On Monday, December 22, 2008 at 11:43 PM EST WWE RAW
December 22, 2008
Commentators: Michael Cole & Jerry “The King” Lawler
Report by: Hunter Golden of WrestleView.com
Santino Marella popped up and started to complain about the fans disrespecting him so he was going to give away the secret of Santa Claus. World Champion John Cena walked in and said he shouldn't mess the with Claus. Santino and him had a back and forth as Marella called him “John Chaina” which made Cena laugh a couple of times. It resulted in the two looking to have a mixed tag match. Marella said he could choose anyone to which John Cena looked over his shoulder to Goldust. Marella emphasized a partner with ovaries. So Cena said he was on. Marella says if he wins, he's giving away the secret of Santa.
The opening pyro hits and here we go live from Toronto.
Kane came out to the ring and apologized to Kelly. He said she should apologize to him eventually for misleading him and lying to him. Kelly sort of looked on before HBK's music hit and it's time for a match.
Race to the Rumble #1 Contenders Tournament Match #1
Kane v. Shawn Michaels
Of course there's a chorus of 'you screwed Bret' chants. The two started off with a chop exchange before Kane beat him down in the corner and then uncorking a big boot. Kane followed up with a clothesline for a cover attempt.
Kane leaned in on Michaels in the corner before snap marring him out of the corner and hitting a double leg drop kick to HBK's face. Kane got another near fall before leaning in for a rear chin lock. Michaels fought out of the hold but couldn't sustain momentum as he was cold cocked with a throat thrust from Kane.
Kane went for another cover after a big Irish whip and again HBK kicked out. He kept up the pressure with several boots to the back and a big right hand before flat backing Michaels with a second boot to the face. Another pin attempt and another kick out.
Michaels caught Kane looking for a back body drop and then was able to hit a big forearm. Michaels Kane grabbed him and went for a choke slam, but Michaels countered into a cross face. Kane powered his way to his feet and side slammed Michaels for another near fall before going to the top rope and letting loose with a big clothesline.
Kane looked for another choke slam but Michaels ducked under and hit sweet chin music for the win.
Winner: Shawn Michaels via pin fall
As a result, HBK advances to the #1 contender fatal four way next week.
A video putting over the Orton punt to Batista last week aired.
Kofi Kingston v. Manu
Kofi grabbed an arm bar on Manu but was quickly battered back. Manu went for a body slam but Kingston wiggled out and hit a drop kick. Manu came charging with one clothesline and missed, but certainly hit the second. Manu gathered Kofi and threw him into the corner hard and laid in some brutal shots before dragging him out and putting him in a pseudo sleeper and slammed him around in it for a little while.
Manu hit a diving head butt for a one count before slapping on another sleeper. Kofi walked off the ropes and hit a stunner before hitting a few elbows to the big man's face. Manu whipped him to the buckles but ate some feet on the way in. Kofi hit a high cross body but didn't get a cover. Kofi hit a clothesline and the boom boom leg drop for a two count.
Kofi came looking for another springboard body block only for Manu to catch him in mid air. Kofi flipped up onto his shoulders and hit an awesome crucifix bomb for the win.
Winner: Kofi Kingston via pin fall
John Cena is talking to Kelly in the back.
Sim Snuka is trying to convince Randy Orton he can make a difference in his group. Manu came by and Orton said he didn't want to hear it. Orton said they probably could use a new member as he looked at Manu.
CM Punk was in the back talking about Iraq with Shawn Michaels when Triple H walked in. He wanted to know why Shawn Michaels let JBL help him but wouldn't let a friend, him, be there for him. After some back and forth Triple H said he'd better know what he was doing.
Jillian Hall & Layla v. Melina & Mickie James
Melina took Layla down before tagging in Mickie and they hit a nifty double team for a one count. Mickie got on the apron and decked Layla in the face before going to the top rope and was unfortunately knocked off the top and fell to the floor.
Layla went for a cover and Mickie looks like her knee is hurt. Jillian tagged in and went for a cover but only got a one count. Jillian flat backed her in the corner and then began kicking away at her legs. She blocked a James kick but got monkey flipped for her efforts. Melina came in and hit a furious take down for a two count before Jillian caught her with a shot to the gut.
Jillian went for a side slam but Melina rolled out and hit her leg drop finisher for a one count. Jillian recovered as James and Layla brawled in the ring and hit an X buster but Mickie broke up the pin counter. Mickie looked like she was a mess on the outside while Melina hit her sunset driver for the win.
Winners: Melina & Mickie via pin fall
Mickie really looks messed up. Melina looks pretty concerned.
Race to the Rumble #1 Contenders Tournament Match #2
JBL v. Rey Mysterio
JBL backed Rey into the corner and absolutely blasted him to the mat. Rey tried some strikes before JBL shot back with a clothesline and a blow to floor Mysterio on the mat. JBL went for a power bomb but Rey countered and tried to set up a 619. Mysterio hit a plancha and both are on the floor as we head to commercial.
We came back to JBL laying them in on Rey in the corner. Rey went for a cross body block out of the corner before JBL caught him and hit a fall away slam for the near fall. JBL slapped on an abdominal stretch before Rey wiggled loose and hit a hurricanranna. He went for his double leg drop kick, but JBL caught him with a big clothesline for a two count.
JBL laid in some elbows for a two count until whipping Rey. Rey ducked under and hit a drop kick to the knees but found himself quickly flung from the ring and to the floor. JBL slammed Rey into the guard rail and then dumped him into the ramp way before going into the ring and looking for a count out.
Rey barely beat the count and ate a pair of short arm clotheslines and then a third. JBL covered him but Rey still figured out a way to kick out. JBL picked up Mysterio and put him in a torture rack before Rey fought out and hit some punches to the head. He took a run at JBL only to get swallowed up in a sleeper hold.
Mysterio dropped down for a jaw breaker and clamped on a sleeper of his own, only to get backed into the corner. He tripped a charging JBL with a drop toe hold and then a springboard senton followed by a head scissor. He capped the run off with a bulldog for a two count.
Rey came bounding off the ropes again only to eat yet another clothesline for a two count and JBL's right back in the driver's seat. Rey held onto the ropes on a whip and hit a boot only to get caught in a fall away slam attempt. JBL went to chuck Mysterio to the outside only for Rey to counter with a DDT for a two count. Rey hit an enzeguri and hit a drop kick for a 619. Rey went for the 619 only for Shawn Michaels to come down to the ring and save him. He dragged JBL out of the ring and then slapped him in the face, causing Rey to get DQ'd.
Winner: JBL via DQ
Randy Orton came out to the ring for his match against Batista. However, we're informed that Batista was unable to compete. As a result, Orton won by forfeit.
Orton got on the stick and said he remembered winning his first world title in this very arena. But he remembered Batista jumping him the next night with Triple H and ever since then... for four years, he had dreamed of kicking Batista in the skull. He said Christmas had come early for him. Orton went on to talk about Batista being right back where he started: taking a back seat to him.
Dolph Ziggler introduced himself to Kelly. She turned back around only to find the Miz and John Morrison. Miz said he knew he and Kelly had problems in ECW, but never knew she was this vengeful. Morrison said he hoped she could keep her focus heading into her match tonight, because they heard someone broke into the superstars' hotel rooms and trashed them. They heard it was her room. They wished her a happy holidays and walked off.
Race to the Rumble #1 Contenders Tournament Match #3
Chris Jericho v. CM Punk
The two locked horns and Jericho tossed Punk to the mat. Jericho slapped on a headlock that Punk tried to power out of, but Jericho hit a take over and brought the hold to the mat. Punk countered with a head scissors and once Jericho wiggled his head out, Punk grabbed him and yanked him to a headlock of his own.
Punk was shot off the ropes and hit a kick to Jericho's face before hitting a knee lift for a one count. Punk snap marred Jericho and hit a drop kick to the back of his head for another one count. Jericho kicked out and hit a punch to the face before whipping Punk and hitting a follow up clothesline. Jericho kept up the pressure with a big vertical suplex for a one count.
Punk countered another Jericho whip attempt and was able to hit a cross body for a one count. Punk absolutely CRUSHED Jericho with a kick to the head that legit hurt Jericho.
We came back to Jericho hitting a bunch of kicks before slapping on a half nelson. Punk again fought out with some elbows before Jericho planted a knee lift to the gut of Punk. Jericho hit a kick to the back and the two fought up to the top turnbuckles. Punk shoved Jericho to the mat before hitting a cross body for a two count.
Punk hit a big round house right before whipping Jericho to the ropes and hitting a wheel kick. Jericho got whipped to the corner but came charging out only to get hit with a running power slam. Jericho wiggled out of a suplex attempt and hit his running bulldog before going for a lion sault. Punk caught Jericho on the ropes only for Punk to CATCH HIM ON THE ROPES and got for a GTS. Jericho countered out, rolled through and snagged the walls of Jericho in the middle of the ring.
Punk tried to wiggle through the hold bug got dragged back to the middle. After teasing two more spots, Punk powered out only for Jericho to go for it again. Jericho charged him only for Punk to totally kill him with a knee to the face. Punk went for a cover but Jericho kicked out.
Punk hit some Muy Thai knees and a high knee in the corner followed by a bulldog but no, he's pushed to the corner. Punk turned around a MAULED Jericho with ANOTHER huge kick to the head, flat backing the former champion. Punk went for his spring board lariat, came off the ropes only for Jericho to catch him in mid flight and nail a code breaker. That's all she wrote.
Winner: Chris Jericho via pin fall
A “Tribute to the Troops” recap aired.
Santino and Beth are out in the ring. He introduces us to her to his second biggest fan. Not that there was anything wrong with second, because Canada was second to US and A in pretty much everything. He went to spoil Santa for everyone (he's real), and John Cena's music hit. He introduced us to his tag team partner... Trish Stratus....
Santino Marella & Beth Phoenix v. John Cena & Trish Stratus
Cena easily took down Santino to start things off to a chorus of boos. After some jostling, Santino took off and tagged Beth.
Beth against Trish. This'll rule.
Trish wasted no time, hitting some forearms and then the matrix move into the thesz press. Trish hit some chops. Beth quickly regained the advantage, picking her up and chucking her into the corner. Santino looked for a double team move, but Trish knocked Beth to the ropes and Santino's nuts into the ropes as well. Trish hit her rope hurricanranna only for Beth to kill her with a clothesline.
Beth uncorked a BRUTAL back breaker on Trish and pulled her by the hair around the ring like a dead cat. Beth hit a big right hand in the face. She went for the Glam slam but Beth countered out with a bulldog.
Trish got to the ropes and tagged in Cena who hit some shoulder blocks and his inverted power bomb. The fans boo'd and still yet chanted with the you can't see me before he went for the FU. Beth came into the ring and broke the hold up only for Trish to pop up behind her and nail her with a chick kick. Cena loaded Santino back up for an FU and connected and that was it.
Winners: Trish Stratus and John Cena via pin fallRAW THOUGHTSShow Thoughts-- Another really solid outing from the Raw brand again tonight.
The first two matches sort of struggled to really get off the ground. Kane and Michaels really looked like they were more or less running through some of their token spots and pretty much phoned it in. The idea of having Michaels be the guy to kick off a show is a little weird with the show being in Canada and all as well. The Kingston-Manu match was sort of disappointing as well, not really because of Manu, who I thought looked pretty sharp, but rather because of Kingston, who really seemed a step or two behind tonight. He botched two or three shots including his signature boom-boom leg drop. Either way, the first two matches weren't anything to get excited about at all.
After that though, the wrestling part of the show REALLY picked up. They Mysterio-JBL match up has always been a really great one. These two had a great match at Judgment Day in 2006 during Rey's 'miracle run' and sure, this didn't recapture that magic, but it sure was strong stuff. JBL really laid into Mysterio with his strikes and the comebacks and cutoffs were really timed super-well. Its a shame some folks in the crowd were too busy with their 'you can't wrestle' chants, because had they not been so caught up in themselves, they'd have seen a pretty darn good match.
The Jericho-Punk match on the other hand, was quite good. The wacky Toronto crowd's general weird-ness made for a great pro-Jericho atmosphere and a really fantastic match with some really well placed counters. In watching a lot of Indy matches, these spots tend to REALLY get overdone, but when they're used well and in the right places, they can add, obviously, a ton to a match. This was one of those cases. They worked to some great near fall parts with Punk and Jericho's control segments were the best of any match he's been in this year. Even if this had been more of a pro-Punk crowd, I think this would've had a hot crowd. It was just a really well worked match.
And the last match of the night, our Christmas Surprise of sorts, featured the returning Trish Stratus. They teased the surprise pretty well and the end result was a fun match. Cena basically stuck to his exhibition match finisher sequences, sort of laying back and letting Trish and Beth get in some good stuff in there. There aren't a ton of matches that get people excited about Divas wrestling in the WWE, but I'd definitely say Trish-Beth would be one people would really get excited to see. Despite Trish being a LITTLE out of ring shape (she looked pretty gassed by the end), her execution was spot on and her selling was fantastic. Beth, finally with someone capable, was really able to fling her around and bash on her, and it made for some fun showdowns and big heel mashes smaller but capable face stuff. Overall a typical WWE exhibition match, but a lot of fun.
I'm very much happy with the direction they're headed with JBL-HBK, which for the most part, has delivered so far. They explained the obvious, why Triple H isn't helping HBK out, and then built a little bit on things, possibly creating some heat for Rey-HBK down the road and more importantly, getting this current angle over. It was simple but effective and really lays he groundwork well for what they're going to be doing with this the rest of the way.
Randy Orton cut perhaps his best promo ever tonight to boot. Whew. Something /*. He gave us a little history and then just started sticking daggers, talking about Dave being back where he started and really got the punt over as well. With Batista seemingly on the shelf, it really opens things up for a big money feud later sometime next year.
Overall, it was a strong show and while it had its short comings, it really proved to be a lot of fun and a great show before the Holidays. After three 10+ minute matches on a TV show for the umpteenth show in a row, I find it ridiculous that anyone would say the WWE doesn't give their fans enough wrestling. We've gotten plenty of it lately.
Overall Grade: B+
Shawn Michaels def. Kane
Kofi Kingston def. Manu
JBL def. Rey Mysterio
Randy Orton def. Batista
Chris Jericho def. CM Punk
John Cena & Trish Stratus def. Santino Marella & Beth Phoenix
Who’s Hot, Who’s Not?
1. Trish Stratus
2. Chris Jericho
3. Randy Orton
4. Rey Mysterio
2. Randy Orton
3. John Cena
Match of the Night: Chris Jericho v. CM Punk ***1/4
4 Points= World Title defense/win
3 Points= Singles PPV Win
2 Points= Tag PPV Win
2 Points= TV Singles Win
1 Point= TV Tag Win
0 Points= Loss
World Heavyweight Champion: John Cena 24-13-1, 47 points. (Last Week: World Heavyweight Champion) -- The mic work was a lot better. Short, to the point, with a dash of justification. It'll be interesting to see where things go with Batista, Randy Orton and possibly still Chris Jericho all in the mix for a title shot.
Intercontinental Champion:William Regal, 7-7-1, 19 points (Last Week: Intercontinental Champion)-- Fun on commentary as always. It WOULD help though if they threw something on the air with him maybe having a defense or a match before dropping to Punk, but they seem pretty intent on heading right to the Punk run.
1. Chris Jericho 24-21-1, 58 pts. (Last Week: 1)-- Fantastically fun match Punk tonight. Hot crowd and some really great, not overdone counters. Definately one of Jericho's best efforts in some time. Seems the ring work is catching up with the good character presentation.
2. Shawn Michaels 24-8-2, 43pts. (Last Week: 4) -- They really approached this feud the right way, answering the questions that would seem sort of obvious. This really seems to be headed in the right direction now.
3. Randy Orton 14-13-2, 27 pts. (Last Week: 5)-- Orton cut perhaps his strongest promo in a long, long time tonight. It really grabs some heat for a future Batista program and keeps his momentum strong heading towards the Rumble, whether its a title shot or not.
4. CM Punk 16-11-2, 41 Points (Last Week: 3) -- Punk looked fantastic despite taking the loss. He'll likely get a good sized push with the IC title in the near future, so they're keeping him looking strong.
5. Batista 17-11-3, 39 Points (Last Week: 2) -- It was a smart move keeping him off TV. That punt is so well protected and it'll build some heat to a return beat down on Orton. With him injured, it certainly changes things up.
6. JBL 20-27, 35 points (Last Week: 6)- - Keeps on inching forward. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see JBL be the surprise winner next week and then have Michaels botch his match at the Rumble to sort of add heat to their program. Either way, this is the best thing he's had going in some time.
7. Rey Mysterio 12-9, 23 Points (Last Week: 7) -- Rey looked really great in his match with JBL tonight. Not quite their Judgment Day 2006 match, but still really good stuff.
8. Kane 9-14, 13 Points (Last Week: 8) -- It seems maybe Kane's going to end up a mini-afterthought in this whole angle, even though he's the guy who essentially got it going. Guy can't seem to catch a break for some sort of push.
9. Kofi Kingston 12-12, 27 points (Last Week: 10) -- Gets the win and moves up this week, but it wasn't his best for sure tonight. Seemed very off and behind a few steps tonight. Still, a decent enough match.
10. Cody Rhodes 15-14, 23 points (Last Week: 9) -- Not in action.
Santino Marella 12-15-1, 19 points (Last Week:NR)
Ted Dibiase, Jr. 9-5, 19 Points (Last Week: NR)
Mike Knox 1-0-0. 2 points (Last Week: NR)
Paul Burchill 5-5, 7 points (Last Week: NR)
JTG 8-8, 9 points (Last Week: NR)
Big Shaad 7-7, 8 points (Last Week: NR)
Lance Cade 3-7, 5 points (Last Week: NR)
Jamie Noble 2-5, 4 Points (Last Week: NR)
Primo Colon 1-0, 2 Points (Last Week: NR)
D-Lo Brown 2-3, 4 points (Last Week: NR)
Snitsky 2-7, 3 points (Last Week: NR)
Manu 3-4, 3 Points (Last Week: NR)
Charlie Haas 3-6-1, 6 points (Last Week: NR)
Deuce 0-3, 0 Points (Last Week: NR)
Dolph Ziggler 2-1, 4 Points (Last Week: NR)
Chuck Palumbo 0-0, 0 Points (Last Week: NR)
Matt Striker 0-1, 0 Points (Last Week: NR)
Jerry Lawler 0-2, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Jim Duggan 0-2, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Rory 0-2, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Robbie 0-3, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Sgt. Slaughter 0-0. 0 pts. (Last Week: NR)
Val Venis 0-1 0pts. (Last Week: NR)