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June 8, 2009
– Adam Russell

Raw Improvement

Monday Night Raw has been on a long streak of horrible shows. This week, that streak may have ended. I say ‘may’ because Iâ
€™m really not sure if this was a good show or not. There were certainly plenty of talking points, and moments that will genuinely impact
the direction of the show for weeks, maybe months, to come. It’s just a question of whether those moments were actually
entertaining, or just provided cheap thrills, standing out in a sea of mediocrity. Does the show stand up to scrutiny? Let’s see.

We opened with a recap of the WWE championship cage match from Extreme Rules, in which Batista defeated Randy Orton for the title.
After that, the Animal made his way to the ring, and paraded around for what seemed like an eternity with his belt. Batista finally picked up
a microphone and said that he beat the hell out of Orton to become a five-time World champion, and that he did it for a sixteen-time World
champion, that being Ric Flair. He then said that winning the championship was only the beginning, and that he plans on hurting Orton
the way the former champion has hurt others. That brought out Orton to confront his successor but, as Batista expected, he didn’t
come alone. Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes made their way out through the crowd, and Batista soon found himself at a three-on-one
disadvantage. Batista looked to be in control of the situation, shrugging off Priceless, and lifting Orton up for a Batista Bomb. Rhodes,
however, grabbed a chair and nailed Batista in the arm, and the assault began. Some fans may have learned that Batista had picked up
yet another injury at Extreme Rules, so won’t have been surprised to see what followed; an attack which seemingly writes Batista out
of the storyline for the foreseeable future. Orton and his pals focused the attack on the arm of Batista, Orton wrapping it up in a steel chair
and Pillmanising it again and again, finally wrenching it back to a sickening degree. Orton then held up the championship belt he had
lost the night before, and walked off with it.

This was a well-done segment, the talking kept to a minimum, and the actual attack on the arm looking very convincing, unlike, say, the
attack on Shane McMahon’s foot several weeks ago. This also introduced the question of what would become of the WWE
championship if Batista was indeed on the shelf.

After a commercial break we saw Batista being put into an ambulance to further the angle.

--- Kofi Kingston Vs William Regal

Our first match saw United States champion, Kofi Kingston take on William Regal in a none-title match. Regal came out with mic in hand,
and said that the last thing America needs is a Jamaican US champion. He said that if he were champ, he could be the fans’
saviour. The two locked up, and Regal grabbed a headlock, but was sent into the ropes. Kofi connected with a dropkick, and then went up
to the top rope, from where his leap was met by a punch to the gut. Regal hit a senton on the champion for a two count, and followed up
with a kneelift before running into a kick. Kofi came at Regal with forearms, chops and a dropkick, then hitting the grounded Englishman
with the B cubed legdrop. This was only enough for a one count, and Regal hit back with another kneelift. He went for a running kneelift,
but Kofi avoided the move. Kofi then went for Trouble in Paradise, but Regal blocked and connected with a forearm. The forerm
staggered Kingston, but he came right back with Trouble in Paradise to pick up a routine win in 2’05. This was typically short and
disappointing for a Raw match, and you have to wonder how we came to this point when, just a couple of months ago it looked like we
were all set for what could have been a highly entertaining programme between MVP and Regal over this championship. Regal has been
routinely buried every week since then, and it seems that this midcard title will be treated the same way as the Intercontinental title was
on Raw.

We cut to Legacy in the back, with Rhodes telling Orton that Batista is out of the picture. Josh Matthews walked in and asked for a
comment about their actions, to which Orton responded that he has a rematch clause in his contract, which he will be using tonight, and
either Batista comes back and fights him, or he loses the championship by forfeit.

More in-ring action next, as the Divas title was on the line.

--- Divas Championship match- Maryse (champion) Vs Kelly Kelly

Mickie James came out before the match started, and took her place at the commentary table. The match started with Maryse driving
Kelly’s head into the mat, and then the two locked up. They broke, and Kelly laid into the champion with some forearms. She kicked
Maryse and, after performing a backflip, the two floored each other with a double clothesline. Maryse picked up a two count, and then hit a
sidewalk slam backbreaker for another two. Kelly fought back with a sunset flip for a nearfall, a couple of clotheslines, a second rope
cross body block for another two count, and a hurricanrana for yet another count of two. The challenger went back up to the second rope,
but this time Maryse pulled her off and hit a DDT to retain her title after 2’53 of bad action. To be fair though, the action in the ring was
nowhere near the worst part of this match, that distinction going to Mickie James, who might have provided the worst guest commentary
ever. After the match, Maryse slapped Kelly around a bit, until James hit the ring, Maryse retreating to the back.

Next, Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole joked about the hogpen match between Vickie Guerrero and Santina Marella at Extreme Rules, and
we saw a video recap of that ‘match’.

Josh Matthews, working overtime tonight, was then seen in the back with the general manager, asking her about Randy Orton’s
rematch. Vickie says that he’s entitled to the rematch, and it will be tonight, backing up Orton’s claims. She went on to say that
she has a huge announcement to make that will change the face of Raw forever. My prediction at that point was that she is making a tag
team main event for the following week, such is the usual anti-climactic nature of such announcements.

We cut to Maryse in the back, who was joined by The Miz. Miz told Maryse not to worry because Mickie James wasn’t around. Maryse
responded that she isn’t worried about Mickie, and then went into some French, which Miz told her was hot. Maryse told him that heâ
€™s a good talker, but until he beats John Cena, they have nothing. Miz replied that she should watch his match with Cena tonight. Miz
and Maryse will clearly be an on-screen couple before much longer.

--- Santino Marella, Goldust and Festus Vs The Brian Kendrick, Jamie Noble and Chavo Guerrero

Six-man action next, in a match that had comedy written all over it. The bell rang and Festus went into his usual frenzy, taking out Chavo
and Noble with big right hands, and then splashing Kendrick in the corner. He then vertical splashed him, clamped on an armbar, and
tagged in Santino. Santino took Kendrick down with a legsweep and tagged in Goldust. That Gold Freak clotheslined Kendrick, and
mounted him with punches in the corner. Noble caused a distraction at that point, and Kendrick kicked Goldust and tagged in Chavo.
Chavo stomped away on his opponent, and then surfboarded his arms. Goldust worked up to his feet and escaped from the hold with
elbows, only for Chavo to take him back down. Noble came in and locked on a chinlock, and then broke the hold to low dropkick Festus
off the apron. Goldust took the opportunity to hit a couple of atomic drops on Noble, and tag in Santino. Santino punches Noble, hit an
elbow, and took him down with a legsweep, going for a pinfall which Kendrick and Chavo broke. Festus came back into the ring and
caused Chavo and Kendrick to flee, going after Chavo on the outside. Kendrick, though, cornered Goldust’s buddy Hornswoggle, and
threw him into the ring to the waiting Noble. Hornswoggle sells about as much as early nineties Undertaker though, and stomped on
Noble’s foot  before hitting a suicide dive under the second rope on Kendrick. All of this allowed Santino to roll Noble up and get the
victory for his team at 3’50.

The Miz came out next for his match with Cena, and of course, he had a microphone in his hand. He told the fans that this is the night
they’ve been waiting for, because he finally goes one-on-one with Cena. He continued that people have said he is all talk, but that
that is Cena’s fault for not answering any of his challenges. He called the fans Cena apologists, and Cena the most overrated
athlete in the WWE. He finished by saying that he may not be Tim Allen, but it’s about to be Tool Time. Miz has clearly progressed
from his Urkel references of a few weeks back, and is now onto Home Improvement. Hopefully he’ll advance to Seinfeld next week
and yada yada his whole promo.

Cena came out for the match, but was followed out by the Big Show. Cena readied himself for an attack, and booted the Miz who came at
him. He then lifted Show up for an FU, but the big man elbowed his way out and hit a choke slam, followed by the camel clutch. The Miz
then re-entered the ring, and blasted Show multiple times with a steel chair, before turning his focus to Cena. After nailing Cena with the
chair, Show regained his senses, and this was enough to send Miz fleeing from the ring. It looks like WWE is heading in the direction of a
triple threat match between these three, which at least adds another element to the Show/Cena feud which has been going on in one
form or another since before Wrestlemania.

Next, MVP came out for action, and had a few words of his own to say. He said that he doesn’t know what is going on with the WWE
championship, but if there’s going to be a title match next week, he deserves to be in it. Michael Cole then explained that next week
will be a three hour Raw in which all three brand championships will be defended. It would have been nice if we’d have been told that
before MVP’s promo.

--- MVP Vs Matt Hardy

The good news is that Hardy was back in his pirate-esque jacket for his entrance, as these two got set to face off yet again. MVP jumped
into an early advantage with some kneelifts, and then forced Hardy’s face into the mat with a drop toe hold, for a two count. A whip
into the corner was reversed by Hardy, who then ran into a boot to the face. MVP went up to the second rope, but Hardy pulled him down
and laid some kicks into him, before locking on a front facelock. MVP punched his way free, but Hardy took him down with an arm
surfboard. MVP worked his way up and sent Hardy into the ropes, catching him coming off with an overhead throw. A facebuster was
followed by the Ballin’ Elbow, which earned him a two count, and then he sent Matt into the corner. MVP went for his big boot, but
Hardy moved and dropped his old rival with a reverse DDT for a two count. He then backed MVP into the corner, climbed to the second
rope, and made to hit MVP with his cast. MVP, however, hotshotted Hardy down onto the top turnbuckle, and followed up with the
Playmaker for the victory at 3’52. This was fairly decent for as short as it was, but I feel like I’ve seen all that can be done between
these two talented wrestlers. I think it’s time for them to move onto other things.

We next took a look, through a variety of stills, at the World Heavyweight Championship match between Edge and Jeff Hardy at Extreme
Rules, and the aftermath which saw CM Punk cash in his money in the bank briefcase and capture the championship.

Vickie Guerrero came out next for her big announcement. She started by saying that she knows the fans are mad because she granted
Randy Orn a rematch for the WWE title, but the last thing on her mind is making the fans happy. She went on to talk about the hogpen
match, and how she was humiliated and ridiculed by the fans in attendance. She announced that she is tired of being made fun of, and
is resigning from her position of general manager of Raw. This, of course, got a huge pop from the crowd, and also brought out Vickieâ
€™s husband, Edge. Edge said that he came out to apologise to Vickie about the things he said to her at Extreme Rules, but now that
she has quit, he doesn’t need to apologise, or continue with their marriage. Vickie looked mortified as Edge confirmed that he
married her for her power, and because he would do anything to be champion of the world, saying that she is now worthless to him. He
went on to say that when they went out in public, people thought that she was his mother, called her a she-beast, and said that every time
they kissed he had to run to the bathroom to dry heave. He then said that the only saving grace is that the marriage was never
consummated, and that their marriage is now over. Of course, this got Edge a baby face reaction, as the fans serenaded Vickie with â
€˜Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye’.

I won’t go too much into this, but will say that it’s sad that the fans have been trained by months of babyfaces insulting Vickieâ
€™s looks, to cheer for such a public humiliation. If Vickie is indeed done with WWE, in my opinion, she’s probably better off out of it.

In the back, Josh Matthews asked John Cena about his condition. Cena said that he’s been worse, but he can’t remember when
(how about when you got thrown through that searchlight a couple of months ago?). He then went into his serious man-of-character
routine, and said that he thought his issue with The Big Show was over, but they will settle it. He went on to talk about the Miz, saying that
he’s picking a fight with the toughest guy in the bar to make a name for himself, and in a way he can respect that. He said that in the
near future they’re going to come face to face, and find out how awesome the Miz really is.

--- Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase Vs Carlito and Primo

This none-title match started during a commercial break, and when we came back, Rhodes had Primo in a chinlock. Primo worked up to
his feet, and Cody tried a back suplex. Primo floated over, but was caught by a mule kick from Rhodes, before he made the tag to Carlito.
Carlito came in with a springboard dropkick, then hit a kneelift followed by a clothesline. Rhodes reversed an irishwhip, but Carlito came
off the ropes with a moonsault, landing on his feet, and then a standing dropkick for a two count. Carlito then made the mistake of
cheapshotting Dibiase on the apron, and walked right into a DDT from Rhodes. Dibiase tagged in, and hit a trio of fistdrops, and then a
dropkick for a nearfall, and then clamped on a chinlock. Carlito fought out of the hold with elbows, but his attempted hiptoss was
reversed into a takedown from Dibiase, who then knocked Primo off the apron and tagged in Cody. Cody earned a two count with a
powerslam and a kneedrop, and then tagged back out. The two Legacy members then whipped Carlito into the corner, and Dibiase hit a
side Russian legsweep, Primo coming in to break up the resultant pin attempt. A couple of elbowdrops earned another two count for
Priceless, and then Rhodes was tagged back in. After a double gut punch from Cody and Ted, Cody hit a kneedrop and applied a
chinlock. Carlito got up to his feet and managed to throw Rhodes to the mat, finally making the hot tag to Primo as Dibiase tagged in.
Primo connected with a flying elbow on Ted, a dropkick, and a springboard cross body block out of the corner for a two count. Cody came
in, but was thrown out of the ring by Primo, which allowed Dibiase to roll him up for a two. Carlito and Rhodes started to brawl on the
outside, with Rhodes slamming Carlito’s back into the security wall. In the ring, Dibiase ran into an elbow from Primo, but Rhodes
climbed onto the apron and pulled the back of Primo’s head against the ropes, leaving him open for Dream Street, and the victory for
Priceless at 7’27. The victory earned Rhodes and Dibiase a shot at the tag team titles, and one would think that they’ll probably
win the belts in the near future. The match itself was decent, but nothing more, and hopefully they can build on this to create something
better the next time they meet.

Randy Orton came out for his WWE championship match, with the belt still draped over his shoulder, and said that he hopes Batista
doesn’t use the earlier attack by Legacy as an excuse not to show up. We then saw a video of the earlier beat down, and Randy said
that if Batista can’t answer a ten count, then the title changes hands via forfeit.

The ring introductions were made, and of course there was no Batista. The referee started a ten count, but as he got to eight, we saw that
an ambulance had pulled up in the back. This caused the ref to stop the count, and Cole and Lawler to speculate that Batista had come
back. It wasn’t Batista though who had shown up- it was Triple H, making his first appearance since Wrestlemania, and The Game
made his way out with his sledgehammer. Orton inexplicably sent Rhodes and Dibiase up the aisle to meet Triple H, when it surely
would have been better for the three of them to wait for him in the ring. Hunter dealt with Priceless with ease, and then threw aside his
sledgehammer, indicating that he didn’t need it to take care of Orton. He climbed into the ring and the two brawled to the outside.
Hunter slammed Orton’s head into the announce table, and then went to hit him with a monitor. Orton avoided the blow by kicking
Triple H in the gut, and then fleeing into the crowd, where Triple H followed him. The two brawled in the crowd with Hunter coming out on
top, and sending Orton back to ringside. The two returned to the ring, with Orton picking up a chair. Triple H invited Orton on, and when
the Viper ran at him, he delivered a spinebuster, and then rained down on him with chair shots, singling out the leg of Orton, and then his
neck. He stood over Orton but the fans hadn’t seen enough. To deafening chants of Pedigree, Hunter picked up Orton and delivered
his signature move onto the chair, and that’s how the show came to a close.

So, was this a good show? There wasn’t really much good wrestling to speak of, but there were a number of segments which
advanced storylines, and the controversy surrounding the WWE championship kept the show interesting until the end. If pushed, I’d
call it a mild success, although with the continuation of the Show/Cena feud, and the resumption of the Triple H/Orton feud, you could
hardly call it fresh.

MVP of the night- Vickie Guerrero. Allowing herself to be humiliated to the end has to be worth something.