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August 24, 2009
– Adam Russell

Many Crappy Returns

This week’s Raw fell on the day of Vince McMahon’s 64th birthday. It also featured the continuation of the guest host angle, with
Floyd Mayweather being the man in charge this week. Could the show build on last week’s improvement, or would it be a return to
the string of bottom of the barrel episodes we witnessed prior?

Our first image was one of WWE Champion Randy Orton, who was addressing the controversy surrounding his successful title defence
at Summerslam the previous night. Orton explained that a fan ran in from the crowd during that match but, as the camera zoomed out to
reveal Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase stood beside him, Orton looked to Ted and said that it wasn’t just a fan. Dibiase responded
that it was his brother, Brett, and that brought Brett into the frame. Orton said that Brett’s actions were inexcusable, and assured
everyone that it would never happen again. Cody interjected that Orton would have beaten Cena anyway, which Randy agreed with.

Out in the arena, Vince McMahon made his way out to announce that John Cena will get a rematch with Randy Orton for the WWE
Championship in three weeks at the debuting Breaking Point pay-per-view (all main events are submission matches), and that it will be
an I Quit match. He added that if anybody interfered on behalf of Orton, he would be stripped of the belt. It looked to be short and sweet
from the chairman, but as he was about to leave, D-Generation X hit the ring. Triple H said that he doesn’t like ‘good guy Vinceâ
€™, and Shawn Michaels mentioned that it was his birthday. A bad comedy routine (imagine that) followed, with D-X trying to find out how
old Vince was, before Shawn directed everyone’s attention to the big screen for a video tribute. This started off portraying Vince in a
good light, but then inevitably turned into a compilation of his most humiliating moments. A large birthday cake was then wheeled out,
and I can’t have been the only one predicting that Big Dick Johnson would be inside. D-X then introduced a bevy of Las Vegas
showgirls, a couple of Cirque du Soleil performers (“those masks are really gay� - Vince), and an Elvis impersonator, all of whom
sang happy birthday. Big Dick Johnson then made his appearance, only to be thrown out of the ring by Vince, before D-X asked everyone
to leave as they wanted a private moment with Vince. It looked like they had something set up to fall from the ceiling on Vince, but this
was interrupted by Rhodes and Dibiase who attacked Shawn and Hunter until Shawn ran them off with a chair. Orton joined Legacy on
the ramp, and Hunter said that since Mayweather wasn’t there yet, he would be making a match (why the hell not?)-
Orton/Rhodes/Dibiase Vs D-X and, yes, Vince McMahon. Vince made it no disqualification.

This whole thing was the definition of interminable, and by the time it was over, we were twenty-five minutes into the show. That’s
almost a quarter of the show wasted on a non-wrestler, at a time when Vince is supposedly concerned that new stars aren’t being
created. Raw needs to get its priorities in order.

--- Santino Marella Vs The Miz

No time for Santino’s entrance here, as we got ready for the first match of the night. Miz got the jump on his opponent with clubs to
the back, but Santino reversed a hiptoss, and took Miz down with an armdrag. Miz hit back with a kick and a hotshot for a two count, and
then got another nearfall with a kick to the face. He applied a chinlock, but Santino fought up, only to receive a kneelift. Miz then sent
Marella into the corner, but Santino moved as he ran in, hit some punches, and then took Miz down with a comedy-style chop to the head.
He went for a diving headbutt, but Miz moved, hitting the Skull-Crushing Finale (ugh, that name) for the win at 2’04. After the match,
Miz said he was one step closer to beating Kofi Kingston for the United States championship. Michael Cole told us that the champion
would be in action later tonight. He wasn’t.

--- Mickie James, Kelly Kelly and Gail Kim Vs Beth Phoenix, Alicia Fox and Rosa Mendes

This was billed as a Mayweather Melee, which basically meant that the girls were dressed like boxers, and pretended that their punches
were effective. Gail and Beth started out, Gail getting an armbar and tagging in Kelly. Kelly and Gail sent Beth to the corner and Gail ran in
with a splash, before Kelly hit a hurricanrana for a two count. She next tried a headscissors takedown, but Beth countered into a
backbreaker. Rosa tagged in and Kelly met her with punches and a clothesline, forcing her to tag Fox. Kelly, meanwhile, tagged Mickie,
who hit a neckbreaker which brought Beth in to break up a pinning attempt. Mickie rocked Beth with forearms, and Gail came off the top
with a missile dropkick, whilst Kelly dropkicked Rosa. Alicia and Mickie were left alone in the ring, and Fox sent Mickie into the ringpost
before hitting an axe kick to pick up the three count at 2’35 of mediocre action. Looks like Alicia will be Mickie’s next challenger for
the Divas Championship.

We cut to D-X in the back, who plugged the new WCW DVD, as well as their own merchandise, shouting over some inexplicable
construction noise. Shawn said he was worried about the main event because he didn’t know how they could get Vince mad. Trips
has everything under control. Cue a cut to Vince’s office where Jillian Hall, dressed as Marilyn Monroe serenaded McMahon with
happy birthday until he threw her out.

Back in the arena, Chris Jericho and The Big Show came out to a new version of their same terrible theme music. We saw a video of The
Big Show Vs Mayweather match from Wrestlemania 24 before Show said that Mayweather is hiding from him, and that he hasn’t
forgotten Wrestlemania. He and Jericho said they won’t leave the ring until Mayweather comes out. Mayweather then appeared on
the big screen making his way out with an entourage, as Lillian introduced him. He made his way down to the ring to mostly boos, and
squared right up to the tag team champions. Mayweather said that he could mess Show up again, but he has a more important fight
coming up. Jericho then told him that he doesn’t think he’s a very good fighter, and that brought out MVP, apparently a good
friend of Mayweather. MVP insulted the champions, calling them beauty and the beast, and then told Jericho that nobody wants to hear
him talk anymore. He continued that the only reason Jericho is on Raw is because he is a tag team champion, and if he were to lose the
belt he would be back on Smackdown. He then asked Mayweather to make a match pitting MVP and a partner of his choice against Show
and Jericho, with MVP’s team getting a title shot at Breaking Point if they won. Mayweather agreed, and MVP revealed Mark Henry as
his partner.

--- MVP and Mark Henry Vs Chris Jericho and The Big Show

We returned from a commercial break to find the match in progress, with MVP sending Jericho into the corner, and connecting with a big
boot for a two count. He then hit another big boot which caused Jericho to tag in Show, who hit MVP with a clothesline and a trio of
powerslams, before applying a side headlock. MVP managed to fight out of the hold, but then ran into a boot and found himself in a full
nelson, which Show converted into a slam. Jericho tagged back in and picked up a two count, before drawing Henry into the ring, giving
Show the opportunity to work over MVP. Jericho then slingshot MVP on the bottom rope, but followed up by running into a clothesline.
Jericho managed to hold MVP off from making the tag, grounding him with a half nelson and then tossing him to the outside. Back in the
ring an exchange of forearms began, with MVP coming out on top. Again though Jericho cut off the tag to Henry, and backed MVP into his
corner. Show came in and began to work on MVP’s leg, elbowdropping it and applying a leglock. Back in came Jericho, and he and
MVP grounded one-another with clotheslines, and we went to another break at 7’15. At 10’27 we came back, to find Jericho
holding MVP in a facelock. MVP battled out and scored a two count with a roll up, before being grounded again by a headbutt from each of
the tag team champions. The hot tag was finally made to Henry after Jericho missed a Lionsault, and Henry hit a couple of clotheslines
and a headbutt on his opponent. He then missed an avalanche in the corner, before Jericho tried a Codebreaker, which was countered
into a World’s Strongest Slam, which was in turn countered into a DDT, with Jericho earning a nearfall. Henry made a tag to MVP,
with the latter taking Jericho down with an overhead throw, then hitting a facebuster and the Ballin’ Elbow for a count of two. Jericho
rebounded with an enziguri kick, but Henry broke the pin attempt. Henry knocked Show off the ring apron, and in the confusion,
Mayweather, who was watching the match at ringside, handed MVP a gold chain, which MVP wrapped around his fist, kncking Jericho out
and picking up the win, and earning the title shot, at 14’34. After the match, Show carried Jericho away as MVP, Henry and
Mayweather celebrated in the ring.

I don’t get the booking for this match at all. The MVP/Henry team were given hardly any offence, and their victory came courtesy of a
blow with a foreign object. Which was handed to MVP by a guy who is a total heel with the crowd. The only smart thing was keeping Show
and Henry away from each other, although even that match-up has been seen before.

We cut to Ted, Cody and Brett in the back, with Orton coming in and dismissing the younger Dibiase. Orton told Ted and Cody that he has
been given the perfect opportunity to take out Vince on his birthday.

--- Boxing Match- Hornswoggle Vs Chavo Guerrero

More terrible comedy stuff next, the gag this week being that Chavo had to wear giant boxing gloves. This was all over after 1’07 when
Chavo took off the gloves and power slammed Hornswoggle, the ref disqualifying him. Chavo then went up to the top rope for the
frogsplash, but Evan Bourne came out to make the save, taking Chavo down with kicks and then hitting the shooting star press. If Chavo
is Tom, Hornswoggle is Jerry, and Mark Henry is Spike, I suppose Bourne would be that little grey mouse with the diaper.

In the back, Vince McMahon was sparring with Floyd Mayweather when Carlito came in and complained about not being on the show,
demanding a rematch with Kofi Kingston for the US championship. D-X then entered, and Hunter made a crack about getting busy with
Stephanie, to which Vince responded by knocking Carlito out with a punch. Great. Just when Carlito was starting to get back some
credibility, he is knocked out cold by one punch from a 64-year-old man in a throwaway comedy segment. Oh well, it’s not as though
anyone is ever going to move up the ranks on this show.

--- Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Vince McMahon Vs Randy Orton, Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes

D-X attacked Legacy before the bell, with Hunter back body dropping Shawn out of the ring and onto the three of them at ringside. Shawn
then threw Cody into the ring, where Vince was waiting with a punch. Vince tagged Shawn in, who continued the beat down with reverse
knife edge chops, and then tagged in Trips. Michaels sent Cody to the ropes, and Hunter back body dropped him over the top, onto
Dibiase and Orton, who were still recovering at ringside. We hit the break at 1’09, and came back at 5’02 with Hunter in a Ted
Dibiase facelock. Hunter fought out and hit a DDT, and then tagged Michaels in who hit an inverted atomic drop, powerslam and flying
elbowdrop, before Cody Rhodes took him down with a bulldog. Orton now tagged in, picking up a two count on Shawn with a kneedrop,
and then tagging Rhodes in, who applied a facelock. Shawn got to his feet, but Cody put him back down with punches, and tagged in
Ted, who hit an elbowdrop and tagged Randy. Orton connected with a couple more kneedrops, for a two count, and then applied a
facelock, which Shawn countered with a back suplex. Orton managed to tag Rhodes, who knocked Hunter and Vince off the apron, but
Shawn kicked Cody away, and made the tag to Triple H. Hunter hit a high knee on Cody, followed by a facebuster, spinebuster, and
finally, the Pedigree, as Vince pleaded to be tagged in. Hunter obliged and Vince went straight for the cover, but Orton broke the count. He
then lined up a punt on McMahon, but Shawn cut him off and chased him out of the ring. Orton made his way up the ramp, having had
enough of the contest, but John Cena’s music hit, and the number one contender came out and threw the champion back into the
ring. Shawn hit a Sweet Chin Music, which Cena followed up with the F-U, and then Vince covered and pinned Orton, who was clearly not
the legal man, at 13‘37. What Rhodes and Dibiase were doing while all of this was going on, I’m not sure.

Normally I would have a problem with a 64-year-old man pinning the world champion, but here it was handled okay, with the damage
clearly being done by Michaels and Cena. What bothers me more is that this show was just another case of the same old same old- all
the emphasis put on the same tired performers, while other guys get two or three minute matches, if they’re lucky. This show
desperately needs a new face in the main event picture, otherwise we’re going to be returning to the same old scenarios for weeks
and months to come.

MVP of the night- Vince McMahon, for not being born a week later (I go to Raw next week).

Line of the night- Michael Cole asks at the end of the show if this is the start of something big for John Cena. What, bigger than the
sustained superhero-like push he’s received for the last four years? I hope not.

The Michael Cole Vintage Moment of the week- Triple H’s high knee

Host-o-metre- Mayweather didn’t have much to do, and was fine. Not sure why they booked him as a babyface again though.