Are you ready? Then stop questioning your heart and join me, because it is time for Monday Night RAW!
The show kicks off with a video package promoting the career and return of Bret ?The Hitman? Hart. The hype package includes video of the ?Montreal Screwjob?, Vince McMahon’s famous ?Bret Hart screwed Bret Hart? line, as well as Shawn Michaels imploring Mr. McMahon to bring back Bret.
Justin Roberts is in the ring, and introduces tonight’s special guest host, Bret ?The Hitman? Hart. Bret’s music hits and ?the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be? appears at the top of the entrance ramp! Bret is wearing his signature leather jacket, jean shorts and a pair of shades. He has the microphone as the roar of the crowd in attendance is deafening.
Bret starts by saying, ?well I guess hell froze over?. He says that a lot of people are wondering why he is here. Bret says that over the course of 12 years he has tried to figure out the right way to come back. Bret said he tried a number of times, but Vince would always say that it wasn?t possible. Before Bret can continue, the crowd erupts with a ?Welcome Back? chant. Bret says that this is a chance to thank all of his fans around the world for not letting him be forgotten. He thanks the fans for carrying him in their hearts for all of these years.
Hart says that he finds himself flooded with memories, including winning the King of the Ring in this very arena. Bret takes a quick jab at Jerry ?The King? Lawler who attacked him after that victory. Bret says that after 12 years there are a lot of things that he wants to do tonight. The first thing is to call out SHAWN MICHAELS!!
HBK’s music hits and he makes his way down the ramp. Shawn enters the ring. Both men engage in a stare down. Bret is the first to speak. He says that he wants to take the opportunity to bury the hatchet, and call a truce. HBK walks over to the edge of the ring to grab a mic. HBK says that the first thing that needs to be said before Bret can get closure, is the fact that Bret deserved what happened 12 years ago in Montreal!
HBK says that he deserved it for disrespecting both HBK and the business. HBK says that he DID have a hand in what happened. Shawn says that there is a part of him, a big part that does not regret it. And yet, there is another part that knows that in the last twelve years, a lot of things have changed. Michaels is a different man than he was back then. Shawn says that he respected Bret, but never felt that Bret respected him. Shawn says that there were times when he couldn?t stand the sight of him, and the feeling was mutual.
HBK says that when he thinks of Bret, he doesn?t think of the Montreal incident. Instead, he thinks of a 60 Minute Iron Man match, which everybody said would fail. Shawn thinks of the ?Excellence of Execution?. Michaels has also been carrying the Montreal burden for 12 years, and he too wants to bury the hatchet. HBK asks Bret, ?are you sure, and are you ready??.
Bret says that Michaels wasn?t the easiest to get along with back then either. Bret says it is time for both of them to put their differences aside. In front of the arena, and the audience around the world, it is time for the two of them to be friends. Hart extends his hand and says that if HBK wants to bury the hatchet, then they should shake hands and bury the hatchet right now.
There is a moment of hesitation as the crowd roars, and then Michaels shakes his hand. Michaels looks to leave the ring and then pauses. This could be a hint at a Sweet Chin Music! HBK flinches? and then hugs Bret Hart!!! Shawn’s music hits as he starts to head to the back. Bret says that one last thing needs to happen, Vince McMahon needs to come down to the ring and confront Hart right now!
The camera shows a shot of the entrance ramp, but Vince’s music does not hit. The commentator’s take us to a preview of matches to come later tonight: Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton & DX v. JeriShow for the Tag Team Titles!
Diva’s Championship Tournament
Brie Bella v. Maryse
This match looks to be Brie Bella v. Maryse. It was announced before the match that Melina was forced to vacate the Title as a result of an injury. This match is in response to that fact, as we are now in a tournament to crown the next Champion!
The two go back and forth in the ring, until Brie throws Maryse out of the ring. Nikki slams the French beauty face first into the announce table. Brie comes out and throws her back into the ring. This advantage was not long lived, as Brie bounces off the ropes and gets slammed to the mat. Maryse goes for the pin, but Brie kicks out.
The twins look to have pulled a switch, but Maryse was privy to the exchange. Nikki gets punted in the gut and then planted with the French kiss. Maryse advances in the tournament.
Winner via French Kiss: Maryse
Maryse advances in the Diva’s Championship Tournament
The Miz’s music hits, as the US Champion makes his way out to the entrance ramp. Miz says that maybe if Maryse wins, he?ll let her come back to him. Miz says that people have been saying that this will be the year of Maryse. The Miz says that this year and decade, will be all the Miz’s. Because ?I?m the Miz, and I?m Awesome!?
Up next: A 4-way match to determine the next #1 Contender for the US Championship!
#1 Contender’s Match for US Championship
Jack Swagger v. Carlito v. Mark Henry v. MVP
We come back and the match is already underway. The Miz is on commentary. Mark Henry is on the outside of the ring. Carlito is slammed to the mat by Swagger, but MVP breaks the pin. Swagger then slams MVP, but Carlito breaks that pin. Mark Henry re-enters the ring, and picks up MVP. Henry throws him over the top rope to the outside. Both Carlito and Swagger get to their feet, but they can?t seem to ground the behemoth that is Mark Henry. Carlito finds himself high in the air, clutched in a Bear Hug. Jack Swagger hits Mark in the back of the head to break the hold.
Swagger is the one picked up now, as Henry pulls off a Torture Rack. MVP saves the match-up for himself by kicking Henry in the head. MVP then kicks Henry to the outside! MVP grabs Carlito and does the same. MVP locks up Jack Swagger and hits the Playmaker, and gets the victory.
Winner via Playmaker: MVP
MVP is the NEW #1 Contender for the US Championship
After the match MVP and Miz stare each other down.
We head to the back where Jericho and Big Show are discussing their Title match tonight for the Unified Tag Team Titles. Big Show emphasizes that if they lose, they don?t get another chance for the belts. Jericho says that he has an idea, and is going to go see tonight’s illustrious guest host. He says it is an opportunity Bret can?t pass up. Jericho is adamant that he is NOT going to leave RAW.
Bret Hart is in his office, when Chris Jericho enters. Chris puts over the fact that he trained in Stu Hart’s dungeon and perfected the Wall’s of Jericho on Bret’s brother Keith. Jericho wants Hart to be the guest referee for his Tag Team Title Match tonight! Jericho says that he knows the real Bret Hart. He wants Hart to screw DX out of the Titles by ringing the bell as soon as Jericho locks on his finisher.
Hart says, to be blunt, he is not going to do that. He doesn?t want the Montreal thing hanging over him anymore, and he doesn?t want any trouble. Hart does not want to be anything like Jericho. He says that if Chris wants to stay on RAW, he has to earn it by winning his match.
In the back we see HHH with Hornswoggle. They are taking a look at some of the new merchandise from the WWE, including action figures. He tells Hornswoggle that he cannot play with them unless DX wins tonight. Shawn comes in and just shakes his head saying, ?what are you doing?. He yells at HHH for treating Hornswoggle like a child, pointing out that he has a beard. HHH says that Leprechauns are born with beards, it is a scientific fact.
Shawn asks how this is going to help them. HHH calls in ?Jericho? who is really Santino in a wig. Santino starts a Jericho-esque rant about how he is the best. HHH says ?attack? and Hornswoggle launches at Santino! Shawn and HHH start to head out for their match, but HHH calls for Hornswoggle who is rewarded with a cookie.
The Unified Tag Team Championship Match is up next!
It’s worth noting that one of the commercial’s during the break was a TNA ad. It featured Hulk Hogan, asking people what they were doing. He told them to switch to Spike to watch the return of Hulk Hogan!
Unified Tag Team Championship
Degeneration X w/ Hornswoggle v. Jericho & Big Show
At the start of the match, Hornswoggle heads under the ring. Shawn Michaels and the Big Show are the first to start things off. Show pushes Shawn to the corner, and then HBK switches places. Big Show hits him with a head butt. Shawn reels back and tags in HHH. Both men lock on to Big Show, looking for a Suplex. The Big Show counters by Suplexing both men at the same time!
We come back and it is Jericho and HHH in the ring. Jericho tags in the World’s Largest Athlete. Show looks for a back body drop, but Hunter counters by kicking him in the gut. Show regains his bearings and hits a Side Walk Slam on the Cerebral Assassin. Big Show hits a huge leg drop and goes for the cover. HHH kicks out. Show lifts him up and slugs him with a punch to the stomach. Show gives him another punch, and then tags in Jericho.
Chris sets HHH on the second rope and stands on his shoulders to apply pressure. Jericho turns to the crowd and taunts them with the Hulk Hogan ?I can?t hear you? taunt! HHH gets to his feet as Jericho bounces off the ropes. HHH catches him and hits a Spinebuster on Chris Jericho. Jericho is able to get to his corner before HHH can even get off the mat, and Big Show is now in the ring. Big Show kicks Hunter and sets him on the mat by the turnbuckle. The big man is heading up to the second rope. Big Show goes for an inverted Splash, but HHH moves out of the way. This allows HHH to tag in his partner!
Shawn Michaels is all fired as he charges into the ring. Show knocks him down, but then HBK springs back to his feet with his signature kick up! HBK punches Big Show and sets him up under the turnbuckle. Shawn goes to the top turnbuckle, but Jericho comes over to try and push him off. With the referee’s attention turned, Hornswoggle leaps into the ring to hit a splash on Big Show! HBK comes down for the pin, but Big Show kicks out.
Big Show is back on his feet, and connects with a Chokeslam! This match is over? NO! HBK kicks out! Jericho and HHH are both tagged in. HHH hits the pedigree, but Big Show breaks the hold! HBK is back in the ring and both members of DX hit a giant pedigree on the Big Show!
Jericho pushes HHH at HBK, and then sneaks in a roll-up! HHH barely kicks out. Jericho hits the Codebreaker on HHH! Shawn Michaels breaks the pin! Hornswoggle comes into the ring and looks to be going for the Sweet Chin Music, but jericho kicks him in the face! HHH looks to grab Jericho and hit the pedigree, but he is caught in the Wall’s of Jericho.HBK gets back in the ring and hits the Sweet Chin Music! HHH goes for the cover, and DX retains!
Winners & STILL Unified Tag Team Champions: Degeneration X
After the match Jericho is laying on his back in the middle of the ring. Big Show comes into the ring. HHH grabs the microphone and says that’s it, Jericho is done on RAW. He calls for the song, cause it’s time to say goodbye. HBK says that, ?if you?re not down with that, we got two words for you?, the crowd roars ? ?SUCK IT!?.
Jericho starts to head to the back as Degeneration X re-enters the ring. HHH conducts the crowd as they sing, ?Na na na, na na na, hey hey hey, good-bye!?.
In the back we see a mysterious hand knocking on Mr. McMahon’s door. Vince comes out and says, ?you?ve got a lot of nerve knocking on my door?. The camera comes out, and it is Randy Orton. Randy starts to say something to Vince about Bret, but Vince interrupts. McMahon says that the things Bret did were nothing compared to the things that Orton did to his family. Orton says that Bret is one legend he wants to be able to punt in the head, and lay to rest. McMahon asks why Orton would do that. Orton asks to be put in the Royal Rumble in the #30 spot if he kicks Bret. McMahon says that he has his own security team. He tells Randy to never confront him again.
Orton starts to walk away, but is confronted by Legacy. They thank him for the tests last week. They say that in Randy’s match against Kofi tonight, they will be ringside. If Randy Orton loses, they are going to kick HIM out of Legacy!
Next Week’s Guest Host will be ?Iron? Mike Tyson
We see a video recap of last week’s match between Sheamus and John Cena. The video highlights Sheamus grabbing the referee to end the match in a DQ, thus retaining the Championship.
Sheamus? music hits, and the WWE Champion makes his way out to the ring in all his pale glory. Sheamus grabs the mic and puts himself over, pointing out that last week John Cena could not beat him. The last image of ?two-tousand nine? was exactly what Sheamus said it would be, Cena laid out in the ring with Sheamus standing over him.
Sheamus says that at the Royal Rumble, he will be defending his Championship, but not against John Cena. Sheamus says that Hart was right when he said he was the ?best there ever was?, but as far as ?is? and ?ever?, Sheamus is the best. Sheamus challenges someone to come out and challenge him.
The music of the one and only Evan Bourne hits! Evan says that Sheamus is only Champion because he was given an opportunity. He says that if given the same opportunity, he could defeat Sheamus. Evan asks for his shot? right now!
Sheamus starts to mock ?little? Evan Bourne. He agrees and calls for a referee. He says that if Evan defeats him tonight, then Sheamus will put his Championship on the line at the Royal Rumble!
Evan Bourne v. Sheamus
The match starts very swiftly, with Evan sending Sheamus hard to the mat. Evan heads to the top rope, and this is it! Evan hits the Shooting Star Press.. but Sheamus somehow kicks out! Evan is kicked to the outside of the ring. Bourne comes back in and is met with a hellacious series of slams and punches from the Celtic Warrior. Sheamus connects with a brutal boot to the face. Sheamus follows up with a Crucifix Powerbomb, and that’s all she wrote.
Winner via Crucifix Powerbomb: Sheamus
Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler take a moment to reflect on the passing of ?Dr. Death? Steve Williams. The put him over as both a worker and friend. The screen goes to a black background with a picture of Steve Williams for a 10 second silent tribute before the commercial.
A Video package airs putting over the feud and controversy that exists between Bret Hart and Vince McMahon.
Up Next: Randy Orton v. Kofi Kingston
Kofi Kingston v. Randy Orton
Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase are sitting ringside for this match-up. They have set down the ultimatum that if Randy Orton does not win tonight, they will be kicking him out of Legacy. Kofi starts the match off with a couple of punches. He jumps from the second rope for a punch that sends Randy to the mat. Orton gets to his feet and catches Kofi for a side headlock. Orton bounces off the ropes and Kofi leaps over him twice, then hits a spinning forearm.
Kofi sees Orton set up against the ropes and kicks him to the outside! Kofi heads to the outside, and rolls Orton back into the ring. Before Kofi can follow him in, Orton grabs him, perhaps looking for the suspended DDT. Kofi counters by knocking Orton to the outside as we head to commercial.
We come back and Randy Orton has Kofi Kingston down on the mat trapped in a side headlock. Orton is wrenching with all his strength as the crowd tries to empower Kofi. Kingston gets back to his feet, but Randy just shoves him back down to the mat. Orton spreads Kofi’s legs and proceeds to kick him repeatedly in the gut. Orton lets him go, and stares down the crowd.
Kofi cannot capitalize on the taunt, as Orton picks him up and is set in the corner. Orton repeatedly punches him in the face with a series of forearms. Kofi has half his body under the bottom rope, as Orton hits a wheel barrel slam to torment Kofi’s neck. Orton pulls Kingston to the center of the ring, and locks on a side headlock. The crowd is once again on Kofi’s side, and this time he escapes and bounces off the ropes. Both men go for a crossbody, and land hard on the mat.
Kofi and Orton get to their feet at the same time. They begin to exchange punches, but Kofi starts to hit kick after kick to knock the sense out of Randy. Orton is sent to the corner by Kofi and then planted in the middle of the ring. Kofi hits the ?Boom Boom Boom? leg drop. Orton rolls to the outside to try and stop Kofi’s momentum. Kingston will have none of this and flies out of the ring with a suicide dive! Kofi rolls Orton back in, and then heads to the top turnbuckle.
As Orton gets to his feet, Kofi leaps for a crossbody and connects! Orton kicks out! Kofi is whipped into the ropes, but catches himself and then hits the S.O.S. on Orton! Kofi goes for the pin, but Orton kicks out! Randy is groggy as he gets back to his feet. Kofi goes for the Trouble in Paradise, and out of nowhere, Randy Orton hits the RKO and picks up to the win!
Winner via RKO: Randy Orton
In the back we see Vince McMahon, ready to make his way to the ring and confront Bret ?The Hitman? Hart. Their confrontation is up next!
Hart & McMahon: 12 Years in the Making
Justin Roberts introduces the Chairman of World Wrestling Entertainment, Vince McMahon. The music hits as McMahon begins his ego-fueled swagger to the ring. McMahon says that the first thing he wants to be able to say to the fans is, ?Happy New Year?. McMahon says the second thing is that he has no need to call out Bret Hart. HBK and Hart buried the hatchet, and so McMahon feels as though the Montreal incident is behind him as well. McMahon thanks Hart for being the guest host, and then plugs Mike Tyson’s hosting of RAW next week.
Bret Hart makes his way out to the entrance ramp, sans music or leather jacket. Hart enters the ring. McMahon says that he knows what Hart and the fans want. They want Hart to apply the Sharpshooter. McMahon asks him not to, and says that instead he would like to hear what Hart wants to say. Vince says that he has a couple of things to get off of his chest. McMahon says that he truly does believe that, ?Bret screwed Bret?. McMahon says that he?ll never forget Hart spitting at him, sucker punching him, and disrespecting him at the Hall of Fame Ceremony. Vince says that Hart has trashed him in nearly every publication out there. He says that he hopes Hart has two words to say to him. To say that he’s sorry.
Hart says that there are a lot of things he could say to Vince, but the two words Vince is thinking are certainly not the two that Hart is thinking. Bret says that he feels good, and that he is halfway to where he wants to be. He wants to make peace, have closure, and get this all over. Hart says that McMahon wants this just as badly as he does.
McMahon says that his initial desire was to come out and kick Bret in the gut. In the interest of being honest and straightforward, he does want it as badly as Bret. Vince says that he remembers Bret’s first Wrestlemania match, a battle royal that featured Andre the Giant. Vince says that he knew Hart would be the future. Vince says that Bret clawed, fought, and scratched his way all to the top. Vince says it wasn?t just a catchphrase, Hart really did become the ?Excellence of Execution?.
Vince says that the reason the Montreal incident was so poignant between the two is because Hart did look to Vince as a father figure. McMahon takes a moment to go farther and say that he will be nominating Stu, Bret’s father, for the WWE Hall of Fame. Bret thanks Vince. McMahon goes farther and thanks Bret for every thrilling moment that he gave the WWE Universe. He thanks Bret for being real tonight. The last thing he would like to do is thank Bret for being, ?the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be?. Vince McMahon extends his hand and he and Bret Hart shake! McMahon throws their mics out of the ring, and grabs Bret’s hand. Both men raise their arms together to the crowd.
Just when all the tension appeared to vanish, with Bret’s arms raised, McMahon kicks him in the gut with a cheap shot! The crowd is stunned! McMahon just kicked Hart to end RAW! McMahon heads to the back amidst a swell of boos from the audience. Bret gets to his feet and this final shot as RAW goes off the air is Bret Hart staring at the entrance ramp.
An event 12 years in the making, a night when the fabled ?Monday Night Wars? returns, a new era of wrestling may very well be starting. Coming in to tonight’s broadcast, the wrestling world was on fire. I could only sit back and anticipate the spectacle that would enfold. I?ll be perfectly frank, at the moment I don?t care about the whole Hogan v. Bret Hart debate. Tonight I care about what just happened on Monday Night RAW. I won?t overreach my grasp, I?m just going to comment on what I saw happen tonight.
I did not see the ?Montreal Screwjob? enfold live. I?m in my early twenties, so even if I had ordered that Survivor Series, the moment would be mostly nostalgic recollections. That being said, I consider myself a student of the sport. I?ve read books and watched DVDs to study and appreciate the business which I consider an art form. I?ve read Bret Hart’s book, watched ?Wrestling with Shadows? as well as many other pieces. I am still shocked that Bret Hart would return to the WWE, and yet here we are.
I have a 5 year old little brother. There is a 16 year age gap between the two of us, so naturally he looks up to me, and takes an interest in things that I like. One of those things is Professional Wrestling. He?ll never watch more than a few minutes with me, but he loves to play with my old action figures. His favorite? Bret ?The Hitman? Hart. Or as he calls him, ?Hitman, Hitman Hart?. When he was watching RAW with me last week he saw the announcement and subsequent video package highlighting the fact that Hart would be hosting RAW. His eyes lit up at the sight of Hart in all of his glory. All week he has been running around with the figure, telling me over and over again that Hart was coming back!
Today rolled around and the first thing he commented on when I picked him up from school was that Bret Hart was coming back tonight! As the night drew near it became obvious just how excited he was. For one reason or another as I was recapping RAW my brother never seemed to be in the room at the right time? until the very end. The WWE had his full attention as Bret made his way to the ring to talk to Vince McMahon. My brother left shortly thereafter not staying for more than a few sentences.
At the end of the show my brother came back upstairs and was crying his eyes out. There is nothing quite like seeing the little eyes of a child swelled up with tears of sadness. Before I could even ask what was wrong he looked at me, and in a moment I?ll never forget said, ?Hitman, Hitman Hart is too old and can?t fight?. My brother was so saddened by the mere appearance of Bret that he had been reduced to tears.
Wrestling is one of the toughest sports in the world. The toll that it takes on its performer’s bodies is unimaginable. Bret Hart is certainly a casualty of the industry. His injuries and medical traumas have been unfortunate and extensive. I was eventually able to console my brother, but the moment of looking into his wet eyes will stick with me for quite some time.
What is it that we ask these wrestlers to do for our entertainment? It is almost clich? to say that they ?’sacrifice their bodies? for the fans, yet it is true.
I had originally intended to end this piece with show thoughts as I do weekly in my ECW Recap. However, I was so torn up by my brother’s reaction that instead I just want to take this time, and space, to thank professional wrestlers, and members of the industry for the lengths they take to entertain the fans. From the bottom of my heart I thank Bret Hart and every other wrestler for the sacrifices that they have made.
So that’s RAW?. Love it? Hate it? Disagree with everything I said? Just want to chat wrestling? I?m always up for reading your thoughts so send them over to me at [email protected].
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