WWE Chairman Vince McMahon came out to the ramp to welcome the crowd. He talked about the fact that it would be business as usual tonight. No more commercial-free stuff and no more giving full refunds. He said Donald Trump decided to make a 15-wrestler trade between the three brands before bemoaning the new idea of a guest host. McMahon said he had some ideas of who could host things on the first night, and announced that Batista would be tonight’s host. Batista’ music hit and he came out to the ramp.
Batista came out to the ring and announced that he’d be putting on a one night tournament to determine who would get the title shot at Night of Champions. The Miz, Triple H, John Cena & MVP would be taking place in the matches tonight to decide it. Batista went on to talk about how it was weird to be guest host, before Randy Orton’s music hit and he came out to the ramp with the Legacy.
Orton told Batista he should have never come back and began running down the former champion. Batista cut him off and said if Orton even looked at him stupid, he’d fire him. He said he’d be giving Randy a taste of his own medicine, as he’d be facing three of the five newly acquired Raw superstars later tonight in a gauntlet match.
#1 Contenders Tournament
Triple H v. MVP
The two opened up with a criss cross and Triple H flat backed MVP but he came up lame. MVP tried to go at the wounded limb a few times, before finally grabbing a hold of it and landing some right hands in the corner. Porter dropped some elbows to the leg before Triple H fought back with right hands. He looked for the spin buster only for MVP to wiggle through and cut off Triple H’s momentum with a chop block.
MVP slapped on the figure four and wrenched the hold in, with Triple H having to battle his way out of the hold with some big right hands. Triple H went right for a pedigree before MVP was able to hit a knee lift and followed it up with the ballin’ elbow drop. MVP looked for the Chono boot, but Triple H ducked out of the way and again, looked for the pedigree and yet again, MVP rolled out and whipped Triple H hard to the buckles before finally connecting with the Chono kick on Triple H and got a two count. MVP went to finish him off with a play maker, but Triple H rolled out and hit the pedigree for the win.
Winner: Triple H via pin fall
Edge & Chris Jericho, the new Unified Tag Team Champions, came out and talked about how they were people who took matters into their own hands unlike the crowd, and that they could hop around to the different brands.
WWE Unified Tag Team Championship
Edge & Chris Jericho v. The Colons
Primo started things off with Jericho and after a Jericho headlock, Jericho smirked for the crowd before eating a Primo drop kick. Primo hit some kicks to the mid section before dumping Edge to the outside and throwing Jericho on top of him. Carlito came in and they hit a double drop kick before we headed to a commercial break.
We came back to Edge working over Primo on the mat. Jericho tagged in and looked to hit a splash in the corner, but crashed and burned. Carlito got the crowd behind Primo who gradually made it over for the hot tag. Carlito came in and hit a double drop kick on Jericho, before hitting a series of arm drags and a nifty looking neck breaker for a two count. Both went for dueling springboard moonsaults, only for Carlito to connect and get a super-near fall. Jericho tried for the walls of Jericho and when he couldn’t cinch it in, he looked for the sling shot, to which Carlito hit a clothesline on Edge.
Eventually, Edge received a tag, and looked to line Carlito up for a spear in the corner, but Primo tripped up Carlito on purpose in order to avoid the move. Edge clattered into the turnbuckle before Primo scooted into the ring and hit a tope on Jericho on the outside of the ring as the two began brawling. Carlito hit a back stabber on Edge, but Edge kicked out of the hold. He backed off of Edge and looked for a spring board moonsault, only for Primo to get shoved into the ring ropes and knock Carlito down. Carlito got up just in time to eat an Edge spear for the three count.
Winners and STILL Unified Tag Team Champions: Edge & Chris Jericho via pin fall
Randy Orton was in the back complaining about Batista to the Legacy. Batista walked in and said if either one of them interfered tonight, he’d fire them on the spot.
A video package ran putting over the Miz/Cena match upcoming after the break.
John Cena v. The Miz
Miz came full steam ahead at Cena, hitting him with all sorts of lefts and rights before Cena came back at him with a flurry of shoulder blocks and slams for a two count. Miz caught Cena with a finger poke, and hit some rights and lefts to the face before Cena came roaring back with some shots of his own and a big back body drop for a two count.
The two alternated working some rest holds, before Miz was able to prevent Cena from breaking a head lock by planting a knee in his gut. Miz hit a big knee to the gut and a neck breaker for a two count, before gathering the former champion and planting some shoulders into Cena’s mid section in the corner. Cena reversed an Irish whip and sent Miz to the corner, but Miz avoided the bulldog completely and hung Cena up on the top rope. He began reigning in right hands on Cena and had to be pulled back several times by the official.
Cena fought out of a rear-chin lock before Miz cut him off again and began laying boots into his neck in the corner. The Miz went to the top turnbuckle and Cena caught him and looked for a top rope FU, but Miz wiggled out and hit a big electric chair drop for a two count.
The Miz kept working over the neck, laying in knees and dropping a leg drop to the back of Cena’s head. Miz hit a running big boot for a two count, before the Miz tried taunting him a bit. Cena tripped him up and looked for an STFU, but Miz wiggled out and grabbed a sleeper hold. Cena struggled to get out of the hold and finally did by backing Miz into the corner. Cena fought back with some shoulder blocks and an inverted power bomb. Cena hit a block buster before nailing a five knuckle shuffle. He looked for his top rope leg drop and connected before locking in the STFU in the middle of the ring. It didn’t take long for Miz to tap out.
Winner: John Cena via submission
It will be Triple H v. John Cena on next week’s Raw.
The Legacy were in the back trying to hype up Randy Orton for his gauntlet match tonight. Ted Dibiase informed us that his father would be the host next week. Orton blew him off saying it didn’t help tonight.
Kelly Kelly and Mickie James made their entrances for their match. Maryse will join King and Cole on the announce table.
#1 Contender’s Match
Mickie James v. Beth Phoenix v. Rosa Mendez v. Kelly Kelly
Beth hit some big clotheslines and chokes. After Kelly and Mickie tried to go at more of a sporting pace, but were quickly interpreted by Mendez before Beth resumed her power spots. Beth tossed Mickie into Kelly and hit some shoulder thrusts before picking up Rosa and hitting the big power slam. Beth was rushed to the outside and Mickie drop kicked her off the apron and into the ring steps. After fighting off an assault from Rosa Mendez, she hit the implant DDT for the win.
Winner: Mickie James via pin fall
Big Show v. Kofi Kingston
Show started off the match hitting a huge lariat and boot to the back. Show hit a big head butt to the shoulder before standing on the US Champion near the ropes. Show hit a big body slam and looked for a big leg drop, but Kofi avoided it.
Kofi attempted a comeback with European upper cuts and jumping kicks, but soon got tossed into the corner. Kofi avoided the splash and hit a missile drop kick and a boom boom leg drop for a two count, before Show kicked out. Kofi landed in Big Show’s arms in the corner and tried to connect with some right hands, but Show casually dumped him to the outside right on his shoulder.
Show picked up Kingston but Kingston wiggled out of the press slam and tossed him into the ring post. Both men were unable to beat the count and the match ended in a draw.
Winner: DRAW (Double Count Out)
Randy Orton v. Raw Acquisitions
The first opponent is EVAN BOURNE.
Randy beat Bourne out to the ring apron, and Bourne looked for a roll up and hit a follow up wheel kick, both of which got him a two count. Orton hit a big uppercut and floored Bourne on the mat before laying the boots to him a bit.
Orton gathered Bourne and looked for a leg sweep, but Bourne tripped him up and hit a standing SSP before snagging a roll up for a one count. Bourne kept up the pressure, looking for a win, hitting a standing drop kick to Orton’s head. Bourne hit a senton off the top rope and looked for an SSP, but Orton leapt up and crotched him on the top rope. Orton hit an RKO off the top rope and that’s all she wrote.
The second opponent is JACK SWAGGER.
Swagger shot Orton’s legs and took him down easily before standing over Orton letting him know whose boss. Swagger walked to the apron and began getting counted down by the referee until he hit ten.
Swagger got on the mic and told everyone he likes Orton and wanted to leave a lasting impression. He smiled at Orton who nodded and smiled back before waltzing off to the back.
The third opponent is MARK HENRY.
Henry got on the mic and he loves Randy too and will eave an impression.
He tossed Orton aside like a child and then stood on the apron with a big smile on his face. He stopped the count though and threw Orton straight across the ring. He laid in a huge head butt and laid in some stomps as Orton desperately tried to create space. Henry whipped him and connected with a big avalanche before whipping Orton again.
Orton hit a slap before trying to choke Henry, but it backfired and he got head butted. Orton raked the eyes and came off the ropes, only to get caught by Henry who killed him with a world’s strongest slam for the pin fall.
Winner: Mark Henry via pin fall
Henry celebrated with the crowd as Batista looked on from the ramp in approval.
Show Thoughts– This was a pretty good show, and really (and surprisingly) shook things up in a good way.
There’s no way you can really talk about tonight’s episode without really touching on the big three acquisitions made by Raw in the big 15 wrestler trade. Evan Bourne, Jack Swagger and Mark Henry were all brought into the mix, and I’ve got to say I couldn’t be more excited for all three of these guys as they all step in ready to take the spot on, but also in a position to succeed and succeed quickly. Swagger and Bourne will be two guys who’ll make a pretty immediate impact on the proceedings, largely because they fill two gaping holes on this Raw roster.
Since Kurt Angle was released in mid-2006, the WWE has had a real void in terms of a talented, mat-based wrestler to fill his shoes. Sure, Shelton Benjamin’s kicked around, but he’s never blossomed into the talent the WWE has thought he could be and with Swagger, you get a guy with both the look and ability to do big things. There’s lots of ready made programs out there for him, whether it be as a useful addition to the Legacy, or perhaps even as an immediate contender for Kofi Kingston’s US title. Either way, Swagger should make a big impact, and quickly.
The high-flying Evan Bourne also finds himself in a similar situation, filling the need for a high-flyer. He’s flat out better than Kingston and with Rey Mysterio drafted to Smackdown earlier this year, Raw has needed a high flyer. Now they’ve got one. Again, he’s a great protege type in the mid card, or can step into the mix for feuds with guys like the Miz and others. I’d love to see him thrown into a feud with the Big Show, who I think would be an excellent compliment for him, and a way he can sell what he does best (move and sell) while also using it as a way to get Big Show back on track. Either way, he’ll be a big boost.
Mark Henry. Oh, Mark Henry. Here’s a guy I just couldn’t feel better for. He was dreadful for nearly eight years and showed few signs of improving. He wasn’t ever able to stay healthy enough to get the ring time he improved, so his propensity to constantly be on the DL also hurt his development. He came back in 2006 and while he’s Yo-Yo’d up and down the card at times, he’s shown very, very steady improvement and right about this time last year, really moved out of the proverbial sh_t house with most people and into the ‘good wrestler’ category. Matt Hardy was a fantastic compliment to him and really helped turn him around in the ring. The momentum kept up after his title run, and he went from also ran, to one of the best big men in the company almost overnight, finally blossoming into the guy everyone thought he could be back in 1997.
His performance at The Bash pay per view turned a lot of heads, not so much for anything Henry DID per sae (although he looked really, really good), but for the fact that the crowd very noticeably popped for him. While his ring work has turned around a great deal in the last three years, the crowd reaction hasn’t. Call me crazy, but when he took the referee’s hand tonight, he got one of the more profoundly enthusiastic reactions of the night and in that moment became a star. Orton sold his back side off for the guy but Henry brought the goods in a big way, and what resulted was one of the best three-four minutes of wrestling from a dramatic standpoint, that I’ve seen all year. Match of the year? No, not even close. This was more of an angle. But it was out of nowhere, and a guy who used to be the butt of jokes all over the internet (and still is to many people) and proved to be a late bloomer, finally blossomed, in the only way a 6’6 very large and scary looking black man can blossom. One big clean victory for Mark Henry, and he went from a guy who’d probably be a good ‘never was’ and turned him into a star, in five minutes. I’m genuinely happy for the guy, and he’s earned it.
Henry’s got TONS of prospects out there for fun feuds, and I’m almost dying to see him and Cena face off, although after tonight, you’d have to be crazy to not want to see Mark Henry-Randy Orton. He’s an older, but fresh face, and its good to see a good guy, whose worked hard, took his knocks and lived to tell about it, get a big moment in the sun.
Overall Grade: B+
Triple H def. MVP
Edge & Chris Jericho def. The Colons to RETAIN the WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championship
John Cena def. The Miz
Mickie James def. Rosa Mendez, Beth Phoenix, & Kelly Kelly
Mark Henry def. Randy Orton
Who’s Hot, Who’s Not?
1. John Cena
2. Triple H
3. Mark Henry
1. Randy Orton
2. Big Show
3. The Miz
4. Edge & Chris Jericho
Match of the Night: Edge & Chris Jericho vs. The Colons **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
1. WWE Champion: Randy Orton 9-8-4, 24 pts. (Last Week: 1)— They used Randy Orton pretty well tonight, ranging from him getting what’s coming to him with Mark Henry to looking like a big deal to the heels with Swagger getting himself counted out. A good all around weekend for the champion, with the big win over Triple H and all. A positive night.
United States Champion: Kofi Kingston 13-3-1, 24 points (Last Week: US Champion)– The Big Show could potentially be a good match up for Kingston, especially giving him a relatively stationary target. Also, Show’s a great guy for Kingston to really refine his selling. All in all, I like the match up.
1. John Cena 15-9-3, 35 points. (Last Week: 1)— Tonight’s effort with the Miz was far better. A few people didn’t seem to happy with Cena not ‘selling’ enough for Miz on the comeback spot, but let’s be realistic here. The Miz is a mid card guy starting out with his first real push. Cena’s the top guy in the company. Let’s not have him selling for Miz like he’s Big Show.
2. Triple H 3-4-1, 5 Points (Last Week: 3)— Of the guys in the main event section of the card, I’m really at the point where I think Triple H is easily the worst of the lot when it comes to working with younger talent. For him to take all that offense and then, with one single move, beat MVP, just seems a little much. Triple H needs a bit of a face lift anyways, but aside from the leg selling (which was very good), him taking one move ain’t all that great.
3. The Miz 1-4-2, 1 Points (Last Week: 3)–A step in the right direction for Miz tonight. In a way, the match with Cena going how it went last night lent itself better to tonight’s match, largely because they were able to build on it a bit, and Miz came off looking very smart building on his failures so to speak. He won’t get a win in this feud (nor should he), but so long as the growth is shown, he should be fine.
4. MVP 4-4-1, 7 Points (Last Week: 2)— I just wasn’t that impressed with him tonight. He never really settled down into a rhythm and everything with Triple H just seemed off tonight. His control segment made him look capable, but eating one pedigree isn’t all that helpful.
5. Big Show 3-5-1, 5 Points (Last Week: 5)— If they are throwing Show into a feud with Kingston, he’ll at least be able to get back on track. The Raw writers really haven’t a clue as to how to write or book his characters, and it really comes across as night and day. Too bad, because this guy had all the momentum in the world heading into Wrestlemania, and now isn’t going anywhere.
6. Cody Rhodes 9-6-1, 12 points (Last Week: 6)— Its really hard to gage these two, because just when it seems like they’ve got something for them to do…. it turns out they don’t. Still, they need more mic time and ring time and aren’t getting it.
7.Ted Dibiase, Jr. 8-4-2, 9 Points (Last Week: 7)– Not in action.
8. Mark Henry, 1-0, 2 Points (Last Week: ECW)— Great to see a guy work hard, overcome a lot of adversity and get a moment like he had tonight. Henry became a real star tonight, and I’m glad to see him get a stab towards the top of the Raw brand. He’s ready AND he’s earned it.
9. Matt Hardy 3-8-0, 4 Points (Last Week: 9) — Drafted to Smackdown, he was the one guy who really just couldn’t get situated it seems on Raw, and has difficulty settling in as a heel. The move to Smackdown is a help to both him and the brand.
10. Santino Marella 4-2, 9 points (Last Week: 10)— Not in action.
Batista 8-4, 16 Points (Last Week: 8)
Evan Bourne, 0-1, 0 Points (Last Week: ECW)
Jack Swagger, 0-1, 0 Points (Last Week: ECW)
Shawn Michaels 6-3, 10 pts. (Last Week: NR)?
Carlito Colon 4-4-1, 5 Points (Last Week: NR)
Primo Colon 3-4-1, 3 Points (Last Week: NR)?
Brian Kendrick 1-4-0, 2 Points (Last Week: NR)
Hornswaggle 1-0-0, 1 Points (Last Week: NR)
Jerry Lawler 1-0, 1 points (Last Week: NR)?
Festus 1-1-0, 1 Points (Last Week: NR)
Chavo Guererro 1-5-0, 1 Points (Last Week: NR)
Jamie Noble 0-3, 0 Points (Last Week: NR)?
Jim Duggan 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
William Regal, 3-10, 4 points (Last Week: TRADED TO ECW )
Goldust 2-1-0, 2 Points (Last Week: TRADED TO ECW)
Kane 7-7, 12 Points DRAFTED TO SMACKDOWN?
Mike Knox 3-3 4 points (Last Week: DRAFTED TO SMACKDOWN)
JTG 2-4, 2 points (Last Week: DRAFTED TO SMACKDOWN)
Big Shaad 2-3 2 points (Last Week: DRAFTED TO SMACKDOWN)?
Charlie Haas 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: DRAFTED TO SMACKDOWN)
Dolph Ziggler 0-3, 0 Points (Last Week: DRAFTED TO SMACKDOWN)
CM Punk 9-7, 17 Points DRAFTED TO SMACKDOWN
Rey Mysterio 11-6, 22 Points DRAFTED TO SMACKDOWN
Chris Jericho 6-6 13 pts. DRAFTED TO SMACKDOWN
JBL 1-6, 4 points (Last Week: 7) RETIRED
Mr. Kennedy 1-0-0, 1 Points (Last Week: RELEASED)
Sim Snuka 1-0, 1 Point (Last Week: RELEASED)