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July 20, 2009
– Adam Russell

ZZ Flop

This week’s Raw featured ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons as the special guest hosts, and was the last episode before
Sunday’s Night of Champions pay-per-view. It also had a planned main event of Triple H and John Cena teaming up to face Cody
Rhodes and Ted Dibiase. It was, simply put, terrible.

We started off with WWE championship co-number one contender, John Cena, coming out to tell us that he is excited, and that we are
too. Thanks for the info, John. He questioned whether the excitement was because of ZZ Top hosting the show, and then said that he
knows the WWE Hypocrites will see one of the greatest matches of all time, talking about his triple threat match against Randy Orton
and Triple H. Even if you do say so yourself, hey? He then enthusiastically reminded us that this is a rematch of the main event from
Wrestlemania 24, as if it were a good thing that 18 months later WWE is still touting the same main event. This brought out the WWE
champion, Orton to remind Cena that he pinned him in that match to retain his championship, and that history will repeat itself on
Sunday. Cena, shamelessly, responded that he wasn’t paying attention because the crowd is so awesome, as I threw up my lunch.
He continued that he was thinking about music, and how Orton’s theme song talks about him hearing voices in his head. Cena then
cleverly added that he hears ten thousand voices, and it sounds like they want him to pound Orton’s face into mush. Orton looked
like he was going to fight, but then exited the ring until Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase made their way out through the crowd and
surrounded Cena. Before the fight could begin though, Triple H came out to make the save, and Legacy retreated. Hunter said that heâ
€™s at a point that he never thought he would get to- that being that he doesn’t care if he wins the WWE championship on Sunday.
He only cares, he went on, that Orton doesn’t win the match. He then talked about Seth Green punking Orton out last week, and a
bad comedy routine ensued between Hunter and Cena, which basically involved the two of them trying to decide what small person to
compare Green to (a hobbit was the best they could do). Orton said that he wasn’t embarrassed last week, and that he wants to be
added to the main event tonight, making it a three-on-two handicap match. Cena then went off on a spiel about Orton being a genius
because he knows he and Trips can’t co-exist, before they accepted the match in unison.

The writing for this opening promo was about as bad as anything I can remember on Raw. Cena took the cheesiness level of his
character to new levels, and it’s things like this that make it hard for older viewers to connect with him. It was just bad from start to
finish, and unfortunately, was a sign of things to come.

We next got our first look at ZZ Top, who were supposedly backstage in an area made to look something like the stage of a dingy music
club. The two of them, with guitars in hand, mumbled on about being happy to be there, until Santino Marella came in, said he was a big
fan, then hilariously got their names wrong. Remember when Santino was funny? Hill and Gibbons then gave Santino a guitar, hat and
fake beard, and finally a pair of sunglasses, as the song Cheap Sunglasses inexplicably started playing and the aging rockers half-
heartedly mimed along. Nobody cared. As a stand-along segment this was piss poor. What made it worse was that we would return to
this scene a number of times throughout the night.

--- Kofi Kingston, MVP and Primo Vs Jack Swagger, Carlito and The Big Show

I was hopeful that the garbage of the first two segments would come to an, at least momentary, end as we got our first match of the
night. It was announced during the introductions that Kofi Kingston would defend his United States Championship at Night of
Champions in a 6-Pack Challenge match against Show, MVP, Carlito, Swagger and The Miz, and it was the champ who started, with
Swagger. Swagger took Kingston down by the legs, and then locked on a waistlock, which Kofi countered into a victory roll for an early
two count. Kofi then tagged MVP, and the two of them delivered a flapjack to the All-American American. MVP followed up with the Ballinâ
€™ Elbow, inducing Carlito to pull his partner out of the ring as we went to break at 1’18. At 4’51 we returned to find Swagger
holding Kingston in a head clamp, and then tagging Carlito in as we saw that during the break Swagger hotshotted Kingston on the
security wall. Carlito stomped away on the champion, and then tagged in Big Show who took Kingston down with a headlock, and then
dropped a knee. Carlito came back in and picked up a two count after a suplex, and then went back to the head clamp. Kofi worked up to
his feet, but his attempted comeback was stymied by a dropkick. Swagger tagged in and hit a legdrop for a nearfall, and then brought
Carlito back into it. Kofi went for a dropkick, but missed, only to then tach Carlito with a head scissors takedown and make the hot tag to
Primo. Primo unleashed some punches on his big brother, and then hit a big clothesline and a dropkick, before dropkicking Big Show
off the apron. He followed up with a legdrop from the second rope on Carlito, but Swagger broke the pin attempt. This brought MVP back,
and he knocked Swagger out of the ring and followed him out with a rolling plancha. Carlito was now in control in the ring, and was
looking for Backstabber, but Show came in with a spear, and when Primo sidestepped him, Carlito took the full force of the blow. Kofi
took Show over the top rope with a hurricanrana, and Primo hit a springboard diving headbutt on Carlito to pick up the victory for his team
on 9’13. After the match, Show returned to the ring to spear Primo, and then chokeslammed MVP and Swagger, before giving a
knockout punch to Kingston and standing victorious over his foes.

This strong match was marred somewhat by Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler being all over Dave and Buster’s, which was
sponsoring the match. The ending sequence with Primo taking the hot tag was very entertaining, and I was particularly pleased that the
younger Colon was allowed to look so good in this match, including picking up the victory. There is hope for Raw’s midcard after all.

We cut back to ZZ Top, with Santino, shilling their latest tour. Chris Jericho entered and said he was a big fan of there’s, and that he
knows they are big Fozzy fans. Of course, they didn’t know who Fozzy is, and signed Jericho to a match with Mark Henry, before more
music started playing.

At ringside, The Brian Kendrick was telling Cole and Lawler to talk about how great he is, saying that he will be Jericho’s tag team
partner at Night of Champions. He then got on the mic and said that he held the WWE tag team championship for over a year, which is
one more WWE title than The King has held. Lawler then countered by introducing himself as Kendrick’s opponent.

--- The Brian Kendrick Vs Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler

Lawler gave Kendrick a punch to the face to start the match, but Kendrick came back with some kicks, and then locked on a facelock.
The King fought out of it but was met by a leaping forearm in the corner. Kendrick then applied a chicken-wing style submission hold, but
again the King fought back and hit a dropkick. Kendrick regained control with a leg lariat, but Lawler blocked The Kendrick, sending his
opponent face-first into the mat, and then hit a flying fistdrop to get the win at 2’20. I don’t know why this match took place, and
what purpose it served giving Lawler the win. The only thing working in Kendrick’s favour is that the match was totally forgettable.

Next we cut to Josh Matthews interviewing Mickie James on the stage, which brought to mind the old podium interviews that WWF used
to do. Josh mentioned Maryse’s victory over Mickie in a tag match on last week’s show, and asked if that gave Maryse the
psychological edge leading into their match at Night of Champions. Mickie said that the pay-per-view isn’t called Night of Trampions,
and that it’s time Maryse got a reality check. That comment brought out the Miz, who said that in ten years Mickie will be working in a
Waffle House, and that watching Maryse wrestle Mickie is like watching Charlize Theron against Rachael Ray. Mickie asked if he was
sour because she scored a pinfall win against Maryse, whereas he can’t score at all. Maryse herself then came out and sprayed
something into the face of Mickie, leaving her lying. Effective segment.

--- Chris Jericho Vs Mark Henry

After much stalling by Jericho, we finally got a lock up 1’10 in, with Henry powering Jericho down. Jericho tried some kicks, but Henry
shrugged them off and hit with a gorilla slam. He tried to follow up with a Vader bomb, but Jericho kicked his leg out, and then focused in
on the injured limb. He picked up a two count with a dropkick to the leg, and then applied a facelock, which Henry powered out of. Jericho
ran into a clothesline, and was taken down by a hiptoss, and a giant swing. The World’s Strongest Slam looked set to follow, but
Jericho wriggled free and hit a bulldog. He then tried to turn Henry over into the Walls of Jericho, but was kicked out of the ring. Henry
followed him out, but Jericho had procured himself a steel chair, and he hit Henry in the gut, and then on the back to give Henry a
disqualification victory at 5’07. Jericho tried to hit Henry in the face with the chair, but Henry blocked, and threw Jericho over the
announce table, taking out Michael Cole in the process. He threw Jericho back into the ring, caught the tag team champion as he
attempted a Codebreaker, and planted him with the World’s Strongest Slam.

Back to ZZ Top and Santino, and this time they were joined by Chavo Guerrero. Chavo expressed his disgust at the way he has been
treated in his feud against Hornswoggle, so ZZ signed him to a Sharp Dressed Man match, which apparently was just a tuxedo match.
Sharped Dressed Man then, of course, started playing as Santino and the Top mimed along.

--- Sharp Dressed Man Match - Chavo Guerrero Vs Hornswoggle

After Lillian badly botched the introductions for this match, Chavo came out and it was revealed that the legs of his trousers were sewed
together. Much comedy ensued which resulted in Hornswoggle picking up the victory at 2’35. It occurs to me that Chavo and
Hornswoggle have become the Tom and Jerry of the WWE, and I always did want Tom to give that damn mouse what he had coming…

In the back, Triple H was preparing for the main event when Cena came him and thanked him for the save earlier in the night. He then
asked about Hunter’s comments earlier about not caring if he won the championship or not, to which Hunter responded that he
knows he didn’t mean that. They then agreed that tonight they would be on the same page, but on Sunday they wouldn’t. It was
riveting stuff.

Back to ZZ Top and Santino, who were talking about the main event, when Legs started playing and Kelly Kelly, Alicia Fox, Gail Kim and
Rosa Mendes came in to dance. Finally, Santino pulled off his pants and, when ZZ Top left, danced around on his own. It was as
embarrassing as it sounds.

After Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler had run down the card for Night of Champions, we went to Jericho, who was leaving the arena.
Rhodes and Dibiase cut him off, and said that they could jump him right now, but then they wouldn’t get to see who is partner is.
They speculated that he didn’t have one yet, and then insulted his father. Oh no you didn’t. Jericho shot back that he’s won
more championships then them and their father’s combined, and that he has the whole roster knocking down his door. He finished
by saying that maybe Randy Orton is going to be his partner.

It was announced next that Shaquille O’Neale will be next week’s guest host, and then we were scheduled for what was billed
as a ‘ZZ Top Legs Match’.

--- Kelly Kelly and Gail Kim Vs Alicia Fox and Rosa Mendes

Kelly and Rosa started off, with Rosa locking on an armbar and sending Kelly into the corner. Kelly hit back with a dropkick and a
hurricanrana, before Fox was tagged in. Kelly hit a victory roll for a two count, and then tagged Gail, who hit a hurricanrana of her own and
a splash in the corner, before jumping off the ropes into what I think was supposed to be a dropkick. Whatever it was, it earned Fox a two
count, before she tagged Rosa back in. Rosa hit a suplex for a one count, and then tagged Alicia back in. Fox picked up a zero count with
a snap mare, and then missed a kneedrop which allowed Kim to tag in Kelly. Kelly hit a spinning head scissors takedown, and then a
handspring butt bump, followed by a step-up legdrop, which brought Rosa back in. Kelly and Gail double dropkicked Rosa out of the
ring, and Gail followed with a rolling plancha, but the distraction allowed Fox to small package Kelly for the victory at 3’42.

Next, ZZ Top made their way into the arena to greet the fans, before it was time for the main event.

--- Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase Vs John Cena and Triple H

Cena and Rhodes got us underway, with Cena coming out a house on fire with kicks and punches, and then a bulldog. Triple H came in
and executed a delayed suplex, and then a kneedrop, before throwing Dibiase, in to help his partner, out of the ring. He then clotheslined
Cody over the top rope, and Cena cut off Orton who was trying to attack Hunter. Finally, Cena and Triple H clotheslined both Rhodes and
Dibiase to the outside as we went to commercial at 1’56. We came back at 4’49, and Dibiase and Cena knocked each other
down with a double clothesline. A pair of tags brought in Rhodes and Trips, with the latter hitting a high knee and a facebuster, before
punching Orton off the apron. This momentary distraction allowed Rhodes to sneak in a punch, and then a tag to Dibiase, and the two
whipped him into the corner, Hunter bumping himself to the outside where Orton slammed his head into the steel steps. Back in the
ring, the three members of Legacy exchanged quick tags as they took turns in stomping away on Hunter in the corner, in what was a cool
spot. Orton dropped a knee for a two count, and then Rhodes followed suit for another nearfall, before locking on a front facelock. Hunter
tried to fight his way to the corner to make the tag, but Rhodes repeatedly cut him off, finally nailing him with a DDT and making the tag to
Orton. Randy tried an RKO, but it was blocked, and Hunter hit a spinebuster, to finally give the opportunity to tag Cena. Orton also tagged
out, to Rhodes, and Cena took him down with a pair of shoulderblocks and a side suplex into a slam, before hitting an overhead belly-to-
belly suplex. Not really; it was a five knuckle shuffle. He then locked on the STF, but Ted broke it up. Hunter took Ted out, and slammed
him into the security wall, while Orton tagged himself into the match. We went for a punt on Cena, but Cena moved and rolled up the
champion for the victory at 13’33. It should be noted that the crowd were super hot for this match, although the action itself wasnâ
€™t really anything to shout about.

And that brought to an end an atrocious episode of Raw. The ZZ Top segments were some of the worst written and performed
segments I’ve ever seen on a wrestling show, and that covers so much ground it’s scary. I’m not sure what the guest host
angle is doing for ratings, or for the companies image, but it is really proving to be detrimental to the quality of the actual shows, and it
could be time to ZZ stop.

MVP of the night - Primo. For one thing, it might be the only chance I ever get to give this award to one of my current favourites. Secondly,
on a night of pretty much across the board garbage, Primo’s work and going over in the six-man was maybe the only bright spot.