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November 16, 2009
– Adam Russell

It’s no secret that Madison Square Garden is the spiritual home of the WWE, and that they always seem to make more of an effort
when they put on shows there. I remember earlier this year, the run of great Smackdowns began with a show at that very arena. The stars
seemed to be aligned for another great show on this week’s Raw; the usually always entertaining Rowdy Roddy Piper was the guest
host, and the main event was about as star-studded as it gets.

The show got off to a strange start, with Piper in the back for a Piper’s Pit segment with, of all people, Luis Guzman. If you’re not
familiar with the name, you probably know the face, as Guzman has appeared in a host of films, such as Traffic, Out of Sight, Boogie
Nights and Carlito’s Way. He’s talented, and has legitimacy, which makes me wonder what he’s doing on Monday Night
Raw. Piper let him plug his new movie, and then wheeled out the Iron Sheik (Piper thought he booked the Iron Chef) to rant about Hulk
Hogan. Excuse me, TNA superstar, Hulk Hogan. This was weird, but short.

After the debut of a new theme, courtesy of Nickelback, we got straight down to action with a championship match.

--- United States Championship Match- The Miz (champion) Vs MVP

Before the match, Miz took a shot at the New York Yankees, saying they bought their title, whereas he earned his. Then MVP came out in
a Yankee hat, pandering to the fans. Miz got a jump on his challenger with punches and kicks, but MVP hit right back with a jumping
clothesline, hiptoss and powerslam. Miz ducked out the ring, but MVP came out after him and took him down with a punch. However, as
he climbed back into the ring, the Miz kicked his leg, and then slammed the back of his head into the ringpost. MVP fought back with a
flapjack, clothesline, facebuster, and the Ballin’ Elbow, and then hit a big boot for a two count after Miz avoided the Playmaker. Shortly
afterwards, Miz caught MVP coming out of the corner with a kick, and hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the win after only 3’46.

My main thought coming out of this match was on what a terrible job WWE has done with MVP. Their was a point where he looked like a
can’t-miss main eventer, and genuinely one of the best performers in the company, but, for whatever reason, he has been booked so
terribly for the last two years. First the losing streak, then the babyface turn out of nowhere, which completely neutered his character. It
looked like he was getting a fresh start when he moved to Raw and butted heads with then WWE champion, Randy Orton, but that was
just a false dawn. Now he’s jobbing in under 4 minutes to the Miz. Just sad.

--- Chavo Guerrero Vs Santino Marella

Santino came out in a New York Rangers jersey, which he took off to reveal a Giants shirt, then a Knicks shirt, then a Jets shirt, then a
Mets shirt, then, rather hilariously, a Phillies shirt, and finally, and inevitably, a Yankees shirt. This was funny, but Chavo obviously didnâ
€™t think so, attacking Santino with a kick, and then the three amigos. He then went up top for a frog splash, but Santino rolled to the
opposite side of the ring. So, Chavo climbed the opposite turnbuckle. And Santino rolled to the opposite side of the ring. This happened
one more time, before Hornswoggle came out, distracting Chavo and allowing Santino to roll him up for the win at 2’50. I mean, what
more can be said about this?

D-X’s music then hit, and Hornswoggle hid under the ring. If you haven’t been following the story, and if that is the case, you lucky
bastard, D-X issued Hornswoggle with a cease and desist order for repeatedly wearing D-X merchandise and crotch-chopping people.
Triple H mentioned the Survivor Series main event, saying that he and Shawn would work as a unit, despite what John Cena thinks, and
then asked Hornswoggle to come out, saying that if he does they’ll let him be in D-X. The little guy made his appearance,
obnoxiously running around the ring crotch-chopping both Triple H and Michaels, before Hunter told him to get in position while they do
their shtick. Triple H only got about half-way through the routine though, before he delivered a Pedigree to Hornswoggle that no doubt had
internet fans everywhere throwing out those Triple H voodoo dolls, and taking his image off their dart boards. D-X then carried
Hornswoggle out on a mini-stretcher. I don’t know what the point of this was, or indeed, what the point of this entire storyline has
been. Perhaps it will lead to something more, or perhaps not.

An excellent video package highlighting the company’s history in Madison Square Garden was next, followed by Piper in the back
being interrupted by Chris Jericho. Jericho said that Piper, like all the guest hosts, had disrespected him. Piper’s response to this
was to bring in Chris Masters to do another pec dance. The Bella twins, who were hanging around like the sluts they are portrayed to be,
were loving this. Jericho was not.

Judah Friedlander from 30 Rock was the guest ring announcer for the next match, a Divas championship match.

--- Divas Championship Match- Melina (champion) Vs Alicia Fox

Fox wanted to be announced as the next Divas champion, but Friedlander instead announced that the match would be a lumberjill
match, with all the lumberjills being participants in the divas Survivor Series match. Melina threw Alicia to the outside, but she quickly re-
entered. Alicia then sent Melina out, where she was jumped by the heel divas. Back in the ring, Melina hit a flapjack and clotheslines,
before being caught with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Fox then lifted Melina up for a urinagi, but Melina countered into the Paparazzi
Destroyer for the victory at 1’38. A brawl then broke out between the lumberjills, with the faces coming out on top.

Three matches so far, totalling much less than 10 minutes.

Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler announced that the USA Network had renewed its contract with Raw until 2014, and then Piper came out.

Piper started his promo by threatening the camera for standing to close to him. He then paid tribute to New York and the Garden, saying
he faced the biggest legends there, name checking Hogan, Bruno Sammartino, Lou Albano and Andre the Giant, and saying that if you
mess with Hot Rod you end up either dead or bald. He then said that he has done some unspeakable things, but has one more nasty
job to do before he checks out, and challenged Vince McMahon to a match. McMahon came out and insulted Piper’s appearance,
and said his forefathers would be ashamed of him if he soiled his hands on Piper. He then said that he’s beaten everyone, and
unless he gets some better competition, he has officially retired from wrestling. Piper called him a coward, and said that he doesn’t
want Vince on pay-per-view, he wants him tonight, and said that he would be out again later to call him out.

This was a unique segment, to say the least. Piper’s promo veered wildly from the very good, to the plain depressing, as he at times
bumbled and mumbled, getting his lines wrong, as though he hadn’t been paying much attention to CM Punk’s recent rantings.
The promo had an air of finality to it, as if Piper was saying his last goodbye, and one can only hope that isn’t the case.

Next up, Sheamus came out to make a challenge to anyone in the locker room to face him. Nobody answered the call, even after he
threw a member of the ring crew across the announce table. At that point, Lawler, as is often the case, stepped up, but was promptly sat
back down on his arse by a pump kick.

After the break, we found that Matt Striker was out to replace Lawler, and Cole was talking as though he’d just buried his mother. He
began running down the Survivor Series card in this funereal tone, but by the second match on the card he was back to full-on shill mode.
Nothing takes your mind off your buddy being kicked in the head by an Irishman better than talking about the triple threat match for the
WWE championship.

--- Evan Bourne Vs Jack Swagger

This match started during the commercial break. Good job it’s a match-up we’ve seen numerous times since the two were
drafted to Raw earlier in the year. When we joined the action, Swagger had Bourne in a waistlock, alfter delivering a wheelbarrow suplex
during the break. He then hit a clothesline to the back of the head, before Bourne came back with a dropkick, a roundhouse kick, and the
double knees off the top for a two count. Bourne then tried a moonsault, but Swagger caught him, rammed him into the corner, and
followed up with the gutwrench power bomb for the win after only 2’01. Another short match, this one doing nothing much for either
man.

Piper returned to the ring next, ready for his streetfight with Vince McMahon. Vince didn’t show, but in his stead came Randy Orton.
Orton, whose name was chanted loudly by the crowd, told Piper that he has a big problem, and then started to beat him down. Piper got a
punch in, but he was no match for the Viper, who lined up a punt, only to be interrupted by the music of Kofi Kingston. Or, at least, that
was the plan, only Kingston’s music hit way too late, leaving Orton to pull up on his kick, and then throw his arms up in disgust.
When Kingston did make his appearance, an awesome brawl broke out between the two, leading them into the crowd, and then back
into the ring. Orton came out on top, and had another punt in mind, but Kingston fought back, and the action again spilled into the crowd.
Orton begged off, but Kofi continued to beat on him, hitting him over the head with some technical equipment. He then positioned Orton
on a table in the technical pit, and scaled the railing which separated the pit from the crowd. As he was about to take flight, he was pulled
down by referees, much to the disgust of the crowd. However, Kofi fought off the refs, and resumed his position, soaring down upon
Orton and putting him through the table with the B cubed legdrop, bringing to an end a thrilling segment.

This was easily the best thing on the show this week, and would probably rank in the top 5 Raw moments of the year. The brawl was wild
and passionate, and the crowd were eating it up, but the spot through the table was a classic WWE moment. The fans were chanting
Kofi’s name after this, and this was as good a star-making segment as I can remember seeing. Brilliant.

Cena was in the back next to cut a stupid promo, in which he went from talking about the main event, to talking about Survivor Series. He
said he was facing D-X in a handicap match, before a stage-hand handed him a note informing him that it was a triple threat match.
Cena then said that he knows what he’s up against, and it’s Hunter and Michaels who have to make a choice.

--- Chris Jericho and The Big Show Vs D-X Vs John Cena and The Undertaker

It was after 11 o’clock when our main event got underway, probably due to Piper over-running earlier. The rules of the match were
that three men had to be in the ring at all times, and men could only tag their own partners. We started with Cena, Jericho and Michaels,
and the action was fast and furious. All made tags, and Undertaker and Hunter double-teamed the Big Show, with Undertaker
clotheslining him over the top rope. He then hit a big boot on Hunter, before Triple H responded with a spinebuster. He tagged in
Michaels, and ’Taker immediately sat up. He threw Michaels over the top, but Shawn skinned the cat. Show returned to the ring and
speared Undertaker, then knocked Shawn down with a clothesline. Jericho came in and hit a bulldog on Shawn, and went for the
Lionsault. Shawn got his knees up, but Jericho converted it into the Walls of Jericho. Undertaker then grabbed Jericho by the throat, but
Cena tagged himself into the match. He hit a bulldog on Jericho, and then a side suplex. Hunter tagged in, and he and Cena squared up,
before Show delivered a double chokeslam to them. ’Taker came in and hit a jumping clothesline on Show, and they fought on the
outside, while Shawn came in and went to work on Jericho. He hit the flying elbowdrop, before Cena went to work on Michaels, hitting the
5 knuckle shuffle. Triple H tagged himself in as Cena went for an FU, and he hit a high knee, facebuster and spinebuster on Cena. Show
came in and ate the Sweet Chin Music, and then Jericho hit a Codebreaker on Shawn. ’Taker chokeslammed Jericho, and Triple H
clotheslined Undertaker over the top rope. Cena then hit an FU on Triple H to pick up the win at 7’06, in what was an action packed
match. That wasn’t the end of the action either, as The Undertaker came in and Tombstoned Cena, giving the Garden crowd the
ending they really wanted (Cena was largely booed, ‘Taker got the ovation of the night), and possibly setting up a big match between
the two for Wrestlemania.

All in all, there was plenty good about this show (mainly the awesome Kingston-Orton brawl), but a lot that was depressing (the fact that
no match went over 10 minutes, and only one went over 5 minutes). The WWE continued the trend of putting on a star-studded, action-
packed show at MSG, but more wrestling would definitely have been welcome.

MVP of the night- Kofi Kingston. The booking was perfect, but Kingston really brought the intensity, and has looked like a huge star in
recent weeks.

The Michael Cole ‘Vintage’ Moment of the Week- Shawn Michaels’ flying elbowdrop.