Raw GM came out to the ring and put over the Royal Rumble match. She said she was looking forward to that as well as the return of her father, Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Chris Jericho’s music hit the arena and he came out to the ring. He called Stephanie a liar. He said she was no worse than the hypocrites sitting in the arena now. Chris said she was scared to death of her father’s return and her time running the show was over. Jericho said Vince would listen to his formal protest and give him what he wants, which is his match for the title at the Rumble. He said Vince respects the locker room and most of all, him.
Stephanie said Jericho didn’t have a clue and her father supports him. Jericho wondered if he supported her decision to make Adamle the GM of Raw. Stephanie said if Jericho spent as much time on his career as much as he was concerned with her leadership, he’d still be champion. Jericho refused to compete until he got a title shot. Jericho said her time and authority was running out and the ‘real’ McMahon was coming back. Nothing she was saying meant anything and she was just a lame duck. Jericho dared her to do something about it. Stephanie took away his Rumble shot and his opportunity at the world title. He said he didn’t care what she said. Stephanie said maybe he’d care about this: you’re fired.
Jericho stood in the ring shocked.
Chris Jericho was being escorted out of the building by security.
The Miz v. Rey Mysterio
The Miz opened up with a shoulder block to which Mysterio responded with a kick to the face. Mysterio went for his wheel barrel bulldog, but Miz caught him and dropped him face first into the corner. He hit some right hands before connecting with the knee for the two count.
Miz slapped on the bow and arrow before Rey fought out with some kicks. He flipped out of a back suplex attempt and flew to the ropes to attempt something only to get caught with a face buster for a two count. Miz went for a back drop and ate a boot in the face before Mysterio hit a springboard senton. Mysterio set up for the 619 but missed and was backdropped to the apron. The two count on the apron before Rey attempted a sunset flip. Miz countered for a two count.
Miz went for a reality check but Rey countered into the 619 before hitting his big splash for the three count.
Winner: Rey Mysterio via pin fall
Mike Knox hit the ring after the match and attempted to assault Rey, who was able to fend him off.
Candice Michelle is talking to CM Punk but he’s not really paying attention, because he’s getting ready for his IC title match which is right now.
WWE Intercontinental Championship
William Regal v. CM Punk
Regal went for a headlock but Punk escaped quickly and hit one of his own. Tight break on the ropes before Punk shoulder blocked him to the mat and almost hit a back slide. After a fun struggle on the mat, the two rolled into a Punk headlock.
The two broke up the hold in the corner before Regal went for the legs and looked for an arm bar only for Punk to again grab a headlock. Punk was able to reverse a whip and hit a high knee in the corner/bulldog combo for a two count. Punk charged Regal and Regal made him pay, tripping him.
Punk went to fight back and he hit Regal in the gut, but he sold it like he got hit with a low blow. The ref noticed the sell and was tricked himself and DQ’d Punk.
Winner and STILL IC Champion: William Regal via DQ
Mickie James was talking to Cody backstage. Manu and Sim Snuka confronted Cody Rhodes about last week. He said he got an opportunity and made the most of it. He said had they been in his shoes, they’d have done the same thing. Manu said the two were coming after Randy Orton tonight. And they brought help. So when it came, Cody would be with them, or against them.
Todd Grisham interviewed William Regal. Regal said he was glad the challenge was over. He said he was very satisfied. Stephanie McMahon showed up and said since Punk got DQ’d and Regal got DQ’d the week prior, next week’s match would be for the belt. And this time it’d be a no disqualification match.
A video aired announcing that Steve Austin would be entering the WWE Hall of Fame on April 4th.
JBL told HBK not to worry about getting fired. He wasn’t Stephanie’s employee. He was his. He said he wouldn’t lose with him in his corner. HBK said tonight wasn’t Wrestlemania. He was going to prove he was still the show stopper.
Randy Orton v. Kane
Orton backed Kane up with punches until Kane leveled him with an uppercut. Kane stomped Orton in the back of the head before nailing him with a right hand a second back elbow. Kane clotheslined Orton to the outside, where he remained as Cody tended to him.
We came back to Orton holding Kane in a vicious headlock. He nailed a European uppercut before beating Kane to the mat. Kane hit a HUGE uppercut to the face that flat backed Orton who rebounded with a big boot off the ropes. Orton dropped the knee twice before hitting the Garvin stomp.
Orton hit a big right hook to the face of Kane before hitting a few stomps to Kane’s mid section. Orton slapped on the rear chin lock only for Kane to fight out and connect with a back suplex. Kane hit a big uppercut followed by a second. Kane hit his big boot to the face before loading Orton up for an Irish whip.
Kane hit a clothesline in the corner before hitting a second. He followed up with a side slam for a two count before gathering the ex champ only to blow a backdrop. Kane popped right back up though and looked for the choke slam, but Orton stepped under and hit a neck breaker. Orton coiled up and looked for an RKO. Kane pushed Orton off mid move and went to the top rope. Kane flew off looking for a clothesline only for Randy to hit a clothesline but got hit with a kick. Orton pinned him only for Kane to protest he had his shoulder up.
Winner: Randy Orton via pin fall
There seemed to be some confusion after the match. Referee wouldn’t change a decision though, calling it like he sees it.
Sim Snuka and Manu came out and said they were here for Randy and they brought back up. Ted Dibiase came out and the three circled the ring. All four surrounded Orton. Orton went right for Snuka and Rhodes helped him out. Out of nowhere, Dibiase clocked Manu and turned on the two. They put a big beat down on Manu and Snuka, with both youngsters hitting their finishers.
Todd Grisham is with World Champion John Cena. Cena said at the Royal Rumble, anything can happen and this year it has. Cena says he’s facing JBL. He’s a former champion and involved in some of the most brutal matches Cena’s ever had in the WWE. Now he’s bought himself a veteran, but not just any veteran, the best. Now HBK is in the corner of Team JBL. He said the man he faces tonight is every bit as good as he says he is. He said he was Mr. Wrestlemania. He said he doesn’t have a Wrestlemania thanks to JBL, and tonight, he gets HBK in his Wrestlemania. So be it.
Beth Phoenix & Jillian Hall v. Melina & Kelly Kelly
This match never got started. Rosa Mendez jumped her from the crowd and after she was carted off by security, Jillian and Beth jumped the babyfaces and REALLY laid a beating in. Beth took pictures of Melina with the camera and left her in a heap.
Randy Orton congratulated the two on coming in. Dibiase said the past was what it was, so now it was on to the Rumble match. Orton told them there could only be one winner. Intensity.
The jobbers are trying to get into the Rumble. Santino came out and he’s in. Everyone’s pissed. Now.
JBL is escorting Michaels to the ring.
John Cena v. Shawn Michaels
The two locked up and Michaels grabbed a nasty hammer lock before Cena countered out and we get a standoff. HBK grabbed a side headlock and took Cena over and again, Cena escaped relatively easily.
The two locked horns and HBK grabbed another headlock and Michaels took exception to which Cena cuffed him in the face. HBK rolled out of a Cena arm bar attempt and grabbed a hammerlock. Cena fought out and hit a big shoulder block and hip toss before looking for the STFU. HBK dodged out and went for Sweet Chin music but Cena scrambled to the corner, out of harm’s way.
The two locked up and moved to the corner before HBK hit a couple of chops. Cena whipped Michaels to the buckles and launched him high in the air before dispatching him to ringside with a clothesline. After regaining his bearings, Michaels climbed up on the apron and snap mared Cena’s neck off the ropes. Michaels hit some knees and a stomp to Cena’s chest.
HBK kept up the pressure with the chops before Cena came fighting back with a bulldog for a two count. Cena whipped him to the buckles and went for the vertical suplex only for Michaels to flip out and attempt a roll up. Cena was too close to the ropes so HBK adjusted and locked in the figure four.
Finally, Cena was able to break the hold and was able to whip Michaels to the corner and punted him off the top rope onto his shoulders for a throwback, but Michaels wiggled out. Cena met him with a shoulder block and went for a top rope leg drop but whipped. Michaels caught him and cinched in a cross face.
Cena struggled out of the hold and picked HBK up off the mat only for Michaels to dead weight himself back to the mat. Cena struggled to the ropes and reached them before rolling under the ropes to get a breather.
We came back to Cena in control and he hit a back suplex for a cover attempt. Cena caught HBK running off the ropes for a fisherman’s suplex for a two count. Cena looked for another FU before going to the bear hug once Michaels wiggled out. Michaels fought out of the hold with some stiff elbows only for Cena to return the favor and go back to the hold.
Cena rushed HBK to the corner and whipped him, but Cena got rocked with a Michaels boot to the face. The two exchanged strikes in the middle of the ring before Michaels hit his big forearm. Michaels kipped up but Cena cut off the victory sequence and went for the inverted powerbomb only for HBK to counter that as well and slam Cena. HBK scaled the ropes only for Cena to meet him there. After a great struggle, HBK wiggled around Cena and power bombed him off the top rope for a great near fall.
Michaels went for the elbow drop and missed as Cena rolled out of the way. Cena gathered himself and hit the top rope leg drop. He went for the five knuckle shuffle and connected. Cena went for an FU but Michaels countered out with a DDT for a two count. Michaels went for the elbow again and connected.
Michaels tuned up the band but Cena ducked under and hit the FU. He went for the cover and HBK kicked out thanks to taking his time on the cover. Cena gathered HBK but got cold cocked with sweet chin music out of nowhere. HBK covers but Cena kicks out.
Cena went for another FU but HBK rolled him up. Cena kicked out and held the leg, cinching in the STFU right in front of JBL. After a great struggle, JBL pushed the ropes close to JBL SLIGHTLY to help him break the hold. Cena looked for another FU but Michaels jacked him into the ropes. Cena feigned a shot at JBL who faked the interference and turned right around into a sweet chin music for the win.
Winner: Shawn Michaels via pin fall
Michaels popped right up and went to the back as JBL climbed into the ring and stared at the unconscious Cena as we went off the air.
Show Thoughts— Absolutely a solid show tonight. Some fun matches, some winter clean up and a fantastic main event to really shotgun the Rumble build.
The main event match was really good stuff. HBK works so much better as a heel largely because his strikes are so much better and he focuses on struggles rather than selling, which because of injury, he’s not that great with anymore. SO with that out of the way, this really worked. JBL’s deal on the outside was great with the subtle selling and whatnot. The finish was molten hot, at I felt really worked.
Jericho getting fired is interesting and I’d say more about it if I had ANY idea where they were headed with it all, but it should certainly be interesting. Vince coming back should be interesting as always. If I’m putting smart money on anything, it’s going to be one of two directions for Jericho. Either a trip to Smackdown, where he’s actually got the momentum to possibly face the Undertaker, a guy he’s never faced one on one in the ring before at Wrestlemania, OR, probably be the spear head or focal points for whatever celebrity-special attraction concoction the McMahons have in mind for Wrestlemania XXV.
Thankfully, the Legacy is set now. This angle seemed to be sucking wind for a few weeks, but they sucked it up and put the right team together, so this should get far better in the coming weeks. They took care of the details and explained any gaps there might have been in the story lines and while the angle was a bit off thanks to the odd finish of the Kane match, but it was effective none the less. There’s been some speculation about who should be added to the group, but for now, this works. I think they need to work on establishing heat with these three before they pick the fourth member. In addition, it’d be good to see them more or less not marry themselves to the idea of the fourth member being a second generation type guy. Find the right guy with the talent to work an enforcer or complimentary role well, and it’ll work. In three-four months, adding a fourth member will be the right call. This works for now.
For so much going on in one show, it’s weird because it doesn’t feel like there’s a lot to talk about. Despite hitting some bumps in the road, it’s phenomenal to see that all the major story lines are RIGHT where they need to be three weeks out from the Rumble. The Legacy is established and Orton has some stooges to start lead blocking for him. Jericho’s fired and we don’t know what the future holds for him. Cena is defending his title in the emotional wreck that is the JBL-HBK partnership. All the pieces seem to be setting up for the Rumble just perfectly.
Overall Grade: B
Rey Mysterio def. The Miz
William Regal def. CM Punk
Randy Orton def. Kane
Shawn Michaels def. John Cena
Who??’s Hot, Who??’s Not?
1. Shawn Michaels
2. John Cena
3. Rey Mysterio
4. CM Punk
1. Chris Jericho
2. Randy Orton
4. Stephanie McMahon
Match of the Night: John Cena v. Shawn Michaels ***1/2
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) — Great match with Michaels this week. Good back and forth, Cena’s selling was great, and they built to a really good finish. JBL’s interference was good enough so as not to totally cheapen Cena’s loss, but shed doubt, which is good.
Intercontinental Champion:William Regal, 1-1, 2 points (Last Week: Intercontinental Champion)— I like how they’re dragging this IC title feud out a bit. Regal claiming a ‘restoration’ of prestige to the belt while cheating like a mad man keeps things fun.
1. Shawn Michaels 2-0, 3 pts. (Last Week: 2) — Michaels worked well tonight, with far snugger strikes and totally un-goofy selling that’s sort of plagued his matches in the last few years. Just when the guy looks like he hasn’t much left in the tank, he proves ya wrong.
2. Chris Jericho 0-1 0pts. (Last Week: 1)— Involved in probably the most interesting angle tonight being fired and all. He could end up on Smackdown, but its likely he stays put on Raw. Either way, its enough to carry this Steph-Vince thing a bit with a good side story and keep him busy.
3. JBL 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: 6)- – JBL was awesome tonight working the outside of the ring in the main event. His reactions to the events on the inside of the ring were great and his subtle cheating was even better. Good job for him tonight.
4. Randy Orton 1-1, 2 pts. (Last Week: 5)— Orton’s one of those guys that even when the match he’s in isn’t that good, it LOOKS good. Every hold has a purpose and now with the Legacy cemented so to speak, he’s set up for a run through the Rumble.
5. CM Punk 1-1, 2 Points Points (Last Week: 4) — Good stuff from Punker tonight, even though the match went short. These two, once they get that 10-15 minutes, are going to put on a barn burner.
6. Rey Mysterio 1-1, 2 Points (Last Week: 7) — Rey put on a fun match tonight with the Miz. The Knox thing is beginning to drag a bit much though. It’s best to pair these guys up in at least some sort of singles match if they hope to get some length out of this thing.
7. Kane 0-1, 0 Points (Last Week: 8) — Fun enough match for Kane tonight with Orton. He definitely turned face for the purposes of the match. Guy is just direction less right now though. Weird end to the match.
8. Cody Rhodes 1-0, 1 point (Last Week: 9) — Looks to be a major part of the Legacy. The angle came off a bit awkward at first, but it will be good enough heading forward. Important thing is that this group is finally formed.
9.Ted Dibiase, Jr. 0-0, 0 Points (Last Week: NR)— They sold the Orton kick, explained things out enough and did a good job getting the right guy back in the mix.
10. Kofi Kingston 0-1, 0 points (Last Week: 8) — Not in action.
Mike Knox 0-0 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)