A video package putting over the return of Vince tonight aired.
The opening pyro hit before Orton’s music hit.
Royal Rumble Preview Match
Randy Orton v. Kane v. Kofi Kingston v. Santino Marella v. Cody Rhodes v. Ted Dibiase
Everyone went at it as the lights flickered on and off. The Legacy worked over Kane on the mat while Santino worked over Kofi. Santino interrupted them trying to one up them, until Ted eliminated him. The three then ganged up on Kofi and promptly eliminated him. Kane ended up eliminating Cody Rhodes, and almost Ted Dibiase, but once he tended to Orton, became distracted and got dumped over by Dibiase. Dibiase spilled over the ropes with him, leaving Orton in the ring as the sole survivor.
Winner: Randy Orton
Beth Phoenix v. Kelly Kelly
Kelly gave Beth a run for her money early on stunning her with some shots to the gut. Beth flat backed her however with a clothesline shortly thereafter. Beth hit a HUGE glam slam and that was that.
Winner: Beth Phoenix via pin fall
Randy Orton was in the back with Ted Dibiase. He said if he won the Rumble, ‘they all win’. Cody said Manu and Sim Snuka were in Stephanie’s office to day. Rumor was that Stephanie was going to fire him tonight. Orton said they’d see about that.
Santino congratulated Beth back stage. He said as a celebration, he had a special surprise for her. Rosa Mendez showed up and Santino said she was their new intern. Santino asked if they could keep her. Beth didn’t look too happy. He said he knew how she could impress Beth, and do it tonight.
Stephanie was in her office and Randy Orton walked in. Randy Orton said he thought she did the right thing by firing Chris Jericho. Stephanie said she wasn’t going to fire him. He said he could stop sucking up to her and get out of his office. Orton said no one respects her and the only reason she has this job because she’s a McMahon. Orton said if she wasn’t a McMahon, she’d be a complete ‘nobody’.
WWE Intercontinental Championship ??? No DQ
William Regal v. CM Punk
The two had an extended lock up session before Punk hit a wheel kick and a few kicks for a near fall. Regal is scream-selling them. They went to the outside where Regal tried a suplex but got kneed in the head by Punk and kicked into the ring post.
Back in the ring, Punk went for the cover only for Regal to kick out. He hit a vertical suplex then another cover. Punk kicked Regal in the back and again went for a cover. Punk wants to win. He slapped on an arm bar.
The hold evolved into a fujiwara arm bar. After a struggle, Regal made it to the ropes. Punk however, refused to release the hold saying he was going to break his arm.
We came back to having Punk wrapping up Regal in the ropes because it’s legal. Layla interfered because it was legal and Regal was able to gain the advantage. He kicked Punk’s head off the ring post and then went for the near fall. Punk tried a counter but Regal was able to get a counter of his own and wrap CM Punk up for a couple of knees to the head.
Regal and Punk had a great strike exchange which Punk won initially, before Regal hit a huge punch to the gut. He amped up only to get CRACKEd wit ha kick in the head for a great near fall. Punk hit the big knee in the corner only for Regal to counter with a big head drop suplex.
After a great near fall, Regal pounded Punk into the corner with knees before placing him on the top buckle. He hit some head butts and forearms before going to the second rope. Punk fought back and shoved Regal off. Punk went for a high cross body but missed. Regal charged him only to get stuck in a Go 2 Sleep. He tried to elbow out but his efforts were fleeting. Punk connected and we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: CM Punk via pin fall
Punk celebrated with the Chicago crowd after the match.
A video aired putting over the JBL-HBK drama last week.
King is in the ring to interview JBL about his match for the world title at the Royal Rumble. JBL comes out with Shawn Michaels. It’s a contract signing. John Cena comes out. Cena signs the contract. JBL signed. He said his reign as World champion was now just a matter of time. Cena calls him a scumbag.
He said he wanted to talk to HBK. JBL said whether he liked it or not, he’d be there to support him and it’d be his only function. Cena said he tried to understand why he worked for JBL and now he just can’t. He said he didn’t compete against a broken man, an employee. He said they had a match last week and he had a match not with a has been employee, but the main event, the show stopper. He said Michaels still had it. He said his wife, the children, his peers, the fans, they love him because of who he is and what he does because he does it better than everyone else.
He said Michaels proved to the world last week that he could make an honest living doing what he loved. Dammit, he was Mr. Wrestlemania, not JBL’s puppet. HBK stared at him blankly.
JBL said he wasn’t an employee, he was special. He paid him what he was worth. He said his employee doesn’t care what he thinks of the decision. HBK’s job was to make him champion to go to Wrestlemania in his home state as a hero and champion. He said it wasn’t his opinion, it was fact. His opinion didn’t matter, the pay check mattered. It wasn’t personal. It was business.
Michaels told him to shut up. HBK said working for JBL makes him sick. He despises what he’s become. But he did it and will continue to do it. He said Cena doesn’t live in his world. He’s not 20 years old anymore. He had obligations to people who depend on him and pressures he can’t fathom. He said Cena doesn’t live his life. He said he got himself into it and would get himself out of it, but he’d do what he had to do. If it meant to take money from JBL, he’d do it. If it overshadowed his accomplishments and most importantly if it costs him the title, then so be it.
Cena said he didn’t believe him. He said people wanted to see HBK. He could make it, but he had a choice. At the Rumble. He said at the Rumble, that choice would be there. He’d have to choose. IN his heart of hearts. He knew when the chips were down, he wouldn’t help JBL. Michaels said he was sorry John felt that way. He grabbed Cena and let JBL nail him. Michaels went for a super kick that Cena ducked under only for JBL to cold cock him. JBL hit a clothesline from hell as Michaels walked away.
Todd Grisham wants to know why Mike Knox doesn’t like Rey Mysterio. He said he had no problem with him. He asked him why he was attacking him and Knox didn’t know.
Rey Mysterio v. Mike Knox
Rey came right at Knox with strikes. Knox charged him and tumbled to the floor. Mysterio waited for him to get into the ring and hit him with kicks but Knox pushed him back. Rey came running off the ropes only for Knox to kill him with a lariat from his knees.
Knox bullied him to the corner and began pounding away at him. He whipped Rey off the ropes and leveled him with a big boot for a two count. Knox slapped on a bear hug as the crowd tried to rally Rey. Rey wiggled out and ended up on the apron. He fought Knox off and hit a hurricanranna to set up a 619. Knox caught him in mid air and sling shotted him off the top rope.
Knox is bleeding from the mouth and went nuts, hammering away on Mysterio in the corner. He wouldn’t lay off and the ref disqualified him.
Winner: Rey Mysterio via DQ
After the match, Knox beat Rey up some and hit a swinging neck breaker.
Stephanie came into her office to find Chris Jericho. Jericho said he wasn’t going anywhere. Last week after he was fired, he called Vince. He said he’d let Jericho plead his case tonight. He said he wouldn’t hold anything back. Steph doesn’t look happy.
A video putting over the Hardy-Edge feud aired.
The Miz and Morrison decided to dedicate this match to Jim Duggan. So they said he could come down and pick which one he wanted to face. Cryme Tyme came out and said Duggan was on a special assignment right now. So, they’ll counter their offer. It IS Martin Luther King day after all. And Obama’s getting sworn in tomorrow, Miz said he was a Republican, and Shaad said that was ok. They want a tag title match tonight.
Miz asked them why they thought they deserved anything. Morrison said they were worse than the Cubs. JTG said they’d earn the title shot. He said if they won, they got a shot. If they lost, they’d leave em alone.
The Miz and Morrison v. Cryme Tyme
Morrison started in on Shaad, hitting a knee to the skull and knocking JTG off the apron. Shaad flew off the ropes and hit Morrison with a pair of lariats before knocking Miz of the apron for a receipt. He flap jacked Morrison before loading Morrison up for something. Morrison wiggled out and after JTG countered the interference, Shaad hit the STO for the win.
Winners: Cryme Tyme via pin fall
Cole and King ran down the card for the Royal Rumble.
A highlight video putting over the Royal Rumble aired.
Cody Rhodes is in the back. Goldust confronted him. He said if you wanted to know what it’s like to be a true champion, then maybe he’ll watch this: it’s the Starcade DVD. It’d teach him more in one night than he would from a lifetime with Randy Orton. Rhodes said he’s not going to waste his talents like he did. He didn’t need the history lesson. He said when they make a Cody Rhodes DVD, he’ll send him and the Dream a copy.
A limo is pulling up to the arena.
Melina v. Jillian Hall
The two locked up. Melina whipped her to the corner but missed the follow up. Jillian pounded her from behind before hanging her upside down and stretching her out. Rosa, Santino and Beth made their way down to the ring. Jillian whipped her again and hit a semi botched side walk slam for a two count.
Jillian tossed Melina across the ring by the hair and bullied her into the corner and connected with some shoulder thrusts. Melina leap frogged the fifth attempt though and rolled her up for the win.
Winner: Melina via pin fall
After some jaw jacking, Rosa attacked Melina long enough for Beth to get a big advantage. She hit a glam slam and talked some trash to her on the mat. Beth doesn’t seem too happy with Rosa.
Candice and Dolph Ziggler are in the back. Dolph said households everywhere would know his name. Then Vince showed up and introduced himself. Finally, Dolph Ziggler got the chance to shake someone’s hands and introduce himself and he choked.
Vince came out to a big pop.
He said he was happy to be back, but tonight wasn’t about reception, it was about business. He said he was going to introduce us to a former superstar who has a grievance, and introduced Chris Jericho. Jericho came out and sucked up to Vince.
He said he carried Raw on his back and in response, he gets fired by his daughter. He said now that Vince was back, he knew he’d make things right. He implored him to re-hire him and re-instate him in the Royal Rumble. Vince said she was impulsive and thought it’d be a good idea to bring her out here.
Stephanie came out to the ring. Vince said that he didn’t want to go over Steph’s head, but he was thinking about re-instating Chris Jericho, superstar of the year. But he’s not. He wasn’t going to fire his daughter, either. He said they’d be running Monday Night Raw together. Vince said the McMahon’s were benevolent though, so he thought maybe giving him a second chance was a good idea.
Steph looked him up and down said if he really wanted his job back, he had to apologize. Jericho hesitated at first and then apologized. Stephanie said she couldn’t hear him and made him say it again. Stephanie said he’d have to do better than that. Jericho, apologized again and that he spoke out of turn against her and he shouldn’t have taken it out on her. He wanted her to forgive him. She said that was really, really good, but not good enough. She said she’s been calling these people hypocrites for months, and if he wanted his job back, he’d have to apologize to the fans.
The crowd chanted ‘on your knees’. Steph told him he should get on his knees. Jericho, disgusted, fell to his knees. Jericho said he had a gift, and sometimes it may seem like he’s being arrogant. He said he’d said a lot of things, but he was saying that if he had offended anyone, well then he apologized. Stephanie said he was embarrassing. Stephanie told him to walk up the aisle and finish letting the people tell him what they really thought of him.
Vince said the scene warmed his cockles. Stephanie was still ‘Daddy’s little girl’. Randy Orton’s music hit and he came out to the ring. He said another apology was in order. He said his daughter slapped him for no reason at all. He said Vince should tell her to apologize to him. Vince asked him why he’d do that. He said because he was worth more than she was.
Orton said people pay to see him, not Stephanie. He said since she popped out some grand kids, she’s become worthless. Stephanie was beside herself. Vince calmed her down and directed her out of the ring. Vince looked at him with disgust. He asked him who he thought he was. He said this was his ring and he created it and it was a privilege for him to be in it. He said his Dad was a mediocre wrassler until he came along and he made him a superstar.
Had he not done that, Orton wouldn’t be here now. Chances are he’d be a gym teacher in St. Louis. He said now, Randy could apologize to him. Randy stared at him cold. Vince demanded an apology or else. He said if he didn’t, he’d fire him on the spot.
Randy picked up the mic and said Vince did not want to do that. Vince went to fire him before Orton slapped him and PUNTED HIM IN THE HEAD~~~~~~ HOLY CRAP~ Orton looks almost shocked by what he did. Stephanie was in the ring screaming. Rhodes and Dibiase carted Orton off and the whole scene is a mess.
Show Thoughts— This was really one of the best, mot complete Raw’s I can think of in quite some time. It built to the big finish, gave us some really fun wrestling matches, and some super hot angles.
There’s no getting away without talking about the ending first. For starters, this angle is going to work better to get Randy Orton over than any win over any established star would. The most protected thing in the WWE in the past 10 years has been Vince McMahon’s power over everyone else. Randy Orton stood up to it, but in an almost completely inverse way from Austin’s. It was unjustified, arrogant, vindictive, etc. All those kiss my ass clubs, all those ‘you’re fired’ segments fans supposedly hated.. they all paid off with this angle. I have no clue where they’re headed with it, although they had an idea a few years ago to turn Vince face in favor of really launching Kennedy into super heel status with the limo angle. Of course, that never worked out for a myriad of reasons. I loved the concept, and it’s being implemented here, with a guy who can pull it off better than any other guy on the roster. This was absolute gold stuff.
And that wasn’t the only good stuff on Raw tonight…
The Cena-HBK-JBL angle was really effective. First off, Cena’s getting cheered in Chicago. Now I know he gets cheered in the south, gets mauled up north, especially Chicago. Maybe the guy IS finally making in roads. The promo and mic work was great, well delivered and overall, was the best Cena promo in forever. The HBK stuff worked well because he never actually hit Cena. It’s like knowing your parents have sex. We all know it happens, but it’s totally different for us to accidentally walk in on it. Same thing here. One thing for us to know Michaels’ intentions. It’s another thing for him to actually hit Cena. Super well done segment.
The Regal-Punk match was strong stuff. I’m a big fan of simplicity and these two just kept the strikes heavy and worked around the stipulation. The crowd really ate up the near falls and Punk finally beating Regal was a pretty rewarding pay off, all things considered. Hopefully Punk can be the guy to really give that title a little prestige. It’s used differently these days, and not so much to a fault. It’s a TV title. I do miss the ‘aura’ of the belt though, and Punk’s the sort of guy who can get that back.
I even like the direction they’ve got going with the Santino-Beth deal, bringing Rosa on board. I think this’ll probably end up with Santino and Rosa turning on Beth, which’ll probably lead up to something at Wrestlemania. I’ll put money on something happening along those lines.
All in all though, this was a fantastic show with so many cliff hangers, that I’ve got a feeling the Rumble should do quite well in the buy rate department.
Overall Grade: A-
Randy Orton def. Cody Rhodes, Ted Dibiase, Kane, Kofi Kingston and Santino Marella in a battle royal
Beth Phoenix def. Kelly Kelly
CM Punk def. William Regal to WIN The Intercontinental Championship
Rey Mysterio def. Mike Knox
Cryme Tyme def. The Miz & John Morrison
Melina def. Jillian Hall
Who??’s Hot, Who??’s Not?
1. CM Punk
2. Vince McMahon
3. Shawn Michaels
4. John Cena
1. Randy Orton
2. Chris Jericho
4. William Regal
Match of the Night: CM Punk v. William Regal, **3/4
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 1-1, 1point. (Last Week: World Heavyweight Champion) — Cena’s promos are so much better when there’s a target and he’s not talking about how ‘big’ a match is. Matches are big because of what has happened leading up to it, not because it’s just going to occur. Great stuff with Michaels and JBL tonight.
Intercontinental Champion: CM Punk 2-1, 6 Points Points (Last Week: 4) — Great match with Regal tonight. Straight forward, simple story that really stuck with the stip. He played the hometown crowd well. This guy is the guy who should be here, for sure.
1. Randy Orton 2-1, 4 pts. (Last Week: 4)— NO question about it, tonight was one of the biggest moments in years. It’s as big a rub as you can get, so Orton gets a HUGE bump.
2. Shawn Michaels 2-0, 3 pts. (Last Week: 1) — Gets lots of heat without having to really pound on Cena. A great segment from HBK tonight. This feud’s right where it needs to be.
3. Chris Jericho 0-1 0pts. (Last Week: 2)— Oddly enough, Jericho getting clowned by the McMahons is sort of a blow off of six months of promo work. Jericho ‘apologizing’ to fans is the ultimate DO NOT DO thing for his character, so in a way, it worked. It set the Orton angle up well, to boot, but Jericho clearly loses some footing this week.
4. JBL 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: 3)- – He’s so much better being not exactly an abusive boss, but one whose clearly out of touch as to how his ’employees’ think. The fact that he feels he can speak for them makes him that much more pompous. Easily relatable.
5. Rey Mysterio 2-1, 4 Points (Last Week: 6) — Fun, albeit short match with Knox tonight. Finally, Rey’s got something to do. Hopefully we’ll get some more interesting TV matches out of this.
6.William Regal, 1-2, 2 points (Last Week: Intercontinental Champion)— Hopefully, they keep Regal in the mix despite losing the IC title. He’s one of the better wrestling parts of the show. Another really great match with a young gun from Regal tonight.
7. Cody Rhodes 1-0, 1 point (Last Week: 8) — Kind of weird, but interesting promo with Goldust. Orton’s super push should really help this guy out.
8. Ted Dibiase, Jr. 0-0, 0 Points (Last Week: 9)— See Cody Rhodes.
9. Kane 0-1, 0 Points (Last Week: 7) — Didn’t do a whole lot in the Rumble match. No harm done, no help, either.
10. Kofi Kingston 0-1, 0 points (Last Week: 10) — See Kane.
Mike Knox 0-1 point (Last Week: NR)
Batista 0-0, 0 Points (Last Week: 2)
Santino Marella 0-0, 0 points (Last Week:NR)
Sim Snuka 1-0, 1 Point (Last Week: 10)
Mike Knox 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
JTG 0-1, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Big Shaad 0-0 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Jamie Noble 0-0, 0 Points (Last Week: NR)
Manu 0-0, 0 Points (Last Week: NR)
Charlie Haas 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Dolph Ziggler 0-0, 0 Points (Last Week: NR)
Jerry Lawler 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
Jim Duggan 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: NR)