WWE Champion Randy Orton was standing inside of a steel cage in the ring with the Legacy surrounding him. Orton put over his match at Extreme Rules against Batista. He said if the people thought he was worried, they had no idea what they were talking about. He said Batista was the one who should be worried because it was Orton who kicked him in the skull and the one who ripped up his ticket to Wrestlemania. He said he’d give Batista the biggest beating he’d ever had. He said there were no rules in the cage and he could do whatever he wanted to.
In fact, he said, Batista had better be in the mood, because he’d have a steel cage match tonight. He said it’d be heads or tails. If it was heads, he’d face Rhodes. If it was tails, he’d face Dibiase. Orton flipped the coin and congratulated Cody. Rhodes said not to worry about it. He said his father was in some of the greatest cage matches ever, and he had no problem showing why his family was regarded the way it was. He said this Sunday, Orton would give us an image they’d all have to get accustomed to. He simply walked out of the cage and said that image would be of him leaving the cage with his championship still in hand.
Ric Flair’s music hit and he came out to the ramp and started woo-ing and stomping all over his coat. Flair came out to crow not about Batista, but what Flair would do to him tonight. Flair said he might not be able to compete in the ring, but he would come out and call Orton out every week until he grew a set. Orton said something about him not being able to compete before Flair cut him off, saying that it wasn’t about having a ‘match’, it was about being a man. He wanted to fight him in the parking lot tonight, until one of them could no longer continue. Flair kept on antagonizing Orton until he accepted. Orton said Flair better watch it, because there’d be a good chance he wouldn’t remember tonight, or that his beating even happened.
Steel Cage Match
Batista v. Cody Rhodes
Batista laughed at Cody at first before Cody took off and tried to frantically escape the cage, but Batista kept cutting him off. He took off running again before Cody kicked him in the gut only to blow the DDT attempt and crash to the mat. Batista cornered him up against the cage and bashed his head off the mesh before leaning on it with a big boot.
Bats bullied Cody to the corner and hit some shoulder blocks before sending him careening off the cage and hitting with a spear on the rebound. Batista signaled for the end before Randy Orton came down to the ring to watch the proceedings. Batista picked Cody up and hit a huge spine buster while staring at Orton. Cody tried to escape, but Batista caught him before he could really get anywhere and hit an absolutely huge Batista bomb for the win.
Winner: Batista via pin fall
The two stared each other down after the match.
Vickie and Chavo Guerrero were talking to the Big Show backstage and he’s not crazy about teaming with the Miz. They said not to worry because Cena’s would probably suck, too as he’d have to choose a partner at random. They picked the partner out of the bag and whaddaya know? Its Chavo. Chavo and Vickie were laughing about it before Show cut him off and said if he gets in the way, he’d end his career.
Maryse & Beth Phoenix v. Mickie James & Kelly
Beth and Mickie squared off. Beth tossed Mickie across the ring before Mickie rolled out of a suplex attempt and hit a drop kick to the leg. She grabbed an arm bar and tagged in Kelly. Kelly wiggled out of a press slam attempt and almost hit a pin on the sunset flip, but beth quickly recovered and hit a huge gut buster.
Maryse tagged in and sat in on a camel clutch before Kelly fought out and hit an enzeguiri on Maryse. She went for the cover until Beth completely stomped on her head seemingly knocking her for a loop. Mickie came in and fought most of the heels off, but the official was eventually distracted allowing Beth to take out Mickie James. Maryse recovered during all of this and hit the big implant DDT for the win.
Winners: Maryse & Beth Phoenix via pin fall
The Colons v. William Regal & Matt Hardy
Regal came running in with a forearm before stomping the heck out of Primo in the corner. He laid in with some European uppercuts before tagging Matt in who went for a back elbow with his left hand rather than hit him with his right. He hit some left elbows before tagging Regal in and the two went for a double elbow, but Regal moved forward instead as Matt looked confused. Clearly there’s some miscommunication between the two.
Regal hit a series of right hands for a two count, before tagging Matt back into the match. Hardy hit a running boot and then choked Primo in the corner before tagging Regal back in. Primo fought back only to eat a big belly to belly overhead throw for a two count.
Matt tagged in and dropped a few leg drops before going for a fourth and finding no one home. Carlito got the hot tag and came leaping into the ring with a drop kick. Carlito hit a body slam and an Ernie Laad-esqe double leg drop before hitting his springboard back elbow for a two count.
All hell broke loose before the heels attempted to cheat by using the cast, only for Hardy to inadvertently hit Regal. Carlito hit a back stabber and that’s all she wrote.
Winners: The Colons via pin fall
Ric Flair and Batista are in the parking lot having an argument. Batista is concerned for Flair’s well being.
Vickie is with Regal and Matt Hardy. They said she should work a match against Santino tonight to ‘soften’ Santina up for Sunday night. They tell her their plan and she snorts when she laughs.
John Cena & Chavo Guerrero v. The Big Show & The Miz
Big Show began by working over Cena, dropping him with a side slam. Cena was able to mount a comeback that was quickly cut off when he attempted a body slam and his back gave out. Big Show went to finish Cena off when the Miz tagged in and tried to get the cheap cover, but Cena kicked out.
Cena eventually mounted another great comeback with some good looking punches before heading into his victory sequence. He motioned for the five knuckle shuffle and connected. He measured the Miz for the FU but Big Show made the blind tag and choke slammed Cena. He went to go for the cover but the ref didn’t see the tag. He dragged Miz to his corner and when Miz came to, he refused to tag Show saying ‘he’s got this’. He turned around and Show KO’d him with a right hand. Show and Cena began brawling and while they did, Chavo Guerrero sneaked in and stole the pin fall victory.
Winners: John Cena & Chavo Guerrero via pin fall
After the match, Big Show knocked Cena out with a right hand as Cena bounded off the second rope. He slapped on the camel clutch before leaving the ring.
Kofi Kingston and MVP started off a segment rather respectfully before they began taking minor digs at each other. They’ll be facing each other for the US Championship later tonight.
United States Championship
MVP v. Kofi Kingston
MVP grabbed an arm wringer. Kofi fought out and they stared at each other approvingly.
Kofi fought off a headlock before looking for a monkey flip out of the corner and grabbed a roll up for a two count. MVP hit a wheel kick to the jaw for a two count and went back on the offensive.
MVP hit a body slam and then signaled for the ballin’ elbow and connected for a two count. MVP whipped Kofi and looked for a charge, but Kofi side stepped him and hit a kick. He scaled the ropes only for MVP to crotch him up top and start laying in right hands. He mounted the buckles and looked for the big super plex and connected for a two count.
Kofi tried to counter with a crucifix and the two traded roll up two counts before both laying each other out with dueling lariats. MVP fought to his feet and ducked under right hand and hit a big German suplex for a two count. Kofi jacked up a big DDT for a two count of his own before MVP went for the play maker. Kofi countered out and went for trouble in paradise but whiffed. MVP loaded him up for a brain buster but Kofi wiggled out and rolled MVP up and scored the pin fall.
Winner and NEW United States Champion: Kofi Kingston via pin fall
Ted Dibiase is trying to warn Orton about the street fight. He says those environments are unpredictable and anything can happen. Orton says he could handle himself just fine.
Vickie Guerrero v. Santino Marella
Vickie has two buckets of pig slop with her.
Santino comes out and scares her out of her corner. Santino picks up a bucket and when Regal and Hardy come down to Vickie’s aid, he spin splashes everyone with the slop, catching Regal particularly bad. The heels jumped him and knocked him out, which enabled Vickie to cover him in slop.
Flair and Orton battled in the parking lot, with Flair sending Orton into the garage door. They traded some brutal shots before working their way towards the arena. Flair sent Orton hurling into a stack of crates before putting him on a wheeled dolly and sending him into a stack of metal pipes and boxes. They fought all the way into the arena, with Orton eventually gaining the upper hand.
Orton punched Flair’s lifeless body on the ramp and went to throw him off it, before Flair threw on the breaks and hit a kick to the junk. Flair stomped on Orton all the way down the ramp before ripping away at his face.
Flair slammed Orton’s head off the ring steps before sending him off the cage which is set back up in the ring. Flair did some table cleaning before setting Orton up on the table. He climbed up and stomped directly on Orton’s nuts. He cinched in the figure four but the Legacy soon jumped him from behind and began beating him down. Orton came to and they shuffled Flair into the ring. Orton told them to stand outside the cage door and lock it.
Batista ran Rhodes and Dibiase off but couldn’t get in the cage. After an intense stare down, Orton RKO’d Flair as Batista looked on. Batista was beside himself on the outside of the cage, unable to assist his friend. Orton punted Flair in the head, and he and Bats stared each other down nose to nose through the mesh as the show went off the air.
Show Thoughts— This show really had a different feel from any Monday Night Raw I’ve seen in a long, long time.
Usually Raw is a formula that needs to be executed well, but every now and then the WWE will scrap that idea and move into something that’s a little off kilter, and this certainly felt like it. The Batista match was the second thing happening on the card, in a cage no less. We got a title change and a pretty hot tag match before finishing up with a ‘fight’ between a 60 year old man and the current champion of the world. The show certainly had a very different feel to it than its had.
The finishing segment with Orton, Flair and Batista was really built well the entire show. Both Batista and Ted Dibiase offered cautionary tales and warnings to their mentors which really set the ‘anything can happen’ feel up well. From there, all that needed to happen was good execution and I felt they knocked it out of the park. Flair looked fantastic for being 60 and not wrestling for 14 months. Seriously good. He bumped big and his chops looked killer and had just a little extra mustard than usual. The nut stomp spot on the table was one of my favorite moments of the night. Orton looked like Orton usually does in these segments, and was sly, dark and lethal all at the same time. Batista might have had the best dramatic performance of his career. While this feud isn’t an OMGFEUDOFTHAYEAR~ program or anything, its been Batista’s best acted in forever. He really has brought the emotion. Maybe he was watching Sex in the City episodes this last month or something.
The other big news has got to be the fact that we have a new US Champion, although it may be a little unexpected. Usually the WWE really telegraphs its mid card title switches, but this was refreshing. I’m NOT a guy whose huge on Kofi, but its good to see a guy whose been the definition of the guy whose on the perpetual back-burner of Pro Wrestling the last year, get a little opportunity and attention. Really when you go back, this was more or less coming. Kofi is 10-3 this year on Raw, the best winning pct. Of any wrestler with more than five matches. Not only that, but he’s been booked strong in virtually everything he’s been in, including the promo they cut tonight. I usually HATE near fall whoring, but this more or less worked on a level because of the roll up finish. I swear, the WWE really needs more flash pin wins as they’re SUCH effective booking tools, especially to elevate someone and keep your stars higher up the card still looking really strong. ROH worked them well during Samoa Joe’s run in 2004 and it was the perfect booking tool for Jeff Hardy when he went over Triple H using a roll up at Armageddon 2007. WWE fans and wrestling fans in general, seem to give very pre-programmed, obligatory reactions to things they’re ‘supposed’ to be reacting to. While that’s true to a large degree because promoters WANT that to happen, I feel like matches would get more heat if a signature move or a lesser move would help wrestlers get wins. It’d make kicking out of signature spots and or finishers mean just that much more and would be sure fire ways to generate some molten spots in a finishing stretch. Bring back flash pins.
The rest of the show was unusually well executed. Everyone just seemed to be really ‘on’ tonight. Vickie Guerrero seemed fantastic on camera tonight. She’s always great for content, poor in delivery, but it was like she was a new person altogether tonight. Between the laughing, the improved snorting that broke Matt Hardy mid-segment, and generally looking WAY more confident on camera, she was awesome. The whole Santino thing has been a really fun program and a nice break from the very serious, blood-feud nature of this show.
The Big Show/Miz-Cena/Chavo match was as good a seven minute tag as you’ll likely see in Pro Wrestling. There’s so much going on here, with not just one dysfunctional team, but two. Show hates Cena and Miz annoys him. He doesn’t care much for Chavo, either. Cena can’t stand Chavo, is annoyed by the Miz, and hates the Big Show. Chavo dislikes Big Show, is annoyed by Cena, and isn’t wild about the Miz, either. Miz, well, he doesn’t like anyone but himself. Confusing? Try and pack all that into seven minutes. Yet they still pulled it off. Cena’s comebacks are usually really well paced anyways, but I wish he were a more consistent striker. Tonight, he looked like Jerry Lawler. Other nights he looks like Alex Shelley. Still though, he was awesome here, and as usual, brought all his leg-splaying goodness. The Miz was awesomely inappropriate, which is the most appropriate way of explaining him tonight. Tagging in without asking, refusing to tag out, and in general, just being a turd. Chavo on the apron was as funny as he’s looked since Pepe and that might be saying something. He just hammed it up with the crowd the entire time. Show made this match though, as he’s developed an almost endless bag of ways to murder people. He’s amazing right now and probably week to week, the best worker in the company, something I couldn’t fathomed saying in 2000 or even two years ago despite his improvements.
This show felt like going to the local record store and finding that CD from the early 90s you remember being semi-popular then, but largely forgotten now, that you’re thrilled to have found, without even having gone into the show remembering, much less looking for. Different, but good.
Overall Grade: B+
Batista def. Cody Rhodes
Maryse & Beth Phoenix def. Mickie James & Kelly Kelly
The Colons def. William Regal & Matt Hardy
Chavo Guererro & John Cena def. Big Show & the Miz
Kofi Kingston def. MVP to WIN The United States Championship
Who’s Hot, Who’s Not?
2. John Cena
3. Ric Flair
4. Santino Marella
1. Randy Orton
2. Big Show
3. Vickie Guerrero
Match of the Night: Ric Flair v. Randy Orton Unsanctioned Fight ***
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 7-6-3, 17 pts. (Last Week: WWE Champion)— Good showing from the champion tonight. He had a strong opening promo and the brawl with Flair at the end was a ton of fun. He did a good job with the hard sell on the pay per view.
United States Champion: Kofi Kingston 10-3, 19 points (Last Week: 5)— Kofi’s been on a roll of late and now adds the US Championship to his trophy cabinet. While it may have felt a little sudden, its not like they haven’t booked this guy strong.
1. Batista 7-4, 12 Points (Last Week: 2)— In terms of ‘dramatic’ performance, this was probably Big Dave’s best night. I loved the ‘roid rage freak out sequence before the Judgement Day match and the Flair punt segment here was not only well laid-out, but also well executed.
2. John Cena 12-7-2, 27 points. (Last Week: 1)— Cena’s had a quiet past few months and the match with Big Show at Extreme Rules could be a ‘get back on track’ match for him. Cena’s performances have still been really, really good, but story line wise, he’s been a little on the quiet side. A win on Sunday would likely propel him back into title contention. There’s only so long you can keep him and Orton apart at this point.
3. MVP 3-2-1, 5 Points (Last Week: US Champion)— While jobbing to Kofi Kingston and losing the US title might seem as a set back of sorts, I think its more of a case that Raw is in need of main event level baby faces and they need to build someone to fill the void. Tonight was the beginning of what I think will be a very fruitful push for Porter.
4. Cody Rhodes 7-5-1, 9 points (Last Week: 3) — For weeks, I’ve been writing one profile for both largely because only one is really needed, but now that they’re fleshing out characters, they’re more interesting and worth talking about. Cody’s the guy who takes his marching orders well, is a little bumbling, but is plucky and disdainful as he can be. He’s really blossomed into a modern day Buddy Roberts.
5.Ted Dibiase, Jr. 7-3-2, 8 Points (Last Week: 4)— Ted just has top flight baby face written all over him. He’s the sensible, voice of reason for this group. While Cody is content to go along to get along, Ted is certainly the more calculated of the two. Hopefully they keep on the path of making Dibiase the angel and Rhodes the devil perched on Randy Orton’s shoulders. Its made for an intersting dynamic so far.
6. Big Show 2-3-0, 3 Points (Last Week: 9)— Show was a one man working machine tonight. He’s got so many ways to look like a legit threat its astonishing. The tag match tonight was easily the match of the night and with so many complex angles going on within the greater story, its tough to fit it all into one match, nevermind one match with only 7 minutes of TV time allocated to it. Great night for Show despite his team losing.
7. The Miz 1-2-1, 1 Points (Last Week: 10)— His mic work has put him on the map it seems for good, but its going to be interesting to see how he develops in the ring. For me, the verdict is still out on whether Miz could eventually be a Main Event level guy, but he certainly should be an upper echilon talent in the company for a lengthy period of time.
8. Matt Hardy 3-6-0, 4 Points (Last Week: 8) – – Just seems really ‘there’ right now. The arm thing is a good shtick, I’m just afraid its starting to really take his matches over. Its a good gimmick, its something he should continue to work, but he shouldn’t become dependent on it.
9. Carlito Colon 4-1-0, 5 Points (Last Week: NR)— The Colons break into the top ten. One has a very good record, the other is one of the only guys that could legitimately claim ‘undefeated’ status since coming to Raw. Fun enough, but Carlito still strikes me as a guy whose going through the motions. Primo has some fire, but neither guy is anywhere approaching ready for a singles push in the next year.
10. Primo Colon 3-0-0, 3 Points (Last Week: NR)–See Carlito.
Triple H 1-2-0, 1 Point (Last Week: 6)
Shawn Michaels 6-3, 10 pts. (Last Week: 7)
Santino Marella 3-2, 5 points (Last Week:NR)
William Regal, 3-8, 4 points (Last Week: NR )
Brian Kendrick 1-3-0, 2 Points (Last Week: NR)
Sim Snuka 1-0, 1 Point (Last Week: NR)
Mr. Kennedy 1-0-0, 1 Points (Last Week: RELEASED)
Hornswaggle 1-0-0, 1 Points (Last Week: NR)
Jerry Lawler 1-0, 1 points (Last Week: NR)
Goldust 1-1-0, 1 Points (Last Week: NR)
Festus 0-1-0, 0 Points (Last Week: NR)
Chavo Guererro 1-3-0, 1 Points (Last Week: NR)
Jamie Noble 0-2, 0 Points (Last Week: NR)
Jim Duggan 0-0, 0 points (Last Week: NR)
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