cena with closed fists. Orton sets up the second rope DDT but Cena gets out and lifts Orton for the Attitude Adjustment but Orton elbows his way out and heads into the crowd. They lose them and when they find them Cena is taking it to the champion with 16 minutes to go. Cena works it back toward the ring but still in the crowd. A stiff right lands for Cena. Cena makes a cover on the floor but Orton kicks out. Cena pounds Orton into the ring steps for another two count. Orton into the guardrail. Cena really working Orton over, throwing him through the barricade around the timekeeper. Cena goes and grabs the bottom ring step and sets it up next to the announce table. He picks up the top step and returns the favor, smashing them into Orton's skull. Cena then stacks the ring steps on top of each other. Cena scoops Orton up and puts him in Attitude Adjustment position and climbs the steps. He finishes the job, hitting the Attitude Adjustment through the table. Tied 5-5 with nine minutes to go

Right at the end of the 30 second rest period, Cena covers Orton but Orton kicks out at two. Cena can't believe it, so he goes under the ring for a table, putting it into the ring. Cena goes back to the outside and dead-lifts Orton back into the ring. Cena loads Orton onto the table and heads to the top rope. He goes for the legdrop but Orton rolls off the table in the nick of time. They punch each other from their knees centre ring. Less than four minutes to go. They keep punching as they rise to their feet. Cena ducks a clothesline and hits another vintage shoulderblock and he goes for another but Orton ducks and Cena decks the ref. Cena then walks right into an RKO with 2:30 to go. Orton calls for another ref and he comes out but Cena kicks out at two. Orton then takes out the ref. Two minutes to go now.

Cena still down with 1:15 to go. Orton backs off Cena and goes to the corner, sizing Cena up for the punt. Cena moves and grabs Orton on the rebound and locks in and super STF with 59 seconds to go. Orton battling with 20 seconds to go. Orton on the verge of going out. Ten seconds to go. Orton taps out with four seconds left.

Winner 6 falls to 5 and NEW WWE Champion: John Cena

Match rating: 9/10

The next WWE pay-per-view is Survivor Series on Nov. 22.

After a video package, Michael Cole, Todd Grisham and 2007 WWE Hall of Famer Jerry "The King" Lawler welcome us to Bragging Rights. This show is presented in WWEHD (TV-PG,V).

Cole tells us that the brand that wins 2-of-3 Raw vs. Smackdown matches will receive the "Bragging Rights Trophy," a trophy that looks straight out of your local trophy store. They could've, at the very least, recreated the WrestleMania IV battle royal trophy and had the losing team destroy it.

Match #1 - The Miz (Cleveland, Ohio) vs. John Morrison (Los Angeles, Calif.)


He's The Miz and he's the U.S. champion.
Morrison hits the standing Shooting Star Press for two but Miz stomps him. They trade holds, including a jackknife cover and a bridge-out by Miz. Morrison looks for the Moonlight Drive, but Miz recognizes it right away and scoots away. Morrison sends Miz to the outside and springboards out onto him. Back in the ring, Morrison goes for the corner head scissors, but Miz grabs him and throws him over the top rope.

Miz takes control and works Morrison's back, but he mule kicks his way out. It doesn't last long as Miz hits a running high knee as Morrison's head hangs over the apron. Miz applies the first of what I'm sure will be many chinlocks tonight.

Morrison out and they start trading body kicks. Morrison ducks a roundhouse kick and sweeps the leg. Leg lariat for Morrison for two. Miz ducks a running kick and school boy's Morrison for two. Morrison hits the springboard high kick but Miz barely gets his foot on the bottom rope. Morrison looks for Starship Pain but Miz rolls out.

Morrison goes for a superplex but Miz punches his way out and hits a double axehandle. He goes for the Skull-Crushing Finale, but Morrison escapes and hits a Russian leg sweep. Morrison again for the Starship Pain but as he goes to springboard, Miz knocks him back, putting Morrison in la la land and picks up the pin.

Winner via pinfall: The Miz

Match rating: 6.5/10

Backstage, Cody Rhodes and R-Truth get into a verbal sparring match when Big Show comes in and tells Truth to hit the bricks.

Match #2 - Michelle McCool (Palatka, Fla.), Beth Phoenix (Buffalo, N.Y.) & Natalya (Calgary, Alberta) vs. Melina (Los Angeles, Calif.), Kelly Kelly (Jacksonville, Fla.) & Gail Kim (Toronto, Ontario)

Kim gets the best of McCool, so McCool scurries to the corner and tag Natalya in. Kim tags Kelly Kelly in to a rather large ovation for an early match tag. Head scissors takedown for Kelly but the momentum is short-lived for Kelly as Natalya picks her up and slams her on the top rope. Kelly is double-teamed in the corner by Phoenix and McCool, but elbows her way out. Natalya comes in but Kelly leaps up and goes for a sunset flip but Natalya holds on to the top rope and brings the pain to Kelly. They have Kelly trapped and are making quick tags.

That ends when Phoenix makes a blind tag. Kelly hits a hurricanrana and tags in Melina. She goes to work and hits a facebuster and hits McCool, but gets distracted. Phoenix goes for a suplex but Melina rolls through. McCool switches the cover but the ref is distracted by Kim on the apron. Melina goes for a pin but it's broken up. It breaks down as Kelly and Kim attack McCool and Natalya and they go outside of the ring. In the melee, Phoenix hits Melina with the Glam Slam.

Winners via pinfall: Beth Phoenix, Michelle McCool & Natalya

Match rating: 5/10

DX leads a Team Raw pep talk. Triple H proceeds to bury everyone on his own team. Hornswaggle comes in and does the DX chop and runs away. Triple H says Raw cannot lose tonight.

Match #3 - Fatal Four Way for the World Heavyweight Championship - (c) Undertaker (Death Valley) vs. Batista (Washington, DC) vs. Rey Mysterio (San Diego, Calif.) vs. CM Punk (Chicago, Ill.)

Everyone going after Undertaker early, but he dispatches of both Punk and Mysterio and then goes to Batista. He hits Old School. Undertakers end up crotched by Punk and gets superplex. Mysterio hits a springboard splash but Punk breaks up the cover and tosses Mysterio to the outside. Batista then attacks Punk with a powerslam and then Taker hits Batista.

Mysterio jumps on Undertaker but he catches him and goes for the Last Ride but Batista spears Undertaker.

This is crazy right now. Mysterio hits the 619 on Undertaker but then Punk hits the GTS on Mysterio. Undertaker locks in Hells Gate on Batista. Punk hits the jumping knee in the corner on Undertaker but gloats too long and Taker hits the Last Ride but Batista makes the save.

Undertaker and Batista start trading and the crowd goes yay/boo. Batista charges at Undertaker and ends up running right into a chokeslam but Punk breaks the pin. Now Punk and Taker going at it. Punk kicks his way out of a chokeslam. He charges at Taker again but Taker throws him out of the ring and calls for the Tombstone on Batista. He scoops him up but Batista slides out and hits the Batista Bomb but Mysterio shoves Batista off and tries to steal the cover but Batista recovers in time.


Batista confronts Mysterio.
Batista asks Mysterio, "Are you kidding me? You're supposed to be my friend," and shoves Mysterio out of the ring. Undertaker with a chokeslam on the distracted Batista but he kicks out at two.

Undertaker goes for another chokeslam but Batista breaks out and they hit a double clothesline. Punk scampers in and tries to cover both men but they both kick out at two. Batista gets up and dispatches of Punk. Mysterio leaps onto Batista but he throws him to the outside onto Punk. Batista turns around and walks right into the Tombstone. That's all she wrote.

Winner via pinfall and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: Undertaker

Match rating: 7/10

The time of the fall was 9:58.

WHAT YOU THINK
What did you think of WWE Bragging Rights?
It was great - 22%
It was okay - 25%
It sucked - 12%
Didn't see it - 42%
Batista and Mysterio are getting to their feet in the ring and Josh Mathews interviews them. Mysterio says he thinks he and Batista did their best. Mysterio goes over to Batista and consoles him. Mysterio says they were both close. Mysterio says there will be another day. Mathews goes to Batista. He takes the mic and says he doesn't think they were close but he does think he was close. And you know what else? He's tired of coming "this close" and he's also tired of his best friend stabbing him in the back. Mysterio says it ain't like that. Batista says he ain't playing and he's going to rip his head off. He drops the mic and hits a vicious clothesline and then hits a stomp that sends Mysterio out of the ring. He follows to the outside and stomps him more. He picks him up yells "You're supposed to be my friend!" Mysterio begs him to "take it easy" and "please calm down." Wrong answer. Batista picks him up and ragdolls him into the barrier. Batista looks like he's done but then he charges Mysterio and lays him out one more time with a running stomp. Batista slowly walks to the back.

Match #4 - Bragging Rights Match - Shawn Michaels (San Antonio, Texas), Triple H (Greenwich, Conn.), Big Show (Tampa, Fla.), Cody Rhodes (Charlotte, N.C.), Jack Swagger (Perry, Okla.), Mark Henry (Silsbee, Texas) & Kofi Kingston (Ghana, West Africa) vs. Chris Jericho (Winnipeg, Manitoba), Kane (Hell, Fire & Brimstone), Matt Hardy (Cameron, N.C.), Finlay (Belfast, Northern Ireland), R-Truth (Charlotte, N.C.), David Hart Smith (Calgary, Alberta) & Tyson Kidd (Calgary, Alberta)

Referee Charles Robinson raises the Bragging Rights Trophy like a championship belt before the match.

Things almost break down early as there's almost a pier-14 brawl outside the ring.

Hardy lands the first significant move of the match by hitting the Side Effect on Michaels. Hardy brings in Finlay and he and Michaels hit heads. They use each other to get up and HBK hits Sweet Chin Music on Finlay, but Smith tags himself in while Finlay was going down and Kidd comes in and they hit the Hart Attack, but Michaels kicks out. Smith works Michaels for a minute and tags in Jericho.


The Big Show lords over the carnage.
Smackdown works on Michaels for awhile but Triple H gets the tag and dispatches of Kidd, Smith and Finlay and spinebusts each of them on top of each other. His run ends when Kane comes in and chokeslams him. Kidd rolls over for a pin but Triple H kicks out at two. Kidd tags Jericho, who hits a running bulldog but misses the Lionsault. Triple H tags in Kingston, who springboards into the ring and runs wild. He goes for the Boom Drop but Jericho goes for the Walls of Jericho but Kingston rolls him up for a near fall. Off the ropes and Kingston hits Trouble in Paradise but the Hart Dynasty makes the save. Then it breaks down in a big way. Cole yells "THIS IS VINTAGE BRAGGING RIGHTS!"

Kingston goes to the top rope to take out Jericho and show says he'll help him. Instead, he chokeslams Kingston off the top rope and hits the knockout punch on Triple H, who came to make the save. Jericho then makes the cover on Kingston.

Winners via pinfall: Team Smackdown

Match rating: 7/10

The time of the fall was 15:58.

Team Smackdown celebrates in the ring. Jericho practically makes out with the trophy.

Kingston and Rhodes run into each other backstage and Rhodes calls Kingston a weak link and then attacks him and throws him into wall.

Match #5 - 60 Minute Anything Goes WWE Iron Match for the WWE Championship - (c) Randy Orton (St. Louis, MO) vs. John Cena (West Newbury, Mass.)

Winner 6 falls to 5 and NEW WWE Champion: John Cena

Match rating: 9/10

Overall rating: 8/10

RELATED LINKS

  • Bragging Rights Photo Gallery
  • Countdown to WWE Bragging Rights

    Matt Bishop can be reached at bishop20@msu.edu. Please include your name and hometown. Click here to follow Matt on Twitter. And if you're interested in mixed martial arts, check out Matt's weekly podcast -- Lights Out Radio. Should be a good one!.